I have a vision of a church whose worship seeks out all the resources of its members and utilizes all their skills. Where the hymns are sung with zest, perception, and expression, and accompanied by every instrument anyone can play, including hands, and feet and smiles. And where the unfamiliar music of another generation is learned until it is loved.
A church with liturgies that are never mechanical, and spontaneity that is never trivial.
Where the least of its meetings are conducted like royal appointments, and its greatest days are marked with solemn hilarity.
Where organizational efficiency is always at the service of caring love.
Where even poor efforts are done with painstaking diligence, and commended with tolerant hope.
Where brilliance of mind or skill only serves to light up Jesus Christ and His Gospel; where no one can hog the limelight, no one gets too much attention, and no one gets left out.
Of a church where outsiders get as much welcome as old friends; where no one stands alone unless they need to; where the awkward ones are accepted, and the pleasant ones are disturbed by hard realities.
Where the first to hear a complaint is the offender, and the last to air it is the sufferer.
Where peoples’ interests are worldwide, without being worldly, and personal without being petty.
I have a vision of a church which shares an invincible passion for learning and giving, whose life is energized by a glad acceptance of the Cross as a way of life.
Whose self-critical humor puts people at ease, and whose self-denial disturbs and braces them.
Whose sympathies are so warm and imaginative that no one has the nerve to indulge in self-pity; and whose ideals are so high that slightly soiled notions are shamed into silence.
Whose convictions are firm without being rigid; whose tolerance extends even to the intolerant; whose life is an admonition, whose love learns even from its opponents, and whose faith is infectious.
I have a vision of a church that is like that because from time to time it hears its Redeemer’s voice speak with such authority that nothing will do but obedience, nothing matters but God’s love, and others coming in can only wonder, and wish, and ask…
-from the heart and mind of Reverend John Peck, 1978
If you are looking to make friendships with brothers and sisters from other churches in Concord, you might find Community Bible Study is a great way to go. CBS has a long history in Concord and many have found it enriching to the spiritual lives and an excellent way to build bonds with other Christian communities with whom we share a common Lord.
If your schedule prevents you from joining us for Alpha on Wednesdays, this Tuesday night option might be a solid opportunity for you to continue to grow as a disciple of Christ. For details, see the letter below.
Does your spiritual life need a little more life?
Does the gospel feel more like old news than good news?
Does your Christian walk seem a little more like a treadmill than a journey?
The Christian life is a long walk over all kinds of spiritual terrain. Sometimes the views are amazing. Sometimes you go miles just looking at mud. Sometimes it’s really hard, and other times you find yourself striding along even though the way is steep and full of rocks.
Here’s the thing – whatever the shape of the territory we find ourselves in, Jesus promised to be with us. He sent his Holy Spirit to inhabit us and give us strength, and comfort, and light to see our way. This promise isn’t just a figure of speech. It is real.
But we all go through times when it just doesn’t feel real.
So the question is, how can we open ourselves to the working of God in our hearts so that our faith seems like more than a test we have to pass? How can we find Living Water in muddy pools, and be nourished by the Bread of Life when it seems everything has gone stale?
Well, there is no secret formula. It is actually pretty basic. We must simply go back and re-set our anchor in Jesus. We refocus on the truth of Good News of Jesus Christ, and pray for God to refresh us through his Spirit. And the best way to do that is in community with other like-minded people, all seeking God's living presence together.
That's what Alpha is about. It doesn't matter if you have been in the faith for decades, or if you don't buy into Jesus at all. All questions are fair game and all doubts are up for examination. Together, we talk about what we really think and how we really feel and we ask God to show us his real self.
That’s what I’m praying for United Baptist Church this fall. That together, as a community of Jesus-followers, we will immerse ourselves one night a week in God’s Good News for us in Jesus. And that as we come together, God will be present with us in a way that renews, restores, and refreshes our spirits together.
If that is the kind of recharge you could use, please accept my invitation to attend Alpha at UBC.
Come out Wednesday night September 9 at 6:15. Don’t bother cooking. Be our guest and let us feed you dinner. After dinner, we’ll watch a DVD presentation called “Isn’t there more to life?” Then we will take half an hour or so to talk in small groups about what we heard. That’s it. We’ll be done by 8:45.
Come to the first night. If you find that intriguing, keep coming. We’ll be doing this every Wednesday through the middle of November. On the weekend of October 23 we’ll throw in a special weekend event as well. But there is no commitment, no registration, no one will be taking attendance to see if you are doing your duty. Come to as many as you think will benefit you.
Come and see what God has in store for UBC.
Even if you think you are doing fine, please come. Your participation and prayer will be a great benefit to the rest of us.
I look forward to seeing you there.
Grace and peace.
Pastor Dave Denis
United Baptist Church
Check here regularly to find out what's happening around United Baptist, along with occasional gospel focused articles on important topics.