Scripture Text: John 20:21
1. Read Scripture for the Day
a. John 20:21(ESV) Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
2. For almost 2 years, this gathering of Jesus
Followers called First Presbyterian has been exploring a mission to define the next chapter in its 129 yrs and counting history.
a. Right now, at this stage in our journey and within this culture and community, we feel that the best mission 1stPres can have is to… LOVE1st : In everything we do we
will love first; God, each other, and our neighbors.
i. That means loving with an unconditional love, before we do or say anything else; a love flowing from God’s perfect love shown us through Jesus Christ.
3. Based on the word LOVE, we have a set of core values: characteristics we want to work on tirelessly so we can accomplish our mission.
a. Live and worship in joyful relationship with God
b. Open ourselves to one another as a diverse community of Spirit
c. Venture together on a hopeful journey into healing, overflowing life through Christ
d. These are all critically important. But I’d like to focus this morning, on this first Sunday of the New Year, on the E.
i. The E says that we will
Engage together in a life of service for our downtown neighbors and the wider world.
4. Back when we were spending time dreaming, talking and praying about what God’s mission for us might be, we asked people in the community what they would hope for or need from a church set right in Downtown CDA like we are.
a. Some didn’t have much hope or need for a church. But a surprising number of people did have a quick answer for us.
i. They wanted us to be a neighbor.
ii. A church that’s a part of the community:
engaged, involved, building relationships and helping people instead of sequestered in our building on Sunday mornings or always having an agenda.
5. Of our four 1stPres core values, it’s interesting that actually God completely handles the first three.
a. That’s why we wrote a person of the Trinity into each of those:
i. joy, unity and hope for healing aren’t accomplished by human power but are the natural results of God’s presence when we cooperate and get out of
b. But engaging in a lifestyle of service – that’s our task, our mission. God cooperates with us and get out of our way…
i. he’s still in charge of the results; but he puts us in charge of the serving itself.
6. Let’s go back to our verse: John 20:21
a. Jesus says “As the Father sent me.”
The word in Greek for “sent” is apostello, which means to be appointed to be an emissary to deliver a message.
i. And he says AS the Father
sent me, a word meaning “just as” or “like” – we are being asked to do the same thing Jesus is sent to do. But not quite.
b. Jesus uses a different word for “I am sending you” the word “pempo” which means to pick up and carry something for someone someplace.
i. Jesus is the message of God’s unconditional love and call to healing and new life.
ii. We pick up and carry the message wherever we are told to, wherever the doors open, beginning with our neighbors.
c. And Jesus promises there will be peace whenever we “pempo.”
7. Our neighbors around us are, have been and always will be in God’s hands. God has a plan for their life, a specific set of blessings, a call to new life and a destination set.
a. My task was, is and always will be to serve, love, be open about in whose name I serve, how I love because He first loved me, to be ready to go through door if relationship goes further, and be OK if it doesn’t.
i. Can I do this? Can the church do this? Can we let God be in control or will we always have an agenda to everything we do, needing to have a spiritual outcome?
b. Now, God knows we need a little encouragement, and see some result that our serving is making a difference. So, everyone once in awhile, we get a thank you. Or a question about our church. Or a visible transformation. Or best yet: another servant.
8. As the Downtown has evolved and transformed in recent years, the closest people to us with the biggest needs are really no longer the homeless but the working poor: people who work in Downtown restaurants, coffee shops, bars, hotels and offices.
i. Statistically these folks have huge challenges with poverty, caring for families, access to healthcare, and struggles with addictions and personal brokenness.
b. We want to take the lead in creating a nonprofit organization of caring people be the “go to” for managers and business owners to call when their employees are going through crises and personal
emergencies with no resources.
i. It already has a name: CDAide
c. It begins with the simple act of caring, and the harder mindset of serving while we are being served.
i. Using a name.
ii. Being considerate and thoughtful.
iii. Striking up a conversation
iv. Tipping well
v. Giving an unexpected $20 and perhaps a 2nd one they can use to bless one of their co-workers.
d. Then it might evolve into return trips.
i. Using the name and remembering a detail about the person’s life.
ii. Asking about how things are going.
iii. Learning a need and meeting the need, perhaps with a group of friends or eventually
with the help of the CDAide network.
e. Then deeper relationships may follow which lead to deeper care and support; and perhaps spiritual formation and community.
9. We are dedicating now until February 14 (Valentine’s Day) – the notoriously slow season for this industry here in CDA – to caring for these folks.
a. Here’s how you can help…