Friday, July 15, 2011
Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said, "People of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!"
Last Sunday, Pastor Wallace continued our five-week sermon series based on The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations by Robert Schnase with his sermon "Risk-Taking Mission and Service". As our associate pastor, Emily, was at that very moment on a mission trip to Nicaragua, Wallace's message really hit home with me. She would be training, during this time, on how to lead mission trips, help to construct a home, and teach Vacation Bible School, all without previous experience in missions, barely able to distinguish between a hammer and a screwdriver, and not knowing a lick of Spanish. She had every right to feel fearful and inadequate, two emotions that Wallace explained hinder us from taking risks in mission and service, but she chose to have faith, the antithesis of fear, and trust that God would use what gifts she has in a mighty way.
In today's reading, Paul has traveled to Antioch and is speaking in the synagogue about the good news of Jesus Christ. It is the first of many missions upon which he will embark, each time risking the loss of life and liberty. His deep faith and conviction that the Lord has called him to this service places any trepidation or misgivings he could entertain on the back burner. Indeed, it's risky business, but he has donned the full armor of God and is committed to spreading the gospel of salvation and redemption to the ends of the earth.
How about you? Where has God or is God calling you to step out of your comfort zone and embrace the world in a new way for him? Can you make that leap of faith? Can you trust Him enough to know H will see you through? Yes, working to spread God's Kingdom through mission and service can be a risky business, but the rewards far outweigh any risk you could take.
Psalms 31 or 35
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