Category: LCC Vision: Community

Thank You Lord For The Local Church

We come to the end of yet another ministry year here at LCC and we as Staff and Elders couldn’t be more delighted at all that God has done in your lives and the life of our church family! The only fitting response it praise to the Father, Son, and Spirit for the fruit He produces in His children. We have seen marvelous growth through suffering, sorrow, joy and change. Thank you Lord for the local church called Leroy Chapel. We see you at work and we take no credit, simply ask for your glory to be on display more and more in the coming days!

This year in our Elder Blog we focused on the Vision Statement of Leroy Chapel – “To prayerfully advance Christ’s kingdom through: evangelizing, teaching, leadership development, and building the community of Gods people for the glory of God.” Our desire has been to help “work out” that vision with additional teaching each week that gets us all thinking about our role in the mission and vision of the church. We hope we served you well. If you have time, read back through some of the entries you may have missed. They are all tagged by the categories of  “LCC Vision”. But most of all, pray for God to do above and beyond what we could ask or imagine at your local church this summer and in the upcoming ministry year. We make plans, but God directs our steps, and we wouldn’t want it any other way!

  • Mark Spansel
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Discipleship is Following Jesus

Do you recall this old camp song?

I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back. Though none go with me, still I will follow, though none go with me, still I will follow… No turning back, no turning back. The world behind me, the cross before me…no turning back, no turning back.

 I can make a list of those who have helped me follow Jesus—can you? This is discipleship.

 John MacArthur says, “Discipleship is more than just being a learner, it’s being an intimate follower, having an intimate relationship, following to the point where you would go as far as death out of love.” God’s love for us starts a chain reaction. He loves us, then we love Him, and then we love others. I John 4:19-21 says, “We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

 “Being a disciple of Jesus means orienting our lives towards others, just as Jesus did. It means laboring for the sake of others…It requires an investor’s mentality, knowing that the return is eternal…God’s Word is the seed that ultimately bears fruit, even if we don’t see it in the short term.” (Mark Dever)

In other words, we labor, we sow, we rest, God grows!

 Discipling is initiating a relationship in which you teach, correct, model and love. And of course, it takes great humility. According to Philippians 2, it’s having the same mind, the same love, and using diverse gifts for the glory of God, not out of rivalry or competition, but counting others as more significant than self!

 As women, we shrink back from initiating relationships with other women for fear that we will somehow be found out that we are imperfect and that our flaws will be discovered and put on display. However … “That is our confidence: not that we have the perfect home and well-behaved children, but that in the muck and mire, God’s spirit is at work. Even in our weakness, God uses our words to warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, comfort the weak, and show patience to everyone, all for His great glory.” (Erin Wheeler)

We get so mixed up by believing our own glory is at stake when in fact, we exist for making His name great through our relationships!

Through our discipleship, we want people to grow in the knowledge of God in Christ, and faith comes from hearing the Word of Christ. Mark Dever explains, “they cannot obey what they haven’t been taught.” And you cannot impart what you do not possess.

 Don’t think discipleship happens without sacrifice. Just look at the disciples when Jesus called them to follow Him! They immediately left their nets and family behind and followed in obedience! Discipleship requires the sacrifice of time. It requires hearing and studying the Word of God. It requires lifting your eyes to the Wonderful Counselor in prayer. It requires love.

 “Our purpose for pursuing Titus 2 character, relationships, and ministry is not merely to be better wives, moms, and ministry leaders, to have a better reputation, or to be able to sleep better at night. Our ultimate purpose is to make much of God. We do that as we experience, enjoy, and reflect the loveliness of Christ, making Him known to a world that is starved for true beauty.” (Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, Adorned,)

 Are you walking hand in hand with others in your church community? Can you say, “Follow me as I follow Christ?”

 “Show me your redeemed life and I might be inclined to believe in your Redeemer.” (19th century German philosopher, Heinrich Heine)

  • Michelle Spansel

Being Different

“We always have the Word of God…Spirit of God…and People of God.”  I remember sitting in one of Pastor Spansel’s teaching times a few years back and hearing these words for the first time.  I believed him.  It’s true.  But I didn’t drink it in fully.  For those of us who have been believers for years, the “word of God” and the “Spirit of God” can fall into the trap of the “Sunday school answers” of my heart.  And, well, for a guy who likes being with people, I presume that I understand the value of the people of God thing.  But don’t be lulled to sleep friend!  This profound truth has helped me see and evaluate the community of God.

Everyone has a community.  My story includes a season of life walking from bar stool to bar stool.  This was my community.  We communed over every drink.  We worshipped the Green Bay Packers and AC/DC with shouts of praise.  We suffered through illnesses and invoked moments of silence for friends who were “in a better place.”  No romantic reminiscing though.  Reality is we fought, took sides, kept score, judged those on the outside, and we went home empty.  I’m grateful for Christ and to have the friends I have today.

What does your community look like?

Our call to community is that we would not just look different within the people of God but be different.  Why?  The people of God community is founded on something different than “good old boy” club standards.  We are people with a source and goal informed by the Word of God and the Spirit of God.  We are gospel people who run to, and point each other to, steadfast truths outside of our own pragmatism, emotion and opinions.  We get to have them, they just don’t get to rule our relationships.  We have a different ethic.  We are to be people controlled by the Spirit, hearing His promptings, heeding His conviction and humbly obeying His counsel.  This creates a community that doesn’t just look different, but is different at its core; we are sojourners who are learning to love the way we’ve been loved; carefully, courageously, sacrificially, willingly.

I can’t think of a better season to take stock of our relationships.  Take a moment this week to reflect on your experience of community.  Is it truly different than the world?  What is its source?  Where is it headed?  How can you reflect the gospel truth you love more clearly to the people you do life with?

  • Jeff Pierce

Being in Community: Like God or Like Satan?

We all like community and we all despise it. When it gets tough, rough, and meddling … who wants that? When it’s encouraging, safe, and joyous … who wouldn’t dive in? The question isn’t about whether it is safe or not, messy or not, or even whether you want it or not. The question is will you be God-like or Satan-like?

Before God ever spoke a word in creation activity, community existed. Where? In the timeless eternal glory of the past. With who? The eternal Father, eternal Son, and eternal Spirit. Being in community is God-like. To enjoy being in community with others is to experience the joy of God that He enjoys. But He didn’t stop the fellowship of community within the Godhead. In the Garden He came looking for Adam, to commune with him. But what did Adam do? He acted like Satan … He opted for isolation and hiding.

The Biblical history we have of the rebellion of Lucifer isn’t clear and straightforward, it’s shrouded in poetry and prophecy (Ezekiel 28:11-19; Isaiah 14:12-17). What is clear is that by the time Genesis 3 rolls around, Satan has isolated Himself from God and the glories of heaven opting to create his own pseudo-paradise. He has turned his back on fellowship with the Godhead opting to be alone in his own pseudo-glory. And what does he do? He tries to get Adam to opt for those same choices: hiding and self-glorying. You see to seek life independent of community is taking a lead from Satan, while choosing community: the good, the bad and the ugly is actually a God-like exercise.

So, choose wisely friend, the decision you face is far bigger than having friends or not. It’s about the eternal cosmic battle of good versus evil and which side you align with.

  • Mark Spansel

Cultivating a Robust Community of Care

To see the People of God internalize the Biblical process of spiritual change so that every person becomes an instrument of grace to others through: cultivating a robust community of care.

Church should never be about motivational morality or nurturing fellowship cliques. As the Holy Spirit works through the Gospel message, our hearts are transformed, and our lives become more Christ-like. In the Gospel, we see ourselves as shipwrecked sinners deserving the wrath of God for breaking His law. However, instead of judgement, the Savior rescues us and we are blessed to become a Child of God. An ongoing outcome of transformation is a turning from the idols of our hearts to becoming servants of God, with a heart to care for others.

As we grow, we actively look for ways to demonstrate our love to Him by serving His Church. In time, our motivation to serve gains traction; we develop a mindset of servanthood looking for avenues to advance the Gospel, displaying His care. Sometimes our servanthood will move us into situations where we will be treated like a servant; there will be occasions when we are misunderstood or our actions are misinterpreted. Since we have been loved and shown mercy, we continue to love and show mercy for our delight is bringing God Glory through our care. Even when we are ill-treated we continue on the trajectory He has set for us.

To this point, I have highlighted the notion of a singular Christian serving Christ. Let us step back and imagine the process of serving, not alone but as group of care givers, the body of Christ at LCC – loving, serving and advancing the Gospel together.

Consider the impact of our congregation displaying God’s Glory through the power of the Gospel, in the way we collectively live, grow, care and worship. Imagine others, outside our LCC Community, observing us as we strive together with a new enthusiasm, meeting genuine needs and serving together with care for our communities. Imagine God’s love manifested in us drawing others to Him. This is not an illusory story. By God’s grace, the hearts of His people can be turned and this hope becomes a substance of our Church.

As the Holy Spirit continues His work, may we become a robust community of care, where: our Joy in the Savior draw us closely together; the Gospel message permeates our lives compelling us to share God’s Story with our families, friends and co-workers; and, we serve as instruments of God’s Grace; wherever the Lord makes opportunity.

  • Selby Brannon

Strengthening Community

When the YMCA rebranded itself in 2010, it did so to remind that it is an organization that is committed to the strengthening of community. While the Y continues to cling to its Christian mission, it cannot (and should not) be the most important place for community to be developed or fostered in our society. This is reserved exclusively for the Church.

Consider the role of the Church and take a look at two critically important aspects of her place in community.

First, we need community. We must be a part of the fellowship of believers for so many reasons, but most importantly, because God’s Word calls us to it.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

As we acknowledge who we are in Christ and allow real gospel focus to permeate our lives, it must be our humble conclusion that God has placed us in community with one another for His glory and our good. While the Church is far from perfect, it is our very best place to do life with each other and find the grace that comes through our Lord to be put on display.

Secondly, we must be in the community. This is the missionary call on our lives to take the gospel to the nations. This will always be accomplished by our complete trust and obedience in a loving Father who calls us to be on mission where we live, work, and play.

Pray earnestly where God has called you to enter into His mission that all would come to the saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

….and don’t forget to use your gift cards!

  • Dick Bennett

Horizontal and Vertical Life

Can you make the connection between the details of your daily life and your relationship with the Lord? Your daily life – your relationships where you live work and play – can give you an accurate read on your walk with God.  This is important enough to talk about for a minute.

There is something I call a practical theology.  We are all theologians; we believe something about God.  What we believe will practically be lived out in our everyday.  What that looks like every day in community with people can be called our “horizontal” life.  It includes every aspect of community – church, family, work, school.  We all live in community in the horizontal.

Our life in community is a wonderful place to find joy and fulfillment.  It also can be a source of great suffering for us in varying seasons of life.  That’s a given.  But how I process these uncontrollable events of my, these horizontal days, can give me some valuable feedback about what I think about God.  That’s my horizontal relationship exposing the vertical.  You see?  They’re connected.  My horizontal life in community reveals the quality of my vertical life of faith in Christ.

What is your horizontal revealing about the vertical?

My heart was kind of sour the other day.  My fuse felt short.  My final exams were not turned in yet.  Family things felt undone.  Angi and I were not in the best place after a disagreement in the morning.  A few projects at work were not where I wanted them to be.  There are several relationships in my life that are making me feel out of control.  A friend asked if I needed anything, I said, “no, I’m fine.”

For me, in the heat of life, “no, I’m fine” on the horizontal says as much about what I think about God as it does about what I think about myself and others.  “No, I’m fine” is the mantra of the self-sufficient heart.  “No, I’m fine” is the proclamation of a man headed toward isolation.  “No, I’m fine” is the first step toward a cold faithless season.  He condescended to meet me here with grace and truth so my horizontal story gets to be different.  Thank you Lord!

What is your horizontal revealing about your vertical?

  • Jeff Pierce