Live Worthy of Your Calling

arms-around-3574596_640.jpgEleventh Sunday After Pentecost – August 5, 2018

2 Samuel 11:26 – 12:13a •  Psalm 51:1-12  •  Ephesians 4:1-16  •  John 6:24-35

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all,
who is over all, in all, and living through all.

However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. That is why the Scriptures say,

“When he ascended to the heights,
    he led a crowd of captives
    and gave gifts to his people.”

Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world. And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself.

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Ephesians 4:1-16 New Living Translation (NLT)


We continue our journey through Ephesians.  One of the first things that Paul writes to us in this passage is to lead a life worthy of your calling.  It is a reminder that those who are in Christ are called of God.  One of the results of the Reformation was the reminder that each believer is part of the Kingdom (The priesthood of all believers.) Each believer has a calling and a ministry in God’s Kingdom.  This past week was Refresh Retreat and Family Camp.  One of our speakers was the lead pastor at Watermark Wesleyan Church – Ken Nash.  I heard this line quoted several times, not only by him but others who were quoting Ken, “If you have a pulse, you have a purpose.” Each one of us have a place in the Kingdom. Ministry is not limited to the clergy. We are all called. We, as clergy, need to help people find their place in the Kingdom.

Paul continues that we should always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s fault because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.  So many times we think unity means that we all have to act the same – or maybe even that we don’t disagree.  Each of us thinks differently and there will be times that we disagree, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have unity…in face, Paul insists on it.  After all, “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father…and he has given each one of us a special gift to use in the working of God’s Kingdom.

We are given a list of the gifts that Christ gave to the church.  Notice it does not say that they were given to the clergy, but the church.  During our monthly leadership meetings this spring we talked at great length about apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.  These gifts equip God’s people to do God’s work.  Too many times I have seen those who are charged with building up the body, tear it down, only so they may build themselves up.

Again Paul calls for unity – and that is what happens when we build the body.  Paul calls us to be mature and the standard for being mature, he says is measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

When we work together for the cause of Christ – all of us – lay and clergy – we continue to grow more like Christ – who, as Paul writes is the head of the body or the church and he helps us grow together – working together – in perfect unity – much like our human body works together.  As a runner I understand, when one part of the body isn’t cooperating in running, it makes it so much more difficult for the rest of the body.  But each part has its place, even when we don’t think so.  Each part helps the other part – so that we grow and the whole body is healthy and growing AND full of LOVE.

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Prayer for the Week

lens-reflection-2757801_960_720Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday Night Thoughts

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Tonight I write to you from the comfort of our “cabin.”  Night one of Refresh Retreat and Family Camp is in the books.  It was an awesome night of worship.  I put cabin in quotes because the Western New York Family Camp is on the campus of Houghton College.  We are staying in one of the spacious two-bedroom apartments.  Seriously, it is bigger than the house that we lived in Marion, IN.  There is plenty of room for the four of us and we have internet access – so James can work on school work.  He’s sitting on the couch behind me, while I sit working at the dining room table.

Houghton does a great job of hosting us.  The musical worship tonight was wonderful, despite the fact that the presentation computer didn’t want to display the lyrics.  Arthur Ward who just graduated from Houghton is the worship leader and tonight’s preacher was Justin Leininger. He preached a wonderful message on finding God in the wilderness.  I loved this quote:

Remember, with Jesus your worst moment is never your last!  

We had a good service this morning at McCrae Brook.  I preached despite having a scratchy throat.  I am thankful for the spirit’s presence as I preached a message about perfect love casting out all fear.  We are almost through our series on 1 John and I am hoping to wrap it up next week – and we will be celebrating communion as well.

This week was a relatively easy week compared to the last few, this coming week, at some point I need to work on my sermon, but for now I want to enjoy sitting back and basking in the presence of the Holy Spirit. I hope you have a great week.  Blessings….

Prayer for the Week

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O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

How Wide – How Long – How High – How Deep

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10th Sunday After Pentecost (July 29, 2018)

2 Samuel 11:1-15 — Psalm 14 – Ephesians 3:14-21 — John 6:1-21

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[a] the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:14-21 New Living Translation (NLT)


In this passage, Paul is praying for spiritual growth in the life of the church at Ephesus.  He prays that the believers would understand God’s mysterious plan of Jesus Christ — that they would know the incredible love of God. He prays that they would know how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.  I chose the picture above to show a vast expanse.  Back in 2010, I had the opportunity to go to the Navajo Nation in Arizona.  We flew in and out of Phoenix.  First I remember flying in and how long it takes to cross this great land that we live in.  The other memorable moment was on the return trip.  We had just gotten on I-40 near Holbrook, AZ.  It is almost 90 miles from Holbrook to Flagstaff, but I remember seeing the San Francisco Mountains in the distance and we could see them for a very long distance.  I think about the vast distances in our nation and then I think about how large our universe is.  So big that distances are measure in light years – the time it takes light to travel in one year.  The universe is huge and still God’s love is larger than the universe – how cool is that.

God has resources that cannot be measured and from those resources, he empowers us to live for Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Those resources are not like our resources – many of our resources on this earth are not renewable – but God’s resources are.  These resources allow us to live as he has called us to live. These resources allow us to grow – to put our roots down deep – these roots grow down into God’s love and will keep us strong.  This winter, we had many trees fall down in our neck of the woods due to snow and high winds.  These trees fell because their root system was insufficient.  We need to grow our spiritual roots deep into God’s love.

It is only then that we will truly experience the love of Christ – It is hard to describe the love of Christ – and to know it – our finite minds can’t wrap our heads around the love of Christ – the love that came, that died for us, that rose again – that kind of love – experience it –  to the full.

God wants to work in us – to accomplish more – more than we can think or ask!!!! How cool is that?  What a great prayer as we prepare our hearts for worship and meet with God’s people this weekend.