Christianity Will Flourish

whitefieldAlthough George Whitefield was a member of the Church of England, he consistently made it clear that he was supportive of anyone who acknowledged Jesus as his or her Savior. Check out this quote from one of his sermons—

“When we confine the Spirit of God to this or that particular church; and are not willing to converse with any but those of the same communion; this is to be righteous over-much with a witness: and so it is, to confine our communion within church walls, and to think that Jesus could not preach in a field as well as on consecrated ground…this is bigotry. … Christianity will never flourish, till we are all of one heart and of one mind; and this would be the only means of seeing the gospel of Jesus not to flourish, more than ever it will by persecuting those who differ from us. … I say it again, I love all that love the Lord Jesus Christ, and esteem him my brother, my friend, my spouse; aye, my very soul is knit to that person.”

How much more the Church would flourish if we all were UNITED in this same attitude!

The Strength Of UNITED

“When brothers and sisters in Christ UNITE in the common bond of the Word of God and prayer, they are strengthened in their faith and witness.” —Billy Graham

Join us Sunday, August 23, as the churches in Cedar Springs unite in worship, the study of God’s Word, and fellowship. Our UNITED 2015 worship service begins at 11am Sunday morning in Morley Park.

We Are UNITED

On the fourth Sunday of every August, all of the churches in the Cedar Springs Ministerial Association unite for a city-wide worship experience.

We are many churches, but we come together UNITED in our worship of the one true God.

We come from many backgrounds, but we come together UNITED in our purpose to lift up the name of Jesus Christ.

THIS YEAR UNITED 2015 IS AT 11AM ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 23.

“Forget Having Names!”

In the 1730s, George Whitefield figured prominently in the Great Awakening in America: a revival that swept through the colonies, calling people back to their biblical roots. One day while preaching from the courthouse steps in Philadelphia—

“Father Abraham,” Whitefield cried, as he looked up to heaven, “whom have you in Heaven? Any Episcopalians?”

“No!” Whitfield called out, answering his own question.

“Any Presbyterians?”

“No!”

“Any Independents or Seceders, New Sides or Old Sides, any Methodists?”

“No! No! No!”

“Whom have you there, then, Father Abraham?”

“We don’t know those names here. All who are here are Christians—believers in Christ.”

“Oh, is that the case? Then God help me, God help us all, to forget having names and to become Christians in deed and in truth!

This is what UNITED 2015 is all about… no names, no labels, no denominations.

Just Christians—believers in Christ—worshiping Him together.

Join us Sunday, August 23, 2015 at 11am.

Ascending In Harmony

There are a series of psalms in the Bible called “The Songs of Ascents.” Since Jerusalem was at a higher elevation geographically, pilgrims going to worship at the temple literally went up to worship God. But the Bible also teaches that when people praise God, the aroma of their praise also ascends up to Heaven.

One of The Songs of Ascents is found in Psalm 133 —

How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!

For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe.

Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion.

And there the Lord has pronounced His
blessing, even life everlasting. (New Living Translation)

The worshipers recognized that there was such a huge blessing in the harmony of worship.

That word harmony is a great description for a choir and for our UNITED 2015 service. We come from many backgrounds and many denominations, but all of us will be together in harmony on August 23, 2015. We hope that you will be able to lend your voice to our harmony as we believe our UNITED 2015 praise will bring unity and blessing to Cedar Springs.

The Strength & The Story In Unity

If you missed our combined UNITED service, here is a recap of Pastor Craig’s message, as he posted it on his blog.

© Lori Oxford Photography

© Lori Oxford Photography

Yesterday I had the honor of speaking at our annual United service in Cedar Springs. I shared something I noticed about the New Testament church: These Christians spent a lot of time together, and that togetherness became a source of strength and told a story to the those watching the Christians.

In passages like Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:32-35, we see Christians not only worshiping together, but actively involved in living out their faith. Luke, the writer of the Book of Acts, captures something that Eugene Peterson would summarize this way—

“Christians are a community of people who are visible together at worship but who remain in relationship through the week in witness and service.” 

This was not just Christians helping Christians, but Christians helping all the people in their communities. It was Christians who formed the first:

  • Blind asylums
  • Medical dispensaries
  • Hospitals
  • Orphanages
  • Elderly care home
  • Feeding programs for the poor

And this caught the notice of everyone. Aristides wrote to Emperor Hadrian about the Christians—

“They help those who offend them, making friends of them; do good to their enemies. They don’t adore idols; they are kind, good, modest, sincere, they love one another; don’t despise widows; protect the orphans; those who have much give without grumbling to those in need. When they meet strangers, they invite them to their homes with joy, for they recognize them as true brothers…. When a poor man dies, if they become aware, they contribute according to their means for his funeral; if they come to know that some people are persecuted or sent to prison or condemned for the sake of Christ’s name, they put their alms together and send them to those in need. If they can do it, they try to obtain their release. When a slave or a beggar is in need of help, they fast two or three days, and give him the food they had prepared for themselves, because they think that he too should be joyful….”

The Apostle Paul challenges followers of Jesus to constantly be growing in the outward demonstrations of our faith: to live our lives worthy of God’s calling, to get along with others, and to be making every effort to keep the bond on unity (see Ephesians 4:1-3).

With this in mind I have to ask myself: Am I doing this in my home town? Is there a strength and a story of Christ’s love that is told in my unity with other Christians? Am I helping to address the needs in Cedar Springs? What are people saying about Jesus because of my unity and service with other Christians?