Friday, June 19, 2009

Sunday Sermon Summary..."I Don't Want To Miss Jesus"

A group of folks, from my church, left for Africa yesterday including our Pastor Ken! He has been to Africa several times and has developed relationships with several people being Bishop William (I won't disrespect him by even trying to attempt his last name). Through Ken's relationships with these people, our congregation has developed relationships as well. We have all sponsored children, most of whom are orphans, with HIV and/or AIDS. The picture above is a copy of a family portrait drawn by Addi Jo....she has included all 7 of us, our dog, and Purity, our "African brother" as my children refer to him. We sent this picture, along with a few other things, with the group that went to Africa where they are going to hand deliver these treasures to these children. We have hosted the African Children's choir at our church and in our homes....these children are orphans as well, and they LOVE the Lord! We have even hosted Bishop William and his wife at our church, and they stayed in Ken's home while they were visiting. In Ken's sermon on Sunday, he talked about how he and Bishop William were really exactly the same and yet so different.....he said they were both Methodist Pastors, they were both raised by wonderful parents, they both had wonderful families....the difference is where they were born and live. It is truly a blessing to live in the US! In Africa, it is completely "normal" to live without water, without electricity, to eat one meal per day. One thing, that we as Americans and even as Christians struggle with, is our focus on what we don't have when we should focus on what we do have and being grateful for that. God wants us to act in His name! It's not about about us, but it's about us doing the work of JESUS!
Passage Matthew 25:31-46:
The Judgment
31"But when (A)the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then (B)He will sit on His glorious throne.
32"All the nations will be (C)gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, (D)as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
33and He will put the sheep (E)on His right, and the goats (F)on the left.
34"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, (G)inherit the kingdom prepared for you (H)from the foundation of the world.
35'For (I)I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; (J)I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
36(K)naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you (L)visited Me; (M)I was in prison, and you came to Me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?
38'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?
39'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
40"(N)The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, (O)to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'
41"Then He will also say to those on His left, '(P)Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the (Q)eternal fire which has been prepared for (R)the devil and his angels;
42for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;
43I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'
44"Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'
45"Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'
46"These will go away into (S)eternal punishment, but the righteous into (T)eternal life."
So how do you know who to help? Do you help the beggars on the side of the road? Do you help the people who don't have a car? Do you help a stranger when they ask you for food? How do you know? Obviously we have to take safety into consideration, but for the most part....we have to realize that it is not up to us to judge people and use those judgements to decide if we help them or not. Would you give someone money if you really thought they were going to use it in a way that you didn't agree with? Would you bake cookies for prisoners and send them Bibles if you knew that they had committed horrible and unspeakable crimes? Ken said that as a pastor and working at the church, they receive phone calls and have folks walk in from the street asking for help all the time....people they have never seen before and will probably never see again. Ken said that he does oftentimes question what their intentions are when they ask for money or help, but he decided that if he is going to giving someone money that chooses to use it inappropriately or helping someone who is taking advantage of the situation....he is going to err on the side of generosity. Then he said this...."What if it were Jesus? I don't want to miss Jesus!" I don't want to miss Jesus either, and I certainly don't want my children to miss Him! There will be times when we don't help someone, if I feel it is putting my family in danger, but if we are able to help safely....we will! I don't want to miss Jesus!

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