After welcoming us, Brad shared the theme that was discussed in Sunday School today, which served as preface for today's message. There's always going be a time when we sense God calling us to do something that demands a sacrifice from us. These are the moments that reveal where we stand with regard to our faith.
Semi-annual meeting next week after the service.
While the tithes and offerings were taken Natalie Brewer shared one her gifts with us, as a dancer, followed by a boisterous applause.
Brooke shared a Mission Moment, essentially outlining a number of outreach actvities our church is involved with, both locally and abroad through Covenant World Relief, which you can follow on Facebook.
This was followed by a time of prayer, and then the message.
Brad opened by having a volunteer read Luke 18:18-30, the story of the rich young ruler.
What is the opposite of Good? In Timothy there is an interesting passage that seems to contrast "loving what is good" with "lovers of self." The opposite of good is not necessarily the word bad, but when it comes to making a really good choice, self-interest may hinder us, even if it isn't a "bad" thing we are doing. Sometimes doing something that is good really can be "bad" if it keeps us from something essential.
The story in Luke begins with a conflict in views of the meaning of the word "good."
Jesus then outlines a list of the commandments, and this fellow actually says he kept them all, which may not be surprising in light of our natural tendency to see ourselves as better than we really are.
In Mark's version of the story, Jesus "looked at him and He loved him."
Goodness starts when God gets hold of the heart He is meeting with. Jesus knew exactly what this guy was missing. The young ruler kept the rules, but did God have his heart? His possessions possessed him. He had a self-serving bias that got in the way of what real goodness looks like.
This guy asked, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Brad said it was the wrong question because an inheritance is a gift. It is not something you do or earn.
Once you receive His goodness, how do you grow it? You want to be part of a community that builds your soul. This is why Jesus Himself went to synagogue each week. You have to put yourself in an environment where God's goodness can be poured into you, whether small group or devotional community.
This kind of life may inconvenience you and Brad listed examples of ways that following Christ might result in our being inconvenienced. He noted that the end results may surprise us.
As it is written in Acts 20:35 "There is more happiness in giving than receiving."
And in Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good."
Brad closed with this familiar passage from Matthew 25
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 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
The kid who made fun of you at school? That's Jesus. The unwashed homeless person who smells like a mixture of urine and whisky, that's Jesus. The person dying alone in a nursing home. That's Jesus. That neighbor woman who lost the love of her life. That's Jesus. The person who walks in here asking questions, wondering if there's a God. That's Jesus. The dying, the crippled, the unwanted...
When we see the world as He sees, there is plenty of opportunity to do good, and be with Jesus.