Archive for February 5th, 2012

“The Giving Continues” Matthew 25:31-46 JUMC 20120101

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.. –NRSV

As we end the year 2011 the highest rated TV shows have been football games; number two over all and the number one series is the X-Factor. Knowing the letter “X” is Greek for CHI and a historic abbreviation for “CHRIST”. Our life and faith are founded on the X-factor. Is that the conversation you hear folks following and sharing? Or is it football teams and entertainers that we will talk about come the Day of Judgment and accountability?

As we begin 2012 I am struck with how on-target other businesses are with their marketing for the new year: For example: Weight Watchers focusing on our cultures intention to adopt fresh resolutions offer a new message for this year:  2012 The Year for Believers:

“By declaring 2012 ‘The Year to Believe’ we are sounding a rallying cry to help persons across the country turn their dreams in truth,” said Cheryl Callan, Principal Promotion Officer for Dieters. “Dieters will encircle persons with inspirational messages starting in the holiday season and then ongoing all the way through the coming year. At a time when lots of us are not feeling specifically confident, we wish to express our ardent faith in persons and the power in all of us to change for the much better. We see it take place each day. That Is what we are about, and what ‘The Year to Believe’ will be about.”

Chrysler employed a mass choir to introduce their new line of cars calling would be buyers to “Lose Themselves” MT 16, MK 8, LK 9, That sounds just like Jesus’ word for those who will follow.

Blackberry threatened by iphone and android devices calls for us to “Be Bold”  Believe: That sounds like the Gospel of John’s message and invitation! Be Bold, That sounds like the apostle Paul, 2Cor 3 and 10. How is it that?

Jesus’ messages is clear:

  • Are you aware of people other than yourself?
  • Are you aware of people who suffer?
  • What are you doing about it?

Football games have pre-games to gets us ready, excited, informed and primed.

The pre-show is not the game..

  • Get into the real game…. Feed the hungry, clothe the cold, befriend the excluded and lonely
  • Let’s look at 2011: How many hungry people did you help feed? What were their names?
  • Until the time of accountability comes:
  • Our Task, Our Mission, Our Response is Feed, Clothe, Share.

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Mark 1:14-20 “Get Out of the Boat” JUMC 20120122

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea–for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.  -NRSV

ImageOn the Sea of Galilee, Lake of Genesserat, is a contrast to the

  • The invitation starts with asking for trust.. not qualification.
  • The invitation is not based on our skills, but includes our gifts.
  • The invitation does not effect just one person, it affects the household.

Jesus calls us to follow and to catch people.

Casting a net. Story: Wanting to net-fish, but not allowed because the water is neither plentiful nor clean and the supply of fish no longer abundant.

ImageIt is nostalgic to wish for easier times or more familiar days, but it is essential that we as a congregation return to our first call to be the people of are Inviters.

Fishing with a net is throwing wide the reach of our individual message to bring people in. How many empty seats are in your car on Sunday morning?

Image

Jesus calls ‘fishermen’ to catch people…

  1. Start with what you already know and build upon our skills.
    1. If you cook, then feed,
    2. If you make money, invest
    3. If you teach, give instruction
    4. If you are young, then as fresh questions and infuse energy
    5. If you are retired, what are you waiting to start doing God’s work.
    6. If you read and write, then share your story
    7. Get the idea?
  1. Follow instead of Leading.
    1. Do you know someone who complains, blames, and kills the joy?
    2. We have too much good to accomplish to be shooting others down.

i.     Especially church folks eating Church folks for lunch..

  1. Jesus later calls Disciples who follow to step our as Leaders, but

i.     Only AFTER first mastering the art of servanthood.

  1. Let Go and Get out of the Boat, Use the nets we know for new work.
    1. The role of the boat was a big one for the sons of Zebedee.

i.     This is like the Rich Young Ruler actually selling everything.

  1. For US, it is identifying what keeps us from letting go to FOLLOW
  2. DISCIPLESHIP: Learning to follow..
    1. Going where we are needed to help real people who Need God.
    2. The Great commission of feeding, clothing, caring for those in need
    3. Is the response to FIRST, following..
    4. THIS IS THE FIRST FAITH LESSON for us to encourage one another.
      1. Here is an faith request:
      2. Write one this week:

i.     What does it mean to you personally to “Put God First”

ii.     How has life in the church transformed/blessed your life.

iii.     What is the most recent way Christ has been working in you.

We may not talk during worship, but we are going to start by writing it out…

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Mark 1:29-39 “Hunting Season” JUMC Scout Sunday 20120205:11

29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31 He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. 32 That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered around the door. 34 And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. 35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37 When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” 38 He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” 39 And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons. NRSV

Mark’s account Jesus begins his ministry teaching, healing and revealing Good News.

The Fab-Four, Peter, Andrew, James and John start hunting for Jesus.
“Everyone is searching for you.”
People are looking for Messiah, Savior, Answers, Leader, Hope, Justice and Grace
True then, True Now.
Folks are looking at Church and not at Church,
Folks are looking for Politics and beyond politics,
Folks are looking at home, work, school, on TV, in papers, and on the internet.
PREMISE: People are looking for what Jesus has to tell, teach and share.

Jesus’ response: Is not leave me alone, rather its:
“Let’s Go!” – Let’s Roll, Let’s ride, Let’s get to it.
Jesus response is one of action and not just mental belief or verbal affidavit.
But take special notice that Jesus action INCLUDES an INVITAION.
Let ‘US’ go.. Let’s go together.
I will go with you.
You are going, now, but not alone.

Jesus has Good News for those who Hunt.
What is Good News for a Hunter?
It’s open season? The sky is the limit? Your waiting and preparing is worth it.
If we are hunting for the things of Jesus: Hope, Power, Core Values for Living, Life, Purpose..
It’s open season? The sky is the limit?
Your seeking and trusting is worth because of Christ.

What I Came to Do.
Hear this: Here is the Good Word we’ve been searching for, Jesus is out looking for us, right we are.
Not waiting for us to prove ourselves.
Not waiting for the time to be right and the stars to be aligned
Not waiting to get things right first..
So What?
But Jesus comes with Disciples, reaching out to you, this very day:
into the real life we share and brings hope, healing and wholeness for the world.

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Isaiah 40:21-31 “With Wings Like Eagle” JUMC 20120205:09

21 Have you not been paying attention? Have you not been listening? Haven’t you heard these stories all your life? Don’t you understand the foundation of all things? 22 God sits high above the round ball of earth. The people look like mere ants. He stretches out the skies like a canvas – yes, like a tent canvas to live under. 23 He ignores what all the princes say and do. The rulers of the earth count for nothing. 24 Princes and rulers don’t amount to much. Like seeds barely rooted, just sprouted, They shrivel when God blows on them. Like flecks of chaff, they’re gone with the wind. 25″So – who is like me? Who holds a candle to me?” says The Holy. 26 Look at the night skies: Who do you think made all this? Who marches this army of stars out each night, counts them off, calls each by name – so magnificent! so powerful! – and never overlooks a single one? 27 Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? 28 Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. 29 He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. 30 For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. 31 But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. (Petersons:The Message Translation)

Tent Canvas to live under.. Scout Sunday: My first few years of scouting begin in canvas tents..
The teacher and prophet Isaiah looks up at the sky
during the day and the stars at night and says:
Who made this marvelous tent over us?
Who made the matter? Who ordered gravity?
Who spoke and exploded order out of chaos and
turned what appears random into the heavens and the earth?

The Teacher and prophet Isaiah says, some look up and still say, fine, but:
God doesn’t care what happens to me?
I will give you that God just might have done great things back then,
But where is God now?
With wars, hunger, diseases, fallen economies: Where is God?

The Teacher and prophet Isaiah says, God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
Seasons come and go. Governments and policies change.
God didn’t just create a self propelled, automaton as in HUGO
God who was at the beginning is steps into the storms with us.

God is life and power. God energizes those who get tired,
God is our Energizer..
If you are going to ‘be prepared” for a camping trip, do you look for fresh batteries?
If you are looking for direction to light your way: look to God.
If you are lost stay centered: stand firm in God.
If you are feeling afraid or forgotten: Look for God, for God is looking for You.

Those who wait upon d God get fresh strength.
This is the eagle part: The rank of Eagle is the goal. To get there you have to keep the prize ahead of the little choices you make. They don’t hand out the badge to everyone who signs up. I will let you in on how to do an Eagle Service Project. It is a lesson about using all your learn along the way and allowing those skills to empower you leading others. It is not a project that you accomplish quickly nor one you can do alone. It is knowing your strength comes from your faith, family, friends, volunteers and others who can do something greater than you could ever do on your own.
This is the strength God Promises, not just to scouts, but to us all!

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