I know these posts are pretty heavy for a merry, happy Christmas season. But, this is just where I am right now. After 8 years of serving as the Minister of Sacrament and Word, Louis won’t be behind the pulpit at Third Church Petersburg every Sunday. This 98 year-old church is closing effective 12.31.2011. A year ago, my job ended. We have really been seeking what God has for us. In this search, I think He is revealing to all of us….He has so much more! He is going to birth something new!
In yesterday’s post, Incarnation, I wrote about why Jesus was sent to Earth….
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Moving ahead about 30 years, Jesus appears to his disciples after He has risen from the dead. This is what He says to them…
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Moving ahead about 2000 years…if we call ourselves Jesus’s disciples, then this is for us as well, right? As the Father sends Jesus, He now sends YOU and ME…filled with His Spirit…to PROCLAIM freedom for those held in bondage of all kinds, to PROCLAIM recovery for those who are sick, and PROCLAIM the Lord’s favor. It is not good enough to simply feed the homeless, clothe the naked, or care for the widows and orphans, although that is all WONDERFUL stuff! Please don’t get me wrong. But, we, if we call ourselves Jesus’s followers, also need to be sure to PROCLAIM the name of Jesus while we care for the poor, widows, prisoners, sick, etc.
According to some recent studies, 83% of Americans call themselves Christians, or Jesus Followers. If that is the case, then why do we still have racism and prejudices? Why still starving people? Why are there still places in our country and our world without running water? Why are there so many injustices?
The following picture was found all over Facebook, but I think it really speaks to this topic. I’m not casting stones here. Louis and I continue to challenge ourselves on a regular basis. It’s not easy, and we have a long way to go. As we celebrate Christmas tomorrow, the First Coming of Jesus, let’s also challenge ourselves to work toward reconciliation with God and each other AND to bring the end of suffering, hunger, prejudice, thirst, injustice, and pain. Let’s be about the Mission the “Sent One” sent us on!
…your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Ok. After reading the last post “it’s a dangerous thing to let Jesus use your boat.” Bob Lupton, you may be wondering…what is my boat? I don’t have a boat. YES, you do!!!
Let me share with you a story that happened just this week that demonstrates Jesus using boats right before our eyes! We have been praying for a computer that the kids and community could use. Miss Marti’s Kids don’t always have access to a computer/internet to use for school projects, homework and research. In addition, there isn’t readily available access to computer/internet to look for and apply for jobs.
This week, Michael Fletcher and his family used their “boat” called resources and willingly donated their family’s used Dell Laptop (following an upgrade to a new computer) to Miss Marti’s House!!! I was THRILLED! But, it came with a slight problem. It wouldn’t charge. Thanks be to God! And thanks to the Fletchers for being willing to let Jesus use their boat called Resources!
Well, those of you who know me…know that I am NOT very tech savvy. I know how to use a computer just fine, but don’t ask me HOW or WHAT makes it work! That…I have no clue. Enter…Mario Garza, a new member to our Missional Community. Mario and his brother Fernando took the computer home to see if they could diagnose the problem. Mario contacted me today and let me know the solution was simple. It needed a new power cord. So, one has been ordered and upon arrival, Mario will not only ensure it is up and running, but is also going to scrub it and download fresh anti-virus protection (which will be MUCH needed!!!) and Windows XP, etc. Thanks be to God and the Garzo’s for allowing Jesus to use their boats called Knowledge and Time!
So I ask again…What’s your boat called? ALL of us have something to offer. Are you using yours to bring glory to God? Are you fishing for men? To carry this analogy possibly too far…when we let Jesus use our boats…our nets are HEAVY with fish. When we try to do it on our own…we bring in empty nets. When we aren’t doing a thing…the boat’s just rottin’ at the dock and needs a little work.
If you don’t know what your “boat” is, I pray the Holy Spirit will be your lighthouse and guide you through the fog to safe landing at the feet of Jesus. We often look for the “big mission” or “God’s will” for our lives. Well, what about God’s will for today or this minute…this hour? God has a will for every moment of our life. Are you in God’s will right now as you read this? I dare say yes. You were meant to read this at this very moment. As we pray like Jesus taught us….Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. So, what will you do now? Will you let Jesus use your boat to do His will on Earth?