Devotional and Discussion Thought of the Day:
2 People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the LORD’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. Micah 4:2 (NLT)
“A few places in the world are held to be holy, because of the love which consecrates them, and of the faith that enshrines them. One such is….” Celtic Prayer Book, Reading for 8/11)
For the last couple of months, I have been praying about my congregations, the church that gathers here in Cerritos.
As a entity, there are necessary complications to ministry. How do we deal with an aging facility, how do we accomplish evangelistic outreach and meet the needs of people in our community. How do we make disciples of all peoples – of those young and old, of the stranger, of our own people. How do we effectively use all the talents God gives us. Big questions for sure, and we are working through them as a people.
But the biggest answer for my dream for our church is seen, not in our future plans, but in the green words above.
It doesn’t matter if we have a sanctuary that sits 500. Or if we have a school. Or even if there are 50000 people that attend our services and watch them on television, hear them on radio or live-feed them from the internet.
What matters to me is that where Concordia meets, becomes known as a place of holiness, a place where the love of God is known, a place where people’s trust in God’s faithfulness sees them through their lives. Where people are devoted to God, where His vision compels them to act in others lives, bringing that holiness there. What disciples become crafted, not just through intellectual stimuli, but by worship, by adoring God, by the thoughts about His love.
I think that was what the prophet Micah is referring to, the ways we are taught by God, to walk His way, That is the change that God’s word makes in our lives, it opens up a relationship defined by words like cHesed, agape, phileo, charis… love, mercy, grace.
If the people of Concordia (or your church, or any church) grow in these things, then we have succeeded as a church. We are a place where disciples are made, where God’s ways are treasured, where people live the life of those cleansed by God, and are immersed in His life. Where they are sure He will be with them, even until the end of the earth!
Devotional Thought of the Day:
It was about two years ago, as his mom did the Old Testament and Epistle readings of the day. As she returned to her seat, he asked, since he was reading already, if he could read God’s word to the God’s people. “Someday you will do it, when you are older,” replied his father, who happened to be the pastor. To be honest I was thinking during confirmation a decade away…. I would have never expected two years. Even for William that would be something incredible. Yet, yesterday, with more seriousness than I have ever seen, he got up, walked over, bowed, stepped up onto a step, and read a passage from Isaiah clearly, and with incredible skill – especially for a 5 year old.
I was proud of him on many levels, especially as I heard the reaction of our church, and heard how he ministered to them. He was nervous, and did it anyway. Although he originally wanted his mom to stand by him, he decided he wanted to do this, for God, all by himself. When I realized my wife video’d it, sending it to a few family members seemed like a nice idea, as we figured they would be proud of him. His dream was fulfilled and he did it well and seriously.
As I look over the comments this morning that people have made about it. I wonder how often we give up on that which God has called us to do. Maybe it’s reading His word in public, ( I have a number of eloquent people who are very afraid of doing that! ) Or maybe it is talking to people about why you have hope? Maybe it is studying to become a deacon, or a pastor, or going on a mission field to some remote land, or the inner city a few miles down the road. Or maybe it is the most challenging thing (in my opinion), going to someone you’ve hurt, or been hurt by, and with great love, attempting to restore the relationship that was broken. Perhaps it is simply living, where you are at, working among the same people, in the same vocation, but striving to do so in a way that glorifies God.
It may be titled a dream, or a calling, it may scare the heck out of you, it may seem impossible.
Ever see a five year old read 4 syllable words to a church filled with people?
Yeah – if God can help William achieve something he talked about for weeks a few years back, and still brought up – even two weeks ago… He’ll be with you…..
BTW – here is William’s video: