Archive for category Mother’s Day

John 14:1-16 “Beyond Belief”

Bbelief.png“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. [NRSV]

Access and Frustration

Jesus shows us two important revelations in the passage.  The first, and more obvious, is about Jesus’s relation to our heavenly father and along with that is our access to God through Jesus. The second is the human side of Jesus, revealing his frustration with his closest followers and allies not understanding or seeing God in their presence.

It is worth exploring Jesus’s frustration with the disciples. (“Show us the Father”?) Do you not believe or do you not understand. It is very human to be frustrated why people are reluctant or hesitant to believe in Jesus. The gift Jesus gives is how he presses through what is to himself obvious to continue explaining until the understand.

This Mother’s Day, we honor all those who have been a mother to us. Some of those are our birth-mother, others are grandmothers or great-grands, some are friends and some are not necessarily beloved, but those who stick with us when all others have left us.

Jesus reveals a mother’s love of working through frustration to make certain the heart and mind connect with God’s heart and mind.

The Core Theme: Access

Not only does Jesus make plain his divine relationship, but he moves beyond simply saying, “I am God” to say, you know me, you have access to me, you are connected to me, and being with me, you are with the heart of God. God is with you now. “Emanuel”

Recalling the angel’s words to Mary when Jesus was promised to her, “his name will be Emanuel” God is with us.

Motherhood can also be both frustrating and accessible.

There is a daily model with life-long practice of wanting your children to understand, know, “get it” so they can make the best choices

And yet, a mother has to allow each child to make their own way, learn from both the good and bad.

Jesus Presses the Disciples to Understand

AND, reminds them that understanding the gateway to pro-active, engaging, faith-walking belief.

A Mother’s hope

is for us to trust God with not only our thoughts but also in our actions

is for us to reflect God’s presence, even when we are failing

is for us to trust God’s power, in our strength and in our weakness

is for us to know the answer, but even more, to test the truths in our choices.

Whatever you ask, In My Name, 

This is not attaching God’s name to our wish list,

it is asking for what is God’s will.

Mom’s learn when to let the brood go on their own, hoping they will fly on the food and practice that has been shared.

Jesus lets disciples go on their own, hoping they will ask for what God seeks to reveal in their lives.

Thank and Praise the mothers who have revealed God’s presence

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John 10:1-10 “Going In AND Out” JUMC 20140511

sheepgateVery truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” [NRSV]

  1. Jesus makes clear his Messiahship: “I am the gate.”
  2. Salvation comes by entering the ‘gate’.
  3. Purpose of salvation is to come and go, enter and exit.
  4. Mother’s Day; We are thankful for those who mother us without smothering us. Protect us without locking us in the tower. Who teach us to trust and forgive. Qualities of the a good gate keeper. But even the best mom in the world cannot provide salvation.
  5. Abundant life is found coming into the fold as well as going out where the thief, wolf, and searching for daily bread co-exisit.

Don’t stay in, Do follow a voice that doesn’t have your best interest.

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Acts 16.16-34 JUMC 20130512 Go for the Whole Family

palm-reading-1From the book of Acts:
16 One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. 17 While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” 18 She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. 19 But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. 20 When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews 21 and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. 34 He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God. [NRSV]

This account of life in the early faith community offers a role model of RADICAL hospitality.

First, Paul and Silas go to a place of prayer. Instead of finding a quiet place of reflection and meditation:

  • In this worshipful place there someone not only praying on the frailty of those who are searching and looking for direction and answers as they come to pray,
  • the are also confronted with  someone oppressed in forced labor being exploited for profit, and  
  • They are confronted with an opportunity to do something good that will break the law, damage ‘property’ and land them in jail if they do the ‘right’ and Godly thing.

Disciples living is not just a collection of thoughts, sayings and ideas.. it is a way that we live as people of the Holy Spirit.

What or whom are we willing to be taken to court? financial fine or even risk jail time? There is a cost of addressing sin and oppression.

  • There has been much debate about immigration issues in our nation. No matter what you might think we should do as a nation. A key part of the problem is the willingness of those to hire people who are not living here legally a wage less than legal workers. We can’t say we don’t want these people in our country and at the same time fund the reasons why they are willing to risk to come here.
  • We want to have the best price and not be foolish with the resources we have, but would we want our family members, of younger and older ages, being paid pennies to do a task that makes it affordable for our great discounted deal?

There is real hands on response made by Paul and Silas and the others to transform as life and a community.

Paul is annoyed that the evil spirit is telling the message of the faithful. 

There are times that  a mother would like for her children to set a good role model and it 

Story, belt, hat, and nose wiper.. Preacher came to eat lunch..

How difficult it is when the tattooed, pierced, beatnik-type shows the grace and acceptance that others might judge or run away.

It frustrating when the voice of truth comes from the oppressed. It brings conviction to us all.

The Disciples free her from spiritual and economic oppression, leave her without a livelihood, and effect her ‘owners’ as well.

Disciples are not protected from evil for doing the Good, Godly thing.


The Salvation story comes through an earthquake, a stayed suicide and an invitation to the family table.

Granny’s table: There is room for you and you are seated at the head, as it is round.

It doesn’t sound like a mother’s day passage, but

  • what mother would not want her oppressed daughter to be free.
  • What mother would not welcome a husband filled with faith
  • What mother does not want to see who whole family around God’s table

All of them, let’s step it up and make Mom proud.

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Psalm 145:1-7 “Generation to Generation” JUMC 20120909

Psalm 145 I will praise you, my God and King, and always honor your name. 2 I will praise you each day and always honor your name. 3 You are wonderful, Lord, and you deserve all praise, because you are much greater than anyone can understand. 4 Each generation will announce to the next your wonderful and powerful deeds. 5 I will keep thinking about your marvelous glory and your mighty miracles. 6 Everyone will talk about your fearsome deeds, and I will tell all nations how great you are. 7 They will celebrate and sing about your matchless mercy and your power to save. [CEV]

The Good News of our Grand Parents

Some Good Stories, some times of struggle and loss. Some victories, celebrations and traditions

Charlie taught showed me about crops like corn, soy beans, and peanuts

Ruby taught be about hard work, writing letters and where McNuggets come from

Raymond taught me about storytelling (stretching truths), difficult bible passages, and anger

Tommye taught me to care for roses, cooking sewing and creativity.

Traditions and celebrations

Charlie celebrated a hard work day with a trip to the country store for a 6.5 oz Coke, 4:30am is for the animals breakfast, and Sunday was for Church.

Ruby celebrated Sunday by preparing all weekend for Sunday dinner and Sunday school lessons, custom making back to school jeans, making Brunswick stew, and cutting corn and shelling peas for months of meals to come.

Raymond celebrated the start of school with new Converse Tennis shoes, cashing a pay check in pennies to look for wheaties, testing the new preacher with Bible test questions and listening to the Braves game and watching their fireworks from the front porch.

Tommye celebrated making Sunday school creative and fun for over 40 years, sets the rules for Christmas gifts at Thanksgiving dinner, and lived like everyday was a Thanksgiving.


Charlie: It’s Sunday, your not staying in bed, your going to church. Did you forget to brush your teeth or is that the chicken coop I smell?

Ruby: Why don’t you play the piano in church this Sunday, or sing us special song? You go to Sunday school and learn something new.

Raymond: Run in this store and pick up a brown bag with my name on it because it will be closed on Sunday.

Tommye: God is love, that’s why i love you too. (and a 1000 other intentional lessons of joyful, creative, gracious, thankful messages and examples)

The Other Grand Parents

I have a hundred other grand parent models in a dozen churches who have shaped my faith, held me up and

Some Bad Stries, some failures  and would-a-could-a-should-a

The Greatest Gift of a Grand Parent is to Give the Good Stuff to another Generations

Entrusting a legacy: Intentional Spiritual Growth

The Message we would leave for the next two generations and more..

The Self Examination

What would we do to make certain they would know and remember

What would we say or write or live our to be intentional

What are we doing vs what can we do

Today is a day of generations looking ahead to generations

Will we leave a legacy of debts or assets

Will we build for a future beyond our current weakness

Will we our journey is shared or they can figure it out on their own

Will we give it all so they do nothing or will we model what ethic and faith we hope for the future

Are we practicing as a generation to generation sharer, now?

If not, What are we waiting for?

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Mark 3.20-35 “Your Child is an Honor Student at Beelzebul Elm.” JUMC Mother’s Day 20120514

3.20 and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. 21 When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” 22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” 23 And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan. 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered. 28 “Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”– 30 for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” 31 Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” 33 And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” [NRSV]

My Child is an Honor Student at Beelzebul Elementary School

Everyone wants their child to feel special and important. As crude and offensive as George Carlin, the irreverent comedian was, he was right in one of his routines when he said, “When everyone is special, then no one is special.” {paraphrased}

Mary, the mother of Jesus, hears about how people are ganging up on her son and she and her brood go out to protect Jesus from himself. The want to keep him from saying things that would draw attention, that would at best get the family name in the papers and at worse. Well a mother would not want to even think the worst.

Some of the members of academia, the scribes, were calling Jesus names. Now, no one likes to be called names, but if a teacher starts name-calling about your child, I doubt any mother would sit by. It’s time for parent teacher-conference if ‘they’ are going to start calling my ‘baby’ a child of the devil. “Not just a hellian, but they are calling my Jesus the “Lord of the devil flies”

Never having read William Golding’s, novel, Lord of the Flies, Mary and James come to rescue Jesus from those who were hunting reasons to reject her son.  Mary, with Jesus’ siblings, are ready to take the stranding son-brother home. But Jesus rejects their aid.

Family Ties

The teachers and community leaders are not only calling names, they are charging that Jesus is dividing the faith community. General Conference in Tampa, FL  just a week ago, gave witness to a variety of division among the faithful. Each side charging the other side of being exclusive, thoughtless and even god-less at times. With all the power of hurtful names and naming the deeply held faith experiences and perspectives that differ and divide, it seemed empty to have nice-nice word of encouragement to take home, to justify and counter-balance the battle of the prior days.

Mary and the family want to just go back to the way things were.

The Scribes and Faith leaders want to defeat the challenge and defend the status quo

The voice of Jesus is one that calls for a new understanding of family.

Family is more than genetic, it is a matter of blood.

When someone paves a new path that tramples traditions we can expect dis-agreement, hurt and some distractions. All make room for what is newly laid and freshly built.

Jesus defines the family of faith as those who will follow and accept Christ’s word, and sacrifice, (blood).

Think of the great bonds that can be family

Think of the mighty comfort that can be found in our faith traditions

Think of how unsettling it would be to have to give up family ties, and faith histories to see the new things that God is revealing.

Who is my Mother?

P.D. Eastman’s famous children book, “Are you my mother?” tells the frighting journey of separation and reunion with one’s mother.  The one who know’s us best, because it is from that Mother that we were born.

God is that Mother. No limited by our family tree or our a traditions of comfort and understanding or experience.

So what do we make of this story of Jesus and his family?

Family is vital, but it is to be grounded in God, not just geneologies

Family is powerful, but not just for protection

Family is essential, and it based on our choosing to belong

Who’s family do you choose to follow? Who’s family do you trust? Who’s family leads you in the face of danger, rejection, identity and struggle?

The family of those who follow Christ. Else we are lost in the fear and threat of change, power, and fear.

Choose this day what family is yours!

Beelzebul or Jesus

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