What a joy it is when we receive new members into our fellowship! It shows the everwidening reign of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ, as well as his kindness to us to encourage and enliven our fellowship here. Today we have a special reason to celebrate because these new members promise to open a new awareness in our church. They are individuals whose lives have been touched by disabilities personally and in their families, yet whose souls have been infused with grace: they are the members of our first Hide It In Your Heart (HIIYH) class who come to join the church body as full members.
The HIIYH class, part of our Children with Special Needs ministry, mirrors the Communicants Class many of our young people take when joining the church. Though the pace is a bit different, the enthusiasm and participation is not! Each one organizes memory verse pictures, discusses Bible lessons, and shares the changes that have happened in their lives while learning biblical truths. Just like their peers, the students in the NIIYH class met with elders who heard and discerned their trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
And here is where grace will ripple throughout our congregation. Consider Paul’s words: "For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith…" (Romans 12:3–6 ESV).
In her dynamic book Same Lake, Different Boat, Stephanie Hubach highlights four points about this passage:
The first thing that motivates us to identify with others is a proper perspective on ourselves. “Do not think more highly than you ought” (v. 3).
We will be motivated to identify with others when we realize that we rely on each other.“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others (vss. 4–5).
We need to celebrate the giftedness of those with whom we connect. “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us” (v. 6a).
“The grace given to us” (v. 6) is the ultimate basis for true person-to-person identification.
Today we celebrate some of those who have limited verbal expression whose lives have been transformed by grace through Jesus Christ—young people who were baptized into the faith and are now completing their testimony to God’s goodness in them as well as to us at Tenth. By our Lord’s faithful work in our midst, may we celebrate every person for whom Christ shed his blood.