Archive for July, 2011

Matthew 14:13-21 “Plenty-o-Picnic” JUMC 20110731

13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. 15 When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. NRSV

We have nothing but…

  • Think of the opportunity for imagination for us to fill in that blank: _______________________

Looked up to heaven..

  • Think of what prayers might be lifted up for the poor, hungry, naked, homeless, imprisoned, & you..

Blessed it…

  • When graduates finish their work to the satisfaction of the standards of their degree, the school and the authorizing board confers the degree to them. The student works hard, but it is someone else who names, sets them aside, names them, entrusts the title and its privileges..
  • To be blessed is to have God empower, call, send, anoint, seal, affirm, claim,… you pick the word or title, but it is God blessing us to become a blessing to others.

Shared it…

  • The Christian model is to share. Not always equally. The text said that all ate, until each were filled, different persons were in different states of hunger.  ( The point is not what’s fair, it is that all is shared )

All Received..

  • There is a hands on, participation in ministry. It is not simply mental assent and contemplation.
  • If you are not sure what you church is doing, then you may not be getting your hands dirty..
  • I learned at age six, when my brother was born, we didn’t have disposable diapers, it was a messy task to change every diaper.. but I learned that no matter how dirty your hands get, you can always wash them..
  • And, if you aren’t changing at least a few of the diapers, you are not doing your part for the family.
  • Bottom line, Ministry is much more hands-on that we might want it to be..
  • And sometimes the work is not so glamorous, but it is all necessary.

12 Baskets were left over…

  • What might we do with our left overs…

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Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 “Even in the Weeds” JUMC 20110724

13:31 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 13:32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

The MUSTARD SEED, does not look like a likely source for what it can become.

  • Surely there are times that you seemed like the least likely person for the job, yet through your willingness to serve, lead or follow,  you became an essential player.
  • Think of every ‘team’ illustration that any coach has ever shared to inspire his or her team and it is the mustard seed story: One small part becomes the anchor for greatness.

13:33 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

The YEAST is the active agent.. that gives life, strength, and volume to the bread.

Yeast is actually something rotten.  Betty’s batter is better because she used butter that was better, but without yeast, it will not be a cake: Yeast effects the whole mix.

13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Recognizing the OPPORTUNITY that is not seen in the price of the investment.

If you look into the rear view mirror of your life, how clearly can you see time where you missed opportunities for relationship, wealth, education, success and for a hundred good reasons you could not or would not see that obvious opportunity.

Don’t be too hard on ourselves, some folks are not always very observant and others are looking for conditions to be so perfect they never take any risk at all.

Seriously, we do need to be hard at encouraging each other to seize the day, the deal and the life God has for us all.

13:45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 13:46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

When we have AWARENESS OF SPIRITUAL VALUE, we begin to see the financial worth of investing in our Spiritual Wealth

Fine Pearls: If you have never bought your wife pearls you need leave worship and go find some today. If you have pearls and you don’t wear them because you are saving them for a perfect occasion, everyday is a great occasion.  If you can’t afford pearls, you best become one..

Pearls are such a wonder. It starts as a piece of dirt that becomes an irritation. Layers of protective plaque build over time as a barrier to keep the grain of sand from destroying the strong muscle of the oyster.

Finding someone who will take you with all your dirt and simple irritations and build around you with love and acceptance is a treasure you need not squander with pride, wealth or fear.

13:47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 13:48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad.

Two points to this parable:

Imagine how many species of fish there are in the sea. Not just tuna, sea bass, and grouper, snapper, sword, dolphin, Pollack, whiting, marlin, whahoo, flounder, cod, scrod, salmon, haddock, perch… but all the others. Heaven will not be lily white.

Secondly, there good will come with the bad in the net. Many will come, few will be choosen. The TREASURE come with DROSS. Our task is to continually separate what is Good or Bad. Our investment is not an automated choice that cares for itself, it is culling out the good and bad out of the opportunity.

13:49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 13:50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13:51 “Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” 13:52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

Do we actually understand?  Do we know what heaven is all about.

It is a place, but it is more… it is a relationship, in which we are invite to live starting today, actually starting the day Jesus arose from the dead.. and opened the state of, the relation of heaven up to us.

Think back to the collection of these parable teachings.

One small part becomes the anchor for greatness.

Yeast effects the whole mix.

Encourage each other to seize the day and the deal

Finding someone who will take you with all your dirt and simple irritations and build around you with love and acceptance is a treasure you need not squander with pride, wealth or fear.

Heaven will not be lily white.

Many will come, few will be chosen.

Heaven: Knowing the Weeds from the Flowers

Recognizing what is our soul’s treasure is Gardening NOW, to become the color-full, rich, chosen..

Are we continually choosing the Spiritual Flowers while we stand in the weeds. Let’s get working.

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Matthew 11: 25-30 “I’ll Have a Burden Life” JUMC 20110703

11:25 At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”-NRSV

v30 Burdens

Think of all the things that weight us down

.. hinder or plans, health, and joy

.. Burdens are items we carry, baggage, luggage, stuff and the mass of the stuff out-values the purpose for carrying it.

.. Church carries the burden of the faithful, even if all the members are not..

Q: What if there was a burden, that is worth its weight to carry?

v27 Authority

This holiday weekend we honor those on active duty.  Name them:

These persons have been authorized to work on our behalf.

Soldiers know the responsibilities of their work are done with power conferred…

v29 Structure

.. As United Methodist we have a rich foundation, heritage, and practice of order, method and structure. With all the flaws and ‘weight’ or burden that goes with a global institution of over eleven million members, we have a yoke, that we share through apportioned, shared ministries, that allows us to consistently keep missionaries around the word, keep books and resource printed and posted, children educated and housed, elders housed and cared for with dignity and respect, and to be a collective voice for all ages for all nations.

It is our prayer that the yoke, we call the church, is light burden.

He is the heart of the text… in our own words:

Life obviously has burdens, responsibilities we have been given authority and responsibility to uphold, spread and carry out.. The church is the yoke, that guides us.

When it becomes a weight heaver than its call, when we cease to learn and grow in Christ and when we quit boldly being the a giant of humility..


1. We will not find rest until we carry Christ our burdens, and in exchange take on Christ’s burdens… worries and responsibilities

2. With these responsibilities we are entrusted with authority to be the body and witness of Christ, without hesitation..

3. To give the world the structures, yoke and means of finding community, relationship and rest/peace/wholeness of Christ.


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