I am posting my full sermon notes from yesterday, and while you will get the point by reading the text, I’m saddened that you missed (if you weren’t there) the context and environment in which they were shared. The Holy Spirit was active in our midst yesterday as we sought to glorify God in all aspects of our time of worship together. I can’t begin to describe all of what happened, but I do know that my family and I were personally blessed when folks gathered around us to pray with “quaking” hands placed on us. What a tremendous time of worship we had together yesterday. Let’s continue to gather expectantly for worship, prayer, fellowship, study, and other gatherings as we follow Christ together.
Here is the sermon … (In response to the sermon if you want to meet with me before next week, just give me a call or send me a text and we will try to make it work.)
Meeting for Worship: May 31, 2015
Worship Sharing: Romans 9:30 – 10:21 … sort of.
1. Going off Script:
When I used to take groups of youth on mission trips one of the main themes we preached was “flexibility.” On those trips things would change on a moment’s notice, and we had we had to be flexible to whatever the change would bring.
Sharing the theme of flexibility with these groups was a much for me as it was for them, because believe it or not, I can be pretty rigid and inflexible when my mind gets stuck on a certain thing, or way of doing things. Maybe some of the rest of you can relate to that reality.
I’m sharing briefly on flexibility, because this morning I think I feel led to head a direction that is different than our text for today, Romans 9:30-10:21. So hopefully, you can all have some flexibility with me on changing course and going of script if you well, as I attempt to share what I feel God has laid on my heart this morning. If I’ve heard incorrectly, please forgive me. If I have heard correctly, my prayer is that we will all learn something this morning.
- Romans 9:30 – 10:21 In A Nut Shell:
For those of us who are less flexible than others I will share what I feel like might be the most important part of our original text for this morning.
Hear these words from Romans 10:8-13
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
- Pastoral Ministry
Just some things that have been on my heart lately …
My initial call into pastoral ministry came as high student, one night during evening worship at NWYM, in Baumann Auditorium on the campus of George Fox University. One of many cool encounters with God I have had in that auditorium over the years.
This call to use the gifts God has given to me in service to the Kingdom of God has been confirmed, and reaffirmed in many ways, and by many different people.
My current challenge and encouragement as I prayerfully consider this calling and giftedness, is how God wants me to live this out on a daily basis, recognizing the way in which God has put me together and made me uniquely and wonderfully, in His image.
Knowing full well that I can’t compare myself to other people with this calling and giftedness, because they aren’t me, and I am not them, while choosing instead to trust God in all that He has done, and continues to do in me.
That is what God is saying to me right now. Trust me Luke, I know how I created you, I know what gifts you have, I know what I have put on your heart, and I know what I am asking you to do. Pay attention to what I am saying and be obedient.
This morning Jeremiah 29:11 was in my head, “ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Friday, I was doing some weeding, and worrying about something and talking to God about it at the same time. And I simply heard, “trust me.” A reoccurring theme in my life I suppose, and sometimes easier said than done.
Maybe, for some of the rest of us as well.
There are several reasons why I like being a pastor, and here are a few of them …
1) Relationships with people, 2) Worship, 3) Teaching about Jesus 4) Journeying with people toward Christ like-ness/releasing people to use their gifts 5) Outreach 6) Studying 7) Ministering with families.
You may or may not remember a sermon I gave when we first came here about why I liked being called Luke and not Pastor Luke. It had something do to with wanting to be one of you, and not being put on a pedestal. I joke with people that I try really hard to make sure people don’t put me up there, but unfortunately sometimes the reality is that I don’t have to try very hard.
One of the reasons I like pastoring in a Friends church is because we are all in this together, and while I happen to draw a paycheck for using my gifts, the reality is we all have something to offer and contribute. That’s a beautiful thing, when it comes to being the church.
In my mind this is helped along if I am simply Luke, but that might not be so.
Some of you may have noticed that as a pastor I make mistakes. I do this as a regular person too, and did it when I was a janitor, and owned my kettle corn business. I’m learning that mistakes are part of life. Not that best part mind you, but a part of life nonetheless.
And since mistakes probably aren’t going to go away any time soon we ought to learn how to best live with them. One of the things we can do is learn from them, so we don’t make the same mistakes twice, or three times.
You may or may not have noticed that my little tin can of a car was not parked in the parking lot this morning. That’s because I sold it the other day, after we purchased a new to us car.
So now, I drive the van instead, which means, and I am sure some of you are already one step ahead of me and are thinking about this, I can pick up more than one hitch-hiker at a time.
When selling a vehicle there is a small piece of paper that has to be ripped off the bottom of the title and turned in to the DMV with a small fee of $3.50. This is the release of liability paper, releasing the seller of the responsibility of the vehicle in case the buyer fails to register the vehicle in his or her name.
You might not think this is a big deal, but I can assure you that it is.
Several years ago, I sold a car to a lady in Medford who failed to register the vehicle in her own name, and evidently in haste I made a mistake and failed to notify the authorities that I had sold the vehicle. I thought I had, but everything pointed to no, so … I made a mistake.
I was not aware of the mistake until a year or so later however, when I got a notification saying that I needed to pay an impound and towing fee for my car. I was not a happy camper. The kicker is that the car was given to us free of charge, and I made less when I sold it, than what we had to pay the towing company.
Friday, I drove to the DMV to register our new vehicle, and to make sure I turned in the release of liability. I, my friends, learned from my mistake. In fact since that time of car selling in Medford we have sold three other vehicles and each time we made sure to release ourselves from the responsibility attached to the vehicle we sold. In my book that is called growth!
And that’s just one example, I’ve learned and grown from a ton of other mistakes as well! Not that that is anything to brag or write home about.
I also believe that when considering mistakes that God can use all things for our benefit, his glory, and the good of others.
Listen to this analogy about a compost pile. I think it relates well to mistakes, and the other sucky parts of life. (Read from page 167). (It’s on page 167 of the book The Emotionally Healthy Church by Peter Scazzero.)
Our God is a redeeming God, who gives us a ton of love and grace in our humanness. Even, the way I read the Bible, when we make mistakes.
I suppose we ought to do the same for each other.
Another thing we can do when it comes to mistakes is to not beat ourselves or others up over them. Have the freedom to not feel guilty, and move on in the grace and love of Jesus Christ.
5. The Two Greatest Commandments
Matthew 22:36-40 reads as follows:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’”
1 Corinthians 13 has this to say about love:
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I don’t know that I always do this well. Love God and my neighbor I mean. Especially, when I read about the different attributes of love.
I suppose I do better with loving God, but even there I fail, even though my goal and intention is to love God with all of my heart, soul, and mind.
The loving neighbor part is supposed to flow out of our relationship with God, and if I read and understand correctly is an important aspect of our faith.
I don’t know how well I do this, and I don’t know how well we do this. I of course can only speak for myself, and if love is such an important part of who we are as followers of Jesus Christ, than I suppose love ought to have great emphasis in how we live out our faith. Especially, the 1 Corinthians kind of love … patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not proud, not dishonoring, not self-seeking, not easily angered, not keeping track of wrongs, not delighting in evil, rejoicing in the truth, protecting, trusts, hopes, perseveres always, never fails.
I think an important aspect of loving each other as we church together is that we know each other fairly well. We can get caught up in hearsay and perception, right or wrong, pretty easily and I think this kind of knowing or not really knowing pattern can cause a lot of conflict, worry, and strife.
I don’t know that I have modeled this very well as your pastor, and I want to try to do a better job of loving you. And not just saying I love you, but meaning it the way 1 Corinthians 13 lays out what love is.
To do this I need to get to know you better, and I don’t know if this is the best way of going about getting to know you better, but it is an idea I have had since last summer, that I need to be obedient in carrying out.
The sole purpose of this is for me to get to know you better, so that I can love you well.
And perhaps there will be space for all of you to get to know me better as well.
So, I am going to send around a clipboard with a schedule of times I have available to meet with folks, and if there is a time that works for you and me to get together so that we can visit for an hour or so simply put your name down. Couples if you want to do this together than put both of your names on the same spot.
I will have this sheet available every Sunday for a while, and my goal is to have every one of you sign up at least once over the course of the summer. I realize this will take a lot of time, but it is time I feel like I need to spend with each of you.
When we get together I am going to be pretty quiet and just listen (I’m working on being a more attentive listener) as I get to know each of you better. A few simple questions will guide our time 1) Tell me about your life? 2) What spiritual gifts do you have? 3) What ministry are you involved in and what else about ministry is God calling you to? 4) Do you have anything to say or ask of me?
And then we will spend some time in prayer together.
That’s pretty much it. Here’s the clipboard. Sign up if you have time to meet this week, and if not you can sign up another time. It should be pretty non-threatening. If there isn’t a time that works well for you either right down a time that does work, or send me a text with a time that works best for you. Sign up even if you think we know each other really well.
Meet in my office, or some other place we both agree upon.
I have a philosophy, and I think I have shared this, but maybe I haven’t. If someone calls and wants to spend time with me on one of my work days, being with you or helping you trumps anything else I am doing. As long as I am not already with someone or pre-scheduled to be with someone.
Know that I am available to and for you.
I would also like to challenge each of you to do the same with one another. Especially with someone you do not know very well. Get to know each other better, so we can love each other better.
6. About Me
I will start us off. Here is a little bit about me.
– Brief testimony of acceptance of Christ, and decision to follow Him.
– Some of things I enjoy – Picture – Van, Outside, Pipe, Boat/Fishing (Water), Gardening
– Explain golf mulligan
A mulligan is second chance to perform an action, usually after the first chance went wrong through bad luck or a blunder.
In golf, a mulligan is a stroke that is replayed from the spot of the previous stroke without penalty, due to an errant shot made on the previous stroke.
– Explain life mulligans – Basically shared that mulligan’s and do-overs are OK in life, and we need to give them to ourselves, and each other.
8. Open Worship