Archive for August, 2013

Luke13:10-17 Church Work JUMC 20130826

pain

10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” 13 When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14 But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” 15 But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” 17 When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing. [NRSV]

Is this passage about Sabbath rules?
Is this passage about miraculous healing story?
Is this passage about a woman’s desperation to try anything because of pain?

If you are, or know someone who lives with chronic pain, you know how even the most simple or small task can be debilitation and excruciating. Typically finding a balancing point in one’s pain tolerance is called a good day, even though the pain is present.

Backbreaking work from years of stressed postures, injury, surgery, over worked muscles and joints or autoimmune triggers…the pain hurts the same, no matter how it started. This woman who comes to see Jesus, and Jesus sees her. He is moved with compassion and see a world broken and hurting summed up in one person’s experience.

Something caused the woman’s pain, it might have taken years or over night, but it reached a tipping point eighteen years ago. It had affected her spirit. Certainly, in that time she had gone to the temple for healing, encouragement, and blessing.

The priest, who is not able to do in 18 years, what Jesus can do in an instant, points to something he can manage and control. Why can’t the priest be happy the woman is healed? Jesus uses the situation to show that at times, God and good and wholeness will threaten some folks. It is an act of self-defense to try to save face.

Why do we need to always be right, particularly when we are not? It is a sign that our view is upside down. The charge that Jesus makes is the priest was acting hypocritical. Saying one thing is important when acting like something else is more important.

Five times in seven verses the idea and concept of Sabbath is defined. Once by the priest, correcting Jesus and the crowd and the woman healed. Four times by Jesus who reveals the Sabbath is a day for teaching, gathering, learning, worshiping, and healing…all of which require work.

Is the passage about working on Sunday or caring more about rules than people?
Is the massage about pain management or turning to Jesus for wholeness?
Is this passage about trying what we have done for the past 18 years and expect a different out come?

This message is to the faithful, because the faithless are not ready or willing to hear it.. ie) the priest

The message is about saying one thing and living another.

Sing our songs, but not believe that Jesus Loves us. Or that God so great, when I have a better idea to cut a corner

This message is about talking Jesus today, living by my rules when it’s Tuesday..

Jesus is saying: don’t fool yourself because God cant be fooled.

 

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Hebrews 11:29-12:2 Pioneer and Perfecter

pioneerwithChrist By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace. And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets– who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented– of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. [NRSV]

Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman
She makes Paul’s coking look line a weigh watcher commercial.

Her journey of coping with the transition from city life to life on a ranch in the middle of nowhere is a testimony of living by faith.

Not to mention she gives tips on how to beat the Baptist to the grocery store after church On Sundays.

The text today gives example from the legacy of the Old Testament of how the people of God act and life , by faith

It also gives example of how the eerily church lived by faith to cover new territory.

I’ve been praying about the half of our neighbors who on any given Sunday don’t find church a place they plan to be.

How can we life by faith and reach these folks.

11:40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect...

God has provided something wonderful that we all know, trust and believe. But else have nearly 10,000 neighbors who can see it, don’t believe it and don’t live by yr enjoy we have.

The church is u set persecution. Look at those in Egypt this week that we dragged from their home and violently killed in the streets because of what the believed by faith.

In our own country our faith is being watered down and policed by political correctness while we watch.

How many if our neighbors is it alright for us to
1 hope they will find Christ intent own?
2 hope our witness is good on the day they are willing to look and listen?
3 go about their business without our concern or involvement?

We celebrate later today the life and faith of Charlie Sims who has loved his family church and country we til each the end and rust that God says, well done good and faithful servant.

But what of those who on the sofa, still in bed, on the mower and on the the lake. Not on cation or re popping from illness but those who do Not know the faith we cherish l that is our hope and security.

So what ?

Great faith is our response and not out job.

As we start another year of school the Pre-k students do they begin a journey of completion or start a journey of discovery that equips them to be good decision markers,

those who devalue learning or just turn in assignment and bubble in correct scores?

The text us about being perfected. Not by our work rather trusting the one who has pioneers the way and run the race flew us

We are the great our of witness called to follow into the parted sea, to march around the city walls, to welcome with hospitality and to
Stand firm with Jesus in the face of all persecution

We don’t know the perfection until we are whole.
As long as there are those who don’t know what we trust in Christ Jesus. We are all just dosing kind deeds, it’s tome to stand with Jesus until they come home to him.

Pray for the way we will become a more perfect union, in Christ
Study how we will pioneer through hearts and minds that are closed
Get ready for the new day Christ promises when we stand firm with him.

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Isaiah 1:1, 10-20 “Oh Little Town of Jackson, GA” JUMC 20130811

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1:1 The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. 10 Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah!

1:11 What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. 12 When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand? Trample my courts no more; 13 bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation– I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity. 14 Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.

1:16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

18 Come now, let us argue it out, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; 20 but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. [NRSV]

Our reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah begins with a vision for the people of God. Isaiah is embolden to speak, teach and warn the people. The prophet’s word in phrase, is summed up by Aretha Franklin: “You Better Think!”

People walking around everyday, playing games, taking scores
Trying to make other people lose their minds.
Well be careful, you’re gonna lose yours.

Yeah, think (think) think about what you’re trying to do to me
Yeah, think (think, think), let your mind go, let yourself be free

You need me (need me) and I need you (don’t you know)
Without each other there ain’t nothing we can do (AF: “Think” 1968)

Imagine the prophet coming to our town and saying, Oh Jackson, under the reign of Wayne, when we Georgia’s hand has a Deal, and the Oval office has an Obama, you are acting like you all live in Vegas or Chicago. You better wake up O little town.

The full activity of the temple worship goes under attack, the whole enterprise of religiosity is put on trial. You have a great number of members, you have special Sundays, dinners and picnics galore. You remember all the holidays and know all you favorite hymns. You look pretty, you sit reverently and call on me when you get into trouble.. Well no more of that!

1:16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

• Stop doing evil.
• Do Good
• Seek Justice
• Recuse the Perishing
• Care for the forgotten and the dying.

Here is how you town this town around.

There is an ultimatum:
You can do it God’s way or your way. You can eat of your own labor or you can be nourished by God work.
God’s way leads to life, your way just ends up empty and dead.

So what is it going to be?

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Luke 12:13-21 It’s about Me, Myself and I 20130804 JUMC

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12:13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” 16 Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

It is impossible to visit a community like the ones we visited this week in Tegucigalpa and not re-evaluate our understanding of poverty and wealth. Every person who comes to the end of the month and there is not enough to pay the bills and they go inside their home, turn on the television, make a few calls and eat some processed food stuffs in the microwave and think about how terrible their situation is should go vacation in Honduras.

For all those who would say, we have mission enough to do right here at home, the question to answer is who reaches out to those who have no wealthy neighbors. Who will bring peace and hope to city where corruption, violence and want rule?

The parable of Jesus found in Luke 12 draws our focus on what things are ours.
How many toys can a person own and enjoy them all?
How much stuff in our homes, cars, sheds, garages, basements, attics and storage building will bring us life, joy and happiness.

We have finally begun to go through boxes we moved into our garage over two years ago and found things while special and meaningful at one time, only took up valuable space, for two years. We made large load for the youth yard sale, a large load for the school yard sale, a large load for the timely garbage truck and still have more to sort and share.

But I drift from the point and focus of the parable just a bit.
Which is easy to do. That is, to fool ourselves into seeing what we think we need to be happy.

Norman was a young man our team met this week who enjoyed hard work with rocks with some rock music. He lived on the work site most of the week with two other workers and had fun even when he was hungry and tired.
Brian worked to transport and translate even when his heart was broken, having lost his mother, and nearly his young son to gang violence just two months ago, finds hope in caring for his son and teaching him to defend himself even as a two year old son.

What brings you joy when you don’t have anything to work on or play with? If you removed 90 percent of our things and balances of investments where would be find our happiness?

Back to the focus…
The focus gets off track when we put the investment of our heart in
What We Need
What We want
What I think
What I manage
What I planned
What I prepared
What about me?

When all along, our joy comes from asking and answering what God wants for me…

Our inheritance is what God wants to give us
And there is enough for us all.

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