"Peace be with you"

Sermon Reflection for 17 Feb 2019

I love it when I hear a sermon that God uses to open my eyes to something right in front of me.

“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” John 20:19.

I don’t know why I hadn’t considered to stop and think about the first words Christ said to His disciples. God does everything with a purpose. All of Old Testament redemptive history led to the events on the cross, so naturally the first words of the Son of God, who inaugurated the New Covenant in His blood, are not without purpose.

As David said in his sermon, the disciples were probably riddled with not only fear, but also the guilt and shame that came from knowing they ran from Christ when He was arrested, Peter even denying him not once, but three times just three days ago.

“Peace be with you.”

There they were, afraid, alone, without hope. Into that, Christ’s first word was “peace.”

What a beautiful word.

Peace by itself is wonderful. But as always, God showers us with blessing. Christ did not only say peace, but “Peace be with you.

And this is not peace in a generality, but as David also mentioned in his sermon, this is the same Greek word for peace as used in Romans 5:1 when Paul states “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This is a true and lasting peace. It was a peace secured through a war which cost the life of the Author of Life. But God raised Him from the dead. And through that resurrection, we now have peace with God through Christ.

The disciples did not see Christ as only their teacher, but now He was also seen as their Lord and their God. In this new light, as the One who secured their peace with the one who created them, they “were glad when they saw the Lord.”

No more guilt, no more shame; only peace found in His name.

May we too be glad when we see the Lord through the preaching of His Word.

--Joseph Hamrick

C3 Deacon

A Corporate Prayer for newly appointed Elder, Tim Thomas

Sermon Reflection for 6 May 2018

Lord, first we confess we are nothing without you. We understand that it is your Son who brought us to salvation, and it is your sovereign hand that brought this body of believers together in Commerce Community Church. We acknowledge it is you who have called Tim Thomas to be an ordained Elder at C3.


Lord, we ask in accord with Pastor David Ferguson’s sermon from 1 Timothy 4:6-16, that you would extend to him the grace to fulfill the calling of eldership to which you have called him. We ask for your guiding hand as he transitions into his new role as a servant leader in our church. We ask you to grant him the strength, wisdom, and humility to lead, along with the other elders, the sheep you have entrusted in his care. We ask that you would not only work in and through him to teach correct doctrine, with his hope set on the living God, but also that you would work in and through us to willingly submit and obey Tim, so that he will keep watch over our souls with joy. We ask that you would be with Tim as he leads his wife Emily and their children Harrison, Violet, Maggie, and little Jubilee. We ask for your protection in their marriage and in raising their children as an example to the body. We ask that he would not grow weary, but that, through your strength, he would persist in helping to lead this church in the practice of the reading of Scripture, and exhorting and teaching the body.


Lord, we trust in your sovereign work of salvation in our individual lives, in establishing the body at C3, and in calling Tim to be an Elder. We have assurance that you will fulfill Tim’s resolve for good to give you glory, by your power. We have confidence that you will enable him to toil and strive alongside his fellow elders, David, Ron, and Kevin, for training in godliness according to your word.


Lord, we know you are a God who fulfills his promises, and you have promised to be with us always and to sanctify us in your word, which is truth. So we ask that you would work in and through us as we seek to live godly and peaceable lives in obedience to the elders you have given over us, as they seek to be in obedience to you. We ask that you would enable our elders, along with the congregation, to be lights in and around the community in order to live in command with your word to make disciples of all nations, and teach them to obey all of your commandments.


Lord, you are most gracious, ever to be adored, God of Mercy. We thank you always for the love you have for us in Christ Jesus our Lord. We thank you once again for calling our dear brother Tim to the office of ordained Elder. We thank you for his commitment first to you, and from his love and obedience to you, his commitment to love your people and his wife and children. We thank you for Tim, and our other elders. We thank you for calling him. And we ask that we would continually be thankful for your kindness and your mercy to the band of believers you have called to be here in C3.

--C3 Deacon

  Joseph Hamrick

Jesus Loves me, This I know

Sermon Reflection for April 15 2018

I am a college student at TAMU-C, and by far the greatest gift that the Lord has given me in Commerce is my local church. Commerce Community Church (C3) has impacted my life in a way that will echo on into eternity. It is an imperfect church (because every church is), but committing to serve them and with them through thick and thin has grown me closer to God. This past Sunday I heard a sermon by Ron Peron, one of our Elders. He taught over John 13:31-38. In this passage, Jesus sends Judas away and says some meaningful words to His disciples before He begins His journey to the cross. Ron Peron asked us to think about this question as we listened: "how am I to love?"

Jesus gives them a new command - to love each other as He has loved them. This is incredible because we have finally seen Love incarnate. We must not take the command to love others as a way to work our way to Heaven. No amount of loving deeds can make you right before God. Rather, as we dig into God's Word, continue to kill sin, and surround ourselves with God's people, our hearts become more like His and we are given the grace to change. So remember, this is not a "do-good" sermon, because apart from Him, we can do nothing. The Lord convicted me to spend more time in honest prayer, earnestly asking Him to mold my heart into one that closely resembles His.

Jesus loved by putting others' needs above His own. For me, that will look like doing more listening and less instructing. I don't want to assume that I have everyone summed up, because I don't. Each person has intimate struggles and desires, and often, they don't need to be told, they just need to be heard. Another way that God convicted me to love was to not demand recognition. Often, when I do something that I consider very loving, I want people to recognize that and compliment me. This week, I am going to desire His recognition - His praise is the only one that matters, anyways!

This sermon also convicted me to love in a sacrificial way. For me, that means being grateful for the late nights, schedule-interrupters, and difficult people. Lastly, I was convicted to define love correctly. In a culture that says that love is a feeling or an obsession, Jesus says that love is a commitment that never falters. True love does not rejoice in sin, but rejoices in the Truth. This means that I need to tell my friends what the Bible says, and not what they want to hear. This means being serious about sin and not shying away from hard conversations. God is Love, after all, and He hates sin but loves the sinner.

Love is what everyone desires, and what everyone is desperately searching for. God is the Author of Love, and thus, He is the only one who can fill our emptiness. He is my True Love. 

-- C3 Student and Member

    Elsa Castro

To know the love of christ

sermon reflection for 28 Jan 2018

As a professor, I am daily confronted with the limits of words. I cannot speak my students into understanding. There is no perfect lecture, no phrasing that will reach every student. The threat of grades cannot force them to think. Seeds of truth only take root in good soil.

I think this is why Paul wrote Ephesians 3:14-21. After recounting the glorious mysteries of the gospel in the previous chapters, he prays. He bows before the Father and asks him to drive the truths of redemption, justification, and adoption deep into our souls. He prays that we would “comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (vv. 18, 19a). As an expert teacher, he knows that the effectiveness of words is not ultimately in his hands. Only the Word, the Logos of John 1, dwelling in us through faith, can dig ears for us, as the Psalmist said (Psalm 40:6). Only he can empower us to live out these truths.

Coming a day after our quarterly prayer breakfast, this passage has reminded me once again of the power of prayer. In a world of people deluded into thinking they are independent and autonomous, prayer leads Christians to boldly proclaim our dependence. Yet we do so reluctantly. We are so timid. Our Lord pleads with us:

 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:7

This is our inheritance. As sons and daughters we ought to ask for his kingdom to come here in Commerce as it is in Heaven. Lest we shrink back, Paul reminds us:

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

--Andrew Baker

  C3 Member and TAMUC Professor

Fulfilling God's Calling

sermon reflection for 14 Jan 2018

This last Sunday my fellow brother in Christ presented the Word to the body, he discussed our role as it has been given to us by God; and how we should respond in carrying out such great responsibilities. I was certainly moved by his sermon and would first like to say, thanks be to God for allowing such a man as Tim to be part of this believing family.

Sermon key points:

- Apostles teaching originated from Jesus’ teaching

- All scripture points to Christ

- Stay clear of false teachings

- Be sincere

- To not neglect your given gift

- To hold fast and hold onto the truth that Christ came into the world to save sinners

- Train oneself for godliness

To be honest, while my lovely brother was sharing the Word, I was thinking to myself, “Now, how might this be applied? What does this look like for me and my family?” Being led by the Spirit and the eerie feeling as though Tim was reading my mind, he answered me! Tim echoed similar questions and gave us his answers:

1) Are we seeing love expressed in our body, are we sincere? 

2) What is godliness? What are we investing in? Is it useful? Does it hold value? Whatever it is, does it train us into godliness???”

Application -

Be an example to your friends and family, “Set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” Follow Paul’s aim – love. Fulfill our destiny, answering the call to be conformed into the image of Christ.

“Great is the mystery of godliness.” Live your life in such a way that is God glorifying and godly. "Lead a peaceful and quiet life.” Train yourself in godliness, read the word faithfully, show godliness in your home by looking after the orphan and widows, etc. Training is not a passive act. Look to Christ for the strength He supplies. Devote ourselves to the reading of Scripture and its teachings. Look for opportunities that the church provides in assisting with godliness:  i.e. community groups, book studies, and life transformation groups. Most importantly, follow the example of Christ. There are many examples in the Word to follow but it was Christ that allowed the others to endure by faith. Training yourself in godliness holds value in the present life and the life to come.  It holds value in every way.  

-- Kennedy King

   C3 Deacon (and all around beardy man and good guy)



Sermon Reflection for 3 Dec 2017

With the season of advent comes the recollection of Christ’s coming, and Isaiah 42:1-9 sums up the coming of the Lord. Verses 1-4 describe who the Servant of the Lord is, and verses 5-9 reveal the mission of the Servant. Matthew quotes this passage in Matthew 12:15-21 immediately after the Pharisees begin to plot the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus, knowing that he was being plotted against, continued healing (v. 15) without quarrelling or calling out in the streets. Jesus’ aim was to bring justice (v. 20) and for the Gentiles to put their trust in Him (v. 21). 1 Peter 2:21-25 is a beautiful response to these passages. “When He was reviled, [He] did not revile in return… He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to our sins, might live for righteousness-- by whose stripes you were healed.”

Christ came and suffered greatly for your sake and mine. He laid aside His glory, He forfeited an earthly throne, and He became flesh and sacrificed a position of honor in Heaven. His Father gave His only Son. Mary and Joseph were rejected by their community and moved to Egypt because of the danger of bearing Immanuel. Jesus gave His life, and took it up again, so we may lose our lives, to take up His. During the advent season, it is essential to remember the loss associated with our livelihood. I want to live with the same sacrifice that Christ lived with-- the recklessness to be willing to lose my life for another, not to revile, call out, quarrel, or strike back, as is my tendency. Because of Christ, let us live for justice, that all nations may know Him, no matter the cost. The Lord refuses to give His glory to another, and is calling the nations away from their carved images and back to Him.

       “I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people,

        As a light to the Gentiles,

        To open blind eyes,

        To bring out prisoners from the prison.”

That should give our hearts every reason to rejoice

-- Danielle Kruckenberg

C3 College Student

consider the faithfulness of christ

  Community group REFLECTION FOR  19 Nov 2017

Hebrews has been on my mind all year. Ever since we as a church studied it last year and Spring of this, it’s been working on me. It also helps that I chose Hebrews as the book to go through in my children’s Bible study at my parents’ church back home.

But Hebrews 3 brought something to me I had not noticed before; something which has really hit home after it’s had some time to take root in my mind. Hebrews 3:1 transitions from the author's arguments for Jesus being above all else, the warning for neglecting that salvation found in Him, and the humanity of Christ to the faithfulness of Christ. But the author doesn’t tell us to think about Christ and His faithfulness, no; he asks us to consider it. “Consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him.” (Hebrews 3:1b-2a).

So, what’s the difference between thinking and considering? Thinking on something is pretty self-explanatory. Simple: we just think about it. To think about the faithfulness of Christ is good in and of itself, but we are asked to take it a step further. To consider something is to “take (something) into account when making an assessment or judgment.” This denotes two things for us: first, it tells us we are to be thinkers; we aren’t to speak without first taking thought about our words (Eccl. 5:2). Secondly, we are doers of the Word (James 1:22). Our carefully considered thoughts motivate us to act without being rash (1 Timothy 5:22).

I’ve been reading a book my friend Andrew Baker lent me: “You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit,” by James K.A. Smith. He tells us we are not simply, “brains on a stick.” Meaning, we aren’t primarily “thinking things.” The Christian life should not only be about redeeming our thoughts, but also our actions. I love reading and I love thinking, but I’m not always the biggest fan of considering; because considering means I must take action. But that is what you and I are called to do; people are condemned for inaction (James 2:16, 1 John 3:17).

Discipleship and the Christian life is not simply about transferring of knowledge from an older Christian to a younger. Knowing more about Scripture is a good thing, but it should drive us to action. When I am told to consider the faithfulness of Christ, that should affect me when tempted to sin. It should change my spending habits and how I spend my time. Considering Christ was faithful to death on a cross means I should think about the beauty and majesty of Christ and how he was humble to enter into the world as a human when I am asked to serve in the church, no matter how menial the task. If I am considering the faithfulness of Christ and all its implications, it will have a pride-killing, service-enabling affect on me.

Sweat teams, Crosstrainers, college ministry, helping with sound and set up, community groups, and LTG’s are a few things in the church body we can do to follow the command to think about and act on the faithfulness of Christ. There are plenty of ways to serve in the church and in the community around us. And so we are called to action, to serve in love.

Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

--Joseph Hamrick

  C3 Deacon


  Sermon Reflection For  29 Oct 2017

I remember that from a very young age I took to climbing the trees in our backyard. Higher and higher I would go, and when I stopped climbing, I would look down and yell, “Daddy, Daddy, look at me!” I would yell and yell until my Dad looked around in a moment of panic and then quickly up at me in the branches. A grin would spread over his face and he would say, “Good job, linda!” Linda is Italian for beautiful - he has always called me that. I loved to climb, but I loved the exhilarating thrill of approval from my Daddy the best.

My walk with the Lord has been a lot like that. I love the Lord with all of my soul, heart, and mind, and so, there is nothing that makes me happier than causing Him to smile. My Pastor’s preaching this morning shook me to my core, though, because I realized that I don’t fully understand God’s grace. Galatians 2:16 says, “ ...we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. ” Did you catch that? No one, NO ONE, will be justified by good works. I’m a Paralegal Studies student, so I know very well what justification means. It means that the scales have been evened, the ledger has been cleared, and the sentence has been lifted.  My walk with Christ has often mirrored my tree-climbing days. I have worked with my own strength, turned around and said, “Jesus, look at me! You must think well of me now!”

But that is not Christianity. In fact, what sets Christianity apart is that there is no ladder of religiosity to climb. There is simply a cross on Calvary and an empty grave. And, friends, if we somehow think that we did anything to gain our salvation, we dishonor the death of Christ. He died to show us that there was nothing we could do - no sacrifice we could give, no job to pursue, no arrangement of words, no social status - that could put us in right standing with God. It is the scandal of His death that allows us to stand justified and righteous before the throne of God. Yes, faith without works is dead, but those works should come from the overflow of a changed heart that understands that those works are done in love for Christ. They should not - and indeed, cannot - be done to save ourselves. And that is the way of faith: setting our ladders aside and trusting in His death on our behalf. I remember one time, when I was seven-years-old, I climbed too high in my favorite sycamore tree. When I got to the top and looked down, I was horrified. My palms began to sweat and my head was spinning. After a few minutes in denial, I started yelling, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, come help me!” I vividly remember my family running out of the house, my Daddy calmly climbing up each branch, taking me by the waist, and guiding me down. I remember the tears on my face because it was cold outside. I had nothing to be proud of that day, but my Daddy still loved me.

And that is my prayer. I pray that I would not simply be convicted after hearing a good sermon on Reformation Sunday, but I am praying that the Lord would break my ladders in order that I might see Him for Who He really is. He is the God of rescues. I don’t want to keep doing good things because it puffs up my ego or makes me believe that God loves me more. Just as my Dad’s love for me was not dependant upon how high I climbed in that sycamore tree, my Jesus’ love is far more radical and unshakeable. And that, my friends, is good news!

-- Elsa Castro

   C3 College Student

MAKING pathways Straight

Sermon Reflection for  8 Oct 2017

Our teaching elder, David Ferguson spoke on 2 Timothy 3:13-17. Paul knew he was about to die, so this letter can be seen as a sort of last will and testament. It gives the letter a greater weight because he is emphasizing the most important things he has been preaching about. This part of the letter emphasizes the importance of the scriptures. He gives us five things that the Bible does for us.

1. It makes us wise for salvation. The scriptures are the power of God for salvation.

2. It has the power to teach. It is breathed out by God and is useful for every situation we will encounter in life.

3. It is helpful for reproof. It is the truth spoken in love. The Holy Spirit convicts us through the Word and reassures us that God can put our lives together again.

4. It is good for correction. We are bent and misshapen. The Word of God changes your heart and mind, and picks you up and puts you on your feet again.

5. It trains us in righteousness. It helps us move from immaturity to adulthood. It convicts us. The more I read the Bible, the more I become what God wants me to be.

In an age when words are so plentiful all around us, it is amazing to think that words written two thousand years ago are still the ones that matter most. They are the ones by which all other words should be judged. The Bible is the ultimate fact checker. Everything you read and hear should be judged by the Word of God. Make that the main thing you read each day. It will help make sense of all the other noise that competes for your attention. And it will make the path you should follow plain as you navigate the verbiage-littered roadways of your life.

--David Canzoneri

   C3 Deacon 


Sermon Reflection for 24 Sept 2017

David’s sermon over Romans 6:1-7 reminded me of the vastness of God’s grace, and the reminder that once we are saved by His grace we are called to walk in newness of life. We are saved by God’s Grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), and we are also called to strive for holiness, because without it we will not see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). The two almost seem a contradiction to me at times. If God’s grace indeed is so great and vast, then why is there a need to become more like Christ? Or, if there is such an emphasis on personal holiness, can I do enough to merit God’s grace?

A temptation for me is to use God’s grace as an excuse to entertain a peace treaty in my war on sin, to compromise and to give in. But what makes God’s grace and love so amazing is He not only took away my sin, he is also making me more like Christ. That is why Paul, the same man who wrote Philippians 2:12-13, can say emphatically, “By no means!” By no means can we who have been saved, whom God is actively working in us both to will and to work for His good pleasure, continue in rebellion against God. I will still struggle, I will still fall, I will still sin in this life, but the power of sin is death and I’ve already died. What more can it do to me? In Christ’s death I died, and in Christ’s life I now live.

--Joseph Hamrick

   C3 Deacon

an Every day Church

Sermon Reflection for 10 Sept 2017

Acts describes for us the time immediately after Jesus has ascended into Heaven and metaphorically handed over the reins of the church to his followers. No longer was Jesus physically among his disciples, and the time had come for them to go out and spread the gospel. The church as we know it today comes into shape during this time. The manner that the apostles and all who followed them lived their daily lives illustrates what a local fellowship should look like and what it can accomplish. There was no distinction between their normal dinner time and the Lord’s Supper that we practice today. Everything that was done was done in remembrance of Jesus. The idea of a polarity between church activities and “normal, everyday routine” was nonexistent. Church was every day; it was routine and it was normal to them. 

It’s clear here how Jesus wants us to apply this to our lives, individually and as a fellowship. When we leave Sunday sermon, we aren’t leaving the church. Our lives are the church, and we become fishers of men by showing the church to everyone who sees and speaks to us. In doing so, the Lord adds to the church’s numbers those who are saved, the same way He did for the young church of the Apostles. There is a virtue in having the church be a “normal” part of everyday life, because for a Christian, the wondrous nature of God is an everyday experience.

Joey Wolf

College Student - TAMU-C

Visitor at Commerce Community Church

Trusting in the superior satisfaction

I really like stories. I can't get enough of heroic deeds, bravery, and camaraderie. Especially when they teach something deeply true about the Christian walk.

In Greek Mythology, sirens were beautiful creatures who would seduce sailors with their beauty and singing as they sailed close to shore. When a sailor was entranced by them, the sirens would dash the unsuspecting sailor upon the rocks and eat them. This is a great representation of what sin is; disguised as beauty, promising all your desires fulfilled, only to kill and eat you when you give in to what it offers.

There are two stores in Greek Mythology that I think in particular reveal two ways Christians fight temptations to sin. In both stories, sirens represent temptation to sin.

The first story involved Odysseus. In it both he and his men must sail past the island where the sirens dwell. As they near the island, Odysseus has his men fill their ears with wax so they could not hear the tempting call of the sirens from the shore.

But Odysseus was also curious to hear how beautiful their singing was. So to protect himself from jumping ship when he heard them, he had his men bind him to the mast of the ship and ordered them to never loose him, no matter how much he begged and pleaded.

And so they sailed past, the sailors never hearing the call, nor anything else. And Odysseus, although entranced by their call and begging and pleading for them to release him, never broke free of the ropes to die by the sirens' hands.

We read that and we think, "What a great way to employ ourselves so we do not fall into temptation." Close our ears to everything and bind ourselves so we do not run after sin. But on second thought, it sounds much like the asceticism Paul warned against in Colossians 2:18.

I think there is a better way.

In the story of Jason and the Argonauts, Jason must also pass through where the sirens dwell. But instead of following Odysseus' example, Jason employs the musical talents of Orpheus, who played the lyre with more beauty than any other. So, while sailing past the island, they do not give in to the sirens' call because their ears are already filled with a more beautiful sound. This, I will attempt to explain, is the biblical way.

Odysseus has his men fight temptation by removing their ears from all sounds. They do not fall prey because their ears can hear nothing good or bad. However, Jason, has his men's ears filled with a superior beauty.

We are not called to walk through this world with ears deaf to any call, but to fix our eyes upon Jesus (Hebrews 2:12) because He is our supreme joy (Psalm 16:11) and our life (John 1:4).

In Ephesians 3:14-19, Paul gives an outline of what God does in us in order that we are "filled with all the fullness of God." When temptations come, the Lord means for us to be so filled with Christ that we see sin for the ugliness and separation from God it is, and Christ for who He is. So we can say with the hymnist that, "the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."

There are two more points to take note of quickly. First, that Jason was not alone in listening to the beautiful music. We are called to glorify Christ with a community of believers as we proclaim to one another the riches of God's glory in Christ. Second, Jason trusted that Orpheus's playing was of more beauty than the sirens' song.

Just as Jason trusted that the beauty of Orpheus's lyre was more than the beauty of the sirens' song, so we know and trust that the treasures of Christ (Colossians 2:3) are of more beauty and value than any passing temptations that come our way.

So as Christians we can wholeheartedly echo Paul when writing in the final chapter of his second letter to Timothy that, no matter what trials and temptations we face, "The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His heavenly Kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen."

Joseph Hamrick

March 30th, 2017

Why we covenant

What does it mean to covenant with someone? We don't often hear that term in our everyday living. Sure, we see it when we read the Bible, or in our history classes at times, but if one of your friends came up to you and asked if you'd "covenant" together with them on something, naturally you'd back away slowly and rethink your friend-making decisions that led you to this point.

In Scripture, a covenant meant "an agreement that brings about a relationship of commitment between God and his people." In a local body it's an agreement; a pledge to your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to love and serve them, to help build them up as they build you up in Christ.

I usually get wary when asked to sign a commitment. I remember when purchasing my first car, the feeling of uneasiness and lack of sleep I had when dwelling on the amount of time and money I was about to sign away to credit union.

But this is what Commerce Community Church asks of its members on a yearly basis: "Will you covenant together to live for the glory of Jesus Christ, and to treasure Him above all things before a watching world?" Before a watching world. In the mundane daily schedule of our lives at school, work, play, shopping, or even zumba, we reflect God's character (imperfectly) in a way that causes others to ask about the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15).

"Will you covenant together to live as God's children in daily obedience to His Word by the power of the Spirit...through regular Bible reading, prayer, fellowship, and the practice of spiritual disciplines?"

Will you read the Bible?

Not life in a book-club or a book report kind of way. But we covenant to read God's Word, study God's Word, and live out what God's Word has for us and the promises God has made to us.

Will you pray?

Will you covenant not to only pray during meals or that yearly time you're called on to pray during the holidays with friends and family; but will you covenant to commune with the God who created you? Will you covenant to bring your petitions, your joys, your heartaches, your insecurities, and your praises before a God who not only hears, but also responds in love?

Will you fellowship with the local body?

Basically, will you be friends with us? Some of us are cool, others are not. Some are rich, some are poor. Some are old while others are young. Some are black, some are white, some are Asian, and some are Hispanic." We are a diverse body of believers. We're not always going to see eye to eye on everything. There's going to be differences and disagreements. But we are still all one body, and we are united in Christ. And that's what truly matters, to covenant together with people otherwise we might never cross paths with, and to love each other in a manner that shows the world that the love we share for Christ, and the unity we have in Him, overcomes any and all political, socioeconomic, or racial barriers the world puts up.

Will you grow in your love for Christ?

Will you take what you learned Sunday at corporate worship and at community group and put it into practice? We covenant to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that it is God who works in us to will and to work for His good pleasure. We covenant to sharpen one another with God's Word, through the help of the Holy Spirit, who pierces to our innermost beings and reveals where we need change. We covenant to encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, to love God more and more.

Covenants can be scary. But this one doesn't have to be. When you know that your pastors and deacons love you and want to see you grow in Christ, and your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are making the same covenant, it's not scary. On the contrary, it's a pleasure.

To another year, Lord-willing.

God bless.

Joseph Hamrick

March 2nd, 2017