Archive for the ‘Included’ Tag

Primary Function: What the Father, Son, and Spirit are on about.

Recently our church family began serving a newly-opened retirement community and we  are just getting to know some of the residents there. So far we are conducting a worship service that the residents are free to attend (or not attend), collecting large print books for their library, and I am visiting to eat lunch once a week.

So yesterday I was eating lunch with Rick (not his real name). He’s a retired father of 4 with fascinating stories to tell about the dozen or so states he’s lived in while he was a career man.

I noticed Rick sitting alone and decided to introduce myself. “I’m Billscrabble-included.”, I said. “May I join you for lunch?” He looked at me quizzically and replied, “Suit yourself. I’m not much of a conversationalist.” I sat down. I ordered a salad and the broccoli soup. The soup never came but the salad was amazing and huge so I didn’t miss the soup anyway.

During our conversation Rick asked me a question that vexed me so powerfully that I sidelined my prepared blog for today and am writing this now. Rick, I think, was having trouble believing that I was there without an agenda -other than to just love on and serve the fine folks in that community. Then he asked me the question. I might, in fact, describe his query as the throwing of a dart. His question caught me off guard and penetrated my heart.

He asked, “What would you say your primary function as a Pastor is?”

I was stunned. I gave him an adequate answer I hope, but last night lying awake at 2 AM I thought of a better answer. Isn’t that just the way it often happens?

My ministry as a Christian and as a Christ-centered Pastor is simply to participate in what the Father, Son, and Spirit are on about.

The Blessed Trinity has, as I see it, one primary goal and that is to see to it that the entire human race comes to know the Father with the Son in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. In the finished work of Jesus Christ humanity has been brought into eternal objective Union with God. The primary function of the Church is now to educate the human race, to declare their identity in Christ, and to work alongside the Holy Spirit to break the chains of brokenness and bondage.

So when Rick (again, not his real name) asked, “What would you say your primary responsibility as a Pastor is?”- a better answer would have been, “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives…” Isaiah 61

~Bill Winn

Members Only? YUCK!

members onlyDon’t we all have some childhood memory of a day or time when we were excluded from a group to which we wanted desperately to belong? Isn’t there still just a little something inside us that cringes when we see a ‘members only’ sign? Are not all of us offended to some degree when we are shut out or excluded?

The wretchedness of segregation with its ‘whites only’ placards has left a scar on our society from which we are hopefully recovering. My favorite game, golf, has been notorious for excluding others to one degree or another.

What is it about us that enables us to feel pain inside when we are excluded? Why does it hurt so much?

Well, the answer is simple: Jesus! Yes Jesus is the reason we hate to be excluded or left out. It is because of Jesus that we ARE included in the life he and his Father share in the Holy Spirit.

Triune God has existed eternally in perfect love and fellowship, unencumbered freedom and wholeness, and complete and lasting union. It is here that the cause of creation is found. Did you know why you were created? It was not, first, to worship or glorify God. You were created by God for God.

In short, you were created for inclusion. You were created because before the foundations of the world were laid the Blessed Trinity set Their love upon you and determined to include you in Their circle of life and love. You were created simply and plainly so that the Father could share His love and life with you.

In the person of Jesus Christ you HAVE been included in the Triune Life of God. In His earthly ministry Jesus has gathered you up in Himself and placed you in the center of a circle of fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Often we hear it said that somehow we have the capability of being separated from God… because of sins or unbelief or some other such nonsense. The truth is we have no power to be here. Either we are connected to God or we cease to exist. So when we hurt because of some physical exclusion it is merely a shadow of a larger reality. That reality is that in Jesus we are INcluded where it really matters- in the very life and being of God.

So now the reason you hurt when you are told that you are excluded is simply because you are INcluded. If someone were to twist my arm it would surely hurt, but only because my arm is attached to my body. If the arm were separated from me that person could twist it all day long and it would not hurt. You are included in Jesus and the lie that you are excluded hurts simply because there, on your Spiritual DNA, is written the truth that you belong to the Father, Son, and Spirit and you always have and you always will.

So let us resolve to include others in much the same way we have been included in the Trinity… without reservation, judgment, or prejudice.

~Bill Winn

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