Dear Church Family,
Over the past few weeks our lives have certainly slowed down from the constant rush that we had become accustomed to. Hopefully, it has given us all more time to contemplate things that are more important than the daily hustle and bustle. Nothing is more important than growing in our Christian walk. Below is a short article about growing as a disciple of Christ.
Growing as Disciples
Disciple: A learner, pupil, or follower devoted to the teachings of a master.
In John 14:6, Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” Jesus holds the key to heaven and our salvation, and we can only be with God by following Jesus, his example, and his teaching; by being his devoted and committed disciple. Growing as disciples means learning more about Christ, being more devoted to Christ, and being more like Christ. There are four key elements:
Strengthening our relationship with Jesus as our Teacher, Master, and Savior
We must first truly understand the depth of our need for Jesus. Romans 3:23 and 6:23 teach that we are sinners, and deserving eternal separation from God. But Jesus loved us so much, he volunteered to die in our place, in a cruel and horrible death on the cross. And, even more amazingly, he didn’t do this for those who were worthy of his sacrifice, but specifically for those who were unworthy of it, for sinners (Romans 5:8). Christ died for us so we could be redeemed (Ephesians 1:7), and to bring us back to God (I Peter 3:18). He promised if we obey him, we will be saved (Hebrews 5:9). Jesus sacrificed himself in our place to give us everything and, therefore, we must give him everything — our obedience, our faith, and our love — because he first loved us (I John 4:19).
Walking in the light, living a Christian life, letting others see Christ in us
John 12:36 tells us that Jesus is the light, and we are to become “sons of light.” I John 1:7 tells us that we are to “walk in the light.” Recall that Jesus said that he is truth (John 14:6) and III John 3 tells us we are to “walk in truth.” II John 4 tells us to “walk in his commandments” and John 14:15 tells us “if we love Jesus we will obey his commandments.” We are commanded to walk as Jesus would walk, and live as Jesus would live, and obey his teachings. Walking in the light also means that we are to be an example of good deeds (Titus 2:7) to all of those around us of what it means to be a Christian, and in so doing we will glorify God before all men (Matthew 5:16).
Loving each other, and putting others before ourselves
Jesus commanded us to “love one another” and said that by loving one another all men will know we are his disciples (John 13:34-35). And fundamental to loving one another is serving one another. Christ himself set the perfect example that even as the Son of God, Jesus “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). Galatians 5:13 tells us “in love we are to serve one another,” and we learn from I Peter 4:10 that we are to employ every gift God gives us in serving others. This applies to all of us, whether we believe we have gifts to offer or not; recall that I Corinthians 12:12-27 teaches that every Christian has a role in the work of the church. Philippians 2:3-4 tells us that with all humility, we should regard others as more important than ourselves. That means putting others’ needs ahead of our own. Jesus set that perfect example too, when he died on the cross so that we might live.
Teaching those who don’t know Jesus
Jesus told his disciples to “go into the world and make disciples of all nations” (Mathew 28:19). We have that same responsibly too. Jesus told the demon-possessed man in Matthew 5:19 to “go tell people what great things the Lord has done for you.” How wonderful are the things God has done for us? Should we keep them to ourselves, or do like Paul instructed Timothy — to teach others? (II Timothy 2:2). When Jesus addressed the need for people to spread the gospel, he told his disciples that “the harvest is plenty, but the workers are few” and then told them to pray to God to send workers into the field (Matthew 9:37-38). We, as Christ’s disciples, have the responsibility to fulfill Jesus’ prayer, and tend to the harvest.
Elders Message Update
The Eldership continues to keep all of you in prayer. We are looking forward to the time when we can meet together again and we pray that day will be soon!
I do want to remind you, that if you haven’t filled out the survey the elders sent out last week by email, we encourage you to do so. This information will help give us a sense of how the congregation feels as we formulate plans to start a phased approach to meeting again as a congregation. As we do begin meeting again, it will be imperative that we each follow any guidelines that are set forth. Such as wearing masks, not shaking hands, not hugging, or whatever the guidelines may be. While you may be comfortable with being close to others, others may not be as comfortable with that as you are. We will need to be sure that we are respectful of each other. Following the guidelines will help make this transition go smoothly and allow us to begin worshipping together and enjoying each other’s company once again. The purpose of the guidelines will be to keep everyone safe and healthy. We anticipate being able to begin sharing these plans with you in the next couple of weeks or so as they are developed.
In the meantime, we are thankful to know that the Church is continuing to meet as individual families every first day of the week to pray, sing songs of praise to the Lord, partake of the Lord’s supper, study God’s word and to give of our means. It’s encouraging to hear of the joyful worship being offered to the Lord from our church family!
If you know of any of our members who have needs or you have those you would like added to the prayer list you can contact the church office or contact the elders. The church office phone number is 770-926-8838 and the elders email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you are in a position to help those in need please let the office know. We are so thankful for the caring Christian attitude displayed during this difficult time.
We would like to mention that as you study and worship the invitation of the Lord is always open. Even though we are separated, we can respond to God’s invitation to ask for prayers where we have failed and we can certainly make arrangements for anyone to put on Christ in baptism to become a Christian. Please notify one of the Elders if you would like your response to be made public or if we can assist with a baptism. There would be no greater joy than for someone to respond to the Lord’s invitation.
Just a few reminders:
• The building will remain closed and services suspended until the end of May. We’re continuing to monitor the situation and will update you as plans change.
• Matt continues to provide a Sunday morning lesson that is available at 10:00am each Sunday and a midweek bible study that is available each Wednesday at 5:00pm or anytime thereafter. Each of these are on our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/c/woodstockchurchofchrist
• We now have a few ways to give your offering;
- The offering can be mailed to the church building. The building address is Woodstock Church of Christ, 219 Rope Mill Rd., Woodstock, GA 30188.
- We also have an online offering option for the congregation called “Givelify”. This can be used as an app on your phone or from the online site. Many were able to use this app over the past couple of weeks to make their offering. The link below will take you to the page. If you have questions regarding this payment method, we will be happy to answer your questions or help you set up the application. The following is a link to our page https://giv.li/6lyqwe
- If you have online bill pay with your bank you can use that tool to make your weekly offering as well.
In Christian Love,