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Friday, May 24, 2019

Growing Together as a Church Family Part ll

1 Corinthians 12:12 "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ"

Being the youngest of three brothers, I can confidently say that we are all different! But that is a good thing because we help one another through our God-given abilities. My oldest brother is a doctor and though I could do my best "webmd diagnosis" [not advised!], we depend on him to give us preliminary advice. Whenever the children have a mysterious rash, swelling, sore throat, cough or high temperature, he is our first call. We depend on him because we trust and know that he is always there for us [as we are for him]. Isn't this one of the greatest benefits of family? That is, through thick and thin, family is always here for each other.

And likewise, Church is family. We depend on one another. We trust and reach out for one another. When one is hurting, we pray and help just as any family would. When one is in need, we do our best to aid them just as any family would. Through our various talents we share our gifts just as their gifts are shared with us! We are family [and what a joy that is!] because we are united together by the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

However, the prevalence of individuality has become commonplace in our world today. Consumerism runs rampant as the question, "what's in it for me?" has become the new normal. And even within the church family, the same questions are posed and the same trouble follows. Yet at the same time, it is an opportunity to ask the question, "What does it mean to be part of the family at Faith Moorpark?"

"The first of the responsibilities might seem obvious. Woody Allen said 80 percent of success is showing up. People who don't see the blessings of membership tend to be the people who don't show up to church very often. Now, that might seem obvious too. Since they don't see the blessings of membership, they don't show up to church. But the reverse is even more true. Because they don't show up regularly, they don't experience all the blessings" [Speckhard, 63].

As it reads in Hebrews 10:24-25, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near". We show up, we encourage one another, and we come together to receive the greatest blessing in the Word and the Sacrament. [Acts 2:42-47].

And we do come together, don't we? I forget how much we do! For when we meet together we are growing together. Every single time! At Sunday Divine Service, Wednesday's vespers service, receiving the Lord's Supper together, witnessing together the gift of Holy Baptism, bible studies together, fellowshipping together [advent dinner, chili cook off, women's luncheon], council meetings together, committee meetings together, community service together [moorpark food pantry, rachel's closet], and outreaching together [moorpark country days]. In our togetherness we are reminded how important this family is for all of us. And in so doing, the Lord is working through our church family to be the beacon of light to our community.

I pray that we may continue to grow together as a family. What a wonderful time it is to be a member here at Faith Moorpark and how much you all have been a blessing to me and those around you.

Have a blessed June!

✝️ Pastor Jeong

The full newsletter can be found here:
http://www.faithmoorpark.com/files/pdf/2019/2019-06-Newsletter.pdf

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Growing Together as a Church Family

I have been reading a short but excellent book, "Connected to Christ: Why Membership Matters" by Peter Speckhard. He discusses many topics that all of us should review and remember as we look at our membership here at Faith Lutheran Church, Moorpark. Over next series of newsletters, I will write about the importance and significance of the Church Family.

As an introduction, we begin with the word, "Family". This has been on mind for quite some time as we must always remember that as members of this church, we are family. Speckhard remarks:
"Church life is like family life. What holds people together is not always mutual liking but the fact of the relationship. If you have siblings in a healthy family, you probably can attest that some of the worst spats you've ever had with anyone were with your siblings. You can probably also attest that among the people you love most and count on the most are your siblings. The bond remains so strong even through those tough times because it was not optional. You could get through the dark tunnels of bad times because you knew you really had no choice; these are your brothers and sisters"
Do we see the church family in this way? We live in a world that is constantly shaped by consumerism. And likewise, this has also infiltrated the church. It's easy to see the church as a "mutual liking", social club rather than a relationship built on God's word. Yes, "church life is like family life". We fight, we reconcile, we agree, we disagree, we spat, yet we love. This is our church family. We are united in Christ! Therefore our "bond remains so strong" that as a family in Christ we are "not optional". We stick together [through thick and thin] in the Word as "brothers and sisters" in Christ Jesus . Do see your fellow church members as family, as brother and sisters in Christ? I pray that we are one as it is shown in Acts 2:42-47. "And they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers...and distributing their proceeds to all, as any had in need" (v.42-45).

We are a family here at Faith Lutheran and I see it every day. All of you make it apparent that our unity is strong through our relationship in Christ Jesus. I've seen many of you send cards to the sick, shut-in and bereaved, while others care for one another- sending meals, providing rides to the hospital and church, the abundance of giving to needy on the first Sunday of every month, and the endless hours that all of our committees faithfully fulfill. In the time I have served you, it has been a great blessing to see all of you faithfully love and serve one another in Christ. All this is happening because of the Word. At bible study, we grow together, and I highly, highly, highly recommend that you attend one of our bible studies. Yes, we study the word but even more, we grow together as a church family. And therefore, it is of great benefit that we attend and grow together [as a Church Family] in the Word of God. Keyword: Together.

Another way in which we are together [as a Church Family] is by offering several services each week. Vespers on Wednesday evenings [7pm] have been a great blessing. Not only as we hear the Word, but we pray for one another, fellowship and encourage each other [Heb10:24-25] as we grow together as a Church Family. But also, during the Divine Service, I enjoy the unity as we grow together in the Word and Sacrament. Unified by the Gospel, we witness Sunday after Sunday, the passing of God's peace, holding hands during the Lord's Prayer, and also hand in hand, as we hear the dismissal at the Supper of our Lord. It has been of great encouragement to see all of us growing together [Sunday after Sunday] as a church family.

And if that was enough, there is more! Through thoughtful prayer and the reading of scripture, [in the near future], we will introduce another element to the church that will focus on growing together. This has been a historic practice since the beginning of the church - during Holy Communion we will offer the chalice [also known as the common cup], in addition to the individual communion cups. Both will be offered every Sunday and you may choose between the chalice or the individual cup. Again, this is your preference as the promise stays the same: "given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins". All in all, it's another way in which we grow and partake together in the one true faith. If you have any questions, feel free to ask! I'm always here.

Until then, blessings to you as we continue to grow together here at Faith Lutheran in Moorpark. I pray that our oneness and unity as a church family continues to increase through Word, prayers, breaking of bread, fellowship and service to one another! We are a family in Christ! What a blessing it is!

✝️ Pastor Jeong
 
The full newsletter can be found here:
http://www.faithmoorpark.com/files/pdf/2019/2019-05-Newsletter.pdf

Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email