Today’s Reading: Acts 4:5-7 (NKJV)
5 And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, 6 as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, "By what power or by what name have you done this?"
I looked around the room yesterday and listened to the table discussions happening during the afternoon workshop at the Missouri Area School of Lay Ministries. There were holy sparks flying everywhere! I wish you could have heard some of the discussions being birthed around these tables. So many wonderful ministry ideas emerged as the laity brainstormed together on how to reach people who have not yet met the risen Lord.
Folks were up really early this morning, continuing the discussions around the coffeepot. Right now, as I'm writing, I can hear one discussion about servant evangelism, another about lighting a holy fire under the congregational pews. Someone is telling a story about a recent mission trip they took with their church, and the spiritual impact that experience had on them.
I love hearing their stories. That is one of the reasons I enjoy the School of Lay Ministries. I get to experience ministry in motion through the words and hearts of fellow laity around the state. It draws us deeper into connection, as we serve Christ in our local churches. How beautiful are the feet of those who serve Him!
Nothing happens by coincidence. I was sitting at the table with a woman who attends Liberty United Methodist Church near Kansas City. I did not know her personally, but I knew of her congregation. For the last two years, their cancer prayer team has been sending cards filled with personal, handwritten prayers and words of encouragement for my children. They have been faithful in remembering them daily in prayer. I had the opportunity to thank her for their faithfulness and perservering prayer. When I looked into this woman's face, I felt a deep sense of gratitude for her ongoing intercessory prayer ministry.
There are so many integral ways we can serve the Lord together and reach out to people in Jesus' name. There were no strangers in this room. We are all family, wrapped together in the blanket warmth of His sweet Holy Spirit.
Peter and John knew from whence their power came. Their accusers could not understand it. They were bound, but not held by the physical shackles they wore on their hands and feet. They were yoked in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, who equips all who love the Lord Jesus Christ, to accomplish His great work in the world. Sometimes, we feel shackled by the circumstances or demographics of our local churches; we get stuck in a rut of status-quo, wondering how to break out and reach out beyond our walls. We want to share the Gospel with the people God has placed in our path. Yet, the body of Christ, our community of faith, becomes an unbroken cord, stretching hands and hearts toward heaven. We find that our reach is truly limitless, every obstacle can be conquered, when we are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. The family of God is amazing thing. The School of Lay Ministry is quite an experience. You should come with me next time! There is a place at the table for you.
Just like Peter and John, we are better together, bound in Christ's love and filled with His Spirit of hope! May you sense the urgency we feel in our hearts today. There are people in our communities who have not yet met our risen Lord. They are searching for something more in life. We have Christ's love and salvation message to offer them. What are we waiting for?
Grace and peace,