1 Corinthians 9:16-23 “Let’s Go to the Neighbors

Do Your Neighbors Know Joy and Grace in Christ like you?

As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “”Everyone is searching for you.”” He answered, “”Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.”” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons. [NRSA: 1 COR 9:16-23]

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
February 7, 2021 Video:

  • 5th Sunday after the Epiphany
  • February 7, 2021
  • Video Link:

Jesus did an unexpectedly good job at the synagogue teaching and casting out demons, but his mission and ministry is not to be spent just in one town.

His healing of Simon Peter’s mother opened the can of worms! Everyone who had not come to the synagogue the day before was now showing up at the house to be healed and set free.

Again we think of Jesus being the Great Physician and healer, as he gives witness to the power of God, but his primary mission was not to heal family and friends.

Jesus model’s teach, healing, setting people free from all sorts of evil, obsession and addiction. He reaches out to his disciples, their families and those who they shared about what Jesus might do for them.

But the mission is more than one lesson, one town, one family, or even one community…

For all the out-pouring of power and healing, Jesus is intentional about claiming time away from the work. It is not simple taking his vacation days, rather making time and making and a way, and making a space that is AWAY from everyone else, for his renewal.

As an itinerant ministry i am claiming a personal place that is apart and away. , I have been on I’ve been using some of my personal time to build a place to pray ; It’s made from pallets, used doors and leftover parts from previous projects. But it is a place that I have dreamed about for many years. It is a 32 square feet set apart from all other responsibilities this is a place of prayer and renewal. I’m calling it a chapel. If it is ever empty you are welcome to visit, but if I’m there you will have to wait for me to leave. It’s not finished and it’s not heated but it is a work in progress… just as i am.

But Jesus’s ministry was not to stay sequestered alone as monk in a monastery, he ministry was to share God’s power and presence with the next neighborhood.

It is time to go to the neighbors.

We have made several attempts to start a ministry to the neighbors who live in close proximity to our church building as a response to Jesus’s own call to do the very same ministry.

When we have been moved out of our own building, we have been given the chance to see what it is like for our neighbors who have no church family, no relationship with Christ. We now have felt what it is to look from the outside in and wonder, grieve, and be tempted by so many distractions from being the body of Christ.

We have not been to our neighbors in Culebra and Costa Rica, We have not been to our neighbors in the name of safety and we find ourselves on the edge of wondering when we will be the body, united again…

Jesus’s discovery from his time in prayer and renewal was this: It’s good to be with family and friends, but there are other neighbors that are our primary work.

If anything, this past year has awakened the call to

1. Lift the hand of those who are sick

2. Lift the heart of those who grieve

3. Lift the hope of those who have given up or given in

4. Lift the Spirit of those who are feel forgotten

5. Lift the Spirit of those who have forgotten the joy of fellowship

6. Lift the foot of those who have stumbled and lost their way

7. We too have been in that wilderness and place of separations and yet we know Christ is with us. —- we have neighbors who we don’t even know.

THE ministry of Disciples is to disciple others

We have less than two weeks before Ash Wednesday. We will have some variation of a worship service on the 17th to make the beginning of our journey to the neighbors.

What is needed? Jesus was calling, training, teaching, and sending disciples to make beyond the walls to reach the neighbors.

Here is the measure of what it means to be RSUMC, or every church… To be the church of Jesus’s Christ in 2021 is to be making disciples

? What, that’s not new and creative? The mission has not changed by our method need to be fresh and meaningful, but the message has not changed. Our call has not changed…

Every person in our church family can disciple someone their know or someone God leads us to…. in every age and faith experience… there are people God needs us to reach. (Others may have tried, we are called to go next.)

What does this look like?

1. Standup to follow.

2. Spending time in prayer

3. Looking for Jesus

4. Be ready to follow where the Holy Spirit is leading us…

If you feel even the nudge of this calling make some sign to God, raise you hand, stand where you are, put in writing, type it in the comments, shout it out. Claim this as the moment that we activate our mission for Christ in 2021. Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Here I am, I am yours. Make is so, amen.

  1. Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: