Sunday, February 18, 2018

Lent1: Rehab: Wilderness

First Sunday of Lent
with Mark 1:2-9    @FirstUMCBville   @kerrfunk
This sermon was broadcast on Facebook Live 2/18/18
#rehab #wilderness #umcgbod #lent

• Lent is a 40 day season of spiritual preparation before the Easter celebration inspired by Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness we read in Mark 1.
This season we’ll be following the lectionary and the denomination’s suggestion for a sermon series called REHAB. Why REHAB? As a part of our spiritual preparation before the Easter celebration.
• Rehab covers a lot of things. Rehab for addiction to drugs or alcohol. Also rehab after knee replacement or heart attack. Likely a painful time with drastic change of behavior. Not exactly something to look forward to, but something to endure. Rehab begins by going into the wilderness, by following Jesus into the wilderness.
• Wilderness is not a bad thing. It’s a new thing, a thing that involves change.
Some of my wildernesses: moving to Pennsylvania from Iowa.
Having knee surgery. Dealing with grief. Dealing with personal substance abuse.
Wilderness not a bad thing but not a comfortable thing, a place where discipline is necessary, and trust that you’re not alone and that not only is God with you but God is willing and able to work in you to shape you mold you prune you prepare you.
• We do not go into the wilderness alone. And it is in the wilderness that the first steps of reconciliation and healing and wholeness are taken.
• Jesus’ time in the wilderness prepared him for his mission to bring reconciliation and healing and wholeness to humankind. And when his time in the wilderness was complete, he began to preach the good news of the kingdom of God, and of repentance.

Where are you feeling in the wilderness?
Pour yourself into this time with self examination and prayer and fasting and self-denial. These are some of the tools God uses. And come and worship and be made new.

• May God use this time of Lent to shape us into disciples and witnesses to God’s kingdom.

• Hymn 338 Where He Leads Me

Mark 1:9-15 (HCSB)
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. 10 As soon as He came up out of the water, He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending to Him like a dove.
11 And a voice came from heaven:
You are My beloved Son; I take delight in You!
12 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness.
13 He was in the wilderness 40 days, being tempted by Satan.
He was with the wild animals, and the angels began to serve Him.
14 After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the good news of God:
15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near.
Repent and believe in the good news!

1 Peter 3:18-22 (HCSB)
18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God, after being put to death in the fleshly realm but made alive in the spiritual realm.

19 In that state He also went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison 20 who in the past were disobedient, when God patiently waited in the days of Noah while an ark was being prepared. In it a few—that is, eight people—were saved through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the pledge of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 22 Now that He has gone into heaven, He is at God’s right hand with angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him. ò

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