Tuesday, September 16, 2008

In the Dust of the Rabbi - Our walk with Christ

Let re-cap the last two weeks to refresh our memories.
Two weeks ago, we watched a video about an extreme makeover of a church in New Orleans destroyed by Katrina. The pastor of this church helped a lot of people during the aftermath of the hurricane. He borrowed a boat from a friend and started a rescue mission. Not surprisingly, his church is named Noah’s Ark Baptist Church! Read more about this make over here
Contractors from all over the nation came to help rebuilt the church. Christians and non Christians were helping with an equal burning passion in their hearts. The question was: “Why do people want to help during an event like this?” As Christians, are we are ready to help with this type of events?

The second video we watched the same night was a short documentary about AIDS. We witnessed how the gay community was left in the cold with “their sickness.” No one had mercy or empathy with them during the onset of the epidemic in the 1980s. We saw how hemophilia children were physically removed from their schools and severely discriminated. In Florida a house were four hemophilia children lived was burned down. The children took action and they spoke for themselves when no one else seemed to care: they sent a letter to President Reagan. The documentary showed the images of the men, women, and children dying of AIDS. Those faces were different then the gay community, but still they had the same fear in their faces, the same pain and the same need of a hug and a message of hope. In this case we could see how many, with time, have also taken action and have done efforts to help ALL. People got out of their comfort zones and began taken action to make a difference. It took several years before their efforts bear any fruits, but eventually they did! To watch the documentary online click here

So, why was the response so different in the face of this human catastrophe. Regardless of the nature of the events, the pain and human suffering was equal for the victims of Katrina and the victims of AIDS, wasn’t it? Why do people sometimes do not want to help during events like this last ones? As Christians, are we sometimes more eager to judge than to help? Don’t we sometimes think: “if I give money to that homeless man he is going to buy more drugs”! Do we think that perhaps that person is just having a bad time and he is really hungry?
Jesus will ask you: why did you judge? What will you answer?

For the AIDS patients, don’t we tend to think that “they brought it on themselves”, or maybe “their condition is the consequence of their sin”, or even worst that “they deserve what they got.” Doesn’t a child infected by the virus deserve to hear the message of salvation and feel loved? How about an adult with the same illness? Is their sin bigger or smaller than yours and mine? Is it a different sin?
Jesus will ask you: why did you judge? What will you answer?

Look at this verse and see if it helps in thinking about the question.
The Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46):"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
“The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
This past week we watched When the Rabbi says, “Come”, the first session from a discipleship series titled In the Dust of the Rabbi-Becoming a Disciple. Together we learned the biblical meaning of the word disciple.
Back in the days before Christ, young talented men with passion for God followed a Rabbi until they had the knowledge and wisdom to pass on to others. When Jesus came, he called his own disciples. They were not as talented and bright as the ones who followed the rabbis from the synagogues. Jesus’ disciples were people like you and me.
Jesus showed that we are just as valuable and that He gifted us to get the job done. It took some time before the disciples could understand how to be instruments for God but they got it and they serve God until their last breath. Should it be different for us now more than 2000 years later? So the questions that guided our discussion were: what is a disciple? And, are you a disciple?
Remember the building blocks to become a disciple (here is a tip, there were 3!): 1. Community - Be in communion with God. Live life in a community of discipleship with God sharing God constantly.2. Scripture - Hear, read, and study the word. Be in prayer so that God can open our heart, mold it, and work in it. 3. Passion - Be passionate about living out God with our lives.
We focused on Matthew 28:16-20 to understand our called for discipleship:
The Great CommissionThen the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 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."
Invite a friend as we will continue with the series to learn more about becoming a disciple In the dust of the Rabbi when we discuss When the Rabbi says Go.
God bless!

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