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Responsibilities as Members of the Lord's Kingdom

Proclaim the Gospel, Being an Example, Service

My topic is what our responsibilities are as members of the Lord's kingdom. While preparing for this topic, I starting writing a list of responsibilities I knew off the top of my head and I knew I couldn't cover all this stuff so I did what any real man does: I called Mommy. She said "What about the church mission? Proclaim the gospel, perfect the saints, redeem the dead." I thought that was a good starting point and that's the direction I'm going to go today. More specifically on the first two.

PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL
We are always talking about spreading the gospel and planting little seeds and hoping they'll grow. How do you plant real seeds? Do you wait for the hole to dig itself? In other words, do you wait for opportunities or do you create them? The easiest way to create those opportunities is to do random acts of kindness. I'm going to focus on two specific events that absolutely changed my life in one way or another.

I had not been to church in over 7 years. My wife was not a member. We had been contemplating finding a church for a few months and decided to go to her grandfather's church. After a few weeks, neither of us felt any closer to God than we did before we started attending. I was really frustrated with it all and wanted to go back to playing golf on Sunday mornings instead. Then, one day while walking out to my car after church, out of the blue, my wife says "Can we go to your church next week?" I said "What, the Mormon church?" It wasn't that I had anything against the church, I just hadn't been for 7 years and was kind of shocked she wanted to go. Heck, I wasn't sure I wanted to go. The next question was do we go to the ward where I grew up or go to the branch in our area? As nice as it would've been to catch up with everybody, we really wanted to focus on the church, without all the distractions and catching up, so we decided on going to our local area, that being Sallisaw. We figured it would be a more genuine experience that way.

We went to church and I was kind of disappointed that there weren't very many people talking to us. I knew my old ward would basically have a line out the door of people wanting to shake your hand and welcome you to church. So, after sacrament meeting we headed out the door but before we could escape, a man approached us and said "Hi, I'm Bro. Fair and this is my wife. Would you like to come over to our house for lunch today?"

I totally froze. I was thinking, "Is this guy for real?" I had never met this man in my life! He could be an axe murderer, ya an axe murderer disguised as, as, a Christian! Listen, no one ever said I was smart. He wants us to just trust him and go to their house without knowing anything more than his name? Then I thought, "Wait, he's never met me, either."

That single encounter in the church hallway is the reason we came back the following week, which eventually led to me having to opportunity to baptize my wife and son. Bro. Fair's simple gesture was not just a handshake and "Hello". He really put himself out there and we saw that. If that would not have happened, I might not be standing before you today. And I'm happy to report, he is NOT an axe murderer.

The other event went something like this: My parents started a family tradition when I was a kid. I don't know where they heard it from but I loved it nonetheless. Usually we did lots of traveling on Christmas. My biological parents are divorced so I'd usually spend half the day in Owasso with my dad and the other half back home with my mom. If you take the Muskogee Turnpike, there are two toll gates you have to pass thru. So on Christmas whenever my mom would come pick me up, we'd head back toward home on the turnpike. Whenever we got to the toll-gate my stepdad would take out double the amount he needed to pay to go thru. He would then ask the collector, "Can you please use what's left and pay for the vehicle behind me? Just tell them Merry Christmas." and then we'd drive away. To this day, I've carried on that tradition with my own family. I gotta admit, I wish I could see their reaction but I never have, although the look on the toll-collectors face is almost as good. I just imagine a surprised smile and hope they enjoyed their little present from our family to theirs.

BE AN EXAMPLE
Being an example to our family, our children, our co-workers, our friends, and others is extremely important. Not doing so can be spiritually detrimental to those who watch you sway. I have had an interesting gift bestowed upon me. Since the age of 12, my closest friends have been atheist, agnostic, or otherwise unsure of their eternal progression. None of them, not even once, have downed me for believing. In fact, most of the time, they would ask me a question about what I believed and why and we would have great discussions about our very different beliefs. One of these friends, who is one of my closest friends of almost 10 years met me while I was inactive and watched me and my family as we made promises to recommit ourselves. He saw me quit cursing, he saw me quit smoking, pack-a-day to never again. He watched us throw away any traces of alcohol we had at our home. But he saw something else, too. He saw how close we became as a family as a result of our changes. He called me one Saturday night and said, "Hey, are you guys going to church tomorrow?" I said "Ya." He said "Think you could come by and pick me up on your way?" Completely oblivious to what he was asking, I said "Sure, where you want us to drop you off?" We talked for a little bit and I asked him what brought on this sudden desire to go to church and he said something like "Well, if it could do all that to someone like you, then I think I have to check it out. Honestly, I've seen you change. I thought it would be just a week or two and then back to golf but now I have a feeling that's not on your schedule anymore." Hopefully that seed will grow with time.

SERVICE
Another way to perfect yourself and create opportunities to proclaim the gospel is by acts of service. I love service. Although often very inconvenient, I always enjoy helping people. It's one of those traits I've always cherished about myself. I am also an Eagle Scout and I'm proud of it. I went thru the entire program from Bobcat in Cub Scouts to eventually getting my Eagle Scout just a couple weeks prior to my 18th birthday. Being a part of the scouting program gave me many, felt like thousands of opportunities to serve.

What do the scriptures say about service? Mosiah 2:17 is the easy one. Scripture Mastery verse if I remember correctly. It reads:
"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."
So serving others is serving God. Service should not just benefit the person receiving it. It can mean something to you, too. My own Eagle Project was clearing a 2-acre area of overgrowth to enlarge a neighborhood elementary's recess area including building a walking bridge across a creek. I grew up in that neighborhood, I watched that school as it was built, and I attended that school two years. It was in my neighborhood so I was constantly riding my bike around the area. It was so nice doing something for that school because that school meant something to me.

Gordon B. Hinckley still stands in my mind as one of the most wise individuals ever to walk the earth. He had something to say about service;
"Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those who are obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others...by and large, I have come to see that if we complain about life, it is because we are thinking only of ourselves."

One thing that I would occasionally forget as a youth was that the benefits you receive are only a side-effect of the service you are providing for someone else. That to do true service is to do it without thinking about your own needs.

President Thomas S. Monson said,
"Service, to be acceptable to the Savior, must come from willing minds, ready hands, and pledged hearts."

Now there are about ten thousand other directions I could have taken this but I really wanted to emphasis the importance of service and the power of example. I know by personal experience that by perfecting ourselves we are proclaiming the power of the gospel by example and what it can do to your life. Both of these things help us fulfill the church mission by improving ourselves and creating opportunities to proclaim the gospel, to plant seeds, and give us the opportunity to watch them grow as they watch you grow.

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about chris

My name is Chris. I live in Broken Arrow, OK. I am a husband. I'm a proud father of two boys. I'm a Mormon. Boomer Sooner.

journals
This is a log of my daily life, although I rarely have the opportunity to update it daily, or even weekly. Most of the time I include pictures of the events I talk about in the entries.

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My passions live here. Topics that I'm particularly passionate about, interested in, or whatever else I deem worthy to live here. It can get pretty scary in here.

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Random pieces of my everyday life will be here. These could be pictures of my son playing football, recording of my wife playing on the Wii, or audio of my playing drums. If I want to share it, here's where it'll be!

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