Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Guest Post: "Calling to Ministry"

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. -2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (NIV)-

My personal call to the ministry was gradual, clear, and fitting. I learned from my parents that caring for others is important, both to those who need that personal touch and expression of Christ’s love, and to those who grow spiritually by allowing Christ to use them in that way. As a young child, I remember going on hospital, nursing home, and home pastoral visitations with my father, and witnessing the joy on the faces of those we saw, when they were met with a smile a soft touch, kind words, and prayers.

The community of the church has always been important to me. People love to love. Yes, while at church, we learn about our faith, but between the worship services, Sunday school classes, and meetings, we have the opportunity to share our faith through getting to know one another, telling our stories, listening to others share their life experiences, a hand shake, or a hug.

In our eleven o’clock worship service this past Sunday, Rev. Betty Meadows shared stories of “Tangible Christianity.” Nothing has overwhelmingly impressed me in the showing of Christ’s love than the experiences that I have witnessed when the outpouring of Christ’s love is shown by the church, the people of God’s Kingdom, in a time of need. It’s contagious. I have found that opportunities that I have had to meet a specific need for someone brought me perhaps as much joy as the person in need. The path on which God has lead me has landed me here at Sardis Presbyterian Church, where I have been embraced by the people of this church with compassion and love. The joy is all mine to share in ministry, for all of the days that God allows, and grow in faith with the Kingdom of God at Sardis. The hymn below, is one of the oldest American Hymns that is still in use today, and is even included in the new Presbyterian Hymnal, called Glory to God. It refers to the people of God in three ways: Thy Kingdom, the church, and Zion. It is said to be inspired by Psalm 137. 

HYMN: I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord” (text: Timothy Dwight; music The Universal Psalmist, 1763) 

1. I love Thy Kingdom, Lord, The House of Thine abode,
The Church our blest Redeemer saved With his own precious blood.

2. I love Thy church, O God; Her walls before Thee stand,
Dear as the apple of Thine eye, and graven on Thy hand.

3. For her my tears shall fall, For her my prayers ascend;
To her my cares and toils be given, Till toils and cares shall end.

4. Beyond my highest joy I prize her heavenly ways,
Her sweet communion, solemn vows, Her hymns of love and praise.

5. Sure as Thy truth shall last, To Zion shall be given
The brightest glories earth can yield, and brighter bliss of heav’n

God calls us all to the ministry! While the church building may not be where the vast majority of the God’s Kingdom goes to work every day, He has called us all to be disciples of the ministry. In the “Great Commission” found in Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV), Jesus charges us all to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” I remember after every worship service that my father preached, he would paraphrase this verse, along with Matthew 5:16 in his charge and blessing to the congregation: “You are already in the world as you are going about your daily lives, so as you are going, share your faith and what God has done for you, and let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and Glorify the Father in Heaven.”

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ - Matthew 25:34 (NIV)-

Jared Daugherty is the Minister of Music here at Sardis. Sharing in worship by encouraging others to glorify God through song brings Jared great joy and peace. It is Jared's goal to inspire other to open their souls to experience for themselves, and create an experience for the listener, that is unique, true, emotionally stirring, thought provoking, and spiritual.

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