Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. (1 Peter 4:8-10)
"The Community of Grace"
God’s grace transforms our hearts as it flows to us through the means of grace. In the past two days of blog posts we have seen how prayer and the Word of God are channels of God’s grace and power. Now we see from 1 Peter 4:10 that grace flows to us in community. What do we learn from this passage about the community of grace?
- The community of grace is a loving community. When someone sins against us, our first instinct is to withdraw love. But when grace flows to us from God, we can extend that grace to others, even those who fall short of our ideal. “God loves the real me, not just the ideal me.” Now we can give that gift to others in an imperfect church. Is there someone God wants you to love today, in spite of real or perceived sin?
- The community of grace is a hospitable community. Something happens when we share a meal with others. We savor the food, and we are also strengthened by the palpable sense of being loved. What if we all invited someone for dinner in the next couple of weeks? Let’s roll out the red carpet!
- The community of grace is a gifted community. Have you thought lately about your spiritual gifts? We all have spiritual gifts, and God calls us to use our gifts to serve one another. When we do this we are “good stewards of God’s grace.” Amazing. God uses our heart, our humble efforts, our gifts to bring life and health to others. How are you using your gifts in the community of grace?
This Sunday during worship we will again affirm the Apostles’ Creed before the Lord’s Supper. We’ll say, “I believe in the communion of the saints.” Let’s savor those words, thanking God for the abundant grace he gives us through his people!
How to pray...
- Thank God for the “communion of the saints” at Lake Baldwin Church. Thank God that his grace flows to us through the congregation in which he has placed us.
- Pray for the continued unity of Lake Baldwin Church. God has graciously spared us from drama and division. Pray that we would be diligent to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3). Specifically, pray that our love for one another would be greater than our sins against each other.
- Look around our church community, and thank God for the unique spiritual gifts that God has given to his people. Pray that we would rejoice in each other’s gifts, not preferring some gifts above others. Pray that we would all find a place to serve, using our gifts.
- If you are in a community group, ask God for ways that you can express your gifts to serve as part of that group. Pray that others in your community group will find joy as they use their spiritual gifts.
- Thank God for hearing the prayers of his people as we have united to pray daily during the month of August.
For the Family
Imagine a special family dinner, maybe at Thanksgiving or on someone’s birthday, when it isn’t just your parents and siblings, but all your aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, too. Think about what it’s like when your whole family sits down together around a big table.
It’s fun, right? The food is amazing, and everyone talks and laughs because they’re so happy to be together. But maybe it’s sometimes a little awkward, too.
Maybe someone gets on your nerves because they chew too loudly and talk too much. Or maybe your great great great aunt is just kind of weird and you never really understand what she’s talking about. Maybe part of the family lives far away, so you don’t see them often and don’t know them very well.
This is kind of what it’s like to be part of God’s family, the church. The church is not only the people we see on Sunday mornings, but everyone all over the world who follows Jesus. That’s a big family! And no one is perfect, so being in God’s family can sometimes be difficult or awkward. Sometimes we don’t get along or have a hard time understanding each other.
Even though we have many differences within our church family, we are alike because God has adopted us as his children. God made each of us uniquely, with special gifts and talents, and when we all live and work in unity, we can do much more together for God’s glory than we could by ourselves.
"The Community of Grace" - Mike Tilley
Mike Tilley is the senior pastor of Lake Baldwin Church, and has lived in Orlando since 1994. He and his wife, Molly, worked with a core group from the Baldwin Park community to plant Lake Baldwin Church in 2006. Mike loves teaching the Bible in a way that relates to real life. In his spare time, Mike enjoys good movies, long dinner with friends, snow skiing, hanging out with his kids and two granddaughters, and travel.
"For the Family" - Katie Pollard
Katie is the administrator and communications director for LBC. Katie and her husband, Joel, moved to Orlando from Nashville, TN in 2014, when Joel became the Director of Worship at LBC. They both grew up in Carrollton, GA and have been leading worship together since their youth group days. They were married in 2011 and have two children, Sam and Evie.