Archive for April, 2010

John 10: 22-30 “Out of the Father’s Hand” BRUMC 04252010

John 10:22 At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; 26 but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.” (NRSV)

Imagine a certain person working all 43 years of their adult labor for one cause. They practice a craft with dedication. They are a master and their work is their reputation and name.
They look to the next generation who will apprentice. These students are confronted with competitors, shorts cuts, and questions of doubt. The students come with question and uncertainty: Were they truly the Master? Was this effort for only one generation? What will we do now?

The Jews gathered around Jesus and pressed: Are you the Messiah, tell us!

Imagine a couple raising a house full of children, some of their own, some of them neighbors and cousins. Thousands of meal, thousands of loads of laundry and pages of home work come across that kitchen table. One of the biological children wants to know if the the parents love them. With a touch of frustration, the parents stay, can’t you see how much we love you? Don’t you believe that we love you? You hear us wake you in the morning, we have clothes for you to wear, meals to eat, hours to help you and all these. Can you hear it in all our voices?

The Jews asked, if you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.. clearly, directly, no parables or stories.

Image a group of students following a teacher on field trip. They have their brightly blinding, uniform shirts, name tags, and backpacks. The are excited about the sites they will see and the adventures that await. The are tired from a long weary ride, they are in unknown territory, they are surrounded by threats they could never imaging. The lead teacher blows her whistle with three blasts: two short and one long. The stop in their tracks and see her turning a new direction to avoid falling over the edge, to move away from rapid traffic, to prepare them to be at the right place-at the right time. They are safe because they trust the teach.
No one will snatch them.

The Jews heard Jesus say” What my father has given me is greater than all.” “The Father and I are one”

Image a church filled with people who come to get something out of the service. a group of people who have different responsibilities, various understandings, and think ‘like’ they have limited resources. Yet this group of people have been given gifts.. some never knew what gifts, powers and purpose had been entrusted with them.

This imaginary congregation of gifts people have been saved by the grace given on the cross on Calvary so that the topic of “Worthiness” was no longer an issue.

This imaginary congregation of worthy folks have been given eternal life so they can have the very perspective of God’s timing and patience, so that no “excuses” were needed.

This imaginary congregation of worthy, excuse-less folks have been given the very power of God to do God’s work, to be God’s messengers, to be God’s presence IN the world.

But some how they thought and lived as though God was a one day a week kind-of-a-guy.
They hoped he would show up to save them, for themselves.

Are you the one that God has died for?
Are you the one that God lives for?
Are you the one that God empowers to transform the world?

Or should he wait for another?
Sure he SHOULD wait for another, but here HE is waiting for you and for me. , but here HE is making as way for us to be with him, again.

We sing at VBS: “He’s got the whole world in his hands…” The Revealed message after the Resurrection is that …he takes the whole world and places it in our hands…”

He’s Got the whole world, in our hands..
The work we do, is God’s but as his sheep, we do the work of his will. To do the work of the body of Christ is to do the work of the father.
To work by the power of the Holy Spirit is to bring the muscle of hands and feet to God

When people see us working, they see the father. / see us not working, they see the father.
Are we witnesses of the Messiah? Are we following his voice? Whose voice do we trust?

SO WHAT DO I DO? “I have told you” ” Believe ” Do you believe? Then live like a believer..

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John 21:1-19 04182010 “Bring Some of the Fish you Have Caught”

John 21:1-19 (NRSV) 1 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. 2 Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards. 9 When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. 15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

The Second Calling…
Some talk about the second coming..
Some have never noticed the second calling.

This scene is very similar to the first calling of the disciples of Simon, James and John.
This occurs after the resurrection..
When things are radically different.
AGAIN the catch nothing, without Jesus
The call to cast on the other side is to look
From a different perspective.

We look from the perspective of living, after the fact of Easter. Jesus calls the disciples again to bring fish..
That he lead them to find,
Encourages them when they do find
And has the charcoal ready for cooking
Yet, bring what YOU have caught..

A post resurrection invitation to eat breakfast: Here is the biblical model for the U.M.Men’s breaking of the fast!

The second call goes to Simon the Denier. (If we label Thomas the Doubter, Simon should be called the Denier.)

J: Peter will you follow me?
SP: To the death, Lord!
J: No, you will deny me 3x tonight.
SP: (1) Not me, (2) I don’t know him, (3) never did.

Jesus does not return, haven given up on those waiting and hiding out nor those who focus on their work – and physical needs first… He comes back.

The Message of the Resurrection is that Jesus, KEEPS Coming back. (Here is our Good News to share with everyone we meet this week!)

No matter what we have done that doubts, denies, defiles… Jesus comes back, and sends us our again.

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John 20:19-31 “Why Shut the Door?” 04/11/2010 BRUMC

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin ), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. (NRSV)

Doors: wooden, steel, privacy, safety, security, overhead, front, back, side, sliding, folding..
locked, bolted, latched, pinned, jimmy’ed, propped, picked, alarmed, fireproofed, CLOSED..

The doors were shut for fear of personal attack
The doors were shut because of chaos among the disciples
The doors were shut because of the absence of the Spirit
The doors were shut because of doubt
The doors were shut because someone, on the inside, shut the door.

The door does not stop Jesus, it might stop us.
What doors will you open with the power of Jesus Christ?
What doors will you leave closed and remain afraid, alone, and confused?

Open hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors:
WHO? Reach out to those who are willing to re-think, re-consider, coming inside. Those who have been in, but have some reason, valid or not, that keeps them out.
Those who have been attacked by those on the ‘inside’
Those who see our chaos and confusion and division and don’t want to join the mess.
Those who have the nudging of the Holy Spirit and meet our spiritual emptiness.
Those who have questions, that might challenge us, to renew and relearn our own faith.
Those who have the desire to come in, but must walk through a door we have help shut.

Call; Open to doors to those who are willing to enter.. for Jesus is already with us.

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I Corinthians 15:19-26 “Hype of Hope or Here in Heart?” 04042010 BRUMC

19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. 21 For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; 22 for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

Hope is the confident anticipation that something or event will occur.

Hope is the faith is active waiting for a promise to be fulfilled or completed.

Hope is a motivator, but it is not the final product.

Hope gets us by, Christ gets us in.

When we have hope, we are never disappointed or abandoned.

When we loose hope, we are certainly broken and lost.

Hope is conditional. Its A Good and powerful gift of God, but our hopes change.

Would you rather Hope that Christ would return,

or have Christ bring you into God’s heart?

Would you rather have HOPE that things would CHANGE,

or have Christ with you when you experience change that dashes your hopes

and dreams?

I hope you find Jesus Christ.. as if he were an Easter egg filled with jelly beans in tuft of grass in the park.

I hope things will turn out ok?

I hope I can get by? I want you to have more than HOPE..


Christ wants you to have LIFE, and have it abundantly, fully.

There is nothing in the world that can stop God, not even death.

Think about death.. Most folks don’t want think about it..

Don’t talk about it — it might come near..

Don’t plan for it – it might come too quickly…

How many things do we do to avoid or prepare for death?

Funeral arrangements? Insurance?

Heath care? Choices about what we put in and how we use our body?

Worry? Fear? Eat/Drink? Breathe?

Death comes to us all, but not to our spirit for those who hope in Christ.

EASTER has more to say about life and death than any message in the world:

The message of the Resurrection is not only that Christ Lives!,

Some would say so what?

Good for him.. where is he now and what good is it to me?

Some would say, I know they correct answer, I win the chocolate bunny!

But is knowing the correct answer give you power and hope?

What Paul wants the church at Corinth and at Blue Ridge to know:

Here is what the resurrection of Jesus Christ says to us all:

You are more than the sum of what you HOPE your accounts will be.

You are more than your highest HOPE for a job or house.

You are more than your HOPE for you best earthly relationships.

You are more than your own ideas, dreams and emotions.

Jesus’ conquering the limitation of death is our promise:

That God wants nothing to come between us.

Imagine a garden maze, a corn maze, a race racing in a lab experiment:

The Cross of Jesus Christ removes history of failed attempts

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ removes walls & draws a straight line

Yes, many times things come between us AND each other…

This is not God’s hope and will for us..

God wants to move all the obstacles so we can run to him.

Most often YOU and I build obstacles for our selves and for each other.

We are Easter People: we tear down walls. We are each others worse enemy, not death and taxes..

To know God’s will for our lives is to see that God has purpose and work for us.

The resurrection removed the heaviest limitation… our earthly life and physical body… for SO MANY folks they don’t see more than they can touch and control…

Jesus’ death, death on the cross, is God’s crossing over to reach us.. even though we have not understood or fulfilled the law, or done what was good and righteous..

Jesus’ resurrection, the empty tomb, the coming back to life is our bridge to cross back over to God.

Something that is too heavy to carry: will you let it keep you out of the arms of God?

Something that is too difficult to face: will you let it keep you out of the face of Love?

Something that is too painful to express: will you let it keep you out of the heart of Peace?

Do you want to talk about what happened back then on the first Easter

Or do you wanna talk about what Christ wants to do in your life THIS Easter?

Give him your worry and fears

Give him your doubts and questions

Give him your pains and grief

Give him your emptiness and control

Live in Me. Live in Me today.

Be re-born / born in my THIS Easter day…

Lord I want to be more Holy

Lord I want to be more Real

Lord I want to be more Like what you need me to be.

Resurrect my life, replace my hope, with you assurance and presence..

I don’t want to fool myself or you

I don’t want to play church and act like a Christian

Lord make us YOUR body and live IN right now.

Sunrise Service:

Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26

136:1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,

for his steadfast love endures forever.

136:2 O give thanks to the God of gods,

for his steadfast love endures forever.

136:3 O give thanks to the Lord of lords,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

136:4 who alone does great wonders,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

136:5 who by understanding made the heavens,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

136:6 who spread out the earth on the waters,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

136:7 who made the great lights,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

136:8 the sun to rule over the day,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

136: 9 the moon and stars to rule over the night,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

136:23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

136:24 and rescued us from our foes,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

136:25 who gives food to all flesh,

for his steadfast love endures forever.

136:26 O give thanks to the God of heaven,

for his steadfast love endures forever.

Isaiah 55:6-7

Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Isaiah 12:2-6

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the LORD GOD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth. Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Ezekiel 37:1-14
37:1 The hand of the LORD came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.
He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, "Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "O Lord GOD, you know." …. 37:12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 37:13 And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 37:14 I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken and will act," says the LORD.

Romans 6:3-11

For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Luke 24:1-12

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared.

They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
but when they went in, they did not find the body.

While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again."

Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.

Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.

But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

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