Monday, September 10, 2018

To Heart

When we use the term "take it to heart" we mean to take it seriously.  I wonder sometimes if we take what we read in Scripture seriously.  I taught a Bible study once.  A guy, we'll call him Dwayne, came to the first few sessions.  After that he stopped coming.  I asked him why.  Dwayne said, "I thought we were going to discuss the Scripture and all the possible meanings.  I didn't think we would be spending all our time on application!"  And while it is valid to talk about God's Word (what better is their to talk about?)  I think Dwayne summed-up a general misuse of Scripture I have seen in many places.  When I brought up Scripture at a group discussion at Annual Conference I got a similar response from the group.  "We want to talk about our opinions ... social issues ... what the Conference is doing.  Why do you want to muddle things up with Scripture?"  So it is sometimes ... unless we want to take Scripture "to heart."

When I read Mark 6:37 my experiences (above) come to mind.  Jesus is talking to disciples who have been listening to His teaching but are watching their watches.  "Jesus ... it's getting late.  Pronounce the benediction and send all these folks off so they can get some food."  Jesus has a great response ... "Jesus said, 'You do it. Fix supper for them.' They replied, 'Are you serious? You want us to go spend a fortune on food for their supper?'”  I love it!  "Jesus ... we are your entourage ... your posse ... your homies!  We didn't come to cook, prepare food or really apply those great words you are preaching!  We just want to feel good about being here immersed in our 'mountaintop experience.'"  Jesus said ... "You feed them."

In Florida a single mother heard those words and "took them to heart."  Now her ministry, Food for Thought, serves 32 schools in Walton and Okaloosa Counties, providing backpacks for 3,000 students each week.  She wasn't just there to hear an uplifting message.  She fed them, and still does!

This week we will hear from another couple who heard and applied God's Word.  Bob and Melba Lisenby are the primary leaders for our local, ecumenical food ministry called BFF (Backpacks for Friday).  Sunday they will tell us what they are up to.  They didn't just come to church to get a weekly dose of a 'mountaintop experience.'  They make a difference feeding 100 kids who arrive at school on Monday morning nourished and alert to learn.  When people ask why they might quote Mark 6:37.  Or they might quote The Message version of James 2:14-17 "Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?"  That is good stuff to talk, walk and live!  Randy

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