Friday, October 3, 2008

Truth In Advertising

It's been about 3 years since my family and I moved to Cokato from Taylors Falls. When we moved, we became members of Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cokato. Last weekend, and this coming weekend, I'm teaching classes for others who are moving to our church.

During the first hour we cover the main teachings of our church according to our church's constitution. "This congregation confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe." We unpack that sentence and go through other aspects of what God does for us.

At the second class hour, to be held the day after tomorrow, we will look at the effect of God's love in our lives. During that hour, I teach and encourage the PoWeR SuRGe commitment to pray, worship, read scripture, serve, relate & give. By doing so, we admit our need and ask God to continue working in and among us. We'll share more about that this coming Sunday, 9:45-10:45 in our church's choir room.

Maybe you'll choose to come this Sunday! It's an important way to learn about what it is to be a "member" of our church. We video taped the first session last week so you can see that if you missed it.

One of the reasons I really want people to attend these sessions is to learn the truth. Sometimes we get the idea that church people should somehow be "better" than others. Inevitably, all of us, at one time or another, end up being disappointed or even angry when they don't live up to expectations. Being together with others who are learning about the faith helps us remember that we're all the same. We're all, always, sinners who are in need of God's grace. We never outgrow our need for forgiveness and unconditional love.

I once went to a seminar where the leader had us make up slogans that would truthfully fit the churches we were part of at the time. Someone came up with the following as a sign to be posted outside his church: TIRED OF YOUR DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY? TRY OURS!

If you come to our church, you will meet friendly and unfriendly people. You will find things to be somewhat organized and chaotic at the same time. If you become a member, at some point you will wonder why.

The only thing that sets us apart from any other dysfunctional organization is our Savior Jesus. The only thing different about the sinners who are part of the church is that they are constantly being pushed by God's Word. Hopefully, we church members will, every day, one day at a time, allow ourselves to be transformed. Hopefully we won't hide from the truth that we are always both saved and sinful at the same time.

So, come and learn about church membership, both the gifts we receive from God and the response that God stirs in us through his Holy Spirit. But don't expect us to be all cleaned up.

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