Posts Tagged #rsumc
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” [NRSV]
Give me a drink:
Give us this day our daily bread. Our bodies need water each day. The proper amount to remain hydrated is varried, but if the general consensus is that our bodies are 50%-70% based on many factors.
Water serves multiple purposes:
- Water is the primary building block of cells.
- It acts as an insulator, regulating internal body temperature. This is partly because water has a high specific heat, plus the body uses perspiration and respiration to regulate temperature.
- Water is needed to metabolize proteins and carbohydrates used as food. It is the primary component of saliva, used to digest carbohydrates and aid in swallowing food.
- The compound lubricates joints.
- Water insulates the brain, spinal cord, organs, and fetus. It acts as a shock absorber.
- Water is used to flush waste and toxins from the body via urine. ref
I have no bucket
Jesus knows that this woman has no bucket, because of the time of day and the lack of others at the well.
Well of Jacob – promised land: Spiritual water – a promise of eternal home.
Gushing up to eternal lifestyle not still water waiting in a well, but living water moving toward us.
What does it mean to spiritually thirst?
Spiritual thirst is the underlying motive that people have to seek after God, to start and continue their search for God.
It could be guilt over sin, it could be a longing for honest community, it could be guidance and direction, among some ideas.
It could be a stark realization that the person has made a giant mess of their life. Driven hard, past empty and now stuck.
Quenching our Spiritual Thirst
- Living Water is the Building Block of our spiritual self
- Living Water protects and insulates us in times of temptation and testing.
- Living Water helps us digest, understand and apply scripture.
- Living Water lubricates when we get stuck, dry, worn out, afraid.
- Living Water flushes sin out of our systems and spirits.
- Living Water is bottled, distributed and provided by God as a living presence in our lives.
- Drink Up! Don’t be spiritually dehydrated
- Look To Jesus and the church for the Bucket!
- God desires to reach out to our spirit and make us whole.
- If you find someone needing access to the well, lead them to Living Water.
Book to the Hebrews – A Summary
There for Chapter 13 — The How-To’s of a Life of Grace
Since Jesus is with us,
When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, “Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples. [NRSV]
It has become rather trite to ask: “What Would Jesus Do?” But it is the obvious response to the new commandment given in John 13:34 (Just as I have loved your, you also should love one another.)
The new commandment is a “super commandment.” When we are faithful with this one commandment, we are faithful in all the others.
- Love welcomes the sinner, and sends them to go and sin no more.
- Multiple people forgiven and healed, and charged to change their living.
- Love welcomes the curious, and goes home with them,
- Love welcomes those who need healing
- And loves them even if they don’t say thank you or show appreciation. Loving for appreciation is the heart of co-dependency.
- The Ten lepers, only one returns.
- Love feeds, clothes and befriends
- As in the great commission text, MT
- Love welcomes those who seek forgiveness
- Forgive me Lord,
- Thief, today you will be with me in paradise
- Love cares enough to help the fool not rebuilt on the sand
- Parable of the house on the rock / sand
- Love cares enough to:
- Cry with the grieving
- Drink with those who marry
- Guide who work and fail trying
- Disciples fishing
- To be humble hear good news
- The wise bring gifts
- The Magi
- The proud seek mercy
- Sermon on the Mount
- The outcast are made clean
- Those possessed with evil
- The busy and distracted are made still
- The eager to listen and learn are taught and encouraged
- Those who love as Christ love are sent out to love the neighbor, stranger and enemy
- The Disciples and the 70
- Jesus loving listens to fools and childish children, and finds a Love story of God’s heart to reach us.
- Finally, Jesus shows us the highest gift of love by giving his life and demonstrates that in some occasions we do the same.
- The Cross
- And, Jesus shows us that loving God is trusting that our eternal living is God love us, eternally.
- The Resurrection
Our text: Commands: Therefore, for us to love, as Jesus loves.
I listened to two different clergy friends ask me the same heartfelt question:
“How could someone be a conservative and call themselves a Christian.”
The other asked:
“How could so someone be a progressive and call themselves a Christian?”
As I listen to the news of senseless shootings, political propagandas, and fears in the country and the church. I have been praying for God’s words to respond and lead!
Here is the ‘fruit’ I offer to both and to you. The singular answer is found in Christ’s command to love as we see and hear Jesus love.
Ask God to point to your core,
Your first thought and action,
Q: I’m I loving God, even if it means something different from the world understanding of love?
Q: Is my motivation love God, when I speak out or hide under the rock of in-action?
Q: Is my heart following what pleases the world or what pleases God’s heart?
Q: Am I praying and studying and challenging to know what God’s heart and love looks, sound, taste, feel and are all about?
A: When our love looks like Christ’s love, we will know when to speak out and when to keep quiet.
A: When our love is like Christ’s love we will see when the world or we, ourselves, twist love to be about our agenda instead of God’s.
A: The answer to the questions: Who’s love is most Christ like..
Answer: When Christ’s love leads, there can be different ways of showing love, but God is revealed as the purpose.
Is God Revealed? If God is not revealed
- then we are either closed to seeing God in only our way or
- the love of Christ is not present.
The Test: Ask of what you say, think and hear: Show me God’s love. The world is hungry and thirsty for God’s love. Show the world the love Jesus has shown the world, and we cannot go wrong.
If we only have ideologies, theologies and policies, and don’t have love of God at the heart, then they are noisy gongs of distraction.
Wherever you hear noise, is a time to share the love of Jesus Christ. Try it and see the Kingdom of God wherever you go.
Example: Politicians, Wars, Taxes, Shooting, Immigration, Budgets, etc. If you don’t explain how God is working through these to reveal God’s love, the love of Christ, then start our conversations over.
Love is the lens, if the lens is not clear, clean it and start over in love.
If you are not talking about these topics to avoid the drama and noise, then you are withholding vital opportunities to help yourself and others find God’s love where we are hurting most.
Love is the lens, if the lens is not clear, clean it and start over in love.
If you only seem to get angry and polarized in these conversations, then you are lost in the noise and need to turn to Christ and start over.
Love is the lens, if the lens is not clear, clean it and start over in love.
If others are seeing and hearing and experiencing the Love of Jesus Christ through you, then, BAM! you living in the life of Love! Love on in Jesus Christ.
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.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin ), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. [RSV]
Seeing is Believing
- Show Me, What Proof is convincing for one is not convincing for all
- Evidence might be physical, emotional or spiritual
- Understanding is the starting point
Not Seeing, yet Believing is Faith
- Faith is based in what we do not control
- Faith is Trusting what is untrustworthy
- Faith is Affirming what God provides
Faith is the Core
- Faith is generally a process
- Faith is tested as a muscle is strengthen
- Faith is hardened as steel is heated and cooled.
The Purpose of Faith is for our Relationship of Salvation
- Jesus’s Death pays for our sin
- Jesus’s Resurrection restores our life
- Jesus’s presence in the Holy Spirit is to build the relationship
Commitment to the Relationship
- Starting with the Scriptures, Feed your Faith and Belief
- Building on the faith you have seen, heard, read, experienced Test
- Take the Jesus relationship to life: Family, Work, School, Community, etc.
- Jesus makesFoundation for our Relationship with God Through Christ Jesus
- COMMIT to Intentional Spiritual Growth. Bible Study, Sunday school, Daily Devotion, Small Group.
- Disciples were Gathered, even in fear and doubt, Jesus SHOWS up.
- Disciples share their faith stories, Jesus Shows up to Confirm
- Disciples offer questions and challenges, Jesus Shows up for Faith
- Disciples meet Jesus in the process and their life is filled with Faith and Salvation, through Jesus Christ, living with them.
Preaching on Easter Sunday has a seesaw of expectation. It’s Great news to celebrate the Resurrection and a challenge to tell even more.
Jerusalem. A Joy?
If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. [NRSV]
- Joy that we have hope even though Terror fills the earth
- Joy that we have faith even though correctness challenges beliefs
- Joy that we have grace even though we want it immediately
- Joy that we have life even though we need it eternally
- Joy that we have love even though our hearts still know how to hate
- Joy that we have each other because the body of Christ is entrusted to the church
- Joy that we have forgiveness
- Joy that we have songs for praise
- Joy that we prayers for conversation
- Joy that we have time for repentance
- Joy that we have history to learn from past mistakes
- Joy that we have a future that is prepared and paid for by Christ
- Joy that Jesus was not just a teacher with good life lessons
- Joy that Jesus was not just a historical figure
- Joy that the Holy Spirit is our power
- to Celebrate Easter is to feed not eat
- to Celebrate Easter is to forgive not hold over
- to Celebrate Easter is to love the difficult to love
- to Celebrate Easter is to live for Christ and not ourselves
- to Celebrate Easter is to bring hope to the sad
- to Celebrate Easter is to open hardened hearts
- to Celebrate Easter is to offer life to the dying
- to Celebrate Easter is to free those who hoard
- to Celebrate Easter is to be the body of Christ living in the world for the transformation of the world toward Christ how lives forever.
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. [NRSV, John 20:1-18]
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.[NRSV, Luke 24:1-12]
Why Do We Look for Life Among the Dead?
Think of the things that take away our life: We risk our lives and our eternity.
- We risk our lives and our eternity.
- We risk our relationships and our legacy
- We risk our faith for opinions
- We risk forgiveness in the name of being ‘right’
- We risk our salvation holding to our possessions
We search for meaning, influence and belonging in many things, relationships, substances, beliefs and ideas.. when our heart’s home is ever in our face: Jesus.
We come to a Sunrise Service
Expecting to hear a familiar passage of scripture
Marking a tradition when we could be sleeping
Not everyone went looking for the Risen Lord: Those who seek will find.
That is story of Easter Sunrise: Mary is looking, even in her blindness of grief and fear she is in the place where Jesus is ready to be revealed to her.
- Being in the right place, at the right time has some common sense, and is one of the key reasons we gather to worship.
- Being where Jesus told disciples to be, worshiping and waiting together, is an action of faithfulness and trust.
- Being awake and alert as we can be, is room enough for grace to take root.
You and I are the Easter People. We have come to see Jesus. Look at the shivering faces of Joy that come to this holy time and place. Jesus is with us. He lives in us. Go and be the body of Christ, transforming those who seek in darkness, hopelessness, fear and those who are asleep. It’s time to wake, Jesus is here!
At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, “Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ” [NRSV]
Jesus Agenda: Casting out evil, Curing the broken, and finishing his work on the third day.
- A fore telling of Jesus’ arrest, conviction and crucifixion are addressed by the disciples and Jesus.Jesus is talking back. Calling Herod by his action, a fox, cunning, callus and calculated. Skills of self preservation for the fox. Jesus’ mission, in Luke’s Gospel, requires him to be back in Jerusalem, positioned for the crucifixion.The Agenda cannot be stopped by Herod or any evil. But that will not stop evil things from happening.KEY:
God’s presence cannot be taking away, but neither are we to expect evil to disappear in the world.Prophet’s Job is Seldom Appreciated.
- Jesus points to the difficult task of being a prophet.The Prophet says nothing new. The prophet reminds us of the rails that our collective train should be running.The Prophet reminds us that God desires up to be with God.Jesus is more than any prophet. Jesus is God showing up first hand, the real deal, the actual.Jesus’s lament is how the necessary role of the prophet has never been without attack and often takes one’s life.We have at least two prophetic voices for our capital city:
I would suggest that our two leading political candidates (S&T) have tapped into the telling the people what the want to be reminded of, but their trains are running in opposing directions. Neither of them claim to be God’s prophets, but folks are desperate for a prophet and will follow until the find the prophet’s flaws or the prophet’s message becomes too personal. Mud-Slinging Campaign: (Interesting to hear from Jesus and John the Baptizer) Herod, was the secular leaders and he was a ‘fox’. The Sanhedrin were the religious leaders and they were a brood of vipers. God desires us to be together.There is a VERY powerful moment of self-disclosure and God’s heart being revealed in these words of Jesus outside of Jerusalem:The Mother Hen and her brood: How I wish my chicks would trust me. (Not just after they are in trouble, not after they are lost to evil, not just when faced with their own mortality, BUT when there was time to “walk together in the garden”) Remember the relationship with Adam and Eve, where God would walk and talk with them face-to-face, and explore the garden along side with them (Gen 3.8)The Prophets role is to remind God’s people of the relationship of Good and Evil. Helping folks remember what side of the fence they are too live.
- Are we people who put God first?Are we a people who put God 2nd or third or last?Are we people who honor our parents and their generation?Are we a people who lie, cheat, steal and murder?Are we people who choose our own agenda or God’s?Are we people who hunger and thirst to be correct or forgivenAre we people who satisfied with God or we want more?Are we people who listen to snakes and foxes?Are we people who will call out what it is evil, broken and diseased?Are we people who will turn to God or Government to define us?
These are the prophet’s questions: What are our answers?The Declaration:Blessed are those who come in the name of the Lord.
So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.” When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself. When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going. [NRSV]
I love this passage, but it is so much more powerful remembering the setting and context of the storm on the sea.
On the Tail of Miraculous Blessing: 12 Baskets for 12 Disciples
- Think of the times that God has blessed us in the past.
- Remembering the witnesses of our past and others.
- Keeping our current storm in the context of where God has guided us before.
- If we look only at the storm in the present, we see only the fear, grief and lack of control.
Life in the Storm: What are our current storms?
- Marriage and Divorce
- That is a good starting list..
This is why we start with the context of where God has been revealed in the past.
Time to make a list of 12 examples where God has blessed, loved, forgiven, showed-up in our lives:
- God showed up in the backyard of a house church in Monterrey, Mexico and called me to preach.
- God showed up in the worship service and fellowship at Camp Glisson in the rock chapel.
- God showed up to surround me in love through my father and grandmothers and a dozen churches.
- God showed up to broaden my heart and mind in seminary study and worship.
- God showed in the lives of children in Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Honduras, Moscow
- God shows up nudging me to pray, call, contact within two hours
- God showed in ideas that I think are my own but God reveals them to you and when you share them, I am confirmed.
- God shows us when someone is looking for God to speak and I have nothing to say and God’s words come rolling out.
- God shows us to convict, cleanse and correct when I have messed up.
- God shows up when I pray asking for direction
- God shows up when I put myself in a place of listening and reflection
- God shows up when I lay aside my mind and worries and come to worship and praise.
Making the a List as an act of preparing for my storms and your storms.
The disciples did not ask for faith lesson, they were tired, needed a retreat-vacation and the work interrupted,
and when much needed break was in order, they are overwhelmed by a life-threatening storm.
Jesus is in the storm with them.
When they invite Jesus in, the storm is over.
The Lesson: The sooner we invite Jesus in the boat, the less time fear leads our lives.
To go back to the list of fears:
- Politics: We can’t be ostriches, we must be involved leaders and prophets
- Racism: What builds our community and what divides us?
- Terrorism: We love the person but denounce the behavior
- Economic: Discern where our heart/faith clings fast?
- Marriage: Are we Godly, not only at the wedding, but throughout the relationship
- Divorce: Acknowledge marriage is sometime not repairable, but angry people are hurting all around
- Drugs: This is maybe the biggest storm that affects our families
- Grief: Loss of loved ones
- Death/End times: What is our part in the larger story? Where is our foundation? Where is our love in loss?
This is a time, as disciples, we need to encourage instead of judge, gossip and distance ourselves.
- Remember where God shows up, Reminds us we are never alone.
- Remember we are in this together and need each others support.
- Remember the storms are coming, but in Christ, we will make it through.
Angels announced: Be Not Afraid, God is here.
Emmanuel: God is with us!