Pastor Cal's
Weekly Message

These messages
contain the manuscript
that the Pastor uses to
prompt him as he
preaches each Sunday
morning at worship.

The actual sermon may
vary but this will give
you an idea of what he
said if you missed the
service.

We hope to have audio
or video clips of his
messages and the
special music we enjoy  
available on this site  by
next fall.
Central Baptist Church of Westerly
16 Elm Street, Westerly, RI   02891
Phone: (401) -596-4929     

Check out our blog at Central Baptist Life
Come Build A Church

1 Peter 2:1-10                                                                                                                                May 22, 2011

I want to thank Kevin for coming today and for the work he and the other volunteers and paid staff have done for
those in need of affordable housing. I am not a stranger to Habitat. Last Fall I had the honor of working on a Habitat
House in New London. Now I have to confess that manual labor is not my strong suit. As a matter of fact, when I
have gone on mission trips, the teams have decided that my job should be to get the coffee and donuts. In other
words, keep Cal away from the power tools!

When I signed up for the Habitat Build, I originally signed up for that same roll but then one of the older ladies from
church asked what she could do. Our volunteer coordinator suggested that she could fill that donut role and maybe I
could do something else.

Somehow I ended up with a paint brush. My job was to paint the interior doors. Thankfully there was a master
painter there to help. He taught me how to do it and then left me to the job. Now beside getting a good deal of paint
on myself, I also managed to paint six doors in my allotted time. The painter only had to correct me once but he did
leave me with some very important knowledge that helped me finish the job.

He said, “Do the best you can and don’t worry about it. We have a team coming in on Tuesday who will fix all the
flaws and complete the job.”

Do the best you can. I like that. It suggested that I had what it took to get the job done. He took away my anxiety
because I knew that after all was said and done, the Master was coming back to finish up.

That is not unlike the call that we have. Built upon the faith of Christ, we are called to give our best to God and to
build a church that will reflect his glory and be a beacon of hope and love to the world.

Now I am not talking the building we are meeting in. Oh they did a great job back in the late forties and early fifties
planning and eventually erecting this building. It stands tall in the community and boldly reflects the name of Christ.
Rather, I am talking about the church that Peter points to in our scripture today. It is a church not made with wood
and stone. It is a structure that is comprised of flesh and blood or as Peter says, living stones.

There’s a story about a king of Sparta in ancient Greece who boasted to a visiting monarch about the mighty walls of
Sparta. But the guest looked around and didn’t see any walls, and finally he said to his host, "I’d like to see those
walls. Show them to me!" The Spartan ruler pointed with great satisfaction to the disciplined and well-trained troops
of Sparta’s mighty army, and exclaimed, "There they are! Those are the walls of Sparta!"

Just as each Spartan soldier was viewed by the king as a brick in his mighty wall, so we are viewed by God as "living
stones... built up a spiritual house"

The KJV says we’re “fitly framed together.” Jesus draws us together and binds us in a way that nothing else can. We
know that is true of the actual buildings we meet in. Our church was actually built from many different materials.
Two by fours were sitting in a lumber yard. Granite was still in the quarry. The bricks were sitting in a warehouse.
The carpet was in someone’s storehouse. Then the builder pulled it altogether and crafted the beautiful sanctuary and
meeting house we now enjoy.

The same thing is true of the church that Peter speaks of in our text. We didn’t have much in common. We came from
different backgrounds with various interests and skills. But Jesus, the master architect and master builder, has taken
us and put us together, joined us together in his church.

The great thing about God’s design for the church is that it doesn’t limit the church to a time or place. Now I know
many of us get caught up in thinking of the church as a building. We let it limit us and restrict our vision for what we
can be and do.

A downtown church with limited parking can feel frustrated because it can’t attract people. An old wood building
designed to house 100 people can discourage the people because the space doesn’t fit their dreams and desires. A
neighborhood changes and all the people move away and the church is left as a shadow of its former self.
I know one congregation that decided to do something about their physical building. They moved the church.
Westwood’s story…

I know another congregation that decided they wouldn’t let their building dictate what their ministry was going to be.
They ended up switching buildings with another older congregation that had way too much space and not enough
money.

So you may ask me, “why are WE talking about the problems with buildings when WE have a beautiful, large,
attractive building in a perfect location?”

I am talking about this top point out what Peter stresses so beautifully. We are not the building but WE are the
church. Once a week the church gathers together in one place. We come to this building or buildings like this, around
the world. For a few hours the whole body is together to worship, to pray, to study and to be encouraged. But then
the church leaves the building to do the work of Christ. The truth is that the church is truly at its best when it is
scattered among the people.

IT is then that we are the salt of the earth. When we are at work, with friends, at play, or in school, WE are the body
of Christ engaging the world. We are the church that is letting its light shine and reflect the glory of God. Instead of
being limited to one building, the church can reach every crack and cranny of the society around us.

You see God has a plan. In Christ he began the process of transforming the world. He made the first move and he
became the cornerstone of God’s great plan to reclaim a fallen world. Peter, understood this. You remember Peter’s
declaration at Ceasaria Phillipi? Jesus asked, “Who do people say I am?” The disciples gave him all the names. Then
he asked, “But who do you say I am?”

Peter steps up and declares “You are the Lord, the son of God, the living Christ.”  Jesus then said that this faith, this
truth, would be the first building block of his church.

You see the church is built upon our faith in Christ. Once we accept Christ in our hearts we are called out of the world
to become the church. Peter says that we are to offer ourselves to God so that he can mold us and shape us into a
house that will glorify God.

Using our gifts and talents, using our skills and an unique personalities, Jesus sends us to those places where we can
best be used.

Have you ever thought about the fact that there is a reason for you being where you are right now?

Some of you are thinking, “O please, don’t tell me that! I can’t stand my job. I don’t like the people I work with. I am
not appreciated by my boss.”

Well I have news for you. You are not working for that company, that unappreciative boss, that know nothing
supervisor. You are serving God, the master and builder of the church. The apostle Paul says in Colossians 3, “And
whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of [or by the authority of] the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God
the Father through Him.”

In other words we are to praise God and to do everything for the Lord. When we offer ourselves, our work, our time
to God, it becomes a holy sacrifice. That is what Peter is suggesting in our text today. We are come as living bricks, as
an offering to God so he can use us to change the world. You see, we are the church. God calls on us to offer
ourselves, to do our best and then he will shape and mold the things we do to his own purposes.

I want to tell you about my friend… Harry worked in the purchasing office at EB...

In the coming weeks and months I hope we can explore our calling as a church together. I want to look at the gifts and
skills that our members have and the places where we are serving already. I want to explore the ways that we can use
them and this beautiful building to share the love of God in new and exciting ways. I want us to take a fresh look at
what it means to be the church and then prayerfully step out in faith and become the church God has called us to be.

Amen