Sermon from October 25th, 2020. Blades United Methodist Church
Sermon from Online Worship April 26th, 2020
What Have You Heard?
Let’s look at what Jesus said and compare what you have heard.
Matthew 5:21-30 (AMP)
“You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not murder,’ and ‘Whoever murders shall be guilty before the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice against him shall be guilty before the court; and whoever speaks [contemptuously and insultingly] to his brother, ‘Raca (You empty-headed idiot)!’ shall be guilty before the supreme court (Sanhedrin); and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of the fiery hell. So if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and while there you remember that your brother has something [such as a grievance or legitimate complaint] against you, leave your offering there at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother, and then come and present your offering. Come to terms quickly [at the earliest opportunity] with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way [to court], so that your opponent does not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you are thrown into prison. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid the last cent.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who [so much as] looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble and leads you to sin, tear it out and throw it away [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble and leads you to sin, cut it off and throw it away [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
John 21: 1-19 (NIV)
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. “
Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
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Not Yet? Why wait, God is here and ready, profess your faith now!
Jesus hears John the Baptist is dead. This was his cousin. This was the man who announced this is the One we have been waiting for and baptized him. So Jesus is understandably upset, Jesus wants to have some solitude to mourn. So he leaves Nazareth, looking for some alone time. So in our story, Jesus is trying to be alone, but by this time in His ministry, it is very hard for him to find solitude. The crowds, seeing him heal people, hearing about miracles he has done, and hearing him teach, they want more, they know they need more Jesus. So when word gets out, Jesus is heading over here, the people figure out where he is going, and Jesus arrives to not just a crowd, but a “large crowd.” So Jesus being Jesus, changes his plan…. “he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” So Jesus had this plan… I need sometime by myself, time to mourn, I’m pretty sure he would have been spending time in prayer. Time to recharge the batteries. Yet when something happened, people needed him, he changed his plans and took care of the people who were there. So Jesus has been ministering to the people, and now his closest friends they are kind of worried about this change of plans. Wow there are a lot of people here, it is getting kind of late and who is going to take care of getting them getting feed. Can you imagine the conversation between the disciples. Peter, he’ll listen to you, go tell him we can’t feed all these people. No, you go John, he loves you. Lazarus who handles the money, looks in the money bag, Someone better go tell him, no way we can afford to feed all these people…. That was not in the plan…. So they decide, they make a plan, we’ll all go together, then he’ll listen.
Of course Jesus doesn’t like that plan.. He tells them, “you give them something to eat.” So in this story, we have these plans, Jesus who wants to have some quiet time. The disciples, they want Jesus to tell the people, hey it’s getting late, time for you to go.. Jesus is all about changing plans to meet the needs of the people…Jesus is all about changing plans to share God’s Love with people. I think everyone here has experienced God changing our plans. As the saying goes, we make our plans, and God laughs.. I don’t think that is Biblical, however I bet it does make him smile as we make our plans… So why bother to even plan for things? Isn’t God going to provide for us?
I think it is important for us to make our plans. We need to follow good thinking, good planning, we need to always pray over our plans, ask God to help guide us. I think when we do this, it shows our commitment. We planned to move to Delaware full-time, after lots of thinking, discussing, and praying…. Only after we felt like God was not going to object to us doing that, did we go on…. However as with most of my plans, they never go as I expect them to…. and it caused a great deal of stress in our lives. One thing it did not do was create doubt about God-loving us and being with us. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have some heated discussions with God. I want to share
this with you, if you are mad at God for something, you may as well vocalize it. Go ahead and yell at him. God knows when you are mad or upset with Him. You may as well let it out. Here are a couple of sayings I like a “Failing to plan, is planning to fail.” & “A bad plan is better than no plan.” See we need to make our plans, I think it shows our commitment to God. OK God here is what I am planning, here is what we are planning, what do you think? So let us make our plans, try to line them up with God’s plan, God’s will…… But never, never use a pen when making those plans. unless you have a lot of white out. Use a pencil, be ready to make changes to your plans as things happen, as Life happens.
I always try to be thinking, Is God trying to show me something, or teach me something. Just like he was always trying to show and teach the disciples….verse 16 “Jesus replied They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” and How often are we just like the disciples, I don’t have enough to give the people. There is so much need in this world, we can get overwhelmed if we think too much about it. How can my little bit make a difference. Then of course we are busy, busy, busy. We think “I just don’t have the time to commit to something.” It is getting late, Jesus, send the people away so they will have time to get food. All they had was five loaves of bread and two fish. If we look at what we have to offer, it can seem to be to little, too late. I did my part, I served, I gave, now It’s time to ease up a little. What we sometimes forget, is that God has his own math. God takes what little we offer with the right attitude, and multiplies it so that it is more than enough. When we give of ourselves, when we give our money, when we give our time, with gladness and thanksgiving, God is going o Bless it. from verse 19 “Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven He gave thanks, and broke the loaves.” God is always working in the background, using what we have, Sometimes working days, months, years ahead. Taking what we offer, God multiplies it so that it is more than enough. Jesus is telling us today, You feed them…the crowds are hungry….and do you know what the crowds are really hungry for today? The Gospel message of Jesus Christ….. God loves them, God Love You!!
He wants to have a relationship with You! John 3:16-17 (NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
This message is just as relevant and important today, as at any point in history…. Our challenge is how to let the crowds know…how do we feed them God’s Love.. I think an important way to do that is person to person…..telling your story…. What God means to you. How has having a relationship with Jesus changed your life. You share your story with someone, you invite someone to come with you to church. You go to visit someone who can’t get around like they used to. God is going to bless what you offer. You are sharing what you have gotten from God, His Love. Each person here has something to offer God. God has placed you here to be a part of serving and growing His Kingdom here today. If you aren’t sure how or what to give, that’s OK. The important thing is God knows. So lets follow this logically. If God knows, what he gave you, don’t you think he’s going to let you know. Maybe Help point you in the right direction?
The most important thing to offer God, is just make yourself available to do what he wants you to do. It really is, Just be who God created you to be. It may take a little more time in prayer, a little more time reading God’s Word. But it really is just being the best you can be, today. Don’t worry about yesterday, that is like history, gone. Tomorrow, it isn’t here yet. Let us just be who God wants us to be today. So like the disciples, giving the five loaves and two fish, don’t you think you should “give God what you got?” I tell you, you give God what you got and he will amaze you with what happens when, you give God what you got…… Amen…
From sermon 8/06/2017
From my message 7/02/2017
For me God’s word is kind of like coffee………Now stay with me…..
In a previous church my wife and I would help with fellowship events. Making the coffee was a job, so important, that most people did not want to do it. They were afraid they would mess it up, and people wouldn’t like it. I told them making coffee is pretty easy. Put coffee in the filter, put filter with coffee back in the machine,pour in water…. Presto you have coffee……. Here is what I told them…. If you just follow the basic steps you will make coffee and here is what is going to happen….. Someone will say umm that coffee is too weak. Another person will say yuck this coffee is too strong……and someone will say this is the best coffee they ever had. Almost always happened that way. Same coffee, but it depends on the person, and their own personal tastes. That is going to determine how they experience it.
When we hear God’s Word, each of us is going to filter it by what is going on in our lives. It is the same Word, yet there will be different responses to it. We are all different, we all have different stuff going on in our lives. Yet no matter what is going on in our lives God’s Word is there waiting to speak to each one of us. …..
Just like coffee to me, and many people, we need God’s Word in our lives every day. Do you have a way of having God’s Word speak into your life every day?
Get creative….. Ask yourself what’s the best way for me to get God’s Word into my life? One of the blessings and curses of today’s world is technology. Use technology!! Daily Bible Readings can be sent to you in so many ways!!
Texts, Social Media, Audio, Email! Keep trying different things, until you find what works for you….
God is a God of relationships, and He wants to have a relationship with you……..
I mean just think about it, the God who created the universe, the God who went to the cross for our sins, the God who lives in us… He wants to have a relationship with you!! Why? Because He Loves You!
Now most of us have different relationships at different levels. Don’t you want to have the best communication with the people who are most important to you!!
I’m just saying….
And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, that person will not lose their reward.
The little ones are the disciples, the new employees on the job. They are not going out as only themselves, they are going out with the power of God. Instead of a nice clean uniform, id badge and color brochures, they go out representing God. Jesus gave them the authority and power to go out.
Since they go representing God, and carry with them God’s authority, their acceptance or rejection would test the people’s attitude about God. It is that attitude that leads to reward or loss of reward.
Attitude isn’t that what really counts? Earlier I said, “when we hear God’s Word each of us is going to filter it by what is going on in our lives.. It is the same word, yet there will be different responses to it.” I think attitude is an important part of how we respond to God’s Word. What is my attitude? What is your attitude about God’s Word?
Do we come with eager expectation, that no matter what is going on in our lives, God is ready to speak to us?
Do we come with thankfulness that we live in a country where we are allowed to gather together in worship and to hear God’s Word proclaimed!! We are allowed to have Bibles…
Do we come with the realization that Scripture, God’s Word, the Bible is a form of God’s Grace….. God Reaching out to us to draw us closer to him…..
What is your attitude and how will you respond?