Showing posts with label Body of Christ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Body of Christ. Show all posts

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Writing, healing, and uniting the church


Members of our Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook recently responded to a question all Christians might prayerfully consider and respond to, not necessarily in writing but in living and fellowshipping with one another in Christ.

QUESTION: If we are the Body of Christ on earth today, what can we do to tend and mend the church in our writings?

Linda Lots! I think anything we do to inspire, comfort, and spiritually challenge individuals will uplift the whole body. Many forms of writing can do that, if we get it out of our private notebooks and share. We can directly impact the larger body, too, with the hymns, dramas, and Bible studies we write for church use. Remember, you poets, that traditional rhyming verse can be set to public domain tunes and voila! You've written a hymn.

Stacey I think we can add themes of hope to our writings from the Father's perspective.

Joy Promote unity, compassion and understanding. Build up and not destroy. Reveal grace, hope and healing. Share testimonies. Give praise. Use all our gifts for God's glory and maintain a close, prayerful walk with Him.

Helen Share our poetry and writings! Keeping them tucked safely away in our computers or notebooks only edifies ourselves.

Songaye God's Word is filled with poems, historical articles, proverbs, and psalms (songs/prayers.) Jesus spoke in parables, and Our Father said that He watches over His Word to perform it. His Word, which He sends forth by His Spirit to the world through us – His children, will NOT return unto Him void. How then can I keep it hidden?

Barbara Exalt the characteristics of Christ. He is the head of the body and we are the members. Each member plays an important function, however small. Building each other up in the most Holy Faith brings positive encouragement to those who feel insignificant. Jude, 1 Thessalonians and Romans each admonish us to do this. I purposefully didn't write the chapters or verses down because it's very enlightening to do the cross referencing.

Kurt Humble ourselves. Absorb instead of repel. Be (adults) instead of children. Understand and speak to, not at.

Bob Awesome question, Mary! I believe that "No problem can be solved at the same level of consciousness that created it."(Albert Einstein) I think that we who feel God's presence when we write and create have an opportunity to stand with Jesus and write from His perspective. It crosses all cultures and traditions. Most Believers tend to write towards or about something. I see it in more of a prophetic way: that we write out of where we are spiritually, that we write out of our spirit or in the Spirit as opposed to writing out of our old self – our fallen or broken self. I'm into putting spirit back into our spiritual life. That's what Mother Teresa did. True spirituality brings us to the lowest of all, to love by getting up under the hurting and the broken, to lift them up into the arms of Jesus.

Adeline The church is "in the world" and strives to be "not of the world." But sadly there is often little difference – not enough evidence to convict us! I believe writers should be sharing passionate yet appropriate expressions of spiritual conviction and truth, holiness and Christian discipline. Where? Everywhere! Church bulletins, newsletters, family chats, community discussion boards…. Wherever a door opens we must walk through and present the Bread of Life for a dying and hopeless world. As little ones and their parents are persecuted abroad, our pen should become enflamed with boldness and compassion to share the good news of the gospel.

Anne If we truly want to tend and mend the churches today, then we need to look at what binds us instead of what divides us. We need to love as we were instructed to love. We need to make sure we write truth, but make sure it is drenched in grace. Scripture tells us how difficult it is to restore a brother who is offended, but we will push that brother or sister further away from God if all they read or hear from us is judgment. It is God's job to convict; ours is to love, and sometimes we try the wrong job. Writing is a privilege. And we need to deal with our own issues so that when we see others we are not looking at them with skewed filters. We need to only move when our Father instructs, only saying what He tells us to say, not what we feel compelled to get off our chests.

Robert The way to tend and mend is to encourage anyone we see to read their Bibles for in this we are pointing them to God's words.

Songaye My goal, too, is to get people to meditate on God's Word for themselves, but His Word is full of admonishments to assemble ourselves together, worship, fellowship, and disciple (teach) in a body that God has called you to. Yes, we have the unction of the Holy Spirit, and He teaches us all things and leads us into all Truth. Our first order of business as a Christian is to have fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit then the corporate church.

Gary We write what we are inspired by God to write. We find every avenue we can to share what He gives us – all as He leads – for we can do nothing without Him. He uses what He wills to grow His Kingdom. Only He can straighten that which is crooked. The best I can do is to listen and write what He whispers. (Matthew 10:27)

Annie On the evening I saw this question, I saw a documentary on Day Star programming called "Proof Through The Night" on Francis Scott Key. It is a perfect demonstration of how our writings in poetry and other Christian literature can affect the Body of Christ as well as a nation. You will have to see it in order to grasp the effects of his writing, poetry, and lifestyle as a Christian had a major effect on the development and growth of this nation.

Miisrael We are God's instruments. He gives us talents; if we bury them they have no use. We should play them so that others in the church and anywhere we travel will hear His music. His song is “love one another.”

Barbara Show God's mercy, love and grace.

Nellie Ask God each day how you can be a blessing to someone.

Mary And in light of the current news, let's keep our country in prayer and pray continually for Christians around the world.

Philip Being an "Indie Author/Poet," I spend so much time promoting my work and myself, that it begins to sap me as a Christian. The way the Lord has dealt with me on this has been to remind me (as I study the Word ) that this isn't about me being edified, but rather I'm to edify fellow members of the Body. The anointing He gave me to write should be a work of love and faith. When I attempt to further my career, the joy I get from the writing process and its positive effect on others, begins to wane in proportion to an increase of stress. I think it's a trap to prevent me from edifying others and to decrease any effective ministry the Lord's gifted me to fulfill. It can't be said enough: "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."

Mary M. Be kind. A smile is good for us and usually others. Pray for those who aren't interested in knowing Jesus as lord and Savior.

Pete Defend the Church, Christ, and Mary when they are attacked or mocked.

Soldierone We must remind those who follow in faith what Jesus reminded us to be the greatest of His commandments (Matthew 22:36-40) for if we understand and promote this teaching, we encourage the opportunity for His love to spread from heart to heart. If His love fills every heart, then evil has no place to root.

Kathryne Include testimonies of redemption in our writings to encourage ...one another to greater love. I study, but I am interested in reading (and writing) accounts of love, mercy, and grace in action - how one shared an encounter they had and how it went.

Lori I often say, there is the church the media portrays and there is the real Church behind the scenes, doing the work of Christ, being His hands and feet in our work and neighborhoods, being His missionaries of love and bringing that to a hurting world. Right now as we speak, there are brothers and sisters going quietly about their lives, making sacrifices large and small because we believe that is what Jesus would have us do. And of course, our own personal testimony is the most powerful thing we have to share! Thank you for asking this question!

Mary Thanks to all of you for responding! May God guide and bless each of us and give us the prayers to pray and words to write in Jesus’ Name.


© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, poet-author of 26 books in all genres for Christian and educational markets




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bible verses to heal the church Body of Christ


In our work and lives as Christian poets, writers, and other communicators for Christ, these Bible verses will help us to focus our prayers, words, and writings on healing the current miffs and ancient rifts in the Family of God.

First, let’s take Jesus at His word:

Matthew 5:9: Blessed are you who make peace, for you shall be called the children of God!

Matthew 18:19: Again, I assure you: If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask, My Father in heaven will do it for you.

John 10:16: I have other sheep who are not in this sheepfold, and I must bring them in too. They will listen to My voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.

John 13:35: And in this way, everyone will know you are My disciples - by the love you show one another.

John 15:12: This is what I command you: Love one another in the same way I have loved you.


Then, in the New Testament letters, the Apostles and early Christian writers gave us these words of encouragement, explanation, and exhortation.

Romans 12:5: In Christ’s body, we are like many parts, who all belong to each other.

1 Corinthians 1:10: I appeal to you all, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and allow no dissensions among you, so you may be united in the same mind and purpose.

11 Corinthians 12:20: For I’m afraid that, when I come, I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my reaction! I’m afraid I will find you quarreling, jealous, angry, selfish, back-biting, gossipy, arrogant, and disorderly.

Galatians 3:28: No longer are you to distinguish yourself as a Jew or as a Gentile, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman, for you are all now one in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:14: For Christ Himself is our peace! Through His own Body, He made both Jews and Gentiles into one body when He broke down every barrier that divides us.

Ephesians 4:3: Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, bound together with peace.

Ephesians 4:13: Keep on until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we become mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full standard of Christ.

Philippians 1:27: Let your conversations be becoming to the gospel of Christ, so that whether together or not, others will hear how you stand fast in one spirit with one mind working together for the faith of the gospel.

11 Timothy 2:23-25: Don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments or debates that only cause fights and dissension. Those who work for the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, and patient. Gently instruct those who oppose you. Perhaps God will change their hearts, and they will learn the truth.

1 Peter 3:8: And, finally, be of one mind and spirit – empathetic, compassionate, and courteous, not returning ill will for ill will or insult for insult but instead blessing one another that you may inherit God’s blessing.


As we focus on each of those verses in our lives, writings, and love for the Family of God, we can be assured of the power of Christ in the church Body of Christ. And, oh, what a world of difference that will make!


© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, ecumenical Christian poet, writing consultant, and author of the Christian Writers’ Guide e-book and the poetry book Living in the Nature Poem


[Note: The Thompson Chain Reference Bible highlighted the verses selected for this theme, and the Bible Gateway website provided many translations to compare for the above prayer-a-phrases. May God continue to bless their good work and ours.]





Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Do we have Christ-Clout?


When BookSneeze announced Clout by Jenni Catron, I wondered if this new book from Thomas Nelson might offer options to embolden Christian poets and writers and give us a clearer view of the impact our ministries can have through the written word. Usually, I review only new editions of the Bible and traditionally published books of poetry by poets whose work I've followed for years, but the subtitle “Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence” piqued my interest and hinted of the help we need to recognize and utilize the Holy Spirit power we have in Jesus Christ. So I requested a review copy to see if the book might speak to our needs as individuals and, ultimately, to the needs of the church.

Concern for those needs began the Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook as a way to bring together people from all cultures, countries, and denominations in mutual love of God the Father and belief in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and our Savior. Although we have highly diverse backgrounds and personalities, the Holy Spirit works in each of us as we welcome the Lord into our writing lives – not to pump up ourselves or hawk our products beyond sharing our personal good news, but as individual cells and persons ready to build up the Body of Christ and spread The Good News around the world.

We can, you know. But how do we go about this?

Reading Jenni Catron’s personable book, I like routes she recommends. First, we can address the “Clout Killers” as she did in Part One before proceeding to “Clout Cultivators.”

What does this mean?

As the Introduction says: “Clout is the influence that God has given to you and to no one else…. You have a specific purpose, a calling, that only you are qualified to fulfill.”

Some things just get in our way! But, with “Discovery Steps” to exercise us, the book wisely suggests how to work toward shaping up:

Confront fear.
Stop comparing ourselves to others.
Be aware of the impact of jealousy.
Accept God’s provisions.
Identify our insecurities.
Purge out pride.
Throw ourselves on the mercy of God, letting the Lord control the outcome.

Getting our bodies spiritually healthy will surely affect our effectiveness as we help to heal and up-build the Body of Christ. As the author suggests in “Part Two: The 4 Clout Cultivators” –

Discover your identity in God.
Develop confidence.
Define your mission.
Determine your passion.

And then get ready to unleash your clout as an individual, a powerful poet, an outstanding writer, and a vital "body cell” – a truly needed part of the Body of Christ.


©2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer

Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence, hardback



Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence, Kindle Edition



BookSneeze

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Getting to know the whole Body of Christ

Christians who grow up in church might not be clear about goals or precepts of faith for their denomination as seen from an adult perspective, so the likelihood of being accurate about principles to which other denominations adhere is pretty slim! This presents a big problem when readers know only what we tell them!

As Christian poets, writers, and editors, it's up to us to correct mistakes, overcome misconceptions, and accurately spread the Good News. Since every reader won't want to come to church with us, we do well to get to know the denominations outside of our immediate circle before we write or publish writings for secular readers or Christians in general. Thankfully, the Internet makes it relatively easy to get acquainted with our brothers and sisters in the Family of Christ.

The denominational websites listed below include hotlinks to official sites for mainline Protestant, Evangelical, Catholic, Pentecostal, and Orthodox churches. If you find others, just add them in the Comments section beneath this posting:

American Baptist Association
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Episcopal Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
Presbyterian Church in America
Presbyterian Church USA
Southern Baptist Convention
United Church of Christ
United Church of God
United Methodist Church
United Pentecost Church International
Vatican website for the Roman Catholic Church



© 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler welcomes your helpful suggestions, encouraging responses, and active participation with other Christian Poets & Writers in the groups begun on LinkedIn and Facebook. May God bless us and our work as we aim to be an accurate and loving voice for Christ, Christianity, and the Church.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Re-Membering Christian Poets and Writers

Scattered. Fragmented. Overloaded. Lonely. Dis-Membered. That's how Christian poets, writers, editors, and church peoples sometimes feel.

Thanks to God – and to Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social network sites, we can come together to work for a biblical, intelligent, and respectful voice that speaks lovingly and well for the Body of Christ.

Whether you’re a Catholic, Evangelical, Charismatic, Protestant, Orthodox, or other Christian, I hope you join the Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook. Follow this blog, too, to stay connected with other Christian communicators who believe…

We have a Mission:


to speak accurately and well of God our Father, of Christ our Savior, of the Bible in all tongues and languages, and of the Church in all its parts as we Re-Member the Body of Christ in the love and power of the Holy Spirit.

So what do we do next?

Pray!

Read the Bible.

Write.

Get to know your own denomination and other churches with whom you’re unfamiliar by visiting the official websites for denominational headquarters.

Share info relevant to other poets, writers, and editors on the Christian Poets & Writers group page on Facebook, for instance, by providing a link to a blog, website, or other resource you have written or you think other Christian Poets & Writers would want to know about too.

Most importantly, let’s en-Courage one another to have the Courage to speak and write with beauty, truth, and love in Jesus’ name.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Healing power gathered in Jesus’ Name


In Matthew 18:19-20, Jesus said, "Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in My name, I Am in the middle."

A couple hundred years ago, the theologian and historian, Philip Schaff (1819-1893) gathered writings of early Christians who included these words to the church Body of Christ: "Whenever two of us agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of the Father of Jesus who is in heaven. Plainly when this is not done for them of the Father in heaven…, the two have not been in agreement on earth; and this is the cause why we are not heard when we pray, that we do not agree with one another on earth, neither in opinions nor in life.”

Obviously Jesus looked ahead to see the divisiveness that would come after His death, and so in life on earth, He gave His peoples, the church Body of Christ, the sole remedy for our soul cure.

Agree.

Agree – not just to keep the peace or to keep from ruffling fluff, fuzz, and feelings, but to gather up every hard thought, every opinion, every preference, every fear, and everything else ruffling us and place them in the Name of Jesus.

This might simply mean doing something practical and down-to-earth, like praying about every decision and asking ourselves and one another, “Would Jesus want to put His Name on this?” If so, so be it, which is another way of saying, “Amen.”

When we gather in Jesus’ Name to seek and agree with His will over ours, the N for No moves from the front of the very word, Name, and places that N at the end, giving us Jesus’ Name, Jesus’ aim, Jesus' I Am, Jesus’ Amen.

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© 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. Please do not copy without permission. Thank you, and thank God for helping us to get ourselves together and gather everything into Jesus’ Name.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

The healing power of common union in our church Body of Christ

On the Christian Poets and Writers blog, a vine pattern illustrates the connection Christ wants His people to have with Him before we go running off, as I’m apt to do, in all directions. In Him, The Vine – our stout connection between heaven and earth, between the spiritual world and the physical – we live and move and have our being. Otherwise, we wither with no fruitful effect to our work or lives.

This blog, however, is directed, not toward our own work, but toward the healing ministry of Jesus Christ flowing in and through Christians and the Body of Christ, the church. And so the vibrant patterns of this blog’s background reminds us of blood cells– bright purple cells to show our living connection with royalty through the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the King of Kings.

Because Jesus Himself gave His followers bread and wine as the Lord’s Supper at the Last Supper, the Body of Christ appears to us in the host or elements served as bread and wine in the Eucharist or communion. The early Christians understood the necessity for this close physical connectedness, especially during times of persecution, and the Apostles understood, too, how the Lord’s Supper acted as a re-minder or re-enactment of their last blessed time together as a family group, lounging around the dinner table. Obviously, then, this communion or common-union with one another is something Jesus wanted the Family of Christ to do always in remembrance of Him but also to re-member church members by getting us together and, like a vine, draw us and entwine us into one Body, mind, and spiritual purpose.

When we think about Christ as The Vine, we can easily see how evangelical that symbol becomes as it reaches into the community, spreading the Good News of God’s love and Christ’s salvation. Preaching, teaching, writing, and stretching our gifts and talents have potent effects in touching, reaching, and drawing others to Christ. And, yet, the church is more than a vine. It’s a heart.

At the very heart of the Body of Christ is The Divine Heart of heaven and earth – a pure and perfect heart that pumps redemptive blood through the body, keeping us pure, cleansed, vibrant, and healed. That’s getting physical! But this pure and perfectly loving heart is also a spiritual heart that cleanses away toxins and impurities such as anger, grudges, resentments, wrong motives, fear, and even the viral effects of self-pity.

So whether our need for healing is physical, mental, or spiritual, the stout, strong, and perfect heart of Jesus Christ connects our lives with His and one another through interconnected veins and arteries. This sacred heart keeps us alive as individual members and as vital blood cells in the Body of Christ at work today, circulating throughout the whole world.

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© 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. Please do not copy without permission. Thank you, and God bless.

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