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Welcome Home

We just finished our Welcome Home series, and the first services in our building. The fruits from the three weeks. . . Eight salvations and three baptisms! Six of those salvations occurred on the same night––you guessed right, trunk or treat!

This causes pause to think of the implications. We opened our doors to the community for an event, and SIX lives were completely transformed. Can you imagine the growth of the Kingdom if we were in our building, permanently, and holding regular events for the community? Obviously, that’s a long-term goal, but an exciting one to bestow!

With that goal in mind, let’s recap the series! Pastor John emphasized the “Acts two” church. In America, we are far removed from the persecution others experience across the globe for simply possessing a Bible, much less actively attending an underground church. We are desensitized to how incredibly lucky we are, and how infinitely blessed we are in comparison to our brothers and sisters abroad. 

John reminded us that truly pursuing God should be uncomfortable. This makes me think of a story just two chapters over in Acts four. Peter and John have been arrested for proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus and healing a lame man. After their initial appearance in front of the Sanhedrin, the chief priests and temple police order Peter and John never to preach or teach in the name of Jesus again. Here is their response: Acts 4:19-20, “Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” In other words, you can lock us up, beat us, or mistreat us in any fashion, but we MUST talk about Jesus! This also confirms something else Pastor said, “I’d rather offend man than offend God!”

Being the hands is applying the knowledge of the head. Knowledge is useless unless it’s applied. Hands means serving one another! There are countless ways we can serve and show the love of our King with our hands! Jesus humbled himself and washed his disciple’s feet. This story always causes such emotion to rise within me. First, some context: During Jesus’s time on earth, feet were filthy, I mean, absolutely gross! Everyone wore sandals all day, every day! Not to mention, the act of washing another’s feet was reserved for the lowest of slaves. Here we have Jesus, the Son of God, tying a towel around His waist, and washing feet! Jesus explained his action this way: John 13:12-16, “When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you. I assure you: A slave is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

Now onto the heart, which Biblically, is the wellspring of life and should be guarded because everything we do flows from it. As John said, we all have wounded hearts. Nobody can walk through this broken life without hurting. As feeble as this life is in the grand scheme of things, pain hurts, period. What so often comes after pain is a prideful wall around our hearts. John said, “Healing can’t begin until we lose our pride.” Ouch––yet powerful and true! Ladies, I don’t know about you, but when I think about my tender heart, I envision the anointing at Bethany. In the four summations of this event in the Gospel’s, the woman does not speak a single word, audibly, but allows her heart to communicate for her. The wording in Luke seven is my favorite description of the scene. She cradles His precious feet in her hands, her tears splash faultless flesh, her lips grace the tops of His feet, and her hair dries her tears. She then pours an alabaster jar of perfume on His feet, thereby anointing Him. Jesus then says of her, “Wherever the Gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

Our hearts are so connected to Jesus that we don’t have to speak a word because He already knows. He lived among us, and therefore, empathizes with what we endure. We serve a King who understands. He knows our hearts and our pain because He lived it, too. In our darkest hours, when we’re crying out to Him, He is more likely to say, “I know,” than to not comprehend what the emotion feels like. So, yes, guard your heart, but not so much that you close yourself off and don’t bear fruit as we’re commanded to. Remember, we are called to love God and love others! 

Welcome home!    

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