Last week, we saw Jesus teaching us why bad things happen. If you missed that one, check online at www.covnews.com or the full sermon at www.abidinggrace.com. But this week, I want to look at the flipside of that — why good things happen. We got a preview of that when last week Jesus told us to repent when we saw bad things because we are really the ones that deserve them. Repentance is turning around. So now the reason for good things happening is pretty clear.
When we repent, we turn from our sin and to our Savior. We see our wrong. We stop and turn around and go the other way. Spending time looking at our Savior and what he has done for us will naturally produce some amazing reactions and actions. In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul writes about that: "For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." The natural result of Christ’s death for us is that we are raised up to live a new life. And that is cool to watch.
I’ve got to say, these past couple of months I’ve been overwhelmed being able to watch that. (That’s one of the nice things about being a part of a church — not only do we get fed with God’s Word regularly — but we get to be inspired by how God is working in all these people around us.) You see, we’re building our first church building, so opportunities for service are popping up all over — and Christ’s love is compelling people to jump at those opportunities. Volunteers have already given weeks of their time working on our project. Other volunteers have been bringing food to feed them every day for the past five weeks. Others are offering places to stay for those volunteers coming from a distance. Our contractor is actually using these volunteers to help us be able to afford more of a building to be a blessing to our community.
And that is just in the physical building project. The spiritual building project is even more exciting. Christ’s love has compelled volunteers to serve in all sorts of ways to spread the Word of Christ — from designing to folding and organizing materials to getting out on the street and knocking on doors. This week, four young ladies (Alyssa, Rachel, Amanda, and Charissa) gave up their college spring break to travel here from their school in Minnesota to help us get out on the streets and invite all of you to come grow in God’s Word with us — to come gaze at Jesus and let his love compel even more great things.
You’ve got to come check it out. It is fun to watch when we realize why good things happen. Jesus loves you. Take some time to ponder that and see what happens.
The Rev. Jonathan Scharf is pastor of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Covington. Full sermons and more information can be found at www.abidinggrace.com.