Posts Tagged inspire

John 1:29-42 “Have You Shared Jesus” JUMC 20140118

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The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.” The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). [NRSV]

There is classic line in the movie Forrest Gump, where Lt Dan asks Forrest if he had found Jesus, Forrest replies, “ I didn’t know he was lost.”

There are those who take literal the need to ask verbatim: “Have you found Jesus?” but for those of us in the church, in the family, the more important question to ask one another is, “Have go gone to share the news that Jesus is near.”

Where do we find Jesus today?

In the quest to find the historical Jesus, there is a fundamental need for faith to accept the proof. I enjoy the history channel as much as the next view. They continue to have programs that offer evidence and proof of different artifacts and discoveries that attempt to prove the validity of the Jesus and other bible characters, but in the end we have to believe that the artifacts, interpretations and discoveries satisfy our beliefs and understandings. It remains a matter of faith and faith shared.

The identity and presence of Jesus is not proven by DNA testing; there are no birth records, and no formal credentials are offered. It is a matter of the testimony of faithful witnesses. Sharing what they have seen, heard and experienced.

John who baptized Jesus tells by-standers, “See that fellow over there? He is the lamb of God. He is the Messiah. He is the one.”

He further reports, “If you come to see and hear me, you are wasting your time; you need to be listening and following him.”

Here is his evidence as an eye witness: “I saw the Spirit of God descend like a dove and it sat on his head, and it stayed there for the whole time.” It is the same evidence that Jane and Michael Banks have while traveling with Mary-Pop-ins, when they visit the bird lady in streets of London. The birds flocked to her and stayed with her. She is kind but she is not Messiah; she is not the lamb of God.

So Andrew hears John tell a story and that compels him to go and tell his is brother Simon to come and see Jesus.

What stories compel us to tell our families that need to come and see and listen to Jesus?

We hear reports about children who have gone through these cold days and nights knowing there were given coats in Jesus’ name and have touched people’s hearts to prepare to give for the children who will need coats in the seasons ahead. What sparks that generosity toward strangers? It is the love and presence of the Messiah, the lamb of God.

We hear of people crossing cultures to build churches, paint and repair houses,

We hear of thousands of people receiving food, clothes, counseling, encouragement and help with transportation, housing, medicine and utilities in our very community all shared to the witness that God provides ways to meet these needs and reveal God’s love toward all people.

We hear of hundreds of lunches are prepared to feed children that parents have left to fend for themselves and we know they have food to eat that have been shared because Christ challenges to share in his name.

We hear music that comes from mortal mouths, hands and hearts that transcends our collective effort to bring people to know the joy and power of Christ with us through cantatas, plays and songs of faithful voices and musicians.

We gather in small groups, classes, studies and service groups compelled to find God’s Word and Work alive in our presence and

The question is not can we tell about Jesus… The question is who has not yet heard?

45% of our own community report they have not heard something worth coming to church to know more about.

Back the text: Look at the God-trusted method of communication. One person gives first hand witness. One person hears who has not seen. Their trust in the story of faith, compels the first hearer to tell someone else. Their re-telling inspires someone they know to go see and hear for them.

Faith sharing compels people to want to hear, see and know more.

I believe we are faithful in sharing the witness of the story when we reach out serve others, but that is the first part of a two part equation.

We are not just doing good deed to be doing good. We go and tell, in many ways, so that people will know God is at work in their presence.

The choir, organ, piano, bulletins, counters, vacuum cleaning, heating, building, painting, patching, preaching, teaching, and more has all worked together to remind one another that God Almighty is in this very place.

If you don’t know where to see God at work, look at the hours devoted, my so many, toward revealing God’s presence is real and available: They question is who is not here who needs to know it?

God know God is here: But some folks has been convinced the church gets in the way. If we have done all that we do and yet they do not come, are we off the hook? Can we write them off?

What if Andrew went with great zeal, faith, authority and confidence to tell Simon, and Simon said,
I’ve got work to do.
I have something more fun to do.
I have something more important to do.
If it makes you happy then you go listen to God’s lamb.
I’m waiting for something more convincing?
I need more evidence.

The question of the text is what in John’s witness inspires Andrew to think of Simon?
What in Andrew’s enthusiasm and conviction inspires Simon to get up and go see for himself?

This is the powerful part of the text for us to see:
It is the telling of the story. God works through our telling the story. This is where the presence of the Spirit remains, resides and is revealed.

When we stop telling the story, people stop trusting, believing and responding.
No, not everyone jumps every time we tell it, but they will certainly not hear if we don’t tell.
So go tell them, Jesus Christ is here. Come and see, hear and believe for yourself.

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Luke 3.1-5 “Who has the Powerful Word?” JUMC 20121209

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1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; 6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. [NRSV]

If we heard this for the first time in our own historical context, it would sound like this: In the end of the second term and reign of President Barack Obama, when Nathan Deal was governor of Georgia and Wayne Phillips was mayor of Jackson, Georgia, and Scott Chewning was Mayor of Flovila, and during the time Bishop Mike Watson lead the North Georgia Conference and Dan Brown as District Superintendent… the word of God came to one of our youth when they were out in the wilderness.

The Word of God is not heard by the political and religious leaders. The inspiration and calling came not to the parents with their wisdom, resources and experience. The Word of God came to junior, who came to be known as the “Baptizer.” (A historical note from Church history: John the Baptizer was not a Southern Baptist as ‘they’ sometimes profess, nor was he a United Methodist.) John was able to hear God’s word when others could not or would not.

The dynamic message from this little noted introduction of John the Baptizer speaks of his spiritual relationship with God. He was INTENTIONAL about his spiritual growth. He left home and was in a spiritual retreat at Camp Wilderness. (Not a Disney World.) He had traveled to the south near Jericho and the Dead Sea to a mountainous region for the specific purpose of being apart from the world to be present with God.

You ever notice that God speaks to Moses while he is alone at work. God calls to Mary when she is not with her family, to Joseph while he was sleeping, Jonah when he is hiding, Seldom is God revealed calling out to send us when we are at church, all dressed up and thinking Godly thoughts and singing praising songs and lifting lofty prayers. (Just a reminder that worship is for what God get’s out of it and not what we get from it, counter intuitive to our experience, but we are not worshiping each other, we come to worship God.)

Finding, hearing and experiencing God often comes when we are away from distractions. Retreat: Stepping back, out of the battle to gain a better position to advance or change our goals. Retreat is not so much running away as it is being INTENTIONAL.  Choosing to be with God, on purpose living,

This fits with John’s message: Repent the Messiah is coming, Get everything straighten up!

What John the Baptizer hears is not anything new. How disappointing.

It would be great if we could go on a spiritual retreat and God tell us how to repair the economy, how to restore our fortunes and stability of our nation. How to feed, clothe and equip the poor to care for themselves, How to transform the captive, the ignorant and the oppressors. OH, God has told us how to do these things: Trust and follow his example. Again, nothing new here.

What is different about John’s example for us is that he not only heard, but he responds with FAITH IN ACTION.

If being a Christian was only a matter using our noodle and thinking correctly about God and the theology of goodness and love and forgiveness and truth and hope and stuff like that.. We would simply need to find a comfortable chair and never leave it. Meditating Night and Day on the God and we’d go straight to the father in less than a month.

But God calls us to be living body, in the world.

John the Baptizer hears God’s word, and trust it enough to take that message to the homes, business, streets and pastures of the whole region until everyone had heard. Jew and Gentile, peasant and politician alike.

Facebook is an interesting phenomenon: People are willing to tell the whole world what they are doing at the drop of hat. How often do we use this open and self-revealing tool to tell people about God’s Word and power for real life struggles. I mean more than the, “I’ll pray for you..” I mean calling people to faith, to trust, to right-living, to hope, and back home. The catch is if someone starts being too bold, most folks with ‘hide’ or un-like of un-friend rather than hear the word.

John’s message continues to be our message to share: Christ is returning and we need to get things straighten out before he gets here.

Is he coming in a 1000 years? He said he was coming 2000 years ago. Did he mean it? Is he still coming? Is Christ here with us now?

Forrest Gump was asked, “Have you found Jesus?” to which he replied, “I didn’t know he was lost.”

Hear John’s Message Now?

Who is getting ready of Christ?  Does that mean buying up stores of food waiting for the Mayan prediction? We will look into this next Sunday… So stay tuned

John’s message is to take action. Not just any action, rather making what is crooked, straight; what is raised up, brought low, what is below standard, raised up.

“And Order of Priority Please”

When you go out to lunch at a restaurant a waiter or waitress takes your idea of a meal and translates that request to the cook staff who transforms your words into a plate of nourishment. Have you ever been successful in simply speaking or thinking what you want to eat and it appear before you with no one taking any action? Nope, didn’t think so.

As the disciples, we are those who need to be listening for God’s Word (through study, prayer, retreat, Christian fellowship: because the world is telling everyone to be lazy or easy or afraid or dependent on the latest fade or idol.

Real people around us are looking for someone to tell them, teach them, inspire them and challenge them to share the heart and mind of God in their lives:

To that end: Here Goes: Fine a method that works for you and share the Word of God with 49 people this week. Print up cards, write letters, make calls, start conversations, give gifts or sing a song…that shares a meaningful bible verse with each person. (that 7 people every day for week). Be willing to tell them why it is important to you and why it just might speak to them.

Your assignment, if you do it, is to report back what you experience. and if you choose not to do it, then pray for the seven people you didn’t help and ask for their forgiveness.

Here is a sample: Did you know that Luke 3.6 promises that all people will see Christ, the salvation of the world. I want to make certain that what you see and hear when you see a disciple of his like myself. If I didn’t tell you that God wants you to know Christ’s love and life today, then you and I both might forget or not know. Thanks for listening, Is there anything we might pray for God to help us through right now?

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