Pastor Carolyn Poteet

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May 5, 2019


Pastor Carolyn Poteet


"Guided By Grace"


Jeremiah 1:4-10

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May 2, 2019

"Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." 
Ephesians 4:11-13

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Many thanks to all of you for your prayers as I recover from a nasty bout of shingles. I can now say from personal experience that all the awful reports you hear about shingles are true. Thankfully they caught it early enough that it did not get as bad as it could have! I do hope to be back in the pulpit on Sunday. And thank you all for the fun birthday greetings - I can't think of a nicer bunch of people with whom to celebrate passing the half-century mark!

Pastor Linda did a wonderful job last Sunday with less than 24-hours' notice, taking on the introductory sermon to our new series on spiritual gifts, "Gifts of Grace." This week we continue to explore spiritual gifts, looking specifically at Paul's letter to the Ephesians. In Chapter 4, Paul addresses gifts within the context of the body of Christ. Specifically, Paul is concerned about the unity and the maturity of the Christian community in Ephesus.

He begins the chapter reminding his readers about the importance of compassion for one another, for demonstrating humility, patience, and gentleness. He urges them to be unified through the power of the Holy Spirit, saying, "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all" (Eph 4:4-6). These things that unite us are far more powerful than our differences, and these need to be our foundations as we work together to explore how God has uniquely called each one.

Within this powerful setting of unity and love, Paul reminds the Ephesians that each of them has received gifts of grace from the Lord. Because Paul is concerned most with unity and maturity, he choses to highlight only five gifts in this passage: apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors, and teachers (v. 11). Why these five? For the equipping of the saints, he explains in verse 12. These gifts are each focused on equipping the church. Apostles can be compared to modern day missionaries and church planters. They do the initial work of forming a new community of faith. Prophets have the hard task of calling for truth, inside the church and out. Evangelists long to share the joy of the Lord with everyone they meet. Pastors are shepherds at heart, gathering and tending the sheep. And teachers do everything they can to help others understand the word and work of God.

As we the Body of Christ are built up, Paul wants to see us "reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ" (Eph 4:13). He wants to see us steady on our feet, able to face storms, temptations, and other struggles with grace and wisdom. He wants us to be an example to others, demonstrating the love and grace we have been shown in Christ. As we, the members of the Body of Christ, are built up, others are drawn into relationship with the Lord more and more.

The biggest witness to the world is a unified and mature body, serving selflessly to the glory of God. People encounter the joy and service, and they begin to wonder what we have that is different from the rest of the world. May that be how MLEPC is known, as a welcoming, hospitable environment where kids and families and everyone can grow in their relationship with the Lord!

Pastor Carolyn
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