Sunday, April 3, 2016

What It Means To Care

"I'm grateful you're here today," Pastor Brad said as he greeted us today. He noted today's theme briefly, that if you are called to be a follower of Jesus Christ, to say that we care and do nothing at all is to not care at all. " He shared it is, and has always been, important to him that we stake our reputation on being known as a church that cares.

1) VBS is approaching and we are seeking volunteers. See Brooke for details on the opportunities to serve.
2) Susan Jessico shared that it's that time of year to sign up to be Secret Sisters. See Susan for details.

Darlene opened the service with a medley of beautiful songs and then we began a time of corporate song from the blue songbook.

We had a moment for mission this morning. Tim Hafvenstein, a maintenance worker at Covenant Park, shared about the influence this camp has had since its founding in 1940. He noted, "I get to go to work. Other people have to go to work." He has been there for four years, along with Leonard. "We'll never know how much impact this camp has had over the years," he said. We were encouraged to pray for the staff, for the needs, the counselors, and the kids who go there. One of the needs is finances. Covenant Park has 21 buildings, boats and appliances that all need maintenance. There are a variety of ways to help. Encourage kids to be a part of camp. One special week will be MAD Camp in July, featuring Music, Art and Drama. It's a special week that has been successful elsewhere and they hope to see it flourish here.

The offering was taken and she shared a time in prayer before Brad's message.

What It Means To Care

We are called to care for the needy. It is not a choice.

Brad began with a story about his brother who was the victim of a woman who tried to proselytize him in an aggressive way that showed she did not really care about him, but only her agenda. It illustrated a key distinction in how we reach out to those around us. When we try to win people to Christ are we collecting scalps for our personal glory? Or do we really care about the people themselves?

In one of the Apostle Paul's letters he wrote, "I don't have anyone to send you except Timothy who really cares about you."

Brad's main point, which he repeated several time, was that to say that you care but to not act is the same as not caring at all. Caring isn't just a feeling. It is an action. In fact, "I would argue all day long that true compassion demands action. Compassion compels us," Brad said.

In the New Testament wherever it says Jesus felt compassion it shows Him taking action.
Matthew 14:14, Matthew 20:34 and the last part of Mark 6 are all examples.

"The closer I get to Christ, the more I care about the things He cares about," Brad said. And the converse is true. The further I get from Christ, the more I care about myself.

Brad then told the story of the Good Samaritan.

When we see people in need we always have a conversation in our heads, and always have a reason to justify not getting involved. But as Christ-followers we're called to care so deeply that we act.

A couple takeaways from this story.

1. Compassion will interrupt your life. It will interrupt your schedule. It will be something you didn't plan on, but perhaps it is something God planned on.

After a Levite and a priest passed by on the other side of the road, a Samaritan took pity on him. Pity is compassion and it always interrupts your own agenda. And if you are sensitive to the promptings of God you will get an opportunity to

2. Compassion will cost you something.

In the story of the Good Samaritan he takes money out of his purse and promises to cover any additional expenses. It may be money, it may be time, but true compassion may inconvenience us.

3. Compassion always changes lives.

The act of compassion leaves people changed. They recognize it was necessary. And it changes you, because just passing by on the other side will leave a tinge of guilt and sometimes even shame, and you don't get a second chance in that situation.

Paul wrote, "I don't have anybody like Timothy. He really cares about you."

Bottom line: when you care you get closer to Christ.

And in this manner we become the light of the world.

At this point we together celebrated the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

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