2 Corinthians 5:16-21  Me, an Ambassador?

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. [NRSA: 2Cor. 5.16-21]

A New Creation: No longer limited by our human point of view. Reconciliation: 4 times in 5 verses. Must be important.

Ambassador: on behalf of Christ, God is making an appeal, to be reconciled to God

  • God making God’s appeal through me.
    • What does it look like when I am doing my own thing
    • What does it sound like when I am singing my own praises

Singing someone else’s tune

  • What does it feel like when I am pleasing my own desires
  • God making God’s appeal through me.
    • What does it look like when I am doing the things of God
    • What does it sound like when I am singing God’s praises
    • What happens when I’m not singing the world’s praise?
    • What does it feel like when I am pleasure God’s call and heart?

When am I on-duty for the kingdom? When am I off-duty?

Some things to try as on-duty, ambassadors, chamber of commerce advocates:

First, making disciples is a task for the long game. It’s about building relationships in Christ… but sometimes we know people well but never talk about our faith in some circles:

Everywhere we travel, we are representing the Kingdom of God.

I have heard from many of you that you don’t typically find yourself around non-Christians.

Remember we may often be around folks who know Christ, but are

  • struggling to trust Christ,
  • stumbling to follow Christ,
  • searching to know Christ.

We need Christ Conversation Starters:

By Far the best is the offer to pray: May I pray for you?

“Dear God, I pray for John, help him find strength to do all that he needs to do today and help him know your saving grace, that he is of value to you and you desire to make him whole. We thank you that your son has died that we might live and know you personally. Amen.”

For those who don’t want to use the maybe over popular John 3:16, try Romans 3:23-24 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace in Jesus Christ.” Do you know that freedom in Jesus Christ?

You know the Billy Graham Method has been tested:

God’s plan is for us to know peace and life through Jesus Christ

Our problem is that we are separated from God, free will we choose what does not please God and we become divided.

God’s Remedy– The cross, Jesus scarified himself to pay the penalty for our sin and separation. Jesus bridges the gap between us and God

Our Response – to Receive Christ, We trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior. John 1:12

There is not a singular method… we must find something that is genuinely ours, even if we learn it from someone else to start.


The calling we share is to serve as AMBASSADORS for the Kingdom.

To that end I have a card, so you can be a card-carrying ambassador

I had a great visit with the Chamber of Commerce this past week, attending one of their events for those new to town or new to the chamber.

If the Chamber of Commerce can be an advocate for those living and those visiting, then certainly the church can be ready to serve

  • The regular,
  • The seekers,
  • The Visitors,
  • The strangers.
  • Whomever…

Asking Questions / Answering Questions – Honestly and directly.

Last week I invited us to being looking for someone to reach out and invite to church.

This week, I’m inviting us to begin some homework in preparation of those persons God will send to cross our paths.

For those who are not yet Christians, or even struggling Christians.

I offer a top ten list of questions we need to be ready to help people answer.

Paul reminds us: because we are made new in Christ

Because we are reconciled through Christ,

We are to be living examples of the body of Christ… Ambassadors for the kingdom.

1 Corinthians 10:1-13 Don’t Fall

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness. Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents. And do not complain as some of them did and were destroyed by the destroyer. These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So, if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it. [NRSA:1Cor 10:1-13]

The Driest Baptism

Paul makes an interesting edit to the story of the Israelites and interprets God’s people going through the parted waters of the Red Sea as their baptism. It would settle the debate about sprinkling vs immersion in that one need only pass by the waters of baptism to be included. But this is not to the main point of today’s passage.

Baptized but Fallen

Paul’s main point is that even though we are baptized, we also can still forfeit the power and gift of our baptism. Sin continues to be our struggle.

Fallen and Can’t Get Up

  • It now immortal words of confession: “I have fallen, and I can’t get up” are not just for health monitors.
  • We fall for false news and false fact checkers
  • We fall for what is popular and easy
  • We fall in all manors of moral matters.
  • We know the same struggle of Corinth church
  • Bottom line, we fall like everyone else.
  • And the fall wall a Jericho,
  • the fall of David’s Goliath,
  • the fall of the house built upon the sand,
  • the fall of humanity in the garden.

What can we do?

What can we do when we cannot return purity

  • When we leave a trail of consequences
  • When the trust is broken,
  • The walls are crumbled,
  • When the giants fall,
  • When the foundation washes away
  • When sin, selfishness, and evil do not save us….

Before we jump and in taking a stand, remember

Standing is a dangerous place

First, taking a stand is not easy.

Most times unpopular,

Usually demanding,

And always intentional.

Why don’t we admint we fell and lay low and wait for someone else to do the standing?

Or, Where We Once Stood

We think if we can just get back to a safe place in the past…

We hunger for the pandemic to be completely over and desire to get back to the life we had before, but we have given up freedoms, we have placed our trust in corrupt authority, and we have given one another permission to be more distant and divided.

We have lost ground and the new ground on which we stand calls for us to actively become more dependent on God than we were before the pandemic.

The Truth is we are starting anew and can only take our stand in the Savior who can be our eternal foundation!

We find ourselves even more dependent on Christ because we have even more reasons to be the disciple-makers, peacemakers, and witnesses in our lifetimes.

  • Rather than looking for our hope to come in what is popular, easy, we are more like the early church than we dare.
  • Rather than trusting what opinion polls indicate for a given minute.
  • Rather than taking our stand for own self alone, or some cause, we are called to reach out to neighbors and even enemies for Jesus Christ.

Ease of Not Standing

Therefore, we are tempted to not make a stand. We stay in the categories of either falling, sitting, or laying as still. Taking a stand it too dangerous, risky, and makes us far too vulnerable to change our habits and routines.

Contained in this passage is one of the most misused verses. It is usually interpreted as God will not give us more than we can stand when tested when we read that we will “not be tested beyond our strength.”

It is used to blame God for the troubles we endure and with which we wrestle. Instead, it mean that if we are not trusting in Christ, we will fail, we will fall, it is indented to be a word of assurance… so why wait until we are falling or failing to hand the reins over to God?

God promises to come to our aid. We may not find the answers we prayed for, but we can find God working through every situation – often reshaping and making us whole.

Which begs the question for each of us: How strong is our faith?

To which we typically would answer, if pressed or pushed to answer, I don’t want to exactly know the answer. Because I don’t want to be tested.

We think about the servant who feared failure with his talent and chose to not risk it and it was taken away from him.

Would we rather point to sometime in the past where we survived some issue that tempted our tested our faith and we did NOT fall.

When in fact, we need to learn from where we have fallen and see that even in our failures, and see that God continues to love us, call us, and save us.

Finding and Extending Grace

We sing that standard old hymn, “Standing on the Promises”

The hope is that we now will take a stand for the kingdom that cannot fail, and that we will remain firm in trusting God in all things, always.

The first hurdle is to know with more than our head

We know this with our heads, but we are slow to rise, slow to take a stand – to save ourselves from falling.

“If I stay right here, even stagnate, at least I am not falling.

But the truth is like the lepers who know about Jesus and one said to the group, “why do we sit here until we die, let us go and see this Jesus.”

Taking the Stand

So, what does this mean to stand up for Jesus?

It means that if our church is to grow, each of us must take on the task of bringing people into our fellowship and growing our congregation.

The common testimony is our common stand:

There are many causes and issues we might become an advocated, but there is on task that fall to us as a church together, collectively:

  • It means reaching out to people we might not know or be ready to extend
  • It means we lead with grace and forgiveness.
  • It means we reach out to make disciples and share our faith as if we are the only one willing to share.
  • We can’t wait for people to fall into church,
  • We cant’ wait for someone else to do our part, give our gift, teach our lesson, or plant the seeds entrusted to us.

A Challenge for 2022:

  • We have lost members through the pandemic and now it is time to rekindle relationships, make new ones, repair trusts, and mend our fences.
  • We need each member/family/household to bring a new individual or family into the fellowship and life of the church this year.
  • If we do not, we will not be strong enough to weather where God leads us.

We need to be taking part in classes and small groups, it means we need to be adding to Christ’s number daily.

Being a disciple is finding someone to replicate our place so that when we are falling someone can help us stand up again.

  • Taking a stand for Christ is giving witness to the trust we have in our heavenly citizenship, even above all others.
  • Taking a stand is being the voice for those oppressed and unjustly attacked
  • Taking a stand is giving our time, talents, and treasure to the cause of Christ
  • Taking a stand is trying to not fall into the quest for power and meaning offered by society and opinions of the majority, and not lying still avoiding the risk.

Luke 9:28-36 “Memorial Moments”

Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” — not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.  [NRSA: Luke 9:28-36]

In my quest to climb Mt Tabor and see this holy spot there is a church at top with

four sanctuaries.. and Upper and lower devoted to the transfiguration of Jesus and two smaller ones devoted to Moss and Elijah. And a monastery, and a cemetery, and a garden, and remnants of other structures, and a small gift shop. For a location that Jesus gave specific direction for having no need for booths, markers, nor markets to celebrate we have built them nonetheless. 

Some folks have a desire we might label as spiritual jealousy. Saul had his Damascus road transformation, hundreds came to Jesus and were miraculously healed, thousands came and were miraculously fed from loaves and fish, apostles freed from their prison cells, Paul saved from shipwreck and snake bites.

Where is my miracle? Where’s our moment in the divine glory and blinding brightness to seal our faith?

Keep in mind that Peter share in this holy moment, but later will deny Jesus at a most important time.  James and John will let there experiences go to their head and they ask to sit on either side of Jesus in heaven.

Miraculous moments are important and can be transformative, these are signs of what is important. The are NOT special privileges for the favored.

It’s true that Jesus took a small group and not all the disciples. Was it the three who needed the clearest view? Were these who Jesus knew had a more difficult time trusting ? Were they more mature than the others and better able to comprehend the event? Would these who would have the greatest struggle to believe?

Peter’s response was to mark and market the occasion for others, and Jesus’s intent was for Peter to experience a holy moment of revelation of Jesus’s nature, mission, and connection.

One thing that is essential is that we take from this encounter is that the OT and NT messages are the same message: Through Moses with Law, Elijah with the Prophets, and Jesus with the Gospel: God is weaving together a tapestry of invitation to trust, grace for our rebellion, and authority for our doubts and fears.

Another part of this event is that different Memorial moments are intended for different people. Look ahead to the birth of the church at Pentecost, some think the disciples are drunk on new wine and other hear the gospel in their own native languages. 

I will tell you many times it amazing me the number of times someone will say, I hear words that so resonated with me, when you said, and the words they heard were different from what I thought I had said. I never doubt them because God has unique messages for us all.

For those who overhear and recall someone else’s holy moment, what can we take away for ourselves?

Yet another lesson is that the events from that day were not always to be a special secret for a select group, but in a most important time , they needed to be remembered and retold. Peter wants buildings and holidays and ritual to tell the story, and Jesus wants Peter to tell the story.

Some of you may have experiences of angels, messengers, experiences from travels, study of scripture, in a piece of music, and other personal moments of divine disclosures:

  1. These are for your own faith
  2. These are for you to share with others for theimountains88⁸If you cannot recall moments of revelation then it’s time to climb some mountains, its time for spiritual retreats, it’s time to gather in small group with others on the same journey and be where God’s message is being revealed.
  3. If you have these moments of revealed truth and faith this generation needs to hear, see, be encouraged and fortified more than ever in our lifetimes.
  • God wants us to have faith in Christ
  • God wants us to share life in Christ
  • God wants us to live by faith with one another 

We need to recall these moment more than ever… Our Christian neighbors to the north have dropped from 60% to 10% who consider themselves Christian and it is no wonder the church is under attack when the people have forgotten or let go of the moments that are given to anchor our faith.

We can’t force or manufacture a spiritual mountain top experience but we can follow when asked to go.

We cant make Jesus show up on demand, but I can be reading, listening, waiting… I know where to look

We can’t expect my spiritual moments to be like yours, because yours are for you, and mine for me… we might share to encourage one another, but God is calling, knocking, asking and desires in your heart and life.

Transformational markers are personal yet have collective benefits

Retreat ; set aside time and place, this lenten season to receive the word, blessing, and spiritual moments God longs to reveal to you!

Luke 6:27-38 “Returns on Investments”

But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” [NRSA: Luke 6:27-38]


The Sermon on the hidden hillside turns the world view upside down.

The Setting on the Sea of Tiberias, Sea of Galilee

The one place thousands could gather to hear Jesus and not be seen by watchful Roman guard.


This ‘sermon’ is a collection of teachings that describe God’s kingdom how God hopes followers of Jesus will live.


So not only do we have a set of instructions, we have view of God’s nature and the perennial story of faith and God’s grace revealed throughout scripture.


God Hopes are high, even though God’s expectations are low.


The lists that Jesus teaches reveal God’s expectation is for us to struggle and fail are likely, yet God is hopeful.

  • For example, God knows we look to do the least, to receive the most.
  • To take the road MOST traveled, choosing what is easiest.
  • God knows we are likely to follow the crowd rather than follow God.
  • God knows we probably will choose to live contractually, by laws and rules, rather than covenantal,
  • God guesses we will value earning our way, rather than trust, and
  • Seek power in our own success, good works and self understanding.


Hear some Good News:

The teachings reveal God lives hoping we will trust! God is Hopeful!


For example: There are verses that are misused about blessing and abundance. If we give to God we can expect a good return on our investments.

It is subtle, but the intent is not that we measure our devotion by what we do, give, or earn, rather… God will use all that we do for God’s good work and witness. Bottom line, If we use God’s blessing for our glory and our comfort, they no longer reflect the kingdom, they only reflect ourselves.


The lesson here is about generosity. Give with a gratefulness, trusting God, and generosity yields generosity.


God seems to have the world backwards and upside down:

  • Trust the untrustworthy
  • Love the enemy
  • Discern without judging
  • Forgive like it is you that is being forgiven
  • And do all these with hope, in generosity.


Live by Grace in a big way.


God knows we can be selfish, brutish, cruel, and controlling, and yet chooses to love and entrust the work of the kingdom on earth to be conducted through us.

“What is God thinking?’


This is where knows God is hopeful, yet expects sin to real and the choices to be difficult.


Think of the loving parent that is Hopeful the prodigal son will not squander his inheritance, and yet knowing he has, waits with Hope for his return.


Paul would ask, “So if God knows we are going to fail, fall short, and sin, then go for the gold medal?” “No!”


The sermon on the mountain teaches us what is good, right, righteous, and from the heart of God. God’s gracious invitation is to follow, trust, and try to grow in fellowship.


The world is expecting us to value wealth, excellence, and power. God has all these things. We need only trust that God loves and desires and hopes for us soooo much, that God is willing to risk the world.


God wants relationship over good works alone.

How much greater is it to know temptation and to choose what pleases God, rather than just accidentally making the correct answer…


I have wondered when archeologist look back to see that knowledge was measured by students bubbling in score cards and those who choose the arbitrary sequence of bubbled ovals receive the scholarships and opportunities, and those who choose fewer are scored as less knowledgeable. Can the correct answers and action replace the relationship and experiences? The lessons of the sermon on the mount say, “nope, not at all!”


There is more than meeting expectations. Jesus announces that he has completed the law for us, and thus calls us to follow Jesus, in relationship with God and neighbor, through Jesus, as the way of living out our faith.

Movie, “Bruce Almighty” with Jim Carry and Morgan Freeman, God seems to foolishly hands the reigns over to Jim’s character who looks for short-cuts, self-interested solutions, and skips the very nature of God…. It takes looking from God’s perspective to see what God is hoping we find.


It is these verses in Chapters 5,6,&7, The sermon on the mount, that gives us God’s perspective of hope for ourselves and each other.


What do we do with this sermon on the mount?

Does my faith serve me or God’s pleasure? Where is my hope and trust?

What do I hope God will do through my household and friendships?

What do I hope God will do through my enemies and the strangers?

What do I hope my wealth will provide for God?

What do I hope will happen in my life for God’s kingdom?


If my lists are short then maybe I need to see more of God’s perspective

If my lists are long, then I start where I currently find ourselves and whittle through.

Bottom line, following Jesus is ……..


2020 Jan 25

Matthew 4:12-23

 Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.  [NRSA]

The call to follow is an invitation to 

  • Listen
  • Learn
  • Follow
  • Transform 
  • Call others

We talking about the need to listen last week

We hear the week before what it means to follow

The most important part of this challenge is the call to impact the lives of others

Q: What am I doing that others see, hear and know that Jesus is healing, calling, working through me?

Step back to the do no harm rule:

What am I doing that is harming my witness and getting in the way of others experiencing Jesus in me?

What can I do? To disciple others. 

  1. Discern one person before the end of the month that God is calling you to reach out to disciple
    1. Pray for them every day
    2. Find multiple ways to reach out to them and show the love and power of Jesus Christ 
    3. Persistence and variety. Many gifts and avenues
    4. Call theirs friends and co-workers
    5. She scriptures that invite learning and following
    6. Take them to follow with you in your faith journey
    7. Make it easy, no pressures salesmen.
    8. Some will follow others will be reached by someone else. 
  2. Repeat each month. 

The goal of your own 12 disciples.. 

A year of reaching our own dozen for Christ. 

Now go and make Disciples of Jesus Christ 

( next week food for the journey) 

2020 Jan 19

John 1:29-42

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter ). [NRSA]

The beginning of becoming disciples 

From the Text: we see the prophetic promises 

  • fulfilled from Isaiah through a John the Baptist
  • Jesus is baptized and calls us join him in that adoption
  • Jesus calls followers to follow 
  • He invites followers to listen to him

Followers follow

Followers listen to Jesus

Even as leaders we follow Jesus

… Last week we all heard a good example of what it means to radically  listen and radically follow Jesus invitation. Todd reminded us that to follow Jesus might take us away from our family, away from our comforts, away from our plans. We appreciate and admire someone’s journey when they follow so radically. But as passionate was their story.. I ask you today to where and to what is God invite you to go and to do today?

We don’t all have a  calling to the Bush of Africa 

A. But one thing that Todd shared is that he and his wife we listening to God

B. And they heard go, and then go back, and then stay and keep listening.

The question for us today is 

  1. Are we listening? Are we asking for God’s leading and direction or are we relying on what God told us two years or two decades ago and have not genuinely stopped to listen, in light of where we current are. 
  2. Do we not listen because we don’t want to hear something that might lead away from our comforts of what is familiar or easy… 
  3. John heats and tell Andrew, Andrew listens and follows, Andrew reaches out to his brother with what he had heard.
  4. He bring Simon, Simon listens and is transformed. Simon now becomes Peter, the Rock Man, we people of the Rock, Rock Spring….

There are two profound part to give our attention tot his morning:

  1. Jesus continue to call us now, through others 
  2. Jesus continues to call other, through you.

What are we hearing Jesus needs us to be, do or go?

What are others hearing and seeing from Jesus through us?

Both demand our attention if we are follow Jesus

I said two weeks ago and will say again, 

Now more than any time in our lifetime, Jesus Long’s for us to 

  • listen, 
  • follow, and 
  • share.


The shift from living in anticipation of faith

theological we shift from anticipation of Jesus to a season of living with Christ, listening, following and sharing with others.

All of us don’t need to go to the Bush, but all of us need to be following Christ’s call.

Where RE you in this journey?

I think everyone here has heard of Jesus 

We come together to sing, study and hear the words of Jesus’s teaching 

Where do we see Jesus day? Or do we?

What is Jesus saying to you this week or today?

Are willing to take the day for Jesus or simple a few minutes now and then 

How am I responding to Jesus’s call to follow

How am I bringing others

How am I being transformed 

How is Jesus using me, you, RS in this day?

This is where we benefit from fellowship… small group, prayer partners, faith friends 

Someone or group that is small enough to listen to one another 

Strong enough to to provide accountability 

Loving enough to challenge us to allow Christ to continue transforming us together?

  • If I know what Jesus asks me to do and I’m doing it, you have good news we all need to hear
  • If you know but are not doing anything about it then get to it now
  • If you don’t know it’s time to pray study ask, seek Jesus from those who have heard
  • If you have tried and failed, learn why and try again
  • If you are scare to start because you know things will be different in your life hear the stories and witness of those who have heard
  • If you don’t know where to begin, here John’S question of Jesus: where are you, that I can come listen and get to know you and learn your call for my life.

2020 Jan 05

Isaiah 60:1-9 Arise the Light is Shining

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; they shall be acceptable on my altar, and I will glorify my glorious house. Who are these that fly like a cloud, and like doves to their windows? For the coastlands shall wait for me, the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your children from far away, their silver and gold with them, for the name of the Lord your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he has glorified you. [NRSV]

A prophetic word from Isaiah reminding and foretelling of God’s Light and Hope is coming.

  • The image of nursing mothers
  • A radiant light in the darkness
  • Camels, Doves, and Flocks
  • some come bringing God and Frankincense
  • they will come from far away lands, from the ends of the earth
  • all because of the Glory of God’s works, the Holy One of Israel.

This is a prophecy calling that we see fulfilled

  • in the night sky as shepherds watch their flocks by night,
  • The Glory of the Lord is shone in the darkness to the least, the last and the lost.
  • The Nations shall bring gifts of Gold and incense, Frankincense to Glorify my Host, My House

700 Years priory to the Birth of Jesus, Isaiah is preparing the people in darkness to look for a great and glorious light.

  • You and I are those who know the whole story.
  • We know what the Light of the World is all about
  • We look at the darkness of sin, lies, deceptions, divisions, and corruption and we see the power of REVERSAL

Matthew 2: 6-16

“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’ ” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.  On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.  Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”  Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt,  and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”  When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. [NRSA]

  • Where we see DARKNESS, DEATH, SIN, and BROKENESS
    • We have the Glory of the Heavenly HOST singing and working with us.
  • Where we see 1 Night/day, 1 child/person, 1 church, our witness is intended for a world of folks struggling in darkness.
    • We have the GIFTS of the WORLD’s wealth to be used for GOOD
  • Where the are those working against us, God has another plan, another way
    • Our paths may differ from our expectations, but God has GOOD, HOPE, Light, LIfe for us

Arise, God’s Light is Shining through US!

  • We were not in the fields
  • We didn’t travel from far countries
  • We didn’t look into the manger that night
    • BUT
  • We can see the power the darkness in our world
  • We can see the ends of the earth on our screens
  • We can see the fulfilling of God’s continuing Story, shining and giving light in a world filled with politics, corruption, and division.
  • We have all the pieces and see how God fits them together throughout time for times like the days and nights we living through now.

This the day of Hope!

  • What the world intends for evil, God brings new life.
  • This is our mission, this is our calling, this is our charge, this is our responsibility
  • Where there is darkness, we shine the light of christ
  • Where there is not enough, we bring the wealth to the feet of Jesus
  • Where there are reasons to fight among ourselves God way will not be stopped, the question is will we be looking for worship with sheep,
  • Will we be those who following the political voice, or follow the songs of angels and the prayers of wisemen.

Archive for December, 2019

Lk 2:1-20 Great Joy

Posted by myoikos in #2019#christmaseve#greatjoy on December 24, 2019

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. [NRSV]

The angels pronounce Jesus as:
A savior,
the Messiah,
the Lord

1. Numerous people have saved us and maybe we too have saved others from hunger, fear, grief and loss.
2. Many have been our political Lords and leaders, most all of us have been entrusted with leading others.
3. But none of us is the Messiah.

The angels proclaim that not only has God’s leader come to the world, not only do we find a savior for our sins, we also find God with us, Christ-mas. Emanuel, The power love and joy of God is revealed in Jesus the Christ.

And not only has the Long awaited Messiah come to live amount us, we have in him the greatest Joy!

What is the the great joy?

There are many joys we experience in our lives:
Family, Children and grands
Home, Vocations, Careers and the fruit of our labors
The beauty of each season
The treasures of traditions and memories
But what is the greatest joy?

I believe we don’t often live as if we have found the greatest joy
Recall in Jesus’s parable of the Great Pearl, once found the person traded all they had to purchase the Great Pearl.

So often we continue looking for more than what we have found by faith in Christ.

Just as the disciples of John the Baptizer who had heard and seen the words and deeds of Jesus but when he did not fulfill the idea they held, the questioned and doubted the news concerning Jesus.

We live knowing the joy of Christ, yet with live without the “mas” part of Christmas throughout the years.

“Mas” being the dwelling presence of Christ in our daily life and nightly rest. Christ-mas, Christ-with-us.

Tonight is a family occasion as a church community, but it is also I personal time of affirmation and reaffirmation. I come to the place where my strength ends and Gods joy begins, you and I kneel as those who gathered in the fields around Bethlehem, like those around the manger , we kneel before our Lord and,
Give Thanks
And find ourselves filled with the Love and Power of God.

Come to the Throne of God, come to the heart of God, come to source of life and love and be made new, set your spirit aflame by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Tonight we have come to our journey’s purposeful end:
To find Jesus Christ alive, renewed and coursing in our breath and bodies.

You and I are the witness of God’s savior, Lord and Messiah.
You and I are entrusted to live out the work and joy of the Lord
If you have never proclaimed Jesus Christ as your savior then claim him now
If you have said the words but lost the power and drive of the Holy Spirit give yourself again, our king awaits us
If you have that spirit passion then reach out to those who are lost, searching, wandering, squandering and afraid and offer them his great Joy

God wants to move in with us, today and every day and for eternity
The world is filled with broken, angry, selfish and hardened hearts
Join the angels, shepherd, magi and family of God until the world know the great joy by
heart and faith,
in song and deed,
in day and night

Join me as we come to his table set for us all
Join in the bread and cup of forgiveness and eternal joy.
Death is no more our fear
God is our life, our light, our power and our love.

This is the great joy!
And God has blessed us with this gift to have and to share.Advertisements

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Psalm 80 “Restore Us”

Posted by myoikos in #2019#advent#saveus on December 21, 2019


Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure. You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves. Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved [NRSA]

Let the congregation say it again: “O God of heaven, let your face shine, that we may be saved, amen!”

The Psalm is a song of lament and a confession of sin, as well as a prayer for salvation.

how long we have we babe know sorry, fear, separation, defeat, calamity, trouble and loss. We have cried so among tears, they are our drink.

how long have we been seen as less than enough, how long have we been taken advantage, how long have we been the butt of the joke and ‘that’ ring or on our road or street?

how long have our enemies had more than we have had, how long have we been defeated, belittle and bullied? How long have we lived by our enemies standards and expectations?

now is the time to call upon the lord. Now the day for us to remember who’s family we belong. Now is the season for us to turn to Gods power, as we have found ourselves broken and powerless.

These are the word of lament.
These are the words of confession.
What is left to be done?

The Congregation calls for God to show up.
the congregation calls for God to shine upon their darkness and brokenness.

Come Lord with your mighty presences.
We need to see you face.
We need you to be with us, here and now

The call in this act of worship is for God to shine his presence, his might and his light on our darkness, fear, shame and selfishness…

we could never have done enough, know enough, worshipped enough, we are not enough, without you or God…come Show up and restore us.

This is the congregation crying out for what we already know and find in Jesus Christ.

The worshipers would gather in the temple cry out to God. “ O God of Heaven, Let your face shine, and save us.
People were ask for the tangible, physical, powerful presence of God to be present and to restore them from their sin.

Jesus, as Messiah, was not a surprise nor and afterthought of God, even way back then people knew from life’s of emptiness and brokenness that only God could show up to save us…

this is the good news of Christmas!

God is showing us Gods glory, power and life for us to be saved, restored, redeemed and made wholle.

“I don’t need anything for Christmas” not true!
I need Jesus to shadiness his face upon us and make us new and that becomes our peace, joy, love and faith.

another way to say, Lord of Heaven, give me your mighty power that I might be renewed, save, rekindled, for you and your glory, not mine but your.

This is the Christmas gift we seek, and share.. Merry Christmas and may Christ save and restore you today!

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Psalm 146:5-10 Praise the Lord!

Posted by myoikos in #2019#advent#rsumcPassionate WorshipPraiseWorship on December 14, 2019

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; 7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; 8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. 9 The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 10 The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord!  [NRSA]

  1. At the core of celebrating Christmas is the telling God’s story
  2. It is not a New Story
  3. It is a Story of Good News for a Broken World
  4. It is Your Story to Live

It may be somewhat strange to turn to the Psalms to hear the Good News of Christmas. Be reminded that God who has been calling all people to trust him, has the same heart of love shown in creation, revealed through out shared history, made plane in the manger in Bethlehem, is the same love and message of hope for the world.

Question 1: Do you know God’s Good News in your life?

The Good News that Jesus makes plain is fortold in the worship songs, the Psalms. Here in Psalm 146 the song retells that our HAPPINESS comes from God and not our things, not our money, not our success, not our accomplishment, RATHER – Our Joy and Hope come from God..

If you and I are looking for Joy and Hope in others things and other relationships they will all disappoint us if God is not in them.

Look around, in the world, in our community, in our church, in our homes, in our own hearts: We do not always place God first in our hearts, minds and soul.

Question 2: Are you persuaded and guided by God’s Hope? 

If you believe God is at work in the world today and in your life, you have the very message that God has been trying to share with the world. It only takes a moment to see the brokenness and fear that leads people’s hearts, minds and spirits to know — Faith, Hope and Love are precious gifts that need to be shared and unwrapped.

I have to believe that most everyone of us would want to answer, “YES!” I am persuaded! I believe God loves the world and God desires the world around me to see, hear and experience God’s love through my life. (your life). But in how many short minutes or seconds before our pride, our greed, our selfishness, our demons, our dependancies, our fears tempt, test and tear us away?

Question 3. Do you remember that it is God’s Story in us and not the reverse.

Psalm 146 calls the people of God, while in worship, to remember the eternal power God has for us, who believe and serve. The words are comfort to those held captive, those blind, and those oppressed. The Lord lifts up the stranger, the orphan and the widow. The Good News to which Jesus preaches in his first home-town sermon. 

The part of the sermon that gets him run out of town is that God is not saving the lost and empowering the powerless to do their own thing, God is blessing us to be God’s servants, witnesses and messengers.

The Psalm is clear that God is not about supporting wickedness, pride, greed, fear, brokenness and sin. God has come to free us from these things, but not to return to them as our master. 

The 4 Question is this: Who is entrusted to tell and live the story? 

Is it those who test the Lord loving-kindness or those who follow God’s ways?  The Psalms sings: Praise the Lord! (Not look what I want, what You want, what I need, what you need… The seperation we experience and witness in the world is that we turn our hearts away from our hope and salvation. 

As a culture-of-church we have become more of an institution, an organization and a entity of operations. We talk about OUR ministry, OUR building, OUR mission, and OUR church. We hear the Psalmist remind us, that we about God’s ministry, God’s heart, God’s temple, God’s work and God’s witness. 

As a culture-of-church we have grown to expect someone else to do the work and us to receive the ‘Cliff-notes’ gift-pack that makes it easy to receive. When we expect to be served, we are not serving. When we anticipate the transaction of getting because we have given. Whew think of ourselves as entitled to the benefits of membership, we need to revisit the words of the Psalms: Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. 

In our journey toward Christmas and rekindling the presence of Christ in ourlives, know this:

  • God is calling us to worship him
  • God is calling us to repent of our sins, fears and selfishness
  • God is calling us to trust him 
  • God is calling me (state your name) to be the witness to the world
  • IF THIS IS OUR TO DO LIST: We need Christ to be our
    • Our Strength
    • Our Good News
    • Our Word
    • and OUR HOPE

Prayer: Lord make us yours, be our strength, draw us to your word and call, and open the hearts and minds of everyone we meet to receive you through our words and witness of your power, love and grace. Amen.

Archive for May, 2019

Revelation 21:22-22:5 Dealing with Sin

Posted by myoikos in #2019#heaven#holyspirit#kingdomofheavenSalvationSin on May 25, 2019

I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. [NRSV]

Physical images in Heaven:

  • A city with no temple
  • Gates that are never shut
  • River of the water of life
  • Tree of life
  • Bearing twelve kinds f fruit
  • Leaves of healing for the nations
  • Throne for the lamb
  • Light of the Lord

Features of Heaven

Open Gates:

  • The gates are never shut
  • Heaven s not a gated community

This flies in the face of

Radiant Glory

  • People will bring in the glory of the nations
  • Kings will bring their glory into it

Heaven has no place for sin

The proof that we are not in heaven is that sin is plentiful, abundant and rampant.

This is where we pull away from the glorious mystery of thinking about the new heaven that awaits us, knowing it will be far more and far better than out imagining can ever dream.

To be in heaven is to be in God’s presence, fulfilled and yet as fully ourselves.

The brokenness that we live in is the reality of sin

John is shown these glimpses of heaven to wet our appetite for more

When we loose something and find it,

we tell others, “it was in the last place I looked!”

Which begs the question do you keep searching once you have found what was lost?

The power of sin

  • We live in a state where we cannot stay “found”,
  • We live in the reality of our own sin
  • We live in the reality of the effect of the sins of others
  • We live in the reality of evil working tempt, test and make sin easier than doing good

So wait until the end?

Paul’s suggestion to sin all we like, because we have grace? No! By no means.

This does not bring glory to God, to others, nor ourselves.

We are witnesses of trusting in a sinful broken world

  • Practice trusting a Christ
  • Encourage others to trust Grace in Christ, and
  • Glorify God for the nations of the world.

Dealing with Sin

Certainly we can blame the devil, the wealthy, the poor, our neighbor and previous generations, anyone one or thing we can blame, but that is not the solution.

Being in God (now and in heaven)

Getting into heaven means necessitates us addressing or sins

The “How To” section

We pretty much expect Jesus to already have taken care of that..and we just need the occasional buster shot, but what if we continue to be

  • selfish,
  • envy,
  • prideful,
  • lustful,
  • greedy,
  • apathy,
  • impatience or
  • wrath.

Focus on God’s help doing the opposite to reflect God’s glory by showing

  • humility,
  • kindness,
  • moderation/temperance,
  • charity,
  • chastity,
  • fidelity and diligence, and
  • patience.

Both lists call for

  • Practice
  • Progress, and
  • Persistence

Both lists, avoiding the evil and committing to the glorious, require Christ be in the throne, in heaven and in our hearts, minds and soul.

But the truth is that we can only live by these with the help of the holy Spirit and we we only find release from the power of the sin through Christ


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Rev 21:1-6 God is Making

Posted by myoikos in #2019#livingwater#makingallthingsnew on May 17, 2019

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. [NRSV]

Reoccurring themes

  • Living water
  • Wipe away every tear
  • Death will be no more
  • No more mourning crying nor pain

Record and Remember what is trustworthy:

God is Making all things new.

“Making” is a physical and spiritual work

  • Not rekindling
  • Not rebranding
  • Not refurbishing

Illustration of the cracked vessel:

Tried painting sealer

Tried adding putty

Only solution is to return to sand and incorporate new clay.

Sometime starting fresh

The focus is on Jesus Christ as the means of making all things new.

Is God’s way of RE-establishing

  • Reality
  • Justice
  • Order
  • Relationship

We are made for God, through Jesus

  • The living water
  • Jesus is the fountain of our new being
  • Baptism makes us new

“It is done,”

  • So be it
  • I am
  • As in the first creation.

The New Heaven has been accomplished through Jesus Christ

  • We don’t make ourselves
  • But we serve because it is how we show love to God
  • We know tears, hunger, thirst, pain and death
  • But this is not our end or purpose
  • Our purpose is to love for God
  • To find our beginning and end in Him
  • Share the living water
  • For the world is thirsty

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Revelation 7:9-17 Robes of White

Posted by myoikos in #2019#heaven on May 11, 2019

 After this, I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, singing, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” [NRSV]


We are listening to John’s Revelation again this Sunday

Today we look and listen in to worship of God around the throne and look at those who have already gone before us.

  • Mothers, daughters, 
  • Husbands, son, grandparents, 
  • friends and strangers.

Those who have gone to heaven are their because of Christ

Not because of what they have done, earned or left undone..

We look into a window of heaven and get a glimpse and see

Who’s that yonder dressed in White

  • Are you in a going through the great ordeal ?
  • Are you cleansed in blood of the lamb ?
  • Are your robes white ?

Are we known by our Heavenly Citizenship

  • Are you known by your victory over sin or by the shortfall for now
  • Are you known by the works of Christ in your living
  • Are you known as the clean in Christ

Those in Heaven: (know about those there and what to anticipate)

  • They will hunger no more, and 
  • thirst no more; 
  • the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; 
  • for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and 
  • he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and 
  • God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.\\

The promise of the New Jerusalem: 

  • Heaven is a place that food is 
    • no longer needed… 
    • not to be bought, 
    • cooked or 
    • no worries about having enough.
  • No more seasons, 
    • time or 
    • night
  • A Place with the Lamb is a shepherd… 
    • reversal
  • Living Water
    • recalling the promise of the woman at the well
  • No tears… they have 
    • no grief for us, 
    • no fears, 
    • no loneliness, 
    • no worries, 
    • no struggles will not be our concern.

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Singing with Full a Voice. Revelation 5:11-14

Posted by myoikos in #2019#bethesong#resurreciton#trustGodWorship on May 5, 2019

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, singing with full voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing, “To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped. [NRSV]

Reminder: Revelation of John is about three things. Being alert, repentance, and worship. Today we listen to Revelation to learn about worship

1. A. Worship is all about what we do for God that is about praising, celebrating, thanking, appreciating, honoring and expressing our love, devotion and trust of God.

2. B. Is not about us in any way. When it is, our worship is about ourselves.

3. Worship is what United us not our ideas, theologies and practices or behaviors.

4. Worship is about God drawing us together for God.

John Wesley had many things to say about worship and singing in particular:

“The opening pages of the United Methodist Hymnal bear a preface that has bemused and bewildered distracted worshippers for ages.  These seven rules, titled Directions for Singing, were first included in the 1761 publication Select Hymns, a hymnbook for early Methodists.

A few things to keep in mind when you read these directions.  First, the hymns we take for granted as “traditional worship” were almost all new in John Wesley’s day (I mean, Charles was writing them), and most of them would never be sung in church building walls in Wesley’s lifetime. Newton’s Amazing Grace wasn’t even written yet.

The Methodist movement was happening outside of church walls, where all the artful music could be made, and usually only the preacher had a copy of the hymnbook with all these cool new songs.  They would sing one line out at a time, and then the gathered crowd would repeat what they heard.  

Apparently George Whitfield (the white-haired guy in the comic above) was a master at lining out hymns after he finished preaching.  In this context, Wesley’s directions are really rooted in his belief that worship is the work of all the people, meant to unite us as a priesthood of all believers in service to God.

Truth be told, the church historically has a tendency of elevating musicians and preachers as somehow separate from the larger crowd, a crowd which tends to become spectators instead of participants.  Wesley’s directions for singing are meant to offer practical ways we worship together.  Here they are:”

https://shar.es/a0aVNN. (1) Wesley’s Directions for Singing / by Charlie Baber 9/19/17

Directions for Singing.  That this part of Divine Worship may be the more acceptable to God, as well as the more profitable to yourself and others, be careful to observe the following directions.

• I. Learn these tunes (Methodist Hymnal) before you learn any others; afterwards learn as many as you please.

• II. Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mending them at all; and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can.

• III. Sing All. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up and you will find a blessing.

• IV. Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan.

• V. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.

• VI. Sing in Time: whatever time is sung, be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it; but attend closely to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can. And take care you sing not too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from among us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.

• VII. Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your Heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve of here, and reward when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.

Back to the text:

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, singing with full voice,

The snapshot John gives us in this Revelation is a glimpse of worship In heaven. “Singing with full voice:”

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

https://youtu.be/rGgX_oqdib4 Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain

Holy, holy is Thee

Sing a new song to Him who sits on

Heaven’s mercy seat

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain

Holy, holy is He

Sing a new song to Him who sits on

Heaven’s mercy seat

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty

Who was and is and is to come

With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings

You are my everything and I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows of living color

Flashes of lighting rolls of thunder

Blessing and honor strength and glory and power be

To You the only one who’s King

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty

Who was and is and is to come

With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings

You are my everything and I will adore You

Filled with wonder awestruck wonder

At the mention of Your name

Jesus Your name is power, breath and living water

Such a marvelous mystery

Oh, You’re worthy, mystery

You are worthy

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty

Who was and is and is to come

With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings

You are my everything and I will adore You, I will adore You

Songwriters: Jennie Lee Riddle

(2) Revelation Song lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

In https://youtu.be/rGgX_oqdib4 Worthy is the Lamb

Thank you for the cross Lord

Thank you for the price You paid

Bearing all my sin and shame

In love You came and gave amazing grace

Thank you for this love Lord

Thank you for the nail pierced hands

Washed me in Your cleansing flow

Now all I know Your forgiveness and embrace

Worthy is the Lamb

Seated on the throne

Crown You now with many crown

You reign victorious

High and lifted up

Jesus, Son of God

The Treasure of Heaven crucified

Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb

Thank you for the cross Lord

Thank you for the price You paid

Bearing all my sin and shame

In love You came and gave amazing grace

Thank you for this love Lord

Thank you for the nail pierced hands

Washed me in Your cleansing flow

Now all I know Your forgiveness and embrace

Worthy is the Lamb

Seated on the throne

Crown You now with many crown

You reign victorious

High and lifted up

Jesus, Son of God

The Treasure of Heaven crucified

Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb

Seated on the throne

Crown You now with many crown

You reign victorious

High and lifted up

Jesus, Son of God

The Treasure of Heaven crucified

Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb

(3)https://youtu.be/4Gae-n0Pb7Q Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir “Worthy is the Lamb”

🎶 A tune from Rev to sing with practice using ones full voice.

G. G. G. F. E.

Worthy is the lamb

Worthy is the lamb

F. F. F. E. D.

Seated on the throne

Seated on the throne

G. G. G. F. E.

Worthy is the lamb

Worthy is the lamb

F. F. F. E. D.

High and lifted up

High and lifted up

G. G. G. F. E.

Worthy is the lamb

Worthy is the lamb

F. F. F. E. D. C. B. C.

Worthy is the lamb, that was slain

In the state d Heaven EVERYONE can be heard singing.

Let the congregation say together “amen”

🎵 A-a-men, A-a-a-m, a-amen, amen, amen

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing, “To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

Amen has come to mean “let it be so, let it be true, let it be, let it happen.

With full voice we come to worship God

Is it about me or you, no

It is about Jesus has lived, did a s rose again for you and me

Worship is about giving in to God, we might struggle most of the time but in worship we practice living in heaven, practice living for God.

Sing like we are standing before the throne.

It’s ok to tell you neighbor to sing louder or to tone it down as long as everyone is praising … so sing!

Wesley’s Directions for Singing UMBoH

1. Learn these tunes before you learn any others; afterwards learn as many as you please.

2. Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mending them at all; and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can.

3. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up, and you will find it a blessing.

4. Sing lustily and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan.

5. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.

6. Sing in time. Whatever time is sung be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it; but attend close to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can; and take care not to sing too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.

7. Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.

Archive for November, 2019

Isaiah 2:1-5 Walking in Light

Posted by myoikos in #2019#advent on November 30, 2019

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord! [NRSA]

Walking in the Light

Just last night I stubbed my little toe for the third time this week. OOOh. OWwww. UMph! I was not looking where I was stepping. I was thinking of my destination and didn’t pay attention to the path. I suppose I am as stubborn and my toe pays the price.

This first Sunday of Advent is a call to walk the path of light.  We will see the path in the words of prophets from long ago, in the brilliance of angel songs, in the order of distant stars and throughout the witness of God’s word for us and for the world.

If the world is to be transformed by the AWESOME work and news we find at Christmas it will not be through packages, decorations and jolly traditions of giving. We find Christ when we follow the path Christ’s light leads us, and then, only then, other traditions may follow.

The Advent Tradition Reveals our Journey

We will light candles of Hope Peace Joy and Love

These are our milestone markers along the way

Week One

Start Walking – Walking in the Light

Start disciplines of singing, reading, preparing for Christ.

The Characters

With Luke’s Gospel, start reading and studying the core story in Chapter 1 and the start of 2. You will surely know the stories but read them with an intention to retell them, teach them, and find your presence in the stories. 

  • Are you the parent? 
  • A child?
  • a messenger? 
  • an unbeliever? 
  • a doubter? 
  • a late-night employee? 
  • The aunt or uncle? 
  • a bystander? 
  • one blessed ready to serve? 
  • one who was scared? 

We can find ourselves in many if not most of these throughout our lives.. These are the perspectives 

The prophet Amos had a son, Isaiah, one of the most prolific prophets of God’s people, has a word for all of God’s people, those of the North and the South; those of the Left and the Right; a word for those Then and for us Now!

Listen Up!

 Advent is our Journey toward Christmas

  • It is an upward climb up the highest mountain, with a the greatest view
  • The path is a process with purpose and faithfulness.
  • Instructions are for the world and not the reverse
  • The Word of the Lord is from Jerusalem for the world to hear, see, believe and trust
  • We have a judge among the nations
  • The judgment will be working toward peace and not war
  • The work will be transformational
  • Everyone in the house, listen up and be ready for the journey
  • It is time to walk in the light.

I have enjoyed many hikes in my life. The memorable ones were not easily accomplished. The same will be true for our spiritual journey this month. We are tempted to take the ride up to the top or look at someone else’s photos taken at the summit but we are cheating ourselves from the hike.

Isaiah’s call is to follow the path.

There are times that the adventure is off the beaten path, but the spiritual path toward finding Christ born afresh and anew in outlives is found following God’s path.

God’s path follows

  • the wisdom of prophets
  • the messages of angels
  • the call of faithfulness, and 
  • the steadiness of trusting God to be revealed in the process.

There is not a shortcut in spiritual growth.

Our Task is to make Peace

We know Jesus is the Prince of Peace and if we are following Christ’s path, it will be a journey of peacemaking.

It is worth great note that Isaiah is addressing a divided kingdom.

The answer is not for the northern or southern kingdom to yield to one or the other, RATHER

BOTH are to yield toward God’s heart

     The witness of doing God’s Work revealed in Christ is to TRANSFORM the elements of the

     battle into implements of building, feeding, clothing and healing the nations.

We have witnessed a great day of rivalries in the college football world this weekend.

  • It is easy to take sides
  • maintain traditions
  • cheer for our team
  • and boo the enemies
  • It’s a fun legacy of honoring alma mater and celebrating traditions

But it is just the opposite of the work we have ahead of us as those looking for Christ.

We begin in the HOPE of peace.

Before HOPE is fulfilled for us in CHRIST, begin our work of TRANSFORMING the things that divide us so that we are less apt to resume a battle if we are not preparing for battle.

We have friends whose child just got accepted to UT, the mother is an alumnus of Vanderbilt, she was lamenting the wearing of Orange. We reminded her that she could wear White and Smokey Grey and still show her support as a loving mother.

In the weightier matters of our lives, we see the division of politics and the best place to transform the weapons might be social media. Avoid the public responses that brand and shame, and find ways to communicate one-to-one in ways bridge rather than promote the fight.

There are times that we are scared, threatened, challenged, inconvenienced, tested and even attacked and out self-preservation is to return the attack or withdraw. Nations become divided when people stop treating one another with respect and trust. Instead of working toward the same goal, selfishness wins.

The church is divided over selfishness in the name of God. That is actually blasphemy

The nation is divided over power in the name of Good. That is delusion

When families or friends are divided over agendas. That is polarization

Blasphemy – Delusions – Polarizations have NOTHING to do with the path of God’s Kingdom.

The Road to Christ

is shedding the tools of fear and brokenness 

Transforming these talents for those that build 

Trust in God, A quest for God’s Heart and the unity that ONLY God can provide.

We celebrate these being made clearest and nearest through Jesus Christ.

What’s Next

First, Start climbing, spend the time, words, relationships, and tools we have on God’s path and not our own.

         Confess our sins, fear, brokenness, selfishness, shame, and journey together

May the first week of December/ Advent be transforming ourselves to become God’s implements, God’s people

  • God’s prophets, 
  • healers, 
  • teachers, 
  • builders, and 
  • all those who know to stay on God’s path of Light.

This is our HOPE to start the climb.Advertisements

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Colossians 1:11-20 “Joyfully Giving Thanks”

Posted by myoikos in #2019#accountabilityThanksgiving on November 23, 2019

from Charlie Browns Christmas Movie

May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers–all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him, all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him, God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. [NRSA]

We are thankful for many things. Our litany of appreciations includes the usual, family, health, home and nation and for those who helped us preserve our great opportunities. But one thing is missing from this list that differs between Thanksgiving and Paul’s words to the church at Colosse: Giving God Thanks, Joyfully. 

Paul reminds us of why we encourage one another to not only be thankful but to GIVE thanks. Because of God’s work and love of us through CHRIST.

And we say to ourselves,

  • that’s semantics,
  • Just say what you were going to say and remember to give God some ‘love’n’
  • Give God some credit
  • make sure you name God and Jesus in your lists of thanksgiving appreciations.
  • Check that off the list and get to the turkey and fixing, ball games and naps.

Paul’s words to the Church have little to do with our tradition of natives and settlers sharing a meal of fellowship.

Paul is reminding us to order life in God’s Purpose.

(he is reminding us that the Home Run life is living in the fruit of God’s grace and purpose:

Say to your neighbor: I am Thankful God. I am thankful for God.

  • It is because of God, that we HAVE a share in Christ’s inheritance.
  • It is because Christ has rescued us from sin and death,
  • It is through Christ that we are children of light and 
  • It is through Christ that we are co-heirs of God’s kingdom.
  • It is Jesus that we give thanks.

Remind Your Neighbor of Paul’s words to the church: I am thankful for Jesus

  • Jesus who makes God visible and approachable to God,
  • It is because of God’s Power who has 
  • authority and power above all other things.
  • It is because God has created all things for God’s purpose,
  • The cause to give thanks is that even though God who is the author of all things, has created us for God’s purposes, for God’s order. God’s order is through the church. 

Tell another neighbor: I am thankful God purpose include us in the church

  • God is the head of the body
  • God is the beginning of the purpose
  • God is the author of life.
  • God who is all this, places God’s own self into Jesus who then sacrifices himself for us.

As Christians, we are to take every day to GIVE GOD THANKS, but on this holiday of THANKSGIVING, we witness to the world about what God has done and is doing in the world.

Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the gang recall our national heritage of breaking bread and giving thanks because of the fruitful work of cooperation and teamwork. And we can “KEEP” the tradition going for another generation and NEVER mention the PRIMARY reasons we have to be THANKFUL AND GIVE THANKS.

Tell your neighbor there is a difference between BEING Thankful and GIVING Thanks.

“There is a difference between BEING Thankful and GIVING Thanks.

When acknowledging all the things, people and opportunities we have we are tempted to highlight only what we have done or to

highlight what others have done, but 


Paul is reminding us to ALWAY be GIVING Thanks to God.

What does that mean in every day life and 

how Does this make our Holiday different from a national tradition.

IT IS A THIRD BASES activity. To use our Home Run Life model.

We are taking the context of a National Holiday and to REMIND one another and to 

WITNESS to the WORLD, that God is the FIRST recipient of our THANKS and PRAISE

  • GIVE our Praise to God
  • GIVE credit to God
  • GIVE Christ the appreciation

Actively connect the skills, relationships, opportunities we have as gifts from GOD.

  • And then has God is at work in the others in our lives

And then as God is work in our blessings and labors

Therefore for us, as the church and the people of Jesus Christ

May we use this occasion to teach the nation, the world and one another

  • that would not be the people we are without God
  • we would not have to peace and love without Christ
  • we would not have purpose, power, and plan without God’s Holy Spirit.

This is the difference in REMEMBERING history, tradition, and values, and LIVING, modeling and thriving in the authority of God, the love of Christ and power of the Spirit.

Tonight we gather to give thanks as a church family

This week we gather with others to give thanks

my invitation to you, through Paul’s words,

  • it to make it about all about God, make all about Jesus, make it all about the church
  • and we will not only show our love and praise to God
  • We will teach the world the Good News and WHY we are Thankful.

Give it all to God

Tell you neighbor :  “I am all in for God.”  I AM ALL IN, 

Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus; Thank you Jesus, my Savior, My God

You have Bought me, You have brought me, YOU have brought me a mighty long way 

and I Thank You…

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Getting Past 3rd Base

Posted by myoikos in #2019 on November 9, 2019

HOME RUN LIFE     Week 4

On the way, but not yet home…

Romans 12:1-2

So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature. [CEB]

Getting Past Third Base Pressures and Temptations

What’s On Third? 

1. Have you ever worried about money?

2. Have you ever struggled with people at work?

3. Have you had others measuring your performance/success?

Third is the place our Talents, Skills, and Opportunities 

Intersect with the Expectations of the World.

Life is more than 3rd Base

Q: Is my purpose in life to meet the world’s or God’s expectation?

  • My PURPOSE is in my CREATOR, 
  • not my CAREER, WEALTH, nor MY MIND
  • Therefore I live AND work for my CREATOR first!

A Home Run Life is actually putting God ahead of everything

What does that look like in our lives?

  1. God is my provider, I TRUST in God.   – Begin day focused in GOD
  2. God is provider, I WORK for God.   – Colossians 3:22-25
  3. God is my provider, I WAIT for God’s FAVOR.  – Joshua 23 (1:1000)

When we are living in God’s Character, building relationships with others in God, God will provide a way for us to be successful in God’s Work in our 3rd base opportunities and responsibilities.

Which of these gives me more trouble today?

Don’t WALK when we should be RUNNING  – a life of working for Jesus Christ, God doesn’t bless crap.20191110_HOMERUN4Download

There is no way to be 100 in every area of our lives unless we follow God’s pattern. Giving our BEST

(Story of the House cleaner who got a second chance — a $1.61 — the only one who found all the gifts.