Order, Voices, & Words 11.07.21

Order

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Opening Audio(10:15am)

Spotify – Not In A Hurry Radio

Live/OnLine

Prayer Rick

#1 ONE Video #1 (2:58)

Call to Worship

Holy Sanctus (Jessamyn Rains)

Live/OnLine

Today’s Story Online – Sherri

In Person-Dave

Music 1                                                        Billy

   Lord I Lift Your Name On High (Founds)

Beyond Our Marketplace w/Steven Reeves Zoom -Steven Reeves

Rick

Music 2 Billy

   Your Lovingkindness (Furk)

Message    ‘Unforgivable – Blasphemy” Rick

Music 3 Billy

   I Will Never Be The Same (Bulock)

Community Rick

Benediction Online – Sherri

In Person-Dave

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio

Spotify – Not In A Hurry Radio

Voices and Words 

Prayer

God, you call us to pay attention.

You call us to hear and see.

You call us to open our eyes, and to clean out our ears.

You call us to serve, to see, to hear, and to lavish in Your goodness.

We are a people battered, we hide in the attics and closets.

We lick our wounds feeling abandoned and ignored.

We give power to the thugs and thieves, we absorb their lies and deceit.

We ask if you are present.

Lord, you are the one who created the cosmos, & stretched out the skies.

You laid out the earth and all that comes from it.

You breath life into those You create You give us life through your breath..

You have called us to live right and well, opening eyes and releasing prisoners

You have chosen Jesus, Your servant, with whom You are well pleased.

You bathed him in your spirit, you immersed with him your life.

You prepared him to not be arrogant, showy, but to stand firm with compassion.

You call him to stand on truth, to stand firmly, and to stand persistently.

Father, you call us to sing a brand new song, to sing your praises everywhere.

You call the seas, the deserts, and the mountains to sing this new song of praise.

You call us to sing Your presence, Your praises through our lives.

You call us to lives that shout and scream Your glory.

Amen

Isaiah 42 

Today’s Story 

Dave: Once again, our story beings with food. 

Sherri: Food seems to be a consistent theme throughout the Bible..

Dave: I love stories that begin with food.

Sherri: This story begins with food on the Sabbath.

Dave: I love stories that begin with any day, or night. Especially like last week’s story which began with too much food.

Sherri: Today’s story begins with too little food.

Dave: Been there. I completely understand that kind of hunger day. That is why I have food delivered.

Sherri: This story opens with the hunger of Jesus’ disciples. Not a spiritual type of hunger but real physical, stomach growling, hunger. They were walking through a field and they just start eating stuff growing there. The  problem was that they were really hungry and they ate so much that it looked more like they were harvesting the field.

Dave: And, it was the Sabbath…let me guess, the religious leaders complained that Jesus’ disciples should not be working on the Sabbath.

Sherri: And, just like we saw last week, Jesus confronted their heartless religious rules. Sure God had said to keep the Sabbath holy but he had not intended for it to be defined and controlled in the ways that leaders had established.

Dave: The leaders were so focused on their rules that they were unable to see Jesus, the Deliverer standing right in front of them.

Sherri: Soon, their complaints turned to accusations, and then the accusations revealed something very ugly about the leaders.

Dave: A man with a withered hand stood before Jesus to be healed. He had lived his entire life with disability and Jesus was going to heal him. Healing was also against the rules. Jesus asked the leaders if they would rescue a sheep that fell into a well if it was the only sheep they had. The leaders felt this was a low blow.

Sherri: Of course they were going to rescue their only sheep. They loved that sheep, plus it was part of their work. Work, of course, was forbidden on the Sabbath. Suddenly the leaders recognized they had landed themself in a corner.

Dave: The best thing to do when you are in a corner is to turn your failure into an attack. They came out of the corner swinging. “Well, they shouted, if you heal that man on the Sabbath you are doing the work of Satan!”

Sherri:I imagine even some of the leaders began backing away at this moment, attempting to disassociate themself from this attack.

Dave: Especially when Jesus’ response became about Blasphemy and Unforgivable actions. Jesus words had to sting. ““Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Sherri: Then the leaders used their failed ‘attack from the corner’ strategy, they, like the crowds from last week, asked for a sign.

Dave: They told Jesus he couldn’t heal the suffering man and now they said show us a sign. They just weren’t getting it, they were not listening, they were unable to hear.

Sherri: Sadly, they had made the full move from rejecting Jesus to rejecting the Holy Spirit.  A move that is impossible to come back from. They had stuck their feet in cement and let it dry. They now were unable to open their eyes, they were unable to open their ears.

Dave: Their tree could no longer produce good fruit. 

Music 1

Lord I Lift Your Name On High

CCLI Song # 117947/ Rick Founds

Verse

Lord I lift Your name on high
Lord I love to sing Your praises
I’m so glad You’re in my life
I’m so glad You came to save us

Chorus

You came from heaven to earth
To show the way
From the earth to the cross
My debt to pay


From the cross to the grave
From the grave to the sky
Lord I lift Your name on high 

Beyond Our Marketplace w/Steven Reeves

Introduction: Stephen Reeves serves as the executive director of Fellowship Southwest (the organization I went to the border with 2 years ago), he is also and director of advocacy for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. He is a national leader in the effort to reform predatory lending practices and has led CBF churches to be more active in advocacy for immigrants and refugees. He is the co-author of The Mission of Advocacy: A toolkit for congregations. He currently serves as co-chair of the Center for Responsible Lending’s  Faith & Credit Roundtable, he is  a member of the CBF/Baptist Women in Ministry and serves on the Clergy Sexual Misconduct Task Force.  Steven worked in several public policy positions  including serving at Staff attorney for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty in Washington, DC.  And, for this I apologize…Steven is a graduate of University of Texas and from The Texas Tech University School of Law…Let’s give him a chance anyway.

Question 1: Welcome Steven, we appreciate you being with us as we seek to have a clearer view beyond our marketplace.  Could you begin by explaining the work of Fellowship Southwest?

Question 2: Recently we have seemed to hear less about the border until the Haitian Refugee influx at the border. Could you help us understand what went on at the height of that situation and how it is now?

Question 3: I know that all of the pastors and workers on both sides of the border, and yourself, have been devastated by the remain in Mexico policy. Could you help us to understand why that is so dangerous and harmful?

Pop Question: We didn’t discuss this question – do you think our border problems, especially our southern border, will ever be effectively addressed?

‘Goodness is rooted in God and reflects God’ 

Baptist Standard “On the Way,” podcast

Music 2

Your Loving Kindness

CCLI Song # 818174/Billy Funk

Verse

Father of love
Lord of all creation
I will bless Your name
Forever and ever


I will declare
Your grace and Your mercy
And tell of Your unfailing love

Chorus

Your lovingkindness
Is good to all
Your wings of mercy
Lift me when I fall


Your lovingkindness


Meets my ev’ry need
You cleanse me from unrighteousness
And You give new life to me

Message‘Unforgiveable-Blasphemy’

The Israelites, while still in Sinai following the giving of the Law and the recent completion of building the Tabernacle – they would soon be leaving Sinai in their journey to the Promised Land. During this time of obedience and waiting a young man gets into a fight with anther man. During the fight, the young man says something that shocks those within hearing distance. The words are uncomfortable instilling fear within all of the people.

The people were very fragile at this point. They had seen God’s power and heard God’s call to Holiness. This was a time when God was continually present and yet insecurity was a constant. The people ran to Moses asking “what should we do?” An unsure Moses asked God… 

God said, “Take the blasphemer outside the camp; and let all who actually heard the young man say what he said, lay their hands on his head, and let them stone him. Speak to the people of Israel, saying: Anyone who curses God shall bear the sin. One who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death; the offended people shall stone the blasphemer. Aliens as well as citizens, when they blaspheme the Name, shall be put to death.”

Leviticus 24:14-16

We do not know the actual words spoken by the young man, God does that a lot in the Bible – leaving us to speculate what was said or what was meant. Giving us an incentive to dig deeper in our search for truth.

In this moment, however, there is one thing that we do see. We see humans, not God, given the responsibility to carry out the sentence of death. “They shall lay their hands on him.” This was not a mob scene where ‘lay their hands on him’ meant to grab him and drag him to the city square. This was a holy moment in which the people accepted the need for this sentence. The words of this young man did not harm or threaten God, they were, however, a threat to this people. The people, were still spiritually weak, easily persuaded. They had seen their own weakness in action when Moses took too long on Mount Sinai.

As the people put their hands on the head of this young man they grieved. This moment was an indictment on the people. This was their wake up call. With each painful stone that they picked up and threw, as they watched the pain of their actions they realized that this should not happen again. This was their epiphany that they needed to be stronger and healthier, wiser, more discerning, and ready to remain unharmed by those they would eventually encounter, those that did not believe in or respect their God.

While uncomfortable to us, the stoning of this young man, was a call to be better, be stronger.

Blasphemy. One of those words that is not so easy to define yet it makes us squirm.

In  2014 our Oklahoma politicians did define it in Statute 21-901, ‘Blasphemy consists in wantonly uttering or publishing words, casting contumelious reproach or profane ridicule upon God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, the Holy Scriptures or the Christian or any other religion.’

R.L.1910, § 2398. Justia US Law. 

John Adams wrote,

“We think ourselves possessed, or at least we boast that we are so, of liberty of conscience on all subjects and of the right of free inquiry and private judgment in all cases, and yet how far are we from these exalted privileges in fact. There exists throughout the whole Christian world, a law which makes it blasphemy to deny, or to doubt the divine inspiration of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, from Genesis to Revelations. In most countries of Europe it is punished by fire at the stake, or the rack, or the wheel. In England itself, it is punished by boring through the tongue with a red-hot poker. In America it is not much better.”

John Adams letter to Thomas Jefferson

The Adams-Jefferson Letters, January 23, 1825.

We are accustomed to hearing accusations of Blasphemy, followed by brutal punishments, coming from countries where Sharia law is instituted, which we then blame it on their Islamic faith. However, Christianity and Judaism are the primary Holy Books that define a punishment for Blasphemy.

“Nowhere does the Koran prescribe the punishment of lashes, or death, or any other physical punishment. In Islam, blasphemy is a subject of intellectual discussion rather than a subject of physical punishment.” 

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Scholar

In Leviticus a young convicted man is stoned to death and then later, we  read Paul claiming to be a forgiven blasphemer.

Jesus said, “People will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

Matthew 12:31-32

What is blasphemy to one group or person can just as easily be sacred to  another. Blasphemy is an act of, and an attack on, the heart. Whatever it is, Blasphemy is an act of burning a bridge, turning our back, of rejection usually acted out in a hateful manner. Our words and actions are a sign of our Blasphemy not the actual blasphemy. True blasphemy against the  Spirit is a nurtured condition of our heart.

Jesus says, ‘Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter.’

Mark 3:28

And, immediately after that, Jesus says, “whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”

Mark 3:29

Is Blasphemy an unforgivable sin? No. Is Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit an unforgivable sin? Yes.

So, what the heck does that mean?!

In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy he begins to bring Pastor  Timothy up to speed on some of his congregants, especially 2 men in his church. “By rejecting conscience, certain persons [in your church] have suffered shipwreck in the faith; among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have turned over to Satan, so that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

I Timothy 1:19b-20 (NRSV)

I have turned them over to Satan, so that they may Learn not to blaspheme.”

Paul makes 2 profound statements in this letter to Timothy. First, he states that had delivered Hymenaeus and Alexander “over to Satan”. These two men’s actions are not named (once again God leaves us with questions to motivate us to think), however, the prior thread of Paul’s warning is against their denial of the resurrection of Christ.

The second statement made by Paul is the reason for Paul’s shocking statement – in this he hopes that they will “be taught not to blaspheme.” Paul’s great compassionate and merciful hope is that these 2 men, and their followers, may be saved on “day of the Lord.” (I Timothy 1:19)

Paul’s deep desire is that they come to know the grace and mercy of the Lord while they are still able, before they actually blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. They can Still learn, they can still NOT Blaspheme – the choice is Their choice. There is still hope.

Some live with a fear of being found guilty of Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Truth is, if you are concerned – the Spirit is still present. What we need  is to be alert to, however, is the process which leads to Blasphemy. Blasphemy is never an isolated moment, it is a journey, a process. Hymenaeus and Alexander were on the journey TO Blasphemy, there was still hope.

Unforgivable Blasphemy is permanent shut down of the Holy Spirit’s influence in our lives. In Sodom, we saw a community of people, inside the city gates, who had gradually turned their backs on God and turning to all forms of disrespect, hatred and hatefulness, void of all boundaries, anything was game, and the game always aimed to be more and more evil to everyone and anyone everytime. Pure hedonism became the norm where no respect for self or others existed. Lot in a moment of pure selfishness, taking the best land from his uncle Abraham, set his family one the Blasphemy path with his initial selfishness and greed. Ultimately, Lot offers his own daughters to suffer to safe his own reputation. Not even 10 righteous men could be found within the walls of the city. Lot and his family were entrenched in Sodom, they had become a part of the community and the community had become a part of them. They didn’t want to leave, even when they were warned of destruction. Lot’s wife, on their escape still couldn’t let go. This was the story of Noah’s day, of Babel – all were places where backs had been turned and feet had been irreversibly planted in concrete.

Blasphemy against the Spirit is an unforgivable sin because we are no longer capable of listening or hearing the Spirit and therefore responding is impossible. No matter how loudly the Spirit calls, or how obvious the message is, it is too late. It is a gradual process, a process beginning with small back turns and minor rejections, until we cannot comprehend anything but having our back turned.  Even if forgiveness is offered we are unable to listen and respond.

Our most common blasphemy of the Spirit becomes inevitable as we turn our ears to something else, religious institutions or religious leaders, political parties and political agendas – something that we allow to consume us – to which we surrender our heart and mind. Blasphemy is not an action, or a word, it is a process, one which we gradually become comfortable with. Jesus’ warnings of the unforgivable blapheme are His act of love, prompted by the unstoppable compassion and mercy of our gracious God. It is a call to open our eyes and ears. 

“So come on, let’s leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your trust toward God. Let’s get on with it! Once people have seen the light, gotten a taste of heaven and been part of the work of the Holy Spirit, once they’ve personally experienced the sheer goodness of God’s Word and the powers breaking in on us—if then they turn their backs on it, washing their hands of the whole thing, well, they can’t start over as if nothing happened. That’s impossible.“

The Apostle Paul

Hebrews 6:1-7 (MSG)

Let’s pray.

Music 3

I Will Never Be

CCLI Song # 1874911/Geoff Bullock

Verse 1

I will never be the same again
I can never return
I’ve closed the door
I will walk the path
I will run the race
And I will never be the same again

Chorus

Fall like fire soak like rain
Flow like mighty waters
Again and again
Sweep away the darkness
Burn away the chaff
And let a flame burn
To glorify Your name

Verse 2

There are higher heights
There are deeper seas
Whatever You need to do
Lord do it in me
And the glory of God fills my life
And I will never be the same again 

Community

Community

hin·nê·nî  (Here I Am) – Bible Study – This Thursday II Timothy 1-2

Next Sunday – ‘…Backwards Forward (gratitude).’

Thanksgiving Dinner, Sunday, November 21 @ 6pm

November canned drive

Covid – Masks update

Benediction

Dave: We leave here challenged to be attentive and present.

Sherri: We leave here determined to keep our eyes and ears open.

Dave: We leave here called to serve, to see, to hear and to lavish in goodness.

Sherri: We leave here because God also loves everyone out there.

Dave: We leave here seeking wisdom to separate truth from lies.

Sherri: We leave here remembering God is God, the giver of our Life

Dave: We leave here called to live right and well, mercifully, and compassionately.

Sherri: We leave here because God also loves everyone out there.

Dave: We leave here to follow God’s chosen, the Son, Jesus.

Sherri: We leave here to respect and listen to God’s Spirit.

Dave: We leave here to sing a brand new song of praise.

Sherri: We leave here here because God also loves everyone out there.

Dave: We leave here to let our lives scream the glory of God.

Sherri: We leave here to go where God’s heart goes.

Dave: We leave here to let our hearts see what God sees.

Sherri: We leave here here because God also loves everyone out there.

Isaiah 42

Closing Peace 

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

And also with you.

Go in grace, peace, joy, love, and hope.

Order, Voices, & Words

Order

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Opening Audio (10:15am)

Spotify – Not In A Hurry Radio

#1 ONE Video #1 (?)

Call to Worship

Communion Song (Stockstill)

Live/OnLine

Prayer                                          Rick

Music 1                                        Billy

     How Great the Father’s Love (Crosby & Doane)

Today’s Story                              Online – Musgroves

                                                   In Person-Peyton

Music 2                                       Billy

     Be The Center (Frye)

Message    ‘Flesh and Blood”   Rick

Communion (Music 3 during communion)

Music 3                                       Billy

     Be The Center (Frye)

Community                                Rick

Benediction                               Online – Musgroves

                                                   In Person-Peyton

Closing Peace                          Rick

Closing Audio

Spotify – Not In A Hurry Radio

Voices and Words

Prayer

God, you call us your chosen ones, holy and beloved.

You call us to be the body of Christ.

You call us to dress in compassion, kindness, meekness, and patience.

You call us to add a layer of harmonious love binding us all together.

You call us to bear with, and forgive, each other as you have forgiven us.

You call us to hearts ruled by Christ.

You call us to a rich indwelling of truth.

You call us to wisely teach and admonish each other.

You call us to a silent gratitude that screams to all.

You call us to do everything in the name of Jesus.

You call us to live out our thanks to you through Jesus.

Amen

Colossians 3:12-17

Music 1

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

CCLI Song # 1558110

Stuart Townend

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

Behold the Man upon a cross

My sin upon His shoulders

Ashamed I hear my mocking voice

Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there

Until it was accomplished

His dying breath has brought me life

I know that it is finished

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

Today’s Story 

It all began with free food.

Free food and a celebrity appearance, Jesus even stuck around and shook hands and kissed babies.

5,000 plus people and too much food. It is always hard to plan for an unexpected large crowd, especially when you don’t expect a any size crowd.

No planning, a huge crowd, a huge hungry crowd, a huge crowd that stuck around it seemed that they would never go home.

I can’t imagine the exhaustion of the disciples. They were tired from an exciting but also very physically busy day, they just wanted to get away from the huge crowd…it was time fo them, and Jesus, to get in the boat.

By this time Jesus had also slipped away from the crowd, he had exited in order to get some alone time.  Then, when the disciples were out of view of the shore and the winds began to pick up and the boat began to rock, the whole thing got scary, really scary.

Not as scary as it did when they realized that a person, a person who was not in a boat, was coming their way on the water.

Then, they realize that it is Jesus, walking on the water, and then climbing into the boat like it was no big deal.

The next day the huge dinner crowd was hungry again. They wanted more of the free food!

 Jesus made a comparison to their ancestors who received free food, just laying on the ground each morning when they awoke. It was just there, everyday.

But then, the whole thing took a very strange turn. The topic switched to eating flesh and drinking blood. It was like cannibals, zombies and vampires all in one.

It started out fairly acceptable, fairly non-horror show plot line. Jesus said, Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

I bet that got the attention of the crowd.

At least a few, who started mumbling and grumbling saying, ““How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 

So now Jesus went really dark, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”

Even his own disciples were complaining “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?”

Jesus overheard and said, “Does the offend you?”

That had to be uncomfortable and awkward.

Jesus gave them a few hints to help them better understand,  “It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

It was a discussion that became very uncomfortable, and then just continued in that direction – eating flesh and drinking blood. By the end of this encounter with Jesus there were some followers and even some disciples that walked away. It was too much, it was more than they had signed up for.

Free food, eating flesh, and drinking blood. The crowds became thinner as the messages got heavier.

Some walked away, but the ones that stayed said to Jesus, “We will not leave you… seriously Jesus, where would we go if we did leave? Only you have the words of eternal life.  We believe, and know ,that you are the Holy One of God.”

Music 2

Be The Centre

CCLI Song # 2650429

Michael Frye

Jesus be the centre

Be my source be my light

Jesus

Jesus be the centre

Be my hope be my song

Jesus

Be the fire in my heart

Be the wind in these sails

Be the reason that I live

Jesus Jesus

Jesus be my vision

Be my path be my guide

Jesus

Message        ‘Flesh and Blood’

‘Christianity faced opposition from its inception.” These are the words of author David Cassel as he attempts to explain the challenges that early Christians faced. Most of us have grown up with the tenants of Christianity, it seems absolutely normal to us. We are settled with our faith. Cassel goes on to expand on his opening comments…

‘Christianity faced opposition from its inception. Its founder was killed, and its first major missionaries were martyred. But as Christianity spread beyond Judea, the nature of the criticisms changed.

Rather than opposing Jesus’ teachings, most attacks against Christianity arose from ignorance and fear.

Frequently critics had little, if any, firsthand experience with Christians, their worship, or their beliefs. So for the first two centuries, attacks tended to restate stereotypes and misconceptions.’

Defending the Cannibals, J. David Cassel, Christianity Today, 11.21

Second-century Christian apologists Justin  Martyr detailed the three main accusations levied against Christians – atheism, incest, and cannibalism. The charge of atheism came from their refusal to worship the Roman pantheon of god. The charge of incest originated from the Christian concept of being united as ‘one family in Christ’ – husbands and wives would refer to each other as ‘brothers and sisters.’ The third charge was cannibalism because of their belief in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Romans overhearing Christians talking about consuming the flesh and blood of Christ. Many Romans held the perspective that the central purpose of Christian gatherings was for the acts of cannibalism.

In the mid second century, Minucius Felix probably one of the first fact checkers, rationally critiqued the ongoing conspiracies and misconceptions against Christians in his Octavius, Felix sought to squash the rumors and wild accusations of cannibalism against Christian. He details the wild and  false accusations…

‘An infant is slain…[Christians] lick up its blood; eagerly they divide its limbs. By this victim they are pledged together; with this consciousness of wickedness they are covenanted to mutual silence.”

Octavius. Minucius Felix. Encyclopedia of Philosphy, https://iep.utm.edu/minucius/

Let’s get a bit of context. Jesus, sometimes confused his listeners, and often outright aggravated his own disciples by speaking in cryptic and frustrating ways. Jesus was definitely not always pragmatic with his words, but, then again his message was meant to shatter the wrong assumptions of his listeners. His Jewish listeners were very accustom to a “DO’ faith where they were told in detail what to do and what to not do. Their faith practice was rooted in the commands given  through Moses. Seldom were the people left on their own to figure it out. Jesus, however, was preaching a ‘BE’ faith. A faith rooted in the heart  of each follower. Jesus was moving the listeners from a ‘Do and Then Become’ faith

to a “Be and Then You Will Do’ faith.

His  message focused on Be rather than a barrage of DOs and DONT’S. This was possible because Jesus was going to DO the Dos. This is why Jesus could promise that his yoke is easy and his burden is light.”

In John 6, we see Jesus followed closely by a crowd of people – a huge crowd, numbering in the thousands. They saw him heal the sick and they wanted to see more healings. They recognized that he had walked on water, they wanted to see more of that. The thousand plus crowd were fed by Jesus, they wanted more food.

Jesus was “DOing’ stuff and they were intrigued and mesmerized. But they were missing the bigger picture. They were missing the signs, the were failing to connect Jesus as the coming Deliverer. Quite frankly, Jesus didn’t come to hold healing crusades, he didn’t come to preform magic tricks, nor did he come to be a celebrity chef – these were all things that flowed naturally out of his compassion and mercy – I’m not sure he could resist acts of love. These acts, however, were feeding the ‘WOW Me’ expectations of the crowd. This was not Jesus mission, Jesus came to proclaim God’s love, deliverance, and redemption.

‘Jesus said to the crowd , “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate some of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.’”

John 6:26-27

Therefore the crowds said to Him, “What do we need to do??” Jesus answered and said to them. “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” So they said to Him, “What then are You doing as a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work are You performing? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness.’”

John 6:28-31

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; the one who comes to Me will not be hungry, and the one who believes in Me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have indeed seen Me, and yet you do not believe.

John 6:35-36

Did you see what Jesus did? He moved from ‘DO’ to ‘BE’, from external to internal, from earthly to eternity, from ‘Let me SEE it’ to ‘Let me BE it’.

This is the backstory of Jesus overhearing the religious leaders having a ‘WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS?!’ conversation. They, were complaining and revealing their own Stuckness of ‘DO’ religious practices and teachings. It was in the midst of this, Jesus challenged them…

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 

For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent Me, and I live because of  the Father, the one who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. 

This is the bread that came down out of heaven, not as the fathers ate and died; the one who eats this bread will live forever.”

John 6:53-58

Now, let’s start with the ickiness of Jesus literal words. Eating flesh, drinking blood – we cannot deny the Jesus says this. However, there is not evidence that this is a literal. We do not hear of the disciples taking a bite of Jesus arm, nor do we read that Jesus shows up at an appearance missing a finger. Surely, it this was a literal practice, his primary mentors would have been the first to take part.

We must take the context of these words. Jesus was moving the people, and the leaders, beyond the spectacular of the things Jesus was Doing to, instead, see the signs within the things Jesus did. To replace their expectation of entertainment to a heart and mind understanding of Jesus’ life and words.

The people wanted Jesus to outdo Moses and the Manna, Jesus was leading the people to understand that one was an earthly element addressing an earthly need – while the other was forever, eternal.

Jesus’ words ‘Eat’ and ‘Drink’ are both primary verbs, they are not passive and momentary simply satisfying a moment of hunger, they are intentional and forever. They are a way of life. They point to the cross, not to a picnic. They are sacrifice not selfishness.

‘In the final moments before the cross we see ‘Jesus reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. And He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I  suffer.” 

He took some bread and gave thanks, breaking it he gave it to them, saying, “Take this and share it among yourselves.” “This is My body, which is being given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”  

And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup, which is poured out for you, is the new covenant in My blood. But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table.”’

Mark 22:14-21

Jesus, in these final moments, shared in a precious holy moment. A moment of togetherness, a moment of mutual support, love, and encouragement. A together moment intended to strengthen them all before they faced the horrors ahead. Jesus even gave them a glimpse of the betrayal that laid ahead. This was a gathering of men who had were still learning how to eat of the flesh and drink of the blood, not in literal sense but in a real consistent and intentional way. They were PARTAKING of Christ. Jesus had become their reality, their strength, their faithfulness, their compassion, their mercy, and their love. And, now they sat around a table, relaxed and secure in the commonalty of those gathered at this table. It was about sharing, it was about partaking, it was about trust (even trust that was about to be shattered by reality, but trust all the same), it was a about a moment that would never again be shared but always remembered and treasured. It was a precious moment together at the table. Those that shared, those that ate, those who drank, as well as those who would soon sacrifice everything. They would fail, and they would continually strive. They would always remember that moment and add to it in the future. The emphasis of this moment was not controversial or rumor worthy, it was a group of men who had journeyed together, who shared a mutual belief and were now sharing bread and wine, who had and would suffer together, who would soon grieve together, now sharing a holy human gathering. A moment that would strengthen them for all the moments ahead.

In an odd way, the Roman conspiracies were not totally wrong. They did gather together, they did share in the bread and wine. Not in order to deceive, control, and especially not to use extortion on each other. They gathered to remember, to share, to comfort, to hope, to strengthen and to live out love.

Let’s pray.

Music 3

Be The Centre

CCLI Song # 2650429

Michael Frye

Jesus be the centre

Be my source be my light

Jesus

Jesus be the centre

Be my hope be my song

Jesus

Be the fire in my heart

Be the wind in these sails

Be the reason that I live

Jesus Jesus

Jesus be my vision

Be my path be my guide

Jesus

Community

Community

hin·nê·nî  (Here I Am) – Bible Study – This Thursday

Next Sunday – ‘…unforgivable. Blasphemy.’

Time Change, One Hour Back,

Thanksgiving Dinner, Sunday, November 21 @ 6pm, details soon

Benediction

We go from here remembering that Jesus gave us his Body.

We go from here to because walls do not contain his Body.

We go from here because that is what Jesus did in his Body.

We go from here because that is what Jesus does in his Body.

We go from here determined to fully partake full of the Body..

We go from here resolute to constantly be the Body.

We go from here committed to be the Body.

We go from here aware that we are a part, not the whole, of the Body..

We go from here fearfully honored to be a part of the Body.

We go from here because the Body’s place is out there.

Closing Peace

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

And also with you.

Go in grace, peace, joy, love, and hope.

Order, Voices, & Words 10.24.21

Order

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Opening Audio (10:15am)
Spotify - Not In A Hurry Radio

#1 ONE Video #1 (3:03)
Call to Worship
Whole Heart - Brandon Heath
Live/OnLine
Prayer    Rick
Music 1   Abbie & Billy
   How Great Is Our God (Tomlin, Cash, & Reeves)
Today’s Story  Online - Kelly & In Person-Nikki
Music 2  Abbie & Billy
   I Will Sing Of My Redeemer (McGranahan & Philip & Bliss)
Message    ‘The Forgotten Women…”  Rick
Music 3  Abbie & Billy
   Spirit of the Living God (Iverson)
Community  Rick
Benediction    Online - Kelly & In Person-Nikki
Closing Peace  Rick
Closing Audio
Spotify - Not In A Hurry Radio


Voices and Words


Prayer

God, With what shall we come before the You?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
Will you be pleased if we come with thousands of rams,
And ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall we give our firstborn for our transgression?
You has told you, what is good;
You have told us what you require of us
You have told us to do justice,
To love kindness,
And to walk humbly with you, our God?
Amen
Micah 6:6-8


Music 1

How Great Is Our God
CCLI Song # 4348399
Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, &| Jesse Reeves
Verse 1
The splendor of the King
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice
He wraps Himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
And trembles at His voice
Chorus
How great is our God
Sing with me
How great is our God
And all will see how great
How great is our God
Verse 2
And age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the End
Beginning and the End
The Godhead three in one
Father Spirit Son
The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb
Chorus
How great is our God
Sing with me
How great is our God
And all will see how great
How great is our God

Today’s Story 

Last week we learned of the Jewish scholarly tradition of Teku - “I don’t understand….yet”. Teku is a great concept for us to understand now with our passage for this week.  We thought last week was the pinnacle of uncomfortableness but this week’s scripture has brought us to new heights of squeamishness!
Two stories, in two different cities, both cities with the most depraved men ever. Even the supposed hero’s of these stories are just awful human beings!
I’m not even sure where to start!
I guess we have to start with the city of Sodom. A city whose very name now carries a connotation of what actually didn’t happen there. A connotation, that itself, points to the legacy of disrespect of women, minorities, and foreigners. It all started with two angels, messengers from God, who came to remind Abraham of God’s promise of a son.
As the messengers were leaving Abraham, they mentioned that they also were on a mission to check into what was going on in Sodom, the city Abraham’s nephew Lot and his family lived.  Abraham knew of the depravity in Sodom and that the message from God would be rejected, so he began to bargain on part of Sodom.  “If we can find 50 men who are not horrible, or 35, or 10 men, will you not destroy the city?”
Abraham knew that there were not even 10 that would be classified and ‘not evil’, or even ‘just marginally bad’, Abrahan could not even think of 10 from Lot’s family.
Instead of listening to the words of the messengers, the men of the city opted to try to brutalize and rape the messengers who were staying in Lot’s house. The angels handled this on their own by blinding the men, but Lot still offered his two daughters to the men in his effort to stop the depraved men.
Here is the topper, this is not the only place in the old testament where something like this happens. There was a Levite, a religious leader, who had a concubine who he really seemed to like. When she left him, he went running after her to convince her to return to him. Later, he also was trapped in another town called Gibeah. It, too, was full of depraved men who attempted to brutalize and rape him. Instead of himself, he threw his concubine out the door for them to do to her what they planned to do to him.
When the men were finished they threw the woman on the doorstep and the Levi, and then the Levite let her remain there in agony until the sun came up! Til he got out of bed. Then, he cut up her body spreading the pieces around the tribes of Israel to highlight the evil of the men in Gibeah.
Okay, so the man who saved himself by sacrificing his concubine then cut up her body to say that the men of Gibeah were the evil ones? Surely this is a week early halloween story!
Lord help us, this is beyond a Teku passage!
It is definitely an ‘I don’t understand’ passage.


Music 2

I Will Sing Of My Redeemer
CCLI Song # 69260
James McGranahan & Philip Paul Bliss
Verse 1
I will sing of my Redeemer
And His wondrous love to me
On the cruel cross He suffered
From the curse to set me free
Chorus
Sing O sing of my Redeemer
With His blood He purchased me
On the cross He sealed my pardon
Paid the debt and made me free
Verse 2
I will tell the wondrous story
How my lost estate to save
In His boundless love and mercy
He the ransom freely gave
Chorus
Sing O sing of my Redeemer
With His blood He purchased me
On the cross He sealed my pardon
Paid the debt and made me free
Verse 3
I will praise my dear Redeemer
His triumphant power I'll tell
How the victory He giveth
Over sin and death and hell
Chorus
Sing O sing of my Redeemer
With His blood He purchased me
On the cross He sealed my pardon
Paid the debt and made me free

Message        ‘The Forgotten Women…’
Two cities, 700-800 years apart, filled with evil men and marginalized people. Two cities where the inhabitants, and even the designated protagonists, were willingly immersed in depravity. Two cities, much the same as the city of Noah, and probably the city of Babel where raw brutality was a constant norm. Two cities where all who entered were soon hardened and unfazed. Two cities where the worst of hell became manifest on earth.

In the end, two cities through which God points our complicity.

Phyllis Trible describes today’s passages as ‘Texts of Terror.’ Uncomfortable texts which brutally oppose the teachings of Jesus.
Phyllis Trible, Professor Sacred Literature, Union Theological Seminary, Texts of Terror.

One was a city named Sodom - the other a city named Gibeah.

The story of Sodom erroneously brings homosexualty to our minds - however, such a simple shallow understanding dilutes and diminishes the story.

Sodom, was a name assigned to a city. Linguist have identified that the verb form, ‘Sodomy’, was not created until 300 years after Christ. Sodom and the word Sodomy did not carry a definition of ‘abominable’ sex acts, nor were the crimes of Sodom attributed to homosexuality until thousands of years later (long after the writing of the Bible). Sodom’s emphasis was not Sodomy until Christianity became institutionally powerful. A time when Christians began to use their influence to confront the sins of society - it is not about homosexuality (as homosexuality was not a designation or a word until the 1800s), instead, the church was confronting pederasty - a practice of child sexual abuse that had been acceptable for centuries.

In Sodom the assigned protagonist was a man named Lot, in Gibeah it was an unnamed Levite responsible for certain religious duties at the temple. Both protagonists acted out of the same ignorance, selfishness, and depravity as the mobs outside their door.

Lot, the nephew of Abraham, had moved his family and possessions to Sodom because of the fertile ground. In Sodom, Lot and his family were willingly immersed in the hedonistic and self-centered dark hearts of their neighbors. Lot achieved leadership status in the city, he sat at the city gates watching over the city, the people of Sodom had become family, and Lot’s family had become part of the people.

The Levite was a visitor to the city of Gibeah, but he was not really an outsider. While he expressed outrage at the threats from the mob, his heart was even more depraved, heartless, and unholy.

Both of these selfish hearted men stood fearfully behind a door, both with their tainted ancestral hearts. In both stories the dismissed women, were offered as substitute for the men. Lot offered his daughters, even though his guests could take care of themself. The Levite opened the door just enough to throw out his wife to the mob - quickly closing the door so he could get a decent night’s sleep.

A correct understanding of the sin of Sodm and Gibeah is crucial so that we can recognize the true thread between these cities? It matters because the Later Prophets regularly compare the nation of Israel to Sodom. If the sin of Sodom was sodomy then this comparison seems inconsistent with all the common themes in the Prophets. However, if the sin of Sodom was xenophobia, insularity and a lack of social justice then this criticism is perfectly consistent with the messages that permeate the prophetic writings from that time.’
Biblical Hermeneutics

The sin of Sodom and Gibeah is a much deeper than just the actions of a depraved group of men - instead it provides us some insight to the subtle threat our own hearts. The threat lies on our side of the door, where a cancer creeps in spreading to every corner of our refuge.

While we  minimize the evil in Sodom by using it for our own cause, the story of the Levite in Gibeah takes us to new uncomfortable heights. Few commentators risk venturing out of a safe and unconvincing ‘Male View’ of Judges 19.  It is an inexcusably avoided passage from the Bible. Quite honestly, I would prefer to not dive into these waters. Instead, I will allow someone else to do it for me - the Reverend Sara Jobe, who does an amazing, and unrestrained job of providing an overview of the passage.

“Judges 19 describes the rape and dismemberment of an unnamed woman. The woman in the story is owned by a Levite. The word used to describe her, piylegesh” (her status), “can mean concubine, secondary wife, or wife of lower socio-economic standing. The two are in an intimate, though hierarchical, relationship. Something causes the woman to flee to her father’s home.” Historically, usually white male theologians have accused the unnamed woman of adultery but rabbinical writings repeatedly write that it was because of the Levite’s selfishness and neglect. “After four months, the Levite pursues his woman, supposedly to 'speak to her heart.’ Instead, the Levite, for five days speaks to, while eating and drinking with, the woman’s father.” The woman rejoins the Levite and they arrive in Gibeah where they are the guest of a hospitable resident. A depraved mob surrounds the house demanding they be given the Levite male. “The owner of the house offers his own daughter and the Levite’s unnamed woman to the crowd in exchange for the safety of his guest, the Levite man. As the crowd presses in, the Levite seizes his concubine and throws her out to the violent mob. The woman is gang-raped all night long. At dusk, she crawls back to the house where her master sleeping, and she collapses at the door. The well rested Levite rises the next morning ready to continue on his way. When he sees the woman’s hands resting on the threshold of the door he says, “Get up.” There is no answer. The man throws the woman, dead or alive we do not know, on his donkey. He arrives home, takes his knife, cuts his wife into twelve pieces, and sends her body out to the twelve tribes of Israel. When the man tells his story in Judges 20, he never mentions his own role in the crime. The story itself is horrific–betrayal, rape, murder, dismemberment, and cover-up of the crime. The narration of the story is also horrific. There is no explicit condemnation of the treatment of the woman. Israel’s supposedly outraged response is to slaughter entire towns and then rape four hundred additional women. God’s absence is horrific. In the Genesis passage, divine visitors blind the lust-mad crowd and rescue the women being offered. In Judges 19, no such rescue occurs. God does not stop the abuse. God does not even bother to show up afterward to condemn her rape and dismemberment. At the end of the story, everyone who sees the pieces of this woman’s battered body say together, “Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Incline your heart to her! Consider it! Speak out!”  God is silent, but we are commanded to speak out. God willingly claims this story of his absence as part of the larger story of God’s presence in the world. Victims of sexual violence know the truth of this claim. Many victims have experienced their abuse as being abandoned by God. Yet we do not make a space in our congregations for experiences of God’s neglect to be told. In 2010, stats told us one out of every six women has been raped. We leave victims of sexual violence voiceless languishing outside the door. We do not incline our hearts to them, consider their stories, or speak out.  We say ‘God works in mysterious ways or God has a plan’ Instead of following God’s lead–letting their statements of God’s absence rest heavily in our congregations. Judges 19 invites God’s present people to surround the wound of God’s absence.”
Sarah Jobe, Minister, Rutba House, Durham, NC,
Giving Voice to the Voiceless: Preaching Judges 19
Also on our doorstep are native American women who suffer murder at a rate 10 times higher than the national average, yet, even when they go missing, which they also have a high rate of, we remain silent in our chosen ignorance hiding behind the closed door. The guilty not only stand outside the door as perpetrators, the silent behind the door are guilty as well. We throw our silence out the door leaving the dismissed and abused languishing on the door step, we too share in the guilt. The lesson for us from these cities is not a warning of the depravity on the other side of our doors. It is a warning about standing on the safe side of the door. The greatest horror of this story is not the depravity on the outside, let’s be honest, we are fully aware of what is outside our doors. The danger is when we stand inside insulated, quickly throwing out to the other side of the door those things, those people, we can easily dismiss. Those that are already marginalized, judged, and condemned. When God called Noah to build an ark, he did not hide him in a warehouse behind a door with strong locks. The mobs already knew Noah. Noah completed his work in full view. Noah built in full view of the people. The mob could see what Noah was doing, they could hear his warning, but they repeatedly ignored the implications. Only Noah was righteous, but building the boat was not about Noah - it was for others, even for those on the other side of the door. The door was closed when it no longer needed to be open. The Levite did not really get God’s message. God was using him to alert the people of God to the fact that they had become the same as the mob on the other side of the door. Not because of brutal depravity, but because of their silence, their judgement, this condemnation, their dismissal, and their self-centeredness. Sadly, the tribes chose to act in revenge rather than allow God to show them their own complicity. They rejected God’s transformation and chose brutally instead. The message that the Levite missed still needs to be heard today. “Say to every man in Israel: ‘Has such a thing as this ever happened from the time the Israelites came up from the land of Egypt until now? Think about it! Talk it over. Do something!’” Judges 19:30 (MSG) God continues to implore us to put aside judgement and condemnation, to step out the door, and ‘Do Something!’ Let’s pray. Music 3 Spirit Of The Living God CCLI Song # 23488 Daniel Iverson Spirit of the Living God Fall fresh on me Spirit of the Living God Fall fresh on me Melt me mold me Fill me use me Spirit of the Living God Fall fresh on me Spirit of the Living God Fall fresh on me Spirit of the Living God Fall fresh on me Melt me mold me Fill me use me Spirit of the Living God Fall fresh on me Community Community hin·nê·nî  (Here I Am) - Bible Study - No Study this Thursday Next Sunday - ‘’A Perfect Halloween Squirm’ Communion, Sunday, October 31 Thanksgivng Dinner, Sunday, November 21 @ 6pm, details soon      Benediction We go from here into a strange world. We go from here into a world where sometimes the worst evil comes from inside of us. An evil within us that opens us up to wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Fills us with envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, gossip, slander, insolence, arrogance, acting boastful, inventing evil, acting foolish, faithless, heartless, and ruthless. Evil that begins with putting ourself first in front of God and in front of all others. May we go from here determined not to fall prey to evil, may we seek to live and to care like Jesus. May we resolve to Love others as we ourselves love and are loved. May our life show our love for God and our love for others. Closing Peace May God’s grace, peace, joy, love, and hope go with you. And also with you. Go in grace, peace, joy, love, and hope.

Order, Words, & Voices 10.17.21

Order

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Opening Audio (10:15am)
Spotify - Not In A Hurry Radio

#1 ONE Video #1 (3:09)
Call to Worship
Love God Love People (Dan Gokey/Michael W. Smith)

Live/OnLine
Prayer (14 Slides)							Rick
Music 1	Billy	                                            
           	Thank You Lord (Dennis Jernigan)
Today’s Story	Online - Jaimie	& In Person-Chris													
Music 2								Billy
            	Show Me Your Ways (Russell Fragar)
Message    ‘Abominable”		Rick
Music 3								Billy           Revelation Song (Jennie Lee Riddle)
Community       Rick							
Benediction	Online - Jaimie	& In Person-Chris							
Sharing the Peace    Rick                                    		
Closing Audio
Spotify - Not In A Hurry Radio


Voices and Words

Prayer

God,
Lord make Me an instrument of Your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness joy.

O Divine master grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand.
To be loved. as to love
For it's in giving that we receive
And it's in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it's in dying that we are born...
To eternal life.
Amen

Prayer of Saint Francis

Music 1

Thank You Lord
CCLI Song # 577439
Dennis Jernigan
For all that You've doneI will thank YouFor all that You're going to doFor all that You've promisedAnd all that You areIs all that has carried me throughJesus I thank You
Pre-Chorus
And I thank You thank You Lord(And I thank You thank You Lord)Thank You thank You Lord(Thank You thank You)
Chorus
Thank You for loving and setting me freeThank You for giving Your life just for meHow I thank You Jesus I thank YouGratefully thank You thank You

Today’s Story 

Chris: Today we are looking at 2 different passages from the book of Leviticus. The first one comes from Leviticus 18:19-25. “You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness. You shall not have sexual relations with your kinsman’s wife, and defile yourself with her. You shall not give any of your offspring to sacrifice them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. You shall not have sexual relations with any animal and defile yourself with it, nor shall any woman give herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it: it is perversion. Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, for by all these practices the nations I am casting out before you have defiled themselves. “Thus the land became defiled; and I punished it for its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.” … Well, that was a lot of fun, let’s hear your verse Jaimie.

Jaimie: That was very uncomfortable,  I think I’m developing a cough, why don’t you go ahead and read it.

Chris: No, not falling for that.

Jaimie: (fake cough)

Chris: We will wait.

Jaimie: Okay, surely this is not as squeamish as what you read. Leviticus 20:10-16. ‘If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death. The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall be put to death; their blood is upon them. If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall be put to death; they have committed perversion, their blood is upon them. If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them. If a man takes a wife and her mother also, it is depravity; they shall be burned to death, both he and they, that there may be no depravity among you. If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he shall be put to death; and you shall kill the animal. If a woman approaches any animal and has sexual relations with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall be.…’ I think I will just stop there.

Chris: Abomination, depravity, burned to death, killing innocent animals!? What is that all about?

Jaimie: The law was a gift to the Hebrews, this doesn’t really sound very gift like.

Chris: Nor does it sound very loving, or like Jesus.

Jaimie: It is horrific, it is very unmerciful and extremely no compassionate.

Chris: So, there has to be more to it.

Jaimie: Not sure how this can be redeemed, I do not understand how this lines up with with Jesus’ own words when he said “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.nIndeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.:

Chris: Or with other words of Jesus when he said, ““‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Jaimie: I guess there is some hope for this morning.

Chris: Hopefully it is also a hope for all humanity.


Music 2

Show Me Your Ways
CCLI Song # 1675024
Russell Fragar
Verse
Show me Your waysThat I may walk with YouShow me Your waysI put my hope in You
Chorus
The cry of my heartIs to love You moreTo live with the touchOf Your handStronger each dayShow me Your ways
Verse
Show me Your waysThat I may walk with YouShow me Your waysI put my hope in You
Chorus
The cry of my heartIs to love You moreTo live with the touchOf Your handStronger each dayShow me Your ways
Message        ‘Abominable’

It is speculated that the average person says 860,341,500 over a lifetime.
Gyles Brandreth, The Joy of Lex: How to Have Fun with 860,341,500 Words



John Steinbeck wrote 
“A writer lives in awe of words, for they can be cruel or kind, and they can change their meanings right in front of you. They pick up flavors and odors like butter in a refrigerator.”
William Robert Rich, October 8, 2012, Screenplay Blog

Jerry Falwell Sr. used some of his words to say, “AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”
Christopher Reed, May 17, 2007, The Guardian

Billy Graham used his words to call homosexuality a “sinister form of perversion”
John Paul Brammer, Feb. 22, 2018, NBC News



Reverend Dr. E. Dewey Smith, used the words of his sermon to his 10,000 plus member church, to say.

“We have done what the slave masters did to us—dehumanize us, degrade us, demonize us. On one hand you quote homosexuality is an abomination from Leviticus. But you say that right after you ate some shrimp, some catfish and some lobster. You quote Levitucus while you're wearing a wool blend suit. It's also in Leviticus that you shouldn't wear mixed linens. It's in Leviticus that if your wife is on her cycle that you shouldn't go in the same house with her or even sleep in the same bed with her. Here's my point. We pick and choose the scriptures that we want to use to beat folks up with rather than look at our own lives. Look at your neighbor and tell your neighbor I don't condemn you, I don't judge you. You can't evangelize and antagonize at the same time. You cannot insult and inspire the same people that you insult.”
Dr. E. Dewey Smith, senior pastor at House of Hope Atlanta

So, let’s focus in on a specific word.

Abomination.


‘You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.’
Leviticus 18:22 (NRSV)



“If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.”
Leviticus 20:13 (NRSV)

This instruction was given by God to Moses to the Israelites. This was part of the gift of the law, given only to the Hebrews because only the Hebrews would receive it. The Hebrews were a fragile people enslaved for centuries. Their ancestors had little knowledge of God prior to slavery, as a result, they had little understanding of God after slavery. However, they were the lineage of the redeemer, Jesus. Their earthly strength was in their population numbers. The more Hebrews people - the more fighters and protectors.  Their strength was not weapons, it wasn’t about chariots and horses, it was about a lot of physically, mentally, and spiritually strong humans. It was essential that they quickly grew in numbers and health. 

Leviticus takes place about 50 days after the release from slavery. Healthy propagation was their primary task. For this reason God addresses those things, primary those sexual things, that can hinder healthy population growth. Therefore activities such as incest could do great harm to the bloodline, and homosexuality would be totally unproductive. These words were also a warning of the customs and cultures they were about to encounter, idolatry and rejection of God, Child sacrifice, selling their own bodies, - a people who could not love others because they so deeply disrespected themselves. It was about using sex to disrespect self and others.

Abomination.

It is a word that immediately solicits a negative perception, although, it is seldom something that we can fully define. It is a word that immediately adds a negative connotation. It is defined differently by who is saying it and heard differently by the receiver. It is used as a hammer, a weapon, to attack.

This Ancient Hebrew word in the original text is towebah and is found 16 times. The root of this word, toaybaw, is found 117 times throughout the old testament. Both are commonly translated Abomination.

The majority of Christians, when hearing this word, automatically think that it is a categorization of sin - these passages are thought to define homosexuality as the worst of all sins. However, we do not theologically believe in a categorization of sins. There are not greater sins, and there are not lesser sins. Sin is disobedience to God, period. A sinful action may have greater and more blatant earthly/fleshly consequences, but sin is disobedience.

Abomination does not indicate a ‘worse’ sin, in fact, it does not automatically indicate sin.

Towebah, is saying ‘this is unproductive’ ‘this is uncomfortable’ ‘this is a taboo gray zone thing.’ In other places in scripture, this word is also used to confront mixed nationalities or religions sitting at the same table, or heartless religious practices, or woman wearing pants, or not being Kosher. It is about a lot of things that we do not classify as “worse sin.’

The problem with the word Abomination is not the Biblical translation, it is about how our brains have been trained to automatically interpret it.

Paul uses many words like abomination in the New Testament. Jesus drew close to addressing the LGTBQ population with the words.

“For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs. Accept this.”
Jesus, Matthew 19:12

Let me pause for a moment. It is not time to agree with Rick and come out as an LGBTQ activist and start fights with everyone you encounter to make them accept your point of view, being hateful and unchristlike. Nor is it time to crawl back into the comfort of a cave where we can isolate ourselves from things we do not understand, things we are uncomfortable with, while we become unchristlike. 

In Judaism there is a term for things that we accept but do not understand, things we are uncomfortable with. The word Teku is a term that the scribes and rabbis use when there was something in the holy words they do not understand, ‘something that still needs to be determined and understood.’ Teku instructs us to still follow God and unconditionally love regardless of our understanding and regardless of any conditions.

We do not have to understand to accept, to affirm, to love, to embrace. 
We live by a higher calling. We are called to Love. It is a call to embrace, to accept, to affirm, to recognize the equality of all created beings, to sacrifice our comfort - all without regard to our understanding. It is the love that led Jesus to the cross even while we were still sinners. It is a love that is beyond our understanding.

I cannot win this argument, I cannot lose this argument, truth is, I cannot maintain a consistent comfort with this argument. But, I do know this, when I come to a TEKU moment, a moment I do not understand, that I am uncomfortable with, that is when I Love, that is when I show Jesus through my life. That is when I trust God. The God, who, when I was still waist deep in my sin, put Jesus on the cross for me. The God who sent his son not to judge or condemn but to love all the world - because God SO loves the world.

I have sat with many who, on a very personal basis, struggle with this LGBTQ. Parents of gay children, gay individuals, - they have not chosen this path, they didn’t ask for any of this. They have listened to our ignorant insistence that they just don’t do gay sex, when that is not what this is about. They have tried to follow our demands that they abstain, only to hear us say blanket statements about all gays being evil and sinister. They have tried to not be what their very being tells them that they are, and yet have realized that it just doesn’t work. They have prayed, been prayed over, been persuaded, and finally have given up - sometimes to the point of their own death. They have tried, and the church has failed them. The church has failed to truly and unconditionally love.

The true abomination that faces the church today is placing the ‘less than’ label’ on any human being. Making anyone sit at the back of the bus, forcing any created in the likeness of God human, created in the image of God, to be less human, less loved by God, less anything. We accept after we establish a response to all of the ‘what its’. We accept them after they decide to act like they are what makes us comfortable. They have tried but, in the end, only to find themself lying flat on their back in an inescapable pit.

We have told parents just to kick them out, reject them, and then expect them, through our prayers, to turn to the Jesus that we claim led us to be so unloving, so judgy, so filled with the confused hatred of condemnation.

Ironically the greatest abomination of the church, is how we have hatefully rejected people that God loves. God calls us back to his unconditional love, and then to trust God’s spirit to work his transformation in all our lives. God’s transformation of us, not our expected transformation of others.

“We, human beings are very good at many things. Unfortunately, one of the things we are good at is discrimination. Jesus knew this. That is why he was so passionate in his story of the Good Samaritan. That is why he posited what we call the golden rule of doing onto others as we would have them do onto us. That is why a basic theme throughout the New Testament is that we should love others as we love ourselves. To discriminate against sexual minorities is clearly incompatible with Jesus’ core teachings throughout the Gospels.”
Rev Dr. Philip H. “Hutch” Hutchens

It is time we hang up vague hateful words and let God change our hateful hearts, it is time that we see everyone in the way that Jesus saw everyone. In the end, understanding is not a factor in loving, nor is it a factor in living out the message of Jesus Christ. In the end we are left with LOVE GOD and LOVE OTHERS.

Let’s pray.


Music 3

Revelation Song
CCLI Song # 4447960
Jennie Lee Riddle
Verse 1
Worthy is the Lamb Who was slainHoly holy is HeSing a new song to Him Who sits onHeaven's mercy seat
Chorus
Holy holy holyIs the Lord God AlmightyWho was and is and is to comeWith all creation I singPraise to the King of kingsYou are my ev'rythingAnd I will adore You
Verse 2
Clothed in rainbows of living colorFlashes of lightning rolls of thunderBlessing and honor strength and gloryAnd power be to You the only wise King
Chorus
Holy holy holyIs the Lord God AlmightyWho was and is and is to comeWith all creation I singPraise to the King of kingsYou are my ev'rythingAnd I will adore You
Verse 3
Filled with wonder awestruck wonderAt the mention of Your nameJesus Your name is power breath and living waterSuch a marv'lous mystery yeah
Chorus
Holy holy holyIs the Lord God AlmightyWho was and is and is to comeWith all creation I singPraise to the King of kingsYou are my ev'rythingAnd I will adore You

Community
Community
hin·nê·nî  (Here I Am) - Bible Study - Thursday
Next Sunday - ‘The Disregarded Women Of Sodom and Gibeah’ Genesis 19 & Judges 19
Communion, Sunday, October 31

    
Benediction

Chris: We go from here knowing that God loves us and that God loves everyone else as well.

Jaimie: We go from here recognizing that it is my choice to accept God’s transforming work in my life and it is the choice of others to accept God’s transforming work in their life.

Chris: We go from here understanding that God works transformation, not me.

Jaimie: We go from here knowing that God’s transformation is out of his love and motivated by his love.

Chris: We go into a reality that, for all of us, depends on God’s strength and power.

Jaimie We go gratefully in God’s mercy and compassion.

Chris: We go from here in, and because of, God’s grace.

Closing Peace

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

And also with you.

Go in grace, peace, joy, love, hope.

Order, Words, & Voices 10.10.21

Order

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Opening Audio(10:15am)

Spotify – Not In A Hurry Radio

#1 ONE Video #1 (4:06)

Call to Worship

Humble King (Benton Brown/Vineyard)

Live/OnLine

Prayer  Rick

Music 1 (6 Slides)                                                      Abbie & Billy

            Holy, Holy, Holy (Dykes & Heber)

Today’s Story (1 Slide) Online-Kristen J

In Person-Petty

Music 2 Abbie & Billy

            Take My Life ‘Holiness’ Underwood

Message    ‘The Impenetrable Power of Me’ Rick

Music 3 Abbie & Billy

            Here I Am To Worship (Hughes)

Community Rick

Benediction Online-Kristen J

In Person-Petty

Sharing the Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio

Spotify – Not In A Hurry Radio

Voices and Words 

Prayer

God,

We begin this time calling out to you

You are our God

You are the God

You are the Creator of the Universe

You are the Giver of Grace

You are the Redeemer of our Souls

You are Love that Breathes Life into Each of Us

We call you Deliverer

We call you Provider

We call you Healer

We call you Holy

Even though We do not always Recognize You

Even though We do not always Understand You

Even though We do not always Listen for You

Even though We do not always Look for You

Even though – You are Still Holy

You are Still Sustenance

You are Still More

You are Still God

God, We join the Seraphs in proclaiming, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

Amen.

Music 1

Holy Holy Holy (Nicaea)

CCLI Song # 1156

John Bacchus Dykes | Reginald Heber

Verse 1

Holy holy holy
Lord God Almighty
Early in the morning
Our song shall rise to Thee


Holy holy holy
Merciful and mighty
God in three persons
Blessed Trinity

Verse 2

Holy holy holy
Though the darkness hide Thee
Though the eye of sinful man
Thy glory may not see
Only Thou art holy
There is none beside Thee
Perfect in power
In love and purity

Verse 3

Holy holy holy
Lord God Almighty
All Thy works shall praise Thy name
In earth and sky and sea


Holy holy holy
Merciful and mighty
God in three persons
Blessed Trinity

Today’s Story 

Petty: Sometimes cringe worthy moments are not really about what someone else says but more about what you, yourself, say. Sometimes uncomfortable bible moments are not about what God has to say as much as it is about what others say about God.

Kristen: Those are extremely awkward moments. Like anytime we are caught talking about someone else only to find out that they were hearing everything we said.

Petty: Imagine having Jesus hearing the stuff you don’t want Jesus to hear.

Kristen: Last week we were near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, it was at the crucial moment when the religious leaders began to recognize that Jesus was probably not going to be a status quo kind of leader. They probably started to see that Jesus was not like the other religious leader.

Petty: This week we are much later in the ministry of Jesus, our passage takes us the close of Jesus’ earthly ministry, now in Jerusalem and not long before the cross. It is the crescendo of religious institution’s disdain for Jesus – however, it is also a low point for the disciples of Jesus.

Kristen: It had all the makings of a high point for the disciples. The details regarding the passover meal came together miraculously. Jesus sat at the table exclusively with this intimate group, no crowds, not even his family or best friends. Then, they were also invited to join Jesus in his personal time with God. 

Petty: On top of all that Jesus told them that he was going to “confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Kristen: But history cannot ignore the low moments. Judas was listening to Satan, Peter was failing to fully listen to Jesus, and no one managed to stay awake when Jesus needed them to stay alert. Then there was Jesus instructions to sale their coats to purchase a sword and the arrest and trial.

Petty: In the midst of all of this there was the awkward conversation between Jesus’ disciples.

Kristen: ’Within minutes they were bickering over who of them would end up the greatest’

Petty: Followed by the uncomfortable awareness that Jesus was in the room, within hearing distance.

Kristen: Jesus intervened: “Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It’s not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant.”

Petty: “Who would you rather be: the one who eats the dinner or the one who serves the dinner?” Jesus continued, “You’d rather eat and be served, right? But I’ve taken my place among you as the one who serves. And you’ve stuck with me through thick and thin.”

Kristen: In a way, it is a lot like when the religious leaders were stuck in their thinking about washing hands – in this moment the disciples were stuck in thinking of Jesus as an earthly King, and that they would be the descendants of the earthly King, heir to the earthly throne, earthly power, celebrity.

Petty: Which of course would mean someone would have to be the next King. 

Kristen: And thus the argument began.

Petty: And thus thinking gets stuck. 

Music 2

Take My Life

CCLI Song # 1617154

Scott Underwood

Verse 1

Holiness holiness
Is what I long for
Holiness is what I need
Holiness holiness
Is what You want from me

Verse 2

Faithfulness faithfulness
Is what I long for
Faithfulness is what I need
Faithfulness faithfulness
Is what You want from me

Chorus

So take my heart and form it
Take my mind transform it
Take my will conform it
To Yours to Yours oh Lord

Verse 3

Righteousness righteousness
Is what I long for
Righteousness is what I need
Righteousness righteousness
Is what You want from me

Message‘The Impenetrable Power of Me’ (7 Slides)

In the summer of 1963, boxer Cassius Clay, unknowingly took the position of best, and most eloquent, trash talkers of all time in the release of his comedy album entitled ‘I Am The Greatest!’ The album was set up as a trash talking boxing match, with each new track labeled as a boxing match round. The entire project had been suggested to Clay by his talent agency and included one track entitled “Will the Real Sonny Liston Please Fall Down”. Clay was scheduled to fight Liston for the World Heavyweight Championship boxing match 6 months later. So, this album was actually the greatest trash talking rant of all time.

The fascinating thing about this album is seen when we take a retrospective look back. Six months after the release of this album, Clay did win the boxing match against Liston. But, also during this time Clay let it be known that he had converted to Islam and was changing his name to  Muhammad Ali. You have to wonder if the trash talking persona created by Ali and those around him six months earlier was a grasping for some sense of control. Public Relations experts, as well as the boxing industry, were pushing and pulling him to be something that he actually was not. So, in an effort to take back control of his life, in a time when he knew that the truth of his life would soon be ruinous for his career, he used the 3 things he knew he was skilled in, boxing, humor, and trash talking, to take back the narrative, to take back control.

There is a defensive mechanism within all of us that seeks to find someway to be in control of our lives.

Three times, Jesus addresses the issue of greatness with his disciples. One time Jesus has to address the issue with the mother of two of his disciples. And now, in today’s passage, just moments before Jesus is arrested, in his final teaching moment with his disciples before the cross, Jesus addresses the issue for the fifth time.

If chapter 22

If chapter 22 of the gospel of Luke were to be made into a Netflix series, at a minimum it would have to be split up into 8 episodes. That could only happen if each of those episodes were packed full of twists and turns, betrayals, rejections, disappointments, violence, injustices, miracles, backstabbing, doubts, bizarre promises, satanic control, amazing affirmations, and a well organized exclusive dinner. You could not binge this series, each episode would take a week in between to allow the viewer to recover from the latest episode and to prepare for the next.

Luke 22 plants us smack in the middle of Holy Week, Jesus had entered the Jerusalem as a crowned hero, his disciples had become instant celebrities, but that acclaim went south quickly. There was still a sense of Jesus’ significance but everything was getting a bit off. Jesus and the disciples had just finished the passover meal. Jesus had served them in dramatic style ending the meal with a dark turn. Jesus revealed that one of them would betray Jesus. This left the disciples pointing the finger at each other asking, “Is it him, or what about him, no, surely it is not me!’  And, almost instantly, the disciples went from pondering who would betray Jesus – to a contentious argument about which one of them was going to replace Jesus. 

The men became so focused on self that they forgot Jesus was right there in the room, sitting at the table. Here was Jesus, the one who had served them, listening as they were fighting over who was going to take the place of Jesus.

And so, for a fifth time, Jesus addressed the one thing that would probably be the most important thing for these soon to be leaders of the New Testament church.

That the meal ended on this argument and the teaching is not really surprising. When things began to be out of our own control, it gets scary, we circle up the wagons and began to protect ourself and all that is ‘OURS.’ We forget what Jesus has taught, we forget that Jesus is in the room. When our attention turns only to the powerful ME, then we completely forget about Jesus, even when he is the next chair over.  

Somehow, we humans, who have life because of the breath of God, are quick to only think of ourself. We automatically, especially in times of uncertainty, change or crisis, turn only to ME – OURSELF. 

“How will this affect ME?

What will this mean to ME?

How is this going to hurt ME?

How can I turn this around to benefit ME?

What about ME?!”

The Question

The Question that haunts us in this story is the same thing that still haunts us a humans – ‘Why do we, as humans, focus on self, whey do we seek to protect ourself through power and position?’ This is the question at the root of the disciples bickering.

The Impenetrable Power of Me. Instead of giving power, it take all power from us. We fail to see what and who is right in front of us. It dulls or hearing of truth. It keeps us from listening for God.

Why do we automatically desire power and greatness?

Studies

The assumed answer to this question has long been that we desire power in order to have control over people. A 2016 study disputes that assumption, the assumption that the desire for power is linked to our desire to control. In the study, the researchers, instead, reveal that the desire for power is actually a desire for autonomy – the ability to be in control of our life.  

5 slides

“While there are those who want power over and control over others, this study concluded that healthy minded persons, desire power not to be a master over others, but to be master of their own domain, to control their own fate.” (Lammers, Stoker, Rink., 2016) 

“To be autonomous does not mean to independent of others, but rather it means to feel a sense of willingness and choice when acting, whether the actions are independently initiated or are in response to a request from significant others.” (Chirkov et al., 2003) 

The disciples are in the room, they are at the table, with Jesus, power and greatness incarnate, yet, rooted in their thinking, was this desire to gain the power upper hand. They were held captive by the Impenetrable Power of Me. 

Jesus turns the assumption of what ‘being powerful’ actually means. Service, the first shall be last. Jesus had washed their feet, he had touched a leper, they had seen him constantly and automatically serve others, even in the most mundane moments – remember the wedding party that ran out of wine? And now, in this essential moment, Jesus gives a final review of the teachings they have seen as God has transparently lived, in the flesh, in their  presence.

“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors.But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” (Luke 22:25-27)

Jesus was not mad or angry with the men, he wasn’t even frustrated – Jesus was determined. Determined that they would step into the uncomfortable, that they would let themself immerse themself in the squirmy waters of greatness. That they would overcome the seemingly Impenetrable Power of Me.

How was the power of Me so powerful that it kept the disciples, who were fully convinced of the credibility of Jesus, from recognizing Jesus? Why was this understanding of greatness so essential that Jesus would spend his final moments speaking about it?

Jesus had spent the better part of the past 3 years teaching, that the only thing that can overpower the Power Of ME is the Power of THEE. This is why God scattered the descendants of Noah when it became obvious that even their unity had become a branch of Me – Us, Our. Our agenda, our reputation, our control. However, the power of THEE, is sacrifice, it is freedom, it is glued together by a servant heart, it is a recognition that we are all equally important, we are all loved by God, we are essential pieces of God’s path to His ‘will on earth as it is in heaven.’  The Power of THEE is the only thing that can truly bring us to autonomy. 

This is why Jesus spoke of his purpose being about abundance and life, this is why the apostle Paul would later focus so much on unity, this is why the selfish deceit of Annanias and Saphirra was so dangerous, this is why Jesus was now enlightening his disciples that the key to greatness is the service and sacrifice.

Les Miserables

The broadway musical Les Miserables depicts the catalyst moments leading up to the French revolution. A revolt of the peasants and marginalized against a system where those that had the least were required to carry the greatest burden. A call from a persecuted people for autonomy and freedom, for life. It was a revolution, in the beginning, which began as an effort to allow all people to live with dignity and hope. It was a revolution that finally began as a people realized the only way to achieve greatness was if they were to lower themselves to be servants, to offer themselves in sacrifice for others. They recognized the ramification of The Power Of Thee, of greater purpose than just ME, which would then permit there to be the essential power in WE. This can be heard in their voices, 

“Will you give all you can give

So that our banner may advance?

Some will fall and some will live

Will you stand up and take your chance?

The blood of the martyrs

Will water the meadows of France!”

(‘Do You Hear The People Sing.  Boublil, Schonberg, Kretzmer, Natel.) 

Jesus said, “the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.”

(Luke 22:26-27)

What about these words of Christ makes us most uncomfortable? What area of our life are we least willing to let those words bathe over us? 

Let’s pray.

Music 3

Here I Am To Worship

CCLI Song # 3266032

Tim Hughes

Verse 1

Light of the world
You stepped down into darkness
Opened my eyes let me see

Beauty that made
This heart adore You
Hope of a life spent with You

Chorus

So here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that You’re my God
And You’re altogether lovely
Altogether worthy
Altogether wonderful to me

Verse 2

King of all days
Oh so highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above


Humbly You came
To the earth You created
All for love’s sake became poor

Bridge

And I’ll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross


And I’ll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross 

Community

Community

hin·nê·nî  (Here I Am) – Bible Study – Thursday

Next Sunday – ‘Abominable’ Lev 18 & 20 

Benediction

Petty: As we go from this place led by an eternal King who is a servant, a servant who is the King.

Kristen: As we go we remember the example of a humble servant who is our King, who is our Deliverer, who is our Hope.

Petty: We do not go led by a King who is stuck in the ways of man, the ways of earth, the stuckness of sin, we go led by the eternal King, the eternal servant.

Kristen: We follow the servant who has revealed that victory is in serving.

Petty: Victory is in compassion.

Kristen: Victory is in mercy.

Petty: We follow the King, who is the Servant, in the path of Grace.

Kristen: We follow the Servant, who is the King, in the path of Peace.

Petty: We go from this place, to our places, where we brush elbows with those to which God has extended Grace.

Kristen: We go from this this place, to our place, where we will join with all go humanity whom God holds with Mercy and Compassion.

Petty: We go from here, to there, and everywhere we go, we go in Love.

Closing Peace

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

And also with you.

Go in grace, peace, joy, love, hope.

Jesus said ‘what’?! 10.03.21

Order

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Opening Audio (10:15am)
Spotify - Not In A Hurry Radio


#1 ONE Video #1 (3:02)
Call to Worship
Hold On To Me				Lauren Daigle

Live/OnLine
Prayer						Rick
Music 1						Abbie & Billy
               Redeemed (Crosby & Kirkpatrick)
Story						Online-Kelly
						In Person-Linda
Music 2						Abbie & Billy
                Victory in Jesus (Bartlett)
Message    ‘Jesus said What?!?’		Rick
Music 3				                       Abbie & Billy
               Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (Lemmel)
Community					Rick
Benediction					Online-Kelly
						In Person-Linda
Sharing the Peace				Rick

Closing Audio
Spotify - Not In A Hurry Radio


Voices & Words


Prayer

God,
May we honor you in the practices of our faith.
May we glorify in the actions of our work.
May we respect you, and others, with the words of our mouths.
May we love you with our relationships and engagements.

God,
Reveal to us that which does not honor you.
Show us our actions that do not glorify you.
Confront us when our words do not reflect you.
Stop us when our relationships and engagements are not defined by love.

God,
Today we choose to listen for you.
Today we choose to look for you.
Today we choose to open our hearts to you.
Today we choose to willingly follow you.

God,
Today we ask that your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Amen.


Music 1

Redeemed
CCLI Song # 30622
Fanny Jane Crosby | William James Kirkpatrick
Verse 1
Redeemed how I love to proclaim it
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed thru His infinite mercy
His child and forever I am
Chorus
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
His child and forever I am
Verse 2
Redeemed and so happy in Jesus
No language my rapture can tell
I know that the light of His presence
With me doth continually dwell
Chorus
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
His child and forever I am
Verse 3
I think of my blessed Redeemer
I think of Him all the day long
I sing for I cannot be silent
His love is the theme of my song
Chorus
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
His child and forever I am
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
His child and forever I am

Story 


If nothing else, Covid has taught to wash our hands. We have learned the necessity of washing hands before and after eating or preparing food; before and after caring for someone at home who is sick; before and after treating a cut or wound, before and after using the toilet, changing a diaper or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing;  after touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste, and after handling pet food or pet treats, after touching garbage
That is exhausting, but it seems like most of that is common sense.
You would think, but it also seems like a lot of hand washing.
We haven’t just learned when we need to wash hands, we have also learned the ‘HOW’ of washing hands.  Wet your hands with clean, running water, turn off the tap, and apply soap; lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap, also lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails - scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds…
Or just sing Happy Birthday…..at regular speed, don’t cheat.
Then rinse hands underneath running water, then dry hands using a clean towel or air dry.
Shall we give the instructions on using hand sanitizer?
Maybe we could get a root canal instead.
A focus on hand washing is not new.
It would have come in handy in the 1300s during the Black Death plague.
Jesus actually confronted the religious leadership about their diligence and insistence regarding hand washing but what he said had a twist. They would harshly judge those who failed to wash their hands correctly and at the right times.
I don’t think that was about hygiene and germ transmission as much as it was about keeping their religious traditions.
The prophet Isaiah referred to it as ‘holding to heartless religious practices,’; Jesus said that they were actually abandoning God’s commandment and instead holding to their own religious legalities.’
They were really stuck on being clean. Or on judging others.
It is strange, washing hands is a good thing, but once we humans get ahold of it and make it a tradition or religious act it becomes unclean.
I’m sure that applies to a many areas outside of hand washing as well.
I’m sure you are right.


Music 2

Victory In Jesus
CCLI Song # 1259
Eugene M. Bartlett
Chorus
O victory in Jesus
My Savior forever
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood
Verse 1
I heard an old old story
How a Savior came from glory
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me
I heard about His groaning
Of His precious blood's atoning
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory
Chorus
O victory in Jesus
My Savior forever
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood
Verse 2
I heard about His healing
Of His cleansing pow'r revealing
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see
And then I cried dear Jesus
Come and heal my broken spirit
And somehow Jesus came and brought
To me the victory
Chorus
O victory in Jesus
My Savior forever
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood
Close
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood


Message        ‘Jesus Said What?!?’
It all began with unwashed hands, actually 12 pairs of unwashed hands. Ironically, it was not really about washing hands. The owners of these 12 pairs of hands had no idea their lack hygienic diligence would be the spark that would set Jesus on the ultimate path to Jerusalem and the cross. No one was to blame for this was Jesus’ purpose.

It was with no ill will that the religious leaders pointed out to Jesus that his followers were eating with unwashed hands. They were not being hateful, they were helping this young rabbi out with his rough edged followers.

‘Jesus’ followers didn’t  wash their hands.’ The leaders thought, ‘Let’s give him a hand, help him to raise his crew to acceptability.’

In describing Mark 7, Biblical Theology Professor at Princeton Theology Seminary C. Clifton Black, says this,

“If we, too, are not gobsmacked (by Mark 7), it’s a safe bet that we have domesticated Jesus and have neutered the gospel.”

Up to this point there had been no hostility between Jesus and the religious leaders. Jesus did have a run in back in Nazareth, but that was not really theological or practices, it was perceived as more personal  - this interchange, however, would soon be considered an assault on the religious institution and its practices. Jesus was speaking blunt truth, blunt truth is difficult to accept.

Back to hand washing, if there is anything we have learned from this pandemic it is that personal hygiene is a win-win for everyone. God had gifted the Hebrews with hygiene instructions for health reasons. Over time, however, these healthy habits became obligatory religious practices. Washing hands had ceased to be about washing hands and, instead, it was elevated to a human instituted religious action.

A good thing became a holy thing which became a legalistic thing, and ultimately a judging and condemning thing.
Jesus pointed out to the leaders that their holy hand washing had become more important than the actual commands. They had exchanged what was truly holy for that which was truly good, while turning what was good into something that was unholy.

Jesus explained it in a manner they leaders would understand and relate to by comparing it to the their ancestors prior to the exile,

“This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.  You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”
Mark 7:6-8

In this moment, Jesus makes a defining statement of purpose along with a confrontation of the religious establishment. Confronting the belief that people and other created things can make us unclean, whereas, Jesus’ proclaimed truth is that it is what we, in our heart, do with those things. Additionally, Jesus was leading them into the messy world of where the deliverer would not only associate with people considered unclean, but worse, the deliver who would allow himself to die in an undignified, messy, manner as the the cross.

Think for a moment of all the things we automatically blame for our sin. The externals that we point to when explaining our sinful world. We blame the media, the atheists, the conservatives, the liberals, the entertainers, the politicians, educators, scientists, and more ultimately we blame Satan - none of these things have the power to defile us. We can only be defiled when we permit to internally defile us. Therefore, washing hands is good hygiene but it is not a sound faith practice.
Next, a gentile woman approached Jesus begging him to heal her daughter. Jesus response was to say that he came to earth for the Israelites, not the ‘Dog’ gentiles.

Jesus referred to the woman, her daughter, and her people as ’Dogs’.  A Dog?! Did Jesus really say that? This was as offensive as any word we have in our forbidden vocabulary. The very saying of it was an assault on the worth and importance of more than half the population of God’s creation. A Dog?! What made it more offensive is that this form of the word spoke of a house dog, a pet, not a human.

There are two primary theories regarding Jesus’ offensive response.

Let’s start with the less squirmy one - Jesus was intentionally reflecting the attitudes, opinions, racism, prejudices present in the hearts of the listeners, including his own disciples. This attitude of scorn and superiority towards this Samaritan woman would have been ingrained in the minds and attitude of the listeners. ‘Dog’ could have easily been a racist slur that rolled of children’s lips from a very young age. It is possible that no one even gave the perceived connotations of this word a second thought. Much like the ’N’ word, it was consider to be just another way to identify a person. However, if you were a Samaritan or a gentile it carried much baggage and pain - it was brutally offensive. To the Samaritan it was a reminder of her ancestral history, of the extensive generational persecution, and the lifetime of dismissal.

The second theory and more uncomfortable theory is, and I will pose this in the form of a question ‘What if this was actually a pivotal human moment in the life of Jesus?’ Meaning, what if, Jesus too, grew up in an atmosphere, and then was affirmed by his community, where this type of word was unnoticed? What if using this word did not carry the meaning to Jesus that it carried for the Samaritan woman? What if this was a moment for God in the flesh to live out the human experience of accepting confrontation and correction? And in doing so, exampling it to all of us, and, letting us see that racism is sin (as is true with any sin) once we are enlightened. What if this story is really about our confrontation response to responses such as ‘I am not a racist, my words are not racists, my grandad taught me those words and grandad was not a racist!’ Or, ‘how can anyone keep up with all the things that are NOW offensive?’

What if God is gifting us our own version of the law to make us aware of the pain we cause, of the creation of sin inside of us? What if this is another example of a heartless faith that has little regard for the greatest commandment - Love God and Love Others? What if our acceptance or rejection of these moments of correction is our opportunity for repentance and to change?

Both theories teach us that stubborn pride keeps us from growing and maturing in our faith.

Both theories tell us that judging and dismissing any people or persons as ‘less than us’ is sinful the minute it is pointed out.
Both theories reveal that Jesus’ journeyed in times similar to ours, times of racism, judgement, and condemnation. We refuse to look further than our own discomfort,  disagreement, or disdain. What if a black athlete kneeling during the national anthem is God giving us a gift revealing the judgement in our heart. What if the BLM rally in the park is God nudging us into recognizing the pain inflicted on others for generations?

What does it say when we critique and criticize instead of leaning into the possibility that God is giving us a chance to change, to repent. Giving us a chance to clear the log jam out of our path so we can continue to grow in our relationship with him.

Both theories call us to holiness. Both theories have closure with the response of the woman. The woman does not argue that she is, or is not, a ‘dog’, but, instead, her counter response is a recognition of her faith based on the grace of God - ‘even the dogs under the table get to eat the crumbs that are dropped to the floor. God loves all, ‘even though we may not be the chosen people, we are loved by our creator nonetheless.’
The woman had an amazing faith because she knew it was not about her. It was not about her label or status, it was not what others thought of her, it was not about worth. It was totally about God is. She approached Jesus in perfect bulldog humility. She was not worthy but she knew that her worth was not a factor to God.

Mark 7, along with Matthew 15, depicts Jesus as an an equal opportunity offender, there is something for all followers of Christ to be made uncomfortable. C. Clifton Black continues his earlier comments by adding,

“Jesus’ offensiveness is a fact we must face. A conservative congregation will be affronted by Jesus’ claim that defilement comes from within, not from without. Liberal Christians resist the notion that a socially progressive Jesus would say what Mark ascribes to (Jesus) or, worse, that the Gentile so insulted would accept (Jesus’) slur. The deeper question is whether we can follow a Christ so repulsive as to die by crucifixion. Jesus flummoxes (perplexes) everyone who boxes him into conventional expectations: the pious, his family, his disciples, and even some petitioners.”
C. Clifton Black
Biblical Theology Professor, Princeton Theology Seminary

Mark 7 is not a teaching on racism, nor is it a confrontation of religion. It is the truth that God has given us through the pandemic - humility. We are not the center of the universe, nor are we the center of humanity. We are circling truth, sometime uncomfortable truth, just like everyone else that God has created and loves. It is a lesson of love that leads us to sacrifice, to care, to notice what our inside is saying.
King David got ahold of this truth, he realized that there were things in his own heart, seen in his own life, that were unholy, things that hurt others - things that he had no idea were there. He didn’t pridefully protect his ground, nor did he set out to prove that he was perfect, instead he said to God,

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:23-24

Here is the important part, King David, after saying this, then, he listened. It is then that we truly allow the message of Christ to work in us.

Let’s pray.


Music 3

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
CCLI Song # 15960
Helen H. Lemmel
Verse 1
O soul are you weary and troubled
No light in the darkness you see
There's light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free
Chorus
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Verse 2
Through death into life everlasting
He passed and we follow Him there
Over us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conquerors we are
Chorus
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Close
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
 
Community
Community
Work Day Ammended Thanks
hin·nê·nî  (Here I Am) - Bible Studies begins This Thursday
Next Sunday - ‘the impenetrable power of me’
Covid Update/Thanks
    
Benediction Blessing

May we go from here and honor God with our hearts.
May we go from here and honor God also with our lips.
May our worship of God be heart, mind, and soul.
May we settle for nothing less than truth.
May God, who knows our hearts and thoughts, test us.
May God, reveal to us what is found.
May we willingly listen to discovered.
May we go from here willingly led by God to life.


Closing Peace

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

And also with you.

Go in grace, peace, joy, love, hope.Order


Sunday, October 3, 2021


Opening Audio (10:15am)
Spotify - Not In A Hurry Radio


#1 ONE Video #1 (3:02)
Call to Worship
Hold On To Me                                       Lauren Daigle


Live/OnLine
Prayer                                                       Rick
Music 1                                                      Abbie & Billy
               Redeemed                                Crosby & Kirkpatrick
Story                                                         Online-Kelly
                                                                   In Person-Linda
Music 2                                                      Abbie & Billy
                Victory in Jesus                         Bartlett
Message    ‘Jesus said What?!?’               Rick
Music 3                                                       Abbie & Billy
               Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus        Lemmel
Community                                                 Rick
Benediction                                                Online-Kelly
                                                                       In Person-Linda
Sharing the Peace                                        Rick


Closing Audio
Spotify - Not In A Hurry Radio


Voices & Words


Prayer

God,
May we honor you in the practices of our faith.
May we glorify in the actions of our work.
May we respect you, and others, with the words of our mouths.
May we love you with our relationships and engagements.

God,
Reveal to us that which does not honor you.
Show us our actions that do not glorify you.
Confront us when our words do not reflect you.
Stop us when our relationships and engagements are not defined by love.

God,
Today we choose to listen for you.
Today we choose to look for you.
Today we choose to open our hearts to you.
Today we choose to willingly follow you.

God,
Today we ask that your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Amen.


Music 1

Redeemed
CCLI Song # 30622
Fanny Jane Crosby | William James Kirkpatrick
Verse 1
Redeemed how I love to proclaim it
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed thru His infinite mercy
His child and forever I am
Chorus
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
His child and forever I am
Verse 2
Redeemed and so happy in Jesus
No language my rapture can tell
I know that the light of His presence
With me doth continually dwell
Chorus
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
His child and forever I am
Verse 3
I think of my blessed Redeemer
I think of Him all the day long
I sing for I cannot be silent
His love is the theme of my song
Chorus
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
His child and forever I am
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
His child and forever I am

Story 


If nothing else, Covid has taught to wash our hands. We have learned the necessity of washing hands before and after eating or preparing food; before and after caring for someone at home who is sick; before and after treating a cut or wound, before and after using the toilet, changing a diaper or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing;  after touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste, and after handling pet food or pet treats, after touching garbage
That is exhausting, but it seems like most of that is common sense.
You would think, but it also seems like a lot of hand washing.
We haven’t just learned when we need to wash hands, we have also learned the ‘HOW’ of washing hands.  Wet your hands with clean, running water, turn off the tap, and apply soap; lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap, also lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails - scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds…
Or just sing Happy Birthday…..at regular speed, don’t cheat.
Then rinse hands underneath running water, then dry hands using a clean towel or air dry.
Shall we give the instructions on using hand sanitizer?
Maybe we could get a root canal instead.
A focus on hand washing is not new.
It would have come in handy in the 1300s during the Black Death plague.
Jesus actually confronted the religious leadership about their diligence and insistence regarding hand washing but what he said had a twist. They would harshly judge those who failed to wash their hands correctly and at the right times.
I don’t think that was about hygiene and germ transmission as much as it was about keeping their religious traditions.
The prophet Isaiah referred to it as ‘holding to heartless religious practices,’; Jesus said that they were actually abandoning God’s commandment and instead holding to their own religious legalities.’
They were really stuck on being clean. Or on judging others.
It is strange, washing hands is a good thing, but once we humans get ahold of it and make it a tradition or religious act it becomes unclean.
I’m sure that applies to a many areas outside of hand washing as well.
I’m sure you are right.


Music 2

Victory In Jesus
CCLI Song # 1259
Eugene M. Bartlett
Chorus
O victory in Jesus
My Savior forever
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood
Verse 1
I heard an old old story
How a Savior came from glory
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me
I heard about His groaning
Of His precious blood's atoning
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory
Chorus
O victory in Jesus
My Savior forever
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood
Verse 2
I heard about His healing
Of His cleansing pow'r revealing
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see
And then I cried dear Jesus
Come and heal my broken spirit
And somehow Jesus came and brought
To me the victory
Chorus
O victory in Jesus
My Savior forever
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood
Close
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood


Message        ‘Jesus Said What?!?’
It all began with unwashed hands, actually 12 pairs of unwashed hands. Ironically, it was not really about washing hands. The owners of these 12 pairs of hands had no idea their lack hygienic diligence would be the spark that would set Jesus on the ultimate path to Jerusalem and the cross. No one was to blame for this was Jesus’ purpose.

It was with no ill will that the religious leaders pointed out to Jesus that his followers were eating with unwashed hands. They were not being hateful, they were helping this young rabbi out with his rough edged followers.

‘Jesus’ followers didn’t  wash their hands.’ The leaders thought, ‘Let’s give him a hand, help him to raise his crew to acceptability.’

In describing Mark 7, Biblical Theology Professor at Princeton Theology Seminary C. Clifton Black, says this,

“If we, too, are not gobsmacked (by Mark 7), it’s a safe bet that we have domesticated Jesus and have neutered the gospel.”

Up to this point there had been no hostility between Jesus and the religious leaders. Jesus did have a run in back in Nazareth, but that was not really theological or practices, it was perceived as more personal  - this interchange, however, would soon be considered an assault on the religious institution and its practices. Jesus was speaking blunt truth, blunt truth is difficult to accept.

Back to hand washing, if there is anything we have learned from this pandemic it is that personal hygiene is a win-win for everyone. God had gifted the Hebrews with hygiene instructions for health reasons. Over time, however, these healthy habits became obligatory religious practices. Washing hands had ceased to be about washing hands and, instead, it was elevated to a human instituted religious action.

A good thing became a holy thing which became a legalistic thing, and ultimately a judging and condemning thing.
Jesus pointed out to the leaders that their holy hand washing had become more important than the actual commands. They had exchanged what was truly holy for that which was truly good, while turning what was good into something that was unholy.

Jesus explained it in a manner they leaders would understand and relate to by comparing it to the their ancestors prior to the exile,

“This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.  You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”
Mark 7:6-8

In this moment, Jesus makes a defining statement of purpose along with a confrontation of the religious establishment. Confronting the belief that people and other created things can make us unclean, whereas, Jesus’ proclaimed truth is that it is what we, in our heart, do with those things. Additionally, Jesus was leading them into the messy world of where the deliverer would not only associate with people considered unclean, but worse, the deliver who would allow himself to die in an undignified, messy, manner as the the cross.

Think for a moment of all the things we automatically blame for our sin. The externals that we point to when explaining our sinful world. We blame the media, the atheists, the conservatives, the liberals, the entertainers, the politicians, educators, scientists, and more ultimately we blame Satan - none of these things have the power to defile us. We can only be defiled when we permit to internally defile us. Therefore, washing hands is good hygiene but it is not a sound faith practice.
Next, a gentile woman approached Jesus begging him to heal her daughter. Jesus response was to say that he came to earth for the Israelites, not the ‘Dog’ gentiles.

Jesus referred to the woman, her daughter, and her people as ’Dogs’.  A Dog?! Did Jesus really say that? This was as offensive as any word we have in our forbidden vocabulary. The very saying of it was an assault on the worth and importance of more than half the population of God’s creation. A Dog?! What made it more offensive is that this form of the word spoke of a house dog, a pet, not a human.

There are two primary theories regarding Jesus’ offensive response.

Let’s start with the less squirmy one - Jesus was intentionally reflecting the attitudes, opinions, racism, prejudices present in the hearts of the listeners, including his own disciples. This attitude of scorn and superiority towards this Samaritan woman would have been ingrained in the minds and attitude of the listeners. ‘Dog’ could have easily been a racist slur that rolled of children’s lips from a very young age. It is possible that no one even gave the perceived connotations of this word a second thought. Much like the ’N’ word, it was consider to be just another way to identify a person. However, if you were a Samaritan or a gentile it carried much baggage and pain - it was brutally offensive. To the Samaritan it was a reminder of her ancestral history, of the extensive generational persecution, and the lifetime of dismissal.

The second theory and more uncomfortable theory is, and I will pose this in the form of a question ‘What if this was actually a pivotal human moment in the life of Jesus?’ Meaning, what if, Jesus too, grew up in an atmosphere, and then was affirmed by his community, where this type of word was unnoticed? What if using this word did not carry the meaning to Jesus that it carried for the Samaritan woman? What if this was a moment for God in the flesh to live out the human experience of accepting confrontation and correction? And in doing so, exampling it to all of us, and, letting us see that racism is sin (as is true with any sin) once we are enlightened. What if this story is really about our confrontation response to responses such as ‘I am not a racist, my words are not racists, my grandad taught me those words and grandad was not a racist!’ Or, ‘how can anyone keep up with all the things that are NOW offensive?’

What if God is gifting us our own version of the law to make us aware of the pain we cause, of the creation of sin inside of us? What if this is another example of a heartless faith that has little regard for the greatest commandment - Love God and Love Others? What if our acceptance or rejection of these moments of correction is our opportunity for repentance and to change?

Both theories teach us that stubborn pride keeps us from growing and maturing in our faith.

Both theories tell us that judging and dismissing any people or persons as ‘less than us’ is sinful the minute it is pointed out.
Both theories reveal that Jesus’ journeyed in times similar to ours, times of racism, judgement, and condemnation. We refuse to look further than our own discomfort,  disagreement, or disdain. What if a black athlete kneeling during the national anthem is God giving us a gift revealing the judgement in our heart. What if the BLM rally in the park is God nudging us into recognizing the pain inflicted on others for generations?

What does it say when we critique and criticize instead of leaning into the possibility that God is giving us a chance to change, to repent. Giving us a chance to clear the log jam out of our path so we can continue to grow in our relationship with him.

Both theories call us to holiness. Both theories have closure with the response of the woman. The woman does not argue that she is, or is not, a ‘dog’, but, instead, her counter response is a recognition of her faith based on the grace of God - ‘even the dogs under the table get to eat the crumbs that are dropped to the floor. God loves all, ‘even though we may not be the chosen people, we are loved by our creator nonetheless.’
The woman had an amazing faith because she knew it was not about her. It was not about her label or status, it was not what others thought of her, it was not about worth. It was totally about God is. She approached Jesus in perfect bulldog humility. She was not worthy but she knew that her worth was not a factor to God.

Mark 7, along with Matthew 15, depicts Jesus as an an equal opportunity offender, there is something for all followers of Christ to be made uncomfortable. C. Clifton Black continues his earlier comments by adding,

“Jesus’ offensiveness is a fact we must face. A conservative congregation will be affronted by Jesus’ claim that defilement comes from within, not from without. Liberal Christians resist the notion that a socially progressive Jesus would say what Mark ascribes to (Jesus) or, worse, that the Gentile so insulted would accept (Jesus’) slur. The deeper question is whether we can follow a Christ so repulsive as to die by crucifixion. Jesus flummoxes (perplexes) everyone who boxes him into conventional expectations: the pious, his family, his disciples, and even some petitioners.”
C. Clifton Black
Biblical Theology Professor, Princeton Theology Seminary

Mark 7 is not a teaching on racism, nor is it a confrontation of religion. It is the truth that God has given us through the pandemic - humility. We are not the center of the universe, nor are we the center of humanity. We are circling truth, sometime uncomfortable truth, just like everyone else that God has created and loves. It is a lesson of love that leads us to sacrifice, to care, to notice what our inside is saying.
King David got ahold of this truth, he realized that there were things in his own heart, seen in his own life, that were unholy, things that hurt others - things that he had no idea were there. He didn’t pridefully protect his ground, nor did he set out to prove that he was perfect, instead he said to God,

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:23-24

Here is the important part, King David, after saying this, then, he listened. It is then that we truly allow the message of Christ to work in us.

Let’s pray.


Music 3

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
CCLI Song # 15960
Helen H. Lemmel
Verse 1
O soul are you weary and troubled
No light in the darkness you see
There's light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free
Chorus
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Verse 2
Through death into life everlasting
He passed and we follow Him there
Over us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conquerors we are
Chorus
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Close
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
 
Community
Community
Work Day Ammended Thanks
hin·nê·nî  (Here I Am) - Bible Studies begins This Thursday
Next Sunday - ‘the impenetrable power of me’
Covid Update/Thanks
    
Benediction Blessing

May we go from here and honor God with our hearts.
May we go from here and honor God also with our lips.
May our worship of God be heart, mind, and soul.
May we settle for nothing less than truth.
May God, who knows our hearts and thoughts, test us.
May God, reveal to us what is found.
May we willingly listen to discovered.
May we go from here willingly led by God to life.


Closing Peace

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

And also with you.

Go in grace, peace, joy, love, hope.


Live/OnLine
Prayer                                                       Rick
Music 1                                                      Abbie & Billy
               Redeemed                                Crosby & Kirkpatrick
Story                                                         Online-Kelly
                                                                   In Person-Linda
Music 2                                                      Abbie & Billy
                Victory in Jesus                         Bartlett
Message    ‘Jesus said What?!?’               Rick
Music 3                                                       Abbie & Billy
               Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus        Lemmel
Community                                                 Rick
Benediction                                                Online-Kelly
                                                                       In Person-Linda
Sharing the Peace                                        Rick


Closing Audio
Spotify - Not In A Hurry Radio


Voices & Words


Prayer

God,
May we honor you in the practices of our faith.
May we glorify in the actions of our work.
May we respect you, and others, with the words of our mouths.
May we love you with our relationships and engagements.

God,
Reveal to us that which does not honor you.
Show us our actions that do not glorify you.
Confront us when our words do not reflect you.
Stop us when our relationships and engagements are not defined by love.

God,
Today we choose to listen for you.
Today we choose to look for you.
Today we choose to open our hearts to you.
Today we choose to willingly follow you.

God,
Today we ask that your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Amen.


Music 1

Redeemed
CCLI Song # 30622
Fanny Jane Crosby | William James Kirkpatrick
Verse 1
Redeemed how I love to proclaim it
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed thru His infinite mercy
His child and forever I am
Chorus
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
His child and forever I am
Verse 2
Redeemed and so happy in Jesus
No language my rapture can tell
I know that the light of His presence
With me doth continually dwell
Chorus
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
His child and forever I am
Verse 3
I think of my blessed Redeemer
I think of Him all the day long
I sing for I cannot be silent
His love is the theme of my song
Chorus
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
His child and forever I am
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed (redeemed) redeemed (redeemed)
His child and forever I am

Story 


If nothing else, Covid has taught to wash our hands. We have learned the necessity of washing hands before and after eating or preparing food; before and after caring for someone at home who is sick; before and after treating a cut or wound, before and after using the toilet, changing a diaper or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing;  after touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste, and after handling pet food or pet treats, after touching garbage
That is exhausting, but it seems like most of that is common sense.
You would think, but it also seems like a lot of hand washing.
We haven’t just learned when we need to wash hands, we have also learned the ‘HOW’ of washing hands.  Wet your hands with clean, running water, turn off the tap, and apply soap; lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap, also lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails - scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds…
Or just sing Happy Birthday…..at regular speed, don’t cheat.
Then rinse hands underneath running water, then dry hands using a clean towel or air dry.
Shall we give the instructions on using hand sanitizer?
Maybe we could get a root canal instead.
A focus on hand washing is not new.
It would have come in handy in the 1300s during the Black Death plague.
Jesus actually confronted the religious leadership about their diligence and insistence regarding hand washing but what he said had a twist. They would harshly judge those who failed to wash their hands correctly and at the right times.
I don’t think that was about hygiene and germ transmission as much as it was about keeping their religious traditions.
The prophet Isaiah referred to it as ‘holding to heartless religious practices,’; Jesus said that they were actually abandoning God’s commandment and instead holding to their own religious legalities.’
They were really stuck on being clean. Or on judging others.
It is strange, washing hands is a good thing, but once we humans get ahold of it and make it a tradition or religious act it becomes unclean.
I’m sure that applies to a many areas outside of hand washing as well.
I’m sure you are right.


Music 2

Victory In Jesus
CCLI Song # 1259
Eugene M. Bartlett
Chorus
O victory in Jesus
My Savior forever
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood
Verse 1
I heard an old old story
How a Savior came from glory
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me
I heard about His groaning
Of His precious blood's atoning
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory
Chorus
O victory in Jesus
My Savior forever
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood
Verse 2
I heard about His healing
Of His cleansing pow'r revealing
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see
And then I cried dear Jesus
Come and heal my broken spirit
And somehow Jesus came and brought
To me the victory
Chorus
O victory in Jesus
My Savior forever
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood
Close
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood


Message        ‘Jesus Said What?!?’
It all began with unwashed hands, actually 12 pairs of unwashed hands. Ironically, it was not really about washing hands. The owners of these 12 pairs of hands had no idea their lack hygienic diligence would be the spark that would set Jesus on the ultimate path to Jerusalem and the cross. No one was to blame for this was Jesus’ purpose.

It was with no ill will that the religious leaders pointed out to Jesus that his followers were eating with unwashed hands. They were not being hateful, they were helping this young rabbi out with his rough edged followers.

‘Jesus’ followers didn’t  wash their hands.’ The leaders thought, ‘Let’s give him a hand, help him to raise his crew to acceptability.’

In describing Mark 7, Biblical Theology Professor at Princeton Theology Seminary C. Clifton Black, says this,

“If we, too, are not gobsmacked (by Mark 7), it’s a safe bet that we have domesticated Jesus and have neutered the gospel.”

Up to this point there had been no hostility between Jesus and the religious leaders. Jesus did have a run in back in Nazareth, but that was not really theological or practices, it was perceived as more personal  - this interchange, however, would soon be considered an assault on the religious institution and its practices. Jesus was speaking blunt truth, blunt truth is difficult to accept.

Back to hand washing, if there is anything we have learned from this pandemic it is that personal hygiene is a win-win for everyone. God had gifted the Hebrews with hygiene instructions for health reasons. Over time, however, these healthy habits became obligatory religious practices. Washing hands had ceased to be about washing hands and, instead, it was elevated to a human instituted religious action.

A good thing became a holy thing which became a legalistic thing, and ultimately a judging and condemning thing.
Jesus pointed out to the leaders that their holy hand washing had become more important than the actual commands. They had exchanged what was truly holy for that which was truly good, while turning what was good into something that was unholy.

Jesus explained it in a manner they leaders would understand and relate to by comparing it to the their ancestors prior to the exile,

“This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.  You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”
Mark 7:6-8

In this moment, Jesus makes a defining statement of purpose along with a confrontation of the religious establishment. Confronting the belief that people and other created things can make us unclean, whereas, Jesus’ proclaimed truth is that it is what we, in our heart, do with those things. Additionally, Jesus was leading them into the messy world of where the deliverer would not only associate with people considered unclean, but worse, the deliver who would allow himself to die in an undignified, messy, manner as the the cross.

Think for a moment of all the things we automatically blame for our sin. The externals that we point to when explaining our sinful world. We blame the media, the atheists, the conservatives, the liberals, the entertainers, the politicians, educators, scientists, and more ultimately we blame Satan - none of these things have the power to defile us. We can only be defiled when we permit to internally defile us. Therefore, washing hands is good hygiene but it is not a sound faith practice.
Next, a gentile woman approached Jesus begging him to heal her daughter. Jesus response was to say that he came to earth for the Israelites, not the ‘Dog’ gentiles.

Jesus referred to the woman, her daughter, and her people as ’Dogs’.  A Dog?! Did Jesus really say that? This was as offensive as any word we have in our forbidden vocabulary. The very saying of it was an assault on the worth and importance of more than half the population of God’s creation. A Dog?! What made it more offensive is that this form of the word spoke of a house dog, a pet, not a human.

There are two primary theories regarding Jesus’ offensive response.

Let’s start with the less squirmy one - Jesus was intentionally reflecting the attitudes, opinions, racism, prejudices present in the hearts of the listeners, including his own disciples. This attitude of scorn and superiority towards this Samaritan woman would have been ingrained in the minds and attitude of the listeners. ‘Dog’ could have easily been a racist slur that rolled of children’s lips from a very young age. It is possible that no one even gave the perceived connotations of this word a second thought. Much like the ’N’ word, it was consider to be just another way to identify a person. However, if you were a Samaritan or a gentile it carried much baggage and pain - it was brutally offensive. To the Samaritan it was a reminder of her ancestral history, of the extensive generational persecution, and the lifetime of dismissal.

The second theory and more uncomfortable theory is, and I will pose this in the form of a question ‘What if this was actually a pivotal human moment in the life of Jesus?’ Meaning, what if, Jesus too, grew up in an atmosphere, and then was affirmed by his community, where this type of word was unnoticed? What if using this word did not carry the meaning to Jesus that it carried for the Samaritan woman? What if this was a moment for God in the flesh to live out the human experience of accepting confrontation and correction? And in doing so, exampling it to all of us, and, letting us see that racism is sin (as is true with any sin) once we are enlightened. What if this story is really about our confrontation response to responses such as ‘I am not a racist, my words are not racists, my grandad taught me those words and grandad was not a racist!’ Or, ‘how can anyone keep up with all the things that are NOW offensive?’

What if God is gifting us our own version of the law to make us aware of the pain we cause, of the creation of sin inside of us? What if this is another example of a heartless faith that has little regard for the greatest commandment - Love God and Love Others? What if our acceptance or rejection of these moments of correction is our opportunity for repentance and to change?

Both theories teach us that stubborn pride keeps us from growing and maturing in our faith.

Both theories tell us that judging and dismissing any people or persons as ‘less than us’ is sinful the minute it is pointed out.
Both theories reveal that Jesus’ journeyed in times similar to ours, times of racism, judgement, and condemnation. We refuse to look further than our own discomfort,  disagreement, or disdain. What if a black athlete kneeling during the national anthem is God giving us a gift revealing the judgement in our heart. What if the BLM rally in the park is God nudging us into recognizing the pain inflicted on others for generations?

What does it say when we critique and criticize instead of leaning into the possibility that God is giving us a chance to change, to repent. Giving us a chance to clear the log jam out of our path so we can continue to grow in our relationship with him.

Both theories call us to holiness. Both theories have closure with the response of the woman. The woman does not argue that she is, or is not, a ‘dog’, but, instead, her counter response is a recognition of her faith based on the grace of God - ‘even the dogs under the table get to eat the crumbs that are dropped to the floor. God loves all, ‘even though we may not be the chosen people, we are loved by our creator nonetheless.’
The woman had an amazing faith because she knew it was not about her. It was not about her label or status, it was not what others thought of her, it was not about worth. It was totally about God is. She approached Jesus in perfect bulldog humility. She was not worthy but she knew that her worth was not a factor to God.

Mark 7, along with Matthew 15, depicts Jesus as an an equal opportunity offender, there is something for all followers of Christ to be made uncomfortable. C. Clifton Black continues his earlier comments by adding,

“Jesus’ offensiveness is a fact we must face. A conservative congregation will be affronted by Jesus’ claim that defilement comes from within, not from without. Liberal Christians resist the notion that a socially progressive Jesus would say what Mark ascribes to (Jesus) or, worse, that the Gentile so insulted would accept (Jesus’) slur. The deeper question is whether we can follow a Christ so repulsive as to die by crucifixion. Jesus flummoxes (perplexes) everyone who boxes him into conventional expectations: the pious, his family, his disciples, and even some petitioners.”
C. Clifton Black
Biblical Theology Professor, Princeton Theology Seminary

Mark 7 is not a teaching on racism, nor is it a confrontation of religion. It is the truth that God has given us through the pandemic - humility. We are not the center of the universe, nor are we the center of humanity. We are circling truth, sometime uncomfortable truth, just like everyone else that God has created and loves. It is a lesson of love that leads us to sacrifice, to care, to notice what our inside is saying.
King David got ahold of this truth, he realized that there were things in his own heart, seen in his own life, that were unholy, things that hurt others - things that he had no idea were there. He didn’t pridefully protect his ground, nor did he set out to prove that he was perfect, instead he said to God,

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:23-24

Here is the important part, King David, after saying this, then, he listened. It is then that we truly allow the message of Christ to work in us.

Let’s pray.


Music 3

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
CCLI Song # 15960
Helen H. Lemmel
Verse 1
O soul are you weary and troubled
No light in the darkness you see
There's light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free
Chorus
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Verse 2
Through death into life everlasting
He passed and we follow Him there
Over us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conquerors we are
Chorus
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Close
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
 
Community
Community
Work Day Ammended Thanks
hin·nê·nî  (Here I Am) - Bible Studies begins This Thursday
Next Sunday - ‘the impenetrable power of me’
Covid Update/Thanks
    
Benediction Blessing

May we go from here and honor God with our hearts.
May we go from here and honor God also with our lips.
May our worship of God be heart, mind, and soul.
May we settle for nothing less than truth.
May God, who knows our hearts and thoughts, test us.
May God, reveal to us what is found.
May we willingly listen to discovered.
May we go from here willingly led by God to life.


Closing Peace

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

And also with you.

Go in grace, peace, joy, love, hope.

Time for a Copernicus Revolution?

Order

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Opening Audio (10:15am)
Spotify - Not In A Hurry Radio

#1 ONE Video #1 (4:41)
Call to Worship
Wisdom Song (Laura Woodley Osman)

Live/OnLine
Prayer                                                         Rick
Story                                                           Online-Hannah/Andrew
                                                                                In Person- Nikki/Dave
Music 1                                                         Abbie & Billy
           Grace Greater than our sin                        Towner & Harriette Johnston
Beyond Our Marketplace                           In Person - Rick
                                                                                 On Line - Rick & Lita Sample
Music 2                                                          Abbie & Billy
            In Christ Alone                                            Keith & Townend
Message    ‘Copernicus Revolution’           Rick
Music 3                                                          Abbie
           Amazing Grace/Chains are Gone              Tomlin, Newton, & Giglio
Community                                                   Rick
Benediction                                                  Online-Hannah/Andrew
                                                                                  In Person- Nikki/Dave
Sharing the Peace                                        Rick


Closing Audio
Spotify - Not In A Hurry Radio

Voices & Words

Prayer

God,

We look at our pain, we cry out in our afflictions, we think all hope is lost, we see nothing but misery.

We remind ourself that our hope is the hope that can only come from you.

We cannot erase the troubles from our minds, the grit of ashes line our throat, the taste of poison sits on our tongue.

We cannot forget, we may be at the bottom of a deep pit, but it is there that we remember hope and on it our grasp is firm.
God, your love never runs out, your mercy never dries up. Your love and mercy is new every morning.

How Great is your faithfulness! This is why we stay, your are our harbor of my refuge.

For the one who passionately waits, and to the other who diligently seeks, you are the hope that carries us through good and bad.

This is why we stick it out, for ultimately, all we have is you.

We stay because you are faithful even when we are not.

Your stockpiles of loyal love are immense and have no bottom.

We gather before you, for you alone are our hope.
Amen.
(Lamentations 3:16-33)


Our Story 

You say you want a revolution.  Well, you know we all want to change the world. You tell me that it's evolution well, you know we all want to change the world.  But when you talk about destruction don't you know that you can count me out…

Count me out?

I think it might be count me in.

Count me in, count me in for destruction?

I hope that’s not right.

Let me amend that…But when you talk about destruction don’t you know that you can count me out, no in, no out, maybe in?

That sounds a lot better.

Does it?

Can I continue?

That depends, are you going to say it’s going to be alright?

Are you going to claim to have a real solution

You are not going to ask me for a contribution are you?

These are not my words, they come from John Lennon, I’m just doing what I can.

Not that I know this John guy, but I agree that can just do what we can do.

I’m not sure that is really what he was saying.

I agree. To say ‘I’m just doing what I can’ is kind of like saying, ‘I don’t really want to do anything that will cost me, anything that does not require sacrifice.”

Which is probably why he was singing about a revolution.

Changing our mind, reversing our self centered attitudes and beliefs, usually takes a revolution.
Sometimes, a revolution produces destruction that is really not destructive, it is actually constructive. It eliminate the wrong thinking, the selfish thinking, and replaces it with right thinking, selfless thinking.
Like the descendants of Noah who traveled from the east and stopped at the same place. They all thought the same, they all spoke the same, they all agreed and never disagreed. Their minds were stuck, they couldn’t even see that they had limited themselves to themselves. They were ignoring all who thought and spoke differently than them. Then dismissed anyone different, anyone who wasn’t them.
They were so stuck that they couldn’t see outside of themself, they could only see themself, soon they saw themself as God.
God saw the dangerous direction they were headed and said, ‘“Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them to places beyond their limited perspective, he forced them to consider life outside their selves. 
They began to speak differently, think differently, disagree, and have to listen and learn. God shook them up and scattered them. God started a revolution - they didn’t even realize that they were part of this significant event. They soon realized that they didn’t know everything and that they couldn’t do everything, and that they were not God.
They saw it as an inconvenience but it was significant beyond their marketplace. Makes you wonder what revolution God is inviting us to join.
So I guess we do want to count ourself in.


Music 1
Grace Greater Than Our Sin
    CCLI Song # 31690
    Daniel Brink Towner | Julia Harriette Johnston
Verse 1
Marvellous grace of our loving Lord
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt
Yonder on Calvary's mount outpoured
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt

Chorus
Grace grace God's grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace grace God's grace
Grace that is greater than all our sin

Verse 2
Sin and despair like the sea waves cold
Threaten the soul with infinite loss
Grace that is greater yes grace untold
Points to the refuge the mighty Cross

Chorus
Grace grace God's grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace grace God's grace
Grace that is greater than all our sin

Verse 3
Marvellous infinite matchless grace
Freely bestowed on all who believe
You that are longing to see His face
Will you this moment His grace receive

Chorus
Grace grace God's grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace grace God's grace
Grace that is greater than all our sin


Music 2
In Christ Alone
CCLI Song # 3350395
Keith Getty | Stuart Townend
Verse 1
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light my strength my song
This Cornerstone this solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love what depths of peace
When fears are stilled when strivings cease
My Comforter my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

Verse 2
In Christ alone who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

Verse 3
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

Verse 4
No guilt in life no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand


Message        ‘Copernicus Revolution’

Change is difficult, it is uncomfortable. When change intersects with the established norms, it can become dangerous and deadly. Even change that is accepted and firmly rooted often finds that it is never fully secure. Think about revolutions aimed to make right the ingrained wrongs right and just.

Consider the revolution in Tunisia which officially began in Tunisia on December 18, 2010. The metaphoric and literal spark for the revolution took place the day before, December 17, as a 26 year old street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest injustices. His death embolden thousands to take to the streets and even spread to 19 other middle east nations. This week, Tunisia’s first democratically elected president announced that he will rule by decree  decimating the gains of the revolution - change is just difficult, sometimes it takes too much work, sometimes it is easier to go back to the comfortable miserable ways things were before.

In the mid 1500s two revolutions took place reverberating around the globe impacted everything from religion to astronomy, economic systems to social systems, calling out arrogance and abuse. They did not take place with force, but there were some afflicted and a handful of casualties. These revolutions began in the heart of a small handful of individuals who found that they could not remain blind to truth, that they could not ignore injustice, that they were not able to be silent. One began as a young monk stepped out on the city square and proclaimed his confrontation of the established church by nailing his complaints, 99 of them, to the church door. The other began as a mathematician, astronomer, economist, religious leader hesitantly and slowly began to share an equation he had formulated.

When Martin Luther challenged the well ingrained religious system that had held onto unquestioned power and political influence for over a thousand years he was surely aware of the scorn that would come his way. When Nicolaus Copernicus began sharing his equation with his contemporaries he feared their rejection and dismissal.

Luther’s battle cry was ‘Justification by faith alone’ - Copernicus was ‘We are not the center of the universe.’ Luther’s study of the Bible led him to the conclusion that many of the practices and teachings of the church were errant and often abusive, practices that were seemingly set in stone. Copernicus study of astronomy, mathematics, and even religion brought him to the conclusion that the earth, indeed, is not the center of the universe, another deeply accepted theory.

When your audience sees no need in change, persuasion is like banging your head against a brick wall. Just ask the prophet Isaiah, or Jeremiah, or any of their contemporaries who were confronting the heartless religion of the Hebrews. The were preaching to a crowd that took pride in their diligence to religious practices and their holy sounding words.

Sometimes a change of heart and mind is the most difficult revolution attempted. If you narrow it down, both men were fighting against s likeminded close-mindedness. Luther was fighting against a religious institution that had their massive roots deep and secure since 300 years after Christ.  The power of those being questioned who had never been questioned before was outrageous. Luther was fighting against an ingrained belief that the church was the center of the universe. Copernicus too was in a battle against ingrained, seldom questioned, misconstrued, deeply rooted errant beliefs and at war against the belief that the earth was the center of the universe.

Being the center is the naturally desired place to reside. It is our human nature to look out for self first.

Accepting change is difficult for all of us, listen to the words of  Martin Luther as he sat around a dinner table discussing Copernicus.

"There is talk of a new astrologer who wants to prove that the earth moves and goes around instead of the sky, the sun, the moon, just as if somebody were moving in a carriage or ship might hold that he was sitting still and at rest while the earth and the trees walked and moved. The fool wants to turn the whole art of astronomy upside-down. However, as Holy Scripture tells us, so did Joshua bid the sun to stand still and not the earth.”
Martin Luther

This is what we do, when reality does not match up with our view of truth, our interpretation of scripture, we turn our back on reality, and in this case science itself, and embrace failed views of scripture. Luther used Joshua 10:10-15 to ignore the possibility that his view of truth was incorrect. We all do that.

The Holy Spirit works often times by making us squirmish in the face of our reality and doctrine. The Holy Spirit works to bring us to an uncomfortable place which serves as the catalyst to dig deeper, to search further. Instead, we often ignore reality and the Holy Spirit, we seek to discredit the experts, especially the scientists, we hold firmly to a human held theory of God’s truth. We become lazy, we look at the obstacles and decide that they are too huge and we are too small. So, we choose to accept falsehoods dismissing the reality that lies in front of us, we go backwards instead of forward in our relationship with God.

Consider the tower at Babel. A story of a group of people who had placed themself at the center of their belief and their faith. The story of Babel is not really a story about building a tower, but about the people themself. Their endeavor came from a wrong perspective motivated by an errant philosophy. They sought to secure their place, to make sure the world knew that they were the true center of the world. The problem was this group of people were the descendants of the three sons of Noah - a severely flawed group that grew as a people from a single perspective of the universe. In their eyes they were important, they were essential, they were always right. God had rescued them alone allowing everyone else to perish - they had to be the VIPs of the universe. Building the tower was an attempt to proclaim this fact. God saw this group of inbreds, a people who heard no voice except their own, a people who saw themselves as the center not only of the universe, but as equal with God. They had no other voices to hear or perspectives to see. They alone reigned, they alone were powerful, they alone were were the center. God saw the power of this acceptance, this blind adherence, and he scattered them. He mixed up their language so communication would be difficult and require work. God scattered them to new perspectives and to new opinions, and different voices. God shook up their comfort and sent them out. God put the seed for revolution within them. It was now their choice, what they would do with this was up to them.

Another revolutionary, over a thousand years before Luther and Copernicus made an uncomfortable stir among the people and their institutions . Jesus stood in front of a crowd of thousands and proclaimed God’s call to faith. Jesus’ words were unfamiliar, they were uncomfortable, they made the most confident squirm. The words challenged, shook, confronted, and even outraged. Words that tore at deeply held beliefs, and assumptions that had become their perceived truth. The words were in direct conflict with their own stance at the center of the universe, words that were foreign to their reality.  Jesus said…

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.“

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”

You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.”

You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being filled with care, you find yourselves cared for.”

You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.”

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s  when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”

You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.”
Matthew 5:3-10 (MSG)

British Theologian, John Hicks, argues that it is past  time for us to have a theological revolution like that of Copernicus in which ‘God assumes the prime place at the center and Christianity joins the orbit of the great religions circling around. Like the scientific revolution, this one requires the surrender of the primary place and privileged view. Absolute truth moves to the center of the system, leaving people of faith with meaningful perceptions of that truth. This does not require anyone to give up the claim to uniqueness. It only requires the acceptance of unique neighbors, who concur that the brightness they see at the center of everything exceeds their ability to posses it.’
Barbara Brown Taylor, Holy Envy

Is it time for Copernicus Revolution in your mind and heart?


Music 3
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
CCLI Song # 4768151
Chris Tomlin | John Newton | Louie Giglio

Verse 1
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now I'm found
Was blind but now I see

Verse 2
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

Chorus
My chains are gone I've been set free
My God my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love amazing grace

Verse 3
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

Verse 4
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine
You are forever mine
 

Community
Community
Work Day Thanks
hin·nê·nî  (Here I Am) - Bible Studies begin
Next Sunday - ‘Jesus said what?!?’
Covid Update/Thanks
    
Bendiction Blessing

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:26-27

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:9-10

O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today we would listen to his voice! Psalm 95:6-7

The prophet Isaiah said: ‘You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn—and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Matthew 16:14-16

 As we leave this place and enter our marketplace, my the world see a new heart and a new spirit within each of us.

As we venture into our public square, may we engage with all others as Christ engaged with them.

In our journey here and beyond, may we allow God to be or shepherd and may we listen for his voice.

In all that we do may our eyes be open and may our ears listen to hear.


Closing Peace

May God’s grace, peace, joy, love, hope, and squirmy revolution, 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 us go taking advantage of all our squirmish moments. Let’s go willingly being a revolutionary avenue of God. Let’s go!

Is Squirminess a Spiritual Gift?

09.19.21

Order

Sunday, September 19, 2021 

Opening Audio (10:15am)

Spotify – Not In A Hurry Radio

#1 ONE Video #1 (5:08)

  • Call to Worship

            Thrive (Casting Crowns)

Live/OnLine

  • Prayer                                           Rick
  • Music 1                                          Abbie & Billy

            Mighty To Save                           Fielding & Morgan

  • Story                                             Online-Jaimie

In Person- Peyton

  • Music 2                                          Abbie & Billy

            Be Thou My Vision                      Hull & Byrne

  • Message        ‘Squirminess’          Rick
  • Music 3                                           Abbie

            Show Me Your Ways                   Russell Fragar

  • Community                                    Rick
  • Benediction                                    Peyton
  • Sharing the Peace                          Rick

Closing Audio

Spotify – Not In A Hurry Radio

Voices & Words

Prayer

God,

O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it. Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you. God, may we gather this morning in your light. May we permit your light to permeate the darkness. May we see truth.

Amen. Psalm 139:1-12

Music 1

Mighty To Save

CCLI Song # 4591782

Ben Fielding | Reuben Morgan

Verse 1

Ev’ryone needs compassion

Love that’s never failing

Let mercy fall on me

Ev’ryone needs forgiveness

The kindness of a Saviour

The hope of nations

Chorus

Saviour He can move the mountains

My God is mighty to save

He is mighty to save

Forever Author of salvation

He rose and conquered the grave

Jesus conquered the grave

Verse 2

So take me as You find me

All my fears and failures

Fill my life again

I give my life to follow

Ev’rything I believe in

Now I surrender

Chorus

Saviour He can move the mountains

My God is mighty to save

He is mighty to save

Forever Author of salvation

He rose and conquered the grave

Jesus conquered the grave

Bridge

Shine your light and let the whole world see

We’re singing

For the glory of the risen King

Jesus

Shine your light and let the whole world see

We’re singing

For the glory of the risen King

Chorus

Saviour He can move the mountains

My God is mighty to save

He is mighty to save

Forever Author of salvation

He rose and conquered the grave

Jesus conquered the grave

Close

So take me as You find me

All my fears and failures

Fill my life again

Our Story

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

No, it’s not there.

Why don’t you read it this time, maybe I missed it.

I don’t think you did, but here is goes – Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

No, it’s not there. There is no gift of Squirminess.

Maybe he mixed it up and meant to point us to the list before, “fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.”

I’m pretty sure that he didn’t mean to say that those things were gifts from the Holy Spirit.

Well, I just going to subtly leave the zoom meeting so no one will notice I’m gone. This could get awkward.

You are going to just leave me in this uncomfortable situation, these people are staring at me!

Well don’t get all squirmy. That is just going to make it worse.

As I see it, we have two choices. One is to take the easy way and just leave, just assume that this whole morning is a mistake and that squirminess is not really a spiritual gift. Or, we can try to figure it out. Maybe that is what this is all about.

Seeking, Searching, and Finding. Letting awkward moments like this push us to find truth instead of just accepting things that are not necessarily true.

It is either that or we could just take a pen and change it to “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, squirminess, and self-control.

I think it fits.

I think your right

Music 2

Be Thou My Vision

CCLI Song # 30639

Eleanor Henrietta Hull | Mary Elizabeth Byrne

Verse 1

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart

Naught be all else to me, Save that Thou art

Thou my best thought, By day or by night

Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light

Verse 2

Be Thou my wisdom, Be Thou my true Word

I ever with Thee, And Thou with me Lord

Thou my great Father, I Thy true son

Thou in me dwelling, And I with Thee one

Verse 3

Riches I heed not, Nor man’s empty praise

Thou mine inheritance, Now and always

Thou and Thou only, Be first in my heart

High King of heaven, My treasure Thou art

Close

Thou my best thought

By day or by night

Waking or sleeping

Thy presence my light

Message        ‘Squirmishness’

Today we begin our new series entitled ‘Uncomfortable.’  I was recently told that this Series title itself causes discomfort. That is understandable. Our human nature naturally seeks comfort, we crave to be with those who make us comfortable, we avoid those situations and people that make us uncomfortable. Being comfortable is often the primary factor in the friends we have, the clothes we wear, the leaders we follow, the path we take, the places we live, the structures we live in, the people we live around.

When our oldest son Caleb was a toddler he became very opinionated about the clothes he would agree to wear. To get him to get dressed he resisted anything less than ‘comfortable clothes.’ It was a daily battle until he and Andrea came to an agreement that he could always wear either comfortable pants, or a comfortable shirt. I think his first job out of law school was acceptable once he found out that they had a strict ‘comfortable clothes’ policy.

Desiring to be comfortable is natural, it provides a mental and physical easiness in our existence. However, a priority of comfort can also be a restrictive burden in our lives. Faith often discomfort. The very definition of faith ‘the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen’ (Hebrews 11:1) is anxiety inducing just to see it in written form. To tie our belief system merely to that which we hope for, and to center our core on that which we are unable to see is not a badge of security, nor does it seem to be a comforting guarantee. But this the definition of faith, it is an unknown, it is a risk, it is a promise, it is uncontrollable, it is uncomfortable.

The risk of being uncomfortable is that we often seek to find comfort in the midst of our discomfort. In seeking difficult truth, we strive to find someone else to seek and search for us. We want a hero that can give us all the answers so we do not have to dig for ourself. We seek to easy accept a version of truth from others and we want to make them the source of our unshakable and unquestioned truth – then, relieved of the burden, we want to then stop and be comfortable. We rest on our Billy Grahams and Jerry Falwell and their descendants. We  choose pastors of large churches, successful writers of Christian Books, often times we even hand over the governance of our perceived truth to politicians and political pundits.

However, true truth and  foundational faith cannot be outsourced, it is a personal endeavor, a personal journey…and it can be, and often is, very uncomfortable to let go of those crutches we use to avoid being uncomfortable.

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”

― M. Scott Peck, Road Tess Traveled

This new series is going to take us to some bible stories and teachings we have traditionally entrusted to others. We are going to be stretched as we release their answers of others, and the defined truth we have consistently outsourced – the questionable truth, which we have never questioned, that which we have allowed to be come rock solid in our hearts and minds. Possible errant ‘Christian theology and interpretation’, that we have failed to pursue a full investigation. We are hopefully going to be led to allow the Holy Spirit to show us those elements of our faith, of our truth, of our comfort that are untrue, inaccurate, and not really as comfortable we we have deceived ourselves into thinking.

One more thing, somewhat of a technical notation:

The Rabbinical tradition, meaning the thought process of the Rabbis, specifically before Babylon conquered Israel and Judah, was that the Torah, specifically the first five books of our Old Testament which we often cal the books of Moses or the Pentateuch, was revealed in two parts, one was the written part and the other was the oral part (also known as the Mishnah). The written part was the basics of the law God gave to Moses and the Oral law, often referred to as the ‘Border wall around the Torah,’ – God’s continued narrative and illustration of the Law.

An example: The written law said that we are to not work on the Sabbath, the oral law said don’t walk too far because that was similar, and could easily lead to, work.

Prior to the exile, the rabbis refused to write out the Oral law because they feared that the cautious restrictive nature of the narrative would become legalistic teachings used to control, judge, and condemn.

Whereas the written law was written for our own good – ‘rest on the sabbath’; the oral law was then an effort to keep us from the brink of violating the written law, ‘don’t drag a stick, it is a lot like plowing a field.’ It is important to recognize that much of what we use as a tool of condemnation was originally given, by God, to be a loving caution given to keep us from the edge…to keep us from judging others, condemning others, and even hating others.

After the destruction of the temple and the exile, the Israelites no longer had the temple, a place where they would be taught the Oral Law, so, the rabbinical official policy was changed out of necessity. The Oral law began to be written out in the same manner as the Written law so all could hear and learn.

This morning we begin by looking at the Spirit’s tool in the midst of our uncomfortableness – our discomfort – Squirminess.

Following creation, in the garden, Eve stood admiring the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We can only speculate why she was staring at the forbidden tree, especially when there were so many other beautiful, unforbidden, trees available to look at. Now, as she stood there the cunning serpent began to speak to her,

‘Are you sure you cannot eat from that tree?’ The serpent asked.

‘Right’ she said, ‘Do not eat it, don’t even touch it, or we will die.’

This was Eve’s moment of squirminess. She had named the command from God ‘Don’t eat it’ this was the same as the written law, then Eve had added her own oral law, maybe this was a recommendation from God, ‘Don’t even touch it.’ It was the protective fence around the tree. In saying this to the serpent, she was receiving it as her own reminder. The question from the serpent was used by the Spirit as a gift, an opportunity to ground herself in God’s truth, ‘Don’t eat from that tree.’ This momentary gift, became a moment of squirminess when the serpent challenged the instruction of God, ‘You won’t die,’ he laughed. She stood with the gift of squirminess, just having reminded herself of the law, and after taking a moment to stop at the proverbial gate of the wall around God’s truth. For Eve, this squirminess was a gift, it was a moment to choose God’s strength to grab ahold of God’s truth.

Squirminess is our moment of choice, our opportunity of free choice. It is the moment when the Spirit provides us the reminder of truth and shows us the boundaries we need to observe (for our own good).  We then can choose to dismiss the gift, or we can choose to let this gift of squirminess lead us into a seeking of truth, a stronger faith, a renewed journey of searching for God.

Squirminess is our opportunity to follow God, however, the longer we are choose to stand in the midst of the squirminess the more uncomfortable we may get. Squirminess will either strengthen us or we will allow let it destroy us.

Our challenge, in the midst of truth, of sin, and of faith, is to listen for those moment of discomfort, those moments when we squirm.  As we hear the teachings, practices, and interpretations of truth, as taught and seen in others, it is our responsibility to listen for those moments of discomfort, to look for those times of our own squirminess and to respond by seeking and searching for truth.

How comfortable are you? Have you mastered the art of ignoring your own squirminess. Have you given away your own obligation of defining truth by giving any the opportunity to think to someone else.

Let’s Pray.

Music 3

Show Me Your Ways

CCLI Song # 1675024

Russell Fragar

Verse

Show me Your ways

That I may walk with You

Show me Your ways

I put my hope in You

Chorus

The cry of my heart

Is to love You more

To live with the touch

Of Your hand

Stronger each day

Show me Your ways

Verse

Show me Your ways

That I may walk with You

Show me Your ways

I put my hope in You

Chorus

The cry of my heart

Is to love You more

To live with the touch

Of Your hand

Stronger each day

Show me Your ways

Close

Stronger each day

Show me Your ways

Community

  • Community
  • Dirty Hands Day – Next Saturday, September 25, 9am to noon, bring gloves, tools, etc.
  • hin·nê·nî  (Here I Am) – Bible Studies resume in October (7 weeks) Survey closes tomorrow. Link at GFNorman.com
  • Next Sunday – ‘Are We Ready for a Copernicus Revolution?’
  • Covid Update/Thanks

Benediction Blessing

For it was God who formed our inward parts; it was God who knit us together in our mother’s womb.

It was God who fearfully and wonderfully made us. Wonderful are God’s works; by those works we know God very well.

Our frame was not hidden from God as we were being made in secret, we were intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

God’s eyes beheld our unformed substance. In God’s book is written all the days during which we were formed, long before any of those days had yet existed.

How weighty are God’s thoughts towards us. How vast is the sum of the moments God thinks of us! We can try to count them but they are more than the grains of sand on the beach; regardless of where we are, God is still therewith us.

May God know us and know our heart; may God test us and know our thoughts.

God, see if there is any wicked way in us, and lead us in the way everlasting.

(Psalm 139:13-18, 23-24)

Closing Peace

May God’s grace, peace, joy, love, hope, and squirmishness, 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 us go taking advantage of all our squirmish moments. Let’s go!

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!

Open Door Policy 08.29.21

Order
Sunday, August 29, 2021

Opening Audio (10:15am)
Calm Jazz

#1 ONE Video #1 (4:12)

  • Call to Worship

            Living Hope (Phil Wickham)

Live/OnLine

  • Prayer                                                Rick
  • Music 1                                              Abbie

                    Great is they Faithfulness     Thomas Chisholm | William Runyan

  • Story                                                Online-Sherri, In Person- Peyton
  • Music 2                                            Abbie

                    How Great Thou Art             Stuart Wesley Keene Hine

  • Message    ‘Open Door Policy’      Rick
  • Music 3                                            Abbie

                  Oh How I Love Jesus              Bob Singleton

  • Community                                     Rick
  • Benediction                                     Online-Sherri, In Person-Peyton
  • Sharing the Peace                           Rick

Closing Audio
Spotify – Calm Jazz


Voices & Words
Sunday, August 29, 2021

Prayer
God,
You are our hope.
You are our peace.
You are our source.
You are our rescue.
You are our life.
God,
May we seek you in the midst of uncertainty.
May we look for you in the depths of misery.
May we listen for you when we are deceived by lies.
May we hear you over the noise and false voices.
God,
You are patient even when we focus on evil.
You are empathetic when we are afraid to open our hearts.
You are understanding when our minds fail to discern truth.
You are love when we get caught up in hate.
God,
Let us see you as light so our lives will reflect light.
Let us see you as hope so our lives will reflect hope.
Let us see you as mercy so our lives will reflect mercy.
Let us see you as love so our lives will reflect love.
Amen.

Music 1
Great is Thy Faithfulness
CCLI Song # 18723
Thomas Obediah Chisholm | William Marion Runyan

Verse 1
Great is Thy faithfulness
O God my Father
There is no shadow
Of turning with Thee

Thou changest not
Thy compassions they fail not
As Thou hast been
Thou forever wilt be

Chorus
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning
New mercies I see

All I have needed
Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me

Verse 2
Summer and winter
And springtime and harvest
Sun moon and stars
In their courses above

Join with all nature
In manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness
Mercy and love

Chorus
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning
New mercies I see

All I have needed
Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me

Verse 3
Pardon for sin
And a peace that endureth
Thy own dear presence
To cheer and to guide

Strength for today
And bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine
With ten thousand beside

Chorus
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning
New mercies I see

All I have needed
Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me

Our Story 
These past weeks we have been horrified watching women, men, children, even babies, risking their lives to get to the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

 Their choice to ‘Stay and Hide’, knowing they may spend the rest of your life being hunted, or ‘Go and Trust’ the unknown agendas and doubtful hospitality in distant lands.

At every destination, there were no guarantees, no assurances, no protections – always facing the same decision  – ‘Do I stay put here, or do I go out there?’ They know the risk, around every corner, at every destination.

They commit to their choice, they hold their breath and step out their front door, or they close their eyes and hide behind that door. Either way, the journey has begun.

The apostle Paul constantly faced this same dilemma, ‘Do I stay here or do I go there? Sometimes even his closest friends and allies were quick to disagree with his choice. Pushing him to stay behind the closed door. Paul began to have a clearer view of God after he met Jesus on the way to Damascus.

One thing is certain, a lot happened between destinations, while he was on his way. He should have had a shirt that said ‘I Am Not There Yet.’

The apostle stepped out the door of his life onto an unknown path. Sometimes to get to the next place he had to convince a ship captain to take him aboard, or to convince a crew to not jump off a sinking ship, he had to watch out for fanatics who were dedicated to killing him, and he had to discern the words of politicians who wanted to use him. And, he had to shake snakes off when they attached themself to him. With each arrival, there would be another departure. There would be risk, disappointment, joy, grief, but there was always hope. Hope even when it felt hopeless, cheer even when it was miserable.

Luke closes out the details of Paul’s journey with his arrival in Rome. There, Paul ‘was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.”

Three days after Paul’s arrival he called together the local Jewish leaders. He proclaimed his innocence, saying  “I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. When they had examined me, the Romans wanted to release me, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. But then the Jewish leaders objected, so I had to appeal to the emperor. This is why I am speaking with you, our common hope of Israel.” 

The leaders replied, “This is the first we have heard of this. But we would like to hear from you what you think about this Christianity movement that is upsetting to so many.”

Many religious leaders continued to join Paul at his lodging. From morning until evening he told his story, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus usage the words of Moses and the prophets. Some were convinced by what he had said, while others refused to believe.” There was a significant division among the Jewish religious leaders.’

However, those discussions reached a point where Paul recognized that it was fruitless to continue. He knew that those who had rejected the message of Jesus had hardened themself past the point of no return. So he put an end to this group gatherings, and instead, kept his door open to those in the group who believed, or were interested, and wanted to continue to learn.

As the large group left, Paul quoted the words of the prophet Isaiah, words familiar to all the religious leaders  “‘Go to this people and say, ‘You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn — and I would heal them.’”

final words were even more shocking, “ Let it be known to you then that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”

Those were surely shocking words!

Paul stuck around Rome for 2 more years of house confinement along with his constant guard companion.

There he continued to have an ‘Open Door Policy” allowing entry to anyone who wanted to hear truth.

Music 2
How Great Thou Art
CCLI Song # 14181
Stuart Wesley Keene Hine

Verse 1
O Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made

I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy pow’r thru’out
The universe displayed

Chorus
Then sings my soul
My Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

Then sings my soul
My Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

Verse 2
When through the woods
And forest glades I wander
And hear the birds
Sing sweetly in the trees

When I look down
From lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook
And feel the gentle breeze

Verse 3
And when I think
That God His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die
I scarce can take it in

That on the cross
My burden gladly bearing
He bled and died
To take away my sin

Chorus
Then sings my soul
My Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

Then sings my soul
My Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

Verse 4
When Christ shall come
With shout of acclamation
And take me home
What joy shall fill my heart

Then I shall bow
In humble adoration
And there proclaim
My God how great Thou art

Message        ‘Open Door Policy’ 

The Roman Martyrology is a document used in the Catholic Church as documentation of the various matrys that have been recognized by the Church. This documentation is an interesting record of the many ‘nobodies’ who have been used by God to do something miraculous for other nobodies. While we do not have the same veneration of these individuals as the Catholic Church does, we cannot help but be intrigued by these persons who have opened their lives to God to do something extraordinary.

In that documentation, listed for July 25 (around the year 35 AD), is a man from Damascus named Ananias. Tradition says that Ananias was eventually martyred, however, it is the known events of Ananias like that catch our attention. Anaias was a respected member of his community, even though he was Christian in a majority Jewish community, his consideration for the Law was noticed by the Jews in that knew him. He was also very aware of the events outside of the community of Damascus. He surely was aware of persecution of Christians taking place in Jerusalem as many had escaped persecution and were now living as refugees in Damascus. Ananias also was well aware of the Pharisee Saul of Tarsus who was feared by Christians who knew of his efforts to eliminate Christianity and Christians.

It was assuredly a conundrum for Ananias when God said to him to open his door to this feared Saul of Tarsus.
Ananias responded to God, “Lord, I have heard from  many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” (Acts 9:13-14).

I cannot imagine the thoughts that must have been going through Ananias’ mind upon receiving this instruction. Being a committed follower of Christ while being respected by those who are suspicious, at best, of Christianity had been like walking on egg shells. Ananias had surely become an expert at being subtle without, at the same time, compromising his faith. He was fully dedicated to a full commitment of his faith, while also being fully dedicated to protecting his own life as well as the lives of his fellow believers.

And now, he was to open his door to this terrifying man, even worse he was to go find this man named Saul.

For Ananias, it all began with a call from God to open his door, to open it to risk, discomfort, the unknown, and to the scary. It is most familiar to us if we paint it in a more contemporary thinking, image that God was to call us to  permit those who disagree, those who believe differently, those who live different lives, those who face different hurdles, those who face struggles we cannot understand, those who may be offensive, those who may make us think, to enter the threshold of our lives. While the similarity of danger may be different the personal hesitation and discomfort is the same.

It is apples and oranges, love and hatred, acceptance and condemnation, arrogance and humility, hope and despair, it is different. It is not the what and who that we usually open our door for. It goes against the bias, prejudices, and teachings of our tradition, it is counter to the teachings of our respected leaders, it is sometimes a swim against the flow of our own community.

Ananias followed God’s command and was the human factor in the transformation of Saul the Terror to Paul the Apostle. Ananias explained and welcomed Saul who had just met the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus. Saul the seeker of truth, on this day, was transformed into Saul/ Paul  the proclaimer of truth, and eyewitness to the life and resurrection of Jesus.  It was a renewal of his search, a renewal of his quest, it was a transformation…
”Renewal by the spirit is not modification but total transformation.” (Pastors Daniel Martino and Antonio Vargas)

For Saul, the transformation from religious zeal to personal passion, a desire not to stop something but to continue something, to move from hate and fear to proclamations of resurrection and hope was a work of the Spirit, accepted by a blind and confused zealot.

So Saul, who had achieved the position of Pharisee about 5 years earlier, now was an eye witness of the resurrected Messiah, he had opened his door to that which would destroy his position, his career achievement, but now was witness to the fulfillment of expectancy in the arrival of the deliverer. And, now, 14 years after crossing the threshold of the open door at the house of Ananias, Paul was in Rome.

It is while he is under house arrest in Rome that the shattered boundaries of his transformation begin to be fully evident. 3 years earlier he had written to the churches in Rome, and now he was there in the flesh, among them, encouraging, teaching, confronting, engaging, and enlightening them. It was in the pages of that letter that Paul expressed his disillusionment in the reality that Jesus had been rejected by most of his own people, his own friends, his own contemporaries, his own faith family – he came to a conclusion that this rejection was a mystery that he did not understand but also, it was a test of his own faith in a just and faithful God, a God who would not abandon his own people.

This all explains why, once in Rome, his door was first open to the Jewish leaders in Rome. Many, if not all, of these shared Paul’s conviction in regard to resurrection. Since this was a connection point for his own Jewish faith and his Christian faith this was the best place to begin. Interestingly, these leaders had not heard of the accusations against Paul in Jerusalem, they only knew that Paul was either hated or beloved. So, they listened, they asked questions, they agreed and they disagreed, at the end of the day they left, divided amongst themselves.

Finally, as the many that did not believe, continued in their unbelief, it became obvious to Paul that this group was stuck, they were glued to their past, to the teachings and observances that had been a part of their past, they could not make a change, they could not accept that this Jesus was the deliver they had been waiting for.
So Paul quoted the prophet Isaiah,  “You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. For this your heart has grown dull, and your ears are hard of hearing, and you have shut your eyes; so that you might not look with your eyes, and listen with your ears, and understand with your heart and turn to God for deliverance.’”

Then, as his contemporaries walked away, Paul added, “ Let it be known to you then that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”

It was then that Paul adopted an ‘Open Door Policy’ a policy he had first witnessed in the acts of the ‘nobody’ Ananias. He began a practice of opening his door to all. He no longer focused on ‘a people’ or even ‘his people’ to tell his story, now his door was open to ‘all peoples’. His investment shifted from an institution to people of all kinds of institutions. He focused on other words of God from the prophet Isaiah, “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)

These 2 years in Rome under house arrest brought the apostle to an understanding that ‘Disagreement does not call for Division,” that ‘Differences does not call for Fear.’ This understanding led him to leave his door open, open to everyone and anyone. Those things that had previously been justifiable factors for exclusion now held no sway. Compassion, Mercy, Hope, and Love had replace those elements of condemnation.

When we open our doors we see

  • Our fears of those who believe differently diminishes into a respect for a seeker/believer.
  • Our fears of those of different background and cultures diminishes into an appreciation for the diversity of God’s created.
  • Our fear of the uncomfortable diminishes into an interest in all others.
  • Our fear of those who look or live differently than us diminishes into the unity God desires among his descendants.
  • Our fear of evil diminishes into an understand of what is good and lovely.
  • Our fear of letting go of false beliefs and strongholds diminishes in the relief found in the freedom of a fingers no longer grasping to keep a grasp on the nonsensical.
  • Our fear of letting go of Pride diminishes into Truth.

For centuries the church has focused on evangelism as the practice of converting others to our belief. But look at the nobody Ananias. Lived a respectable life, even in the eyes of those who disagreed and possibly despised him. He, unknowingly was an evangelist in his community, not because of his words but because of his life. Part of that was a relationship with God that listened to and for God, even when God spoke the uncomfortable words, ‘Open your door, Ananias.’ It was then that he spoke words that were already verified in his life, it was then that he, along with Paul, experienced transformation.

We each have the challenge and the responsibility to open the doors of our hearts and our minds. To look around and see who is missing that belongs amongst us. To see out, into the marketplace and public square of our world.

Who will we see there, for whom does God desire we open the door to? Will be those who you do not understand? Will it be those who have hurt you in the past? Will it be those that your religious and faith institutions  have warned you against? Will it be those you have hated, rejected, feared, and judged? Will it be those you have dismissed or ignored. Will it be those who have dismissed and ignored you?

The apostle Paul went from keeping his own door closed while kicking down the doors of those he hated, he went from keeping condemning an entire people to leading that very people, he want from looking for and rejecting the Messiah to accepting and proclaiming that Messiah. It went from a closed door on his heart and mind, to opening his own door to all who wanted to hear and see. It all began with a little nobody opening his door and led to this charismatic leader opening his door every where he went. Are the doors of your heart and mind open to God, are they open to those God sends your way?

Let us pray.

Music 3 
Oh How I Love Jesus
CCLI Song # 4596756
Bob Singleton

Verse 1
There is a name I love to hear
I love to sing its worth
It sounds like music in my ear
The sweetest name on earth

Chorus
Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Because He first loved me

Verse 2
It tells me of a Savior’s love
Who died to set me free
It tells me of His precious blood
The sinner’s perfect plea

Chorus
Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Because He first loved me

Because He first loved me

Community 

  • Community
  • Dirty Hands Day
  • hin·nê·nî  (Here I Am) – Bible Studies resume in October (survey before to see options and preferences)
  • Uncomfortable beginning September 19 – solicit uncomfortable passages/stories
  • Next Sunday – ‘Incarnate Response’, Mark 1:14-20 & Luke 10:1-11
  • Free Stuff in entryway
  • Covid Update
  • Offering Basket at doors

Benediction

It is time to open the doors and exit this place.

Time to open the doors to see.

It it time to open the doors to hear.

Time to step out and into the world of our journey

Time to walk with our fellow descendants.

Time to tell our story.

Our story of God’s love, hope, deliverance, and rescue.

It’s Time.

 It’s Time.

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 open our doors as fellow created humans, let’s open our doors to be the love of God in a world desiring love.

Let our open doors be evident in our actions and words. Let’s open our doors to experience God’s great grace, God’s great peace, God’s great love, and God’s great hope. Let’s go!

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