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How would you explain to someone both the meaning and the results of receiving Jesus?

Question Asked:

How would you explain to someone both the meaning and the results of receiving Jesus?

When you accept Jesus’ offer of forgiveness and redemption a change happens. As we continue our faith journey with God and Jesus, the change becomes evident in our lives. As we continue on the path with Jesus the change actually changes into something so much more. 


First, you are no longer under the death penalty of sin because Jesus paid the price for your sin with His own life. Does that mean you will never sin again…no, you are sinful by birth but you are now forgiven and the slate is wipe clean, if you ask for forgiveness and really mean it. Jesus can tell when you are not… 


Another thing that happens is that you now become children of God. At the Cross…Jesus signed your adoption papers with His own blood. Now it is up to you to receive…to accept… the papers. Being now included as God’s people, you now have all the promises of the bible, both Old and New Testaments. 


You also are given New Life and you get to be with God in heaven…in eternity, for an eternity. Now think about it for one moment…you get to be with the creator of heaven and earth, in God’s presence for all time until time ends… How awesome will that be…All I can say to that is AMEN! 


You are also given a new identity, child of God. It goes back to that whole adoption at the cross. You are now Co-Heirs with Jesus Christ. You now have the Father of all fathers as your dad. Because of that you can rest assured that you have the Biggest, Baddest Father in the world and He will never let any of His children down. 


You also get to have a G.P.S. (God Provided Spirit) that will teach you and advise you on how to live your life. And even more awesome, those times when you are praying and don’t have the words, this Spirit from God, the Holy Spirit, prays the words for you. 


When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, God Himself comes and lives within you. It is sort of a foretaste to that living in eternity with Him. Now it can be kind of scary when you think of it but it is one of the most comforting things ever. You never walk alone again. God walks with you.


These are just a few things that happen…The one thing that stands out for me…we have a heart change. No longer do we have a heart of stone but are given one of love, peace, hope and joy…

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An Invitation To Joy

December 17, 2017

Stetson Memorial UMC

3rd Sunday of Advent

Sermon Series: “The Invitation”

Psalm 126 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Isaiah 61:1-2, 8-11 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Luke 1:46-55Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/joy

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2015/05/21/what-is-the-biblical-definition-of-joy-how-does-the-bible-define-joy/

 

 

“An Invitation to Joy…”

 

The Lord Be with you

and also with you

Let us pray…Pray for the Spirit’s Leading…

 

Please stand, as you are able, for the reading from the Gospel according to Luke. We are reading chapter 1, verses 46-55. Listen to the Word of God, the Love Sonnet, for you and me, the children of God…

 

“Ok, so I am offered Hope that I can have a relationship with God because of the invitation that Jesus gives me. The Second part is that I am offered peace. Not the worlds peace, I don’t think this world really knows what that means, but God’s peace that is unshakable…right?”  She was really beginning to understand the manger. So, she thought. “Right. But, we are also offered even more than that,” Esther explained. “we are offered joy.” Now Hope had a hard time with this. With the world the way it is, how can one find joy in the midst of it?

 

“What do you mean joy?” Hope asked. “WE all go around singing Joy to the world and it seems, well kind of naive. This world is full of hate and despair. You just gotta suck it up and deal. There is no way of finding any lasting joy. We may find a little piece of it then WHAM, it’s gone.” Hope explained. “There is no way around it.” “You are right, we can’t find a way around it. But real joy has nothing to do with us…just like piece. It has nothing to do with our circumstances and everything to do with Jesus who came so that we could have hope, peace, and joy. It is only in Him we find it…” Esther tried to clarify for Hope. She could see that Hope felt joyless and wanted her to understand the truth. “I know Jesus cam to give us all this, but I really don’t see how it is possible” Hope wept as she thought of all those she knew who were in pain and suffering. Esther knew she had a hard road ahead with Hope. How was she going to help this girl find what she was missing, even though it was right in front of her face?

 

Joy:

1 a : the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : delight

b : the expression or exhibition of such emotion : gaiety

2 : a state of happiness or felicity : bliss

3 : a source or cause of delight

Biblical Joy:

Joy is a permanent possession while happiness is fleeting. Joy stays, happiness comes and goes. Joy isn’t like happiness which is based upon happenings or whether things are going well or not. No, joy remains even amidst the suffering. Joy is one of the fruits or the results of having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. You cannot fake joy…you either have it or you don’t.

 

Good morning and welcome to “The Invitation…”  The invitation of Advent. We have begun our “Advent”ure to the feeding tough the Bread of Life, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ was laid in. It is the moment that God sent the invitation to all of humanity to come and see the babe in the manger and return forever changed. Without this invitation there is no Hope, no Peace, no Joy, and no Love…there is no invitation to Christ. Without “The Invitation”, there is no Resurrection Sunday morning.

 

We have pondered the questions why is this invitation important to you and I? What does this invitation consist of…do we know what actually laid in that manger when love came down? We have even asked the hard question if we “Christians”, are even aware of the joyous gift we are given and if we even accept the whole gift not just part. This season, I ask that you join me on an “Advent”ure. Let’s really look at what we are invited to. My prayer is as we do this…we are going to be changed. My prayer is as we journey together and discover or rediscover the excitement of “The Invitation.”

 

Last week, I asked you…and I… to do something truly radical. Something I feel is necessary for our journey. To empty our baggage, we carry at the door of Advent and walk through the door with empty suitcases. Now I am asking we leave with an empty suitcase for this reason, to fill it with the invitation. Now some of us go on vacation with and empty bag or almost empty. Why? So that we can fill it with things we gather on the journey. I am inviting us to gather all that we can to be able to bring it on our new journey of the New Year in the end. Even as we enter the story of hope, peace, joy, and love, we find it hard to believe at times.

 

 

We began with the first invitation of the “The Invitation” which is “an invitation to Hope.” Now I am talking about the Hope of the invitation… it is a hope of restoration with and to God. We talked about how the Israelites were leading a double life, giving God “lip service” instead of “life service”. They talked a great talk about God but behind the scenes they were bowing down to idols of the culture. Sounds familiar to us…praise God for His restoration project that began in the manger…we now have hope in ad through Jesus Christ…

 

And as we came closer the Angels tell us “do not be afraid for I bring you good news.” Fear can keep us from some of the awesome things in life because we are afraid to take the first step. Fear of the unknown… But as we approach we are offered second invitation, “An Invitation to Peace”. This peace has nothing to do with our situation but has everything to do with the Peace Maker lying in the manger. As we trust and have peace within us, we don’t tend to worry and that peace we bring into our lives and we are able to live peaceably with our neighbors…kind of like a for-taste of the Peaceable Kingdom, we can have that glimpse of the “Peaceable Kingdom” that will happen with Christ’s return.

 

“The Invitation” does not stop there. There is much more that it offers. Now how many of you have joy in their lives?  What gives you that joy…how do you sustain that joy? Give time to answer. In life, we have our difficulties. It can be hard to find joy. We look at the world round us and world around and see we may feel despair and even anger for what humanity does to each other and what it does to itself. Where is the joy?

 

In “The Invitation” of the manger, within the invitation of Advent, we are offered Joy. This morning we heard a song of Joy from Mary. She had just been told that she would bare the Holy One of Israel. She was a humble girl. She was a girl from a priestly line, so she knew about the promised savior.

 

Now in her situation, I think I may have been a little scared…maybe unhappy. Here I am, an unwed teenager, and now I am being told I am going to be pregnant, and my betrothed was not going to be the father. I would have to try to explain I was not unfaithful and that the child was going to be God’s child. Well in that day and time it would not have gone well for me. I would be told I was a liar and maybe even stoned to death. Where is the joy in that? But Mary rose above all of this and fond the Joy in her savior. She sang what I believe one of the most trusting, joyous, beautiful songs to God. Mary’s joy was found in the manger…the Savior of the world. That is where true joy comes from…everything else is just icing on the cake…

 

As Mary, we too can find true joy that has nothing to do with us and everything to do with the Anointed One who one day bring about the “Peaceable Kingdom.”  Listen to these words from Isaiah and take hold of the Joy within it…It may sound very familiar to Mary’s song…

Isaiah 61:1-2Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

61 The Spirit of Adonai Elohim is upon me,

because Adonai has anointed me

to announce good news to the poor.

He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted;

to proclaim freedom to the captives,

to let out into light those bound in the dark;

2 to proclaim the year of the favor of Adonai

and the day of vengeance of our God;

to comfort all who mourn,

Isaiah 61:8-11Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

8 “For I, Adonai, love justice;

I hate robbery for burnt offerings.

So I will be faithful to reward them

and make an eternal covenant with them.”

9 Their descendants will be known among the nations,

their offspring among the peoples;

all who see them will acknowledge

that they are the seed Adonai has blessed.

10 I am so joyful in Adonai!

My soul rejoices in my God,

for he has clothed me in salvation,

dressed me with a robe of triumph,

like a bridegroom wearing a festive turban,

like a bride adorned with her jewels.

11 For just as the earth brings forth its plants,

or a garden makes its plants spring up,

so Adonai, God, will cause victory and glory

to spring up before all nations.

This is the cause for our joy…this lies within “The Invitation.” We are clothed in Salvation, we are given the robe of triumph…of righteousness, we are beautifully adorned…we are the seed of Adonai…Joy unspeakable.

 

Within “The Invitation” was and is “An Invitation to Hope…”. Within “The Invitation” of Advent, God worked out His plan of the restoration of humanity to Himself. Within “The Invitation” is “an invitation” to all the promises of long ago were offered to all of humanity. Within “The Invitation” we are set free to hope once more.

Found within “The Invitation” we have “An Invitation to Peace”, the peace beyond all understanding. This peace has nothing to do with you or I and how we are feeling but it has to do exclusively with the One who offers it. He is the One who says, “Come near the manger and be set free…Come and accept the offer of the invitation to come and see…Come and have life eternally…Come without fear and trust in Me. Come and feel the Joy uncontainable joy I have to offer.”

 

 

+Maybe…just maybe…we can have joy in a world full of despair. Perhaps as we focus on the manger and all that it stands for we will be able to understand and recieve what it has to offer. I would like to leave you with some something to consider…It is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24…

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

16 Always be joyful. 17 Pray regularly. 18 In everything give thanks, for this is what God wants from you who are united with the Messiah Yeshua.

19 Don’t quench the Spirit, 20 don’t despise inspired messages. 21 But do test everything — hold onto what is good, 22 but keep away from every form of evil.

23 May the God of shalom make you completely holy — may your entire spirit, soul and body be kept blameless for the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 24 The one calling you is faithful, and he will do it.

 

“Joy to the World the Lord Has Come. Let Earth Receive Her King”

Shalom

Amen…

What Is This Love

 

December 24, 2017

Stetson Memorial UMC

4th Sunday of Advent

Christmas Eve Morning

Sermon Series: “The Invitation”

“An Invitation To Love”

https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/290

https://www.gotquestions.org/agape-love.html

 

 

“What Is This Love…”

 

Lord may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, mind, and soul be pleasing to you. May your words be head through me or in spite of me. For you are my Rock, my Redeemer, My Anchor and Friend, my First Love…

 

Good morning and welcome to “The Invitation…”  The invitation of Advent. We are almost to the end of our “Advent”ure to the feeding tough the Bread of Life, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ was laid in. It is the moment that God sent the invitation to all of humanity to come and see the babe in the manger and return forever changed. Without this invitation there is no Hope, no Peace, no Joy, and no Love…there is no invitation to Christ. Without “The Invitation”, there is no Resurrection Sunday morning.

 

We have emptied our bags, our life’s suitcase so to speak, at the door way of Advent and entered in with bags waiting to be filled. suitcases. We have filled it with the Hope that is found within the manger, an invitation of the Hope of a restored relationship with God. As we came closer the Angels tell us “do not be afraid for I bring you good news.” We gathered up and packed the clothing of Peace found in the manger, an invitation to the Peace that we are never alone, and we know that at life’s end we will be with the One who offers that peace. We have gathered the words of the song of Joy and packed them near the top so that we can sing them often, an invitation to sing for Joy because no matter what we face, the One in the manger is the One who gives real Joy, not our circumstances.

 

Today we light the candle of Love. What is this love? Love is more of an action than a feeling, true Love that is. True love, offers grace when someone has offended us, even though the offender may never ask for it. True love gives of one’s self, even when they don’t feel like it. True love doesn’t hold grudges or plans its revenge, but offers mercy in spite of the situation. True love looks for the good, even when there is no good in sight. True love always believes that good will triumph over evil. True love is patient and kind, even when others are acting unkindly. True love believes, even when all hope seems to be lost. True love conquers, even in the fiercest fight. True love always wins…

 

What is this love? What is “The Invitation” to “An Invitation” to?

  • It is an invitation to unconditional love.
  • It is an invitation to acceptance, right where we stand.
  • It is an invitation to learn to love…truly love.
  • It is an invitation to the most excellent way of living.
  • It is an invitation to a family of love.
  • It is an invitation to what is called “Agape Love”. The essence of agape love is goodwill, benevolence, and willful delight in the object of love. This love is far more than the romantic type of love we feel for our husband or wife. It is a love even far deeper than the love for a child. Agape love involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. It is the love God offers from the manger. God loves because that is His nature and the expression of His being. He loves the unlovable and the unlovely, not because we deserve to be loved or because of any excellence we possess, but because it is His nature to love and He must be true to His nature. “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” 
  • This is the love of the manger. This is “The Invitation” of the Manger.

 

What is this love? It is the bring you to your knees in adoration because you are loved unconditionally. It is the make you weep every time you begin to realize that YOU ARE LOVED, and there is nothing you can do about it. It is what draws you near the stable. It is what brings you back to the manger… It is what God offered humanity over 2000 years ago. It what He still offers today.

 

“How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous! How wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!”

 

“Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love to and for the World the Lord Has Come. Let Earth Receive Her King”

 

Amen…

 

Prayer 12/15/17

Infinite, Loving, Eternal, Holy, Awesome, Renewing, Recreating, Living, Righteous, Life Giving, Lover of my soul, the very Breathe of Life, thank You for another awesomely, beautiful day dawning on the horizon.

As we stand on the precipice of today, give me the courage to step through its gates for Your strength is what I need. As we sojourn together today, illuminate the way so that I will follow Your path and not stray to the left or to the right.

Give me laser like focus on You as I traverse the waters of this world. Help me to find the way that leads directly to Your heart. Speak Words of peace, of hope, of grace, of love into my very soul as I live abandoned to You and Your purposes in my life and within my calling.

Lead on God of Angel Armies, Your handmaiden is ready to follow where the road leads, trusting only in my Lord…my God…my Savior.

AMEN…Amen…and amen..

The Eyes of God

 

 

June 25, 2017

Stetson Memorial UMC

Sermon Series:

“Mending Fences-Healing the Heart…”

“Healing Vision”

Adapted from Marcia McPhee’

“On the Mend” Sermon Series

Psalm 86:1-10

Mark 10:46-52NLT

Matthew 8:5-8; 13 NIV

 

 

“The Eyes of God…!”

 

The Lord be with you

And also with you

Let us pray (Prayer that God’s Word is heard through me or in-spite of me)

 

Please stand for the Gospel according to Mark, chapter 10, verses 46-52 Listen to the word of God from His love letter to His beloved, you, and I…

 

(Read Scripture from the NLT Bible)

 

As Hope and Joy went down the hallway to the coffee shop, they both thought about what had happened that day. They thought about Grace and how she could forgive, how she was able to put things into perspective. They both wanted that for their lives. They were at the threshold of something bigger than themselves. What would they do with this new-found way of thinking?

 

“It really has been a rough few day,” Joy said with a sigh. “It sure has” said Hope, “look, I am really sorry for what happened. If I had known what was going to happen I would have never…” “It’s ok Hope. I know it wasn’t your fault. I was just upset I couldn’t see the truth. Will you forgive me Hope?” Joy asked. Hope was taken back by these words…”me forgive you…I the one who needs forgiveness. I would have felt the same way if I was you,” Hope explained to Joy. “I acted so un-Christ-like…I wish I could take it all back.” Joy said as she took hopes hand, “Please forgive me for that much at least.” “How about we forgive each other” Hope said with a smile. “Yes…let’s do that.”

 

As they shared coffee and more conversation nurse Faith came into the Coffee Shop at the hospital. “I have been looking everywhere for you two. I have some great news to share. Your friend Grace, is going to be all right and can go home the day after tomorrow. I told you everything was going to be all right…you just have to have a little faith,” Faith explained. At this news, the two friends began to cry as they both stood to hug Faith.

 

“I am so sorry I judged you Hope. I never realized who you really are until we took time to talk with one another.” Joy said as they watched nurse Faith walk away. “Well Joy I also did the same to you and I am sorry. You really do love like Jesus. You are human too and have times when your feelings get the best of you.” Hope said as she and Joy walked towards the door of the Coffee Shop”. “Thanks for being there when Grace needed us. I admit that at first, I was afraid of you but you truly are a good friend. I didn’t trust you because you were different. I am glad we got to know each other and I realize we are a lot a like you and I.” Joy said as they began to laugh.

 

“Laughter…it heals the soul,” Hope said, “Let’s go see if we can share that healing laughter with Grace. Oh, by the way, sorry that I judged you as one of those “would be Christians”. I was holding on to what happened in my past that I couldn’t see the present of the present. Thanks for opening my eyes to the truth. You truly are a good friend.”

 

As the girls walked together by the hallway they could feel this sort of light heatedness about them. Neither knew what was in store for them and their friendship. They had more to learn as the journeyed together to a place much bigger than themselves.

 

But that part of the story is for another day…

 

Good morning. Well here we are together again. WE have been walking this road of healing with each other for 9 weeks now. It doesn’t seem that long. We have heard Hope’s story…and by the way…this is not all of hopes story…I have more for her and I am writing a “Hope’s Story” sort of book with much more about her journey and the people she encounters on it…

 

For weeks now we have been talking about what ails us. We have had a lot of good conversation over our ailments as we have been interactive with one another during our sermon time…so, I need audience participation. In the story that I just shared with you, what stands out for you? Give time for answers. What stands out for me is the growth they have had in this story. They both thought they knew what life was about and judged people they met but they both now have had an “eye opening experience” that has probably changed their lives forever…

 

I truly believe that we as Christ church…followers of the Way…need to have conversation of what ails us. What is hurting inside of us. What hold us back from living the life, individually and collective, that we are offered through Jesus. We need to heal what ails us to be the relevant Christians. We need to let go and let God as we move forward as God’s people and take back our streets…the places where we are called to share the Gospel of Grace, Hope, Joy, and Faith. Without healing, what ails us we can’t call ourselves Christ followers because we can’t follow His example in the world. We want to be those Resurrected people. We can spend the tomb with our comfortable “death cloths” …not leaving those things behind that bind us… But we need to put on the robe of righteousness that we receive in and through Christ.

 

Today I want us to continue to talk about another ailment we, as humanity, get plagued with…that stop us from living that life in Christ, as we mend fences and heal the heart. We need mending…we are all broken. If we say we are not we lie. We live in a fallen world…we live in a world of chaos…we live in a place where everything is turned upside down. But praise Jesus, He can turn it all right-side up for us again as we travel the road of healing and are mended from the inside out. What in us needs mending? My hope is that as we continue to have that conversation it will lead to healing. Conversation is hard but it is vital if we want to be that vital congregation for Christ.

 

So, some of the ailments we have talked about are…

  1. Our intentions and the fact that, whether we like it or not, there are times when our intentions may be not so helpful.
  2. Our inhibitions keep us from being open to others. How there are many things that cause us to be closed off to the very ones that Jesus came to save…including ourselves.
  3. Fear is one of the biggest things that keeps us from being who God would have us be. Fear immobilizes us and keeps us stuck in the mud…unable to move forward for Christ and the Good News. Maybe even the fear of Hope as she is walking through our door…
  4. There is also the sickness of “pride”. Pride is not a bad thing unless it gets in the way of being that loving community that the “Hope’s” of the world need.
  5. The disease of division. As we work together…and not just give up and leave…the most important thing to remember is we need to take our division to the Way Maker, our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ, He will stand in gap for us as we work our way back to unity and as we bring our hurts and ailments to the Balm of Gilead, we are healed from the inside out.
  6. Another thing that ails us as people and as a church is Miss-Trust. Lady Ms. Trust loves to come in and stir up a whole lot of nothing and sit back as we begin to come unglued together because we are suspicious and untrusting each other.
  7. “holdouts” … holding on to things that should be released to God. They keep pushing the bolder up the hill and not letting the Creator of all make rubble out of it…
  8. Power struggles-the ones who have a need to control. This one began with the first twelve disciples and continues today.

There are times when we are blind and we just can’t see. Blindness is another one of the things that ails us. How do you think we, as Christ’s church…on a whole? Give time to answer. What about our church? What do you think we are blinded to or by? Give time to answer. How do you think we can receive our sight again? Give time to answer.

 

There are many healing stories in the bible. I think that one of the most frequent types of healing that Jesus gave was vision. Why do you think that it was and is important to Jesus for our vision to be healed? Give time to answer. In the healing account from the scripture I read this morning, one thing really stands out for me. All the man did was ask and it was given. Jesus didn’t spit on his eyes or make mud and put it on his eyes. All Jesus did was say your faith has healed you…that’s it…nothing else.

 

There is one thing from this healing that jumps out for me. As blind Bartimaeus got up…he threw aside his coat, jumped up and came to Jesus. He knew he was in for a heling. Because Jesus bid him come he knew that Jesus was going to heal him. So, he threw off his death cloths…the clothes of a beggar… jumped up and ran to Jesus… He ran to the healer of all that was ailing him. Now my question is this… Are we willing to throw aside our death clothes and run out of our tombs to the only one who can heal our brokenness? I think that is or main ailment…brokenness…

 

Do we have the faith to heal our eyesight? Give time to answer. As we bring what ails us to Jesus He will heal us. As we bring our sorrow and struggles to Jesus he says, “be healed…your faith has healed you.” Jesus say the word and we will be healed. The faith of the centurion healed his servant in Matthew 8 verses 5-8 and 13:

5 “When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.

 

13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.”

 

It is all about faith… It really is as simple as faith. In just one word, Jesus can heal us. As we bring our sicknesses to Jesus it is our faith in Him and His ability to heal that heals us. If we did not believe we would not be healed… Talks about my knee

 

Beloved children of the Most High God. Jesus is calling us out of our tombs and in to His Glorious Light and be healed of our ailments. What is ailing us…as a church…as individuals…as one body? How can we be on the mend, of fences and our hearts? I know that there are things we just don’t want to talk about…there are things that we just don’t want to hear. But we cannot/will not let fear stop us from healing what ails us, personally and collectively.

 

So, how’s your eye sight? Are you and I…is Christ’s church…our church…in need of some vision revision? Are we walking around blindly trying to see the least and lost only being that our selves…least and lost? Or…are we ready for a new set of eyes, God’s eyes? Without His eye sight and love vision we cannot see the sacred around us. We live in a world that is dark and it is afraid of the light. How will we see in the dark if we are not looking through the eyes of the Light of the World? Are we ready…are you and I ready…to have our eyes and hearts open By the One who can give us 20/20 vision? Or will we continue to grope around in the dark? The choice is ours to make.

 

Think about the Hope’s of this world. Would she see the eyes of kindness, love, and servitude if she walked through our doors? I ask that we prayerfully come together…as family…to heal what ails us. I passionately want us to be that church that Hope would hear about the goodness of God and feel the oneness of our church as we work through our faith journey together trusting in the One who knows us best.

 

I think Hope is ready to come in now…Maybe…just maybe…we will find hope in Hope, we will be joyful as we find our Joy in the world…and be changed forever by Grace…that is if we have Faith…

 

Amen.

Whose In Charge Here…

https://youtu.be/74g7haOb66o

 

June 18, 2017

Stetson Memorial UMC

Father’s Day!

Sermon Series:

“Mending Fences-Healing the Heart…”

“Healing Power”

Adapted from Marcia McPhee’

“On the Mend” Sermon Series

Psalm 100

Mark 10:35-45 MSG

Mark 9:30; 10:13-16; 20:16

 

 

“Who’s In Charge Here Anyway…!”

 

The Lord be with you

And also with you

Let us pray (Prayer that God’s Word is heard through me or in-spite of me)

 

Please stand for the Gospel according to Mark, chapter 10, verses 35-45 Listen to the word of God from His love letter to His beloved, you and I…

 

(Read Scripture from the MSG Bible)

 

Hope was a little nervous about seeing her friends but there was something about nurse Faith that gave her a sense of ease. She knew that this was going to be hard…letting go the rock, but it was something she needed to do. She didn’t realize how much she was going to need this new found thought pattern. But it was going to be a turning point in her life that she never expected.

 

When she entered the room, she was shocked to see her friend Grace. She was all hooked up to tubes and the sound of the heart monitor shook her to her core. “How could this have happened? I was only trying to introduce Grace and Joy to my friends so that they could see that they were nice, just like me. Why God are you doing this to me? What did I ever do to deserve this? I only wanted friends and now you have taken that away from me too…” Hope thought. As if she could read Hope’s mind, nurse Faith put her arm around Hope and said “it looks worse than it really is. She is going to be OK. It is just going to take some time for her to heal.” With these words, Hope relaxed a little. She knew her friend was going to be ok.

 

“What do you want” Joy asked as she sat by graces bed side. “I just wanted to check to see how Grace was doing and to apologize again for what happened at the river front. I had no idea any of this was going to happen. I am so happy to have people care about me. And of course, I messed it all up. I hope you will forgive me one day.” Hope said through tear filled eyes. “We will see about that…maybe in time” Joy said. “I told you not to say that. We talked about what God would want us to do. And if I can forgive about what happened, so should you. Besides, I really don’t think she brought us there to hurt us…she too was in danger.” Grace said from her bed.

 

Hope almost fell to the floor when she heard Grace’s voice and what she had to say about forgiveness. “I am so sorry Grace. I will never forgive myself for this” Hope said. “Now hope…as I said to Joy…if I can forgive what has happened…” Grace said, “and another thing. Next time when someone tells you a situation looks bad…listen to them please…” Grace laughed.

 

“Ok…I think that is enough excitement for one day. Grace needs to get some rest. She has a long road to travel but with friends like you, it will be made easier” Faith said to the girls. “Ok…well I will see you tomorrow” Joy said to her friend “Me too” said Hope.

 

As the two girls left the room and walked down the hall together, Hope said to Joy, “How can she do that? How can she forgive and move on? I would never talk to me again if I was in her shoes.” “That’s why she is named Grace. She is the most Christ-like person I know. She showers people with the grace of Jesus even when they don’t deserve it. Just like we aren’t worthy of Jesus’ grace…we are offered it anyway because of His love. It is out of that same love that Grace can do what she does so well…let go and let God be the ruler and King of her life…to give God all the power that is due Him” Joy explained.” “wow…now that’s something I would love to be able to do.” Hope exclaimed. “So, would I” Joy agreed, “so would I. Hey…let’s go somewhere where we can talk.” “Yah…I think we really need to do that” Hope said “I think Grace would like that too…”

 

Good morning. Happy Father’s Day. We celebrate the fathers and like-fathers in our lives as we celebrate their ministry of parenthood within our lives. And yes…Parenthood is a ministry…not for the faint at heart…

For weeks now we have been talking about what ails us. We have had a lot of good conversation over our ailments as we have been interactive with one another during our sermon time…so, I need audience participation. In the story that I just shared with you, what stands out for you? Give time for answers. What stands out for me is

 

I truly believe that we as Christ church…followers of the Way…need to have conversation of what ails us. What is hurting inside of us. What hold us back from living the life, individually and collective, that we are offered through Jesus. We need to heal what ails us to be the relevant Christians. We need to let go and let God as we move forward as God’s people and take back our streets…the places where we are called to share the Gospel of Grace, Hope, Joy, and Faith. Without healing, what ails us we can’t call ourselves Christ followers because we can’t follow His example in the world. We want to be those Resurrected people. We can spend the tomb with our comfortable “death cloths” …not leaving those things behind that bind us… But we need to put on the robe of righteousness that we receive in and through Christ.

 

Today I want us to continue to talk about some of the things that ail us…that stop us from living that life in Christ, as we mend fences and heal the heart. Now, there may be no fences that need mending but we are all broken. What in us needs mending? My hope is that we will have that conversation that will lead to healing. Conversation is hard but it is vital if we want to be that vital congregation for Christ.

 

We have talked about intentions and the fact that, whether we like it or not, there are times when our intentions may be not so helpful. We talked about those times that our inhibitions keep us from being open to others. How there are many things that cause us to be closed off to the very ones that Jesus came to save…including ourselves.

 

Fear is one of the biggest things that keeps us from being who God would have us be. Fear immobilizes us and keeps us stuck in the mud…unable to move forward for Christ and the Good News. fear of the future, fear of finances, fear of those who may come through this door…Maybe even the fear of Hope as she is walking through our door…

 

There is also the sickness of “pride”. Pride can cause us to do a lot of crazy things… Now being proud is not really a bad thing…we should take pride in what we do. But there are times when our pride gets in the way of being that loving community that the “Hope’s” of the world need.

 

I think the most vicious and viral disease in and to the body of Christ is the disease of division. As we work together…and not just give up and leave…the most important thing to remember is we need to take our division to the Way Maker, our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ, He will stand in gap for us as we work our way back to unity. As we bring our hurts and ailments to the Balm of Gilead, we are healed from the inside out.

 

Another thing that ails us as people and as a church is Miss-Trust. Lady Ms. Trust loves to come in and stir up a whole lot of nothing and sit back as we begin to come unglued together because we are suspicious and untrusting each other. And there are still others that are “holdouts”… holding on to things that should be released to God. They keep pushing the bolder up the hill and not letting the Creator of all make rubble out of it…

 

What about those who like to be in power…the ones who have a need to control? How many of you have been in a power struggle? How did that make you feel? Give time to answer. Did that struggle get you anywhere? Give time to answer. You know this whole power struggle thing, has always been in play. In the Garden of Eden…Adam and Eve felt that they wanted to be like God and the snake made Eve think that God was holding out on her. She wanted the power…to be like God. I imagine it was the same for Adam because he ate too… So…do you think there is a problem with power within Christ’s church? Give time to answer. What about our own little corner of the world…right here within our own walls? Give time to answer.

 

From the Mark scripture this morning, we hear how the disciples are continuing that road of not understanding. They still weren’t getting it. They had that whole power struggle thing right down to a science. They had heard what Jesus told the rich young ruler from Mark 10:17-22…to get rid of his wealth and follow Him. But this ruler had a lot of possessions and of course power probably came with that and he refused to give up the powerJesus was telling him to give it up and give Him the power. Nope couldn’t do it…To follow Jesus we must give up the power to Him…to be His hands and feet, we must give up our own in place of His… These men…these disciples of Christ…were complaining that others, who were not part of them…part of their power group, were casting out demons in Jesus’ name. Remember Mark 9:38 “John spoke up, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t in our group.” Pride rear’s it’s ugly head here as well. We are proud and we have the power…

 

Within this scripture from Mark 10:35-45, we hear about what Jesus says what real power looks like.

“Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.”

 

Jesus came to set the hostage free…not to Lord it over them…as He could have. He put on the stance of a servant in order to show humanity a more excellent way of life. It is this stance He is calling us to adopt as our own…not power our way into and for what we want but being humble as He was…thinking of others above ourselves and power as not something we want to ascertain for ourselves but to empower others in and through the Gospel of grace. Mark 10:13-16 tells us that we are to come with the trust and humility of a child in order to gain the Kingdom of God…

 

Beloved children of the Most High God. Jesus is calling us out of our tombs and in to His Glorious Light and be healed of our ailments. What is ailing us…as a church…as individuals…as one body? How can we be on the mend, of fences and our hearts? I know that there are things we just don’t want to talk about…there are things that we just don’t want to hear. But we cannot/will not let fear stop us from healing what ails us, personally and collectively.

 

So, who really is in charge here? Are we taking matters into our own hands, our own strength? Or is there a power far above us that we cling too? We live in a world where power and prestige are at the top of the list for living a “perfect life”. If you don’t have it you are weak. On the road to Damascus, the Apostille Paul had a “come to Jesus” meeting. He was had power and prestige as Saul. But in his encounter, he realized that it is when he was weak…he was stronger than he had ever been…his eyes were open to this truth. Are we ready…are you and I ready…to have our eyes and hearts open to the real power that is offered to us in and through Jesus Christ? Or will we grab all the power we think we can to live a life of leisure? The choice is ours to make.

 

Think about the Hope’s of this world. Would we over power her with our own strength or over power her with kindness, love and servitude? I ask that we prayerfully come together…as family…to heal what ails us. I passionately want us to be that church that Hope would hear about the goodness of God and feel the oneness of our church as we work through our faith journey together trusting in the One who knows us best.

 

Maybe…just maybe…Hope will come through our doors. What will she find here?

 

Amen.

 

 

 

Step into the eye

 

Matthew 14:22-32New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus Walks on Water

22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.

24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”

27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”

28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.

Jesus went away to pray. this was not something that was out of the ordinary. The scriptures give several instances that Jesus went away in seclusion to spend time with God alone.  It was within that time that He was strengthen for the path ahead of Him. He knew that the path ahead was going to be difficult and He would need the Fathers strength to endure all that was going to happen.

and so now we have the scene of the disciples in the boat. It was be tossed too and fro and they we more than likely afraid. Who wouldn’t be. When we are at the brink of our Red Sea…when we are in the fire storm we too are in need of strength…a place of calmness…a quiet place… But Jesus walked to the disciples within the storm that was raging all around them… Within their storm…within our storm Jesus is saying do not be afraid for I am here… We may not be able to recognize Him within the chaos but He is there (I will never leave you or forsake you…I will be with you until the end of age)

Jesus walked on the water at 3 am (there is a sacredness about this time during the night watch). We read how Peter did the same. But it all occurred in the midst of the storm… It wasn’t until they got back in the boat that the storm subsided. It was quieted by Jesus’ presence…

Jesus comes to us in the midst of the storm and  invites us to step out of the boat being tossed to and fro…out of our fear…out of our chaos…out of our doubt…and walk with Him above it all. When we focus on Him, we enter the eye of the storm.,,where we find peace in the midst of the storms raging in our lives…in the midst of the fire storm…

Take that leap and fall into the arms of the One who can calm even the strongest tempest…