Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for Sunday’s Message; February 28, 2016; Luke 13:1-9

On Saturday, February 27, 2016 our church community will gather for an evening of informal worship and fellowship in the fellowship hall. It will be an informal worship service, so come as you are. You will be blessed by this worship service.

Worship leaders:

Robin G. on vocals

Stephen G. on guitar

Ross T. on guitar

Jim B. on Bass

Bart S. on drums

Kelli E. on guitar and vocals

Pastor Asher, backup vocals

Janet W. as liturgist

Karen G. will share a devotion

Scriptures for this Sunday (February 28, 2016) are: Psalm 63, Luke 13: 1-9

You can read these Scriptures here: NIV2010 and ESV

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Billy woke up on Sunday to the voice of his mother calling, “Billy, time to get up and get ready for church…” After several iterations of “Just five more minutes, ma!,” his mom came into the bedroom and turned on the light.

“But I don’t want to go to church,” he whined. His mother asked, “why not?”

“Because nobody likes me,” he replied.

“Nonsense,” she said. “I will give you three reasons why you must get out of bed right this second and get ready to go to church. {1} You are 55 years old, {2} at least some people like you, and {3} you are the pastor.”

All of us remember times when we felt warm and cozy but had to get out of our comfort zone to do something that felt uncomfortable.

{Illustration}

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Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. In Luke 9:51 we read, “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to go to Jerusalem? In Luke 13:33 Jesus himself revealed the reason for his resolve, “I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day [on my journey to Jerusalem] — for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!” To Jesus, it is unthinkable to be crucified anywhere else because Jerusalem is such a meaningful location in the story of God’s interaction with God’s human children.

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Luke tells us that after setting out for Jerusalem, Jesus did a lot of teaching along the way. I almost envision Jesus and the Disciples going from place to place and leading revivals. Jesus also taught the Disciples by trusting them with the more complicated tasks of ministry (he sent them out into the world (Luke 10:1 – 24) as he was preparing them for ministry without him). It is in this context that we hear a parable of the Good Samaritan. It is in this context that we learn about arguments between Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42, “Martha, Martha don’t worry about the dishes”). It is in this context that Jesus gave us the prayer that we know and love as “the Lord’s Prayer” (Luke 11:1-13). And if you scan the Gospel of Luke between chapters 9 and 13 you will see many other teachings; Jesus was preparing his followers for ministry in the future when he would no longer be with them. Jesus was instilling his Disciples with the seeds of vision, so that they would continue serving as his hands and feet in the world.

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That is when we come to today’s reading. Jesus was told that Pilate had killed some Galileans who were on a yearly pilgrimage to the Temple. Jesus took this news and offered a lesson. He made the point that the Galileans Pilate killed were average people like you and I and the disciples, and that sometimes we are in the wrong place at the wrong time. The message was, “watch it, be prepared, you never know when you will have to face your maker.”

And to illustrate that point, we received the Parable of the Fig Tree.

Luke 13: 6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’

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This is a parable about nurturing, about resilience, about regeneration, about finding strength to face the challenges of the day and staying productive. God made us to be God’s hands and feet in the Creation, (“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” Genesis 2:15), Jesus came so that we have an example of how we can live abundant lives (John 10:10) and bear fruit in the Kingdom of God.

Making fruit takes a lot of effort. Once in a while we find ourselves too settled in our ways, too complacent and too comfortable. We are too cozy and we don’t want to get out of our “proverbial beds” on a “cold and dark morning.” Today’s parable is a word of warning: We cannot solve our problems without making changes. We cannot solve our problems with the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. To renew and to reinvent ourselves we must let go because when we hold on to our comfort too tight, we lose what we have, as well as what could have been. (Luke 17:33, Matthew 16:25 – “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”)

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That brings me to the last point. When you have a problem with your Ford truck, you take it to the Ford dealer. When you have a problem with your GM car, you take it to the GM dealership. If your Honda breaks down, you take it to the Honda dealer. And when we are broken, when our lives don’t go the way we hoped they would go, when we feel like that fig tree that no longer produces fruit, where do we take ourselves for repair, for renewal, for regeneration? To the one who created us… God.

Psalm 139: 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Isaiah 64: 8 Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

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Do you need to take yourself to your Creator in prayer?

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