In Jesus Holy Name February 3, 2008
“Stewardship: Managing the Things of God”
4th in the series: “Sharing the Divine Plan”
There are those who leave their mark on the world by doing great deeds. They lead victorious armies, write classic novels. Others build impressive buildings, or wisely govern nations through great difficulty. Their names go down in history and are passed down from generation to generation.
There are others whose names are soon forgotten or are never known by most people, but they make their marks on the lives of a few people who will never forget them. Such persons quietly go about doing deeds of love for many of the people they meet in their day to day lives. They have been touched by God’s love. They reflect God’s love to others in tangible ways. They feed the hungry; clothe those in need, give shelter to the homeless.
They rarely make the headlines, nor will they become famous for deeds they do. But when they die, those whom they helped will no doubt speak lovingly of the deeds done for them.
The Bible tells us: “Let your roots grow down deep into Christ and draw up nourishment from him. See that you go on growing in the Lord and become strong and vigorous in His word of truth.” (Co. 2:3)
Spiritual maturity is neither instant nor automatic. It is a process. You are a work in progress. Knowing God’s word is important. Being in bible study and fellowship is important. But as you know, in the midst of these stewardship messages, at some point you must ask the question: “Where has God designed me to serve others?”
Robert Lewis in his book: “The Church of Irresistible Influence” writes: “In the journey of one’s spiritual life, each Christian grows towards maturity and learns how to imitate Jesus and then finds a place to serve.”
In the past, Christians could build a church and people would come. In the 1970”s & 80’s Christians could visit people in their homes or on the street and use the Kennedy Evangelism Program to tell people the good news of salvation. Dialogue Evangelism was similar.
Old strategies to reach others can still work, but for the most part they are not accepted. In our culture, people say they believe in God but no longer understand what we mean when we use words like “sin”, “salvation”, “good and evil” or even “God”. We live in a culture where truth is relative, and age of tolerance. In other words: “Don’t push your views on me and I won’t push mine on you.” Permissiveness is the attitude in a pluralistic society.
“Do unto others as you would have them do to you” gets changed to “Let others do what they want to do and you can do what you want to do.”
In the old days we did not argue about the rightness of sex being reserved for marriage, or abortion. There was a social consensus that it was wrong. Today, sexual expression and other such issues are considered to be a matter of personal preference.
Today, people are looking for tangible acts of caring and kindness. When selfishness controls society, and corporations that no longer protect individual employees people want to know if anyone cares.
It’s the story of the Good Samaritan. It’s the story in the Lutheran Witness this month. It’s the story of our luncheons for women.
How does the Lutheran Witness article begin? “Anita Olvera still has trouble thinking of what she does as evangelism.”
Domonique Del Toro was quoted saying: “When I’m really down, I call her and I can talk to her about anything. I just feel better.”
In this culture we who follow Jesus, we who imitate Jesus still have the command: “to be witnesses” to the resurrection of Jesus, to “Jerusalem”, our neighborhood, “to Judea”, our larger community, and to the ends of the earth.
Because people believe in “God”, God is a good place to start. When God comes up in the conversation learn to ask:
“What do you know about God?”
Step #1 care, demonstrate acts of kindness
Step #2 imitate Jesus, be authentic
Step #3 answer questions, use the “Divine Drama” witnessing tool. (Crossways International)
#1 God Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God…
God has no beginning and end (a circle)
God is love. I John 4:8,16 Love flows out
#2 God creates the heavens and the earth.
Male and Female in his image. Genesis 1:26
Arms raised in praise to God
#3 Imitate God - Love flows out to God and to others
Matthew 22:34-40 Love the Lord your God…. And
Your neighbor as yourself
#4 Humanity became selfish People live for themselves
we call this sin. “the wages of sin is death” r
People changed, God did not.
Death is now in our world
Notice the gap between the man and the woman
#5 God united himself with Humanity in the person of Jesus.
His purpose: You shall give the new infant born
Mary the name Jesus for he will save his people
From their sin. “God’s fullness dwelt in
Jesus” Col. 1:15-20
#6 Jesus died as punishment for our sins on the cross
Our selfishness …the commandments we have broken
Were placed on the cross of Jesus
#7 Jesus remains with us in the person of the Holy Spirit
His resurrection removes the fear of death
Death is now a doorway to heaven
We seek to imitate Jesus (Ephesians 5:1)
#8 When Jesus returns God will restore perfect peace and harmony, which human beings are seeking but can not
bring about by human efforts.
While we wait for the return of Jesus, we serve God and one another.
Note: For the Divine Plan... go to Crossways International This is a very good tool, with simple diagram pictures.