God's people are the hope of the world.
He calls us to do good, to work for justice, to help the down and out, to step up for the homeless, to go to bat for the defenseless.
He calls us to be a church family that gets messy by serving people.
What prevents us from being the hope of the world? What causes us not to get messy by getting involved in peoples' lives? Isn't it easier to go to church and to Bible study? Isn't it easier to do anything but get involved?
God confronts His people in Isaiah 1 where His people stopped getting messy serving the world and their community. They were focused on building their own kingdoms not God's Kingdom.
Isa 1:25-26 "I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities. I will restore your leaders as in days of old, your rulers as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City."
This transformation process is not for the soft hearted nor the weak minded. This is painful. It is easier to try and skip this real discipleship process. It is easy to focus on any other way of connecting with God. But, God waits for us to let Him show us our dross. To be with us in His melting pot of discipleship. To let Him remove the sin, selfishness, pride, arrogance, self-righteousness, thinking we can do life on our own, whatever Jesus points out to us. Ouch...
We need to go through this.
God dreams of the day when His people continually let God do this "drossing" process on us regularly so that He can create "The City of Righteousness."
"The City of Righteousness" are the people of God who do the right thing for the community. The people who learn to do good, to work for justice, to help the down and out, to step up for the homeless, to go to bat for the defenseless. The people who get messy with their Fab 5, the 1,000 homes around Southtown, the people in their small group and Sunday School class and anyone whom God puts in front of them. The people who are the hope of the world. God's people whom He calls "The City of Righteousness."
Let's do Isaiah chapter one together. Let's let God transform us. Let's continue to become His City of Righteousness.
1 Peter 4:10, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms."
Church is not a place to attend. It is not a place to sit and watch. It is not a place to be on the sidelines or in the stands.
Church is a team sport. We all have a position on the team. We all need to be out in the field using our gifts to enhance God's team. We all need to be playing together to honor God and change the world.
As we are in the midst of re-bolstering each ministry team, we all need each other. No matter your age (young or old), no matter your experience, no matter your expertise we need you.
It's similar to taking turns doing the laundry, dishes, taking out the garbage, or making a meal. Let's all own our responsibilities and create a beautiful bride of Jesus. Let's discover the joy of serving with each other as brothers and sisters in God's church.
It is my prayer that we all would join together...
During my devotions, (one-on-one time with Jesus, sitting at Jesus' feet, being with my best friend, honoring the King of Kings), I was captured by the meal where Jesus was anointed with oil for His death, burial and resurrection.
Can you imagine the scene?
Martha preparing, cooking, serving and cleaning up a banquet fit for a King.
Lazarus sitting next to Jesus, out of shear joy and gratitude that Jesus raised him from the dead. Think of the stories he had about his death and resurrection experience. I wonder what his book would have been filled with as it would have become a NY Times Best Seller.
Simon, the leper, sitting next to Jesus willing to do anything for him as he was healed from his disease. How long did Simon's family experience a split home, a single parent family, a fatherless home? I wonder what dysfunctional issues had set in that Simon discovered after being healed and reunited with his family?
Can you see these two men whose lives had been deeply impacted by Jesus sitting on either side of Jesus? Two manly men totally committed to this man Jesus.
Judas... Possibly eating quickly. Demanding his meal to be reheated. Dreaming of the authority he would receive when Jesus takes over the government. Dreaming of the home and benefits he would receive after the Messiah takes over. Power. Greed. Positions of authority.
Mary, after months of thinking, brainstorming how she can show her love for her Savior, pours her most precious item she owns on Jesus to anoint Him. This act of pure love fills the house with an unforgettable aroma.
Can you see this scene in your minds? Pause long enough to see this dinner party.
The sudden interruption - Judas, objected, "Why wasn't this sold and the money given to the poor?!"
What were his real motives behind this objection?
A gift! - Mary's love.
An argument! - Judas' objection.
What a night Jesus must have experienced....
What a memorable experience for each dinner guest and host....
How many times has Jesus experienced this through the history of the world....
People coming and bringing a gift to Jesus and at the same time bringing an argument to Jesus.
How often have I brought Jesus a gift and an argument?
How often have you brought Jesus a gift and an argument?
Paul articulates this inner soul battle with asking the question, why do I do what I do not want to do and don't do what I want to do.
James describes it with the use of the tongue; our tongue has the power to praise and curse at the same time.
What gifts are you bringing to Jesus? How are you intentionally thinking and planning like Mary did on how you can demonstrate your love for Jesus?
What arguments well up out of your soul, (old nature) that prevent you from fully teaming up with Jesus? What objections do you shove out of your mind that cause you to just go through the motions of being a Christian while you still seek to build you own kingdom?
A gift and an argument!
Overwhelmed by the presence of Jesus and His experience at this dinner party.
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.