Sunday Morning 2/2/2014

Posted by Sherry

1 John 1
INTRO: TEXT - 1 [We are writing] about the Word of Life [[a]in] Him Who existed from the beginning, Whom we have heard, Whom we have seen with our [own] eyes, Whom we have gazed upon [for ourselves] and have touched with our [own] hands.
2 And the Life [[b]an aspect of His being] was revealed (made manifest, demonstrated), and we saw [as eyewitnesses] and are testifying to and declare to you the Life, the eternal Life [[c]in Him] Who already existed with the Father and Who [actually] was made visible (was revealed) to us [His followers].
3 What we have seen and [ourselves] heard, we are also telling you, so that you too may [d]realize and enjoy fellowship as partners and partakers with us. And [this] fellowship that we have [which is a [e]distinguishing mark of Christians] is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ (the Messiah).
4 And we are now writing these things to you so that our joy [in seeing you included] may be full [and [f]your joy may be complete].
5 And this is the message [the message of [g]promise] which we have heard from Him and now are reporting to you: God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him at all [[h]no, not in any way].
6 [So] if we say we are partakers together and enjoy fellowship with Him when we live and move and are walking about in darkness, we are [both] speaking falsely and do not live and practice the Truth [which the Gospel presents].
7 But if we [really] are living and walking in the Light, as He [Himself] is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses (removes) us from all sin and guilt [keeps us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].
8 If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts].
9 If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].
10 If we say (claim) we have not sinned, we contradict His Word and make Him out to be false and a liar, and His Word is not in us [the divine message of the Gospel is not in our hearts].

Most heard excuse for not going to church is b/c of the hypocrites in the church.
Truth be told, the one using that excuse has some hypocritical behavior patterns themselves...
they won’t go to church with these people but they put their money in the same bank
they’ll buy & sell their cows at the same sale barn
they won’t sit on a pew, but they will the ball game bleachers
they won’t fellowship around the Lord’s table, but they shop at the same grocery store w/ hypocrites & eat in the same restaurants
they pump their gas right beside them
IN SHORT the church is about the ONLY place they won’t associate with these so-called “HYPOCRITES”...
Which makes that excuse...thoroughly HYPOCRITICAL.
NOW that we’ve established that we all have hypocritical tendencies let’s explore the REAL REASON people are hesitant to worship together.
Paul...Ro 3...
none righteous
all sinners
all come short of glory of God
not willing any should perish
salvation for “whosoever” Jn 3:16 & Ro 10:13
cleansing for all that confess 1 Jn 1:9
not particularly interested in others watch me take a tub bath & get cleaned up...
that’s a private/personal matter
don’t like people knowing, much less seeing I’m dirty
bowing in an altar is like saying...hey, I need to refresh (Freshen Up)

Actually it’s a sign you’ve got good sense
ever had to associate w/ someone who wouldn’t take a bath?
when they come in church, your business, transport them in a vehicle, etc...
Honestly...what’s your first thought...”THEY NEED A GOOD DIPPING”
For all the “hesitant worshipers” that are “stinking” up this community,...
what is God’s thought...THEY NEED A GOOD DIPPING...
Not uncommon difficulty to get CHILDREN to take a bath & brush their teeth...
I’ve taken kids to church camp...I know that much about kids
Also “Immaturity” that keeps people from cleaning up spiritually
We don’t want to stop “Playing” (sensual desire) & wash up

so nobody want’s to take a tub bath,
esp. in dirty water in the presence of other sinners
so we all sit in our social Hot Tub, pretending to be clean & socializing & comparing ourselves to each other...
...and remaining dirty
...and posing & pretending
...and posturing
...and making bubbles...
The bath tub is where we get CLEAN.
We need to compare ourselves to Jesus, NOT each other
If I’m going to have to be in close contact with you for an extended period of time...
I’ve already been here over 9 years...
I’d just as soon be clean so I don’t stink & appreciate you be clean also
To be clean nature itself teaches us we’ve got to bathe regularly...
Used to be (b/c of lack of facility & fresh water) a Saturday night bath...
No. 3 wash tub on back porch & everybody shared the water
Once a week ...
That’s a good place to start...
A good scrubbing with the Word of God & rinsing in the Blood of Jesus every Sunday morning would do this community a lot of good...
be cleaner
better attitude
smell fresher
more relational (b/c we & others don’t “stink” so bad)

we’re going to discuss 1 John chapter 1 vs by vs & see how far we get...

Sunday Morning 1/26/2014

Posted by Sherry

Ephesians 2:8,9
CBC 1/26/2014 SM
PLAY VIDEO “I Am A Church Member”
INTRO: TEXT: 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
  • Every church member faces two scenarios:
    • FIRST: approach church membership like a country club membership
    • joining church to see what we can get out of it
    • pastor is to feed us through his sermons
    • a specified and acceptable length of the sermon has been established
    • the music is to fit our style exactly...deviations not acceptable
    • programs and ministries are for our benefit
    • member determines what they like and don’t like
    • perks, privileges & service are expected by the member
  • what happens when CC church member is asked to contribute time, talent & treasure to the church?
    • what if they are asked to serve in the Nursery occasionally?
    • what if they are invited to help in AWANA?
    • who steps forward when a 4th & 5th grade SS teacher is needed?
  • Various, but predictable responses
    • member may respond to request OUT OF OBLIGATION
      • legalistic approach to serving
      • not something they want to do
      • accepts it with a bad attitude...and won’t last very long
    • member may get mad when asked
    • response may be, “I’ve done my time working with that group, get someone else.”
    • make ministry sound like a “Prison Sentence”
    • after all that’s what we PAY the pastor & staff to do...
    • the Biblical option seeing membership as a “GIFT”
    • something to be treasured
    • Membership means we have the OPPORTUNITY to serve & give
    • entire attitude is different
  • Do you remember who led you to a saving faith in Christ?
    • Did they show you these Bible verses?
    • Ro 3:23 everyone is a sinner & come up short of the glory of God
    • Ro 6:23 b/c of that everyone deserves the death penalty
    • 2 Co 5:21 Jesus became our substitute on the cross & died in our place
    • Ac 3:19 “Therefore REPENT and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord”
    • When we repent...Eph 2:8,9 8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved ([a]delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;
    • 9 Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]
  • GIFT of salvation mentioned throughout the Bible
    • gift means WE DIDN’T EARN IT OR DESERVE IT
    • receiving GIFT means we become part of the body of Christ
    • Paul writes “Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. And God has placed these in the church.” 1 Cor 12:27-28
  • Benefits of our GIFT
    • free gift of eternal salvation
    • forgiveness of sins by Christ’s death on the cross
    • adoption by God the Father
    • indwelling of the Holy Spirit
    • being a part of the body of Christ...
      • membership in the body of Christ, the CHURCH, is a gift from God
    • not a legalistic obligation
    • not CC perks
    • not license for entitlements
    • but a GIFT we should treasure with great joy and anticipation
  • some argue “body of Christ” is universal in nature
    • all believers everywhere for all ages
    • from one perspective that’s true
  • Majority of NT books written about and to LOCAL CHURCHES.
    • Acts - Jerusalem, Antioch, Cyprus, Antioch in Pisidia, Inconium, Lystra, Pamphylia, Macedonia, Thyatira, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Caesarea, Ephesus, Troas, Rome, Malta and others
    • Books TO specific churches...Romans, 1 Co, 2 Co, Gal. Eph. Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thess, 2 Thess.
    • 4 of Paul’s books to individuals: 1 & 2 Tim., Titus & Philemon
    • Revelation considered to have context of local churches
  • Point?
    • Lame excuse to say you will limit your involvement to the universal church
    • Bible clear we are to be connected to a specific church in a specific context.
  • Church membership is a gift
    • a gift must be treasured
    • not taken for granted or considered lightly
    • always be thankful for it
    • when thankful we have less time & energy to be negative
  • When receiving a gift with APPRECIATION...
    • we naturally want to respond to the GIVER
    • service to God is a natural outflow of the joy of our salvation
    • and consequent joy of our church membership
    • we should look for opportunities at the church where we serve
  • It’s not wrong to respond to the GIVERS ENTIRE FAMILY in appreciation for our gift
    • other church members are ADOPTED CHILDREN just like us
    • they’re not PERFECT, just like I’m not
    • they’re HYPOCRITES, just like I am on occasion 
    • but we serve them B/C THEY’RE FAMILY
    • we find JOY IN BEING LAST, instead of seeking to be first
Matt 20:26-28  Not so shall it be among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant,
27 And whoever desires to be first among you must be your slave—
28 Just as the Son of Man came not to be waited on but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [the price paid to set them free].
  • My estimation is CBC will be a LOT HEALTHIER when we decide to serve and to be last and put our family members first
  • An attitude of entitlement is a lousy attitude
    • putting “OUR RIGHTS” before OUR FAMILY
    • subject to get indignant when we don’t get our way
  • Church membership is a gift, a joyous gift...TREAT IT AS SUCH

I am a church member.
This membership is a gift. When I receive the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, I became a part of the body of Christ. I soon thereafter identified with a local body and was baptized. And now I am humbled and honored to serve and to love others in our church. I pray that I will never take my membership for granted, but see it as a gift and an opportunity to serve others and to be a part of something so much greater than any one person or member.

Sign & Date:____________________________________________________

Sunday Morning 1/19/2014

Posted by Sherry

Matthew 7:3-5
CBC 1/19/2014 SM
  • We need to explore a “PATTERN” that everyone encounters @ church:
    • get excited about church
    • get more involved
    • discover imperfections of the church
    • get discouraged about the church
    • leave the church
  • It happens to everyone who goes to church seriously
    • things make us angry
    • we experience frustration
    • that leads to discouragement
  • What we need to realize
    • no church is perfect
    • no pastor is perfect
    • no staff member is perfect
    • no church member is perfect
  • The plan & purpose of coming to church is...
    • to find JOY in serving the Lord through the church (members)
      • here to see what I/you can get out of the church
      • here to serve and care for others
      • perspective: GIVING not RECEIVING
      • the ones that disappoint us should be @ the TOP OF OUR PRAYER LIST
  • We are to strive to be perfect like Christ, knowing we won’t make it till He changes us
    • adventure is to see how close we can come to that standard
    • Christ died for people that rebelled against Him
    • we should be able to love the seemingly unlovable church member
      • despite their imperfections
      • look at “log” in my eye before I look at the “speck” in their eye
TEXT: 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
  • Families & Church go together like peanut butter & jelly
    • Eph. 5:22-26  
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
  • Paul connects this to the church 
    • Eph 5: 32-33 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
  • Paul continues in next chapter
    • Eph 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”[a] 4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
  • We are instructed to sacrifice & love our families unconditionally
    • likewise the same applies to our relationships at church
    • family members not perfect
    • neither are church members or church leadership
    • find ways to love and serve BOTH!
  • Family is important to church...
    • attend as a family (pack a pew can be exhilarating)
    • pray together in pew or in altar
    • love & serve church together as a family
  • Ways to pray for our church
    • for spiritual protection
    • for protection from moral failures
    • for the preaching of the Word
    • for their families
    • for encouragement 
    • for physical strength
    • for courage
    • for discernment
    • for wisdom in their leadership
  • the beginning of “loving the church” is praying for the church
  • God created us to be “relational” creatures
    • numerous activities that are just more enjoyable when there is more than me
      • ever went bowling alone?
      • played checkers?
      • how about you are the only fan in the stands at a football game?
      • imagine being the only person watching a Branson show?
      • what if I’m the only one that shows up at church? (AKWARD!!) 
  • When a church member has a family member that’s not not a Christian or doesn’t go to worship service.
    • Paul address issue of divorce in an “unequal” relationship (1 saved & 1 not)
      • 1 Cor 7:10-13 Paul instructs believing spouse not to leave
      • why? believing spouse is testimony to unbelieving spouse
      • 1 Cor 7:14  14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.
      • It can be lonely to “worship alone”...remember you’re on a mission field
      • you don’t have to travel thousands of miles...minister to your family
      • how the believer loves the family impacts their witness
      • how the believer loves their church affects the unbelieving spouse
      • (ILL: Robert & Nancy Smith)
  • Christ is the Groom
    • the church is the Bride
    • our commitment is to love the Bride w/ all we have
  • Unconditional love is not always easy
    • loving w/ little or no love back...
    • loving amidst disagreements...
    • loving when my preference is not met...
  • Jesus demonstrates unconditional love to us
    • loves us with little or no love back...
    • loves us when we disagree with His leading & calling...
    • loves us when His preferences are not met...
  • A commitment to unite your family in love for your church.
    • I am a church member. I will lead my family to be good members of this church as well. We will pray together for our church. We will worship together in our church. We will serve together in our church. And we will ask Christ to help us fall deeper in love with this church because He gave His life for her.
SIGN & DATE:______________________________________________

Sunday Morning 1/12/2014

Posted by Sherry

1 Thessalonians 5:25
CBC 1/12/2014 SM
There’s never a dull moment when you’re on staff at a church.
You keep in the back of your mind that phrase from the old Candid Camera show,
“Don’t be surprised, if somewhere, sometime somebody says, ‘Smile, you’re on Candid Camera.”
Because at anytime, no matter what you and your family is doing...the unimaginable can happen.
Rick & I could take the rest of the time today telling war stories about unexpected, unbelievable, unimaginable events that have come about.
Keep in mind these are ministry opportunities that everybody doesn’t get the chance at.
24 hours a day, 7 days each week, 365 days each year...It’s constantly on my mind...
Common misperception is Church Staff guys only work Sundays & Wednesdays...I wish
Another common misperception is that preachers are bullet proof to emotional pain, stomach upset & heart ache...
The reason for this mostly private insight is this...
TEXT: 1 Thess. 5:25 “Brethren, pray for us.”
  • full-time staff, part-time staff, deacons, SS teachers, Nursery workers, volunteers
    • life is full of mountain tops & valleys
  • things needed to continue to be effective
    • wisdom
    • insight
    • words to preach, teach & sing
    • people don’t need to hear from us...they need to hear from God.
    • easy to neglect family because of the demands of the church
    • our families live in “glass” houses...
    • families hurt, grieve, & lash out privately when critics direct barbs toward leaders
    • church members need to interceed in prayer on behalf of leadership families
    • 1 Tim 3:2-4 An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy - one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity.
    • Whew...NO PRESSURE...
    • just getting past “above reproach” is an accomplishment
      • reproach - to be above finding fault
      • not perfect, BUT, a reputation above most everybody else
      • words or thoughts about the pastor should be positive & encouraging
    • on top of that:
      • good self-control
      • sensible
      • respectable
      • hospitable
      • good teacher
      • gentle
      • not argumentative
      • not greedy
      • icing on must reflect a healthy, Christian family

  • that’s why church members need to pray for their pastor’s protection
    • Paul instructs Timothy that the reputation must be good with “outsiders”
    • refers to unbelievers not part of the church
    • the devil always has a “TRAP” set
    • set intentionally for one reason...
    • Bring the Pastor Down!
    • Devil sees the pastor as a threat to his business of fooling & tricking people
    • nature of trap is TEMPTATION
    • devil stops at nothing & is powerful
      • greed
      • adultery
      • anger
      • addiction
    • remember that God is more powerful
    • God works through the prayers of believers
  • Not difficult for your leaders to fit the definition of “DRAINED”
    • physically & emotionally
    • no magic protection from sickness when visiting the sick
    • no special guarantee mental illness will not strike
    • dozens of decisions have to be made requiring discernment & wisdom
      • what to preach
      • what to teach
      • how to settle disputes
      • which direction to lead
      • God’s Will for the church
      • Great Commission issues
      • Finances
      • demands for numbers of people, each with their own set of challenges
      • stress & pressure are a part of every day
      • pray for PEACE THAT PASSETH UNDERSTANDING for your leadership
  • Requirements
    • discipline
    • not necessarily a lot of time
    • would you pray 5 minutes/day (minimum) for your church leadership
I will pray for my pastor, staff, deacons, & volunteer leadership every day. I understand that church work is never ending. Days are filled with numerous demands that bring emotional highs and lows. They must deal with critics. The must be good leaders of their family. Because my pastor cannot do all things in his own power, I will pray for his strength and wisdom daily.

Sign & Date: _______________________________________________________

Sunday Morning 12/15/2013

Posted by Sherry

Mark 9:35
CBC 12/15/2013 SM

  • INTRO: Did you grow up with a sister 5 years younger than you?
    • Probably not, but I did.
    • you’d never believe there was fussing in the preacher’s house, right? LOL
    • over what... “preferences”
    • but that was “all b4 Jesus, right”...
    • Christians don’t behave like children, right?
    • no temper tantrums, kicking & screaming in the floor...right?
  • Church Membership
    • we actually are called upon to GIVE UP OUR PREFERENCES
      • there to meet needs of others
      • there to serve others
      • there to give
      • there to sacrifice
  • Even the disciples had a tendency to fuss with one another
    • argued over “who was the greatest”... Mohammed Ali was...right???
    • closest followers of Jesus having a “ME FIRST” fight
TEXT: Mark 9:35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.
  • Jesus put them in their place...
    • but then that’s FOR ME ALSO...and any church member.
      • I’m supposed to be last, not first
      • I’m supposed to be a servant instead of seeking to be served
  • Servant appears 57 times in the New Testament
    • the word “serve” occurs 58 times in the New Testament
    • being LAST of all and SERVANT of all doesn’t describe many church members
    • “Norm” - personal preferences, desires & the way we’ve always done it, stay on the surface
    • Jesus said we are to serve
    • Paul (Eph 3:7) I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.
    • Never find JOY in church membership seeking things “OUR WAY”
    • the greatest joy is found when we choose to be LAST
    • Jesus explained, “the last will be first”
    • true joy is giving up our rights & preferences & serving everyone else
    • why did Jesus go to the cross???
      • for the JOY on the other side of the experience
  • Inwardly focused churches surveyed (10 dominant behavior patterns)
    • WORSHIP WARS...fussin’ over the music style & instruments
    • PROLONGED MINUTIA MEETINGS... inordinate amount of time in meetings about inconsequential items, while Great Commission & Great Commandment topics rarely discussed.
    • FACILITY FOCUS...priority is protection & preservation of rooms, furniture & building and grounds
    • PROGRAM DRIVEN...programs become and end instead of a means to greater ministry.
    • INWARDLY FOCUSED BUDGET...disproportionate share of budget used to meet the needs & comforts of the members instead of reaching beyond the walls of the church
    • INORDINATE DEMANDS FOR PASTORAL CARE...all church members deserve care and concern, esp. during times of need & crisis. Unreasonable expectations for minor matters & “personal” time w/ staff in exclusion to the others on the membership role.
    • ATTITUDES OF ENTITLEMENT...demanding and having a sense of deserving special attention
    • GREATER CONCERN ABOUT CHANGE THAN THE GOSPEL...heated passion over any “change”, but not the same passion about reaching the lost, praying in the altar, giving the tithe or seeing lives changed
    • ANGER AND HOSTILITY...members constantly angry, upset, whining to the staff 
    • EVANGELISTIC APATHY...very few members share their faith & testimony how they were “saved” on a regular basis. More concerned about personal needs than eternal needs of the world & community.
  • Phil. 2:5-11 summarized says, “Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus.”
    • He did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage
    • He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave
    • He humbled Himself
    • He became obedient to the point of death - even to death on a cross
  • Our example to follow as church members:
    • we are to be servants
    • we are to be obedient
    • we are to put others first
    • we are to do what it takes to keep unity in the church
  • If we approach church membership from the perspective of ENTITLEMENT...
    • we have it upside down
    • we are to ask FIRST what we can do for our church
    • then we get the JOY benefit
  • Have you noticed it’s easier to sign a commitment on paper than it is to practice that commitment continually?
    • WARNING: It won’t take long after you make today’s commitment that it will be challenged by a disgruntled church member.
    • REMEMBER: a “gentle” rebuke may be in order...
      • but that’s the church member you’ve committed to “serve”
  • Commitments are not easy
    • w/out God they are impossible
    • pray for strength and wisdom
    • when you’ve had it with sacrifices for others...THINK OF THE CROSS
I Am A Church Member:
     I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires. That is self-serving. I am a member in this church to serve others and to serve Christ. My Savior went to a cross for me. I can deal with any inconveniences and matters that just aren’t my preference style.

Sign & Date: _________________________________________________________

Sunday Morning 11/24/2013

Posted by Sherry

John 13:35
CBC 12/01/2013 SM

INTRO: God desires for Christians to get along.
Jesus said,
TEXT: By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another 
  • The world knows if we are Christians or not by the way we believers act toward one another
    • ever been ugly at a business meeting?
    • ever let your preference choice outweigh good thinking & make a rude comment?
    • Would an “outsider” be impressed w/ that kind of “Christian” behavior?
    • What about Christians gossiping about other Christians?
    • If it were possible I’d give you a glimpse into my email & message file and let you read the foul language and cursing I endure.
  • When we become a Christian, God expects us to be a part of His church.
    • When we become part of His church God wants us to be a unifying presence there.
  • If you love sports the way my wife does you’ve probably noticed something
    • a team with average talent can win a championship w/ team unity
  • When a church doesn’t work together, the church is weaker as a whole
    • Unity is vital to the health of the church
    • every church member must contribute to that unity
Eph 1:15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
  • What is Paul thankful for in this church?
    • their faith in the Lord
    • their love for all the saints
      • saint was KJV term for Christian
Eph 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
  • Keep the unity of the Spirit...
    • church members are to be the source of unity
      • never be a divisive force
      • love fellow church members unconditionally
      • doesn’t mean we agree all the time
      • does mean we are willing to sacrifice our personal preferences for unity
  • When we seek unity, we demonstrate love
  • Col. 3:14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
    • “above all” - doesn’t get much more important than that
  • Rom 1:29-32 is pretty depressing:
    • 29 Until they were filled (permeated and saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, iniquity, grasping and covetous greed, and malice. [They were] full of envy and jealousy, murder, strife, deceit and treachery, ill will and cruel ways. [They were] secret backbiters and gossipers,
    • 30 Slanderers, hateful to and hating God, full of insolence, arrogance, [and] boasting; inventors of new forms of evil, disobedient and undutiful to parents.
    • 31 [They were] without understanding, conscienceless and faithless, heartless and loveless [and] merciless.
    • 32 Though they are fully aware of God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them.
  • In the middle of the “evil deeds” is GOSSIP
    • Gossip: idle talk, rumors, unproven personal or private information about others
    • It’s BAD
    • Few things can destroy unity like gossip
  • James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
    • Don’t be a source of gossip
    • Gently rebuke anyone who begins to share gossip with you
    • Spread the word that gossip is not tolerated at CBC
1 Peter 3:10 For “He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit.”

  • Our church needs Prayer Warriors
    • God will not hear and answer our prayers if we hold unforgiveness in our heart
  • Matt. 6:14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”.
    • Unity in church can’t happen if members have unforgiving hearts
    • Member to member
    • Member to pastor &/or staff
    • Pastor, staff to member
  • Col 3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
    • CBC made up of imperfect pastor, staff & members
    • we all make mistakes
    • we all sin
    • we are all hypocrites
    • Church unity is torn apart when we refuse to forgive
    • Unforgiveness is a “PRIDE” issue & God hates pride
    • Christ laid down His pride & went to the cross of humiliation for us

  • Church membership is more than getting your name on the roll
    • it’s different from the perks & privileges at a social club
  • Church membership is about:
    • sacrificing
    • giving
    • forgiving
  • Before you make this pledge think seriously about the words you will read.
    • join me in seeking God’s help to keep this pledge

I am a church member.
     I will seek to be a source of unity in my church. I know there are no perfect pastors, staff, or other church members. But neither am I . I will not be a source of gossip or dissension. One of the greatest contributions I can make is to do all I can in God’s power to help keep the church in unity for the sake of the gospel.

Sign & Date: _____________________________________________________