The classic children’s action rhyme goes, “Here is the church… here is the steeple… open the doors… and here are the people.” It is very cute when enacted by a four-year old, but misses the mark somewhat theologically.
Ephesian 5:25-27 tells us that, “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish”. This is not recounting some Messianic working bee to tidy up a building, but Jesus’ giving of himself in order to perfect the people of God’s kingdom.
During our time back in Australia we are visiting with many churches – not buildings, but communities of believers all serving Christ and longing for the day that His purposes are fully realised.
One such visit was to the Burdekin area and the sister congregations of Ayr and Home Hill. These folk have always been a joy to be with, and they warmly welcomed us yet again for a morning tea chat one Thursday (top photo), after which we met with the young adult group in the evening. As often happens, we were enjoying things far too much to remember to get a photo.
The following Sunday, Keith preached from John 4:1-42, and we spoke about our PNG experiences after an early ‘munch’ (above). [Apparently that’s a morning tea which rolls into lunch…. if the terminology takes off then the minister Gavin Henderson can take full credit.]
What we appreciate so much about these saints is their commitment in keeping up with our blogs and newsletters, and their faithfulness in using these resources to inform their prayers for us and the ministry in PNG. It is a great encouragement when we refer to a time of blessing, or answered prayer, and to see the recognition in their faces and the response of “We were so thankful for that when we heard!”
Now that is a beautiful picture of the church….. even with wrinkles and the odd spot!
- Praise God for the true church, and for His declared purposes for us
- Pray for our health and safety as we travel throughout Queensland visiting supporters up until September
- Give thanks for opportunities to renew friendships, and to meet new brothers and sisters in Christ