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Archive for October, 2015

Mark 12:28-3 “Do I Love Myself?” 20151101 RSUMC

showloveOne of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that “he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and “to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and “to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question. [NRSV]

Love is the Core Value and Core Action

Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one;

  • you shall love the Lord your God
  • with all your heart,
  • and with all your soul,
  • and with all your mind,
  • and with all your strength.’
  • The second is this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
  • To love God is to love your neighbor and yourself

     

     

 

 

 

Saints Love

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The five languages…Gary Chapman (not so different a list from the Greatest and 2nd Greatest commandment)

 

  • Words of Affirmation.
  • Acts of Service
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch

JESUS EXAMPLES OF “5 love language”

  1. in this text : Jesus gives the affirmation that the scribe who knows when we show love to others, God’s Kingdom is near to us.
  2. In the examples of feeding and healing Jesus and the disciples give themselves in service to others.
  3. From birth, Jesus receives gifts: gold frankincense myrrh, a child’s lunch, the hospitality of supporters. And he gives gifts of healing, food, forgiveness and resurrection.
  4. Jesus spends concentrated time with the disciples, “leaving nets and follow”, with the little ones, “bring the children to me.”
  5. Jesus also shows his love through physical touch. The hem of his robe, the touch of his hand, He is not just words in stone, he is a physical example and resources.

 

All Saints Day

Saints are those who love God because God has first love us

 

sainthood is not determined by our opinion nor the church’s vote, rather by God. 

Those who love God and love neighbor, are themselves love in the world.

Motivation to thank and pray

we have no real reason to love God is God has not loved us first

so we love our neighbor before they love us

  • Saints take the first step
  • Saints start the conversation
  • Saints offer gifts
  • Saints make the time
  • Saints extend the contact
  • loving is a process not a perfection

So on this All Saints Sunday we remember those who have shown us God’s kingdom of Love and we reaffirm ourselves as the Saints who will show God’s love to this world in every way we can.

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Psalm 126 Bringing in the Sheets 20151025 RSUMC

BringingInTheSheetsWhen the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”  The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.  Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb.  May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.  Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves. [NRSV]

Recently I was listening to one of Frances’s new, favorite Taylor Swift songs, where I once again mis-heard the words of the chorus. Instead of standing in a new dress, I heard, “standing in an ice chest.” I suppose both could be signs of love and devotion depending on the weather and if the ice chest was filled with ice. This familiar passage from Psalm 126 is at the heart of the Knowles Shaw‘s hymn, “Bringing in the Sheaves.”

This American Gospel hymn draws us to turn to and trust God to bring us to fruitfulness and to restore what was invested long ago. If you look at the Top 100 popular songs for this week in October, you find these 25 titles that speak of the message of our current culture:

Cant’ Feel my Face,  Locked Away,  Wildest Dreams,  Hotline Bling,  Hit the Quan,  Ex’s and Oh’s,  Same Old Love,  Trap Queen,  Renegades,  My Way, Drag Me Down,  Where Ya At,  Strip it Down,  Love Myself,  Worth It,  Earned It,  Bad Blood,  Break Up With Him,  Anything Goes,  Come Get Her,  Nothing But Trouble,  Stressed Out,  Live From the Gutter,  $ave Dat Money, Love Me.

Do these sound like words of joy and fulfillment? Now I’m picking on important genre of the population’s voice and expression. But it is always important to listen to, and to understand the words. The words have meaning and power.

The Pslamist is a song writer: The songs begins by reminded us that God has done GREAT things for us in the past.

The next words, remind us that sometimes all we have left at the moment is the dream of what was. The vital importance of keeping the dream alive.

A call to remember what brought us laughter, joy, comfort, peace and a time where fear, doubt, worry were not our driving realities.

Remember times that you were so happy you and your neighbor could be heard shouting for joy.. (back when the Dawgs could expect to taste sugar at the seasons end.)

Remember when all the other nations would look at our nation and say, God is at work through them in great ways… Not our reputation, but God’s reputation.

The Seasons of emptiness, depression, doubt and loss.

The Negeb water courses…There is a seasonal change, expect the drought, expect the flood, expect the in between conditions. God is present throughout all the seasons.

Exchange program, you bring me tears, I bring you joy. The Rag Man, the Christ

Tears of sadness from the joy. Joy is meaningless without the tears. God is fruitful in both times, all times. Turn toward God in sadness and bring God home in joy.

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Mark 10:35-45 A Slave to Greatness 20151017 RSUMC

SEC-Schools
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”  And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?”  And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”  But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”  They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;  but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”  When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John.  So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them.  But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant,  and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” [NRSV]
Fall Football
This season of football is a celebration of the quest for Greatness. Who has the greatest record, the greatest team, the greatest coach, the most touchdown, the more sacks, the most yards rushing, the greatest paid attendance, the most market share, the greatest performance of wins, Which is the greatest championship and bowl game. Who will be the greatest draft pick. Greatness is the prize in every area.
Every great football coach has a challenging speech to fire-up and focus the team to victory in greatness. James and John go to Jesus and ask for the best seats in the biggest arena of the greatest stadium for eternity. We want an all-access, back stage and front row seats. You can give us that greatness.
Jesus says, you need to start washing the porta-potties at the tailgate and become the most service oriented person you can be. The hard part for James and John, is they are starting to develop a rotating work schedule and Jesus clarifies his offer. If you want to have a great seat during the game, then you need to be a slave to those outside the stadium. (But if we are out of the stadium, how will we enjoy our good seats.)
Front Row Service is not at the House of Worship.
The greatest servant of Jesus Christ is the one who is busy with God’s work and witness as a way of life. NCAA Slavery: Fans who shape their entire season around the games, parties and statistical tracking.
Front Row Service is being a slave to those outside the stadium
If you want to see the heart of God present in the world, its not in the stadium seating on the front row, its is on the streets, in the hearts, in the heartbreak and fear of life.
The Seats of Greatness cannot be given, they come as a benefit of the service.
It’s the work that is the joy and not the benefits. You’ve heard folks say, “I’m working for the benefits.” That is not slavery.
The definition of Slavery:
Working for someone else that is against their will and at the cost of their freedom.
The difference in Jesus’ “slavery” is when we yield our will, entrusting God’s will. It is giving up our freedom of self determination to be a servant of God’s.
Sounds like a job we will skip. The disciples started fussing and scolding James and John. Not a helpful response either.
Jesus is actually making discipleship much less grey, increasing the contrast, greatness is serving the lowliest.
Jesus won’t make us great. We can join his Greatness by serving.
Service is one of the very things we promise in serving at the church
Prayers, Presence, Gifts, Witness and Service
Serving is caring for the hungry, thirsty, naked, captive, the lost and forgotten.

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Mark 10.17-31 “A Good Man is Hard to Find” 

  
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’ ” He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.” Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” [NRSV]

WHAT IS GOODNESS?

  • Be a good boy or a good girl?
  • Act like a good young man or good lady?
  • Work hard, follow the rules and do t get into trouble?
  • Do good things and you will become a good person?
  • Just avoid doing really bad things, get away with being good enough?
  • All wrong.

AM I GOOD? GOOD ENOUGH?

  • The short answer: no 
  • your no good, your no good baby your no good
  • And no matter what you give up you cannot buy, make, earn or steal
  • Goodness is a God given gift

THERE IS GOOD IN ALL OF US, Right?

I trust that is the image I which we are created
GOODNESS IS NOT SELF INTERESTED
GOODNESS IS GOD INTERESTED, GOD FOCUSED, GOD DRIVEN 

ITS TOO HARD TO BE GOOD

  • WE ENJOY BEING BAD
  • No one WANs to be the goody-two-shoes
  • No Eddy Haskle faking it when the auority is looking 
  • I fact there are times WE ENJOY DEFINING WHAT IS GOOD

WHO ARE WE TO DECLARE SOE THING TO BE GOOD, IF IT IS INDEPENDENT OF GOD

JESUS IS DEFINING GOODNESS AS GOD-ness. 

Good comes with the persecution
God is Good, so give God your self, your all. 
Am I all in? 

The reward of Goodness is realized in heaven 

  • The world will define its own goodness 
  • Good will not get you into heaven if it’s your own goodness
  • So what’s the deal with being good?
  • We think and behave is goodness because God is at work in us
  • Keeping the Rules for the rules’ sake, correctness is not God’S Goodness
  • Keeping the commandments because we trust God reflects Gods goodness guiding us

The time to be good: 

  • When our team looses. When our team wins
  • When face life. When we face death
  • When he world says it’s good to be bad, we ask Whatglories God
  • When wealth, comfort, fortune, acceptance surrounds us AND when povert, discomfort, rejection, and unfortuent events weight us, 
  • When we have governments we like and those we dislike, goodness is still defined by God, not politics, agendas nor principles. 

So is God my trust, my focus, my faith?

  • There are fears of wars, financial crashes, changes of power and culture
  • The Question: is it my Goodness that will save or Gods? 
  • Whomever can save us is the good that we are to follow.
  • So don’t follow me. I’m not following you. We are called to trust Good as Gods

This is what the world need to know

Not their they are bad, we are all short of Good if God is not at the heart

Are you telling the world that simple blessing 

“God is greatest, God is Good” everything and everyone else will fail you. 

Invite Gods goodness to make you Gods own Goodness 

 

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Luke 17:11-19 Great-fullness 

  On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.” [NRSV]

I am grateful for Rev Michael Morton preach while I am away this Sunday. He will be leading the congregation in World Communion. 

My refe toon on this weeks text

  1. Often healing and other prayers are co firmed and we fail to show our gratefulness to God. 
  2. Many peopled bless but few claim the connection with God, in fact many work to disconnect 
  3. Jesus is not in it for the praise and glory. Jesus gives himself to all. Only a fraction return the appreciation. 
  4. The 9 have healing. The tenth has healing and connects the dots of faith. 
  5. God blesses the grateful and the ungrateful. Become one who grows in faith and relationship through Gods faithfulness and grace. 

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