Romans 10.5-15 – Service 2019

We spend much of our time reminding each other what it means to be loved by God. That Father God came looking for us simply because He loves us. Jesus died for us simply because He loves us. Holy Spirit engages with us simply because He loves us. We do not earn this love, it is a love freely given. If then we cannot earn such love what is our response? Let us come together this weekend to consider what it means to serve as a response to the love that we did not earn.

Romans 10.5-15

Matthew 14:22-33

Speaking Notes – Caveat

These notes are my speaking notes and are provided as an accompaniment to the recording. Please accept that they are not intended to be a published grammatically correct essay. I do hope and pray however they help you move towards Jesus.

Now onto the content…

Friends it has been, would you believe, 1 year, 5 months, and 12 days since Suzy and myself joined you on your journey with Jesus. That’s 530 days or if you are really feeling the pain 12,728/29/31 hours.

In that time we have travelled together on our Journey with Jesus quite a considerable distance. I have watched many of you be stretched and travel with Jesus on your journey of becoming like him. Many of you have made considerable strides with Jesus, strides I thank God for.

Suzy and I have made great strides in the last year. We have gotten to understand Bedhampton a lot more than we had and we have been stretched as well. We have had our hearts enlarged for the people of Bedhampton and this community.

As a community, we also have made considerable strides. We have listened to God and have put down the words that we believe sum up what His purpose is for us as his people in Bedhampton. That we are here:

Serving the community of Bedhampton by sharing God’s love and friendship.

Yes, the last 17 months have been good, and God has been good to you and me.

But now if these words

Serving the community of Bedhampton by sharing God’s love and friendship.

Are to be more than simply a pretty banner and web site tagline, then we need to press in! In our reading, Paul the great leader of God’s people writes to the church in Rome. He writes to remind them of the love God has for them. It is a complex passage in many ways but if you will forgive me for simplifying it. I would summarise the first half of the passage in three simple steps.

  1. You can not earn God’s, that would be daft.
  2. Jesus came because God loves you already.
  3. Accept His love because His love is available to all.

1.. 2..3..

Our Response

If His love really is that life-changing, and I believe it is. Then what is our part? We can not buy His love, we acknowledge that already in step one. But if we have already accepted His love surely there has to be a response from us? Well, friends, we find our response in the second part of the passage from Paul’s letter to God’s people in Rome.

13 … ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?

Then it goes on

‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’

Friends that is our response we are the bearers of Good News. Or as we have phrased it here in Bedhampton we are the bearers of the Good News through:

Serving the community of Bedhampton by sharing God’s love and friendship.

Jesus chooses to involve you and me in the bringing of the good news of His love because you have the skills and gifts. Because He has given you skills and you choose to respond because He first loved you.

Our response to his love

Hearing that you have resources, gifts and talents Jesus wishes to use to bring good news to the people of Bedhampton may elicit one of a number of responses in you.

One response could be, I don’t have any gifts or skills that can be used, let the Rector speak to people about God’s love.

Unfortunately, there are four problems I can see with leaving it to me.

  1. If I manage to share God’s love with even one person a month and teach them how to be an apprentice to Jesus, that is only 12 people hearing about the love of Jesus a year.
  2. Secondly, history has shown us that leaving the growth of God’s Kingdom to one person who happens to wear a dog collar has led to a decline in God’s church, not growth.
  3. History has also shown us thirdly, the individual who is left to pioneer alone will eventually burn out and collapse.
  4. Most importantly it is not the way of Jesus.

Jesus is always calling us to join in, to come. To step out of the boat. In Chapter 14 of the gospel of Matthew Jesus is walking towards the disciple’s boat on the water when he says:

 ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’

Peter an apprentice to Jesus has a quick response.

‘tell me to come to you on the water.’

He says.. Jesus if it is you, tell me to do the impossible and I can do it.  And the Jesus way is you can do it. The Jesus way is you do it, not Him. So he says to Peter.

‘Come,’

As Jesus encourages Peter he walks on water towards Jesus. Peter is walking on water with Jesus. Jesus is doing what Jesus did. But them the world breaks in and Peter begins to sink. Jesus reaches out and grabs Peter’s hand and pulls him up. He says:

‘You of little faith, ‘why did you doubt?’

A rebuke? I think not. I believe Jesus is simply saying as He does elsewhere you can do this and greater things. You have all the gifts, resources and skills you need and most importantly you have His Holy Spirit to guide you and empower you. Don’t you know you can do it?  

So you could say I don’t have anything Jesus can use, let the Rector speak to people about God’s love. Or you can speak the truth and say to Jesus.

‘tell me to come to you…

The Big Idea

For me, that is the big idea. And it is the idea for a time such as this in Bedhampton.

If we are the people

Serving the community of Bedhampton by sharing God’s love and friendship.

Then we are all the people.

Serving the community of Bedhampton by sharing God’s love and friendship.

And that my friends include both you and me, your gifts, my gifts, your resources my resources, that is the Jesus way. Your service, my service is a response to His love.

Application

Which leads me to the application of the big idea. How then do we apply the teachings of Jesus we find in this collection of books? The same Bile where we are all called to share the good news using all of our gifts, skills along with The Holy Spirit?

Well, I have one way. Next week we are going to have a gift day. On the way out today I want you to pick up two envelopes one Red and one Green.  

Over the last few weeks, I have been asking you to pray and consider what your part is in the purpose and vision that God has given us. Maybe you have been taking the bookmark with our Purpose and Vision on one side and the passage from Micah on the overside and praying about your part in that Vision and Purpose.

Now I want you to take that prayer and this week step into what God has for you. This week, I want you to take the Green envelope and ask yourself as you pray what gift of service am I being asked to give as my response?

On that sheet inside are some examples but you may find others. It may be that you need to step down from one thing to enable you to do another, it may be that you are going to continue serving in the same area or it may be that this is a new thing for you, and you are being called to step into service. So pray about it this week.

This week I also want you to take the Red envelope and ask yourself are you being asked to give a gift of money for this service. Let me be clear this is only for those who are regular members of this community to pray into.

This is a one-off gift towards the work of the church here in Bedhampton. It is above your regular giving. I shy away from asking for gifts of money towards God’s work here at Bedhampton because it’s not easy for me to do, and because I would much rather speak about the love God has for you. However the truth is we need both service and money to enable God’s mission, and right now we are a little short on both and we rely heavily on relatively few people in God’s work here. I believe now is the time for us to ask what is our part in our giving of money and of serving? How do we play a role in God’s vision and purpose in this His Bedhampton community?

So next week we will have a week of celebrating Gods’ gifts from the last few years and celebrating what God has done. We will also be making our commitments for his gifts over the next year. So next week bring your envelopes with you whether you have felt called to complete them or not and lets us all celebrate together. Let us all serve the community of Bedhampton by sharing God’s love and friendship, together.

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