7/19 Message “Tools in the Shed”

The message for this week is about how precious, essential, and irreplaceable each of you are. It celebrates friends on our hearts this week as we’ve had to say goodbye, and family members still here to lean on and enjoy as we work together as one body in Christ. This week church is open Sunday at 11 am for a worship service and Tuesday 5:30-7 for Prayze Dogs and food pantry. Continuing with masks, and childcare is available during the Sunday service.

19 July 2020 Sunday Message

Call to Worship; 1 Corinthians 12: 12-20

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

Tithe, Offering, and Prayer Concerns; Father in Heaven and everywhere imaginable and beyond. Lord we thank you for all of your mercies, and pray that today’s service is pleasing in your eyes. Lord we pray that today we might be a blessing to someone else and bring them your way not our own way. Father please accept our gifts and offering knowing that we give back to you just a fraction of all you have given to us. In His heavenly name. Amen!

Message Reading; 1 Corinthians 12:21-27

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Message; “Tools in the Shed”

This has been a very challenging week in our church on the corner of 25th and Jefferson here in Ogden Utah. We have lost two beautiful women of our church family. Thankfully they did not die to the COVID-19 virus, nor was there prolonged suffering with pain and both we ready for the next big thing in their walk in this life. Passing from it to join the Lord. Ann Brady had just turned 97 years old last month, and Betty Collins was 95.

Betty along with her husband Paul were wonderful to talk with, joke with, and share life’s surprises with. Their love for each other and other people showed in their smiles and warmness. Their ministry was consolation and the soothing of life’s wounds with encouragement, care, and nurture. Betty could brighten anyone’s day who she touched. She was and remains a very important part of our Church family. Betty’s memory drives on!

Ann was a religious leader in our church. A Prayer Warrior extraordinaire, and a quiet /silent /force /of nature. (God created nature so I think it’s safe to say) Ann was indeed and remains a force for good in our world through her example and her memory. Ann held virtually every job in this church being a part of our congregation for 95 years. Since 1925, when Ann’s mother brought Ann and her sisters to church. She remembered the day, she was saved by the Lord, “Born-again” and remained close to God all her life. Ann’s memory thrives on!

In each case our church is experiencing a hollow point in our very being, and yet we are celebrating first that God has yet again placed the most perfect people for us in our lives at just the right time in our lives, and that God has given us the ability to realize His generosity. This is part of the mystical greatness of God’s wondrous majesty.

Both women were essential parts of the Body of Christ, our family in God. Both of these beautiful women emulated an inner splendor that lives on. Yes, both were one of a kind people for completely different reasons. It’s like that with God. Every person, every sole, every relationship in the Lord is uniquely special and different. That by the way is the Good News of the Gospel. The Lord loves each of us how we need to be loved and grows us how we need to grow, and generally to the limit we are willing.

Yes this week has been both dark, painful, and also a celebration of the joyful lives Betty and Ann lived. Both of those feelings felt at the same time. A lot of the pain on my part has primarily been my own greediness and selfishness, not wanting to let go of them, and grow up into the next level in our Lord.

How does a person put all this into perspective and make it all make sense? I think we spend a lifetime trying to figure some of this out, and some of it, we will not understand fully until the Lord explains life to us after we have been glorified in Him. When looking back, this time will remain like a dark dream of the past, unlike the joy that remains before us. Again I am referring to the mystical majesty of the Lord, and His Flawless plan and timing.

We know what the Ecclesiastes, in Hebrew Qohelet, (Preacher), had to say about life from the book Ecclesiastes

3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,…

You get the idea!

If Solomon did write Ecclesiastes, he was saying overall throughout the book, God has a plan, that life apart from God is meaningless. The lives that we espouse to, spoken of, here in this church are all about a faithwalk in the Lord. And as alluded to earlier no two walks in this life are meant to be identical, and with God they won’t, but they’ll end the same general direction, toward the Lord and away from our selfishness, fear, and pride.

So this week, in the midst of some heartache personally, (and with my fellow family members at First Baptist Church and their families). I am excited to share the good news rising out of sadness, light from darkness, and joy out of despair. And if you think that this is just word play just to compare opposites, please remember God is doing these very things in our lives continuously, effortlessly. Because He’s God. And I’m in awe of Him!

As we mentioned last week in our reading out of Psalm 139:13-14

 13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

God is winding different people and knitting them into families of His making. Families that combined together make up the Body of Christ. Woven and enmeshed in and out of different congregations, blending in and out through various denominations across the planet. And like each of us individually, these church families are fearfully and wonderfully made.          By Him!

I take from our two readings today from 1 Corinthians chapter 12, two ways of addressing why we should look at the Body in unity and as one:

  1. First; the Call to Worship verses 12-20, cutting ourselves away from other Christians.
  2. Second; the Message reading verses 21-27, separating out Christians through favoritism.

In fact, this leads us directly back to today’s Call to Worship reading, and:

  1. Cutting ourselves away from other Christians.

Paul’s letter is to a church two thousand years ago that was struggling with sin, petty jealousies, fears of the unknown, and harassed as a minority faith in a heathen world. (Kind of like us today) Hear is Paul again from 1 Corinthians 12: 12-20;

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

Paul is giving an incredibly visual lesson that demonstrates just how foolish it is to cut yourself away from the Body of Christ. Paul shows in his own picturesque way how we need different parts of the Body of Christ to come together to make us complete.

If you have rationalized to yourself that you do not want to be a part of a church because they are not exactly like your idea of what a church is. I may surprise you by saying. Good. There is a place for everyone. Find a place to thrive in the Lord’s service for others. But if you are making a lifetime habit of excusing for why you do not pic a group to learn with, praise with, serve with, and worship God with. Maybe it’s time to rethink and reflect on Paul’s words:

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.

Maybe, just maybe, that group that you’re discounting (without even knowing it) is looking for you to complete itself in its service and praise life to God, and you’re key!

If you have told yourself that you do not want to participate in the different activities in life, or being about the business of living, because you have been hurt. Think again. I am telling you that you are cutting yourself short.

There are people that tell themselves that they cannot come to a church activity because they can’t do anything. Again, hear Paul’s words:

19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

When you are in your 60s, 70s and 80s, or in our case 90s and show up, your example of just showing up is doing something. During the recent challenges across our country, it’s been the older members who have fought to be in church on a Sunday. Ann Brady was one of them. What an inspiration!

If you are the survivor of:

  • Advanced age, or any age
  • A dramatic loss (of anything) in your life
  • Discrimination and abuse
  • Mental illness
  • Drug and alcohol addiction
  • Any addiction
  • Or abandoned by circumstances

You have a home waiting for you! The Body of Christ has a place for you. We need you. God wants and loves you! You will find refuge here, or in any Church of the Lord with His Spirit!

Another way that people struggle with unity in the Body of Christ is assuming that God prefers one group over another, based on race and skin color, gifts of the Spirit, political affiliation, geography, financial health, or social affiliations. This leads us to our message reading today and Paul’s comments about:

  1. Separating out Christians through favoritism.

From verses 21-27

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, …

and then

 …25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

We need all of our members and more, not just the ones we visualize doing stuff.  Paul is also teaching in Corinthians that it is inappropriate to rank different parts of the body, in and out of the church, based on preference.

Case in point; if the whole Body of Christ were all Billy Grahams, at first it would be awesome. Just think how devout and great the Body would be. But who would Pastor Graham proclaim the good news to, or serve? How would he himself be able to continue to grow if everyone was just like him? Now I know with his passing that make the point moot, but you get the idea…

By the way, Billy Graham, and his son Franklin would say to you, that there is to be absolutely no preferential treatment to be used in the Church. Not even them. How do I know? Because they didn’t say that, God did, to quote Billy. That is why he is so special and worthy of using as an example.                            His authentic humbleness.

Another example; if everyone was just like you, how would that turn out? Do you really think that would be the end of all arguments and challenges to overcome? Could you overcome the big stuff if there was no one to bounce ideas off of?

What about someone who we feel has done us wrong. Do we cut them off forever? Or do we say we forgive them, and then in the inner recesses of our very selves do we scheme on ways to get back at that person or persons?

Life must be more than this way of thinking or we are sentenced to live like the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s for eternity. Ask Ireland, Lebanon, Syria, or downtown Chicago, how that works. Everyone loses families, communities, churches, congregations, and nations split apart.

Paul is saying when we cut ourselves off from being a part of the whole, we do great damage to our own being. I would add that when we look for ways to separate, divide, and sow acrimony it is counterintuitive to what God calls us to be. The Body of Christ needs every single person that we can recruit into God’s family, to strengthen, reinforce, and build upon, all of our institutions, in and out of church.

Yes, there are a number of ways we fall short of that mark, and start to cut off others from being a part of the whole. Here are a few thoughts that came to me this week

  • Out and out discrimination; obviously wrong to do
  • Being judgmental on autopilot; let God judge
  • Influence from others;
    • Regardless if from within or society, the church must combat worldly thought and serve God and others in His name
  • Fear of the other person
  • Lack of communication; telling people we care!
  • Lack of a prayer and scriptural study life

All the above are also opportunities for us to work on and towards maturing in our Faithwalks in Him. Thankfully with our church family, Betty and Ann were told by many of us how much we loved them repeatedly, and in the moment. But on a larger scale, we must not wait for funerals in our future to include people into our thoughts of love for them!

It’s the difference in life from living in the feeling of what if, and a time of celebrating a life well led.

Yes, two beautiful women of our family passed from the day to day activities in our reality here, to be a part of a much bigger, greater, majestic, and eternal in nature, reality with our Lord this week. The likes of which, we will never witness again.

That’s just a plain fact. In fact we must not use our thoughts of their greatness in our hearts to be the measuring stick for the people that come along, that we meet and accept into the church in the future. If we did, no one would measure up, and we would be cutting ourselves off from the future gifts of God.

All this is to say, that each relationship is unique and special just like ours in the Lord, and yet all are essential in the Body of Christ. Each being a one of a kind in all the creation, and holding one thing in common. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Hallowed be His name!

Amen!

Benediction; based on Isaiah 61:1-3

1May the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord be upon you,
because the Lord has anointed you
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent you to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
May you be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.