Clean Sheet

photo by sharon k.a. winiger
The Book of Acts tracks the spread of the gospel from Jerusalem into Judea, Samaria and on to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).  There is a lot that can get in the way between here and there; language barriers, religious issues, prejudice, persecution, safety, fear.  As each chapter of the story unfolds God works to break down those barriers.  In Acts 2 the language barrier falls.  In Acts 5 God deals with deception.  In Acts 9 God converts Saul, the persecutor to the persecuted.  In Acts 10 the barrier is a personal one.  It is a prejudice in Peter fostered by years of religious distortion.  Here is a man who is called to take the gospel to the ends of the earth but who, at the time, would find it repulsive to eat dinner with a Gentile.  It would be impossible to take the gospel global if the church failed to get it as far as the table.  God gives Peter a vision of a sheet.  Inside the sheet is Peter’s prejudice.  The end result for Peter is a clean sheet; a better understanding of the gospel and a new way of relating to the people who desperately need to hear it.
We all need a clean sheet.  In each of us are barriers that must be overcome if we are to enjoy the full expression of the life giving power of the gospel in our lives and in our relationships.  For some people it is the vice grip of sin, something of which we refuse to repent.  For others it is the bitterness of a failed relationship.  The barrier may be in the home, a strained marriage, a difficult child, a large amount of debt that causes a great deal of tension.  It may be a bad church experience.  Or, like Peter it may be prejudice.  Maybe you are considering a move, adopting a child, a career change, or pursing a calling, yet you are full of fear.  Your mind races with reasons why you can’t, why you shouldn’t, why it would never work.  Whatever it is, the purpose of God is for you to have life in Jesus Christ; but for now there is a hindrance, a barrier that seems to choke the life . . . out of life.  We all need a clean sheet.
On Sunday we will be talking about clean sheets from Acts 10.  For both services (9:30 and 11 a.m.) I am asking the congregation to bring objects that are representative of issues that may be barriers of the gospel in your life.  For some, considering these things may lead to salvation.  For others, this may be a Peter type moment, an ongoing moment of change, an adjustment of life so that the gospel can continue to grow in and through you.  I am also proving a link to a webpage on which you can post a message via text message.  Anonymously share with everyone what needs to be in your clean sheet.  Over the weekend we will be posting your messages to the page and they will serve as a growing testimony of how we are seeking God’s power in giving us a clean sheet. 
To text your response, send your message to 62935 and include the letters “RBC” before your response.  For example, your response should read, “RBC my difficult barrier.”  Your response will not appear immediately, it will be submitted for approval.  Check back over the weekend and read the responses. We will also use the displayed responses in worship on Sunday.   Also, let’s pray for one another that this will be an incredibly freeing weekend in which God grants the people of RBC a clean sheet.     
Instructions for the weekend:
1.      Read Acts 10
2.      If you were Peter, what would go in your sheet?
3.      Text to 62935 rbc+your message
4.      Go to http://www.jarbyco.com/ridgecrest/ to read responses through the weekend (If you use Internet Explorer, you will need to refresh often)
5.      Pray for those responding
6.      Bring something representative of what needs to go into your sheet on Sunday.
7.      We will also have a "text in" Q & A in 11 a.m. worship this Sunday. 

Comments

Aimee said…
As clean as I would like to imagine my sheet, i still feel so stained and soiled in front of God. I know that Jesus has washed away the dirty spots but I will still be ashamed that I make it a constant chore for Him. I am always dirtying my sheet up for him to clean. I can't wait to get to heaven where I belong.

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