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

Thinking Towards Sunday; June 10, 2018

Scriptures for this Sunday are:  1 Samuel 8:4-11, 16-20; Mark 3:20-35

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

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Approximate Notes for Graduation Sermon; Updated for 2018

This Sunday we will celebrate and honor our graduates.

Scripture for this Sunday: Ephesians 2:4-10; Philippians 1:3-11

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

We will also celebrate the Sacrament of the Holy Communion

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{ { {    Updated for 2018 } } }

To all of our graduates: Congratulations!

You have worked hard to get here. You have completed a set of academic requirements and you have taken tests to demonstrate your knowledge and skills. Your graduation celebrates a destination point in your life’s journey.

This graduation is a short season in your life that celebrates your hard work, your perseverance and your achievements. Savor this time; may it inspire and empower you for what comes next.

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There are moments in life when we stand at the crossroads between the ending of what has been and the beginning of what is yet to come. You are at such a juncture in your lives, and it is one of many that you will face on your journey through life. What you will become in the future depends to a large degree on what you do next. Your graduation is a process of something new being brought into existence. That “something new” is you and what you will become.

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Your graduation is a new beginning in your exciting but not trouble-free journey. Have faith in God, have faith in yourselves, have faith in your abilities; don’t be afraid to think and you will be OK.

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When I set out to write this message I was driven by this question: What would have made the biggest difference in my life if I knew it at the time that I graduated high school, from college, from seminary? I made an attempt to answer this question through the lens of what I know is happening in the world now.

You are inheriting a complex world. Whatever the level of your education is at graduation in 2018 (High School, Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate), your class, and a few classes that preceded you and will follow you, will have to deal with a very different world than your parents and grandparents dealt with.

To give a few examples,

  • UBER is a software company. UBER does not own a single taxi or employ a single driver, yet they are the biggest taxi service in the world.

  • The forecast is that in the next 30-40 years there will be 90% less lawyers and paralegals because most of the research will be automated.

  • Driverless cars are not as “science fiction” as they were 20 years ago. Can you imagine the world where you will never own a car, do not need a driver’s license, and do not pay for car maintenance or insurance. Can you imagine a world where fields are ploughed or crops are planted and harvested by self-guiding equipment?

  • By 2022 electric cars will become mainstream.

  • Production of renewable electricity has been rising for 30 years. In the last 2-3 years, more solar energy was produced worldwide than fossil. In the next 15 years the price for solar will drop so much that most coal companies will be out of business by 2025 (7 years from now). Can you imagine what it will do to the cost of desalination of water, and what having an abundance of clean water will do around the world?

  • Robotics are becoming more and more advanced. Pretty soon you will be able to walk into a restaurant, talk to an “R2D2” who will take your order, bring your food, make sure that your water is replenished and process your payment on the spot.

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The point I am trying to make is that tens of millions of jobs will be replaced by automation like self-driving cars and trucks, self-piloting transport ships, fully automated eateries and stores. That is just the tip of the iceberg, we cannot even imagine what the big changes will be. What you will call “work” in 10 or 15 or 20 years will be very different from what your grandparents or my generation called “work.” All of us need to be able to adapt.

That does not mean that there will be no jobs. That means that jobs and what we call “work” will be fundamentally different from jobs and what we call work today. It will not happen overnight; it will be a gradual process.

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Never stop learning, because life should be a never-ending quest for self-improvement. We need to develop skills that transform data into information, which in turn help us to act and react to changes in the world. More than ever, our society today needs people who know how to be compassionate and how to relate. More than ever, our society needs people with skills that are not only cognitive and technical but also emotional and relational. Be diligent in developing your emotional and relational skills and intelligence. One of the signs of education is the ability to consider different points of view without espousing them as your own.

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In Philippians 1:9-11 Paul writes, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”

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I am not telling you anything new here. Lots of things that your grandparents’ generation took for granted, your parents’ generation was unsure of because the rate of change in our society is rapid and it is increasing every day. It is nothing new; the world has always been changing. What is new, however, is the rate of that change. Just fifty years ago someone was considered to be illiterate if he or she could not read and write. In our society today, the ability to read and write is assumed. In our society today, the illiterate are not those who cannot read or write, the illiterate are now those who do not know how to learn, unlearn and relearn new skills, who do not know how to reinvent themselves with changing circumstances.

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In the Gospel of John chapter 3 we learn about Nicodemus. Nicodemus came to Jesus under the cover of darkness, and what he was concerned about was that Jesus’ teachings were turning his world upside down. Jesus’ teachings challenged what Nicodemus believed to be right, true and beautiful.

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Jesus taught that we need to allow the Holy Spirit into our lives (“you must be born again, you must be born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:6-7, paraphrase), whereas what Nicodemus aspired to and knew up to that point was how to perform rituals and to navigate complexities and intricacies of doctrines. In the end we know that Nicodemus was able to learn what Jesus was teaching him. Nicodemus was with Joseph of Arimathea when they claimed Jesus’ body (John 19:39). Nicodemus was able to change his life based on the new understanding. Learn from Nicodemus. Be proactive and open to letting God into your lives. Allow yourself to be born-again as your circumstances change.

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That brings me to the next point. So far your experience has taught you that knowledge is having the “right” answer to the question in front of you; that is how you passed all your tests and exams. Today I want to make a point that education is not about having the “right” answer but about ability to engage the process that will get us to the answer.

Allow me to use an example; it is contrived but it makes a point. Let’s say I want to know how high the Cross on our steeple is. Some of you know that answer because you were part of this church when it was built, let’s say that the answer is 70 feet. Education is about knowing how to think, and knowing how to think empowers you far beyond knowing what to think or what the “right” answer is. In my illustration, education is about someone walking out of this building, measuring the length of the shadow of the church, measuring the length of the shadow that they themselves cast and using a ratio to figure out an approximate answer.

So far your experience has taught you that education comes from books and college degrees. Today I want to suggest to you that books and college degrees are only pathways to open your minds and encourage you to learn. Your formal education gave you a glimpse of the tools available to you to help you learn and to think. Embrace new experiences, learn from different ideas whether you agree with them or not, travel often, expose yourselves to new ideas, learn from all people and be open to positive influences from our exciting world. Strive to enrich your mind, expand your thinking and elevate your language. These are some of the ways that God guides you.

Knowledge is a platform, a taking off point to develop your intelligence. Intelligence is about facing a problem and asking the right questions, questions that will help you to find a solution. Be diligent about developing that kind of intelligence.

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You were raised and educated in the era of instant messaging, instant coffee and instant stars from reality TV. All that “instant” stuff makes it difficult for many of us to be patient and to remember the benefits of long-term thinking. One of the things that you will need to develop in your lives is the ability to think strategically, to focus on what is important, and concentrate your energy on accomplishing your goals.

In Ephesians 2:10 Paul writes, “… we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works …”

In conclusion I want to share a couple of final points that I picked up in the course of my life’s journey.

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  • Earlier I encouraged you to build knowledge and to develop your intelligences. I stand by that. I also want to suggest that perseverance and resilience is far more important than knowledge or intelligences in accomplishing your long-term goals. It is also important to know when to say “when.” Some goals may prove to be irrelevant or not achievable.

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  • There is no substitute for hard work, but we should not only work hard, we should work smart! Albert Einstein was fond of saying, “Doing the same thing repeatedly and hoping for different results is the definition of insanity.” Don’t be insane.

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  • Meaning is rarely found within ourselves. Success is rarely complete or satisfying when we do things just for ourselves or for our family. I want to encourage you to think about this and do something for others, be part of something that is inherently bigger than yourself. Do not allow others to turn your idealism into cynicism — every one of us can and should strive to change the world for the better!

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  • I am not saying that money is unimportant or irrelevant. But I also want you to know that money, power and fame are NOT a true measure of success. The most influential person in Western culture is Jesus. Jesus was not an earthly king, or industrial tycoon or a movie celebrity; while living his earthly life among us, Jesus was a carpenter. Yet, His life affected all of ours.

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Every generation has its defining stories. To give a few examples:

  • Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon less than 50 years ago (1969).

  • The American Civil Rights struggle (roughly 1955 – 1968) officially ended racial segregation and inequality (at least took a bite out of it) in our country.

  • The Hoover Dam was built during the Great Depression between 1931 and 1936.

  • Suffragists won the right for women to vote when the 19th Amendment was ratified on August 19, 1920.

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These accomplishments represent years of struggle, debate, and a sense of purpose for all those involved. These achievements defined their respective generations and became a part of our national DNA. They gave our country a sense of accomplishment and pride and proved that we can do great things.

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Now it is your turn to do great things. No one knew how to land a man on the moon, or how to achieve equality, or to build a dam as large as the Hoover Dam when they started. Ideas do not come out fully defined and formed. You hone your ideas by being diligent and by making the necessary adjustments along the way. You just have to start.

I know that I have dumped a lot of information on you today and I realize that it is hard for you to process everything that we talked about today. That is why I printed copies of this message for each of you; I hope that each of you will take it and read it every few years. I pray that it will help you to evaluate where you are on your life’s journey.

I hope and pray that you find the courage to live your lives in such a way that you are a blessing to your neighbors and to future generations.

John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Never stop growing in wisdom and always strive to understand.

Thinking towards Sunday 6/3/2018; Scriptures

This Sunday we will celebrate and honor our graduates.

Scripture for this Sunday: Ephesians 2:4-10; Philippians 1:3-11

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

We will also celebrate the Sacrament of the Holy Communion

Thinking Towards Sunday; Memorial Day Sunday

Scripture for Memorial Day: Psalm 91.

You can read this Psalm here: {NIV and ESV}

Pentecost Sunday: News Reel; Pentecost Message Illustrations’ supporting docs

I use these examples during the message. If you want to know more, use these links.

  1. {Click ME}  – “‘My next call is to ICE!’: A man flipped out because workers spoke Spanish at a Manhattan deli”

  2. {Click Me}Shooting in Santa Fe High School

  3. Traditions and divergence from tradition at the Royal Wedding last weekend (just ask Uncle Google)

Approximate Notes for the Sunday’s Message; Pentecost 2018

NIV2010 Genesis 11: Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

May God add God’s Blessing
to Reading, Hearing, Understanding and
Living of God’s Word

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The scripture from Genesis that we just heard, the story of the Tower of Babel, seems like a strange scripture to read on the Day of Pentecost.

But there is a method to my madness. The reason I started with that Scripture is because it describes what is happening in our country and culture right now.

You cannot go anywhere without hearing people arguing about politics and about our cultural and religious institutions. I hear people talking about how bad things are, how terrible everything is. It is everywhere.

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We are divided across racial, gender, ethnic, generational, socio-economic, and cultural lines. These divisions make it easy to become jaded and cynical; to lose the fire and wonder of God’s love and grace.

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As long as I have lived in this country, we have been taught to avoid talking about politics and religion. That led to a certain lack of understanding of politics and religion. We have generations of men and women who have never been taught how to have a civil conversation about these difficult topics.

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As a result, when we have those discussions, we listen with the intent to respond instead of listening with the intent to understand each other. Because of that, many conversations end in upset and angry feelings instead of empathetic understanding. Too many of us, citizens of this country who pledge allegiance to the same flag, make a choice to refuse to hear opinions that are different from our own. We may all speak the same language, but our emotions are so confused that our language may as well be different.

Civil conversations start with the realization that we cannot change someone’s point of view. Rather, the reason we hold conversations is so we can understand a point of view that is different than our own, even if we don’t agree with it. Notice I did not say, change our minds, internalize it, and make it central to our lives; I said understand.

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Hysteria is defined as an exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement or agitation, especially among a group of people. I think that what is happening in our culture is that we learned to meet “other” opinions and points of view with an exaggerated and uncontrollable burst of emotions; hysteria is met with more hysteria and it becomes a vicious circle. When that happens, we all lose.

As Christians, we are not supposed to match such uncontrollable emotions or even get locked into resisting or pushing against them. What we must do, however, is to see this moment in time for what it is. It is a phase in the life of our culture, it is a phase in the life of our country, and we will get through it. As Christians, we are called to see through it and then transcend it by focusing on what God is doing. That is how we will overcome the vicious sniping, the trolling, the mean-spirited partisanship on both sides of the aisle.

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And that brings me to the second Scripture from Acts 2.

NIV2010 Acts 2: 1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

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It is impossible to hear the story of Pentecost and not be blown away by God’s wish to include all people, every nation in his Creation. Beginning with a small group of Galilean Jews, the Church that Jesus came to establish and to commission is characterized and defined by its love, its inclusiveness and its diversity. Listen again to how diverse was the crowd that morning: “9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs…”

God sent his Holy Spirit to break down the barriers that divide us.

To accomplish that, God gave his followers the ability to communicate across cultural and ethnic barriers.

In our context, God sent his Holy Spirit to men and to women, to young and to old, to those who speak English like Queen Elizabeth of England and like Granny Clampett, to those who speak Spanish and Russian, and Arabic and Farsi.

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We serve God who calls us to be his ambassadors of love, and through the coming of His Spirit calls us to wait with hope, to go out and declare His goodness in such a way that everyone can be included. The Holy Spirit of Pentecost challenges us to transcend our cynicism and to transcend our jadedness, to open our hearts to the new voice rising like a fierce wind.

Open hearts lead to open minds and open doors. We are surrounded by a community that is very different from us, it represents people from all corners of God’s Creation. And yet, we are all children of God. When we hear the story of Pentecost from Acts 2, it tells us that the Holy Spirit came for us and for them. It is our challenge to learn to listen to what they have to offer, to value their stories and experiences, and to build bridges between our experiences and theirs so together we can make this world a better place.

Thinking Towards Sunday; May 20, 2018; Pentecost Sunday

This coming Sunday we will celebrate the Pentecost.

Scriptures for this Sunday: Genesis 11:1-9.

I will also use Acts 2 in the message preparation.

You can read these Scriptures at this link: {NIV and ESV}

Thinking Towards Sunday; May 13, 2018; Mothers’ Day in USAmerica

This coming Sunday, we will celebrate Mother’s Day.

Scripture for this Sunday: 1 Kings 3:16-28. You can read these Scriptures here: {NIV and ESV}

Word of the Day

Suffoncified: Satisfied or satiated, particularly in appetite.

Approx. Notes for Sunday’s Message; Sunday, April 15, 2018; Acts 3:1-10

Scriptures for this Sunday are: Acts 3:1-10

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

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It is impossible to say everything that is worth saying about today’s reading in one sermon. There are layers upon layers of meaning there.

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The man that was healed in today’s reading had been deformed since birth (Acts 3:2). After healing, his legs were so strong that he was able to walk and jump. Peter made it clear that the healing happened only by the power of the name of Jesus (Acts 3:12, 16).

The lame man was a wise business man. He had staff, or friends, who situated him each day at the Beautiful Gate outside the Temple, so he would have the best chance of receiving alms from those entering the Temple (Acts 3:2). I wonder how much energy they had to expend to defend and protect their spot from other beggars. He begged outside the Temple from those going inside. He was a fixture, but he was not there as part of the worshiping community. All he wanted was their money and charity. Peter had to say to him, “Look at us!”

In the NIV translation of the Bible the whole story is approximately 200 words. When we read the story, it is tempting to think that everything happened in a span of 10-15 minutes or so.

I do not think that this is correct.

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I think that when Peter and John encountered the lame man, they indeed told him that they did not have money to give him, but they could offer him Jesus. I think that they spent some time (days, maybe even weeks) listening to the man, understanding his plight and his hopes – I think that this is the “Look at us!” part of today’s reading. I think that they had a chance to develop a relationship with him and I think that they trusted that he was open and willing to make changes in his life, and was not going to waste the gift of God’s Grace and healing. They prepared him to encounter God face-to-face.

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There is a saying that holding on is like believing that there is only the past; letting go and moving on is recognizing that there is also a future. Peter and John took the time to understand what the lame man was holding on to, and then they helped him to imagine a different future. The healing came when the man was ready.

After the man was healed, we hear that “he went with [Peter and John] into the Temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God” (Acts 3:8).

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To enter the Temple, the man had to show himself to the priests and to undergo a cleansing ritual. We know that because in Luke 5:14, Jesus commanded a man healed from leprosy to “go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” {Also check out Leviticus 14, aft.} That would take some time. That is why I think that there is more to this story than meets the eye at first glance.

After the healing, the man went from sitting outside the Temple to freely moving inside it; the man went from being an outsider to being part of worshiping community. He went from living off of the charity of others to being a contributing member.

Church, do you hear me! Worship brings us closer to God; the Grace of God offers all of us healing. The church is not a museum of saints, but a hospital for sinners.

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As a church we are called to listen to our neighbors, to understand their plight, to find commonalities, and when we have built relationships, offer them opportunities to interact with God and a place to belong and to heal. By and large, most of the churches that I know are eager to offer lunch or financial assistance, but get strangely timid when it comes to offering Jesus. We offer pamphlets instead of personal testimonies.

I can totally relate to that. I used to be an outsider. You cannot be more of an outsider to the Church than an atheist. Something happened, and I experienced God. Many men and women from Gloucester County Community Church, and then from the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of the United Methodist Church, loved and cared enough to give me place to belong and to grow. They gave me Jesus.

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Many of us came to Jesus because somebody took the time to meet us outside the “Temple,” to spend enough time with us so that we were willing to “look at them” and to hear them, and then helped us to experience God’s grace.

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In Memoriam: Charlotte May McLeod

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It is with a deep sense of regret I am posting this to let everyone know of passing of Mrs. Charlotte McLeod.

Her obituary is posted at this link {Click Me to go to the Gebhart Funeral Homes Website}

Thinking Towards Sunday; April 15, 2018

Scriptures for this Sunday are: Acts 3:1-10

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

Approximate Notes for Sunday’s Message; John 20:19-29; 2nd Sunday of Easter

Message Notes:

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What are we supposed to feel or do when we discover that we cannot raise the dead, heal the sick, broker world peace, or prevent and reverse hunger and poverty?

What are we supposed to feel or do when we face the fact that we are powerless in the face of a serious, potentially fatal illness like cancer?

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What are we supposed to feel or do when we watch news and learn that the economy falters, stock market dropped 500 points, and that as a nation we are dealing with a trade war and potential nuclear war?

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What are we supposed to feel or do when we watch the news and see unrest and instability in the Middle East?

What are we supposed to feel or do when we have to face our own inadequacy, our inability to reach desired results, our humiliation, our fears and our moral failure?

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How do we proclaim our faith as physical and alive when the earthly body of Jesus whom we love is nowhere to be found?

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The movie ‘Precious’ is a gritty and poignant tale of a black, 350-pound, HIV-positive, 16-year-old rape and incest victim, mother of two. It is a movie about a young woman who faces many obstacles in her life and struggles with many conflicting emotions.

{Word of caution: this movie is NOT for the faint of heart. There is imagery and language that is not appropriate for all audiences – exercise caution before viewing.}

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On the day when Precious discovered that she was HIV/AIDS positive she wrote, “Why me?” in her journal. Viewers can feel the weight of the whole world is in these two words culminating in the question mark on an otherwise clean piece of paper. “WHY ME?”

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That is where the disciples found themselves that fateful day. They were huddled in the small room with the doors securely locked wondering, “why me?,” with the weight of the world on their shoulders. They were meeting behind closed doors, listening fearfully to every step, to every creak outside, waiting for that fateful knock on the door, the way the victims of Nazi Germany anticipated a knock on a door from Gestapo, scared that the messengers from the Temple would come to arrest them.

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That is when Jesus showed up.

Isn’t it just like Jesus, to appear NOT when we are out in public putting our best foot forward.

Isn’t it just like Jesus to appear NOT when we are wearing the appearance of confidence and of having it all together.

Isn’t it just like Jesus to show up NOT when we are trying to make a good impression and succeed.

Isn’t it JUST like Jesus to sneak into the private moments and spaces of our lives when our masks are down and our desperation gets the better of us.

Isn’t it JUST like Jesus to come and be with us in the dark rooms under lock and key where we are scared, frustrated and hurting, and isn’t it just like Jesus to greet us by saying: “Peace be with you!?”

There are times in our lives when we find ourselves in such places: scared, anxious, worried, insecure, uncertain of the future; hiding behind closed doors because we have no hope, no courage, no energy and no desire to face the world. Those are the times that we long for Jesus to show up and to say four simple words: “Peace be with you!”

I don’t know why Jesus keeps coming and standing by me in such places of fear and anxiety, and, truth be told, I don’t care. All I know that Jesus somehow manages to break through the obstacles and barricades that I build around myself in such times.

With these words, “Peace be with you!” Jesus calls us – that is you and me – to live lives full of life, love, and well-meaning that act – don’t dwell – on our dreams. {There is a difference between acting and dwelling on our dreams.} With these words, “Peace be with you!” Jesus reminds us that there will be times in our lives when it will feel as if the weight of the whole world is on our shoulders and it is going to be OK.

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John 20:21-22 (NIV) 21Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. …”

However, Jesus did not stop at “Peace be with you.” When the Disciples felt as if the weight of the whole world was on their shoulders, Jesus sent them out into their mission field to make disciples by offering fellowship and support, by teaching and preaching the Gospel through the way they lived their whole lives and by reaching out to those for whom Jesus was a stranger.

Today’s reading happened before the Pentecost. That is why Jesus gave his disciples a “preview” of what the Holy Spirit would feel like. We, on the other hand, live after the First Pentecost. The Holy Spirit of our God is present in our lives and helps us to deal with whatever life throws our way.

Whether we are dealing with difficulties, disappointments, shame, regrets, hubris, elation, euphoria or jubilation — whatever our emotion-du-jour is in your heart today – Jesus comes to us and says, “Peace be with you… I am sending you…”

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Precious tried hard. She worked hard and with the help of some strangers who were willing to be God’s hands and feet, she rose above her circumstances. As the movie came to an end, we learned that she was planning to get her GED and to continue onto college. Despite her circumstances, she chose abundant life and she was willing to work to achieve it.

Jesus offers you peace… Jesus is sending each one of us into the mission field to go forth and make disciples… Will you accept his call?

Whether you are the one in the valley calling out for help, or you are helping someone out of their valley, Jesus is present in our lives.

Illustration: The Church is in the Valley. “ Jesus commanded his church to go out and preach the gospel to all cultures, not to huddle inside and manage decline…” (Leonard Sweet)

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A great quote by Leonard Sweet

“Jesus commanded his church to go out and preach the gospel to all cultures, not to huddle inside and manage decline…”

~~ Leonard Sweet

Thinking Towards Sunday; April 8, 2018

Scripture for this Sunday is John 20:19-29

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

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