Archive for March, 2012

John 12:20-33 “The Hour Has Come” JUMC 20120325.1100

20 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. 27 “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—”Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. –NRSV

The Gospel of John is the last of the four Gospel penned. There were possibly 40-60 years between the time Mark’s Gospel account was written and John’s. That’s covers a great deal of history, destruction, and change in the region. John writes to give non-Jewish folks a clear path to belief through Jesus Christ.

It is therefore likely that John recounts the turning point of Jesus ministry and life. These strangers show up in town for a Greek festival and all the parties and they find their way to the Jesus gang and want to see Jesus.

Jesus clearly came, as a Jewish person, into a Jewish culture and heritage, but his message, witness and work was not only for that one people. God is interested in all our hearts.

Jesus begins talking about his death in metaphors, similes, illustrations and parables of his dying. In Luke’s Gospel, it is in the mountain foothills of Mt Nebo that Jesus gathers with his disciples in the face of numerous alters, statues and differing religious directions and asks: “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?” It is when they choose Jesus and “Get-it” as we say, that he “sets his face toward Jerusalem” and the cross.

In John’s Gospel it is again in the face of religious diversity that there is a sign that turns the faith journey toward the cross and Jesus’ death.

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

But that is the part of the story we have heard and too often where we stop and dis-engage.

Verse 25 is the Sign that Jesus was Waiting to see
Verse 25 is the Urgency of the moment
Verse 25 is the Definitive Call to Action
Verse 25 is the Awesome and Weighted hinge for our Faith.

25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also

The first few verses there help us understand why Jesus must die. His life is the seed of God’s gracious work that will bear fruit in us. But the seed can’t do it’s thing if it is not buried in the ground. (Yes, I have seen the hydroponics gardens and ask you not to get lost in the image of traditional vs post modern methods of agriculture.)

Yes, Jesus’s death is transplant, swapping Christ’s life and faithfulness for our broken and sinful hearts.

But we know that part… What we slide right through on our way to Easter is this verse 25.

The love-hate relationship for our physical life verses our spiritual life. This is not a battle with the devil; the ruler of this world is no longer our nemesis.

The struggle and battle is with ourselves.

  • Is it my way or God’s highway?
  • Is it my stuff or God’s good gifts?
  • Is it my temporary or God’s eternal?
  • Am I following “I” or “I Am”? Who is leading whom?

The solution is step down from the lead, let go of the lead and follow Christ.

For some this is a relief and a release that feels like freedom. For the rest of us… it defines the struggle we must face NOW or risk loose this gift and life we talk and think instead of trust and live in with Jesus Christ.  The Hour has come to take a stand by stepping down.


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Jeremiah 31:31-34 “The New Contract with America and well, everyone else..” JUMC 20120325.0900

29 In those days they shall no longer say: “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” 30 But all shall die for their own sins; the teeth of everyone who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge. 31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more. -NRSV

Last week I got in trouble with snakes, this week I’m dancing with politics. Before you run to assume anything, I hope that I have your attention: But it is interesting to look back at the history, politics, and faith of God’s people way back then and hear God speaking in our history, politics and faith right now.

The prophet Jeremiah was a truth-sayer. No I didn’t say soothsayer. No he was not a smooth speaker, but he was an eternally hopeful messenger of God’s unfolding works and words. While it seems rare to think of a truth telling, straight-forward political figure, Jeremiah had the ear of the people and ear of the leaders. His words of hope and promise continue to ring true. Oh, that sounds dangerously close to our political jargon.

What the prophet says, both to our ears and theirs then, is: God is making a new covenant. Previous covenants had been made with people on behalf of all the people of God. Adam and Eve for their offspring. Noah and Mrs. Noah had the rainbow promise; Abraham and Sarah for their kin counted the stars with their great-great grand’s. Moses, Aarron and the rowdy folks out of Egyptian bondage had the wilderness survival and Promised Land and tablet prescriptions.

Covenants have always been a contract of grace between God and people. God promises to keep the deal even if we break it. Where does that always end up? Broken Promises. Lost Hope. And Empty words: Basically, out of relationship on all accounts.

So the prophet Jeremiah tells about God striking a new deal. One where the contract is still made in grace but it will be made with God and God’s son and the benefits will affect our hearts and relationships. And It will no longer be what we know or say. It will not be what we wear or what language we speak. It will be a matter of God’s heart and each of our hearts.

The passage begins with Jerry talking about sour grapes. Have you ever tried to win the BLAME GAME? It is easy to find players, you can blame anyone for anything and try to feel justified and correct by not being the one holding the red-hot potato at the end of the dance. Trouble is, even if you find someone who seems to have a potato that fits perfectly in their hands, you don’t actually find justice simply by assigning blame. That didn’t stop people form playing then or now.

But here some of the most grace-filled words of the Old Testament. “God is about to write the answers on our hearts and the new city and temple that God will build can never be destroyed.. All we have to do is accept that we are beneficiaries. (Leave the church in your estate plans… its just a good way to continue to do good for God.)

SO WHAT? This new deal for the world is revealed, at the right time, in Jesus Christ. Jesus keeps our end of the new deal and covenant. We are justified not by blame, rather by God’s faithfulness on our behalf. Our heart is in God’s hands…

..Unless we trust our hearts else where. As we move closer toward Easter Sunday, we are reminded that our individual faith journey is moving into this relationship of grace through Christ, or we are not.

So don’t be trusting your heart to things the fail, ideas that conflict, promises broken, markers that measure the world, When God already gives us God’s heart to guide our own…

Repent, Run and Renew yourself in Christ.
This is how we claim and reclaim God’s new covenant.. do it.

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John 3:14-21 “Son Exposure” JUMC 20120318.1100

14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”

It appears that with the gentle winter season passing was are on the edge of an early summer. It seems spring has sprung for the dogwoods and daffodils. While our skin would appreciate the care year round, summer’s sunshine calls for extra attention and sunscreen.

How does it work? Sunscreen works by combining organic and inorganic active ingredients. Inorganic ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium oxide reflect or scatter ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Organic ingredients like octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC) or oxybenzone absorb UV radiation, dissipating it as heat. Some sunscreens protect us from the two types of damaging UV radiation: UV-A and UV-B. Both UV-A and UV-B cause sunburns and damaging effects such as skin cancer.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a spiritual cream we could buy at Stan’s that would protect us for all the things that sneak up and bite us. Balm of Sin-be-gone or Holy Salve of Jesus or maybe even Metho-Oxy-Gott’em. The truth is there is not balm of Gilead for sin-sick-souls.. at least not one to be found on a shelf when we need it.

Similarly, the middle of this text, the 3:16-17 part, while it is quite popular, it is not a prescription. Can anyone rattle off the 19-21 verses?

19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.

The son has already shone and has casted the light of judgment on the world and the conclusion is that people love darkness more than the light.

Life taken for a new pair of Nike shoes.

A lie told to save face in front of the children.

The work of feeding, clothing and healing given to agencies, governments and institutions.

Dependent on wealth more than dependent on God’s call and charge.

Idols of status, Jealous and grumbling complaints

I once thought I wanted a sleeping chair on my back porch. But is was still rather hot, so I had to find a small fan. I added a nice pillow and pitcher of lemonade, I hoped for a small black and white TV to watch the Braves game, or at least a radio. But there were the bugs to contend with. So I got one of those blue glowing zapper lights to control the bugs. But it was not very restful, not very quiet, not what I had pictured. Then there were the other guests: Neighbors, children, wandering-walkers, who were also drawn to the light of the TV and the only way I found some peace was to turn off the TV, turn out the bug light, and go inside, where it was light, dry, cool and my home.

There are values and business models that drive us out into the darkness.

There are visions and dreams that are not grounded in faith in God and lead us away from home.

There are venues and places that promise happiness and peace, but are false substitutions for our heart shaped hole inside that God has carved out through Christ…

Yes, God so loved the world that he send Jesus, but look around we see plenty of folks who could care less.

Yes, we hear God wants us to believe, but can you actually trust God with your heart, home, money?

Yes, God wants to save the world through Christ, but who has time, we have other commitments first.

Yes, we know John’s chapter 3 verse 16-17

But we best pay attention and lead others to wake up to 18-21.

If you saw someone about to walk into the street would you stop them?

If the person beside you was reaching out and could not see the snake about to bite, what would you do?

If you saw someone hungry, tired, confused, lonely, greedy, naked, afraid, ashamed, guilty, broken…what then?

Am I a person of the light or the dark?  I’m going to live like I mean it? Or just when I need the light?

Wendy at home and Sonya in the office always making sure I have light on where I’m working. I like the light behind me or close over me, but not in my face. I can’t see when the light blinds me.

Here is where I think most of us live… blinded by the light of Christ.

We know what God is offering, but we don’t like the blind-faith part.

Sure we will say yes, shine your light on me, but when it means following where God’s light leads, we put on shades or look away.

In John’s Gospel we have our invite back into the light..

“But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”  Look at the things God is doing in you, and you will see God with you. If you can’t,  look at your deeds carefully.

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Number 21:4-9 Life Among Snakes JUMC 20120318.0900

21:4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. 5 The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” 6 Then the LORD sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live. -NRSV

In Garden of Eden, God created all the living creatures, including the talking snake, and at the end of that days work, proclaims that God’s handwork was indeed, good, including the snake.

But through disobedience, Adam and Eve suffer the consequences (kicked out of the Garden) and at the same time experience God’s grace (Clothed, Guard, and Work-study program, and not death)

The story and faith journey continues with great similarity today. Moses had freed the Hebrews from being slaves in Egypt and now in the wilderness the people missed the dependability of their slavery.

They grumbled. They became disappointed and discouraged. They questioned and doubted God’s plan and Moses’ leadership. So out comes the snake and families of snakes to bite the grumblers. Today we have a visitor from Dausset Trails, that Gordon will introduce us to today:

Are there any grumblers here today? Any complaints? Any dissatisfied folks? Come up and meet Gordon’s friend.

I have seen a corn snake as thick as my arm. I have seen a copper head in our back yard at the parsonage. I have been thrown into a rattle snake pit (empty at the time) by second cousins because I was the youngest. I have handled snakes and earned my reptile merit badge. I have attended a worship service where rattle snakes were handled up front; I sat at the door at the back.) But I have not yet been bitten.

But there are other things that have bitten me.. and I’m guess you’ve been bitten by them too. Greed, Jealousy, Fear, Shame, Guilt, Pride, Desire and the greener grass over Lewis Grizzard’s septic tank. We go back to the snake and back to sin, and find ourselves grumbling, doubting and questioning God’s plans just like God’s people in the wilderness.

People were dying from the snake bites then and we are dying from our sins and separation as well. The wandering complainers asked Moses to speak to God and get rid of the snakes.

God didn’t get rid of the snakes but gave a sign and means of grace for those who happen to be bitten. Moses makes a bronze pole and places a snake upon it and lifted it up as a point of healing and renewal.

Today our physicians use this same simple as a sign of healing in the oath they take to heal and do no harm. Moses lifted up his rod, (walking stick-staff-scepter) over the rock where God was to bring the Israelites water.

Remember how Jesus lifted up the child’s lunch of bread and fish, gave thanks to God and broke the meal into enough food to feed the thousands with 12 baskets of left-overs. And recall how Jesus lifted up the bread and cup at the last supper and how he said that he, himself would be lifted up, for our behalf.

Most churches have some steeple, tower or cross on the top of their building to point out eyes up to God. It would be idol worship to worship the building, tower or cross. (Note: Some years later the prophet Hezekiah did destroy the bronze snake-pole because the people had again forgotten God and were worshiping the sign.) But signs do a good serve if they point beyond themselves toward God.

God directed Moses to make a sign for the people. This sign was a lifted up staff, God’s protection and it was a sign of what had lead to death, the grumbling brought about death, suffering and fear. Together, the bronze snake-pole was to be a reminder of what not to do and where to place our trust in the face of sin and danger.

What if we put your sins or mine on a pole and carried them in front of us? We might rather carry a snake.

But we don’t have to because Christ has carried the cross for us already. We trust God’s continuing work of grace through Jesus Christ as our saving Grace and true hope.

Lift high the Cross of Christ. Stand up, raise your arms to your sides, stretch them out and be for the world the cross and the body of Christ with us, even in the face of danger, death and doubt.

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JUMC 20120311:1100 John 2:13-22 People of the Reconstruction

13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?”21 But he was speaking of the temple of his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. -NRSV

It is remarkable to watch the controlled imploding of a building. It generally takes great experience, weeks of planning, days of securing mountains of permits, hours of installing and re-checking the precision of just a few seconds of destruction.

I don’t know about you, but it is difficult for me not to replay the images of the twin towers in New York on September 11, 2001 when I picture the great building collapsing. So it would have been un-imaginable to have heard Jesus’ request to the religious leaders to call for the Temple, the holy dwelling place, to be destroyed. And on the other hand, in the same breath, to claim that Jesus could rebuild what had taken generations to build King Herod’s building project. And most especially to rebuild in three days.

As people of the Resurrection, people who know the Easter story and know Jesus living in our hearts, it is easy for us to say: “Sure, He was talking about something spiritual.” Or, “We know Jesus could do it, he is the Messiah, he is the Son, He is Lord of heaven and hearth.” “God speaks and out of chaos comes order and creation.”

But it would do us well to hear the perspective of those who were thinking of the building: the stones, the heritage and the structure. It is amazing to see the size of the stones at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. The lower courses are the foundation of the original temple built during King Solomon’s reign,

Yes the pyramids and Babylon Gardens and the Alexandrian Light House or Greek temples were unbelievable building projects, but to see the stones and feel their mass of the Temple Wall….it appear impossible to think the foundations couple be leveled. And yet, in the the life time of some of those who heard Jesus speak these very words, lived to see the temple destroyed and leveled.

Jesus not only tells of his personal work, as we are the body of Christ, raised from and saved from death, it is our work to rebuild, to re-construct the spiritual temple of which Jesus gives witness.

How many generations and decades and lives have been devoted to building cathedrals, temples, and palaces that point to places of authority and power.

The Mall in Washington, DC is a magnificent microcosm of colossal structures in our time and in our nation. These monuments are tributes and places for the people to rally, remember and raise up the nations pride and call.

This very sanctuary has been designed, built, purchase, maintained and used by generations of faith witness for this community. What if someone claimed were to tear it down and rebuild it. (I’m sure that on some level the Trustees might consider this a plausible thought when trying to maintain and provide for the current and future needs) While the building helps us have a place to gather for fellowship, worship, study, service and giving… this building is not our true home.

Just as the early tents, are not our home. Frail and fragile, hungry and different, sometimes awkward and other times graceful… our home is eternal in God, through Christ, as we are people of the Spirit.

That brings us back to the text: This building is not our faith. These bodies are not our strength. Our body is Christ’s body and we are the structure giving witness to the world….

Which brings us to the drama of the passage from John’s Gospel: The cleansing of the temple. Some is a physcal washing, moving our and tearing down…FOR the PURPOSE of RESTORING

Some is a cleaning of the space between our temples: our minds… Remember this our God’s dwelling place, in us, in our body, in our witness, in our words and actions, in our forgiveness and grace.

The Reclaiming, cleansing work to Restore LIfe back into relationship with God.

This why we have a body

This is why we have this life.

Not just for ourselves, but also for Christ to continue to be present in the world, building of the whole people.

If you see or hear, profanity, clean it up

If you see or hear injustice, clean it out

If you are plagues with worry, guild, gossip, greed or fear… let it go

If you are trying to buy your way through something that is freely given.. start over.

One of the movies that I can pretty much quote every line through out the file is the BLUES BROTHERS,

There is a moment where the blues review band stops to play Bob’s country music palace and the character, Jake asks what kind of music the customers like, the Co-Owner replies: “Both kind, County and Western.” To which the finally connect with the audience when the band places, “Rawhide” TV theme song, complete with a snapping whip.

Jesus, connects with us, even it take drive out and cleaning out the mess that we make worship and church.

This scene calls us to claim the work of RECONSTRUCTION and build up the body of Christ.

God make room for the Work God is about to do, the harvest that is coming and the life that is about to be set free.

Praise the Lord.

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JUMC 20120311:0900 Exodus 20:1-17 “The” Top Ten List

 Then God spoke all these words: 2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3 you shall have no other gods before me. 4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, 6 but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. 8Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 10But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. 12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. 13 You shall not murder. 14 You shall not commit adultery. 15 You shall not steal. 16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. -NRSV

While it has become such a part of our language to have a Top Ten list, it was comedian David Letterman on the Late-Night program that has made famous the count-down list we know and love. On Tuesday, August 31, 1993 David ran through a the Top Ten Things We Like About CBS. This list was most a collection of inside jokes but it began a count-down phenomenon.

I would suggest that Dave’s writers drew on a much older tradition for coming up with an authoritative and definitive list of ten from THE ORIGINAL top 10 list. The list we find in in the Old Testament, given from God to Moses to be taught, memorized and even worn on the hearts and minds of God’s people.

  • 1. You shall have no other gods before me.
  • 2. You shall not make for yourself an idol,
  • 3. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God
  • 4. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 
  • 5. Honor your father and your mother..
  • 6 . You shall not murder.
  • 7. You shall not commit adultery.
  • 8. You shall not steal. 
  • 9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 
  • 10. You shall not covet..

While they are ten, they are not a count down to the most important. They start with the most important and fall into three groups or categories:

Our Relationship with God

  • 1. You shall have no other gods before me.
  • 2. You shall not make for yourself an idol,
  • 3. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God
  • 4. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.

Our Relationship with Family

  • 5. Honor your father and your mother..
  • 7. You shall not commit adultery.

Our Relationship with the rest of the community

  • 6 . You shall not murder.
  • 8. You shall not steal. 
  • 9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 
  • 10. You shall not covet..

Look at the list in reverse:

  • If you are happy with what you have, (wether you have or dont have much)
  • If you don’t lie, steal or murder,
  • If you faithful in marriage and respect your parents and elders,
  • If you go to church every week, and don’t make any “thing” the object of your worship, your security, hope or love…
  • We can miss the whole can of cheese, if we skip Putting God First..

What does that mean for us?

The 10 Commandment List is the boundary, guide that is at the core of all our relationships:

We are given this list because we are blessed. Because God want su to know the way home.

I know I’m not perfect, but the one who made me and loves me

from the first days in the Garden through today and tomorrow, asks one thing..

Love me first, Love me best. Trust me now, ahead of the rest.

When its easy, When I don’t know how, Do it all, because we’re blessed.

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Mark 8:31-38 Profit and Loss Statement JUMC 20120304.1100

31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” 34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” –NRSV

Profit: The excess of gain over the cost of a product or service

  • The profit of suffering
  • The profit of sacrifice
  • The profit of having nothing

How to read the Profit / Loss Statement

  • What do we have?
  • What are we worth?

Can we sum it all up with numbers?

  • What is your life worth
  • What is my ife worth
  • What is any life worth to God
  • What is any life worth to you.

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Luke 15:22 A Robe, A Ring and Rockports JUMC 20120304.0900

1 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 So he told them this parable:…12 The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14 When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16 He would gladly have filled himself withthe pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself he said, “How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.” ‘ 20 So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.  -NRSV

Whom to Welcome

  • Welcoming the grumblers
  • Welcoming the foolish
  • Welcoming the wasteful
  • Welcoming the broken
  • Welcoming those who are not themselves

How to welcome:

  • Prepared before they arrive
  • Greet with grace
  • Make ready to celebrate
  • When to welcome?

When you hear grumbling

  • When people mess up
  • When families are divided
  • now!

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