Posts Tagged God
The Lead Team of Followers
The Promise of Failure
Bringing the Kingdom Near
- in my words
- in my mind
- in my heart
Expected Rejection and Failure
Living as Sent People
The Homework: Share hospitality, heal/fix what you can, and confirm why you are present and doing what you do: bringing the kingdom close to you. (Carpenters: Close to You.)
Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?” 35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” 36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” 37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 38 “What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. [NRSV]
This Word is not my home, Albert Brumley, 1937 (11am)
This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through. My treasures are laid up, Somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me, From heaven’s open door, And I can’t feel at home In this world anymore.
Oh Lord, you know, I have no friend like you, If heaven’s not my home, Then Lord what will I do.
I have a loving mother, Just up in Glory land, And I don’t expect to stop, Until I shake her hand.
She’s waiting now for me, In heaven’s open door, And I can’t feel at home, In this world anymore.
Oh Lord, you know, I have no friend like you, If heaven’s not my home, Then Lord what will I do.
Just over in Glory land, We’ll live eternally, The saints on every hand, Are shouting victory.
Their songs of sweetest praise, Drift back from heaven’s shore, And I can’t feel at home, In this world anymore.
King of kings and Lord of Lords reigns a spiritual world that is not measurable by the laws of physics and science.
We are a physically citizen of the USA
We are the spiritual citizen of the Kingdom of God
The Micro-nation (9am)
Are you not tired of politics fighting. No matter the side of the fence you choose to stand, we are over-loaded with a constant fight to destroy one another. The heart ache is based in the passions that drive our beliefs.
— The PROBLEM: If everyone would value what “I” value then there would be peace and tranquility.
There are times I’d like to make my own little nation. Tiny House phenomenon, there is a Micro Nation phenomenon.
The problem with setting up your back yard as your own country is that becomes a legal threat against the United States. It might be all in our imagination but if everyone seceded one Saturday afternoon, stopped paying taxes, stopped voting, ignored the laws, rules and regulations we disagree, the imaginary idea of our own nations would corrupt the order of our real nation.
The result would be an increase of division and a decrease of safety and peace. Most certainly, there would be more politics, WHY? Because we cannot live without each other.
Politics in Church
Sanhedrin, temple authority board/council, were threatened by Jesus, because of his popularity with the crowds.
They use the Roman politics to keep their power and support of the populace.
–Rather than talk with your neighbor you get the home owners association to act
–Rather than question if you are right or wrong, find a legal technicality to call the police or better yet sue someone.
–Find the flaw in your opponent and exploit them with the system.
–Pass the dirty job to someone other than yourself AND you get what you want.
There are valid times for legal resolutions, but not the place to start.
School board, city Council, County commissioners, Senator and representatives, presidents, emperors as well as you and me.
To the Heart of the Solution is to Define and claim: Where is my primary citizenship?
The Conversation in the text
Governor Pilate has heard of Jesus. They have a political discussion about truth.
“Ok Jesus, they are charging you with challenging the authority of Caesar,
Are you a king?”
Are you guilty of the charges
Jesus sounds a bit vague, unclear, not straightforward. “You have answered correctly in saying, “You are a king.”
Pilate races through his memory, I asked the question. I didn’t make a statement. Grrr.
Ok, Jesus, what is the truth?
We live in an age of enlighten truth, shaped by the scientific method and defined by person accent/believe and/or popular opinion and personal offense.
Is it true that someone on some college campus call a student a derogatory name? Yes.
Therefore, the entire school has a fundamental problem with racism and the leaders have to be fired.
There is a double standard
Is it true that there are more unemployed and under-employed people today compared to eight years ago? Yes it is true.
Therefore, the entire economic system has fundamental problems with economics and the leaders have to be fired.
Oh, but that not the same at all.
Jesus is saying something that was just as unpopular to Governor Deal, as it was to Governor Pilate then.
Truth is not a variable
Truth is not an opinion
Truth is not our lump of metallic ore to shape and model into our own idol.
It’s one or the other: Truth in the eyes of the beholder VS. Truth is in God!’s will.
It might the atheists right to deny God, but their disbelief doesn’t negate God’s existence and patience with them.
Using the truth, and our understanding for person or corporate political gain is the issue
If I take a standard ruler and saw off 2 inches and say that new length s a foot. Is that the truth.
The valued the dollar changes daily. Isn’t that crazy?
Pilate passes the buck on Truth, Yet Speaks the Truth.
“I find no fault, you deal with your difference.”
A good leader is not going to pass the buck.
A good leader helps lift of the truth and stands behind that standard.
Independent of offense, popularity or opinion.
So where is our Truth?
If political majority is your guiding principles, Who made the majority of the people?
If political principle is your guiding passion, Who made of the network of the mind that things of better ways for folks to work together?
If you want everyone to be completely free to choose for themselves their own destiny? Who created freedom?
If you want to be led by the heart and compassion, Who are we called to forgive first? Those who think like we do, or our enemies?
If you want science and physics as your truth, who made the heavens and the earth?, who started the bang and ordered the science?
If you and I want to find the common ground, The Truth is God.
Even for those who deny God’s reality. God is big, tough and grace-filled enough to be TRUTH with Patience for us to trust that truth.
Jesus is the truth.
This is who were are. The people who believe above all else that God has always wanted to be in love and in relationship with us
Jesus is the, in the flesh example of God’s example and the means by which bridges us to God.
God’s Spirit continues to be reached out to us, drawing, inviting and welcoming the conversation.
Remember this if nothing else. You can talk about politics with God, but your can’t talk about God without getting to the truth of politics. We are living in God’s garden and playground.
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’ ” He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.” Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” [NRSV]
WHAT IS GOODNESS?
- Be a good boy or a good girl?
- Act like a good young man or good lady?
- Work hard, follow the rules and do t get into trouble?
- Do good things and you will become a good person?
- Just avoid doing really bad things, get away with being good enough?
- All wrong.
AM I GOOD? GOOD ENOUGH?
- The short answer: no
- your no good, your no good baby your no good
- And no matter what you give up you cannot buy, make, earn or steal
- Goodness is a God given gift
THERE IS GOOD IN ALL OF US, Right?
I trust that is the image I which we are created
GOODNESS IS NOT SELF INTERESTED
GOODNESS IS GOD INTERESTED, GOD FOCUSED, GOD DRIVEN
ITS TOO HARD TO BE GOOD
- WE ENJOY BEING BAD
- No one WANs to be the goody-two-shoes
- No Eddy Haskle faking it when the auority is looking
- I fact there are times WE ENJOY DEFINING WHAT IS GOOD
WHO ARE WE TO DECLARE SOE THING TO BE GOOD, IF IT IS INDEPENDENT OF GOD
JESUS IS DEFINING GOODNESS AS GOD-ness.
Good comes with the persecution
God is Good, so give God your self, your all.
Am I all in?
The reward of Goodness is realized in heaven
- The world will define its own goodness
- Good will not get you into heaven if it’s your own goodness
- So what’s the deal with being good?
- We think and behave is goodness because God is at work in us
- Keeping the Rules for the rules’ sake, correctness is not God’S Goodness
- Keeping the commandments because we trust God reflects Gods goodness guiding us
The time to be good:
- When our team looses. When our team wins
- When face life. When we face death
- When he world says it’s good to be bad, we ask Whatglories God
- When wealth, comfort, fortune, acceptance surrounds us AND when povert, discomfort, rejection, and unfortuent events weight us,
- When we have governments we like and those we dislike, goodness is still defined by God, not politics, agendas nor principles.
So is God my trust, my focus, my faith?
- There are fears of wars, financial crashes, changes of power and culture
- The Question: is it my Goodness that will save or Gods?
- Whomever can save us is the good that we are to follow.
- So don’t follow me. I’m not following you. We are called to trust Good as Gods
This is what the world need to know
Not their they are bad, we are all short of Good if God is not at the heart
Are you telling the world that simple blessing
“God is greatest, God is Good” everything and everyone else will fail you.
Invite Gods goodness to make you Gods own Goodness
So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.” When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself. When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going. [NRSV]
I love this passage, but it is so much more powerful remembering the setting and context of the storm on the sea.
On the Tail of Miraculous Blessing: 12 Baskets for 12 Disciples
- Think of the times that God has blessed us in the past.
- Remembering the witnesses of our past and others.
- Keeping our current storm in the context of where God has guided us before.
- If we look only at the storm in the present, we see only the fear, grief and lack of control.
Life in the Storm: What are our current storms?
- Marriage and Divorce
- That is a good starting list..
This is why we start with the context of where God has been revealed in the past.
Time to make a list of 12 examples where God has blessed, loved, forgiven, showed-up in our lives:
- God showed up in the backyard of a house church in Monterrey, Mexico and called me to preach.
- God showed up in the worship service and fellowship at Camp Glisson in the rock chapel.
- God showed up to surround me in love through my father and grandmothers and a dozen churches.
- God showed up to broaden my heart and mind in seminary study and worship.
- God showed in the lives of children in Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Honduras, Moscow
- God shows up nudging me to pray, call, contact within two hours
- God showed in ideas that I think are my own but God reveals them to you and when you share them, I am confirmed.
- God shows us when someone is looking for God to speak and I have nothing to say and God’s words come rolling out.
- God shows us to convict, cleanse and correct when I have messed up.
- God shows up when I pray asking for direction
- God shows up when I put myself in a place of listening and reflection
- God shows up when I lay aside my mind and worries and come to worship and praise.
Making the a List as an act of preparing for my storms and your storms.
The disciples did not ask for faith lesson, they were tired, needed a retreat-vacation and the work interrupted,
and when much needed break was in order, they are overwhelmed by a life-threatening storm.
Jesus is in the storm with them.
When they invite Jesus in, the storm is over.
The Lesson: The sooner we invite Jesus in the boat, the less time fear leads our lives.
To go back to the list of fears:
- Politics: We can’t be ostriches, we must be involved leaders and prophets
- Racism: What builds our community and what divides us?
- Terrorism: We love the person but denounce the behavior
- Economic: Discern where our heart/faith clings fast?
- Marriage: Are we Godly, not only at the wedding, but throughout the relationship
- Divorce: Acknowledge marriage is sometime not repairable, but angry people are hurting all around
- Drugs: This is maybe the biggest storm that affects our families
- Grief: Loss of loved ones
- Death/End times: What is our part in the larger story? Where is our foundation? Where is our love in loss?
This is a time, as disciples, we need to encourage instead of judge, gossip and distance ourselves.
- Remember where God shows up, Reminds us we are never alone.
- Remember we are in this together and need each others support.
- Remember the storms are coming, but in Christ, we will make it through.
Angels announced: Be Not Afraid, God is here.
Emmanuel: God is with us!
He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.” He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.[NRSV]
There was a time when the penny was made of copper and would buy small items in the store. Now it is simply the fraction of tax that helps us feel better about spending $39.99 instead of wasting 40 bucks. When I ran for the office of President of the United States in 2000 to celebrate my 35th birthday, one of my platform items was to only mint pennies for numismatists and casual coin collectors, so that we could conserve our copper supply, allow accountants to sleep at night and kids at fast food establishments could make change. What good is the penny?
The mighty penny might seem insignificant much like a tiny mustard seed in the text. There was a time where pennies were collected as the first apportionment in our Methodist tradition to build a church for worship. Together, the pennies added up to reach a common goal just as profit margins on gasoline and at grocery stores are volume types of business. But the adage that pennies add up to dollars is a good starting point for reading the parable from Jesus.
One year at Vacation Bible School we collected nickles to help the United Methodist Committee on Relief effort to respond to the victims of Katrina. Each day the children were invited to bring in nickles which were affixed to long strands of tape that wrapped around the sanctuary several time reflecting a couple hundred dollars of nickles. On the same week, the neighboring Baptist church held their VBS and agreed to pool our resources to the same effort. A great witness of cooperation, ecumenical effort and common sense. At the Baptist church they had asked the children to bring in one dollar bills each day that were taped together, end to end, and also wrapped around their sanctuary a few times. The differences was in the total. Nearly the same effort to give, the difference was their seed was larger.
Jesus is using a gardening and farming illustration to look at the effectiveness of broadcasting compared to targeted conversations of witness. In summary of the text: We do not know how or where one little seed of faith, grace, compassion, feeding, healing, forgiving, love, trusting, blessing will inspire fruitful faith of someone else. But the mustard bush is more of a weed. The text has a double depth of meaning if we read it hearing how God can make weeds we might cut down and discard something useful and necessary.
A second, and very Methodist part of the text, is Jesus’s description of a process of spiritual growth. We start with someone sowing a seed, but that is followed by power in God’s creation that has nothing to do with us beginning to germinate what one person beings. First the stalk, then the head and then the full grain. The structure or core support system comes first, then the evidence of the maturity and THEN follows the fruit of the whole process.
The nano-second world we fly through is reluctant to hand on for the process. Imagine yourself watching a beautiful large screen television with 4K resolution and super surround sound in a custom contour recliner with refreshment access. Some team of producers, directors, investors, designers, musicians, technicians, actors, marketers, promoters and accountants have spend months and millions of dollars to create a movie experience to entertain you. You hold in your hand the powerful remote control with fresh batteries. How long does it take for you to decide if you want to watch the two hours of drama, action, comedy or information that awaits you? It takes just a about one second for the image to change per remote click, (new remote reducing to .5 seconds). Average view spends ten minutes reviewing 200 channels during an average 2-3 hours of time watching per day. (10 out of 120 minutes surfing), but 80% of the time they revert to ten favorite channels.
Whether we are are overwhelmed by choice, attention defects, devote that kind of time to our decisions, or like the control part facet of operating a remote, I invite you to step back from this common practice and think about the tiny bits of time and information that are involved in this daily exercise. (It is humorous to talk use the word exercise when talking about tv remotes.) Nonetheless, small visual clues based on past experiences, current stimulus signals, small movements of the thumb or finger indicate how we will be informed or entertained, How we spend 2-3 hours of each 24 hours. 10% of that time in devoted to searching and scanning.
Transfer this set of skills and behaviors. If we spend 2-3 hours studying scripture and books of faith and inspiration, how different would our 24 hours be? 2-3 hours of faith driving content, music, videos, ebooks, etc. Imagine how this would shape our own faith identity, our church and the world.
Think back about the process describe in Jesus’ parable teaching: First the seed, time to develop a structure, following the structure produces maturity, maturity produces fruitful witness, life and relationships.
Take a double look and hear the God is at work even in the relationships we might write off as unimportant can become the place others thrive. So take care to grow more than you cut out.
We have the ability to make small actions of shaping our faith and the future of the church. The task is to be intentional.
INTENTIONAL SPIRITUAL GROWTH
- First the seed
- Then the stalk
- Then the head
- Then the full fruit
I would make a case that we allow our spiritual seeds to become “genetically modified” by those who use the church, rather than nurtured by the church. We have allowed the power of Christs presence for the shell of a body of tradition or a competitive entertainment . We need to get to the good seeds and scatter them far and near, and often We need to get back to sharing and planting and teaching the seeds of our faith.
- God loves us, unconditionally
- God has purpose for us, without doubt
- God is with us, the presence of God’s spirit
- God has made a way, Jesus and the cross
- God is seen, through the intentional fruits of the church
- God is real
- God wants our heart, our trust, our love
- God connects us
These are the seeds that we need to know, encourage and rely on in every day.
The seed is neither mighty nor the end of the story.. it is the continuous flow of starting points, that are repeated in every season.
- Plant seeds of faith, small ones, every day, every where, every one.
- Develop the stalk, don’t tear someone down, build the structure and support
- Start with the heart work toward the head, rather than reverse.. roots grow with stalk, not the fruit first
- Fruit is for sharing and enjoying and replanting
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.[NRSV]
One summer when I was suppose to be cutting back the kudsu that was threatening to take over the driveway, I began marking how fast that vine grew in a week. It seems I would cut it back to the edge of the lawn and by next Saturday it would be time to trim the vine again. So I let it grow onto the drive where where I could mark it’s growth with marks of spray paint each day. In my experiment the vine grew five feet in one week. So I begin to micro-mearsure the vine by the day and hour. After a good rain and warm sunshine following I marked two inches of growth in one hour. AMAZING!
If only the church would grow at that same rate!
Jesus gives an object lesson of “vines and branches” to describe the relationship between himself and disciples like us.
- God is the root system.
- Jesus is a vine.
- We are the leaves and the fruit.
Without the roots, there would be no vine and without the vine there would be no branch nor fruit.
Our shared purpose is fruit.
What is fruit of being connected to Jesus. Society has lost sight of Jesus because they don’t see the fruit.
Tom Cruse and Cuba Gooding Jr: as Jerry Maquire and Rod Tidwell in the movie “Jerry Maquire”
[Rod has just told Jerry he will keep him as his agent]
- Jerry Maguire: That’s, that’s great. I’m very… happy.
- Rod Tidwell: Are you listenin’?
- Jerry Maguire: Yes!
- Rod Tidwell: That’s what I’m gonna do for you: God bless you, Jerry. But this is what you gonna do for me. You listenin’, Jerry?
- Jerry Maguire: Yeah, what, what, what can I do for you, Rod? You just tell me what can I do for you?
- Rod Tidwell: It’s a very personal, a very important thing. Hell, it’s a family motto. Are you ready, Jerry?
- Jerry Maguire: I’m ready.
- Rod Tidwell: I wanna make sure you’re ready, brother. Here it is: Show me the money. Oh-ho-ho! SHOW! ME! THE! MONEY! A-ha-ha! Jerry, doesn’t it make you feel good just to say that! Say it with me one time, Jerry.
- Jerry Maguire: Show you the money.
- Rod Tidwell: Oh, no, no. You can do better than that, Jerry! I want you to say it with you, with meaning, brother! Hey, I got Bob Sugar on the other line; I bet you he can say it!
- Jerry Maguire: Yeah, yeah, no, no, no. Show you the money.
- Rod Tidwell: No! Not show you! Show me the money!
- Jerry Maguire: Show me the money!
- Rod Tidwell: Yeah! Louder!
- Jerry Maguire: Show me the money!
- Rod Tidwell: Yes, but, brother, you got to yell that shit!
- Jerry Maguire: Show me the money!
- Rod Tidwell: I need to feel you, Jerry!
- Jerry Maguire: Show me the money!
- Rod Tidwell: Jerry, you got to yell!
- Jerry Maguire: [screaming] Show me the money! Show me the money!
The world is coming to our door step and asking us to show them Jesus. Show them God at work. Show them the fruit of being a believer and a disciples.
How do we show them the fruit?
- Connected Through the vine of faith
- Connected through Jesus
- Connected through the word
When we are connected the fruit of the work from the ROOTS, through the VINE, is visible in the BRANCHES.
- We have little yellow buds on our tomato plants
- We have little green balls on our blueberry bush
- We have wild and crazy long vine on our raspberry bush
- There are signs of things to come BUT THERE IS NO FRUIT.
Stay Connected and the God will supply what you need through JESUS for fruit to come through US.
What kind of fruit are you in the garden?
- Some of your are prickly on the outside, but when the joy comes out, we all see the sweetness of God at work through you.
- Some of you are running all around the place with great busyness but you
- Some of you stay right where you are, and bloom where you are planted
- Some of you are sweet and delicious, just kinda fruity.
- Some of you are prolific, others are corny.
- Some of you seedy but you trust Grace to make you wholesome
- Some of you use to be connected and God has done great things in the past, but somewhere along the way we let go, stopped reading/studying/living in the Word and we are feeling crusty.
- Sometime were are a combination, a tossed salad.
Here is the morning conversation in the mirror:
- What will the folks around me see of God’s love today?
- What will folks here that sounds like God’s grace this day?
- What will people know about Jesus’ gift means to me during the next 18 hours?
What will keep me from bearing fruit?
- What will disconnect me?
- What will I do if I fall off the wagon? What will God do if I jump?
- What will cloud things for me, and others?
- What does God want?
I will be your vine, you be my branches, we will bear fruit together.
Bottom line: Prayers, Study, Fellowship, Real life sharing stuff with God’s fruity people…
- This is what we need
- This is what the world is hungry for fruit.
- Feed the world… the love, grace, power and word of Jesus
- And they will be grafted into the garden.
We Told You So Acts 4:5-12
The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” [NRSV]
Cornerstone, Jesus is the
- Power from the Cornerstone
- Truth from the Cornerstone
- Salvation through the Cornerstone
Our Shepherd Knows Our Needs Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff– they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long. [NRSV]
The shepherd leads the sheep to what they need
- Daily Bread
- Daily Walk
- Daily Struggle with Evil
- Daily Worship
1 John 3:16-24 God Jumped In First
We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us–and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us. [NRSV]
Love is an active verb not just a cognitive affirmation
- Christ Acts Before We Do
- God Loves Frist
- Our Response to Grace and Love is Commitment
- We Obey because God Has Already Moved in to Help/Save
John 10:11-18 Listening and Hearing
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away–and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.” [NRSV]
Listening and Hearing
- The shepherd and sheep listen for one another
- Listening because we can
- Listening because we have to
- Listening to see what we choose to hear
- Listening to be found by God
- Jesus has hardwired our connection
You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ —by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. [NRSV]
Before you found salvation
- You were walking dead
- Traveling on a dead end road
- You were like zombies, those who thought the only thing real in this world was themselves, their own efforts and failure, their own riches or poverty, their own reality and rules.
- DON’T Go Back To That Pace!
We once were children of wrath
- You love to push the limits of both God and yourself.
- How many people hate God because one or two people in the church act inappropriately
- How many people run from God because we never explained why God/Jesus/Spirit are vitially important to our own lives (We just hope they see the testimony we live and say nothing.)
- Say that one again: (We just hope folks see our intended testimony of our actions and we teach, explain, tell folks nothing to confirm they got the correct message.) SAVI
But we are no longer on the dead end road.
- We are on the alive for evermore road
- We are on the alive road with Jesus
- We are on the alive road together with one another, we are not alone
- We are on the alive road that is paved with grace, paved with the sacrifice of blame, sin, curse, and judgement that is due us, but has been taken on by Jesus instead.
- Don’t be rude, but don’t get lost in political correctness,
- Reach out to the lost and show them, tell them, plead with them the way of grace in Christ.
- So in at a future time, when we leave this earth and this physical body is no more
- So when Christ returns to claim us and clean things up for the fresh start.
- So at a time in the future of God’s own choosing we can look back and see that God is not nearly as concerned about where we have wandered, as much as God is ultimately concerned about our being with God for today and the time from NOW on.
- God is kind enough to judge us, give the sentence to himself, and restore our relationship.
- For we are what he has made us,
- We are created in Christ Jesus for good works,
- To become the people God has hoped and dreamed we would be
- for the way of life intended from the beginning.
- for the relationship that was at the start, God opens to us,
- because God operates from a bedrock, foundation of love and kindness.
COUNTER Point: There are those who will be so quick to respond.
- Why did my parent or child or sibling have to suffer and/or die.
- Why did God take them?
- From a loving point of view, which would you rather God be interested in your life:
- The absence of a family member for four to forty years or for them to be absent in eternity?
- GOD is not punishing up with death.
- If God is so good and kind, why doesn’t God stop evil in the world? hunger, disease, acts of terror, etc?
- The presence of evil in the world affirm that we still have choice to live for God.
- If evil were removed from the world without our our choice in the matter, then life and relationships would not matter.
iii. The reality of evil is evidence that God is still wanting us to choose to be in relationship with God.
- If I give up to the dead end road and allow evil to consume my heart and intentions and actions, then I don’t need God.
Go back to the key verse, the heart of this passage to the church and community at Ephesus:
***STAR (by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is God’s gift.)
Step you through… Tab A into Slot B:
- 1. Our life and relationships are entrusted to us from God. God made each of us, and declares we are good.
- 2. Before, Christ, you and I were walking dead…like zombies
- 3. We lived like we had no choice and no help.
- 4. Because God operates from Love, God has not forgotten nor forsaken us.
- 5. Evil is still present because God still wants us to have a choice in the matter of our lives.
- 6. By Faith, by intentionally choose to live in God and grow in God, the gift is opened and realized.
- 7. We are in this together. See a zombie, open the love of God to them in kindness.
- 8. God is more concerned about who you now than who you were, God makes us all new.
- **Because God operates from love for us, God takes the time, for settling our crime.
- God love us, the whole world, God waits patiently for us to want to travel with God…
- Q: What road are you traveling? dead end or life transforming?
- Q: People are going on the dead end road and we have news that will save them.
- There are people who are living as though they are not spiritual people in a physical body.
- Do go back down the road that dead ends
- Do go back, Don’t give up
- Turn town God, even at a crawl. baby steps before we run.
Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. [NRSV]
Learning the Commandments (Commandment: This defines us, Chain link fence a school)
- You shall have no other gods before me. (What about gods after, is it ok to have God number or but not exclusive, so we can have God’s cake and eat our icing?)
- You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. (What if we use images made by nature that God has created, unmodified by human hands, can we worship a rock or natural formation?)
- You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. (What name or names of God does this apply? What is Wrongful use? Is this limited to liable and slander but does it include thoughts or expressed?)
- Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. (Is this Saturday or Sunday? Does Tuesday count if I keep the others days for work and rest on Tuesday? What is work? What about cousins, volunteers, pets and enemies?)
- Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. (What if parents are not keeping the commandments? Son go steal? Daughter lie for me?)
- You shall not murder. (What if I think about or talk about it but don’t carry it out?) BTW: I thought it was don’t kill, who changed it? What trimester? Is capital punishment murder or justice?)
- You shall not commit adultery. (What if we are engaged? What if we use protection? What if everyone is doing it? What if you are intoxicated and don’t know what you’ve done?)
- You shall not steal. (So God would rather we starve to death, than take food off the table of the rich?)
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (What about their neighbor, your enemies?
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (What about your neighbor’s neighbor, who is my neighbor? what about my enemy’s stuff?)
- No Other Gods
- Make No Idols
- No Name Misuse
- No work on the Sabbath
- Honor your parents
- No murder
- No adultery
- No stealing
- No false witness against your neighbor
- No coveting your neighbor and their stuff
One God, No Idols, Defamation, Work on Sabbath, Honor Parents, No Murder, Adultery, Stealing, Lying, Nor Coveting
Back to One
One Rule in the garden
10 Commandments on the mountain
613 Laws of Moses
Over 40K Laws, Codes, Statutes, Regulations, Policies, Case-law, Executive Order, Standing Rules, Binders, Contracts, Covenants on Federal, State, County, City and HOA levels of legal action, intent and guideline that are ever growing
Rather than look for loopholes, look for God
Rather than be constrained by laws, trust grace that completes the law
You and I are not worthy, we are not perfect, but Christ is Worthy and through him we move toward perfection.
Toward becoming most fully the people God created and hopes we will become in this and each day.
TAKE this time of JOURNEY, to memorize the ten commandment, to see how they DO apply to our lives and do provide the boundary.
Instead of trying to think how will we make it snow to get a day off of school, focus on learning how weather patterns work and make learning
Same with the big 10.
Keep them, don’t write them off has too few, too old or too incomplete..
Keep them, through grace of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of God.
So Paul’s words to the church, In Rome and in Rock Spring and everywhere, is a great leap of history, covenant and faith. He takes God’s covenant with Father Abraham and looks back at how God comes to bless and covenant with him to explain how God also related with us.
Imagine Paul is making a grand movie, right up their with the 10 Commandment, Ben Hur, Lawrence of Arabia… He’s telling the great faith story of Abraham. Father of Nations and Founder of Faith for generations and generations. The Covenant of Covenants. Opening in a theater this Spring!