Mark 2:23-28 One sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
Lord of the Sabbath,
Reveal your ways to me
Your beautiful will
I desire to follow you faithfully
Show me where I need correction.
Where I am too lax … too strict
Reveal how I use your commands as weapons
judging… excluding… twisting…
Renew a right spirit within
Fill me with your Holy Word for witness, service, and rest
Fill me with your Holy Spirit for witness, service, and rest
Fill me with your Holy Ways for witness, service, and rest
Your ways are life!
Spring up life in me!
Help me to help others to that spring as well
that we may all live
that we may all live in the overflowing grace
of Your blessing, wholeness, and love
Bennett Cerf, Dr. Seuss’s editor, bet him that he couldn’t write a book using 50 different words or less. (The Cat in the Hat used 225 different words) He took the challenge and came up with Green Eggs and Ham, which uses exactly 50 different words.
The 50 words, by the way, are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.
Offering something good, believes it down to his bones
In it for the long game
Have you ever been determined to offer someone something good?
Would you, could you buy this house?
Would you, could you be my spouse?
Would you, could you eat your greens?
Would you claim sobriety?
Would you could you come to Why?
Or drive for Fish, give that a try?
Or serve our preschool families?
Or come to this week’s POV?
What if Green Eggs and Ham represented the Good News? What if all followers of Jesus Christ were as joyfully persistent as Sam? (Dr. Seuss did not intend this interpretation)
Would you, could you come to Christ?
Repent, be baptized, claim new life?
Sam takes his calling seriously – He goes, goes, goes therefore to make disciples of those who like green eggs and ham. He is convinced they are good. Sam is joyfully persistent in staying in relationship, offering, inviting, entreating. He is an ambassador for green eggs and ham. We are ambassadors for Christ.
What drives Sam to try again and again – what would drive us?
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For the love of Christ urges us on because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.
We understand resistance. Resistance to try new things, to understand a different perspective, to meet new people, to go to new places. Why does everything have to keep changing?
We know it takes time to open ourselves to something new. It takes many invitations before we say, “yes.” So why do we give up so quickly in offering something so needed and so good, a saving relationship with Jesus?
We know it takes many invitations, so let’s just expect it and do it. Let’s be joyfully persistent so others can know salvation in Christ Jesus.
Reading of 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Message 4 of 5
Scripture: Isaiah 40:3-5
These are the notes from a message offered 11/4/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida. I’ll be posting the series on Fridays in the coming weeks. I pray they are an encouragement to you.
Romans 5:1-5, The Path to Hope
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Isaiah 40:3-5, The Way to Make the Path
A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Shall, by Lisa Degrenia
The time is now, for you have called, O God
The place is now, for you have spoken
Yes, it is a wilderness, a desert even
So dry, so rough, so uneven
Yes, the gap is so very wide between the high and the low
But, you have called
You have spoken
Not an if or when or maybe
Not even a try
You have spoken shall
Every valley shall be lifted
Every mountain shall be made low
The uneven shall be made level
The rough shall be made smooth
So we will persevere in this wilderness of preparing
We will not forge a path or blaze a trail but make a highway
A highway for your coming
For your glory, O God shall be revealed in this place
And all shall see it
All shall see it together
LEWIS AND CLARK AND THE MEN OF THE CORPS OF DISCOVERY
Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson in 1804 to find the Northwest Passage
Finding the route believed to connect the Missouri River with the Pacific would make commerce possible across the continent and the riches of Asia that lay beyond.
Whichever nation found the Norwest Passage first, and then controlled it, would control the destiny of the continent.
What they thought would happen:
Travel the Missouri River to its source
Over the next hill, they would find another river. They could then calmly coast to the Pacific Ocean because that’s the way the river would be flowing
What they found was the Rocky Mountains, mountains like they’d never seen. So high, so long, so steep. They were unprepared. Everything they had been told was absolutely wrong.
Lewis and Clark List of Hardships
ANIMALS: Plagued by Mosquitoes and Small Pesky Flies. Encounters with Grizzly Bears
MISSOURI RIVER: Fighting against strong currents and shifting sandbars. Dangerous hazards caused by navigating rapids and obstacles in the water
Exhaustion from the daily grind of moving the heavy keelboat up the Missouri River that involved arduous rowing, pulling the keelboat through shallows using a rope from onshore (called cordelling) or pushing the heavy boat with long poles (poling)
The boats were not canoes but a keelboat (55 feet long, 22 oars at its sides, and a cannon mounted in the bow)
The Great Falls proved to be a difficult challenge. The men had to bypass the falls which involved carrying their canoes, supplies, and equipment all by hand for over 1 month
THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS: Later in the journey it was necessary to abandon travel by water and physically carry the boats. This process called portaging, proved to be very draining and extremely time
Traveling over harsh, tough terrain
The harrowing journey on the rough Lolo trail through the Bitterroot Mountains
WEATHER: Enduring extreme weather conditions such as intense, blistering heat, the bitter cold, blizzards, hailstorms, snow, and continuous rain
In the winter months, it was often difficult to find food
NATIVES: Confrontations with hostile Natives and Natives who were invaluable to their survival and success. (Sacagawea)
LENGTH OF THE TRIP: The outward journey and the return journey home covered over 7000 miles. May 14, 1804, to September 23, 1806 – two years, four months and ten days
As the journey progressed illnesses became an increasing problem
Hard to find supplies along the way
Their journey was nothing like what they expected. Everything they had been told was wrong. They were unprepared.
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Somewhere you never expected? How does it feel to be that out of your element? That unprepared?
At that point, you have a decision to make. Lewis and Clark had a decision to make. You can turn around and go back. (Sometimes you can’t go back.) Or you can just stay where you are. Pitch a tent. Build a city. Or we can try to move forward. Off the map. Into the unknown.
Lewis and Clark decided to move forward. They adapted. They abandoned the boats, their safety net because they were no longer helpful. They were known for their skill on the water and now they would need to become hikers.
They moved forward. This is resilience, perseverance, endurance. Moving forward in the face of adversity. Moving forward in the face of the unknown. Moving forward in the face of suffering. Moving forward.
So many of us find ourselves in these positions. I did not expect to be here- divorced, fired, widowed, my family in multiple states, financial crisis…
So many of us did not expect to find ourselves in the face of the unknown but because of the grace of God, the power of God, the presence of God, we can move forward.
Lewis and Clark were able to move forward because
they made the decision to move forward
people came alongside them to move forward
We too can move forward. We can make the decision, we have people who will come alongside us, and we have God in Jesus Christ, the pioneer, and perfecter of our faith who is already out there ahead of us. For us, with us, behind us, before us, above us moving us forward.
I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back. Christianity is a movement. A movement forward. We are a pilgrim people.
Isaiah 40:3-5, The Way to Make the Path A voice cries out: The voice is God shouting “Come on!”
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
This is what our God does. Our God moves that mountain so we can keep moving forward. Our God raises us up out of that valley so we can keep moving forward. Our God fills in the potholes so the rough places are made smooth. Our God takes those winding, curvy, rollercoaster-y ways and makes them smooth so we can move forward
It may not feel that way when we’re walking it. It may feel like a mountain high or a valley low or rough and twisty. But God is making a way where there seems to be no way.
This is resilience. Do you trust God to make a way where there seems to be no way? Trust God.
God is not only going to make a way for you, but God is also going to help you make a way for others. All of a sudden you’re going to find yourself a Sacagawea helping someone make their way.
It’s all grace. It’s all goodness. That’s the God we serve, we know, we love. That’s the God who saves us.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
In Christ we are resilient!
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Mark and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am Sundays or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.
Psalm 95:10-13 Proclaim to the nations: ‘God is king.’
The world He made firm in its place;
He will judge the peoples in fairness.
Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad, Let the sea and all within it thunder praise, Let the land and all it bears rejoice, All the trees of the wood shout for joy at the presence of the Lord for He comes, He comes to rule the earth.
With justice, He will rule the world, He will judge the peoples with His truth.
What kind of King is God?
A fair and truth-full Judge
Present and Coming
A just Ruler of all the earth
Lord God, King of all Creation
Ruler of planets and peoples
Receive our rejoicing
For your abiding presence and redemptive return
Receive our shouts of gladness
For your justice, your fairness, your truth victorious
Strengthen and inspire
So we may persevere in proclaiming and praise
We labor and yearn for your glorious day
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
Horton makes a courageous commitment. He remains faithful to that commitment even when doing so leads to
Threat of death
Sold into slavery
What breaks my heart is the return of Lazy Mayzie and her reclaiming the egg she abandoned. The story has a happy ending (Elephant Bird!) Even so, Horton would have remained true even without reward. He’s courageously committed.
“I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent!”
Does anyone do this anymore? Have you ever made a Horton level commitment? What prevents you?
What if I commit to the wrong thing?
What if I miss out on something better? I’ll be trapped!
I’ve got plenty of time to make a commitment later
What if the commitment impacts the way I want to live my life like it did Horton?
AsLazy Mayzie says, “It’s work, how I hate it, I’d much rather play!”
Commitment is easy to come by when it is superficial, doesn’t cost us anything, temporary, or new. (How are those New Year’s resolutions going?) Commitment takes work. The work is to keep at it- day after day, year after year after year.
1)Define “The Why”, the deep reason for the commitment. I am committed to my sobriety because… I am committed to my marriage because… I am committed to starting this business because… I am a committed follower of Jesus Christ because…
2)Remember “The Why.” Keep it in front of you, especially when the commitment becomes hard work and sacrifice.
3)Live the commitment moment to moment. I’m going to eat healthy for the rest of my life. No! I’m going to make the best next faithful choice. Little choices add up to a big and lasting commitment.
4)Expect some failure. It will happen. Choose to fail forward: practice forgiveness, learn from the failure, keep showing up.
5)Don’t go it alone. We need the gift of each other and we need God.
Who can you think of who’s made a Horton level commitment? Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa, Billy Graham, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. We think of the super saints. Ordinary people can make a Horton level commitment as well.
Have you made a Horton level commitment to Jesus?
When we decide to believe in Jesus without making a commitment to follow Him, we become nothing more than fans.- Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan
Reading of 1 Peter 1:3-7. “The Why” of making a Horton level commitment to Jesus.
His great mercy
A living hope
Jesus already made a Horton level commitment to us in his coming, homelessness, ridicule, torture, death, and resurrection
an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. No situation or evil can touch it.
Salvation and Heaven
This is why we rejoice and keep to a courageous commitment in the midst of suffering and trials for the sake of Christ.
Have you made a Horton level commitment to Jesus? You can. Anyone can.
Not a nominal Christian- in name only
Not a CEO (Christmas Easter only)
Not a commitment of convenience
Not a fair-weather Christian
Not a fan
For Courage to do Justice by Alan Paton O Lord, open my eyes that I may see the needs of others; open my ears that I may hear their cries; open my heart so that they need not be without succor; let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong, nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich. Show me where love and hope and faith are needed, and use me to bring them to those places. And so open my eyes and my ears that I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for thee. Amen.