fbpx

Share This

Share on facebook
Share on email

Practicaly Holy Blog

Helping people help others in the name of Jesus Christ

One goal

By, Isam Itson III

Sometimes people ask me, “Why do I need to join a church to make a difference?”  Because a group of people dedicated to honoring the love of God is the most powerful rebuke to the self interest, injustice, and hypocrisy that destroys the fabric of our societies. And as we have discussed before, God intends the unity of the members of his Church to shine his light and show the powers that be a better way of life.

Ephesians 4:4-16, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

…And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

…speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

We are one body. Back in Ephesians 1:22, Paul wrote that the church is the body of Jesus Christ and that Jesus is the head. Jesus Christ has freely given each of us unique gifts, so that we can be his gift, to each other. He gives us as gifts to each other so that we can help each other grow and mature in love. We dedicate our unique, God given, life and talents, to God’s common cause for us in Jesus Christ.

Grace is unearned favor. It’s love given simply because we are valued by God as his children. When a child is born it is proper that the parents love them and care for them. Parents give their children so much, simply because they belong to them. We are theirs, and they are ours. We do everything in our power for the health and well being of our children. 

In the same way, we are given to each other by Jesus Christ to help each other grow in the love of Christ. And Christ has given each of us unique gifts so we can help each other grow. God has made us to help each other in the name of Jesus. And Jesus has freely given us unique gifts to help each other. 

Our commitment to God and each other is portrayed by Paul as being members of the body of Jesus Christ. Christ is the head and we are members of his body. We work in harmony together under his direction. Our leaders are given to us by God to equip us for the works of service that God has created us for in Jesus Christ. We have each been given gifts and abilities by Christ to help each other grow as we use our time, energy, and resources serving each other in the love of Christ. It’s the picture of a healthy body working smoothly. Like an elite athlete at peak performance. 

I love watching professional sports highlights. Especially on “Top 10” lists for team sports. I love the nearly superhuman things athletes are able to do because of their years of disciplined training. Pass the ball, hit the ball, kick the ball, catch the ball, put the ball in the basket, or the net while someone equally impressive, is aiming to stop you. When each team member is dedicated to their personal contribution to fulfilling their role for the team, it produces some amazing moments.

My favorite, is the no look pass. When the teammates have practiced so much together and know each other so well that they know where each other are on the court or the field without even looking. They catch their opponents completely off guard. Each member has committed their personal energy and discipline to one purpose. Make the shot. Score the goal. That is the power of  dedicated submission to each other. It is beautiful and exhilarating and captivating. We rightly celebrate their excellence. 

As members of the body of Christ, the church, we have one goal. Love God and honor God’s love for others.  And according to God, we are meant to help each other do that. As we help each other, we grow together. As we grow together, we are able to do more and more amazing things in the world as members of Christ’s body, in submission to God’s love.

Recalling our previous article, Changing hearts, our dedication to personally and sacrificially honor God’s love for one another in Jesus Christ displays the wisdom of God before those in positions of power that pursue their own interests at the expense of others. By honoring God’s love and authority as our Creator, we overcome our opposition.This is how the Apostle Paul put it when he wrote to the church in Ephesians 4:1-3,

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

Our goal, our purpose, as members of the church is helping each other honor God’s love for one another no matter how much it costs us, as an expression of our trust in God and submission to God’s authority as our Creator and redeemer in Jesus Christ. This is what defines us fundamentally as followers of Jesus Christ. 

Each sport has coaches, and players. Coaches dedicating their knowledge and experience to the players success as members of the team. Players dedicating themselves and their unique talent to the success of their teammates. Everybody working toward the success of the team.

God’s goal and purpose for his team, the church, the body of Christ, is helping each other, help others, help the people they encounter, in the name of Jesus Christ. Church leadership is meant to be dedicated to helping people use the life and unique talents that Christ has given them to help each other love one another in the church. Members of the church congregation are meant to dedicate themselves to loving the people they encounter as they go about their daily lives.

If you are a church leader reading this, how are you doing coach? If you are a member of the congregation, how are you doing player? Are we giving our all, to Christ, for others, to the praise of God’s glory? Are we practicing the fundamentals? If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, and you are not a member of a local church, it’s time for you to become one. Find a church that is dedicated to helping their members live for God. Pick a team, and join the game. Be a part of God’s solution, making a difference for the better in the world around us.

Next Thursday, we begin addressing the fundamental habits of thought and practice that strengthen our trust and commitment to God and each other, and overcome the toxic effects of unbridled self interest in our personal lives and our communities.

Isam Itson

Practically Holy is a mentoring community dedicated to empowering people to help each other as a practical and sustainable expression of their faith in Jesus Christ. That’s what Practically Holy is all about. Pursuing our common humanity in Jesus Christ by honoring our God-given purpose and boundaries, as we follow Jesus Christ together, and help others do the same, as dedicated members of our communities, from generation to generation.

 Practiallyholy.com

Practically Holy | Blog

No justice, no peace

by, Isam Itson III Matthew 23:23 – “justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others”. Once our relationship

Read More »

God help us

by, Isam Itson III Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the

Read More »

Ripe fruit

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 21: 43-44 – “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to

Read More »

Ask Jesus

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 17:24-27 – When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does

Read More »

Be righteous

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 15:17-20 – “Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18

Read More »

Enough to start

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 14:14-18 –When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Read More »

Yield

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 13:23  –  “As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word (of the

Read More »

Mercy

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 12:1-8 – At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began

Read More »

As we go

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 10:14 – “And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your

Read More »

An open heart

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 9:10-13 – And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were

Read More »

Faith in action

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 8:5-10 – When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 “Lord, my servant

Read More »

God is our dad

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 6:9 – Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Matthew 6:30-33 – if God so

Read More »

Let’s go

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 4:18-20 – While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew

Read More »

Trial by fire

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 4:1-4 – Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2

Read More »

Active patience

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 3:11 – “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I,

Read More »

Right this way

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 2:1,2 – Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise

Read More »

Finally

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 1:16 and 17 “…and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is

Read More »

All together now

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 5:21 – Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Considering our relationships as members of our local churches,

Read More »

Rich and poor

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 6:5-9 – Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not

Read More »

Married life

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 19:4-6 – “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and

Read More »

Overcoming evil

By, Isam Itson III How do we respond to the self righteousness, injustice, and immorality of our governing authorities, political opponents, and social power brokers?

Read More »

Stand strong

By, Isam Itson III How do we respond to the self righteous agendas of the powers that be in our societies? How do we deal

Read More »

Mutual respect

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 5:21: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. In addition to practicing the expression of gratitude, as followers

Read More »

Thank God

By, Isam Itson III People have been drinking alcohol as a way of coping with stress and loss for a long time. When we get

Read More »

Imitate God

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 5:1-2. – Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave

Read More »

Stop lying

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 4:25 – Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we

Read More »

Game day

By, Isam Itson III Proverbs 16:25 – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

Read More »

Showing up

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 4:11-13, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the

Read More »

One goal

By, Isam Itson III Sometimes people ask me, “Why do I need to join a church to make a difference?”  Because a group of people

Read More »

Changing hearts

By, Isam Itson III Recently I was listening to a lecture given by the British theologian, John Barclay. He told the story of a poor,

Read More »

What do we do?

By, Isam Itson III The greatest among you shall be your servant. – Matthew 23:11 “What can I do to make a difference and honor

Read More »

Love remains

By, Isam Itson III Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  8 Love never ends. – 1 Corinthians 13:7-8

Read More »

Forgiveness

By, Isam Itson III Love keeps no record of wrongs. One of the most difficult things that I deal with as a follower of Jesus

Read More »

Mindful

By, Isam Itson III Love is not easily angered – 1 Corinthians 13:5 Every time I have lashed out in anger verbally or physically, I

Read More »

Considerate

By, Isam Itson III Love does not insist on its own way, – 1 Corinthians 13:5 Being considerate acknowledges our awareness that for us to

Read More »

Polite

By, Isam Itson III Love is not rude, – 1 Corinthians 13:5 When the author of the text says that love is not rude, he

Read More »

Respect

By, Isam Itson III Love is not arrogant. A loving person sees others being just as worthy of honor and regard as themselves. They give

Read More »

Attentive

By, Isam Itson III Love conveys an attitude of value expressed in acts of respect and consideration for the needs and concerns of others. Love

Read More »

Generosity

By, Isam Itson III I remember watching one of my friends as she gave her two young sons a snack to share. She told her

Read More »

Kindness

By, Isam Itson III Love is Kind. My wife, Lori, is my superhero. Her example of God fearing love for others has taught me so

Read More »

Patience

By, Isam Itson III Love is an attitude of value expressed in purposeful and voluntary acts of respect and consideration for the needs and concerns

Read More »

Love is…

By, Isam Itson III Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew

Read More »

Stay True

By, Isam Itson III If you have ever felt trapped in your job or responsibilities keep reading. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the

Read More »

Stay Focused

By, Isam Itson III One aspect of embracing our cross in the name of Jesus is surrendering our self interest in obedience to God for

Read More »

Start Over

By, Isam Itson III Over the years I have met many refugees. People who immigrated to new countries fleeing disaster, war, or terror in their

Read More »

Eat What They Eat

By, Isam Itson III Philippians 2:5-7  “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form

Read More »

Replacing Pride

By, Isam Itson III Pride goes before destruction,  and a haughty spirit before a fall.  19  It is better to be of a lowly spirit

Read More »

God Help Me

By, Isam Itson III God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  2  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives

Read More »

Growing Pains

By, Joe Worsham I read  Psalm 8, Psalm 88 and Psalm 23 in rapid succession and I think this is a really powerful illustration of

Read More »

Oh, God?!…

By, Isam Itson III “They devoted themselves to prayer.” Acts 2:42 “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Read More »

Get another chair

By, Isam Itson III “They also devoted themselves to the breaking of bread.”  – from Acts 2:42. I was at the grocery store during the

Read More »

That’s good

By, Isam Itson III “And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:12. I love learning about creative people at the top of their field.

Read More »

Well, Jesus said…

By, Isam Itson III “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching,” Acts 2:42. In her last years before her death my 105 year old granny

Read More »

Need a light?

By, Isam Itson III In dark times God not only comforts us with his loving presence, he also encourages us with his light, which is

Read More »

Family matters

By Isam Itson III. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus called his disciples to live as members of the Kingdom of God. He called them to obey

Read More »

Passing the Baton

By, Isam Itson III Genesis 1:28 – “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it,…  ” God purposed that other people carry

Read More »

Hotel Elegante

Unable to read published form data

Unable to read published form data

Update Post

Syntax error, missing attribute: #user_meta (Expected: key)