July 11, 2016

Project Peace

In the wake of the terrible events of the past week, our church held a special prayer service Sunday morning. There was an open mike time, where people shared their thoughts and prayed, and the sermon was based upon the beatitude in Matthew 5:9:

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

We were challenged to take part in several projects given through scripture:

Project Love
We are to love God, love our neighbors, and love our enemies. We are to go beyond our inner circle of friends and move outward to love beyond our comfort zone. We need to be looking for ways to love a new circle of friends.

Matthew 5: 38-48
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a]39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[b] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Project Blessing
There is something that we owe. As followers of Jesus, we make a different kind of payment in this world. Not one of judgement or vengeance, but one of love, selfless giving, and blessing.

Romans 12:17-21

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[b]21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Project Pursuit
People are being targeted for bad. As followers of Jesus, was are pursuing a different target...a target for good...a target for peace. We are challenged to find others who are different from us. Target a specific person or groups of people and develop relationships with them. Be a bridge builder across barriers that divide us from others.

1 Peter 3:8-12
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,“Whoever would love life    and see good daysmust keep their tongue from evil    and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good;    they must seek peace and pursue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous    and his ears are attentive to their prayer,but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Project Plant
What kind of seeds are we planting that will yield a harvest of righteousness? A successful harvest is not one of prosperity and power. It is one of good spiritual fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. We need to be planting seeds of peace, grace, and mercy in this world. So take time to contemplate and visualize what kind of harvest we want, and then act on it in love.

James 3:13-18
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

Project Peace....it is a call to be the peace in the world we want to see. It is a call to bridge the barriers that divide. It is a call to love in spite of differences.

It is call to be a peacemaker.


***Based on the notes taken from John Ketchersid's sermon on July 10, 2016.


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