Folks like us in the Church

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Jim Bush, Servant, Friend of God, Maker of Laughter

Since 2019 I have watched the decline of the church both locally and nationally and each Sunday I ask myself “why?” What happened to the people that called themselves friends of God  who now are no shows to His house causing the gospel of Jesus Christ to look as if it had no effect on their lives and was not worthy of their effort. That thought makes me physically ill. But it’s how I feel as I too struggle spiritually at times because I allow the world to consume my mind and my time. Like, every day to some extent.

I lost a good friend yesterday from our church who was so faithful. Before his illness he and I chided every Sunday over various things, and his most favorite thing in the world was to find mistakes in the bulletin. It made him gleefully happy! I would occasionally hand him a blank one so that he would have a mistake free bulletin, which was probably the only way he was going to get one from me. The bulletin is something I’ve done for greater than 20 years. Someone once ask me why I didn’t “let” someone else do the bulletin and offer them a chance to serve. Well, number one, nobody has ever expressed an interest and I won’t hold my breath til they do because it takes weekly dedication. And few people want the commitment of being relied upon in such a way. Jim, my friend who passed away, waited every Sunday morning to search that bulletin for mistakes like that was his job. I wouldn’t mind if someone else stepped in on his behalf. Because that too took dedication to the house of the Lord. I could always count on his wit and his joy and that meant as much as if he’d been their helping me to prepare it. I knew he appreciated my work.

The Old Folks

I now consider myself to be an elder, not in title but in age in the church. I love when the kids have an expectation of me to know something scripturally or show respect to me through their actions and words. The Apostle John wrote to Gail’s in 3 John as an elder who loved and respected his co laborer in Christ Jesus.

3 John 1:1-8 KJV

[1] The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. 

Obviously Gaius was someone that everyone loved. No doubt a wonderful servant of God who could be depended upon and who John loved in the truth. The truth of God’s word and the study and sharing of it. John lived through the gospels. He wrote one of the gospels! What a privilege Gaius would have had to call him friend. I feel much the same way about the people who have stuck it out through the pandemic. Faithful servants of God who have never wavered.  At every given opportunity they’ve been in their place in the church serving and gratefully doing so. Excited to learn more about God and looking for openings to serve. They are not abundant but I’m so grateful they still exist.

The Busy Folks

[2] Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. [3] For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. [4] I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

Gaius was a doer of the word. I pray that would be said of me. It was certainly said of Jim. There wasn’t a church event that Jim wasn’t in the thick of doing his part. He walked in the truth. The church wasn’t just a place he went to fulfill his spiritual obligations, it was where he went because he was apart of that family and when he got saved, he was saved to serve, not sit.  I also had the privilege of witnessing his salvation. He literally wrestled at the altar and when he stood up his hair was going every direction! we laughed about that for a long time and so did he. There is joy in serving the Lord, and Jim was proof.

The Faithful Folks

 [5] Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; [6] Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: [7] Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. [8] We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

Fellow helpers. That is my friends of Victory Baptist Church. Since the Corona there’s not as many of us, but we are blessed to still be above the norm. They are along for journey and not they’re not carpet baggers. You know, the people who show up for what they can gain from a group and leave when they’ve gotten enough.

When would you ever get “enough” of God.

I never have enough. I want to be in His presence all day every day. And when I’m not, I know it’s because I’ve shut him out. I’m not casting stones at those who have failed to stay faithful. I genuinely miss them.

I had to grin when I read the next verses where John called a fellow out for not being who he should have been.

3 John 1:9-10 KJV

[9] I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. [10] Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.

John can to that. He’s the great Apostle John after all. I’ll call no one out because in truth I’m no better than anyone else, I just show up in spite of my failures. Diotrephes loved to be considered for all his greatness. I just want to be considered a friend of every single person in the congregation of the Lord. If you’re out of church. Please know that you are missed. If you’re attending some where else, God bless ya! If you’re not, please come back and celebrate the Lord with us. Amen!

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Shari Johnson. (aka The Jesus Chick) has been encouraging women of faith and youth for a closer walk with Christ for over ten years. Having a burden for the leadership in American Churches, much of her writing is meant to spear on the servant of God to do more for the cause of Christ in these uncertain times. With humor, transparency and solid bible teaching Shari outlines messages that are easily understood, life applicable, and often with easily remembered points to ponder in hopes that they’ll be reflected on throughout the day and serve as encouragement on the go. Her servant’s heart is grounded in her own local church believing that it is there that the greatest impact can be made and unfortunately suffers the greatest neglect across America. Shari speaks at women’s gatherings in hopes of leaving a giggle in their soul and a burning desire to serve in their own local body of believers having it said of her “I laughed, I cried, and I was drawn to the foot of the cross…” Which is what it’s all about. For information on scheduling Shari, call her direct at (304)377-6036, message her via email at talk2shari@gmail.com or find her on Facebook!

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