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myoikos

The Crew: Susanna: Fellowship, Stanford, Genetic Biology, Palo Alto, CA Luke: Student, USAFA, AFIT, Dayton, OH Frances Brantley: Student, Baylor School, Chattanooga, TN; Daughter and Sister Wendy Williams Brantley: Hook Marketing, CEO; Mom and Wife John Brantley: Clergy, UMC Elder at Rock Spring UMC, oikos:itsahouseholdword, CIO of Hook Marketing. King of Kotimme.com [Clergy, Author, Writer, Seeker and Poet]

John 1:29-42

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter ). [NRSA]

The beginning of becoming disciples

From the Text: we see the prophetic promises

• fulfilled from Isaiah through a John the Baptist

• Jesus is baptized and calls us join him in that adoption

He invites followers to listen to him

Jesus calls followers to follow

Followers listen to Jesus

Followers follow

Even as leaders we follow Jesus

… Last week we all heard a good example of what it means to radically listen and radically follow Jesus invitation. Todd reminded us that to follow Jesus might take us away from our family, away from our comforts, away from our plans. We appreciate and admire someone’s journey when they follow so radically. But as passionate was their story.. I ask you today to where and to what is God invite you to go and to do today?

We don’t all have a calling to the Bush of Africa

A. But one thing that Todd shared is that he and his wife we listening to God

B. And they heard go, and then go back, and then stay and keep listening.

The question for us today is

1. Are we listening? Are we asking for God’s leading and direction or are we relying on what God told us two years or two decades ago and have not genuinely stopped to listen, in light of where we current are.

2. Do we not listen because we don’t want to hear something that might lead away from our comforts of what is familiar or easy…

3. John heats and tell Andrew, Andrew listens and follows, Andrew reaches out to his brother with what he had heard.

4. He bring Simon, Simon listens and is transformed. Simon now becomes Peter, the Rock Man, we people of the Rock, Rock Spring….

There are two profound part to give our attention tot his morning:

A. Jesus continue to call us now, through others

B. Jesus continues to call other, through you.

What are we hearing Jesus needs us to be, do or go?

What are others hearing and seeing from Jesus through us?

Both demand our attention if we are follow Jesus

I said two weeks ago and will say again,

Now more than any time in our lifetime, Jesus Long’s for us to

• listen,

• follow, and

• share.

Discipleship

The shift from living in anticipation of faith

theological we shift from anticipation of Jesus to a season of living with Christ, listening, following and sharing with others.

All of us don’t need to go to the Bush, but all of us need to be following Christ’s call.

Where ARE you in this journey?

I think everyone here has heard of Jesus

We come together to sing, study and hear the words of Jesus’s teaching

Where do we see Jesus day? Or do we?

What is Jesus saying to you this week or today?

Are willing to take the day for Jesus or simple a few minutes now and then

How am I responding to Jesus’s call to follow

How am I bringing others

How am I being transformed

How is Jesus using me, you, RS in this day?

This is where we benefit from fellowship… small group, prayer partners, faith friends

Someone or group that is small enough to listen to one another

Strong enough to to provide accountability

Loving enough to challenge us to allow Christ to continue transforming us together?

• If I know what Jesus asks me to do and I’m doing it, you have good news we all need to hear

• If you know but are not doing anything about it then get to it now

• If you don’t know it’s time to pray study ask, seek Jesus from those who have heard

• If you have tried and failed, learn why and try again

• If you are scare to start because you know things will be different in your life hear the stories and witness of those who have heard

• If you don’t know where to begin, here John’S question of Jesus: where are you,that I can come listen and get to know you and learn your call for my life.

Today is the day for doing, acting, responding and not just thinking

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Isaiah 60:1-9 Arise the Light is Shining

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; they shall be acceptable on my altar, and I will glorify my glorious house. Who are these that fly like a cloud, and like doves to their windows? For the coastlands shall wait for me, the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your children from far away, their silver and gold with them, for the name of the Lord your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he has glorified you. [NRSV]

A prophetic word from Isaiah reminding and foretelling of God’s Light and Hope is coming.

  • The image of nursing mothers
  • A radiant light in the darkness
  • Camels, Doves, and Flocks
  • some come bringing God and Frankincense
  • they will come from far away lands, from the ends of the earth
  • all because of the Glory of God’s works, the Holy One of Israel.

This is a prophecy calling that we see fulfilled

  • in the night sky as shepherds watch their flocks by night,
  • The Glory of the Lord is shone in the darkness to the least, the last and the lost.
  • The Nations shall bring gifts of Gold and incense, Frankincense to Glorify my Host, My House

700 Years priory to the Birth of Jesus, Isaiah is preparing the people in darkness to look for a great and glorious light.

  • You and I are those who know the whole story.
  • We know what the Light of the World is all about
  • We look at the darkness of sin, lies, deceptions, divisions, and corruption and we see the power of REVERSAL

Matthew 2: 6-16

“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’ ” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.  On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.  Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”  Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt,  and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”  When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. [NRSA]

  • Where we see DARKNESS, DEATH, SIN, and BROKENESS
    • We have the Glory of the Heavenly HOST singing and working with us.
  • Where we see 1 Night/day, 1 child/person, 1 church, our witness is intended for a world of folks struggling in darkness.
    • We have the GIFTS of the WORLD’s wealth to be used for GOOD
  • Where the are those working against us, God has another plan, another way
    • Our paths may differ from our expectations, but God has GOOD, HOPE, Light, LIfe for us

Arise, God’s Light is Shining through US!

  • We were not in the fields
  • We didn’t travel from far countries
  • We didn’t look into the manger that night
    • BUT
  • We can see the power the darkness in our world
  • We can see the ends of the earth on our screens
  • We can see the fulfilling of God’s continuing Story, shining and giving light in a world filled with politics, corruption, and division.
  • We have all the pieces and see how God fits them together throughout time for times like the days and nights we living through now.

This the day of Hope!

  • What the world intends for evil, God brings new life.
  • This is our mission, this is our calling, this is our charge, this is our responsibility
  • Where there is darkness, we shine the light of christ
  • Where there is not enough, we bring the wealth to the feet of Jesus
  • Where there are reasons to fight among ourselves God way will not be stopped, the question is will we be looking for worship with sheep,
  • Will we be those who following the political voice, or follow the songs of angels and the prayers of wisemen.

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Lk 2:1-20 Great Joy

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. [NRSV]

The angels pronounce Jesus as:
A savior,
the Messiah,
the Lord

1. Numerous people have saved us and maybe we too have saved others from hunger, fear, grief and loss.
2. Many have been our political Lords and leaders, most all of us have been entrusted with leading others.
3. But none of us is the Messiah.

The angels proclaim that not only has God’s leader come to the world, not only do we find a savior for our sins, we also find God with us, Christ-mas. Emanuel, The power love and joy of God is revealed in Jesus the Christ.

And not only has the Long awaited Messiah come to live amount us, we have in him the greatest Joy!

What is the the great joy?

There are many joys we experience in our lives:
Family, Children and grands
Home, Vocations, Careers and the fruit of our labors
The beauty of each season
The treasures of traditions and memories
But what is the greatest joy?

I believe we don’t often live as if we have found the greatest joy
Recall in Jesus’s parable of the Great Pearl, once found the person traded all they had to purchase the Great Pearl.

So often we continue looking for more than what we have found by faith in Christ.

Just as the disciples of John the Baptizer who had heard and seen the words and deeds of Jesus but when he did not fulfill the idea they held, the questioned and doubted the news concerning Jesus.

We live knowing the joy of Christ, yet with live without the “mas” part of Christmas throughout the years.

“Mas” being the dwelling presence of Christ in our daily life and nightly rest. Christ-mas, Christ-with-us.

Tonight is a family occasion as a church community, but it is also I personal time of affirmation and reaffirmation. I come to the place where my strength ends and Gods joy begins, you and I kneel as those who gathered in the fields around Bethlehem, like those around the manger , we kneel before our Lord and,
Worship
Rejoice
Give Thanks
And find ourselves filled with the Love and Power of God.

Come to the Throne of God, come to the heart of God, come to source of life and love and be made new, set your spirit aflame by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Tonight we have come to our journey’s purposeful end:
To find Jesus Christ alive, renewed and coursing in our breath and bodies.

You and I are the witness of God’s savior, Lord and Messiah.
You and I are entrusted to live out the work and joy of the Lord
If you have never proclaimed Jesus Christ as your savior then claim him now
If you have said the words but lost the power and drive of the Holy Spirit give yourself again, our king awaits us
If you have that spirit passion then reach out to those who are lost, searching, wandering, squandering and afraid and offer them his great Joy

God wants to move in with us, today and every day and for eternity
The world is filled with broken, angry, selfish and hardened hearts
Join the angels, shepherd, magi and family of God until the world know the great joy by
heart and faith,
in song and deed,
in day and night

Join me as we come to his table set for us all
Join in the bread and cup of forgiveness and eternal joy.
Death is no more our fear
God is our life, our light, our power and our love.

This is the great joy!
And God has blessed us with this gift to have and to share.

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Psalm 80 “Restore Us”

Restoration

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure. You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves. Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved [NRSA]

Let the congregation say it again: “O God of heaven, let your face shine, that we may be saved, amen!”

The Psalm is a song of lament and a confession of sin, as well as a prayer for salvation.

how long we have we babe know sorry, fear, separation, defeat, calamity, trouble and loss. We have cried so among tears, they are our drink.

how long have we been seen as less than enough, how long have we been taken advantage, how long have we been the butt of the joke and ‘that’ ring or on our road or street?

how long have our enemies had more than we have had, how long have we been defeated, belittle and bullied? How long have we lived by our enemies standards and expectations?

now is the time to call upon the lord. Now the day for us to remember who’s family we belong. Now is the season for us to turn to Gods power, as we have found ourselves broken and powerless.

These are the word of lament.
These are the words of confession.
What is left to be done?

The Congregation calls for God to show up.
the congregation calls for God to shine upon their darkness and brokenness.

Come Lord with your mighty presences.
We need to see you face.
We need you to be with us, here and now

The call in this act of worship is for God to shine his presence, his might and his light on our darkness, fear, shame and selfishness…

we could never have done enough, know enough, worshipped enough, we are not enough, without you or God…come Show up and restore us.

This is the congregation crying out for what we already know and find in Jesus Christ.

The worshipers would gather in the temple cry out to God. “ O God of Heaven, Let your face shine, and save us.
People were ask for the tangible, physical, powerful presence of God to be present and to restore them from their sin.

Jesus, as Messiah, was not a surprise nor and afterthought of God, even way back then people knew from life’s of emptiness and brokenness that only God could show up to save us…

this is the good news of Christmas!

God is showing us Gods glory, power and life for us to be saved, restored, redeemed and made wholle.

“I don’t need anything for Christmas” not true!
I need Jesus to shadiness his face upon us and make us new and that becomes our peace, joy, love and faith.

another way to say, Lord of Heaven, give me your mighty power that I might be renewed, save, rekindled, for you and your glory, not mine but your.

This is the Christmas gift we seek, and share.. Merry Christmas and may Christ save and restore you today!

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Psalm 146:5-10 Praise the Lord!

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; 7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; 8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. 9 The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 10 The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord!  [NRSA]

  1. At the core of celebrating Christmas is the telling God’s story
  2. It is not a New Story
  3. It is a Story of Good News for a Broken World
  4. It is Your Story to Live

It may be somewhat strange to turn to the Psalms to hear the Good News of Christmas. Be reminded that God who has been calling all people to trust him, has the same heart of love shown in creation, revealed through out shared history, made plane in the manger in Bethlehem, is the same love and message of hope for the world.

Question 1: Do you know God’s Good News in your life?

The Good News that Jesus makes plain is fortold in the worship songs, the Psalms. Here in Psalm 146 the song retells that our HAPPINESS comes from God and not our things, not our money, not our success, not our accomplishment, RATHER – Our Joy and Hope come from God..

If you and I are looking for Joy and Hope in others things and other relationships they will all disappoint us if God is not in them.

Look around, in the world, in our community, in our church, in our homes, in our own hearts: We do not always place God first in our hearts, minds and soul.

Question 2: Are you persuaded and guided by God’s Hope? 

If you believe God is at work in the world today and in your life, you have the very message that God has been trying to share with the world. It only takes a moment to see the brokenness and fear that leads people’s hearts, minds and spirits to know — Faith, Hope and Love are precious gifts that need to be shared and unwrapped.

I have to believe that most everyone of us would want to answer, “YES!” I am persuaded! I believe God loves the world and God desires the world around me to see, hear and experience God’s love through my life. (your life). But in how many short minutes or seconds before our pride, our greed, our selfishness, our demons, our dependancies, our fears tempt, test and tear us away?

Question 3. Do you remember that it is God’s Story in us and not the reverse.

Psalm 146 calls the people of God, while in worship, to remember the eternal power God has for us, who believe and serve. The words are comfort to those held captive, those blind, and those oppressed. The Lord lifts up the stranger, the orphan and the widow. The Good News to which Jesus preaches in his first home-town sermon. 

The part of the sermon that gets him run out of town is that God is not saving the lost and empowering the powerless to do their own thing, God is blessing us to be God’s servants, witnesses and messengers.

The Psalm is clear that God is not about supporting wickedness, pride, greed, fear, brokenness and sin. God has come to free us from these things, but not to return to them as our master. 

The 4 Question is this: Who is entrusted to tell and live the story? 

Is it those who test the Lord loving-kindness or those who follow God’s ways?  The Psalms sings: Praise the Lord! (Not look what I want, what You want, what I need, what you need… The seperation we experience and witness in the world is that we turn our hearts away from our hope and salvation. 

As a culture-of-church we have become more of an institution, an organization and a entity of operations. We talk about OUR ministry, OUR building, OUR mission, and OUR church. We hear the Psalmist remind us, that we about God’s ministry, God’s heart, God’s temple, God’s work and God’s witness. 

As a culture-of-church we have grown to expect someone else to do the work and us to receive the ‘Cliff-notes’ gift-pack that makes it easy to receive. When we expect to be served, we are not serving. When we anticipate the transaction of getting because we have given. Whew think of ourselves as entitled to the benefits of membership, we need to revisit the words of the Psalms: Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. 

In our journey toward Christmas and rekindling the presence of Christ in ourlives, know this:

  • God is calling us to worship him
  • God is calling us to repent of our sins, fears and selfishness
  • God is calling us to trust him 
  • God is calling me (state your name) to be the witness to the world
  • IF THIS IS OUR TO DO LIST: We need Christ to be our
    • Our Strength
    • Our Good News
    • Our Word
    • and OUR HOPE

Prayer: Lord make us yours, be our strength, draw us to your word and call, and open the hearts and minds of everyone we meet to receive you through our words and witness of your power, love and grace. Amen.

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Isaiah 2:1-5 Walking in Light

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord! [NRSA]

Walking in the Light

Just last night I stubbed my little toe for the third time this week. OOOh. OWwww. UMph! I was not looking where I was stepping. I was thinking of my destination and didn’t pay attention to the path. I suppose I am as stubborn and my toe pays the price.

This first Sunday of Advent is a call to walk the path of light.  We will see the path in the words of prophets from long ago, in the brilliance of angel songs, in the order of distant stars and throughout the witness of God’s word for us and for the world.

If the world is to be transformed by the AWESOME work and news we find at Christmas it will not be through packages, decorations and jolly traditions of giving. We find Christ when we follow the path Christ’s light leads us, and then, only then, other traditions may follow.

The Advent Tradition Reveals our Journey

We will light candles of Hope Peace Joy and Love

These are our milestone markers along the way

Week One

Start Walking – Walking in the Light

Start disciplines of singing, reading, preparing for Christ.

The Characters

With Luke’s Gospel, start reading and studying the core story in Chapter 1 and the start of 2. You will surely know the stories but read them with an intention to retell them, teach them, and find your presence in the stories. 

  • Are you the parent? 
  • A child?
  • a messenger? 
  • an unbeliever? 
  • a doubter? 
  • a late-night employee? 
  • The aunt or uncle? 
  • a bystander? 
  • one blessed ready to serve? 
  • one who was scared? 

We can find ourselves in many if not most of these throughout our lives.. These are the perspectives 

The prophet Amos had a son, Isaiah, one of the most prolific prophets of God’s people, has a word for all of God’s people, those of the North and the South; those of the Left and the Right; a word for those Then and for us Now!

Listen Up!

 Advent is our Journey toward Christmas

  • It is an upward climb up the highest mountain, with a the greatest view
  • The path is a process with purpose and faithfulness.
  • Instructions are for the world and not the reverse
  • The Word of the Lord is from Jerusalem for the world to hear, see, believe and trust
  • We have a judge among the nations
  • The judgment will be working toward peace and not war
  • The work will be transformational
  • Everyone in the house, listen up and be ready for the journey
  • It is time to walk in the light.

I have enjoyed many hikes in my life. The memorable ones were not easily accomplished. The same will be true for our spiritual journey this month. We are tempted to take the ride up to the top or look at someone else’s photos taken at the summit but we are cheating ourselves from the hike.

Isaiah’s call is to follow the path.

There are times that the adventure is off the beaten path, but the spiritual path toward finding Christ born afresh and anew in outlives is found following God’s path.

God’s path follows

  • the wisdom of prophets
  • the messages of angels
  • the call of faithfulness, and 
  • the steadiness of trusting God to be revealed in the process.

There is not a shortcut in spiritual growth.

Our Task is to make Peace

We know Jesus is the Prince of Peace and if we are following Christ’s path, it will be a journey of peacemaking.

It is worth great note that Isaiah is addressing a divided kingdom.

The answer is not for the northern or southern kingdom to yield to one or the other, RATHER

BOTH are to yield toward God’s heart

     The witness of doing God’s Work revealed in Christ is to TRANSFORM the elements of the

     battle into implements of building, feeding, clothing and healing the nations.

We have witnessed a great day of rivalries in the college football world this weekend.

  • It is easy to take sides
  • maintain traditions
  • cheer for our team
  • and boo the enemies
  • It’s a fun legacy of honoring alma mater and celebrating traditions

But it is just the opposite of the work we have ahead of us as those looking for Christ.

We begin in the HOPE of peace.

Before HOPE is fulfilled for us in CHRIST, begin our work of TRANSFORMING the things that divide us so that we are less apt to resume a battle if we are not preparing for battle.

We have friends whose child just got accepted to UT, the mother is an alumnus of Vanderbilt, she was lamenting the wearing of Orange. We reminded her that she could wear White and Smokey Grey and still show her support as a loving mother.

In the weightier matters of our lives, we see the division of politics and the best place to transform the weapons might be social media. Avoid the public responses that brand and shame, and find ways to communicate one-to-one in ways bridge rather than promote the fight.

There are times that we are scared, threatened, challenged, inconvenienced, tested and even attacked and out self-preservation is to return the attack or withdraw. Nations become divided when people stop treating one another with respect and trust. Instead of working toward the same goal, selfishness wins.

The church is divided over selfishness in the name of God. That is actually blasphemy

The nation is divided over power in the name of Good. That is delusion

When families or friends are divided over agendas. That is polarization

Blasphemy – Delusions – Polarizations have NOTHING to do with the path of God’s Kingdom.

The Road to Christ

is shedding the tools of fear and brokenness 

Transforming these talents for those that build 

Trust in God, A quest for God’s Heart and the unity that ONLY God can provide.

We celebrate these being made clearest and nearest through Jesus Christ.

What’s Next

First, Start climbing, spend the time, words, relationships, and tools we have on God’s path and not our own.

         Confess our sins, fear, brokenness, selfishness, shame, and journey together

May the first week of December/ Advent be transforming ourselves to become God’s implements, God’s people

  • God’s prophets, 
  • healers, 
  • teachers, 
  • builders, and 
  • all those who know to stay on God’s path of Light.

This is our HOPE to start the climb.

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Colossians 1:11-20 “Joyfully Giving Thanks”

from Charlie Browns Christmas Movie

May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers–all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him, all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him, God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. [NRSA]

We are thankful for many things. Our litany of appreciations includes the usual, family, health, home and nation and for those who helped us preserve our great opportunities. But one thing is missing from this list that differs between Thanksgiving and Paul’s words to the church at Colosse: Giving God Thanks, Joyfully. 

Paul reminds us of why we encourage one another to not only be thankful but to GIVE thanks. Because of God’s work and love of us through CHRIST.

And we say to ourselves,

  • that’s semantics,
  • Just say what you were going to say and remember to give God some ‘love’n’
  • Give God some credit
  • make sure you name God and Jesus in your lists of thanksgiving appreciations.
  • Check that off the list and get to the turkey and fixing, ball games and naps.

Paul’s words to the Church have little to do with our tradition of natives and settlers sharing a meal of fellowship.

Paul is reminding us to order life in God’s Purpose.

(he is reminding us that the Home Run life is living in the fruit of God’s grace and purpose:

Say to your neighbor: I am Thankful God. I am thankful for God.

  • It is because of God, that we HAVE a share in Christ’s inheritance.
  • It is because Christ has rescued us from sin and death,
  • It is through Christ that we are children of light and 
  • It is through Christ that we are co-heirs of God’s kingdom.
  • It is Jesus that we give thanks.

Remind Your Neighbor of Paul’s words to the church: I am thankful for Jesus

  • Jesus who makes God visible and approachable to God,
  • It is because of God’s Power who has 
  • authority and power above all other things.
  • It is because God has created all things for God’s purpose,
  • The cause to give thanks is that even though God who is the author of all things, has created us for God’s purposes, for God’s order. God’s order is through the church. 

Tell another neighbor: I am thankful God purpose include us in the church

  • God is the head of the body
  • God is the beginning of the purpose
  • God is the author of life.
  • God who is all this, places God’s own self into Jesus who then sacrifices himself for us.

As Christians, we are to take every day to GIVE GOD THANKS, but on this holiday of THANKSGIVING, we witness to the world about what God has done and is doing in the world.

Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the gang recall our national heritage of breaking bread and giving thanks because of the fruitful work of cooperation and teamwork. And we can “KEEP” the tradition going for another generation and NEVER mention the PRIMARY reasons we have to be THANKFUL AND GIVE THANKS.

Tell your neighbor there is a difference between BEING Thankful and GIVING Thanks.

“There is a difference between BEING Thankful and GIVING Thanks.

When acknowledging all the things, people and opportunities we have we are tempted to highlight only what we have done or to

highlight what others have done, but 

BUT, as PEOPLE of JESUS CHRIST

Paul is reminding us to ALWAY be GIVING Thanks to God.

What does that mean in every day life and 

how Does this make our Holiday different from a national tradition.

IT IS A THIRD BASES activity. To use our Home Run Life model.

We are taking the context of a National Holiday and to REMIND one another and to 

WITNESS to the WORLD, that God is the FIRST recipient of our THANKS and PRAISE

  • GIVE our Praise to God
  • GIVE credit to God
  • GIVE Christ the appreciation

Actively connect the skills, relationships, opportunities we have as gifts from GOD.

  • And then has God is at work in the others in our lives

And then as God is work in our blessings and labors

Therefore for us, as the church and the people of Jesus Christ

May we use this occasion to teach the nation, the world and one another

  • that would not be the people we are without God
  • we would not have to peace and love without Christ
  • we would not have purpose, power, and plan without God’s Holy Spirit.

This is the difference in REMEMBERING history, tradition, and values, and LIVING, modeling and thriving in the authority of God, the love of Christ and power of the Spirit.

Tonight we gather to give thanks as a church family

This week we gather with others to give thanks

my invitation to you, through Paul’s words,

  • it to make it about all about God, make all about Jesus, make it all about the church
  • and we will not only show our love and praise to God
  • We will teach the world the Good News and WHY we are Thankful.

Give it all to God

Tell you neighbor :  “I am all in for God.”  I AM ALL IN, 

Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus; Thank you Jesus, my Savior, My God

You have Bought me, You have brought me, YOU have brought me a mighty long way 

and I Thank You…

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Getting Past 3rd Base

HOME RUN LIFE     Week 4

On the way, but not yet home…

Romans 12:1-2

So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature. [CEB]

Getting Past Third Base Pressures and Temptations

What’s On Third? 

1. Have you ever worried about money?

2. Have you ever struggled with people at work?

3. Have you had others measuring your performance/success?

Third is the place our Talents, Skills, and Opportunities 

Intersect with the Expectations of the World.

Life is more than 3rd Base

Q: Is my purpose in life to meet the world’s or God’s expectation?

  • My PURPOSE is in my CREATOR, 
  • not my CAREER, WEALTH, nor MY MIND
  • Therefore I live AND work for my CREATOR first!

A Home Run Life is actually putting God ahead of everything

What does that look like in our lives?

  1. God is my provider, I TRUST in God.   – Begin day focused in GOD
  2. God is provider, I WORK for God.   – Colossians 3:22-25
  3. God is my provider, I WAIT for God’s FAVOR.  – Joshua 23 (1:1000)

When we are living in God’s Character, building relationships with others in God, God will provide a way for us to be successful in God’s Work in our 3rd base opportunities and responsibilities.

Which of these gives me more trouble today?

Don’t WALK when we should be RUNNING  – a life of working for Jesus Christ, God doesn’t bless crap.

There is no way to be 100 in every area of our lives unless we follow God’s pattern. Giving our BEST

(Story of the House cleaner who got a second chance — a $1.61 — the only one who found all the gifts. 

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Second Base: Home Run Life Series

How do you get in scoring position?

Batten Joyner of Vets Pets stands on second base after hitting a stand-up double in a recent Wilson City Little League ages 7-8 Single-A League at Gillette Baseball Complex. WCLL

Any coach will tell you that when on Second, the next hit is a potential run.

Catch up / Review: To have a home run life there is a pattern God uses: Romans

  • Home —  Connecting with God
  • First —   Character – win within
  • Second — Community – Win with people
  • Third — Competence, Results
  • Begins and ends with God

THE ORDER MATTERS

  • The world runs backward
  • When we run for results first, we cheat ourselves, relationships and God.
  • We think we don’t have time for the long way
  • Running backward, we get thrown out

Second Base:  Scoring position, the relationship of Character and Community

PRINCIPLE: Figures out what counts on the last day, so that you know to count every day.

a. Your last day on earth is your first in heaven. What is going to matter in heaven. — live like you know you will be in heaven.

b. Learn from the places of perspective. Second base sits before the performance, it is a place of perspective. Is 6.49 40-     James 4:14

c. God is great I am not

d. Stuff is temporary, souls are eternal

e. Only two things that last forever:    God’s word and  People

f. We love people and use things, NOT use people and love things

             CHARLIE BROWN.. I love the world it’s the people

SECOND BASE SKILLS FOR OUR RELATIONSHIPS

follow God’s example, walk in the way of love — second base

just as Christ loved us, just as he gave himself for us…

SKILLS to love as God loves

  1. keep your word —- connect the character God makes in your relationships.
  2. Keep your calendar aligned with your relationships.  — make the time
  3. Keep Short Accounts  – learn to forgive
  • You forgive what you cannot fix and
  • let God do the rest
  • have to love as God loves
  • when you get a raw deal, deal with it right
  • Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place

Before we turn the corner on third, take the standing double perspective to see through the relationships, as people of God’s Character, what matters are the people and God’s word, and when we love as God loves we are prepared to produce God’s fruit.

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Romans 12:1-2 From Home to First: Home Run Life Series

What is your on-base percentage?

1 I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. [NRSA]

Recap of the Home Run Life

Connect, Character, Community, Competence

  • The pattern God uses to grow us.
  • Know you know what God is doing
  • The world starts backward

How do you get on base to get the Home Run life?

  • Get to God’s purpose with God’s power
  • First God wants to change you, Character, personal base, win within
  • Second base, Community, where you win with others
  • Third Base, competence, performance, results, success in life, true success

The pattern

Rom 12:1-2, offer yourself as living sacrifices, no longer conform to the pattern of this world

  • God’s pattern is clockwise, God wise
  • The World’s pattern is counter, backwards, 
  • We run toward performance

That is CHEATING

  • relationship
  • character
  • God
  • and self

YOU GET THROWN OUT before we get to first.

“Too busy to be in bible, worship, sun, small group, prayer, etc..

Home plate to First base?

  • a third of batters Strikeout
  • The next third, get thrown out before getting first base
  • The Earlier we get this the better we are off in life.
  1. Things to know
    1. IN the Vine, is the power to win within, When I drift from the vine, I drift into vice.
    2. There is a flow of power, that moves from the main vine, which powers the branch for the fruit
      1. You have a power not available anywhere else
      2. If you live disconnected from God’s power your only power is vice.
      3. You can have to power to connect how you can nowhere else
      4. STAY connected
        1. When we get a spiritual high, we get comfortable, we begin to believe its OUR power
        2. We return to the old self, It was always God’s Power
        3. IF I DRIFT from the VINE I return to the old VICES.
    3. Lamp. I am the socket, you are the cord, and you will light the world through me.
    4. (NEED A LAMP AND POWER CORD)
  1. Things to do

Three major swings

  1. Live for the Truth
    1. IF someone says, there is no absolute truth, its all contextual. That statement is an absolute assumption and thus a contradiction
    2. Consequences of not seeking the Truth
    3. Father in heaven longs for us to know GOD’s Truth
    4. STORY: Father/Son   Home Run dad, finally lesson to learn about outs, rules, when the father reminds rules, warns and then tags out between 2 and 3rd, son keeps running home and slides… “home Run Dad. No, you’re out. No, it’s my ball, my bat, may bases, and I say it’s a homer.”  (not the truth)
    5. If we continue living by our rules and the world’s rules then were already out before we go to bat. 
  1. PLUG INTO THE VINE
    1. We can make things too complicated
    2. Agricultural example  We see grapes they are connected to a vine through the branch.
    3. Electrical Example. PLUG in, Light up,  you have light for your life
      1. if you disconnect you are in the dark.

1st Base is connecting to God through Character-building activities

  1. Worship,
  2. Study
  3. Prayer
  4. Fellowship
  5. Small-Group

<example of being stuck in the car shut down…  Drive-thru at McDonald’s, WHAT IF SOMETHING IS DISCONNECTED>

Look at all the places that frustrate and 

it couldn’t be as simple as being plugged into God or unplugged from God

CHAPTER 5 in the book, (if you don’t have it get it, if you have it read it and share it.)

What does it mean for you to be in GOD’s WORD

  • Work at it
  • and reset your expectation

How do you get into God’s word

  • Have a time in God’s work or in prayer
  • if you don’t break through you are not connected

SO GO get to work, wrestle it down

  • REMAIN IN the VINE
  • STAY CONNECTED

God wants to take us, that only God can take us.

We need to reconnect.

God wants to go to FIRST BASE CHARACTER

  1. DRAW THE LINK

When you are living for truth and stay connected to the vine

God will reveal where sin is.. God will draw a line, to free you up to get on base.

This is how much God loves you

Acknowledge the lines and trust God, stay connected, yield

Romans 6  WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US

6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For he who has died is freed from sin. 8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. 9 For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13 Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. [NRSA]

We are dead to sin and alive to Christ

Vs. 6  Old self is dead to sin, so we are no longer dead to sin, since Jesus has conquered to live in Christ Jesus

Do not let sin reign 

vs 14 sin will no longer be your sin

vs 17  Thanks be to God you used to be slaves you now have allegiance to God, slaves to righteousness

Easy sins may go quickly but there are likely one or two, in your neighbor.. .haha

confession time

FEAR – Fear of rejection, failure, disappointment, approval, financial fear

LUST – want for food, material things, physical desires, success wealth, 

WORRY –  what I have given up before even trying for the power of worry.

a longing to indulge without moderation

Romans 6 is true

\a consistent connection is essential to get to first base, to not be lost to sin, to be out, to be disconnected

GOD conquers sin, but we have to remain in the vine, connected.

None of us is perfect, RIGHT?

we can all be tempted

I can make errors

PRO’s still make errors, look at the bloopers TAPE

<Blooper videos>

Frustrating, WE DROP the ball spiritually

We don’t have to be owned by sin

FEAR, LUST, WORRY are mine,

What are you three?

What is the one that Keeps getting you thrown out?

A Sacred moment, 

surrender to break the cycle of sin in your life

Card: NO NAMES, No copying? No peeking? 

What is the thing that is costing you from getting close to God?

Give it as a sin offering

  • Temper
  • lust
  • worry
  • gossip
  • slander
  • criticalness
  • bitterness
  • grief
  • drunkenness
  • addictions
  • adultery
  • porn
  • Fear
  • Pray over, break the cycle of sin… 

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