Friday, April 27, 2012

Sacrificial Love

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.   Acts 5:41-42

The definitive work on Church History is a two-volume set by Yale professor Kenneth Scott LaTourette. In chronicling the expanse of the early church from a seemingly fledgling group on the outskirts of the Roman Empire to a movement that ultimately was more prevailing than the Empire, he pointed to some distinct factors which I will summarize:

·       It was faith in Jesus and His resurrection, which gave birth to the Christian fellowship and which continued to be its inspiration and its common tie.

·       It was the love displayed in Christ, which was, ideally and to a marked extent in practice, the bond which held Christians together.

·       Christian churches were the most inclusive and the strongest of all the various associations in the Roman world.

·       They cared for the poor, the imprisoned, the aged and the infirmed.

·       They were inclusive of all races and classes, both men and women.

·       The constancy of the martyrs.

·       Christians lived the moral transformation, which Christianity demanded.

·       The early disciples were united in declaring that it was from the command of Jesus that the Gospel was proclaimed to all, regardless of sex, race or cultural background.

The Church has always grown through sacrificial love.  The annals of history are filled with beyond natural, heroic, loving acts of Christ followers that defy human explanation.  To the degree that we model Jesus’ sacrificial love and heart for the world will be the degree that we maintain our vibrancy and favor from God.

In that same spirit, we all need to sacrifice as we prepare to add a fourth service in the fall.  Part of that shift for this spring entails those who regularly attend the 10:30am gathering. We are asking 100 families to make a commitment this May to move off of 10:30 and commit to attending the 9:00am Traditions or the 5:00pm Alternative gatherings. Would you pray about this?

We can all follow the lead of our Adult Sunday classes, (except Lamplighters) who already moved off campus to Cañada College Campus to start PCC University!  Because of their sacrifice, approximately 75 parking spaces have been freed up at 10:30 for guests and others.

While adjusting the time you gather as the church, or choosing to drive a mile up the street hardly compares to the suffering experienced in Jesus’ name throughout church history, it is in the small sacrificial acts that God takes notice, that character is formed and blessings flow.  It matters, PCC, that we continually keep our hearts and minds stayed on Christ and that we never see ourselves as the end of God’s blessing, but we see ourselves blessed to be a blessing.

This Sunday, we will continue celebrating our 60th anniversary looking at this very passage in Acts 5, discovering together the thread that God has woven from 2000 years ago in the first followers of Jesus to PCC today. Important musings follow.

I love being your pastor!