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Archive for category Ordinary C

Luke 16:19-31 While You Still Can JUMC 20130929

Glass-of-Water-1
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house– for I have five brothers–that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'” [NRSV]

Reversal of Status:

There was a rich man, his name is not stated.
And, there was a poor man, named Lazarus.

The Lives to Two Dead Men
The rich man had find clothes, food a plenty
Lazarus was clothed with sores, and his only friends were stray dogs.

Despite their differences in wealth and status
Despite whether they had access to affordable healthcare or not
The both died.

They were both born, they both died.
But now, the rich man, He sat in Hell.
And, Lazarus, the poor man, was seated with Father Abraham, sipping cool beverages in heaven.

You can take it with you.

Folks use this phrase to encourage others to use and enjoy their assets. But I suggest to you that they both took something with them of great value.
Both carried the weight of trust in the system, faith and relationship they had know.

Lazarus took his ability to trust and wait upon the grace of God with him.
We see him aligned with the Father of ‘the’ covenant of the old testament.
We see him continuing in the care of God’s protect, patience and providence.

The rich man took his fear and separation with him beyond the grave.
He see he is still looking at Lazarus as a servant and person who was to do his work and bidding.
We see him looking to tell others what to do, fixing the situation by his own plan and his own will and design.

That Chasm is Wide

Lazarus, carried by angels to heaven
The rich fellow, tormented by flames in hell.
Is there no bridge?
Is there no way across?
Is there no work around or way to reach to share a comforting cup of cool water?
Nope.

There is a fundamental difference in the different ways we reach the same goal.
Two roads diverge in a yellow wood..

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost (1874–1963). Mountain Interval. 1920.

The difference is made in the choice of which path we travel.
I Choose the Lazarus Path
Does that mean we must become poor and sick and live as an outcast?
I would say that is one possibility, but not the only reality.

There are plenty of those who have wealth enough and still find themselves in heaven, right? I would say yes, for some that is indeed true.

What is the different path?

The rich man has the idea but would anyone listen to his idea?

Idea: Why don’t you send someone from the dead to tell the living?
Great idea, but who will listen and so change their life and daily walk…

Validation of the Old Testament: the rich man is told, Lazarus found his way through Abraham, let them listen to what they claim to already know.

Bottom Line: We know, we need to act like we know.
Live for God while you have the spark of hope and life to live.
Live for Christ while you have ideas and strength to serve.
Live in the Spirit while you have breathe to breath.

Don’t wait for someone to hand out your food, your work, your healthcare, or your
Take God’s gift of salvation in Christ and unwrap it today.
Take the gift of the Holy Spirit and follow it today.
Take the gift of this fellowship to encourage your walking in faith.
Take the call to share this faith with those who will listen, who will believe and trust.. because they see God at work in you.

I need a drink of cool water, how about you?

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Isaiah 1:1, 10-20 “Oh Little Town of Jackson, GA” JUMC 20130811

JAX
1:1 The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. 10 Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah!

1:11 What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. 12 When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand? Trample my courts no more; 13 bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation– I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity. 14 Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.

1:16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

18 Come now, let us argue it out, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; 20 but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. [NRSV]

Our reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah begins with a vision for the people of God. Isaiah is embolden to speak, teach and warn the people. The prophet’s word in phrase, is summed up by Aretha Franklin: “You Better Think!”

People walking around everyday, playing games, taking scores
Trying to make other people lose their minds.
Well be careful, you’re gonna lose yours.

Yeah, think (think) think about what you’re trying to do to me
Yeah, think (think, think), let your mind go, let yourself be free

You need me (need me) and I need you (don’t you know)
Without each other there ain’t nothing we can do (AF: “Think” 1968)

Imagine the prophet coming to our town and saying, Oh Jackson, under the reign of Wayne, when we Georgia’s hand has a Deal, and the Oval office has an Obama, you are acting like you all live in Vegas or Chicago. You better wake up O little town.

The full activity of the temple worship goes under attack, the whole enterprise of religiosity is put on trial. You have a great number of members, you have special Sundays, dinners and picnics galore. You remember all the holidays and know all you favorite hymns. You look pretty, you sit reverently and call on me when you get into trouble.. Well no more of that!

1:16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

• Stop doing evil.
• Do Good
• Seek Justice
• Recuse the Perishing
• Care for the forgotten and the dying.

Here is how you town this town around.

There is an ultimatum:
You can do it God’s way or your way. You can eat of your own labor or you can be nourished by God work.
God’s way leads to life, your way just ends up empty and dead.

So what is it going to be?

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Luke 10:38-42 Distracted Driving JUMC 20130721

distracted-drivingNow as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” [NRSV]

The statistics for driving while distracted are incredibly alarming. The issues of distracted driving are three fold, (St Farm site)

1. Visual – removes a driver’s eyes off the road

2. Manual – removes a driver’s hands off the steering wheel

3. Cognitive – removes a driver’s mind off the driving task

2013 National Safety council counts over half million accidents related to distracted driving this year.

How big is the problem? (CDC site)

 

In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 3,267 in 2010. An additional, 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011, compared to 416,000 people injured in 2010.1

In 2010, nearly one in five crashes (18%) in which someone was injured involved distracted driving.1

In June 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the US, up nearly 50% from June 2009.1 CDC Distracted Driving Study Talking on a cell phone while driving • 69% of drivers in the United States ages 18-64 reported that they had talked on their cell phone while driving within the 30 days Texting or emailing while driving • 31% of U.S. drivers ages 18-64 reported that they had read or sent text messages or email messages while driving at least once within the 30 days before they were surveyed. What are the risk factors? • Some activities—such as texting—take the driver’s attention away from driving more frequently and for longer periods than other distractions.4 • Younger, inexperienced drivers under the age of 20 may be at increased risk; they have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.4 • Texting while driving is linked with drinking and driving or riding with someone who has been drinking among high school students in the United States, according to a CDC study that analyzed self-report data from the 2011 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Students who reported engaging in risky driving behaviors said that they did so at least once in the 30 days prior to the survey.5

Key findings from the study revealed that:

Nearly half of all U.S. high school students aged 16 years or older text or email while driving. o Students who text while driving are nearly twice as likely to ride with a driver who has been drinking and five times as likely to drink and drive than students who don’t text while driving.

Students who frequently text while driving are more likely to ride with a drinking driver or drink and drive than students who text while driving less frequently.5

We are not fussing at our Young Drivers alone… No one is qualified to be a distracted driver.

Our text today is about Martha, who is a distracted Disciple.

She is busy. She is hospitable. She is working, hard. She is doing everything she can, except listen to Jesus. There are many ways that our being good disciples can get in the way of being attentive to the presence of Christ.

Here are some of the Risk Factors

Serving without praying

Speaking without listening to God

Planning without studying the Word

Attending while assuming I’ve prayed, listened and studied enough..

Helping without making the connection with those served why we are serving Christ in serving them.

What about Mary? (Martha’s assumptions)

She is doing nothing helpful

She is does not care for the burden that Martha has assumed

She is not running around even looking busy

Mary is wasting her time.

The So What!

Who is driving your Discipleship? Are you so busy with Work that you cannot find Christ is as close as your home and family? Are you so divided from your family because agendas are in different directions? Are you so consumed that you know what is best that even Christ in your own home could not break through? The Good News Jesus is with us here Christ is with us at home God meets us on the road and wants to come into our hearts The Holy Spirit longs for our attention Stop. Look and Listen… Christ is with us, pay attention while Christ is near..

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Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 Peace to this House JUMC 20130702

Everywhere Missionary

Everywhere Missionary

10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ 6 And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ 16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” 17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” 18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19 See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

[NRSV]

First this passage is an encouragement to the three mission teams we are supporting this month and the team of folks working at CERF and Smart Kids, Smart Lunch.

The number of folks willing to be available to take on a personal mission is limited. This is the heart of our Everywhere Missionary program.

The instruction is given the book-ends of encouragement and inspiration.

  • On one hand there is the encouragement to know that we are going where Christ is preparing to go.
  • Not everyone will be ready nor receptive
  • The measure of successful mission is not in the number of people served, but in the willingness to go out to where the people are rather than wait for them to come to us.
  • And instructions are given for both the open hearts and the closed minds.

I enjoy baseball and one of things I like about the game is that the successful players are celebrated for getting a hit thirty percent of the time.

  • Jesus knows the six dozen folks that are going on this mission will not always see great things.
  • But the reports that return are the success stories.

Think about the Braves, the end of the game wrap up is not how many times Freddy, Simpson, and McCain struck out. They talk about the hits, doubles and home runs.

But with the successes come plenty of strike outs and errors.

We come to the table of Christ, where disciples gather for encouragement and inspiration

Not because we are successful but rather because we have sinned, failed and find ourselves striking out.

 Challenge:

Each of us have the opportunity to be on Christ’s mission..

Will go Go where Christ is preparing to be or sit this one out?

 

Everywhere Missionary EverywhereBrochure_20130501

  • Pray Daily
  • Do at least 1 item from the Mission Calendar* Weekly
  • Read and Write Monthly
  • Give or Volunteer Annually

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Galatians 5:1, 13-25 Love your Neighbor JUMC 20130630

friends

1 For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. 14 For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. 16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. [NRSV]

We have heard it for our entire life, and again through Vacation Bible School this year, yet again. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

There is a purpose and reason to why we are to be so neighborly.

It is the very reason Christ died and was raised into life,

Caring for someone the way we want to be loved, trusted, respected, and love…  describes the character and nature of the relationship Christ died and lives to provide.

Verse 19 describes how neighbors might treat and related to one another, but this is not what Christ calls nor is it how we want to be treated.

The skinny is to just do it, be a neighbor wherever Christ sends us.

 

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Luke 8:26-39 Deviled Ham on the Run, Again JUMC 20130623

upsidedownglobemap

Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs.  When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”–  for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.  Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country.  Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him. [NRSV]

This is a story of returning things right-side-up and up-side down world.

We can certainly identify a few things that are just the opposite in the world.

  • There are people who’s paid-occupation is to chase deadly tornados and violent storms, and we a fascinated to watch them. Didn’t they get the memo so take cover in the basement or an inside room with no windows?

 

  • The section of the bookstore labled, “self-help” has no shortage of people who are tell you how you can do what is already within your ability. It should be labeled the encouragement section.

 

  • Bojana Danilovic has what you might call a unique worldview. Due to a rare condition, she sees everything upside down, all the time. The 28-year-old Serbian council employee uses an upside down monitor at work and relaxes at home in front of an upside down television stacked on top of the normal one that the rest of her family watches. “It may look incredible to other people but to me it’s completely normal,” Danilovic told local newspaper Blic. “I was born that way. It’s just the way I see the world.” Experts from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been consulted after local doctors were flummoxed by the extremely unusual condition. They say she is suffering from a neurological syndrome called “spatial orientation phenomenon,” Blic reports.  [1]

 

  • The map of global Christianity that our grandparents knew has been turned upside down. At the start of the 20th century, only ten percent of the world’s Christians lived in the continents of the south and east. Ninety percent lived in North America and Europe, along with Australia and New Zealand. But at the start of the 21st century, at least 70 percent of the world’s Christians live in the non-Western world—more appropriately called the majority world. More Christians worship in Anglican churches in Nigeria each week than in all the Episcopal and Anglican churches of Britain, Europe, and North America combined. There are more Baptists in Congo than in Britain. More people in church every Sunday in communist China than in all of Western Europe. Ten times more Assemblies of God members in Latin America than in the U.S. [2]

 

  • “I am writing for the Christian agnostic, by which I mean a person who is immensely attracted to Christ and who seeks to show his spirit, to meet the challenges, hardships, and sorrows of life in the light of that spirit, but who, though he is sure of many Christian truths, feels that he cannot honestly and conscientiously ‘sign on the dotted line’ that he believes certain theological ideas about what some branches of the Church dogmatize.” – Leslie Weatherhead, “Christian Agnostic”

 

  • Jesus didn’t die on the cross just so we would go to church. Jesus died for our sins and lives that we might live like him and work on his behalf, that is the right-side up.

The healing in Luke 8 of the man with unclean spirits is a reversal of events.

  • A man who, without Jesus is filled with evil, pain, destruction and rage.
  • The same man who meets Jesus and sits at his feet, is clothed, whole, sane, and desires to follow him.

 

  • A town who is afraid of the man because he is ill, different, violent and a danger to himself and others
  • Is made whole and they demand Jesus leave for healing him.

Jesus leaves the people with the witness of the healed man.

This is the state we currently know and experience:

Jesus has left us with the witness of what he has done in our lives for the upside-down time where and when we live.

So go and do likewise..

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Luke 7:1-10 “Go, Come, Do” JUMC 20130602

Capernaum Synogage 20111

Capernaum Synogage 20111

After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy of having you do this for him, for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.” And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health. [NRSV]

I tell you not even in Israel have I found such faith

For United Methodist her in the southeast, you might say, not even in Nashville, Candler nor Epworth-by-the-Sea. These epicenters for the work of our church Jesus highlights someone who is miles away for the expected place for faithfulness.

In this text, Jesus is in Capernaum and is talking about the actions of a Roman soldier’s leadership, witness and faith as a model for the community.

Crossing lines of division to find the heart of Jesus

The Centurion was a responsible officier of an elete guard representing Rome.

The Action plan is the same

Go, Come, Do

Communion Connection:

The table was prepared as Jesus told Disciples to Go prepare the table,

Come to the open table

and Do this in Remembrance

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Romans 5:1-5 “The Process” JUMC 20130526

process2

5:1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 5:2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 5:3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 5:4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5:5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. [NRSV]

Paul’s words of encouragement are for times that we recognize the gift of grace and for the times, while we may be living in grace, but do not recognize the neighborhood. God stands with us. Pauls invites us to stand with Christ, in the Holy Spirit.

This is a rich and thick passage:

Justification: The work God has done through Christ that gives us grace.

Boasting in our Hope: Something worth celebrating and worth talking about with others, in the faith and those outside the bounds.

You who are Star Wars fans will remember when Jedi Master Yoda speaks to young Anakin, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.”

Fear we know! Fear of failure, the unknown, revealing our shame, Storms of winds, emotions and nature: all powers that appear greater than our own.

Paul writes to encourage and remind us of another progression of learning: “suffering produces endurance, 5:4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”

The role we have as the church, as the present and living body of Christ is to stand firm in the Power of the Holy Spirit and teach and remind one another not to be lost in our suffering.

Tragic deaths in Oklahoma, London. Rumors of corruptions, deceit, and mis-use of power from our leaders and government. Uncertain times of economic change. Relentless news of Cancers, wars and divisions. We do not have to look far to see and hear news of suffering.

Our prayers are a most often litanies of suffering. If not our own suffering the hurt and fears of the world and those dear to us.

Why do we bring these to the attention of the body? Why share them in church? Is it for us to share a one-up story of who has the worse news or the latest gossip? No. Sometimes people ask me to repeat the concerns lifted up by others, so they can hear the news. I offer to you that it is not for our ears that we share our prayer concerns. It is for the heart of God to hear our suffering. If you want to know what someone said, go ask them after worship, but right now it is God’s time of hearing and receiving.

We share with God to remind ourselves and God that we so desperately and earnestly need the power of God’s Spirit in our lives.

This is the challenge Paul gives to the church in Roman and to us in our hearing of his words:

STAND FIRM in the GRACE God has given us. God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

When you and I see and hear suffering, become reminder of the Grace

What is grace: It is God’s loving-kindness given to us, that even while we are filled with sin, fear, anger, and hate.. God gives us the love and life we need and the means to find our way back to the heart of God.

Is there anything that is stronger than God?

Is there anyone more powerful than God?

Is there any place God will not go to save us?

Is there any time God stops loving us and desiring our heart to be in relationship with God’s heart?

No!!!

Oh, how the world around us needs to hear what we know by heart.

BOAST: Brag! Tell with joyful pride, that Christ has claimed even me, and you, and those who hear our witness!

Could you imagine gives peace to someone who was sad? broken? empty? lonely? afraid? enraged? at the end of their hope?

Simply by sharing with them what gives you peace…

What gives us peace? We may not always use the term or name, but it is God’s Spirit that gives us peace.

We experience it through relationship, creation, song and art, scripture and science, alone and with whole crowds and congregations..

but it is the Holy Spirit that is our peace.. God’s continuing council, presence, power, advocate and strength.

REJOICE: BOAST: Be glad, you are in the Spirit. Tell the hurting and suffering world…

The suffering you have endured has built your character and that new appreciate of a life in Christ is the evidence and power of God’s hope in you.

Have Hope, Share Hope

Have Grace, Share Grace

Have the breath of God, Breath the Good News to all who still suffer.

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Deuteronomy 34:1-12 “Don’t know much about Geography” JUMC 20111030

34:1 Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the LORD showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, 2 all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, 3 the Negeb, and the Plain — that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees — as far as Zoar. 4 The LORD said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” 5 Then Moses, the servant of the LORD, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. 6 He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. 7 Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigor had not abated. 8 The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended. 9 Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands on him; and the Israelites obeyed him, doing as the LORD had commanded Moses. 10 Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face. 11 He was unequaled for all the signs and wonders that the LORD sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land, 12 and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel. ~NRSV

I would guess that you may never have heard this passage as a stewardship text for a sermon, but it may very well be at the core of the practical side of our generosity.

Our fifth fruit as a faithful congregation is to be extravagant with our generosity.

Look at this text from God concerning Moses:

God takes Moses to a high mountain, Mt Nebo. It is a snow covered mountain. It is this snow that melts into the mountain and feeds the spring that becomes the Jordan river. It touches all the land from that point southward to the dead sea. It is the life giving water that waters the palms, the fish, the honey bees, the fish and the people.

From this vantage point Moses is shown the Mediterranean sea, the dessert to the east, the futile lands down the gordon valley all the way to the palms of Jericho in the south to the dead sea.

Like Simba in Disney’s Lion king, Moses is taken to his pride rock by his father Mufasa . Both God and Mufasa say basically the same line: “All that the light touches is our home.”

Moses sees the promised land with his own eyes. He has devoted forty years of not only leading but living with the people of God to reach this moment.

But Moses was not to set foot in it.

The Most extravagant gift is one that is shared and we receive nothing in return.

Here is a risky statement. Are you ready.

A gift that is reciprocated at some level is a balance paid and not a gift nor a choice.

A gift that is followed with something other than our life, is not a gift at all.

Our society is blind with getting a return on our investment. Getting a prize in box of Cracker Jacks, because the treat itself is not enough.

The new commercial for Coke Zero, teaches us to ask for our preverbal cake and the opportunity to eat it, because it wouldn’t be our party if we didn’t get our due.

This is our model of a human being EXTRAVAGANT GENEROSITY:

Moses orphaned, raised in a foreign culture. left his home land, married into another foreign culture, finds a happy life and is asked to leave his home to rescue the people who had made him an orphan in the first place. He leaves the ease of his home and business to devote forty years to leading a grumping and grumbling people through the dessert in search of a place that he only allowed to view and not claim for himself…

And there.. is the Stewardship heart of the text: It was not Moses’ to claim.

It was not Moses’ land. It was God’s place for God’s people.

Earlier Moses had gone to God when the people were without water, thirsting to death, and God sent Moses to speak before the people where God would provide water.

Moses did as commanded, but nothing happened, so he struck the rock, and did it again..and the water flowed. God was faithful, but Moses took the responsibility of God.

In that act of striking the rock instead of speaking Gods words, Moses gave witness of doubt. Rather than wait for God to provide, Moses took matters into his own hand, his own fear, failure, responsibility, work: and hit the rock, his rock of pride.

That story has been right there all these years and we usually focus on what appears to be an injustice.

It is that injustice, our thinking that what we have is “ours” that we loose our selves instead of finding who and whose we truly are.

Instead of injustice or waste, it is God’s continual and final word of Grace that Moses had extravagantly given himself TO GOD and GODS SERVICE, there was no exchange for it. Moses was at the same place at the day of his birth, claimed and love as one of God’s people.

So here we step closer to making our own affirmation of faith.

We may not see the end, but we are a vital part of the beginning of a new work.

It is a selfless gift to give because God shows us a need and we gain nothing from it.

.. feeding someone at Thanksgiving because we feed a warm glow in the recipients face vs. knowing God is working through us, to feed more than someone’s belly or tradition.

November 13 will be our commitment Sunday. We will be asking each individual to sign a commitment as a family or home to put Jesus Christ first. This will be a covenant service. We will bring these to worship and offer them to God as we prepare for a new year of ministry together.

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