Archive | March 2016

A New Way

March 20, 2016

Stetson Memorial UMC

 Palm Sunday

“A New Way”

Adapted Sermon Series

 by Marcia McPhee

 “The Way”

All Scripture is from the AMP Bible

Luke 19:28-38

 

“A New Way…”

 

Prayer for the Spirit’s leading…

 

How many of you are set in your own ways…you have your way of doing things and you really don’t see the need in changing things up and learning a new way? We really do get set in our ways and really don’t like it when a “new thing” comes on the horizon. There is a certain way that things are supposed to be…that’s it…end of story.

 

The people in Jesus day felt very much the same way. They were looking for someone to save them from the Roman oppression that they were under. It would be someone like David who was a mighty warrior and conquered their enemies by his might. They were looking for someone who would help them reclaim their way of living and Jesus fit the bill…or did He? We find out at the end of the week how they felt about this man they were singing loud hosannas to today…

 

Today we celebrate Palm Sunday. A day where palms were waived and they rejoiced in the messiah who would take Roman by storm. This is the day when Jesus would begin His last week of teaching and begin His assent to the top of a hill…for you and for me. Jesus was called to an”Other Way” of taking the world by storm…

 

We are continuing our Lenten pilgrimage to the cross. During this journey we will bring Marcia McPhee with us as we look at her sermon series “The Way”. We have looked at the different “ways” or paths that we take in life. My prayer is that as we journey together we will help each other and those in our lives find “the way”.

 

We began this pilgrimage on Ash Wednesday as we talked about “the way back”… taking a u-turn so to speak…back towards God…back to the relationship that God intended from the very beginning. We have talked about “the wandering way” when we walk through that maze trying to find the way to the right path instead of hitting those walls of a wrong turn. We talked about “the way around” when Erica told us that we need to follow God’s plan in our life. We also talked about “the high way” and realized we have a higher calling and that we are to think on a “higher ground”, so to speak, and not the lower ground of the world. I think one of the most important thing that we have learned is that there is always a way home to the heart of God…like the prodigal son(or daughter) we are always welcomed home… The last way…and even more important than the last…is the “Other Way” as Jesus now demonstrated when He came riding on a donkey.

 

How did Jesus show the first people who shouted hosanna and also shows us who shout hosanna today an”other way”?

  1. Kings ride on horses- Jesus…the Messiah…rode on a donkey…a lowly animal not fit for a king. Jesus was showing them and us that we are to be humble not all that showoffy stuff that so many like to do. He emptied Himself of all His deity and became a servant of all.
  2. Kings were tough and ready for the fight- Jesus showed loving kindness to all and was meek and mild in His way. He cared more for others than He did Himself…this is proven at the end of the week as He took on all the sin that you and I have…are…or will ever commit…
  3. Kings depend upon themselves and never show a sign of weakness- Jesus taught humanity to depend on Him and on God not on ourselves. He and God have our best interest at heart…This is shown by Jesus coming to earth as human even though He was divine to save us from ourselves. It was the only way for humanity at large to be saved and redeemed and that is what Jesus did…for you…for me…for all of humanity.
  4. Kings of earth…fill in the blank…you get the message…

Jesus showed a different way…the other way…the way of God not man.

 

So here is Jesus, getting ready to finish Love’s work. It must have been difficult for Jesus. Here He is, entering Jerusalem, on a donkey. It was the beginning of the end but a new way…an “other way”…was birthing. There would be no more sacrifices to appease God because at the end of His ministry Jesus became the sacrificial Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the earth… In the end there was an “other way” to live our lives…where we come to an end of ourselves and begin the “other way” of life.

 

Beloved children of God, listen to the words of Marcia McPhee…”This moment on this road for Jesus feels both like the end and the beginning. Such are so many moments in our lives, a pilgrimage may reach its destination but the hope, the wisdom, the lessons learned along the way have offered a new starting point for us.”

Jesus offers us a new way…the other way…of living our lives.

 

Our pilgrimage that we walk…our journey of faith…may offer new starting points but my question is this…will you walk in it? Will we take what we have learned and apply it to the new way God is calling us to walk in? Are you ready for the new way or do you like the old way so much that the new way seems futile to you? What are we to do when God puts upon our hearts a new way that He wants to use us for His kingdom? What is our answer to Love’s call to our hearts?

 

Amen

There’s No Place Like Home…

March 6, 2016

Stetson Memorial UMC

 Fourth Sunday of Lent

“The Way Home”

Adapted Sermon Series

 by Marcia McPhee

 “The Way”

All Scripture is from the AMP Bible

Luke 15:1-24

Psalm 100

 “There’s No Place Like Home…”

 

Prayer for the Spirit’s leading…

 

A reading from the Gospel of Luke chapter 15…verses 11-24…listen to the Word’s of Life from God to you and me, pilgrims on a journey…

 

There is no place like home… When I think of this phrase I think of Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz”. She had run away from home but then decided she would go back home, worried about her family. Then she ended up in the Land of Oz and all she wanted to do was to find her way home…

 

There is such a good feeling to be at home. While I was in the Holy Land it was amazing but believe it or not, after a time, I started getting a little home sick. I was with a great group of people and made new friends. It was wonderful to walk where Jesus walked but there was still that feeling of wanting to be home…

 

There truly no place like home. But there are some who have lost their way and they think they can’t come home. They have done too much in their lives to be forgiven and allowed back into the home they love. They think there is no place for them at the table.

 

It can be that way in our spiritual life. We don’t do what we used to do. We don’t feel God’s presence anymore or hear His voice. We feel we have wandered too far and have done too many bad things in our life that God would never accept us back. Oh how wrong we are. There is always a “way home…”no matter what we have done.

 

We are continuing our Lenten pilgrimage to the cross. During this journey we will bring Marcia McPhee with us as we look at her sermon series “The Way”. We are going to be looking at the different “ways” or paths that we take in life. My prayer is that as we journey together we will help each other and those in our lives find “the way”.

 

We began this pilgrimage on Ash Wednesday as we talked about “the way back”… taking a u-turn so to speak…back towards God…back to the relationship that God intended from the very beginning. We have talked about “the wandering way” when we walk through that maze trying to find the way to the right path instead of hitting those walls of a wrong turn. We talked about “the way around” when Erica told us that we need to follow God’s plan in our life. We also talked about “the high way” and realized we have a higher calling and that we are to think on a “higher ground”, so to speak, and not the lower ground of the world. But when we wander off to do our own thing is there a way home”…is there still a place at the table?

 

The way home…example…have you ever walked in a labyrinth? It is sort of like a maze but as you follow it there is no wrong way but only one way to go…toward the center. When walking it you contemplate God and how He has worked in your life…bring you to praise Him for all He has done. It is a very calming and life centering time alone with God and yourself.

 

When you reach the middle…when you finally get to the “home…the center” there is usually a bench to sit on. In the center…in the God center…you give praise and prayers to Him. Then you work your way out by the same way you came. It is as if God is sending you forth renewed and feed, ready to be His witness in the world.

 

But…there are so many that think they can’t “enter the center” because of the life they have lead or the things they have done…heck some of their family members think they are too far gone to be helped. Beloved…I am here to tell you that there is no one or no-thing that God cannot redeem…let me say it again…there is no one or no-thing or no situation that God cannot redeem…! There is a way home for all who are looking…Knock and the door will be opened seek and ye shall find, ask and it will be given…Matthew 7:7…

 

The scripture I read about the prodigal son this morning is all about that…coming home. Now the son thought that he had done so much wrong have done too much wrong and won’t be accepted by our heavenly Father. But what happened? The father saw him from a distance…he was probably watching the horizon every day, hoping to catch a glimpse of his son’s shadow…wanting to find his way back home…and when he saw his son’s figure on the horizon he was overjoyed at the sight…his son who was lost came home…he ran to him and embraced him. Now the son was trying to tell him how unworthy he was but the father didn’t hear the words…it is more like he ignored them…he celebrated because his lost son…his son who spent all his money on wild living…had son HOME!

 

Now I want to stop for a minute and talk about the fathers reaction to seeing his son on the horizon…he hadn’t even got to the front door yet, may be not even on the father’s property and he saw him and was overjoyed.

This reaction is much like…ok the same…reaction we hear about in the two parables that come right before the one of the prodigal son. Listen to the reaction …read the lost sheep and lost coin parables…

 

I think that Jesus was trying to tell the people then and to people now. You are never too lost…you are never too far…you can never do too much wrong to be welcomed to God. You don’t have to clean yourself up…you don’t have to wear the right cloths and say the right words…all you have to do is come. As a matter of fact…we are seen on the horizon and Jesus runs to us, throws His arms around us…and welcomes us home.

 

It is in and through Jesus we are welcomed home to a place that is more beautiful than any other place. We are invited into the heart of God through Jesus. Jesus has been with us from the beginning and to then end…and everywhere in between.

 

Our Tuesday night bible study group watched this You-Tube video. The woman who played the wife in “War Room” goes around and gives these talks about Jesus. Did you know that if you look in the bible…God’s word…we can see Jesus in action from Genesis all the way to Revelation? He is pictured or prophesied in all 66 books of the bible. Always there trying to show us “the way home”. So of course, knowing who I am, I had to look this up. I would like to end my sermon with what I found… read Jesus through the bible…

 

Jesus wants to show you the way home…the way to the heart of God… Are you ready to come home?

 

Amen