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This week's eNote
april 19, 2021 by Pastor terry mchugh
I remember looking down at the dirt of the kickball field as teams were being picked. I was about 8 years old. One by one, other kids walked over to one team or the other as their names were called. When one of the team leaders finally said my name I was the only one left and one of the team leaders had no choice but to take me. I felt like I just didn’t measure up.
It’s pretty easy for most of us to see all kinds of ways we don’t measure up. In fact, our consumeristic culture depends on our feelings of inadequacy to fuel our incessant purchases that we hope will finally makes us feel OK about ourselves and our lives.
But that’s not what our current teaching series, “Weighed in the Balances” with the tagline “…and found wanting” (Daniel 5:27) is about.
As Pastor Steve Furr shared at the beginning of his sermon, “Weighed in the Balances: The Compassion Connection” (you can find the video & podcast versions on our Messages page here), the tagline is a verse that comes from the Old Testament book of Daniel. A mysterious hand appeared on the wall and wrote three messages to the King of Babylon that he needed Daniel to interpret. One of those messages was "You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting."
As part of our Vision process (learn more about the Vision here), we have four parts in living out our vision: our mission, "Widen the Circle - Connecting diverse people who share a common brokenness, with Jesus;" our values of Safety, Authenticity, Diversity, Transformation and Reconciliation; our strategy for living that out in the church; and then our "Measures" - how are we doing in living out our mission individually and collectively? Weighing ourselves, if you will. So, this is NOT about "do I / we measure up!" Jesus took care of that one on the cross. It's about how are we doing in growing more and more in Christ's likeness- in being transformed to be more like Jesus.
Pastor Steve launched the series by talking about “The Compassion Connection” and how in Colossians 3:12 the apostle Paul says to “put on…compassionate hearts…” Pastor Steve went on to say, “Jesus was moved by compassion and he fed hungry people, he was moved by compassion and healed people. Compassion is the reason for the gospel: ‘For God so loved the world he gave his son’…we are called to put on compassion.” When we do so, we are being transformed to be more like Jesus. The great spiritual writer, Dallas Williard, said it this way: “Discipleship is the process of becoming who Jesus would be if He were you.” As we’re transformed to be more and more like Jesus we’re also becoming more and more our intended, authentic selves.
In the coming weeks we’ll spend some time digging deeper into each of the four Measures in our Vision Frame as a way of seeing how we are doing in being transformed to become more like Jesus.
Please take some time each day to reflect on these questions and ask yourself how you are living them out. Which ones challenge you? Excite you?
LOVE: How am I loving my neighbor the way God loves them?
HUMILITY: How am I putting the needs of others above my own?
SHARING: How am I sharing the good news of God’s love for all people?
CONNECT: Do I have meaningful connections with diverse people?
Remember, this is not about measuring up. It’s about growing – together – with the help of the Holy Spirit. Transformation rarely happens in an instant, but it does happen cumulatively, instant by instant.
I’m always challenged by this quote from the writer G. K. Chesterton: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”
I loved when Pastor Steve talked about how when he was a kid his mom would tell him and his siblings to take a bath on Saturday night and then she would lay out their Sunday clothes to put on in the morning for church.
He said he didn’t have to make the clothes, or buy the clothes, or even (at that point) iron the clothes- he just had to put them on!
God has equipped us, he has given us everything we need- we just need to put it on, and keep putting it on- together.