MONDAY SCHOOL for Pentecost, September 10, 2017, #7

Post 6.JPGMONDAY SCHOOL for Pentecost, September 10, 2017, #7 – thoughts from the sermon Into The Neighborhood.
Third point. When Jesus gets out of the boat, there he is, in his neighborhood.
The last thing I want on a Sunday morning as I’m heading across the street to church is to walk out the front door of my house and find 5,000 hungry people asking me about breakfast. I don’t think I could deal with that! One or two maybe. There’s usually a basket of broken pieces of bread around our house we can give to somebody.
But when you come out of your chair and come out of your front door, you are in your neighborhood and anyone who’s in front of you is your neighbor. As you go through the day, as you go through the week, whoever’s in front of you is your neighbor. And it’s not up to you, but as you pray for your neighbor, if you listen to God in your chair time, God will flow through you to meet the needs of the people in your neighborhood.
This poor woman is about to be nibbled to death by ducks or chickens or whatever. If they’re used to receiving bread from the hands of people, they will come after you, “Where is my bread?”
The only thing worse are seagulls. Have you ever had fun with seagulls? You throw a Frito up in the air and they fly in from 20 feet away and catch it right out of the air. I’m glad that ducks don’t take lessons from seagulls. But if you will look around, as you go about your day, you can be asking: who is following me? That’s your neighbor following you.
You can pray for them, you can ask God to bless them, and if God blesses them, you can ask them to thank God for the blessing. Don’t you take credit for what God has done. And if you’re following Jesus and they keep following you, they’re following Jesus too.
But the point for us is this, when you come out of your place of prayer, when you come into the neighborhood, you will find that people are looking to you. Pray for them and listen to your Lord and do not listen to the voice inside of you that says that there are limitations. That voice that says, “There are only five loaves of bread and two fish. That’s not enough.”
But whatever you’re asked to do, whether it’s to put the net out on the right side of the boat, or make a plate of cookies, or whatever it might be, do that in the name of Jesus and watch miracles happen in the lives of people all around you. Let’s pray.
Lord, Jesus, as we go about our daily business, sometimes it feels like we’re surrounded by people asking us for more than we have. But, Lord, the real truth is that they cannot ask for more than you have. Help us, Lord, to turn every need we see into a prayer. Help us to turn every request that we receive into a prayer. Help us, Lord, to listen to you so that as we do what it seems like we’re supposed to do – sometimes it’s only to pray, sometimes it’s more – help us, Lord, to hear you clearly and to act upon what we’re told. So as we go out of our place of prayer into the neighborhood, your love, and grace, and power, and help would go with us into the lives of everybody who we find are our neighbors. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
QUESTIONS
As you move through your neighborhoods today, notice your neighbor. Who is approaching you? Who is waiting for you? Who wants to speak with you?
What could God be telling you through this encounter?
What do they want? What do they need?
How could you pray? How could you help?
RESOURCES
The photo “Waimea Falls Park_30” is by Luciana Soldi Bullara and is from https://www.flickr.com/photos/lusoldi/3350320623/
courtesy of the Flickr.com Creative Commons license.
This post is based on the sermon series Out of the Chair, Into the World at Kinmundy United Methodist Church.
Slides and audio for this message can be downloaded from http://www.disciplewalk.com/K_Sermons_June_Aug_2017.html
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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MONDAY SCHOOL for Pentecost, September 10, 2017, #6

Post 5.JPGMONDAY SCHOOL for Pentecost, September 10, 2017. #6 – thoughts from the sermon Into The Neighborhood.
Here’s the second point. It’s not up to you. Five loaves of bread, two fish are not enough for more than just a couple people but God can take what you put in the hands of Jesus and begin to work with it. And if you give God what you have, God can take what you have given with compassion and meet the needs of many … but it’s not up to you.
Remember when the disciples had been fishing all night long and caught nothing. Apparently, they put the net out on the left side of the boat as they row around a circle and then draw the net into the boat. They worked all night long and caught nothing. Suddenly they hear this voice from shore, “Put the net out on the right side.”
How do you like it when people give you advice? “You’re doing it all wrong. Just put the net out on the right side of the boat.” Nevertheless, Peter goes, “Okay. Okay.” They put the net out on the right side of the boat and this time, even after fishing all night long, it is so full as they pull it in that the net begins to break. They did nothing when they put the net out on the right side of the boat that they hadn’t done all night long … because it’s not up to them. What makes a difference is very simple: they did what Jesus told them to do and that made all the difference.
It is not up to us. It is not our job to provide for the needs of all people, but if we simply do what Jesus asks us to do God will do that job. All we’re asked to do is to be obedient, all we’re asked to do is to be obedient. So the problems of the crowd of people are not up to you to solve. But if you are obedient God can help them. It’s not your problem but if you choose to be compassionate and listen to God and be obedient, God can help them with their problem through you … but it’s not up to you.
QUESTIONS
Do you ever feel that someone else’s problems are your responsibility?
Do you ever find yourself wishing or working to prevent anything bad from happening in your life or the lives of people in your neighborhood?
How is that working for you?
Do you find that you have a pattern of interfering when there is a problem in someone else’s life? Is it difficult to mind your own business? Or to keep silent? Are your efforts sometimes misunderstood or even sabotaged by the people you would wish to benefit?
RESOURCES
The photo is by Milo Winter and is from https://www.flickr.com/photos/waitingfortheword/6876110952/ courtesy of the Flickr.com Creative Commons license.
This post is based on the sermon series Out of the Chair, Into the World at Kinmundy United Methodist Church.
Slides and audio for this message can be downloaded from http://www.disciplewalk.com/K_Sermons_June_Aug_2017.html
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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MONDAY SCHOOL for Pentecost, September 10, 2017, #5

Post 4MONDAY SCHOOL for Pentecost, September 10, 2017. #5 – thoughts from the sermon Into The Neighborhood.
There’s been a great desire to explain away this miracle throughout history. There are literally are scholars who wrote that in the mountain side behind where Jesus was, the disciples had set up a secret bakery. And they’ve been baking bread all day. [1] So that when Jesus reached behind him, they put bread in His hands. And then He raised it up as if it came out of nowhere. I’m not kidding. That was how someone explained it.
A simpler explanation which you’ve heard before is that everybody else had packed a lunch and brought a lunch. And then didn’t eat it at lunch, so that everyone actually had food. They were just unwilling to share. So that when people saw what Jesus so generously did, all of a sudden they decided to make the choice of compassion. And they were also willing to share. And all of a sudden there was enough because everybody shared.
Now, that’s a very honest and thoughtful explanation. But here’s the problem with it from my view point. When I pack a lunch to go somewhere, I eat it in the car at 9:00 o’clock on the way to my destination. This is human nature. It’s the truth. But that’s one theory that they all had food. They just hadn’t brought it out. And so all of a sudden the generosity of Jesus inspired everyone. And friends, the generosity of Jesus should inspire us.
But I’m one who wants to believe in miracles. That when all seems hopeless, God is not limited in what God can do in the midst of a situation to help us. So all of a sudden, however it might happen, suddenly there is bread for everyone. Not only bread for everyone; Matthew says that this way they all ate and were satisfied and they took up 12 baskets full of left overs. Now, I don’t know if these were bushel baskets; I’m not quite sure the size of the baskets. But there were 12 baskets full of leftovers, 12 baskets full of broken pieces after everyone had everything they wanted. And there were 5,000 men plus that women and children.
What’s the point of all of this? I can see three things that are important. Here’s the first one. There was plenty. That’s why it goes into the details that 12 baskets of leftovers, there was plenty.
QUESTIONS
Do you believe that there is plenty? As you consider your own context, your own neighborhood, what is lacking? What is well provided?
What do people think they need in your neighborhood? Is your neighborhood caught up in materialism, the chasing after vanity and flashy, shallow luxury? What is really needed in your neighborhood?
Do you believe that God can provide what is really needed in your neighborhood?
RESOURCES
[1] From Albert Schweitzer’s The Quest for the Historical Jesus. Cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Quest_of_the_Historical_Jesus
The photo “farm-1183991_1920” is by judymccleary and is from Pixabay.
This post is based on the sermon series Out of the Chair, Into the World at Kinmundy United Methodist Church.
Slides and audio for this message can be downloaded from http://www.disciplewalk.com/K_Sermons_June_Aug_2017.html
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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MONDAY SCHOOL for Pentecost, September 10, 2017, #4

MONDAY SCHOOL for Pentecost, September 10, 2017. #4 – thoughts the sermon Into The Neighborhood.

Post 3And so Jesus is headed toward that shore and he sees all these people, and he says to himself, “Oh no. What’s happened to the neighborhood?” Because they all want a piece of Jesus. But he chooses to have compassion and goes on shore and begins to heal them and meet their needs. And this goes on all day long. In fact, it happened several times – in Matthew 15 as well. It goes on for three days in another place. There’s a third place in Mark that describes where the same thing happened. But at the end of the day, Jesus is aware that these people who are with him, they are hungry. So he decides that it’s time for a little bit of education for the disciples with regard to loving your neighbor.

Matthew 14:15, “When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a lonely place and the day is now over. Send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.'”

Now, on the surface, this is a good idea. All of these ducks have a home. Send the ducks back home! We have a problem here. People are hungry. Send them off and let them take care of themselves. That’s the kind thing to do. So at the first level, you begin to think, “Wow, the disciples really care about these people.” They are practicing empathy and thinking about how the people’s needs could be met.
But you know what’s underneath this? Not my table. Have you ever been in a restaurant where you wanted a waiter to come by and help you and you stopped one, but the waiter said, “Not my table, no
t my station, not my problem?” And, in fact, I’ll be honest with you, there are times I’ve been in a restaurant, I’ve literally gotten up, walked over to the station, got the coffee pot and refilled my own coffee. It always appalls everyone I’m with. But underneath this little saying is this idea: let’s help them by telling them that it’s not our problem, that they need to be self-reliant and take care of themselves.
Sometimes that’s good advice. If you tie your children’s shoes every morning for 22 years, when they’re 22-years-old they will not know how to tie their shoes. So in some times and places, this is good.
But here’s what Jesus says. Here’s what Jesus says. Here’s what Jesus says. Jesus looks at his disciples and he says, “They need not go away. You give them something to eat. Make the choice of compassion. You give them something to eat.”
And you know what their first response is? This is the second one you hear a lot. “We can’t afford it.” Jesus said to Philip, “How are we to buy bread so that these people may eat?” Philip is the one who popped up and said it would take 200 denarii worth of bread, 200 days worth of labor, or, in other words, 40 weeks of salary. You take 40 weeks of your salary, 9 months of the year,, and that’s when Philip says it’s going to cost that much.
Jesus says to Philip in John’s version of this, “How are we to buy bread so that these people may eat?” But Jesus said this to test him because Jesus already knew what he was going to do. Jesus had a lesson to teach here. The disciples looked in the treasury; there was not enough. Not only that, there was no place to buy bread there in the wilderness! We have a terrible tendency to limit God by counting what we have and then saying, “Lord, there’s not a thing I can do.” Or saying that there is no place to shop for what we need. Or they are out of stock. We accept our human limitations and then are tempted to give up. One of the points that Jesus is trying to make is that you don’t count what you have and then decide what God can do.
In Mark 6:38, and Jesus said to them “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” We do need to ask the question, how many loaves do we have? What do we have with which we can show compassion? And here’s the interesting thing in John. One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon  Peter’s brother, said to Jesus, “there’s a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they amongst so many?”
Now, what’s the point of this? When you start counting what we have, you just don’t count what you have. You count what everybody present has. All of us who are neighbors are in this together. It’s interesting that Andrew turns out to be the one who notices:  Hey, I was talking to this boy. No one else has any food is the implication here. But somehow he’s got five barley loaves and two fish. Let’s take them. I don’t mean it that way. What I mean is Andrew noticed individual people. This time it happened to be a young person who had what provided for everyone who was there. Luke 9:14, and He said to his disciples make them sit down in companies of about 50 each. And they did so. Made them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, He, Jesus looked up to heaven and blessed and broke them and gave them to the disciples to set them before the crowd. And a miracle begins to happen because all of a sudden there is enough.
QUESTIONS
What’s your position on miracles?
Do you enjoy the possibility that anything is possible?
Do you like divine surprises?
Why would that be a person’s preference, in your opinion?
Or would you prefer that everything be explained as not miraculous or supernatural?
Why would that be a person’s preference, in your opinion?
RESOURCES
The photo “pacific-ocean-1165600_1920” is by chabotphoto and is from Pixabay.
This post is based on the sermon series Out of the Chair, Into the World at Kinmundy United Methodist Church.
Slides and audio for this message can be downloaded from http://www.disciplewalk.com/K_Sermons_June_Aug_2017.html
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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MONDAY SCHOOL for Pentecost, September 10, 2017, #3

 

MONDAY SCHOOL Post 2for Pentecost, September 10, 2017, #3 – thoughts from the sermon Into The Neighborhood.
United Methodist’s pastor’s wife, Annie Follis, wrote a book back in 1980. That was a long time ago, but she was a personal friend of ours. And in the book, she talked about how parenthood, being a mother, most reminded her of being nibbled to death by ducks. The teeth aren’t sharp, but after a while, you just get really tired of it. And I thought to myself, “That’s very interesting.”
I was later sent to the Centenary United Methodist Church in Jacksonville. It was the largest church that I pastored, and it became a church to where, when the pastor got there, all of the sudden these people came. They came out of the woodwork. They came from everywhere. It was almost like a retail store, one person after another, “I need this. I want that. Would you pray for me?” And it was one after another all day long. And I thought to myself, “This must be what a mother feels like.” Because I certainly feel like I’m being nibbled to death by ducks.

 

 Max Lucado doesn’t say it in as nice a way as he describes how Jesus might have felt as he stepped out of the boat on to the shore to deal with the needs of the people.
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Quote: When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. He had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing. It is doubtful that anyone in the crowd thinks to ask Jesus how he is doing. There is no indication that anyone is concerned with how Jesus is feeling. No one has come to give; all have come to take.
In our house, we call 5:00 p.m. the piranha hour. That’s the time of day when everyone wants a piece of Mom …
Piranha hours: parents have them, bosses endure them, secretaries dread them, teachers are besieged by them, and Jesus taught us how to live through them successfully. When hands extended and voices demanded, Jesus responded with love. He did so because the code within him disarmed the alarm. The code is worth noting: “People are precious.” [1]
 
Max Lucado talks about the fact that, at 5:00, in his house, they call it piranha time. Because at 5:00, all of the kids want a piece of Mom. And sometimes Mom runs out of pieces to give, I guess. But because People Matter To God, Jesus made the compassionate choice. If you deal with “piranha hour” in your life, you can understand how hard that choice can be at times.
Now to me, I’d much rather imagine all church members as ducks than as piranhas! But I’m sure you can imagine what it is like to feel overwhelmed by the needs of other people who are turning towards you.
Certainly, Jesus was overwhelmed by the crowd, but Jesus was someone who practiced what he preached. He said that we need to love God with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength, and he loved God in just that way. And then he said, “We need to love our neighbors as ourselves.” And he practiced what he preached. He told the story of the Good Samaritan, where the person you find in front of you who is in need – they are your neighbor even if they’re a stranger. Even if you’re far away on the Jericho road from the place that you live, and that wounded person is your neighbor and you need to love them.
We are called to love the people we find in our neighborhood … even when it is difficult for us.
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QUESTIONS
Do you ever feel overwhelmed – “nibbled to death by ducks”?
Remember a particular situation when you have felt overwhelmed.
Who are the “ducks”? What did they want?
What did you do? Was the outcome for you good or poor?
Do you have a pattern for how you react when you are overwhelmed?
Is it a beneficial pattern – or harmful? For you? For your “ducks”?
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SOURCES
[1] The quote is from the book, In the Eye of the Storm, by Max Lucado, p. 21 & 22.
The photo “Duck, Duck…..” is by Evelyn W. and is from https://www.flickr.com/photos/btrflyed/2663353152/
courtesy of the Flickr.com Creative Commons license.
This post is based on the sermon series Out of the Chair, Into the World at Kinmundy United Methodist Church.
Slides and audio for this message can be downloaded from http://www.disciplewalk.com/K_Sermons_June_Aug_2017.html
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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MONDAY SCHOOL for Pentecost, September 10, 2017, #2

MONDAY SCHOOL for Pentecost, September 10, 2017. #2 – thoughts from the sermon Into The Neighborhood.

Slide2

Jesus was tired, the disciples were tired, they had been involved in exhausting ministry to others; it says they were so busy there wasn’t even time to eat. How strange, how could such a thing happen? Still, that’s how busy they were.

And Jesus said, I want to get in the boat, I want to go to the other side of lake, I need some time with God, I need some time to be surrounded by quietness, I need some time to pray. In other words, as we’re talking about in this series, Jesus needed to spend some time with God in his prayer chair. And as the boat got closer and closer to the shore they began to make out that there was a crowd on the shore, I don’t know how many people were there when they first saw it but by the end of the day, there were 5,000– more than 5,000 people. Can you imagine what it’s like for Jesus to be headed toward that shore?

Let me give you just a little bit of information. Emotional difficulties begin somewhere and the emotional difficulty that we speak of as the depression often comes from a moment when something happens in the past and we think it will never be different. This thing in the past will last forever. Now, depression is very complicated but way down at the root there is something at the past that we think will last forever. With anxiety, we look into the future and we see something terrible that we’re afraid will happen, maybe a hurricane. Anxiety is fear toward the future, depression is grief about the past that seems never-ending and the human response to both of these are typically frustration, typically anger, “Lord, we don’t want this hurricane, make it go away.”

Sometimes when it’s something in our life we direct anger at the problem and we get angry – which can be a way of pulling together energy to do something about it – but there are so many things in our lives that we are helpless to fix. We just need to accept what reality is and move on. This is the heart of the serenity prayer – to ask for serenity for the things which can’t be changed, the courage to changes what we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

And so Jesus is moving toward the shore. And he’s accepting what reality is and he’s moving on. Jesus makes the choice which is probably the wisest thing we can do when we’re tempted to depression, when we’re tempted to be anxious, when we’re tempted to be angry. Jesus chooses to have compassion.

Ahead of himself, he sees people who need his help and so he moves toward the shore to do what he can. Jesus knows how you feel because people matter to God. And if people matter to God, probably they should matter to us. There we are, in the boat, and we come to the shore, and it’s not what we wanted. It is a conscious choice to have compassion. And that’s the choice that Jesus made.

You may be tired, and you may even be frustrated or angry. But you always have a choice. Choose wisely.

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QUESTION

When have you recently had a choice to make about being compassionate?

What was your choice?

What was the outcome?

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RESOURCES

The photo “pacific-ocean-1165600_1920” is by chabotphoto and is from Pixabay.

The other image is from ChurchArt.com, a subscription service.

This post is based on the sermon series Out of the Chair, Into the World at Kinmundy United Methodist Church.

Slides and audio for this message can be downloaded from http://www.disciplewalk.com/K_Sermons_June_Aug_2017.html

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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MONDAY SCHOOL for Pentecost, September 10, 2017, #1

MONDAY SCHOOL for Pentecost, September 10, 2017. #1 – thoughts from the sermon Into The Neighborhood
MORNING PRAYERS … Let’s imagine what it was like that day for the people when Jesus fed 5000.

The_Jesus_Film_Project_Logo.png

(This was the sermon from yesterday.) Watch the video and enter into the experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFggyj_9Rqo
If that day was today …
Imagine yourself in that crowd, listening to Jesus. What would you like to ask him about? What answers do you want from him?
Many came for healing that day. What would you need healing for today?
As the day drew on, people were hungry. They probably worried about where their next meal would come. What do you worry about today that you could tell Jesus about?
Imagine the rush of confidence when Jesus fed everyone with the five loaves and two fish provided by someone in the crowd. Certainly, anything is possible! What would you now be able to do if you had that faith and hope that God would provide? What would you need from God to make it possible? How would others benefit?
RESOURCES
This video is from the Jesus Film Project Published on Jun 23, 2011

 

View the full length movie for free at: http://media.inspirationalfilms.com/
A docudrama on the life of Jesus Christ based on the Gospel of Luke, JESUS has been translated into more than 1,000 languages since its 1979 release. It remains the most translated and viewed film in history. It is used by missionaries all over the world.
Learn more about The Jesus Film Project and their goal to share the story of Jesus with over 5 billion people worldwide by 2025 at their website, https://www.jesusfilm.org/ and also here: https://lovealiveinternational.com/resources/the-jesus-film-project/.

 

This post is based on the sermon series Out of the Chair, Into the World at Kinmundy United Methodist Church.
Slides and audio for this message can be downloaded from http://www.disciplewalk.com/K_Sermons_June_Aug_2017.html
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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