TIDBIT: The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes: It’s interesting that this is not the actual title of this book. The actual title is the Hebrew word, “Qoheleth” (prounounced: ko·heh·leth), and is usually translated, “one who addresses and assembly” or simply, “a preacher”. In Greek we find the word “ekklesia” (pronounced: ek·klay·see·ah) –meaning “assembly” or “church”, hence we get the word “Ecclesiastes”, meaning, “one who calls an assembly”.
This title “Ecclesiastes” is taken from the Septuagint which is the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the original Hebrew Scriptures (translated 280-150 years before Christ). The Septuagint was the Scriptures that were read and often quoted by Jesus and the Apostles. Much like we read and quote a translation, the ESV, the NIV or the Message.
A friend sent me this message some time ago. “For me, each and every week at LifePoint is a celebration! It is first & foremost a celebration of Jesus’ Love, Sacrifice & our Salvation through Him. But it is also a celebration of friendships and the excitement of welcoming new people to our church family!”
Another friend once told me that that coming to LifePoint Christian Church was like attending a big pep rally for Jesus (Thank you Alan). I like that!
I am thankful for the encouragement and reminder that “the Church” is the people. You, me and all who come through those doors–not a building or place that we go–the “church” is our assembly or “family” of God’s people.
Here is a condensed version of what I believe about church: A church is a gathering of people who immerse themselves in the ways of God…….to worship and love the Most Holy……..to pray…….. to celebrate what Jesus is doing in their lives and their world so that they can LEAVE………yes…I believe that we come to church so that we can LEAVE……so that we can GO OUT and meet people where they are, so that we can GO OUT and share our lives with others, thereby sharing what we hold most dear, our relationship with Christ and with others.
I pray that as we see a shift from “consumer church” to “mission oriented life”, in other words, “loving others”, that we will see people gathering together for something much greater than ourselves. What I find most refreshing and moving in God like ways, is that as we change our attitude….we actually attain what we sought in the beginning. What I mean is, when we decide not to come to the church gathering “to simply be filled”, but to come to “refuel and fill” then we find that we are filled.
In the coming days we will look closely at these aspects of “being the church”:
1. Engaging and authentic: followers and believers that look from the outside like the people on the inside
2. Ecumenical: a community of diverse people…where diversity is celebrated….because God so obviously celebrates this diversity
3. Discipling, Christ centered: people in dialog with each other about Jesus, about God, about the Bible, and about life, people that encourage and teach each other
4. Big ‘C’ focused, missional: People who’s lives are based on God’s larger kingdom rather than simply our “small community”.
5. Being followers of Jesus that are simply “Learning to Follow” (Thank you Jason Rewis)