> The Pancake Breakfast fundraiser for camp scholarships held on May 8th, resulted in $465. The sponsoring youth group wish to thank Bill Decker and all the adults that helped with the project.
> The Camp and Conference display set up in the Great Room has needed information for those attending. Please encourage our young people to attend. Financial help is available. Call Tammy Miller for 595-2893 for more information.
> The 20th annual Cruisin’ Night will be held on June 17th from 4:30 – 9:30 on downtown Main Street, Penn Yan. Stop by the display table for Vacation Bible School registration located in from of Long’s Bookstore. For more information call Pam Scutt at 536-2791 or Cathy MacDougall at 536-2899.
> Family Day Church Picnic will be held on Sunday, June 19th after church in the Great Room. The Christian Education Committee will furnish ice cream sundaes and plan entertainment.
> Vacation Bible School happens June 27 – July 1st from 8:30 am to 12 noon. The theme is
“Fiesta! Where Kids Get Fired Up! About Jesus”. This program, designed to plant the seeds of faith, will include breakfast at 8:30, a mid-morning snack of Mexican delights, stories, games singing and crafts all designed to know Jesus. Registration sheets are available at the office. Register early to be sure of materials for projects. Attendance is free. For more information call Suzie Willson, chairman at 1-585-526-1004.
> Craft leader, Ethel Clancy needs oatmeal round containers, crepe paper and help if you can in any way. Call Ethel at 536-6265.
> The Youth Group, under the direction of Cheryl Stewart is making helpful materials for the Living Well to give to those in need. If you have any ideas, call Cheryl at 536-2570. Their earlier projects for the Well have been greatly appreciated by those receiving them. The study for this group is, “We Are Baptist”.
> The Elementary Class, led by Ethel Clancy is continuing to study how to use and find information in the Bible. Ethel’s number is 536-6265.
> The Adult Class is reorganizing. If you have any ideas for study, call Mary Fullagar at 536-3569. Teachers are needed.
> The Board of Christian Education members wish to thank Carrie Ahearn, Barbara Stewart and the Choir for the year’s beautiful music as well as Charlie Miller for his dependable bell ringing each Sunday that calls folks to worship. Our church is blessed.
Scripture 1 Peter 2:4-2:10
Come to the Lord, the living stone rejected by people as worthless but chosen by God as valuable. Come as living stones, and let yourselves be used in building the spiritual temple, where you will serve as holy priests to offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ. For the scripture says, "I chose a valuable stone, which I am placing as the cornerstone in Zion; and whoever believes in him will never be disappointed."
This stone is of great value for you that believe; but for those who do not believe: "The stone which the builders rejected as worthless turned out to be the most important of all." And another scripture says, "This is the stone that will make people stumble, the rock that will make them fall." They stumbled because they did not believe in the word; such was God's will for them.
But you are the chosen race, the King's priests, the holy nation, God's own people, chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his own marvelous light. At one time you were not God's people, but now you are his people; at one time you did not know God's mercy, but now you have received his mercy.
How to Build a Church
A recent study shows that there are 195 million un-churched people in America. This makes America one of the top 4 largest "un-churched" nations in the world. Each year 3,500 churches close their doors forever, while only 1,000 to 1,500 new ones are started in the same timeframe. With 3 churches on every corner where we live, we may find it hard to believe, there is a need for more churches, but there is.
Through our giving to Home Missions Society and International Ministries, as well as our direct giving to our special interest missionaries, we contribute financially to starting these needed new churches. And there are faithful missionaries and church planters who are sacrificing, serving and doing their part to spread the good news all over the world and here in our own backyard. But we must understand that neither we nor anyone else can build a church! God is the One Who builds a church. We are told in scriptures that - Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it - Psalms 127:1 And unless the Lord builds a church, those who labor are laboring in vain. There are many people who are good at building buildings, but a nice building does not qualify as a great church!
We (the people) are the Body of Christ....Not a pile of brick and mortar. I know of some churches that are thriving without what we would describe as "nice facilities". There are congregations meeting in movie theaters, warehouses, strip malls and old barns that are doing a great work for the Lord. On the other hand, there are countless brick buildings, with large steeples, padded pews and stained glass windows that are plateaued, dead and dying.
We have a tendency to measure a church's success by how many cars are in the parking lot, how many people are in the pews and how much money is taken up on Sunday.
A church can have thousands of members, who give faithfully, with state of the art facilities and be a success in our eyes, and be a failure according to God's standards. On the other hand a church may meet in someone's basement with a handful of members who are obedient and faithful and God sees them as a success.
Every single week I get e-mails and flyers in the mail box, promoting the latest and greatest "church growth method". There is always a new program that will help build or grow the church. Don't get me wrong, I would love to see this church filled to the point that we have to tear walls out and build on. But large crowds and big buildings are not the goal. With that being said, I have good news... God wants this church to grow. God wants the church down the street to grow. God wants new churches to be built and God wants old churches to be revitalized.
We have the privilege to be a part of this process. But if any church is going to grow, if a true church is going to be built... it will be built by God NOT MAN!!! There is an area of theology that seeks to understand all aspects of the church. This is known as ecclesiology. It is derived from the Greek word "ecclesia”. This is a term referring to a gathering or assembly of believers. This involves more than attending church, IT IS ABOUT BEING THE CHURCH!
Fellowship, worship, edification and ministry are all performed by people, not buildings. As a result of their persecution first century Christians often met secretly in people's homes. And over time things have evolved into what we have today. In our text we get a glimpse of God's building program.
1 Pet 2:4: Come to the Lord, the living stone rejected by people as worthless but chosen by God as valuable.
Since the beginning God had a plan for His church. God chose His own Son to be the Cornerstone of the Church. Peter explained this in the previous chapter the fact that God had this plan before the world began. 1Pet 1:20-21: He had been chosen by God before the creation of the world and was revealed in these last days for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from death and gave him glory; and so your faith and hope are fixed on God.
In the New Testament we have several images of the Church: In Ephesians the church is a body: by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head. Under his control all the different parts of the body fit together, and the whole body is held together by every joint with which it is provided. So when each separate part works as it should, the whole body grows and builds itself up through love.
In Revelation 21:9: it is a bride: One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came to me and said, "Come, and I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb."
In 2 Corinthians 6:16 it is a building, “How can God's temple come to terms with pagan idols? For we are the temple of the living God! As God himself has said, "I will make my home with my people and live among them; I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
The image of the church as a building is seen here in v5: let yourselves be used in building the spiritual temple. How amazing is it to think that before the world began we were a part of God's master plan.
Let us never forget that "Faithful people do not build the church of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ builds his church through faithful people."
Not only did God have a "Vision" for His church, He prepared the proper foundation for His church. His only Son laid that foundation! - 1 Corinthians 3:11 For God has already placed Jesus Christ as the one and only foundation, and no other foundation can be laid.
Notice: Peter speaks of the Cornerstone. A Cornerstone is defined as a stone that forms the base of a corner of a building, joining two walls and metaphorically an important quality or feature on which a particular thing depends or is based. Jesus is both! He is literally and metaphorically the Cornerstone of the Church. The “chief corner stone” is the basic, essential, and most important part of a building…it’s the foundation. In these verses Peter references - Isaiah 28:16 I am placing in Zion a foundation that is firm and strong. In it I am putting a solid cornerstone on which are written the words, 'Faith that is firm is also patient.'
God had laid a foundation (Christ) and the Jews rejected Him 7-8: This stone is of great value for you that believe; but for those who do not believe: "The stone which the builders rejected as worthless turned out to be the most important of all." And another scripture says, "This is the stone that will make people stumble, the rock that will make them fall." They stumbled because they did not believe in the word; such was God's will for them.
The religious leaders in Israel examined Jesus' credentials as the Messiah and they rejected Him. They despised and abused Him. And eventually they scourged and crucified Him. But even after all they did, on that first Resurrection morning He came out of the grave alive forevermore. God's plan for His church would be accomplished!!! Though the Jews and others throughout history have rejected Jesus, We who trust in Him recognize the honor God has given Him
We know that salvation through Christ is the greatest thing we could have ever received! v7 "Unto you therefore which believe, he is precious". - The fact that Christ is the foundation of the church brings us great assurance. As the foundation of the Church, Christ will endure forever. Death, decay and depreciation cannot destroy the church. The reason that the church has survived and will continue to do so is because of the Chief Cornerstone, on which the whole building rests.
Any church that is ever going to be successful for God MUST BE BUILT ON JESUS CHRIST! Not people...Not traditions... Not man made measures of success... Nothing other than Jesus!!!
Peter also states that we are "a holy priesthood" This is a great privilege because a priest was one who had access to God. We have that access! - Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. As a part of this "holy priesthood" we are to “offer up spiritual sacrifices”
How do we do this? We offer ourselves - We offer service - We offer prayers - We offer worship - We offer thanksgiving. We are "priests" in the sense of being servants. But Jesus Christ is our Great High Priest. This verse indicates that "Spiritual sacrifices" are the motivation for God's church!
This may come as a surprise to many in the church today. Because somewhere along the way people came to the conclusion that church should be all about them. They leave church on Sunday and complain because: Someone didn't shake their hand. The sermon was too dry or too long. Some say it was too shallow, while others say it was over their head. Some don't like the music because it was too old and others don't like it because it was too new.
You can tell that the church has lost its focus when you hear comments like: "I can't believe she didn't speak to me today". "No one ever notices what I do!” "Things just aren't exciting anymore". "I wish things were like they used to be". "Why can't we do what X Church is doing". Consider the author of this letter, the Apostle Peter. A man who went hungry and thirsty following Jesus. A man who left everything he knew behind to be a disciple. He was cursed, beaten, imprisoned, persecuted and eventually crucified for the cause of Christ. Can you imagine what his response would be if he heard some of the self-centered garbage coming from the mouths of modern day Christians?
Regardless of your motivation... God's motivation for His church is that His people "as living stones offer Him spiritual sacrifices!!" God has a Vision for His church, He laid the Foundation for His church. Are we following through and following His plan letting him use us to build His Church?