Church family and friends,

I’m excited to begin tying our weekend messages to real-life ministry opportunities. As we look to grow as a church it is imperative that we seek with all that is in us to act in accordance with what we learn. It’s so easy to make Christianity simply a belief system when really it would be more appropriate to consider it a way of life system.

With that in mind, I can’t help but think of our study in the book of Acts and the things that characterized the early church. At the end of the second chapter of Acts, we got a glimpse of the love that the believers had for one another and the sense of unity and oneness that compelled them to live for each other – those with a surplus generously selling from their abundance to satisfy the need of those less fortunate.

In the opening verses of Acts chapter three, we encountered a man who was lame from birth. Each day he was brought to the gate called Beautiful for the purpose of begging from those passing in and out of the Temple courts. We emphasized in our messages the expectation of generosity that attached itself to the community of faith. This man knew that his best shot at survival was to be brought to where the faithful people of God would see him and respond to his need. And he was right! While Peter and John were unable to meet his need financially, they WERE able to give him so much more, healing him from the very infirmity that necessitated his begging in the first place! And that was the larger emphasis of the narrative, but one of the points I tried to emphasize as a point of practical good in our lives was that more subtle truth that it was just assumed that the community of faith would be a giving and generous community – that if they were presented with a need, they would take action to meet that need.

Drawing from that subtle point, I challenged us as a church fellowship to meet that expectation head on. To be the kind of church that even outsiders would recognize as a place they could get help if they needed it. With that desire in mind, I had a chance to sit down with Rick this past Tuesday and brainstorm a bit with him. We wanted to think of ways in which we could get the message out about our presence in Braidwood for our Saturday service as well as provide some valuable service to the needy in our community. It was an encouraging meeting and I left with a renewed sense of duty, but also optimism. Then the next day at work, I received a call from a friend of mine who works as the assistant principal at the local middle school. We had spoken a couple weeks prior about looking for opportunities to serve in the community and to show our love and support to those in need. One such need had arisen and he was excited to be able to share it with me. That conversation led to a number of other ideas as well that I’ll share with you in due time.

For now, I want you to know that being a loving presence in the community is sometimes as easy as starting a conversation with a school administrator or local official or police officer. I will look to start having more and more of those conversations and I ask you to do the same in the various communities in which you live. To be sure, we cannot meet every need that comes up, but let’s be faithful to those areas in which we can be a help and pray for wisdom to know which ones they are! Let’s be a community of faith that is faithful to our community.