Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Go make followers Matthew 28:16-20

Matthew's Gospel tells that Jesus, the morning He rose from the dead, asked the women who came to his tomb to go find His friends. They were both to announce the Good News to them, that Jesus had risen from the dead, and invite them meet the Risen One in Galilee.
Jesus met them on a mountaintop. Some saw him and worshipped him recognizing Jesus and other's who'd been with him didn't recognize him at all. And Jesus spoke, both to those who recognized him at first sight and those who didn't, giving them all words of promise,

“All power in heaven and on earth is given to me.
and words of direction
 So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you,
He ended his word's with a final word of promise
and I will be with you always, even until the end of this age.” Matthew 28:18-20 CEV.
We are directed by Jesus into the world. We could debate endlessly how to best go and make disciples and just who ought to be going. Some say only pastors need to go. Other's say everyone ought to go. I'd argue that the calling isn't just for pastors; but not everyone is gifted to go and speak with strangers about Jesus. Instead Jesus calls us through our gifts and passions to share His Light in the world. Think about the word, "teach" for a moment. Jesus says to teach, and often the best teachers don't teach with words but by example.
To understand Jesus instruction to go into the world it's helpful to think of the church not on Sunday but on Monday morning when the church is at work in schools, hospitals, tractor cabs, on the product floor, in offices, and in many more places than any one on earth can count. The people who make up the church bring the Light of Christ into the world in their lives both by what they do and by what they say.
Jesus spoke of himself as “the light” but he also spoke of the light that believers carry saying, “Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your father in heaven.” Consider this light that Jesus spoke of as an analogy for the life and joy of Christians who follow their Savior. Remember Christ said, “I am the light of the world, who ever follows me will have the light of life.” The Light chooses us and might very well choose to shine through us.
This Sunday as we gather for worship I want to celebrate the light of Christ and I also celebrate those who bring it into the world. I give thanks for the invisible church, the one that’s made up of the believers who have been redeemed by Christ’s blood who carry that light (that joy found in following the Lord) with them. In a world of darkness Christ's Light shines. Some will run from the Light to hide their deeds. But others will come and embrace the Light turning away from their sins. It’s such a joy to see God at work in people’s lives so clearly that others can see the joy and the light of Christ in them. Thanks be to God.
Pax, John

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Come Holy Spirit Acts 2:1-21

Come Holy Spirit--
After Jesus rose some of his friends, Peter among them, went back to what they knew best--fishing. Part of the reason may have been that they needed something to do while they were waiting for God to act next. Fishing was what they knew. It was their livelyhood before Jesus called them to follow. After watching Jesus rise they were back on the lake in the boats with the nets in their hands. Jesus promised to be with them, but I don't know, looking at John 21 and acts 1 if they knew exactly how God would come and be with them.
We pray "Come Holy Spirit" for lots of good reasons. The mystery of that prayer is that we aren't always sure what God will do as he comes into our lives when we invite the Holy Spirit in to be our counselor and guide.
Peter left his nets again and Pentecost was a key turning point for him and Jesus other followers. Reading Acts 2 we see Peter as a bold witness to Christ in Jerusalem and reading on we see his ministry include Judea and beyond. Others thought the disciples were drunken as the Spirit entered into them. But it wasn't wine: it was God at work in a surprising way. It was God breaking in and all people hearing the Good News in their own language even though there were people of many nations there in Jerusalem. When we pray come Holy Spirit we invite God in to work not as we expect: but as God needs. This Pentecost pray Come Holy Spirit and be ready to be surprised by what God does.