Archive | November 2016

Sacred Prayer 1

Awesome, Loving, Eternal, Righteous, Holy, Mighty, Redeeming, Great God, thank You for another day that I can worship You in Spirit and in Truth. Thank You for a day that I can reflect Your love and grace to others. Thank You for the newness of each day as it dawns on the horizon.

Thank You for Your presence with me as I enter into the Pilgrimage to the manger. Thank You for the sacredness of the season. As I sit and ponder the thought of this fact I am awestruck by the immensity of Your love for me. In this time of sacredness, may I draw closer to You, may I truly understand the importance of this season. May I live within the sacredness of this time not only during this season but every day of my walk with You.

AMEN

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In The Business

 

November 27, 2016

Stetson Memorial UMC

1st Sunday of Advent

“A Sacred Moment”

Sermon Series

Psalm 130

Matthew 3:1-12 MSG

Romans 13:11-12 NIV

 

 

“In The Business…”

 

A prayer of illumination so that God will speak through me or in-spite of me…

 

I would ask that you would stand as you are able for the reading of the Gospel according to Matthew. We will be reading chapter 3, verses 1-12. Listen to the word of God for His people…you and I… (Read the gospel from the Message translation)

 

Good morning. I can’t believe that next week is December. Where has the year gone? It seems that I have been so busy with life that time has just slipped away. Now here we are at the end and not quite sure how I got here. There have been so many things to do and see that I think that I feel as if I need a vacation from life. I need a time to just slow down and take a breath. But this is not the right time to be doing that either.

 

We have begun the Christmas season which I am the business. Even society is ramping up on the business. Last Friday was Black Friday…the busiest shopping day of the year. In fact, it is so busy that many places have started their Holiday season on Thanksgiving Thursday…even before the turkey is cold…

 

We, as people, as Christians need to find a way to slow down, otherwise we are going to miss the best part of this season of giving. We are going to miss the best gift that we could ever receive. The gift of God’s own Son in the form of a baby on a cold and silent night. As we slow down, we will see the sacredness all around us.

 

Today we begin the season of Advent in the church calendar. It is the season we expectantly await the celebration of His birth and wait expectantly for his return. The Christmas season is a time where the sacredness of it all gets drowned out by the secular business. The word sacred itself means set apart and holy. The sacredness of something is revered and respected but this time of reverence and awe seems to get lost in the lights and glamor. In order to see…to feel…to touch the sacred, we need to slow down our pace and just be for the moment…lest we miss the awe and wonder of the manger.

 

This Advent season we are going to do just that. We are going to slow down…even if for but a moment…to see what might be missed in the hustle and bustle of the season. I would invite us…you and I…on a spiritual journey to see all things through the kaleidoscope…the display of beauty within the sacred space of Advent…

©     Sacred Time

©     Sacred People

©     Sacred Space

©     Sacred Knowing

©     Sacred Being

©     Sacred Doing

 

I would ask that we would stop for a moment and just breath in the sacredness of the space we are in right now…this sanctuary where God shows up to meet us each Sunday…By the way…in order to really enter into the Sacredness of Advent…we need to do it more than just on Sunday’s so I would ask that each of us spend some time each day…even just five minutes and focus on…meditate upon the Sacredness we talk about each week… Let each build upon each other until we embrace genuine purpose within this sacred moment…

 

So, Advent is a sacred time. John the Baptist spoke about time. The time of heaven intersecting the time of the then and now. The time had come for a heart and life change. The time had come…and continue today…to prepare the way of the Lord. We are that thunder in the desert. We are that message of sacredness. We are the voice calling out in the desert “make way for the kingdom of God…it is right before us…do you not perceive it?”

 

We, at times, let the busy-ness of the holiday season overrun the sense of sacred. In fact, setting apart time for God…for the real reason for the season…God incarnate…gets set aside to create trappings of the holiday in which we celebrate the Holy.

 

We are given the gift of now from God. Within this gift of now…this sacred time of now…is given to God…to family…to friends…and those who need help. Within the sacred time, we are the gift given to others in which God can be seen within the mask that we, as society, have created to hide what is sacred beneath the “sensationalism” of the season.

 

The Word became flesh and lived among us…that is the message of the season. Speak through the Spirit of this one truth. How are you going to spend this “holiday season”? Are you and I going for the superficial…or is there something more…is there a better way? I challenge you and I to take a road far different than the highway that leads to the Bethlehem Stable. I challenge you and I to slow ourselves down and sit within the Sacredness of the manger.

 

“11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:11-12 NIV)

 

Amen.

A Thankful Prayer

Eternal, Awesome, Holy, Compassionate, Righteous, Redeemer, Recreating, Lord of my life, Lover of my soul, Giver of all that is good, Jehovah Jirah my Provider, Great God, thank You for this beautiful new day that I may praise You for Your unending grace and love for me. Thank You for the way You nurture me and help me grow. Thank You for Your presence with me today and always for I will never walk alone. Thank You for Your unending grace that You pour down from heaven upon my life.

Thank You for the wisdom You give me as I walk in the calling You have placed upon my life. Forgive me for the times that I doubt my call and let man try and take away what You have gifted me with. Forgive me for the times that I fail to see Your unending grace and purposes in my life. Forgive me when I listen to the lies of the enemy as he whispers fear and condemnation in my ear. May I listen more to Your voice and less to the voice of the enemy as You whisper love, hope, purpose and joy deep within my soul.

Lord, as I step out in faith and trust, hold my hand so that I will not trip over the edge of the boat as I step out onto the waters of my life. Speak words of hope into my life as I focus on You and not the world or circumstances around me. Draw me so close to You that not only do I hear but will feel Your heartbeat. Hide me so that I may find rest beneath Your wings of Love.

On this Thanksgiving day…I am truly Thankful for the Giving You have done in and through my life. I am Thankful for the Giving of the gifts and graces that You have given me that make me uniquely qualified for Your purposes in my life. I am Thankful for the Giving of the family You have given me as we sit around Your table where every we may be. Most of all, I am Thankful for the Giving of Salvation found only in and through my Risen Lord, Jesus Christ in Who’s Name I pray.

Amen, amen and AMEN!

A Thanks Giving

November 20, 2016

Stetson Memorial UMC

Christ the King Sunday

Thanksgiving

Psalm 100

Jeremiah 23:1-6

Luke 1:68-79

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/messiah

 

 

“A Thanks-Giving”

 

A prayer of illumination so that God will speak through me or in-spite of me…

 

I would ask that you would stand as you are able for the reading of the Gospel according to Luke. We will be reading Luke 1 verses 68-79. Listen to the word of God for His people…you and I…(Read the gospel from the NIV  Bible translation)

 

What are you thankful for? This is a question that we usually ask this time of year as we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving. So…what are you thankful for? (Give people a chance to answer) It’s seems as the business world…the secular world…kind of just jumps right over this holiday and right into the next one… Well the next one is the one that they make most of their money…Christmas. I don’t know about you but it kind of bugs me that they jump right into Christmas even before Halloween…I think they should be celebrating Thanksgiving because they should give thanks for our giving…

 

What are we thankful for? I love the fact that today is Christ the King Sunday in the Church calendar and the next Sunday is the beginning of Advent. Thanksgiving is sandwiched right in the middle. We truly have much to be thankful for. We truly can thank God for giving….

 

In ancient times, the people were looking for a messiah. Merriam Webster tells us that a messiah is:

a person who is expected to save people from a very bad situation

Many saw the king as the messiah, They wanted their king to save them from the tyranny of their oppressor. They wanted to be set free from the enemy. But God knew what they really needed to be set free. The people were looking for a small “m” messiah but God knew they needed the big “M” type of a messiah…

the Messiah Judaism : a king who will be sent by God to save the Jews

Christianity : Jesus Christ

 

From the Luke passage this morning we can see some of the attributes of God’s Messiah

  1. salvation for us, salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us—
  2. to show mercy, to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
  3. to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

Christ truly is the King…the Messiah…of world.

 

What are we thankful for? As I read the Psalm that was chosen for this morning I could not help but feel thankful. I had many images came to mind. Images of God opening the gate for us through which we can enter in…that gate being our Risen Lord Jesus Christ…for He is the gate of the Lord through which all must enter in to be saved. The image of being a sheep and having God watch over me, ever so lovingly, as I grazed in the grass of His Word, resting by the Living water He offers us. This is just a couple of images that came to mind. There are many images in this scripture and I challenge you to read these words and contemplate the season that we will be entering next Sunday…the season of Advent.

 

We have so much to be thankful for. We can be thankful to God for all that He has done…is doing…and will do in the future in our lives. We can be thankful to the saints that have gone before us who have showed us the way to live. We can be thankful of their gift of faith that they shared in a world full of chaos and hopelessness. And we can show our thankfulness by taking their example in life and live it out in our own.

 

The prophet Jeremiah had much to say…many people didn’t like what he said but there are those times when people need to hear the truth… There is one truth that I rely on…it is about God and His Messiah…His Savior of the with world (all beginning a capital letter).Jeremiah 23:1-6 states:

The Righteous Branch

23 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. 2 Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the LORD. 3 “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number.4 I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD.

5 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD,

    “when I will raise up for David[a] a righteous Branch,

a King who will reign wisely

    and do what is just and right in the land.

6 In his days Judah will be saved

    and Israel will live in safety.

This is the name by which he will be called:

    The LORD Our Righteous Savior.

And His Name shall be called “The Lord Our Righteous Savior”. It is in and through God’s Savior…not mankind’s savior/messiah…that we are saved and made righteous…not by our filthy rags we try to be righteous with but His Righteousness.

 

We have a lot to be thankful for. What are you thankful for? Let us put God at the head of our “Thanks Giving” table as we give thanks for His goodness and mercy found in and through our Risen Lord, the Savoir of the world, Jesus Christ. We truly have much to be thankful for. Why are you thankful for are you more thankful for the “giving” or the “receiving” of this Holiday of thanks…

 

Amen.

A Whole New World

November 13, 2016

Stetson Memorial UMC

After Trump Election

Psalm 29

Luke 21:5-19

Isaiah 65:17-25

Malachi 4:1-2

http://www.mycentraloregon.com/2016/11/12/over-200-reports-of-hateful-harassment-and-intimidation-post-election-splc-says/

https://reportuk.org/2016/11/12/hate-crimes-soar-across-the-us-after-donald-trump-elected/

 

 

“A Whole New World…”

 

Prayer for God’s illumination and for His word to be heard through me or in-spite of me…

 

Please stand, as you are able, for the reading of the Gospel Reading. I am reading from the Gospel of Luke Chapter 21, verses 5-19. Listen to the word of God…the comfort of and from God…for you and me, His people…the sheep of His keeping…

 

  • In Wellsville, New York, a baseball dugout was vandalized with a swastika and the words “Make America White Again.”
  • Nazi graffiti was also found painted on a building in South Philadelphia along with the words “Sieg Heil” and “Trump” with the T-replaced by a swastika.
  • In Rochester, New York, two rainbow flags were burned.

 

We live in a world that has truly gotten out of control. It seems as if everything is just blowing up all at once.

 

  • At San Diego State University, a female student wearing a hijab was robbed the day after the election by two men “who made comments about President-Elect Trump and the Muslim community,”
  • At San Jose State University, a female student was attacked from behind by an assailant who grabbed her hijab, choking her and causing her to fall, police said.

 

There have been over 200 hate crimes since the United States elected Donald Trump as our next president on Tuesday evening.

 

  • A woman wearing a hijab near the University of Michigan was forced to remove her headscarf Friday night after a man approached her and threatened to set her on fire, according to the university’s crime report.
  • these incidents of harassment and intimidation have been most prevalent at K-12 schools, according to the SPLC findings. Middle school students in a suburb of Detroit were caught on camera chanting “build the wall” during lunchtime the day after the election. At a high school in Maple Grove, Minnesota, a bathroom stall door was found defaced with the words “White America,” “Whites only” and other racial slurs

 

Our future…our next generation has joined in on the depravity of humanity…We are talking about young girls and boys re hating each other. Hate is a learned behavior…who are they learning it from…? These incidents come amid massive protests against Trump and divisive rhetoric protesters say was espoused by his campaign.

 

The Christian community claims we are in the last days. What do you think? The Luke scripture I just read speaks of “a time such as this.” There are times when all seems lost and anarchy seems to be the temperament of the world in which we live. It is a fearful time for many and for others…who are caught up in the chaos…it is a time that they have longed for. A time that everything gets set back to how it was in the “good old days”. It is a fearful time because we know what happened last time there was such hate in the world and we don’t want to see it happen again. History truly does repeat itself…especially when we didn’t learn the first time…They are claiming that the hate crimes are worse than the time of 911…

 

  • A pupil at Shasta High School in Redding, California, handed out ‘deportation letters’ to non-white students, just one day after Trump was announced president-elect.
  • ‘Black lives don’t matter and neither does your vote’, reads the graffiti scrawled on two walls in Durham, North Carolina.
  • Pupils at one high school were reportedly shouting ‘Sieg Heil’ and doing Nazi salutes, as well as calling black children ‘cotton pickers’ – among a slew of other racist attacks.

When I write sermon’s, I like to bring what is going on in the world to the forefront… How would you feel if this was slipped under the door of your home…?

  • ‘Attention!!!!’ the flyer, which is written in all caps, begins. ‘All n*****s and sp*cs have one week to vacate this building!!! ‘This is now a Trump friendly building! The people of America have spoken. The time has come for good decent white people to take back our streets from thugs and illegals!

‘We know who you are and where you live. If you are not out in one week, we will put you out! Immigration will now begin doing their job! Police will have the power to reclaim our violent streets from black thugs. ‘You have been warned! Proud American voter! Trump 2016’

How much deeper are we going to sink? Didn’t even have the guts to sign with their own name…only the description of what he had done…vote

 

Perhaps, we as Christ followers…you know Christians…should be even more serious about the Great Commission. OK…what is the commission? Give time to answer… And what does it mean to and for you and I? Again, time to answer… The signs of the times are right there in front of us. What are you and I going to do?

 

‘This is now a Trump friendly building! The people of America have spoken. The time has come for good decent white people to take back our streets from thugs and illegals! ‘We know who you are and where you live. If you are not out in one week, we will put you out! Immigration will now begin doing their job! Police will have the power to reclaim our violent streets from black thugs.

 

Maybe if we believed in the promises of God we would be more emboldened. We know the time and we will have difficulties as we stand up for what Jesus did and would do…

12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.

 

So, what are the promises? What is the next chapter? What do we have to look forward too? Let me read a couple of my favorite descriptions of what it will be like when the old era (human time) is ushered out and the new era has come (God time).

Isaiah 65:17-25New International Version (NIV)

 

New Heavens and a New Earth

17 “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth.

The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.

18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.

19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.

20 “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years;

the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child;

the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.

21 They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,

    or plant and others eat.

For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands.

23 They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them.

24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food.

They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord.


Everything will be made new…made how God created it to be in the beginning…it all started in a garden and it will end in a garden. God truly is the master gardener… And

Malachi 4:1-2New International Version (NIV)

 

Judgment and Covenant Renewal

4 “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.

 

We are going to frolic…

We should be shouting for joy from the roof tops…we are going to dance and frolic for joy and for the love we feel or our God. All this evil will be gone… But in the meantime, …we have a job to do and it is not going to be easy. But that doesn’t negate the commission. Perhaps if we would begin to get excited about the fact our God will have the last word. Perhaps if we truly believe His promises to us. Maybe, just maybe, we would be too busy doing God’s work to fear. Perhaps if we believed and rejoiced others would be attracted to our joyful life and want it for themselves. Heaven is not full yet and we need to make it our job…no our choice to fill it with our neighbors, our friends our family…heck the stranger on the street. God doesn’t want anyone to perish. How would you feel if someone perished because of your complacency…because of my complacency…because of our inactivity? The time is set…we are here, you and I, for a time such as this. We know the end of the story…we know who is going to win… Now how about sharing that with others…because on that day…we will sing as Isaiah did in chapter 12:

Isaiah 12New International Version (NIV)

 

Songs of Praise

12 In that day you will say:

 

“I will praise you, Lord.

    Although you were angry with me,

your anger has turned away

    and you have comforted me.

2 Surely God is my salvation;

    I will trust and not be afraid.

The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense[a];

    he has become my salvation.”

3 With joy you will draw water

    from the wells of salvation.

 

4 In that day you will say:

 

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;

    make known among the nations what he has done,

    and proclaim that his name is exalted.

5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;

    let this be known to all the world.

6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,

    for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

 

AMEN

“The Making of a Saint”

 

November 6, 2016

Stetson Memorial UMC

All Saints Day

Psalm 8

Luke 6:17-34 MSG

Matthew 25:34-40 MSG

http://www.churchyear.net/allsaints.html

 

 Prayer for God’s illumination and for His word to be heard through me or in-spite of me…

 

Please stand, as you are able, for the reading of the Gospel Reading. I am reading from the Gospel of Luke Chapter 6, verses 17-34. Listen to the word of God for you and me, His people…

 

Saint:

: a person who is officially recognized by the Christian church as being very holy because of the way he or she lived

: a person who is very good, kind, or patient

Today…in the Christian Church we are celebrating “All Saint Sunday”. It is a day that we celebrate those saints among us and those who have gone before us. Now let me give you a little history about All Saint Day.

“It is when the Catholic Church and some Protestant churches commemorate every saint, known and unknown. The concept of All Saints Day is connected to the doctrine of The Communion of Saints. This is the concept that all of God’s people, on heaven, earth, and in the state of purification (called Purgatory in the West), are spiritually connected and united. In other words, Catholic and Orthodox Christians (and some Protestants) believe that the saints of God are just as alive as you and I, and are constantly interceding on our behalf. Remember, our connection with the saints in heaven is one grounded in a tight-knit communion. The saints are not divine, nor omnipresent or omniscient. However, because of our common communion with and through Jesus Christ, our prayers are joined with the heavenly community of Christians.

 

I like the thought of our prayers are joined with the “Heavenly Community of Christians”. WE are all connected in life and in death. We are all one family that will meet on day in the sky. But what makes a Saint? What criteria do we use in deciding that someone is a saint or not? I think that some of the answer is found in the Luke scripture I just read.

 

  • I think that the people who are considered saints seem to embody the “blessedness” in this scripture. No matter what they go through, they seem to trust God always and accept what they are going through. I think the main thing here is that they trust God. They may question what is going on but in the end, they say “thy will be done.”
  • It seems as if when things come up against them…when people are trying to bring them down…when people try to assonate their character or what they are called to do, they have that uncanny knack to be able to say “Well obviously I am doing something right.” They view this from heavens eyes…not worldly eyes. No one wants to look bad, no one wants to have someone tell them they are doing something wrong or have someone else show them up. Just as the Sadducees and Pharisees of Jesus’ day, when someone makes certain people look bad…they do all they can do to stop them. They may not crucify them as they did Jesus but they try to kill them in many other ways…
  • They are some of the humblest people you would want to meet. They are down to earth and don’t get themselves all puffed up about themselves. As a matter of fact, usually when you complement them, they blush and hang their head. They will tell you it is not them but God…they will not take any credit for themselves but gives credit elsewhere…
  • They act completely the opposite from what the world acts. Instead of getting back at people they do the opposite. They are kind and loving to their accusers. They are not in some popularity contest with people and they don’t try to please everyone around them. They don’t compromise their ethics for anyone.
  • They love because they can. They don’t play favorites and love even the “un-lovable’s” around them. They not only hang out with other saints but also with those who are “unsaintly” perhaps their saintliness will spur others to want to live the same life…not that they would hold that over others…

So, these are just a few things that make a saint. I know plenty of people who have gone ahead as well as are still here that embody that whole sainthood thing.

 

Why would anyone even try to be a saint. In the world we live in…being a saint gets you nowhere. Trying to do the right thing gets you kicked right in the pats a lot of times. Why would we even want to look out for others…treat them as if they are special? Well the answer is…they are special. They are special and sacred to God so it should be with those who carry Christ’s name…who embody sainthood and so much more for He was God incarnate…Christians…Christ followers.

 

In the past few weeks, one scripture kept coming up…one theme kept creeping in…Matthew 25:34-40:

Read Scripture

I think God is trying to tells us something. I believe there is a message here that God is tryng to get across. Are we…I am not talking about we as Christ followers in general…I am talking about you and I…are we missing the boat somehow? Are you and I ignoring a nudge that God is trying to give us? Are we judging others…thinking they are not worth…fill in the blank? Are we allowing prejudices to become part of how we live and look at others? I don’t know about you but I have been taking a good look at my life and see places where growth is needed. How about you? How is it with YOUR soul? When we bring those attitudes to the cross of our Risen Lord Jesus and leave them there…we can come away newly created and ready to be those saints that leave a legacy behind us. So, what are you going to do now? Choice is yours to make. Are you willing to say “search me Lord and see if there is any wicked way within me and create in me a clean heart.”?

 

AMEN

What Do You Really Feel…?

 

 

October 23, 2016

Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church

The Body of Christ…?

“Break my heart/I want touch lives”

Psalm 145

1 Corinthians12:25-26

Romans 12:4-10

 

What Do You Really Feel…

 

Prayer of adoration and for God’s illumination so that His Word would be heard through me or in spite of me…

 

A reading from Paul’s 1st letter to the Christians in Corinth, chapter 12, verses 25-26. Listen to the Word of God…His Love Letter…to and for you and me…His beloved children…

 

 

Have you ever seen those commercials for the animal shelters? Awe man…they just get right to my heart. I am just an old softy when it comes to these commercials …and it doesn’t help as they are playing “The Eyes of An Angel in the background. I want to adopt all the animals…I even start crying sometimes. It just breaks my heart to see these poor animals. And most of them have been rescued from horrible situations. I don’t know who could ever hurt one of these little friends.

 

What breaks your heart? (give time for people to answer) There are so many ways that our hearts are touched…our heart breaks…for many different situations…the situations that are important to us.  It may be just looking around us…at the world around us… That alone can break out hearts. Speaking of the world around us, what do you think breaks God’s heart? What is it that He feels as He too looks around at what He created and called it good… Do we even care anymore about God’s heart?

 

Now remember, as I said last week, as we think about…as we ponder this question or these questions…God loves you and I so much that He thinks we are to die for… As a matter of fact…that is exactly what He did…die for sinners like us…He who knew no sin took our sin upon Himself… what breaks His heart and do we even care anymore…

 

We have been trying to define…trying to open our view of…the body of Christ? We have defined it as family. But how we do you and I define “family?” But we don’t even come close to how God would define it. We are not the ones who define family…the Creator of our diversely awesome family is the One who defines it…remember “Ohana means family and family means no one is left out or left behind.”  We have come to the realization that to become community in the world…to continue to be relevant we, as Christ’s followers, need to wake up. Wake from our slumber…wake from our complacency…wake from our numbness and see the world and people around us who are looking for someone to reach out in love, hope and compassion. We need to decide what is most important in our lives as Christ followers. And we need to do this together…as one family…one body of Christ. We are called to love one another. We are called to look into the eyes of those in need and help fill that need. We are called to be the hands, feet and voice in the world.

 

Now all of this sounds great. These topics we have talked about are vital if we are going to change the world and bring God’s kingdom here on earth. But we are so tainted by the world around us how are we going to be able to change it? Our vision is so clouded with the haze of the enemy…that we cannot see clearly. We tend to not be able to see past our own nose. Well…your right…we can’t do this on our own. Your right, the enemy has put up such a smoke screen that we can’t see the truth half the time and the other half we are afraid for the truth.

 

The Corinthians Letter I read from comes from a time quite like our own. The church was fighting and back biting each other and Paul had to remind them not only who but whose they were…sound familiar. They were all concerned about themselves and their …individual agenda. They were fighting about who was better, who had the best programs, who had the most correct doctrine, who had the …Fill in the blank…you get what I am saying.

 

They forgot one of the most important fact about being the body of Christ…and we still struggling today to get this one right…WE ARE ONE BODY…not several different doing our own thing. So how do we turn the tide and come out victorious…of course with God’s help that is…

 

This is how we start…ask God to break your heart for what breaks His…God, I am standing here before You and I want to help but am running here and there not knowing what to do…what I need to be focused on. God, I am asking you to break my heart for what breaks Yours…give me Your eyes and Your heart for Your people… It is as simple as that. “How do you know this works Pastor?” …some of you may be asking. Well…since I prayed this for myself…since I decided to step out of the boat in deeper water…my heart has been changed. Those things that didn’t affect me before brings me to my knees in prayer. When people ask me for prayer I pray right there with them…where they are…even in a drug store or out on the street…If one part hurts every part involved hurts and works to heal…If one part flourishes every part flourishes and rejoices. When one part of God’s creation hurts, or is in need all of God’s creation…including you and me…hurts and when one part flourishes…we all flourish. We are all part of God’s creation so we are each part of the whole body…the whole of creation. Speak from the Spirit about God’s people and how God must grieve…

  1. My Anthem
  2. Division and strife
  3. Continue to back bite each other because of our own agenda
  4. Continue to gossip just to gossip…doesn’t even matter if it is true or not
  5. If we are the body of Christ why are we not healing…why are we not loving…why are we not speaking His love…why are we not caring…why are we breaking down and not lifting up

 

Romans 12 verses 4-10 gives us a clue about God’s design for His church. It is found in the 12th chapter and goes from verse 4 through verse 10…listen and find the clue about His church…Read the Passage…

We need everyone…even those people. When we turn them away we are missing a vital part of the body…a piece of God’s church…and it remains missing until our hearts break for them. Are we FAKE in our commitment to the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations…all people?

 

So…questions posed earlier:

  • What breaks your heart? Speak from the Spirit
  • What breaks God’s heart? Speak from the Spirit
  • Do you think His heart breaks when HE looks at His creation including us? Why? Speak from the Spirit
  • Do you even care? Chances are…at some point in time…someone has cared enough about you to help you through rough patch on your journey of faith…
  • Are you willing to be changed from the inside out as you pray for God to break your heart for what breaks His? That’s a question that only you can answer. There is no doubt about it. This is a prayer God will answer if you truly and humbly come before Him but be ready to be changed…

 

OK…synopsis…As we open our hearts and our doors to those who are on the outside we become family. As we become family we can work together as the body of Christ…as a family of believers who reach out to those who are looking for someone to grab their hand to pull them out of the vortex they are in. As we come together the word Ohana becomes our battle cry because no one is left out or left behind. As we help others our focus is changed and we begin to think “we” instead of “me”. We begin to see a change happen within our communities when we begin to define…to specify what matters most.  As we look into the eyes of others and come up next to them and help them in their need, we will model what Jesus did for you and me. As we open our hands and our doors we begin to create a better world not only for ourselves but in our community…our surrounding communities…and the world. We need to work together as a church…as churches…as extended families…as the body of Christ…one body… As we love a Jesus did our hearts and hands will be open to and for others. But we need to have our hearts broken from this world and all that it holds to be open to God’s vision and love of others.  Then and only then, we will become one as we do all of this in the name the One who is head and shoulders above the rest…who is the head of the church, our hearts and our minds…our Risen Lord Jesus Christ…

 

Are you willing to be broken so that you may be made whole? Are you willing to pray that prayer that will change your life…that has changed my life? Are you willing to give it all to Jesus in sweet surrender and live your life abandoned to God and His purposes? We all get to have choices in life? What will you choose this day?

Amen