Soggy Bread 08.15.21

Order

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Opening Audio (10:15am)

#1 ONE Video #1 (3:48)

  • Call to Worship

           None Like You  (Dante Bowe)

Live/OnLine

  • Prayer                                           Rick
  • Music 1                                         Abbie

          Love Lifted Me

  • Story                                            Online-Randy/In Person-Beth
  • Music 2

          My Jesus I Love Thee

  • Message    ‘Soggy Bread’           Rick
  • Music 3/Lord’s Supper              Abbie

          Jesus Paid It All

  • Community                                Rick
  • Benediction                                Online-Randy/In Person-Beth
  • Closing Peace                             Rick

Closing Audio

Voices & Words

Prayer

God,

We thank you for our story
The good and the bad
The hopeful and the hopeless
The healing and the pain
The blindness and the sight
God, it is in our story that we remember the story of you
The story of your faithfulness
The story of your mercy
The story of your compassion
The story of your sacrifice
The story of your redemption
The story of your love
The story of you as love
Lead us to remember that story
Our story, your story…
As we navigate pain, struggle, despair, and hopelessness
As we are reminded of you, our God,

Amen.

Music 1
Love Lifted Me
CCLI Song # 66926
Howard E. Smith | James Rowe

Verse 1
I was sinking deep in sin
Far from the peaceful shore
Very deeply stained within
Sinking to rise no more
But the Master of the sea
Heard my despairing cry
From the waters lifted me
Now safe am I

Chorus
Love lifted me
Love lifted me
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me
(REPEAT)

Verse 2
All my heart to Him I give
Ever to Him I’ll cling
In His blessed presence live
Ever His praises sing
Love so mighty and so true
Merits my soul’s best songs
Faithful loving service too
To Him belongs

Chorus
Love lifted me
Love lifted me
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me
(REPEAT)

Verse 3
Souls in danger look above
Jesus completely saves
He will lift you by His love
Out of the angry waves
He’s the Master of the sea
Billows His will obey
He your Savior wants to be
Be saved today

Chorus
Love lifted me
Love lifted me
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me
(REPEAT)

Our Story
After spending over two years sitting in a guarded jail cell in Ceasarea, during which time he had told his story to 2 governors, a King and a Queen, Paul, finally, was on his way to Rome.

A huge part of Paul’s story was that he was a Roman citizen by birth which meant he had more rights and more protections than most of his contemporaries. His fate was not left to politicians or religious leaders who wanted him gone, or saw a way to use and abuse him to their own advantage. Paul had requested an opportunity to appear before the emperor, that was a benefit of Roman citizenship.

The trip to Rome by boat was over 2,200 miles. A trip by boat and land would have been bit more efficient but since this journey involved a Roman Centurion managing a group of prisoners, including Paul, it was better to go by boat. Normally, if all conditions were right, this trip would take 2 week to a month, but this was not an ordinary trip nor were the conditions right, they weren’t anywhere near right.

It was a lot like Gilligan’s Island, only instead of a Mary Ann, a movie star, and Mr. and Mrs. Howell, it was a much burlier and more obstinate captain, a crew that were not bumbling loveable fools, but instead, very unloveable, burlier and even more smellier crew, plus an array of shady prisoners along with the prisoner Paul. Basically 276 smelly, burly, bad mood, men crammed onto a small boat out on the rough and unforgiving sea.

Well, that sounds pleasant.

That’s what I was thinking as well.

On this elongated trip, Paul and the others fought the winds, they fought the waves, they barely kept the boat together, then they lost the boat all together. They ended up in a boat with the figured heads, the carved wooden figures on the front of the boat, depicted the twin sons of the mythical gods Zeus and the Spartan Queen Leda

They stopped in at least 12 ports, in most he was permitted to spend time with the Christians there, which was about the same number of stops as his farewell journey from Corinth to Jerusalem.

Along the way he was shipwrecked, spent 14 days on an island where he healed and had more opportunities to share his story. He had to convince an entire community that he was not a god, and continually tried to convince the  captain that he (Paul) knew better how to navigate the boat because God had told him.

It was a trip where he continuously looked back to remember the faithfulness of God, and, at the same time, a trip where he was constantly given the opportunity to share his story with others – all kinds of others.

It was a miserable, yet essential, part of his path. Just like the miserable yet essential parts of our paths.

Music 2
My Jesus I Love Thee (4 slides)
CCLI Song # 27817
Adoniram Judson Gordon | William Ralph Featherstone

Verse 1
My Jesus I love Thee I know Thou art mine
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign
My gracious Redeemer my Savior art Thou
If ever I loved Thee my Jesus ’tis now

Verse 2
I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow
If ever I loved Thee my Jesus ’tis now

Verse 3
I’ll love Thee in life I will love Thee in death
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow
If ever I loved Thee my Jesus ’tis now

Verse 4
In mansions of glory and endless delight
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow
If ever I loved Thee my Jesus ’tis now

Message        ‘Soggy Bread’
An emaciated chained young man stands at the entrance of the La MACA (E marse e all), a brutal inmate run prison on the Ivory Coast.  He is so defenseless he surely will not survive as much as 3 days in the prison. However, he is given a chance, he is to tell a story; The prisoners gather with the hope of entertainment or at least an act of brutality. As the terrified young man stands he is informed that his story must not only entertain but it must also not end until the sun rises if he fails we will die. This is the premise of the movie ‘Night of the Kings, which entertainment writer Karen Han describes as a, “Tribute to the power of stories…celebrating oral traditions and the rituals we create for ourselves in order to make life just a little more bearable. [The storyteller’s] skills underline the potential of a good story to not only inspire more art, but to create hope as well.”

Writer Ed Chinn says,
“A story is a like a seed. It carries a power which is mysterious, potent and continuing. When it falls into the ground of a human mind, it takes on a life of its own…

When it comes to stories, we have the choice to become either a producer or a curator. Producers clean the story up, polish it and shape it into something which will satisfy a market or a need, they turn it into a product. They extract or emphasize what will serve their purpose.

On the other hand, curators have a much greater depth of respect for the story and knowledge of its true value. They know the story is not a product. They also know that we have a responsibility to the story!

Curators want to preserve it exactly as they found it.  And, they care about its safety and survival. So, for them, the challenge is to just find the right setting to display it. They are focused on passing it on intact to future generations.”

Telling the story, his own story, is the work of the apostle Paul, especially as we have traveled with him from Corinth to Jerusalem, and all the cities in between, and now, from Caesarea to Rome, and all the places between. In a time when experts speculate that the literacy rate was anywhere from 1% to 20% of the entire population, storytelling was not only powerful but story tellers were vital. The apostles life was all about telling the story, his story, a story of truth, a story as eyewitness. It was a story that told of his own experiences seeking God and his path defining experience with Jesus. For Paul, telling his story was either a natural instinct or, it could be that Paul was a master as seeing ways of telling his story in any and all situations. He told his story to his fellow Jews, to the despised Gentiles, to Religious Leaders, to Governors, to Kings and Queens, and now, as we near the end of Lukes details of Paul’s journey in the book of Acts, we see Paul heading to Rome to tell his story to the emperor Caesar.  Even at every turn of the physical journey to Rome gave Paul an opportunity to tell his story of truth and transformation, a story of his path given by God.

The call to not only tell his story, but also to show Jesus through his own actions and life, in addition to the realities of reality, caused Paul’s journey from Caesarea to Rome to be much longer and miserable than it needed to be. On the other hand, this journey was unto itself another part of Paul’s story that stood as a testament to God’s faithfulness, mercy, and compassion. Plus it paints a picture of how story brings us to a remembrance of God and a strength in that recollection.
Journey to Rome
During one pivotal moment on the journey to Rome, the author of the book of Acts, Luke (who was on this part of the journey with Paul), describes the situation from a first hand point of view.

“the weather changed abruptly, and a heavy wind of typhoon strength caught the ship and blew it out to sea. The crew tried at first to face back to shore but couldn’t, so they gave up and let the ship run before the gale. We finally sailed behind a small island named Clauda,  where with great difficulty we hoisted aboard the lifeboat that was being towed behind us, and then  banded the ship with ropes to strengthen the hull.

The sailors were afraid of being driven across to the quicksands of the African coast, so they lowered the topsails and were thus driven before the wind. The next day as the seas grew higher, the crew began throwing  the cargo overboard. 

The following day they threw out the tackle and anything else they could lay their hands on. The terrible storm raged unabated many days, until at last all hope was gone.

No one had eaten for a long time, but finally Paul called the crew together and said, ‘Men, cheer up! Not one of us will lose our lives, even though the ship will go down.’”
Acts 27:14-22 (TLB)

Here it is again, Thar-Say, the greek word that God said to Paul in Paul’s moment of deepest despair, only now it is human form, yoo-thoo-meh’-o. Paul is beginning to tell the 266 men on the boat to cheer up, to take courage. While, Thar-Say, is not a human word – impossible for a human to credibly say, Paul is using the human form, yoo-thoo-meh’-o, he cannot internally do the work of leading them to the place where they can legitimately ‘cheer up’, however, Paul does have human power of story, his story can ‘Cheer Up’ 

“last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul—for you will surely stand trial before Caesar!
What’s more, God has granted your request and will  save the lives of all those sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God! It will be just as he said! But we will be shipwrecked on an island.”
Acts 27:23-26 (TLB)

Author N. Scott Momady says, “A word has power in and of itself. It comes from nothing into sound and meaning; it gives origin to all things.”

Many native American Storytellers have taken a scientific trek to explain the power of story telling by focusing on two elements, Oxytocin and Cortisol. Oxytocin, a hormone released from the brain during and after birthing a child, is credited as en essential element of the bonding process between mother and child. Cortisol is a steroid hormone your body releases when you are stressed. These Native American storytellers attribute these two natural elements of our created natural physical processes as taking place in the minds of the listeners as well told stories are taking place. As a believer, I have no difficulty saying this may be God’s built in process of the Spirit bringing us to a place of hope. It could very well be a key part of the ‘Cheer Up’ process.

Maybe this work of the Spirit triggered these elements, God gifted to these men way back at creation, in the brains of the burly, smelly, men on the ship as Paul told this story. Maybe this is what was at work to prepare all 276 men for 11 days later when everything got worse, much worse.

‘At midnight on the fourteenth night of the storm, as we were being driven to and fro on the Adriatic Sea,.  As the darkness gave way to the early morning light, Paul begged everyone to eat. “You haven’t touched food for two weeks. Please eat something now for your own good!  Otherwise, you shall perish!”  Then he took some bread and gave thanks to God before them all, and broke off a piece and ate it. Suddenly everyone felt better and began eating, all 276 of us that were on aboard.’
Acts 27:27-37 (TLB)
Ill: Isaiah Fainting Scare

Words of truth, seeds of hope, soggy bread, remembrance,

Hopelessness to happiness, doom to survival,

A story told over time, a truth instilled for the moments of despair, all pouring out in remembrance,

Remembrance of our faithful God, merciful, and compassionate.

Inspiration, even to those unacquainted with this God.

This brings us back to another moment of soggy bread. This bread was not soaked by the spray of threatening waves, but soaked in tears and blood. A bread passed by Jesus to his disciples one last time before the arrest and the cross. A cup, also shared, filled with a simple wine, but nourishing a seed in the men sitting at the table that would later provide an epiphany as they watch the blood flow as nails pierced Jesus hands and feet. A call to remember, to remember the story they had witnessed thought their lives, throughout their journey following Jesus. A story of their God who became man to be broken and pierced for them. A story to bring them to cheer, to courage, to hope, to life.

Let us remember, as we too remember through the bread and the juice. May we too take this moment to be reminded of the God who has not forgotten us, the God who is our strength, the God who is our courage, the God who is our Cheer.

Tell Yourself Your Story.
[Lord’s Supper]

Music 3
Song/Lord’s Supper
Jesus Paid It All
CCLI Song # 22331
Elvina Mabel Hall | John Thomas Grape

Verse 1
I hear the Saviour say
Thy strength indeed is small
Child of weakness watch and pray
Find in Me thine all in all

Chorus
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

Verse 2
Lord now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone

Chorus
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

Verse 4
And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete
Jesus died my soul to save
My lips shall still repeat

Chorus
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
(REPEAT)

Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

Community

  • Next Sunday – Kyle Tubbs
  • Dirty Hands Day
  • Hin·nê·nî – Bible Studies resume in October (survey before to see options and preferences)
  • Uncomfortable beginning September 19 – solicit uncomfortable passages/stories
  • Covid Update

Benediction

After 2 years in a prison cell, a cell that allowed him to share his story with governors, Kings, and Queens, it was time for Paul to go. Time to leave his homeland, his people, his past, and head to Rome.

It was time for Paul to reach an unreachable audience. There would be more time of confinement, additional moments of isolation and rejection. In all of it, this would also be the time for more living proof of the existence and faithfulness of God.

It was time to continue to strengthen his own faith as he continued to remembered how God’s power and dependability even when Paul was weak and hopeless.

In the same way it is time for us to go.

Time to go into the marketplace, to the city square, among God’s dependents and his children. It is time.

Time to go looking back to see God’s faithfulness.

Looking ahead to see God’s presence.

It is time to go and time to grow.

Sure, sometimes we will eat soggy bread.

Sometimes our grain will be thrown overboard.

But, nevertheless, it is time.

Closing Peace
May our story of God’s grace, peace, joy, love, and hope go with you.

And also with you.

Let’s take our story into the marketplace and the public square. Let’s take our story not as enemies of others, but as fellow created humans to which we have the opportunity to be light shining in the darkness. Let us go telling our stories through our life actions and words. Let’s go held by the embrace of grace, the comfort of peace, the grounding of joy, the proof of love, and confidence of hope. Let’s go!

Published by rickanthony1993

Husband of Andrea, Father of five, pastor of Grace Fellowship Norman OK.

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