October is a season of harvest, a time of cooler and shorter days. Many families have reunions or gatherings. Reunions are important. They give us the opportunity to gather together from both far and near, to fellowship and to eat, and to be thankful that we are family. Family isn’t defined by proximity but by the blood that runs through our veins. If you ever take time at these gatherings to listen, and look you can see the family resemblances and hear the personalities come out. There are stories of tragedy, of hope, of love, and belonging.
There is a similar story in the bible of a loving father and two sons. One son left home and lived the way he wanted, and thought better of it, and returns home. His Father sees him a long way off and runs to meet him and to embrace him. The son thinks he is now longer a part of the family and his father shows him this is far from the truth.
The man also had another son. The second son stayed home and hoped that he would be favored because he stayed nearby, but all along he had near in proximity but was not at home in his heart. Both sons erred, because they did not understand the love of their father. One lived under the roof of the father and neglected his love, the other left rejecting his love. Both have a home because the father is loving and they are brothers because they have the same father.
We gather each October as the family of God for Homecoming. Whether we are close by or have come from a distance we gather at home. May we look, listen, and celebrate that we have a loving Father in Heaven and it is his blood that makes us family. Will we see Christ in our brothers and sisters, will we hear the personality of Christ coming through each one? Will we share our stories of tragedy, hope, love, and belonging with one another because we belong to Him? We are family whether near or far because he is our Father. We pray you will join us for our Family of Faith Reunion or Homecoming at Antioch on October 9, 2016. I look forward to seeing each of you in the family.
The first seven were chosen to handle practical ministry of the body, freeing the disciples up for prayer and the ministry of the word.
They were chosen by the people from among the people to serve the people.
A Deacon is a position of service through which they lead the members as ministry in the body in serving in the body and in the community around.
They laid hands on them, setting them aside for this ministry.
The word of God spread, and the number of the disciples increased rapidly. This only happens when we all are doing our part for the Kingdom of God.
A Charge to Deacon Candidates:
- Be assistants to the pastor
- Be servants to the church
- Be witnesses to the world
A Charge to the Church:
- To pray for them
- To encourage them
- To follow them
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus and he tells Jesus what he “thinks” he knows about Jesus.
First you are a teacher from God, because no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him. Also interesting there has been only one identifiable sign in John’s gospel. Why does John come in the middle of the night? Does what we know about Jesus cause us to have more questions? Should it?
Jesus tells him no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. What does this mean? What is being born again? Or Nicodemus’ question, “How can someone be born when they are old? They can’t be born of the womb a second time. Seeing things with earthly eyes, we cannot understand many of these things.
No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of the water and the Spirit. Still this resembles a natural birth in some ways. Flesh gives birth to flesh, and the spirit to the spirit. In other words, we cannot achieve or get to the spiritual by remaining in the flesh. We shouldn’t be surprised. Just because we cannot always see God or God’s direct movement, does not mean that we do not see the result of God’s Spirit at work in the world today. Where do we look for the movement of the Spirit of God? It is by faith not by sight.