Living in Community

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SUNDAY 11 MARCH 2018

We are in the season of Lent - the six weeks that lead up to Easter - traditionally this is a time of fasting, prayer, repentance - even now the idea of what are you giving up for Lent (chocolate, coffee, tv etc) which reminds us of Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days, fasting despite temptation. 

It’s designed as a space where as we focus on the sacrifice of Jesus, we bring our hearts and lives before Jesus to ensure we are following wholeheartedly  - it’s a space for a WOF - to check the core parts of our life and faith are aligned.  To recognise our human tendency to selfishness and rebellion and to have our hearts ready for the reality of Easter - connecting with both the death and sacrifice of Jesus that we might be ready for the receiving of resurrection power.

In this space leading up to Easter we will explore what that means for us as a community, as a group called to follow Jesus together. 

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I felt it was a good time to address one of the core cultures - our shared agreement on how we will be with one another that builds good news stories in community.  The core strategies Jesus gives to build and maintain unity and empower mission.  Let’s read and delve into Matthew 18:15-35 together:

Dealing With Sin in the Church
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. 
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 
“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”