The True Church

I think many Christians would agree that life can be difficult and that we will all struggle with something at one time or another, but often people do not realize that those “in the ministry” suffer from the same struggles.

To some degree, those in ministry suffer from depression, anxiety, fears, etc. Most times, people in ministry will not admit that they struggle because they are afraid of what people will think about them—that maybe they will think less of them.

The truth, though, is that there are people in the Bible who struggled—for example, Elijah the Prophet, and Paul the Apostle. Experiencing some of the struggles that people in the congregation encounters is a great way for those in ministry to connect. I think it also helps the congregation to realize that they are not the only ones struggling, and that just because they are struggling it doesn’t mean that they are less of a Christian.

We are told to “carry each other’s burdens” (Gal 6:2) and to “encourage one another” (2 Thess 5:11). These Scriptural passages would not be in the Bible if personal struggles were not a part of our lives. So in our struggles, we should turn to one another for encouragement and support. We should also draw closer to God: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). We have to do both—draw closer to one another and to draw closer to God.

Perhaps if people were more open about their struggles and we supported one another through these struggles then we can have the True Church—“All the believers were one in heart and mind… And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all” (Acts 4:32-33).

Be the “True Church”!

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti
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Run in the Race!

Last year my running had dwindled down because we bought a duplex then we had to fix it, and then clean and clear the other house so that we could downsize; on top of that I still had to work. I had to give up something so I cut down on my running. Every once in a while I ran a 10K, but mostly I ran a couple of miles or ran an occasional 5K.

This year, I decided to start running again. It was hard. I struggled to run a couple of miles. I felt like giving up and using the time to do other things, but I persevered. Today I ran 12 miles. It wasn’t a fast time, but my time didn’t really matter; what mattered was that I didn’t give up.

I think it’s the same way with our Christian walk. Sometimes things come up in our lives and we feel like we have to give up something so we give up church. Then we get used to staying in bed on Sunday mornings and doing other things with the time that used to be spent in going to church.

It’s hard to go back to church after being away for several months or several years, but we start by going to one worship service. Then the following week, we go to another worship service; and even though we might feel like staying at home, we have to get up and go to church.

Why go to church? We go to church because we need to be encouraged by other believers; we need to know that we are not alone in our struggles. Also, as a believer and follower of Christ, we are all a part of His body and a body cannot function if some part of it is missing—we all need each other (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

So if you have been away from the church for a while, then my encouragement to you is to start going. Let this Sunday be the first of many Sundays to come! Remember that our Christian life is like a race— it doesn’t matter how fast you run, all that matters is that you stay in the race and that you finish!

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Happy

Sometimes I think people take things too seriously. This seems to be especially true for things associated with the church. I think when some people hear the word, “Church,” they get a picture of boring activities and boring people. I don’t think Jesus was boring and I don’t think He did boring things. I think He tried to have fun as much as He could.

I think some churches feel that having fun might somehow be disrespectful to God or that it would diminish the gospel, but if we are made in the image of God then God created in us the ability to have fun and enjoy what we are doing.

A few days ago I began filming members of my church having fun. The idea was to show that our church can love God and still have fun. I wanted to illustrate that we are happy to be at our church and that being in our church made us happy.

The result was a series of video clips that were pieced together using Pharrell Williams’ song, “Happy”: http://youtu.be/dYtB4LN1xy4. My hope is to show that our church is different from the “stuffy” church that some people may envision.

Ecclesiastes 8:15 says, “So I recommend having fun because there is nothing better for people to do in this world than to eat, drink and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them” (NLT).

I think there should be joy in serving God. May the happy music in your heart draw people closer to Him!

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Spiritual Muscle

Yesterday, my husband and I ran a 5K. I did not do a lot of running ahead of time to prepare for it. The last few times that I ran, I really struggled so it is no surprise that I struggled on the day of the run.

My legs felt like they were made of lead— it were so difficult to lift them. I was out of breath—my lungs felt like they were burning. My arms were uncomfortably tight and sore.

I think I struggled because my body is still out of shape. I have no abdominal muscles and I still have extra weight that I am “lugging around.” I know that if I continue to work out, though, my weak muscles will get stronger.

I thought about 1 Corinthians 12:12, 22-26,

“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ… some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.

And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care… So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity.

This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad…” (NLT)

I used to wonder why going to church was so important, now I realize that those who are new in their faith (or “weak”) will grow stronger because they will be around Christians that have been “working out” their faith.  The stronger Christians will help the “weaker” Christians become strong—“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Prov 17:17, NIV).

I am hopeful that my ab muscles will become stronger as I continue to work out. My ab muscles can’t get strong on its own, it needs my other muscles to help strengthen it. In the same way, we need other Christians to strengthen us.

I hope you had an opportunity to be strengthened this Sunday; if not, then please find a place to work out your spiritual muscle starting next Sunday.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The Christian life

There have been times that I told people we are supposed to live like a Christian, but I never considered that maybe they had no idea what I meant. What does “living a Christian life” supposed to look like? Is it going to church every Sunday and reading your Bible every day?  I have heard people say that we have to sacrifice our time and go to church and then do ministry—is that what “living a Christian life” is about?

I think about the passages in Psalm 51:16-17, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise” (NLT).

I think God could care less about us sacrificing our time—what He really cares about is our motivation for going to church, doing ministry, reading our Bible, etc.  Does our heart truly desire to align with God’s? This is what living a Christian life is all about.  We do things not out of obligation, but because we love God, we want to please Him, and we want to be closer to Him. My personal prayer is that my heart will be broken every day so that God can reshape it.

What about you? What do you think it means to live a Christian life?

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti