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luray mcclung

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  1. Our congregation becomes a "dwelling place for God's presence of the Holy Spirit, because each of us is a temple for the indwelling Spirit. How? We must keep our temples clean, seek forgiveness, ask for deliverance, whatever we must do to be worthy to carry the light. We must be of one accord, a united body of believers, and want to seek Him by praising Him and calling upon him in true worship. Also, we must trust God to give us the needed vision for the body of His church. lmc
  2. It has been several weeks since my last entry(it's a long story), but I am so thankful to be able to participate again. Pastors and teachers should compliment each other's roles in building the Body of Jesus Christ. Pastors preach the Word, pray, evangelize, visit shut-ins, baptize, give Holy Communion and lead services. Teachers, on the other hand, instruct the gospel, share it , study and pray among other things. In many cases, they already have prepared lessons through a publishing house. In our small country church, God has his hand on a few who have the gift of pastoral care and a few the calling of teacher. Their effect on the body is encouragement, hope and love. Our leaders and teachers try to live as role models and Christ-like examples. In that capacity it is imperative to seek God's will for our lives every day. A friend of mine and her husband stopped attending their church several months ago. Their reason was that they grew tired of observing little gods running all around looking soooo important and exercising their "power" in committees, on boards, with their personal agenda for the church,etc. Another dear friend attending another church did not go to the church's Bible Study which was offered once weekly at 10:00 a.m. and sometimes preceeded by a committee meeting. Her action disappointed the minister and attendees. She told me that God had called her to volunteer regularily at a nursing home where her husband had died. What a wonderful volunteer she is! Pastors and teachers also need to wait on the Lord.
  3. In the next two weeks I pray the Holy Spirit will breathe on me to be an effective witness for the Lord and an encourager to the many elderly members of our congregation. I confess that I have had a recent pity party, fallen into the negative spirit of depression and doubt and allowed the dreary days of rain and clouds along the Mid-Atlantic Coast to dampen my enthusiasm for serving the Lord whole heartedly. I hope to start my days with both prayer and devotion (Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest is highly recommended), then listen to God for His will for my life each day. The timing of this Bible Study, this lesson, and this question are a God-send for me. lmc
  4. Pastor Ralph, I may completely miss the mark on this question; however, I got to thinking of the symbolism of "one baptism", not only by water or the Spirit. I thought about the scripture from Mark's gospel when James and John wanted seats of honor when Jesus asked what he could do for them. He did not rebuke the two, but asked if they could indeed drink the cup or be baptized with the same baptism Christ experienced (see Mark 10: 38-39). This baptism may have been emersion in a sea of calamity. That one baptism personally unites, not divides, the believers in that all have seen troubled times and those experiences bring significant bonds of understanding to the relationship we have with Christ and other believers. b. We can maintain unity of spirit through the bond of peace. Hopefully, when disagreement occurs, there is healthy open discussion at administrative board meetings, none of which should ever be opened without the very presence of God and the sweet Holy Spirit. Often, disagreement may come from a misunderstanding or loss of vision for the body of Christ. Romans 8:28 can be a comforting verse if anyone is experiencing disagreement in the church. c. Striving for unity should not blur our faithfulness but rather increase our faith walk. d. A balance of unity and faithfulness is accomplished through much prayer and supplication, Bible Study, and a vision for God's church and the body of believers. lmc
  5. The seven elements are one of each: body, Spirit, the calling of one hope, Lord, faith, baptism, God and Father of all. For me the most compelling are my Lord and my faith because no man or woman comes to the Father except through our Lord Jesus Christ and my faith because without it, I would have no understanding of the body , the Spirit , or the baptism or the one hope to which I was called. lmc
  6. Q3. According to EPH. 4:3, the Spirit brings about unity. b. We Christians must make every effort to keep the unity and maintain it. c. The bond of peace ties us together in perfect unity. d. In verse 3, Christian unity is top priority, a primary goal. Paul gives a direction, "make every effort", NOT "if you think of it," or "when you can," or "part of the time/efforts". lmc
  7. Q2. The characteristics necessary for maintaining unity are humbleness, gentleness, patience and forbearance with LOVE. I haven't read the other posts, but I suspect love got many votes for the most important. Christ-like love generates humbleness, gentleness and patience. For me, the most difficult probably is patience. I wish I could post my reasons, but the answer would be longer than a chapter in a book and that's not what the Vision of the Church Study is about. Let us all join together in unity and pray Ephesians 4:2 for each other. lmc
  8. Q1 Living a life worthy or your calling and maintaining unity in the church go hand in hand. Everyone's living worthy of his calling in the unity of the church advances God's Kingdom. Since I enjoy sports, I think of the calling, although the calling in Ephesians is more serious, analogous to a position on a softball team. Each position requires different skills. Some may not become pitchers. Still others would have no desire to play catcher behind home plate. The outfielders must be human vacuum cleaners with strong arms. Although the kinds of skills vary, there must be unity before there can be meaningful victory. So it is with the church. Paul uses the body to make his point. b. I may be off base...oops..., but I see the worthiness of unity deriving itself from the Unity of the Spirit and from the calling of one hope. c. Can anything be worthy about the separation from fellow Christians, except that when we are separated, we still cling to one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all and the encouragement that He is over, through, and in all? Or the worthiness of separation may relate to separate gifts of the Spirit which is good. d. Our calling , again, is to the one HOPE. lmc
  9. Q5.Our congregation should be a dwelling place for God in the Spirit in many ways: for praise and worship, for holy communion, for prayer, for baptism in the spirit, for annointing, for special times of service (seed and soil, thanksgiving, harvest blessing, fishing fleets, crabbers, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, special holidays, Ash Wednesday) for physical healing, for spiritual gifts, for prophecy, for singing and in times of grief, for manifestation...we must be that dwelling place to invite and welcome the Holy Spirit. We bring this about by our being expectant of God's spirit upon us and in us. In my personal life , reading the word, praying, taking Bible studies and visiting frequently at a nearby nursing home have helped me as God's spirit directs. The shaping is quite different among our congreation. Some love to beautify the church, some to send cards and make calls, some to listen to praise hymns and selected tv evangelists, some to organize and lead, some to teach Sunday School, a few to take lay speaking classes... The Holy Spirit is doing His work among our congregation. lmc
  10. Q4 The apostles and prophets contribute to my life today by their example, their prophetic words recorded in the Bible, and their stories. In our congregation, about 75 active members, many are at different places in their faith journey, some just joining on milk, others who have finished Disciple 1,11, and 111, and our elderly prayer warriors. I believe that most have begun to study the word more, especially our youth. Also, we have an excellent presenter for the children's sermon so the little ones are getting a lesson that most understand. Hopefully, we are growing into a holy temple in the Lord, one body of unity. We are growing. Our current minister has experienced many adversities in her life. She was born to alcoholic parents in North Carolina. When she was quite young, her dad abused her and her sister, and her mother committed suicide. Yes, she knows adversity. Just today we celebrated her graduation from Wesley Seminary in Washington, DC. Our church is growing; the congregation is realizing its many gifts. I am becoming more convinced we are moving toward "a holy temple." God is good. lmc
  11. The phrase "members of the household of God" tells us that the nature of the church and of God are family-oriented, loving, caring, unified, and visionary. As members of the household of God, we must reflect the light of Jesus and encourage one another. Unfaithulness in the household of God can hurt the body, the family of God, and weaken believers. Our unfaithfulness is a stubling block to others, believers and nonbelievers. lmc
  12. Q2 We are citizens of the household of God. I am not sure of the answer to part b; however, Paul clearly states that "you are no longer foreigners or aliens" so there is a door open for holy and saintly citizens. lmc
  13. Access to the Father through our Lord Jesus is important for numerous reasons: guidance, direction, a journey in his will, His forgivness, his communion,conversation, listening sessions, his fellowship, his love, his compassion, his spiritual healing, peace... the list goes on, but access is important. I am so thankful God does not have caller ID, an answering machine or a lost signal cell phone. Thank you Lord for your available access. lmc Access to the Father may be similar to a diplomatic relationship because there can be conversation, revelation and resolution. We obtain this access through the CROSS. If we love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind and our neighbor as ourself, there is no other interference or better way to live in God's plan and purpose for our life as the laws and the prophets are based upon there two commandments.
  14. Q5. According to Eph. 3:20 God's power works within us, and that power cannot be measured as it exceeds more than all we ask or can imagine. Exercising Christ's power on earth brings glory to God because this action of witnessing, praying, worshiping, giving, visiting the widows, orphans, the shut-ins, healing,studying the word, living Christ-like ....in His name pleases God, and the stories of God's manifested power are passed down to future generations. lmc
  15. Christ as "head over everything for the Church" means for us Christians that He exercises his power and authority according to His Father's will, and therefore we must honor and praise and glorify the Name Jesus. He has given the Church His power and authority. Tragically today, there exits a form of godliness, but denying its power. (2 Timothy 3:5) lmc
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