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Community Fellowship

John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Joe Novenson on Working through a Text in Community

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Joe-Novenson-300x300.jpgIt was hard to decide on a title for this episode because there are two compelling parts to it—one, developing teaching in community, and two, ministering to aging adults. What Joe Novenson, pastor to older adults at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, had to say on both topics was equally profound and helpful.

At Novenson’s church, the sermon is prepared in community. More than one pastor does the exegetical work, which is then discussed and refined in a group setting. Anyone who prepares Bible teaching would recognize humility on the part of the teacher or preacher that this would require. After years of this practice, Novenson can’t imagine presenting the Word without going through this process.

As we continued our conversation into talking about his ministry to older adults, it was as if a fire inside him fanned into flame. His insights on sharing life and Christ with those nearing the end of life are applicable to ministry to people at any age. In addition, Joe’s transparency about his lifelong struggle with anxiety and depression will be an encouragement to anyone who battles these things in the midst of ministry.

You can listen to our conversation here.

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