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A Controversial Community

When I interned here, the church was very generous (and still is) as many people took me out for meals. I learned that not only is O’Hare a hub for airlines, but that Chicago is a hub for restaurants. Take a walk down to Roscoe and you can’t help but to smell a plethora of aromas. Just like food gives off various aromas, so does our community.

In 2 Corinthians 2:15 it says, “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” Is Paul saying that Christians smell? In some sense, yes! He explains in verse 16 saying that to one side we are the smell of death but to the other we are the fragrance of life, hence a controversial community.

As we think about establishing redemptive presence here in our neighborhood we will face some opposition. First, let’s remember that the gospel is already offensive. Why? The gospel says that without Jesus, you deserve hell because you have rebelled against a holy and just God.

Second, Jesus faced much opposition while He was on earth. When Jesus came back to his hometown and began teaching in the synagogue, the people “took offense at him” (Matt 13:57). If those in his own hometown took offense at him and his teachings, why would we expect anything less? Jesus says that the reason people will treat us this way is because they do not know the One who sent him (John 17:21).

As ambassadors of Christ, we are called to proclaim the truth of the gospel. There is a temptation to shy away from the truth so that people can like us and come to our church. But what good is it to have people like us and lose their soul? Pray that God would give you courage to share the good news with your neighbors. Or maybe the first step is to pray for courage to talk to them! Also let us pray that for one another and ask each other how we are making Jesus famous.

Let us stand on the Word of God and be both a compelling and controversial community!

Posted by Dwayne Sommersell with

A Compelling Community

I enjoy a good movie. But what draws me in to watch it? A part of it has to do with the trailer - the short two minute clip that portrays what the movie is about. Here is where I can usually get a decent idea of whether this movie is a thumbs up or thumbs down. But what draws people into a church?

Is it the music? The preaching of the Word? The people? We have to ask, what will draw people from our neighborhood into our church?

We want to be a compelling or attractive community and not for our sake, but to make Jesus famous. I am not speaking here about outward appearance but rather the heart. So, not only should our music and preaching be centered on the Word of God but also how we live our lives. Now what does this look like? Here are several ways:

  1. Warm. I don’t mean the temperature of the building (although that is important). As a community of believers we need to reflect the Jesus that we proclaim. As you interact with your neighbors they should sense that you care about them and want to talk with them.
  2. Loving. Do you love the people around you? If you’re like me, you have trouble doing that. Ask God for forgiveness for not loving people as you have been loved, and ask Him for help. One way you can show love to your neighbor is having them over for a meal.
  3. Joyful. Are you known for your joy or for being one who grumbles and complains? How would your co-workers describe you? Maybe you need to pray for joy in the workplace. One thing you can do is sing praises on your way to work and while you are at work to remind you of God’s amazing work! (and read the Psalms!)

Let’s remember that as we devote ourselves to living for Jesus, God’s Spirit is the one who compels people to Christ. It takes time. That doesn’t mean we sit on the couch. We still want to be compelling in our love for people.

But along with being a compelling community, we will also be controversial…

Posted by Dwayne Sommersell with

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