Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Discipleship: Matthew 10

Matthew 10:27
27What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.

In chapter 10 of Matthew, Jesus is sending his disciples to learn by doing. You can only learn so much in a classroom. Any lesson becomes totally different when it is real life and hands on learning. He is sending them out to tell other Israelites that the Kingdom of Heaven is near.

As He is getting them ready he begins to tell them of the things that will happen to them after He has gone back to his Heavenly Father (He doesn't tell them that specifically). He let's them know that they should not worry about what they say because it will not be them speaking, but the Spirit of God speaking through them (Fast Forward to Acts 2 to see this in action). He also tells them that they will be dragged before public officials because of their message (Fast Forward to Acts 24 to see this one). If you think about it, this was probably pretty overwhelming for the disciples to hear and try to comprehend.

It is interesting all the things that Jesus talks about before He sends all of his disciples out to share their message of hope. They aren't supposed to do it for money, but they shouldn't worry because God will meet their needs. They should be wise as snakes but innocent as doves. They are to proclaim what they have heard from the housetops. They should expect persecution not acceptance.

Talk about challenging. There aren't too many people in my life that I would follow if they gave me marching orders like these in chapter 10. If you think about it though, it isn;t so surprising that the disciples followed Jesus. Andy said in one of his messages recently that no one has ever bet too much on a winning horse. Jesus started this journey by telling some of his disciples, "Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." They followed him, and went on to see him teach with power, perform miracles, and fulfill prophecies. They believed in who He was.

Too many people think that the message of the cross is come, be saved so you can be comfortable. That wasn't the message though. It was that Jesus came that we might have life to the fullest. Living life to the fullest in God's kingdom doesn't equal comfort or safety. Jesus came so that we might be changed and help other people experience the same life-changing power. People who have experienced that change don't seek out safety, they seek out God's adventure wherever it takes them.

That's a lot to think about, but that's ok. Even though He challenges us to do incredibly difficult things, He reassures us with the presence of his Spirit.

Just for Fun:
Who Dey vs. Who Dat

and this one should really brighten your Wednesday...

The Turtle Man

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sermon on the Mount, Discipleship, and Brett Favre

Maybe we should start off by playing Sesame Street's one of these things is not like the others. That's probably an easy call for you all. Yeah you are right this isn't a game of Tribond. At least I can't think of something that these three topics have in common. If I think of one by the end of today I'll let you know.

Matthew 5-7 is called the Sermon on the Mount. It is a portion of the Bible where Jesus gives a message to a crowd on a hillside. He talks about a lot of different things. Its a great passage to study because its like having a long conversation with Jesus about things that really matter to him.

He says in chapter 6,
19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. "

Just a few chapters before this Jesus said, "Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men."

Jesus spent a lot of time investing in the lives of his disciples. He said at the start of this process that he wanted to make them fishers of men. He wanted to grow them into Disciples who made disciples. It is interesting that at the beginning of the sermon on the mount it does not say that Jesus gathered a large crowd around him and began teaching. It says when he saw the crowd gathering he went up to the mountainside, his disciples came to him and he began teaching them.

Discipleship is not a quick process it takes a lot of time and energy. Jesus wanted his disciples to not only take hold of the Kingdom of Heaven, He wanted them to share this kingdom with everyone. I think that is part of the lesson we can learn about what he says in Matthew 6:19-21 (see above). When we connect to Jesus for the first time it is all about us. We are dumbfounded by the sacrifice he made so that we could have abundant life, but it is still about us and the gift we are receiving.

As we connect with other Christians it can also be a inwardly focused act. How many of us have not gone to our small group because we don't feel like we are getting anything out of it? Or we switch churches because we aren't getting fed. You could call that a spiritual buffet mentality. It is not that its bad to want to be fed spiritually or to want to grow. The truth is though, Jesus never wanted us to stop at that point of discipleship. A disciple who only cares about their own spiritual well-being is not going to be making any other disciples.

In verse 19 Jesus says where your heart is there your treasure will be also. If your treasure is in things this world treasures, then you are setting yourself up for a lot of hurt. Turn on the news tonight and you will see how quickly all the earth treasures can be taken from you. If you only treasure things that benefit yourself you are setting yourself up for an empty heart and a lonely life. Jesus wants us to have life and have life abundantly.

When you invest in other people's faith and well being (both spiritually and physically), you are storing your treasure in something that is eternal. You are sacrificing and working for something that could have an everlasting impact. It's also the kind of investment that comes back to you in the long run. Investing in other people is rewarding. Something that you will find is that it grows you more when you invest in others than when you just focused on investing in yourself.

Still wondering how Brett Favre fits into all of this? He doesn't. I just thought I would share a video with you that might make your Wednesday a little better. I am not really a Favre fan but this did make me laugh:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Watchin' Game Film

I spent some time hanging out with a friend of mine today. His coach told him to go back and watch all of his game tape from this past season. My friend John is a guard which, if you don't know much about football, is one of the least glamorous positions to play. Running Backs, Quarterbacks, and Wide Receivers get all the attention while offensive linemen do all the work.

I watched film with him for about an hour. We watched as he missed some important blocks in games early on in the year. At other points we watched as he made great physical blocks only to have his quarterback or running back choose another route. You work really hard on the offensive line and it doesn't always pay off.

Let me stop here and say I don't know a lot about football. I love it, and I love watching it, but even John teased me by saying that I had been enlightened to 'some' of the nuances in football. Which I think might be just a nice way to say, "Matt, I am the one who plays football, not you."

All that being said, you have to do a lot right for a play to succeed when you play on the offensive line. You have to have solid footwork, and keep leverage against your blocking assignment. On top of that if you don't communicate with your other linemen you could end up not blocking everyone and that can be disastrous. Your hands are important too. You want to use them to keep whoever you are blocking close, but you can't hold because that would be a penalty.

As you are beginning to understand there really is a lot that goes into playing offensive line and you really don't get any credit at that position. If you talk with a linemen though its not like they hate playing their position or they hate the lack of recognition. They almost feed off of it. They like the fact that they make it possible for awesome plays to happen. They love it when they open up a hole for a running back to break a big play.

No one has ever said, "Imagine a world full of offensive linemen." Probably because there wouldn't be enough food for all of us. Still, I think most of us could use the character and grittiness of an offensive lineman. They work hard on every play. They trust that everyone else is doing what they are supposed to even though they can only take care of their part. I think thing that sets them apart though is that even though they only get noticed if they make a mistake, they still go out there and do their best to help their team succeed.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Year In Review Part 4

Bigger Picture: A new law was passed that made it illegal for federal employees to text while they were driving. This is unconfirmed, but it's been reported that this was the deciding factor in Paris Hilton ending her Hilton for President 2012 campaign.
In My World: Alicia and I got to spend a week down in Gatlinburg. It was a blast! We got a great cabin up in the mountains that was beautiful. We went hiking and the leaves were all sorts of colors. Very Relaxing and very fun.
In Student Ministry: Parkside teamed up with White Oaks, Lakeside, and Mount Carmel Christian Churches for a Middle School Retreat. We learned about Daniel and how it takes character to make the right choice when no one else is. We were also graced with a wonderful tribute to Michael Jackson, and the spectacle of Joe Robinson tackling poor Miles.

Bigger Picture: The Yankees won the World Series which means all of New York celebrated and the rest of the US remembered how much they hated the Yankees.
In My World: My dad and I got to do something we had never done before. We went up to that town up north and watched the Buckeyes play Michigan. My dad and I made a great road trip out of it too. We ran into the whole OSU team as they were riding up to Ann Arbor, and got to talk with a lot of them after the game too. The best part was getting to experience it all with my dad. The second best part was doing the O.H... I.O. chant in THEIR stadium as the Buckeyes won
In Student Ministry: We got new Dodgeballs. That may seem trivial and silly, but our dodgeball games became much more competitive with the new hardware. I may be remembering wrong, but I think it was also in November that Brian Roberts nearly survived incredible odds in a dodgeball match by sacrificing himself and diving all over the floor to dodge and evade the throws.

Bigger Picture: Avatar the movie came out. I know there have been other 3D movies, but James Cameron took it too a whole new level and created a new world.
In My World: Alicia and I, and both of our families had a great Christmas. We got to see all of our families and spend quality time with them too. It was a lot of fun. My sister got me a Shock Ball that randomly shocks whoever holds it. I am still having a lot of fun with that one.
In Student Ministry: December was a great month for Student Ministry. On Sunday mornings in the Gathering Place the church listened to people share stories about how the Christmas story was personal to them. 2 group leaders and a student got to share their stories. They did a great job of sharing their story and how it connected to Christ coming to earth. It was also neat because students help led an effort to raise money for Kids Against Hunger to buy meals to send to Haiti. Not only did they help raise the money. They also helped pack the meals with people of all ages.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

6 Word Memoirs

No I haven't forgotten about Year in Review Part 4 (Not that you were wondering), I just had something else I had to pass along to everyone before I could finish Part 4.

A couple of Sundays ago I explained the concept of a 6 word memoir to some of our Middle School Guys. I asked each of them to come up with a couple of 6 word phrases that described them or something they enjoyed. I thought what they came up with was pretty insightful. So here they are:

Bad at sports. Good at School

The world will fear my name.

Having fun is great in ways.

Food and TV first, homework later.

Our football team is the best!

I'm not fat I'm fluffy.

Don't worry about the one that says the world will fear my name. We already checked him into a Potential Disney Movie Villian Rehab Center, and he is doing well.

So what would your 6 word memoir be?

I came up with two:

We met. I asked. Together Forever.
Ever wonder why time never stops?