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From the Pastor's Pen

January, 1999

Aircraft carriers intrigue me. While I have never been on an aircraft carrier, it is fascinating to see these massive ships in port as I cross the Chesapeake Bay in Norfork.

An aircraft carrier is a complex organism of thousands of people working closely with one another. It is a complex organization that functions in a very specific man. The carrier needs a host of other ships in the fleet to help it carry out its mission.

Think of the carrier as the mother ship with lots of other ships all around her. The mother ship sets the pace and direction. She knows at all times where each vessel in the fleet is, and she gives the directions for where everyone is going. Where the mother ship goes all the other ships follow.

Life on the other ships may be very different from life on the mother ship. While the mother ship is a city in and of herself, her function is to keep the fleet together so that she can be serviced and protected. Her role is to send out planes who can sortie against the enemy.

There is a spiritual lesson here.

I see Jesus Christ and the church as similar to an aircraft carrier and all its many support vessels. Jesus is the Head of the church. He saves people to be a part of his body, the church. So, in essence, the church becomes the hub of spiritual activity here on earth.

The church gets its marching orders–its life, its direction, its power--from Jesus. The church mission is to glorify God and bring lost people to a personal saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

She works to keep people close to God's word and builds accountability for obeying God's Word. The church is the organism whereby every born-again follower of Christ can serve Him. The church is where God is doing his Kingdom work in this world.

The church is both the center–the aircraft carrier, who is Christ, and the support vessels in the fleet. There is a connective relationship that keeps all the individual people-ships of the fleet connected to the mother ship who is Christ. Communication flows back and forth. The fleet moves obediently in the direction Christ leads. Service is rendered and a witness is given to how Christ is making a difference in one's life.

When you think about it, being a part of the church is exactly what Christ intended. The scripture says, "He died for the church." Jesus didn't die for a building. He died for sinners who the moment they are saved are brought into the church. The saved people of God who gather to worship, fellowship, love, and serve are the church. To these is the promise of eternal life.

How are you relating to the main carrier, Jesus Christ? Are you following him and his directions? Remember, he can make a whale of a difference in your life.

Clarence E. Byerly, Pastor



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Updated November 14, 1999