Families/Individuals with Young Children
Families with young children click on this link for your devotional:
Families/Individuals with no young children, please follow this devotional by Pastor Russ Fairbanks:
Ephesians 4:7-16 (NASB)
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.
8 Therefore it says, "WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN."
9 (Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)
11 And He gave some as apostles, and some asprophets, and some as evangelists, and some aspastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
I have often thought about how we say, "It's God's will" and "God is working" when refering to the workings of the church. Many would refer to God's working as "invisible church". God moves among His people and causes things to work together for the good of those who love Him. The unseen hand of God is real and we rely on His power to accomplish His will. There is also the "visible church". God uses ordinary people who are working in their gifts to accomplish extraordinary things for and with the Lord. This Scripture helps us to understand that both are happening at the same time. The Church of God cannot and must not be explained or understood without the presence and direction of God, and likewise, the Church is the people of God that depend on the active presence of God's people. The unseen hand guides the hands of the visible workers and the work of the Lord gets accomplished. Therefore, what we do is a spiritual exercise in importance and action.
It is important to understand the way God set up His church and realize the importance of stability when it comes to leadership of the church. There are those who have been called, prepared themselves, and have the church's approval under testing of the elders. There is significant importance for the people of God to be able to trust their pastoral leadership and those entrusted with the Word. One of the biggest issues surrounding us today is opinion, perceived revelation, and those without sound theological foundations making giant leaps that are debatable at best. This has caused so much distrust throughout the body of Christ. It is of great importance that if one is called to preach, then they must be obedient in studies, in the disciplines of the faith, and the examination of the church. If one has been called to be a teacher, then they acknowledge the essentials of our faith and that they grow in foundations of the faith before teaching areas that they may not be equipped to teach. It is the pastor's responsibility to help and direct people to be trained and equipped to do this. The goal of all of this is found in verse 13: "until we all attain unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature (person), to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ."
1. How often have you relegated the church to be only the "visible" church and missed God's hand organizationally and His active presence among us? How does this affect your attitude and prayer life as to the ongoing work of the church?
2. Are you called to lead or teach or preach? Have you been preparing yourself for that or been laying back and waiting? In what way does God want you to be prepared?