Posts Tagged Purpose
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people. But Herod the ruler, who had been rebuked by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the evil things that Herod had done,
added to them all by shutting up John in prison. Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” [ NRSV ]
I baptize with water
- Reclaiming the terms: Dunked, dipped or drizzled
- TELL USE ABOUT YOUR BAPTISM. Giving witness to our journey.
I am not worthy: we can do great things as good folks but without Jesus our value is he whim of popularity or eternity.
- Not the time for Jesus to be shut up. The corrupt government figures tried to quiet and stop the voice of the faithful, but God is not in our government. God is beyond laws.
- Baptism: the first step of many. John’s ministry begins with preparing us for a life with Jesus. Dressed in grace to transform the place.
Reclaiming our mission to baptize the world as the entry point to a life in Jesus Christ. Think of the people who we work, live, play, fellowship or struggle every week: who amount them does not know the power of Jesus living in there hearts?
- This is the year to have the conversations of intentionality and purpose: open our relations and interactions to be ways of revealing Jesus.
- Dont keep him imprisoned in our hearts, sing out the witness, love and presence of Christ. Leave it to guessing people have Christ or be certain. NOT FOR THIER SALVATION BUT FOR OURS
So 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.
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.
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.
The filling station is here. Check you gauge, is it time to fill up.
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” [NRSV]
1. Jesus told Philip who told Nathanael who told Philip about Jesus.
Discipleship is process of networking.
The invitation is “Follow Me”. Go where I am going.
We are not called to tell people where to go nor what to do. We don’t have to have the answers, we just take them where we are going and growing.
Philip didn’t know it all, but he knew enough.
In knowing Jesus Christ, we know enough to lead us to a community faith, into small groups of study and prayer and Christian fellowship
Our mission is to invite others to follow. Come WITH me and we will find the Lord together.
Goal of fifty new members. Will you join me in finding one person who will follow you to church. Out of the 100-150 of us here, make it your personal mission to bring ONE person this year.
Philip Brings Nathanel, doubting and questioning and complaining, Nathaniel follows and is found by Jesus. Philip on askes Nat to follow, to come with me.
2. How could anything Good come out of the little town of Nazareth?
Nazareth: population 100-150, not included in the Talmud/OT as a city.
Rock Spring: population 4,500 in 2012. Villanow at 1900. Plainville 375. The smallest incorporated village in Georgia is my home town, Garfield with a population of 202 souls.
- Steve Wozniack was an electronics hacker, and he and his long time friend Steve Jobs had this idea to create a personal computer. In 1976, the two approached a local electronics store to see if they would be interested in buying a personal computer that Wozniack had built. Their first order was for 50 “Apple” computers.
- In 1971, three academics each invested $1350 of their own money into the first Starbucks located in downtown Seattle. English teacher Jerry Baldwin, history teacher Zev Siegel, and writer Gordon Bowker opened the store called Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spice
- In 1978, twenty-five year old college dropout John Mackey and twenty-one year old Rene Lawson Hardy, saved and borrowed money from family and friends to open the doors of a small natural foods store in Austin, Texas. Within a year of opening the store, the couple was evicted from their home for using their apartment storage for the store. Homeless and with no place to go they decided to save costs by moving and living at their store full time. Since their store “Saferway” was zoned for commercial use only, there was no shower stall. According to the company’s website, the two instead bathed in the Hobart dishwasher, which had an attached water hose.
- In the spring of 1891, the 29-year-old William Wrigley Jr. moved from Philadelphia to Chicago with only $32 to his name. Soon after arriving in Chicago, Wrigley began selling soap. As an incentive to the customers, if they purchased his soap, he would give them a free can of baking powder. Soon baking powder proved to be more popular than the soap he was selling, so he switched his business. A year later, in 1892, Wrigley used chewing gum as an incentive for buying his baking powder. Again, chewing gum proved to be more popular than baking powder, and so he switched business again. The first brand of chewing gum Wrigley produced was Juicy Fruit in 1893.
What good can come from RSUMC? Look at the (bulletin). Years ago folks would have said nothing but look we have living witnesses.
What good can come from sharing Christ with folks with whom we work, school, live, play, shop and travel? Nothing in we don’t invite them to follow.
The greatness is not in the size of the person nor the size of the church. Greatness is found in the responding to the invitation to find Christ
Examples of greatness coming out of small beginning
3. Trust the witness of Philip as if Jesus told you first hand.
Trust that you might not be able to reach everyone, but there is someone who will follow you, someone who will journey with you.
We might want it to be someone we know, a family member or someone we conveniently see each week or day.
I keep asking and inviting until i find one who will follow with me.
When the chapel was first built on this location, did the members see the need for an education building, or two, or a preschool, of the spring… who can imagine what ministries will call for what facilities 50 to 100 years from now. But the congregation we will be is shaped by the faithful willingness of those who have paved and reached, taught and sung, praised and raised in times past, stand as a witness for us to continue to extend the invitation. Come, follow me.
The was once the slogan of the United Methodist Church, we moved to Open Door, Open Minds, Open Hearts, to Rethink Church to now the watch word is.. don’t ask, don’t tell.
Seriously, we are not limited by a slogan, our mission is follow Christ and to invite others to join our faith journey.
So why are you sitting here, when there are those still out there.
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.
25 Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, 26 “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. [NRSV]
The Cost of Discipleship: Hate your family and carry your cross. How many of you want to sign up?
- The Cost of Discipleship: A building project that needs to be completed
- The Cost of Discipleship: A Battle as the underdog, who had the options for seeking peace.
- The Cost of Discipleship: Give away all your possessions. Who is left to follow?
Why so strict and exclusive?
Disciples redefined: Family comes second to Jesus. Still a hard saying but think of the covenant faith in the context of Jesus’s day: In his context: People would say, we are part of Aarons’ family, we are covered, we have connections.
Jesus redefines family as those who love God as our core family rather than automatically our biological family. (Be clear: I’m not saying that every thing under the umbrella of church should come first, but our relationship to God supersedes all others.
If that is not hard enough, Jesus redefines our self-worth. God does not measure us with a profit and loss statement. It is not about our wealth or debt. It is not about our good works or our sins.
Jesus calls into question first the relationships and then the things that we confuse our: 1 confidence and trust, 2 our value and worth, and 3 who’s work drives our lives.
Jesus speaks of carrying ‘the’ cross. The cross is the sign of ultimate self-less gift of placing all else down and picking up the very thing God calls us to do.
Often we define my cross is different from your cross. The catch is that the cross is neither mine nor your cross. It is God’s work that we carry.
- Have you ever wondered if we took these words literally that the church would not be struggling for members but would the greatest force for good?
- Have you ever wondered if we took these radical and extreme forces of guiding our lives that we would be free from so many rules, fears and limitations?
- Have you ever wondered if we took Jesus at his word in these basic actions, that we would see the same powers, healing, transformations, and life that Jesus shows?
We are quick to water them down. We excuse each other trying to make it easier on each other.
The two mini parables Jesus tells in the context of discipleship are about the process of building and the gift of discernment about choosing our battles.
These are the HOW TO part of this disciples lesson.
If the requirements are outrageous, so should be the ways to faithfully follow
First, as a building project, our life as a disciple is built over time. It is not immediate. Even the Apostle Paul with is conversion on the Damascus road, is transformed from passionate life of rule following, through a radical blindness, to see that the rest of his life was God and not his own. The progressions of faith in his letters give witness to the depth of faith that builds over time. The letter to the church at Thessaloniki addresses problems and disputes. The book of Romans his latest letter is thick with faithful thought and practice.
Second, discipleship is learning the wisdom to choose our battles. There is more than one way to show our faithfulness. We need to be cautious when were here there are four simple truths or seven habits or three priorities that sum of our lives.
We may have core values, but how we use those basic beliefs shapes us in 360 degrees.
The So What? Bottom line
Jesus makes it clear:
Discipleship is not easy, but it is worth seething through to the end.
Discipleship is about constant choices about our relationships, possessions and spiritual compass.
The challenge is for the church, filled with disciples to transform the world for Christ.
How we do it is not easy, but it is worth seeing it through
It calls for constant choices about our relationship, possession and spiritual compass.
Invitation to read “Remember the Future” Bishop Robert Schnase
1 When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately. ” 4 This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, 5 “Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7 they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” 12 Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 He said to them, “It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers.” 14 The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became angry 16 and said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise for yourself’?” 17 He left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there. [NRSV]
YOU WERE MADE FOR A MISSION do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully. [NRSV] 2 Timothy 4.5b
I remember the old TV episodes of Mission Impossible. The agents would receive a small reel-to-reel tape player that would play the message and mission and would begin to smoke and self-destruct. It was a secret mission for the agents alone. The agents had the responsibility to listen tot he mission, choose to accept it or not. And the moment would begin. We are here today to hear the message and accept it, or not. But ours is more than a TV episode. Ours is life or death, for ourselves and others.
The past month we have been looking at the question posed by Rev. Rick Warren in his book, What on Earth am I Here for?
In a Nutshell: Answering this question begins by affirming that life is not about us, It’s about god!
God is equally interested in you and god is concerned about me, God does not have favorites.
- We are here as a product of gods love
- We are here to praise god
- We are here for fellowship as gods family
- We are here fo become like Christ
- We are here to serve gods work
- Finally we are here because we have a mission, a specific work, task or charge
We are here to tell others what we already know
- They are here not for themselves rare here by gods love for gods purpose
- It is out work to show folks how to praise god, when all around us is fallen
- It is our mission to build a faith family, hopefully our biological family but limited by
- It is our charge to show the world around us what Christ looks, thinks and acts like
- It inspire purpose to serve god and not ourselves…
What is the cost commandment from Moses?
No god comes before me… I’m first.
Here we are at Palm Sunday and we can look back at this only as a historical event, or we can see our present in the story as well.
- Who is on the Jesus parade in Jackson?
- What might not be revealing God that has God’s name and people attached, in our church and community?
Jesus came into the city of Jerusalem and pointed out where we had made worship about
- the rules,
- the money,
- the business,
- the divisions,
- the politics,
- The rich and the poor,
- the house of us and not the house of god
He enters the city and would be disciples follow I with the triumphant parade, until he turns things god side up
Disciples see the mission is to turn the world God side up.
i challenge you to hear the parade and celebration when it affects our home, our business, our income, our choices:
- Who will tell Jackson that God loves them?
- Who will tell our community they are loved at the core of their being?
- Who will show those with live, work and play how to praise God?
- Who will show hope and faith in the face of fear, guilt and grief?
- Who will build up the family of God and be present for the family when it struggles
- Who will show the neighborhoods what Jesus looks like, thinks and acts in our time?
- Who will inspire others to follow God first
If it is not us, then we have wasted each others time here today.
What on Earth are YOU here for? You are here for this very mission, you have heard it and this message will not destruct. The question is, as God’s agent and disciples, as a Christian and follower of Jesus, will you accept the mission or pass?
“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
In answering the question: What on Earth Am I here for? We have learned that we are here because
- God loves us, we are here for God’s pleasure
- God desires to hear from use, we are here to worship God
- God wants us to belong, we are here to fellowship with God’s people
- God wants disciples, we are here to become like Christ
- Today, we will talk about how God has shaped us for SERVICE.
Are you a minister? If you said no, that not me, then I tell you, you are not a Christian.
I will ask again: Are you a minister? Did some of you say, “maybe..”
That’s an open door to start our conversation.
Everyone who is a follower of Jesus, everyone who is a disciple, a member of the fellowship of God has been shaped and formed and is here to serve.
That is your ministry.
Most simply and clearly we see Jesus’ life as a model of a servant’s life.
He value of his own life is seen in how he lived with others.
The value and meaning of life is not determined by how LONG we live? How quickly we learn? How well we gather wealth or success. God values how we use the life we are given.
Some folks will take many years to come to a place of seeing the power of life is not in the stuff we want, make, buy or claim. Rather full life is seen in HOW we live.
Look at Jesus.
- When he saw someone who was poor, he didn’t try to end poverty, he gave his time and shared himself with others.
- When Jesus was with someone who was sick, he didn’t bring and end to all disease, he gave God’s power and blessing and was present with those who suffered.
- When he was with those who lived by the rules and laws and system, Jesus healed on Sabboth, ate with sinners, broke customs to include women and children, he invited men to leave their homes, businesses and follow him.
- When Jesus was with someone he was in their presence, even when they did not recognized they were in the presence of God.
We are not called to BE Jesus, but to live in ways that we become LIKE Jesus.
We are not called to be perfect and right, we are made to live life LIKE his lived his life.
In homes and in the garden, in the temple and at the wedding party, at the seat of government and at the feed of children.
One thing to be certain, the moment we realize that God wants us be ministers and we have a plan, you can PLAN for interruptions and the need for a new plan.
The very time we choose to be present in our life and the lives of others, OUR plans will be challenged.
Not challenged by the devil as much as interrupted by the widow, orphan, family member or legal authorities.
This was key for Jesus, but he models that the ministry must be flexible.
My ministry is to inspire, challenge, inform and equip you for your ministry.
If there are those who answered the question, Are you a minister with a “NO” not me, then my work is not done.
How can be a minister?
Jesus called disicples with different talents. Some were good with business, some money, some had connections, some had sales experience, some were parents, spouses, and business partners. Some young, old and others were busy working others intently listening.
Jesus calls us to use the gifts, talents and experience we already have and bring those to the table.
Our life is filled with differing perspectives. We don’t all think alike when it
comes to conservative or liberal,
Krispy Kreme or Dunkin,
Hunts or Heinz,
Early or Late,
wealthy or poor,
short or tall
What we are here to do, is to LIVE a life, LIKE Christ has shown us, with what we have on hand.
Remember the child that shared the sack lunch that fed thousands by the sea? God uses what we bring to the ministry that is at hand.
- Your ministry might be to bring the sack lunch
- Your ministry might be to distribute the pieces
- You ministry might be to clean up after the crowd
- You ministry might be to go ask Jesus
There are plenty of folks who will send the problems away
Call for the crowds to take care of themselves
Look to limits of what we can provide
These are not ministries; these are ministry killers.
Ok, ok, so I’m a minister, “How do I do, whatever it is I’m suppose to do?”
Look to our verse from Ephesians:
“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
God has already provided for the needs in this world. There are minds ready to discover. Bodies ready to give strength, Feet ready to move the impossible. Hearts to love and forgive. Spirits to empower and dream.
God has already been at work bringing us to this moment; this place and time.. what we can do RIGHT NOW is made possible by what God can do with those of us in this very place.
Know God has you here to be a minister
Know Jesus shows us what it looks like to LIVE out ministry in our lives
Know God expects interruptions, questions, mistakes and failure along the way.
Most of all: Know YOU are the handiwork of God for this world, and the world needs God through you.
You are shape to serve God… live the LIFE God has designed for you today.
Eph 2.19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, [NRSV]
As we study Rick Warren’s, “What on Earth am I here for?” We have looked two of the pieces that help answer this question. First we learned that You and I are are planned and made for God’s Pleasure. We were not made by chance and we were not made for our own design and own reasons. We are the product of God’s reason and pleasure. Today we look at the reality that You and I are created for family. Not just any family, God hopes we will choose to be actively part of God’s own family.
As difficult as it might be for some to imaging, not everyone chooses to be part of God’s family. God wants us all. Some people choose other paths and beliefs and that does not make them God’s family in Christ.
The church is not an organization. It is not an institution. The church is not a club or a location or non-profit entity. The church is the spiritual family of God.
Paul writes in his letter to the church at Ephesis 1.5 that God’s unchanging plan is to bring us into family by adoption through Jesus Christ. God wants us to belong and makes a way for us to come into the family through Christ. John 1.12 reminds us that through Jesus Christ we have the privilege of becoming a child of God.
With belonging to the family come family responsibilities: The number on priority of family responsibility is to learn to love everyone else in the family.
I have heard folks say, “I can love them, but I sure don’t like them.” Most often this is not a true statement. If we mean to say. “I can love them, but their behavior makes it difficult for me to be near them.” It can be a true express of our relationship, but it is not a true definition of love.
Jesus called for his disciples to love one another, just as Jesus loves us. He calls us to do this not to make us happy or at peace, but for a reason beyond our own. Prove that your love one another as my disciples so the world will see the power of love and want to join the family as well.
The Christian life is about learning how to love.
Last week I suggested that Sunday’s are a practice day for living the other six. Today I suggest that we think of our church family as a laboratory where we practice and experiment loving someone other than our selves and those in our personal genetic and marriage families.
Christian Fellowship is our lab work for the world to check out.
If we learn to love those in our church family, it will shape the rest of the world, from now own.
Today we will look at (4) four levels of fellowship:
1. SHARING Together
Sharing together, fellowship of sharing.. starts with sharing
sharing conversation, food, shelter, etc.
met together constantly and shared everything
The disciples spent time and stuff together, “in common.”
fellowship takes time and practice
Iti s a choice that we make: choosing to share time and life with other folks…
SMALL GROUPS ARE ULTIMATELY IMPORTANT
Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, let us encourage one another Hebrews 10.25
No church building for 300 years… all met in small groups in homes.
Open you home, and you let people in your life..
We share Experiences/Events and Sorrows Rom 12.15 Share your joy and sorrow.
When you gather, each one share something sing, lesson, story, prayer, insight, dessert, no one taking over, and you will all 1 Cor xx..14
2. Fellowship of Belonging together
KOINONIA” being committed to one another as we are to Jesus
Fellowship with each other as equal heir, child, person in Christ
Belonging is the difference in dating and being married, watcher vs agent of change.
You are members of God’s very own family and you BELONG in God’s household with every other Christian.
without a church we are an orphan without a home, no shelter, no home.. without other people you can’t do it.
rom12.5 we who are many belong to each other…
Belonging is not OPTIONAL.
The person who loves God must love other believers
Love your spiritual family
Taking the STEP of COMMITMENT of BELONGER, not just follower
3. Third, level of fellowship is SERVING together.
Deepen love in marriage, friendship, start serving God together, partner for a common purpose.
You love grows deeper when you rely on one another.
Example : Combat Veterans… last a life time.. What happen to keep them so connected? Serving together on a common task comes from no where else.
a. God never meant for us to serve alone.
b. We are partners working together for God 1 Cor for 3.9
c. You get more done
d. rely on each others strengths and over come each others weaknesses
e. If we don’t worry about the credit, more will get done Eph 4.16 each part does its work
4. Finally, FELLOWSHIP OF SUFFERING TOGETHER
When you share a heart ache, and walk along side someone without judgement, you will be closer together.
I makes us more human to share suffering
It is unifying
A community after disaster come together to rebuild
SHARE EACH OTEHR TROUBLE SNAPROBLEMS AND IN THIS WAY YOU OBEY THE LAW OF CHRIST
Love your neighbor as your self.
When you serve you do your part but when you suffer together you share your heart.
Help HANDS-ON someone in pain… learning how to love people who are suffering… GRC
Relationship are more important than accomplishments, achievements, success, money,
Life is about learning to Love
Wasting life if we are loving people in pain
Learning to love God : Worship
Learning to love others : Fellowship
PART of CHRIST BODY
if one suffer, all suffer together… if you have a tooth ache, your whole body knows it.
Be devoted like family member
Family lasts forever…God’s family
1 John 3.16 — We know what real love is,..we ought give up our lives for each other.
Our sacrament today is Holy Communion: Where Jesus invites us into this unique relationship once again.
At this table Jesus meetings with fellowship around a meal
We SHARE A loaf and cup
We BELONG because we are invited
We eat to be equipped to SERVE
We remember and share in the Christ’s SUFFERING with our own sin and pain.
Come Join the Fellowship! With Jesus and all the children of God.
Prayer: I’m making a choice to belong to a church and small group.. Im gong to be a belonged not just a believer…
Teach me the meaning of real love.
“I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born.” Isaiah 44:2a (CEV)
If someone asked you life’s big questions:
Why am I alive? Does my life matter? What is my purpose? What’s the point?
Some days we might sound the prophet Jeremiah who asks, “Was I born to be a disgrace?” Jer 20.18.
- I have so many problems, disappointments, failures and sins, what difference does my life make?
- Others will say, “My life is not so bad, I just don’t want to thing about meaning.” Life just is what it is.
- Still others might be saying, “I love my life, just don’t take away my toys, my control, or my plans”
There are some who look for meaning and call it spiritual, but what they actually are describing is “Mystical”
Take Oprah for example, but its true of TV talk shows. Guest author after expert sit in the same chairs selling the same books that say the same thing:
“Look within yourself.” This sounds spiritual, but our purpose is always limited by our own limitations.
Another method is “Mechanical”
A self-propelled lawn mower, you look at the parts and features and you figure out what the parts are intended, but the mower does not decided what it suppose to do. It is a machine and you and I are not machines.
Still another way of answering the meaning questions is the “Me Method”
The Self-help approach. You’ve got to invent it, you’ve got to decide
Yes, you might become successful if you:
- Follow your dreams,
- set goal,
- give 110%, and
- never give up.
You might certainly become successful but that does not equate to meaning and purpose.
Purpose is far greater than your personal wealth, or fulfillment, more than your dreams because you can have great success and still feel empty and want only more.
There is the Mental Approach
Philosopher René Descartes taught, “I think therefore I am.” The trouble that patients with Dementia and Ahlzimer’s would cease to exist repeatedly throughout the day.
And there is the “It’s Meaningless” Method
There is no purpose: Don’t bother searching.
We live in a God removed culture and its no wonder folks give up on God because we have given up on God…
Here lies the path for our journey.
YOU WERE MADE FOR A PURPOSE
Ask your creator. The answer is direct: We are made by God for God’s purpose
Prov 16.4 Lord made for God’s purpose. Not yours…
TEST: If you are living and breathing then God has a purpose for you.
God’s Motives: GOD CREATED ME TO LOVE ME
Significance: Isaiah 49.4 my work seems to be for no purpose, life seems pointless.
We are made for meaning!
Significance is worth more than wealth, health, strength, etc…
We find significance through God
“I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born.” Isaiah 44:2a (CEV)
YOU ARE NOT AN ACCIDENT
Accidental parents and unexpected births, but all have purpose Psalm 139.16 you saw me before I was born.
Knowing all our dumb decisions and those of others, God still loves us, dispite all Purpose will last for ever. His plans endure forever.. Psalm 33.11
WHAT DO I DO ABOUT God’s purposes NOW
Life is prep for eternity.
This life is prep for the next, that is the meaning.
We are hear to be prepared for what we are going to do from now on..
WRITE IT ON YOUR HEARTS: I was made to last forever.
The sum of your life is not the experiences of your years.
God determines our significance.
This life is our prep for understanding that significance..
THIS LIFE IS
- the warm up lap,
- the pre-SAT,
Our Purpose now is to practice… mistakes are expected during the practice
When this tent…there will be a house that lasts forever…. 2 Cor. 5.1
- 1.God made you to love you
- 2.God made to last forever, meaning
- 3.Intention: What is MY purpose
SO WHAT: Particularly, What do “I” do now before eternity
This the next five weeks will be talking about how we practice finding and understanding our meaning and purpose.
HOW: Go to the creator and ask..
Ask the inventor, read the owners manual,
Why did you make me? This is the prayer we will practice
The more you know God
REPEAT: I FIND MY PURPOSE IN GOD.
Col 1.16 everything finds its purpose in God.
Life is about God. It’s not about you.
Otherwise it does not make sense.
Get to know God is to learn your purpose
“It’s not about me, it’s all about God”
It’s not about you, it’s all about God…repeat
40 days to unfold…
a spiritually significant period throughout bible
- Noah rain,
- moses on mt,
- david prepares for Goliath,
- city of Niniva 40 days to repent,
- disciples 40 days after the resurrection.
25550 day in 70 years… is it worth 40 to be clear about your purpose
If it were not for you I would not be alive
You have a purpose for me
I admit I’ve been focused on my plan
I commit the next 40 days to learning your purpose
Thank you for creating me
My life will last for ever
Thank you for bringing me to this place
I want to live with meaning
I want to get to know your better
I take the first step today
Teacher me what you want me to know
Resource “What on Earth am I Here for?” by Rick Warren