A Boasting Bride

I love the Church!  With all her stains and wrinkles, her messy hair and mismatched shoes, she is the Bride.  If ever God came up with a plan that exalts HIS glory and not man’s, it’s the church.  And funny thing is, I’m so glad He did it that way.  I know that churches feel the pressure to do church “better” and unfortunately many think better means the way of business, or the way of entertainment, or the way of purpose, or the way of belonging.  And in each of those, there is good happening and good to be learned, but it’s not ours to make the bride … Christ purchased her, He’s purifying her, and He’s one day going to present her glorious to Himself at the greatest wedding party ever!  That’s all Ephesians 5:25-27 in case you missed the sermon Sunday (http://www.sermoncloud.com/Leroy-Chapel).  It’s ours to get the message right as we live on mission to the glory of God (Ephesians 3:8-10).  

Honestly, it’s easier to build a church on business principles, with motivational slogans, and top-notch marketing … just get the bride out of her dirty dress and put her in something hip and cool.  Get her some plastic surgery, bring in a fashion consultant, and fill her closet with a dress for every occasion.  The downside is Christ gets moved from the center as the bride is enamored looking at herself in the mirror. And its hard to preach a message of Christ crucified when He’s not the one being put on display.  The glory of the church is Christ!  God’s glory exalted in man’s weakness, sin exposed, and the Gospel as the only medicine for the soul.  So the work of the church is worship!  Sure, she ought to do her best at all she does – excellent programs, thorough planning, and diligent administration, but her calling in to boast in her husband.  And that’s what has stuck with me from Sunday’s message – A Boasting Bride.  Call it evangelism, call it missions, call it making disciples, OR call it a Bride who can’t stay silent about telling everyone she meets that her husband is the greatest!  He paid the highest price, is 100% committed to her growth, and will never give up on her until she is made perfect.  That’s a husband to be envied, a husband to be sought, a husband that’s worth glorying in.  So boast with me, Leroy Chapel, as the messy, in-process, dress-stained Bride in our glorious Husband to the people of NE Ohio and beyond.

 

For the love of the Bride,

Pastor Mark 

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Intoxicated by Heaven

I’m trying hard to breathe the air of heaven, it sure feels good.  That picture from Sunday has really stuck with me.  I remember hearing as a kid the phrase, “he’s so heavenly minded that he’s of no earthly good”, but that just doesn’t seem to make much sense to me.  If I’m intoxicated by the glory-of-God air of heaven, I will bring such focused worship with my life here on earth.  It seems to me that someone who is of no earthly good, hasn’t tasted heaven and doesn’t get his purpose for worship here on earth.  I know I only scratched the surface of this issue on Sunday, and so many other passages could have been included … many of which you all passed on to me (thanks!)  

Passages like Romans 8:18 – “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.”  There it is again that “comparison” word.  Oh how we need God to give us the grace to quit trying to compare God and His glory to anything earth has to offer!

Passages like Philippians 3:14 – “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  HE’S the goal, HE’S the prize … we get God.  The streets of gold and the mansions of heaven mean little when we worship the God of the universe in plain sight!  WOW!

Passages like Colossians 3:1-4 – “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”  It’s all there … seeking heaven while living in the reality of earth.  The anticipation of viewing the weight of His glory, during this wait of glory, for your weight of glory beyond compare!

Breathe in the air of heaven, and breathe it out here on earth for all to see!

Intoxicated by Heaven,

Pastor Mark