Tuesday, May 29, 2018
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Love Has Won: Conquering \1Jn 01-05 Conquering
05-06 May 2018, Christ Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 98 (6:00 pm Open Table only)
Children, Acts 10
Message, 1 John 1.1-5, 3.1-3, 4.1-7, 5.1-8
Our journey through this “love letter”
Showing the love of God in a world structured by hatreds
Experiencing the forgiveness of sin and forgiving the sins of others
Uniting people across deep division and difference
Putting an end to the practice of sin in our own lives
Today our theme is “conquering”, in some ways already addressed
Sin’s power over us – compelled to repeat the same mistakes
Sin’s power over us – fear, judgment (in John’s language)
Division’s power over us – race, gender, class, political party, sexuality, religious background, national origin, favorite sports team
This separation from our own Self and from the Other is a symptom of what John calls the teaching of the antichrist, the rejection that Jesus came in the flesh, the repudiation of resurrection, the denial of the Father and the Son. The antichrist is so spiritual that human connection is unnecessary. Not at all. It is in those basic human connections of father and son, mother and daughter, spouses and partners that we become fully human. The antichrist is so spiritual that all our intimacies must be transcended. By no means! It is in the physical intimacies of a hug or handshake, of changing a diaper or feeding someone with a disability, of a kiss on the cheek or combing the hair that we encounter the soul of the other and even the soul of Jesus.
As a father, I rushed through a lot of that with my boys. I was very efficient. I could change a diaper with such speed. My percentage of spray was much less than Robin’s. Gradually I learned to slow down. Driving them to music lessons or ball practice doesn’t have to be about efficiency. It is an opportunity for connection. And when we connect with another, when we love a brother or sister, we join the ranks of conquerors, of those who overcome the spirit of the antichrist at work in our world (4.3, 5.4).
Sunday, May 27, 2018
Saturday, May 26, 2018
Friday, May 25, 2018
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Monday, May 21, 2018
Sunday, May 20, 2018
Saturday, May 19, 2018
Friday, May 18, 2018
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Monday, May 14, 2018
Sunday, May 13, 2018
Saturday, May 12, 2018
Friday, May 11, 2018
Thursday, May 10, 2018
28-29 Apr 2018, Christ Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 22:25-31
Children, Acts 8.26-40
Message, 1 John 2.15-17, 3.4-15, 5.16-21
· 1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
· 1 John 3:6 no one who sins has either seen him or known him.
· 1 John 3:8 Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil
Our survey 2 weeks back – you all raised your hands to say you were sinners … Just sayin’
Of the reading in 1 John 3, one commentator writes, “Perhaps the preacher should take a hint form the Lectionary and take a vacation from this text” (D. Moody Smith, cited by Black, 415).
Then, the reading in 1 John 5, on “mortal sin”, which doesn’t show up in the lectionary either.
· Thanks John for nothing. Mortal, venial, 7 deadly sins
· Doesn't name one!
· Only lists one command, a two-parter, love brother and sister and believe in Christ Jesus (1 John 3.23)
· Murder, to hate brother or sister
· Lie, to say we have not sinned.
Processing this cognitive dissonance:
· Contradictory is not the same thing as contradicting himself. “But yesterday, you said…” “Today ain’t yesterday.”
· No attempt to systematize. Both the problem and the fun of the Bible.
· Listening in on half a conversation
JOKE: I was traveling back to my hometown and, responding to Mother Nature, decided to stop at one of those rest areas on the side of the road.
I went into the washroom. The first stall was taken, so I went into the second stall. I had just sat down when I heard a voice from the other stall.
“Hi there, how is it going?”
I am not the type to strike up conversations with strangers while sitting on the john in restrooms on the side of the road. I didn’t know what to do, but finally I said, “Not bad.”
Then the voice said, “So, what are you doing?”
At this point, I was starting to find the situation a bit weird, but I said, “Well, I’m headed back east.”
Then I heard the person, all flustered, say, “Look, I’ll call you back. Every time I ask you a question, the idiot in the next stall keeps answering me!!!”
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
21-22 Apr 2018, Christ Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 23
Children, John 10.1-18
Message, 1 John 3.14-24, 4.16-21, 5.1-5.3
Our world today is deeply divided, polarized. We live our lives and perceive the other in caricature. We have lots of enemies (and I’m not even thinking of foreign affairs and military power), and we’re quite content to hate them. We’ll protest that we’re not “haters.” Good enough. But in John’s language, we either love or we hate. There’s not any middle ground of “meh.” So, if we’ve got people in our lives that we really don’t love … John might be asking us some pointed questions.
Chris Swallick – Yankee fan. Me an Oriole fan. Jeffrey Maier. Married couple who are Yankee and Red Sox fans. Chris: That might be tougher than Republican and Democrat. John tells us that we cannot love God and hate brothers or sisters. That is, if we have hatred in our hearts toward someone else, we aren’t in the love of God, we are, to some significant degree, separating ourselves from God. God always loves us, no matter how ridiculous we are, but that does not mean that we cannot cut ourselves off from God by holding onto hate.
To address the Republican-Democrat thing…. The Scripture commands us to pray “for all those in authority” (1 Timothy 2.1-2). When Barak Obama was president, a lot of folks couldn’t stand him or his policies. What did I say to them? “Pray for him.” It is an act of love. Now that Donald Trump is president, a lot of folks can’t stand him and his policies. What do I say? “Pray for him.” It is an act of love. Our friends in recovery, working the Twelve Steps, understand this. They learn to pray for those who have hurt them, and find in that prayer a freedom they did not have before.
Love in 1 John is not some cozy feeling, an affectionate regard. Love is chosen. Love is intentional. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4.19). We weren’t loved by God because we were already good. We weren’t loved by God because we shared God’s vision and policies for the future of the planet. We weren’t loved by God because we were so stinkin’ cute. We weren’t loved by God because of our party affiliation. We are loved by God because God chooses to love us, as messed up as we are. And this love we now share, because we were first loved by God, is not just for God in return. It is for others! “Those who say, "I love God," and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also” (1 John 4.20-21).