His Personal Representative We can do it, He will help (Jack Webber)

During our personal journey through life, we perform a variety of roles. We begin at birth by becoming someone's son/daughter and/or sister/brother (nephew/niece; grandchild) etc.

Later in life we become husband/wife; son-in-law/daughter-in-law; mother/father; grandparent; and the dreaded father/mother-in-law. You get the point. We are many things to many people. The good, the bad, the ugly.

Several years ago I accepted a new and different role. I was identified in their last will and testament and appointed by a Maryland court to become the personal representative (PR) of my wife's parents. My role was to execute their instructions contained in their will.

I was reminded of this role that I played in 1999 when I was reading in early September of this year, a daily devotional called "Today". It's much like our own "Upper Room". The article mentioned that the September devotions would be about "learning to be the presence of Jesus wherever he has placed us in this world. In other words, September's articles would be about being the personal representative of Jesus Christ wherever we find ourselves in His world.

As PR for my in-law's estate I had to follow very clear directions. I might add, they were relatively easy, and in six months, my job was mostly over. But we all know that being PR for Jesus is not easy, and the job will not be over in six months. It is a lifetime commitment and a lifetime job.

The devotional went on to say: "when we start practicing the presence of Jesus in ways that are very natural for us, learning to see others in the way He sees them, we will be amazed at what our Lord will do. It starts with us, it involves our Church, and it will make an impact on our community. In our ordinary, everyday experiences, we can grow more and more to see people with new eyes and respond as God prompts us".

When I became PR for my in-laws estate, I was able to down load a lot of information from a variety of web sites that gave me a great amount of detail about my responsibilities. Recently I entered personal representative in the Google Search Engine and found over 71,600,000 web sites. I then entered Christ's personal representative and found over 2,110,000 web sites. Most of those spoke about Jesus being God's personal representative.

So what's our starting point for being the PR for Jesus? Where do we begin? How do we do it?

Well for most of us, it began at our Baptism when our parents/sponsors promised to:

Nurture us in Christ's holy church, that by their teaching and example we may be guided to accept God's grace for ourselves, and to profess our faith openly, and to lead a Christian life.

Then came Sunday School. Then confirmation class. Then confirmation itself where we openly and personally accepted Christ as our Savior and Lord. During our confirmation ceremony we are asked "According to the grace given you, will you remain faithful members of Christ's holy church and serve as Christ's representatives in the world?"

And so we begin the life long journey to be the personal representative of Jesus. Along this journey, and at all ages, we are presented many opportunities to put into practice what we continually learn.

For example, in the October issue of the Interpreter there is an article about eight year old Evan Korte. Evan wrote a 12-page book called A Poor Old Dog a hand-written fictional story about Jango, his Brittany Spaniel. Following last year's Tsunami, Evan decided to sell copies for $2 with 100% of the proceeds going to UMCOR. Evan said "It's just something in my heart I wanted to do. They need the money a lot more than we do".

His mother sold the first copies at her Disciple Bible class. Teachers at Evan's school read it to their classes. His generosity drew the interest of secular and church media. The local ABC affiliate featured him as "Good kid of the Week". After the Flint Journal wrote an article about him, book orders began pouring in. An article in the Michigan Christian Advocate led to a book signing at his church that raised more than $880. So far, Evan has sold more than 400 copies to people in at least 14 states and has raised more than $2,500. "At first I didn't think it would sell very well," said Evan. "But my parents say God has blessed this book, and we have God to thank for our success."

For our instructions to be the Personal Representative of Jesus, we need look no further than the Holy Scriptures. Remember His charge to us In Matthew 28: 18-20 -" And Jesus came up and spoke to them saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Elsewhere in the Bible, Jesus tells us we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Remember also the words from John 15: 5 – "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing".

God also has equipped us to be the PR of Jesus by blessing us with an abundance of spiritual gifts. We heard a great deal about these gifts in Rev. Ken's recent sermons. But let's just briefly review the list from I Corinthians 12: 8-10; wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, apostleship, and teaching.

By employing any one of these spiritual gifts, we bear spiritual fruit. Do you remember the fruit of the Spirit Paul talked about in Galatians 5: 22-23? "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control".

These are the critical success factors we rely on when we accept the responsibility of being Christ's PR. We employ these fruits moment by moment when given the opportunity to tell people about Jesus and His redeeming love. We must exhibit these fruits moment by moment in our daily lives as a testimony of our faith whether we are witnessing our faith or exchanging our driver's license and insurance information at the scene of an accident. Our walk and talk with the Jesus who changed our lives needs to rub off on the people around us.

Feeling intimidated? We should be. Feeling unworthy of the task? We are. But recall the words in today's Scripture reading from Romans 12: "For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us each exercise them accordingly…".

Think on these words from the daily devotional Today:
"From the day God poured out His Spirit on the church, we have received power that really can change the world. God calls you and me to live as people who can make an impact on others with the good news of Jesus. It starts with our own transformation, and the Spirit gives each of us gifts to be used in His service. We are typically skeptical of people or products claiming to change the world. Usually if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. But, watch what happens when the Spirit transforms our minds and uses our gifts creatively in places that are close to our home."

At one of the Federal Government web sites I found this definition of a personal representative: "The PR stands in the shoes of the individual and has the ability to act for the individual and exercise the individual's rights".

So, consider this scary thought: where ever we may be, whoever we are with, what ever we are doing, we are the hands, feet, heart, voice, and face of Jesus Christ. We are His personal representatives.

Think back to this summer when over 400 work campers arrived in Millersville to rehab the homes of the less fortunate in our county. These were mostly teenagers from all around our country. In the heat of summer, they worked for Jesus. The home owner's saw the heart and face and heard the voice of Jesus through these youngsters. As adults, are we less capable? I think not. We have the same gifts. We have the same opportunities. We are branches of the same vine, we are members of the same body. And most importantly, we are not alone. Jesus works with us and through us.

When we enjoy a personal relationship with Jesus Christ then –
"We can do it, He will help".

Before we leave this morning, let us ask ourselves these three questions:

1. What is God's Word calling me to do this week?

2. How committed am I to obeying God's Word?

3. What spiritual disciplines do I practice to help me know and grow B and show that God lives in me?

Let me close with a quote from an anonymous writer: "Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God." Anon.

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