Archive for category Transfiguration

Matthew 17:1-9 Can You Keep a Secret?

Church of the Transfiguration

Mt Tabor, Church of the Transfiguration.

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”[NRSV]
  1. A Strange Order to Keep Quiet

    1. Could it be Jesus we testing reverse psychology?
    2. Could it be Jesus didn’t think they understood what they saw
    3. Could it be Jesus want these disciples to have something the others did or couldn’t know?
    4. Could it be Jesus had more than one purpose in taking the disciples along to see this event?
  2. Learning the timing when to tell

    1. If Jesus had multiple reasons for the trip, what were they?
      1. Jesus sharing with Moses and Elijah, Law and Prophets
      2. Jesus is confirmed for being foretold
      3. Jesus is confirmes preparing to complete the law
      4. Jesus places himself in the context for the disciples
    2. What did the disciples learn from the trip
      1. Peter, James and John were either more mature or needed remedial reinforcement
      2. Peter receives a lesson in
        1. asking before declaring,
        2. praying before acting,
        3. trusting before explaining.
  3. Can you keep Quiet about who Jesus is to you?

    1. Do you notice that the disciples 2:1 keep quiet on the mountain.
    2. Reasons for speaking
    3. Reasons for listening and observing
    4. Learning lessons for future opportunities
      1. Trusting the lessons of the law
      2. Trusting the lessons of the prophets
      3. Affirming the mission and minsitry of Jesus
      4. knowing they can Get up and do not be afraid
      5. Trusting God’s time for telling.
  4. Knowing your time to listen and your times to tell.

    1. Being in the right place and time for learning
    2. Taking time to wait and listen to God
    3. Asking for guidance instead of declaring (our agenda/thinking/etc.
    4. Jumping ahead: This story is appears in Matth 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9, it is retold for us.
  5. Someone needs to hear about Jesus

    1. Have you prepared for those moments?
    2. Have you mis-spoken in the past?
    3. Have you ever gotten up from fear of taking what we have experienced and kept it in the past?
    4. Homework:
      1. Go tell someone what Jesus Christ has done for you.
      2. If you don’t then spend this Lenten season in prayer and study, because Easter is coming!
Location: 3477 Peavine Road, Rock Spring, GA 30739  Rock Spring UMC  http://www.mysundaysermons.com

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Hebrews 11:(12-16) A Better Country 20160807 RSUMC

  • HeavenBeacons

    Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval.  By faith, we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.  By faith, Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith, he still speaks.  By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and “he was not found because God had taken him.” For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” And without faith, it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.  By faith Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this, he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith.  By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith, he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.  For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.  By faith, he received the power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.” All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance, they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth,  for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.  If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had an opportunity to return.  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them. [NRSV]

 

A Better Country

  • What kind of country will our nation have become in forty years? 4 years? 4 months?
    • Are you optimistic or pessimistic about what will be?
  • What kind of church will our congregation be in forty years? 4 years? 4 months?
    • Are you hopeful or filled with doubts?
  • What will your faith look like in forty years, four years? four months?
    • Are you empowered or searching?

A Better Country

We have so entwined religion and politics that we have become polarized and paralyzed in our misappropriated patriotism. It is not a matter of separating church and state conversations, it is about using the freedoms our nation has to most fully express and experience of faith in Jesus Christ. Our freedoms allow for many faiths, but we place our trust in a better country. W

If we were as preoccupied with living as citizen of heaven as we are citizen of the USA, what would it look like??

  • Facebook would be filled with words, pictures, and messages about our faith and church
  • Our conversations would be about news and report of where we see God at work in the world. We would be trying to out-do each other in love and service.
  • We would stay up at night worrying about how many people we had reached, transformed, and welcomed into the fellowship of the church.
  • People would see our commitment to the citizenship we hold highest is in the heart of God.

The OT Case for Building a “more perfect union.”

Creation, Able, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob, key examples of faith that have shaped the faith we now live. The bottom line of each of these persons witnessed examples of placing themselves and their personal trust in God to lead, protect, save, heal, and bless. The fruit of seeking our ultimate allegiance is in God, is that God uses us to build a better country, a heavenly one.

New Testament Case

In the parable that the lawyer asks Jesus who is my neighbor, we find it is the one who shows grace and loving kindness.

In this faith-history lesson begs the question: What is my home? What is my citizenship? To home and where do I belong?

What is my home? Is it only the building at my address? Is it the sum of my stuff and assets and debts? Is only my family and extended family?

The Call to Live in our Heavenly Citizenship, (On Earth as it is in Heaven)
Is this the story of our nation? Is this the story of our people? Is this the story that bears fruit in our lives?

Call to make disciples:

  • Love one another in service, AND
  • Inspire others to join the fellowship, AND
  • Worship and Fellowship to strengthen another before God.

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Matthew 14:13-21 Its What’s For Dinner RSUMC 20140803

breadedfirshNow when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. [NRSV]

How much can 5000 men eat, besides women and children.

I’ve seen some women and children who could eat.

Five Loaves and Two Fish

More like Five rolls and two tenders.

• Not fried, no tarter or seafood sauce. Grilled or salted.
• The number and menu are not the significant part of the story. It is the simplicity of the lunch that is the contrasting point.
• The feast where all were filled was neither a covered-dish nor a trip to Golden Correl. The example of extravagance of abundance is the contrast.

The Heart of the Meal

The focal point is the contrast of what appears to be what we don’t have to having more than we need when God is at the heart of our worship, meal, studies and fellowship.

The world that preaches new and more.

As we come to the table, the meal prepared by disciples and offered to us, through Christ.. points us to what is left us..

Left overs

The meal does not change, the people are transformed.

Homework

Offer more of what we don’t have to God and see how much we have to share…

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2 Peter 1:16-21 and Matthew 17:1-9 What I Want JUMC. 20140303

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2P: For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. [NRSV]

MT: Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” [NRSV]

Context of coupling of text
Firsthand Gospel Application

This is a very interesting couple of passages because we have the gospel account of historical, miraculous events and a second text in 2Peter where there is a teaching tot he church that directly based on that first hand experience.

The context of the Transfiguration mountain passage is part mystery and miracle of incarnation. My question of the text is: are Peter James and john those who can most appreciate and understand the reevaluation or are they those who most need it.

Transference
Transfer of authority and story, Avoid transferring the authority

The story clarifies Gods method do revelation through people and relationships as the central mode of communicating Gods word and presence. This is replicated in Peters rebelling to those in his letter and input hearing.

A secondary teaching mode is the Journey

The disciples are taught different parts of the story along the way, not all at once. Peter shares the journey with others affirming their journey in belief and understanding.

We leave the story here and it would be clean, neat and safe doe us all. But the heart lesson is the transformation of Peter between the two accounts.

What I want vs what God wants for me

God wants Peter James and John to see and share a moment with Jesus Moses and Elijah.
In this moment they have the true reality of Jesus’s identity and role, the confirmation of OT laws and prophet AND the ultimate confirmation from God divine pronouncement. It does not get any clearer.

Only Peters response is vocalized among the disciples. Just because the others are silent doesn’t mean their response was different.

God is about revealing the connection and Peter presents a disconnection.

< Story of connection >

Peter hears the voice of God, sees the pieces of old and new fit together before his eyes, and his response is to build, make, do, control the situation.

Let’s make some monuments

The movie, Monument Men, a WWII drama about protecting the accomplishments of artists and sculptors work from destruction by the failed Hitlers orders at the end of the war. It is a moving witness of bravery and boldness to save the evidence of our culture and accomplishments. It is worth the ticket price for sure.

Peters response is not so different. We need to capture this moment and memorialize it so that others can come to those holy place.

Recount my trip. Worth going to the holy ground but what stands today are the very thing that Peter wanted. Including fragments of crusader walls defending the structure, a monastery, double decker church and a gift shop and roaming peacocks revealing their splendor and hidden glory. The very monuments that Peter hoped for are present.

But these are not the things God declared as important or necessary on that spot. The instruction was to listen and understand, to hear and believe.

In the moment Peter changing a from confident planner and designer in charge to one falling to the ground in fear and trembling.

The gift of Perspective in Time

It is in the 2P passage that Peter has learned and is teaching from his weakness.

You would do well to listen to use who know what we are talking about.
It’s not about you
Your plans
Your rules
Your traditions
Your good deeds
Your Intensions.

It is about the Holy Spirit, No you.

We come to the table of holy communion and it is about connecting with God
It’s not about our sin, or worth, or fault, no blame
It is a table of love and grace.

So come and be filled, be connected, be loved and claimed by the God who sends us Gods only child that we might believe, trust and live I return. Come, let go, and allow God to fill you today.

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Genesis 32:22-31 “Welcome to Strugglesville” JUMC

Jim Ross
32:22 The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 32:23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. 32:24 Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 32:25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 32:26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” 32:27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 32:28 Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” 32:29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 32:30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” 32:31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. [NRSV]

Today I welcome you to the Peniel Arena..
Welcome to the Friday Night Fights
Are you ready to Rumble?

And in this corner, weighing in at 156 lbs 5’4” is the hometown favorite wrestler, let’s hear hear it for
Ja-a-a-a-a-a-a-cob-b!

And in the opponents corner, clearly 240 lbs 6’8”, is the mysterious masked Mar-r-r-r-r-r-val-val

This is Howard Cosell, are ring side, I’ve got to go with the home town boy, Jacob, he has just give up to his family, children, household and animals to be here tonight. God has called and God will bless him..

Bob Castas here, Howard I don’t think you’ve seen the size of his opponents tree trunk arms and his goliath size. Jacob has heart but does he have what it takes. He’s going to need all the bless God can give.

Ding, ding, ding… The wrestling begins.

When I was about 9 years old, I was touring my new school and meeting new teachers. This stock fellow asked me I liked wrestling. Having only seen the TV version of wrestling at that time, I replied, “No sir, it’s all fake and for show.” He said, “Sorry to hear that.” And he walked away.

A few minutes later we stopped by the gym to meet the PE teacher and the same stocky man was seating on the edge of his desk, with wrestling trophies and ribbons behind him. He was the PE coach and he said we’d be learning about wrestling that semester. We will see how fake it is by Christmas.” O dear.

Back to the wrestling match..

I don’t think it was common for folks to meet strangers on the road and they break into wrestling all night long. It was a strange meeting. It was an completely unexpected series of events and it lasts until the breaking of the new day.

Its like one of the dramatic scenes in a Twilight movie where the shadowing figure chases all through the night and only injures the lead character because the sun comes up.

This is some mystery about meeting and working with God. We meet God in our darkest hours. Just ask Millard Daniels or Elaine Power this week. The prayer is that wake up the next day and find God’s blessing out of the struggle.

While none of us may have wrestled with stranger in the wilderness all through the night, we have stayed up with loved ones through many nights. We have stayed awake in a mental match of math and myth over finances and economies. We have found it impossible to sleep the night though because of few words and the power they had on someone else’s heart.

The backstory to Jacob is with his brother, Esau. Esau was the oldest of the two and it was the custom for the older of the two fraternal twins to receive the father’s inheritance and Jacob and his mother trick his father who was blind into giving Jacob the blessing.

Many years pass but Jacob lives in fear of his secrets, lies and deceptions. God wants them to meet and reconcile. [the same mission we see in the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus] This fear is evidence he had been wrestling a lot longer than this one night. He sends a gift to Esau to soften him up before they meet. The gift is a collection of animals, estimating to be a tenth of his wealth. Accounting for inflation and conversion we can estimate his ‘gift’ to be about $116,000.

When is the last time someone gave you that kind of gift? Not to mention having sent the rest of his family and livestock on head. Jacob is absorbed in fear, worried, anxiety and collapse. Any he has nothing but the shirt on his back.

It is in the place of vulnerability that he meets God who wrestles with him in his darkest hour.

One of the great lessons that is seldom advertised in a stewardship campaign, but in this political climate and chaos over spending and budgets and debt ceilings, when you begin to give to God in the way Jacob models, it might continue to be a wrestle and struggle, but you will surely find God’s blessing on you.

The part of the story that is hard to swallow is at day break. Jacob is just about to get the upper hand and end this wrestling match with God and he cries out… bless me!

And God reaches out and knocks his hip out of joint and the blessing of Jacob follows: that he and his brother are stored, his family is restored, he continues to covenant of Abraham and Isaac and his generations are as numerous as the grains of sand. And one other blessing

Jacob, gets a new name. He is no longer the man he was. He no longer lived for himself, he now lived by God grace for the people of God, and his name become Israel.

And in the news, every week of every year, you hear the Jacob’s new name, Israel claiming the promises of God to this very moment.

So what do get if we all donated $116,000. You get a new name? You get to name a new building? I don’t know but I would love to see what happened…

What I do know is that when we give out of fear, requirement, guilt, or shame.. we never know the joy of the gift. But in our fear, guilt, shame and duty we have the scars of our struggles with God. The different is in the gift. In the hope of healing the relationships between us and God and with each other…

God does not take away the struggle when we give, but he meets us in that struggle and will leave us reminders when we learn the lessons that God is in charge, God is with us always, and God desires to do whatever it takes to heal the relationship. Even if it leaves evidence of the struggle along the way.

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Jer 31.33 “Lord I Want to Be Like Jesus, In My Heart” JUMC Easter 20130331

The Tomb is Empty Our Heart are FullBut this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people [Jeremiah 31:33, NRSV]

 
Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, as you really are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. [1 Corinthians 5:6b-8, NRSV]
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” and when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you–that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” [Luke 24:13-49, NRSV]
In Negro Slave Songs in the United States (1953), Miles Mark Fisher suggests that this African American spiritual could well have originated in Virginia in the 1750s, based on this story from Hanover, Virginia, 1756: “A black slave asked Presbyterian preacher William Davies, ‘I come to you, sir, that you may tell me some good things concerning Jesus Christ and my duty to God, for I am resolved not to live any more as I have done. . . Lord [Sir], I want to be a Christian.'” Apparently the story fits well with the ministry style of Davies in Virginia between 1748 and 1759.

Lord I Want to Be a Christian

1 Lord, I want to be a Christian  in my heart, in my heart.  Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart.  In my heart, in my heart,  Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart. 

2 Lord, I want to be more loving in my heart, in my heart. Lord, I want to be more loving in my heart.  In my heart, in my heart, Lord, I want to be more loving in my heart. 

3 Lord, I want to be more holy in my heart, in my heart.  Lord, I want to be more holy in my heart.  In my heart, in my heart,  Lord, I want to be more holy in my heart. 

4 Lord, I want to be like Jesus in my heart, in my heart. Lord, I want to be like Jesus in my heart. In my heart, in my heart,  Lord, I want to be like Jesus in my heart.

I would further suggest it might well fit with us in 2013.  It is easy for us to retell the history and story of our faith. Telling the account of Jesus in his final week, final hours and in the accounts of that first Easter Sunday at the empty tomb.But the drams become faith when we open our hearts to God and speak not our minds, rather open our hearts.

Dont be an Idiom.. What do we mean by heart..

We speak frequently and even flippantly about our hearts. Take for example:
  • aching heart
  • after one`s own heart
  • at heart
  • bleeding heart
  • break (someone`s) heart
  • close to (someone’s) heart
  • cross one`s heart and hope to die
  • die of a broken heart
  • do his heart good
  • do it in a heartbeat
  • eat one`s heart out
  • find it in one’s heart to (do something)
  • follow one’s heart
  • from the heart
  • from the bottom of one`s heart
  • go (somewhere) in a heartbeat
  • have a big heart
  • have a change of heart
  • have a heart
  • have a heart of gold
  • Bless their heart
  • have a heart of stone
  • have a heart-to-heart talk with (someone)
  • have a soft spot in one’s heart for (someone or something)
  • have one`s heart set on (something)
  • heart and soul
  • heart bleeds for (someone)
  • heart goes out to (someone)
  • heart is dead set against (something)
  • heart is in one’s mouth
  • heart is in the right place
  • heart is not in (something)
  • heart is set against (something)
  • heart is set on (something)
  • heart misses/skips a beat
  • heart stands still
  • heart to heart
  • heartbeat away from (something)
  • heavy heart
  • in one’s heart of hearts, more correctly, core of ones heart, said Hamlet
  • lose heart
  • near to your heart
  • not have the heart to do (something)
  • open one`s heart to (someone)
  • pour one’s heart out (to someone)
  • search one`s heart/soul
  • sick at heart
  • sin sick heart
  • strike at the heart of (something)
  • take heart
  • take to heart
  • he ate at the buffet until his  heart’s content
  • tug at your heartstrings
  • Warm some one’s heart
  • warm the cockles of (someone’s) heart
  • way to (someone’s) heart
  • wear one`s heart on one`s sleeve
  • win (someone’s) heart
  • with all one`s heart (and soul)
  • young at heart

But today, the idiom of our text is to be known by heart, known within our heart.

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people [Jeremiah 31:33, NRSV]

As Paul writes to encourage and instruct the church at Corinth, he draws in the Passover Tradition of starting with Unleavened bread. How do we know Christ in our heart?

We have to empty the refrigerator sometime… to start fresh.

So our relationship, needs a good old fashion dose of the resurrection of Jesus to wake up what is dead and leading us to death.

Easter is not a day of rest, it is a day to open our hearts to the very Heart of God.

God wants the CORE of who we are, not just a holiday, not just a Sunday. God wants US everyday.

 

This is the power of Easter for us right now.

God has given all, I mean ALL, for your heart.

God wants you to not just know ABOUT him nor only ABOUT the story.

GOD is dying for you.

GOD is living for your life.

This is what EASTER means to us today…  Most likely you have all hear the Good News of the Easter message..

 

SO WHAT? I have ben wrestling with the book NOT A FAN, about being a follower compared to being a fan.

ASK yourself this morning: What does it mean that God wants to be at CENTRAL OFFICE, the CORE, at the CPU, at the beginning and end of you.?

Am I willing to give the Live God, the power of the God’s Spirit? The grace and love of Jesus the steering wheel wherever we go,

If so, than I need to forgive some folks, serve some folks, trust some folks, meet some folks, let go of some folks,

 

In my Heart, In my Heart, Lord I want to be your son, daughter, man/woman, youth, child, YOURs.

This is the Easter Invite..

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2 Cor 3.12-4.2 “Act with Great Boldness” A Transfiguration Call to Witness JUMC 20130210

MtTabor_Transfiguration

Mt Tabor: Mount of the Transfiguration of our Lord

NRSV Lectionary Readings for Transfiguration Sunday

Exodus 34:29-35
Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses spoke with them. Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face; but whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he would take the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining; and Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

Psalm 99
The LORD is king; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake! The LORD is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples. Let them praise your great and awesome name. Holy is he! Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Extol the LORD our God; worship at his footstool. Holy is he! Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called on his name. They cried to the LORD, and he answered them. He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud; they kept his decrees, and the statutes that he gave them. O LORD our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings. Extol the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy.

2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside. But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside. Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit. Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.

Luke 9:28-36
Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” — not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

The Veil was a comfort, protection and separation from the people.

You have a surgical mask to wear this morning. I invite you to wear one. In the cold and flu season we need be extra careful, (at 11am: if they seem a little wrinkled its because we used them at 9am as well, NOT serious.) Most often when people wear a mask it is not because they have a germ or illness that they don’t want you to catch. It is more likely they don’t want your germs, bugs, and contagions.

For most folks, when you see someone with a mask like ours on their face, we respond to the unwritten message: STAY AWAY! Is Jesus’ message to the world, stay away? Mind your own business? Suit yourself? Leave us alone? I’m a problem you don’t want to deal with? Certainly not.

But neither are these the messages we are called to witness to the world.

I had a friend in school who’s parents worked at the Center for Disease Control near Emory University. He received so much ridicule and reluctancy of school friends to go to his house because there was a fear that his parents would bring home some horrible agent from work and contaminate everyone who entered. It was unfounded, ignorant and mean.

Think of the people that we might not want to befriend because they are unclean, (physically and/or spiritually) Picture the folks who we don’t want to know about in our community and in the world. We would change the channel on reality and say those problems are not our responsibility. When we pretend that God wants us to only reach out to a few, people like ourselves.. we put a veil, something to separate us.

Paul’s words to the church at Corinth remind us of the opposing message to that of the world’s self-preservation:

When we look to Jesus, we are looking into a mirror that shows us the face, image, witness and work of God. And the reverse is true for the world. God has chosen to use the Holy Spirit to reflect the work, face, image, wintess and power of God through our face.

Be bold, don’t cover up your face.

Jesus’ life, death and resurrection are about removing the barriers between people and God.

Not only are we caution and hesitant about germs and illness. We are more regularly reluctant to allow Christ to shine at home, at work, at school, at Walmart, Tanger and Target.  Are we bold on the field? Are we bold when we are playing with family and friends? Are we bold in reflecting Christ when we meet a stranger or neighbor?

SO WHAT: So what does the transfiguration of our Lord have to do with me today? The event is about revealing. It is a revelation of who Jesus is and what his is about. He is the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets. He is the teacher and leader to the disciples. He is the healer and restorer of the people. He is the correction and wholeness to sin and brokenness, now and for all time.

Moses and Elijah show up to talk about what was about to happen in Jerusalem. A hand full of disciples get to see this thing first hand. The whole, complete image of God revealed. Peter immediatly wants to build something to remember the occasion.

Jesus takes them down the mountain and said, remember me, not where you found me.

KEY: God is more interested in us, than in the state God we find God is with US.

-= God Calls for Boldness in telling this clear and revealed message to the world around us: It’s not where find Jesus is God’s power/grace/life for you. It is that God wants you so much that he would go to Jerusalem and die that you might live.

Do you now someone today that does not know, has heard it but does not believe it? Be Bold And show them the way to Christ.

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Mark 9:2-9 “From the Top Down” @JUMC 20120219:1100

2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them, 3 and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Eli’jah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus. 5 And Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli’jah.” 6 For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid. 7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” 8 And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only. 9 And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of man should have risen from the dead. –NRSV

This is a curious passage of the Mountain top experience of Jesus with Moses and Elijah as well as Peter James and John and all together with God.

I cannot live in your spiritual high points nor can I live in your weakest spiritual lows. And neither can you find life in mine.

What we do find in this passage is a series of witnesses experiences.

If you are gathered with your family and flip through the 1000 channels and stop at a boxing match:

  •             Someone will be scared at two grown men fighting
  •             Someone will be nauseated at the violence
  •             Someone will become engaged in the aggression and in tune with the fight.
  •             Someone will look at the technical details of the sport
  •             Someone else will just leave the room and avoid it all.
  •             And other responses as well.

The point: We all can experience the same event and respond in different ways.

We have just such an occasion here recorded on the mountain…

We can learn from each others experience, but we cannot base our faith on the experience of others.

We are called to live, share and experience our own relationship with God…

  •  Moses (The Law) and Elijah (The Prophets)
  • Moses (The Politian) and Elijah (The Academy)
  • Moses (Died for breaking the law/trust) and Elijah (Carried up to heaven for keeping faithful)
  • Peter, James and John… some of the first disciples,
  • Peter, James and John… quite possible the wealthiest of the disciples, community leads/businessmen.
  • Peter, James and John… travel with Jesus to Mt Tabor, when all the other 9 are not taken up the mountain.
  • Jesus talks with the disciples on the way up.
  • Jesus talks with Moses and Elijah on the Mountain
  • Jesus talks with disciples on the way down and tells them to keep quiet.
  • God speaks through Moses and Elijah, for Jesus’ benefit. They don’t talk to the disciples.
  • God speaks to Jesus, Moses, Elijah, Peter, James and John… the clearest revelation: Jesus is it!
  • God interrupts Peter, when he need to be listening and experiencing instead of talking and fixing.

These are the conversations,

These are the network of simultaneous conversations and events.

What is our conversation(s) to do with these?

  1. We can learn from the invitation

  2. We might assume Jesus wants these three disciples to know most fully and clearly Jesus is the Messiah.

  3. We can assume Jesus wanted to talk with Moses and Elijah, for his own reasons

Disciples are witnesses…

We are witnesses of Jesus, the OT, the NT, and all other disciples…

What are we learning from each other.

My Conclusions:

  •             Don’t be quick to figure things out.
  •             Don’t assume you have what God wants figured out.
  •             Don’t talk when you need to be listening
  •             Don’t take action when God wants you to be still.

Listen to the Law

Listen to the Prophets and Teachings

Watch for the Light to be revealed

Listen for God’s voice that speaks to your heart and life

Don’t reveal your own ignorance… Trust God’s knowing.

Peter speaks up:

James & John let him speak out. (why didn’t they hush him up?)

Peter in effect says: Here is my idea, Here is what we need, I know what to do.

James and John: Let Peter ramble on, James and John let their actions be a witness

The greatest threat to the church is the quiet witness…

People will know Christ by my actions…

How do we witness Christ in our worry, gossip, controlling, and greed?

I don’t know about you, but my witness of actions may be no better than my words

BOTTOM LINE: God wants us to know for sure. That God is God and Jesus is our Savior.

God is willing to let that shine through other people,

But we have to be willing to hear through the scriptures, live through the Spirit/Glory

And be ready to share OUR experience when the time comes…

back down the mountain..

after to crucifixion and forsaken times

Where’s the strength when you are weak? Look to Jesus, Be Intentional.

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John 1:1-9 The First Word, and the Last Word @JUMC 20120219:0900

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God; 3 all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light. 9 The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. –NRSV

Who has the last word in your house? This is such a loaded question:
• If it’s Dad, does Mom feel like her word is validated and heard?
• If it’s Mom, does Dad feel walked over and
• If it’s the children, then how healthy can that be for the kids or the adults?
• If it’s no one or every one, then there is clearly chaos.
I have an easy and simple answer: God has the last word, and the first.

If the John that wrote the fourth Gospel book in the New Testament, wrote 50-100 words about what it means to have “God first in our lives” it would be in these first nine verses.

Reminder: We are asking everyone, to write this statement of faith, “What does it mean to you to put God first in your life.”

God has the first word, that creates and brings order and is the very core expression of God’s love.
Speaking first, God loves into existence all things, and in Jesus Christ, God has the last word,
• Light dissolves darkness,
• Light that can be over powered by darkness and evil.
• Light that points the way to what is true and good for everyone.

The big So What: God’s love speaks and ‘life’ comes into being. And “the Life was the light of all people.”
We have nations at war, political parties divided, religions at war, economies tipping the balances each and all together moving our world, “all people” back into chaos.

We can’t stop the wars, We can’t heal the politics, we can’t fix the economy… no one of us can.
But there is one who can show us the light.
But there is one who we can believe in when all else caves in.
But there is one who is more powerful than all the evils of the world.
Jesus: Yep, that the answers, but do we know what that actually means?

Give verse 7 your attention:
• He came for a testimony,
• to witness to the light,
• that all might believe through him.

• Believing God has the first and last word in our ordinary decisions and choices
• Believing God has the first and last word in our celebrations and scary darkest struggles
• Believing God is the reason for our being and Our claiming that our being is for God and not self or others.

It is then we are understand and get-it, and are ‘enlightened’ by Christ…. Until then we wonder in the darkness, shouting the right answers looking for the light switch… that’s no way to live is it? Let God’s light and word, give life and direction… that is what it means to live for God.

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