Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This week's message-Bread

John 6:1-14.
Jesus feeds five thousand men, plus women and children of an undetermined number with the lunch of a young boy. Close to 10,000 people were following Jesus just to see what he would do next. They had heard about his miraculous signs with the sick and had followed him around the Sea of Galilee. Jesus stops to rest with his disciples and as they watch these 10,000 people coming towards them, filling the horizon, Jesus turns to Phillip and asks what he thinks they should do about these hungry people.

There was a need. The people had followed Jesus for days, who knows when they had last bought bread, or even if they had money to do so. They were hungry. Jesus knew it, the disciples knew it; these people needed to eat.

Phillip answers Jesus that it is impossible, eight months wages--200 denarii--would be needed to buy bread for each one to have just a bite. When we look at that number it seems disconnected from our daily lives. What would eight months wages look like for the average worker today? $8,000; $10,000; $12,000--or more would be today's equivalent. For each person to have a bite, they would need a small fortune.

Andrew offers a little help, but in his mind not enough. He shows Jesus a lunch packed by a young person--five loaves, two fish--maybe enough for Jesus and the disciples to have a bite, but not much more. No wonder he asks, "How far would that go among so many?" But the gift is offered, no matter how small.

Now Jesus takes that tiny offering, and he uses it to fulfill the great need by filling in with a miraculous provision. He breaks the bread and tells the disciples to distribute it and the fish to this great crowd. As he breaks off chunks of bread, they just keep coming. He says, "Give them as much as they want."

Jesus does not ask for a resume, or a portfolio. He does not even turn within to his own knowledge of the people's sin and righteousness. There is a need, and he is filling it. The only prerequisite is hunger. And the people do not turn the provision away. No one is sitting around saying, "Sorry, I only eat rye bread and this is barley." The gift is freely given and freely received.

The world is full of seemingly impossible problems. Just looking at the year 2010 so far we have had an earthquake in Haiti, an earthquake in China, an earthquake in South America, tsunamis from the earthquake in South America, flooding in Nashville, wars in the Middle East, countless children and women being forced into the sex trade, an oil well disaster that threatens the lives and safety of countless people, animals, an entire ecosystem. Closer to home are personal tragedies, people with lost income, lost loved ones, lost hope. So often we have a hard time seeing how we can be a part of the solution.

What we have is so small compared to the enormity of the problem. Just like that young person with their lunch, five loaves and two fish to feed thousands, we have a limited amount of resources. But if we will offer what we have, we can see God do something great. If we will be obedient to give what we can, we will see God do what we cannot.

What do you have to offer? A small gift of your time, energy, and resources can be the beginning of something great. You can't bring someone's loved one back to life, but can you make a cup of tea? You can't mop up the oil spill, but can you walk instead of drive? You can't repair all the damage from natural disasters, but can you give $5 to an organization who is at work in those areas? Whenever there is a great need, when we are faithful with a little, God can take that small gift and miraculously provide the solution.

This week's schedule 6-27

No Activities this week

Sunday July 4th-
Regular Sunday Schedule--

Sunday School 9:30am
Fellowship time 10:30am
Morning Worship 10:45am
Spanish-speaking service 3:00pm

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

This week's schedule 6/13

No Activities this week

Sunday June 20-
Regular Sunday Schedule--

Sunday School 9:30am
Fellowship time 10:30am
Morning Worship 10:45am
Spanish-speaking service 3:00pm

Sunday, June 6, 2010

This Week's Schedule 6/6/10

Tuesday June 8th-- Ruth Gilman Funeral
at the church 1:30 pm

Wednesday June 9th-- "What's So Amazing About Grace?"
Ladies Study 6:30pm in the Adult Sunday School Classroom

Friday June 11th-- Ed Dillon Funeral 2:00 pm
at Robert's-Blue-Barnett Funeral Home

Regular Sunday Schedule-- Sunday School 9:30am
Fellowship time 10:30am
Morning Worship 10:45am
Spanish-speaking service 3:00pm

Pray for our kids at camp this week!

This week's message: Rebellion and Repentance

Jonah chapters 1-2.
We see Jonah moving from a place of closeness with God to trying to hide himself from God's face. In the process, Jonah is moving from a high place to lower and lower places. He starts in Jerusalem and goes down to Joppa to board a ship. Once on the ship he goes down into the lower decks. When the storm rises, Jonah is even in a deep sleep. When they throw him overboard, he sinks down and comes to an all time low after being swallowed by a fish. So we see this progression from high to low, from near to far in his relationship with God.

All of this because God asked Jonah to do his job. Jonah was a prophet. His job was to hear from God and tell the people God's words. This time, though, Jonah does not want to speak forth the words of God. Jonah has been asked to go to Nineveh, the capital city of the nation seeking to overthrow and conquer his nation and his people. "Get up and go!" was God's command. Jonah did get up and go, but in the opposite direction.

When Jonah finds himself unable to hide himself from God, having been swallowed by a great fish, he cries out to God. In chapter 2, we see a prayer of Jonah's and interestingly enough he never says he is sorry. Jonah never asks for forgiveness. He does not grovel. He does not bargain. He simply sees his situation of being at the end of himself--literally at the end of his life--and calls out to God.

And God hears him. God lifts Jonah out of the pit he has dug for himself. This is not in reference to Jonah's position in the stomach of a fish, but rather a renewed sense that life is not over. God lifts him out of the pit, then Jonah makes a commitment to fulfill his responsibility as a prophet, and finally God causes the fish to vomit Jonah onto dry land.

Too often, we find ourselves resisting what we know God wants us to do. So we run and try to hide ourselves, but we never move in a positive direction. We descend, further from God, further from the source of our life. We find ourselves in a fish-belly of a mess. The key is to realize that God is waiting for your cry. He is not standing by waiting to make sure you are "really sorry" before he jumps in. One cry, one call for help, one extended hand and God is there to breathe new life and restore you to right relationship with himself.

I don't know what God is calling you to do. Your Nineveh is probably much different from my Nineveh. It may be that your Nineveh is in your own home, shining a light to your family. It may be that your Nineveh is in your extended family. Maybe your Nineveh is taking the light of Christ with you into the workplace when you would much rather leave it at home. It could be even bigger like answering a call to minister or to go to other nations to bear witness to Christ at work within your life. Whatever the call, I encourage you to answer it with a "yes."

Please don't wait until you find yourself in the belly of a whale to make your choice. And who knows what God has planned to do with your witness. In Jonah's situation, his obedience paid off in ways he could never have imagined, making a difference in the lives of thousands.