Monday, 8 December 2008

Therefore go

On Sunday, December 7, I was commissioned or "sent out" by Lower Lights Community Church of the Nazarene in Columbus.  Here are the words that were shared by Pastor Mike...


The first Bible verse most of us memorized is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  This verse speaks plainly of God’s love for His creation.  He loves each human so much that He sent his only son as a sacrifice so that we would have the opportunity to live forever with Him. 

The prophet Isaiah spoke of the world and our human nature like this:  “The people walking in darkness  have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2).  The darkness he spoke of is the hopelessness found in our souls caused by being separated from our creator, which is the result of our sinfulness.  Into our darkness, God sent Jesus to be the light of the world.


It has always been God’s desire that we, in spite of our sinfulness be reunited with Him.  The way he has chosen to share the light with the world has been in great part through his children, those who love Him and have discovered that He is a loving God. 


After the resurrection, Jesus made His most direct statements about the role of His disciples in spreading God’s love.  Matthew 28:18-20 says, “18Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” 

This is a command that was not just given to the apostles but to all Christians then and now.  We are to go and make disciples of all nations.  We are to be the vehicle for sharing the Light of Christ.  

In Acts 1:8, Jesus removes any question that our involvement stops close to home when he says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

We are to be involved with carrying the gospel around the world.  As a congregation we do this by being a part of the Church of the Nazarene.  We believe in missions and believe that we are reaching the ends of the earth by supporting our denomination. 

Today we have a special opportunity to invest in missions.  One of ours, Stephanie, has:

1) heard the call of God on her life to go to a distant nation and share the love of God through the talents he has given her. And she has responded by saying, “Yes, Lord, I will go.”

2) Stephanie has prepared herself to go to a distant nation to share the love of God by going to Medical school, completing a residency program, at least one fellowship, she has completed her missions immersion training that the denomination requires and has shipped all of her belongings.

3) Today, we get to bless her, cover her with our prayers, give her a seed offering, and move her one step closer to sharing the love of God with a people who are living in darkness. 

Stephanie, will you affirm that you have heard the call of God in your life to use the talents He has given you to share His love with a distant people who are lost in darkness?

     I will.

Have you prepared to the best of your ability to be a competent physician who ministers to the bodies of the people you will be living amongst?

     I have.

Are you faithfully nurturing your relationship with the Creator whose message of love you will be carrying to a lost people?

     I am.

Is it your intent to rely completely on the power of the Holy Spirit, and the prayers and support of the church as you endeavor to be Christ’s ambassador to Papua, New Guinea?

     It is. 

Church, is it your intent to be people motivated by the love of God to take the life transforming message of the gospel of Jesus to Columbus, all of the United States, and to the ends of the earth?

     It is.

Church, is it your intent to diligently pray for our missionaries around the world and in particular, Dr. Stephanie, as she courageously shares God’s love with the world?

     It is.

If that is your intent, I would invite you to join us here at the altar as we pray a prayer of consecration on Stephanie this morning.


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