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
New Hope for Flawed Followers

Acts 2:29-41                                                                                                May 8, 2011

Almost every night before I go to bed, I pause and say “Thank you” to God. You see, you can’t be
in ministry very long without realizing that this job can’t be done without Him.

I think the disciples discovered that right at the outset. In the opening pages of the book of Acts,
we read that Jesus had ascended into heaven. He gave them a job to do and they were scared to
death. But he also promised them that he would be with them and he would send them the power to
do all that he commanded them to do.

In Acts 2 we read about the day of Pentecost, the day when the power of the Holy Spirit came over
them. Peter stood up and he began to preach. When he was done, over three thousand people
believed and became followers of Christ. This morning we read part of what he said.

What is amazing is the simple fact that Peter and the others were not educated, well- trained, men
of means. They were simple ordinary folks. The scriptures tell us that they were a few fishermen, a
civil servant, and men from the hill country of Galilee. There is no indication of anyone rich or
influential or highly educated among them. They were people just like you and me.

Yet they were charged with doing the most important job in the world, a job that has fallen on us
today. They were called to build the kingdom of God.

Today is Mother’s Day and I want to digress for a moment. Talk about impossible jobs. When I
think about the role that mother’s play in our lives, it is a lot like the challenge that the early
disciples faced.

Our moms are teachers, disciplinarians and chefs. Moms are cleaning ladies, gardeners and
sometimes mowers of lawns. And some of our moms understand that baking cookies is more
important than washing windows.

Moms are nurses and doctors, psychologists and counselors, chauffeurs and coaches. Moms are
developers of personalities, molders of vocabularies, and shapers of attitudes. Mom’s most
precious gift are the words, "I love you" as she teaches us about the love of God.

I don’t know how they do it. It is an impossible job. I guess that is why I like Erma Bombeck’s
column where she tells of God in the act of creating mothers. You’ve probably heard it before but I
am going to repeat it again today in honor of Mother’s Day.

She says that on the day God created mothers He had already worked long overtime. And an angel
said to Him, "Lord, you sure are spending a lot of time on this one."

The Lord turned and said, "Have you read the specs on this model? She is supposed to be
completely washable, but not plastic. She is to have 180 moving parts, all of them replaceable. She
is to have a kiss that will heal everything from a broken leg to a broken heart. She is to have a lap
that will disappear whenever she stands up. She is to be able to function on black coffee and
leftovers. And she is supposed to have six pairs of hands."

"Six pairs of hands," said the angel, "that’s impossible." "It’s not the six pairs of hands that bother
me." said the Lord, "It’s the three pairs of eyes. She is supposed to have one pair that sees through
closed doors so that whenever she says, `What are you kids doing in there?’ she already knows
what they’re doing in there."

"She has another pair in the back of her head to see all the things she is not supposed to see but
must see. And then she has one pair right in front that can look at a child that just goofed and
communicate love and understanding without saying a word."

"That’s too much." said the angel, "You can’t put that much in one model. Why don’t you rest for
a while and resume your creating tomorrow?"

"No, I can’t," said the Lord. "I’m close to creating someone very much like myself. I’ve already
come up with a model who can heal herself when she is sick - who can feed a family of six with
one pound of hamburger - and who can persuade a nine year old to take a shower."

Then the angel looked at the model of motherhood a little more closely and said, "She’s too soft."
"Oh, but she is tough," said the Lord. "You’d be surprised at how much this mother can do."

"Can she think?" asked the angel. "Not only can she think," said the Lord, "but she can reason and
compromise and persuade."

Then the angel reached over and touched her cheek. "This one has a leak," he said. "I told you that
you couldn’t put that much in one model." "That’s not a leak," said the Lord. "That’s a tear."

"What’s a tear for?" asked the angel. "Well it’s for joy, for sadness, for sorrow, for disappointment,
for pride." "You’re a genius," said the angel. And the Lord said, "Oh, but I didn’t put it there. It just
comes with every model."

I want to give a big thank you to our moms today. You may feel inadequate to do the job some
days, but God believes in you and he has promised to be right there to help you through. If your
kids are grown and out of the house, then you know better than anyone that it was His strength that
carried you through many trying days. So thank you.

Now back to the disciples. The truth is that most of us are like those original disciples. We are
ordinary men and women. We don’t like to let anyone else know it, but we are well aware of our
flaws. We see them whenever we look in the mirror. Most of us suffer from a sense of inadequacy
when it comes to sharing our faith or serving in some vital capacity. We are reluctant to step up
because we can think of several others who are better equipped to do the job.

When we think of Peter, we often rush to paint a picture of a bold, charismatic leader. But the man
who stepped up that day, was a broken man, a humbled man, the same man who had denied Jesus
three times. This was the man who ran and hid when the authorities were searching for him and the
others. This was the man who was locked away with the other disciples in the upper room.
He was brash, he was often quick to speak without thinking, he more heart than head. Yet on that
day he stood up and began to speak. The only thing he had going for him was his trust that God
would give him the words to speak. We are told that when he was finished over three thousand
believed.

He spoke to them about Jesus. The Holy Spirit did the rest. That is the good news. You see, you
and I don’t have to possess great eloquence to share the message.  We don’t have to know our
Bible cover to cover. We don’t have to do anything but trust God to do what he said he was going
to do. We simply need to tell them about Jesus and what he did for us.

Now it helps to know the Bible. It helps to come to worship and to be surrounded by other
believers. It helps to have an active prayer life and to be walking in step with Christ’s treaching.
These things build confidence. They give us a foundation to build on. I wish every member of the
church was attending a weekly Sun day School Class or Bible study (and we are going to have
more them!)

The truth is that it isn’t our depth of knowledge that is going to convince someone to follow Jesus.
It will be the Holy Spirit working within their hearts. Once we plant the seeds, God waters them
and makes them grow.
I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard of people who rejected the gospel time after time.
Then one day, in a moment of crises, a friend shares their story with them and the world around
them begins to shift.

I want to tell you a story about a friend of mine named Jamie.
Jamie and his wife came to church that day because her mother wanted them to. They would have
just as soon been anywhere else. Actually they were joking with one another and mocking some of
the things we did in the service that day. Following Jesus was the last thing on the minds of this
very earthly, well to do couple.

What they did want though, was to have a child. They had been trying for years to no avail. They
were ready to give up but then shortly after that church service they attended, something happened.
His sister, a devout Christian died. When Jamie visited her, he saw a peace in her that radiated and a
joy that was infectious. He began to ask how her faith could give her such hope in the face of such
tragic news. He started reading the Bible and then one day, a chance encounter with a Christian
coworker put all the pieces together.

He went home that night and told his wife that he had accepted Christ. She couldn’t believe it. They
had been surrounded by Christian influences but Jamie had never taken them serious. A few days
later, as Jamie was telling everyone about his new found faith, Ingrid took him aside told him the
news. They were going to have a baby.

Talk about miracle stories from the Bible. Jamie was living it. Last summer I baptized them both
and dedicated their son, Gorman.

I think sometimes we put too much emphasis on our part and not enough on what God can do
when it comes to our calling as Christians and as the church. God promised us that he would send
the power, he would make it grow, he would bring the results, if only we would step up and share
our faith.

The problem is that too many of us won’t take that step. We don’t do what is needed because we
are caught up in our own little world and don’t feel that what we have to share can do very much.
The tragedy is that when we fail to act, great opportunities are lost.

In the 13th Century, Nicolo Polo, the father of Marco Polo, was visiting the court of the great
Kublai Klan. Kublai Khan was the Emperor of All China and he had never seen any Europeans
before. He was delighted to meet this visitor from Venice and was strongly impressed by the
Christian character and faith that he saw in Nicolo.

In fact, he was so impressed that he sent a letter back with Nicolo to Rome urging that a number of
Christian educators be sent to instruct his people in the teachings of Christ. But this was still during
what we call the “Dark Ages” in Europe, and the church leaders were too involved in the political
upheavals of that day to give any serious attention to his request.

In the end, only 2 men were sent, and because the trip was so difficult, they lost heart and turned
back without ever reaching China. So, because of the failure of the church of that day, Kublai Khan
turned to Buddhism and that has been the predominant religion in that area ever since.

Listen to His words, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” To the early
Christians these were some of the most precious words Jesus ever spoke. Every time they gathered
to worship they knew that soldiers might come and arrest them at any moment. They had seen
many of their friends die. They had seen them tortured and heard their cries of pain just because
they were believers in Jesus. Yet because Christ was with them, they boldly went out and the
church grew because of it.

Today we don’t have any of these pressures. Ours are more subtle. We have to deal with political
correctness, faith being marginalized and stereotyped, and our own sense of inadequacy and flawed
personhood.

Here is the good news. He is with us and he has a job for us to do. We have been called to bring
good news to a world that is lost and losing hope. We don’t have to do it alone. All we need to do is
step out and share ourselves and our faith with others and he will make things happen.

That’s what happened to Robert Schuller almost sixty years ago when he arrived in Garden Grove
California. He came with his wife and $500 in his pocket. In his autobiography he tells the story.
Today they have over 20 million viewers world wide and a congregation in the thousands.
That is good news for people like you and me. Praise God. I pray that the spirit of the living God
will come over you and use you to do mighty things in his name. Amen