Category Archives: Bridge Church
“the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world–just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it”
Fruitfulness is the result of the gospel’s work in people & the church. Jesus desires fruitfulness from his people (John 15:16). How do you define fruitfulness? Two words come to mind: Character and Capacity.
1. Character – Jesus’ work in our lives is inside out. From within he hones & shapes our character to bear the fruits of godliness. Galatians 5:22-23 lists some of these – “love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, self-control.”
2. Capacity – This speaks to our desire & ability to bring others into the kingdom. When we cut open a fruit or vegetable, we’re reminded that God placed the ability to make more into every living thing. Every living thing is a package of seeds designed to produce more. Our capacity may be different based upon our personal giftedness, soil conditions around us, & our own obedience, but Jesus’ work in us, should produce in us a desire & ability to share the Gospel with others.
Fruitful Christians grow in character & capacity. Show Jesus by the fruit of a godly life & share Jesus with others to grow the kingdom.
Bridge Church is currently studying the New Testament book of Colossians in a series called Focus. We meet on Sunday mornings, 10:30am at the Maritime Museum in Madisonville. Join us this Sunday as we talk about expanding our personal capacity for fruitfulness.
Church is sometimes billed as boring, out of step with real life, or something in the way of so many other awesome opportunities that come our way on the weekend. The question we sometime ask as kids, but that can stay with us into adulthood, “Church? Do I HAAVVVVEE to?”
If we really understood God’s view of church & His purpose for it, we would change it from a HAVE TO, to a GET TO. Here’s some of the things we GET TO experience through connecting with a church, that make it worth it.
1. I GET TO experience God at work.
Whenever believers get together, Jesus promised to show up as well (Matthew 18:20). And He promised His power would be active through the work of the church (Matthew 16:18). In Christian relationships, we see him at work in the lives of others as we hear & see God working in their lives. We also experience God at work using us as we step out & use our gifts in ministry in the church.
2. I GET TO pool my resources together with others for God’s purposes.
From the very beginning we see churches demonstrating radical generosity to meet each others needs & the needs of the world (Acts 2:41-47). Paul, who started many of the first churches in the Asia Minor, taught the churches to set aside money on the first day of the week to be given for God’s purposes (1 Corinthians 16:2). He taught that giving was to be done regularly, sacrificially, & cheerfully (2 Corinthians 8-9). Giving is not just about meeting the needs of the church. It is an act of worship, reflecting back to God how great He is worth to us, & declaring that our faith is in Him. But I do get excited about giving to my church as I think about how my giving, pooled with others, will make a great difference in our world.
Pooling my resources is also, not just about money, but gifts & abilities. In church, we pool our God given spiritual gifts, passion, abilities, & experiences for the good of each other & the world. The kingdom & church grows by each one contributing their part (Ephesians 4:16).
3. I GET TO die to my sin & selfishness.
Christian relationships are to be marked by selflessness & sacrifice (John 13:34-35; Matthew 20:28; Philippians 2:3-4). In relationships, I’m always seeing how selfish I am. Seeing my selfishness & the selfishness of others, is actually a great opportunity for growth! Some of us see it & change. Some of us see it & vow not to change. Some of us see it, & unfortunately run away. Yep. Relationships at church can be hard. People can be difficult. Differing personalities, beliefs, upbringings, preferences can collide & create sparks. But I’ve learned that if I embrace the sparks & not runaway when I’m confronted with sin & selfishness in me & others, then we are all sharpened & changed & transformed into what God desires for me to be.
Lane, do you mean, God wanted relationships to be hard. Proverbs 27:17 says it like this, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Iron sharpening iron is a messy process. But necessary for a tool or blade to be at its greatest strength. Same is true for us in regard to relationships. We will be at our greatest strength when we are sharpened by relationships with others. Relationships where I can humble give & receive love & correction & encouragement & teaching, etc., etc.
These are three things I GET TO DO as I commit to a church. There are more. Like I didn’t even mention the coffee & donuts. If you’re not a part of a church, let me encourage you to jump in. Commit to a relationship with God. Commit to relationships with imperfect people you’ll find there. Commit to change as your confronted with sin & selfishness. You won’t regret it.
You can join my church if your in West St. Tammany Parish. We meet each Sunday, 10:30am at the Maritime Museum in Madisonville. We’re finishing a series on relationships this Sunday called Let the Sparks Fly. Come early for coffee!
Throughout the scriptures, we see God calling his followers to live a life of sentness. Stability, social comfort, relational control, safety, success, respect, or clarity were not expected. People had to go purely out of obedience, a personal sense of calling, in faith, and simply because they loved God. Outcome didn’t matter; faithfulness did.
~ TK Primer
Making our 3rd trek with a small group through the Tangible Kingdom Primer. Great guide to living a sent life.
If you ask people about their church today, you might get a “BUT.”
- “The music is great, BUT…”
- “The pastor’s teaching is good, but…”
- “I like my Sunday School, class, BUT…”
A lot of dissatisfaction out there about church. A product of our consumer culture I guess. We’re taught to critique anything we buy & we know we have other choices if we’re not satisfied. Unfortunately, that’s what church has become, simply another service vying for our time & attention & in our culture, we have choices!
Well, I’m not trying to sell you anything, but I believe that you can be SATISFIED by YOUR CHURCH or any Biblically sound church with some attitude changes. Here’s three Biblical attitudes that will bring much satisfaction to your life at church:
1. “My church is incomplete without me.”
See yourself as a part of the whole body, & the church as incomplete without you. See Ephesians 4:7 & 1 Corinthians 12:8-12.
he has given each one of us a special gift[a] through the generosity of Christ.
The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.
2. “I’m a player, not a spectator.”
Be a player, not a spectator. We’re actually all playing for an audience of one. Our leaders are there, not to entertain us, but to EQUIP US FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY. See Ephesians 4:11-12
Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church
3. “What can I give today?”
Don’t focus on what you can “get out of it.” It’s not what you “get out of it” but what you give to others that makes you & the church grow AND (watch this) determines if you GET SOMETHING out of it or not. See Ephesians 4:16.
He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work
In the Old Testament book of Exodus – chapter 18, Moses found himself leading a very large group of dissatisfied people. They had many needs & they looked to Moses to meet them all. Moses’ father-in-law came to town & gave Moses a different plan. Empower the people to use their gifts & abilities to solve the problems of the community. And I love what he told Moses about this plan in Exodus 18:23.
“If you do this, and God so directs you, you will be able to endure, and also all these people will be able to go home SATISFIED.”
When we all come together TO GIVE of what God’s given us, take OWNERSHIP of the mission, & drop the “but’s” no matter where you are, we’ll get the most out of our experience in & with the body of Christ.
Learn more about Getting something out of church by grabbing the audio for last weeks message at Bridge Church in Madisonville where we talked about the On Ramp of Ministry & Mission as a vital component of our Spiritual Growth.