Sunday Evening in the Backyard

Hebrews 10: 32-39
Psalms 105: 1-7

There’s a rhythm to the hills … different from our New Jersey highways where 80 is the norm and slow is routinely rejected with the honk of a horn or a raised gesture targeting anyone who denies the rush.

You can hear the birds and appreciate the slightest breeze drifting through the midday heat in the mountain valley. Yes, sweat drips from one’s brow but it’s in the relief of a breeze passing by that one breathes in with appreciation.

Even in the midst of tin roofs and broken down windows you can discover another world if you allow it to seep into your soul.

On Monday as I watched our team balance ramp posts I could not help but notice God amidst the sweat … the quiet conversations of our mission team … God was relevant again … no noise … no wifi and no cell phones to push aside the Holy. Only some country tunes gently caressing our ears.

ElVee our crew leader shared his faith walk with me and together we talked about youth ministry … the importance of walking humbly with God … we talked Scripture influences.

And, God’s Word shares what God had to say … “But, my righteous one will live by faith, and my whole being won’t be pleased with anyone who shrinks back. “

Friends, I am starting to believe we each need to escape our day-to-day worlds in order to reconnect with the Holy. As people who label ourselves as Christians that should be our longing … our desire … our reality to sense God’s Spirit … to celebrate God’s love through Jesus Christ and to remember who we are by pushing the world aside.

The people of this church continuously step up rather than pull back to live by faith. There is a societal push to relax and chill when it comes to listening to Jesus and following the Lord! Recently a man I know from another United Methodist Church posted to Facebook that he has worked hard for what he has and will NEVER help anyone who has not taken care of themselves. NEVER …

Obviously, this man … someone I have known for almost 25 years has either not read the Gospel message of Jesus Christ or if he has … he has chosen to reject Jesus because he enjoys pointing the finger of blame as his excuse to not lend a hand or share a dollar to lift someone up in need. In his eyes they deserve their fate … he is better than them … but Jesus gave His all for ALL.

So, this evening what call of God are you actively choosing to reject? What need of the church of Jesus Christ do you know you could do but you are hesitating… friends or family are saying let others take it on or worse others are saying those people don’t need your help.

In our Psalm of the evening we heard a call to “give thanks to the Lord and to call on His name” but perhaps the next clause in that first verse is a reminder as to how prayer can best be answered … actually, let’s skip to the verses 6 and 7 for the answer because tonight as our Red Bird team has returned from the hills after a successful week of work in the heat … caring for the home of Mr. and Mrs. Gray with love … we need to remember … as people of faith in these troubling times …. We must remember … “YOU …. And YOU and you and you who are the offspring of Abraham, his servant, and the children of Jacob, his chosen one, …. The Lord God has made His covenant with YOU and YOU and YOU and me …. God’s justice is everywhere throughout the whole world! God remembers His covenant forever the word he commanded to a thousand generations ….”

We are the ones friends … we are the ones called to be the answer to prayer … we are the ones who need to put our faith into action … we are the ones called to love all of our neighbors without hesitation … not to judge but to forgive … and as our team comes back from the Hills we are reminded that we are the hands of God and we are the light of Jesus Christ and we are called to give thanks to the Lord … to call upon his name and to make God’s work made known to the world.

So, our call this evening is not to brag but to tell our friends that we represented God, Jesus Christ and this church as we went to Kentucky whether in person or in prayer! We are called to tell our families and friends that Vacation Bible School will be happening here for kids …. Where the volunteers and the prayer warriors will be guiding children to discover Jesus and God and faith because without the people all of our prayers will fall flat … God made an agreement … a covenant with people of faith … we are the care for the poor … for the widow … for the orphan … for the strangers in the land … for the dis-ABLED … for the children … YOU AND I!

We are called to sing to God … praises and to focus on God’s wonderful deeds, which are the work of people like you and me … we are to pursue the Lord … we are part of the thousands of generations of humanity that God has loved … for whom God sent Jesus Christ but tasked with a responsibility to step up and live as if we believe.

So, remember when you saw the light of Christ! Don’t throw away the confidence of your early faith. Together, we need to endure … remember the love even the sympathy that God and Christ tell us is our obligation if we believe.

And, start to consider your next step in faith … not your neighbors … not your pastor’s … not those who attend this church with you but your next step what will it be. It might be Red Bird … or VBS or serving on a ministry team here …. We can never be the type of people who are timid and draw back …. Our help comes from he Lord and for the Red Bird team the Lord gave us the Lord once more!

Step up and take on your faith as if it matters …. Because it does and you are called to be more than a passive listener … there’s work to be done!

© 2017- St. Paul's United Methodist Church, West Deptford, NJ