A few Saturdays ago Debbie and I seized the opportunity to travel to Lakeland and attend the installation of our new bishop, Ken Carter. Neither of us had ever been to a service of this ilk, after all, the last one the Florida conference had was 10 years ago.
This service was filled with varying degrees of liturgical ceremony and historical significance, but it was also a time for us to hear, from Bishop Carter himself, what his personal walk with God has meant to him. He talked about God and the need for intentional evangelism, he talked about courage and the need to reach beyond ourselves and our own self limits. He was delivering a very good, well thought out, and dynamic message. Then he said this, "More people are bowling than ever before, but few people join a league."
I had to do a mental double take. How do we get from God and the need to answer his call in our lives, to bowling? Then his next statement applied the pressure. He said, "It has become all about the individual." More people than ever before are enjoying the sport of bowling. More people than ever before are venturing out into the community to partake in a team sport...as an individual. Leagues are struggling to form. We have signed our boys up for three different leagues at two different bowling alleys. Often times they were the only two to ever show up. We aren't engaging our fellow brothers and sisters like we used to before. I remember going to the bowling alley with my grandmommy when she bowled. That place was packed! I remember going every Saturday night to the bowling alley with my mom and dad as they bowled on the church league. There were no empty lanes for people to bowl, if you were not already part of a league. This begs the question, as a society have we begun to turn inward.
Here is the reason that is a problem. The best way to experience God's love is through God's people. And if we as God's people allow this trend of inward devotion to continue, we could be in real trouble. Folks, we are the Kingdom of God. I heard someone once remark, you may be the only Bible some people ever read. We are important. We are needed. All of us are called. This week I encourage each of you to find a way to reach out to another person. Maybe you give the three minute rule at try at church this week or in another social gathering. Maybe you spend time volunteering at a rehab center or shelter. Maybe God has already been calling you in a certain direction and for whatever reason now it is time to go as you have been lead. Be open this week to the movement of the Holy Spirit. Be the Kingdom of God this week to another person. Allow people to experience God's love through you this week. Follow your call, be a vessel, give the love of God to another. We can make the future hope of Heaven a present reality on earth, when we all work together.
Have a great week!