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“Helpless No More”

At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. –Romans 5:6

          Did you hear about the plane that left Chicago bound for LA.  As it leveled out at 40,000 ft., a voice came over the loudspeaker:

          “This is a recording. You have the privilege of being the first to fly in a wholly electronic jet.  This plane took off electronically. It is now flying a 40,000 feet electronically.  It will land in LA electronically.
          This plane has no pilot, no co-pilot, no flight engineer.  But don’t worry.  Nothing can go wrong…go wrong…go wrong…go wrong…go wrong.”

          There is perhaps no human predicament more frightening or unsettling than that of
                   to be out of control,
                   unable to do anything,
                   to alter a particular circumstance,
                   to be at the mercy of events or another person.
          John Bunyan begins Pilgrim’s Progress by describing the despair of helplessness.
          Therefore it is particularly important to remember:
          It was hard to be a Christian under Roman Empire.
          It was hard to be a Christian during the time of Martin Luther.
          It was hard to be a Christian during the time of John Wesley.
          It was hard to be a Christian early in our history.
Well, we’ve moved beyond a lot of the problems of those times but it is still hard to be a Christian.
          I remember an Annual Conference (yearly regional gathering of our denomination’s leadership) when we heard a wonderful sermon during the ordination service.  It was on being servants of God, how that is our calling—to  express God’s love.
           The sermon was delivered with great zeal and in an inspiring way.  It      was true.  You could hear and see the consensus, the affirmation of those who heard it.  My good friend expressed it—“It needed to be said.”  There, however   is a catch.
          The Bible says we are helpless.  And there is nothing more frustrating or discouraging than to be told what we ought to do or how we ought to live and not to be able to do it.  It is hard to be a Christian—i.e. to live like one!
          But the good news is not first about what we are to do.  It is about what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.  We were helpless/powerless but by now trusting in Jesus we have a new life that makes it possible to live as followers of Jesus.  God’s love becomes the central driving force of our life.  We are helpless no more.

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