I made it to church tonight by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin, as the Three Little Pigs would say. And I'm SO glad I did! I've mentioned before the Bible Study we're doing right now, Behold Your God. It is SO good...probably THE best Bible Study I've ever done. We're almost finished, and I already want to go through it again...there's just so much to take in each week that I need at least another time through to get it all!
More about that soon, but tonight was really excellent. I took 8 pages of notes on the video! I was SO glad to be there. Not just for the Bible Study, but just to be there. I hadn't been to church in two weeks, and I was having withdrawls! I need corporate worship. I need to be fed. I need to be with my church family!
Paul David Tripp has been doing a series of Facebook statuses on Sundays about the importance of corporate worship. I often find myself sharing them, because they are all so true! Corporate worship is so important. And I realize that importance all the more when I miss a few services.
I shared last week that I'm planning a series of Sunday posts on the church. My current plan (which is always subject to change :)) is to start with some posts inspired by Anne Ortlund's Love Me With Tough Love, then probably a few posts from the Behold Your God study, and then a few other church-related posts.
Love Me With Tough Love, subtitled Disciplines for Living Together in the Body of Christ, was written by Anne Ortlund in 1979. It's about true Biblical discipleship, learning and loving deep.
Here are a few tidbits from the prologue:
We need to look hard at the Bible's kind of love.It's realistic.It's tender.It's aggressive.It's tenacious.It's jealous.It's forever.It's emotional.It's total.It's unspeakably sweet.It's tough.God loves us with tough love. ...and that's the way we need to learn to love each other.
There's flak and friction close in there together, because when it's Biblical, it's tough. But there's also glory in there together, because when it's Biblical, it's real love.
As I've watched God's precious family wrestle with all the relationship issues, both at home and around the world, "the burden of the Lord" is upon me. The contents of a book is in my heart, and woe is me if I don't get it on paper! [I love this part...I can so relate! I have blog posts like that. :)]
Part of what I write will appear controversial because it's "tough". I'm praying you won't take it out of context, without the "love"! I tell the Lord I have no desire to seem more tough than loving. The Holy Spirit is accurate but gentle. Jesus walked on two feet: grace and truth. I struggle to give this presentation God's balance.
Ponder those things for a while. Really ponder tough love in the body of Christ...a tough love that is perfectly balanced with grace. Does it excite you? Make you skeptical? Scare you a bit?
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments here or on Facebook. Or message me via the contact box in the sidebar.
Next week: "Placing ourselves deeply" within a living, functioning body of Christ.
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