First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

Training to practice

July 5, 2016

The conundrums of life:

1. We park on the 'drive' way and drive on the 'park' way.

2. Jumbo shrimp

3. Watching the sunrise when really the earth is spinning toward a stationary sun.

4. Doctors 'practice' medicine.

5. An amateur built the ark, experts built the Titanic.

6. Volunteer first-responders don't get paid.

Wait, that last one isn't correct is it??

    I had the pleasure of attending another Fourth of July parade in my hometown and saw the usual assortment of high school bands, politicians, dance teams, organizations, and fire departments. It amazed me the size of some of these fire fighting units in comparison to their town population and geographical region. The departments have a wide assortment of apparatus and useful tools for rescue.

Think about this next paragraph for a minute...

Women and men choose to become volunteers of a fire department. They do not get a salary. They are highly trained. They answer the call to help us in our greatest time of need. They risk their lives every time they leave the station. Now, think about this next statement twice as long as you did the last one...

    What if volunteer firefighters were highly trained, were surrounded by cutting edge apparatus and equipment, and sat around a table in the fire station and discussed the finer points of their craft yet never went out to save, serve, and rescue us. Hours would be spent in meetings admiring the fire chief and how much work he / she does in saving the victims. Wouldn't that be silly? We would probably stop supporting the local department because they take our money for training and equipment but never use either. Now, think about this next paragraph three times longer than the last two...

    The local church is filled with people who invest their lives into training themselves through Bible study, attend worship fairly regularly, and expect their pastors to carry the responsibility for bringing the saving grace of Jesus to the lost. That would be silly right?

    What if, churches were filled with volunteers who seek cutting edge training, learn the finer points of building relationships, and then go boldly out to save, serve, and rescue those in crisis or duress. What if, these churches owned or obtained cutting edge apparatus and useful tools and utilized them in transforming a broken and complex world. All these thoughts are fine but mix them with a pastoral leader who casts the vision for the church and is willing to jump into the mix of workers in the field and then one has the formula for a region to experience revival and renewal.

    There is one point to consider in this babbling blog. Firefighters sense a call to serve and volunteer. They respond with a full understanding of the risks and dangers. Church members are commanded to work in God's kingdom.

        "Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to

        me. Therefore 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.” (Matthew 28:18-20, NIV)

There was / is a problem with response in the faith community.  Apparently, Jesus knew disciples might balk at this command or else he wouldn't have said this....

        "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like

        sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are

        few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”                  

        (Matthew 9:36-38, NIV)

 

Don't you just hate conundrums?

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