More than a memory aid, I think name tags are a great expression of Christian faith.
Name tags reflect that we care about the individual. That we are not just here for the people we are already close to but also for the people we bump into in the car park (leave your name tag on!). God loves the individual.
Name tags show that we want to build friendships in our church community. We are committed to sharing our lives together. We can worship God by loving his people.
Name tags indicate that we are a growing church. We are not a small insular church but a thriving and growing movement of disciples of Jesus.
Name tags demonstrate that we want to make it easier for the visitor and newcomer to integrate, which often takes time.
You can sign up for a name tag on the sheet in the entrance. You can even have two!
James chapter one contains one of the most surprising commands of the New Testament:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,” (James 1:2)
In what sense can we consider trials and sufferings to be “pure joy”?! The answer is trusting in the transforming purposes of a loving heavenly Father in our trials:
“… because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:3-4)
Our lives are in the hand of a holy God, the good surgeon who uses all things to grow us to be more like Christ.
The greater preacher, Charles Spurgeon, who himself was a man who lived through a life of deep suffering, presents us with the treasure of being trained by our good God.
“Afflictions are often the dark settings God uses to mount the jewels of His children’s gifts, causing them to shine even brighter.… God trains His soldiers not in tents of ease and luxury but by causing them to endure lengthy marches and difficult service. He makes them wade across streams, swim through rivers, climb mountains, and walk many tiring miles with heavy backpacks.”
Fathers are not highly valued in our culture – they’re generally treated as an optional extra or secondary to mothers. Fathers are always the butt of jokes in popular culture and portrayed as bumbling fools.
God was, is and will be eternally Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Evidently God takes a different view of fatherhood.
God, as the Creator, is revealed in Scripture as the Father of the heavens and the earth and of all creatures.
In addition, one of the most astonishing realities of our salvation is that those who follow Jesus are instructed to address God as “our Father”.
As God’s people we are called to be a counter culture – to be salt and light. The fifth commandment begins: “Honour your father …” Let us exalt our heavenly Father by honouring our earthly fathers.
For the glory of Christ, one of the most relaxed things all of us can do is invite a friend to come to church with us. Start with a general invitation, “Would you like to come to church with me some time?” and if the response is positive or open, pray for an opportunity to ask specifically, “Would you like to come to church with me this week?”.
Many people need to be invited to church dozens of times before they say yes, so don’t lose hope easily. On the other hand, I believe there are many people who would jump at the chance to visit a church if they knew someone who attended who could invite them.
We have special invitation Sundays, like Father’s day next week, which are particularly good days to invite a friend. The same is true of Easter and Christmas – these are great seasons to invite friends to church. Generally though I would encourage you to not try and time your invitation to a specific sermon topic or day. Simply invite them to your regular church on a regular day and see what God does!
Lastly don’t feel that you have to build a deep relationship before you can invite. You may have many passing opportunities to invite throughout the whole week. Last week I invited the man checking our electricity meter. If they do come, help them continually and introduce them to other people – attending a new church can be very intimidating!
We want to be a praying church, dependent on God in everything, hungry to experience his power through Jesus and rely on him in the power of the Spirit.
A praying church is more than just a church that has a program for prayer, or prayer events. We want prayer to permeate all that we do. Whenever we gather we want to give thanks to God the Father and ask him in the name of his Son to work in us by the Spirit.
The church is the people of God. We want each member of BAC to be prayerful and faithful in their own walk with God. To spend time regularly in his Word and in prayerful repentance and faith. A praying church full of praying people.
Pray that God would increase our trust and hope in him. Pray that we would be more prayerful, and that God would be glorified in us!