Posts Tagged example
“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, “It is going to rain’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, “There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time? [NRSV]
The primary role of the prophet is NOT to tell the future. Job number one is to help the people and the king see the present as it truely is. The present without the bias, without the spin, but will all of the honesty and frustration that the people and the king are trying to avoid or blow out of proportion.
Start with the weather: Who can be our prophet today and tell us the weather conditions today? Hot! How hot? Dry or Wet? How Dry/Wet?
What does knowing the current conditions tell us about what we do this afternoon or tomorrow?
Measurement and Standards
How do we measure current conditions?
In matters of faith we turn to scripture and read it through the Ben Franklin glasses of National Treasure fame. One lense shows the traditions that have shaped our past. One lens reflect what our God created brains tell us through reason. One lens opens our hearts to the work of the Holy Spirit in our own experince. No one lens is stronger than the other and all three are directed toward our understanding and encounter with the Bible as the holy Word. True comes when we are willing to use all three lens as we read, listen and respond to the bible.
We have other measurea in our standards, but scripture through these three perspectives is our greatest tool.
Using the Tools for Good.
The reasons we gather for worship are not only to praise God, but to learn the traditions of the church, experience the work of the hold spirit and spark our inspiration to learn and grow together.
The reasons we have Sunday school and small groups is not just to socialize, gossip and drink coffee, but to share our journey of study and reflection, practicing our ideas, suggestions and standards before we must act on our faith in our daily lives.
The reason we reach out to feed, cloth, comfort, build, repair, heal and be-friend others in Jesus name is to practice the faith that is in our minds in the real needs of the world around us.
- If we only had worship we would never grow our faith.
- If we only studied and shared our minds we would never see faith in action
- If we AND those we serve only served others we might forget why we act the way we do.
When the Signs Call for Action
A Baptism of Fire and Compelled to Complete it.
This passage shows a moment of frustration from Jesus. I have a mission of cleansing, purifying, renewing, and restarting and I wish you would see what I see.
Conditions of the Present Age:
- Are people divided?
- Are people so committed to their own convictions that they have quit listening to others of different views?
- Are people hurting for real hope?
- Are people more dependant on the government solving problems than turning to God?
- Are the churches reflecting the Body of Christ as God’s presense in the world?
- Where do we get our information?
- Where do we connect with God
- Where do study, reflect and practice our faith?
- Why do we think continuing without changing our method that we will find away through?
- What is our call to action?
Take the Field
As the Olympics begin to fade, the beginning of football season is about to break open. I would suggest that the average person knows more about thier favorite team and leauge than they do how to transform the division in our communities and hearts.
We come to worship to practice connecting with God. If there is someone you know who is not here, connect and bring them next week. Connecting others with God is the best way to connect with God.
I believe we might not feel ready to connect someone with God because we have not been present a practice or not had our heart in the drills. This is why we have Sunday school and small groups to prepare us.
I asked two weeks ago for someone to answer a call to pick up the lead of our Feed My Sheep ministry and in the past two weeks no one has stepped forward to keep this powerful ministry alive. In this present time of people hungry for the love and hope of Christ, is this the time we keep safe and quiet?
We live in a place where we are called to get in the game knowing we need more practice and preperation than time allows. We take the faith we have been given, in the grace we have been clothed and step in where and when we would rather not go and reflect Christ.
- Otherwise, we are not the church.
- Otherwise, we remain in the place of frustration
- Otherwise we are only people of mind OR tradition OR expereince..
- (Jr Bird Man finger lenses)
Tell you neighbor, you look goofy like that, but I know you are showing me Christ.
I’d rather show Christ than lead you astray.
Let’s take the field together, the clock is running and we don’t need a delay of game.
1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2 make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [NRSV]
The first halloween costume recall know about was odd. I was given a cat mask, a number one crew cut and a ankle length wool over coat and a cloth sack for the loot. It might have been appropriate for Oak Park, Chicago weather at the end of October, but the photos reflect a back-robber-in-the-making-look. At ten or eleven I meticulously planned a vampire costume with a grandmother-custom-made cape, plastic teeth and fake blood and white face paint. The only reason I didn’t win the best costume in the class contest was Jennifer’s aunt was our teacher. Shenanigans, I called shenanigans! The last time I dress up I wore a rubber mask of a former political figure, where small children ran away from the house before grabbing any candy.
Halloween is one time that we wear costumes. Homecoming dances, weddings and school plays might come to mind. I suggested to you that we all wear masks and costumes in everyday living.
Scholar of Early New Testament community convey Paul uses words from a familiar hymn of the church to make is clear God is to be lifted up, believed and trusted because of the self revelation through Jesus Christ. This early hymn describes how Jesus had the mind and spirit of God but came incognito, hidden in the costume of a person. We have the unique opportunity to see the all seeing, invisible, God, always wise in human form through Jesus.
Typically we think wearing a costume is an activity of where we pretend something we are not. Just as in the movie, Let’s Be Cops, two roommates misunderstand the dress altair for a masquerade party and come in full police uniforms instead. They pretend in light of real world situations. Instead picture the young child who tries on their parents shirt or blouse is a shadow of the desire of who they will become.
One of the critiques of the church, by those outside the church, is that we are hypocritical. We talk about being good and right and righteous, but we are just as sinful and broken as the rest of the lot. There is truth in this assumption, but its a twisted glimpse. Even though we are sinful and fall short, we are becoming who God hopes and dreams we will become. This is a practice of living the life know reflect’s God we see in Jesus.
Paul wants to church, now and at Galatia to know, God is fully God, masked in Jesus, reveals the humility of taking the consequences of our sins and brokenness, Jesus takes the fault and blame for our mistake and failures. Jesus takes responsibility for our poor choices, exchanging all that is flawed as a life-gift, given through the cross. And this powerful gift is revealed and uncovered through the cross.
Jesus is not trying to hid the gift, not should we. There are Christians being persecuted, threatened and killed in Egypt, Northern Iraq, Palestine, Houston, Atlanta, and even in Gainesville, GA. When the cross comes near we’d rather find another way. We’d like to remember simpler and safer times.
Homework. Is to get our costume in order. Is the witness, image and presence I share with my family, community and world one that reflect Jesus or protects Jesus. Jesus needs no protection. We have God’s promise to be in and with us in all things, knowing that God desires for nothing to separate us from the love, power, grace and spirit of God. This is our confidence and witness. This is our praise and passion.
Homework applied: Plan to allow your self, your image, your dress, your personal, your influence, your countenance, your witness to reflect the present of the Spirit, the power of God and the grace of Jesus Christ. Or, just hid all that good God stuff and save it for next Sunday where we can let out little glimpse here where it is safe at church.
Bottom Line: You are going to reveal something to the world, will it be the Spirit? God? Jesus? the Body of Christ? or something, someone else?
From the book of Acts:
16 One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. 17 While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” 18 She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. 19 But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. 20 When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews 21 and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. 34 He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God. [NRSV]
This account of life in the early faith community offers a role model of RADICAL hospitality.
First, Paul and Silas go to a place of prayer. Instead of finding a quiet place of reflection and meditation:
- In this worshipful place there someone not only praying on the frailty of those who are searching and looking for direction and answers as they come to pray,
- the are also confronted with someone oppressed in forced labor being exploited for profit, and
- They are confronted with an opportunity to do something good that will break the law, damage ‘property’ and land them in jail if they do the ‘right’ and Godly thing.
Disciples living is not just a collection of thoughts, sayings and ideas.. it is a way that we live as people of the Holy Spirit.
What or whom are we willing to be taken to court? financial fine or even risk jail time? There is a cost of addressing sin and oppression.
- There has been much debate about immigration issues in our nation. No matter what you might think we should do as a nation. A key part of the problem is the willingness of those to hire people who are not living here legally a wage less than legal workers. We can’t say we don’t want these people in our country and at the same time fund the reasons why they are willing to risk to come here.
- We want to have the best price and not be foolish with the resources we have, but would we want our family members, of younger and older ages, being paid pennies to do a task that makes it affordable for our great discounted deal?
There is real hands on response made by Paul and Silas and the others to transform as life and a community.
Paul is annoyed that the evil spirit is telling the message of the faithful.
There are times that a mother would like for her children to set a good role model and it
Story, belt, hat, and nose wiper.. Preacher came to eat lunch..
How difficult it is when the tattooed, pierced, beatnik-type shows the grace and acceptance that others might judge or run away.
It frustrating when the voice of truth comes from the oppressed. It brings conviction to us all.
The Disciples free her from spiritual and economic oppression, leave her without a livelihood, and effect her ‘owners’ as well.
Disciples are not protected from evil for doing the Good, Godly thing.
WHAT IS THE MOTIVATION?
The Salvation story comes through an earthquake, a stayed suicide and an invitation to the family table.
Granny’s table: There is room for you and you are seated at the head, as it is round.
It doesn’t sound like a mother’s day passage, but
- what mother would not want her oppressed daughter to be free.
- What mother would not welcome a husband filled with faith
- What mother does not want to see who whole family around God’s table
All of them, let’s step it up and make Mom proud.