A Devotion from Daniel
Have you ever heard someone say something along the lines of “be the hands and feet of Jesus”?
I’m sure you have. You have probably even said it yourself many times. As Christians we are taught that we have a responsibility to continue Christ’s mission here on Earth. He came to this Earth to draw the lost close to the father. If that was Jesus’s mission it is ours as well. We gather around The Great Commission; the command Jesus gave His followers in Matthew 28. We know that the “good news” is to spread to the entire world. That we are to baptize these people in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. We know that we are to teach them to obey the teachings Jesus gave us. We know that by being the hands and feet we can draw the world towards the one true God so that we can accomplish this mission.
When our savior walked the Earth, He drew people towards the father by healing the sick, freeing the spiritually oppressed, feeding the hungry, and loving the un-loveable. Our Churches today for the most part do a very good job at emulating this model. We have become very efficient and comfortable running food pantries or soup kitchens to feed the hungry. We send doctors and medicines all over the globe to bring healing. We have prison ministries to bring hope and forgiveness to those far from society. We send money all over the globe to house, feed, and educate orphans. We love people because we want them to see Jesus held high on a post, to be drawn towards him and decide that they too would like to step into the light.
I could walk into just about any size Church in this country with any denominational sign hanging in its front window and I could find different ways that that community of believers there were being the hands and feet. But how would we respond if we were asked to be the hands and feet in a situation that we never thought we would be asked to serve in?
This week as war erupted in Ukraine, I read a letter from a Pastor in Kyiv. A young man about my age who also has four daughters. He and his congregation had decided to stay in the capital in spite of the pending invasion so that they could serve the community they lived in during the worst of times. Instead of collecting non-perishables for the local food pantry, they were busy converting their basement into a bomb shelter. Instead of taking up a collection to support an orphanage they were giving free first aid classes teaching folks how to keep airways clear and apply tourniquets for when the fighting arrived at their front door. They were preparing to be the hands and feet in conditions that they were not in any way shape or form prepared for or comfortable with.
Why? Why not flee? Why not save your lives, your children’s lives, your neighbor’s lives by getting out of the line of fire? Pastor Vasyl said “We have decided to stay, both as a family and as a church. When this is over, the citizens of Kyiv will remember how Christians have responded in their time of need.”
When you have a moment this week read Matthew 25, specifically verses 31-40. Keep feeding the hungry, clothing the needy, keep visiting the sick, keep caring for the orphans and widows. Keep doing the things that we are good at as a Church but remember we must also be prepared to go above and beyond, to be made uncomfortable in order to fulfill our Great Commission.
Message from Anthony
Relational Worship: Grounded in God
“Jesus, lover of my soul. Jesus, I will never let you go. You’ve taken me from the miry clay, set my feet upon the rock and now I know… I love You. I need You. Though my world may fall, I’ll never let you go. My Savior, my closest friend. I will worship you until the very end.” (“Jesus, Lover of My Soul” Ezzy, Grul, McPherson)
The first and most important relationship for any Christian is a firm and well-rounded relationship with God. Our relationship with God is the very evidence of our Christianity, our desire to be “like Christ” in everything we say and do. We maintain and demonstrate this relationship through worship – not just the songs we sing on Sunday morning, but in every aspect of our lives. We worship Him in our family interactions, our work performance, our words, and our actions.
Every moment is a chance to show others what a true relationship with God looks like. If we really value our relationship with God and are truly thankful for the sacrifice that He made on the cross for our sins, then every aspect of our lives will reflect Him. In her book Breaking Busy, Alli Worthington says “I think that sometimes we Christians forget how special it is that we can have a relationship, a real, close, personal relationship with God.” and she is exactly right.
We take the privilege of that relationship for granted, especially here in the United States, because that privilege is never challenged. We don’t have to worry about someone taking away our “right to worship” or bulldozing our church buildings. We always have the comfort of knowing that God is “right there on the shelf” whenever we need Him. But that type of a relationship is not the kind of relationship that will inspire others to worship! We cannot lead others to a place that we are not going ourselves, and that includes leading them to a deeper and more committed worship of God.
Oscar Thompson and Caroline Ritzman put relationships in perspective in their book Concentric Circles of Concern (which I highly recommend to anyone who wants to take evangelism to the next level). One of the quotes that really sticks with me is this: “A person can never lead another closer to the Lord than he or she already is. Evangelism must flow from a life that is deeply in love with the Lord.”
You see, our talents and gifts mean absolutely nothing without a committed focus on God first. The privilege we are afforded because of the tremendous work of Christ is unique. We are offered a relationship, and it’s through that relationship that we will reach others.
There’s nothing we can do outside of that relationship that is going to accomplish the task of leading others to walk closer to Him. “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10 NLT)
Just as we cannot attain salvation for ourselves outside of our relationship with God, we cannot lead others without Him. As we noted a few weeks ago in our CounterCultural series, God isn’t in the head business, He’s in the heart business. God is more concerned with our heart than anything else, because the condition of our heart is what drives everything we do. Be driven to shine your light everywhere, because there’s a dark world out there that needs to hear about Jesus’ love.
Movie Event – Sponsored by the Missions Team
- March 26, 10 am. SIS monthly meeting. We will assemble Easter Baskets for Rochester Neighborhood House for distribution to their clients.
- April 25, 6:00 pm. SIS monthly meeting. Activity/focus to be announced.
- August 19 – 21. Annual Garage Sale. Save your gently used treasures for donations to the SIS annual garage sale this summer
- The Youth Group has raised $183.22 of their $500 Mission goal this year! Their goal is to donate $250 to ChildFund International – a group that provides basic needs for children all over the world, and $250 to put together 10 Thanksgiving food baskets for our community families who need them this year.
- The Youth Group will be attending the Zach Williams concert scheduled to come to Michigan on April 22, 2022 at 7pm at Mt Zion in Clarkston. The youth will have first priority as to the tickets, but any remaining tickets will be available to the rest of the congregation starting April 1st on a first come first serve basis. Please see Anthony Knotts with any questions. Some financial assistance may be available.
- Our MCC youth group will be meeting off-campus for the summer from June through August on Thursday evenings from 6-8pm. If you are interested in hosting the youth group at your home and providing a meal and space for the youth, please sign-up for a date in the summer on the sign-up sheet in the foyer.
If you would like to book a space at the church building for an event, please contact Brenda Cox with the date, time, building location, and any other pertinent details, and she will add it to the church calendar to prevent overlapping events. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org and cell phone number is 586-615-1614.
Bethany Thomas – March 4
Jim Cavins – March 4
Jessica Riedl – March 10
Kathi Tope – March 20
Nancy Paul – March 20
Joe Romaella – March 24
Jacquelyn Thomas – March 25
Mike Tingley – March 28
Marion Thomas – March 31