Posts Tagged peace

Mark 4:35-41 “Why Are You Afraid”

Fear_eyes

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” [NRSV]

 

Top Ten Diagnosed Phobias [fearof.net]

1. Arachnophobia – The fear of spiders
2. Ophidiophobia – The fear of snakes.
3. Acrophobia – The fear of heights.
4. Agoraphobia – The fear of open or crowded spaces.
5. Cynophobia – The fear of dogs.
6. Astraphobia – The fear of thunder/lightning
7. Claustrophobia – The fear of small spaces
8. Mysophobia – The fear of germs.
9. Aerophobia – The fear of flying.
10. Trypophobia – The fear of holes
11. Carcinophobia – The fear of cancer.

12. Thanatophobia – The fear of death.
13. Glossophobia – The fear of public speaking.
14. Monophobia – The fear of being alone

15. Atychiphobia – The fear of failure.
16. Ornithophobia – The fear of birds.
17. Alektorophobia – The fear of chickens.
18. Enochlophobia – The fear of crowds
19. Aphenphosmphobia – The fear of intimacy.
20. Trypanophobia – The fear of needles.

[inc.com Eric Mack, OCT 27, 2017]

74.5 % Corrupt Government
55.3 % Healthcare
53.1 % Pollution of Water
50.2 % Not enough money for the future
48.4 % High Medical Bills
48.4 % Involvement in another War
48.0 % Weather and Climate Change
47.5 % North Korea using weapons
44.5 % Air Pollution
44.4 % Economic Collapse/ Stock Crash
43.5 % Extinction of species
43.3 % Terror Attack
41.9 % Identity Theft
41.8 % Biological Attack
40.3 % Credit Fraud
39.7 % Death of Loved Ones/Friend
39.1 % Serious Illness of Loved Ones/Friend
39.1 % Cyber-Terrorism
39.0 % Nuclear Attack
38.8 % General Terrorism
38.6 % Restrictions on Firearms
37.4 % Government Tracking personal data
36.7 % Corporate Tracking of personal data
36.2 % Toxic Spills
35.7 % Electrical Grid Attack/Collapse
35.5 % Hit by a drunk driver
32.8 % Pandemic
30.7 % Being unemployed
30.2 % Nuclear accident
29.0 % Losing saved data/photos
28.2 % Heights
28.1 % Involved in a mass shooting
27.2 % Government’s use of drones within US
26.6 % Drought
26.6 % Break-ins
25.7 % Becoming seriously ill
25.4 % Victim of Theft
25.4 % Shark attack
25.3 % AI/Computers replacing people
24.3 % Tornados
23.6 % Reptiles
22.6 % Earthquakes
21.4 % Hurricane
20.9 % Hate Crimes
20.3 % Dying

2001 US Fears [Gallup.com]

1. Snakes
2. Public Speaking
3. Heights
4. closed in small spaces
5. Spiders
6. needles
7. mice
8. flying
9. dogs
10. thunder/lightening
11. crowds
12. going to the doctor
13. the dark

Jesus looks to us, knows our fear and asks us: Why are you afraid?

Fear can be a helpful and motivating force. But when we allow fear to debilitate our growth and progression we must acknowledge we need to turn to Jesus for strength.

  • I’m I afraid of dying? Yes and No! No, I know Jesus has good for me in staying and  Good for me in leaving to be with him.
  • I’m I afraid of Wendy or the kids dying? Yes and No! Yes, Jesus has great for them, but I’m not ready to miss out on time sharing our lives.
  • I’m I afraid of people’s missed-place trust in government? I have been, but I’m committed to turning that over to Jesus. Q/A: that looks like this, when I hear people afraid about politics, I’m called to ask them to pray with me about what Jesus’s boat is going to do?
  • I’ve been afraid of what the church is going to do/not do come February, but I”m not afraid any more. Jesus is going to open a way to teach us to be the church.
  • With a daughter in California I’ve been afraid of earthquakes.
  • With a son in the military I’ve been afraid of threats of war.
  • With neighbors in Hawaii I’ve been afraid they will get to close to the volcano. With a daughter in high school, I’ve been afraid that pier pressure will challenge her values and work ethic.
  • I’ve been afraid Wendy will not find her way after investing so much time caring for her parents.
  • I’ve been afraid my brother won’t be part of my family in the future.
  • I’ve been afraid, but fear is not going to arrest my faith!!

The perspective of the disciples is that Jesus does not care, because they are faced with fear.

  1. The perspective from fear is death, loss, storm and
  2. The perspective from faith is that fear is real, but Jesus is with me.
  3. What is your perspective?

How do we shift from fear to faith

  1. prayer – keep the conversation open and flowing with Jesus
  2. practice – practice turning over, talking over, trusting Jesus
  3. progress – encourage one another to help see the progress

Praying

  • a) in all things
  • b) with out ceasing
  • c) have a little talk with Jesus
  • d) listen

Practice

  • a) remember we have our responsibilities on the boat but we are not in charge of the storm.
  • B) faith grown buy trusting Jesus, trusting People of God, living God’s word.

Progress –

  • a)the encouragement that we find by looking back after the storms have pasted to prepare us for the storm of the present and the future.

 

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Psalm 84 Claiming A Place with God 20160207 RSUMC

opendoor

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God. Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise. Selah (two of 74)

Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; the God of gods will be seen in Zion. O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah

Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed. For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the LORD withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you. [NRSV]

Text Notes:

A psalm, a hymn for worship, to be sung by the choir/praise team. Not a congregational hymn but more of a solo or at least for the choir, [psalm for *Korah]

Denote 2 of the 74 Selah references are in this one psalm/hymn.

 

VERSE 1

God’s Temple is our Refuge, heart’s home

Song begins remembering the temple/tabernacle is beautiful.

My heart longs to be there, my bones ache to sing for joy and know God is alive.

 

Secondly, God’s house is a place where everyone is welcomed. Even the least little bird (swallow) finds a home at the temple. Who wants the swallow? Bugs, mites, disease, messy? But God’s house has room for all of us.

Bottom line of verse one: People find God at the temple and love to worship when there are in the magnificent gates. Come and find God present in the sanctuary. The ornate nature of the space reminds us of God’s presence and our belonging.

SELAH, pause to praise, breathe and find God with us.

 

VERSE 2

Finding God outside the walls.

It makes us happy to know God is near, even when we are not in this place…

It is a blessing to know God is with us, even when we are not at church…

When you are at home or your place of safety, all is well. You make it through the day back to base, you can breath easy because you are thankful for all that is “home”.

 

Perspective is looking at the “place of comfort” when you are not there.

The Valley of Baca (Weeping)

Instead of focusing on the being lost, focus on the being at home, where you are.

 

Happy are those who know the way home. But what of those who have lost their way… those who don’t know where to turn? It can be a comfort, that even though we have gone astray, we know the way home, the way back. the GPS coordinates match up.

 

Those who know the Strength of the Lord, That’s Us.

 

BUT VERSE 3

WHEN ALL I HAVE IS A SHIELD

What about those who are outside or

those who have lost their way, or

those who have not heard?

 

Imagine hiding from the struggles, turmoil and threats in life, picture yourself out in the open, a shield is a protection but only on one side and the arrows are hurling in from every direction: money, hunger, rejection, fear, shame, sin, etc.

 

When we realize we are far from the walls of safety, belonging and peace.

A place between the House of God and the tents of wickedness.

Our place is between, bridging the gap.

Our Space is halfway in and halfway out.

 

Claiming Space in God

Dwelling Place

Happiness is : Content/at Peace/at one/ complete

Shield: temporary help, but we need to claim/reclaim temple life, when there is no temple.

Door Keepers: The greatest service is to be one of the choir members of Korahites, sing so someone will hear and find their way to God.

 

Happy are those who trust in God

God’s House has room for us all

Someone is living in the valley of weeping adversity

Our place is not in the temple, but out singing, knowing/remember the comfort of home, but reaching out to be shield

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John 6:24-35 Which Tank is Filled? 20150802 RSUMC

GasTankFilledSo when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. [NRSV]

We want a new sign

From the text, the people ask Jesus for something new and improved. We like something bigger, better and more sensational that the last performance. Human nature has not changed since Jesus’s time.

You fed 5000 yesterday what will you do today?

We actually want more.

You gives us something we didn’t work for yesterday, keep feeding us so we don’t have to work.

Occupier Mentality: “It’s no trouble for you to feed us, we don’t have to do any work, we just ask and you give.”

Jesus said, you will be hungry for food everyday, You sound like Moses’s people. God wants to feed your spirit.

We want ANOTHER show. 

The crowd: was also saying. We are heard to be fed and entertained.

Keep proving yourself to us. A little is never enough, we want the greatest show on earth.

Jesus tells the crowd, You need to be asking for the “true” bread that gives eternal life from heaven. Not just daily bread, heavenly bread.

We want tangible, physical proof of more and we want it now.

Prosperity-preachers tell folks that the way to wealth is to trust in Jesus: Are the people who are in Costa Rico, Culebra, Porte Rico, or 80% of our students at our local schools who are faithful in Jesus, but stay wealthy. Who can’t afford to make it to the wealth palaces.. there is a disconnect..

In a world filled with struggles, grief, trials and sin… we want to find the path of least resistance for the greatest personal yield..

Here is Jesus’s question to those who seek peace, satisfaction, fullness, wholeness, justice, power and life.

Which tank do you fill first?

The gas tank or the prayer tank? The stomach tank or the spirit tank? the bank tank or the eternity tank?

A couple of years ago I remember pumping eighty dollars of gas into my gas tank on the way to the grocery store. Preoccupied with my grocery list, I looked back at the tank I realized I had nothing left to spend at the grocery store. I went home empty-handed but with the one tank full, the other empty.

Jesus wants us to be full, in the eternal way.

Communion in one certain way we fill our spiritual tank. This is not just bread and juice this is the presence of Christ live and at work in us. This is not just the juice this is the real power of Jesus’s sacrifice at work on our behalf making us whole, fresh and new.

Do you have room for communion?

One Sunday afternoon I watch Monty Python’s Meaning of life and reached scene where the very large person was eating a disgusting amount of food and was do full that he was expanding to the point of exploding his fullness. The waiter offers him a “wafer thin mint” to cleanse his pallet. “Oh I couldn’t eat one bite more.” the man protests. The waiter persists: It ‘s just a wafer thin mint. They banter back and forth and the large, completely full man yields and places the thin mint on his tongue and proceeds to literally explode. I was both disgusted and rolling with laughter at the literal interpretation of having eaten beyond the point of being full. I could not keep from laughing all through communion that night. How could a wafer and drop of juice fill us beyond fullness.

alternate..

Phil DeMoore: What you do when you get ready to cut the grass: Fill the Mower.

Rather than drain   tank, lets fill each other’s tank.

Bottom line.

We don’t need to be entertained by Jesus

We don’t need more proof.

We don’t need another illustration.

We know we need Jesus.. Are you full of Love? Are you filled with a passion to share the Good News? Are you filled with the peace and assurance that God will be with us and will prevail through all evil and all trials and struggles and if we stick with God and do what God guides and calls us to do for others,… then we will already know what eternity will be like.

Communion

The filling station is here. Check you gauge, is it time to fill up.

 

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Mark 13.1-8 Nation Building RSUMC 20141109

Wailing Wall

As [Jesus] came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.” When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, “I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs. [NRSV]

Building Blocks of the Temple

One of the most well known attractions in Jerusalem is the Western wall of the temple known as the Wailing Wall. It is not first named this for the prayers shared by the millions of visitors, rather because of a rare and miraculous occurrence of water weeping from the rocks. The last time this happen was over seventy years ago.

Over 60 feet is visible and above ground, but the larger portion of the wall is under ground and accessible by tunnels. The largest stone found in the wall is between 500-600 tons based on different measurements and estimations. It is considered the fourth largest carved stone in the world. If you cut it into pieces it could take almost 156 RAM Max Chassis Cab trucks at maximum capacity to carry the mass to the work place.

The super cranes of today lift 2000-3000 tons. But keep in mind 13 of the top super cranes around the world have been designed in the last six years. And even at their current designs require a minimum 400 foot boom and are situated 200 feet away from the object.  Large amounts of animal fat (pigs particularly) burns hot and fast and could be tunneled under the foundation and cause the swift destruction from the massive weight collapsing on itself.

The disciples are as amazed of the scope and size of the temple as every visitor to the temple mount is today. As long lasting as buildings appear to be, in one monsoon season, the pyramids would crumble. As a United Methodist Clergy person I have always struggled with forms that ask for my permanent address. I have since given up wondering and now know it is Ringgold, Georgia. Nothing is as solid and eternal I we act like things are.

Jesus gives a basic geology and architecture lesson: look around, all of this will crumble in time, even God’s physical temple. This is why we have a board of Trustee’s to make improvements and repairs to keep this a viable place to worship, fellowship, learn and share Jesus Christ. But as powerful and meaningful as this place it, this is not who we are.

Building Blocks of the Kingdom

Many will come to tear down your spirit.

Many will come to water down your passion.

Many things, people and circumstances will lead folks away from find this house as God’s house.

If you are going to choose what to build up, maintain and nurture: build the kingdom, no matter the temple.

One of the most powerful reports of mission teams that travel to foreign countries or rural parts of our own country is the powerful presence of the Spirit where there appears to be so little, where to physical needs are so great. It seems the Spiritual presence is seen more clearly and with more power and reality.

 

Destruction of the Temple

Think of the things that tear down our places of worship. There are those in churches around the world that have their building torn down because it is simply present in the community of our enemies.

Jesus was clear that war would come in the life time of the church. Just as the Romans came and destroyed the temple in 70 AD, during the lift time of early disciples. Wars surround and threaten us now. Is this the end? Are these the battles of the end of days? The easy thing to say is, “Yes.” I say yes, because it is a clear and present danger that motivates us to action. As compelling case that we might make that this is it, I suppose that folks said the same in on these grounds in the Battle of Chickamauga, World Wars, on the ground in Vietnam, and for forty years or more in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc. There may be 100 years more of wars.

We look back and give thanks for those who have served us through times of war and in the face of war so that we can build back what is hopefully a better world and a better life.

Jesus does not belittle the reality of war, rather saying wars are not the most important sign, instead they are signs that what we treasure will most certainly be threatened and some will crumble. BUT don’t give up on building the relationship that will be eternal.

There will be lean times in the world, but not in the heart of God.

There will be earthquakes and times that very foundations of the earth will shift, crack and fall, but God will never fail.

If our church building were attacked at the hands of terrorist, we sit quietly by and keep the situation to ourselves. (a sarcastic, and foolish thought) We would be up in arms and have every person doing something about it.  We can keep the threat at bay, when it’s over the pond.

Eatonton UMC had the treasured story that their sanctuary was spared because it was used as hospital and barn for Union troops. But a hundred years later one arsonist set fire to that building. But the church was not destroyed. IN FACT, it was the transforming act that forced the congregation out of a rut of safety and protection into growth and a renewal of the mission to make disciples.

Endurance of the Kingdom

Jesus’ promise is the kingdom will endure.

If this is the end time, who has your heart and your back?

If this is only the beginning of years to come, who has your heart and your back?

Don’t worry about the end, Focus on the presence of God right now, right here.

Turn to your neighbor and remind them. This is God’s house, not my house, not your house. This is Jesus’ house. The Spirit is in this house.

Turn to another neighbor and remind them. God has your back just like mine. Jesus has my heart, does he have yours?

Turn to someone in front or behind you and remind them. What is leading you astray? What is crumbing in your spirit? For what do you weep and wail?

This is the conversation Jesus is having with disciples, just like us, just as then, Jesus is now..

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Luke 12:13-21 It’s about Me, Myself and I 20130804 JUMC

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
12:13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” 16 Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

It is impossible to visit a community like the ones we visited this week in Tegucigalpa and not re-evaluate our understanding of poverty and wealth. Every person who comes to the end of the month and there is not enough to pay the bills and they go inside their home, turn on the television, make a few calls and eat some processed food stuffs in the microwave and think about how terrible their situation is should go vacation in Honduras.

For all those who would say, we have mission enough to do right here at home, the question to answer is who reaches out to those who have no wealthy neighbors. Who will bring peace and hope to city where corruption, violence and want rule?

The parable of Jesus found in Luke 12 draws our focus on what things are ours.
How many toys can a person own and enjoy them all?
How much stuff in our homes, cars, sheds, garages, basements, attics and storage building will bring us life, joy and happiness.

We have finally begun to go through boxes we moved into our garage over two years ago and found things while special and meaningful at one time, only took up valuable space, for two years. We made large load for the youth yard sale, a large load for the school yard sale, a large load for the timely garbage truck and still have more to sort and share.

But I drift from the point and focus of the parable just a bit.
Which is easy to do. That is, to fool ourselves into seeing what we think we need to be happy.

Norman was a young man our team met this week who enjoyed hard work with rocks with some rock music. He lived on the work site most of the week with two other workers and had fun even when he was hungry and tired.
Brian worked to transport and translate even when his heart was broken, having lost his mother, and nearly his young son to gang violence just two months ago, finds hope in caring for his son and teaching him to defend himself even as a two year old son.

What brings you joy when you don’t have anything to work on or play with? If you removed 90 percent of our things and balances of investments where would be find our happiness?

Back to the focus…
The focus gets off track when we put the investment of our heart in
What We Need
What We want
What I think
What I manage
What I planned
What I prepared
What about me?

When all along, our joy comes from asking and answering what God wants for me…

Our inheritance is what God wants to give us
And there is enough for us all.

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