Greetings beloved family of Common Ground,

It has been a while since I’ve last written to my beloved church family and thus, I felt it was needed and necessary to encourage all of you in your love and devotion to our Trinitarian God.  Our strange times that we presently live in continue to lure the church into lazy stupor.  We must as a people of God stay diligent, stay connected, stay in love with Jesus. 

Barna Research has recently come out with some very tragic stats, in which it shows that 1 out of 3 people during this COVID scare have left the church and seemingly are not returning.  That’s a huge figure: 1/3 of all church-goers have left the body of Christ never to return.  It could be that our Lord is using this time to bring judgment and to separate the goats from the sheep and the wheat from the tares.  It is becoming more obvious those who are really God’s children and those who are not. 

Sadly, many believe that one can do and be the church by simply listening to a podcast, live-stream or watch it on television.  The church that Jesus died for is the church gathered, the coming together as the body of Christ, the family of God.  You’re really not a body if you’re dismembered or you’re truly not family if you fail to come together as a family.  The Bible uses many terms to define the church, the body of Christ, words like: union, unity, harmony, unified, together, gathering, one, etc.  There should be no doubt that we need one another and belong together. 

As the saying goes, I’m preaching to the choir, and therefore it is imperative that we as Christ’s beloved bride, body and family gather together.  When supposed people in the church start to believe that the church is optional, that the gathering together as the body of Christ is a non-essential, all is not well with their soul.  As Hebrews 10:24-25 so perfectly states,   24 And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works, 25 not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other,and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  Jesus is coming back soon – what will He find us doing?

Furthermore, it is within the context of the local church that Christ has given to us the crucial role and responsibility in making disciples.  The Bible teaches that the local church is the natural environment for discipling. In fact, it teaches that the local church is itself the single primary place or venue for the basic discipleship of Christians.  It is in the context of the local church and under the ministry of servant shepherd-teachers that believers are equipped for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16).  In this context, disciples are built up in the faith and knowledge of Christ to growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness (v. 13). It is through the body that growth from Christ Himself flows: From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building itself up in love by the proper working of each individual part (v. 16).

Beloved church family, my heart bleeds for Common Ground. I so desire to see all of you grow up into the fullness of Jesus Christ, so as to worship Him in exuberant praise and exaltation each and every time we gather together!  “For we proclaim Him, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.  I labor for this, striving with His strength that works powerfully in me” (Colossians 1:28-19). That’s my heart for you. Let us not let the culture dictate or government dictate or the virus dictate as we aim to grow up together in Jesus Christ.   

Remember your tithes and offerings.  Our July giving was the lowest in 7 months. 

Stay Safe!  Stay Connected!  Stay the Course in Christ!  SEE YOU SUNDAY!

Making Much of Jesus!!!

Pastor Gary