BlogsThoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral
Authentic Church in the everyday
By Dave Frodsham, lead elder, Jubilee Church Wirral
What mask are you wearing today? Is it a physical one to suppress the transmission of disease or are you wearing one that suppresses your involvement in everyday church life?
What are you hiding from? We are tempted to wear masks according to John Lynch for at least 5 reasons:
1. We want prove to others we are worthy of their love.
2. To prove to ourselves we are worthy of being loved.
3. We can wear a mask because we want people to feel sorry for us.
4. We can wear a mask because we think people won’t like us if they saw us without it.
5. We can wear a mask because we want people to see us as great!
We need to stop hiding and take off the mask of self and realise we are hidden in Christ! At the end of James’ letter, he calls the church to live authentically. For people to live faithfully to speak truthfully, to be a community of grace and to keep praying for one another.
But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation, Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. (James 5: 13-15 ESV)
James says Let your yes mean yes, don’t try and add to your word by swearing an oath it adds no value and maybe sinful. Phrases such as “I promise to..” or “I cross my heart ..” Are just another way to tell lies, it’s an exaggeration – simply let your yes be yes and your no be no. Speak truthfully and honestly without being rude about someone or to someone. Also do what you say you will do – so if you say yes to something someone has asked you to do, then do it. The first yes, we need to say without conditions is to Jesus’ invitation to follow Him. God’s promise to love us is unconditional. We don’t have to do certain things for Him to love us, because He loved us, He died for us while we were still in our sin. To please God we need to act in faith. The bible says there is a difference between loving someone and being pleased with them.
So being authentic and telling the truth is vital for building good relationships with others too. We want to build with people who say yes but that only works if we are all truthful or deliver what we have committed to do. We have to respect those who say no in the same way. If it is something they don’t want to do or have something else lined up then we need to respect that. We do though need to consider what it is we are asking them. It might be that we think it will do this person good but there may be another reason why they are saying no, that they don’t want to share with us. We have got to trust people, or get to know them better and often we’ll understand their preferences or problems.
To be a community of grace also means that we share life together and pray for one another.
In Acts 2:44 “All believers were together and had everything in common ” This is a model of the early church to be community! Paul says we should pray together on all occasions (Ephesians 6:18) but here James highlights just three:
- If you are suffering or are in trouble then pray and get others to pray with you
- If you are cheerful or happy then praise God and get others to thank God with you.
- If you are sick – ask leaders and others to pray for your healing!
These three areas show where we can encourage each other as a body to pray with faith but also that we deal with each other gracefully as well as honestly – sometimes it’s easier to judge or to dismiss if someone is in trouble or is sick or to be jealous of someone who is joyful! But God has called us to be an authentic church every day, speaking the truth in love to one another, sharing what we have and how we are and praying for one another on all occasions.
Be blessed and know God is your comfort and joy and you have real people who care around you.
Dave Frodsham, Jubilee Church Wirral
In the month of remembrance, Chris on remembering what Jesus sacrificed for us and how we need to act on it.
Helen on the importance of Friends and what God has to say about them in the Bible.
Andrew on evangelism, how we are all evangelists whether we like it or not, and how to evangelise easily.
Dawne on the parable of the lost sheep and the lessons we can take from it as followers of Jesus and members of His flock.
Yvonne on loss and how God has helped her deal with the loss of her mum and the impending departure of her eldest son to his first job
Nicki on serving at Newday and the impact it has had on all three Frodsham children and many, many others
Simon on the frustrations of not being able to get to sleep properly, and the Bible verses that help him stand firm against sleeplessness.
Gerry on how easy it is to be drawn into gossip. “If you can’t say anything positive, don’t say anything at all” isn’t just good advice, it’s Biblical wisdom.
Sylvia on being an encourager: “God knows our troubles. When we open up to Him, He’ll use other people to encourage us through His word.”
Lynne on doing what God wants us to do even when we really don’t want to do it – and why it’s important
Chris on the power of our words and how having a relationship with Jesus can give us the power of the right word at the right time.
Helen on why Psalms have taken the place of Proverbs as her favourite book of the Bible
Andrew Greenhalgh on being much better at giving advice than at taking it – and what happens as a result.
Chantal Robertson on how God and the gospel of Christ has never changed over time – even though the way we package it has.
Nicki on how she was planning to work in the marketing and advertising industry until God led her in a different direction.
Dawne challenges us to look at life with the enthusiasm, joy and exuberance of her Macedonian dog Floki and find joy in the everyday.
Jen on how taking the Alpha Course because she had nothing better to do on a Tuesday afternoon led to a life-changing wheelchair for her daughter Daisy and many others.
Gerry on how her ideas of what love truly is have changed over the years, and how love can be so much more than a feeling.
Matt Wilson on how God is weaving a tapestry – and knows what that looks like. He can see the big picture. Our part is to trust him with the threads he has given us.
Denise Griffiths on resolutions and why she has resolved not to make the usual New Year’s resolutions such as giving up chocolate, eating healthier or doing more exercise!
Vernon on the transience of life, and how, through all suffering, God’s steadfast love has the capacity to satisfy us every morning.
Andrew Greenhalgh on how he ended up going to church on Christmas morning for the first time at the age of 11 – and what it has taught him.
Helen on how preparations for Christmas vary from family to family and country to country. And what happened to Helen’s Lindt advent chocolates?