July Article

…You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.   1 Peter 2:5

They were useless; irritating to deal with when working around them. No, not people… but stones. The perimeter of my backyard was loaded with off-cast stones, tossed to the edge of the lawn much as a farmer would do when clearing a field.

One day, when constructing a fire pit, I pried out these stones and brought them together. I carefully stacked them up around that ring, and they received purpose. Together they form a good thing; united in a structure. From worthless to worthwhile, by building them together: my hand, my design.

We as the church are likened to stones, gathered and placed on purpose. The Lord Himself is the builder, and owner:

…but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. Hebrews 3:6 

…I will build my church… Matthew 16:18

It is a truth worth meditating upon: We are not called to isolation and solitary living, remote as a stone on the periphery. The Lord has saved us for community: together we are built up by His hand, together we offer worthy sacrifices to God, together we minister for His praise and glory.

Together.

In a day of individualism and distance, in a culture that champions independence and arm’s-length relations, we have serious responsiveness and yielding to attend to. Apart from Him, we are only a stumbling block.

The master builder presides over His dwelling: …we have a great priest over the house of God… (Hebrews 10:21.)  In Him, we become—together—the Body of Christ.

June Article

Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.  1 Corinthians 12:27

We pray much for the ailments of these bodies. Many requests are submitted weekly for prayer concerning physical conditions. We are highly attuned to the needs of the body, and understand the physical drive and benefit of wholeness, health and well-being.

It is no mistake that in several locations of our New Testament, the illustration of the church as a body is shared. You can extract from those passages many deep themes for the men and women that compose the body: Unique parts, all needful, attention paid to all, proper exercise of all, normal natural growth an expected process.

Of special importance to our identity is the incredible news that we are Christ’s body. Through the Spirit of Christ residing in us, we are His presence in this world. As a quartet once sang, “When the world looks at me, do they see Jesus?” That is a fair question, for those apart from the church will see something as they look at this collective. Is it Christ, or something—someone—completely different?

Another important truth of the church revealed in Scripture is the admonition that Christ is the Head of the body—His body—the church. In an age where basic biology is hardly understood, this bears explanation. A body needs a head, can only have one head, and is responsive to the directive of the head, every moment that it lives. A body not responding to its head is desperately ill, not surviving long or well.

Perhaps these brief words will encourage us all in our praying, to remember not only the physical needs, but the Spiritual link we share in being this Body of Christ. That need for wholeness, health and well-being is the great priority.

May Article

For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  1 Corinthians 3:11 

Some years ago, I was a laborer on a remodel of a home near here. The new addition on this home went smoothly; our work quick and uneventful. The original house, however, did not contain a right angle where any two surfaces met. My boss informed me that it had been built on huge logs instead of frost-proof footers. Expensive, up-to-code retrofitting took care of the footer problem, but the resultant mess above-grade was a frame and floorings torqued over years of seasonal movement. Working with those obstacles was not our finest hour.

Jesus warned of attempting to live life on the “sand” of worldly wisdom, and not on the rock which He alone is. You can read His words in Matthew 7:24-27, as He explained the contrast between two choices.

There, He warned that simply being exposed to His Words was not enough. Verse 26 says, “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” Knowing, and then doing, are inextricably linked in following the Master.

So we too desire for all to build their life upon Christ. No word can surpass His Word. Little wonder that a church named “Cornerstone” would be a bit consumed by that reference found in Ephesians 2:20: …having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone…

If we were left to following the latest trends of man, we would have no foundation. We might as well go out back and play in the sand, and pretend the rain will never come our way.

That’s one plan…