Serving—with Holy Spirit Power! (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Sunday, June 4, 2017

Serving—with Holy Spirit Power! (#BestOf)

Today was Pentecost at my church. Yes, I preached about the coming of the Holy Spirit. I spoke of the mighty acts of God breaking into the lives of all believers. This #BestOf post marks the day the Holy Spirit was poured out. I don’t want the Holy Spirit to remain sequestered to only one day a year. No! Our Advocate helped the followers of Jesus to turn the world inside and upside down. Read it again, and praise God!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, June 8, 2014

Acts 2 Pentecost-El-Greco-cropped

Serving—with Holy Spirit Power!

So there I was—at an evening meeting several years ago in a public building. Out of nowhere, the lights flickered. Went out! And stayed out. Immediately, everyone inside the building filed out. As a safety precaution, of course.

But—what happened? Was it a brown-out? Did something happen to a transformer attached to the electrical supply in the neighborhood? Everyone wanted the power supply to get back on line!

I narrated the story of Pentecost this morning, in church. I told about Jesus ascending to heaven, and then—what? Nothing! Not a thing, for days. But at last, when the band of beleaguered believers was all gathered together in one place, Pentecost happened! The Holy Spirit came with mighty power! The disciples became courageous overnight. And the Holy Spirit turned the disciples inside out and upside down. Life—as they knew it before—was never the same again.

As I preached this morning, I honestly felt like I was serving the congregation in a deep, meaningful, wonderful manner. Opening the Word of God. I’ve felt that in the past, and it is such an awesome, stunning feeling to have. Almost like Isaiah falling on his face before God Almighty in the Temple (in Isaiah 6). However, today had a different feel to it. This morning, it was almost like I was uncovering something rich, something precious. Something of immense value! And then, turning to the friends out in the pews. Showing them the treasure of immense value! Offering them the opportunity to come along on this tremendous journey.

What about you? How has your journey through life been going? This small congregation has had its ups and downs, but I felt that this particular message from Acts 2 was just exactly what I ought to preach to this congregation. I hope and pray that any time people consider this chapter in Acts that they also consider the tremendous opportunity that God is holding out to all of outs. Just like a treasure, a rich and beautiful thing.

I want to serve. I have been praying for opportunities to help, whatever way I can. In this case, I will try my darnedest to get out the Good News. And if I can serve, be helpful, and be kind along the way? All fantastic ways to follow God. And God’s Good News!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Suggestion: visit me at my blog: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers– where I am doing a PEACE journey through Lent and beyond. #PursuePEACE. Pursuing Peace – Thanks!)

(also published at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com .   @chaplaineliza And read my sermons   from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

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Helping, Serving—and Enjoying Myself!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas decorations

Helping, Serving—and Enjoying Myself!

The first part of the day? Service.

I served in the church, led in worship, and read for the Sunday school program. We also said good-bye to Tim, the wonderful youth leader in our church. He has done a tremendous job teaching Sunday school and leading the children, since this winter. Now, he’s graduating and leaving Chicago. So, it was a bittersweet experience, coordinating that aspect of the service. However, I particularly wanted—to be of service. Worship service, that is.

Helping comes next.

After church, I thought of helping out my daughter, who needed shoes. She had her heart set on gym shoes. And, yes, we found some powder blue Converse gym shoes on sale! Even, in her size! That was kind to my budget, believe me. Although, I urged her to consider finding some nice flats, too. Pretty, comfortable, and versatile. (I absolutely insist on comfort in shoes. No sacrificing my feet for fashion, believe me!) Lo and behold, she was able to find some ballet flats with some extra fancy designs around the toes. So, another helpful thing accomplished. Scratched off of the list of things to do.

Next on the agenda, enjoying myself. (I like to do that, believe me!)

In amongst all of the busy-ness, hustle, bustle and everything else, I found the time to attend my friend’s open house. In a lovely, gracious, vintage building, my friend Sherryanne hosted a holiday party—along with her mother and her aunt. This has been a holiday custom in her family since before World War II. I was fortunate enough to attend, and to enjoy all of the delicious things on the table.

Oh, and I enjoyed the excellent company at the open house, too. I saw some people I haven’t seen for quite some time. Perhaps even for several years.

The holidays can be fun! And, hectic. And—did I mention fun?

I’ll have fond memories from this year, especially from the Christmas celebration I attended this afternoon. Good food, good conversation, good friends. Thank You, God!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Helping, Serving—in the Short Term (Feature Friday!)

A Year of Being Kind blog –Friday, June 13, 2014

helping-the-poor-and-needy

Helping, Serving—in the Short Term (Feature Friday!)

I have a confession to make. I have never been on a short term mission trip. Not out of the country. Not in the United States (and there are plenty of places to minister here!).

But, I am fascinated by the short term mission experiences talked about by my new friend in South America, Rich Brown. The mission he helped found, IncaLink, has a tremendous outreach and ministry for groups from North America. Yes, IncaLink runs several kinds of mission outreaches in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. A primary way of ministry is touching the lives of youth in a number of ways—through youth job training and schooling, training youth in leadership skills, and bringing young people to South America in internship roles with IncaLink.

A companion ministry in IncaLink is very much linked with the work with youth: short term mission. When I hear short term mission, one thing that immediately leaps to my mind is groups of youth from various churches in North America, gearing up to go to some faraway place over spring break, or during summer vacation. IncaLink’s response? Yes! Certainly, that’s a part of their short term team mission and ministry! But that’s not all. Not by a long shot!

Any kind of team, of any description, can come to IncaLink and be sent out on a worthwhile ministry to one of IncaLink’s sites. (How awesome is that?) Not only youth groups, but teams of college young people, teams of men, or of women, groups of senior citizens, and other groups of just about any description are welcomed and put to good use. Doing service. Being kind. Seizing the opportunity that God offers to enter into relationship with God’s people.

When I spoke with Rich through Skype some days ago (I still think that technology is SO cool!), Rich told me that small group ministry is so important to IncaLink. Not only are they fully committed to providing God-inspired short term experiences, but a portion of the money that is paid to the mission helps fund further ministry. A portion of the money each short term team member pays into IncaLink is sent directly to the other ministries and outreaches that IncaLink provides for so many youth, children, women and men. I could tell how excited Rich was, as he told me about this “financial engine” that provides for so many wonderful things to be done in many locations.

Rich wanted to add that he would very much like young people—in college, in their twenties—to consider short term mission experiences. Internships, too. Longer than a week, he means! “Come and see,” he says. Come and see what worthwhile ministry is going on at the dump in Peru. Or the orphanage in Ecuador. Or women’s prison ministry, or ministry to seniors, or to special needs youth.

Come and see. Come for the love of God. Stay for the love of God’s people.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Serving—with Holy Spirit Power!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Pentecost,  Alexander Sadoyan

The Pentecost,
Alexander Sadoyan

Serving—with Holy Spirit Power!

So there I was—at an evening meeting several years ago in a public building. Out of nowhere, the lights flickered. Went out! And stayed out. Immediately, everyone inside the building filed out. As a safety precaution, of course.

But—what happened? Was it a brown-out? Did something happen to a transformer attached to the electrical supply in the neighborhood? Everyone wanted the power supply to get back on line!

I narrated the story of Pentecost this morning, in church. I told about Jesus ascending to heaven, and then—what? Nothing! Not a thing, for many days. But at last, when the band of beleaguered believers was all gathered together in one place, Pentecost happened! The Holy Spirit came with mighty power! The disciples became courageous overnight. And the Holy Spirit turned the disciples inside out and upside down. Life—as they knew it before—was never the same again.

As I preached this morning, I honestly felt like I was serving the congregation in a deep, meaningful, wonderful manner. Opening the Word of God. I’ve felt that in the past, and it is such an awesome, stunning feeling to have. Almost like Isaiah falling on his face before God Almighty in the Temple (in Isaiah 6). However, today had a different feel to it. This morning, it was almost like I was uncovering something rich, something precious. Something of immense value! And then, turning to the friends out in the pews. Showing them the treasure of immense value! Offering them the opportunity to come along on this tremendous journey.

What about you? How has your journey through life been going? This small congregation has had its ups and downs, but I felt that this particular message from Acts 2 was just exactly what I ought to preach to this congregation. I hope and pray that any time people consider this chapter in Acts that they also consider the tremendous opportunity that God is holding out to all of outs. Just like a treasure, a rich and beautiful thing.

I want to serve. I have been praying for opportunities to help, whatever way I can. In this case, I will try my darnedest to get out the Good News. And if I can serve, be helpful, and be kind along the way? All fantastic ways to follow God. And God’s Good News!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Serving, Being Kind—Near or Far! (Feature Friday!)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, May 8, 2014

make a dfference in someone's life www.sakks.org

Serving, Being Kind—Near or Far!

Faraway places! Exotic locales! Gosh, you might think I was talking about a South Sea island, or Darkest Africa, or a way station on the Silk Road. Frankly, I was thinking about London. Faraway? If we’re talking from Chicago, yes! Exotic? In terms of the cross-section of cultures, ethnicities, religious backgrounds, and just about any other difference or variety anyone can think of? Yup.

London City Mission is positioned right in the heart of that urban, cross-section of cultures, reaching out in the name of Christ, yes! However, they reach out with “a cup of cold water,” too, especially in LCM’s ministry to the poor, the homeless, the marginalized, the immigrant population. Working with people from all over London? Yes, community outreach and prison ministry, too. Coming from places not many people are aware of, these dear, beloved, invisible individuals are exactly that: dear and beloved in God’s eyes, as well as in the eyes of the London City Mission.

The Director of London City Mission is now a “follower” of mine on Twitter! Me? I’ve “followed” Graham for several months on Twitter, so I “followed” first. For whatever that’s worth. <grin> I honestly appreciate what Graham (@WindyLondon) and LCM are trying to do. Each one is striving to live out the Great Commission, as well as living out social justice, in a variety of ways and methods. I’ve been reading about some vignettes in LCM’s quarterly magazine. (And a well-put-together magazine it is, too! I have some idea of what I speak, since my husband is a senior editor for a trade magazine.)

A specific niche in ministry at London City Mission, and one that resonates with me deeply, is chaplaincy. Some chaplains work at (for?) LCM. Transport? Busses? Yes, there are chaplains for fast-moving London. Other chaplains cover emergency services. Not only for the good people in trauma, grief and distress, but also the emergency responders. Doctors, nurses, police offiers, emergency workers. And then, there is ‘regular’ hospital chaplaincy. The LCM covers that, too.

I read in one of Graham’s blog posts (from Feb 28, 2014) that “we show Christian love, we share Christian hope, and we do so without conditions. We have a message of Good News and hope that the whole world needs to hear. Good News of sins forgiven, of grace to the undeserving, of love for the unlovely, freedom for the prisoner, hope of a new beginning for the addict.”

Sometimes, I have the sneaking wish I could jump in to ministry with LCM, using the faithful training in chaplaincy, recovery counseling, pastoral care—and preaching!—I received here in the Chicago area. Whatever, wherever God wants me to be of service, I pray that I may listen and respond. I pray for the same listening, responding hearts for my readers, too. God willing!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Showing Love, Serving in Coffee Hour

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, February 2, 2014

 

tea party

Showing Love, Serving in Coffee Hour

I served others intentionally today. I co-hosted in Coffee Hour at my church. Another way of talking about it is that I showed people love in a concrete, down-to-earth way today.

I wonder—how difficult is it to serve people, on a regular basis? I could ask a few of my relatives. While looking for work doing other things, several of them did work in the service sector. Restaurant servers, cab drivers. As for me, I’ve worked for several years in customer service, and as a caregiver for seniors.

Hosting (actually, serving) in Coffee Hour after church on Sunday is serving, too (except not for pay). I co-hosted with a wonderful couple in my church. Together, we made sure that everything was laid out and ready for everyone to come downstairs and eat. Then, we served the muffins, breads, fruit, and veggies we had set out on the tables. Poured coffee, tea and ice water, too. Since I was the youngest of the three of us hosts, I was more than happy to run back and forth from the church kitchen. Running, fetching things people asked for, getting items forgotten in our rush to get everything ready. Service. An opportunity for me to make things easier for others.

But this is a new month. Thus, I’m concentrating on a different verse from Scripture. Last month was Ephesians 4:32, where I looked for ways to be kind and tenderhearted towards others. This month, I want to seek out ways to show love to others. The verse that I will concentrate on in February is 1 John 3:18, “Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”

By being a host and serving others in Coffee Hour, I tried to show love in truth and action. Certainly a tangible way of making others comfortable, facilitating things, and providing a pleasant atmosphere for people to enjoy some food, friends and conversation after the morning service. I hope I made things easier for a number of seniors, but also for some parents of small children.

I recognize that serving at church (in other words, sticking around a little longer, not running out the door as soon as the postlude starts) is also a way to make closer connections. Service in the church or at other religious organizations helps me make better friends with some people I don’t otherwise know very well. I’ve had any number of opportunities to do this, too. If I should ever need more friends, this is one sure-fire way for me to find them, too.

What a chance for me to get out of myself. Or, to get out of my rut (whatever rut I’m currently in). Or, an opportunity to serve God. However I look at the service in Coffee Hour today, I enjoyed it. I felt good working with the wonderful couple, and being of service to the rest of the congregation. So, a win-win-win situation, all the way around. I was pleased with my morning of service. I think God was, too!

@chaplaineliza