Posts Tagged action
Posted by myoikos in #forgive, #jesus, #mysundaysermons, #relationship, 5 Practices, Boldness, Christian LIving, Extravagant Generosity, Forgiveness, God, grace, Meaning, Putting God First, Radical Hospitality, Relationship, Risk Taking Mission and Service, Scripture, Spiritual, Spiritual Growth, Suffering, Trust, Witness on August 29, 2015
Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures. You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act–they will be blessed in their doing. If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. [NRSV]
What do we know in our head?
- Love neighbor
- feed hungry
- clothe the naked
- forgive your enemy: doesn’t mean they are not to be accountable, we allow them the opportunity to change
- read and study the scriptures
- Remember the forgotten, the widow and children/orphan
Today we have heard about a terrible social problem. (Trafficking)
Is it enough to know about the problem
or is there something we can we about the problem
- report abuse and crimes
- give children safe place to be
- get involved in community and schools
- Get help to victims and support change in he hearts of abusers
Jesus empowers us as a moody not a museum
- Don’t be deceived is the repeated warning
- the devil is known as the great deceiver: say one thing and do another
- we can be deceived
- deceive others and deceive ourselves
- but we cannot deceive God
therefore, repent and trust God in all things
When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, “Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” [NRSV]
People like to celebrate. We like something to get excited about.
Look at any sporting venue of your choice. There are more acres and structures devoted to accommodating those who celebrate than those who play the games. Sometime the celebrations get out of hand and crowds rush the playing field, goal posts get torn down, the crowd takes the celebration into the streets and what was apparent joy turns into rage and violence.
Think of Jesus’ entry into the capital city: What would make you take off your coat and cut down the neighbors tree limbs to celebrate.
I lived in Grant Park when the the Freak-Nick celebration began in Atlanta. It was not as crazy in our neighborhood as some but there were a day that we were snowed in with abandoned cars filling the streets around the church. At the time it was very frustrating and unsettling. Looking back it was evidence of what a crowd of people who get lost in the celebration can do.
On one hand they can celebrate their leader because they hear what they want to hear and cheer on one another. In the next moment they choose the murderer Barabbas instead of Jesus.
I received an email a couple of weeks ago from a political action group asking me to join other clergy in the presidents invitation to use our pulpit time to encourage people to sign up of the “Affordable” healthcare plans. The president was crossing the line of church and state to ask us to pray for the poor; he was not asking us to help victims of storms; he was not asking us to care for the sick. He was asking us to promote his political agenda. Is that what we have come to celebrate?
Maybe we are to be quiet and reverent only. Should not Jesus have been shown more respect and people just sat and watch quietly as he entered Jerusalem? Jesus didn’t want to show all the pomp and circumstance. He choose a donkey instead of the emperor’s steed. Maybe celebration has no place in our worship. It would be proper to keep quiet and manorly. Right? Look and around and listen this morning: Where are the palm branches? the coats and crowds… We can be assured that we are behaving as we ought and there will be no need for threat or crucifix going on anywhere around here today. “Am I right?”
This text begs the question: What is the appropriate way to welcome Jesus into our town? Quietly as if it were against the law? Not against the law of the land, but the law of opinion and perception.
Rather the harden, stone-like hearts has been set free, bodies healed, lives transformed and eyes opened and the people were shouting, Hallelujah! Praise the Lord, Hosanna! Glory to God in the Highest! Blessed is he that comes in the Lord’s name. Hosanna! Glory Hallelujah!
Let’s try whispering that together. <in a whisper> Hallelujah! Praise the Lord, Hosanna! Glory to God in the Highest! Blessed is he that comes in the Lord’s name. Hosanna! Glory Hallelujah!
Even when we all whisper it together our collective voice of praise is louder than one person sitting quietly minding their manors of respectability.
It’s not that God wants to hear certain words coming out of our mouths, but rather than try so hard to be quiet, let us try to respond the what God has done for us.
It might be the case Jesus has not come to our house; he might not have visited our streets; he might not have spoken to our hearts in such a long time that we have forgotten the joy. Is this the case?
Did Jesus want attention?
If you are going to start a parade riding into town. You must expect some attention. If you came riding in a shiny, red convertible Austin Martin, throwing candy and beaded necklaces to the crowd, you would expect some attention.
But if you came into town announcing you were a king, riding on a Murray Lawn mower and had your disciples throwing palm branches like a humble king David, you might not get the same attention from the crowd, but you would incite the eye of your critics. Jesus enters the city with intentional, radical risk and reveals the extravagance of God’s presence.
The text of Palm Sunday is one that asks each of us to identify where we are in the story? Are we paving the way with the coat off our backs? Are we waving whatever is within arms reach to celebrate? Are you shouting praise to God for all to hear?
Or, Are we wishing the parade was over and worried about who is going to clean up the mess? Are we feuding and steaming because of the irreverence of others? Are we resisting challenge and change? Are our dreams and expectation called to expand beyond our control and measure? Are we simply feeling left out?
Every Sunday is a celebration day. This Sunday is the beginning of a holy week of celebration leading us through the cross to the resurrection. Is it a journey you already know too well and will save the trip this year or will you make the pilgrimage again, if not for yourself for those who see your actions and hear your words.
There’s a party in the house… the prodigal has come home will we going in and join the father’s family and friends or will we stay outside?
As for me and my house, we will praise the Lord.
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. [NRSV]
Are you blessed? Look at the blessing side of these equations:
- Citizenship in Heaven
- Comforted here and now.
- Inheritors of the earth
- Filled with Satisfaction
- Swimming in Mercy
- Able to see God’s presence
- Known to be God’s child
- Have a place in heaven
- Heavenly Reward Waiting
Character Traits of the faithful
- Poor in spirit, Mourning, Meek
- Righteousness Seekers, Mercy, Seekers of God’s heart
- Makers of peace; Teased, Taunted, Tested and Tormented for doing what is Godly.
Jesus begins his teaching ministry to the crowds with instructions that define the measurable, witness-able, tangible descriptors of those who ‘get it’, those who would be followers, disciples, Christians.
Look Around you today
Are you surrounding by the blessed or cursed? Honestly we are some of both, some of the time. This is why we continually repent, pray for forgiveness, and seek to live a new the new life we celebrate in Holy Communion.
We come to the table because we have turned the other way.
Jesus begins be giving us a measuring stick of identify and path toward citizenship.
Forgive me, for I have sinned.
- Forgive me, for I have acted like I knew better than God and other Godly saints.
- Forgive me, for I have forgotten that you gave your son for my life. I forgot what that feels like.
- Forgive me, for I have stopped growing my spiritual relationship.
- Forgive me, for I have taken your grace, but not shown it to others.
- Forgive me, for I have not had pure thoughts, motives, actions and words.
- Forgive me, for I have not tried to make peace and even stirred up trouble myself.
- Forgive me, for I have persecuted others because they were different.
- Forgive me, for I have said and done all kinds of evil that does not reflect your presence in my heart and life.
- Forgive me, for I have forgotten your Joy and misplaced your Gladness and Love.
Jesus words start as descriptors for Disciples and become daggers of conviction when we have not stayed on the path of Blessing.
An Opposing View
- Cursed are those who are full-of-themselves
- Cursed are those who stoic, selfish, and prideful,
- Cursed are those who know better than the rest of us
- Cursed are those who know better than God
- Cursed are those who judge with a log in their own eye
- Cursed are those who see only their wants and vision
- Cursed are those who to quiet to stop injustice or too loud in self-preservation
- Cursed are those who to sacred to be bold for God
The attitudes of Matthew 5.1-12 are the called such as they begin in our hearts and minds and then affect our actions and environment.
If our task is to make disciples of others for the transformation of the world, it begins by ‘checking’ our attitude to see if our heart and minds are God before we move to words and deeds.
Have someone ask you these questions this week and answer them honestly:
- Am I always right?
- Where does pride blind me and hinder others?
- Who knows best how to live in relationship with others?
- Am I willing to change what is broken in my life?
- Am I willing to see and feel how others feel and see life? And me?
- Will I speak bolding for God today? Each day?
- What scares me? Why would I be afraid if God is captain of our team?
What’s at Stake? EVERYTHING
- Being Blessed or Curse.
- Being included or outside.
- Saved or Damned.
- Loved or hated
- Remembered or forgotten
- God’s or my Own.
What is God doing about it?
- Has given us Christ to follow
- Has given us Christ for our sin
- Has given us Christ for living
- Has given us The Spirit for power and guidance
- Has given us the Church for fellowship and encouragement
- Has given us Word to study, learn, grow and share
- Has given us Music to tell and share
- Has given us ministry to share and reach
- Has given us resources to build and invest
The question, Our Question:
“What am I doing about my attitude and my actions as child of God?”
Come to the Table and start fresh in the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. Come to the table and be filled, anew.
By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace. And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets– who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented– of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. [NRSV]
Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman
She makes Paul’s coking look line a weigh watcher commercial.
Her journey of coping with the transition from city life to life on a ranch in the middle of nowhere is a testimony of living by faith.
Not to mention she gives tips on how to beat the Baptist to the grocery store after church On Sundays.
The text today gives example from the legacy of the Old Testament of how the people of God act and life , by faith
It also gives example of how the eerily church lived by faith to cover new territory.
I’ve been praying about the half of our neighbors who on any given Sunday don’t find church a place they plan to be.
How can we life by faith and reach these folks.
11:40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect...
God has provided something wonderful that we all know, trust and believe. But else have nearly 10,000 neighbors who can see it, don’t believe it and don’t live by yr enjoy we have.
The church is u set persecution. Look at those in Egypt this week that we dragged from their home and violently killed in the streets because of what the believed by faith.
In our own country our faith is being watered down and policed by political correctness while we watch.
How many if our neighbors is it alright for us to
1 hope they will find Christ intent own?
2 hope our witness is good on the day they are willing to look and listen?
3 go about their business without our concern or involvement?
We celebrate later today the life and faith of Charlie Sims who has loved his family church and country we til each the end and rust that God says, well done good and faithful servant.
But what of those who on the sofa, still in bed, on the mower and on the the lake. Not on cation or re popping from illness but those who do Not know the faith we cherish l that is our hope and security.
So what ?
Great faith is our response and not out job.
As we start another year of school the Pre-k students do they begin a journey of completion or start a journey of discovery that equips them to be good decision markers,
those who devalue learning or just turn in assignment and bubble in correct scores?
The text us about being perfected. Not by our work rather trusting the one who has pioneers the way and run the race flew us
We are the great our of witness called to follow into the parted sea, to march around the city walls, to welcome with hospitality and to
Stand firm with Jesus in the face of all persecution
We don’t know the perfection until we are whole.
As long as there are those who don’t know what we trust in Christ Jesus. We are all just dosing kind deeds, it’s tome to stand with Jesus until they come home to him.
Pray for the way we will become a more perfect union, in Christ
Study how we will pioneer through hearts and minds that are closed
Get ready for the new day Christ promises when we stand firm with him.
“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
In answering the question: What on Earth Am I here for? We have learned that we are here because
- God loves us, we are here for God’s pleasure
- God desires to hear from use, we are here to worship God
- God wants us to belong, we are here to fellowship with God’s people
- God wants disciples, we are here to become like Christ
- Today, we will talk about how God has shaped us for SERVICE.
Are you a minister? If you said no, that not me, then I tell you, you are not a Christian.
I will ask again: Are you a minister? Did some of you say, “maybe..”
That’s an open door to start our conversation.
Everyone who is a follower of Jesus, everyone who is a disciple, a member of the fellowship of God has been shaped and formed and is here to serve.
That is your ministry.
Most simply and clearly we see Jesus’ life as a model of a servant’s life.
He value of his own life is seen in how he lived with others.
The value and meaning of life is not determined by how LONG we live? How quickly we learn? How well we gather wealth or success. God values how we use the life we are given.
Some folks will take many years to come to a place of seeing the power of life is not in the stuff we want, make, buy or claim. Rather full life is seen in HOW we live.
Look at Jesus.
- When he saw someone who was poor, he didn’t try to end poverty, he gave his time and shared himself with others.
- When Jesus was with someone who was sick, he didn’t bring and end to all disease, he gave God’s power and blessing and was present with those who suffered.
- When he was with those who lived by the rules and laws and system, Jesus healed on Sabboth, ate with sinners, broke customs to include women and children, he invited men to leave their homes, businesses and follow him.
- When Jesus was with someone he was in their presence, even when they did not recognized they were in the presence of God.
We are not called to BE Jesus, but to live in ways that we become LIKE Jesus.
We are not called to be perfect and right, we are made to live life LIKE his lived his life.
In homes and in the garden, in the temple and at the wedding party, at the seat of government and at the feed of children.
One thing to be certain, the moment we realize that God wants us be ministers and we have a plan, you can PLAN for interruptions and the need for a new plan.
The very time we choose to be present in our life and the lives of others, OUR plans will be challenged.
Not challenged by the devil as much as interrupted by the widow, orphan, family member or legal authorities.
This was key for Jesus, but he models that the ministry must be flexible.
My ministry is to inspire, challenge, inform and equip you for your ministry.
If there are those who answered the question, Are you a minister with a “NO” not me, then my work is not done.
How can be a minister?
Jesus called disicples with different talents. Some were good with business, some money, some had connections, some had sales experience, some were parents, spouses, and business partners. Some young, old and others were busy working others intently listening.
Jesus calls us to use the gifts, talents and experience we already have and bring those to the table.
Our life is filled with differing perspectives. We don’t all think alike when it
comes to conservative or liberal,
Krispy Kreme or Dunkin,
Hunts or Heinz,
Early or Late,
wealthy or poor,
short or tall
What we are here to do, is to LIVE a life, LIKE Christ has shown us, with what we have on hand.
Remember the child that shared the sack lunch that fed thousands by the sea? God uses what we bring to the ministry that is at hand.
- Your ministry might be to bring the sack lunch
- Your ministry might be to distribute the pieces
- You ministry might be to clean up after the crowd
- You ministry might be to go ask Jesus
There are plenty of folks who will send the problems away
Call for the crowds to take care of themselves
Look to limits of what we can provide
These are not ministries; these are ministry killers.
Ok, ok, so I’m a minister, “How do I do, whatever it is I’m suppose to do?”
Look to our verse from Ephesians:
“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
God has already provided for the needs in this world. There are minds ready to discover. Bodies ready to give strength, Feet ready to move the impossible. Hearts to love and forgive. Spirits to empower and dream.
God has already been at work bringing us to this moment; this place and time.. what we can do RIGHT NOW is made possible by what God can do with those of us in this very place.
Know God has you here to be a minister
Know Jesus shows us what it looks like to LIVE out ministry in our lives
Know God expects interruptions, questions, mistakes and failure along the way.
Most of all: Know YOU are the handiwork of God for this world, and the world needs God through you.
You are shape to serve God… live the LIFE God has designed for you today.