Posts Tagged Follower

Faith Sharing: The conversation shared

Wesley’s fear

I do not fear that the people called Methodist shall ever cease to exist in Europe and America. I only fear that they shall exist as a dead sect knowing the for, of religion, but not the power three of, and that undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast to the doctrine, disciplines and spirit with which they first set out.” (John Wesley 1786, age 83)

Wesley did not have a simple statement about accepting Christ, he being a preachers kid, professor, theologian and preacher offer a process of profession.

Salvation:

1. God has saved us in Christ

2. The point at which I know/feel/experience the effect of saving Grace (our professing/accepting Christ)

3. The point at which I become aware that the Holy Spirit is working to shape my life toward the life/hope Jesus has saved

4. Glimpses, moments and finally when I am made whole through Chris, by the Holy Spirit I to the person God graces us with to live.

Accepting what God has done for humanity

Accepting what God has done for me

Accepting God help in becoming the person a God

Living fully as the person God hope, dreams, calls me to be.

Beginning: Understanding our desperate need for Jesus and reaching the lost.

Christian faith is uniquely personal

If you ceased believing in Jesus at midnight how would tomorrow be different?

Most important thing to know about witnessing is: what is the Holy Spirit doing in your life right now.

What adjustments do you make daily between what the Holy Spirit. Reds/expects and what you do each day

Our Task: Evangelizing the Gospel

Living the Gospel in “word, deed and sign”

Three people in the Evangelism committee proposed they way the church should plan to “do evangelism” this year.

1: One wanted the Church to focus on physically embodying the love of Jesus by serving people around them and acting on issues of social justice.

2. The second said, “Anybody could be kind or good to others. Only the Spirit could do signs and wonders.” We must study, listen and wait for the Holy Spirit.

Liam also believed in the Holy Spirit. Who didn’t? And of course we 3. We must communicate Jesus clearly to everybody because serving and praying might not be clear to everyone in the community or even the church.

The obvious answer is to combine all three, word, deed, & sign

Living in expectant hope of the Holy Spirit

Frame, guide your daily life in the Spirit

Live in Prayer is preparation and conversation

Start prayer,

pray with others,

pray for other,

read the prayers of others

Sharing in first person what Jesus has done for you, and is doing

Invitational statements….

Clearly inviting others to encounter Jesus through you

Graceful faith Sharing

No law rules or formulas

Reality of what the spirit does to meet our needs

Example 1)

Start with someone who wants to know how to accept Jesus.

What would to tell someone who asked you, “What do I do to become a Christian?”

1. They bring it up directly,

2. They want simple, direct, clear instructions.

3. They want your personal instructions

First let us pray: “I thank you God for loving ana saving us. I praise you for the opportunity to share the gospel with <name> today. Guide my words and my heart by your love and grace.”

A. I believe God so loved the world that he gave his only child to save all people who believe in God, father son Holy Spirit. Do you. Believe this too?

B. I tell the church, my family and friends, that I believe Jesus’ saving work, has saved me, personally. Do you believe this for you.

C. I invited God’s Spirit, scriptures, and church to guide my life until Christ returns to take us to heaven. Do you believe this for your life?

D. We are both believers on the journey together. I want to thank God for Sharing your faith. Do you want to pray to say thank you too?

Follow up with introducing them to another believer and Co tire the conversation. Pray for those God entrusts to you.

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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?

Answer:

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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Mark 1:14-20 “License to Fish” RSUMC 20150125

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Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea–for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. [NRSV]

Licensed to Catch

To be authorized to fish on state waters and waters that lead to state waters you must have a license to fish. It is a piece of paper with slopping dot matrix ink that is barely legible that cost just a few dollars for a whole year of fun and recreation, but try to sneak out without one and you will wish you had the permit. That license helps keep lakes and rivers stocked, rangers on watch and some efforts to protect waters for future fishing. It seems to me that it sounds much more impressive to call one’s permit a license to fish, rather than a stocking fee or a wildlife protection fee or a ranger administrative fee. Now I complain every time they increase the rate, but its still one of the best values our state provides.

With a license to fish it sounds like your are a professional catcher of fish, a regular James Bond in the wilderness. Licensed, licensed to fish. And yet that little piece of paper is your letter of authorization to attempt to catch a fish.

Catching Fish

Unless you use your bare hands or a catchers mitt, I suggest that the whole endeavor is misnamed. Catching fish is the rarity in my experience. Practicing is the art of hoping and trying to catch. I have cast my line MANY more times than I have ever caught a fish.

And when I have successfully retrieved a fish from his watery home, I generally use every method I have to capture the little creature. And in my experience, my catch is a small creature; one I probably should use my bare hands to ‘catch’ rather than a load of specialized gear, bait and practice.

Successful Fishing

To be successful at fishing might have nothing to do with catching anything, except a nap in the great outdoors.

To be successful at fishing might be in helping someone catch what you have little or no success achieving yourself.

To be successful at fishing I know that the cost to procure a fish is not measured by the total investment, rather in the most recent success story. (Boat, poles, line, lures, trailers, flotation devices, motors, umbrella, wetsuit, waders, various must-have pieces of tackle, just to get started.) The cost of a ‘catch’ is the most recent worm and and the gas to transport you to the best spot.

A Failure at Fishing

You might think you have failed a fishing if you came home with no fish, but learning WHY you came home empty handed might be the successful lesson.

Coming home with a boat load of fish actually means more work of cleaning and cooking your catch which might be the last thing you want to do after three hours of driving, unloading and loading a boat, working on a broken boat, waking a mile back to go to the bathroom because your little helper doesn’t want to go in the woods, enduring some mud and rain, going through the first aid kit from miscellaneous hook injuries and only finding the little ones that need to be returned to grow bigger.

Luxury of Catch and Release

It is such a mixed message to take a child fishing when it’s catch-and-release season. First all the hype about “catching” fish and bringing it home to eat for dinner is the stuff that beginning fisher-folk legends  are founded. You finally catch one, beginner’s luck you find the biggest one of the whole fishing parting and you have to throw it back.  I wanted to eat it and mount it for all posterity, not through it back!

But there is actually a great level of maturity, delayed-gratification, or at least perspective when you can use all at your disposal to hook and retrieve your catch and not have to keep it

  • because that is not the only meal your family might have is at the end of your line.
  • because you don’t need to show anyone your catch,
  • because you have learned to enjoy to sport of fishing
  • because you want to leave fish for those who need the meal they provide
  • because you don’t want to clean them
  • because you found your enjoyment in the journey rather than the trophy

“Catching” is not the high-water-point of fishing!

Sharing fishing with someone else is the joy of fishing.

  • You need no license to share the story
  • You need no experience, success nor failure, to share the fun
  • You don’t have to know what your doing and you may be the most practiced professional

Sharing the adventure of catching is heart.

Jesus goes a long way to share an INVITATION to share the ADVENTURE of FISHING

Jesus never promised that we would catch a single person

Jesus invites us to go on an adventure bigger than what we could catch if we tried, practiced,

Jesus extends INVITATION rather than LICENSES

Jesus calls us to use the skill and talents we know and have and INVITES us to share them with the work of the Kingdom.

Jesus continues to call disciples

Look to the persons on either side:

  • Remind them “You are a disciples”
  • Remind them “You are a fisher, not a catcher”
  • Remind them “You don’t have to know what you are doing, just follow Jesus”
  • Remind them “Lead with what you know”
  • Remind them of the tough part: “Sometimes following Jesus is leaving other things behind”

Jesus Calls Disciples who make new Disciples, who fish for more disciples…

The ADVENTURE is ours,

we never graduate,

we never retire,

we may have weary, uncertain times, but

there is always more fishing to be done. So keep it up

Let’s go fishing

  • It’s too cold
  • It’s too wet
  • I don’t have a license
  • I don’t know where to go
  • I don’t have the right equipment
  • I don’t know how
  • I’m tired of fishing
  • I don’t like fish
  • I want someone to fish for me, I like the restaurant/grocery story method.

So why are we here as church, if we are not about the one thing Jesus asked disciples…

I’m up for the ADVENTURE!

I have a story to SHARE!

  • I don’t know how to fish, but I know who does!
  • I don’t have license, but I have forgiveness and love!
  • I might have skills and equipment, God wants what we bring! God fulfills what we leave behind.
  • I might get tired, God plans for rest.
  • I might not like the people God sends me to, but I know God loves us all
  • If I don’t follow, what will I miss and who will miss God….

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John 1:43-51 “Can Anything Good Come Out of Rock Spring?” 20150118

NazarethCity.jpg
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” [NRSV]

 

1. Jesus told Philip who told Nathanael who told Philip about Jesus.

Discipleship is process of networking.

The invitation is “Follow Me”. Go where I am going.

We are not called to tell people where to go nor what to do. We don’t have to have the answers, we just take them where we are going and growing.

Philip didn’t know it all, but he knew enough.

In knowing Jesus Christ, we know enough to lead us to a community faith, into small groups of study and prayer and Christian fellowship

Our mission is to invite others to follow. Come WITH me and we will find the Lord together.

Goal of fifty new members. Will you join me in finding one person who will follow you to church. Out of the 100-150 of us here, make it your personal mission to bring ONE person this year.

Philip Brings Nathanel, doubting and questioning and complaining, Nathaniel follows and is found by Jesus. Philip on askes Nat to follow, to come with me.

2. How could anything Good come out of the little town of Nazareth?

Nazareth: population 100-150, not included in the Talmud/OT as a city.

Rock Spring: population 4,500 in 2012.  Villanow at 1900. Plainville 375. The smallest incorporated village in Georgia is my home town, Garfield with a population of 202 souls.

  • Steve Wozniack was an electronics hacker, and he and his long time friend Steve Jobs had this idea to create a personal computer. In 1976, the two approached a local electronics store to see if they would be interested in buying a personal computer that Wozniack had built. Their first order was for 50 “Apple” computers.
  • In 1971, three academics each invested $1350 of their own money into the first Starbucks located in downtown Seattle. English teacher Jerry Baldwin, history teacher Zev Siegel, and writer Gordon Bowker opened the store called Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spice
  • In 1978, twenty-five year old college dropout John Mackey and twenty-one year old Rene Lawson Hardy, saved and borrowed money from family and friends to open the doors of a small natural foods store in Austin, Texas. Within a year of opening the store, the couple was evicted from their home for using their apartment storage for the store. Homeless and with no place to go they decided to save costs by moving and living at their store full time. Since their store “Saferway” was zoned for commercial use only, there was no shower stall. According to the company’s website, the two instead bathed in the Hobart dishwasher, which had an attached water hose.
  • In the spring of 1891, the 29-year-old William Wrigley Jr. moved from Philadelphia to Chicago with only $32 to his name. Soon after arriving in Chicago, Wrigley began selling soap. As an incentive to the customers, if they purchased his soap, he would give them a free can of baking powder. Soon baking powder proved to be more popular than the soap he was selling, so he switched his business. A year later, in 1892, Wrigley used chewing gum as an incentive for buying his baking powder. Again, chewing gum proved to be more popular than baking powder, and so he switched business again. The first brand of chewing gum Wrigley produced was Juicy Fruit in 1893.

What good can come from RSUMC? Look at the (bulletin). Years ago folks would have said nothing but look we have living witnesses.

What good can come from sharing Christ with folks with whom we work, school, live, play, shop and travel? Nothing in we don’t invite them to follow.

The greatness is not in the size of the person nor the size of the church. Greatness is found in the responding to the invitation to find Christ

Examples of greatness coming out of small beginning

3. Trust the witness of Philip as if Jesus told you first hand.

Trust that you might not be able to reach everyone, but there is someone who will follow you, someone who will journey with you.

We might want it to be someone we know, a family member or someone we conveniently see each week or day.

I keep asking and inviting until i find one who will follow with me.

When the chapel was first built on this location, did the members see the need for an education building, or two, or a preschool, of the spring… who can imagine what ministries will call for what facilities 50 to 100 years from now. But the congregation we will be is shaped by the faithful willingness of those who have paved and reached, taught and sung, praised and raised in times past, stand as a witness for us to continue to extend the invitation. Come, follow me.

The was once the slogan of the United Methodist Church, we moved to Open Door, Open Minds, Open Hearts, to Rethink Church to now the watch word is.. don’t ask, don’t tell.

Seriously, we are not limited by a slogan, our mission is follow Christ and to invite others to join our faith journey.

So why are you sitting here, when there are those still out there.

Amen.

 

 

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Luke 4.16-21 First Things First JUMC 20131201


16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
NRSV

First Words
Typically a child’s first words are a rough version of Daa Daa or Maa Mas, some
Jesus’s first words as teacher, preacher define our task as Christians and the role of the church

5 Point Sermon
Bring Good News to the Poor, Freedom to the captive, Seeing to the blind, Oppressed accepted, AND tell the world this is what God is all about
Jesus defines what we are to do as disciples, as Christians, and as a church
Confirmands: Listen up.

Hometown Hearers
Jesus starts with the folks who had the greatest opportunity to know Jesus, those who have known him the longest
Not always does longevity mean understanding. The longest member or the longest marriage does not always mean the greatest witness or the greatest love IE. Sadi and Shorty Brown..

Evaluation
Are we getting closer to the destination?
Flight… much like image that Bishop Schnase describes in chapter 2, of Remember the Future,
Given the choice to walk home from Colorado all alone is not my best choice.
I prefer the air plane. I got upgraded, so I had more room and a better snack for my flight… But on this flight home I had two crying babies, one in front and one behind me. The flight was delayed 40 minutes. They ran out of the full breakfast and I had cold cereal instead. I sat next to a talker who didnt mind waking me up to tell me about their family problems. But given all the craziness it was much better than walking 1200 miles on my own.

Being the church is not the easy route. Being a follower of Jesus is seldom accepted by the majority. In fact it is a good test of our progress: If things are going smoothly and everyone is happy and comfortable, most likely we have made things about us rather than those who are poor, captive, blind, oppressed and search to find what God offers instead of what we offer.

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Luke 16:1-13 “Juggling Your Assests” JUMC

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1 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. 2 So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ 3 Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ 5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ 7 Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’ 8 And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. 9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes. 10 “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? 13 No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” [NRSV]

The shrewd manager takes justice into his own hands.

It is most likely the custom that those who would lend to the poor would also be those who took advantage of the poor. Charting higher interest rates to those at greater risk.

Intuitively it is a practice that never makes sense. If lenders and retailers who extend credit want to charge those who have the least to spend the highest rate, it seems to be a set up for failure and a greater oppression than not extended credit in the first place.

In the recent years of banking giving loans to those who would not qualify and investment firms reselling debt accounts to the highest bidder, so collection agencies can profit even further from oppressing the poor. Where is the justice in this practice?

Traditionally the parable has been only about the juggling of the accounting without regard to why the bills were so high in the first place.

If you drive around a large city, you will find the the gas prices higher in the poorest communities. You will find grocery stores higher priced with lower quality good near communities where neighbors have no other transportation and only have the option to walk to the closest store. In this text the owner has charged twenty or thirty percent more than the usual rate.

So the manager is trying to show some justice in the situation, hoping that when he is laid off the poor would look kindly and graciously at them.

Think of it, if you were about to loose your job from a tyrant of an employer and you could bring some justice in the community, playing the part of Robin Hood and his merry followers. Would you want to steal from the king to win the hears of the common folk?

So much political rhetoric is preached everyday about the evil of the wealthy in our country and how they should be made to pay their share and the share of the poor. It’s just not a good system of economics.

The parable is about relationship.

The warning is to guard from making friends by buying their relationship.

As a church we want to extend radical hospitality, but we don’t want people to come because they can take advantage of our generosity.

As Christians we want people to like us but at times we are indeed sheep sent out among wolves. Choose your relationship not by what you get out, rather choose by God’s guidance.

We want our children and grandchildren to have lots of friends and be well liked at school, but not because of fashions, toys and gadgets. We want them to friends of good character.

This is the point of Jesus’ parable. Be of God character and not the world’s. Even it seems reasonable from the world’s standards, this is not our measuring stick.

Secondly the parable is about what we manage compared to what we allow God to manage in our lives.

The shrewd manager takes care of the situation himself. He has a plan to take care of himself and to put the owner in his or her place and come out smelling like a rose for caring for the poor and oppressed.

Helping the poor is great.
Seeking justice is wonderful.
Being a responsible worker and good manager are great attributes.
Look instead at the motives, agendas and flawed reasons behind our self-preservation.

God promises to provide, guide and fill our lives, asking us to receive, follow and trust God in all times.

Bottom line: Serve God and not ourselves.

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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..

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Matthew 21.1-17 Fan or Follower? Palms or Power? JUMC 20130324

palmsunday

1 When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately. ” 4 This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, 5 “Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7 they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” 12 Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 He said to them, “It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers.” 14 The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became angry 16 and said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise for yourself’?” 17 He left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there. [NRSV]

YOU WERE MADE FOR A MISSION  do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully. [NRSV] 2 Timothy 4.5b

I remember the old TV episodes of Mission Impossible. The agents would receive a small reel-to-reel tape player that would play the message and mission and would begin to smoke and self-destruct. It was a secret mission for the agents alone. The agents had the responsibility to listen tot he mission, choose to accept it or not. And the moment would begin. We are here today to hear the message and accept it, or not. But ours is more than a TV episode. Ours is life or death, for ourselves and others.

The past month we have been looking at the question posed by Rev. Rick Warren in his book, What on Earth am I Here for?

In a Nutshell: Answering this question begins by affirming that life is not about us, It’s about god!
God is equally interested in you and god is concerned about me, God does not have favorites.

In Review

  • We are here as a product of gods love
  • We are here to praise god
  • We are here for fellowship as gods family
  • We are here fo become like Christ
  • We are here to serve gods work
  • Finally we are here because we have a mission, a specific work, task or charge

We are here to tell others what we already know

  • They are here not for themselves rare here by gods love for gods purpose
  • It is out work to show folks how to praise god, when all around us is fallen
  • It is our mission to build a faith family, hopefully our biological family but limited by
  • It is our charge to show the world around us what Christ looks, thinks and acts like
  • It inspire purpose to serve god and not ourselves…

What is the cost commandment from Moses?

No god comes before me… I’m first.
Here we are at Palm Sunday and we can look back at this only as a historical event, or we can see our present in the story as well.

  • Who is on the Jesus parade in Jackson?
  • What might not be revealing God that has God’s name and people attached, in our church and community?

Jesus came into the city of Jerusalem and pointed out where we had made worship about

  • the rules,
  • the money,
  • the business,
  • the divisions,
  • the politics,
  • The rich and the poor,
  • the house of us and not the house of god

He enters the city and would be disciples follow I with the triumphant parade, until he turns things god side up

Disciples see the mission is to turn the world God side up.

i challenge you to hear the parade and celebration when it affects our home, our business, our income, our choices:

  • Who will tell Jackson that God loves them?
  • Who will tell our community they are loved at the core of their being?
  • Who will show those with live, work and play  how to praise God?
  • Who will show hope and faith in the face of fear, guilt and grief?
  • Who will build up the family of God and be present for the family when it struggles
  • Who will show the neighborhoods what Jesus looks like, thinks and acts in our time?
  • Who will inspire others to follow God first

If it is not us, then we have wasted each others time here today.

What on Earth are YOU here for? You are here for this very mission, you have heard it and this message will not destruct. The question is, as God’s agent and disciples, as a Christian and follower of Jesus, will you accept the mission or pass?

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Matthew 21:1-11 “Jesus Got on His Ass” How about us? JUMC 04172011

When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, “Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The Affirmation of Jesus
The new translations make a subtle change on this emphasis of one verse. Modern translations emphasis that Jesus was sitting on people’s coats that were thrown on the back of a donkey on which Jesus road into the city of Jerusalem. The older translations simply say that Jesus sat on his ass. Modern readers are often offended or at least thrown off by hear a phrase in scripture that contains the word ass, and particularly one directly speaking of Jesus.

I suggest that modern readers/hearers need to be thrown off their own donkey so as not to miss the significance of Jesus’ entrance into the city and the hearts of the people.

1) Wisdom from the high school chemistry class: “Proper prior planning prevents poor performance.”
It is with specific intentionality that Jesus chooses a donkey, the foal of an ass to be his means of transportation.

As a matter of transparency in government spending, President Obama had new presidential limousine ordered by the secret service beginning at his inauguration. These cars must have had pentagon toilet seats because each cost $300k and they need fleet of ten or twelve. This no green hybrid fuel econo-commuter coup. But it is the type of vehicle we might expect the leader of the free world to have especially during the era of terrorist attacks. Jesus chooses a different approach, with intent.

The picture of Jesus entering the city of Jerusalem is not behind bulletproof windows and thick armor. He is not on a large bright steed adorned with emblems of gold and encrusted with gem deserving of a king. He is riding in on four wheel drive, untested first year model pickup. No HEMI engine, just basic work horse ride, clade not in steel rather in people’s coats.

2) Moab Mentality

SIDE NOTE: Have you wondered if they followed along to get their coats back at the end?
Bottom line: Jesus was coming into THE city of faith as a king, on purpose, planning to make a statement.

ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: Have you ever wondered about the crowd of followers stopping to cut down the branches off the trees in the city? Who did the tree belong to? If a parade walked down your road/street and the people started taking limbs off your trees would you mind? What would you say?
Bottom line: Jesus was coming into the city and the people give the respect and recognition of Jesus as prophet and king,

STILL ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: but why not trumpets, soldiers and colorful banners?
Bottom line: Jesus was welcomed with respect be the have-nots and masses rather than the few who have.

3) Imagine a Parade with no decorations.

No permits, no approved traffic routes, no advance warning for the merchants, school buses, or out of town travelers.

The whole city was in turmoil over Jesus being present.

This may indeed be the very heart of the Palm Sunday message.

What gets our town all stirred up into a state of turmoil?

• Storm damage.
• High School Playoffs.
• Mileage Rate increases.
• Tragic Deaths.
• Atlanta Traffic in Jackson.

But turmoil is a state or condition of extreme confusion or agitation.

What could Jesus have to do with EXTREEM confusion or
EXTREEM agitation.

It is fascinating to me that one third of the space inside a clothes washing machine is taken up with a hard and ridged piece of plastic called that agitator. It moves around stirring things up and breaking the dirt and oils loose with the detergent.

We usually work hard to keep the peace.

We don’t want our community to be confused.

We would usually rather have things stay just the way they are, broken or not, than to have MASS CONFUSION.

BUT HERE IS THE HEAT OF PALM SUNDAY>>

Jesus shows up and his very presence turns things upside down and God side up.

Matthew’s Gospel continues by telling the Jesus cleansed the temple. He turned the religious folks upside down and threw them out.

This is not a children’s Sermon Sunday… unless we are teaching our children to take on the establishment when it is complacent, controlling or self-interested.

WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH US? Today?

Look at your hands, your palms.
What is within your influence, control or responsibility?

It is there you have the greatest chance of PRAISING KING JESUS.
DO IT! DO IT NOW. DO IT ANY WAY.

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