Archive for June, 2019
Now when the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” He responded, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over. [NRSV]
What Mantle Are you leaving?
Elijah is leaving the work to Elisha.
- “It will take two of me to equal one of you.”
vs. Passing the Torch
- Money and possessions are valuable
- How to use these resources is most valuable.
What is a
- The touch-point of the witness of faithfulness.
What to hand
on to the next generation?
- Letters, stories, photos. or songs
- Art, crafts, textiles, or garments.
- Tokens, Tools, Table, or
Samples of Mantles that have shaped me and my faith:
- Pocket Watch – Story of Family and Generations of faith
- Cheese Biscuit Recipe – love of cooking and feeding people
- Guitar – love of music and craftsmanship
- Round Kitchen Table – Everyone has a place at a round table
- Bible – Treasure of knowledge
- 6oz Coke – Less is More
What is we leave nothing?
The next generation will have to start fresh with our mistakes and their own.
Not assuming that the next generation will figure out what our mantle means, we have to attach the meaning and lesson to the token itself.
Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you. s20190623
Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”– for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss. Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him. [NRSV]
This is a long story in comparison to the parables of Jesus
The wild and crazy guy, let’s call him Steve (1980s ref)
Is known by the towns people as the wild, crazy, possessed dangerous beast outside of town.
This beast was somewhat under the spell of many demons. And Jesus comes to set him free. By showing love for the unloved man he becomes Jesus’s disciple and follower.
The towns folks had been afraid of the beast. They had tried to chain him but he was stronger than thief restraints.
His condition has been explained away by some that he suffered from mental illness. But that negates Jesus’s conversations with the host of demons in the store.
There is a clear message that evil was not removed from the world but certainly the man was now free from the power of evil because of Jesus.
This is where the story begins to be about Jesus for us as well.
Once we have given Christ the evil that controls, tempts and taunts us over to God we become a new person, even though evil remains a threat near by.
The pigs, known to be unclean, in Jewish food guide are the requested target of the demons. Now deviled ham on the run. Evil Long’s to be at home in what is ungodly and unclean.
Just as the prodigal son recognizes his place is with the father and not the pigs, so the man who was possessed by evil is also restored through God’s work in Jesus Christ.
The response of having been at the feet of Jesus is:
Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.
As we come to the table to for communion we eat what is not a boy clean but bread and cup that give new life.
The power of this whole store is in what happens after the man is man new, restored, made clean or whole:
He wants to stay in the easy comfort of Jesus feet, but is challenged to
1. Return home
2. Remember what God ha done in your life
3. Tell everyone how much God has done for you
Here is the place of homework.
When we leave this place of familiarity and comfort of worship we go into a world where evil continues to thrive and we are charged to tell the world what God ha done for us personally.
What has God done for me lately?
God has heard prayers for healing
God has heard prayer Sid frustration and doubt answering we hope and blessing
God has heard prayers of worry and uncertainty and is bringing hope and peace
God has heard cries of loss and division and is opening doors of restoring and making us knew
God has heard prayers from the lonely and answered with friendships, covenants and new partnerships
God continues to set us free
God continues to call out evil
God continues to restore us to faithful, even in a evil time
God calls his people to trust his power and grace to overcome sin, fear, anger, greed, lust, shame, and more
Our homework is to leave ready to tell everyone what Hod ha done for you
Practice – what is one thing God has done for you this year?
Not just a decade ago, or a couple of millennial ago, but what has God doing lately
If nothing comes to mind, then maybe you are feeling chained up, possessed by something or someone else. Today is a day to ask Jesus to break those things that keep us divided, afraid, alone, lost in sin. Today is a day of freedom, renewal and proclaiming God’s News For the world to see and hear.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs–in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” The LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. And the LORD said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore it was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.
Scattered by our own sin and pride
Gathered to worship and praise in the Holy Spirit
Why? God desires we be united in spirit.
The things that divide us:
- All the things that divide us are physically
- It is spiritually we find ourselves one in Christ is in the Holy Spirit
“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. “It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.” And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen. [NRSV]
Some of the most stern words of John’s Revelation of Christ.
First a contextual note:
When this was records, and biblical scholars give a range of dates around 90-100 AD which would make the closing admonition concerning “the book” related to the specific book of John’s Revelation and not referring to the Bible as a whole. Even though many people read this it is more like the conclusion of Daniel’s vision, except Daniel’s vision was sealed and John’s remains unsealed. Which means it is for both the church then and the church today.
Secondly, This vision if from John who is a religious prisoner, held on the island of Patmos, and is not likely to be the same as the author of John’s Gospel, as he would be recorded as such and the difference in age, 70-80 years, makes it most unlikely to be the same person. This is also confirmed in the difference of vocabulary and style of the author of the John’s Gospel.
We are reading the end of the story. It is the finial scene in the grand pageant of “The Apocalypse of Jesus” is a better name than the “The Revelation to John of Patmos”. This, finally, brings the need to learn a non-biblical word, Apocalypse. Websters: “the expectation of an imminent cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the ruling powers of evil and raises the righteous to life in a messianic kingdom.” calamity, cataclysm, catastrophe, debacle (also débâcle), disaster, tragedy
After the Apocalypse: At the end of this letter, this collection of visions is the final bookend of the cataclysm and catastrophe between ‘now’ and Christ’s return, during his remaking of heaven and earth as well as after.
We began with a warning to individual churches, the bookend with a final warning to all church, all living to be in Christ. We look in the rear view mirror at the revealed sights, portents, visions and accounts of heaven and are left with final words.
Again these final words are the most stern.
- 1. A call for baptism – be washing
- 2. Drink – for all who thirst
- 3. Do these because there will be those who don’t.
The stern part in revealed in those who are outside heaven. So many verses and repetitive images of Christ at the center and the multitude of those around the throne, but these final verse look outside the gate, and find a motley crew.
Those on the wrong side of Good and Evil:
- 1. Dogs and –
- a. Not a statement about animals in heaven,
- b. Is a statement about fall teachers. Jesus parables and teaching refer to those who lead others
- astray are like dogs and would be better to wear millstone necklaces.
- 2. Sorcerers and
- a. Those who search for power other than the power and workings of God and the Holy Spirit
- 3. Fornicators and
- a. Those who prefer to trample fidelity, trust and seek to satisfy physical needs OVER spiritual health.
- 4. Murderers and
- a. Those who do not value life, nor the work to find community with God’s children.
- 5. Idolaters, and
- a. Those who place wealth and possessions above God. Or those who identify themselves by
- what they have rather than whose they are.
- The One we don’t like on the list – (The catch all that might include the rest of us.)
- 6. Everyone who loves and practices falsehood
- a. Those who do not find truth in God. This is the most encompassing one.
- b. This is not about isolated behaviors nor events, but the daily practices.
- c. Do we love the comfort of routine over the challenge to mature in faith?
- (I’ve already figured that out and I’m done having my foundation rattled or threatened.
- d. Don’t question my faith or faithfulness I’m right and I know it.
- e. as well as, those who say: Go along with the crowd, with logic, with
The plumb line measure
- If we value our stuff more than God’s call to come,
- If we want every physical comfort over God’s love
- If we value our lives more than anyone else
- If we want our will, power, authority, idea, ahead of God,
- If we love fitting in with the crowd for convenience
- If we lead others astray by our actions and words or our in-action and silence.
These are the reasons that we don’t place Jesus on the throne of our lives daily and eternally.
What we do now is what we will do in heaven.
Our only hope
remains in Jesus Christ.
Finally, these parting words are the invitation to “Come”
I believe that after all is said and done in the rapture, through the judgment, through the new heaven and earth, we are stubborn folks. (We prove this here on earth, why will that be different in heaven?)
I believe with all my heart that God’s grace remains open, the gates are open, and the father runs out to the end of the road and meets us to welcome the prodigal home, but some siblings, some people, some of us will question, doubt and disagree with God and will “REMAIN OUTSIDE the HOUSE” (LK 15:11-32)
Hear the call today,
- “COME” to Jesus,
- come to hope,
- come to grace,
- come to find your thirst quenched
- come to find you heart at peace
- come to find life from your grief
- come to find forgiveness from your sin
- come to find fellowship with God’s children
- come to find home in the heart of God.
God is waiting and they questions is why do we live 1 second without him first in our heart and mind?
We believe we have more second to spare.
I tell you
There is no need to
- be outside,
- out of hope
- out of help
- out of reach
- out of sorts
- out of line
- out of love
- nor out of time.
Prayer of confession and a prayer of acceptance and reaffirmation
This is what we need and this is what we share:
- Who is among us that needs to reaffirm today?
- Who is will we see, meet, experience TODAY that needs to hear that invitation to COME
- Who will God place in our lives this week to share this joy and life
- Who will not be with us in a short time, in the blink of an eye?
The urgency is not in the second coming, the urgency is in all the seconds we live without God creating hope in this world through us.
The second and minutes, hours and day, weeks and years of seconds
The Christ is not on the throne of our hearts
The seconds and decades we struggle with the power and guide of the Holy Spirit.
The invitation is for us.. COME
- Come the faith
- Come the throne
- Come to the heart
- Come to Christ’s
- Come to the fountain
- Come to the spring
- Come to the river of live and drink, live, and thrive.