Posts Tagged communication

John 1:29-42 “Have You Shared Jesus” JUMC 20140118


The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.” The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). [NRSV]

There is classic line in the movie Forrest Gump, where Lt Dan asks Forrest if he had found Jesus, Forrest replies, “ I didn’t know he was lost.”

There are those who take literal the need to ask verbatim: “Have you found Jesus?” but for those of us in the church, in the family, the more important question to ask one another is, “Have go gone to share the news that Jesus is near.”

Where do we find Jesus today?

In the quest to find the historical Jesus, there is a fundamental need for faith to accept the proof. I enjoy the history channel as much as the next view. They continue to have programs that offer evidence and proof of different artifacts and discoveries that attempt to prove the validity of the Jesus and other bible characters, but in the end we have to believe that the artifacts, interpretations and discoveries satisfy our beliefs and understandings. It remains a matter of faith and faith shared.

The identity and presence of Jesus is not proven by DNA testing; there are no birth records, and no formal credentials are offered. It is a matter of the testimony of faithful witnesses. Sharing what they have seen, heard and experienced.

John who baptized Jesus tells by-standers, “See that fellow over there? He is the lamb of God. He is the Messiah. He is the one.”

He further reports, “If you come to see and hear me, you are wasting your time; you need to be listening and following him.”

Here is his evidence as an eye witness: “I saw the Spirit of God descend like a dove and it sat on his head, and it stayed there for the whole time.” It is the same evidence that Jane and Michael Banks have while traveling with Mary-Pop-ins, when they visit the bird lady in streets of London. The birds flocked to her and stayed with her. She is kind but she is not Messiah; she is not the lamb of God.

So Andrew hears John tell a story and that compels him to go and tell his is brother Simon to come and see Jesus.

What stories compel us to tell our families that need to come and see and listen to Jesus?

We hear reports about children who have gone through these cold days and nights knowing there were given coats in Jesus’ name and have touched people’s hearts to prepare to give for the children who will need coats in the seasons ahead. What sparks that generosity toward strangers? It is the love and presence of the Messiah, the lamb of God.

We hear of people crossing cultures to build churches, paint and repair houses,

We hear of thousands of people receiving food, clothes, counseling, encouragement and help with transportation, housing, medicine and utilities in our very community all shared to the witness that God provides ways to meet these needs and reveal God’s love toward all people.

We hear of hundreds of lunches are prepared to feed children that parents have left to fend for themselves and we know they have food to eat that have been shared because Christ challenges to share in his name.

We hear music that comes from mortal mouths, hands and hearts that transcends our collective effort to bring people to know the joy and power of Christ with us through cantatas, plays and songs of faithful voices and musicians.

We gather in small groups, classes, studies and service groups compelled to find God’s Word and Work alive in our presence and

The question is not can we tell about Jesus… The question is who has not yet heard?

45% of our own community report they have not heard something worth coming to church to know more about.

Back the text: Look at the God-trusted method of communication. One person gives first hand witness. One person hears who has not seen. Their trust in the story of faith, compels the first hearer to tell someone else. Their re-telling inspires someone they know to go see and hear for them.

Faith sharing compels people to want to hear, see and know more.

I believe we are faithful in sharing the witness of the story when we reach out serve others, but that is the first part of a two part equation.

We are not just doing good deed to be doing good. We go and tell, in many ways, so that people will know God is at work in their presence.

The choir, organ, piano, bulletins, counters, vacuum cleaning, heating, building, painting, patching, preaching, teaching, and more has all worked together to remind one another that God Almighty is in this very place.

If you don’t know where to see God at work, look at the hours devoted, my so many, toward revealing God’s presence is real and available: They question is who is not here who needs to know it?

God know God is here: But some folks has been convinced the church gets in the way. If we have done all that we do and yet they do not come, are we off the hook? Can we write them off?

What if Andrew went with great zeal, faith, authority and confidence to tell Simon, and Simon said,
I’ve got work to do.
I have something more fun to do.
I have something more important to do.
If it makes you happy then you go listen to God’s lamb.
I’m waiting for something more convincing?
I need more evidence.

The question of the text is what in John’s witness inspires Andrew to think of Simon?
What in Andrew’s enthusiasm and conviction inspires Simon to get up and go see for himself?

This is the powerful part of the text for us to see:
It is the telling of the story. God works through our telling the story. This is where the presence of the Spirit remains, resides and is revealed.

When we stop telling the story, people stop trusting, believing and responding.
No, not everyone jumps every time we tell it, but they will certainly not hear if we don’t tell.
So go tell them, Jesus Christ is here. Come and see, hear and believe for yourself.

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Matthew 15:10-20 Pit Falls of Speaking JUMC 08142011

10 Then Jesus called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” 12 Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.”15 But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16 Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19 For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”  -NRSV

Just Keep ‘IT’ to Your Self

  • For some the default is to take this parable’s teaching to the extreme.
  • These folks will keep their mouths and hearts closed so tightly that prefer to err on the side of not speaking, rather than say the wrong thing.
  • But what does it feel like to keep something inside, something that should not eat at your own heart for keeping quiet.

Yes, there is a place for confidence, trust and secrets.. these are not what the parable is addressing.

  • Jesus is teaching about what needs to be shared or told.

Think about the things that have come out of your mouth in the last 24 hours: There are a sets of tools that help us learn to communicate well.

  • Some tools prevent good. For example when we focus on blame, sarcasm, and assumptions that close hearts, minds and doors.
  • Some tools are information only. Details, information, facts and figures, which in theme selves are not communication, but can either help or hinder what we say.
  • Finally there are tools and methods that promote good conversation. When we hear from the other person’s perspective, when we let others know we hear them independent of judging them. When we work toward agreement that is not coerced.
  • The catch is that we generally carry more tools from the first bag of resources and give up before we reach the third one.
Sometimes there is more to be said, but is it the truth?

If you have visited a National Park website lately, you will find new educational resources that give a more afro-centric account about the significance of historical markers and events at the park. Now, this is a tricky business. Because the task is not to re-write history, rather to add more voices to complete the pictures we have of our common history.Jesus is primarily talking, not about politics, rather our faith message to the world:

  • We have almost no religious restrictions on our diets. The only one has been a request of Methodist to choose to abstain from drinking alcohol. “I thought we were the all things in moderation church?, aren’t we?” Technically we are not. Our history recognized when society abuses a substance to the degree it affects not only the individual person but the whole society, it would be best to make personal choices to avoid it’s use.
  • If we take the same model, and think of how sugar, salt, processed and modified food, on the same grounds we should also abstain from these items. So when out Baptist friends try to tell us that the wine that Jesus consumed was somehow watered down, remind them that Jesus himself turned water into wine, that was the very best the professional sommelier, wine steward, had ever tasted.
  • If it is for judgement and condemnation that we demean and divide people because of any substance, then we have allow a ‘thing’ to become more important that the person. That is Idolatry.(a whole other sermon)

So if our lesson is..

  • not to simply keep quiet,
  • not to say whatever comes to our mind
  • not to twist the words of others
  • not to use words to judge or condemn

What IS it we are suppose to get?
This is why Peter speaks up to ask for clarification.. give us the Cliff NotesTM Jesus.

Jesus gets to the heart of the matter.

  • First, physical things go the way of what is physical.
  • Our Words come from the heart… that is what matters.
  • Sometimes our words are untrue or insincere and they are only good for the sewer..

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

The disciples and the people would have known this verse by heart.

Jesus gives a list of the terrible things that can come from our heart, even if we don’t speak the words aloud:
evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, lying, slander
vs what our heart could say:
goodness, healing, respect, love, sharing, truth, and support.

Here is ‘THE’ Question:

What is the world hearing from your heart?

  • Is your heart silent?
    • Open Up! Speak Out Clear!
  • Is your heart screaming Anger, Fear, Judgement, Control
    • Stop talking, hear what those around you are saying.
  • Is your heart speaking God’s voice!
    • Praise the Lord!

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