Summary: A sermon for Consecration Sunday.
“Being Christ to Our Community: Jesus Lives in Red Bank”
Because Vance is an African American living in a predominately Hispanic neighborhood, he stands out.
But what really sets Vance apart is that he is a servant-hearted father who cares not only for his own kids, but also for the many other kids who play in the streets by his building.
One night at 9 p.m., there was a knock at Vance's door.
The 16-year-old boy who lives a few doors down needed help tying his tie.
He had a big presentation at school the next day, and he had no father to help him get ready.
After Vance had finished tying the tie, the boy sheepishly asked, "Do you have a pair of black dress shoes I could borrow?"
Immediately, the Spirit brought to Vance's mind the $60 pair of shoes in his closet that he hadn't even taken out of the box yet.
He was certain God was telling him to give the boy those shoes.
Vance cringed inside.
He told the boy to wait at the door as he headed into the apartment to look for any pair of shoes but the expensive pair.
Before he went to the closet, though, he told his wife what he sensed the Spirit was saying to him.
She agreed that it sounded like God had given him a great idea.
So, Vance got out his new shoes and brought them to the boy.
His last hope was that they wouldn't fit.
After all, how many 16-year-olds have size-12 feet?
They fit perfectly.
Just a few weeks after Vance gave away his new shoes, he and his wife sensed God telling them to start a Bible study for the kids in their building.
After much prayer, they decided to invite the kids to their apartment for a Sunday evening study.
They ordered four Bibles in case any kids came.
That Sunday, seven kids showed up at Vance's apartment—they were led by the 16-year-old owner of a new pair of shoes.
The following week they ordered more Bibles, and 14 kids showed up!
Who would have thought the kingdom of God would come to the kids of that apartment complex just because one man chose to give away a new pair of shoes?
In our Gospel Lesson from Matthew Chapter 25 Jesus tells us that when He returns “All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate [us] one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”
The sheep are gathered on the right side of Christ—the side of approval and honor, and the goats on the left side—for condemnation.
And the criteria for judgement may be astonishing for some of us.
Jesus doesn’t ask anyone about their creeds or their standing in the community.
He doesn’t ask them what denomination they are.
But instead: “What have you done for the poor family down the street?
Ever make any visits to the local jail?”
The hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the naked, the physically afflicted, the oppressed, the poor…
…what have we done or not done for them?
The clear message is that God so intimately identifies with human beings that to care for another person is to care for Him.
To ignore the plight of another is to ignore Jesus Himself.
I don’t know about you, but I sure am thankful that Jesus cares so deeply about those of us who are hurting.
Throughout the Gospels Jesus is continually healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, touching the lepers, feeding the hungry, showing love to the marginalized—the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the demon possessed, even persons called Samaritans and Gentiles—people of different ethnicities and religions.
On Sunday, October 7, we began this sermon series by discussing Jesus’ Mission Statement as He states it in Luke Chapter 4:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,” Jesus says, “because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
We talked about how we talked about how Jesus’ Mission Statement is to be our Mission Statement as well.
How are we doing with this?
Last month we started a new ministry which involves “getting out of our comfort zones” by going out and knocking on the doors of the homes which surround this church building in order to get to know the people who live in our community.
We took sweet breads, cookies and brownies that a number of YOU baked as gifts.
We were received well.
It was an exciting experience.
We met a number of people from all walks of life.