Sunday, October 21, 2018

EmmDev 2018-10-21 [Wherever I am...] Provision for the Visitors

Week 3: Seeing what God is already doing.

Provision for the Visitors

It was the time of Pentecost when the Apostles were entirely under the Holy Spirit's influence and power. They were filled by the Holy Spirit: whatever they did was under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit influenced Apostles to the level where they started doing the unusual; they started speaking in other languages than their native tongue. The languages that the Apostles were able to speak were as the result of the work of the Holy Spirit. They were able to speak because the Holy Spirit was already working as an enabler. As the Apostles were speaking strange languages, the crowd that was present at that time had different people who the Bible describes as Jews, devout men. The term devout ("God fearing") was applied to men who were cautious about offending God; they were keeping commandments. The Jews at that time were scattered into almost all nations, but still they would obviously desire to be present as often as possible at the great feasts of the nation in Jerusalem. Many who came up to the Feast of the Passover would remain to the Feast of the Pentecost. This made the city of Jerusalem to have a lot of strangers during festivals.

From this portion of scripture, we learn that we need to be under the power of the Holy Spirit in order that we can do what God wants us to do in His mission. If we are on our own it is difficult to connect with God in what He is already doing. It is also important to know that in mission God sets the agenda and people need only to follow what is on the agenda. The Holy Spirit made the Apostles to begin speaking in different tongues because He knew that the audience had people who would understand such tongues.

Whatever audience that can be presented to us in the process of sharing the word of God, we must have it in mind that the Holy Spirit is already working and convicting the people. The convicted people will be able to respond because God is already working ahead of us. There are times where as the church we think mission can only be done by some people (e.g. ministers, Evangelists, elders), but it should be understood that whatever different gifts and talents God has given in the church are there for a purpose. As devout men were coming from all nations and they were able to identify the languages that were spoken by the Apostles, so the people from all walks of life who God has already touched are able to identify and respond to the word of God.

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs--we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!"       (Acts2:4-11)

Kennedy M'hone is a minister at Misisi Presbyterian Church in Lusaka, Zambia and is a husband to Sharon C. M'hone.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

EmmDev 2018-10-20 [Wherever I am...] He goes ahead of us

Week 3: Seeing what God is already doing.

He goes ahead of us

Jesus is preparing for his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He sent his disciples to go and fetch a donkey from a village ahead. He wanted a donkey that has never been used before: a pure donkey for sacred use. He has been in Jerusalem before, but this time around Jesus comes to Jerusalem as a King. This fulfills the prophecy of Zechariah: "... see your king comes to you, righteous, victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey" (Zechariah 9:9).

Jesus rode on a donkey signifying that he was a man of peace. A horse would have portrayed Him as a man of war. Horses were mostly used for war in Roman times. Jesus' mission was not war but peace.

The passage shows that Jesus goes ahead of us in his mission. The mission is not ours but God's. Ours is not a complete new mission but we are continuing from where Jesus left off. God has called us to go for him, therefore let us cooperate with God in what He is already doing in his mission. We serve under the Lordship and authority of Christ. Paul reminds us that we are God's fellow workers (2Cor6:1).

Is there any situation that will hinder us from participating in God's mission? Sometimes life can be tough. The cost of living can go up beyond our reach. Inflation can erode all our monthly earnings but we are expected to fulfill our mandate in God's mission. Christ experienced the same suffering. It was not only physical but mental suffering also. He was a man of sorrows and familiar with pain yet at the end He says, "It is finished".

Friends, when we are troubled by gender issues, let us remember that Christ was ahead of us in addressing gender when He came to commune and fellowship with both men and women. When we are persecuted by the political system of the day, Christ went through the same and God is in our midst calling for justice. Wherever I am, let me recognize God's heart for the world and take part in calling for a just society. When are faced with hunger, civil strife and diseases, God is already on the ground showing his unfailing love for the people. How about us joining God in what he is already doing?
We are in the dispensation of the Spirit who empowers and comforts us as we carry out God's mission in the world.

Beloved, let us recognize God's heart for the world and co-operate with Him in his mission. He has called us to His mission. It is not about us, but about God's purpose. Therefore, let us lead purpose-driven lives as we proclaim God's Word and serve him with all humility.

Go to the village ahead of you enter it; you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anymore asks you, "Why are you untying it?'' Say, "The Lord needs it" 32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, 'Why are you untying the colt?' 34 they replied, 'the Lord needs it".      (Luke19:30-34)

Biggie Mususa, husband to Tsitsi, serving at Mkoba Presbyterian Church, in City of Gweru. Zimbabwe.

Friday, October 19, 2018

EmmDev 2018-10-19 [Wherever I am...] God works in all things...

Week 3: Seeing what God is already doing.

God works in all things...

Deep in the psyche of western minds is a subconscious picture of a God who is apart - even remote - from us. He is 'up there' or 'out there' somewhere, watching what goes on and occasionally intervening on our behalf. At its heart this view sees God more as a Spectator than one who is involved in what is going on in the world and in our lives.

That is a broken view of God.

Listen to our text: "God works in all things. ." Far from being the Distant Spectator, God is the Ultimate Participant. In all things around us, be they good or painful, God is slowly and relentlessly and in the face of constant push back, working to bring His purposes to bear in this beautiful yet fractured world. And He does so not from Combined Operations HQ - wherever that may be - but by immersing Himself in this Universe.

God is in the flow of all things. He is the living and energising God within all reality. He is awesome. He is beyond the measure of our minds, but He is closer to us than breathing, working in all things, enlivening and sustaining the Universe, bringing hope and healing to broken lives.

We need to rediscover God, or re-imagine Him, as the God of the present continuous tense, the God working in all things who, even as you are reading these words, is loving, strengthening, healing, reconciling, restoring, sustaining, blessing, resisting.

God is at work "in all things" and He does so in deep oneness and partnership with His beloved Son who once told us that, "My Father goes on working, and so do I."

If there is one thing God asks of us it is that we participate with Him in what He is doing in the world. Isn't that what mission is about?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.      (Romans8:28)

James Gray is the minister of the Hermanus United Church. He likes to walk on the beach, hike in the mountains, play golf and tell Bible stories.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

EmmDev 2018-10-18 [Wherever I am...] God prepares the way for the Israelites

Week 3: Seeing what God is already doing.

God prepares the way for the Israelites

In the 21st century the world faced with many questions: "Does God exist?" "Who is God?" "Is God sovereign?" These questions come about considering the changing world in which we live. There are many challenges which face the world such as war, corruption, injustice and natural disasters. In addition we have media reports of corrupt 'pastors' who mislead and abuse their flocks. These experiences tempt us to doubt God's existence and his sovereignty.

The Israelites, just like us today, were faced with various strange beliefs and practices but had an opportunity to trust and worship one and true God the creator. In Numbers 14:14 we are told that the Israelites had an opportunity not only to see their LORD face to face but also to be led by him in their journey through a pillar of cloud by day as well as a pillar of fire by night.

As this year's mission theme and our reading remind us: God is still present in the 21st century. He is not only present but also sovereign and in control: "The earth is the LORD's and everything in it, the world and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters." (Ps.24:1-2)

The LORD's existence and sovereignty is visible even those who are not yet a part of the church. Moses affirms that other people and nations have 'already heard' how God has been with the Israelites. Our God is at work in every part of the world, even among those nations that aren't at peace, even those that strongly condemn Christian faith and persecute the few that practice it. Therefore, the gospel should be preached beyond the boundaries of our regions. Jesus prayed for everyone in the world when he stated that: "My prayer is not for them (believers) alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message" (John 17:20).

It is possible to get distracted by the challenges we face in this world and even begin to think that God is absent and lose our faith and focus. It is important to seek God's grace that he should always open our eyes to see and believe in him despite living in the changing world. In a changing world, God remains the same.

Finally, we are all challenged to recognize the presence of God the Trinity in terms of his plan and purpose for our lives wherever we are and to witness about him to others. We should also not forget that even those who don't yet believe have heard about this same God in some way and they need our witness to them as well as prayers for God's illumination upon their lives.

"And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, LORD, are with these people and that you, LORD have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night."      (Numbers14:14)

My name is James Lungu and I am a husband to Emelly and a Dad to two boys Joel and Walinase-Emanuel. I am serving as a minister at George Presbyterian Church which is a congregation under Muchinga Presbytery in Zambia.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

EmmDev 2018-10-17 [Wherever I am...] God will prompt people to ask us before we tell them... Be prepared!

Week 3: Seeing what God is already doing.

God will prompt people to ask us before we tell them... Be prepared!

Sometime this year, I met up with an old high school classmate and he is a devout Muslim. We discovered a lot of things trying to catch up and it was within the conversation that he asked this very important question, "Tell me as Christian, is the Jesus you preach about all about miracles and money?" Honestly I was not and ready for that very important question. As I pondered on how to respond to him I realized that God sometimes prompts people to ask us before we tell them and then the big question is are we ready to answer those questions based on what we hope in.

In the Epistle Peter has been trying to bring hope and caution to his audience and it seems the audience was on the receiving end of slander and malicious talk according to 1 Peter 2:11-12. They are being persecuted because of their hope and trust in Jesus Christ. Questions are being asked about the one they worship and believe in. Peter encourages them that they must not fear or be troubled when they suffer because of their hope in Christ.

As we find ourselves in an increasingly pluralistic society, people ask and will ask questions that will challenge the core of our Christian belief. In a world of many lords and gods, who is Jesus to the world and to us Christians today? Peter encourages us that our hope is based on God's promises, and is also based on the believer's experience of God's faithfulness. Peter further explains the nature of hope we are in, "It is "a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that doesn't fade away, reserved in Heaven for you" (1:3-4). This is what we must be prepared to defend at any given time or situation. When a question like the one my Muslim friend asked is asked, the reason for my hope on Christ as stated by Peter is the answer. However Peter says we must do it in gentleness and respect.

Let us be ready always to defend our reason for hope in Christ because God prompts people to ask before we tell them as Achteimer rightly says: "In this context, not even fear of further persecution is to deter the Christians from giving a full account of their hope. It is to live its life openly in the midst of the unbelieving world, and just as openly to be prepared to explain the reasons for it."

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect...      (1Peter3:15)

Tatenda Garande is Husband to Juliet, Dad to Kyle Tatenda, serving at Budiriro Presbyterian Church in Harare

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

EmmDev 2018-10-16 [Wherever I am...] He's way ahead of us...

Week 3: Seeing what God is already doing.

He's way ahead of us...

At first glance, this story may sound a little like the Red Sea parting. That Moses raising his staff and the priests stepping into the water here are kind of the same thing. There is one key difference however -- this river (in flood) did not part, it simply stopped flowing. (I love the description that it piled up in a heap. What does a heap of water look like I wonder?)
And this is significant because it didn't heap up there -- it heaped up at a town called Adam - 20km away. In order for dry ground to have appeared as the Priests touched the banks -- means that the heaping up would have happened at least two hours before.

Before the Israelites have even acted in faith and stepped in the Jordan , God had gone ahead of them and stopped the water flowing. Isn't that beautiful? God goes ahead of them, knowing Joshua's heart, knowing the faith of the people, knowing that they had prepared themselves for this day to see what God would do. And he does.

And this is not the only time in Scripture that God goes ahead of his people. We find Aaron already on his way to meet Moses when God meets him at the burning bush -- God knew his fears would make him struggle and already provided a solution. He knew in advance that Abraham would be prepared to sacrifice Isaac, and had a ram waiting in the thicket.

And when it comes to sharing the Gospel, God does that too. Time and time again when Paul goes on his missionary journeys he finds people who are 'god-fearers'. They don't know Jesus, they don't know the gospel -- but God is already working in their hearts preparing the soil, making them receptive and willing to receive the glorious news of Christ's salvation.

We know God is a God on mission. We know God reached out to us first. We know that Jesus was the first cross-cultural missionary (in a manner of speaking!)

And so as we go out into the world spreading God's love and light and truth and peace -- we're not going anywhere where God hasn't already been. We are simply joining his work. Just as with the Jordan river crossing, God has gone before us.

Today may this truth encourage your hearts. God knows each place that your feet will go this day, as with every day, and he has gone ahead of you and started the work -- Will you join him?

So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water's edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.      (Joshua3:14-17)

Jackie is a minister at Emmanuel and Grace Presbyterian, married to Tim and raising her greatest blessings - an ebony and ivory pair of children -- Christine 4 and Jesse 2.

Monday, October 15, 2018

EmmDev 2018-10-15 [Wherever I am...] Coincidence or God-incidence

Week 3: Seeing what God is already doing.

Coincidence or God-incidence

The dictionary defines the word coincidence this way: a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection. Christians sometimes see their daily encounters not as a coincidence but rather as a God-incidence.

A God-incidence might be defined as: A happy coincidence or outcome that was most likely directed or orchestrated by God. The classic example is for a friend or relative to keep popping into your mind, so you give them a call and it turns out that they really needed to talk with you. Another example would be when money is needed to cover some expense, and money shows up unexpectedly for the exact amount required. Such God-incidences are miracles so small that it's tempting to think that no miracle really happened at all.

Look at Philip in Acts 2, he "happened" to be travelling along the road from Jerusalem to Gaza. Verse 26 says, "But an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Get up and go south to the road that runs from Jerusalem down to Gaza." (This is a desert road)." Now if we phoned a friend and said, 'an angel of the Lord has spoken to me and told me to phone you', they may think you were a little "crazy"! So, is this a "God-incidence" -- a miracle encounter between a questioning great man of authority and Philip in order for the Word of God to be spread to the four corners of the earth? After Philip had explained to the Ethiopian what he was reading, he asked to be baptised and "Look! Water!", on the desert road! As Albert Einstein once said, "coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous".

Sometimes God opens a door of opportunity to his people in very unlikely places. God is in control of the entire universe, right? So, these encounters may be a small way he's letting us know that he's with us and thinking about us and enabling us to carry his Word and work to unexplained places and people?

Are all of the circumstances in our life by random chance or does God perhaps sometimes eliminate the uncertainty so as to impact the outcome? The answer is up to each of us to decide.

"So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch [a man of great authority], a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was returning, and sitting in his chariot he was reading [the scroll of] the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the [Holy] Spirit said to Philip, "Go up and join this chariot." 30 Philip ran up and heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah, and asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" 31 And he said, "Well, how could I [understand] unless someone guides me [correctly]?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now this was the passage of Scripture which he was reading: "Like a sheep He was led to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He does not open His mouth. 33 "In humiliation His judgment was taken away [justice was denied Him]. Who will describe His generation? For His life is taken from the earth." 34 The eunuch replied to Philip, "Please tell me, about whom does the prophet say this? About himself or about someone else?" 35 Then Philip spoke and beginning with this Scripture he preached Jesus to him [explaining that He is the promised Messiah and the source of salvation]. 36 As they continued along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch exclaimed, "Look! Water! What forbids me from being baptized?" 37 [Philip said to him, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he replied, "I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."] 38 And he ordered that the chariot be stopped; and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him." (Amplified Translation)      (Acts2:27-38)

Ruth Armstrong is the serving minister of St Andrews Germiston. She is wife to Warren and mother to Lia, Sarah and Noah. She crochets to stay sane and when that doesn't work, she runs (on the road)!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

EmmDev 2018-10-14 [Wherever I am...] Jesus sees the 'little' people.

Week 2 Recognising that all people need God's Love

Jesus sees the 'little' people.

Imagine being the most hated and despised member of your community... Zacchaeus, of Jericho was wealthy, a chief tax-collector, mentioned only in the Gospel of Luke. Tax collectors were despised as traitors (working for the Roman Empire, not for their Jewish community), and as being corrupt. Zacchaeus was not only dealing with the community's hate, but he was also challenged by the fact that he was a "wee little man".

Ironically, Jericho was one of the cities favoured by the priests. Nonetheless, our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ, challenged public opinion in that city, by announcing his intention to lodge for the night with one whose life's occupation was so hateful to the Jewish religious world. Matthew Henry comments, "Christ is come to his house, and where Christ comes he brings salvation with him. He came into this lost world to seek and to save it. His design was to save, when there was no salvation in any other."

The story of Zacchaeus teaches us that we need to recognise that all people need God's love. We cannot discriminate against them because of their gender, race, handicap, social status, or as in the case of Zacchaeus, their physical stature. Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour was crucified, died and rose again for all humanity; His love for us will go to any height, depth, length or width to bring us salvation.
William Barclay argues: "The story ends with the great words, the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. We must always be careful how we take the meaning of this word "lost." In the New Testament it does not mean damned or doomed. It simply means in the wrong place. A thing is lost when it has got out of its own place into the wrong place; and when we find such a thing, we return it to the place it ought to occupy. A man is lost when he has wandered away from God; and he is found when once again he takes his rightful place as an obedient child in the household and the family of his Father."

Finally, Jesus Christ wants all people to find their rightful place before God our Father. He needs you and I to be part of His mission, therefore we need to recognise that all people need God's love, including the fact that Jesus sees "little" people.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ give us your heart of love, as we love all people, including the "little people".

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today." So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.      (Luke19:1-6)

Wayne van Heerden is husband to Frances, Dad to David and Angela and enjoys gym, serving at Centurion West Presbyterian Church. (Wayne is a member of the MaD Committee)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

EmmDev 2018-10-13 [Wherever I am...] Are we keeping them from Jesus?

Week 2 Recognising that all people need God's Love

Are we keeping them from Jesus?

People, presumably parents, were bringing their children to Jesus Christ but then Christ's disciples began to stop and rebuke the parents for doing so. Christ however forbids the disciples from such actions. His statement reveals God's heart for all people. It also gives authority and strength to the people who were bringing children to Him.

There are reasons for the disciples to have reacted to the bringing of children to Jesus. One was based on their traditional views,opinions and conduct towards children: It was very difficult for the Jews to separate religion and tradition as most of the disciples would have been raised in Judaism which forbade children to be involved in their practices until a certain age. In addition, they felt that difference children have less needs, problems and difficulties than adults. According to the disciples adults had more pressing needs than children hence they needed more time with Christ. Sometimes,we apply these reasons to people who would have come to Christ. Thus, we keep them away from Christ.

Christ's response reveals God's love and heart for the World as He says "Let them come to me." It's something that has to be continually in us and always recognised if we are to bring people to God - not keeping them away. This implies that our part in this great plan has to be much clearer not twisted by culture,tradition, custom and perceptions on other people. Understanding God's plan, having knowledge of what really it is can remove those self-imposed impediments to our fellow humans in their quest to be saved.

Christ accepts everyone. He is ever-ready to take everyone into His Kingdom, without discrimination based on age, maturity, understanding or reasoning. When one seriously and deeply considers this, how much understanding of religious issues does an infant have? What is the reasoning capacity of such an infant? And how deep are the values of wisdom of the infant? Then one would come to a knowledge and understanding that Christ puts no conditions to those who desire to be in His presence. This clearly shows Christ in a shining light of love for all humanity (Galatians3:8).

For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Christ clearly points out that we have to have a child like character if we are to ever entertain any hopes for entering God's Kingdom. Children have that unquestioning faith and trust. They have that amazing way of quickly forgiving and burying all the hurts and smile as nothing has happened. They have that natural ability of dependency and obedience, which adults find difficult to come to terms with. Christ is saying we are to adopt these characteristics for us to see God's Kingdom.

People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.      (Luke18:15-16)

Elias Simango is a minister at Dzivarasekwa/ Norton UPCSA. Married to Medury, father of three. I believe that we all have different callings in life and mine is to be a Pastor. I love what i do and i enjoy everyday of it. (Elias serves on the MaD committee)

Friday, October 12, 2018

EmmDev 2018-10-12 [Wherever I am...] Joining Jesus in His Mission

Week 2 Recognising that all people need God's Love

Joining Jesus in His Mission

Loving our neighbours is the mission of every Christ-follower in every local Church! How do I love my neighbour? By doing the work of God by offering Aid, Advancement or Advocacy to our neighbours who need our help. This is the work of every disciple. What does it look like for us as God's people to be joining Jesus in His mission to weave shalom?

An excellent example comes in the Parable of the Good Samaritan which begins with an expert in the Bible asking Jesus how to get life. Jesus asks him, "How do you read this in the Bible?" He answers, to love God completely and to love your neighbour as yourself. The expert wants to know "Who is my neighbour?" How do we weave shalom?

The Samaritan saw the injured man, went to him and took care of him. Weaving shalom means seeing the strands that are right in front of you. It means having the eyes of a weaver. It means seeing and acting. If a person is in need, go help. Put aside your own personal issues and help. If there are obvious needs right there in front of you, jump in! At work, as you see a co-worker struggling, start weaving. At the gas station, pay inside and offer words of encouragement to the crabby person there. At the restaurant, say something that tells your server you care about them as a person. Give aid. But don't stop with just the quick and easy. Weaving takes time, and patience.

After telling the story, with all its shocks and surprises, Jesus returns to the man's question. But Jesus doesn't answer it. Instead, Jesus turns it around by asking "who acted like a neighbour?" Rather than identifying who your neighbour is, Jesus is more concerned with us acting like a neighbour -'The one who showed mercy.'

Jesus lifts up the hated and despised Samaritan as the hero of the parable. He exalts one who is least likely to be considered a neighbour by the Jews.
Jesus advocated for people on the margins, changing how we see all people on the margins. It is weaving them into the tapestry of God's people, of God's kingdom on earth, of who gets to be included in the beautiful work of Aid, Advancement, and Advocacy that God is doing. This is what it means to join Jesus in His mission in the world.

Mother Theresa said: "We have been created in His image for greater things, to love and to be loved." She's right! We have been created in God's image for greater things. Jesus ended with this charge to the local church, "Go and do likewise."

Vital churches, living and life-giving churches, "go and do likewise." Weaving shalom. 

(Adapted from a sermon by David Werner, preached at Forest Hills Church in Aug 2015)

In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. Look after him,' he said, and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
36 "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"
37 The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."      (Luke10:30-37)

Madoda Mfene is a husband to Noxolo Mfene, father to Chulumanco, Liyema and Lihle and currently serving at Tiyo Soga Memorial Congregation. (Madoda is a member of the MaD Committee)