1 Corinthians 12:12-31 — Let Me Tell You A Story About A Girl, Who Cried A River And Drowned the Whole World…But That’s Not The End of the Story

Posted: July 15, 2015 in 1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 12:12-31 — There was a song not too long ago entitled Absolutely, where the opening lyrics said, “Let me tell you a story about a girl who cried a river and drowned the whole world.” Loved that song. Though the whole song may not have been about what my blog is about today, but the opening lyrics points us to what I want to talk about.

We have a story about a girl. She cries so much and so often that she thinks she could drown the whole world. She is searching for meaning in her life. She has two small kids. She’s a single mom struggling to make ends meet. She is so defeated by living alone. The kids are driving her crazy and she never gets time alone. She has had it up to here with the way her life has turned out. She remembers from her own childhood a happier time. She starts searching the internet for a church because she remembers being happy in church as a child. She stumbles upon the website of LifeSong Church in nearby Lyman, SC. The website looks really professional even by today’s high standards of internet content. She thinks man the guy that puts this site together must know what he’s doing. She sees that this seems to be a church that cares about the community. She thinks hey what have I got to lose. My life is pretty empty. Maybe I will go check it out this Sunday.

Sunday arrives. She gets into the mighty struggle that it is to get her two little girls ready in the morning. It is like herding cats. It is like squeezing a balloon on one end and watching it expand on the other end. It is like stopping a flood in one part of a dam only to see another leak spring forth. She almost gives up. It is not a workday for her. It would be easier to stay home. But something pushes her to get them ready. She piles the kids and the usual “mother load” of stuff you have to take with you when you have small children. She makes the 15 minute ride over to Lyman and to LifeSong.

When she turns into the parking lot, she sees guys in the parking lot with smiles on their faces who are directing her to the nearest open parking space. That was nice not to have to hunt for a parking space. She gets out the car and one of the parking attendants helps her get the kids out the car and tells her that it is nice to see her and that he hopes she will enjoy the service. Knowing that she is new to the church, the attendant directs her to guest services for help. As she approaches the door, there are at least 4 or 5 folks that greet her and say hello. One of them guides her over to guest services. At guest services, another person leads her over to the child registration kiosk in the nursery for her youngest girl. She thinks wow these people are really nice. They are actually taking security precautions with name stickers and codes and stuff. One of the ladies from the nursery starts making over her baby and engages her in conversation about the child. She feels more comfortable now about leaving her baby. The person from guest services stays with her as they move over to Kidzlife where her 5 year old little doll will attend church. Again the security protocol impresses her. She also sees a man with and earplug in his ear and a radio. He must be security. She feels more secure by that. She thinks of how crazy her ex-husband can be at times. She doesn’t have to worry about him snatching the kids here. Calm comes over her. The guest services person guides her back over to the worship center.

There, she sees that she can get a cup of coffee and a danish. She didn’t have time for breakfast this morning because of the whole cat herding thing with the kids. The coffee is so good and the pastry was wonderful. The people behind the counter at the Connection Cafe were just so nice, so willing to help her. The guest services person returns to her post but there are other regular attendees at the church that see that she is knew and engages her in conversation. She feels so welcome. She meets another single mom and they just hit it off immediately. Wow, that was cool. The other single mom asks her to sit with her during the service. Wow, she thinks. These people at this church are just so nice. And they don’t seem to care that I am a poor single mom who make mistakes marrying the deadbeat dad of all dads.

The ushers help her and her new acquaintance find an open seat. She thinks man that was a nice touch cause it’s kind of dark in here and there are a lot of people. She sits down with her new acquaintance and the service begins. The music is modern and she likes it. Not the old lady on a piano like at the church her family attended on special occasions when she was growing up. Those brief visits growing up were the only things she knew about church firsthand. Here there was modern music. The band is so super-talented. They sound just a real band from the radio or iTunes. She is impressed with the lights and the sound. She is impressed with the videos and the lyrics during the songs. She hears too that the service is going out over the internet. She sees the cameramen making that happen. She thinks cool! If I can’t make here, I can at least watch online.

Then there’s the message from the pastor. He is a big guy, but he seems so friendly. His message seems to hit her right where she lives. She feels like his message is straight up for her. His message is powerful. His message is about a loving but just God who sent His Son to die for our sins. His message was about how messed up we all are and how we need Jesus to reconcile us to a perfect God. His sermon is about real stuff. Stuff that she deals with in life and it makes the Bible apply to it all. Her heart pounds inside her. She needs Jesus. She wants Jesus. When the invitation to profess that you want to make Jesus your Savior, she raises her hand. She fills out one of the guest cards and says that she accepted Christ today. She gets the phone number of the girl she sat with. That girl says she will call later in the week. She gathers the kids up. She has to match up the stickers to get her kids. That makes her feel good about the security at the church again. She goes out to the parking lot. So many people say hello to her and wish her great day. Even the parking attendant that helped her this morning sees her again and helps her get the kids in the car. She drives away feeling awesome. The world seems a different place than when she arrived.

On Monday, one of the elders calls her and congratulates her on her decision to accept Christ as her Savior. They talk about next steps, the main one of which is to get her into a life group. The elder prays for her and tells her about all the things that the church has going on right now and how it is the heart of the church to reach the community and the world with the gospel. Same day, the girl that she sat with calls her and invites her to her life group that meets on Wednesday nights.

She goes to life group and she meets people that welcome her with open arms and they even have a baby sitter there that will take care of her sweet girls. She gets a great meal. And then they sit down and the leader of the group starts talking about Sunday’s sermon in detail and about what it means for us as Christians. The discussion is amazing. It makes her feel rich inside. Everyone shared their struggles in relation to the sermon’s main ideas and how it is tough dealing with a world that tries to drag you away from God. This makes church seem real and necessary to her. Then they all pray for each other. She is so moved. This is what makes church church she thinks.

She comes away with new friends and she is contacted by the ladies in the group almost daily now. Her life is so full now! She has real friends that care about her. Not just friends to go out and party with and get drunk with and search for men with but ladies who really care about her. She loves them so much! Then, her life participates in something that just blows her away – The Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway. She is moved to tears by the teamwork of the church to meet what appears to be an overwhelming need in the community. This show of love to the community spurns her to get involved in the outreach ministries of the church. She knows what it is like to be lost and alone. She volunteers with LifeSong Cares to match needs in the church first with those in the church who can meet that need. This ministry also helps those in the community when it can as well. This ministry helps match people with resources in the community when the church can’t help directly. Through this finds out about the men’s Ironmen ministry and the women’s Elevate ministry because she has matched a need to someone who can meet the need through these community groups. She thinks wow, this is real church. This is making a real difference in the world. Her heart swells at the thought that just six months ago she became aware of LifeSong through their website. Now, she is involved and making a difference in the world through the name of Jesus.

Through her participation in LifeSong Cares, she meets a woman with two little girls. Her story is of a girl who cried a river and drowned the whole world. She is lost and needs help and our new LifeSong girl tells her story of salvation and how being a part of this church, this body of believers has literally changed her life. It is a story of a girl who cried a river but came to know Jesus and it changed her whole world. And the cycle continues…

What does this have to do with today’s Scripture passage. Everything. Even parking attendants play a role in reaching someone for Christ. Greeters play a role. Guest services plays a role. Nursery workers play a role. Kidzlife workers play a role. Security plays a role. Cafe workers play a role. Worship and praise band members play a role. Tech team members play a role. The pastors play a role. Life group leaders play a role. Life group members play a role. Community Transformation ministries play a role. Everyone who has a giftedness from God has a hand in leading others to Jesus Christ when we use our gifts. All gifts are important. There are no unimportant spiritual gifts. Get in the game. You could have a hand in changing the story of a girl who cried a river and drowned the whole world…

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