Day 11: Congregational excellence

1.jpgActs 3:9-10 (Read verses 1-11)
All the people saw him walking and praising God. They recognized him as the same one who used to sit at the temple’s Beautiful Gate asking for money. They were filled with amazement and surprise at what had happened to him.

Two recently Spirit-filled disciples make their way to the temple, expecting to do what they had done so many times before…pray. Everything is likely quite familiar to them. Familiar people are walking alongside them toward the temple. As usual, some friends compassionately carry their crippled friend to his familiar spot at the gate to beg for his daily sustenance. Though unnamed, the man has certainly become a fixture at the Beautiful Gate. Expectations are quite normal as well. The people would go into the temple to pray and this crippled man would receive alms from many of them. But for Peter and John and this unnamed man this day is different. The man will ask them for his normal alms, expecting to get something from them. But Peter and John expect greater things! God uses a couple of penniless, Spirit-filled disciples to genuinely connect with this man and become instruments of transformation for both the man and his normal reality.

I have lived with this story for the past ten years or so. Bishop McAlilly is challenging us to take Jesus at his word and approach our mission together “Expecting Greater Things.” Peter and John show us that for greater things to occur, our focus must move beyond what we don’t have so we can more powerfully offer what we do have. The Greek word for resurrection literally means to stand up or stand again. The crippled man at the temple gate experienced a resurrection in this sense. He has new life and renewed hope as a participating part of the faith community. He is a compelling example of persons in our mission field that healthy congregations are learning to love and to reach. Healthy congregations operate out of the basic premise that God accomplishes so much more through us together than we can each do simply on our own. In this we can indeed expect greater things.

Prayer: Loving God, enable us to move our focus from unhealthy scarcity to your healing abundance so we might become power-full vessels of your grace, seizing every opportunity to provide an environment for transformation needed by us all. Amaze us all as we expect greater things, in Jesus’ name! AMEN.

The Rev. Dr. Richard W. Clark
Jackson District Superintendent- Memphis Conference

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Use a program on your computer, a traditional journal, or feel free to use the comment section of this blog post to record your reflections as a conversation with others…

READ – What spoke to me as I read today’s meditation?
REPENT – Where is God showing me that I have failed to be obedient to the call to discipleship today?
RECEIVE – What words of redemption and grace is God offering to me?
REMEMBER – Who and what is God calling me to remember in prayer related to today’s reading?
RESPOND – How is God calling me to respond today?

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One Comment on “Day 11: Congregational excellence”

  1. Rev Jackie Clevenger says:

    Rev Clark ~ I thank you for the comments this morning especially as you prayed for us to move our focus so that we might become power-filled vessels of God’s grace. After I read and prayed I saw an article of congratulations to a gentleman who is a volunteer at our local hospital here in Murfreesboro. During my work as a chaplain at this hospital I had many opportunities to work alongside him and had received my own blessings from his quiet and reassuring presence. He volunteers his gifts in the work of transporting patients to various departments for tests and procedures. The environment is quite familiar to the volunteer but new and, many times, filled with apprehension, for the patient. Yet his simple, quiet manner of serving offers encouragement and, I believe that at some deeper level is a ‘power-full vessel’ of God’s grace. Yes, let us expect greater things, in Jesus’ name ~