by: Paul Stagnaro
At Calvary Alameda, we recognize that to build a robust and healthy church requires building blocks. Each of us is a building block. The Apostle Paul describes it in Ephesians 2:19-22.
"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and also members of his household, 20- built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21- In him, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22- And in him, you too, are being built together, to become a dwelling, in which God lives by his Spirit."
Scripture describes believers as a temple in which God lives within each believer by His Spirit.
1 Corinthians 3:16 "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?"
Mary and I spent three days in Barcelona, Spain. As we explored Barcelona, we saw Gaudi's Sagrada Familia Cathedral. We learned that construction began in 1882. The projected completion date is in the year 2026, one-hundred-forty-four years after it began. It is a fantastic building that has had nine architects associated with it since Antoni Gaudi's death. On the outside, there are six impressive towers, and each side, east, west, north, and south are each unique in their design. We were impressed by it, and it is a statement of man's determination and creativity to honor God.
The amount of money spent on building the Cathedral over the past one-hundred-thirty-eight years must be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. But there are two realities about that Cathedral.
First, it is only a building, a building not fully utilized as intended. It appears to be more of a museum than a building dedicated to worship and honoring God. It reminds me that believers can become just like a Cathedral build to honor God but overtime not being used as God intended.
Second, In the Old Testament, God appeared in the tabernacle and later in the temple built by Solomon. I have been churches that maintained a lighted candle near their alter. The candle represents that God's Spirit is in that place.
But God is a personal God. God's Spirit doesn't reside in a human-made building of any kind. We read that God lives by His Spirit in each believer. And together as a body of believers, directed by the Holy Spirit, we are under constant improvement.
At the core of this is God's desire for all of us to be Spirit-empowered disciples who are encountering Jesus in our lives daily. Daily encountering Jesus in our lives means experiencing the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is about learning and applying scripture to our lives.
It is about engaging with other believers outside Calvary Alameda. And about engaging and welcoming the non-believer into your circle of influence.
Did you notice I didn't write invite them to church? I wrote, welcoming the non-believer into your circle of influence. Allow the Holy Spirit in you to begin influencing your non-believing friend, neighbor, and co-worker.
There is always prep work before the building begins. The believer that develops friendships with a non-believer is doing the prep-work that will allow the Holy Spirit to start building in that person's life.
And it means that each of us as followers of Jesus is to see the new believer develop into a fully developed believer of Jesus Christ. And to present to the non-believer the love, compassion, forgiveness, and redemption offered to them through Jesus Christ.
You can contact Discover Discipleship at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Pastor Paul at 510-521-1943 Ext. 105