Tag Archives: Body of Christ

The Birth of the Church

This week will mark the conclusion of Engage the Word for our congregation. It has been an amazing journey through the scriptures to this point.

Today’s passage describes the beginning of the Church. It’s an amazing passage. I would love to hear what you and your family notice and think about this passage after reading it!

Acts 2:1-47

  • Who are the characters in this passage?
  • What stands out to you about the setting?
  • What do you think it would have been like to be the people in the same place as the disciples?… as the crowd?
  • What stands out to you from Peter’s speech?
  • What do you think about the people’s response and how they behaved after hearing Peter?
  • What does this passage teach you?… about Jesus… about living for Jesus… about the Church….
  • How do you respond to this passage?

Children and Communion

This Sunday our congregation will be participating in communion. It makes me excited! I love when we participate in communion together. And I’m especially excited because it will be one of the first times we take communion since we’ve moved the kids into our service. But I know that can bring up a lot of questions from parents…

Whenever I begin to think about having children participate in communion, I think of a story my grandma tells about one of her daughters, my aunt. She must have been about 5 years old in this particular story. Grandma starts off the story by telling how she was almost always playing the piano for the church service and so she rarely sat with her kids during service- this was back in the day when all the children were in the worship service for the entire time.

So Grandma was at the piano, my aunt was sitting with family friends, and communion was being served. In this church’s tradition, the elements were past down the rows of people in trays. Each person was supposed to take a wafer and a small cup of grape juice. Well, the trays were past by my aunt and the family she was sitting with and one of the adults (I think it was the mom) decided that my aunt should probably not take the elements- “she was really too young.” But my aunt didn’t think so, and she expressed her frustration. “What? You mean all that praying I do and I don’t even get to drink the juice?!!”

This story makes me laugh; “all that praying and I don’t even get to drink the juice.” I’d be upset too! But was she really ready to take communion? Some traditions don’t allow a person to participate in communion until they have gone through a class and chosen to join the church. But we don’t do that.

There are requirements about communion in scripture though. 1 Corinthians 11:27-32 says this:

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

We must examine our hearts before we take part in communion to allow Jesus to show us what we need to surrender and what He needs to correct. It’s a serious thing to participate in communion.

So how do we know if our children are ready for this? Well, here are a few things to think about and discuss with your children:

  • Can your child tell the story of Jesus? That he loves us enough to sacrifice everything for us?
  • Does your child spend time talking about Jesus? Praying and wanting to know more about Him? This can be a great indication that the Holy Spirit is working!
  • Can your child recognize the difference between choices that honors Jesus and those that are against Him (sinful choices and behaviors)?
  • Does your child identify a moment when he or she chose to start following Jesus? Would your child identify him/her-self as a Christ follower?

These are all good places to start to understand the heart of your child. I believe this is a great opportunity to understand where your child is in responding to Jesus. I don’t expect our children to all understand everything that Jesus has done for us- I don’t understand! But if they are understanding that Jesus loves them, that they are attempting to live in a way that honors Him, then I think we don’t hinder them from participating in a time that allows them to reflect on who Jesus is and what He has done for us… but don’t let them participate without examination!

Communion should be a time for all of us- child or adult- to examine our heart in light of what Jesus calls us to… to follow Him… to love others no matter who they are… to be obedient to God’s word. If we can examine our hearts and to the best of our ability, understand what it means to surrender to Jesus, then we should joyfully partake in communion together!

Worshiping Together

There is something incredibly significant about gathering all together to worship God. We miss out when we choose to not be part of a gathered community that worships God together and here is why I think that:

We need to know we are not alone. God did not intend for any of us to walk life alone. We need to know that there are others around us taking each day as it comes and choosing to follow Jesus. We need to see and hear one another praise God.

We need to hear from others what God is doing. If I was left on my own to remember and find how God is working in this world, I know I would not always find Him. There are many days I forget to look or my life is so clouded by life, that I cannot see what God is doing. That is when I need to hear from others what they see and believe God is doing.

You need to hear from what why I choose to praise God. As much as I rely on those around me, I also need to realize that they rely on me. There will be times when I will be excited about what God is doing and you may be fogged in by life. That is when I have a responsibility to you.

Those reasons feed into why we are beginning to purposefully include our children in our worship services at Ontario Nazarene. Psalm 145:3-4 says, “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” The reasons I gave above for worshiping together are not confined to one generation. They are true across generations.

It is important that our children learn to worship God by being with and among us. It’s important for them to learn they are not alone; that God is doing great things around them; and that they are vital to the community’s experience of worship. This is a big shift in our Sunday experience, but it is on purpose. We believe it is a key part in discipling our children towards Jesus.

Song of the month

This song is brought to us by Jars of Clay– one of my all-time favorite bands. I really enjoy their music and this is one of those songs that has just stuck with me. The first time I heard it was when they performed on the Rock and Worship Roadshow earlier this year. It is just an incredible song and instead of saying much more about it, I’ll just let you experience it.


To all who are looking down

Holding onto hearts still wounding

For those who’ve yet to find it

The places near where love is moving


Cast off the robes you’re wearing

Set aside the names that you’ve been given

May this place of rest in the fold of your journey

Bind you to hope, you will never walk alone


In the shelter of each other, we will live, we will live

In the shelter of each other, we will live, we will live

Your arms are all around us


If our hearts have turned to stone

There is hope, we know the rocks will cry out

And the tears aren’t ours alone

Let them fall into the hands that hold us


Come away from where you’re hiding

Set aside the lies that you’ve been living

May this place of rest in the fold of your journey

Bind you to hope that we will never walk alone


If there is any peace, if there is any hope

We must all believe, our lives are not our own

We all belong

God has given us each other

And we will never walk alone


I’m sitting in my office and I can hear a guy talking to our youth pastor about his journey. Before you think I’m a horrible person eavesdropping on a conversation- this guy loves to share his story and he’s actually shared it with me about 4 different times. And chances are if you were here, he would share his story with you too. Every time I hear his story I have to smile.

This guy is in his early 20’s and has already lived more “life” than anyone in his 20’s should have to live. He got hooked on drugs and alcohol at an early age. Not really sure what his choice of drug was, but the effects are evident.

Here is the amazing part of the story though. He has the same conversation with almost everyone, and he always starts it: “Hey man, how ya doing?” Good, and how are you? “I’m great- six months clean now.” Wow, that is awesome! “Yeah, just relying on God and hanging around the church.”

Today he was talking with the youth pastor about how he tried to get clean before but it did not work. He didn’t have people around him to support him. These days he hangs around our worship pastor a lot.

The worship pastor has been a huge support to him. He allows the guy to call when he needs to and almost all the calls go like this: “Hey man!” Hi, what’s up? “Oh just wanted to see what you are up to.” I’m just at the office right now. What are you up to? “Oh not much, just feeling like I need to talk so I’m not tempted.” Okay, I’m glad you called then. “All right, man. Thanks. Talk to you later!” Bye. And that’s it.

But here is the thing: he knows someone is on his side. And it is motivating him. And the people are motivated by God’s love for his young man. They what God can do in his life and they are excited to see him willing to let God work. People around the church and his small group are excited to hear him each month progress. People are willing to listen to the same story every time they see him because it’s a story of victory and progress. But it’s also a story of process.

He’s not all the way out of the woods. He has a lot of battling he has to do every day. But he is on the journey. He is in the process. And he is so excited to talk about what God is doing in his life. He credits God to bringing people around him that are supporting him this time in staying clean.

His story has me thinking… We are all in some sort of process. We are all on our own journey. Some of us have more evident things that we are going through; some of us deal with issues that are more internal and not as noticeable to others. But we are all in a process. Hopefully we are allowing our process to draw us closer to Jesus. Hopefully we are allowing others to walk along side us in our process.  We need others to help us get through the process. One of the most amazing blessings from Jesus is His family… We need each other so we can make it through.

So who are you walking with? Who do you call when you just need to check in? Are you being there for someone? Where are you at in your process?

A Powerful Start

Colossians 1:1-14

Paul opens this letter with an awesome prayer for the church in Colossea. There is deep connection and relationship between them based on their common ground in Christ. Paul desires the absolute best for them because they are part of the kingdom of Christ (verse 13).

It made me think… how much time do I spend praying for those who are part of the kingdom of Christ? And not just “how much time,” but how serious to do I take praying for the “all the saints?” Does my heart burn with thanksgiving because of those who have responded to the gospel of Jesus? Do I take the growth of the saints serious?

I hope so! I think I am learning to pray with Paul, ” that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in allspiritual wisdom and understanding,so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patiencewith joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified youto share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”


1 Corinthians 12:12-30

If any of you know me, you know I talk a lot about being in good relationship with people. I really believe it is all about relationship. And this was incredibly evident to me today.

See, I kind of messed up the teaching schedule in my mind. I completely mixed up the next two weeks which resulted in a moment of panic as I realized there could potentially be a class without a teacher come Sunday. Not what anyone wants. So I began wondering how this was going to pull together. This wouldn’t be that big of a deal to me normally, but in so many ways I am still getting to know people and learning who is comfortable with a quick change or a new plan. So I was feeling at a bit of a loss as I began to just call around. Then- jackpot- someone responded. And they responded very positively! So I can now move through the rest of the week knowing that all the classes are covered!  *for now 🙂

But why do I bring this up? Because I realized something about relationship and the body of Christ. It has got to be impossible to really do ministry- to work with the church- without relationships. Relationships will look different for each of us, but working to be in good and healthy relationship with one another has got to be what we are about.

Just look at 1 Corinthians 12:12-30. We are each essential to the whole and if we do not work at being in good relationship with one another, then how will we be able to really function? It’s out of our relationships that we can do something like find teachers for a Sunday class. The thing that stressed me about trying to find a teacher was the idea that my relationship are so new and few that I was nervous about who I could call. But this is just small stuff compared to the rest of life!

We need each other for the major moments in life. For times when we are suffering, for times when we are rejoicing. It takes all of us, together, in good relationship to be who Christ has called us to be. What do you think? Do you know how important you are to the body of Christ? How do you work on building and maintaining good relationships with others?