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Chicago IL 60634
James Rutz in his booklet entitled "The Rebirth of the Church" argues that churches should eliminate the usage of laity in their vocabulary, due to the wrong implications that people have from its usage.
He writes as follows, "You're not a 'layman' or 'laywoman.' You're royal, a child of the King, and don't you ever forget it! The whole concept behind the word 'layman' is spurious and harmful, and I'd like nothing more than to erase it from memory."
And goes on to give four reasons for wiping out all Christian laity as follows: The category of "layman" (and laywoman) is:
1) Unscriptural. The Greek root word for laity is "laos" and it simply means "people". It has nothing to do with not being in the ministry.
2) Dead wrong. If you're an earnest Christian according to 1 Corinthians 12:7,11,13, 27, you have a ministry: "Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good ... All these are the work of one and the Same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines ... For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body - whether Jews or Greek, slave or free - and we were all given the one Spirit to drink .... Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it".
3) It defines you by what you aren't.
4) Offensive, The connotations of layman are in the same ballpark as peon, peasant, amateur, yokel, and the great unwashed.
And Rutz concludes by writing: "You must realize that although you may not make your living from the church, you are a minister of the gospel. A ministry is simply the sphere in which you exercise your gifts. And you do have a spiritual gift. You do! You do! You do!"
Deep down inside of us, all of us a desire to be heroic. To live a life of meaning and purpose. To discover hidden talents that lie deep inside of ourselves. We want to have a life's mission, and a sense of destiny. And the Good. News is that when we became one of His children, God has wonderfully equipped us to be heroes!
If only we knew just how powerful we really are, not in and of ourselves, for by ourselves we are weak and inadequate, but because God the Holy Spirit dwells inside of us!
As 1 Corinthians 6:19 puts it "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body!"
Just think of the "super" powers we possess in the Gospel and the gifts of the Holy Spirit! For we have been given the power over sin, death and the devil. We are more than conquerors through our faith in Christ. As Christians we have been given the tremendous opportunity to transform lives for eternity, through prophesying the Gospel message!
Rather than overlooking, ignoring or even discouraging one another in service, instead we ought to do everything we can to encourage one another to USt
the extraordinary gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to each of us, for the sake of the God's Kingdom! '
Too often the church relies on a select individuals, where God would want everybody working together to accomplish His work.
May all of us here be numbered among the heroes of God's Kingdom, as we seek to exercise to the fullest all the gifts and talents God has given us, relying on the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to do great works for Christ!
God didn't just save you in order that you might go to heaven and receive His blessings .... He also saved you in order that you might be a blessing to others, and bring glory to His name!
May we as a church do everything we can to encourage one another to use the unique gifts and talents given us by God in order to fulfill the Great Commission. May all of us be looked upon as Heroes in the Kingdom of God!
On Judgment day, God will not ask, "Why were you not Moses"? He will ask "Why were you not yourself'. Why didn't you fully use your gifts I gave you'?
Whether your name is Eldad or Medad, Jake or Elwood, or go by another name --- as a born again believer in Christ, you are on a mission from God! For you've been given your own unique gifts and talents in order to fulfill the Great Commission given to us by our Lord and Savior in Matthew 28:18-20, where He says:
"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".
You've been saved by the blood of Jesus, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be a Hero in the Kingdom of God! Now, go, and fully use the gifts you've been given to the glory of God, until at last you hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"
As I write this article a couple of days following the glorious Easter Sunday Services we had this year at Messiah, with a filled sanctuary, the inspiring music, and the powerful message of the Gospel proclaimed in Word and Song, I ask the question, "Why isn't every Sunday like that? Understandably, the weather cooperated, and we had many relatives and out-of-town guests among us that either have their own church or live to far away to attend regularly, but we also saw some of our members who haven't been so regular in worship along with some prospective members of Messiah. The primary reason the early Church began to worship on Sunday rather than a Saturday is because our Lord rose on this day! Thus, every Sunday is to be a celebration of our Lord's Resurrection! Every Sunday is to be a type of Easter! Therefore, what we experienced on Easter shouldn't be an anomaly at Messiah, but every Sunday we should make an effort to attend Divine Worship as well to invite others to celebrate the Good News of the Risen Lord with others! As Luther's Small Catechism explains the Third Commandment ("Thou shalt sanctify the holy day): "We should fear and love God that we may not despise preaching and His Word., but hold it sacred, and gladly hear and learn it". May God bless the members and friends of Messiah with the Hope and Joy of Our Lord's Resurrection throughout the year!
Some of our members have been going through a stewardship study that has been emphasizing generosity as a fruit of the Spirit that grows as an individual's discipleship journey deepens. The story of our study began with our relationship with God. One of the ways we hear from God is through scripture. We need not only to read scripture and study it; but also need to meditate on it, listen to it, and respond to it. Our relationship with God is to be a living relationship and therefore something that is not completely without our control. Instead, we need to open ourselves up to a dynamic, living, and unpredictable experience of God. God doesn't want just one area of our lives; he wants all of us. Are we ready for whatever God might ask of us? Our story continues with the next phase of our study where we will focus on our relationship with money. Please, consider being a part of this study as we seek to equip the members of Messiah in being generous givers! Congregations that truly understand the difference between "giving" and "generosity" are the ones that make an impact for God's Kingdom!
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