Archive for October, 2010

John 12:1-8 “Extravagance: how to give not what to give” JUMC 10/17/2010

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.

Christian Gospels
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,[citation needed] 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.
But Nard…

* 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.

Poor poor.

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 EXTRAVAGANTLY 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, healing 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!

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 Methamphetamine 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 her 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.
Be polite.
Follow the rules.
Mind your business.
Keep quiet.

I APPEAL TO YOU, Do something EXTRAVAGANT for Christ, Today or step out of the way for those who will.

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JUMC 5 Practices: Risk-Taking Mission & Service 101010

Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land,* for the wind was against them. 25And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’ 28 Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ 29He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind,* he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’ Matthew 14

The Parable of the Talents
14 ‘For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15to one he gave five talents,* to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, “Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.” 21His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” 22And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, “Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.” 23His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” 24Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, “Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” 26But his master replied, “You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 25

It is God who has taken the first risk..
Risk leaving use with care for the garden, care for the commandments, rituals and offerings. An even greater risk was taken in coming in the form of Jesus, sharing the ministry as disciples and sacrificing his life for our own. AND further risk, entrusting the work of the Kingdom to us today.

What is a risk.
For some getting out of bed and walking across the room is a risk
For others its changing careers, homes or income brackets.
For others its choosing a longer bungee cord to get closer to the ground.

Learning to swim, I was afraid of the deep water. Beginners, Intermediate, and Experienced Swimmers. Bobbing and floating, strokes and flips. and diving, head first into the deep.

For most of us..
A risk is any action we take that stretches us beyond our control of comfort.
Who would choose to do that?

Know about Jesus, hear others speak of Jesus and then our stepping out into the deep waters of the storm and walking with Jesus.

Why take a risk. Play it safe. Hold, Stay, Split, hedge our bets.
Service that we can manage is about what we can do.
Service that we cannot image doing is about what God can do.

Most churches dream of sending folks on mission teams around the world and starting emergency assistance ministries. JUMC has raised the bar for all the churches.
This is not in the spirit of competition, rather in the spirit of faithst

It is a risk to say that we will provide a coat for every child that needs a coat.
It is a risk to send 50 people to Honduras, Uganda and the ends of the earth.
It is a risk to say that we will help 600 with food, bills, and clothes in Jesus name.
It is a risk to run for office and lead the community government
It is a risk to start a new business
It is a risk to bring a foster child into your home.
It is a risk to invite ALL our neighbors to join our church
It is a risk to start ministries that reach hundreds at a time instead of tens.

Build a whole neighborhood of habitat houses?
Start of bakery, restaurant, Movie Theater, bookstore, a college, and provide more places for people to work and have income for their families.

Risk Taking Service does not happen within our limits, it is a time to step into God’s sea of life.

1) The passage is remember not just for Peter’s sake, but for our example.
2) Those who have much, much more is expected. Money, time, talent, skill, experience, knowledge, heat….
3) Walking on water is possible when we look to Jesus for strength for every step.

Reward: Churches that risk service and mission show the world what God can do and is doing. If there is one of the five practices that Jackson UMC comes closest to modeling, it would be this one, but that only raise the bar higher.. Don’t look at the threatening storm as long as Christ is inviting us to walk with him.

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Introduction in Intentional Faith Development 10022010 10.10.10 JUMC 5 Practices

Exodus 18:20 – Teach them the statutes and instructions and make known to them the way they are to go and the things they are to do.

Deuteronomy 6:6-8 – Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Psalm 25:4-5a – Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me.

Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a light to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalm 143:10 – Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Let your good spirit lead me on a level path.

Proverbs 9:9 – Give instruction to the wise, and they will become wiser still; teach the righteous, and they will gain in learning.

Mark 4:2 – He began to teach them many things in parables.

Mark 9:24 – Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Luke 2:52 – And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.

Acts 2:42 – They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Acts 4:18-20 – So they [the Jewish Council] called them [Peter and John] and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and Johns answered them, “Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Romans 10:17 – So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.

1 Corinthians 13:11 – When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.

Colossians 3:16 – Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom.

2 Timothy 1:5 – I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.

Hebrews 5:12b-14 – You need milk, not solid food; for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, for those who faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.

From Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations by Robert Schnase:

p. 63 – Learning in community replicates the way Jesus deliberately taught his disciples. His followers grew in their understanding of God and matured in their awareness of God’s will for their lives as they listened to Jesus’ stories, instructions, and lessons while gathering around dinner tables, on hillsides, and at the Temple. Jesus taught us to learn our faith this way.

p. 63 – Learning in community helps people explore possibilities that God may have for them that they never would have considered on their own.

pp. 63-34 – [Paul] presents faith not as something static, a possession, or an all or nothing proposition, but rather as something we grow into and strive toward. . . .
Christian faith is dynamic. It requires cultivation.

p. 65 – Bible study is not just about self-improvement but about setting ourselves where God can shape us, intentionally opening ourselves to God’s Word and call.

1. A garden does not plant itself. Preparation, Planting, Tending, Harvesting, Repeat..

2. Our Faith Development Never stops, it can continue to mature and become exponential.

3. Unintentional Faith Development are the moments beyond our control, but are not enough.

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