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Thoughts 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.

Andrew Greenhalgh and Julie Greenhalgh Upton Life Group leaders Jubilee Church Wirral

Dave Frodsham, Jubilee Church Wirral

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