Compassionate Community

Compassionate Community – Time for Compassion

By Karen Polich

Who are you looking out for?

Pastor Michael Cook completed his sermon series, Compassionate Community, with five reminders. (Listen here.) Galatians 6:1-10

For most of us, we can’t easily take on much more. Margin? We just don’t have it in our busy lives. Compassion compels us to make room. When we lift the burdens of someone else’s life, we take that weight onto our shoulders. Are we willing to take on a little more and “carry each other’s burdens”?

Everybody should be looking out for somebody.

Five Compassion Reminders

  1. Centrality True compassion comes from a way of life. It is foundational to the Christian faith and can’t just happen on the fringe. Mark 10:45
  2. Priority Compassion can’t come from leftovers in life. We have to make it a priority as we meet the challenges of our day. We should set our standard of living after we set our standard of giving. 1 Timothy 6:18
  3. Family We give special people in our lives special priority. A compassionate community lets the world know how important it is to care for others, no matter who they are. Galatians 6:10
  4. Opportunity Our abilities intersect with the needs of others. We see it and step in to help. We should pray that God would make us specialists in identifying the burdens of others. Galatians 6:10
  5. Longevity We rarely reap the harvest in the season of sowing. We need to be in it for the long haul, adopting a lifestyle of compassion. Sometimes it can get hard, but consistency matters. What if the benefit comes more to us than the person we are helping? Galatians 6:9

Along the road of compassion will come heartache. Those we help may bring pain. It isn’t about us. It’s about extending ourselves for others. There will also be those who bring joy as we watch them heal. God calls us to a life of compassion.

It’s time for compassion! Who are you looking out for?

Compassionate Community – The Compassion Formula

By Karen Polich

Want to live out true biblical compassion?

Listen here to Pastor Michael Cook’s sermon series Compassionate Community. Sunday he shared the compassion formula for becoming a true compassionate community. John 13:33-35 

Experiencing + Extending = Exhibiting

The formula seems simple, but is more than a linear equation. “Experiencing” is the key. Without truly experiencing God’s love and mercy, it becomes difficult to extend or exhibit compassion.

God’s love for us is not contingent upon our obedience to Him.

Pastor Michael Cook described four components of “experiencing”.

  1. God accepts us. For many believers, God’s love is a concept, not something they experience. God loves us in this very moment. He loved us six months ago, ten years ago, at birth and even before we were a thought to anyone on this earth. Romans 5:8, Romans 8:1
  2. God serves our needs. He takes care of our needs. Big, small, messy, simple needs are all covered by God. He cares for our spiritual and physical needs. Hebrews 7:26, Philippians 4:19
  3. God comforts our hearts. In those dark moments of heartbreak, God comforts us. Psalm 119:76
  4. God commits His presence. He will not leave us. God is there in all things. Romans 8:35-39

Once we have experienced God’s love and forgiveness, extending that to others happens naturally. Compassion will flow from our lives and be exhibited clearly for all to see. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Living out this formula is magnetic. True biblical compassion creates a life of impact.

 

Compassionate Community – The Tabitha Touch

By Karen Polich

We often arrive at greatness in life through a long corridor of good, common and ordinary acts being done over and over again. – Michael M. Cook

Pastor Michael Cook continued his sermon series, Compassionate Community speaking to the legacy of Tabitha and her exceptional compassion. Listen here.

Who are you looking out for? Tabitha was looking out for the widows. Her focus was on the needs of those less fortunate. Read the scriptures here, Acts 9:36-42.

Tabitha                                                                You and me?
______________________________________________________________________________
Focus: Others                                                                                                Focus: Self

 

Where are we on the spectrum? What is our focus?

Pastor Cook described three potential models for compassion.

  1. Somebody looks out for everybody. A group of any real size makes this difficult. Someone is bound to be left out of the “everybody”.
  2. Everybody looks out for everybody. While this sounds practical, it too has challenges of leaving some behind.
  3. Everybody looks out for somebody. This is the Tabitha Touch.

We can learn a lot from Tabitha. She was unexceptional in the fact that what she did to help the widows was not unique or rare. Sewing garments was a common thing, yet she lived an extraordinary life. Tabitha was consistent and humble.

True humility comes from having strength and power and using it for others.

Are we looking for something great to do in order to show compassion? These opportunities are rare. Most of us won’t be running into a burning building to save someone. While we wait, a parade of opportunities passes us by each day. In the small and ordinary, there are needs and brokenness.

The ability to show compassion and get involved in someone’s life over and over again goes beyond an act of helping and becomes a lifestyle. We can choose to be great.

“The signature of mediocrity is not the unwillingness to change. The true signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.” – John Collins, Great By Choice

Tabitha teaches us what it means to find ways to use what we have to help others. If we look around us, we will see the needs. There is opportunity in the everyday to come alongside someone and pour compassion into their life. Our willingness to bring compassion speaks to the state of our hearts and the life we choose to live.

We will all leave a legacy. Will it be one of compassion?

Compassionate Community – Compassion “In Tandem”

By Karen Polich

When transformational teaching and humble servanthood collide, fusing together in tandem, the magnetic overflow is compassion.

Pastor Michael Cook continued his Compassionate Community sermon series, teaching from Acts with a look into the early church. Listen to the podcast here. We find believers about fifty days post Jesus’ death.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Acts 2:46

Why was it important that they heard God’s teachings daily? We have the gift of digging into our bibles, but they learned straight from the disciples who had lived with Jesus for the previous 3 years. New Testament text was yet to be written. The Jesus way was being taught daily by the disciples.

Along with daily teaching, they were living lives of humble servanthood. (Read “Why” Compassion) Transitional teaching and humble servanthood result in compassion. It is the fruit of a life focused on Jesus’ commands.

Solid biblical teaching and people helping people…

Things were going well and the church was growing. Then complaining and divisiveness started. (Why can’t we all just get along?)

Acts 6:1-7 tells us, In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Pastor Michael Cook broke it down into four parts that demonstrate transitional teaching and humble servanthood in tandem.

  1. The Crisis. Everything was going well and as it does, the whitewater moments hit.
  2. The Proposal. The Disciples knew they couldn’t do it all. They remained focused on teaching and chose seven men to oversee the needs related to the conflict. Neither teaching nor servanthood should be neglected. It takes many (THE BODY…)
  3. The Response. Everyone was pleased with the proposal. (FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT). The chosen men were full of the Spirit and full of wisdom.
  4. The Result. The Word continued to spread and the number of disciples grew. Compassion that stems from transitional teaching and humble servanthood moves lives in a mighty way.

Soaked in the Word over and over, God whispers into our hearts and lives are changed. More than a “church” experience, it becomes a way of living, a result of transformation teaching. Add to this a servant’s heart and compassion flows.

Who are you looking out for?

 

Compassionate Community- WHY Compassion?

By Karen Polich

Who are you looking out for?

We know compassion is typically inconvenient and inefficient. If we are looking for easy, compassion rarely travels  the easy road. When we stop for compassion, life takes on a different pace. Compassion throws off our routine from the normal and may ask a lot from us.

Compassion can also be a magnetic force. It can alter a bad moment or transform a life.

Pastor Michael Cook’s sermon series, Compassionate Community examines the idea of living a life of radical compassion. Listen to the podcast here. We learn what believers in the early days of the Church did to help those in need.

The “what” is impressive, but the bigger question is, “why”?

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. Acts 4:32-35

Why were they motivated to live a life full of compassion?

Their compassionate community stemmed from three things.

  1. Compassion envisioned by Jesus. The idea came directly from Jesus. He demonstrated compassion from His days on earth to His ascension into heaven.
  2. Compassion is fueled by grace. Until you receive God’s grace, you cannot give it away. Jesus looks out for you, ready to offer grace.
  3. Compassion is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8 We are equipped to help through the Holy Spirit.

You are His forgiven, empowered, beloved child.

Compassion is a life changer. Through Him, we can bring about a compassionate community, which sees the needs of those around us and stops to make a difference.

Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

 

 

Compassionate Community – Please Disturb

By Karen Polich

Compassion is empathy or concern for the suffering and misfortune of others. – Michael M. Cook.

Compassion can be a challenge. It isn’t always the easiest thing.

  1. Compassion may extend for a full season. There are times when it is one and done, but often it may go on. Those in need of compassion aren’t always a quick fix.
  2. Regaining life’s balance is an essential result of compassion. Deep hurts block the bigger view. Our compassions towards someone can begin the process of rebalancing their life after tough circumstances. (Ruth 2:10-12)
  3. True compassion honors initiative. We see this with Ruth and Boaz.

Are you wired for convenience? There’s so much to get done in our busy lives. We move through our routines with efficiency and speed. Really, there’s just so much to do!

True compassion will require most of us to re-wire. Demonstrating compassion will force us to travel at the pace of the person in need. It may not be convenient or easy.

Compassionate Community, Pastor Michael Cook’s new sermon series, takes us into the lives of Ruth and Naomi. (Ruth 1-2) The story pulls us straight into the concepts of life showing us vulnerability, tragedy and hope. Listen to the podcast here.

Ruth was looking out for Naomi and Boaz was looking out for Ruth. Their compassion was life changing. In each circumstance, compassion brought hope and empowerment that thrust them forward.

We have the opportunity to bring the kind of compassion that can transform another life. Who are you looking out for?

It may seem like a simple question, but it could require us to move into a place where things aren’t convenient and the pace is slower. We must be willing to allow God to open our eyes to the needs around us and ask Him to take of the “Do Not Disturb” sign from our hearts.

God is more than able to take our lives, completely redistributing and reprioritizing, giving us a heart that says “Please Disturb”.