Summary: To encourage every child, youth and adult associated with Asbury to find their place to serve.
Alice in Wonderland is a magical story about a young girl who falls into a hole in a field and falls into another world unlike anything she’s ever experienced. She’s in a new place with strange beings. She has no idea where she’s or where she needs to go. In one of the more memorable scenes she meets up with a smiling cat and asks, “Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to go”, said the cat. “I don’t much care where” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the cat.“ “So long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation. “Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if only you walk long enough.” [Title Slide]
There are a lot of people and churches who seem to live out of Alice’s philosophy. But not so with God and his church. God cares greatly about where we’re going in life or he wouldn’t have had the prophet Jeremiah tell Israel, “I have a plan for you…” (Jeremiah 29.11) Fortunately for us, God has a plan for us as well and has given us a GPS (God’s Preferred Steps) to guide our steps. Just like 12th street and Kanis Avenue and County Road 38 are the same road bed the three goals God has given us form a single path on which to travel.
The first goal is to move towards becoming a prayer centered and prayer driven church and is summarized by the word pray. A second goal is to help everyone associated with Asbury to belong to a small group which is summarized by the word belong. And the third and final goal that will help us fulfill God’s plan is characterized by the word serve.
[S] “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.” (1 Corinthians 12.4-11, NIV)
[S] The third goal that God wants Asbury to pursue is that of helping every child, youth and adult attending Asbury to find their place to serve Jesus. Paul wrote, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (vs. 7) That means that its God’s plan for everyone associated with Jesus to serve. And by serve I don’t mean just volunteering in the church or for the church. Serving Jesus is more than that. Serving Jesus is about empowering and equipping people to discover and use their God-given gifts as an extension of and demonstration of Christ’s physical body in the world. Christ is not physically present any longer so Jesus uses us to love others through the gifts he has given us. The Serving of Christ will be expressed then by serving the church, each other, as well as serving others throughout our daily living. [S] As Mother Theresa put it, “I am a pencil in the hand of God.”
People have approached Mother Theresa over the years to give thanks to her for what she has done for them or for another. They like so many others saw Mother Theresa as someone who responded to the suffering out of her own kindness, grace and love. But she didn’t and she did what she could to make sure that they knew it was Christ working through her.
Let me share this story with you told by one of her disciples that took place during morning mass. A well dressed Indian woman rushed in and threw herself at the feet of Mother Theresa bowing and kissing her hands and feet. A stern look appeared on the Mother’s face as she pulled a hand away and pointed to the crucifix on the back wall. The woman was oblivious to this and kept kissing her. Mother Theresa then took the woman’s hands in hers. And then taking the woman’s hands she pointed to the crucifix and said, “It is not me, it is him. Give your thanks to him.” (Finding Calcutta, Poplin, pg. 30)