“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, “It is going to rain’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, “There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time? [NRSV]
The primary role of the prophet is NOT to tell the future. Job number one is to help the people and the king see the present as it truely is. The present without the bias, without the spin, but will all of the honesty and frustration that the people and the king are trying to avoid or blow out of proportion.
Start with the weather: Who can be our prophet today and tell us the weather conditions today? Hot! How hot? Dry or Wet? How Dry/Wet?
What does knowing the current conditions tell us about what we do this afternoon or tomorrow?
Measurement and Standards
How do we measure current conditions?
In matters of faith we turn to scripture and read it through the Ben Franklin glasses of National Treasure fame. One lense shows the traditions that have shaped our past. One lens reflect what our God created brains tell us through reason. One lens opens our hearts to the work of the Holy Spirit in our own experince. No one lens is stronger than the other and all three are directed toward our understanding and encounter with the Bible as the holy Word. True comes when we are willing to use all three lens as we read, listen and respond to the bible.
We have other measurea in our standards, but scripture through these three perspectives is our greatest tool.
Using the Tools for Good.
The reasons we gather for worship are not only to praise God, but to learn the traditions of the church, experience the work of the hold spirit and spark our inspiration to learn and grow together.
The reasons we have Sunday school and small groups is not just to socialize, gossip and drink coffee, but to share our journey of study and reflection, practicing our ideas, suggestions and standards before we must act on our faith in our daily lives.
The reason we reach out to feed, cloth, comfort, build, repair, heal and be-friend others in Jesus name is to practice the faith that is in our minds in the real needs of the world around us.
- If we only had worship we would never grow our faith.
- If we only studied and shared our minds we would never see faith in action
- If we AND those we serve only served others we might forget why we act the way we do.
When the Signs Call for Action
A Baptism of Fire and Compelled to Complete it.
This passage shows a moment of frustration from Jesus. I have a mission of cleansing, purifying, renewing, and restarting and I wish you would see what I see.
Conditions of the Present Age:
- Are people divided?
- Are people so committed to their own convictions that they have quit listening to others of different views?
- Are people hurting for real hope?
- Are people more dependant on the government solving problems than turning to God?
- Are the churches reflecting the Body of Christ as God’s presense in the world?
- Where do we get our information?
- Where do we connect with God
- Where do study, reflect and practice our faith?
- Why do we think continuing without changing our method that we will find away through?
- What is our call to action?
Take the Field
As the Olympics begin to fade, the beginning of football season is about to break open. I would suggest that the average person knows more about thier favorite team and leauge than they do how to transform the division in our communities and hearts.
We come to worship to practice connecting with God. If there is someone you know who is not here, connect and bring them next week. Connecting others with God is the best way to connect with God.
I believe we might not feel ready to connect someone with God because we have not been present a practice or not had our heart in the drills. This is why we have Sunday school and small groups to prepare us.
I asked two weeks ago for someone to answer a call to pick up the lead of our Feed My Sheep ministry and in the past two weeks no one has stepped forward to keep this powerful ministry alive. In this present time of people hungry for the love and hope of Christ, is this the time we keep safe and quiet?
We live in a place where we are called to get in the game knowing we need more practice and preperation than time allows. We take the faith we have been given, in the grace we have been clothed and step in where and when we would rather not go and reflect Christ.
- Otherwise, we are not the church.
- Otherwise, we remain in the place of frustration
- Otherwise we are only people of mind OR tradition OR expereince..
- (Jr Bird Man finger lenses)
Tell you neighbor, you look goofy like that, but I know you are showing me Christ.
I’d rather show Christ than lead you astray.
Let’s take the field together, the clock is running and we don’t need a delay of game.