By Franklin L. Kirksey, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama, and author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice.
These expositions by Dr. Kirksey are offered to suggest sermon or Bible study ideas for pastors and other church leaders, both from the exposition and from the illustrative material, or simply for personal devotion.
Robert J. Morgan recently sent information about the release of his third volume in the set of informative and inspirational books on hymns, titled Then Sings My Soul.
Maybe you remember reading or hearing someone recite a list of hymns for those of certain professions, or pastimes. These are some of my favorites:
The Dentist’s Hymn – “Crown Him with many crowns”
The Weatherman’s Hymn – “There Shall Be Showers of Blessings”
The Contractor’s Hymn – “The Church’s One Foundation”
The Politician’s Hymn – “Standing on the Promises”
The Optometrist’s Hymn – “Open My Eyes That I May See”
The Gossip’s Hymn – “Pass It On”
The Realtor’s Hymn – “I’ve Got a Mansion over the Hilltop”
The Pilot’s Hymn – “I’ll Fly Away”
The Architect’s Hymn – “How Firm a Foundation”
The Zoo Keeper’s Hymn – “All Creatures of Our God and King”
The Postal Worker’s Hymn – “So Send I You”
The Lifeguard’s Hymn – “Rescue the Perishing”
The Travel Agent’s Hymn – “Anywhere with Jesus”
The Librarian’s Hymn – “Whispering Hope” and
The Geologist’s Hymn – “Rock of Ages”
There should be at least one more “occupational hymn”. It came to me as we passed a land surveyor adjusting his transit on the side of the road. Therefore, allow me to add, The Surveyor’s Hymn – “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”.
“All I want is what’s coming to me!”
Henry was being obnoxiously persistent in the church business meeting. Finally, in exasperation he blurted out that statement.
An elderly sister in the pew behind him said softly, “Sit down, Henry. If you got what was coming to you, you’d be in hell.”
Henry was demanding justice; Henry needed mercy.
This week driving down Interstate 55 below Jackson, Mississippi, I kept noticing bits and pieces of pink insulation batting everywhere.
After a few miles, we came upon two 18-wheelers pulling halves of a large mobile home. One of the units was shedding, littering the highway. Bits and pieces of the trailer were flying from the open top and being strewn across the countryside.
I dialed “*HP” for the Mississippi Highway Patrol and reported the offender. The dispatcher assured me they would jump right on the matter.
They never showed up.
I was wanting justice. I wanted the cops to pull these drivers over, read them the riot act for the careless way they had secured the mobile home and for littering the countryside, and if they didn’t issue tickets, at least force them to tie everything down.
I suspect this is the way it is with most of us. I want justice to be done when it involves other people. But for myself, mercy is a better choice.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers…. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people (Acts 2:42-47).
When a church of 120 members set out to assimilate 3,000 new additions into the life of the congregation, they ranked “fellowship” toward the top of the list as a critical step in accomplishing the task.
Koinonia is the Greek word. Literally, it refers to a sharing of life, or a partnership, which doesn’t tell us a lot about what it meant in the follow-up program in the early church. So, in the absence of anything definitive from Scripture on the precise meaning of the term, I submit for your consideration my own definition: Hanging out.
The “fellowship” quotient of a church–whether the members love the Lord and one another–is one of the most telling features of a congregation, one of the most dependable indicators of the health of the church, and one of the best predictors of its future usefulness in the Kingdom.
Here are 10 aspects of the fellowship of your church worth carving in stone, or better, engraving on the hearts of your leadership and membership.