Sermon Recording: Camels, Needles and Who Shall be Saved (Mark 10:17-27; 1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Needle Gate, Camel Pose, Needle and Thread

Needle Gate, Camel Pose, Needle, and Thread

Message: Camels, Needles and Who Shall Be Saved
Scriptures: Mark 10:17-27; 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Offered 4/19/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

I’m indebted to my friend Martha Mackey for sharing with me how the camel pose in yoga opened this passage of Scripture for her.
camel pose 1-4

Mark 10:17-27 NRSV
17 As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 You know the commandments:’You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.'” 20 He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

1 Timothy 6:17-19
17 As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19 thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

Dear God, I am so afraid to open my clenched fists! Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to? Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands? Please help me to gradually open my hands and to discover that I am not what I own, but what you want to give me. And what you want to give me is love, unconditional, everlasting love. Amen. – Henri Nouwen

A reflection on this passage by Steve Garnaas Holmes entitled Who Can Be Saved?

Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by you or laid aside for you,
Exalted for you or brought low for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
You are mine, and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon 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 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

© 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Confirmation Solution

Here’s the situation: It’s Confirmation Sunday. You have multiple worship services. You can’t have a combined service because everyone won’t fit into the sanctuary at the same time (plus we all know what happens when you try to combine contemporary and traditional worship). How does the whole congregation get to see and celebrate this wonderful event? My friend Rev. Dr. Jack Stephenson (Anona UMC, Largo FL) made a brilliant suggestion, divide the liturgy so the confirmands do a different portion at each worship service.

This past Sunday we confirmed 8 terrific young people over the course of three worship services: an 8am traditional service, a 9:20am contemporary service, and an 11am traditional service. Dividing the liturgy worked beautifully. Here’s how the schedule worked out:

The confirmands and their families gather for a light breakfast.

They enter worship just before the closing hymn to take the first portion of their vows. In these vows, they publically accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and express their commitment to be a faithful member of Christ’s universal church. (United Methodist Hymnal pages 33-35, #1-8) They are greeted by the congregation following the service and have a short break before the beginning of the next service.

The contemporary service begins. Opening song, announcements, and then the second portion of the vows. In these vows, they profess the core Christian beliefs (the Apostles’ Creed) and either receive Baptism or renew their Baptismal Vows. (United Methodist Hymnal pages 35-37, #9-12) Everyone greets one another and the confirmands as they return to their seat. The confirmands and their families remain for the rest of the worship service and are again greeted by the congregation following the service.

Break time and picture time. Confirmands are greeted as people arrive for the third service.

The service begins. Opening song, announcements, and then the last portion of the vows. In these vows, they make commitments to the United Methodist Church and the local congregation. (United Methodist Hymnal pages 38-39, #14-16) Everyone greets one another and the confirmands as they exit the service.

Get Your Geek On: United Methodists baptize persons of all ages. In the case of infants and small children, baptism recognizes that God knows the child, loves the child, has a plan for the child, is already at work in that child’s life, and that he/she is a welcome part of God’s family. There is always an expectation that one day they will “accept God’s grace for themselves, profess their faith openly, and lead a Christian life.”

Confirmation is when persons “confirm” (publically accept for themselves) the vows made on their behalf at their baptism. For older persons who are not already baptized, this happens at the same time they are baptized. It is also the time when a person becomes a full member of the church, accepting the responsibilities to represent Christ and remain connected to Christ and the church through their prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.

For more information on what United Methodists believe about baptism, click here

For more information on what United Methodist believe about confirmation, click here