Archive for February, 2018
For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,
being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification. [NRSV]
Apostle Paul drawing on God’s promise and covenant with Abraham to teach about faith
This is one of those passages that helps iron out wrinkles between the Old and New Testaments. Abraham, father of the Hebrews, makes covenant with God. Paul is bridging communities around the topic of faith. As we know people can be divided over our understandings concerning faith.
The deal was Abraham was to trust God to be God and keep God’s promises and God would make Abraham and Sarah the great-great-great grand parents a thousand times over.
First this passage reminds us of God’s timing. God works through generations of time and relationships.
Second God works through individuals, Abram and Sari
Third God works through grace and faith rather than right thinking or right acting.
The central message and lesson is about faith
I suggest that we live in a time that is empty of faith, we would rather have proof.
We live in a time where people are dividing and dying over be correct instead of living in relationship with God and one another.
The world hungers and thirst for The wholeness, strength, peace and loving power God has for us, but on our terms and in our time.
The absence of faith is seen in the covenant breaking
The criticisms of Billy Graham for his focus and perspective of theology, remyinds us that being faithful is seldom the popular thing.
Family friends and denominations splitting over words and ideas reveals an absence of faith and trust in God.
So what does it mean to trust God to be God?
Covenant living is God promising to love, provide, guide, empower, and comp,eye what is broken and missing from our best efforts.
Trusting God vs Trusting our Insurance policy
Trusting God vs Trustig our contracts
Trusting God vs Trsuting our value
Trusting God vs Trusting
Promises to love us
Promises to guide and lead us
Promises to journey with Us
Promises to save us from sin and self
The me I am is who I design or am I the me God sees in me?
By my choices I am becoming my actual self
By my failures, ignorance and self interest I become someone other than the Self God hopes I will become
By God’s love and grace God judges my brokenness and fills in the games and makes me into my whole self.
So ingrained in our freedom to choose that we at our highest self when we have no need for God, but only be being true them myself as decided by myself than my self is valued, whole and this good.
Millions of nasty brutish folk doing the good they desire neglecting those who are different, or less or greater or other
Secondarily is the tendency that if I’m Ok, your ok. That is if I workout my own salvation and identity that you are left to do your own thing and I have no opbligatio. Or responsibility to you or any other. I’ve got my hands full working on my own stuff that I have little to nOtho get left to give for the other.
From John Wesley’s sermon on ““almost Christian”
An Almost Christian
1. May Act justly and kindly and do good
May Speak the Truth
May Give as one is able to help
May Have the look and sound of godliness
May Behave well and follows all the rules
May Speaks well of others
2. May avoid Wine lies gluttony doing no willful wrong
May do all the good one can, friend or enemy
May take part in all the church has to offer, whenever the doors are open
May pray and ask for Prayer that others would think more highly of them
May be the role model of serious and respectful intentions
May ask that God “have mercy on me”
3. Daily prayers out warmly
One missing thing: Sincerity of Faith
How to tell the difference?
Wicked follow to avoid punishment or to be approved
Sinner follows to be save because he/she knows they are not hug without God
Wesley’s words we “altogether christsin vs almost Christisn”
All together is
1. to love God. Who I’m I without you of lord
2. love of neighbor. Corinth 13
3. To trust that we are saved and made whole being spiritually born of god. (This the our victory, fulfillment. [Wholeness]}
Even devils believe, vs faith
Sure trust that God saves us and without Christ we are nothing, this is faith
The test is given we with sincerely ask before God, ourselves and the church;
: ““am I all together Christian or an almost Christian?”
What is the truth, and what do you intend to do about it?
Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. [NRSV]
Give light to the glory of God in the face of Jesus
Shining light OUT of darkness
The power of Darkness is real
• There is darkness in the oppression of the people of North Korea.
• There is darkness in the cycles of human trafficking
• There is darkness in the evil of terrorism
• There is darkness in the homes of those abused and batters
• There is darkness in the rollercoaster of addictions
• There is darkness that divides us into opposing camps
• There is darkness in the face of cancer and other diseases
• There is darkness in the loneliness and grief of loss
• There is darkness in broad daylight
• There is darkness in middle of some crowded places
• There is darkness in churches, homes and hearts among us.
And when we stand alone and even if we stand together, we are over whelmed as the ocean waves crash upon the best castle of our design and labors.
It seems like retreat and apathy rule the day and the hour and the years..
But that is when we look at darkness without the light of Christ
God is the Power Company
God so loved this broken work that he sent the only light strong and bright enough to overcome the darkness.
Our task is not to stop evil,
Our task it is cling to Christ upon the stormy sea, and from THAT place of strength and assurance: that Jesus Christ has been unveiled and revealed through us!
We step into the raging seas because
1. That is the reality of where we are
2. This is where we might best see Christ
3. This is when we and the world need hope and salvation more nearly.
We clothe, feed, comfort, and befriend because it is Christ at work in us..
We pray for healing and wholeness in Jesus’s name because God is the source
We stand with Christ because these bodies we carry suffer, and eventuality die.
We ride the rollercoaster of struggle because life fluid and always testing
We trust Christ when to step in to stop others from harm
We trust Christ when to step back and no longer remain oppressed and abused
We trust that we are powerless over evil, fear, terror, and all sin without Christ
Jesus Christ came to save sinners..
We are those who have seen light light
Jake and Elwood Blues go to James Brown’s ole Landmark Church and after hearing the good news Jake proclaims that he has seen the light of how to save the soon to be closed orphanage that was his childhood home… I can’t say that what follows is Gods work but they end up saving the children’s home even though they go back to jail.
This cult classic movie tells two truths
1. God can work through every situation for God purpose
2. When we put our name on God’s home work we are going to fail.
3. Our mission is to tell of God’s work.
Encourage one another in shining the light of Christ
What are you going to say when politics fuel start to burn you up?
Say this: “Instead of debating, fighting or disagreeing with you, I need you to pray for me to love my enemies”
• If someone is hurting, struggling, complaining, as them “how long are you going to keep working on that alone when Jesus is ready to be your strength?” E ready to be strong with that person.
• If someone is grieving or afraid, or alone, “ how long do you want to feel lost?” Offer to be Christ’s presence.
• You make ready your own conversations that lead and encourage one another to lean into, trust, stand-with Jesus.
Be the flash light, candle. lantern, headlights, spotlight, laser,… you don’t have to be the light, be the one who directs and reflects the light of Jesus Christ
If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission. What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel. For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings. [NRSV]
Learn this phrase: I’m ready to Share Christ wherever, with whomever, however, because of God’s love is forever.
We order a sandwich or burger — “All the Way” and the waiter/tress or specialist asks, do want than with cheddar or swiss cheese? What does all mean?
We pay one price and go to the Chinese buffet and have the opportunity to eat “All you can eat”. My favorite is the Shrimp special at Red Lobster. After you eat the first fried shrimp they ask you would like to “put in another order” for more, they bring you six more. That’s all they hope you will eat. The same is true at IHOP on all you can eat pancake days, Here are two and we will bring you two more, again, hoping that is all you order. Somewhere in the formula of ‘value’, we have some magic number of shrimp, pancakes, crab legs or egg rolls that equate to “All”.
The solution is to avoid the buffet in the first place, but we are surrounded and enticed by the invitation to find it all, have it all, and eat it all.
Others are not tempted by food but are well acquainted with completing a collection. All the tools in the set, all the pieces in the puzzle, all the cards, glasses, figures, dishes or designs in the series. There is a driving force to amass ‘all’ things..
Paul is again offering his example as direction for us all. But this model of “All things” is a slippery slope.
- All things fits with our culture and lifestyle
- All things fits with the Walmart, Lowes, Bass Pro, model
- All things fits with Amazon and the internet of all things.
Paul offers his example of reaching out to all people in ways that relate and are meaningful to them, and in that place of connection, he finds ways to share the life and power of Jesus Christ. But in this hermeneutical junctions, it is easy to lose our way.
- Have all things
- Be all things
- Do all things
Instead of “All things..for Christ” (Stay in on the good path of all things / all means that lead us to Christ.
- Vs use all I have for Christ
- Vs be available to all persons for Christ
- Vs do not let things keep me from sharing Christ
- Social pressures
- Scientific pressures
- Selfish pressures
So be warned that we don’t go so far out the door that we forget the way that leads back to Christ, but we go far enough to meet people where they are.
Jew or Greek, slave or free, rich or poor, conservative or liberal, tall or short, young or old, deserving and undeserving — Jesus Christ died for sinners like us all.
The challenge is to answer this:
With whom am I being called to share Jesus Christ today?
How far will I go to share Christ with them in a way that is meaningful and genuine to THEM?
- If I am playing it safe,
- saving for a raining day,
- relying on the faithful and successful hard work I’ve done in the past.
Who will reach this person/s if not me, who and if today, when?
The power of Paul’s model is that every day, everywhere I look or go, is a day to share Christ with someone.
So with whom and how will I do this at home? at work? at school? in travels? in my recreation? in my hobbies? in my sufferings? in my study? in my service?
Be prepared to Share Christ wherever, with whomever, however, because of forever.
tell that to your neighbor:
I’m ready to Share Christ wherever, with whomever, however, because of God’s love is forever.
if you don’t mean it, Paul is calling us to cease the opportunities around us.
if you do, then your words are liturgy of praise and celebration.