The Sermon That Failed 110712
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The Sermon That Failed 110712
Every public speaker, sermonizer or teacher recalls most clearly the speeches, sermons or lectures that really failed. We recall when we really blew it, when we had a really exciting topic and text, when we had an audience that remained awake or almost so, yet we really missed the opportunity. Failure is memorable.
Yet I made it difficult. When Jesus asks or commands us to love one another he adds: ‘People will know you by the love you show for one another’. To me that means that Jesus’ disciples are really supposed to be known by the world by how they love one another, and not by what they say or believe.
In the world today, as it really is, to me that means that Jesus’ disciples must be the most vocal, the most active, the most radical lovers of one another. How do we do that in the world now?
It is not by hugging a lot, or by slight pecks on the cheek, or by greeting each other with a smile at church, I think, although those are very nice, and goodness knows, we’re very nice. Instead, I really believe if there is hunger, thirst, poverty, fear, neglect, abuse and environmental waste in the world—the world will know we are followers of Jesus by the love we show for one another. And, I love you enough that I do not want you or your children to be hungry, or to thirst, or to fear violence and abuse or neglect. I do not want your cities, towns and homes to be washed away by violent climate change storms (as Hurricane Sandy was) or for 2 million people to be made into refugees by a storm off the coast of Nigeria (and very similar to Sandy). God made us to love one another, and we should listen, especially if we love Jesus.
For whom shall we show love today? How will the world know us?
Pray for peace.
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The Message (MSG)
A David Psalm, After He Was Confronted by Nathan About the Affair with Bathsheba
51 1-3 Generous in love—God, give grace!
Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.
4-6 You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I’ll let loose with your praise.
16-17 Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.
18-19 Make Zion the place you delight in,
repair Jerusalem’s broken-down walls.
Then you’ll get real worship from us,
acts of worship small and large,
Including all the bulls
they can heave onto your altar!
The Message (MSG)
What God Is Looking For
6 1-2 Listen now, listen to God:
“Take your stand in court.
If you have a complaint, tell the mountains;
make your case to the hills.
And now, Mountains, hear God’s case;
listen, Jury Earth—
For I am bringing charges against my people.
I am building a case against Israel.
3-5 “Dear people, how have I done you wrong?
Have I burdened you, worn you out? Answer!
I delivered you from a bad life in Egypt;
I paid a good price to get you out of slavery.
I sent Moses to lead you—
and Aaron and Miriam to boot!
Remember what Balak king of Moab tried to pull,
and how Balaam son of Beor turned the tables on him.
Remember all those stories about Shittim and Gilgal.
Keep all God’s salvation stories fresh and present.”
6-7 How can I stand up before God
and show proper respect to the high God?
Should I bring an armload of offerings
topped off with yearling calves?
Would God be impressed with thousands of rams,
with buckets and barrels of olive oil?
Would he be moved if I sacrificed my firstborn child,
my precious baby, to cancel my sin?
8 But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.
The Message (MSG)
A New Command
31-32 When he had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is seen for who he is, and God seen for who he is in him. The moment God is seen in him, God’s glory will be on display. In glorifying him, he himself is glorified—glory all around!
33 “Children, I am with you for only a short time longer. You are going to look high and low for me. But just as I told the Jews, I’m telling you: ‘Where I go, you are not able to come.’
34-35 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
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