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Church: Your Place to "Belong"!
by Susan Gurney
5/03/2013 / Church Life
Everyone wants to belong--to feel a part of some larger group with which he or she can identify. Teens join gangs "to belong." Men and women join clubs and lodges "to belong." Those struggling with special needs or addictions join support groups "to belong."
What a feeling of belonging, comfort, and identification pours over us when we enter a group of persons with "like" beliefs and/or needs! My husband and I have attended events sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation at which we didn't know a single person, but we immediately felt that we belonged because we knew we were part of a larger "family" of persons who have the same things in common: kidney failure, kidney dialysis or transplantation, and the constant struggle with a serious chronic disease. These events are eagerly anticipated by those in attendance, simply because everyone present has been through the same life experiences.
God wants each of us to feel that His Church, the body of Christian believers everywhere, is the perfect place "to belong". In the books of Psalm and Isaiah are passages that assure us that even when our own parents and families reject us we have a "home" and a "family" in God. In Mark 3 God's son, Jesus, states that all those who do the will of God are members of His family. I believe God put the Church in place because most people have an easier time visualizing and feeling God's love for them when it is demonstrated through His vessels--other human beings who believe in Him. (Please realize that when I say "Church", I am not talking about a building or even a certain denomination. I'm talking about the body, or group, of all saved, Christian believers.)
Have you ever entered a church or other Christian meeting far from home and immediately felt like you belonged? You may have thought to yourself, "I don't know anyone here by name, but I KNOW them all. They are my brothers and sisters in God's Family! We all have God's love and Jesus' salvation in common!"
If you haven't ever felt that way, maybe you need to examine your life. The only way to feel like you really "belong" in God's Family is to first accept Jesus as the Savior and Lord of your life. The next step is to meet regularly with other Christians, actively worshipping the Lord with them. Then you need to commit yourself to being a productive and responsible part of that church body...by spending your time, energy, talents, and material wealth in helping to grow and nurture God's Family. And finally, you need to invite and make welcome those around you who need to feel that they belong. Remember: "Everyone is welcome in God's Family!"
What does God's Word, the Bible, say about this?
Psalm 27:10 "Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me." NIV
Jeremiah 30:22 "'So you will be my people, and I will be your God.'" NIV
Mark 3:33-35 "'Who are my mother and my brothers?' he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, 'Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother.'" NIV
Acts 2:44, 47b "All the believers were together and had everything in common And the Lord added to their number (or 'the church' in KJV) daily those who were being saved." NIV
I Corinthians 12:25-27 "...so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." NIV
Now read the following Bible passages in your favorite version of the Bible:
Psalm 27:10 and 68:4-6
I Corinthians 12:12-31
Ephesians 4:2-6, 11-16, and 25-32
Susan Gurney writes devotionals, poetry, short stories, memoirs, and nonfiction on family history, faith and nature. She has experience writing/editing church and family newsletters. Find Susan at http://ssimonsgurney.christianblogsites.com/blog/ Copyright 2013 Susan Simons Gurney
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