Topic for this week: Church/ The Body of Christ

Theme for the month of February: Love

The Carmichael SDA Church is providing spiritual growth resources for individuals, couples, families, and small groups as an extension during this pandemic for a church that is scattered like salt and to indeed be salty; to be light and receive another infusion of power. Pick and choose from these resources for your spiritual growth, whether it’s during your time of personal devotions or family worship or small group gathering. The 10 options include:

Video & Intro

This week’s topic includes two elements: church and the body of Christ. Are they the same thing? Are they different? Are they two sides of the same coin? What comes to mind for you when you hear the word “church”? Christ's first followers started the church. They preached and baptized and brought people together. Other disciples would take care of these new "disciples" (notice I didn't write "members").  This community of faith was known for their love for one another (John 13:35) and for the hope they had for God's kingdom to be fully established. Church was not a building, but the people.  

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, “the Body of Christ”? Sounds like a weird way to describe those who "belong" to Christ.
Our topic for this week combines both words, and this comes under the February theme of Love.

Bible Dialogue

Have you ever asked yourself, "Who were the first to get together in a group to talk about God, sing, and pray?" In homes (Rom 16:5), a gathering place in the community(Acts 16:13), a sanctuary/tabernacle (Exodus 25:8), synagogues, temples, then church buildings. Now imagine traveling around the world and going into a "church" and you find yourself with people who share your faith, beliefs and values? That's amazing! What other organization can bring people from different languages, cultures, nationalities, ethnicities together, share a common meal and get along? It has to be a God-thing. It can't just happen "just because". There is a divine attraction that brings people together to worship God. You take God out and you have a social club which eventually will cease to exist. 

STUDY:  Spiritual Body Building

What was or is the best group of people you've ever hung out with?

Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

  1. Why is the church compared to a body? (vs. 12)

  • One holistic unit governed by the head.
  • It's easier to describe the complexity of a church.
  • The body was created by God just like the Church.
  • Churches are fragile and strong just like the human body.
  • The body is a system of interconnected parts that work for the overall well being.
  • Other.

2.  What's the connection between Christ and this body Paul talks about? (vs. 12)

  • We are all "in Christ" just like we are in a body.
  • When we get baptized we enter into Christ's body.
  • Being part of someone else's "body" is a strange concept.
  • We are subject to Christ who is the Head (in charge) of the body.
  • Other.

3.  Does vs 13 suggest that we need to be baptized in order to be part of the "body"?

  • Yes.
  • No.
  • I don't know.
  • I'm not baptized but I feel like I'm part of the body.
  • Baptism just confirms my inclusion in the body.
  • Other.

4.  What happens when you try to rank your body parts on a scale of importance? (vs. 15-16)

  • You have a dilemma.
  • You begin to realize what parts you can live without.
  • You have a greater appreciation for the parts that we don't think about a lot.
  • We won't know how much we need them until we don't have them anymore.
  • Other.

5.  Do you ignore the part of your body that's in pain?

  • Depends on how much pain.
  • I try not to think of it.
  • Can't ignore it even if I try.
  • I take care of it right away.
  • Other.

6.   How does Paul demonstrate the power struggles that existed in the church of the time (vs. 17)

  • Looks like some people considered their role more important than others.
  • The church needs visible leaders and behind the scenes leaders to have a healthy church. 
  • He was saying it's ok to want to do something different thats not necessarily popular.
  • We need to acknowledge each other's contribution to the overall well being on the church.
  • If everyone was an ear it would be a very weird body/church. Don't be weird.
  • Other.

7.  How do you "suffer" when other members suffer (vs. 25-26)

8.  What's your response when you read, God appoints leaders in the church? (vs. 27)

Prayer Experiences

There are 3 verses in the New Testament where the words "church" and "prayer" are together.
  • Acts 12:5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
  • Acts 14:23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
  • James 5:14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

When Peter was imprisoned, the church prayed
When leaders were to be selected, the church prayed.
When people were sick, church elders were called on to pray

These were collective prayers, not individual prayers. The church prayed, either when they came together or when called upon to pray for something specific.
Since we won't be together until Sabbath morning, we can pray as a church throughout the week for the same things
  1. For those who are facing injustice like Peter was
  2. Praying for our spiritual leaders who will  be shepherding the congregation.
  3. There's never a lack of sickness, therefore, pray for those who are sick. Take a look at this week's Carmichael Cares list for those among us who need our prayers.

Discussion Questions

Select from these questions, or let them prompt your own questions. You can reflect on these by yourself, or discuss them with another person or group of people.
  1. What's your most memorable moment with the church?
  2. Since we didn't have church services in person for almost a year, are your views about church any different now?
  3. If you were to describe your role in the church with a body part, which one would you be?
  4. What are the reasons you came to be part of the church you belong/go to?
  5. How have you experienced love, grace and acceptance in your church?
  6. What are you looking for in a church?
  7. How are you spiritually encouraged on a daily/weekly basis?
  8. How high or low are your expectations of church people?
  9. Give a couple of examples of how the church has been a force for good in the world.
10. How has church at home been for you?
11.  What would you do if churches  were permanently closed?

Application Ideas

This week's topic invites us to be part of something greater and bigger than us. We all have reasons to be either passive or active participants in the life of the church. We all have had good and bad experiences. Considering that a church brings people from all walks of life, it is expected that it will take practice to live out God's ideal for the church.

With the many options that exists for churches to be part of, what are the reasons you came to Carmichael? How have you grown spiritually since being part of this community of faith?

The idea of not having to be part of a church to grow spiritually is a popular one. Think of the implications of this. If it was God's idea to have a church, he must have had a purpose for its existence. Can you truly have a growing, vibrant spiritual experience without interacting with other believers? Maybe the "I don't need church" idea is really saying that I don't need to go to a building on a weekly basis to grow spiritually, but I do need spiritual people in my life.

Using the JFK quote "ask not what your church can do for you; ask what you can do for your church."

Sharing Options

Invite someone to experience what church life is about. Why does the church exist and why does the church make a difference in society?

The church is meant to be a power for good in the world. It is to defend that which is right and to counter lies with truth. The church doesn't do things the way secular enterprises or organizations would.
  • The church's source of strength and inspiration comes from God, not tradition.
  • The church's source of income come from those who believe in its mission, not subsidized by government.
  • The church's source of knowledge comes from the Word of God, not by philosophies.
  • The church's identity comes from a crucified and risen Savior, not by its denomination.
  • The church's hope relies on the promises of One who has never failed, not on the empty promises of man.
  • The church's message is the Good News of Jesus Christ - God who became flesh, dwelt among us, died for us, resurrected, and is coming again.

Share with someone this week what the church means to you and why it should mean something to someone them. This may cause you to rethink church for yourself. If you were in someone else's shoes and someone invited you to be part of their church, how would you respond? What questions would you ask?

Bible-In-My-Head, Heart, and Hand

Choose one verse you would like to memorize this week
1 Cor. 12:21   The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
1 Cor 12:26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
1 Cor. 12:12   For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.


Enjoy the variety of music that speaks of God's Presence

Kids of All Ages by Pastor Melissa

If it was Golden Hour, you could be sure my family was headed to the end of the street. What is Golden Hour, you ask? It’s that hour just before the sun sets, when the late afternoon light makes everything look golden. And what was at the end of the street, you might wonder? For me, it was a mysterious mix of adventure, old history, and fear.

My street ended at the bottom of an open hill covered in grass and oak trees. Long ago, a big old mansion had been built at the end of the street for a very wealthy family. The mansion had a huge stone fireplace, tennis courts, a large swimming pool with dressing rooms underneath, and more. Only....the mansion was no longer there....

Long ago, many years before I was even born, a fire burned through those hills and the mansion was caught in its path. It burned and burned and burned, until there was nothing left of the house at all. Except ashes. And, the things that couldn’t burn. Years later, the stone fireplace still stood alone in the middle of a field. An empty cement slab marked the old tennis courts. And the pool - well, that was the scariest place of all. It was deep and empty, and weeds grew at the bottom. The dark old dressing rooms were filled with spider webs and mouse nests. My brother and sister used to dare each other to go inside, just to see who was the bravest. For most of my life I’ve tried to imagine what that mansion must have looked like, but there was almost nothing left behind.

When Jesus went back to heaven, it must have felt like there was nothing left behind. They were a few disciples and some women and other followers. Many of them were poor, or fishermen, or they had left everything to follow Jesus. This seems like basically nothing to build a church from. But that small group of believers became the very first church, and they told so many other people about Jesus, that their church grew into the enormous worldwide Christian church that even you and I are part of today. What Jesus left behind was enough to grow a church.

This past year, we didn’t get to go inside our churches, or be with other church families, or sing or have CCK activities, or do any of the things that we used to love most about church. But when all of that was gone, do you know what was still left behind? The church of course! The church is still here, growing, because the church was never about a building or an activity or a program. The church is PEOPLE, and together, we are still an enormous movement focused on sharing Jesus with the world.

 Sometimes what’s left behind is just exactly enough for a grand and glorious adventure.

Family Talk Time:

  1.  How did the church get started? What do you think people did to make it grow?
  2. What is your favorite part of church? What have you missed the most?
  3. If it isn’t a building or a program, what really is the church?
  4. What is the church’s job in the world? How can each of us use our gifts to help it grow?