If you ever talk to a person who does not know English as their native tongue, you will find that they often pick up on some nuances of our speech that we often miss. Sometimes, we would do well to point ourselves toward a dictionary and find out the "official" meaning of words. I was reading an article by secular author Ada Gonzalez, a family therapist, that reminded me about the importance of always choosing my words with care. Here are a few words we ought to care about in the local church. 

Independence: free from external control and restraint.
Dependence: reliance or trust on something or someone.
Interdependence: dynamic of being mutually responsible to sharing a common set of principles with others

Most people like to think that they are independent. In the USA,  our founding document is literally called the Declaration of Independence. As Christ followers, we embrace the vision that all men are created equal, yet recognize that too much independence can lead to lack of coordination and accountability. 

When someone is described as dependent, we often associate the word with negative connotations, as in people who are drug dependent, emotionally dependent on others for their survival. We Christians need to highlight more often where scripture teaches couples to be able to depend on each other for the family to work efficiently, or that reliance or trust in someone is a vital ingredient for successful relationships.  

Wise people, and healthy churches create interconnectedness in their relationships, which demonstrates itself in many forms but is ultimately measured in mutual collaboration. The Apostle Paul describes this relationship for believers as "the body of Christ." Each part is interdependent, because all parts are needed for survival and optimal health.    

Christians can't just depend on each other. We must interdepend on each other! In the local church, opportunities are all around you. How might you take action this week?

Pastor Milo

It seems that three unwritten qualifications for vocational ministry that every young pastor needs to have are: a strong back, a pickup truck, or at least an uncanny natural ability level for Tetris. Furthermore, it would be advantageous to come to grips sooner than later, that even one of the three would ensure ministry sustainability in any context!

This week, as you might easily guess, I helped someone move... ...again. And, while this has become somewhat commonplace for me and many others connected to the local church, I'm reminded that for many people, this is necessarily the case. Many of our friends who don't come from a church background find it very difficult to assemble enough people to make their move, even a simple one one across town, even bearable. In considering this, I want to bring to light today how much of an opportunity helping someone move really is to make the Gospel tangible and accessible to everyday life. Here are a few ideas as well for helping a friend move. (No heavy lifting required)

1. Bring a meal. Not thanksgiving. Think about food without utensils, tables, or chairs.
2. Bring packing supplies. Not enough to bubble wrap the house, but extra just in case. 
3. Watch a pet. Not until the next moon cycle, but for an hour to give it relief from chaos. 
4. Offer a vehicle. Not for the winter solstice, but until they can pack / unpack their own. 

Christ followers have been challenged to love God, love each other, and love the world. When a person sacrifices their own time, and gives some sweat equity to help someone else, they look a lot like what Jesus would look like if he were living in our neighborhood, shopping at our grocery stores, and working in the next cubicle down the line. Don't you think he would be open to lending a hand if someone needed it? I believe he would! So, why don't you make an effort to be available next time help is needed?

Pastor Milo