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Chapter 8: Followers of Christ Belong to God

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Questions 8.1:

1. What jobs are invisible or less valued in your church? Can you imagine your leaders doing those tasks?

2. When have you seen people put the health of the community ahead of their own thoughts on an issue? How could you do that in your own life?

3. Who do you see working in a ministry that is totally different from what you might be called to do?

4. How could you communicate to that person how valuable that ministry is to all of you?

As a mom, I just can hardly stand it when one of my kids complains about another, even if the second child is in the wrong. That really makes me hesitate when I am tempted to speak or even think badly about another one of God's children. Confrontation is fine, but not devaluing another person nor judging a ministry without all the facts. It's one thing to recognize sin as sin. But when we judge someone else's obedience to a call that we haven't heard, we may be on shakier ground.

Notice, this week, the people doing invisible or unappreciated ministries. Do you see ministries that you have not seen any value in before? Maybe you could pray specifically for them, asking God to empower them to bring him glory.

Questions 8.2:

1. Are there people or ministries that you need to trust to God’s judgment on the last day?

2. How does this picture of the last day help you to evaluate your commitment to living in Christ?

3. How does your mission, your specific role in the Christian community, rely on God and cooperate with others?

4. Can you envision your local community of followers of Christ as the place where the Holy Spirit lives? How can you help to make it holy?

This is the most amazing thing to me...looking around at imperfect believers and knowing that God chooses to live among us. It's just crazy!

 

If your community of Christians is where God lives, how can you live more fully within that community as well?

Questions 8.3:

1. When have you gone against “what everyone expected” to follow the wisdom of God?

2. How does it change how you think about your leaders if they belong to you rather than you belonging to them? If you are a leader, how does it change how you think about yourself?

3. “All things belong to you.” Later in the letter, twice in fact, Paul says, “’Everything is permissible’—but not everything is beneficial” (1 Cor 6:12; 10:23). What can you do to further the health and holiness of your community? What are you tempted to do that is ultimately destructive?

4. How does Paul’s final reminder, “you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God,” strengthen the identity of the Christian community?

Somehow, asking the questions in these ways makes the idea of servant leadership more vivid for me. It makes any desires to impress the people 'in authority' and any neglect of people 'without authority' stand out.

 

Notice, this week, how you treat and think about people in different places in the hierarchy of your church. Does anything change when you see the way God turns hierarchy upside down? When you remember that everyone is free to follow God, but that everyone ultimately belongs to Christ?

Comments:

Posted by Barbara on
8.1- When my children were babies, I appreciated the nursery workers so that I could sit in on the service. I figured I would take my turn there when I was older. But now I see it as the job I would least like to do. I much prefer ministering to older kids and adults where there is conversation. Nursery workers should get double glory in Heaven, I think!

8.2 - This is such a good reminder not to compare jobs in the church. My in-laws have mental illness in the family and do some strange things in the Name of the Lord. But that is for God to judge. I am sure He is happy that the Kingdom is advancing even if the methods are bizarre.

8.3 - When I got out of college, I began teaching in a Christian school. This was at the beginning of the Christian School movement and my church didn't understand. They thought it was a waste of my time and that I should be serving more in the church. Then, of course, came homeschooling and the same kinds of criticisms at the beginning of that movement. It would have been nice to have the support of my leadership but since I tend to do things that are just the seeds of a new movement, I guess I can't expect to be understood. At least, not right away.

But it is all God's work. So that should eliminate the arguing and jealousy. Great reminder!
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