A lot of our Catholic brothers and sisters believe in a place called purgatory, where the soul goes after one dies to be purged or to be cleansed and prepared for heaven. To be honest, the Bible doesn’t mention purgatory anywhere. The Bible does say in 2 Corinthians 5:8, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” No mention of purgatory. Hebrews 9:27, “Just as a person is destined to die once and after that face the judgment.” Purgatory is not a real place.
Our first and foremost spiritual task is to claim God’s unconditional love for ourselves through Christ.
This is not an easy identity to claim because to deserve being loved our society requires us to be successful, popular, or powerful. But God does not require our success, popularity, or power in order to love us. Once we discern our identity and accept God’s unconditional love, we are free to live IN the world without being OWNED BY the world.
When you start believing this, this spiritual knowledge will grow until it transforms your daily life. You will still have rejection and you will still have pain and losses, but you will live no longer as a person searching for his or her identity.
It is important that church leaders be happy in their work, that we “serve the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:2). A church experiences love through the happiness of its leaders. Hebrews 13:17, “[Your Leaders] are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
Indeed, it is a joy to serve First Christian Church and serve our community alongside the FCC family.
Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?
These words are among the best known of the gospels for they radically change our view of suffering. Pain and suffering are no longer obstacles to the glory of eternal life, they have become the inevitable way to it.
Rather than expecting a life without disappointments or moments of depression, we see that Jesus comes to meet us right in those moments, with hope and the potential for a new way of seeing and believing. It is the suffering of Jesus that is the source of new life.
The reality is that we “can’t do life alone.” We need each other. So why not join a class or group? At FCC we have Adult Bible Fellowships (ABFs) on Sunday morning and Connect Groups on Wednesday nights (and a few at other times).
5 Reasons You Need a Small Group (thanks to Rick Warren)
- It’s the classroom for learning how to get along in God’s family. Only in regular contact with ordinary, imperfect believers can we learn REAL fellowship and experience connection God intends for us to have.
- A small group helps me to develop spiritual muscle. You’ll never grow to maturity just by attending worship services and being a passive spectator. We need more than the Bible in order to grow; we need other believers. When others share what God is teaching them, I learn and grow too!
- A small group confirms my identity as a genuine believer. I can’t claim to be following Christ if I’m not committed to any specific group of disciples. Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” You can’t be the Body of Christ on your own.
- A small group will help keep me from spiritually backsliding. “Mind your own business” is NOT a Christian idea when it comes to helping each other! We’re commanded to be involved in each other’s lives.
- The Body of Christ needs me! You have a background and experiences that other people can learn from and draw strength from!
So if you aren’t already in one, then I encourage you to get involved in one soon.
The word “intercession” in the original language of the New Testament means “having freedom of access.” It was originally a technical term that meant meeting with a king in order to make a request. In the Bible, intercession means “making a request of God on behalf of others.”
After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. 8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.
The privilege of access is given to us not simply so that we may ask for OURSELVES but so that we may ask FOR others, especially those who have no access, that is they don’t use the access offered to everyone.