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April 13th, 2014

Written by Jerry Carlisle. Posted in Pastor's Blog

What’s up with the new “Connection” cover?  Why “Called”?

“Called” is at the heart of what it means to be “the church,” according to the Bible.  The New Testament word for church is the Greek ekklesia, and the root meaning is “to call out.”  According to William Mounce, the church is comprised of the “called-out ones” of God.  You and I have been called out!

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus promises to build His church, and he instructs His followers regarding how to deal with grievances:  going first directly to individuals before discussing with anyone else; then escalating appropriately for the purpose of restoring relationships for the sake of the gospel.

Luke uses the word extensively to describe the gathered followers of Jesus—called out of the world to Christ to function as the community through which Jesus lives and continues to teach and do the Father’s will.

Paul’s primary focus is the church—formed by sharing the gospel, shaped by the gospel, defined by the gospel, and existing for the purpose of proclaiming the gospel.  Mounce writes, “Paul never thinks of the church as a physical structure but as a dedicated group of disciples of Jesus Christ, whom He has purchased with His blood.  It is sufficiently equipped with leadership and gifts to fulfill God’s purposes on earth (1 Cor. 12:28), and it is the avenue through which the wisdom of God is made known” (Eph. 1:22).

“Called” was not new to the people of God in Jesus’ day.  In fact, our attention in adult Bible study is God’s calling to people like us through the Old Testament books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel.  In a couple of weeks, my messages on Sunday mornings will take us through Paul’s letter to the church located in Philippi and the unsurpassed joy that inevitably fills those who live out God’s “call.”

FBC Plano has been called to reflect, display, and proclaim our Lord Jesus every day and in every way.  We want to be more effective in sharing God’s Good News; we want to be more like Jesus; we want to live out God’s “call” faithfully.  We want to reach people for Christ and enfold them into God’s “called out” family of faith.  To assist in becoming more effective, your Church Council has enlisted the help of a very accomplished consultant in that very area.  Pray for Topper Reid of Partnerships Unlimited, who will come alongside us in the months ahead to help us succeed as God’s “called” congregation.  Topper brings a wealth of expertise, experience, and spiritual sensitivity.  Our prayer is that “fresh eyes” and an “outsider’s perspective” will benefit us as we work together to bring glory to God.