Why are we called Tennessee Volunteers? I recently wondered this and looked it up, turns out The Volunteer State was coined during the war of 1812. It became even more prominent during the Mexican War when then Governor Brown requested 2,800 men to fight and some 30,000 volunteered to serve.
It made me think about last year, the ominous 2020, as we refer to it only half-jokingly. We started out with tornadoes in March, a derecho in May, and a Christmas morning explosion, not to mention the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. In the wake of these catastrophes, we’ve lost homes, churches, businesses, jobs, electricity, telephone and communication services, many lives and sadly for some, hope.
So many Tennesseans showed up to help after the tornadoes that local officials requested people sign up rather than just show up. And that was in the beginning days of what we now know became a devastating pandemic. People still came, helping each other and those in need. Doesn’t it make you feel all warm inside and proud knowing these are our people? Tennesseans. Many of you have served tirelessly and fearlessly in 2020!
A preacher once asked his congregation what deterred them from helping others. As you might expect, he got a lot of replies, but his favorite answer was ‘others’. It can be difficult at times to put yourself out there, to even recognize the need, because after all, we have multiple versions of our very own mini-crises to deal with at any given time. And let’s face it, people are, well, people. Messy, broken, messed up, misinformed, misguided, and not just a little bit angry. Enough to make many folks just shake their head and walk away.
We’ve all read dramatic stories of ‘just in time’ rescues – a wheelchair bound man stuck on a railroad track with a train coming—two men saw the situation and acted quickly saving the terrified man from the oncoming train. That actually happened in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.
Then there are less dramatic instances of people stepping in – helping a stranded motorist, contributing the remaining $3.88 left on a single mother’s total receipt, a kind word or an encouraging note. Truly, heaven only knows the trails of seemingly undramatic rescues our willingness to step up has carved into the landscape of other’s lives.
What compels us to step in, step up, flee or bury our heads? What prompts us to do so? What calls our attention to such need? Join us this week as we dive into Acts chapter 3 and discover what true spontaneous discipleship looks like in real life.
If you cannot be with us in person, feel free to download the Bible study materials for your personal use by following one of these links: PowerPoint Slides, PDF File. You can also find the video of this session on our YouTube channel soon after the meeting concludes.
And lastly, you could follow this link to download other studies in this series: INpowered Discipleship if you happened to miss one of our prior studies.
Yours in Christ,
The Gospels Class
Brentwood Baptist Church