Sermon Recording- Send Me (Isaiah 6.1-8)

Sermon Series World missions 1110 x 624

Sermon Series: Hometown Missionary
Message 5 of 5: Send Me
Scriptures: Isaiah 6:1-8
This message was offered Sunday, 8/5/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Isaiah encounters the One True Living God. I imagine it would be like standing in the middle of a holy circus: spectacular, blindingly colorful and bright. Yet the presence of God is so thick the light is coming through a milky veil of smoke and incense.

Next comes the magnificent creatures. God is surrounded by Seraphs: powerful, awe-full creatures. The highest order of angelic beings, associated with light, passion, and purity.

The creatures are praising God, calling out who God is. (That’s what praise is) Holy, Holy, Holy… Lord of the Hosts Heaven… the Earth full of God’s glory. The power and glory of God are over both heaven and earth.

The call is so loud, everything is shaking. The call is so loud you feel it in your chest, it rattles your teeth and your bones.

How could Isaiah think, breathe, let alone speak?

Isaiah can’t help himself. He is undone. He is fully self-aware. He knows he’s not worthy of being in God’s holy presence. None of us are.

Verse 5: And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

  • Can Isaiah cleanse himself? – No!
  • Forgive himself? – No!
  • Save himself? – No!
  • Can any of us? – No!

God knows this and acts

Verse 6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7 The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.”

Notice God takes care of both the guilt and the sin. But look at what it takes! For Isaiah to be forgiven it takes a terrifying angel holding an equally terrifying coal coming straight for Isaiah’s mouth. Thank God for Jesus that we don’t have to go through that!

We could stop the story right here.

Isaiah’s story is mystical and dramatic and unique, yet, we can still connect with it. It’s a classic salvation story.

  • Our eyes are opened to the presence of God, to the beauty and power and love of God
  • We are undone
  • We realize we cannot save ourselves. We are separated from God by sin and everything we try to bridge the gap falls short. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
  • We speak the truth. We confess who we are and our deep need. God comes with mercy, healing, forgiveness in Jesus. We are saved. If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead you will be saved.

Lord Jesus, thank you for seeking me and welcoming me. Thank you for your life, death, and resurrection. I place my trust in you as the leader and forgiver of my life. Forgive me, cleanse me, save me.

We can stop the story right there, and far too many of us do. Undone and done.

This isn’t the end of the story. God doesn’t just come with mercy, healing, forgiveness, and salvation. God comes with coal.

With that fiery coal comes…

  • tongues of fire dancing on our heads, like Pentecost. We are filled with the Holy Spirit in order to share who God is and how God saves.
  • a fire in the belly to join God in saving the world. A new life with new meaning, a new purpose, and new priorities
  • a fire in our hearts, a longing for the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven
  • a call to action

Verse 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”

After Isaiah is saved God calls. God doesn’t look at Isaiah or mention his name. God sends out a call across the heavens and it’s available for anyone to respond.

Isaiah makes the courageous decision to draw God’s attention again, “Here am I; send me!” It’s an immediate response- no apathy, no excuses. “Here am I; send me!”

Singing: This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine/ This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine/ This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…  Wait! I’m not holy enough. I’m not trained enough. Go anyway- God provides the forgiveness and you will learn as you go.

Singing: This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine/ This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine/ This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine... Wait! I’m not brave enough. I’m not strong enough. Go anyway-  You don’t have to do this in your own strength  God fills you with the power of the Holy Spirit. And you don’t have to do it alone. God sends companions to go with you.

Singing: This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine/ This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine/ This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine... Wait! What if I fail? You’ve already failed if you don’t try. God’s just asking you to try.

Singing: This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine/ This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine/ This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine… Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

God sends out a call across the heavens and it is available for anyone to respond. Respond, “Here am I, send me.”

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean 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.

sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

 

Sermon Recording- Sharing the Gospel (Acts 10.34-48)

Sermon Series: Hometown Missionary
Message 4 of 5: Sharing the Gospel
Scriptures: Acts 10:34-48
This message was offered Sunday, 7/29/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Summary and reading of Acts 10, the story of Peter sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with Cornelius

This is a classic missionary story from the Bible

  • Peter is well trained. He’s been walking with Jesus for 3 years and is now a leader of the early church. He prays and receives visions from God.
  • Peter has a clear calling from God and has received an in-person invitation to travel to a foreign territory to share the Good News with people from another culture.
  • Peter arrives and is immediately welcomed and accepted. He immediately proclaims the good news in a beautiful, eloquent, and theologically perfect way.
  • The people immediately place their trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They are immediately filled with the Holy Spirit and baptized.
  • Peter and the believers who came with him stay a few days to further disciple the new believers.

This is like a 30-minute sitcom. Everything works out perfectly with a happy ending. It doesn’t usually work this way.

Often we are one small part of a long chain of spiritual encounters. Every part is important and valuable.

  • Maybe we plant seeds, building relationship, and trust.
  • Maybe we have the change to pray with someone or share a testimony.
  • Maybe we are the ones to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
  • Maybe we are the ones who encourage and disciple a person after they come to faith.

We need to know how to help at every point in the process, including how to share the Good News in graceful and simple ways.

Below you will find the drawings which accompany the explanation on the recording. This method of sharing the Good News is called The Bridge. 

If you want to add scriptures to your explanation, consider using these passages from the book of Romans. They’re often called The Roman Road.

Romans 3:23
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 5:8
God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 10:9
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.

For a slightly different version of The Bridge by the Navigators entitled One Verse Evangelism, click here 

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean 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.

sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording- My Story, God’s Story (Titus 3, 1 Peter 3)

group conversation

Sermon Series: Hometown Missionary
Message 3 of 5: My Story, God’s Story
Scriptures: Titus 3:3-7
This message was offered Sunday, 7/22/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

The Classic Testimony- Your Conversion

Consider these helpful questions when writing and sharing the story of how you came to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Speak as you would normally speak. Keep your testimony to 2-3 minutes.

My Life Before Christ

  • What did my life revolve around?
  • Where did I get my security, identity or happiness from?
  • How did those things begin to let me down?

How I Came to Christ

  • When was the first time I heard the gospel? What were my initial reactions?
  • When and why did my perspective begin to change toward Christ?
  • What were the final struggles that went through my mind just before I accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation and new life?
  • Why did I finally decide to follow Jesus? (or deepen my commitment to Jesus, or give Jesus complete control of my life)?

My Life After Coming to Christ

  • How is my life different now? List some specific changes in your character, attitude, and perspective on life.
  • What motivates me now? What do I live for?
  • Even though my life still isn’t perfect, how does knowing Christ help me deal with that fact?

Testifying to our Hope- The stories of God at work along the journey of faith 

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) … Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean 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.

sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording- The Witness of Prayer (Philippians 1, Numbers 6)

prayer group hands

Sermon Series: Hometown Missionary
Message 2 of 5: The Witness of Prayer
Scriptures: Philippians 1:1-11; Numbers 6:24-26
This message was offered Sunday, 7/15/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Click Here for Bishop Ken Carter’s Story: The Gospel, a stranger, and the burnt ends of the brisket

What about this story speaks to you?

We live in a missionary age. Less than 20% of the American population actively practices the Christian faith.

So where do we begin as hometown missionaries? We begin by hanging out with people, really listening, really caring. Treat people are people, not projects.

As we share back and forth, needs are revealed. This leads to praying. Hometown missionaries need to know how to pray out loud when the moment presents itself.

1. The questions

Be gracious and humble. Prayer is never imposed or forced on someone.

  • How can I best pray for you?
  • May I pray right now? May I offer a blessing?
  • May I touch your shoulder? May I hold your hand?
  • Take your time. Make space to help the person realized God is already present. Look the person in the eye.

The witness of prayer: When I was in seminary, I was walking with a classmate. I shared a concern and asked for prayer. He stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and said, “Let’s pray now.” It was so meaningful, I still remember is 20 years later.

2. Pray out loud

A. Offer a Sentence Prayer: Name for God + Verb + Name of Person

  • Lord, help my friend Steve
  • Jesus, strengthen Lori
  • Holy Spirit, fill John with wisdom

You’ve been listening to the person, so you know the need.

B. Offer a blessing: Consider memorizing Numbers 6:24-26 (The Priestly Benediction/Blessing God gave to Moses and Aaron). Write the blessing on a piece of paper and put it on your mirror as you brush your teeth or near your computer screen.

Here’s what it means:

24 The Lord bless you and keep you;

  • May the Lord constantly bring good into your life
  • May the Lord protect you and guard all that is sacred and precious about you

25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;

  • Imagine how a person’s face lights up when they hold a baby. God’s face shines on you in the same way. This is a reminder that God delights in you. May you know how beloved you are.
  • Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting better than what we deserve. We all need grace. Grace upon grace.

26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

  • Imagine you walk into a room and a person is working at a computer. The person stops what she’s doing and looks up at you, giving you her full attention. God is fully attentive to you. God is here, already at work, already reaching out to you, loving you.
  • May you know God’s presence and peace

Remember to continue to make space after the prayer or blessing. Often, the realization of God’s presence causes the person to want to talk more, to share even more deeply.

3. Follow up – The Evidence of Prayer 

As in the story, promise to continue to pray. Follow up with the person with a written note, text, call, or Facebook message. A written prayer can be read again and again. Offer something simple- I’m praying for you. I’m here for you

When you see the person, offer something simple like “It’s so good to see you.” Leave space to let them lead the conversation.

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean 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.

sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording- Come and See (John 1.35-42)

coffee hang out relationship

Sermon Series: Hometown Missionary
Message 1 of 5: Come and See, Hanging Out and Making Invitations
Scriptures: John 1:35-42
This message was offered Sunday, 7/8/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

When you think of a missionary, what comes to mind?

  • Special people  who are identified and sent by a congregation
  • They have a calling from God and are trained to fulfill it
  • Mature, devoted followers of Jesus Christ
  • Often leave home to go to a far off, developing country
  • Might learn a new language
  • Might bring a skill like medical training, construction experience, knowledge of water purification techniques, teaching
  • Special people who choose a life of sacrifice, poverty, and danger
    • Praise the Lord that 2 of the 3 UMC missionaries in the Philippines have been released. Continue to pray for the release of Miracle.

Missionaries fulfill the great commission literally- They Go!

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Lo, I am with you always to the end of the age. – Matthew 28:19-20 

Our job in fulfilling the great commission is to recognize and affirm their call, to support them in their training and mission work with our prayers, our money, and by sending supplies. Occasionally we might go on a short-term mission trip, but they stay “in country.”

This model no longer works. The world has changed. America has changed. America is now a missionary territory.

In the story of my family, there are 5 generations without faith in Jesus Christ. That’s 100 years.

We now live in Post Christendom America. Christianity no longer has preferential treatment in our society. It’s sometimes subtle and sometimes it’s downright hostile.

  • 24/7 work week + increased workloads, the need for 2 income families, job plus a side hustle, jobs in retirement
  • So many options for how to spend our time and money
  • So much pressure to raise “well rounded” kids who are committed to sports plus arts plus making great grades

Many of us came to faith when all you had to do was build a church and people would come. It was part of the culture.

How many of us trained to be missionaries? Very few! Therefore there is no shame in not knowing how to do this. We’ll spend the next few weeks reclaiming the missionary heart, prayers, and practices of our spiritual ancestors.

Take a breath. It’s ok if this is new for you, even uncomfortable. It is for me as well. I’ll be learning and trying out new things right alongside you. God’s power will be made perfect in our weakness.

So where do we start? We start simple just like they did in Bible times. We hang out with people. We build a relationship, build trust. Be a great friend. Care about folks with no agenda. God will open the door for deeper discussions.

Read John 1:35-42

Understand Who You’re Hanging out with/Inviting

This pie chart helps us understand the US population’s relationship with Christ and his church. Different groups are best reached in different ways

pie chart us population relationship with christ

Group 1 = Green and Gold Areas of the Chart

These persons have firsthand experience with words and ways of Jesus. (Scripture, Prayer, Holy Communion, Serving Others). They know church language, are comfortable in a sanctuary and in worship, and are comfortable around other Christians.

  • Dark Green (10%) name themselves Christians, have a church home, and are active participants one or more times per month.
  • Light Green (10%) name themselves Christians, have a church home, and are active participants less than once per month but more than just Christmas and Easter.
  • Gold (20%) name themselves Christians, have had a church home in the past but not currently, and are open to reconnecting to active participation with a congregation.

Group 1 Invitations = Come and See  

  • Easy to hang out with persons in this group because we have so much in common
  • Because of their experiences, you can invite these persons directly to church activities and worship

Group 2 = Orange area of the chart (20%)

These persons also have firsthand experience with words and ways of Jesus but are now uncomfortable at a church and around other Christians. They may have been hurt by a church experience. They may be angry at the church or at God. They may be ashamed of something or just adopted new priorities. They are closed to reconnecting with a congregation and maybe even faith itself.

Group 2 Invitations = We’re different

  • This takes much more prayer and relationship building.
  • Help persons discover our congregation is different from the hurtful one they previously experienced.
  • Different might mean relationships, theology, style, values, motivation, and/or goals.
  • Build trust, pray, and invite them to meet other Christians or try inviting them to events which will meet felt needs

Group 3 = Blue Area of the Chart (40%)

This represents persons who have little to no experience with the words and ways of Jesus. If the orange group is done, the blue group is none. All they know about Christianity is from TV, movies, and novels. (how often is that accurate?) They may have never stepped foot into a sanctuary. Coming to worship might feel like walking on Mars. They may not have had a Christian in their family or friends for generations, have never had a Christian in their family/friends, or even know a Christian.

For me, the longer I am a Christian, the fewer people I know in this group. I need help in this area.

Group 3 invitations = Go!

  • Reaching persons in this group is similar to foreign mission work.
  • It’s about cross-cultural relationship building on their turf rather than the church campus.
  • Invite them to out for coffee or for a meal, activity together

Your mission should you choose to accept it: Make space to hang out with people. Be a real friend. Really care. No agenda. Listen deeply. Be consistent. Treat people as people, not as a project.

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean 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.

sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Advent Photo-A-Day: Day 1, Go

01 GoThe thought behind the photo:
This is the parking lot exit sign at Community United Methodist Church in DeBary. It reminds me that the mission field is all around me. I have the joy and privilege of joining Jesus in his saving work every day. – Lisa <><

As I have read the Gospels over the years, the belief has grown in me that Christ did not come to found an organized religion but came instead to found an unorganized one. He seems to have come to carry religion out of the temples into the fields and sheep pastures, onto the roadsides and the banks of the rivers, into the houses of sinners and publicans, into the town and the wilderness, toward the membership of all that is here. Well, you can read and see what you think. ― Wendell Barry, Jayber Crow

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 28:19-20 NRSV
Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The December 1, 2013 devotion from http://umrethinkchurch.tumblr.com
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 2:2-5 [The Message]
There’s a day coming when the mountain of God’s House Will be The Mountain – solid, towering over all mountains. All nations will river toward it, people from all over set out for it. They’ll say, “Come, let’s climb God’s Mountain, go to the House of the God of Jacob. He’ll show us the way he works so we can live the way we’re made.” Zion’s the source of the revelation. God’s Message comes from Jerusalem. He’ll settle things fairly between nations. He’ll make things right between many peoples. They’ll turn their swords into shovels, their spears into hoes. No more will nation fight nation; they won’t play war anymore. Come, family of Jacob, let’s live in the light of God.   

Today marks the first day of Advent. A time in the church where we prepare…to wait. But by the beginning of Advent, we have already been prepped by commercials for that big thing we are waiting for: Christmas. The sales following Thanksgiving come earlier and earlier, and this year, some stores opened just hours after folks would probably be having their second slice of pumpkin pie.

A quick walk around the downtown storefronts and one wouldn’t have to use much imagination to be transported to a wintery wonderland in another time and place where visions of sugarplums dance in our heads.

In this passage from Isaiah, however, we are shown another time and place; another vision. A place that we don’t need commercials to prep us for. A place that we long for. A place where justice reigns and God’s house will be established. A place where implements of war and destruction become instruments for peace. A time and a place where the brokenness around us is transformed.

Seems impossible, doesn’t it, to envision this new reality? When is this day coming? The idea of checking off a Christmas shopping list sometimes seems the more attainable task.

But what if we journeyed toward that mountain together and started by saying that today was the day when we would start living and walking in this light of God?

Will you go?

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Thank you Rethink Church for a great way to make preparing for Christmas more meaningful. Join me and thousands more in setting aside time to reflect, focus, and literally picture the deep themes of Jesus’ birth.

Click here for more information on Advent Photo-A-Day from Rethink Church.

Click here for a master list of links to my submissions. Lisa <><