It is Sunday evening, and it has been a good day.
This morning in our worship service, we highlighted the five California Baptist University students who attend our church. Of great note is that all five will be serving in various ministries and mission projects this summer. Four are girls, one guy.
Of the four girls, one will be going to Japan to help our missionaries there for 2 1/2 months. One will be going to Rwanda to teach English. One is going to a Clinic Center in Arlington, Texas, to help with her nursing skills (as she is studying in the nursing program at CBU). The other young lady will be the host coordinator at the front desk of Glorieta Baptist Conference Center in New Mexico. We have told her of our wonderful memories of many Glorieta trips over the years. The young man is going to Jordan to work with nationals there.
During our worship hour, I "interviewed" them all one by one in front of the congregation. It was a joy to hear their testimonies and see how God has been preparing them even in their rebellious years of teenage life. They shared their salvation experiences, as well as how God has called them in specific ways in this past year. My message was about Jesus sending out his disciples with a mission, a task. I used the letters of the word "task" for my outline. The "t" stands for "trust," the great trust and belief in an awesome God who loves us and sends us. The "a" stands for "adore." We must show praise and adoration to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords each and every day. The "s" stands for "service." We must be about the business of serving our Master who directs our steps. The "k" stand for "know." We are to spend time and know the Lord more deeply as we mature in our spritual journey and grow deeper in our faith.
At the end of the worship service, I had them all stand in front of the altar, spread out evenly across the front, asking the congregation to come up individually and pray for at least one of these students. This was our time to "commission" them to their task given to them by the Lord.
Did I tell you that all five of them have helped each Thursday afternoon to feed the homeless at Fairmount Park near downtown Riverside. Week by week they come and feed and pray with those individuals that the world throws away and treats with dishonor.
After church, we took them all (except Jacob, as he had other plans) to the Cheesecake Factory at Victoria Gardens near our church in Rancho Cucamonga. It was a delight to share the time of eating and fellowship with them. And the food was delicious. During the meal, the girls told us that the prayer time of commission and encouragement was so meaningful. What a special day!
Oh, by the way, this is a note to Vicki Smith. Last summer, she bought me a book while we were in Tennessee. It was titled "The Barbarian Way," a book by Erwin McManus. I just finished it last week. I put it away and didn't read it for the longest time. The timing was right, so I picked it back up and it had so much to say about "fake" Christianity. McManus says the truth when he says we, as the Christian community, need to put away the facades and encumbrances so that we can get back to the primal way of living for Jesus. And that is what he calls the Barbarian Way! I loved it.
Buy it and read it. Tell me what you think.