LIVING IN FULLNESS WITH GOD
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.11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 1:10-12
So we come to today with excitement and anticipation. I have heard my whole ministerial life that we should not have expectations for the church the week after Easter. And I just want to let anyone that reads this blog that that statement rocks the core of my soul. YES... we should have expectations for the opportunities the Church can do following the power of a Risen Savior. Sorry, I know that I may offend some of us today, but I need you to hear my heart when I say that we don't get a break just because last week was Easter. Did you know that the last time that Easter was on April 8th was in 2007. But did you also know that the next time that we will celebrate Easter on April 8th will be the year 2091. Seems kinda crazy, but I need this one point to sink in. If we only celebrated Easter on a certain date of a certain day, it would be 84 years in between celebrating Easter. And I know you are saying that Jason you are really going out on a limb, but am I really? If that statistic held true, it means that many of us would only be able to celebrate Easter once or twice in our lift times... How much more valuable would it make Easter to us if we knew that we would only be able to celebrate it on one day for our entire life. How much more would we prepare and look forward to making that day the best day that it could be in our lives? I say that because I really hope and pray that this Sunday is just as valuable as last. That today we continue to serve and worship a Risen Savior with the fullness of God overflowing out of our lives as a testimony to the World.
I really do have to admit something today. I have also been caught up in this loop of every year accepting that the Sunday after Easter is the lowest attended and we just need to accept it. But I have more faith and belief that God is ready to change the hearts and minds of His people. I believe that we actually can break the cycle and change the mindset of the Church to once again make God relevant EVERY SUNDAY. We have allowed ourselves to fall into the trap and I have not been called to worship the Risen Savior and then put Him back
into a box until Christmas. Please hear me, I am not upset with any of you... I am upset with
me honestly allowing satan to come in and cause us to settle for mediocrity. God has given us all too much passion and desire to allow that to be our mantra. We should be rejuvenated and empowered to recognize that God has been walking with us through this time of pandemic and challenging us to truly grasp the power of His Word. Church, we need to be ready for even more people to show us this week in expectation of what they have heard and experienced over the last 14 months. While we have this chance, we should be continuing to invite and wrap our schedules first around God's needs and then our own. I am a culprit of that as well. I know that there are days that I just want to fade out and just be normal, but as I have said before, that is not the calling that I have accepted from God. I have been called and commissioned to go and make disciples for the transformation of the world, and that is what I remind myself of every single day. It may be in the student ministry, in the pulpit, on the street corner or at the beside of someone who has lost or is losing a loved one. It may be with a complete stranger or even the need to be reminding the person I see in the mirror and those in my home. I just pray that I will not just call it in and allow my passion to fall by the wayside because I have accepted a reality from the world that is not of God.
As we look at the words from 1 Peter 1, we see that Peter is reiterating the challenge from Jesus after the resurrection to recognize our call to love the Lord. Peter has seen and experienced first hand the amazing love and grace of Jesus. First through Jesus' forgiveness of his failures and second through the example of Thomas disbelief until he was able to touch the scars of Jesus. Peter was like most of us... just waiting to see what was going to happen next. Just like the disciples they were waiting in the Upper Room until Jesus walked into the room and reminded them of the HOPE that they carried. And on the day of Pentecost they never looked back. When the Holy Spirit stepped into their lives and they became a vessel for God, the power of God's Word never stopped flowing and there was not a week that they took off with expectation that it was going to be a down day. I love that Peter is calling us to recognize the gifts, talents and abilities that God has given to us. It reminds me of sitting around and talking to some people about their calling and struggling because they could not quit their jobs and do what I do. My response... You don't have to quit your job to do what I do. You are to profess the Gospel where you are and live it out as a overflow of what God has transformed within you. God needs pastors and ministers yes.. but God also needs, teachers, doctors, attorneys, nurses, missionaries, care-takers, cooks, maids, fast food workers, homeless shelters, welders, etc... God needs people in EVERY area of life in order that the Gospel can be told and disciples can be equipped. Remember the reason for the church is to equip disciples, celebrate sinners brought back to life, help fill the needs of the needy and worship in community the Risen Savior. We are not meant to be the ONLY place that Christ lives and is taught. Remember, Peter says that we are to use whatever gifts and talents we have to be good stewards of God's grace. That is HUGE in understanding that Easter is not just one day, but that the message of Easter spills out through us to every person that we meet wherever we are.
So I know that this is a little long today, but I just need us all to recognize where we are in this journey for God's Kingdom. I am not saying that we are not to enjoy life, time off, vacations, sports, and our families. I am not saying that there are not days that we can step back and be poured into and not just pour out. I am not saying that we can change things
overnight.. BUT what I am saying is that we have to start somewhere and why can it not be with changing the mentality of Sunday? Why can we not see it as the precious and holy day of worship and connection that God has given us to pray and spur each other on. Why can we not just step into the world and say we are no longer going to accept that this week is going to be a low week, but hold a higher expectation for the people of God. I know I may be on a tangent today, and students I am praying that you hear me when I say it today. You can change the cycle. You can truly grow in your faith to desire more from the church and continue to encourage us and spur us on when we just want to call it in. God does deserve our best and I am sorry if I ever failed to comply with following through with my call to be an example for Christ. I am still praying for expectancy. I am still praying for people that are hurting and in need of God to show up and the room not being able to contain them. I am praying for hearts and minds to be changed and for the overflowing of the Holy Spirit to come on us as if it were Pentecost again. What would the world really look like if we were able to experience that in all of its fullness. God thank you for the privilege to be called into your service. Help me to use everything I have, until my last breath, to glorify You!