08262018 14 Aft Pent 13 Aft Trinity Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“Jesus calls us to be Mission Driven!”

08262018 14 Aft Pent 13 Aft Trinity Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

August 26, 2018

“Jesus calls us to be Mission Driven!”

Sermon Audio

Recently I read a fact that still astounds me.  During World War II, 55,573 men or 44.4% of the aircrews of bombers were killed in action.  Yet when I read this fact, what makes me thankful is that these men who gave their lives for our country in the Army Air Corp understood one fact.  The mission was the most important thing. The mission was to cripple the industrial might and complexes of Germany. So many lives were lost, both in Germany and for the allies that this side of heaven we will not truly be sure of the total numbers of lives lost, but what is clear to me is that the mission for the allies was critical for a win.

As the remaining members of the Greatest generation decrease in number daily, the mission they fought for helped me to understand the churches mission from a new perspective.  Last week we learned that at our core “We are Christ Centered”. Not only is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, but as God’s only Son, His offer of grace, mercy and love is at the center of not only our worship, but also including our witness.  This is why the second of the four Core Values revolves around Jesus call to us. Simply stated, “Jesus calls us to be Mission Driven”.

How this intersects with the church is at times a distinctly difficult task, because all of us say we have different gifts.  Whether hosting, preparing for breakfasts, muscles used for moving tables, cooking for Family Fun Fest or even teaching. We who gather here at Emmanuel understandably think in earthly terms.  Our goals are focused on earthly tangible and attainable things. At times we want to show a result of what we have done and be able to leave when we have completed our ‘job’. Yet, what we sometimes fail to realize is that God’s call upon each of us finds completion, not when our ‘task is done’, not when we are ‘empty nesters’, nor when our ‘physical tanks are dry’ or our resources are depleted.  The second core value points directly to a different reality. Our Lord and Savior, “Jesus calls us to be Mission Driven” and only be done working in and for the kingdom of God when our earthly life is over.

“Jesus calls us to be Mission Driven” does not mean, we have to live as paupers, we don’t need to put ourselves in the hospital by overextending ourselves or only do things that are on our personal list.  As a ‘mission driven’ congregation, Jesus Christ wants us to understand the mission He wants us to do is not about ourselves, but about telling others about Him. Understand and hear that His call is for us to be active and willing participants in order for us to see His Glory fulfilled in our sight and among us today.

The old Israel people looked for the ‘coming Messiah’.  The One Who would fulfill the promises of prophets like in our Old Testament lesson this morning from Isaiah.  The Messiah and the Glory that would be revealed would offer to them the greatest gift that had been promised to Adam and Eve and looked for throughout all of Biblical History.  These people who wandered the desert. Settled in Israel upon their 40 year journey from Egypt kept this message, God’s mission alive. They understood clearly that they would be the ones who kept the mission of the church on track.  This is the same calling we have today. The difference is that we have the Messiah. We have our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We have the forgiveness of sins and the clearest demonstration of love for all of mankind that we receive from the Altar of Jesus Christ, precious Body and Blood.  This is why “Jesus calls us to be Mission Driven”.

As “Jesus calls us to be Mission Driven” our Lord and Savior’s desire is for us as His disciples, as His redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world children to understand, our church, our message and our mission remains the same.  We are called, gathered, enlightened and sanctified by the Holy Spirit to clearly, emphatically and lovingly continue on in the mission of the NALC. We are on a mission to proclaim the love of God, perform using our God given gifts and talents and point to Jesus Christ sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary for all of mankind and fulfill the mission.

The clearest way I can explain it is from one of the Allied Airmen Leslie Manser who flew one of the big Manchester bombers.  Before dropping his load of munitions perfectly over the target in Germany his plane was hit by the flak that was a constant barrage. After unloading the munitions Manser banked to return to base in England and descended to fly 800 ft above the ground under the searchlights, but within range of  20mm gunfire from the ground. They were hit again and one of the two engines burst into flames. Feathering the prop they got the fire out, but the one engine was ‘straining to the point of exploding’.

Manser was determined to not let his comrades die.  He stayed at the controls of the airplane keeping it level until all six of his crewmates safely escaped.  Only one crewman was captured by the German army, the other five were smuggled out of Belgium by friendly resistance and were returned to Britain.  Sadly once the last man had bailed out, he watched as the bomber crashed and burst into flames.

Posthumously, Leslie Manser was awarded the Victoria Cross.  It was awarded to him, for a simple reason and fact. Leslie had ‘fulfilled his mission and saved the lives of his crew.’

We who gather here this morning have the opportunity, the calling from Jesus Christ to share the Gospel Jesus Christ came to die for in order that we and others might live and have eternal life.  What we are offered from Him and are called to share is the eternal gift of grace, mercy and love from Him and this is our mission as children of God. What we can do is hold up this core value of the NALC and insure that not only is Jesus Christ at the center, but that we believe and demonstrate to all that “Jesus calls us to be Mission Driven”!  AMEN.