Justice Before Worship?

Exploring The Idea Of Justice As An Act Of Worship

Troy Spilman
Sep 25, 2022    39m
We usually think of worship as the music we hear at church, but this inspiring message teaches us about the concept of justice as an act of worship. We find that our rituals of worship are pointless unless we live in a way that justice flows from us to others that are lost or struggling. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Troy Spilman: [00:00:19] Today, we'll be looking at a powerful passage from a lesser-known minor prophet called Amos. Now Amos comes on the scene in ancient Israel, sharing the message that God has for them. Now, if there is a book that would basically be a title for his writings, it would be this, the country preacher who came to town. That was really it, here's a guy that was used to country life and he comes to the big city, he was a farmer, not a career prophet. He tended sheep and sycamore trees out in the desert regions. Collectively, farmers are critical for life, we know this, but individually, especially at this time, they were totally forgettable in pretty much every social sphere. The reality is, if there are no farmers, there will be no food. There are no Vons, TJS, there's even no Whole Foods. I know. You would have really relied directly upon the farmers for meat, milk, eggs, and produce, everything was farm to the table, before it was trendy.

Troy Spilman: [00:01:32] Amos was low on the social ladder, and farmers were rarely, rarely able to climb to the next level. He must have looked so out of place, kind of like The Beverly Hillbillies rolling into town. Now, if you don't know what that is, you're all younger than us, then you might have to check it out. It's on YouTube. He was from Judah in the South and was on the scene 750 years before the time of Jesus. He was called to prophesy to the Northern Kingdom. He was in Judah, and at this time Judah and Israel were actually two separate nations, but they were at peace at this time. As Amos is checking out the visitor's section in Israel's capital, I could just picture making a beeline right for the religious rulers of the day. He has something he was supposed to share.

Troy Spilman: [00:02:21] As a prophet, he was one of many that represented the voice of God, and he would often speak in the first person as if God was speaking directly to the recipients that he was speaking to. He wasn't a polished professional, he wasn't trained, or prepared for this lengthy ministry. He was a simple farm boy, being faithful to do what God I'd ask him to do. Many think that he was on the scene really for a short time, some think maybe just a few days or even a week. His role was to call out the waywardness and the rampant injustices of the organized leadership and religion of the day. Who later, these same leaders, who later plotted against him in order to silence him and run him out of town, that was their goal. He made it clear that God would defend the poor, that he would take care of the disadvantaged, even if the established leaders wouldn't.

Troy Spilman: [00:03:21] Now, an important little side note, if you're reading, which I hope a lot of you are, if you're reading through our Bible reading plan, we're actually going through Amos right now. Actually, tomorrow is the same passage. So, last night, Pastor Dan drew out ways the Lord commanded the Israelites to live out this idea of justice. One of the key aspects, remember, was that the Lord has shown grace and mercy to them, and they were called to pass it on. That was the whole idea is that we've been shown his grace and mercy, we need to extend it to others and that's what they were called to do.

Troy Spilman: [00:03:59] The same could be said of us, the work here is deeply about justice, which can be defined as the equal and righteous treatment of every person, regardless of race, class, age, gender, employment, maybe even what baseball team you root for unless it's the Giants, or for any other factor. True justice is a matter of honoring God, and honoring the image of God inherent in every person. And this is all grounded in God's love for humanity, our love for God, and our love for our neighbor. Each person we come across, if you think about this, they are image bearers of God, everyone. The Lord sent his Son to die for the sins of the world, not just those that have their act together, not just those that are issue free. we have a responsibility to honor them, to love them, as he would want us to.

Troy Spilman: [00:05:00] Now everybody, this includes the Amazon delivery person who might come to your house, the widow in Thailand that has nowhere to turn for help, the waitress of the local diner, the elderly homeless man at the park, the noisy neighbor across the street. the person who styles or cuts your hair, the person who recently got out of prison who doesn't know how to transition back into society, and the teenage orphan in Rosarito, that always feels out of place wherever he or she is. This is about being conscious of the fact that these people are dearly loved by God, and he desires to use us. He desires to use us as a church, that's you and me, to be an extension, to be a tangible extension of his grace and love.

Troy Spilman: [00:05:50] So we're going to be looking at this passage, chapter 5, verses 21 to 24. These four verses we're going to go through today, they have basically two parts. The first three verses are the rebuke, so this is really the absence, calling out the absence of genuine worship. And the second part is the charge, which is just one verse, verse 24, the charge, this is the call for true justice. So we're going to read through this passage just to get a feel for what Amos was trying to communicate. Starting in verse 21, he says, “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. 22Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. 23Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. 24But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!" Now Amos here, he doesn't pull any punches, he gets right to it. I mean, his opening line is I hate, I despise your religious festivals. And then the punches just keep on coming through this whole passage.

Troy Spilman: [00:07:14] So the main point I want us to walk away with is that our rituals of worship are really pointless unless we're living out this idea of justice to others. And that's what Amos is trying to communicate to the religious leaders of the day. Our religious practices have zero benefits, if we don't have concern for those around us, there's hypocrisy to it. The whole point of spiritual practice is it draws us closer to him, and for him to change us from the inside out, and then we would have an impact on the world around us. That's the whole point, may we be a people that begin to care about what he cares about.

Troy Spilman: [00:07:52] The words of Amos have a familiar feel to them, they resemble the words of Jesus in this regard. In Matthew chapter 5 verses 23 and 24, Jesus says this, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift." So in order to truly worship the Lord, it's necessary to be in good standing with those around us, those around us that are made in his image. We're to stop, basically, Jesus is going to say stop whatever religious practices you're doing, stop that, go make it right, then come back and continue on. Our horizontal relationships with others impacts our vertical relationship with the Lord. That's just the way it works. So if it's icy on the horizontal level, we're going to often feel a distance on the vertical level in our relationship with the Lord, there'll be a disconnect.

Troy Spilman: [00:08:57] I know this is probably never happens to couples in our church, but just picture maybe a husband and wife having an intense argument maybe on Saturday evening or maybe even on the way to church. Funny how that works, right? So then the whole time your church is just kind of like grr, you're just like, kind of, a little frustrated and maybe seething, and you have a hard time connecting with the Lord because there's something going on, on a horizontal level. You can see that being a ploy of the enemy. right. trying to throw us off. No, stop, be reconciled, then come back and continue on in your pursuit of Jesus is basically what He's saying.

Troy Spilman: [00:09:35] In the midst of Israel's ritualistic performance of worship, Israel as a whole, they weren't following the standards, they were missing the mark. Amos calls out this phony worship and basically this false reverence toward God. So he addresses it right there and he says, it's not that they didn't know how to roll through the religious functions of the day, they did, they're actually we're pretty good at it. It's that they would leave worship, and then as soon as they would leave, they'd go out and continue, basically, just to look down upon others. There'll be this hypocrisy, there would be this radical lifestyle that contradicts what God would have them do. Sexual morality, deceiving and cheating their neighbors, neglect to help those in need, maybe even making those in need lives a little more difficult, not better.

Troy Spilman: [00:10:29] So Amos highlights some of these trespasses in his letter, he says they sold the innocent for silver. The basic idea here is for the right price, they'll falsely condemn and even default their neighbors. He says that they deny justice to the oppressed, and they won't lift a finger to help the mistreated, basically, that's what it's talking about. A man and his father will sleep with the same girl. Okay, enough said. You made the Nazarites drink wine, those that would take a vow of purity before God, so in order to be pure, they wouldn't even want to have wine touch their lips, and these people would actually try to get them to break their vows. It was almost kind of like, we dare you, we dare you, and try to offer them wine. There is a long list. So these people went through the motions of worship and reverence for God, they knew how to do that part, but yet they would leave the worship scene and engage right back into the unjust and wicked practices. So here you have the rebuke. The absence of genuine worship, so we're going to look at this, we are going to cover three verses.

Troy Spilman: [00:11:37] So verse 21 says, “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me." Now, this would have utterly amazed the religious rulers of the time, they thought they actually were doing pretty good, pleasing God by going through these religious assemblies that they had put together. However, God was offended by the religious ceremonies, which are totally disconnected from their hearts and meaningless in light of the injustices that they practice. He says I despise your festivals. the idea that he is saying, I can't stand these. Then he adds to it and he says, basically, God's stamp of disapproval upon these religious functions by branding them as your festivals, your assemblies. The carrying out of these festivals, originally, it was the Lord's idea, this was God's idea to do these things. But these events become so tainted, become so much just the people's doing, due to their hypocrisy.

Troy Spilman: [00:12:42] Now, hypocrisy basically just means an actor. I'm sure many of us heard this before, we play a role, but that's not who we really are. We kind of have this front life, but our real life behind the scenes is different. When the camera is off, the real person is revealed, or the real person comes out. The raw crude humor, maybe the greediness, or being super materialistic, putting others down, devoid of humility, lacking personal lines of devotion to God's word for my own. But when I'm at church, it looks like I'm pretty spiritual. There can be a tendency for each of us to fall into this trap, this trap of hypocrisy. It's easy to do it, we need to have real and honest accountability in our lives, where people kind of point out certain things, Hey, are you in God's word? Are you seeking them just for yourself? How are you doing in these areas? How are you doing loving your family? Hey, this is critical.

Troy Spilman: [00:13:41] Verse 22 says, Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them." The offerings were to represent the communion and fellowship between those that are offering and the God of heaven and earth that was receiving. So the idea is that there is a tangible connection between creation and the creator. It's like a shared meal with friends, it was kind of the idea here.

Troy Spilman: [00:14:14] I think about us today with our priorities, when we have worship services, we might come in a little late, trying to get around, and might be saving some seats. Or getting a little distracted. you know, as we get all situated because we have a couple of objectives here, we want to have optimal viewing angle, but also have a clear path to exit quickly when it's over. Right? But we have to have our coffee, and by the way, about a quarter of you will somehow manage to spill this coffee before it's over, it's kind of helpful that most churches have dark carpet and dark lighting, dim lighting. But is this really what the Lord intended? Is this really as far as our dedication goes? It comes down to priorities. If you're going to be at one of your best friend's wedding, you wouldn't just kind of casually show up, you'd be on time. In fact, you would probably come early and be ready to help out with the family. If you have tickets to your favorite sports team, you wouldn't be coming 15 minutes later, in fact, you might be out there kind of tailgating with your friends beforehand. And your kids are in the school production, oh, my word. you wouldn't be showing up late. Oh, no, you'd be there 30 minutes early, scoping out seats for aunts and uncles and grandparents because, come on, late is for losers and so you'd be there ready. But then, I feel like sometimes when it comes to our worship of God Almighty, the Creator of the universe, we can take it so casually.

Troy Spilman: [00:15:53] Verse 2, it says, "Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps." The worship, listen to this, the worship became annoying noise. Now, if anyone were to describe our church's time of worship and singing as noise, no one would see that as a compliment. Can you imagine? Like Andy, that was great, thanks for that noise. that was great, thank you. No, that wouldn't go over well at all, right? But that's what God heard it as. They were told to stop the worship. And one, if that were to happen to us today, what if somehow God has communicated to us, just stop the worship, you're missing the whole point. That would be shocking. The songs and melodies were both so displeasing to God because they were totally out of line with the original intent of worship and the sacrificial system, to begin with.

Troy Spilman: [00:16:51] This is about living a double life, they acted one way in a church service and acted in a totally different way elsewhere, defrauding and cheating others. This all reflected poorly upon, not just the religious leaders, but who? The Lord. No doubt there were some that wanted nothing to do with this whole worship time and sacrificial system because of these inconsistencies.

Troy Spilman: [00:17:15] So now we're going to get to the charge. The charge, the call for true justice in verse 24. It says, But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!" I just love this, one more time, "But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!" This justice was to run, it was run like a waterfall, and righteousness was to be like a mighty stream that rolls over the rocks and takes anything in its path along with it. God is looking for a heart of those that are filled with his love, love toward him, love toward what is good, and love toward the people that cross our path.

Troy Spilman: [00:18:09] For justice to be likened to water shows how critical and how vital it is to God. And the ancient world, water equaled life. Without it, no community would last long. So basically what God is saying, in reality, is that a society wouldn't last very long without justice and righteousness. However, the offerings, the offerings that were going up for Lord, they were not accompanied by acts of justice and righteousness. It's like the offerings just, they weren't complete. Their worship and daily living were radically separated from one another. The Lord wanted their hearts, not their outward only religious activities.

Troy Spilman: [00:18:50] So there's actually a ministry called Living Water International, bringing life giving water to communities around the world that lack access to a safe water source. So this is a justice issue in itself, our go teams have partnered with Living Water many times, mostly in Central America. This brings health and vitality back to these areas, radically reduces illnesses, and increases productivity. Why is this a justice issue? Because we believe this is a resource, water, that everyone should have access to, not just those of us from wealthier nations. So this is something that we might take for granted, but there's lots and lots of people that don't just even have access to clean water that we just take for granted as we turn on the spigot. For those of us living in a wealthier nation, you know, we just kind of don't really even see this as being an issue until we go to one of these places, or we see video, or pictures. Over 800,000 people die each year due to waterborne illnesses. One in five children who lack access to clean water, end up walking long, often dangerous, distances to retrieve water, they estimate over 400 million lost school days each year because of this. Billions of dollars are lost each year to already unstable economies due to a lack of clean water. So in light of this, the Lord is saying for justice to roll like a river, takes on a new meaning, right? There are essential qualities that are needed for every society.

Troy Spilman: [00:20:27] Now here's another example of justice rolling on like a river. One of our local outreach partners, Crossroads, Incorporated, they provide housing through their program to help women that are serving time in prison, and they help them get back on their feet, back into society. One woman named Cindy, she graduated from the year-long program that gave her the opportunity to have a fresh start. During the year, she learned skills, she restarted her education, and received practical employment training. After leaving Crossroads, she was trained by a nonprofit organization and was able to eventually find a culinary job, then eventually, she moved to New York as a sous chef. Back in 2017, when she first came to Crossroads, anxiety seemed to plague her at every turn until she asked for help. Now she has confidence, she's productive, and she started a new life. In her own words, she says this, "I made a mistake. I am not a mistake. It was very hard to step into the world after being incarcerated for 20 years, but Crossroads made it possible. I found myself crying at night because of all the blessings I received each day. It was awesome to sleep in a real bed, wear real clothes, and be free. They gave me the tools I needed to get back into the swing of life." Friends, because of what Jesus has done for us, we all have been given a fresh start. We've all been given new opportunities to chart a new path and experience new life. Well, we want others to be able to have this also, people like Cindy. But the story doesn't stop there, it actually gets better. The next year Cee Cee, a woman from our church was looking for a way to serve locally, so we sent her to Crossroads. She started organizing game nights and dessert nights for these women who have recently come out of prison, this was an unusual new thing for them. Then she started collecting nicer dresses for the women to go to church and be able to wear at nicer events. The woman started to turn to her when they needed encouragement, and prayer, she truly was a light in the darkness because she said yes, and she was willing to engage.

Troy Spilman: [00:22:44] So it's this idea of justice, "But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!" This was the go-to verse of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, it actually became like a mantra of theirs. This was Martin Luther King's most used verse, and he just really desired to see justice roll like a river here in America. As he spoke on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he also believed that just as this passage was a warning from Amos to the nation of Israel, he believed it was a warning to America of judgment if it wasn't a change in racial discrimination. This was powerful imagery, and it still is to this day.

Troy Spilman: [00:23:34] With justice like a river, we see that true righteousness, it's not fitful like an intermittent stream flowing strongly at one time, then kind of stopping or disappearing, but it's continuous, it's unfailing. The good news is that there's hope, there's hope here in this passage for Israel at the time, that was possible to get back to this place of true communion with God, and it's possible to set aside the duplicity of their lives. And you know what, there's hope for us as well, he wants our hearts to be connected to his, and to overflow with justice, that's what he's after here.

Troy Spilman: [00:24:13] One commentary I read about a pastor that was trying to strike this balance, he put it like this, "I strive to lead our church to care deeply about not only the lost but the least. In the mind of the teaching of Jesus, the twin imperatives of the mission of the Church were to share the Gospel of those far from God and to care for those in need." I like that. I like that idea of going after the least and the lost, but it takes purpose, it takes purpose and balance to pull this off. Those that are the least have the biggest needs, those who are marginalized. And then those that are spiritually lost, that need hope in Jesus, they don't have the hope of eternity and they're lost in their sins. And so we have answers, we have the hope that we can deliver both of these areas. I'd love for us, as a church, to be able to grow in these two areas. I would love to be able to personally grow in these two areas of reaching those that are spiritually lost and caring for the least.

Troy Spilman: [00:25:15] I'm convinced that meeting physical needs opens spiritual doors, it creates spiritual opportunities that opens the door for us to be able to talk about the hope in life that's only found in Jesus. You notice how when Cee Cee was helping meet the physical needs of these women, it opened spiritual doors, she was able to share her story with them and how Jesus has impacted her life. So what would it look like for justice to flow out of us, out of you and me? Now it's good to remember that, again, our rituals of worship are pointless unless we're living out this idea of justice on a regular basis. We love the same things that the Lord loves.

Troy Spilman: [00:25:58] There was a song from Brandon Heath years ago, but I think it really kind of hits the point, it's called Give Me Your Eyes. "Give me Your eyes for just one second; Give me Your eyes so I can see Everything that I keep missing; Give me Your love for humanity; Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted; The ones that are far beyond my reach; Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten; Give me Your eyes so I can see." May this be our prayer, friends, that we would take this heart, that we may have eyes to be able to see people around us, and the needs, and the love that he has for them.

Troy Spilman: [00:26:38] It's a call back to what really matters, a calibration, maybe even of our spiritual practices. There are well over 100 Bible passages as speak to this need to be able to reach out to the widows and orphans and the foreigner and the oppressed, this is the heart of God and his desire. We're just going to look at a couple of James chapter 1, verse 27, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." We might think that we are really spiritual, but it's a sham he says if we don't care for those that are left out. Isaiah 1:17 says this, "Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. He cares about the oppressed, he's concerned about the fatherless and the widow.

Troy Spilman: [00:27:39] Years ago, back in 2018, we took a team here, one of our go teams, global outreach teams, and went to Thailand. And as we were going to Thailand, we make our way to kind of the northern part, kind of the golden triangle between three countries. And so as we were there, we're in a very remote place, a very remote village. It was a poor village, it's got a sense that there's just this real lacking, lacking physically, but also lacking spiritually. But then that changed, there were missionaries that had gone there years before, and there were these seeds that they were planted, and you could see that it was vibrant as far as spiritual health, but there are still a lot of things as far as just their physical well-being. So the community center there was just a small shack, there was a table, and a couple of benches, most people just kind of sat on the floor, a lot of missing tiles from, you know, the tile that was there. Yet, there was this genuine thankfulness for what they did have, maybe even an excitement. And what we did is we actually sent money in advance so that they could prepare food. And the idea was that we would send money to get to the widows, and the widows could prepare food and food for others, and so we also send money so they could get fabric as well. But I didn't know how this is all going to kind of play out. So what we realized when we got there, was they were so thankful for us that we've been sending this, but not just once, we continually were able to send money to be able to supply this way. as we got there, what we realized is that the widows were providing for the orphans in the village, so they would make food and they had food for themselves, but then they would make it for the orphans and would care for them. And then the clothing, or even the fabric that we sent them, they would actually make it into clothing, and they would make it for themselves, so they would have dresses, but then also for the orphans. So it was this beautiful thing that was going on, the widows were provided for and were given purpose to care for the orphaned children there. The children were provided for and were given a family that would teach them the ways of Jesus. It was this great idea and a wonderful example of justice played out, by caring for the least and those who are marginalized. But also not just a handout, this was giving them hope, this was giving them a way to move forward. True justice is a matter of honoring God and honoring the image of God inherent in every human person. And it's grounded in God's love for humanity, our love for God, and our love for our neighbor.

Troy Spilman: [00:30:23] So what's our application today? Okay, friends, I'm just going to ask that you would care. I'm going to ask that you would care, care about the hurting, care about the left out, the neglected, the disabled, the widow, the orphan, the foreigner, and the lost. I'm going to ask that you would care. So actually, the word care, kind of broken out here, I'm going to ask that you would take it to the next level and that you would be concerned, that you would ask, that you respond, and that you would engage. So we'll go through each one of these.

Troy Spilman: [00:30:54] Have concern, I'm going to ask that you would be concerned. To be concerned is to take an interest in something, I want to know more. Which again, we tend to care about a lot of stuff? What's on Hulu, or Disney Plus, or Amazon? Where do we find the best deals online? Let's line up with what the creator of the universe cares about, he cares about the least and the lost. So when we're concerned about something, we tend to get involved. Maybe your coworker is going through your divorce, and you want to take him or her out to lunch, hear their story, and let them know that you're there for them, that you care. Maybe you notice that more and more people are having a hard time during this economy and during this downturn, so you volunteer at one of our local outreach partners to be able to help people just like Cee Cee did with Crossroads. Maybe you are inspired to go on one of our go teams even hearing the story today, maybe he decided to go with go team Baja where we build a house for a family that has been pre-vetted, and it really gives them a new lease on life because they have been living basically like in a shed of their neighbors or relatives. It begins with having a concern, and that's where it starts, having concern for the world around us.

Troy Spilman: [00:32:22] The second thing, I'm going to basically ask that you would just do that, you would ask. We tend to pray about things that we're concerned about. If I'm concerned about something, I tend to pray about it, I turn it over to the Lord. Create a prayer list, on your phone, of family and friends, maybe, particularly those that need Jesus. You pray for organizations that you pray for, like Crossroads, or this ministry in Thailand. Prayer impacts others, and as we are engaged in God's kingdom, we get involved, we're invested, so it changes us. Heaven is activated by our prayers. Spiritual forces are set in motion as we turn to him and trust in him. So I'm going to ask that you pray through even the prayer list. You might notice there are cards on your seats right next to you, there's something you could be praying for, in this regard to justice, that is locally and globally connected to LBF, for every day in the month of October. And so I would ask that you would keep that with you, maybe take a picture of it, maybe make copies of it so you have a couple of different places while you're driving or going for a walk, that you would spend time praying over each one of these.

Troy Spilman: [00:33:37] Okay, so we ask, but then next we respond, this involves giving. The Bible says where our treasure is, our hearts will be also. So we spend money on what we think is important to us. Well, we can say that certain things are important to us, however, how you spend your money in your time will really tell the real story. You can actually give, you could give through our church which supports local and global outreaches, or you can give directly to one of these local outreach partners. You could give to our own Upland Community Resource Center. The UCCRC was a joint venture with Catholic Charities, it's located at 100 North Euclid, which is right across from IHOP, right on Euclid downtown, it is in such a framed location. We just celebrated two years of being open, and we've been able to help, with many volunteers being involved, 1500 individuals and families. Now we primarily help people with housing needs, employment opportunities, dealing with food insecurity. But we helped with other things too, like memorials during kind of the height of COVID, and a lot of other ways as well.

Troy Spilman: [00:34:47] In one instance, a single elderly man was living out of his car, he had lost his housing because of increased rental rates and having no increase in his fixed income. When his only mode of transportation and current housing source broke down, he used the last of his resources to fix his vehicle, which left him no way to pay his rent and no place to stay, not even in his car, at least for a while, because it was being repaired. So we were able to provide him with 28 days of temporary housing in a motel and then connected him with low-income, permanent housing. And that's just one of countless stories that we have that God has done through this work that you help support by giving to LBF.

Troy Spilman: [00:35:34] Okay, the last thing is, I'm going to ask that you would engage. This is where we roll up our sleeves and we get involved, we get personally involved and we give what I believe is one of our most precious resources, we give our time. This is where we no longer keep the issue at arm's distance, this is where we're really willing to roll up our sleeves, we have skin in the game, and we're willing to be involved, to take the next step. You can serve locally, there's local outreach. We're going to actually have a local outreach next Sunday here, just on campus, we'll have our 12 different partners, plus the UCCRC will be here. And so you'll be able to interact and find out more, and you can ask questions of what might look like to volunteer or get involved. But then also we have our Upland Community Resource Center that you can get involved in as well, that would be here represented. And then we're going to have actual local outreach tours, a few of these places that you can go visit the next month on November 6th. So those are going to be coming up, be looking for that.

Troy Spilman: [00:36:40] So here are the ways that you can serve, you'll have the 12 local outreach partners, you can serve globally because we'll have a new menu rolling out in January in the new year of different locations will be going to and you can pray about being part of one of these go teams. But all in all, friends, is about lining up with God's priorities, kingdom priorities. As him being our Heavenly Father, may each of us allow Him to direct our priorities? So with that card that you have right there, there's also a QR code on the back that would take you to a link that will go through and tell you about the different local outreaches, and also another link for UCCRC, you have all right there.

Troy Spilman: [00:37:25] In a moment, we're going to have the prayer team up here, they'll be down here in front of the stage and off to the sides. And if you feel like God is moving in your heart to kind of take the next step, I would ask that you lock that in through prayer. You can pray with others for sure, we also have our team up here that would love to be able to pray with you. So, friends, I'm going to ask that you would care, that you would care and take the next step.

Troy Spilman: [00:37:51] Let me pray. Lord, line us up. Lord, please line us up with your heart, may we be concerned about those that you're concerned about. Lord, may we be concerned about the loss, and the least, as we think of those that are lost and least around the world. Lord, we want to have a heart for them, but also right here, right here in our own backyard, Lord, show us how to make ourselves available. Lord, empower us to live out this idea of justice. Lord, it could be overwhelming, so, Lord, show us how to take that first step, what would that look like? Show us where we can go from here. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Troy Spilman: [00:38:29] Before we leave, I just want to actually just read this passage over us. Jesus says “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." So let's go and be the church to the world around us, friends. God bless you and have a great rest of your day.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848