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The Pocket // I Love My Church


What Would We Do Without Our Church?


1. Full disclosure: we are not perfect.

2. On the other hand, there are many of us who can’t imagine what we’d do if it weren’t for our church.

We are accepted here.
Loved here.
Raised or raising our family here.
Find opportunities to do something bigger than ourselves here.
And the list goes on.

3. So, what would we miss?

Look at the descriptors for the first churches. The qualities and characteristics of these churches set a model for our church today.


A. Corinth – wow, what a great – messed up bunch of people.

But Paul starts his first letter in Chapter 1:2-9 saying:

I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (I Cor. 1:2-9 NLT)

1. The church of God in Corinth had:

Gracious gifts they shared.
Gifts here today
The church then and now was enriched by those gifts.

2. They were partners together until Jesus comes.

We accomplish so much together.

3. 2 Corinthians 1, he says the church is a place of comfort.

He comforts us so we can comfort others, vs. 4.
And we share in our troubles.
And I would so miss that if this church ceased to exist.


B. Galatians

The local church is the bastion of truth.
It keeps us from getting lost in a world gone crazy.

“In his book, ‘A Hidden Wholeness,’ Parker Palmer relates a story about farmers in the Midwest who would prepare for blizzards by tying a rope from the back door of their house out to the barn as a guide to ensure they could return safely home. These blizzards come quickly and fiercely and were highly dangerous. When their full force was blowing, a farmer could not see the end of his or her hand. Many froze to death in those blizzards, disoriented by their inability to see. They wandered in circles, lost sometimes in their own backyards. If they lost their grip on the rope, it became impossible for them to find their way home. Some froze within feet of their own front door, never realizing how close they were to safety. To this day, in parts of Canada and the Great Plains, meteorologists counsel people that, to avoid getting lost in the blinding snow when they venture outside, they tie one end of a long rope to their house and grasp the other end firmly.

Many of us have lost our way, spiritually, in the whiteout of the blizzard swirling around us. Blizzards begin when we say yes to too many things. Between demands from work and family, our lives fall somewhere between full and overflowing. We multitask, so much so that we are unaware we are doing three things at once. We admire people who are able to accomplish so much in so little time. They are our role models. At the same time, many of us are overscheduled, tense, addicted to hurry, frantic, preoccupied, fatigued, and starved for time. Cramming as much as possible into our Smartphones and devices, our day planners and to-do lists, we battle life to make the best use of every spare minute we have. Yet not much changes. Our over-productivity becomes counter-productive. We end our days exhausted from work and raising children.”


C. Ephesians – the church at Ephesus was taught in Chapter 1 that it was a place of acceptance. It didn’t matter if they were Jews or Gentiles – in Christ we are one.

Here we celebrate our diversity by accepting our oneness in Christ.

In Jesus, it matters not if you’re from Nicaragua, El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras, or Chile or any Spanish speaking country.

“We are one.” Or “Somos uno.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re from the Bahamas, or Dominica, or Haiti, or the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, or Jamaica – we are one church!

In Jesus, it doesn’t matter if we’re from Japan or Korea, or China or Asia or Europe or wherever. In Jesus, we are one.

It matters not if you’re from the South – ya’ll, or the North – you’s, or the Midwest or the West (yee ha!) – in Jesus we are one!

And does anyone here think for a moment that God looks at skin color or ethnicity?

No! Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female – in Jesus we are one church.

And honestly, folks, here in the local church is about the only place that’s celebrated anymore.

And I would so miss that if this church ceased to exist.


D. And what can I say about the church at Philippi?

Church is a place of true joy.

Paul, writing from prison, talks all about joy. Coming to church, singing together, worshiping together, experiencing life together, is our joy. And I’d miss that if this church ceased to exist.


E. Or what about the Church of God at Colosse?

Church is a place of love for all God’s people, which comes from the hope we are all going to heaven one day! Yes, all believers and followers of Jesus Christ are going to heaven together. That’s right: Old weird Uncle Eddie will be there.

Crazy Carol, a Christ-follower, will be there.

Dr. Fred Fibula – if he knows Jesus, will be there.

Lawyer Lucky Larry will be there if he accepted Jesus.

It is our hope! It is our confidence! It is our future. Heaven together – you and me.


F. Finally, look at the church at Thessalonica.

The church was and is a place of getting ready – prepping for the soon return of Jesus.

“For the Lord Himself shall descend…”

This is our boot camp. We are only passing through. This world is not our home. Don’t get too comfortable. Don’t get too settled here…


Conclusion:

I love my church. And I tell you, I’d miss my church if it wasn’t here.

Think of the ministry and care that this community would not have if we didn’t have our church.

Let us recommit to loving our church.

Focusing on the good and the blessing, not on the imperfections.

Let us love one another.

Slow down and take care of each other.

Affirm one another.

Support one another.

Rejoice with each other.

Weep with each other.

Carry each other across to the finish line.

We are here to support one another and focus on what’s best and doing life together and celebrating the little things we share together.

Let’s not take this gift called Winchester Church of God for granted.




Worship Set


Praise Goes On 

- Christopher Brown, Steven Furtick, and Wade Joye

Verse 1

Here in your light we find
What makes us come alive
A sacrifice of praise
A city on a hill
Surrendered to your will
Your glory on display
Your glory on display

Misc 1 (Pre-Chorus)

Awesome in this place
Jesus you are awesome in this place
Worthy to be praised
Jesus you are worthy to be praised

Chorus 1

You will be praised
You will be praised

Verse 2

Your love a force of grace
Consuming every space
It's uncontainable
You're coming like a flood
Our hearts are filling up
All things are possible
All things are possible

Misc 2 (Bridge)

Your praise goes on and on
Forever more
We lift the name of Jesus
Your kingdom come
Is what we're living for
We lift the name of Jesus
(REPEAT)


Resurrecting 

- Christopher Brown, Mack Brock, Matt Ntele, Steven Furtick, and Wade

Verse 1

The head that once was crowned with thorns
Is crowned with glory now
The Savior knelt to wash our feet
Now at his feet we bow

Verse 2

The one who wore our sin and shame
Now robed in majesty
The radiance of perfect love
Now shines for all to see

Chorus 1

Your name
Your nameIs victory
All praise
Will rise
To Christ our king

Verse 3

The fear that held us now gives way
To him who is our peace
His final breath upon the cross
Is now alive in me

Misc 1 (Bridge)

By your spirit I will rise
From the ashes of defeat
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me
In your name I come alive
To declare your victory
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me

Verse 4

The tomb where soldiers watched in vain
Was borrowed for three days
His body there would not remain
Our God has robbed the grave
Our God has robbed the grave

 

The Lord's Prayer (Hymn) 

- Lowell Mason

Chorus 1

Our Father who art in heav’n
Hallowed be Thy name
Thy kingdom come Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heav’n
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts
As we forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For Thine is the kingdom
And the power and the glory
Forever and ever
Amen


Lord, You're Mighty 

- Words and Music by JJ Hairston and Eric Davis

Lord, You're mighty (16x)

Verse

O Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth
You set Your glory above the heavens and the earth
When I think of all you've made, the sun, the moon, and the stars
No praise is high enough to express how great You are

Chorus

What a mighty God we serve
Mighty God we serve
Angels they bow before
The mighty God we serve

Lord, You're mighty (8X)

Verse

O Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth
You set Your glory above the heavens and the earth
When I think of all you've made, the sun, the moon, and the stars
No praise is high enough to express how great You are

Chorus

What a mighty God we serve
Mighty God we serve
Angels they bow before
The mighty God we serve
What a mighty God we serve
Mighty God we serve
Heaven and earth adore the mighty we God we serve

Bridge

Hallelujah (4x)
All glory
All honor
All praise
All praise
(repeat all)

All praise to the mighty God we serve

Chorus

What a mighty God we serve
Mighty God we serve
Angels they bow before
The mighty God we serve

Lord, You're mighty (24x)

Chorus

What a mighty God we serve
Mighty God we serve
Angels they bow before
The mighty God we serve