About Me

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Mullavilly, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
A child of the early 60's. Married with three children, two of which are at Uni. I have been the rector of Mullavilly Parish since 1993. I enjoy travel and animals, and I look after three dogs, four cats, and a snake.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Sermon for St Stephen's, Gateacre: extreme giving!

1 PETER 4:7-11
7The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.10Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 11If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

I’m going to go way out on a limb today and talk about something extreme. We have extreme sports, extreme fishing with Robson Green. Dangerous, exciting, total. Its the Bunjee Jump, the barefoot water ski, the sitting in a wheelie bin tied to the back of a mini on the M6.
So what is extreme in Christian living? £10 a week? Church once a month. Wearing a little badge? Or maybe extreme is being a big stadium evangelist – don’t believe it!
Extreme is making a life investment! Its a term a heard this week from one of our civil servants – head of synod services- as she was debating the stringent budget cuts needed. She was referring to those who had made an investment, not of their savings, but of their life, the standard parish clergy.
And it can be widened but not too much. You can invest your spare time, your talents, a good whack of your income. That might be where God is calling you – you work, so we don’t have to! Or perhaps its just a safe investment that you’re making? So far, but no farther. Let the clergy do it – so you don’t have to.
This happens so much. New person in church – tell the clergy. Someone ill – tell the clergy. No youth work – clergy fault, tower falling down – clergy fault. But I rant. I want to encourage. I want you to think about your investment in the kingdom of God. Wht will you put in. Look at the start of the passage – the end is near. The day of reckoning. Its time to get on board. (eg Ryanair).
There are so many people who miss their calling. Other things get in the way – reasons or excuses – some don’t know what they’re hearing (eg Samuel).
For me, it was through rejection in my first job application! 
 For others its a parishioner saying “You could do that”. 
A friend was once asked “Did you really hear a voice calling you?” He answered "No – it was much louder than that!"

I want to tell you that everything you do is a vocation. But I want to be cautious, because that is often used as an excuse. 
I’m a very wealthy banker helping to make the world go round and that is my vocation.” 

Certainly, if you are absolutely certain that what you are doing now or planning now is where God wants you to be, and wants you to be serving, then cherish that. It may be your life investment and the income from that may need to viewed as the gift that you must use in service. That might be very challenging for you.

When you give, you don’t know where your life will go. I’m here! 30 years ago I had no idea that having Sunday lunch with Jane would have this consequence! Or that my daughter would be in the same place and a son in South Africa . That I would be sitting a rural parish in Ireland. That I would be drawing very close to the hearts and souls of people and seeing Christ touch their hearts.
Whatever you have been given in grace (a gift undeserved) invest it wholly and totally in service to Christ so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. AMEN

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