Posts Tagged Family

Mark 3:20-35 “Whose side are you leaning?” Intentional Spiritual Growth, RSUMC 20150607

Dung Fly

Dung Fly

..and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered. “Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”– for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” [NRSV]

The Question of the text is: “Are you on God’s side?”

Listening to the Mob:

  1. ..and the crowd ..could not even eat.
  2. The crowd of certified doctors: “He has gone out of his mind.”
  3. scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, (Scribe Debate)
    1. “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.”
    2. “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come.
      1. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.
      2. “Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”– for they had said,
    3. Diagnosis: “He has an unclean spirit.”
    4. Family comes to protect and save Jesus
    5. Who is my family? Those who are on my side. Who’s side..

Summary: Mob is hungry, regional, compressed, out of bounds,

Note: Remember the temptation of Jesus starts with bread, the temple and at the mountain top boundary..

Name Calling: If you can’t think of what to say, start calling names.

He has Be-el-ze-bul. He is crazed because he is evil. Calling the presence of God crazy, evil, dangerous and out of control is backwards.

Be-El-ze-bul is interpreted as the “Lord of the Dung Flies”, a derogatory Lord of evil with twist of the tongue.

Jesus talks with the scribes in scribe-speak. Talk with a politician like a politician. Talk with a teacher like an educator; talk with a preacher like a preacher. Talk with a NASCAR fan like a NASCAR fan..

Jesus uses their knowledge, language, perspective to guide his corrective teaching

Who is in the family? Whose side do you favor… baby looks like mom or dad?

Statistical Leanings

In recent report from several current religious research groups, namely the Barna Group, report clear trends of people no longer identifying themselves as Christian.

Primarily: they may not have been actively practicing the Christian faith, but it had previously been the safer thing to say about seeing oneself as a “Good Person” to say, “I am a Christian.”

Jesus is making a distinction between name calling and relationship.

Relationship that is more than blood-kinship.

Question: Am I a Christian or am I a disciple of Jesus Christ?

The Relationship of choice, a relationship that intentional.

Are you Christian in name our in faith?

Are you Christian in idea or practice?

Are you Christian by birth or choice?

Are you a Good Person by association or action?

Are you faithful to an idea or to God?

Family: Jesus is asking the religious folks and the crowd:

Are you and your family in God’s family, or have you created a religious family of your own?

Intentional Spiritual Growth

One of the five practice of fruitful congregations is the intentional work of feeding our spirit and choosing to live out our faith through our extended faith-family with God’s people.

We choose to belong to a community and not an idea-club.

So, Who’s side are you leaning toward:

God’s family or The family dynasty you determine.

Imagine Mary, Joseph, James, others siblings of Jesus.

Bottom line: Leaning on the Everlasting arms of God or leaning on our arm chairs calling the shots of life from our perspective, our tradition, our place of power, knowledge and comfort.

What happens when you point out that someone’s actions are not Godly… do they thank you, tune you out or rebel?


name calling doesn’t solve anything,

blaming might sound good but does not build relationships

not feeding your relationship leads to chaos…

Time for some intentional family dinner. Let’s eat!

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Gen 2.18=25 “Marriage: Leaving Mama” JUMC 20140216

vintage wedding photo. just married couple

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” 19 So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.” 24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed. [NRSV]

Gen 2.24
Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become on flesh.

The covenant of marriage has its foundation in the actions of creation.

In the retelling of the creation story is the formation of the marriage relationship. As for context, it is important that we see that God is the author of marriage. At its formation it is instituted by God.

Marriage is about mutual helping. It is sharing our core, our bodies, and our lives as a covenant of relationship.

1. God is author of marriage, not you or me. Not government nor Brides by Lori.

Marriage is not natural. It is spiritual.

Some might misunderstand this statement and think it is a joke about fidelity or trivial jab at commitment. But if marriage were the product of nature then cows, bears and manatee would get married.

It is rare but there are indeed some pidgins that mate with one partner for life. But mating is not the only, and not even the first purpose of marriage

The covenant of marriage establishes a relationship of mutual help. This is the need that marriage fulfills. The relationship we honor today is built upon celebration the intent of helping one another.

Our take away is that God intended marriage to be a sign of God’s work. And a witness of encouragement and support.

Marriage is a creative process

God works, from the start, to provide a relationship of helping, support and companionship

The teaching about marriage relationship is in context of creation.. We need more than our self , we need some help..
Marriage is about leaving and joining, letting go and holding on.

And then we get to the good part. Leaving: The relationship of marriage is the creation of a new family and requires letting go and than grabbing hold of the new creation.

At a cellular level and at an atomic level, God’s creative order reflects letting go of atoms which react with other compounds to create something new that is totally different from the individual parts on their own.

As important as marriage is in creation, I invite you to spin ahead a few eons to Jesus. His parents, engaged but not married find themselves with child. A child who is the ultimate reflection of God’s love and help. A child who becomes an adult but never marries.

Marriage is not required, but if we enter into it, it is not a business contract, it is a covenant; it is a promise that God is present in holding together. God is there to help, heal, encourage, renew and bless.

We celebrate marriage today.

We honor and bless the covenant of marriage. Out of which come folks like us. We recognize that not every marriage is successful. Even with God’s presence and connection, we can break the bonds. God does not force love upon us. Grace always wins out.

As men and women, we are created for one another. We can find help, support, encouragement and love from our partner and spouse. Some time we find help we don’t want. That might be God speaking to us.

Some times we don’t find the support we hoped for. Some time marriage partners undermine the partnership and the relationship becomes divisive. God gives us room to mess up. That distance gives space for a relationship that is genuine and real and grace-filled, love.

We honor those who entered into convenient that resulted in us being here today!
We honor those who enter into marriage and are faithful
We acknowledge that some marriage relationship become so broken that grace is stretched beyond recognition. We give praise that even in brokenness God can restore us as individuals.
We honor that while marriage is a blessing it is not required to be a whole person as witnessed in Jesus.
We ask God’s bless on all who marry to make that union strong, fruitful and filled with God grace and love.

We offer a witness to one another and to our community through our radical hospitality, that Christain marriage is alive and well.

God’s is with us in this journey of life and marriage is power witness of God’s love, present to help us.

<Renewal of vows and acknowledgment of grief and brokenness>

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Luke 1:39-45, “A Visit to Aunt Elizabeth’s” JUMC 20121223


1:39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” [NRSV} (46-55) 46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

The Family Connection Mary receives some incredible news concerning her life and faith.

1. God is pleased with her faith and willingness to be part of the grand work.

2. Mary become pregnant as a unwed, teenage

3. Mary is almost cast out by her fiancée and family Her response is to go visit the one person in her extended family who would welcome her with unconditional love and patience.

This is the first and greatest gift of Christmas.

If there is one person you can love and entrust yourself with without limit or condition, you can experience the power of Christ and Christmas every day. Period.

If you have that person you can turn to that may not give you everything you want but will love and listen and welcome you no matter what mess you may find, then you have THE treasure of God’s love.

If you don’t, the best way to find this love is to show this kind of love.

Mary, in her confusion, excitement, fear and celebration runs to aunt Elizabeth’s house.

In the Family Way

Mary travels to the home of Uncle Zachariah, who is mute until the birth of his son, John, who would become the baptizer of many and the messenger of the Lord calling for repentance and the preparing of our hearts of the coming of God’s own. He is unable to speak because he talked too much about what he did not know.

Do you know someone like that? They are the expert on the ball game, the shopping deals or the politics and they don’t know when to stop talking and just listen.

Sometimes our Christmas gifts are what we need and not what we want. This economy and it’s strain upon our incomes and lives should be a wake up call to our materialism. We don’t need nearly as much as the commercials and advertisements tell us what we need.

Sometimes not having what we want is thrust upon us. Just as Zach could not speak, he could spend more time hearing. If we spent the resources and time of Christmas shopping on worshiping and serving Christ, we might begin to appreciate what Zack learns through his time out… God’s family is larger than he ever dreamed and God could do much more wonderful and miraculous than Zachariah could imagine.

Is there someone you could give the gift of silence to this year?

They could open up a box of quiet that took a whole day or weekend to experience.

Is there someone you could give the gift of boldness to this year?

Someone who is always quiet and in the background and they could speak freely and with all confidence.

What if these two gifts were exchanged in our homes and families?

Parent’s listened to children and children listened to parents? What is the Parents would be strong and the children child-like. What if the boss would serve and the servant take the responsibility of leading.

Shepherd hearing the first words of the King of kings? That kind of insider news would be for the inner circle and the privileged? Wise men of other cultures and traditions being shown a guiding star follow what the learned scholars and teachers had studies for a millennium?

What is the news You need to hear? What are the signs you need to pay attention to see and follow. Who are the families that need to hear the Good News and see it in acted and lived out right now?

Christmas is about the Larger Family too

Through out most every Christmas movie and show this pre-Christmas season talks about Christmas being for the children and for the family. We need to do a little bit of correction:

This pre-season of Christmas is a time for families and children to be making ready for Jesus Christ. If Santa Claus can be a helpful figure to show us selfless giving and generosity to a world that has a need for joy, then that bring all the help that Santa can bring.

Mary visit’s her aunt and when she walks in the door of the house, Elizabeth’s child becomes excited. The sign that what is going on in one person’s life is connected to each other’s live. Mary had her own agenda for visiting her aunt and uncle. God had another. Zack had other dreams and plans, and so did Elizabeth about having a child in her retirement years. Bottom line: God is at work through us all.

Continuing to do the impossible even now: Giving us messengers of hope, promise and accountability. You and I are in this story, in our hearing the words and gathering to worship today.

Where will we go with the Good News today?

What will be say God can or cannot do this year?

What will be brought to life when you say yes to God’s call in your life?

What will be shut off and not possible, when you doubt, refuse or not follow?? That is the dangerous Question

Merry CRISTmas and Happy HOLYdays to you.

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