Monday, October 18, 2010

Order of Service: Meeting in Worship for Business October 24th, 2010

Sunday we will try something new in order to honor something old. Traditionally Friends have not separated their worship from conducting business. In order to honor this practice, we will incorporate our business into our morning worship. The order for worship will be as follows.

Welcome, Prayer

Worship in the Word

*Worship in Songs of Praise

Spontaneous Adoration- “God you are…”

Message Pastor Charity

Open Worship

Prayer for concerns in the body

Prayer of Confession- “We fall short and need you…”



Pastor’s Report

Treasurer’s Report

Prayer of Thanks- “Lord, we thank you…”

Worship with our Tithes and Offerings

Team Reports

Old Business

New Business

Prayer of Supplication- “God help us…”

Spontaneous Responses “I have seen God today…”




Greetings & Noisy Offering for Shiloh House (as we depart)

Weekly Schedule 10/17/2010

Tuesday October 19th-- Coffee at Amanda's 9:30 am
Women's Group 6:30 pm

Sunday October 24th-
Sunday School 9:30am
Fellowship time 10:30am
Meeting in Worship for Business 10:45am

Northeast Friends Area Rally at Emporia!
Executive Meeting 3:30 pm
Carry-in Dinner 5:00 pm
Evening Service 6:15 pm

Coming Up!!

Oct 31st Celebrate Our Kids! Worship at 10 am
Oct 31st Run for Missions 5k & 10k in Haviland, KS
Nov 1st Run for Missions 100 miles from Wichita to Haviland!

Living the Mission Part 4

Matthew 28:18-20. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go 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 I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Literally translated, the highlighted section says, “Teach them to guard and treasure all that I commanded you to do.”

Many times we think that this is an overwhelming task. We see all that Jesus taught and the length of the gospels thinking that we will never be able to teach others all that Jesus commanded. Surprisingly, though, Jesus only ever talked about three commands. When asked about the greatest commandment in the Law, Jesus responded in Mark's gospel as follows.


These two commands are said elsewhere to sum up the entirety of the Law and Prophets. Jesus places the love of God and the love of our fellow man above all else. There is only one time that Jesus himself gives a command to his followers. We find it in John's gospel recorded in two separate chapters.

John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

John 15: 12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14 "You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing ; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 17 "This I command you, that you love one another.

All of these passages speak of Agape love: to be fond of, also a choice not necessarily a feeling-hospitality/welcome, to be contented with. In my view, Jesus commands us to find contentment and fulfillment in God, choosing to serve those around us with kindness/fondness, giving special attention to our fellow believers.

It may seem too simplistic, but remember that Jesus is talking to fishermen and tax collectors and regular guys. He intended them to be able to fulfill this mission, and he expects that we are able as well.

We can start with those basic commands to love, then move on to the specific teachings of Jesus which fall under those commands: love your enemy, don’t slander your brother, don’t lust after women, fulfill your marriage vows, just be honest without having to make pledges and oaths, forgive and stop trying to get revenge, don’t take advantage of needy people, do good but don’t flaunt it, find your delight in heavenly things not temporary things of the earth.

When we look closely at all of Christ's teachings, they exemplify the living out of those commands to love God, love others, and love our fellow believers.

We have to be careful not to pick and choose what we teach or what we guard and keep ourselves. We like to pick out things that make us look good and others look bad.

If we are forgiving and gracious with our enemies, but we struggle with temptations of the flesh, we are likely to focus on forgiveness and brush past the teaching that lust is on the same level as adultery. We can’t do that, though. Jesus said to teach everything he commanded. We don't get to pick and choose to which areas of our lives we apply his commands of love.

And the command is not simply to obey and teach others to obey, but to keep and treasure and guard closely what Jesus taught. We are to treasure Jesus’ commands. Because they bring life and fullness and peace and they strengthen relationships. Obedience is a drudge, treasure is exciting! His commands are precious; his teachings help us to see much of our lives from God’s perspective.

So, our task is to live out the Mission, “Go, and as you are on your way invite all kinds of people to follow and learn from Jesus, pickling them in the very essence of God, teaching them to treasure all my commands.” But we don't do it alone. All of this is followed by the promise “Surely I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.” Jesus is on our team. The Holy Spirit is at work in us transforming us as we follow Jesus, empowering us to serve others and we have the support of our fellow believers to encourage us to keep Living the Mission.

Monday, October 11, 2010

This Week's Schedule 10/10/10

Tuesday October 12th-- Elder's Meeting 6:30 pm

Sunday October 17th-
Regular Sunday Schedule--

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

Coming Up!!
Oct 24th Meeting in Worship for Business
Oct 24th Northeast Friends Area Rally at Emporia!
Oct 31st Celebrate Our Kids! Worship at 10 am
Oct 31st Run for Missions 5k & 10k!

Living the Mission Part 3

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always , even to the end of the age."

Baptism is perhaps the most misunderstood concept in Christianity. We cannot depend on tradition and ritual to form our perspective on this essential element of our faith. Two extremes exist: you must be water baptized to be saved on one hand, and the extreme Quaker view of banning the practice of water baptism. Both come from a good intention to do things right, but both perspectives miss the point. Immersion in water is an ancient practice that comes before Christianity. It is a Jewish ritual known as Mikvah, or washing. It was essentially an invitation for the divine to fully surround and invade a person's life. But even in that practice, the true test of the practice was not the performing of a ritual, but the heart of the individual.

I say that baptism is misunderstood, because we are so accustomed to the ritual of water baptism, that when we see the word baptize we see only a picture of the ritual we are familiar with. In order to truly understand baptism, we must set aside our thoughts on the ritual and look instead at the actual words of Jesus in this verse.

He says, "Go and make disciples, baptizing them..." The word that Jesus uses here is baptizo defined by The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon as follows.

Baptizo: to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk at sea) to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one's self, bathe to overwhelm

Not to be confused with bapto. The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making picklesand is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be 'dipped'(bapto) into boiling water and then 'baptised' (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change. When used in the New Testament, this word more often refers to our union and identification with Christ than to our water baptism. e.g.Mark 16:16. 'He that believes and is baptised shall be saved'.Christ is saying that mere intellectual assent is not enough. There must be a union with him, a real change, like the vegetable to the pickle!
Bible Study Magazine, James Montgomery Boice, May 1989.

Jesus says to "baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." The word name is the Greek word onoma and is defined by The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon as follows.

Onoma: name: universal of proper names the name is used for everything which the name covers, everything the thought or feeling of which is aroused in the mind by mentioning, hearing, remembering, the name, i.e. for one's rank, authority, interests, pleasure, command, excellences, deeds etc.

Further investigation of this concept revealed that "in Jewish thought, a name is not merely an arbitrary designation, a random combination of sounds. The name conveys the nature and essence of the thing named. It represents the history and reputation of the being named."

In Matthew 28, I believe Jesus is saying something new and different. He is not merely prescribing a ritual immersion in water, but rather an immersion of oneself in the very essence of God. It is the inward washing of the soul, and literally pickling of the person in the substance of God. It implies transformation in the very identity of the person involved. Like the cucumber that goes into the solution and comes out a pickle. This transformation is not done with water, but by immersing oneself in the person of God.

This soaking in God, according to the early Friends, is something that can happen with or without the ritual of water baptism. In their view, if the Holy Spirit is at work in a person's life bringing about transformation then water is not necessary. If however the Spirit is not at work in a person's life to bring about transformation then no amount of water is sufficient.

We participate in this process in ourselves by remaining in Christ, abiding in him. As we remain in him, his power is at work within us changing us from the inside out. We can invite others to soak up Christ by living changed lives in front of them and by sharing with them what we have experienced of who God is, what he is like, what we have seen him do in our own lives.

“Go and make disciples of all nations, pickling them in the very essence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19

Living the Mission Part 2

Mt 28:19 As you are going about your way, make disciples of all nations.

What does it mean to make disciples of all nations? The word nations really means people groups. It can refer to people in any group that we categorize them into. For the New Testament believers, there was a temptation to only share the gospel with those like themselves. This is dealt with by most writers in the New Testament, whether they are writing historical accounts in the Gospels or outlining theology and church practice in the epistles.

What are the dividing categories today? We suffer from the same tendencies as those in the New Testament Church. Many times we group people by nationality or race. We group people by gender. We group people by social class. We may even group people by those we like and those we don't. We tend to invite others to follow Jesus who are like us and avoid inviting those who are different.

Galatians 3:26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Who is it challenging to invite along to follow and learn from Jesus? Sometimes it is difficult to invite people to follow Jesus who disagree with us in matters of politics or those who have a different world view. Democrats may not invite Republicans, Conservatives may not invite Liberals, hybrid car drivers may not invite those with SUV's. We may not be able to invite those who have wronged us in the past. We may not be inviting those we consider a threat to ourselves and others, like ex-offenders and parolees.

Colossians 3:11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

We must be willing to invite others along the way, even if they are not the people we would normally hang out with. God created each individual and gives each of us great value as his children. We need to look at others and see children of God instead of the typical labels. If we disagree on some issue or another, that is fine. If we trust God to teach others what he has taught us, we can rest assured that he will correct any attitude or opinion that is wrong. And we need to allow him to correct our wrong attitudes and opinions as well while we continue to follow and learn from him.

Jesus gave us this command, "Go and as you are going on your way, make disciples of all kinds of people." Let's trust him enough to obey.

Living the Mission Part 1

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always , even to the end of the age."

Jesus said “Go and make disciples.”In modern church practice, this command has become “Go and make church members,” or “Go and plant churches,” or “Go be a missionary in a foreign country.” But if this is the case, we would all have to become experts in church marketing, church planting or move to a foreign country.

But Jesus meant this to be the ongoing mission of those who followed him. He gave his commission to fishermen, former tax collectors, regular guys. It seems to me that he was giving a reasonable and attainable goal to people who were fit for the task. If Jesus gave this responsibility to these regular guys, and his assignment was doable, do you think maybe we have misinterpreted his command?

Let's set aside what we think we know about making disciples and look fresh at what the Bible says about discipleship. Well, first let's ask some questions. What is it we are supposed to be doing? Making disciples. What is a disciple? A disciple is a learner and a follower.

When we think of disciples, we often think of the twelve, and we see in Mark 3 that Jesus called them out of the many other disciples—many others who were following him—and chose them to be with him. He called them out to follow him more closely, so he could give them a special task of preaching and driving out demons. But they were not the twelve disciples, they were the twelve apostles. An apostle is a person who is sent out, a disciple is one who follows and learns. Not all of us are called to be apostles, but all of us are called to be disciples and to make disciples.

The mission given by Jesus to his followers was: go and make disciples. But to make a disciple first a person has to be a disciple. You have to be a follower and learner.
Jesus said this about being his follower:
Hidden Treasure
Matthew 13:44 "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."

A Costly Pearl
Matthew 13:45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it."

When we realize the value we have in Christ, we are willing to lay down everything we thought was treasure before so that we can embrace the real treasure in Christ. We can do that confidently because the Kingdom of Heaven is also seeking us. God is out there seeking to be in relationship with each of us, he sees in us a pearl of great price. He gave everything, even his own life to pave a way for us to walk with him.

Our primary job in fulfilling the Great Commission is being a disciple ourselves. Then we can invite others to follow Jesus and learn from him along with us. We can show them the treasure we have found in Christ and what great value they have in the eyes and heart of God the Father. Doesn't that seem a little more doable than becoming a church marketing expert? You don't have to sell church to your friends, or sell a particular brand of Christianity. Just follow Jesus and invite the people you meet along for the journey.

Wrapping up the Fruit of the Spirit

Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control

James 2:14-26.

In the New Testament, the same Greek word is used for faith and faithfulness. The two concepts are inseparable. New Testament writers assume that where there is faith there is faithfulness!

In the Old Testament faithfulness meant steadfastness, reliable, straightforward, what you see is what you get kind of living. God represents the ultimate example of this. There is no shadow, no hidden agenda with God. He is who he is, in fact this is what God said to Abraham from the burning bush, “I am who I am.” God walks the walk. He does what he says, he acts from the integrity of his character.

For us today, Old Testament calls to faithfulness are calls to act in the same way, to be who we say we are. Jesus echoes this call when he says “let your yes be yes and your no, no.” In James 2, James is encountering people who incredibly think that they can believe, have faith, without that faith affecting their lives and choices. We encounter the same thinking today.

Faithfulness is not really an option, though. True faith leads to our acting out of faith. The example James uses is key. Abraham acted on his faith and it was credited to him as righteousness. Works do not create faith. You can have empty works. But when we say we believe something and follow through, it shows our faith to be complete in that area.

1 Peter 3:15 "But in your hearts set apart Christ as LORD. 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.2 Timothy 2:24 And the LORD's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth."

Gentleness/Meekness means trusting God to do his work. When we understand who God is, we know that he does not need us to defend him. We do not have to fight on his behalf. We know and understand that God will do his work, he will carry out his plans. This enables us to be at peace within ourselves and to act gently towards those around us, even those who oppose us.

Gentleness is easy when it comes to those on our side, but God is instructing us through his servants Peter and Paul in their letters to the young Church that we are to be gentle with those who oppose us and mock our faith. They are people loved by God, and we must make sure that we do not turn them away from him and his plan to bring them to repentance.

There is an old story, which may or may not be factual about George Fox and William Penn regarding carrying a sword. Whether true or not, it makes a good example of this kind of gentle spirit. Penn feels out of sync with his fellow Quakers and asks Fox if it is permissible to continue wearing a sword. Fox responds that Penn ought to wear it as long as he is able. The implication is that if God wants to convict Penn about his wearing a sword, God will do so. Fox does not see a need to take on God's role, but trusts in who he knows God is.

We can do the same in our dealings with others, whether Christian or not, by sharing our beliefs gently and trusting God to lead and guide them into all Truth.

Colossians 2:1-23.

Self-control is not something we like to talk about. We associate it with following rules and in many cases with extreme legalism. In truth, controlling oneself is exactly what it seems. It is to control ourselves in situations where we face temptations. It is controlling the passions of the flesh. It is not, however, following a set of religious rules and regulations. It is not a matter of ritual and self-denial. In fact, Paul tells us in Colossians 2:23 that those practices seem wise, but do nothing to help us control our passions.

The key to self-control is found earlier in the chapter. Paul encourages the believers to continue to walk in Christ; to continue to allow Christ to make them new and complete from the inside out. Self-control is something that comes from our will. We must want to do right. In order for that to happen, we must be renewed in our minds and our desires.

This renewal is accomplished by Christ in us as we allow him to dwell in us and as we dwell in him. Paul says our hearts are literally circumcised and the sinful nature in us is cut off. We can still choose to sin, but sin does not have the same control over our lives as it once did. We receive power to resist temptation and to walk away from those things which invite destruction into our lives. This does not happen because of religion, but by living daily in the presence of Christ.

The Fruit of the Spirit must grow in us. It takes time. We must remain connected to the vine to receive the life and power to continue to grow and produce fruit. If we remain connected to Christ, the true vine, this fruit will grow in us as naturally as grapes grow on a grape vine. Trust in him to produce fruit in you, stop striving and rest knowing that he will accomplish his good plans for your life.