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  • Feb2Fri

    Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

    Risk-taking Mission and Service February 2, 2018 Pastor Eric Groot-Nibbelink

    Here for the next few weeks we are revisiting the phrases displayed in our fellowship hall: THE FIVE PRACTICES OF FRUITFUL CONGREGATIONS, based on materials by Robert Schnase.

    Practice #4 - Risk-taking Mission and Service

    Our comfortable North American lifestyle and mindset sets us up to often ignore, dismiss, minimize, and rationalize away the calls to serve Jesus in ways that truly ‘cost’ us.  We often are amazed by those who work on what we might call the “front lines of service.”  We have deep admiration and respect for those who directly feed the hungry, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and reach out to the lonely and poor –especially in impoverished and under-developed city centers and nations.  However, despite our admiration, we sometimes may excuse ourselves from more immediate and active involvement.

    But the prophets and our Lord Jesus call us to consider how we might involve ourselves in the lives of those with deep needs for mercy and justice; and then to take action.  It is a call to sacrificial obedience.   However, there is gospel for us in this call, particularly as we absorb the dynamics in the parable of the sheep and the goats of Matthew 25. 

    In that parable, Jesus suggests that his followers will be so thoroughly steeped in his grace that they will reach out to the world’s most vulnerable, rejected and isolated and do so as if it were second nature.  They don’t even notice: “When did we see you hungry or naked or in prison?”  Servants respond with courageous mercy instinctively through the power of the love they had already experienced.  We bear great fruit in mission when we consider the sacrifices of our Lord Jesus for us and allow those to shape our service for others. -EGN

    If you’d like to engage in more reflection on this theme, check out the following Bible readings:  Matt.25:31-46; Micah 6.