“How To Have Fun in the Mist”

Quiet Time Coaching Episode 11: James 4.14 and combining memory verses

Fog of Life

Have you ever got lost in the fog? The fog of war is well-known. But what about the fog of life?

Dog in the Mist

Walking across Cassiobury Park this morning on my regular prayer walk I heard a man shouting. Shouting in the fog. I couldn’t see him, but I could hear him. Then, there he was. A shadowy outline in the mist. He pulled back his arm and threw something. It was then I noticed a smaller figure. It was his dog. The dog ran after the ball that had been thrown.
Then the man did something rather unexpected at 7 o’clock in the morning. He started laughing. While the dog was running after the ball in one direction, he took off in the opposite direction. I could see him running and hear him laughing. His dog picked up the ball, turned around and, in confusion, could not see its master. It soon heard him laughing and ran after him. I chuckled to myself as a former dog owner recognising this child-like desire to play games with one’s pet.
If you look really closely you might be able to see the man in the photograph.

Vanishing Mist

Mist can be an opportunity for fun. But it can also be an opportunity for soberness. As James wrote,
“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14 NIV11)
We don’t know about tomorrow. It may never come. As Jesus said,
“…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34 NIV11)

Misty Humility

We are a mist. James does not write this because we do not matter, but to prompt us to humility. A healthy Christian mindset carries an equal blend of security and humility. We are unquestionably loved more than we can imagine. We are also undoubtedly unloveable. At least in human terms.
How can we carry both the confidence of God’s love and the humility of our mistiness together in a healthy way?

Misty Momento

I’d suggest we take a leaf from conquering Roman Generals. When they returned from victorious campaigns the adoring crowds saw them paraded in a chariot. The General heard two ‘voices’. One was the adulation of the crowd cheering their name. The other was that of a slave whispering in the ear, “Memento homo (remember you are (only) a man).”
They heard legitimate praise and sobering advice at the same time. We need the same. Combining memory verses makes this possible. Put together two verses of the Bible. Here is one example:
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” (John 15:9 NIV11),
“clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.”” (1 Peter 5:5 NIV11)
Thus the prayer could be, “Father, thank you for loving me as much as you love Jesus, help me to enjoy this love and to clothe myself with humility toward others, because you oppose the proud but show favour to the humble.”

Over to You

If you were going to combine two verses with these areas of focus, what would they be? Put together several combinations and commit them to memory. Recite them and pray them.
We may be in the mist. We may be the mist. But we’re laughing in the mist. Joyful in our mistiness because we know we’re loved. Rejoicing in being loved because we know we’re on our way to him.


Have you tried this verse-combo practice? Which verses work for you?
Please leave a comment here so that we can all learn from one another. We learn best when we learn in community.
I hope you have a wonderful week of quality quiet times.
God bless, Malcolm

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The Weeping God

Luke 19.28-48

I’m preaching on Luke 19.28-48 tomorrow. What a corker! The verse central to the section is:

“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it” (Luke 19:41 NIV11)

Jesus weeping. It’s not the first time (John 11.35) and he’s not the only one (Luke 7.13; 8.52; Romans 9.2-3) But why now? Why here? Is he weak? Is he controlled by his emotions? Are the tears motivated by regret, fear or horror? The word translated ‘weep” could equally be ‘wailed’. Jesus burst into sobbing. Something serious and meaningful is happening. But what? Let’s note three things:

  1. Jesus saw things as they really were. The crowd rejoiced (19.37), but Jesus wept. It was not that they should not rejoice, just that they could not see the bigger picture. How we all struggle with this. Are we willing to accept the reality of where we are in our faith, our relationships, our parenting, our marriage? Or are we so blind as to not see and admit where we are in the wrong, where we are weak, and where we need help? Are we also ready to accept the lostness of the world around us? We do not need to despair, but we do well to lament.
  2. Jesus lamented the lost opportunity. He did all he could to speak truth and act in love so as to convince people that the kingdom was coming/had come. Yet, the vast majority of the people who heard him, saw his miracles and felt his love did not respond. Jerusalem (city of peace) was to be a war zone in a few years. It’s ironic, but terribly sad, that the city of peace does not know how to enjoy peace. Has God put an opportunity before you to respond to his love? Take it while you can. You do not know how long you have.
  3. Jesus wept for others, not himself. The self-forgetfulness of Jesus is inspiring and, in fact, divine.¹ He was not weeping because he was to suffer and die in the city spread out before him. That would be reason enough, but his focus was not, and had never been, on himself. He knew God had a plan and, though it would be difficult, it was a good plan – for the the people he could help. How tragic, then, that those he longed to help and could help, are the very people rejecting such help. No wonder he wept!

Why is Jesus weeping? Because he saw things as they really were, because he longed to gather people to a place of peace with God, and because he knew how much he could help.

He did not weep every day, and neither should that be our goal, but a little weeping could go a long way to help us have the heart of Messiah.

God bless,


¹For more on this see Keller’s excellent short book:

Here’s just one quote, “The way the normal human ego tries to fill its emptiness and deal with its discomfort is by comparing itself to other people. All the time.” Jesus is so different, he feels no need to make comparisons. Instead, his energy is used for compassion.

“The Judge and the Lover” – A review of “God first loved us: the challenge of accepting unconditional love”, by Antony F. Campbell, S. J.

“The Judge and the Lover”

A review of “God first loved us: the challenge of accepting unconditional love”, by Antony F. Campbell, S. J.

  • Preamble
    • Which is primary? God as lover or God as judge? What does the Bible reveal, and how do we see it? The way we answer these questions has profound ramifications personally and collectively.
  • Summary
    • Campbell argues that since God is interested in relationship above all, we do better to recognise him as lover first and judge second. His argument develops in a little over 100 pages divided into eight chapters, plus an overview and afterword. A devotional reflection on the events of Good Friday concludes the book. Whether you agree with his emphases, you will find much to stimulate a healthy reassessment of your view of God.
  • Body of the Book
    • If there is a theme scripture to the book it would be, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins…We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4.10,19 (NIV11). Campbell would have us find our motivation from the prospect of reward rather than the fear of punishment. Of course, fear can be a helpful motivator, but it is not a mature one (“The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4.18b NIV11). Although I do not recall him putting it in so many words, perhaps the Christian life is an on-going transition from a fear-dominated motivation to one dominated by love. This may depend on one’s starting point, character, personality, family and church upbringing and other factors. Yet, there is not much worth arguing about regarding becoming more and more ‘perfect’ or ‘complete’ (GK: teleioo) in love as we grow in Christ.
    • It must be pointed out that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” Prov. 1.7 NIV11, (and many similar scriptures), hence defining ‘fear’ would be helpful. Campbell does not spend much time on this issue, and it might have helped some readers for him to have done so, since Jesus does not eschew fear as a helpful tool (see Luke 12.5).
    • Our words betray our views (Luke 6.45). I found fruitful reflection considering Campbell’s challenge to evaluate whether the words coming out of my mouth are consistent with the Bible’s description of God. Do I speak about a loving God as much as the Word does? When I speak of God, do I talk about Him as one with whom I have a relationship? Although the relationship is not exactly the same as human one, it must share some of the same language and focus. And, also important, do my actions match my words?
    • Campbell’s forthrightness is refreshing, as when he writes, “The funny thing is, of course, that an unconditionally loving God will only ask of us what is for our own good. But then, many of us are afraid of what might be best for us. Stupid, but true!” page 38. And he is correct in stating that we want intimacy with God, but fear it at the same time. Our relationship with God is just as complicated as any human relationship, indeed more so, since He will retain some elements of His mystery until the next life. How do we deal with this? Jesus is the one who, “can bridge that fearful gap between creature and creator.” p36
    • His portrayal of the atonement will relieve some and confuse others. It appears he is suggesting a Christus Victor and/or healing model and not allowing for the redemptive aspect of the cross, “The idea of redemption is burdened with the overtones of buying back and repayment. Love does not demand redemption; love forgives.  A loving God does not need to redeem us; a loving God forgives us.” p52. But God’s love is so intense that He will redeem (see Hosea). Is there not a place for both redemption and forgiveness as a gift? I remain a little unclear as to whether he is arguing almost completely against the concept of redemption, or simply considering that the issue of salvation, God’s love for us, is primary. The role of Jesus on the cross is not something he avoids, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world can be richly understood as removing all that blocks our acceptance of God’s love rather than as paying off the debt of sin.” p101 But, again, I’m not sure these issues are contradictory.
    • Chapter 8 on “The Mystery” is helpful in that it accepts the unknowable aspects of God as a challenge, while holding to the knowable as a reality. What we can and do know leads us to a place of desiring greater oneness with God, not less. This God has given us unconditional love, thus, “In accepting a loving God, we may be letting go of God the fixer.” p90 God may not ‘fix’ everything they way we want because his love for us is enough, and he is more interested in love than justice.
    • Some would argue with the assertion, “Christ’s incarnation is the central expression of God’s unconditional love of human life.” p99  A case can be made for the cross (and resurrection) as central, but that’s a discussion for another day.
  • Conclusion
    • A book written by a scholar, but wearing his intellect lightly. Much to be admired.
    • Personal stories and those about other people illustrate significant points. Some hit the mark for me and others missed, but that’s a personal choice.
    • In decrying the authoritarian interpretation of scripture, consequent distancing of God as a relational figure, justification of fear as a motivational agent and use of such fear to manipulate people, I applaud Campbell’s work. He writes persuasively on the theme of God as one who loves first, foremost and always.
    • Perhaps he overstates his case, not in arguing for the fulsomeness of God’s love, but for the inappropriateness of fear, and for a model of the atonement that appears to deny a direct connection between the cross and salvation.
    • “God first loved us” may be a help to anyone looking to grasp God’s love better. I made plenty of notes that refreshed my view of God, and the subsequent prayer times were deeper.

Malcolm Cox


What we’re reading: “God First Loved Us”



A review of “God first loved us: the challenge of accepting unconditional love”, by Antony F. Campbell, S. J.

Which is primary? God as lover or God as judge? What does the Bible reveal, and how do we see it? The way we answer these questions has profound ramifications personally and collectively.

“Who’d be a hater?”

hateeg 300w, http://www.malcolmcox.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Lk14.001-768x576.jpeg 768w, http://www.malcolmcox.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Lk14.001.jpeg 1024w, http://www.malcolmcox.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Lk14.001-285x214.jpeg 285w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />My next sermon text is Luke 14.25-35 (Sunday 10.30AM, Laurance Haines School, Vicarage Road, Watford). What do you think of the first two verses?

“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:25–26 NIV11)

There might not be a more controversial, hard-to-accept verse in the entire Bible.  What does it mean to ‘hate’ in the way Jesus intends? How can Jesus talk about hate in any positive sense?  Didn’t he tell us to, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,” (Luke 6:27 NIV11) It’s in the same gospel. Is he contradicting himself? Well, we’ll look at this in more depth on Sunday, but for now let’s consider the following issues.

First, the word, “hate”. We need its cultural context. According to Kealy, Hebrew, “had no suitable words to express different shades of meaning. Thus words such as “love” and its opposite “hate”…were used to express the idea of preference.”¹ Hence we should not see this as a a call to literal hate, but more one where a preference of one over the other is involved.

But does God never hate? Yes, He does. He hates insincere worship:

“Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.” (Isaiah 1:14 NIV11)

“I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.” (Amos 5:21 NIV11)

With this understanding we can surmise that Jesus is saying, “Are you ‘all-in’? Are you ready to be fully committed, truly sincere?” This fits the following two parables (we’ll look at these in more detail another time). We cannot be divided in terms of who is first in our affections: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Luke 16:13 NIV11)

If we are to love all people (and loving our enemies must include our families even if they are also our enemies!), Jesus cannot be asking us to literally hate our families. So, what does he mean? Perhaps it is that the love one of his disciples has for him must be so strong  that the highest other human love is hatred by comparison (see also Matthew 10:37). In other words, Jesus comes first. Always. In everything.

Such an interpretation does not weaken the command. On the contrary, it strengthens it. We are called to a radical reordering of priorities. Our devotion to Jesus is so total and complete, so wholehearted and genuine that observers will see love for friends, family and things as hatred in comparison. This is not so much a call to remove love for family as a call to ensure love for Jesus is so hot that all other loves we have are cold by comparison.

How do we sustain this love? Recall that eternal life is on offer: “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:25 NIV11) As well as many other great and special promises: “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Luke 18:29–30 NIV11)

More reflections on this passage will be coming later in the week. But, for now, what are your thoughts on this passage? How do interpret the “hate” Jesus is talking about?  How do explain it when talking to other people? I’d like to hear your ideas. Please drop me a line via email, or leave a comment on this blog

God bless,



¹Kealy, C.S.Sp, Seán. Freedman, David Noel, Allen C. Myers, and Astrid B. Beck, eds. Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible.

“Excuses, Excuses”, Luke 14.17-20

weddinginviteI’m going to a wedding in January. I was invited even before the couple got engaged, and then received an official invitation via email two weeks later. I was already going, but now I’m double-going. Some invitations we treat with greater significance than others. Let’s see what happened in this parable.

“At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’” (Luke 14:17 NIV11)

A second ‘invitation’ was necessary because no one had a watch, and time was ‘elastic’. This second invitation meant “come now” because the meat was ready and would soon go off. Come within the hour. The word “come” is in the present imperative, meaning, “continue coming”, because it was assumed the guests were coming on the basis of the original  accepted invitation. It might be inconvenient, but you knew it was going to happen.

We get ‘invited’ in various ways, and on multiple occasions, but there comes that time when we must respond. Everything is ‘ready’ because Jesus has come, and now, for us, he has done all that is necessary for us to enjoy the banquet since he has died for our sins and risen to give us life. But many make excuses. Let’s look at these:

  1. Money“The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’” (Luke 14:18 NIV11) Fields do not change. Surely he would not buy a field without prior inspection. The dinner is at the end of the day. Is he really going to view a field in the dark? We might not think buying a field is a big deal, but in that culture it was and still is. Agricultural land was scarce. Some plots had proper names, and negotiations could last for years.The contract would specify wells, walls, springs, trees, paths, previous revenue for the plot and anticipated rainfall.  All this must have already been settled. It looks like excitement about material wealth got in the way of honouring an invitation already extended. It’s easy to forget that people matter more than things. Perhaps a modern equivalent might sound something like this: “I can’t come because I bought a house over the internet and I must go and inspect it.” You’d just not do that.
  2. Toys“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’” (Luke 14:19 NIV11) He could examine them another day – in any case he would not have bought them unless satisfied of their adequacy. Team of oxen were demonstrated in front of potential buyers either at market, or on the owner’s land. This is a wealthy landowner. Having this many oxen meant he had much plough-able land. One of his employees could test the oxen if they really needed trying out. One other thought – animals are unclean. Is this person saying that even an unclean animal is of more value to me that you, O host? It’s a little like saying, “I can’t come over because I’ve just taken delivery of a new smart TV and need to try it out.”
  3. Relationships. “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’” (Luke 14:20 NIV11)  The rule that allowed a married man to stay at home during the first year of marriage (Deut. 24:5) was aimed at preventing him from going to war, not at social isolation. This excuse is as transparent as the others. It’s not the wedding day. A host wouldn’t plan a banquet to coincide with a wedding feast – no village could cope with both at the same time. In any case, he’ll only be away from his wife for at most a few hours. In this culture, to make a woman the source of the excuse was especially insulting. Men did not talk about women in public. Bailey (Peasant’s Eyes, p99) cites an example of a man addressing letters home to his hoped-for son rather than his two extant daughters. This third excuse is the rudest of the replies.

This feast is not a food bank where people turn up to get what they need then go off to pursue their lives as they wish. It is a banquet where people come to feast with the host – leaving other things behind. Devotion is essential in the kingdom.

The people listening to Jesus would have laughed at these excuses. They are lame, transparent and insulting. No one is fooled by them – they are calculated insults. How will the host respond? We’ll look at that tomorrow – and in the sermon on Sunday. Come along if you can: 10.30AM, Laurance Haines School, Vicarage Road, Watford.

God bless,


A Different Kind of Trump

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-19-13-16I was surprised to see this article in the Evening Standard: Religion can trump capitalism among the world’s downtrodden. It’s not strongly polemical, but calmly well-reasoned. The writer (Terry Eagleton) correctly observes the difficulty secularism has in creating a unified identity. Listen to many a politician talk about shared ‘values’ and you suspect they have been handed a list of terms by an advisor. The words are likely deemed to offend as few as possible, and especially those who might be in key marginals at the next election.

Forgive my cynicism. I am grateful for the good-hearted among the political class who work hard to keep this thing we call a country together. I’m of the opinion we do not pray enough for them as Christians or churches. Paul urges Timothy, “…that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1–2 NIV11)

Let’s not blame politicians for everything. Instead, let’s see what we can do to bring people together. If religion isn’t ‘allowed’ to do that in our post-God world, what might be? Eagleton argues that, “…the most successful substitute for religion is sport. It is sport that is the opium of the people — it lays on the weekly liturgies, supplies the canon of legendary heroes and provides the sense of solidarity one might previously have found in a chapel or cathedral.” I’d add that sport also substitutes for war. As violent as spectators can be (mostly in soccer), the damage and deaths are far short of armed conflict.

However, Eagleton has another target in his sights – capitalism. Early capitalism carried convictions. We will make the world better with the morals of hard work and upright ethics. Modern capitalism has done away with any secure belief system, since that would demand faith –  and faith, along with God, has died. Capitalism shorn of its beliefs leaves an empty stage – one onto which any fundamentalist system may walk unopposed. How can we argue with fundamentalist Islam, or any other ‘ism’ if we have no coherent alternative belief system?

I’d suggest that the Gospel is the solution because, when applied, it re-creates all people as equal. In the kingdom we show “equal concern for each other.” (1 Corinthians 12:25 NIV11), and receive equal value from God,  “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28 NIV11) We’re bonded together by love (not easy, takes hard work, but worth it, Eph 4.3), and love one another because “we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:16 NIV11) Love is the strongest unifying force known to man, and it has been revealed in it’s full glory by Jesus.

If we want people to be unified, if we want conflicts to cease, if we want to see human progress without human casualties we will need more than capitalism or any ‘ism’ has to offer. We will need love – super-human love. Only Jesus can give us that. Love trumps all.


Safety Cover

image1-001eg 150w, http://www.malcolmcox.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Image1.001-250x250.jpeg 250w, http://www.malcolmcox.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Image1.001-174x174.jpeg 174w" sizes="(max-width: 150px) 100vw, 150px" />It’s the third class of three on the “Atonement” tonight in the Thames Valley churches of Christ. We’re looking at how we communicate the cross to people who do not believe in it, understand it – or have never heard of it. There’s also a point on preparing and delivering engaging communion talks. But more on that another time.

We’ve looked at several models of the atonement (see the classes here – YouTube). One thing is clear. No single model does justice to all the nuances and riches of this amazing reality. And illustrations are just as tricky. In emphasising one aspect of Christ’s work, an image, simile, metaphor or story misses another important perspective.

However, for the purposes of stimulating discussion, I’d like to offer this story and find out from you, dear reader, what you think of its strengths and weaknesses. I do not remember from whence I garnered this illustration, but here you go:

“On August 16, 1987, Northwest Airlines flight 225 crashed just after taking off from the Detroit airport, killing 155 people. One survived: a four-year-old named Cecelia. News accounts say when rescuers found Cecelia they did not believe she had been on the plane. Investigators first assumed Cecelia had been a passenger in one of the cars on the highway onto which the airliner crashed. But when the passenger register for the flight was checked, there was Cecelia’s name. Cecelia survived because, even as the plane was falling, Cecelia’s mother, Paula Chican, unbuckled her own seat belt, got down on her knees in front of her daughter, wrapped her arms and body around Cecelia, and then would not let her go. Nothing could separate that child from her mother’s love—neither tragedy nor disaster, neither the fall nor the flames that followed, neither height nor depth, neither life nor death. Like that child caught in the middle of the disaster, so we have been trapped by our own sin, spiralling down to an inevitable doom. But our God loved us so much that he left heaven, came down to our level, and covered us with the sacrifice of his own body so that we might be saved from the Fall.”

The ‘covering’ aspect of the atonement comes across well. The ‘hilasterion’ (Rom 3.25) was the cover of the ark of the covenant, the mercy-seat, the place of propitiation, “Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover…” (Hebrews 9:5 NIV11). The high priest sprinkled blood on the ark’s lid to make atonement for ‘the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been’ (Lev 16:16 NIV11). We have a ‘better’ cover. A permanent one. No need for annual rituals. And not a covering by the blood of animals, but the perfect Son of God.

What does this illustration say to you? Does it do justice to the topic? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Do you have a favourite illustration you like to use when explaining the atonement to people? Please let me know.


Bumping into friends in service

img_4348Unexpected encounters with friends are always a delight. Saturday provided two such pleasures. Penny & I popped along to the New Hope open day – a charity for which I volunteer. I’m impressed with their work and recommend them to anyone in the Watford area looking for an opportunity to make a difference.

After a welcome flapjack & cup of tea (thanks, Annette – your home-made fairy cakes looked delightful!), we heard children singing and wended our way towards the sound. There was Jess coordinating the choir from Watford Central Primary school. She’s a friend of a friend (via Becky Makinson), and was doing a sterling job marshalling the vocal talents of the youngsters who’d been good enough to take time out of their spare Saturday time this weekend. Click here for a short clip of their singing.

A little later a harp seeped into our soundscape. Not something you hear every day. Moving into the workshop revealed a harp/flute duet. Lo and behold, if it wasn’t Lynn, the mother of a church friend, Leon. She and the flautist were providing beautiful music for all who would stop and listen.

While we already know Jess and Lynn, we’re not best friends. But seeing them serving people with whom I have a connection gave me a stronger bond with them. I was reminded that friendship is not built on just talking or spending time together (as helpful as that can be), but also on serving together. Jesus understood this – he did not serve alone, but, after setting the example, involved his followers to join him in service. He was the servant par excellence – “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,” (Matthew 20:28 NIV11), and gave his disciples opportunities to serve, “he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.” (Matthew 15:36 NIV11). He still does today.

All of us have opportunities to serve, but I wonder if, should we find ways to serve together with other believers, we might find our church communities stronger and more bonded in love. The strength of our fellowship does not depend on believing the same things, or sitting in the same building. It depends far more on what we do together that would please God and serve the world around us.