I had an interesting conversation with my boys the other day. They have settled into our new church, home and community rather nicely so I felt now was an opportunity to discuss some blessings about our move. Interestingly enough, the overarching theme of this conversation consisted of how close things were to us. Although, we lived in Florida just under 5 years, to a 10 year old and 9 year old that is most of their lives. Whenever we had to go anywhere it meant going to Gainesville - so every where Mom took them seemed to take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. In short, they love the fact that in our new community, everything is local. Even our Church, Trinity Baptist Church, is just a few moments away - our local body!
When I thought about that conversation, I began to think about a book our staff and our deacons are reading. It is entitled “What Is A Healthy Church”. I have shared this before, but I know of no book outside of Scripture that covers what a biblical church should be better than this book. Mark Dever is an incredible Pastor and a wonderful writer, who seems to understand the biblical concept of what a church really is! Through the next few posts I am going to discuss these points. I would highly recommend you order a copy of this book as it is a wonderful outline of what a solid church should be. You can find it at http://www.amazon.com/What-Healthy-Church-Mark-Dever/dp/1581349378 It is a book you could finish in a couple of hours, but it would be well worth your time, and I would love to read your thoughts or questions concerning it. In fact, a little secret to those faithful blog readers - I have about 4 or 5 copies left over from the Deacon’s Retreat you can have if you let me know you want one! (be the first to email, comment on the blogs or call me!)
Let me just mention a few statements about the first section and we will pick up the rest later. Dever states: “A healthy church is a congregation that increasingly reflects God’s character as His character has been revealed in His Word.” In other words, a church that is healthy is a church is undergoing consistent sanctification. I have shared several times with you already, but sanctification is the act in which I am growing in my walk with God in such a way that by His grace and His Word, I am becoming more like Him. It goes along with the song we learned as children “He’s Still Working On Me” - do you remember this song? Well, the good news is by His grace he is still working on all of us as believers. Jn. 17:17 “Sanctify them by your truth, Your word is truth”. The only thing that will sanctify us, the only thing that will allow you to reflect God’s character, is the Word of God. The only thing that will enable us to be the congregation God wants us to be is by anchoring ourselves to the Word - basing our lives, our homes, our hearts on His Word, and knowing that through this, along with His amazing grace He will continue His work of sanctification. I end with one more quote from this great little book of Dever's: “The primary challenge churches face today is not figuring out how to be ‘relevant’ or ‘strategic’ or ‘sensitive’ or even ‘deliverate.’ It’s figuring out how to be faithful—how to listen, how to trust and obey." Trinity this means we don’t have to be the smartest, we don’t have to be the most creative or innovative, but we must strive to be the most obedient. If we do that we will have a church God blesses!