I have spent the week in Nashville attending the 2012 Congress on Evangelism. It has been a great time. I traveled here with a couple of good friends from St.Paul School of Theology and Course of Study. One of them, Bob Debolt, pastors in Illinois and the other, Glen Hansen, pastors in Iowa. It has been a lot of fun to be with these two men who are in love with Jesus and to be able to hear some great preaching, bible study, worship and workshops. One of the things I miss most is the time to be in worship. A pastor is often so busy making sure that worship happens for his congregation that he fails to be in worship himself. I am so grateful to have been washed again this week by the Holy Spirit and to have been able to worship in spirit and in truth.
Tonight's preacher was Pastor Vance Ross from the Gordon Memorial UMC, the largest African American Church in Tennessee. He preached with power and inspiration as he took his text from Acts 3; the story of Peter and John healing the lame man at the Gate Beautiful. The man had been a cripple all of his life and had others who brought him to this busy part of Jerusalem to beg for his living. He asked Peter and John for alms, but they had no money. "Peter said to him, 'silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."
You know the rest of the story. They took the man by the hand and he did rise and walk. Many people knew man and when they saw him walking they were amazed and were filled with wonder at what had happened to him.
Isn't it interesting that we often decline to be involved in ministry because we are not "properly equipped". We don't have the right resources, the right training, the financial resources, but the lesson of this miracle is that God has equipped us to be in ministry at the spot where we find others in need. We who have been saved by Jesus have also been equipped by the power of the holy spirit and in that power Jesus has promised to give us "all authority" to go and make disciples baptizing, and teaching. Once we have become part of the "Body of Christ" through baptism we are equipped and ready to be sent to do the works of Christ in the world which include healing ministries. The miracle that Peter and John performed was done in the power of the same Spirit that is available to us. So the question is.....what stops us from performing those same 'signs and wonders' and being ready day by day to do 'on the spot' (meaning wherever we are that causes us to be in a place that calls for God's goodness and grace) ministry in the Mighty Name of the one we claim for our own salvation, the name of Jesus?
Looking forward to Sabbath and being with you in worship. Enoch is the subject of Sunday's sermon, a man who walked with God.