Ken Neller follows up on last week’s Outside the Walls event. Audio includes testimonials from various members about their experiences serving our neighbors in Searcy.
This was a special day of service, April 25, 2010. The congregation arrived in work clothes and had a worship service, during which Monte Cox shares about a foot washing experience in Africa. We then went out into the community to serve on various projects.
Testimonies from Outside the Walls service projects:
- The person whose home we were working on was not exactly enthusiastic about our efforts to “help” her. She wasn’t unfriendly to me personally; just rather cool. My initial reaction was to think, “So, why are we helping her when she isn’t even appreciative?” I believe the Lord’s response was to remind me of Monte’s lesson. The men whose feet our Lord washed weren’t perfect – Peter was headstrong, James and John quarrelsome, Judas was already contemplating betrayal – but He washed their feet anyway. He served the ones who should have been serving their Teacher. My conclusion is that serving is not really about the person being served. Their gratitude, or lack of it, makes no difference. Nor is serving others about me. God can meet needs without my help. He’s done it plenty of times. Serving others is about God. Pure and simple. Showing His love, sharing His heart. That’s how Jesus could wash feet, touch lepers, talk to prostitutes, eat with sinners, etc. Because it was about God. Thank you, God, for reminding me…whatever you do in word or deed, do it in the name of the Lord. ~ Milton Harris
- The following was the MOST amazing “Jesus” moment to me…..In our group, we had a very “physical” task of tearing down a pretty big shed that had burned down nearly a year ago. I selfishly dreaded what I was about to do…purely of my own physical well-being. Once we got started, and our group got their rhythm, it began to get easier. As I looked around in our original group (we had almost 15 more people join us that didn’t sign up)… I noticed the following: there was someone in our group with Cystic Fibrosis, Leukemia (in remission), Multiple Sclerosis (in remission), and a Breast Cancer survivor (there were probably others I didn’t know about) It BLEW my mind that God worked through those people who had those issues in their life. This group, through faith, participated, even though they all knew what they were going to feel like the next day. Their unselfishness taught me an amazing lesson. Wish we could do this more often than TWO times a year…~ Jill Valentine
- I saw Jesus within our group of 15 as we visited Searcy Healthcare Center on Sunday. Our group included 2 sweet children with art work they created to share with the residents and also included a group of college students who knew exactly how to relate to the residents with a kind word and a gentle touch. After visiting the residents in the hallways and individual rooms, our final visit was with Downtown Church’s only SCH resident, Ruth Duncan, who is in a secured wing for Alzheimer’s patients. Anticipating that we would have little interaction with Ruth, our visit proved quite the opposite and included much conversation. When we identified ourselves from Downtown Church, Ruth replied, “Downtown is my favorite church where I attended for many years but have not been there in some time”. She joined us when we sang “Jesus Loves Me” and then encouraged us to continue to “do good so the Downtown church will continue”. Not only was Jesus seen within our group, He was also seen in this special Downtown member and friend, Ruth Duncan. ~ Nancy Hatfield
- One of my passions is bringing down the barriers between churches and working together. It was so neat to see the Christians at St. Mary’s working alongside those of us from Downtown. I was at the Sunshine school and several other projects were going on in the block around us. We had several children from both congregations at our project and Jimmy Huff was brilliant at getting them to help out. He made a relay for them to take turn racing to gather up the weeds the adults had tilled up, then promised to do more than they did or to do pushups to make up the difference. They had fun and got a lot accomplished! Jimmy found out he couldn’t do as many pushups as he thought he could, so Kelly showed a little grace and did a few for him !!! ~ Wendy Neill
- I saw Jesus again today manifest through a large group of people who were finding great joy in experiencing the reality that church was always intended to be who we are, not something we do…
Through Jesus, people were enjoying multiplying their talents by sharing their gifts with others … I also saw Jesus wisdom leading us as we found ways to be a hand up to others in order to bless them rather than a hand out,- that can stifle people’s worth and cause them not to grow…JESUS Through wisdom was speaking to us … did you hear Him??? Jesus was saying, – THAT’S IT! … YOU’RE DOING IT! You’re turning plain old water into real wine…Sunday was yet another great blessing …~ Danny Isom
- You might already know this – but just in case …Talk to Lowell about the Ramp that was put in place yesterday – would make great Sermon material for Sunday – Helped a family with a 13 year old suffering from Cerebal Palsy – they have been praying for a ramp for 10 years – The prayer group prayed over them – and they were so excited and thankful. And the other ‘human’ story – the house that was readied for the man who has had a mechanical heart (?) that could not come home until the house was re-structured – Milton Harris and others worked on that one. ~ David Mathews
- One of the neat things today for me was BEFORE the OTW. We were greeting folks coming in to worship at 8 a.m., and I introduced myself to a gentleman in his mid-40’s, with a 10 or 11 yr old girl. He was a member at West Side, that said he had heard about what we were doing, and wanted to come be a part of it. A similar thing happened with a work crew at one of the tear-downs. I met a lady that was up here from LR with Scott & Robin Morris, whom they had invited to come be a part, and who was glad to do so.
Seems the “service” resonates with a lot of folks. Talking to Terry and Stacy Yates at the lunch afterwards, I asked him if he was a part of a small group, and he said they are with a group at DC that do various service projects on Sunday nights on a regular basis. ~ Pam Stephenson
Downtown Church sermon from April 18, 2010 by David Mathews. This is part of our series called “Our Radical Response to God: Living a Life of Love”
Downtown Church sermon from April 11, 2010 by David Mathews. This is part of our series called Our Radical Response to God and covers Romans 12:1-2.
Part 1: Download the MP3
Part 2: Download the MP3
Small Group Questions
As you begin your Small Group this week … “Choose your top 3 … ”
“… books from your childhood.”
“… memories with your grandparents.”
“… names of God.”
“… ways to live a life of love toward others.”
1. READ & LEARN: Romans 12:1-2
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
2. God’s relentless pursuit should result in our radical response to him. Paul begins Romans 12 by saying – ‘Therefore, I urge you in view of God’s mercy…’ (See also Romans 3:20-31) Discuss God’s mercy – and how His mercy – plays a part in our response to Him. Why, and in what ways, do we struggle with accepting God’s mercy on our lives?
3. Why is it ultimately futile to keep trying to get out of the ‘pit’ by (y)our own efforts? Discuss the effect this, ‘your own efforts’, has had on your personal spiritual growth.
4. READ: Romans 12:1 “… offer your bodies as living sacrifices”… i.e., do so INTENTIONALLY. How intentional have you been in doing this? In what ways has being unintentional or intentional helped, or hindered, you in offering yourself ‘as a living sacrifice’? What intentional things have you done that have helped you be a living sacrifice?
5. The last point of today’s sermon was that of offering ourselves as an ‘individual’ offering. In what ways do you agree or disagree with this? How can comparing ourselves to others help or hinder us as we strive to live a sacrificial life?