A Story to Embody: September 2, 2012

The story continues to unfold.  God has invited us to cooperate with His Son in bringing the message of God's love to all.  The design that His kingdom moves through is the body of Christ.  Each one has an integral and important role.  It is so much more than showing up on a Sunday morning, it is designed to be a part of every movement of your life.  As you read through these verses, I pray that you will be excited as you recognize who you already are in Christ and where you have been placed to bring His message of freedom.  Finally, I pray that you would recognize that the way this is done is by moving to the rhythms of Christ.  His love is what gives the sustenance, strength and ability to take your place in the Body of Christ.

Matthew 28:16-20 (The Message)
16-17Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.

 18-20Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."

Romans 12:1-2, 4-8
1-2 So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
4-6In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't.

 6-8 If you preach, just preach God's Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don't take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

Ephesians 4:7-16
7-13But that doesn't mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. The text for this is, 

   He climbed the high mountain, 
   He captured the enemy and seized the booty, 
   He handed it all out in gifts to the people.
Is it not true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ's followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, the church, until we're all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.

 14-16No prolonged infancies among us, please. We'll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.

Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9
 My heart bursts its banks, spilling beauty and goodness. 
   I pour it out in a poem to the king, 
      shaping the river into words:
 2-4 "You're the handsomest of men; 
      every word from your lips is sheer grace, 
      and God has blessed you, blessed you so much. 
   Strap your sword to your side, warrior! 
      Accept praise! Accept due honor! 
      Ride majestically! Ride triumphantly! 
   Ride on the side of truth! 
      Ride for the righteous meek!

 6-7 "Your throne is God's throne, 
      ever and always; 
   The scepter of your royal rule 
      measures right living. 
   You love the right 
      and hate the wrong. 
   And that is why God, your very own God, 
      poured fragrant oil on your head, 
   Marking you out as king 
      from among your dear companions. 

 8-9 "Your ozone-drenched garments 
      are fragrant with mountain breeze. 
   Chamber music—from the throne room— 
      makes you want to dance. 
   Kings' daughters are maids in your court, 
      the Bride glittering with golden jewelry.

In Christ,

Scriptures correlate with sermons from Holy Trinity Anglican Church
Photo courtesy Melanie Guest Photography

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