Posts Tagged Mission
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” [NRSV]
Disciples Gathered in grief and fear. Jesus brings peace
Disciples Separate themselves away from the world and are filled with doubt. Jesus reveals his crucifixion.
Disciples Recognize Jesus as Lord and Rejoice. Jesus fortifies their peace.
Disciples Hear the mission to be a “sent” people. Jesus fills them with the Spirit.
The mission is transferred. The Church is born.
Our task is to mature the church, continue the work. be filled with peace and Spirit and give grace and hope to the world of grief and fear.
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers. [NRSV]
This scene is one we can only imagine. Luke recounts how after the resurrection, after breakfast on the beach, after the crowds of believers began to grow again and things looked so promising, Jesus leaves the disciples.
His final words area a charge for those who believe to be witnesses: At home, in the community, to strangers and enemies, foreign and domestic. Tell the world about Jesus. Tell the world about God. Tell the world about the Holy Spirit. Tell the world about the church.
The disciples’ response to this call to action is to stare up at the sky with their heads in the clouds.
Two angel’s show up and remind them of the words that they just heard less than sixty seconds prior. What are you doing here, when there is work to be done. Get up and get to it.
How long are we suppose to be witnesses?
Until Jesus Comes Back.
How long are we suppose to volunteer, serve, lead, cook, clean, clothe, teach, sing, remind and remember, forgive and trust?
Until Jesus Comes Back.
How long are we suppose to be the body of Christ? Until we retire? Until we get burned out? Until we give the next check? Until it’s summer vacation?
Jesus left us with work, until he returns.
The disciples devoted themselves to prayer and began the mission of the church..
We come to the table of the Lord, breaking bread and drinking from the cup to be renewed in this work and fed in the Holy Spirit.
If we rely only on our skills, knowledge and our patience, we will fade, fail and fall away.
Pray with me…
Gracious God, may we reveal your kingdom, may we teach your Word and ways. May we remember and retell of your death and resurrection and the power. May we find your strength to accomplish your challenge.
21:5 When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them. “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven. “But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name.
This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict.
You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls. [NRSV]
For some reason I remember one of the lines of actor, Ed Asner, who as an over-worked newspaper editor goes home to get much needed rest tells his staff, “Don’t call me unless the moon collides with the earth.” Well the big story breaks during the night and they call to let him know. He answers the phone after fumbling for the receiver, he says, “Oh my God, the moon has collided with the earth!”
While the news story was big it was nothing compared to the typhon of recorded history in the Philippines. We remembered and prayed for the people last Sunday, just as we did for those in the typhon of Japan 2011, and hurricane Katrina, Andrew or Camile. But the magnitude, not of loss of property nor number of deaths, but the power of the storm ranks this latest as the worst in history.
Not having been on board with Noah, nor sitting around when the Asia and Europe plates collided, this terrible storm has the makings of an apocalyptic storm in the minds of some and surely those in the Philippines have been asking, “is this the end?”
While it has been terrible and tragic, I don’t think it is anymore the end that the storm before or the next one that follows. Storms might be signs but they are not the end of days.
Jesus points to signs of wars, global conflicts, earthquakes and famine. All might be signs, but are not the BIG sign.
SO WHAT is ‘THE’ SIGN?
“But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name.
When the storms become spiritual and personal and political. Be ready when you are involved.
The UMCOR gives us a great way to know our money is going to meet human needs on the ground when disasters strike, They may not spend the money marketing that good news, but that is our job. The also count on us to tell the story and save the money for the real needs. When you hear of suffering know your church will be ready to serve and give generously to keep this mission alive and strong.
The task we have at home, every day, is to be ready for attacks on our faithfulness, our trust, our core values and beliefs. The end is near, Jesus reveals, when we are being arrested for our faithfulness. The end is near when the powers of authority come after us for standing up for God’s power and grace. The end is near when you are imprisoned for giving to the church, oppressed for telling God’s Good News.
The end is near when anyone gets in the way of your faithfulness. This is not to belittle the great and terrible day of the Lord, but think of the times that we back down before we are called to speak out.
Think of the times that we help back when we needed to be ready to stand up to individuals and governments that water-down our faith.
Think of how easy it is to do nothing, rather than lead the way. What would the crowd who watched Jesus be crucified say before God at their judgement. “Well, everyone else kept quiet.”
The real end of days are the days that we hold back, give-in and keep quiet. The storms of life with come and go. Wars and nations will take their toll on us all. But the one thing that remains:
What are you and I going to do, right here in ‘river city’, to make sure the last words of grace, love and power have not already been spoken.
The occasion of tragedy and persecution become opportunities for us to share, witness and proclaim. Don’t avoid them, be ready to make sure each day is not the last day to proclaim the Kingdom of God.
Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land,* for the wind was against them. 25And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’ 28 Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ 29He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind,* he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’ Matthew 14
The Parable of the Talents
14 ‘For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15to one he gave five talents,* to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, “Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.” 21His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” 22And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, “Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.” 23His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” 24Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, “Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” 26But his master replied, “You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 25
It is God who has taken the first risk..
Risk leaving use with care for the garden, care for the commandments, rituals and offerings. An even greater risk was taken in coming in the form of Jesus, sharing the ministry as disciples and sacrificing his life for our own. AND further risk, entrusting the work of the Kingdom to us today.
What is a risk.
For some getting out of bed and walking across the room is a risk
For others its changing careers, homes or income brackets.
For others its choosing a longer bungee cord to get closer to the ground.
Learning to swim, I was afraid of the deep water. Beginners, Intermediate, and Experienced Swimmers. Bobbing and floating, strokes and flips. and diving, head first into the deep.
For most of us..
A risk is any action we take that stretches us beyond our control of comfort.
Who would choose to do that?
Know about Jesus, hear others speak of Jesus and then our stepping out into the deep waters of the storm and walking with Jesus.
Why take a risk. Play it safe. Hold, Stay, Split, hedge our bets.
Service that we can manage is about what we can do.
Service that we cannot image doing is about what God can do.
Most churches dream of sending folks on mission teams around the world and starting emergency assistance ministries. JUMC has raised the bar for all the churches.
This is not in the spirit of competition, rather in the spirit of faithst
It is a risk to say that we will provide a coat for every child that needs a coat.
It is a risk to send 50 people to Honduras, Uganda and the ends of the earth.
It is a risk to say that we will help 600 with food, bills, and clothes in Jesus name.
It is a risk to run for office and lead the community government
It is a risk to start a new business
It is a risk to bring a foster child into your home.
It is a risk to invite ALL our neighbors to join our church
It is a risk to start ministries that reach hundreds at a time instead of tens.
Build a whole neighborhood of habitat houses?
Start of bakery, restaurant, Movie Theater, bookstore, a college, and provide more places for people to work and have income for their families.
Risk Taking Service does not happen within our limits, it is a time to step into God’s sea of life.
1) The passage is remember not just for Peter’s sake, but for our example.
2) Those who have much, much more is expected. Money, time, talent, skill, experience, knowledge, heat….
3) Walking on water is possible when we look to Jesus for strength for every step.
Reward: Churches that risk service and mission show the world what God can do and is doing. If there is one of the five practices that Jackson UMC comes closest to modeling, it would be this one, but that only raise the bar higher.. Don’t look at the threatening storm as long as Christ is inviting us to walk with him.
This one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Philippians 3 -1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh– 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. 7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained. 17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
When I told my maternal grandmother, Tommye, I felt called into the ministry, I recall that she told that serving in ministry was a lot like changing diapers: no matter how messy it gets you can always wash your hands and be ready to try again in just a little while.
Living a Spiritual life in a world of the Flesh: things are going to get messy.
The study of how to carry out the ministry of witness is called: MISSIOLOGY, I suggest it be known as MESSIOLOGY
Paul writes a letter of encouragement to the church at Phillippi and it calls us to see that following Jesus Christ is not neat, pretty and clean living…
He offers his own legalistic devotion to the law, the flesh, and passion in being a literal keeper of the rules…
Q: What did Paul find for all that clean living?
A: Rubbish, to have kept myself at the sake of loosing Christ.
INSTEAD… he found (vs 10)
ü I want to know Chirst,
ü and the power of his resurrection
ü and the fellowship of his suffering,
How do I get the prize?
Forgetting what binds me to the past
- Here is where it may be the MESSIEST
- What are you not forgetting…
- Not keys, wallet/purse, tickets, mail
- RATHER: holding on to millstones
- What are you remembering that limits?
- What are holding over someone else?
- What is being held over your head?
- LET IT GO.
Straining toward what awaits
- It is messy to strain.
- We might break a sweat if you strain
- No Strain, no gain the prize
- WHAT AWAITS is WORTH IT
Pressing on toward the goal
- Press on: Keep straining, keep trying,
- PLAY IN THE DIRT AGAIN: Pike’s
Live knowing what country holds your spiritual citizenship.
When in heaven, live like you are in heaven..
When you are in the flesh, live like you are in heaven…