Bottles from the Springs: Sunday July 21st Ephesians 4:11-13 New Life Version (NLV) 11 Christ gave gifts to men. He gave to some the gift to be missionaries, some to be preachers, others to be preachers who go from town to town. He gave others the gift to be church leaders and teachers. 12 These gifts help His people work well for Him. And then the church which is the body of Christ will be made strong. 13 All of us are to be as one in the faith and in knowing the Son of God. We are to be full-grown Christians standing as high and complete as Christ is Himself. This Sunday I was reminded of the words from Ephesians of how God invests people into the gatherings of the followers of Jesus, who are coming to faith and being disciple/learners of the Good Shepherd, then can help other folks get stronger in their faith or come to faith in the first place! We heard and witnessed the story of Parker Thurman who Ryan McBride said would be joining our teaching team at 12 Springs. Parker said that he came from a successful family in Virginia which did not believe or follow Jesus after the way that Parker does now, but which gave him a positive start in life. He had a reputation as a young man of being “Party Parker”. And he did not loose it even when he went to VMI, a military school. After his graduation, he married a girlfriend, Caroline who had some background in faith and who invited him to come to church with her. He especially was directed towards spirituality after holding his newborn daughter for the first time. Shortly after that he went on a missions trip to Nicaragua and began to believe after spending time with Jesus followers there and especially one young man who became a friend through playing on a soccer team together. This was one step towards Jesus which Parker took. Then he read a book by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision, which made him look at “The Hole in the Gospel”. After reading that book, his faith deepened and he knew he needed to take action in his life. Parker then shared two scripture passages: “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45. 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:31 FF These two scripture passages had a profound effect on Parker and made him see a whole new order in the way he should live his life! He gave away the life of being a banker and picked up the life of serving Jesus' servants and teaching and living out the Gospel. Because our community has had time to observe and witness this life of Jesus alive within Parker we took time this Sunday to, as Ryan read from Scripture, set Parker apart for the ministry to which God is sending him to do in the community of the followers of Jesus. Like the ancient church, Parker was prayed over, blessed and anointed with oil! Parker Thurman-this community of Jesus Followers recognize you as a gift of the Spirit to the Body of Christ! Parker will also be teaching in the meetings we will begin to have on Sunday evenings as well as our Sunday Morning gatherings. First on tonight, July 21st.,then September 13th, and then every Sunday after October 13th! More ways to grow in faith and Grow the Kingdom!