Number Four At Coram Deo
Yesterday was the fourth Sunday service at Coram Deo Church of Grants Pass, Oregon. It was a good day. We were all there setting up and working together to bring it together for another worship service. I feel like half the fellowship is in setting up and taking down each week. A good time.
The message, delivered by Pastor Dale, was on "Biblical church discipline". It was nothing ultimately new to me, but it was refreshing to hear, very thought-provoking, and gave me a clearer vision of Christ's Church. I think people have the wrong idea about church discipline, but man it is so important. Some see it either as something legalistic churches get involved in. It is seen as more "loving" to just let things slide -believing that they will go away and not actually fester and swell within. The other extreme is where people impart their legalistic mentality into it and turn it into some kind of witch-hunt or means to weed out people that we don't like or are not up on our glory-mongering program. :) Sometimes, though, it is done right, or at least close.
So this is good. We have a church that is concerned with lifting up and exalting Christ Jesus, teaching the Gospel, evangelizing the lost, scrutinizing Biblically over a long period of time those who would potentially lead and teach, executing and maintaining Biblical church discipline, and making true disciples -discipline over years and years those who are discipled so that they can turn around and disciple others. Seriously, I'm not sure what more you could ask for, but don't let me think too long because I'm sure I will think of a laundry-list :). I'm really encouraged by the fellowship and by the solid foundation being built for this new church. With all due respect to other churchs, these things along place Coram Deo heads above most other churches.
What is amazing is how intertwined they are. If you don't have qualified elders and teachers, then how can you execute proper and Biblical church discipline -much less actually know what it is? And without Biblical church discipline, how can you guard against people getting hurt or becoming embittered, schisms, false teaching, you name it? For example, where are the qualified elders to call into account the pastors who teach ridiculous doctrines? Many pastors function more like kings in their own kingdom.
Anyway, I'm encouraged. It is tough, and a humbling experience to be involved in a (new) church. Everything is new, and it is easy to succumb to that fleshly tendency to try and scramble and grab up every available corner for yourself. But, praise be to God I am just relaxing, trusting the Lord, seeking opportunities to serve for Christ's glory and not my own. It is a good exercise in battling the flesh as we fight those passions within that would seek to compete with our brothers and sisters (as if it is a competition). Sometimes that comptetitiveness creeps in and you wonder why you feel jealous or envious -not good, but entirely human. I thank God for the whole experience and for supplying His Spirit to guard me, to expose to me the wickedness of those passions within me so that I may forsake them, and to bring me close to Himself and to my wife through this all. I thank God for giving me an ever-growing vision of Christ's Church in all of this.