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Archive for October, 2009

Matthew 4:11-22 “INTENTIONAL Faith Development” October 25, 2009

Matthew 4:11-22 “INTENTIONAL Faith Development” BRUMC October 25, 2009

11 Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. 12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15 "Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16 the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned." 17 From that time Jesus began to proclaim, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." 18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people." 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

In the Peanuts cartoon series, Lucy is in business as a psychiatrist. “Advice—5 cents,” says her sign. Charlie Brown is her client. Charlie Brown woefully asks Lucy’s advice on finding meaning in life. Using the metaphor of the bow of a large boat, Lucy responds, “Some people go through life with their deck chair facing backwards, looking at where they’ve been.” Then she asks,” Charlie Brown, which way is your deck chair facing?” Charlie Brown concludes sadly, “I really don’t know—I’ve never been able to get my deck chair unfolded!”

When we can’t make sense of life, or future, even the present..

we experience chaos, frusitration, and fear.

To find our course toward God begs one of two methods:

· Trial and Error with a hope that we eventually find God.

· Intentionally set the coordinates of our faith toward the things of God with a specific intent.

From time to time we try the purposeless wandering. It is attractive because of its lack of commitment and responsiblity. We will head home our boat, if and when we want to.. But eventually the shore begs us home or the waters toss us so much we are helpless to them.

I have always been intreaged by Matthew’s account of Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John’s IMMEDIATE response to follow Jesus. Did they know him? Were they under a charismatic spell?

Q:What makes you immediately leave work and family to follow anyone.

Does it take disaster to motivate us to action for Jesus Christ?

911 took people to actions beyond family and work.

Katrina empasioned people to leave and go serve…

I think not. It calls for regular, intentional choosing of our direction, purpose, meaning. Whichever term: “Choosing this day whom we serve”

We must not lose sight of the term “intentional.” There is intentionality in purpose. Paul tells the Philippians, “Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for win the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus” (3:12-14).

Faith development must be intentional because faith development requires discipline. Too often in life the temptation is to take it easy, to relax, and to take the path of least resistance. But without Intentional Faith Development, we cannot find our God-designed purpose, because the only way we can discover that is to have a relationship with God in Jesus Christ. IF WE ARE NOT LOOKING FOR CHRIST, we will become lost.

SO WHAT: Pray with–, Study with–, Search with–. Live with Intent.

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RADICAL Hospitality: Providing MORE than our needs

Oct 11 RADICAL Hospitality: Providing MORE than our needs... Dt 24.10-22, Ro 12:9-21, Lk 7:36-47

36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38 and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is–that she is a sinner.” 40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41 “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

What would make you feel most welcome to come to a new church for the first time?

Some have been a faithful member here for so many seasons,

the new is far, away.  but imagine..

not knowing anyone, not knowing what will happen, when. Will you know the songs? Will you fit in?

What if someone greeted you in a warm and friendly way.

That’s just what the ushers are suppose to do..

What if I sit in someone’s unmarked official seat..

What if I have a bulletin to tells what is going to happen.

Every church has those.

What if they singled you out as a visitor and made a fuss about you?  Maybe I can leave…

What if you could slip out during the last hymn before they tried to get my phone number and call me all the time?

———–
What if a dozen people took the time to greet me?

What if someone ask me to sit with them?

What if someone gave up their bulletin so I would have one? What if someone showed me where the restroom was before I had to ask?

What if they introduced you to someone to someone my age, who has children even though their children are grown.
What if someone told me what you LIKE about the preacher, choir  when it practices, what children youth director, etc.
What if someone gave you some money to put in the offering so they didn’t feel they had to….

explain what the service si like, traditions

inside story on the old ladies, other old ladies..
invited you to fellowship or lunch…

—————

The woman greets Jesus at the house of a pharisee, stands behind, knelling at this feet, weeping-understanding, grieving morning, wipes with her hair… kissed his feet, unclean, wastes perfume on him… He should know.

Jesus replies, I came to Simon’s House, he did not great him.

He did not give water,   she has given tears, as from the passover,

You did not greet me with a kiss, she has not stopped kissing

You did not put oil on my head, she has perfumed my dirty, sweaty feet.    Her many sins are forgiven.  He makes no mention of their lack of hospitality….

Hospitality for the Sinner:  Sure the good and righteous are welcome, safe and easy.

But what of the sinner. The unclean, un-welcomed, un-invited,  un-known, un-friendly,

Radical hospitality in not only going way out of our way to make those who are most similar to us welcome

Radical hospitality is removing every barrier from welcoming others into the fellowship…

 

Those who don’t even know they want to even think about coming to any church much less ours.

Those who haven’t been to church in years, or ever.

Those who don’t dress like we might, or live in houses like ours.

 

Every week we through a dinner party, who do we invite? who do we work to extend an invitation? who do we offer a ride? who do we go out of our way to make sure they actually show up…

THAT IS RADICAL…

Than is hospitality

That is what this sinner does for Christ…

So what’s our next dinner party going to be like?

Are we exclusive? Are we inclusive?

Are we serious? Are we comfortable?

Are we expecting easy and safe and what is in it for us?

Are church as Christ’s body? Are we in it for OUR body? or open to any body?

 

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Beyond Their Ability

Oct 4 Generosity: (2 Corinthians 8:1-15)   5 Practices of Fruitful Congregations 100409  brumc

1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. 6 So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But just as you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us–see that you also excel in this grace of giving. 8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 10 And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. 13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, 15 as it is written: “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.”

Do you know someone who gives more than they have?

Besides the federal government…

most households in America: have more debt than they have assets to pay at a given time..

$10k in unsecured credit card debt alone:

Q: How can you be generous if you have already given more than you have.. So how do a people who have no more money to give ever hope to be generous people:

A: Generosity is not always expressed through money

FRAME our daily living, with Jesus:

IF you were doing it for Jesus… what might you do?

Someone hungry, dirty,  maybe, mostly sober, what would you do for this person if Jesus was standing beside you?

Someone looking for “happiness” but truly running from painful truth… and want to stay numb to the reality… what is the generous thing to do?

Give what temps them?  tough love, leave them alone?  1 last chance,  write them off

GENEROSITY… journey with, even when no money

In the Scripture passage for today, the apostle Paul is writing to the people in Corinth, and he’s talking about money. But listen carefully to his words, because this will enable you to move past the issue of money to the issue of the heart.

Vs 7) Faith: trusting in your heart.  Speak: sing, share, the faith, Knowledge: faith in your head…. complete the work, by putting faith, words, head in action.

When we live like that, we become more thoughtful, more caring, more compassionate people. We become people who are more loving and, therefore, more lovable. That’s the consequence of emptying yourself so that the Holy Spirit may begin to fill you and make you more like Jesus.

As you give yourself away, you will become the person you always wanted to be. You empty yourself; God fills you with the Holy Spirit; and you become more like Jesus.  Serve someone else by becoming the hands and feet of Jesus Christ at work in the world. Lifting the burden of people who have never set foot on this property.

We should always be stretching ourselves beyond what we believe we can do as the Holy Spirit pulls us and directs us and empowers us to new places through the only Power that can accomplish that. No goal is too great for God.

  • Ronnie  a 3rd grader who developed brain cancer. Boys shaved heads too.
  • Pay the price. The world says to give out of abundance. That’s not biblical.
  • If hang on out of fear, we operate out of a theology of scarcity: have enough?
  • Teacher was trying to impress upon them the needs of a missionary and how they could help. 1,000,000 or 100,000 or 10,000 or 1,000 or 100 or 10 or $1, no not $1.
  • 80 year-old man who was found planting a very small, peach tree.

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