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; Sunday, May 1, 2016; Romans 12:3-8; Hebrews 10:19-25

Scriptures for this Sunday: Romans 12:3-8; Hebrews 10:19-25

You can read these Scriptures here: {NIV2010 and ESV}

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We started this series of sermons by reading the Scripture from Mark 1 where Jesus was staying in Peter’s house, healed Peter’s mother, and then took some Jesus-time. We saw that people were looking for Jesus, and the Disciples even asked him to go back to the village. Imagine how easy it was for Jesus to say, “of course… let’s go back, we can have awesome ministry here…” But it is not what Jesus said… Jesus started his ministry by saying, “NIV2010 Mark 1:38 Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”

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Then we looked at the role that Judas Iscariot played in Jesus’ arrest. We saw that although his role in our Christian story is far from admirable, it is also nuanced and complicated. I think that he was trying to create a situation where Jesus would be forced to defend himself, and in the process vindicate Israel by bringing political and military defeat to the Romans. Judas longed to return to the Golden Era of Israel’s independence and sovereignty. Judas wanted a miracle; a miraculous change in circumstances that would right everything that he understood and perceived to be wrong with the world. Judas tried to fit our infinite God into his own finite mind and it did not work.

In reality we know that if we want miracles, we need to allow God to work in our lives and that means opening ourselves to the possibility that God is doing something different than what we want to happen.

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Then last week we looked at the readings from the Gospel of John and we saw Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, James, John and “two others” (John 21:2) tried to go back to the place where it all started, where Jesus made the decision to go “out there” instead of “staying here.”

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And who among us has not wished to return to a time of lost innocence? Who among us has not thought that it would be nice to return to a place of safety and to a time when life made sense? We saw that it is impossible to go back there. No matter how great is the trauma, no matter how strong is our desire to go back in time, there is no place like “home” because that place only exists in our memories. The physical building may still be standing, but because we are changed, that emotional place of innocence and safety will no longer satisfy our needs. Our needs have changed because we have changed. We cannot go back because there is nobody left in the past; the time and the place that we call “the past” has been moving forward. That is why the Disciples could not catch any fish on their own; they were no longer fishermen; they had become fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).

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That brings us to today’s Scriptures. In Hebrews 10:24-25 we hear, “…let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…”

Jesus even demonstrated the process of how we can do it. As embarrassed as Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, James, John and the “two others” were (John 21:12), Jesus just reminded them of their journey with him by breaking bread and fish and giving it to them. Jesus did not harp on them; he did not have to. The Disciples knew what they had to do.

That is why Paul wrote in Romans 12:3-5,Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

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The United Methodist Church does a lot of things right and the United Methodist Church does a lot of things well. We are not scared of bringing items into the open, we discuss and debate, we step out in mission, we are connectional and strive to help Methodists throughout the world. Solutions only become available after recognizing that there is a problem, defining and understanding the nature of the problem and then figuring out how to resolve it. The United Methodist Church is very good at that. That being understood, we have also become very good at holding on to pieces of broken dreams and bickering about which pieces of those dreams should NOT be discarded. We don’t make room for new dreams, room to see where God may be leading, because we long to go back. Holding on to our broken dreams prevents us from moving forward. If we want miracles we need to make room for God in our lives. If we want new horizons, we need to allow God to reveal these horizons to us and then allow God to take us there.

That is why God gave us encouragement for the journey. That encouragement is called Sacraments, and today we will celebrate the Sacrament of the Holy Communion. The Sacrament of the Holy Communion brings us into the presence of the Holy, and just by being in that presence, it helps us to see beyond our current circumstances, and dream about ways to reinvent ourselves. The United Methodist Church and Kingswood United Methodist Church have reinvented themselves many times in our history.

{Illustration}

{Transition to the Celebration of the Sacrament of the Holy Communion}

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