Archive for March, 2010
Theme: God uses all gifts and talents for God’s will. Be ready, be useful with what you have.
28 After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, "Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’" 32 So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?" 34 They said, "The Lord needs it." 35 Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38 saying, "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!" 39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, order your disciples to stop." 40 He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out." NRSV
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord”
The message we have to share:
The message of Palm Sunday is to announce to the world, that
our hopes are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
“ok fine, but who do we say it to? Just anyone, Tell everyone?”
Corporate, Collective message: all the people who followed, lined the streets and actively took part in the parade.
Part of the pageantry of Holy Week attempts to capture this Celebration:
Think about Palm Sunday – Acknowledging and Telling Jesus is King.
Maundy Thursday – Jesus gives us a means of grace in Holy Communion
Good Friday – Jesus died OUR death and PAID for our sins
Easter Sunrise – Meeting Jesus in OUR lives
To get ready…
Shopping List for worship
Pair of disciples, friends, Colt, Cloaks, Stones
Involve your friends in your faith work…. Share the work.
Transportation…. For celebration.
Clothes….. for worship.
Stoned Singers… God is willing to use whatever is around for praise.
Order your Disciples to Stop what they are doing..
Some folks will tell you what NOT to do… Don’t do this or don’t do that..
You who Do, do what God says to do, are often too few
…We cannot stop the work and witness of God, but we can stop it through us.
"Going up to Jerusalem" is literal, since Jerusalem is at a higher elevation than most of the towns of Palestine. The road Jesus is traveling rises from 850 feet below sea level at Jericho, to elevation of 2,100 to 2,526 feet above sea level at Jerusalem. Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan is set along the Jericho Road (Luke 10:25-37), though Jesus is in little danger from bandits, since he is traveling with a large number of followers and the roads are crowded with pilgrims going up to Jerusalem for Passover.
The Mount of Olives, located just east of Jerusalem, is a ridge about 2-1/2 miles long, part of the north-south mountain chain. If you stand where the Jericho Road crosses the ridge, to the west is the city of Jerusalem across the Kidron Valley, and just to the east of the summit lie the towns of Bethphage and Bethany.
Bethphage is a suburb of Jerusalem, its name in Aramaic meaning "house of the early figs." Scholars aren’t sure of the precise location. But the medieval Crusaders accepted a site about 1 km east of the summit where a Franciscan chapel is now located. The site had been occupied between the Second Century BC through the Eighth Century AD.
Bethany is the town where Jesus’ friends live — Lazarus, Martha, and Mary — at whose home he was a welcome guest whenever he was in the City. It is also the place of the Ascension (Luke 24:50-51), located about 2 miles east of Jerusalem on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, identified by early Christian tradition with the Palestinian town el-Azariyeh.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written, "One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ " Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, "He will command his angels concerning you,’ and "On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ " Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, "Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ " Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! for it is written, "Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ " Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.
Jesus was temped with a loaf of bread, testing the scriptures, and a palace with 10,000 mile view.
I don’t know if we can actually relate to these…
maybe there are foods not on our healthy died that we are tempted to eat, but its more than dieting.
At stake: WORSHIP: Set apart to be with God in name only.
APPROVAL: Amazing crowds seeing Jesus’ glory and protection as Mighty Messiah
POWER: using God’s power for his own gain
It the Physical Our Priority?
If there is no other witness, does it matter how you behave?
FASTing for forty days.. he had nothing to eat. He had to have had water, but ate nothing..
Focusing all of his presence, all of his senses, all of his being… undistracted and uncluttered.
Look out across the desert and stones look like loaves of bread..
Temptation & the Body: Something stimulates or even anticipate stimulation: our senses & we react.
We are drawn to the fire for warmth… sometimes we get burned
We are thirsty and we drink.. sometimes we confuse what we thirsty for..
We feel safe in the company of others… sometimes we are not comfortable with our trust self
We feel safe when we are alone… some times we are avoiding being together.
Jesus’ temptation is not only about a single loaf of bread… it is about what we are feeding first:
In the event of a mid-air crisis and we loose cabin pressure, a mask will drop down,
Put your own mask on so that you can assist others.
Before Jesus can begin his ministry, he must be prepared, conditioned and spiritually read.
Would a loaf of bread prepare his spirit? No when he was fasting..
BOTTOM LINE: We know Jesus knows what it means to make his body and things in the world his priority.
Fasting is about giving our bodies to God: To satisfy the body’s hunger does not necessarily help us.
If out of our poverty, we are called to feed the hungry in Jesus Name.
If in our personal devotion and worship we fast.. we are making a ‘thing’ not the priority.
IF we get tripped up in the little things, we will surely fail the weightier ones.
Is what I think the Priority,
What do other think about me? What do other expect of me? Who’s child am I anyway?
I have a body. Why would God make us in bodily form if God wants us to have a spiritual relationship.
If God has given us a mind, shouldn’t we use it, and use it to its fullest extent.
There is a temptation to rationalize a relationship of dependence on a creator
There are millions who believe in self willed reality – if I will it, If I think it, If I realize it in my mind,
I can make it so.., If things don’t go the way I will them, either I need to work harder or I didn’t
Actually want something in the first place.
Jesus’ temptation is not about jumping down from one building in the middle of town for all to see..
It is about the struggle for what is real, what is true, what has meaning…
Q: Is Jesus thinking of Jesus first or God first?
Q: Wouldn’t jumping off the temple draw a crowd and folks would be impressed!
Certainly Jesus could call legions of help to protect him from every danger, but simply knowing something is possible doesn’t make it true. It’s possible I will load the dishwasher… I can visualize it in my head, but not yet have I experienced it to be actual, no matter my intellectual accent, study or focus.
Bottom Line on Using our Minds..
A Mind is a terrible thing to waste.. on pride, greed, and fear..
Jesus faces having the right answer vs being in the right relationship with God.
You can know all there is to know about the scriptures and not find God in your own heart.
Jesus Chooses to know the scriptures, but to Love the God above them…
If we don’t want to think about something, we won’t be accountable for it, right? (sarcasm)
Power Spiritual Priority..
Giving power tools to an infant.. sounds dangerous.
Giving car keys and a cell phone to a seven year old… sounds foolish.
Giving the presidential ‘football’ with nuclear key codes to a world with nutty folks.. un-thinkable.
If we are indeed people of body and earth… the stuff we have been created of..
If we are indeed given a powerful mind and personal will.
Why not use our body, our things, our knowledge and experience, to do as much good as we can.
Surely God is and wants to see more of us..
More than rule followers. More than users of creation / more than passengers
Aren’t we suppose to do as much good as we can?
Jesus’ temptation is to use God’s power, gifts and love for our will rather than God’s.
Our Temptation is to use the power, gifts, life and love for our will, over Gods…
Example: When we begin to build the “I’ve earned it” attitude… This is my pew, my pulpit, my service,
my gift, even our church, our work,..
Taking a political view of a spiritual relationship: Using people to make our self comfortable or
Protecting our turf.. when it is God’s to start with..
Think about your own experience and the power of temptation: (long before the devil shows up, I can find plenty that tempts my body, my mind, and my use of God’s gifts. SO WHAT? Better stick with Jesus.. he made it through alive.. I choose life, so I follow Jesus.
1 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5 "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?" 6 (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) 7 Jesus said, "Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me." (John 12.1-8 NRSV)
Among the Hebrews, the act of anointing with the Holy anointing oil was significant in consecration to a holy or sacred use: hence the anointing of the high priest (Exodus 29:29; Leviticus 4:3) and of the sacred vessels (Exodus 30:26). Later, Kings and Prophets were given the right to partake in this sacrament as well.
Medicinal: Olive oil was used also for medicinal purposes. It was applied to the sick, and also to wounds (Psalms 109:18; Isaiah 1:6).
Preparation: “Baseball Glove: Neatsfoot oil” : The expression, "anoint the shield" (Isaiah 21:5), refers to the custom of rubbing oil on the leather of the shield so as to make it supple and fit for use in war.
Hospitality: It was the custom of the Jews in like manner to anoint themselves with oil, as a means of refreshing or invigorating their bodies (Deuteronomy 28:40; Ruth 3:3; 2 Samuel 14:2; Psalms 104:15, etc.). The Hellenes had similar customs. This custom is continued among the Arabs to the present day.
Authority: Priests and kings: The High Priest and the king are each sometimes called "the anointed" (Leviticus 4:3-5, 4:16; 6:20; Psalm 132:10). Prophets were also anointed with the Holy anointing oil.(1 Kings 19:16; 1 Chronicles 16:22; Psalm 105:15). Anointing a king was equivalent to crowning him; in fact, in Israel a crown was not required (1 Samuel 16:13; 2 Samuel 2:4, etc.). Thus David was anointed as king by the prophet Samuel: hen Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.—1 Samuel 16:13.
The Messiah: distinct from the Jewish view, Christians[who?] believe the "anointed" one referred to in various biblical verses such as Psalm 2:2 and Daniel 9:25-26 is the promised Messiah. According to the Jewish Bible, whenever someone was anointed with the specific Holy anointing oil formula and ceremony described in Exodus 30:22-25, the Spirit of God came upon this person, to qualify him or her for a God-given task. Believing that Jesus was never anointed in this way, some Christians take a spiritual reading of anointed, and believe that Jesus was "anointed" with the Holy Spirit directly According to the New Testament, Jesus of Nazareth is this Anointed One, the Messiah (John 1:41; Acts 9:22; 17:2-3; 18:5, 18:28). The Gospels also state that he was physically "anointed" by an anonymous woman who is interpreted by some as Mary Magdalene; however, this anointing was not in the fashion described in Exodus, but rather an anointing done out of affection, which Jesus stated was to prepare him for his burial.
Hospitality: Anointing was also an act of hospitality, as Jesus was anointed in the house of the Pharisee (Luke 7:38-46).
Medicinal: The New Testament records that oil was applied to the sick, and also to wounds Mark 6:13; James 5:14).
Burial: The bodies of the dead were sometimes anointed (Mark 14:8; Luke 23:56).
Mary, anoints Jesus.. oil and frankincense, for king. Olive oil for healing and protection would have been fine.
* classification of Dipsacales (in Dipsacales (plant order): Valerianaceae) …is a perennial herb prized for its spicy, fragrant flowers; it is native in Europe and Western Asia. Its dried rhizome yields valerian, a natural sedative. Nardostachys grandiflora (spikenard) is a perennial herb of the Himalayas that produces an essential oil in its woody rhizomes.
It is from steam distillation of the woody root that the oil is collected.
Nard is most likely a yellows honey like viscosity
It was used to calm or tranquilizing effect
In its pure state it would burn the skin and linger for some time..
I learned through a difficult experience… placing a q-tip in nard and wiping it across the back of the bulletins sent two members to the emergency room when they touched the oil to their eyes.
It smells like a greenhouse filled with gardenias… It has a spicy hint like cardamom. It feels sticky like honey. It’s sent is so strong that it burns the eyes.
Why does Mary anoint Jesus? As an act of worship..
Anointing is generally a small amount of oil, usually olive or olive with frankincense, as a sign.
Poor Costly Nard ( Rev. D.M. Brantley )
Nard applied to his feet, dirty feet, Smelly, dusty feet.
Why waste the costly nard to clean dirty feet?
Why waste the expensive salve
On the crusty and corn infested feet
Of a wandering Galilean rabbi?
Of a better use, Judas imposes,
For the sake of the poor
That precious ointment stuff could be traded
To a proud lady, (Who has no need for body lotions),
So soft, clean and unexposed to the sun and wind
And Palestinian sands.
Pricely nard Is her fragrance of affluence and stature?
Why waste it on common, dirty feet?
Feet that know not the smell of feel
Of softness and gentle caress.
Ask not “Why?” says he;
It is a beautiful thing
That has been done for me,
An act that always will be told
As the anointing for my burial.
Go, Judas, he is ready to be sold.
Waste not the nard,
Waste not the man,
Thirty pieces of silver await
To help you feed the poor.
Poor Jesus’ feet.
Poor costly nard.
Poor traitor, Judas.
Mary is worshiping Jesus in a way that was RADICAL hospitality.
Mary is pouring out her whole heart in way that showed her PASSIONATE worship
Mary is placing herself at Jesus’ feet with the INTENTIONAL place of spiritual connection
Mary is cross the traditions and expectation of others as a RISK TAKING service to Jesus as the Christ
Mary is acting EXTRAVAGENTLY with her generosity in giving her gift to Christ.
The fruit of Mary’s actions point to the effect Jesus had on her life.
Think of everyone else in the house:
Lazarus, raised from the dead… he had something to shout about, he is silent
Martha, who had been busy cleaning, decoration, preparing and planning… is not near Jesus
11 of the Disciples are silent… they had seen miracles, healings and teachings… they sit there..
Judas, speaks up: She is wasteful.. that $300 could have fed the 5000, she has no business sense.
Any others there: silent, absent, unknown..
Preparing for Christ is not waiting in fear or silence..
Preparing for Christ is GRASPING the moment and living it FULLY for Christ!
WHERE DID MARY GET THE AUTHORITY TO ANOINT JESUS?
From the communion of her spirit and the Holy Spirit.. It was the only thing she could do.
Q: What in your spirit, in your heart, is compelled to do or say or be for Jesus Christ today?
Philippians 3: 13 Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you.
What is the ONE thing that you can do, today,.. toward the goal of Jesus Christ?
What are you doing with what you have, this very day, for Christ…
If Jesus asked you for ten, and you looking in your wallet and found only a twenty… ask for change?
If Jesus asked you give you coat to someone who was cold, would you write him a check?
If Jesus was about to show us and start taking names.. where would you hide?
If Jesus showed you someone who was about to
..take Meth for the first time… would you knock down the door?
..take their own life, would you stand outside and wait?
..roll over and go back to bed on Easter Sunday morning, would you let them sleep through it?
..hungry and drive past?
Mary and he jar of Nard are a wake-up call for all who sit back following the rules, expectations and routine:
Jesus is with us, here and now.. LIVE LIKE IT! Or don’t complain about those who praise him.
Sit there and do nothing.
Christ will be with us always, Even to the end.
Count the cost.
Wait your turn.
Follow the rules.
Mind your business.
I APPEAL TO YOU, Do something for Christ, Today, Somebody stop someone from wasting today.
1 Corinthians 10:1-13 Call for Faithfulness in the Wilderness
10:1 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.
10:6 Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play." 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents.
10:10 And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. 13 No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.
Luke 13:1-9 Call for Faithfulness in Suffering
13:1 At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 He asked them, "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.
13:4 Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them–do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did."
13:6 Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. 7 So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ 8 He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’"
A Call for Faithfulness in the Wilderness of Suffering:
Don’t have a Fig-less Fig Tree
Accountability is Certain.. Bear fruit of our Spiritual Nature while we are souls are living.
What is our nature.. We are created by God’s love, Called to Have Faith.. our nature is to Trust.
The meaning of that Trust comes when we believe despite what we have seen.
How many have seen Jesus Christ, face to face? Blessed are those who have… For Thomas doubts no more.
How many have not seen Jesus Christ and still believe, and trust him as your Lord, and you Savior?
Where it is safe here among believers, surrounded by the saints, all dressed up and ready for church..
Yes, Lord, We Believe!
What about where there are cloudy times? Wilderness times
Hungry Times Thirsty Times
Tempting Times Justified Complaining Times
1 Cor 10:13 “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.”
All My life I’ve heard this passage: “I’ve Got Suffering and Troubles… But God won’t give me more than I can handle.”
The Testing over our capacity of faith, NOT our physical endurance or tolerance.
Our Spirits are tested, and God gives us to answer to pass the test.
If we but ask.. What is the Answer? “I believe” “I trust”
All the cloudy, wilderness, hungry, thirsty, tempting complaining times will come,
Who do we turn to for our strength? Our hope? Our life?
Our own strength? Our government’s power? Our determination? NO…
We live in a world were there is tragedy, sin, evil, death, corruption, mis-trust and greed… Where do we go for answers? Direction? Patience? And Life?
The thing about testing:
CRCT: We need 100 volunteers, a ministry that would cost NO money, not hurt the budget in anyway.. is to go to the school this week, sign up as a volunteer to help tutor our children to pass this test.. or we are going to not only get off probation backwards, but we will say it doesn’t matter of our neighbor child learn.
It’s not my kids, Its not my job, Its not my home, Its not my problem
Its our neighbors, their lack of work, there coming to our doors, it is ours..
But think if you were from another planet…
Youth sit for several ours staring at a few sheets of paper and the young men and women bubble in little circles.. and if they bubble in the correct matrix of dots they are likely to be great students and get scholarship and if they make marks in some other pattern they are poor students and may not get to go to college at all.
How is it that those little tiny bubbled-in marks are signs of learning?
A: because there is a corresponding key and choices on those papers.
The measure of the marks reflects what is known on the in side.
Just as the fruit on a fruit tree is a sign of the nature of what type of potential is in the tree..
Just as the fruits of the spirit are signs of our passing grade in our relationship of trusting and believing God 1 Cor 10b: God is the faithful one…
look on God’s paper for the answer to life’s questions, trials, and tests.
Don’t rely on your own work, God has given us a cheat == Jesus Christ is our answer… he has taken the test for us and passed with a 21000.
Why keep thinking you can do better than God.
A figless fig tree: Potential. Time. Yield.
How much potential? God has made all things possible
How much yield? Some 10, some 20, some 100 fold..
The question we cannot know the answer is Time: What are you waiting for?
Begin to bear fruit of God at work in you..
Start praying. Start serving in his name. Start tutoring in his name.
Start bible study, Start Sunday school, Start singing in the choir,
Start inviting people to worship, Start volunteering BEFORE someone begs
Start while you have the time.. There are no fig-less fig trees in heaven.