Jesus' unadulterated openness to accept others into his fellowship was a unique feature of His ministry. There was no litmus test to determine one's worth. He included anyone willing to follow His way. Jesus invited the disciples to join in his teaching and healing ministry when they had not even confessed His true identity. In Luke 9, a monumental moment in Luke’s narrative occurred. Jesus empowered his disciples to go out in the same spiritual power and authority with which he possessed: “ And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal ” (Luke 9:1-2). The disciples had gone to school with Jesus in order to be sent out by him!
The audacity and cavalier boldness of Jesus in this moment is not to be overlooked. These followers had yet to confess his full identity – that comes later in the chapter – nonetheless, Jesus included them in an experiential way alongside him. Even when they deserved no merit, Jesus held an optimistic view of their abilities to comprehend and act on his behalf. To their own astonishment, they had the authority promised to them.
How often do we sell ourselves short? How often do we limit our own possibilities by fears, excuses, or a myriad of other factors? In Ephesians 3 (our text for this Sunday), Paul exhorts the church to follow his example and to be administrators, communicators, and teachers of Christ’s gospel. With all his strength, he urges them to grasp that they have been empowered to do more.
Over the years, I've heard many excuses. Some have told me, “Pastor, I do not know the Bible well enough to do that.” Others have stated, “I still have some things to work on.” Still more say, “I am not spiritually competent enough to take that responsibility.” If you really believe that then you have been deceived by darkness. You are more than ready. What are you waiting for? Partake in Christ’s ministry through Tabernacle Baptist Church.
If you are making excuses, you have a chance to be inspired by an 85-voice youth choir this weekend. We are excited to host a group of young people from First Baptist Church Benton, Arkansas, who will be sharing with our community. They overcame excuses to come share and serve. I hope they inspire you to do the same. Bring a friend to the AMP this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. for their concert and then make sure you’re at worship this Sunday as our excitement grows for the upcoming week of Vacation Bible School. See you there!

Expecting His Best,

Stephen V. Allen