A Visible Demonstration of the Gospel
“You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” These words from James 2:18 are a shot between the eyes that help remind us all that faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead (verse 17). Those are strong words and don’t always sit easy but more importantly, give us further definition on what a fully devoted follower of Christ looks like. These works that James refers to become a visible demonstration of the gospel both in the midst of the church and our community/world.
While scripture tells us that we are saved by grace through faith as a gift from God and not a result of works, we are also told that we are created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand, that we should walk in them (Eph 2:8,9). While good works do not earn God’s favor or even maintain His love for us, it is the fruit of one who has been redeemed by Christ. It is a part of why we were created and an inextricable part of who we are as Christ followers. They also play a role in how the world views and understands the Father. Hear the words of Jesus “… let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Mat 5:16).
Southwood IS a visible demonstration of the gospel of Christ in many ways both corporately and individually. From serving on Sundays in a myriad of different capacities to serving in the community and advancing the kingdom through mission trips, many of us are involved in and/or are supporting the good works that we were created to do. Some may be wondering how to get traction in this area of their walk with Christ. Well, this edition of Branches can help in getting you started.
Ultimately, this is not about advancing Southwood, nor is it about plugging people into programs and ministries of the church. It is about glorifying God by Word and deed in all of life. It is about the pleasure one finds in Christ as we engage in those “good works” that we were created for. Doing so is not a passive venture and requires us to set aside and go beyond the pursuit of self-fulfillment, personal kingdom building and worship of the leisure idol. It is about discovering our spiritual gifts and using them along with God-given skills, abilities, passions and proclivities to serve with a presence that proclaims the kingdom of God and demonstrates the gospel of Christ in very real and tangible ways in the body of Christ at Southwood AND before a lost world both in Huntsville and to the ends of the earth. It is about dying to self and living for Christ - and it will cost you. It will be challenging on occasion and sometimes inconvenient. It will be messy, fun, emotional, adventurous and require sacrifice. It is about being a fully devoted follower of Christ, not only in who you are, but in what you do.
Children/Family Ministry and Missions