Waynedale United Methodist Church
Friday, May 26, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Sept 20, 2015 Sermon

“Hands that Serve”
Acts 3:1 – 10
Ted Jansen September 20, 2015  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        How did you use your hands this past week?  Did you have a chance to pray a prayer of blessing for someone?  Perhaps you had a chance to pray for healing, to pray for the Holy Spirit to give power to someone or for a ministry. Those are the four ways that we see people using their hands when they laid hands on people in scripture.    
Today we are looking at hands that serve. 
 
2.)        A lame man had expected two ways that people would use their hands that day.  The people had used their hands that way for years and years. 
The lame man was helped into his place near the temple to beg by the hands of others.  That was one way that hands had helped him each day.  They had to hold him and move him into place.
The other expected way he was planning and hoping for was for people to use their hands to give him money.  What he expected was for people to reach down into their money containers and give him some gold, some silver, some coins that could take care of him for the day.  This lame man had been used to looking at people’s hands to see what they would do with them.  He saw them day after day, and because he was lower than their faces, as they walked by, he was used to seeing hands.  It was because of the hands of people that he was able to be alive after 40 years.    
            What happened one day with some hands was not what he expected at all. 
           
3.)        Peter and John were headed to the temple for worship.  On this day they do something very unexpected and unusual with their hands.  They could have used their hands and given this man a few coins and they would have been on their way to go to the Temple.  This man would have continued begging and they might not have even seen one another.  God compelled them to use their hands in a different way.
            Let’s see what happened and how God might use our hands in a different manner today. 
 
4.)        The scripture tells us that Peter and John as they see this man say to the man, “look at us.”  This man was not looking at Peter and John, but perhaps looking at their hands might do. 
As I hear these words they are wanting this man to look at them, face to face, eye to eye.  I also think that it was first Peter and John that took a look at this man.  That is why they told this man to look at them.   They could see that he was not looking at them. 
These words show us that Peter and John looked at him, his situation, his need, they focused their time and attention on him first.  I would say that God directed them with new eyes and new faith and because of what had happened to Jesus Christ.    
            I believe they gave their heart to this man first.  As they looked at this man their heart went out to him.  This is what happened first.  They gave their heart, their compassion, their mercy, their love, a part of their soul to care for this man.   
 
5.)        This experience with the lame man offers a model that shows us that before we offer our hands to serve we need to offer our heart to the people around us. 
A question I have for myself and for you is this.  Do you really “see” the lives of people around you?   Have you given them your heart? 
I have to be honest with you that at times I get overwhelmed with the needs of people.  I am not sure what I can do for all the people who need food, shelter, money, help with groceries, etc.  When I look at all the needs of children, youth, adults in the community, in the state, in the country and in the world I get overwhelmed.  When I think about the refugees coming out of Syria what can I do?   
            Peter and John looked at the man in front of them on this day.  What are the needs, who are the people that are right in front of you on this day?  Give that person your heart.  See them as they are, with all of their challenges and needs.  Don’t be distracted by all the different needs, people and situations. 
Where does your heart lead you to look and see?  Do you see children, youth, marriages, moms, dads, single parents, those who suffer from addictions, etc? 
            Peter and John gave the lame man their heart.  This was not what was expected by the man.    
 
6.)        Then Peter spoke again and I see him giving hope to this man in a different message.  Peter told him he had no coins but was going to give him what he did have.  Peter had confidence in the name and life of Jesus.  He spoke these words to the lame man.  “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk.” 
            Wow.  That was not what the lame man thought he was going to hear after Peter told him he had no money.  What we hear in Peter’s voice is a conviction from the truth that Jesus Christ was alive today.  Jesus, who was crucified was bringing life.  Peter and John had seen miracles happen when the name of Jesus was spoken in people’s lives. 
 
7.)        We need a confidence in our faith in the life of Jesus Christ.  We are needed to be able to speak a word of hope because of Jesus Christ.  In every situation with the people around us we need to offer hope because of the life of Jesus. I suggest we look to a creed, a hymn or a scripture.     
            The Apostles Creed as a basis of our faith that has been around for over 1,600 years.  Let’s share that creed together.  It is in your hymnal. 
            Another way to speak hope is to share words to a great song or hymn.  Perhaps the words to “Blessed Assurance, Amazing Grace,” or other newer songs. 
A great way to speak hope is to have scripture that focuses our lives.  Here are some verses that are good.  “For God so loved the world…”(John 3:16).  “The Lord is my Shepherd…” (Psalm 23).  “I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you hope and a future…” (Jeremiah 29:11)  
 
8.)        Peter gave this lame man his heart by looking at him and having compassion for him.  Then Peter gave him words of hope through his voice and the confidence of his faith in Jesus Christ.  Then after his heart and hope he gave his hand. 
The scripture tells us that Peter reached out his hand and held the lame man’s right hand and lifted him up.  When the man stood up something amazing happened.  His ankles and feet became strong.  He could feel different things in his body.  This new strength was amazing and the man decided he needed to use these new muscles.  So this man jumped up and down.  He did not fall.  Wow, he had been healed.  Then he decided to run around and he ran down and back and all around.   Then he began praising God, and not with a quiet voice but with a voice of joy, thanks, celebration and praise.  He didn’t care that others could hear him.  He had a new life physically and a new life and attitude with his soul and heart.  Wow! 
 
9.)        We each have hands that can serve.  We can lift others up by our hands.  Our hands can be used by God to make a difference in ways that we don’t fully understand now. 
            As we think of this scripture let us not rush into getting a few coins and giving them to a need.  Let us do what we see Peter doing this day.  He first gave his heart, then he gave words of hope, then he gave his hands.  Peter lifted this man up from his situation and it helped him in an unexpected way the rest of his life.    
            What can our hands do today?  We can use our hands to call someone, we can text someone, we can shake a hand, we can paint something, we can cut grass, we can play guitar, we can bake some food, we can pray with our hands, we can do all sorts of things with our hands.  
 
10.)      A youth minister was attending a Special Olympics where handicapped children competed with tremendous dedication and enthusiasm.
One event was the 220-yard dash.  Contestants lined up at the starting line, and at the signal, started running as fast as they could. One boy by the name of Andrew quickly took the lead, and was soon about 50 yards ahead of everybody else.
As he approached the final turn he looked back and saw that his best friend had fallen & hurt himself on the track. Andrew stopped and looked at the finish line. Then he looked back at his friend.
People were hollering, "Run, Andrew, run" But he didn’t. He went back and got his friend, helped him up, brushed off the cinders. And hand in hand, they crossed the finish line dead last. But as they did, the people cheered, because there are some things more important than winning.  Andrew was not number one that day in the race but was number one to his friend!  (ACTS International devotional Feb 27, 2014)  
 
11.)      If I ask each of you to give $1 to help a person in need that would be easy.  All of us could give $1.  That wouldn’t take too much effort.   
If I ask you to give your heart and consider what is going on in that person’s life, that is a greater commitment.  You might not have time to really open your heart and consider someone because of the things that are going on with your family, your friends, your work situation, you health, your finances.  To give someone your heart is a greater commitment. 
If I ask you to pray to the Lord and write down all the truth that you are 100% sure you are convinced of in your faith and to share that with someone.  That is going to take a lot more of yourself, your faith, your conviction of your life.  This might deepen your commitment and take a lot of time to do.  You might be asked to come out of your comfort zone as you speak a word of faith to someone.  This is a great commitment to your faith, to the Lord and others. 
If I ask you to give your hand to serve another person in some fashion that might be in a private setting or in a public setting this might affect what other people think of you, you might be misunderstood, or even brought before officials to explain why you are serving others in the way that you are doing. 
 
12.)      How will you use your hands to serve?