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Four Things That Sustain the Church

Dear Fellow Disciples,
 
I’m reading a challenging (in a good way) book called Letters to the Church by Francis Chan. I’ve also just begun Being Christian by Rowan Williams. I’m already seeing some overlapping themes that have inspired this week’s email message.
 
We live in a pretty distracted world. So much is competing for our attention. In the midst of all the noise, what should the church be focused on?
 
In Acts 2:42 we read: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. It’s these four things that sustain the church.
 
1. Bible
The Apostles’ teaching is preserved for us in the words of Scripture. For Christians, the Bible is daily bread. It’s as important (actually, more so!) than the food we take into our bodies.
 
Next year I’m excited to announce that we’ll be participating in a “Year of Scripture” with other Lutheran congregations in our part of Ohio.
 
Did you know that you can listen to an audio version of the Bible in only 72 hours? (My personal favorite is Johnny Cash reading the New Testament.) You can read it on your own in about 54 hours.
 
2. Community
The “fellowship” is essential to the Christian faith. We cannot do discipleship on our own. Gathering with other Christians for support and challenge is a central part of our faith.

We get to join together every Sunday morning and gather in small groups throughout the week.

3. Bread
The “breaking of the bread” was what the earliest Christians used to describe Holy Communion. Many Christians call this meal the Eucharist, which means “thanksgiving”. Eating our Lord’s body and drinking his blood is central to what it means to be a disciple. Every week we get a chance to receive this precious gift.
 
4. Prayer
If Bible reading is daily bread for Christians, prayer is our daily breath. Just as respiration is important for our bodies, so prayer is the inhaling and exhaling of the Body of Christ, the church.
 
Our synod is hosting a convocation on prayer on November 7 in Celina.
 
Bible, Community, Bread, Prayer. These four things are enough. They are what God has given us to sustain the church.
 
Persevering in Prayer,
 
Pastor Matt
 
Memory Verses for the Year of Prayer
Philippians 4:6-7:
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Email me one idea you have for 2019: The Year of Scripture
Transformed by the crucified and risen Jesus,
we are a loving community of disciples making disciples. 
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Bethlehem Lutheran Church · 220 Cedar Street · PO Box 344 · Pemberville, OH 43450 · USA

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