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Archive for category #donotbeafraid

Adv3: Do Zephaniah 3:14-20 Luke 3:7-18

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Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival. I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it. I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the Lord. [NRSV:OT]

John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?”  In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?”  He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.” As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people. [NRSV:NT]

Actions have consequences

  • When we do what God asks of us to do God is revealed and order and justice follows.
  • When we do not do what God asks of us we make God look bad, and chaos follows.
  • And inaction neither reflects God nor ourselves.
  • Key words: repentance, rejoice, festivity 

JOY Interrupts!

This week in the Advent season is known as the Sunday of joy. The Pink candle is the interruption of “Joy” to remind us of why we prepare for Christmas.  

Don’t rush ahead to the end of the story though, the Joy begins with God’s desire to love us, bless us, and to restore us from the chaos.  Rather than only finding meaning at the end of the journey, it is important for us to cherish the joy found along the way.

Did you ever know someone named, Zephaniah? The prophet’s text promises that the people’s fortune and future have been changed from judgment to hope, from destruction to restoration, from oppression to liberation and from dread to praise (Zeph. 3:14-20). 

This message comes in the process. Too often we are discontent and give up hope when the struggle is long, chronic and weary. Advent is our intentional infusion of joy into the journey toward Christ.

As those who know this hope in a 21st century world who is rushing toward winning, success and ‘profit’, little if any attention is give to the prophetic words of hope and joy before we arrive.

In the gospel text, John the Baptizer opens the curtains before those who seek to stop and thwart goodness and godliness of the coming of the One, the Messiah, who will bring a new act of salvation, (Lk. 3:7-18). 

The festivity right now center on the “Doing.” God has promised to change the people’s plight from a world of corruption, misplaced faith, failed authority, captivity under an oppressive powers, and inequities and injustices severely affecting the whole community. 

In the Old Testament passage we see the trouble when the spiritual folks, those concerned for holiness, worship, love for the poor, respect for God’s laws were all abandoned, and the prophet was sent to call the covenant people on it!

Eventually, God’s mercy is granted, and the promise expressed in the final chapter of Zephaniah’s divine oracle brings a new beginning. There is a song of joy in the air and a call to Do! This tiny word has a message of assurance and comfort.

“Do” implies that some action can help turn things around. In 3:16-17, we hear the prophet’s message: “On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: DO NOT FEAR, O ZION; DO NOT LET YOUR HANDS GROW WEAK. THE LORD, YOUR GOD IS IN YOUR MIDST.” 

The DO is to a call to worship, to praise, to celebrate, to recall the words of promise, the remember God is for us, to remind one another we are called to love even though we have not always been loving. The results: “Loud singing, a day of festival, disaster removed, renewal in God’s love and much more” (Zeph. vv. 17-18). 

In the gospel, What is the good news? 

  1. God loves us even though some consequences we bring upon ourselves, and some are the ripe or rotten fruit of others. (My bee hive) (National politics) (trusting others to ‘do’ for us – user/consumer mentality) God still loves us, longs for our trust,
  2. The “DO” that we are beginning is in our 2Mile Ministry. [INTRO TO PREPARE FOR 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS] the work we “DO” now is in anticipation of the joy we will share.
  3. We need Folks to share gifts to our neighbors through 2mile to show love without cost, hospitality of grace and the welcome of Christian community.

SIGN UPS: 2mile and 12 Days of Christmas for our neighbors…. anticipation of the hope to share!

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Our Very Present Help Psalm 46:1-7

Psalm 46:1-7

“1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. (Selah) 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. 6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.  [NRSV]

  • God is our safe-place, is our rest, is our retreat. Is our home.
  • God is our very present help in trouble.
  • Therefore, we have a way through the fear,
  • Even if the earth [and climate] should change
  • Even if the mountain quake and erupt and crumble into the sea

Stand by Me

Ben E. King

When the night has come, And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we'll see
No I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me
So darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me
If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
Or the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry, no I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand now by me, stand by me, stand by me-e, yeah
And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh, stand now by me, stand by me, stand by me-e, yeah

Whenever you're in trouble won't you stand by me, oh now now stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me

Songwriters: Ben King / Jerry Leiber / Mike Stoller

Stand by Me lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Belinda Aberbach Stevenson Agar Revocable Trust

https://www.google.com/search?ei=uGWUW_GTJMPSzwKWzZboCQ&q=stand+by+me+lyrics&oq=stand+by+me+ly&gs_l=psy-ab.3.0.0l10.6889.7808..9033…0.0..0.329.708.0j1j1j1……0….1..gws-wiz…….0i71j0i67.-VKWI6ZYFkA

Hear the Good News of what it means to know God is with us:

  • God is our safe-place, is our rest, is our retreat. Is our home.
  • God is our very present help in trouble.
  • Therefore, we have a way through the fear,
  • Even if the earth [and climate] should change
  • Even if the mountain quake and erupt and crumble into the sea

The Psalmist prays and pleads for God to show up: The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; [GOD] utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

We have no time to waste blaming and attacking one another about the troubles in the world!

  • There are Children in our community are in homes filled with violence, fear, poverty, and want.
  • There are Youth in our neighborhoods are bullying and picking each other apart stoved for approval
  • There are Young adults in our community are at best frustrated with the church if not giving up on God and us
  • There are young adults lost in drugs and living day to day.
  • There are middle-aged and older age folks lost in drugs and poverty
  • There are families working every hour to give the best for their kids living no time and energy
  • There are older neighbors who want to be on the receiving end of the labor they have invested
  • There are people who are alone even on the busiest day at Walmart or a football game.
  • There are people losing their jobs and homes and cars, some their own doing and some no fault of their own.
  • There are some who are simply tired of hearing about the troubles of others and the world and want to ignore or escape.

Somewhere in the mix you and know what it is to have times in our lives that are “in an uproar”

Folks turn to the government as the lowest common denominator asking our rules of law to show grace and love for everyone. That is not the role and function of government.

Stop blaming leaders and laws and courts and judges and media, and know that

  • NONE of these are as strong as God
  • none are as compassionate as God
  • none are as dependable as God
  • none provide our PRESENT help when all the world is turned upside down and shaken.
  • The next time you hear someone say: The President… The Media… The Congress… someone on FB said… stop them right there and ask them:

Where is your strength with your government fails you?

Where is your “Good News” when the media fails you?

Where is your safety net when systems fail you?

Where are your relationships renewed and made whole?

God, who, even when the earth is unrecognizable, God is where we need to stand. Stand by God. Darlin, won’t you please stand my God.

We don’t have time to solve the world’s problems by making those things that will always be corruptible and shakable and will crumble under press ion, we need God who is with us

VERYPRESENTHELP

God is very present when we stand up with him, and for him. For when we call on God’s name and call the shaken world to seek God, we are on the most solid of ground.

When we place God in charge of poverty and corruption then our pride and fears no longer lead us.

When we place God in charge of our bodies then no drug will every satisfy

When we place ourselves in the word of God, in the people of God, in the songs of God, in the service of God, in the witness of God, right in those moments GOD IS VERY PRESENT

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Mark 4:35-41 “Why Are You Afraid”

Fear_eyes

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” [NRSV]

 

Top Ten Diagnosed Phobias [fearof.net]

1. Arachnophobia – The fear of spiders
2. Ophidiophobia – The fear of snakes.
3. Acrophobia – The fear of heights.
4. Agoraphobia – The fear of open or crowded spaces.
5. Cynophobia – The fear of dogs.
6. Astraphobia – The fear of thunder/lightning
7. Claustrophobia – The fear of small spaces
8. Mysophobia – The fear of germs.
9. Aerophobia – The fear of flying.
10. Trypophobia – The fear of holes
11. Carcinophobia – The fear of cancer.

12. Thanatophobia – The fear of death.
13. Glossophobia – The fear of public speaking.
14. Monophobia – The fear of being alone

15. Atychiphobia – The fear of failure.
16. Ornithophobia – The fear of birds.
17. Alektorophobia – The fear of chickens.
18. Enochlophobia – The fear of crowds
19. Aphenphosmphobia – The fear of intimacy.
20. Trypanophobia – The fear of needles.

[inc.com Eric Mack, OCT 27, 2017]

74.5 % Corrupt Government
55.3 % Healthcare
53.1 % Pollution of Water
50.2 % Not enough money for the future
48.4 % High Medical Bills
48.4 % Involvement in another War
48.0 % Weather and Climate Change
47.5 % North Korea using weapons
44.5 % Air Pollution
44.4 % Economic Collapse/ Stock Crash
43.5 % Extinction of species
43.3 % Terror Attack
41.9 % Identity Theft
41.8 % Biological Attack
40.3 % Credit Fraud
39.7 % Death of Loved Ones/Friend
39.1 % Serious Illness of Loved Ones/Friend
39.1 % Cyber-Terrorism
39.0 % Nuclear Attack
38.8 % General Terrorism
38.6 % Restrictions on Firearms
37.4 % Government Tracking personal data
36.7 % Corporate Tracking of personal data
36.2 % Toxic Spills
35.7 % Electrical Grid Attack/Collapse
35.5 % Hit by a drunk driver
32.8 % Pandemic
30.7 % Being unemployed
30.2 % Nuclear accident
29.0 % Losing saved data/photos
28.2 % Heights
28.1 % Involved in a mass shooting
27.2 % Government’s use of drones within US
26.6 % Drought
26.6 % Break-ins
25.7 % Becoming seriously ill
25.4 % Victim of Theft
25.4 % Shark attack
25.3 % AI/Computers replacing people
24.3 % Tornados
23.6 % Reptiles
22.6 % Earthquakes
21.4 % Hurricane
20.9 % Hate Crimes
20.3 % Dying

2001 US Fears [Gallup.com]

1. Snakes
2. Public Speaking
3. Heights
4. closed in small spaces
5. Spiders
6. needles
7. mice
8. flying
9. dogs
10. thunder/lightening
11. crowds
12. going to the doctor
13. the dark

Jesus looks to us, knows our fear and asks us: Why are you afraid?

Fear can be a helpful and motivating force. But when we allow fear to debilitate our growth and progression we must acknowledge we need to turn to Jesus for strength.

  • I’m I afraid of dying? Yes and No! No, I know Jesus has good for me in staying and  Good for me in leaving to be with him.
  • I’m I afraid of Wendy or the kids dying? Yes and No! Yes, Jesus has great for them, but I’m not ready to miss out on time sharing our lives.
  • I’m I afraid of people’s missed-place trust in government? I have been, but I’m committed to turning that over to Jesus. Q/A: that looks like this, when I hear people afraid about politics, I’m called to ask them to pray with me about what Jesus’s boat is going to do?
  • I’ve been afraid of what the church is going to do/not do come February, but I”m not afraid any more. Jesus is going to open a way to teach us to be the church.
  • With a daughter in California I’ve been afraid of earthquakes.
  • With a son in the military I’ve been afraid of threats of war.
  • With neighbors in Hawaii I’ve been afraid they will get to close to the volcano. With a daughter in high school, I’ve been afraid that pier pressure will challenge her values and work ethic.
  • I’ve been afraid Wendy will not find her way after investing so much time caring for her parents.
  • I’ve been afraid my brother won’t be part of my family in the future.
  • I’ve been afraid, but fear is not going to arrest my faith!!

The perspective of the disciples is that Jesus does not care, because they are faced with fear.

  1. The perspective from fear is death, loss, storm and
  2. The perspective from faith is that fear is real, but Jesus is with me.
  3. What is your perspective?

How do we shift from fear to faith

  1. prayer – keep the conversation open and flowing with Jesus
  2. practice – practice turning over, talking over, trusting Jesus
  3. progress – encourage one another to help see the progress

Praying

  • a) in all things
  • b) with out ceasing
  • c) have a little talk with Jesus
  • d) listen

Practice

  • a) remember we have our responsibilities on the boat but we are not in charge of the storm.
  • B) faith grown buy trusting Jesus, trusting People of God, living God’s word.

Progress –

  • a)the encouragement that we find by looking back after the storms have pasted to prepare us for the storm of the present and the future.

 

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