Sunday, August 18, 2013

"Sent" aka F.R.O.G.

Luke 9:1-9, Jesus sends The Twelve out with authority to preach and heal

• Earlier in Luke: A disciple hears and does…

• Jesus is Master over storms, demons, disease, death.

• Jesus is greater than any prophet or power, (greater than Elijah and John the Baptist)

AND Jesus is with you and for you.

• Today: Jesus sends you.

There are some things you DON’T have:

basically, comfort. No staff, extra bread, extra clothes, MONEY. Not even extra bag.
When you go, you will relate to the needy. The ones who NEED the word from God.
   (If you show up with extra bread, extra clothes, extra bag, money, you might as well show up in a limousine. And nobody’s gonna listen, b/c you’re not one of them.)

When you go, you will Fully Rely On God

• There are some things you DO have:

You have Permission from the Master. (passport).

You have COmission from the Master. (your mission, if you choose to accept it)
     Commission to preach (proclaim the Kingdom of God) and heal (and cast out demons!).  That is, when you leave a place, it should be better (Febreze)!
• Therefore, with permission and commission, with FAITH, Go with God… Go!

• How have you seen Kingdom of God? How have you seen healing? Where in your surroundings does Kingdom of God need to be preached? (like Febreze)

• Hymn 297 I Love to Tell the Story

Sunday, August 11, 2013

"Mission: Interrupted"

From Luke 8:40-56: Jesus restores Jairus' daughter to life and a woman is healed

• Pull out your scriptures…
Past few weeks we’ve heard how Jesus wants disciples who will hear and do God’s word. We’ve seen Jesus, Master over Storm (worthy of praise. I want him in my boat), and Master over Demons. This week, Master over Death.

• Our story today begins with Jesus’ return to Galilee (having planted a seed across the lake, delivered a man from demons (remember sozo saved) and sent him to tell people what God had done in his life.) 
Jesus returns to Galilee and there are people waiting for him.

Loads of people. All kinds of people. Including Jairus, a synagogue leader.

And there, in front of God and everybody, Jairus falls at Jesus’ feet, to beg, plead, implore Jesus to come to his house because his little girl was dying. (you’ll do anything to save your child). (incidentally, the word used for plead here is the word Jesus uses in John 14 when he says he’ll send the Holy Spirit who will call out to God for us)

(Recall, by the way, that Jairus falling at Jesus’ feet is not new… in fact it just happened earlier in the chapter, when Jesus got out of the boat on the other side of the lake, the demon-possessed man fell at Jesus’ feet)

So now Jesus has a mission: save the little girl.
We’ve got some work to do, let’s hop to it.

• And Mission: Interrupted, because of the crowd. 
There’s a woman who has at least three things: 
one, a vaguely-described affliction; 
two: faith in the power of Jesus, and 
three, some holy boldness. 
She knows if she just touches Jesus, not even Jesus himself but his clothes, not even his clothes but just the fringe, she’ll be healed of the affliction that nobody has been able to heal in twelve years (the entire length of the little girl’s life).

• And Jesus stops to call attention to her. Power has gone out from him, he says, who touched me? Jesus who has discerned people’s thoughts, Jesus who knows all, asks who touched me. Why? Why does he draw attention to her? Well it’s been said that a miracle must have a witness, and this guarantees a witness… and credit where credit is due: give God the glory for the healing, the saving, and to recognize the woman’s faith: your faith has saved you.

Did you notice, by the way, that the woman fell at Jesus’ feet? Just like Jairus and the man possessed by demons…

• Mission: Interrupted… now we hear that the little girl is dead. If only Jesus had been able to get there uninterrupted, we barely have time to form the thought when Jesus says Don’t be afraid. Believe, and your daughter will be saved sozo.  Foreshadowing, don’t you think, good news that in Jesus is power to save even in death. And he does just that, restores life to the daughter of the leader of the synagogue. Saves the little girl. Mission: Accomplished.

• Sometimes in our own lives it feels a lot like Mission:Interrupted. 
But God is still in the mix.

It seems like there’s been something of an interruption this year among the folks here at CUMC. Our "Jairus" was various concerned folks within the congregation saying Hey, something doesn’t feel right… feels like something’s dying here. Let’s fall down before Jesus and get on the path to sozo. Some folks in the crowd may not have even noticed, but some folks could notice nothing else. So we put our heads together and met in prayer and started to imagine what healing might look like

and on the way to seek sozo from dying we encountered Mission:Interrupted in a not-well-defined interruption that drew power from the original mission.

• There are a few things that will bring us through the interruption and into the sozo healing salvation… one of them is falling down together before Jesus, which means both laying our own pride and status aside and pleading to God I’ll do whatever it takes; another thing that will move us toward the sozo healing salvation is belief, trust in the presence and power of Jesus, Master over storms and demons and death, trust in the presence and power of Jesus on the mission or in the interruption; and another is readying ourselves for that salvation. Remember Romans 10:9 with me, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. The good news is Jesus isn’t afraid of mess but enters into it, and often brings about surprising results.

• So let’s fall down, acknowledging Jesus Master, confess our belief, and ready ourselves for sozo.

• Sometimes Jesus says whoever has ears, let them listen.
Whoever has breath, let them praise the Lord.

(Song: Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

"Deliverance and Fear"

or: "Where Are We Going?"

Luke 8:26-39: Jesus saves a man afflicted by demons

• Pull out your scriptures…
Last week Jesus, Master over Storm. 
Jesus is worthy of praise. I want him in my boat.
This week, Master over Demons.

• In the boat last week, Where are we going?
Through the storm and into beyond. Beyond the Sea of Galilee (SoG).
Into the Gerasenes’ land.

Sounds straight-forward enough.

Until you realize that the town of Gerasa (of the Gerasenes) was 30 miles SE of the SoG. That’s from here to Carlisle, or the other side of Lancaster, or maybe Pottsville. And the SoG is only 5 miles wide (that’s from here to the HMC).

Hm. Well, in Matthew this story takes place in the region of the Gadarenes…And what do you know, there’s a city of Gadara, only 5 miles SE of the SoG.

But in verse 33 the herd of pigs rushes off a cliff into the lake, so we can’t be five miles away… (also verse 27, as soon as they got out of the boat…)

Maybe where we are isn’t really necessary, except that we’ve gone into an area outside of Galilee… we’re outside where Jews live.

• So Where are we going? We’re going into unclean territory. It’s beyond the region of the Jews. If you have a nut allergy and need to be in nut-free zones, well, you may be entering into a territory that is unknown at best and fatally hazardous at worst. If you’re Jewish and you need to be in controlled environments where you know you can be clean, well, you’re leaving that. 
In fact, not only are we going into Gentile territory, we’re going into a cemetery. More uncleanness, you can’t be exposed to dead bodies… 
And to add insult to injury, we’re not just in a Gentile cemetery, there are PIGS here. Major no-no for Jews. Luke is setting up all kinds of warning flags here: Jews don’t belong! Unclean!

• But ya know, it’s okay, because we’re with the Master. We’re with Jesus, Immanuel, God-With-Us, and we read last week how if you’re going through a storm but you’re with Jesus, it’s okay. Jesus accompanies us through fearful situations. Jesus is Master over Storms, and Jesus can handle uncleanness.

The man possessed by demons approaches Jesus immediately and Jesus frees the man – in a way, the demons had offered the man a false freedom, the appearance of freedom: because of the violent strength of the demons, people had bound the man with chains, but the demons overpowered the chains, “freeing” the man.

Jesus, however, offers real freedom, true freedom. Not only is the man free from demon possession, he’s now able to participate in society again. In fact, look at the end of verse 36. Common English Bible says “the man who had been delivered.” NIV says “cured,” NRSV says “healed.” The word in Greek is sozo, and it’s the same word at the end of Romans 10:9… (anybody? If you confess with your lips that J is L and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead… you will be saved.” Sozo.

So this is a story of salvation. This demon-possessed man who lived among tombs and pigs is saved by Jesus. He doesn’t earn his salvation, he receives it, and it is between him and Jesus.

And what’s the man’s response to the salvation Jesus gave him? We see him seated at Jesus’ feet, learning from him, desiring to follow Jesus. And now this new disciple becomes apostle, because Jesus sends him to his home town to tell how God had saved him.

• So Where are we again? In a foreign cemetery, having just witnessed a man being saved, and everyone from the whole region comes to see – here’s a chance to witness! Here’s a chance to tell others about Jesus – the whole region has to see, and the whole region asks Jesus to leave.

They’re afraid. Afraid of this never-before-seen display of power that both healed (saved) a man and then overcame a herd of swine. The drama catches the attention of the whole town. They can’t understand it, they can’t fathom it, they can scarcely comprehend it. They’re afraid of the power of Jesus – who knows what Jesus’ power could do? – and they ask him to leave.

And so Jesus leaves. But he leaves a witness. The people already know what has happened (everyone is there), but Jesus commissions a witness. 
Tell the story of what God has done for you. Keep telling it. 
Jesus would work in the beyond, 
discipleship happens, 
and we see Jesus’ commission to share your story with folks where you are, regardless of storms or demons or fear.

• So where are we going?  We’re going with Jesus, literally, when we celebrate Communion…