Posts Tagged Easter

Luke 24.36-48 “What’s For Lunch?” RSUMC 20150419

broiled_fishWhile they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.  He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?  Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself ! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”  They gave him a piece of broiled fish,  and he took it and ate it in their presence.  He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses,the Prophets and the Psalms.”  Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.  He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,  and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. [NRSV]
Jesus is not just an idea, a theory, a collection of stories, Jesus was a real, person, human, like us: a spiritual being in a physical body.
  • Ideas don’t get hungry
  • theories don’t need to eat
  • collections of stories and moral teaches don’t need physical nourishment.
The resurrection Jesus is a physical person freed up, by the resurrection to affirm we are more than our bodies.
  • We are more than our physical needs
  • We are more than our material posessions
  • We are more than the health of these bodies
  • We are more than the suffering of this present age
  • We are Spiritual people, child of God, joint heirs, brother/sisters with Jesus, God’s people, God’s family.
Jesus continues to show the faithful the signs of the struggle and proof of the resurrection.
  • Jesus keeps showing up, directing us to OUR purpose.
  • We need the signs just like everyone else.
  • We need reminding and encouragement
  • We need Jesus to show us the same old story because our doubts and fears are real.
We need proof of the resurrection because we:
  • forget
  • let go
  • look away
  • taste other fruit
  • wrestle
  • break the commandments
  • are unfaithful individually AND collectively
  • THESE are the FAITH STRUGGLES in the OT, NT, and today.
The old testament is not to be forgotten, rather stands to say that Jesus is not an after-thought. But God has been at work since the beginning.. for our purpose, our foundation… our base..
Yes, it’s all about the base: the basis for God’s work of creation to this very day and beyond is LOVING RELATIONSHIP.

The base and foundation of our relationship is expressed in the Gracious give and take of

REPENTANCE: God loves us so much we know we can ask and God will forgive.

FORGIVENESS: God loves us so much, when we ask, God sees our change of heart and forgives.

We mess us… See list above… and offers of Forgiveness when we repent, turn around.

of repentance and forgiveness. The corrective and creative renew of relationship.
RESURRECTION PEOPLE can turn around, 180 degree.
In the power of Jesus Christ our lives can turn around,
God gives us the power to change, the freedom to choose, no matter what world, family, politics, etc. We can choose to follow God,
So do a 180, eat lunch and get to work sharing the signs the Christ is living in you.

, , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Mark 16:1-8 “Terrorized and Amazed” RSUMC 20150405 Easter Sunrise

keepquietHeisRISENWhen the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid. [NRSV]

The oldest copies of the book of Mark end the story at this point, at verse 8.

In reading the whole book of Mark there is a series of points where Jesus reveals the news about his identity and he tells the disciples to keep quiet and not tell anyone.

At least six times, Jesus tells folks to keep quiet:

  1. At Jesus Baptism, before anyone could respond to God’s voice, “”You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.
  1. The Evil Spirit’s know him 1.24 and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.
  1. And Jesus cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.  1.34
  1. While healing a man with Leprosy 1.41 Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
  1. On the Mountain of Transfiguration 9: 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean.
  1. Healing the Blind man 10:46Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!

In reading the whole book of Mark as one story and not verse-by-verse, we would see this is in fact the seventh time Jesus’ true identity is reveal and the young man, dressing a white robe, a heavenly messenger is declaring the news.

So now at the pinnacle of story revealed in the face of the empty tomb. Those who see the empty tomb and hear the first word, first hand..

They are told to GO TELL!

And, they who know the Good News, Trust and Clear: They say nothing because of fear.

The Power of Fear

Terror and Amazement seized them: We live in a time where we hear daily about the unbelievable and amazingly horrific terrorism in the world and we can’t believe it.

Remember the words at Jesus’s birth from the angels to the shepherd, “Be Not Afraid, for here is GOOD NEWS, for the world.”

LEAVE THIS PLACE AND TELL EVERYONE

He is Risen!! He lives in Me and Lives in You!!

Tell seven people today… Jesus lives in me.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

1 Corinthians 15:1-11 “Save A Life” RSUMC 20150405 Easter Sunday

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you–unless you have come to believe in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them–though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe. [NRSV]

My Task is to Remind You about Jesus

  • Jesus wants a relationship with us, brothers and sisters, join heirs.
  • God has been at work before you knew it or even claim it
  • God’s Good News of Jesus Christ is the footings/foundation of our faith
  • God’s Good News concerning our relationship through Jesus is to be shared
  • God’s Good News is the witness of God’s actions of love and saving grace.

You can believe this Good News to be true in your head and miss the power of the relationship.

  • A marriage certificate is not a marriage. I marriage is covenant shared with God.
  • When I hear folks at a funeral say, “At least I hear him say he had given his heart to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. So I don’t have to worry about his salvation.” I begin to worry about the salvation of the person making that statement.
  • Jesus died and came back to life, raised from the dead, not to hear our words but to claim our heart and relationship.
  • (Cartersville Pickup Truck Funeral: [tragic construction related death, two wives and a girl friend meet at the funeral home for the first time.] “At least we thought he was a church going man based on the bulletin in his bible.”)

Paul’s Caution #1 “if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you–unless you have come to believe in vain. 

I want to show you a simple invitation: a 9 volt battery

Did you know in thsmokealarme National Fire Prevention Association reported last year that 47% of wired smoke alarms are non functioning, and 56% of battery only smoke alarms were non functioning.

Nearly 80% of those had missing or worn out batteries.

On average there are 120,000 deaths related to structural fires. The potential for 96,000 fewer deaths if we knew for sure, that the smoke detectors had working batteries.

When they called people and ask them, do you have a working smoke alarm with a new battery, 74% reported yes

When a random sample went to visit the same homes to check the battery charge level, only 45% had working batteries.

What is the difference between knowing the statistics and actually plugging into the power to have device that saves lives?

-It is the same difference between knowing about Jesus, and being plugged into the power of God’s Spirit, through Jesus.

How many people think the words and say the words, but have dead or missing batteries…

How many people know the stories and see the church, but respond negatively or with apathy, just ignore the news?

If you knew that most homes don’t have a working battery would you be willing to knock on someone’s door to offer them the potentially life saving gift of a 9 volt battery, and if they would allow you to plug it in, you would both know you had doubled the chance that no one in that home would die from a fire.

If you knew that most homes don’t have a working relationship with Jesus Christ, would you be willing to knock on someone’s door or heart, to offer them the TRULY eternal life saving gift of the Risen Lord who died for their sins, and if they would allow you to start a relationship of faith with them, you would both know you had a 100% CERTAINLY that their life would not end, even when their body dies.

Paul’s Main Point: Receive and Renew your understanding of what Jesus did on the cross and LIVE in the power of the resurrection starting NOW.

CHRIST died for a purpose: to take the blame for our broken heart with God. jake_Blues_grace.jpg

  • GOD knows us:
  • we forget,
  • mess up,
  • get in a jam,
  • fall off the wagon,
  • the dog eats our homework,
  • the car breaks down,
  • we loose our job,
  • we forget to study,
  • we miss the deadline,
  • we get distracted
  • and tempted…
  • we sin, big ones and little ones,
  • we drift or run..

God says to all that: I AM not focused on the blame.

  • I give you JESUS, my child’s life to cover all the blame and brokenness.
    • I don’t want to hear the excuses. (I want see the relationship)
  • I want you to see the value of the gift and return to the table.
    • I hope you will respond with appreciation/praise for the sacrifice, I your maker, have given  you.
  • God wants us to see the gift and respond because God loves and claims us first.
  • God’s grace is not an after thought…
    • along through the scriptures we see God continues to make covenants and we continue to break them.
  • God is working with workers who don’t show up to work except on pay day.
  • God exchanges the power of death, not just the death of one person, One died for all.
  • God moves us past the death of this body, for a living relationship, not the life of one person, One lives for all.

This is what Easter message is about.  

  • It’s not just about Jesus,
  • its about God’s eternal love and value for your life and relationship.
  • its about God’s eternal love and value for our lives in relationship together.
  • Remember the gift and passion God exchanges for us
  • Re/Claim and know/grow in the power of God’s life for us.

So it’s important to remember: Where I see Jesus… 

  • I see Jesus in the work and pray of quilts
  • I see Jesus going in a paper lunch bags shared with hungry
  • I see Jesus in the support of small groups and classes caring and challenge growth
  • I see Jesus in preventing death from illness like malaria
  • I see Jesus in the middle of family crisis, when families feel they are at deadened/wall and see no hope, God opens lives, hearts and doors to find a way through the crisis into a new life, new relationships and new visions
  • I see Jesus in the hands of working youth who did more than play at the beach, but opened their hearts to care for families who are hurting.
  • I hear Jesus in your music and singing
  • I hear Jesus in your questions, prayers and testimony
  • I feel Jesus in your compassion and hospitality and generosity
  • I taste Jesus around the table when we gather at his table
  • He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today…. Tell the world, show the world, Jesus Christ lives in you and me. Amen.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

John 20:1-18 (9&11) “Name Calling: Whom Do You Seek?” JUMC 20140420 Easter Worship

JUMC Worship 9&11 Easter “Name Calling: Whom Do You Seek?” 20140420

Lectionary Readings from NRSV for Easter 2014 below:

NameCalling

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.  Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).   Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”  Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Today we retell the classic story of Easter and the discovery and witness of the risen Lord and the empty tomb.  Glory Hallelujah!

  • There is a progression in John’s Gospel from darkness to light and enlightenment.
  • There is a story unfolding of different people experiencing different parts of the story at different times.
  • This passage is shared as a testimony for belief, for us to believe and to share with others.

The evidence is fully revealed by Jesus’ choosing. Just as Jesus’ death was his choice for our benefit, so is his revealing of the power of the resurrection.

Jesus calls Mary by name. In hearing her name she recognizes her teacher and Savior. 

I want to invite you to share an Easter Prayer: We will pray aloud together, saying the name of Jesus three times together, slowly and then say our own name aloud three times, followed by three affirmations of faith: You are my teacher. You are my friend. You are my Savior.

Practice and pray together..

The turning point in the story is revealed to Mary. The first witness of the risen Christ. Peter and John see clothes and a missing body, but Mary see’s Jesus within her arms reach.

If Eve get’s the blame for being the first to recognize sin, Mary get’s the credit as the first to see and proclaim the resurrection as truth.

Here is the Easter Sunday problem..

We are all dress up. Family, friends and dinner is waiting on us. We know the story and it’s the old, old story we heard so long ago and so many times before.

The catch is: Have we heard Christ calling our name? Have we made a connection between the signs and symbols and the relationship?

For most of us: We answer sure: I have that relationship. I’m connected.

But there is a test when the connection is present: (IT lights lit up on the modem)

When we hear our name, when we hear the truth, when we recognize Jesus in our presence… is our response to tell someone who has not heard?

So I ask you this Easter Morning: Have you heard that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead? Yes

Do you believe it to be the truth?

Have you heard him call your name?

Is he your teacher and Savior?

Here is the essay question: When is the last time you shared this life-changing Good News with someone who does not know, who has forgotten, who has lost sight or meaning or power?

When is the last time you shared the power and witness of the Easter Story… because it’s not about signs and symbols, traditions and remembrances…

Jesus conquered death to be with us, to be in relationship, to be together… not just reverantly remembered.

I would say that this Easter Sunday we have some home work:

When you get home, you and I need to be talking about God’s love with everyone we meet, but most particularly with those who are seeking and search but have not found God’s love and power, God’s hope and direction. God’s blessing and grace.

Eggs and Bunnies are good signs but if we they are not building spiritual relationships: Then we only share the emptiness of the tomb and not the fullness of the living Christ.

It start in the naming. Let us practice this Easter Prayer: 

I want to invite you to share an Easter Prayer: We will pray aloud together, saying the name of Jesus three times together, slowly and then say our own name aloud three times, followed by three affirmations of faith: You are my teacher. You are my friend. You are my Savior.

Prayer: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, my name, my name, my name. You are my teacher, You are my friend, You are my Savior.

Add to it these words: Send me to those who have not heard, who have forgotten or give up. to those who are afraid and lone. Send me with your name. Amen.

You know the story, Share the savior with those who are still seeking.. Amen. Glory Hallelujah!

Other Lection Reading for this Sunday 

Acts 10:34-43 Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ–he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Acts 10:34-43 Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ–he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.  We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear,  not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.  He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

 

, , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Sunrise 7am Dausett Trails Chapel JUMC Worship 20140420.07:00

Sunrise 7am Dausett Trails Chapel  JUMC Worship 9&11 Easter “Whom Do You Seek?” 20140420 SeekingGod

Lectionary Readings from NRSV for Easter 2014 below:
Colossians 3:1-4 (7am Sun Rise)

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory. If you have been raised with Christ. I would guess that on any given Easter Sunday, 99% of those who show up at an Easter Sunrise service are indeed already believers. Who in their right mind would get up so early to take part in a service they had no idea what it was about. So I’m, as they say, preaching to the choir, this morning. I would also guess the Paul writes to the church at Colossi knowing they are believers. But they are believers who might have lost the connection with what it means to be raised with Christ. The power of Christ’s resurrection affects our life more than our death. Christ arose so that we could start living the whole life God has for us from our birth, confirmed in our baptism, strengthened throughout our lives and bridges us through death into eternity. So much our grief over those loved ones who have died is evidence that we forget what it means to be raised with Christ. Certainly we miss them in the flesh with us, but in Christ we are never separated. I know my father’s love, guidance and tears in my walk. He was my best friend. He still is. The emphasis Paul implies is not so much ‘IF’ were are raise, but ‘SINCE’ we are raised with Christ. His word remind us of the foundation of our faith and the bedrock of our relationship. This is the Good News of the Easter story: He is alive, for us. Christ is alive because God has a claim on our hearts and struggles. Setting Your mind on Christ Sometimes we think the answer is to focus our mind on some area we would like to change and that would be enough to transform our living. I struggle every day making choices about my diet. I struggle every day making choices about my work, my finances, my relationships and my life. Paul gives the starting point for transformation. The best way to a person’s heart starts with their mind. We see, hear or experience a hungry child and our heart is motivated to feed and save. We see a broken step or windowpane at a neighbors house and we have the perspective they have learned to over look. We become aware of our neighbors sins and struggles and our mind can judge and condemn or our mind can have compassion and identify with our own sin and struggle and work toward mutual healing. The starting point is in the wonderful mind that God has created, but it is not the final answer. Our heart is the target that God claims and seeks to unite. Hiding or Revealing The tradition of Easter eggs is rooted in a way of teaching about the treasure of the tomb. It would be a more accurate practice if they eggs that children hunted were found to be empty instead of filled with treats from the magic bunny. Bunny have been used for their prolific ability to reproduce which points to the power of the resurrection. It would be a better example if we replicated the Easter message as prolifically as bunnies multiply. But with those knocks against the Easter bunny and his hiding eggs the text begs us to ask are we: hiding or revealing Christ in how we live our lives. I don’t know about you but I’m guilty of both. Sometimes I thrilled to share the Good News and help folks hear and know the love God has for them in Jesus Christ and him crucified. And other times I am hiding in fear, frustration and sin.

  • Paul writes to encourage the church to be proactive in remembering and reclaiming the hold Christ has on their lives. His words invite us to do the same.
  • He writes to give them a starting point: First set your mind and your heart can follow. If both your heart and head are not heading in a Christ like way, we are fooling ourselves, and others. (but not God.)
  • Finally Paul asks us to reveal what is hidden and allow the light of Christ to guide our whole lives.  In doing this the resurrection we celebrate at Easter lives in us now and for ever.

It’s Easter: You are claimed by Christ, set your mind on God and grow in Spirit by sharing Christ with others.

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

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..

, , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Luke 24:36b-48 “Inside Out” JUMC 20120422 OutdoorWorship

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. [NRSV]

From the Inside Out: 

The View from the Insiders

We are blessed to have a beautiful place to gather and worship. It is important at times to look from at our environment from a different perspective. We come with personal and coorporate traditions and habits that make worship comfortable and meaningful for us. We find ourselves at home in God’s house.

The text today describes disciples at a time when it was not safe to go home. They were in hiding. There are times that we find ourselves so comfortable at home in God’s house that we are afraid to go out.

We living an a more segregated time than any other in our history. It is a separation by choice. We order things from online or through the mail. We are entertained by media delivered to our homes. Children play indoors more than outdoors. Some times we need to step outside. Go our and risk getting wet, take a chance of getting dirty. And find what and who God has created around us.

The disciples who gathered in their locked room found protection from sharing liked minds and common fears. If we only gather together with people who are like-minded who hold common fears we could be a political group instead of a force of faith and witness.

There is an slippery sense that if we protect each other and isolate one another then the outside world is not our worry  nor our responsibility. In this place and experience of fear Jesus breaks through what appears to be locked up safe, to reach a people who are fooling themselves in a false and empty safety.

The View from the Outsiders

It is difficult to look at the church from an outsiders perspective. One of the reasons we have a combined worship is that we are two worshiping groups under one umbrella. There would be those who see our two worship service bodies as competitors. If they all came to our service we would have one big family. But that would not honor the fellowship and worship of the others.

Imagine your comfortable worship with robes, pipes and pews swapped with projects, shorts and amplified riffs. One is not right and the other wrong. But we are both at home under the same roof.  I am the only one in my family that likes salmon croquets or country fired steak. So how often do I get to eat them? When everyone is out of town or we are eating out.

There are as many people who are not finding themselves at home in a church this morning as there are those who do. We living a county that has no Jewish Temple, No Muslim mosque and no Universalist reading room for gathering or worship. Our options are exclusively Christian churches.. and we still half our neighbors are outsiders when it comes to attending and belonging to a church. Why is that so?

For many they are afraid. Some feel locked out and excluded. Some don’t connect the meaning of the story with the power in their lives because they have seen the difference in our actions and words. Until we have asked every person, we don’t know that we have done our work in this place. And out task is not only within the bounds of our city or county or even country.

If we have access to transportation and communication that reaches around the world, so does our understanding of who the Outsiders we are called to reach.

Think if you have no church to call home. When would you leave the privacy of your home, to get more dressed up than you might do so for work or school, to listen to some strangers tell you that God wants your money and your life. Why would you go? Why would you come?

We are outside the doors today because this is when Jesus came to the world. To break through what was locked away in fear and impossibility, to open to those hurting and alone and make a way to God’s power and grace before we know how our why.

Inviting Insiders to reach out to the Outsiders

The reason Jesus breaks through the locked door is because we are not called to stay inside our place of comfort. There is a challenge in coming out. There is a faith in stepping beyond the threshold. Jesus called disciples to follow and once following sends them out as apostles.

Here is the following step in the life of being a disciples of Jesus. It starts in following Jesus, but once we become an insider Jesus breaks through to send us out into the world.

The world can be a threatening and disappointing place. It is understanding whey we would want to say in our comfortable place. So today we are moving outside, because in Jesus Christ, we now can. The world is our parish.

John Wesley’s vision for the church remains our vision. The 1000 member delegation of members and clergy will be gathering in Tampa this week to begin the process of examining how were are to living our our faith as United Methodist in the next four years.

You will hear of controversial reports of what the church is struggling with in the next two weeks. If you have questions listen to umc.org in stead of the local or national news. Pray for those who represent us in this process to hear God’s word and call in their actions and decisions.

The General conference always seeks to drag us into being a larger church that we currently are. Not just numerically rather in the task of reaching with a wider net those who have not heard and those who have even been harmed or neglected by the church.

Invited the Outsiders to be reached by Our Insider

But the resurrection call to disciples is not simply historic or corporate, it is our call to reach out side by the power of our INSIDE connection. The assurance of sharing Jesus Christ with the world and our neighbors. There is not a question, despite our fears, questions and apprehensions to share our faith. We are to share Jesus Christ, him crucified and resurrected.

We have come outside and broken through our comfortable inside to show the world what we believe. Show them our hands that they might see Christ’s hands at world. Show them where our feet go, that they might see how far Christ will go with them. Stand by their side and show them the work of Christ saving and caring them, just has Christ carries us.

We are outside or a reason and the reason is that we are no longer insiders.. We are insiders stepping out with Christ, for the redemption of the world. There is no turning back, no turning back.

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

Open for Business – JUMC – Easter 20110424

Colossians 3:1-4 So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3 for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

Matthew 28:1-10 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” 8 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Jeremiah 31:1-6 At that time, says the LORD, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. 2 Thus says the LORD: The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, 3 the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. 4 Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall take your tambourines, and go forth in the dance of the merrymakers. 5 Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall enjoy the fruit. 6 For there shall be a day when sentinels will call in the hill country of Ephraim: “Come, let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God.”

The Opened tomb is our way in, into the heart and relationship God

Recognition of Jesus through view of grief… Loss of self

An opened door is a possibility..

  • Graduates are completing school work that will open a new door in their lives.
  • New sweethearts begin a fresh relationship that opens a new door into a shared life together.
  • New business owners start with the possibilities of what might be walking in faith through a new door.
  • Others just stand at the same door and almost decide to open it.

Mary from Magdala and the other mysterious Mary go expecting to find a closed door. 

Through event beyond their own power and control, an earthquake, the door is opened for them.

How much time, energy, money and effort is used with inaction or apathy?

It would seem that if we are doing nothing that nothing is lost or expended.

How many tomatoes will your garden have if you plant none?

How much will you have saved for a time of crisis if you spend all you have?

How many friends will be there for you if you are not a gracious friend who loves unconditionally?

How much does it cost to wait, when people are hungry today? Does it matter if we can’t see them?

What if the two Marys had not gone to the tomb, what would they have missed?

Bottom line, even a crisis / earth quake is an opened door.

  • Would we feel compelled to reach out to families in Japan, Hati, or even the Gulf coast if it were not from some great force that moves us and opens that door?
  • The economic crash is not one person’s fault. There are tipping points that individuals could have changed and can change.. but it is a reality brought upon us, and it is an opportunity for faith and faithfulness instead of despair and fear.
  • It’s not what I would do if millions were my lot, its what I will do with the dollar that I’ve got.

Take littlest step away from the tomb, toward that world

Mary and Mary, (sounds like a law firm) took their own witness, their own message of the risen lord, power, gift, life, of God with us.. to the world. [These two women were the first to preach the resurrection: make sure you tell every Baptist that one.]

Door is not an escape, but a process in progress, (Argus – vigilant guardian)

The angel invites Mary to enter the door, to have faith, to see, to understand, to experience, to know.

When we are looking for a door to escape, we try to drink, eat, spend, talk, sleep, worry, save, ignore, or punch our way out. The doors Christ opens for us, are the doors our spirits are drawn to find.

This what we are the community of faith, the church are to be, “Open for Business”

We are Open for God’s Business.

We find our way into the empty tomb..

Being emptied of our brokenness and sin. (Cleaned our slate)

Being filled with the promises filled for us by God through Jesus

Walking through grief, hurt, loss, fear, disappointment, shame, rejection, even death, violent-unjust death…

That we turn toward the world with our own little steps

Sharing our own message of the rise Lord.

We are open for the business of sharing our faith with a hurting world.

The Easter Question for us is: What are you going to share?

Jesus saved me from intellectual affirmations, social acceptance and familial pleasing. What has Jesus done in your life? If nothing, have you asked him to, or is that door closed from our direction for a reason?

Jesus has given me family and friends who have loved be when I have not deserved to be loved.

Jesus shows me how to love folks I don’t want to learn to love.

Jesus touches my heart through neighbors right here at home and strangers around the world, reminding me of God’s presence and working.

God gives the foundation for living in the teachings of the Word.

God opens heaven and warns me of the hellish lonliness of not choosing to follow.

God sings to my spirit through hymns, praise, music, anthems and symphony and repetitive lyrics how much more I/we are with God

God’s Spirit reaches past language and economics, beyond history and culture to share power, love and hope in my life and in yours.

God’s Spirit breathes hope and life when I have given up or worn out.

Jesus lives so that John Brantley, most fully. Jesus lives for you too.

Easter is our Open for Business sign.. you are invited to come on in, empty yourself and be filled to live fully, even in a world that tries to close doors, close hearts and close minds.. we are open for Christ.

,

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: