Newsletter 07.12.17

Dear Church Family,

In case you weren’t able to be with us, this past Sunday night we changed things up a little. For all of you who were there, thank you for your openness and your willingness to publically connect with the other members of our church. We live in a culture that boasts of being social and all-access, but what it so often isn’t, is real. But because this kind of community isn’t real, people’s connectedness contributes to their isolation. Many are putting the best versions of themselves forward in order to defend their internal vulnerabilities, while potentially doing more damage to themselves than the threats they’re guarding against ever could.

You see, God created us to be in community. It wasn’t good for Adam to be alone in the Garden—in a paradise free from sin. How much more do we need community now, in a sin-warped world? Now of course, we too are affected by sin, and so we contribute to the difficulty of creating meaningful community with other sinners. However, as those whose eyes have been opened and hearts have been changed by the grace of God, Christians should and must displaying compelling community before the watching world.

Why? We have the answers—not because we are so smart, but because our God has given them to us in His Word. We know God has created us in His image. Accordingly, as the Triune God has enjoyed perfect communion within the Godhead, we are meant to reflect His character as communal beings. We know sin entered the world through Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden. Accordingly, everything—including our understandings of community—got twisted as a result and we are helpless to remedy our plight.

But we also know that God the Father sent God the Son to live in perfect obedience to His Word and Will; thereby continuing to live in perfect community with Him while in the flesh. However, in the fullness of His humanity, as He died for the sins of His people to redeem the world, the Son of Man’s communion with His Father was temporarily broken, though He remained One with the Father as fully God. As Jesus cried out in the words of the Psalmist, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”, the Father’s wrath for the sins of His chosen ones was being poured out on His chosen One. This was not the end, but God raised Jesus from the dead and proved that His atonement had been received and full communion with Jesus’ humanity had been restored.

The good news of the Gospel is our broken relationships with God and with our fellow man are redeemed when we look to Christ in repentance and faith. When God saved us, He saved us into His family. Local churches are like little families meant to make the Family of God visible. So, as we gather together on Sunday nights, we are designating around 20-30 minutes for “Family Time.” This is a time for personal requesting, sharing, confessing, encouraging, celebrating, and/or interacting with recent teaching as we seek to strengthen our relationships with one another for the sake of the Gospel. We need each other because God designed us this way in order that together, we display His grace, mercy, love—and power.

Last Sunday night was a blessing and I hope you will join me in praying that God would use this time in a powerful way to draw us closer in our experience of communion with one another and with Him.

Gentry