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Dear Congregational Family,

1. (Review from last two weeks)
The Present Day Plight of Discipleship: Recently I read the book, “Ancient-Future Evangelism” by Robert Webber. He addresses the global concern, that the Church is growing in converts, but oftentimes there is no depth of Christianity in convicts of belief, in commitment to the community of the Church, and in development of character and behavior. The quote “It is a mile wide, but only an inch deep” has become increasingly true of the church in many areas. He especially laments the shallowness of Christianity in America where “our zeal to go wide, has not been matched by a zeal to go deep.” Thankfully he does more than lament. He points the church back to the early centuries of Christianity for some guiding principles of discipleship, which was centered around:
1. Believing (prior week’s focus), 2. Belonging (last week), 3. Behaving (today).

2. Behaving: This point is the revealing mirror of a person’s spirituality. In a sense it is the defining moment which reveal what really is believed and to whom do one belong. The Bible states, “you will know them by their fruits.” A Christian is one who’s life is to be displaying the glory of God by delighting in, and walking in the righteousness of God. If a self-proclaimed Christian is comfortable living in sin, it might well be that they are ONLY a “self-proclaimed” Christian and when they stand before the Lord on judgement day, and say, “Lord, Lord”, Jesus will respond, “I never knew you. Depart from Me into outer darkness.”

Not only is “behaving” revealing regarding one’s relationship with Christ, it is also impacting regarding one’s relationship with the Church and with the world. Webber writes, “Nothing is more important for evangelism and discipleship than a community of people who have been evangelized by the message of God’s mission to the world and who, through deep commitment to God and each other, seek to live out their lives in obedience to God. . . . The church that wants to become an evangelizing and disciplining community will have to become a people who are animated by the message of God. They need to show that they are a people in whom the very life of God is manifested.”

It has well been said, “they will know we are Christians by our love.” Unfortunately, our culture has diminished “love” to a rather loose emotional feeling with no tangible accountability. Jesus interprets “love” as action when He says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” The lack of godly behavior by “Christians” actually hinders the impact of the Gospel witness in our culture. Webber writes, “Christians who are not different from the culture around them; and who do not live lives of Biblical purity, integrity, and holiness; have resulted in a lack of power in the church to impact our culture.”

God bless you as we continue,

​ “Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God.”

Pastor Carlson

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