Archive for February 18th, 2012

Mark 9:2-9 “From the Top Down” @JUMC 20120219:1100

2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them, 3 and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Eli’jah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus. 5 And Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli’jah.” 6 For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid. 7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” 8 And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only. 9 And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of man should have risen from the dead. –NRSV

This is a curious passage of the Mountain top experience of Jesus with Moses and Elijah as well as Peter James and John and all together with God.

I cannot live in your spiritual high points nor can I live in your weakest spiritual lows. And neither can you find life in mine.

What we do find in this passage is a series of witnesses experiences.

If you are gathered with your family and flip through the 1000 channels and stop at a boxing match:

  •             Someone will be scared at two grown men fighting
  •             Someone will be nauseated at the violence
  •             Someone will become engaged in the aggression and in tune with the fight.
  •             Someone will look at the technical details of the sport
  •             Someone else will just leave the room and avoid it all.
  •             And other responses as well.

The point: We all can experience the same event and respond in different ways.

We have just such an occasion here recorded on the mountain…

We can learn from each others experience, but we cannot base our faith on the experience of others.

We are called to live, share and experience our own relationship with God…

  •  Moses (The Law) and Elijah (The Prophets)
  • Moses (The Politian) and Elijah (The Academy)
  • Moses (Died for breaking the law/trust) and Elijah (Carried up to heaven for keeping faithful)
  • Peter, James and John… some of the first disciples,
  • Peter, James and John… quite possible the wealthiest of the disciples, community leads/businessmen.
  • Peter, James and John… travel with Jesus to Mt Tabor, when all the other 9 are not taken up the mountain.
  • Jesus talks with the disciples on the way up.
  • Jesus talks with Moses and Elijah on the Mountain
  • Jesus talks with disciples on the way down and tells them to keep quiet.
  • God speaks through Moses and Elijah, for Jesus’ benefit. They don’t talk to the disciples.
  • God speaks to Jesus, Moses, Elijah, Peter, James and John… the clearest revelation: Jesus is it!
  • God interrupts Peter, when he need to be listening and experiencing instead of talking and fixing.

These are the conversations,

These are the network of simultaneous conversations and events.

What is our conversation(s) to do with these?

  1. We can learn from the invitation

  2. We might assume Jesus wants these three disciples to know most fully and clearly Jesus is the Messiah.

  3. We can assume Jesus wanted to talk with Moses and Elijah, for his own reasons

Disciples are witnesses…

We are witnesses of Jesus, the OT, the NT, and all other disciples…

What are we learning from each other.

My Conclusions:

  •             Don’t be quick to figure things out.
  •             Don’t assume you have what God wants figured out.
  •             Don’t talk when you need to be listening
  •             Don’t take action when God wants you to be still.

Listen to the Law

Listen to the Prophets and Teachings

Watch for the Light to be revealed

Listen for God’s voice that speaks to your heart and life

Don’t reveal your own ignorance… Trust God’s knowing.

Peter speaks up:

James & John let him speak out. (why didn’t they hush him up?)

Peter in effect says: Here is my idea, Here is what we need, I know what to do.

James and John: Let Peter ramble on, James and John let their actions be a witness

The greatest threat to the church is the quiet witness…

People will know Christ by my actions…

How do we witness Christ in our worry, gossip, controlling, and greed?

I don’t know about you, but my witness of actions may be no better than my words

BOTTOM LINE: God wants us to know for sure. That God is God and Jesus is our Savior.

God is willing to let that shine through other people,

But we have to be willing to hear through the scriptures, live through the Spirit/Glory

And be ready to share OUR experience when the time comes…

back down the mountain..

after to crucifixion and forsaken times

Where’s the strength when you are weak? Look to Jesus, Be Intentional.

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John 1:1-9 The First Word, and the Last Word @JUMC 20120219:0900

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God; 3 all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light. 9 The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. –NRSV

Who has the last word in your house? This is such a loaded question:
• If it’s Dad, does Mom feel like her word is validated and heard?
• If it’s Mom, does Dad feel walked over and
• If it’s the children, then how healthy can that be for the kids or the adults?
• If it’s no one or every one, then there is clearly chaos.
I have an easy and simple answer: God has the last word, and the first.

If the John that wrote the fourth Gospel book in the New Testament, wrote 50-100 words about what it means to have “God first in our lives” it would be in these first nine verses.

Reminder: We are asking everyone, to write this statement of faith, “What does it mean to you to put God first in your life.”

God has the first word, that creates and brings order and is the very core expression of God’s love.
Speaking first, God loves into existence all things, and in Jesus Christ, God has the last word,
• Light dissolves darkness,
• Light that can be over powered by darkness and evil.
• Light that points the way to what is true and good for everyone.

The big So What: God’s love speaks and ‘life’ comes into being. And “the Life was the light of all people.”
We have nations at war, political parties divided, religions at war, economies tipping the balances each and all together moving our world, “all people” back into chaos.

We can’t stop the wars, We can’t heal the politics, we can’t fix the economy… no one of us can.
But there is one who can show us the light.
But there is one who we can believe in when all else caves in.
But there is one who is more powerful than all the evils of the world.
Jesus: Yep, that the answers, but do we know what that actually means?

Give verse 7 your attention:
• He came for a testimony,
• to witness to the light,
• that all might believe through him.

• Believing God has the first and last word in our ordinary decisions and choices
• Believing God has the first and last word in our celebrations and scary darkest struggles
• Believing God is the reason for our being and Our claiming that our being is for God and not self or others.

It is then we are understand and get-it, and are ‘enlightened’ by Christ…. Until then we wonder in the darkness, shouting the right answers looking for the light switch… that’s no way to live is it? Let God’s light and word, give life and direction… that is what it means to live for God.

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