I titled this welcome "in the Grace and Peace of God). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:3 Paul opens most of his letters this way. You can't experience the peace of God until you first experience the grace of God. You will never be able to be at peace with God until you receive the gracious gift of Jesus Christ because when you receive Him you are part of the family of God and now you will make peace with God.
As I spend time in the word, I notice that certain things are repeated over and over. One of those things is the Love of God. It is my hope that this board will be known for its great love. The Love of God isn't very fancy and it isn't very complicated. When visitors and guests come into our midst, even before we say anything to them, they should know that through the Spirit of God they would sense that this place is different. God's love is powerful.
It's not only my hope that when we are gathered here on this Board where people sense this love, but also in our neighborhoods, places of work and everywhere we go. As Christians, where ever we go, we should be known for our love, not our judgment and condemnation.
some believe contention is condemnation this is not the case, we are
commanded by our Savior to contend for the faith and we believe this is
in all aspect of
our faith. While we are to contend we are to do so in love, gentleness
and respect (Galatians 5:23; Ephesians 4:2; Philippians 4:5; Colossians
3:12; 1 Timothy
6:11; 1 Peter 3:15).
We also welcome
unbelievers in our midst. Please know that we WILL witness to you. It is
our command to share the Gospel of Christ to all who we can. It is not
out of hate, anger, coercion or any other motive other than love that we
do this. We aren't to do this grudgingly, but with enthusiasm. Please
don't mistake our sharing the Gospel with you for anything other than
We live in a tumultuous time today. We
see economies failing, there are wars and rumors of wars, there is
disease that threatens
the well being of everyone, growing persecution of Christians and
freedoms being stripped from society at an alarming rate. During times
of trouble, times of
angst, times of hardship, which are the times we are in today, that is
when people are willing to listen to God, and that is when He touches
their hearts. We
need to be a people who know why we believe what we believe. We need to
be out in the streets sharing the Gospel of Christ, the saving Grace
only He can bring
and His shed blood for our wretched sins.
If we, collectively and individually are
known for showing a heart of God's love, then we are on the path of
being the Board
and being the Christian that God wants us to be. I'm not talking about
friendship evangelism but Godly evangelism. We don't condemn people to
they condemn themselves to hell. Christians explaining this to the lost
isn't condemnation or hate but it is true love because just as God
anyone to perish, we as believers don't want anyone to perish. Worldly
love tells us it is intolerant and hateful to share the hope we have in
Godly love demands we share it.
Many Christians today are bitter
individuals. They use love as a weapon instead of a tool. They believe
in the name of love that
they can be offensive because they speak the truth. Many believe if you
love one another as God intended us to do, that you are soft or a
Christian. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.Luke 19:10 Jesus was a friend to sinners, but not to sin. He came to destroy sin. He reached out in love to them, ate with them,
witnessed the love of God to them.
Remember the story of Zaccheus? Do you remember the complaint of the pharisees? When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." Luke 19:7 They were the religious folks of the time who spent more time judging one another. Do you want to be known as the Christian who is more interested in judging rather than sharing the love of God? When we approach someone, even a fellow brother or sister in Christ in a manner that is arrogant, contemptible, judgmental, offensive or rude, even with the absolute truth what kind of witness do you think that gives to a non-believer? That isn't the love of God that is the sin of pride.
How did Christ look at sinners? With love. Sinners are people who need a new start, not people who need condemnation.We need to
be extending the welcome mat of grace, not the backhand of contempt. We need to be God's people for God's glory.