If you spend any time here at Faith Community you will begin to hear the phrase: "Follow well, love well, serve well." These are the building blocks of our life of faith here at Faith. These are Jesus' words in every Gospel. His call and command are as simple as they are challenging. Easily memorized but never mastered. These must be the DNA of our our lives, our community, and our relationships.
In light of the polarization in our culture; the growing hostility to the Christian faith, and the individualistic and isolating habits many pursue, it seems like a strategic time to focus on these simple words. Let us start 2018 by defining these words that define us and by encouraging one another to follow well, love well, and serve well.
In Acts 6 we read of a church on target: they’re seeing Jesus’ command to make disciples actually happen. But as they see the Great Commission coming to fruition before their eyes, we’ll see a connection between their serving one another well and the word of God spreading and disciples increasing in number.
TODAY'S SCRIPTURE | ACTS 6.1-7
1 Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. 2 So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. 3 “Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 4 “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. 6 And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them.
7 The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.
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Here are some books and resources we recommend for your own reflection and study (there are listed in no particular order):
Spiritual Leadership is a classic exposition on leadership that is distinctly Christian. Most Christian leadership texts recycle the best principles coming from leaders in business, sports, or military. This book is a distinctly biblical look at the leader that has a passion to follow, love, and serve well.
The Radical Disciple by John Stott. This was the last book John Stott chose to write. Consider it an elder statesman and saints farewell reflections on what it means to follow Jesus. What is a life of radical discipleship? At the root, it means we let Jesus set the agenda of our lives. We aren't selective. We don't pick and choose what is congenial and stay away from what is costly. No. He is Lord of all of life.
Issues Facing Christians Today by John Stott. Terrorism, Same-Sex Marriage, Debt Cancellation, The AIDS Pandemic These are just some of the critical contemporary issues addressed in this book. Issues Facing Christians Today helps thinking Christians sift through and respond to a sweeping array of complex and pressing topics.
The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This is a classic look at the Sermon On the Mount. The opening chapters on cheap grace are worth your investing in this book. Bonhoeffer was executed by Hitler weeks before the end of World War II.
The Challenge of a Disciplined Life: Christian Reflections on Money, Sex, and Power by Richard Foster. Challenging and thoughtful reflections by a Quaker to the Church today.
The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus' Essential Teaching on Discipleship by Dallas Willard. Willard boldly challenges the thought that we can be Christians without being disciples, or call ourselves Christians without applying this understanding of life in the Kingdom of God to every aspect of life on earth. He calls on believers to restore what should be the heart of Christianity -- being active disciples of Jesus Christ.