Fruitfulness on the Frontline – Ministering Grace and Love

Ministering Grace & Love

At Heysham FM Church our current Sunday evening message series is called Fruitfulness on the Frontline. The series is based on the book and course of the same name written by Mark Greene and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity. Even though we are only half way through the series,  we are already seeing people released from the burden of feeling that they are not doing enough or that they are not being fruitful. What does it mean to live a fruitful life as a disciple?

This series is based on the 6M framework from the course and book. What I love is from the outset, the course states that this is not another Christian tick list to get you down when you feel inadequate as you haven’t ticked each box in a day. Instead, its aim is to help us have the perspective of what it truly means to be fruitful in our everyday lives – simply by doing what we are already doing!

I had the privilege on Sunday to speak on the 3rd M: Ministering Grace and Love. To listen to the message Click Here

One of the key phases from the book which became like a refrain in the message is this  “Grace doesn’t have to. But grace does. Grace is on the lookout for opportunities. Love doesn’t have to. But love does. Love is alert to the possibilities.” So simply put yet so beautifully profound.

“Grace doesn’t have to, But grace does, Grace is on the lookout for opportunities. Love doesn’t have to. But love does. Love is alert to the possibilities.” Mark Greene -Fruitfulness on the Frontline

As I prepared for the message I was awestuck at the lavishness of God’s grace and love for me and the whole world. That He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure. Jesus didn’t have to come to earth, He didn’t have to die for me.  “Grace doesn’t have to, But grace does, Grace is on the lookout for opportunities. Love doesn’t have to. But love does. Love is alert to the possibilities.”

“There is, … a joyous generosity, a lavishness, about God’s grace.” Mark Greene -Fruitfulness on the Frontline

There is “… a joyous generosity, a lavishness, about God’s grace.” How can I not in light of the cross live a life of generous and lavish grace and love? One of the barriers is that we set the bar as what actually counts as ministering grace and love far too high. In Matthew 25 v 34-40 Jesus shows how simple and practical ministering grace and love can be – feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting those who are needy. Even something as basic as giving someone a glass of water! Whilst Jesus is primarily speaking about serving people who follow Him the principle still applies. Ministering grace and love can be as simple as a glass of water.

One the things I have been challenged about in preparing the message is about how counter-cultural ministering grace and love actually is. We find ourselves in a world of convenience. Where it’s all about ‘how can I get through life in the easiest way for me?’ We complain about traffic. Despite being British we complain about queues. We complain when our McDonalds order take longer than 3 minutes. But ministering grace and love isn’t about convenience. It’s not convenient.

“At root, whether convenient or not, ministering grace and love is at root about generosity. Generous Living. It’s about taking the focus off ourselves and proactively thinking about how we might help someone else.” Mark Greene -Fruitfulness on the Frontline

“It’s about taking the focus off ourselves and proactively thinking about how we might help someone else.” It requires us not to focus on ourselves – our convenience, but to focus on thinking about how we can help someone else. Remembering that grace doesn’t have to but grace does. Love doesn’t have to but love does. Knocking on a neighbour’s door because you haven’t seen them for a while isn’t convenient but grace doesn’t have to but grace does. Helping a colleague who has a massive workload isn’t convenient but grace doesn’t have to but grace does. Paying for the person behind you in the queue’s coffee isn’t convenient but grace doesn’t have to but grace does. Ministry is love in action.

As a disciple of Jesus I seek to not just know about Him, what He did and said. I want follow Him, copy Him and be caught up in His passion. His passion for people. That led Him to the cross. I want to live a life that shouts to the world you are known, you are loved. There should be a joyous generosity, a lavishness about the love and grace that we show. From a glass of water to whatever it may be, how can you minister grace and love?

I challenge you this week to minister grace and love to at least one person. Intentionally, generously minister grace and love. Remember “Grace doesn’t have to, But grace does, Grace is on the lookout for opportunities. Love doesn’t have to. But love does. Love is alert to the possibilities.”

 

Daddy’s Here

Sunday 26th March: a day that changed mine and Becky’s lives! Judah was born. Rushing to the hospital in the early hours to join Becky after I had been sent home as nothing was going to happen until tomorrow. Within a few hours we met our little man! What an incredible blessing he is.

The next day we brought him home, filled with joy but also to be honest a bit scared. We have done a little bit of babysitting etc but then we could always hand the children back! But this time we were responsible. Such a small vulnerable little boy and we had to care for him. No longer is it quite as scary but a beautiful adventure of being parents.

With the joys of Judah sleeping, laughing, developing is of course intermingled with crying. Early on when soothing Judah I remember without much thought as I held him close saying, “It’s ok, Daddy’s here.” One night as I held my boy reassuring him with the phrase I had become accustomed to using, “It’s ok, daddy’s here,” I had such a significant moment. What I knew in my head was true, I began to grasp that bit more. God gave a nudge and said, “It’s ok, Daddy’s here.” In that moment I had this beautiful vision fill my mind of being in the arms of my heavenly Father. Who in my joys and sorrows affirms the truth, “It’s ok, Daddy’s here.”

I am reminded of King David in Psalm 139 where he declares: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” David knows that God is always with him and there is no where we can go where He is not. I wonder what difference it would make if we truly grasped the truth that we are not alone. That God is with us where ever we are, what ever circumstance. That our God is Emmanuel. God with us!

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

Psalm 139 v 7

Maternity leave is great in so many ways for mothers nurturing their newborn for those precious early days. But it also comes with the financial challenges of maternity pay. There have been a few times in the last couple of months when the truth of “It’s ok, Daddy’s here” has been beautiful lens to see our finances through.

In the highs and lows of parenting, in the joys of seeing Judah develop but also in the middle of the night (although to be honest Becky does 90% of the nights shifts) when sleep is a real commodity. Or those times when you don’t really know what you are doing when your little man is beside himself in tears as he has a temperature and the calpol hasn’t kicked in. In every high and low I am learning to have the perspective that, “It’s ok, Daddy’s here.”

I wonder what challenges you face? What questions you are asking about your future? What keeps you up at night? What situations you are struggling to see hope in?

Remember this, “It’s ok, Daddy’s here.” Your heavenly Father knows you and loves you. God is with you. He won’t leave or forsake you. Now this may not change your circumstances. But I believe it will start to change your perspective as you change the lens you see your circumstances though. When you remember the truth that you are not alone.

“It’s ok, Daddy’s here.”

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.’

Deuteronomy 31 v

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