April 30, 2017 – Membership to Discipleship Week 2 – Service

Matthew 25:31-45

        I promised you this would be a very short devotional because I believe the rest of our time together will involve putting our faith into action.  We continue our discussion based on this study Membership to Discipleship by Phil Maynard.  We are evaluating the promises we make when we join the church and today we are looking at the tangible actions of service.  A life of service – what does that look like?  We are taking a close look at our focus – what is our driving force that guides our actions?

When we look at the area of service, serving God while serving others, I have often heard some folks literally break out the scale of justice. Am I doing just enough good works in order to make it into heaven? We hope the good outweighs the bad so we can squeak our way in.  If that is our driving force – our focus – then we have probably missed the point.  Promising to support the body of Christ, the church, in this way can be a challenge. Maybe we feel it’s an obligation.

Yet Jesus’ teaching to love our neighbors is born out of a love and gratitude for the incredible love He already bestowed on us.  Jesus’ teachings lead us to envision a world without hatred or fear or sorrow or pain.  Jesus’ teachings called forth a bold imagination – and his life invited the same:

  • Imagine a world where the blind receive sight; where the lame walk; and where the oppressed are set free…

 

  • Imagine a world where prostitutes and thieves are at home in the presence of the Holy One…

 

  • Imagine a world where those on the outside are truly at the center of all the action, and God’s welcome is extended to the least, the last, and the lost!”

 

Can we do that?  Can we imagine a better world for ourselves and our children?  Can we help change the world in small ways, not out of a sense of obligation but a sense of gratitude for God’s amazing, limitless, unconditional love for us? Can we reach out to those in need and show them God’s love through our actions of feeding the hungry, visiting the lonely, and providing options for our youth?  Can we as the church live out the ideals laid in front of us by our Lord Jesus Christ?  Can we be good stewards of our service?

We all come from different backgrounds and different experiences.  Some have had extremely difficult upbringings, facing challenges others cannot even fathom. Some have had what others see as an easy life, seemingly free of trials and troubles – where everything looks perfect ‘on the outside.’ Some of us have made some serious mistakes that we regret. But all of us are gathered here together in this place as part of the blessed family of God. We all share a servant leader, Jesus Christ who has extended a love to us that we can only imagine. When we accept that love for ourselves, we are truly blessed. We serve others in response to God’s love because we know without a doubt that we could never earn God’s amazing love. It is offered to anyone without price or condition. Our focus has changed, the blinders are off, and we find honor and glory in God through service to others.  Let us be the church – not these 4 walls but the ones who take a stand for the least of these. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessing of the Bikers Service

Deuteronomy 31:6-8               New International Version (NIV)

 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified …, for the Lord your God goes with you; [God] will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; [God] will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Thoughts:

  • My experience on a motorcycle – rode with my husband
  • Notice the brother/sisterhood of bikers
    • Look out for one another
    • The wave across 4-lane highways
    • Seeing those whom many do not
  • BACA – caring for those who are most vulnerable
    • This is your ministry and we support you
    • All of you take the time to see and support one another – emulating Jesus and his care for the outsiders
  • Saying – “Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly”
    • Explain angel magnets and blessing anointing
    • Bless each biker

Prayer for bikers: “Holy and most Gracious God I thank you for all here today who hear and adhere to the call of the open road. We know their path is often dangerous yet you have instilled a joy in them as they face these dangers with courage. Keep them safe, keep them whole, keep them focused as they enjoy the natural world you have set before us.  Help each of these riders to see and feel your presence with them through everyone they meet, all they experience, and the assurance that you will never leave or abandon them, both on and off the road.  In your holy name we pray. Amen.

Irish Blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face.

May the rain fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again, may God hold you safe in the palm of God’s hand.

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