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Posts Tagged Self

Luke 14:25-33 “The Cost of War” JUMC 20130909

 

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.

“The” Cross

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

RemembertheFuture_RobertSchnase

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

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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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Matthew 14:22-33 “Back in the Same Boat” JUMC 08072011 Outline

22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25 And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” 28 Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” -NRSVDisciples Have Everything Working Against Their Success:

  • Evening, Sun Downers, confusion
  • Alone, Children alone, Seniors alone, homeless alone, single parents,
  • Battered, number of spouses battered, battery statistics in general
  • Far away, Soldiers, students, travelers,
  • Against the wind…, when invisible forces keep you from holding ground, where you can’t even stand still in trouble..
  • Terrified, afraid, and frightened, Primal reactions to danger, fear, loss, grief and emptiness
  • Sinking, .. a drowning, falling, loss of control and ultimately a loss of life.

Lord Save me!

  • Obvious petition, request, and plea, why not ask sooner, (CERF),
  • I’m tired of saving myself… tired of making deals.. getting buy, tired of self fooling / self lying

CHRIST’s RESPONSE

  • Immediately, Jesus meets us.
  • Here we at his Table, he has stepped next to us, and prepared for us a place of peace, rescue, relief and rest.
  • (Come to me all who labor and are heavy ladin and he will give you rest.)

Our Response is praise and worship.

  • Come, out of your boat and walk in faith to reach Christ’s hand, and become his body and presence.

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