Monday, July 30, 2012

5th Sundays : Worship through Action

5th Sundays  :  Worship through Action

Yesterday was our second 5th Sunday of 2012.
At Beach Cities Christian Fellowship where I pastor, yesterday we gathered for worship outside. More time and energy went into our Sunday gathering than normal. We certainly spent more money as we threw a Neighborhood Cook-Out which featured: free food, live music from local singer/songwriters, two jump houses and crafts for kids.

This 5th Sunday was an amazing day filled with good times and great music. We spent hours sharing life with neighbors and friends, many of whom we hadn’t previously met. The giggles from children bouncing and running brought smiles to everyone’s face. We couldn’t have asked for a better day in the Beach Cities.

What does 5th Sunday mean?
On the months with five Sundays rather than meet in the Church Sanctuary we meet outside to Worship through Action.

At Beach Cities Christian Fellowship when we look at the life Jesus lead and how he instructed his followers, we see a call to care for others and not be hung up on ourselves. When looking at our own lives, we understand that with Jesus we can find great joy in coming alongside others and serving together. That is why we make space in our lives to be involved in serving the needs around us. 

5th Sundays can consist of: picking up trash around the neighborhood, making sandwiches for a local homeless shelter or helping a neighbor with their yard, cleaning up around the pier, or helping out at a retirement community. With endless possibilities, 5th Sundays are a great way to connect with others and celebrate God, who cares about his people and his creation!

Worship through Action.
Often we worship the living God in the same way week after week, day after day. In our self-absorbed, self-seeking, self-gratifying culture it truly is counter cultural to intentionally set time out for others. Even within the Church, it can seem odd for us to not practice our “normal” worship for the purpose of loving others as God has loved us.

In Matthew ch 22 Christ is asked what the greatest commandment is. He responds by saying "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And the second is like it, love your neighbor as your self."

This is what it means for us at Beach Cities to Worship through Action on the 5th Sundays. We are saying to one another, our guests, and our neighbors – that outward service and worship is vital to who we are.  We are saying to our culture – we worship a living God who is involved in our lives and theirs. We are the hands and feet of Christ in the Twenty-first Century.
How are we as the body of Christ reaching out and loving the poor, the broken, the homeless, and the disenfranchised?

At Beach Cities Christian Fellowship we are intentionally creating space where we Worship through Action – as we step outside the walls of the Sanctuary and bring Glory to God through our active faith.

Monday, July 9, 2012

REPENTANCE: Practice & Proclaim

2 Samuel 5:1-10 — Psalm 48 — 2 Corinthians 12:2-10 — Mark 6:1-13
Repentance: Practice & Proclaim

Recap the previous few weeks:
v Mark 3:13 = Calling of the 12 disciples
v Mark 4:35-41  = Jesus Calms the Storm
v Mark 5: 1-20 = Jesus Heals a demon possessed man
v Mark 5:21-43 = a) Jesus heals the “bleeding” women
                          b) Jesus heals the dead girl

v Over the past 2 chapters: The disciples have experienced
           the AWESOMEness of Jesus

Ø  They have seen him have power over Nature
Ø  They have seen him have power over Satan
Ø  They have seen him have power over Perpetual Sickness
Ø  They have seen him have power over Death

v Now they enter Jesus’ hometown.
Ø  Can you imagine what they must expect?
Ø  Jesus is home.
Ø  Jesus can be who he REALLY is!

v But what happens?
Ø  The people back home, in Nazareth…
§  They remember the Jesus who ran around the town yelling.
§  They remember the Jesus whose father built their tables
§  They remember the Jesus who they went to school with.
§  They remember Jesus.

There is no “hint” of sarcasm, bewilderment, annoyance when the people ask:
           Where did he get this power?
           Isn’t this the Carpenter?
Text says: because of their unbelief, Jesus couldn’t do any miracles among them
           Except… heal a few people

v Over the past few chapters, we – along with the disciples, have seen Jesus’ complete authority.
§  He has power to do unbelievable things…
¨     Calm storms, heal, bring to life, overcome Satan.

v But here, among his people, he could do nothing.
Ø  Because they had “unbelief”
Ø  Because they had unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles
Ø  But you might say: why was he able to cast out the demon?
§  Because the demon believed!
Mark 5:6 When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him. With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!”

v Jesus has power over Satan,
v Jesus has power over nature,
v Jesus has power over sickness and death.
v But Jesus doesn’t have power over “unbelief”???
Mark 6:5-6 because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief

v Does Jesus truly have “NO” power in Nazareth?
Ø  Can the Holy, Living God do nothing over “unbelief”?

v Or does he choose not to?
v Does God choose to give us a choice…
v Based upon our experiences, our history, our ability to reason, the scriptures we have before us…
Ø  Does God want us to use these, and believe?

From the beginning of time, God has given us Free-Will

Ø  We have a choice.
Ø  We have the opportunity to respond.
Ø  Will respond in belief?

v Jesus goes on from this discussion about his hometown to send the disciples out.
§  He tells them to go out in twos.
§  Take nothing with you
§  Rely upon the provisions of God
§  And if people don’t listen, to dust off their feet.
·        Don’t worry about it… move on.

Ø  Jesus sent them with power & a message
o   He sent & empowered them to cast out demons & heal
o   He sent them with this message: REPENT.

v He wants us to repent.
v He wants us to call others to repent!
Repentance has always been part of God’s plan.
God always grants forgiveness when there is repentance

v God wants us, his creation, to turn to him.
v God wants us to turn from our selfish ways, and towards him.
v He wants the ones he loves to choose his path, His ways.

Ø  He will not make us believe.
Ø  HE gives us the choice to live in unbelief, or to turn to him and believe.

v We have a choice.
v We have an opportunity to respond.
v Will you respond in belief?

v This morning: Do you need to Repent?
Ø  Are there things in your life which aren’t right?
Ø  Are there relationships which need mending?
Ø  Do you need to make a 180 from self-centeredness and turn to God?

v This morning: Do you need to be empowered by your belief in the saving grace of God?
·        You must choose. Choose God! Repent.
·        You must call others to Repent!
·        Light the way for others to turn from their selfish ways, and into the ways of the Living God.

As you Go. Do not live in unbelief, rather turn to God.
Go and Love!

Desperate Faith

2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27 — Psalm 130 — 2 Corinthians 8:7-15 — Mark 5:21-43
Desperate Faith

What’s the busiest place you’ve ever been?
          ME:   * Disneyland, Main Street, New Years Eve
                   * Jerusalem West Gate

In our Gospel text this morning, Jesus
in a crowd as he steps into the lives of the hurting.
1.   Jairus
2.   The woman

v Both of these main characters have something in common…
§  They have tried everything… nothing is working

v Both are spent, tired, & at their ropes end!
They are DESPERATE     

The Hemorrhaging Woman
v The woman has been a social outcast for 12 years
Ø  She bled for 12 years
Ø  She was ceremonially unclean
·        Leviticus 15:19-33

v Why were they running to Jesus?
§  Mark 3:10
Ø  Not Just Jesus:
§  Acts 5:15-16
§  Acts 19:11-12

v Not much is said of this woman, but it strikes me…
Ø  She’s making her way through the crowd
§  And she is totally unclean!
Ø  She simply touches the hem of his garment.
·        Where’s the hem of his robe?
¨     At the bottom… all the way at the ground.
§  She has lowered herself as low as she can go
§  She can only look up to see Jesus

v In the midst of the crowd: Jesus knows he’s been touched
Ø  How does he know the hem of his cloak was touched?
Ø  He’s getting bummed into by everyone
Ø  But he knows his power went out – and healed!

v Jesus asks who touched me.
Ø  The woman – afraid – speaks up.
§  Jesus responds: “Daughter, your faith has made you well, Go in Peace. Your suffering is over.”        

Jairus’ daughter
v Jairus is watching his daughter die.
v He hears of Jesus and runs to him
§  He pleads with him to come and save his daughter
§  Vs 22-23 “He fell @ Jesus’ feet and begged him repeatedly: “come and lay your hands on her so she may be made well and live!”
v Before Jesus gets to their house, the girl has died.
§  Vs 39 “The child is not dead, but sleeping.”
§  They all “laugh” at him.
v He goes inside, takes her by the hand and says:
Ø  “Little girl, get up!”
§  Immediately the girl got up and began to walk about.
v Jesus is not afraid of our imperfections.
Ø  The Women is “hemorrhaging” for 12 yrs
Ø  The girl is dead
§  Both are Ceremonial Unclean
§  But Jesus doesn’t care!
·        The women – Leviticus 15:19-33
·        The girl – Numbers 19:11-13
§  Jesus Embraces both.
§  Jesus reaches out with a touch of compassion
§  Jesus heals the “socially impossible”

v When have you been desperate?
§  A Migraine, Cancer, a Test, a court case, the birth of a child

Jesus says in John 14:12-13  “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.

v Today: Are you Desperate for Jesus?
Ø  This morning: are you running to him for his healing?
Ø  Right now: Are you fighting your way through the crowd to touch him?

v Are you desperate for the healing of a loved one?
v Are you desperate for your own healing?

Jesus says in Luke 1:37 “For with God nothing is impossible

Jesus says in Luke 18:27: “The things which are impossible with men – are possible with God.”

Jesus says in Matthew 11:28  “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 

Jesus says in John 14:12-13  “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.

This morning, let’s pray the prayer of faith!
Come to the alter for prayer.

Benediction: Ephesians 3:14-21
As you Go, in the midst of despair, may you have a desperate faith for the “one who cares.”
May you always Run to HIM. Go and Love!