Keeping the right perspective in approaching the next year is critical in experiencing new things even if the package is the same. It is a parallel concept as far as a church family is concerned. We need a physical home, but we also need a spiritual home. Therefore, finding a church family is essential to our spiritual growth. The Old Testament concept of a gathering place is around the temple. In the New Testament, Jesus provided a new perspective of a gathering place called church when He declared, “…and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18, ESV). In this new setting, Jesus showed a picture of God’s Kingdom filled with God’s people called and chosen as God’s dwelling place to fulfill His plan and purpose for humanity’s salvation.
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It begins with Jesus as the Foundation Stone of God’s church family: “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11, ESV). An important question is this: How does this church function? It is a place where believers of Jesus are called to become living stones: “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4-5, ESV). Another major component of God’s church and His living temple is His Spirit dwelling in us: “Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16, NIV).
In this gathering place called the church, believers are invited to become God’s dwelling place: “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:16, NIV). It is a church where believers are called to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading: “Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us” (1 John 3:24, NIV).
In serving God as a church pastor for twenty-five years, I firmly believe belonging to a church family is non-negotiable. It is natural inclination of coming together as Jesus’ disciples. As such, having Jesus Rock of Ages Ministries (JRAM) as my spiritual family and church in the past five years is an opportunity and a privilege. Moreover, I am proud to say JRAM is an active part of God’s Kingdom and the Body of Christ with a clear intention of seeing people meet Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. More importantly, it is a church family where people are warmly greeted with a particular tagline, “In JRAM, the welcome never ends.”
In this declaration of complete openness and a welcoming spirit, we follow Jesus’ example of hospitality and care. Here’s an excellent portrayal of what a church family is all about: “A family is a shelter from the storm, a friendly port when the waves of life become too wild. No person is ever alone who is a member of a family” (Source Unknown). JRAM endeavors in following these principles in our church family.
If you haven’t found a church family yet, I urge you to look for such a place where you can experience real belongingness and where the welcome never ends. Also, in looking for your church family, please remember that each church family is unique and its members are imperfect. However, knowing this fact must not deter us from becoming part of a church family. Similarly, we love and care for our unique and imperfect family members because after all, they are our family.
That's why we extend in JRAM a warm welcome because we love and care for everyone just as Jesus said we must do. Finally, if in the future you get to attend to one of our church family gatherings, expect to hear, “Welcome to JRAM, where the welcome never ends.”
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