A Minister’s Job

Over the past month or so we’ve been talking about how we are all ministers.  I hope you’re convinced by now, that you – every one of you – is included in that call. But – to do what?  What is a minister’s purpose? In today’s Scripture, Jesus explains that purpose.  Just before he leaves them for the very last time, he says: “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8). Ministers witness to Jesus Christ.  They know something about Jesus and tell others about it.  They invite others to come and see for themselves.  This call to be Jesus’ witnesses is mandatory, and it is huge in scope.  There’s no corner of the world that God doesn’t care about.  God wants everyone to know about the grace and forgiveness and new life made possible through Jesus Christ. I don’t know about you – but that’s a completely overwhelming task.  It feels out of my league – like someone saying, “Cook a five-course gourmet meal,” or, “Paint a ceiling like the Sistine Chapel.”  Thankfully we don’t do this alone.  Remember?  We’re a part of the body of Christ.  We are all required to be witnesses, but we are all witnesses together. Today in church we got to hear from one group who takes this mandatory and huge commission seriously.  A local representative of Gideons International...

…with the Holy Spirit

Acts 2:36-42 Over the past few weeks we’ve talked about how we are called to be in ministry. All: We are *all* called – made worthy to serve through Jesus Christ. Differently: We are all made different to compliment each other, like a body made of different parts. Together: We are designed to work together, to be united. We are ALL called, as DIFFERENT as we are, to be in ministry TOGETHER. Once we understand that, it might take some prayer and thought to figure out exactly what we’re called to do.  We used three surveys to help with that, centered around three questions: What are you passionate about? What are you good at? What are your spiritual gifts? Once you’ve reflected on those questions, you may start to hear God’s call.  Maybe it’s to some logical next step:  “I’ve been thinking about volunteering with the youth for a long time.  I think it’s time to admit it.”  Or maybe it’s to some grand idea that scares you:  “I keep worrying about the drug problem, and I think God might be calling me to help provide an after-school middle-school program that supervises kids at a vulnerable age.”  Whether it’s a small thing or a gimongous thing, your next good question might be: How?  How can I answer this call?  How can we answer this call? Today gives you the answer.  You’ve heard it read in the Scripture.  You’ve seen it in the red clothes reminding us of the red flames.  You’ve felt it in the wind blowing.  It’s the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit that showed up on Pentecost...

All Together Differently

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). 7 times in 3 verses, the nature of our Christian faith is emphasized:  one, one, one, one, one, one, one.  Later in this passage, Ephesians builds on the body of Christ image by saying we are “joined and knit together.”  In the same way that muscles and nerves and tendons hold our bodies together, we are connected.  We are one. But we are also separate and different.  We look different and act different; we think differently and feel differently.  We speak different languages, literally and figuratively.  We are good at different things and bad at different things. We are one, but we are different. That’s a pretty tricky arrangement.  It means we compliment each other… but also get on each other’s nerves.  It means we can do more together than we could apart… but also that we might have very different opinions on what it is we should do. If you’re a part of a church, I bet you’ve felt this already.  You might have had a new idea discouraged (or even dismissed).  You might feel unsure about how you fit in (if at all).  You may find some folks difficult to get along with (let alone work with). Yep.  That’s real.  But you know what’s also real? One body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God. So...