Dear HCC Family,

Can you remember a time when you felt like you really belonged to a certain community? A community as in any group, family, school, club, team, tight circle of friends, etc. Belonging is one of the critical psycho-social crises that every human must face according to Psycho-Social Human Development theory. Human health and flourishing are significantly impacted by a strong or weak sense of belonging.

In the 31 years of my ministry career, I’ve realized that each guest who attends church for the first time is looking for this very thing, belonging. Unconsciously they are asking the question, “Is this a place for me,” “Do I belong here,” “Do I fit in.” In response, as a church, we must ask the logical follow-up question, “Do I promote belonging as a conscientious part of the HCC family?”

This Sunday we will start a new series together that addresses this notion of belonging. Every Christian who is in Christ must be in the church. Because the church in the body of Christ the head. We want people to know they belong first in Christ, and secondly in His church. How do we live out this essential component of making the kingdom of God real right here right now? Let’s find out together as we learn about the good and beautiful community called the church.

As we study the scriptures together, it’s wise to invite a guide along. When Ezra and Nehemiah were building the second temple in post-exilic Israel a key feature was exposing them to the word of God in scripture. Not leaving them on their own to figure out what God was saying, the wise leaders of God’s people provided interpreters, coaches, teachers, to help them understand. Check it out in Nehemiah 8:7-8 -- Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the law, while the people remained in their places. So they read from the book, from the law of God, with interpretation. They gave the sense so that the people understood the reading.

Taking a cue from that wise stewardship of God’s people I’m encouraging you to pick up this book: The Good And Beautiful Community by Bryan James Smith. Smith does a great job helping God’s people get a sense of what God is saying about the church community. As I preach each Sunday from God’s word about the good and beautiful community called the church, invite Smith to help deepen your understanding. 

One other thing, if you invited someone to our Friends of the Family service last Sunday please tell me the story. It doesn't matter if they attended or not. I invited two people and they didn’t come. It’s the invitation that makes your witness for Jesus a success, not the attending. So, tell me a recent story of invitational evangelism from your life. Reply to this, text me, etc. 

WE>me,

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