Posts Tagged gift
1 Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord; praise the name of the Lord. 2 Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time on and forevermore. 3 From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised. 4 The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens. 5 Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, 6 who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? 7 He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap, 8 to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people. 9 He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord! [NRSV]
Praise the Lord!
Call to the crowd, now is the time to praise.
Bless the Name, now and always
Start at sun up until you sleep
God is AUTHOR and all authority,
In Heaven and on earth
Cheer: Who is like our God, who is at the highest high?
Response: God who is way up there raises the poor from the dust,
Lifts the needy from the ash heap
Makes them sit with princes and kings
He gives life and make our hearts and homes fruitful and meaningful
I introduce to you a topic we will study and practice for years to come:
Worship too often is twisted around 180 degrees.
If you every hear someone say, “I just didn’t get anything out of worship.”
If you every hear someone say, “ I didn’t care for the music or the sermon.”
If you every hear someone say, “I need to find worship that makes me feel good or even my toes stepped upon.”
These are examples that worship has been flipped upside down and backwards.
Worship is not about the preacher, its not about the musicians, it is not about the congregation.
Worship is about God.
It is both a time and a place to direct ourselves toward God
It is a time to gather for God’s benefit and not our own.
Worship is putting the REALITY of our hearts into the hands and heart of God.
Sometimes we bring to God our poverty, brokenness and weakness.
Sometimes we bring to God our celebration, love and devotion.
Always it is God’s people coming to connect and give ourselves, our gifts and our futures to God.
Is placing our hearts, empty or full on the alter of God and becoming a living sacrifice through Jesus Christ.
Is coming together as unique individuals with differing depths of relationship to God and sitting together as fellow heirs in the court, together as son and daughters of the God.
Is putting our life on the line each time we gather in this place to be both strong and vulnerable. Bringing our faithfulness and our failures. Offering out sweat-equity and in-equities to be used through God’s Spirit in this world.
Worship the primary way we show our praise of God
Is putting our hearts on the line, that God and God’s people in trust and with integrity.
Passionate Worship is doing the Spiritual HokyPoky and putting our whole self in God’s hand…
Passionate Worship is not counting the minutes until we are done, rather counting the minutes until we are here again.
Is our Worship Passionate?
This is our home work.. Tell one person this week, Name one thing you bring to worship that pleases God, and explain why.
Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. [NRSV]
The Luminers, a folk-rock group based in Denver, were nominated at for a Grammy as both the “Best New Artist” and “the Best Americana Album”. Their songs are simple and very sing-able. I would guess that is one of the reasons they have become so popular. One of their best know is a song called “Ho Hey.” The title comes from the ‘Ho’ and ‘Hey’ grunted between the lines of the verses. But the main lyrics of this love song speak of a search for love and belonging. These are two very important parts of our human experience that the world hears in a folk song.
Here is a group of folks who moved from different parts of the world, through New York, and find their way to Denver as a home. Theirs is a new family found through music that sings about the journey to belong and find love.
This is what our hymns/songs do for us that we sing today. They are five people, in two years sang to sold-out crowds, sold double platinum number of records and held the honor of having the most shared song on “Spotify” music app. They are not a church; nor are they neither call themselves religious, nor Christian and yet they are sing about the power we offer. What’s up with that?
Bill Graham is the iconic cheer leader for sinners everywhere in our lifetime.
Come the Cross is the invitation of every sermon: Come to face to face with God’s love, God’s proof revealed in the cross.
Paul writes to the churches at Corinth: Don’t fuss, don’t be divided, don’t be fooled yourself or others. It is Christ who is for us all. We are all to be for Christ. Think of all the people:
• we have steered away from faith because our own will, our plan, our traditions.
• we have closed the door of hope because we didn’t speak, invite, or respond.
• Think of all simple ways we empty the cross of its power.
What, you think we have never done that?
On one hand there is nothing we can do that changes God’s love for us.
On the other hand we can make it so difficult for folks and ourselves from experiencing that love now.
Paul’s passion and warning is not to empty the cross of it’s power. How does that happen?
When we don’t reach out to those who are hurting, hiding and those who are full-of-themselves.
Is it the mission of a folk-rock band to tell the world about belonging to God’s love? No.
Is it just for the TV Evangelists to spread the word? Is it just the hired help at the church? No.
“You are My Witnesses.”
Why would you not want to be a witness?
Are the details too cloudy, do you not remember? Then open the book, open your heart and mind.
Are you too afraid,
Are you too busy,
Pick your reasons and excuses…
Paul points to the boiling point: “the foolishness of the perishing.”
Those who are following their own way, and not God’s way, are dying, separating and burning out.
The foolish part is they think they are strong, deserving, and right by their own judgment.
God has show use how much God loves us, in hope….that we would choose to trust and follow God’s way.
Here is our homework:
Pray for God to open the opportunity for us to share the ‘Cross’ with someone this week.
Reach out to someone this week and actually share the message of the cross with someone THIS week.
When you do this, be prepared for it to not be accepted, welcomed, or received. But just do it.
If we are not the ones sharing the Cross, we too are unplugged from its power in ourlives.
There are times we show God’s love in acts of service
There are times we show God’s love in deeds of mercy
There are times we show God’s love in theory and ideas
This week let us show it in words of faith that are alive on our hearts and lips.
Tell someone about the cross
Don’t let the power of the cross be missed
Don’t take credit, don’t look for blame, just look for God to show up, in you, in them, or all around.
Tell them God loves them, Tell them God cares. Tell them God knows us.
Tell them God gave his life for ours in Jesus Christ.
We deserved the death, the hell, rejection and the brokenness for all our sins and foolishness..
Through the Cross Jesus took for us, took on himself the blame, the cause, the reasons
And in exchange,
God gives us power, life and hope.
Is this what our community, our country and world needs to hear? Yes it does.
Who is going to speak it? Sing it? Tell it?
If five people can find their way to Denver and have millions of Lumineer fans listen in a year.
What can five people form Jackson do in year if they are as relentless in telling about Cross of Jesus Christ.
Let’s find out.
32:22 The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 32:23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. 32:24 Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 32:25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 32:26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” 32:27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 32:28 Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” 32:29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 32:30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” 32:31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. [NRSV]
Today I welcome you to the Peniel Arena..
Welcome to the Friday Night Fights
Are you ready to Rumble?
And in this corner, weighing in at 156 lbs 5’4” is the hometown favorite wrestler, let’s hear hear it for
And in the opponents corner, clearly 240 lbs 6’8”, is the mysterious masked Mar-r-r-r-r-r-val-val
This is Howard Cosell, are ring side, I’ve got to go with the home town boy, Jacob, he has just give up to his family, children, household and animals to be here tonight. God has called and God will bless him..
Bob Castas here, Howard I don’t think you’ve seen the size of his opponents tree trunk arms and his goliath size. Jacob has heart but does he have what it takes. He’s going to need all the bless God can give.
Ding, ding, ding… The wrestling begins.
When I was about 9 years old, I was touring my new school and meeting new teachers. This stock fellow asked me I liked wrestling. Having only seen the TV version of wrestling at that time, I replied, “No sir, it’s all fake and for show.” He said, “Sorry to hear that.” And he walked away.
A few minutes later we stopped by the gym to meet the PE teacher and the same stocky man was seating on the edge of his desk, with wrestling trophies and ribbons behind him. He was the PE coach and he said we’d be learning about wrestling that semester. We will see how fake it is by Christmas.” O dear.
Back to the wrestling match..
I don’t think it was common for folks to meet strangers on the road and they break into wrestling all night long. It was a strange meeting. It was an completely unexpected series of events and it lasts until the breaking of the new day.
Its like one of the dramatic scenes in a Twilight movie where the shadowing figure chases all through the night and only injures the lead character because the sun comes up.
This is some mystery about meeting and working with God. We meet God in our darkest hours. Just ask Millard Daniels or Elaine Power this week. The prayer is that wake up the next day and find God’s blessing out of the struggle.
While none of us may have wrestled with stranger in the wilderness all through the night, we have stayed up with loved ones through many nights. We have stayed awake in a mental match of math and myth over finances and economies. We have found it impossible to sleep the night though because of few words and the power they had on someone else’s heart.
The backstory to Jacob is with his brother, Esau. Esau was the oldest of the two and it was the custom for the older of the two fraternal twins to receive the father’s inheritance and Jacob and his mother trick his father who was blind into giving Jacob the blessing.
Many years pass but Jacob lives in fear of his secrets, lies and deceptions. God wants them to meet and reconcile. [the same mission we see in the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus] This fear is evidence he had been wrestling a lot longer than this one night. He sends a gift to Esau to soften him up before they meet. The gift is a collection of animals, estimating to be a tenth of his wealth. Accounting for inflation and conversion we can estimate his ‘gift’ to be about $116,000.
When is the last time someone gave you that kind of gift? Not to mention having sent the rest of his family and livestock on head. Jacob is absorbed in fear, worried, anxiety and collapse. Any he has nothing but the shirt on his back.
It is in the place of vulnerability that he meets God who wrestles with him in his darkest hour.
One of the great lessons that is seldom advertised in a stewardship campaign, but in this political climate and chaos over spending and budgets and debt ceilings, when you begin to give to God in the way Jacob models, it might continue to be a wrestle and struggle, but you will surely find God’s blessing on you.
The part of the story that is hard to swallow is at day break. Jacob is just about to get the upper hand and end this wrestling match with God and he cries out… bless me!
And God reaches out and knocks his hip out of joint and the blessing of Jacob follows: that he and his brother are stored, his family is restored, he continues to covenant of Abraham and Isaac and his generations are as numerous as the grains of sand. And one other blessing
Jacob, gets a new name. He is no longer the man he was. He no longer lived for himself, he now lived by God grace for the people of God, and his name become Israel.
And in the news, every week of every year, you hear the Jacob’s new name, Israel claiming the promises of God to this very moment.
So what do get if we all donated $116,000. You get a new name? You get to name a new building? I don’t know but I would love to see what happened…
What I do know is that when we give out of fear, requirement, guilt, or shame.. we never know the joy of the gift. But in our fear, guilt, shame and duty we have the scars of our struggles with God. The different is in the gift. In the hope of healing the relationships between us and God and with each other…
God does not take away the struggle when we give, but he meets us in that struggle and will leave us reminders when we learn the lessons that God is in charge, God is with us always, and God desires to do whatever it takes to heal the relationship. Even if it leaves evidence of the struggle along the way.