Incarnate Response 09.05.21

Order
Sunday, September 5, 2021

Opening Audio (10:15am)
Spotify – Coffee Table Jazz

#1 ONE Video #1 (?)

  • Call to Worship

I See You (J.J. Heller)

Live/OnLine

  • Prayer                            Rick
  • Music 1                             Abbie

        I Love To Tell The Story         Hankey & Fischer

  • Story                            Online-Kelly

In Person- Martha & Paul

  • Music 2                            Abbie

        Come Thou Fount            Wyeth & Robinson

  • Message    ‘Incarnate Response’               Rick
  • Music 3                            Abbie

        How Great The Father’s Love    Stuart Townend

  • Community                             Rick
  • Benediction                                 Online-Kelly

In Person- Martha & Paul

  • Sharing the Peace                          Rick

Closing Audio
Spotify – Calm Jazz

Voices & Words

Prayer

God,
You are love.
You are mercy, compassion, hope, and peace.
You have rescued us from our own choices.
You have delivered us from our failures.
You have healed us in our brokenness.
God, give us a vision of us having your love for your beloved.
Give us a vision of what your compassion in us could do in our world.
Give us a vision of what your mercy could do in our lives.
God, show us how to share peace.
Show us how to convey your hope.
God, show us how to show you through our lives.
Amen.

Our Story

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

I’ve had to let my kid go, it is difficult!

Me too, releasing them and letting them make their own decisions is really difficult!

“God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but in that the world might be saved through him.”

There is a difficult thing, to not judge.
That may be as difficult as releasing your kids.

Maybe it is even more worse!

God so loved the us all.

and preached a message of love.

At one point Jesus sent 70 of his followers ahead of him to all the towns he was going to. He told them ““Whenever you enter a home, share your peace. If it your peace is accepted, the peace will remain; if not, the peace will return to you. “When you enter a village, don’t shift around from home to home, but stay in one place, eating and drinking without question whatever is set before you. And don’t hesitate to accept hospitality! “If a town welcomes you, follow these two rules: 1. Eat whatever is set before you, and 2.  Heal the sick; and as you heal them, tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is very near you now.’

Peace, Food, and Hope.

What else could you need?
And when Jesus was calling his disciples he called out to some fishermen and said, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And they dropped their nets and followed Jesus, and eventually carried Jesus’ work on after his ascension.

They were ready to go right them? Amazing.

They could tell that Jesus knew them.

They were ready for the next step in fishing.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

“God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but in that the world might be saved through him.”

God loves us all.

Music 2
Come Thou Fount
CCLI Song # 108389
John Wyeth | Robert Robinson

Verse 1
Come Thou fount of ev’ry blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

Verse 2
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let Thy grace Lord like a fetter
Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart Lord take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Close
Here’s my heart Lord take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Message        ‘Incarnate Response’

In 1915 the Truth Seeker Company published their 10th addition of their book Crimes of Preachersin the United States and Canada In order to prove that preachers are sinners by publishing names and sins. The Rev. Dr. Madison C. Peters  penned the introduction saying:

“The average minister has only to preach a twenty-minute or half-hour sermon on Sunday, and this, with a mid-week meeting, constitutes his week’s work. They eat and drink of the choicest products of the earth; they visit only the homes of the wealthy, where they are sumptuously entertained; so their carnal passion becomes the master of their being, and they fall away from grace, shocking the community and scandalizing the church of God.”
Rev. Dr. Madison C. Peters

The Barna Research group (contemporary polling for ministries and churches) has conducted surveys to gage the public perception of U.S. Christian Evangelicals for years.  The National Evangelical Association defines the beliefs of Christian Evangelicals as:

  • The Bible is our highest authority.
  • Christians must encourage others to trust Jesus.
  • Jesus’ death is the only avenue to God’s forgiveness.
  • Those who trust in Jesus Christ receive salvation.

The 2018 study found that Evangelical Christians, mostly perceived themselves as being caring, hopeful, friendly, encouraging, generous, misunderstood and good humored.
While non-Christians, perceived Evangelicals as narrow minded, homophobic, puritanical, uptight, invasive, misogynistic, racist, selfish, foolish, hurtful, and unhappy.

Let’s remember – only the Incarnate Response of God to our sin is redemptive. Imagine that, God, THE God who we rejected became human to heal our broken relationship with God. God the father so disheartened released his own son as act to heal us, redeem us, rescue even while we remain in our sin. Incarnation was the only  act which could heal our brokenness. We are gifted with the undeniably greatest message ever and yet we are dismissed, loathed, even hated… how is that possible?

You may be thinking it is because Evangelicals are martyrs, that we are persecuted because of our faith, that we are misunderstood, we are unfairly misjudged. However, the truth is that we are narrow minded, homophobic, puritanical, uptight, invasive, misogynistic, racist, selfish, foolish, hurtful, and unhappy. Wait, there is a but, I don’t think that translates into Believers are Bad – but instead because we have forgotten the amazing nation of our message. – Our message of Peace, Healing, and HopeAnd, therefore, we are distracted from living in peace, healing, and hope.

Peace – first asset

As Jesus was preparing his 70 messengers to go ahead of him he said,

“Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’” the same message that Jesus used following the resurrection. Peace.

Rural Afghans comment that they don’t care who rules them, or the type of rule, saying, ‘we just want peace, we want the bombing and fighting to cease. We just want peace.’

Jesus knew peace because Jesus lived in a state of peace. Even in Jesus’ most agonizing moment, there was Peace. Peace never diminishes even when we give it away.  A peace filled presence is our act of giving peace. A presence of peace cannot be faked or phony. Peace is only present when we do not exchange it for chaos or turmoil, when we don’t permit it to be overtaken with agendas or overwhelm it with the human theories, teachings, and speculation.

Our peace is grounded on:

  1. The life of Jesus – God’s outlandish Incarnate Response to our Human Condition.
  2. The death of Jesus – God’s unrestrained sacrifice in response to or Human Condition.
  3. The resurrection of Jesus – God’s intended Live, Aliveness.

Healing – second asset
Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there
Luke 10:8-9a

Jesus sent his messengers to spread peace and instructed them to heal. This healing is huge, it was not just physical but it was also about the mental, the emotional, relational, spiritual, and eternal. It was about all those things that break and consume our peace.

The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” Jesus said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:17-20

The works of God through the messengers was personal, not  a huge revival tent, no posters on the walls of every building, no door knockers, postcard mailings, or Facebook ads, – it was personal. We may not see Satan fall, or safely step on snakes and scorpions – but God works through us in the midst of our life.

  1. Through Peace. Peace allows us to focus, to see, to led our minds consider truth. Peace gives us a clarity to receive truth, it gives us the opportunity to permit healing. Earthly, eternal, physical, mental, emotional – Healing.
  2. In the Marketplace and Public Square. Jesus told the messengers to take nothing with them, no money, food, etc – all the rational things you take when you are on a journey. They were to experience the reality of hospitality – an engrained Middle Eastern tradition even today. They were put right in the middle of the strangers, they waited for in the city square. Constantly they were not only receiving from the people, but they are were on display to the people. They were seen. Their confidence and assurance was on vivid display, but, the scars, and failures were as well. Their response to victory as well as their response to their own failures and mistakes were seen. There were no coverups, no PR people, it was just them, raw, vulnerable, and real.
  3. Stance on God’s promise, our works are not the foundation of our journey. We do not stand on the acceptance or rejection of humans, the thing we stand on is the promise of God, we know that we will not be abandoned.

A point about healing. We have a linguistics problem. One of the most abused and subjective words in our vocabulary is the word ‘sin’ yet this word is automatic. A word that as taken on a variety of meanings and an array of visuals. Believers have turned the word ‘sin’ into an attack, an offensive word to hurt and belittle, it is said with condescension, judgement, and condemnation. It no longer communicates what we need to communicate. It Is a biblical word that has been perverted and now no longer provides an avenue to recognizing the Divine Sacrifice of God’s Incarnate Response.

We need a different perspective, an adjusted attitude, we need a better word. The word ‘sin’ is ingrained deeply within us. Ironically, the use of this word actually reinforces our sinful attitudes of judgment and condemnation. Our common use of the word ‘sin’ is a factor in our own sin.  To use the word ‘sin’ is usually a result of the presence of judgement and condemnation in our life.

Years ago I sat on a stage with an atheist young man. Our topic was ‘How can different faith groups/individuals come together to do good in our community?’ A woman in the audience got my attention when she timidly being shared being called a sinner was hurtful. The statement is correct, she was a sinner. However, she was right as well, the modern use the word ‘sinner’ is hurtful and falls short of the understanding that we are all sinners. The result is not a mutual brokenness, but instead a hierarchy of worth.

During Covid, I grabbed a ladder to trim a tree in our front yard. I moved stealthily my actions were stupid. Standing on top of the ladder Jim, from across the street, stopped on the sidewalk looking up at his idiot neighbor. In the most gentle manner possible he attempted to tell me that this was an unwise idea, that it was going to lead to brokenness. Jim shared his own personal experience with this stupidity. I heard his words, I knew his words, I didn’t heed his words. Jim walked away, I fell and ended up in the ER with a huge knot on my forehead and a thread of texts from my children each asking ‘Why was dad on a ladder?!’ In the end, I too was forbidden from using a ladder. In making the choice that I knew was wrong, I physically ‘broke’ my body, I also broke one of the relationship boundaries I have with my wife and kids, the boundary of ‘not doing stupid stuff that can kill me.’ Later, I admitted to neighbor Jim what had happened he responded with empathy instead of judgement. He understood.

What if we could see others as we see ourselves. To recognize the stupidity that comes with our humanity and a recognition that sin is not that others are evil but broken. A brokenness that breaks us, our relationships with God, and with others. What would happen if we were to see each other from the viewpoint of a loving perfect Father.

Hope – third asset – Hope.
Jesus said to the 70 messengers that were going ahead of him, “Whenever you enter a town, and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
Luke 10: 8-9

New Testament and koine Greek expert, Stephen Hultgren has said
“It is unnecessary to enter the old debate of whether Jesus meant that the kingdom of God had actually come) or whether the kingdom of God was near but not yet here. It is possible that Jesus thought that both were true. God’s reign was there and actively coming into being, even if the kingdom might not come fully until the future.”
Stephen Hultgren

Kingdom of God is Near! Jesus was physically going to be in their midst soon. The message still resounds with us today. The Kingdom of God is Near! This is a now proclamation, the Kingdom is close by, it is present. It is a call to believe and live now in the Kingdom of God. We have not been forgotten, hope is alive.

We are the hands and feet, our lives are the avenue for God to reveal himself. We are the mannequins in the windows showing what it is to live a life trusting Jesus.

We live in a world out of control. Many of our major cities, and some smaller one experience a violent death daily, they are broken. We hear this and cast the blame on their lives and choices – in doing so we too are broken.
Closing
We have a beautiful visual of the call of Jesus to his disciples,
“Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”
Mark 1:17

It is a beautiful visual of the call of Jesus to us,

‘Follow Me and I Will Make what you do be more than your ever imagined’.

Mother Theresa prayed,
Christ has no body on earth but ours; no hands but ours; no feet but ours.
Our eyes are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ looks out to the world.
Our feet are the feet with which he is to go about doing good.
Our hands are the hands with which he is to bless others now.

Let us pray.

Music 3
How Deep The Father’s Love For Us
CCLI Song # 1558110
Stuart Townend

Verse 1
How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Verse
I will not boast in anything
No gifts no pow’r no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Close
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Community

  • Community
  • Dirty Hands Day – September 25, 9am to noon, bring gloves, tools, etc.
  • hin·nê·nî  (Here I Am) – Bible Studies resume in October (7 weeks) Surveys begin today. Link at GFNorman.com
  • Uncomfortable beginning September 19
  • Next Sunday – ‘Nevertheless’, Larry Stevens
  • Covid Update
  • Offering Basket at doors

Benediction
Well, it is that time again.
I happens ever week.
It is time to go.
Into the marketplace.
Into the public square.
Time to go and share peace.
To eat.

To care for the broken.

Time to remember that the Kingdom of God is near.

Closing Peace

May God’s grace, peace, joy, love, and hope go with you.

And also with you.

Let’s take God’s instruction to open the doors of our hearts and minds into the marketplace and the public square. Let’s go to show the world that the Kingdom of God is near, let’s go and bring peace along with us to share, let’s go speaking words of the Father, let’s go expressing gratitude for all we’ve been given, let’s go letting the world see the Incarnate Response of God. Let’s go!

Published by rickanthony1993

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

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