What is God calling us to do? That’s our question this Sunday in the third sermon in the series “The Heart of the City.” How do we answer that? We begin with the first two questions in mind: “Who are we?” and “Who is our neighbor?” Given who we are as a congregation and given who our neighbors are and soon will be as our city grows, what is God calling us to do? There are some pretty clear directions from Jesus in Matthew 28 and Paul in Romans 12 about how we are to relate to one another, love and serve one another, and help one another become faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
In our Romans 12 scripture reading, we find these challenging words: “Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is — what is good and pleasing and mature.”
But how do we avoid being “conformed to the patterns of the world — and still live in it?”
In the scurry of the world we live in today, constantly bombarded with messages and expectations — many of which have nothing to do with loving and serving others — we cannot underestimate the importance of learning to quiet ourselves and listen for God’s call.
Studies have shown that a typical social media user consumes 285 pieces of content daily, which equates to a whopping 54,000 words and as many as 1,000 clickable links. In the midst of this clickable ruckus that surrounds us, how are we to find the time and energy to “renew our minds so that we can figure out what God’s will is” in the context of our overloaded lives?
In Matthew 28, we find what is known as “the great commission” where Jesus instructs his followers to “go and make disciples.”
How do we “make disciples” in today’s world?
The literal wording in the Greek is “Going, make disciples . . .” so the better translation is, “As you go, make disciples . . .” In our faith community, we state our mission of making disciples in this way: “Love God, Serve People, and Transform Lives” and we do it best when we do it “as we go.” As we go about our business, as we go to work, as we go out with friends, as we play together as a family, we are to be engaged in the sacred work of making disciples. As we go, we love God, we serve people, and in so doing, we transform lives — our own lives and the lives of others.
So with all this in mind, on Sunday we’re asking as a church, “What is God calling us to do?” Perhaps we need to look around and see what God is doing in our world and then consider how we can be part of it.
I look forward this Sunday to exploring this third question in our series and its implications for us.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster,
Romans 12:1-2, 9-21
So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is — what is good and pleasing and mature.
Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic — be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord! Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer. Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home. Bless people who harass you — bless and don’t curse them. Be happy with those who are happy, and cry with those who are crying. Consider everyone as equal, and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else. Instead, associate with people who have no status. Don’t think that you’re so smart. Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions, but show respect for what everyone else believes is good.
If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people. Don’t try to get revenge for yourselves, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. It is written, Revenge belongs to me; I will pay it back, says the Lord. Instead, If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. By doing this, you will pile burning coals of fire upon his head.Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good.
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted. Jesus came near and spoke to them, “I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.”