Archive for the ‘Missional Community’ Category

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matthew 5:1-12, NRSV)

What makes one blessed? Or to put that in a term we use every day what makes one successful?

How do we determine success?

Do you have a big bank account? A nice new fancy car? The newest phone? The best electronic devices?

Do these things make one successful? Do these things make you blessed?

Maybe according to the world and the prosperity gospel. But not to Jesus.

Jesus says that you are blessed when you seek after him because you can’t do it on your own. Blessed are you when people revile you because of me. Blessed are you when you seek for justice for others and have all justice removed from you.

You see we live in a world where it is about us first, but in the kingdom of God it is about the other first. God gave His Son so you could be in a relationship with Him. He thought of you over His own Son. And He wants you to think of the other before yourself.

You see God requires us:
To Do Justice
Love Kindness
and to Walk deliberately with Him!

So look out for the other first. And He will always fill you back up!

The other night I was watching tv, I honestly don’t remember what the show was but a commercial came on from Toyota. It was about a football playoff down to the last seconds and a hopefully throw and catch to the end zone, but the referee called the catch out of bounds. So the team lost. Then pan to a car on the side of the road in the rain broken down, and a truck driving up. The broken down car is the ref, and the truck has the quarterback from the losing team and his family, the ref looks in like this will go nowhere, but they give him a ride. And the quarterback gives the ref a towel to dry off. The tagline is Let’s Go Compassion.

To have compassion means to have an awareness of others needs and a desire to help them.

Think how the world would change if we had compassion for others. And yes the world would change because of your actions to seek to show compassion to those around you. You would influence your tiny section of the world and that, in turn, would influence the tiny section of the world of all the people you have an impact on, and it would ripple out like waves in water.

So Let’s Go Compassion.

This year let us look out for the other, and show them the love that we just received in the gift of a baby on a manger. Let us see others as Christ sees them and give them the grace, mercy, and love He has given us.

Let’s Go Compassion!

“What no one ever shares with you when you’re young is that Christianity is boring. No one tells you that. That Christianity, for the most part, is boring. No one tells you that Christianity is a 70 to 80 year grind in becoming more kind, more gentle, more giving, more joyful, more patient, more loving.

 You learn that God isn’t in the rocking praise band or the amped up worship experience. What you learn after college is that Holy Ground is standing patiently in a line. You learn that Holy Ground is learning to listen well to your child, wife or co-worker. Holy Ground is being a reliable and unselfish friend or family member and being a good nurse when someone is sick. Holy Ground is awkward and unlikely friendships. Holy Ground is often just showing up.

 Being more and more like Jesus is a million boring little things.

No one ever tells you that when you’re young.

Just like no one ever tells you just how risky and revolutionary it all is.

That a truly radical life of following Jesus is made up of a million boring little things.”

-Richard Beck

As we enter the summer (or close to it) we need to think about the million boring little things. You see, Christianity is about being like Christ and growing as His disciple every day.

We need to focus on the mundane tasks of being a disciple. You see as a musician, I will not continue to grow if I do not practice daily, or play for long periods of time. I may still be able to play, but I will not be able to play as well as I did last month, if I do not play for a month. I will not be able to play as good as I did, if I am not practicing every day.

So as disciples how do we practice?

There are focuses we can have as disciples to keep us cross eyed, or focused on Jesus. Michael Foss lays out 6 marks of discipleship in his book Power Surge that are ways we can daily practice being a disciple and do the million little boring things. These 6 marks are:

  1. Praying daily
  2. Worshiping Weekly (notice that is not Weakly!)
  3. Reading the Bible daily
  4. Serving inside and outside the congregation
  5. being in Relationships
  6. Giving

You can use it as an acronym to spell out PoWeR SuRGe.

So let us be focused on the million little things that make us like Jesus and focus ourselves on growing every day as His disciple!

“Nobody knows what we’re for only against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did”

This past Sunday at worship on “Doubting Thomas” Sunday. I used the ” ” because I don’t like that name. Thomas is said to have doubted when really all he did was question which is what all of us need to do. Well, this past Sunday I had the ushers pass out a piece of card stock to each adult, and at the end of the sermon I invited people to write down a thought, a question, a doubt or a fear. Something that came up from the sermon, or they had been thinking about or wondering over for years. I honestly thought I would get a few, I received 49 in the offering plates. And as I was reading over them and being moved by them, I thought I had to share them. They are all without identifying marks, and the ones that had names will not be included here. That is for me to know to respond or know to pray for them.

I share these to let you see that we are not alone in our struggles. Many of the things written here I have struggled with, and many of us have, are or will struggle with.

I also share them here because of the honesty. That is what we need more of today. Honesty with ourselves and our relationships.

Doubts:

I doubt I am strong enough

I doubt I will be able to forgive those that have hurt me

That my family will ever get ahead (take 1 step forward then 2 back)

I doubt I could ever put God before my children as Abraham was tested to do

I doubt that I will ever find true happiness

I doubt trump will winI doubt our elected officials will do what they promise.

Nothing and everything

I often doubt myself. Despite all logic and what I see and believe, things said to me in the past still stick to my heart

I doubt if my spouse  will be attending worship service with me soon. I am not giving up God has a plan

Being good at my job. Being a good parent to my child when I am struggling myself.

Life after death

That my health will get better

I will develop the patients I know I should have

I doubt I will get into a good college

myself

I doubt I have achieved all I can

find lasting love

creation in 6 days

I doubt that the way I live my life will be acceptable to God

will my son think I am a good parent (he is 2 right now)

I have doubts about whether my family should have another child. We have 3 beautiful children now. Should we stop?

Being a good man

If our money will be enough for us to live on until we die

I doubt that I will get out of debt, but I am trying

I doubt cancer will be wiped out

I doubt war will ever be resolved

I doubt that there is enough good in the world to overcome the “evil”/radicals especially trying to raise children and want them to grow up strong and not scared/doubt their life

I doubt I will be able to lead my family in faith so they can do the same for their family someday

I doubt I will be able to live my dreams of traveling to see my ancestors homeland

I doubt I will ever be a success after college

I doubt my grandma will heal from cancer

 

Fears:

I fear I won’t be able to stay clean and sober the rest of my life

I fear frogs.

Fear of not being forgiven

Satan will win

Failure

I fear I am not as good a father/husband as I could be

 

Questions:

Will I do what is right to leave my children

Why did God pick me for Parkinsons? Why? What did I do?

I will see Social Security

Trump

Our Government

More than one step

Will our country choose the president best for us

How can God always hear all of our prayers when there are millions of people praying to Him

is God with me at all times and does He protect me

Why is there depression

Is there anything after death

Intentions of our political leaders