ACLC-Portland, Oregon: Open Forum on Romans 12
From Left Reverend David Coryell of Portland Family Fellowship, Reverend Lee Fleming of Bride of Christ Ministries, Mr. Daniel Hicks of Family Federation Vancouver, WA, Reverend Duane L. Sich, Founder and Director Friends of the Carpenter- Homeless Ministry, Bishop Ronnie Hill of Revival Tabernacle, Vancouver WA, Toni Curry ACLC Prayer Breakfast Coordinator, Kimiko Cox, Japanese Missionary, Mr. Furlton Burns, Tigard Covenant Prison Ministries, Yoshiko and Yoshiro Nakao of Vancouver, WA (Not picture: Mr. Larry Collins – People of Purpose and Action and Mr.Yoshinori Asaoka, ACLC Photographer.)
The October meeting was an Open Forum focusing on Saint Paul’s words in Romans Chapter 12 which was a lively interaction. The Holy Spirit led the discussion. The verse is listed here for your reference.
Living Sacrifices to God -- 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will ofGod.
We talked about how knowing the truth helps us offer our hearts and minds to God. And what it means to be convicted to serve others. That separating from sin is what changes the profane to sacred. We examined what it means to live for the sake of others- not just lip service – or writing a check but giving of time. The point was made that the world conforms to Hollywood love – hot and cold- fickle and unstable. But families rooted in God centered, Christ anointed love are stable and that love is trustworthy.
Serve God with Spiritual Gifts -- 3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
We acknowledged that each body (ministry) (person) has a gift that is given to us by grace. And that gift is no less important than the next person’s. Reverend Duane Sich received the call to create a woodworking ministry to serve the homeless population in Vancouver, Washington. This is in tandem with the concept and actions of the role of a tribal messiah which embodies the essence of what Jesus teaches us.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
For the BODY of Christ to function in health -- we need to respect and support each other beyond theology. If a person is starving don’t talk to him about salvation first – take him to Micky D’s first and feed him – then he’ll be able to hear what you have to say.
Behave Like a Christian -- 9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Go LOWER…Get into the trenches and serve. Do not be afraid to get your hands dirty to help someone else. Furlton Burns shared his experience in Prison Ministry – that people would come to the prisons to help. As long as the inmates locked up –it was safe to minister to these people. But as soon as they were released – it was harder to find people willing to serve. We have to be willing to take risks.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord.
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”[b
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Bishop Hill shared how his church in Vancouver was robbed and vandalized, but because he and his congregation had faith and kept rebuilding and investing in the neighborhood, then they were blessed. It would have been easy to exact punishment and be resentful but Bishop Hill offered a bad situation to heaven with a grateful heart. We do not have to judge anyone – that is up to God. We just need to love each other beyond reason as our Heavenly father loves us.
Report submitted by Toni Curry with photographs by Mr. Yoshinori Asaoka