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Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Streets are watching and talking. But what are the people saying?

Jay-Z world famous rapper along with the hip hop culture developed the saying that The Streets Is Watching, meaning that others in your neighborhood would silently observe your actions and report back to the police or other powers that be. Hence The Streets are Watching. Well in today's scripture of focus Paul is writing to the church at Thessalonica and is very happy about their ministry and all that they are doing in the face of oppression, trials and tribulations. Apostle Paul has heard of the great ministry of the church, not because of their bragging but because of the testimony of others near and far. Others have been watching the church and are commenting on its behavior as well as the effectiveness of it's ministry.

Let's look to the scripture for more clarification.

1Thessalonians 1

1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:Grace to you and peace. 2 We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of people we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place where your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. 9For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

Here we see that apostle Paul is happy and glad for the church. However the apostle also understands that the church is being severely persecuted in the process. (versus 6) What does this mean for us today as church members and followers of Christ? What does it say about our mission to the poor, the wealthy, the old and young, the single and married, male and female, even the sick and the healthy? It means we are called to be in ministry to all people in all situations at all times under all circumstances regardless of the backlash and persecution we will encounter. If your church is anything like most churches it probably doesn't even deal with these issues of poverty, justice, equality, or sex and sexual immorality. Too often our churches get up from the table of life's issues leaving these dishes there to get old, moldy and funky. The church glosses over them resolving not to provide any solutions. To make matters worse the streets are watching the church, the people are watching the church.

The question then is what are they saying? Are they calling the church and it's members fakes, phonies, and hypocrites? Is what they are saying true? Where is the love and endurance and steadfastness that Paul praised Thessalonica for? How can we regain these types of attitudes and zeal for god's ministry?

The question for reflection today is simply ( What are you leaving on the table, and how is God calling you to minister in those areas?) Remember that the streets are watching us, but it's up to us to determine what they will be saying based on what is seen.

Until tomorrow, be well- Pastor J.

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