Our food shelf is open on Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Due to the limited amount of groceries we receive or are able to purchase, and the ever increasing number of people using our food shelf, our food shelf may be used once a month per family.
The Meaning of Mercy
Becoming the church God has called us to be.
We have heard a lot recently about God calling us to be a church of mercy. We heard Dr. Nichols share his vision of the mercy seat in the middle of the sanctuary. Pastor shared during the business meeting that he believes that this is where our gifting as a church lies. But what will it take to be a church like that? How will it play out in everyday life? What will we be like, if we are a church known for mercy? Maybe we will look something like the word MERCY itself.
Menial - of or relating to servants; humble; servile
If we are indeed to be a church of mercy, we must develop the heart of a servant. We must be willing to humble ourselves in the presence of the world and our community. All to often the church raises herself up in pride. We look down at those we consider sinners and we beat our chests and say, "I'm glad we're not like them." In order to impact our world, we must stop building walls and start building bridges. It begins by understanding that we are no better than the worst of sinners. The only difference between a sinner and a saint, is one's forgiven, and the other ain't.
Jesus got down on His hands and knees and washed the dirty feet of His disciples and said, "If I then, your Lord and master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example," (John 13:14-15). Jesus gave us a clear pattern to follow. We must wash feet. A menial task to be sure. Are we above that? Then we cannot be a church known for mercy. Are you involved in a ministry? Why not? Are you too busy? Is your schedule too full to allow for commitment to service? It won't be if you catch the vision and make your way to the mercy seat.
Enlighten - instruct; inform; to give spiritual insight to
As people make their way to Central Assembly, we must do more than help them financially or physically. We must enlighten them. If we don't provide spiritual insight we may as well change the "E" to "enable". Paul's desire for the Ephesians was that God would "give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of your calling," (Ephesians 1:17-18). Mercy meets immediate needs while teaching and training recipients to give back when they are able. We are not independent. Nor can we be dependent. Interdependence is our goal. Teaching the truth in God's word and providing an environment conducive to learning is a must if we are to be merciful for the long hall.
Restore - to bring back to a former or original state; to put back into use or service
Remember when Jesus encountered the man with a withered hand? " 'Stretch forth thy hand,' and he did so, and his hand was restored whole as the other." (Luke 6:10). Just think, his hand was useful again. Restored is such a beautiful word. Now think of the folks we have allowed to slip out the back door of our church. Not one time visitors, but people we knew and loved. Productive people that are no longer here - or anywhere for that matter. They are like the withered hand. Our outreach and mercy must extend to them, for they number in the hundreds, perhaps thousands - and they are waiting to feel welcome. They desire restoration but they aren't sure how to get there or how they will be received. It is up to us to find them and lead them to the mercy seat. Restored is such a beautiful word.
Comfort - to give strength and hope to
If what Pastor says is true, we will encounter broken people. People with broken bones as well as broken hearts. People from broken homes with broken lives. The Bible says, "Strengthen ye the weak hands and confirm the weak knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, be strong, fear not," (Isaiah 35:3-4). As a place of mercy we must offer safety, strength, and hope. Those that have been restored must be in places of ministry to gain the confidence of those who are as yet vulnerable. Pastor cannot meet all of these needs. You experiences, your pain, your heartache, and even your failures, become vital tools in reaching those who are going through their darkest hour. Are you willing to relive your pain as you carry someone to the mercy seat?
Yield - to give up possession of; to relinquish, cede, waive, or surrender
We all want to experience revival. The question is, are we willing to pay the price? If we are really going to buy into this mercy thing, we must be willing to do more than sit by and wait for it to happen. We must be willing to do more than just attend. And dare I say, we must be willing to do more than just pray. We will be required to give up our hopes and our dreams. It will demand our time and our money. Before we can say "Thy kingdom come," we must be willing to let our kingdom go. You cannot serve two masters. Either we sell out to the vision of the mercy seat, or we go back to business as usual. "For which one of you intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first and counteth the cost, wheither he have sufficient to finish it?" (Luke 14:28). I guess this is where we are at. I have never felt intensity or urgency that I feel right now. God is ready to use us. Great things are just on the other side of the threshold. But we are willing to yield those things which we have worked our entire lives for? We must count the cost. To not make a conscious decision is in fact a decision in itself. You'll pass on the commitment necessary to get the job done. If enough of us pass, God will move on and raise up another people to be the house of mercy. God forbid! He has brought us too far for us to quit now. We have been through too much together. We have been saying and believing that something is coming our way - I believe the hour is upon us. It's time to move in close. It's time to sell all we have and follow Jesus. Just watch, He will lead you to the mercy seat.
In the Truth,