The Greek word for “church” is “ekklesia“. This word had no meaning in a building or place….it had everything to do with people….people who were “called out”. One of the primary marks of those “called out” early Christians was their culture of love and sharing what they had…. with others so that no one did without.
Acts 4:32 (TNIV)
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.
I am so proud of the people I call my family at LifePoint Christian Church for their culture of love and sharing. This year, 2009, has been a phenomenal year in that aspect of our Christian family life. The distinguishing mark of the early Christ follower was spontaneity. The early church families did not give out of requirement……they gave out of love to fill a need to which they felt for someone as if it were themselves.
Luke 6:31 (TNIV) Jesus is speaking:
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
I have seen that played out day after day in our “ekklesia“……our family of called out people.
The Senior Intervention Group (SIG): This last year our elder team prayed for an opportunity to meet the needs of our direct local community, Lake Mary. A fairly affluent to middle class community with few overtly visible signs of need. After much prayer, a need was revealed, our elder team heard the call and formed the “Senior Intervention Group”. Pastor Phil became the chaplain of the Lake Mary Police Dept. and with them, we formed a coalition of local churches to meet direct and immediate needs of the population of elderly that live in our community. LifePoint Christian Church is the Hub of this activity by taking the request for service from the Lake Mary Police Dept (who discover the needs) and finding someone to fill the need, either through our “ekklesia” or that of another church in the coalition.
Often the elderly are hidden behind the walls of retirement communities away from the mainstream. Their needs are real. They have spent a lifetime of sharing their talents and loves and at this time in their life are often challenged with health concerns, mobility concerns and financial concerns. Thank you LifePoint for sharing your life and heart in our community! We are proud to now be a vital part of this lifeline of hope.
Grace and Grits & Crossroads Substance Abuse Rehabilitation program: For years, LifePoint has been active in making an impact on our surrounding local community by sharing our time and resources with those that had less and those caught in a web of addiction. At Grace and Grits, our “ekklesia” has been directly instrumental in the feeding, both physically as well as spiritually feeding of hope, to literally hundreds and hundreds of homeless, struggling families and individuals. As a part of a coalition of local churches, we had the opportunity to provide meals on four occasions in 2009. Many in our “ekklesia” provide their time and hearts every Wednesday.
For Crossroads, our “ekklesia” has been fortunate to provide a church service of hope every other Wednesday after Grace and Grits. One person of our community of followers has been called to be a full-time counselor at Crossroads (Sam Beckman), one started the comprehensive current program of recovery (Julie Eberwein) and one serves as a tech in the Crisis unit (Kevin Houser). Our “ekklesia” has also welcomed these individuals into our lives on Sunday morning and provide a community of love, of hope and of encouragement at a time when, to many of these people, life seems to be with out it. We did not plan this…but God had a plan. Many who have successfully struggled through their addictions and have gone through this program are now living lives of freedom and have been baptized into a new life and are a productive part of our community.
Matthew 25:34-40 (TNIV) Jesus relates the parable of the sheep and the goats to the disciples:
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Early Christians shared their resources and their labor with one another. This is something to which I am most proud about our “ekklesia” at LifePoint. Every week I see others hearing the call and helping not only each other….but also helping others they don’t often even know. I have been privileged to see so hundreds of instances of the sharing of love and encouragement when someone is hurting or struggling, the sharing of resources when someone is in need and the sharing of time and labor. Here are but a few:
Recently a single mother was caught in catch-22 of work and paying for childcare so she could work, times got tough and her electricity was about to be shut off just before Christmas. Thank you all for helping out this mother and her children!
Recently another young mother, having just gotten through recovery, was in need of a car so that she could work. Thank you for providing that blessing.
Throughout the year there have been those in need of furniture and household goods to cover one tough time or another…..thank you for providing, sharing and being the blessing.
Throughout the year there have been people outside and inside our “ekklesia” that have been in need of simple necessities like clothing and food……thank you for sharing and providing!
Our “ekklesia” meets every Sunday at the YMCA. We have people who give their time and labor weekly so that we might have a welcoming presence for the lost and hurting in our community as well as an encouraging and nurturing gathering of our families each week and throughout the week at The Loft and in our homes.
— We have people who pick up breads and pastries every Saturday night so that we can have some food to share on Sunday mornings.
— We have people who arrive at 6 and 7 am to set up and prepare the building to be a comfortable and inviting place of praise and worship of our God….and to be a place of refuge for the lost and hurting in our community.
— We have people who prepare throughout the week to teach and share the Gospel with our children, our youth and our adults.
The list goes on and on…….thank you LifePoint for being a community of called out followers of Christ that cares, that shares, and that serves with a heart like Jesus! Thank you for BEING the blessing!