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1 Corinthians 12:14-20, 27 NIV & Romans 12:9-21 MSG


Remember this portion of the story of God, as it is written in the book that we love...

1 Corinthians 12:14-20, 27 - Listen for the Word of God…

This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

It’s really a beautiful thing, how God makes us all different,

so that we can fulfill the will of God.

Just like our fingers, they are all different,

even though they come from the same place!

And as children of God, we come from the same place,

Yet, we are all different.

A little later in the passage, it says,

Can the hand say to the foot, “I don’t need you!”?

No! We all have a function.

And one part of the body can’t do all the functions,

Just like one person can’t do it all by themselves.

We all have a part in the body of Christ.

Since we are members of the same body, we are related in Christ.

And Love will look like everyone using their diverse gifts,

to serve one another, for the glory of God.

Love in action is depicted in Romans 12:9-21...

Swan 1
1 Corinthians 12:14-20, 27 NIV & Romans 12:9-21 MSG
Like last week, I will be continuing the reading I began, from the Message translation.

From Romans 12: Hear the Word of the Lord as I read it aloud.

… Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it.

Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good.

Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing 2nd fiddle.

11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.

Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant.

Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.

Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath.

Laugh with your friends when they’re happy;

share tears when they’re down.

Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up.

Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

17-19 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone.

If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody.

Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do.

“I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

Swan 2
1 Corinthians 12:14-20, 27 NIV & Romans 12:9-21 MSG
20-21 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry,

go buy that person lunch,

or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink.

Your generosity will surprise him with goodness.

Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

...This is the Word of the Lord, and thanks be to God for it.

Practical implications of this Gospel message is about community ethics.

Individual transformation results in generous, humble,

and loving service for others.

Like how the Scripture mentioned playing 2nd fiddle,

If we think back to last week and how we talked about how

we are not the main character,

we also don’t have to be the first chair.

Instead, play 2nd fiddle.

The Message translation chooses this language

to give us an image of how we should honor one another

higher than ourselves.

Loving deeply, and realizing that Jesus died for that person sitting next to you,
Swan 3
1 Corinthians 12:14-20, 27 NIV & Romans 12:9-21 MSG
The person you chose not to sit next to,

The person you walk by on the street,

The person that serves you when you go to lunch after church,

The person you serve while at work...

A lot of times, it can be hard to honor all these people as higher than ourselves,

Remembering that they are our brothers and our sisters.

I’m reminded of when I visited Casa de Luz, House of Light, in the DR,

A home for children with special needs and very serious physical abnormalities.

Husband and wife duo, Lucas and Tempura,

Followed God’s call to open the Casa de Luz,

Because they had a son born with special needs.

Lucas and Tempura needed to work, so they had to leave their son with a sitter.

Soon, it became apparent that their son was being abused by the caregiver.

Tempura quit her job to watch her son,

And came to find out that there were many other children in a similar situation.

It was not very long after that when Casa de Luz was full of children with severe needs.

Parents would show up or just drop off their children, many to not be seen again.

Very seldom do any of the children get visits from their families.

But Lucas and Tempura love them like they are their own blood.

And God is providing for Casa de Luz,

Swan 4
1 Corinthians 12:14-20, 27 NIV & Romans 12:9-21 MSG
Through selfless staff who care for the children,

Bathing them multiple times a day, and giving them physical therapy.

Not one of the children have bed sores,

Despite many of them who are bedridden for life.

Along with the compassion from many, many volunteers,

And mission teams from all over the world

Who come to love on these children of God,

Who were once regarded as “throwaways”

It really is a curious thing, how a beautiful place such as this can be underfunded,

But Jesus Christ, is there providing enough.

Though I miss that place, as I tell a small bit of their story to you,

I know God is present,

And he was as we were singing over them en Español,

The truth of God's great love for them...

A few short hours later, my mission team concluded our trip in the DR,

by visiting Casa de Luz, this house full of light…

Short term mission is an interesting thing.

You spend all this time beforehand preparing to the best of your abilities

and finally travel to your new context in which you’ll serve.

Swan 5
1 Corinthians 12:14-20, 27 NIV & Romans 12:9-21 MSG
You get there, excited for all these days ahead of you,

to build relationships, work, and worship.

Then, once you think you are getting the hang of the culture and new way of life,

It’s time to leave.

It’s an odd thing, but God uses it.

Similarly to how God brought me to Orangeburg,

I spent all this time searching for a place to serve,

Applying for internships while I was in finals week,

Then getting connected to a place I never heard of in a state I have never been.

Many phone calls with the Pastor later, I created a learning covenant,

So I could keep track of personal and ministry goals during my precious time here.

But little did I know what God actually had in store.

Full of new experiences, new faces…

And just when I think I might be getting the hang of this Southern thing,

It’s my last day!

But these 6 weeks God generously gave me

Have been full, fast, and fun.

Swan 6
1 Corinthians 12:14-20, 27 NIV & Romans 12:9-21 MSG
Just like when I had to leave the community in Cristo Rey,

Now it’s time for me to leave you all, I mean… y’all in Orangeburg,

Saying hasta luego, see you later

Is much easier than saying goodbye because

We have hope that we will never meet a Christian for the last time.

It’s bittersweet to be here in front of you on my last day in Orangeburg,

But we are united as Christ’s family,

And we will never be too far from one another because of that.

Our God is doing great things here in Orangeburg, SC, in Cristo Rey, DR,

In Dubuque, IA, and every place in between,

Much of which we can’t even fathom,

But I am beyond grateful I got to participate in a small piece of what God is doing here.

My prayer for myself and for you is to look up,

See where God is at work,

And prayerfully ask God how you can participate in it,

And never stop.

Never stop seeking God, caring for his creation,

And loving his people, like they are your own blood. Amen

Swan 7