Surrounded by Love (Introduction for the "One Body" Series)

June 6, 2024

School is out, temps are rising, and (for many families) a new schedule is upon us. So with summer here, it only seems appropriate that we start a new series here on the blog.

Our new series is called One Body. I've had this series in my mind for several months, and now seems like the right time to pull it out. The topic will be about membership within the body of Christ. The goal of the series isn't to get you to become a Riverwood Partner if you aren't already (but we'd love to have you go all in with us!). The aim of this seven-week series is to walk you through 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 to help you consider what unity and partnership should look like within the local church.

But before we jump in with the important topic of unity (which we'll look at next week), I want to open the series by looking at the "context" of our key passage, because it truly makes all the difference.

Church Should Not Hurt

For as long as I've been in ministry, I've heard stories of "church hurt." Church hurt can happen to both staff and church members. And the cause of the hurt varies widely, everything from having their spiritual questions ignored to having a trusted leader take advantage of them. To put it plainly, church hurt sucks.

But this is where our series, and the context of our key passage, can help.

Our primary passage for this series comes right after a discussion on spiritual gifts and leads into a famous passage about the importance and power of love. As you read chapters 12 and 13 of Paul's first letter to the church in Corinth, you see that spiritual gifts are to be for "the common good" (1 Corinthians 12:7), which is why spiritual gifts need a foundation and covering of love.

Surrounded By Love (Introduction For The &Quot;One Body&Quot; Series) • Riverwood Church

If Jesus-followers within a church used their spiritual gifts for the good of others out of a Christ-like love for those within the church family, far fewer people would be able to talk about "church hurt." When a follower of Jesus is truly "walking in the Spirit" and not in "the flesh" (see Galatians 5:13-26), then they will not be hurting others, but rather healing and helping them.

This is what we will see throughout this One Body series. The church should be a family that is operating out of love for one another, where abundant grace is given and the "body" is being helped by the various members.

So over the next several weeks, as you consider each aspect from 1 Corinthians 12 of what "membership" within a local church looks like, remember that love is to surround all that is done.

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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Riverwood Church, Waverly Iowa

We are on a mission to help people love like Jesus loved and live like Jesus lived.

It doesn't matter to us if you:

  • are a Wartburg student or a grandparent,
  • vote Democrat or Republican,
  • are married, divorced, or single,
  • have gone to church for years or haven't been to church in years,
  • make $100,000/yr. or wonder how you're going to pay rent this month,
  • or fear your past mistakes make you unlovable to God or others.

No matter where you are in your spiritual journey, we want to help you become who God has created you to be.

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