Being a team member (Part 1)

You may recall me mentioning recently that I learnt a lot from my time as a volunteer team member at the Commonwealth Games in The Final Whistle. In particular, it was these bible verses (repeated below from Corinthians 12) about being members of the body of Christ that really came alive to me and taught me much especially about how our natural person(s) or our flesh wants to strive for recognition – its a worldly mindset-and how easily we fall into the trap of categorising jobs and roles (the important/not important) and then likewise judge the people who do them.

I met some of the most beautiful people who were fun, hard working, generous, helpful and humble but I also met people who came over as being lazy, full of their own importance, know it alls, bossy and difficult to work with. Mmmmmmm….which one was I? I experienced good team leaders and those who were not so good. There was so much variety of human life demonstrated in that short period of time that it was almost overwhelming but what a blessing it was to me. Over the next few posts I’ll share the background to this journey, the stories (names will be changed) and what I learnt about myself and my role as a member of the Body of Christ and an ambassador for Jesus.

The Background – All the volunteers were called the “Commonwealth Collective” and there were many different teams with a variety of functions ranging from administration tasks, logistics, hospitality, welcome, medical, family services etc. Some were front of house roles which they called being on the “field of play” and highly visible to the public and some were behind the scenes roles – hidden but vital for the other roles to function e.g accreditation. I soon learnt that there were “serial volunteers” who really knew the inside track from having volunteered at many sporting events worldwide. Me, I was a complete novice at this.

We were all strangers from different parts of the UK and some people from overseas who were brought together with our different personalities and skills to carry out a specific function assigned to us. Those roles had been assigned based on our application forms and interviews. The application process had opened about 18 months prior to the start of the Games with interviews carried out over a period of months. There were about 24,000 interviews carried out for 13,000 roles. I was selected to be part of the interviewing panel which I really enjoyed. In my family, my husband, daughter and myself all volunteered and we were all given different roles in different places. Each of us had a very different games’ experience.

The key though was that whatever role we had been assigned and wherever we were deployed, as there were many locations and venues…we were all part of the Commonwealth Collective and identifiable to each other by the uniform we wore and our accreditation badge. There were about 13,000 volunteers who were all members of the Collective. I didn’t meet the vast majority of these people but for that time, I was a team member with them and they were also team members with me. It didn’t matter that we didn’t meet, know each other..we were still part of the same team with a common objective.

How I carried out my role and what I did or failed to do would impact on the other volunteers, some more so than others depending on our proximity and reliance on each other, and vice versa. I didn’t want to let them down. There was specific training given for our assigned roles so that we all knew what was required of us. We were expected to learn and engage with that process. If you didn’t turn up for the training then you couldn’t take part. Training was a compulsory requirement.

There was also a code of conduct for volunteers setting out the standards of behaviour expected of a volunteer. It set out what was expected and what behaviours would not be tolerated. The key requirement was to treat each other with respect. One of the elements that was stressed was to LISTEN. Good volunteers listened and so listening skills were emphasised.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.

For we were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

And so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.

If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?

But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’

On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment.

But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.

1 Corinthians 12:12-31

To be continued…..

Replenish (2)

Recently, the Lord prompted this word “Replenish” to me. I wrote a post about it which you can access here Replenish. At the time, I thought there was more in this word that the Lord wanted me to understand and I have been thinking about it on and off ever since.

As I have prayed, I have been led firstly to these bible verses in Ephesians 1 which talk about Jesus. As with anything, we must always start with Jesus, our cornerstone. I have included the words in brackets as the verses are at the end of chapter 1 to be clear who the Apostle Paul is talking about. I encourage you to read the whole chapter but these are the verses the Lord drew me to.

And He (God) put all things under His (Jesus’) feet, and gave Him (Jesus) to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him (Jesus) who fills all in all.
Ephesians 1:22-23

Paul is setting out in these verses the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ and His authority and His position now. Not just in the future but in our very present.

Firstly, God has put all things under Jesus’ feet. Not some things but all things, not just in the natural physical realm that we live in currently, but also in the heavenly realm. There is not one thing that is not beneath Jesus’ feet. Jesus is supreme over all things and has all things at His command.

God has appointed Jesus and given Jesus to be the Head over His church. Jesus is the one who is and should be the Head of us who are His body. Jesus is not detached from us. He is the Head of us. What a gift to us. Jesus who has supreme authority and power is the one who leads, guides, protects, nourishes, feeds and provides for us.

As we read on it says that we as the body of Christ are intended to be the fullness of Jesus. Paul has explained who Jesus is, His position, authority, power and we, His body, are to be the fullness of Him.

I want to meditate on that thought again. As the body of Christ, we are connected to Jesus who is the fullness of all things. Jesus is not remote from us, disconnected or disinterested. Jesus is our source of all goodness, righteousness, love, Godly wisdom, kindness, hope, joy, long suffering, patience, humility, strength, power. Jesus is connected to us as the Head of us and He fills us.

We are called to be filled with Jesus. This is made possible through the gift of the Holy Spirit who is given freely to us. The Spirit of God is now in us. We are exhorted to be filled with the Holy Spirit as believers and disciples of Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit is to be abundant in our lives.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

Jesus fills all..that is what the Apostle Paul is teaching us. Jesus fills each one of us who is part of His body. Each one of us can be Replenished…filled up to the level that Jesus intends for us, His body. We are to be filled for His glory and His purposes. The intention is for all who are part of Jesus’ body to be filled with Him.

We are intended to be the fullness of Jesus as His body.

What needs replenishing in us today..let us go to the source Jesus and ask Him to replenish us with His fulness.

My prayer today;

Lord, come by your Holy Spirit and fill each one of us who together are your body. May we, your body, be united under you, our Head. Let us be at one in you so that we may be at one with each other. Knit us together Lord in your love. We want to be the fullness of you, who have given us so freely the gift of the Holy Spirit. Fill us again we ask Lord. Fill your body. Replenish us Lord. Let us be the fullness of you in these days for the glory of your Kingdom. Reign in us Lord Jesus. Unite us and breathe upon us breath of God. Amen.

Bless you today.

Radical change

I wrote recently about Transmogrification – which means the process of a radically different change taking place so that something is completely changed from its original shape and form. Its a completely radical and transformational change which means the original is unrecognisable – see post Transmogration !

At the time that I wrote that original post, I also received the following which is a word about what many of our current Christian church structures look and function like. I am submitting this word to pray, weigh and test in the Holy Spirit of truth.

“My dearly beloveds. How I love your desire to follow Me but I have this to say to you. Your flesh and the habits of your flesh and your soul are limiting My Holy Spirit from moving amongst and in and through you. In your eagerness not to make mistakes or get things wrong you have created “safe structures” but have not realised that those structures are limiting me from moving. Your buildings and structures have become your limitations.

You are limited because a building cannot move. It is time to remove your thinking from being “building based” to open up your horizon to see the community, nation and nations on your doorstep which are all now within your reach. I do not want you to go back to the old ways, the old shape, the old format. It is time for My “church” to look radically different.

It should look like it is designed to look – a body. My church is a living body. If people look at church as a building then they are blind to the truth of a shepherd leading His flock and the Head of the body who is Christ. I am intended to be a living part of you. You are My body. You need to have a radical change of shape. Not rigid but fluid. Transformed into the shape I created you to be, a body.

Do you have every part of the body represented amongst you? Is every ministry gift which I have given for the equipping of the Saints in evidence. If not, then ask Me to create in you a new vision and eyes to see the shape that I want you to be. A fully functioning and equipped body with all the parts fully developed and fully operational and fully formed.

I am the Head – so amongst you there needs to be those who see with My eyes, hear with My ears, speak with My mouth, act with My hands, and walk where I lead with My feet. Look at your shape and identify what is missing amongst you. Ask of Me and I will provide it to you. The little parts all make up the whole in Me. You are one in Me as I am in you.

Do not contain or restrict me My children for I came to seek and save the lost. I am the One who goes out into the whole world to seek and save that which is lost. I have come so that they can have life in all its fulness. I am the doorway to my Father and I seek those who are lost and need Me. Take me to the people for that is why I came – to show those in darkness that the light has come and My glory is here for them. Arise and shine for your light has come and My glory is rising now upon My body. Wake from your sleep and go out into the highways and the byways and seek those who are lost. “

Atrophy

I had this word at the beginning of 2020 and having read it again, I sense that it was a warning about this season that we are now in with the restrictions that COVID 19 has put on us.

We are in danger of atrophy setting in so need to keep spiritually active especially in ways we can encourage each others as believers in Christ to keep reading our bibles, fellowshipping in different ways..who would have thought we would have prayer and small group meetings over zoom or WhatsApp.

Perhaps it’s time for a fresh spiritual MOT to make sure atrophy has not set in.

This was the word which I heard in the Spirit today as we were praying together for the body of Christ.   

Atrophy means the partial or complete wasting away of part of a physical body.   

A sense of shrinking and weakness in body mass and muscle tone.   An entire limb can become atrophied and withered and incapable of movement.    

There are several things which can cause Atrophy in a body but these ones caught my attention:

  1. Disuse/Lack of Exercise -When muscles are not used or you are immobile for long periods of time then Atrophy can set in.    We are called into active service in Christ Jesus and to pick up our cross and follow Him.   We are called to give and serve others, to exercise the giftings which God gives us through the Holy Spirit.   To serve others and be a blessing to them.   To show God’s love in action.   There are plenty of opportunities to serve within the body of Christ and the communities we live in.   If we are not using and exercising the talents & gifts which God has given us then they will wither.   We are called to be a voice crying in the wilderness “Prepare the way of the Lord”.   We are called to be light in the darkness.  God is rallying his church and the trumpet is sounding – wake up and start to work for the Lord because the day is short.   The good news is that this sort of Atrophy can be cured by exercise unless it is too severe.   It is never too late to start working for the Lord – He will always make a way.  Trust in the Lord and do good.
  2. Poor Nourishment – if we do not feed our physical bodies properly then they will suffer.  Muscles will lose mass and our bodies will start to shut down if no nourishment is given.   Similarly, the body of Christ will suffer if it is not feeding on the Word of God and in fellowship with Christ – the bread of life.    The challenge is -What are we feeding on?  If we feed on worldly rubbish or false teachings and doctrines then we will suffer.    We need a diet of God’s word and His truths.
  3. Mutations -these are things that should not be part of the body and they cause damage – they attack it from within.  In a spiritual sense I believe that Atrophy in the body of Christ is caused by sinful, immoral & selfish behaviour – there is no fruit of the Spirit.   It is like a disease which spreads from within.  The bible teaches us how a root of bitterness is such a thing – it causes much damage to others.   Jealousy, gossip, unforgiveness and such things should not be within the body of Christ.   Wolves in sheep’s clothing do not belong in the body of Christ and will certainly cause damage.  The bible warns us against them and their works.  Jesus says we will know them by their fruits.
  4. Poor Circulation – If we do not have the living Christ, the life & power of the Holy Spirit and God’s love flowing through us then we will have poor circulation.  If we are not in unity with one another then there will be a blockage in God’s love and blessings being manifested throughout the body of Christ.   Those parts of the body which are not flowing in the Spirit of God will not prosper – their growth will be stunted.   We need to connect into God’s amazing power and for the life giving blood of Jesus to pump through us.

I pray that the body of Christ will not suffer Atrophy but will be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  

That we will put off lethargy and sin which can so easily ensnare us and will rise in service of the King of Kings & Lord of Lords. 

That we will put our hands to the plough and not look back and we will run the race of faith with patience and endurance.   

Let us not be weary in doing good for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart – Galatians 6:9.  

Let us rise up like the Eagle and run and not faint.

Let us leap for Joy in service of our King.

Blessings in Jesus. Amen 🙏

sunset beach people sunrise
Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

 

 

 

Pioneers

I felt that God spoke to me recently about the fellowship that I am attending currently, that it has a pioneering spirit.   I believe that they have been gifted in God to be pioneers in their community and to bless the local community in this way.   I have been encouraged to hear how God has already used them in this way and I believe will continue to use them in this way in the future.    I have heard about their work in pioneering street pastors, the food bank, the life centre, the bereavement group, prayer on the streets etc.. and I am sure that there is more that they have pioneered which I don’t know about.   As we were in worship a few weeks ago, I saw a picture of their fellowship on fire for the Lord – it was as if I saw a picture of a map of the local area and the church was on fire.  It was burning brightly.    As I looked the fire also started to take hold in other fellowships in the area and they started to be on fire too.    Perhaps this fellowship will be a catalyst for something God is going to do in this area and which will then spread.