Last week we crossed the Rubicon where Jesus was leading us to spiritual resolution and revolution, hopeful futures, and transformational change. Well, this week, our Gospel reading is from Luke 10, and instead of following Jesus, Jesus tells us to go first! Really?
Jesus did amazing things. He showed people the way, spoke the truth, and gave life. But there comes a time when disciples have to go out on their own. Like our campus’ eagles, George and Adele, who forced their eaglets, Elliot and Eloise, out of the nest so they could achieve their potential and take responsibility for their own future!
Similarly, Jesus sent an advance team of 72, ordinary people in need of the kindness of strangers, yet given the authority to heal and cast out spirits, a power made known to those who welcome them and provide for their needs. The Jesus way requires trust on the part of those going and those to whom the disciples are sent to produce a plentiful harvest to be gathered, shared and used to feed the world, physically and spiritually.
Maybe you’re like me, feeling a bit overwhelmed when my grandkids wanted me to go on the Buccaneer Pirate Ride. Whoa! Did I want to go first? No way. But, I knew it was important to them, and also to me. Wow! Going first can be scary sometimes, but God sends us ahead with the promise of a harvest of goodness, if we don’t give up! What a ride!!
We may think: wouldn’t it have been better for Jesus to go first and for us to follow? Wouldn’t Jesus going first offer a greater display of power get people’s attention and move the story of redemption forward with greater speed and efficiency? Apparently, no. All of us have been sent ahead. Are you ready to go first? Jesus is.
One way to “go first” is to invite someone with you to worship this week. It’s time to leave the nest! Get up and go!
Do you know what an Advance Team is? When an important plan is underway, like when the President of the United States has to visit, a team of people, an advance team, is sent first to prepare, check it out, bring back information, and be sure its secure for the president’s visit. Let’s experience being on an advance team together. Would you enjoy that? OK! Are you ready? Pay careful attention to the directions, and up in the balcony, you will find a yellow bag. (More details are given you will hear in the message.) Before I send you, let’s pray and ask God to help you. (Prayer.) (Returning with the yellow bag!) Great job. Enjoy the treats in the bag. Choose your favorite! And remember, God has an advance team. You know who that is, right? Yes! You! Now go, listen to Jesus’ word, and enjoy your discovery every day!
The Rubicon river in Italy is not large, but it holds a huge place in history. You have heard the phrase, “Crossing the Rubicon,” which means to pass a point of no return. It refers to Julius Caesar’s armies crossing of the river in 49 BC which was a dangerous, revolutionary act! There was no going back for Caesar once he was on the other side.
All of us must “Cross the Rubicon” of faith, too. That’s because the decision to put Christ first in one’s life is also a revolutionary act! Following Jesus is not a religious sentiment, a mere credal affirmation. Following Jesus means we go where Jesus goes. Act like Jesus acts. And we are empowered to live our very best selves, empowered to transformational change inside and out. And since our following, while definite, is often side-tracked, God asks us to cross the Rubicon again and again throughout our lives.
When we cross the Rubicon, a revolution is begun and our perspective changes. We see things from a changed vantage point. We stand in a new place, and step off in a new direction. Jesus was constantly inviting his followers to embrace paradigm shifts. Sure, its uncomfortable. Scary at times. Uncertainty, fear, and dread (and it can sometimes feel this way!) are never fun! But we demonstrate our trust and love of God when we decide to follow Jesus with opened eyes, in a spiritually open and intellectually honest way, and embrace God’s emerging future. The future is now. Today. Tomorrow. And beyond. If following Jesus doesn’t feel like an adventure to you, maybe your feet are still in the river?
When is the last time you sat down for 30 minutes, relaxed enough to reflect about your life, your life’s mission? You might be surprised what God speaks to you concerning some needed shifts in thinking or urging courage to put your faith into practice.
The early disciples “Crossed the Rubicon” but still stumbled. They didn’t get Jesus’ message about cross-cultural engagement, love, respect, and living a life of mercy, forgiveness, and hope.
They didn’t get Jesus’ insistence that His kingdom was not of this world, but that kingdom must manifest itself in the world. They were looking for a Messiah that would kick the Romans out of town, but what Jesus wanted was his disciples to help transform the town in Jesus’ name.
This Sunday let’s meet Jesus at the “Rubicon” of our lives because when we decide to follow Jesus, A revolution is begin.
This week we celebrate the 4th of July. Do you know why? Because somebody started a revolution! A group of women and men got together not far from here in Philadelphia and made a decision to change who the nation followed. Instead of England, and King George, they decided to follow God’s guiding principles they learned in the Bible and govern themselves. It was a revolution! A revolution occurs when a decision is made to totally change things for the better. Jesus was a evolutionary,, too. When we follow Jesus, he changes things. Let’s remember this 4th of July that once the revolution starts, it keeps on going. Enjoy the light-up foam flag sticks! Every July 4, we celebrate that revolution. And every day, we celebrate The life-giving revolution Jesus calls us to as we follow him.
Everyone loves a great story. But did you know you ARE a story? Each of us represent a story being written every day as we experience life and enjoy our relationship with God through Christ. In Luke 8, find out what happened on the beach one day when new connections were made. When we connect with Jesus, we experience God’s love in a very personal and transforming way. Jesus heals us, transforms us. We are restored to the world. Our story unfolds in God’s emerging future of hope! That’s great news for Cape May! It’s awesome news for the entire << Test Last Name >> family, too!
There’s a huge difference between being a spiritual consumer and a spiritual producer. When we consume, we take all the good and keep it to ourselves to enjoy. But when we realize God has blessed us to share with others, we become a spiritual producer! Cold Spring Church has been a spiritual production house of worship and mission site for 305 years! We have a story to tell, and you are part of that story!
When we encounter Jesus on our particular beachhead, with our own affirmations, afflictions, and addictions, and are healed and transformed by his mighty power and love, Jesus doesn’t want us to keep that to ourselves. That would be selfish! That would be like keeping a light under a bushel basket, wouldn’t it? It would be like finding a piece of nourishing bread and then withholding it from someone who is hungry!
Did God heal your illness? Spread the news.
Did God restore a relationship? Spread the news.
Did God bring you unexpected financial help? Spread the news.
Did God give you hope? Spread the news!
Did God answer your prayer? Spread the news!
Did God give you a second chance? A third or fourth chance? Spread the news.
This Sunday let’s meet Jesus at the “beach”, of our lives because when you meet Jesus in your greatest or your darkest hour, the place of deepest joy or need, God graces you with blessings too good to be true, but which are true, that doesn’t stay at the beach.
What happens on our “beach” is worth spreading near and far. Find out how this Sunday. Remember to invite a friend to worship with you. Spread the news, because everyone has a story to share!
Who is your favorite superhero? Lots to choose from! Walking down our aisle right now is super-model, our own, Mr. Chuck McPherson (not really a model!). He is wearing on of my favorite T’s featuring Jesus sitting on a steel beam with an assortment of superhero’s. Spider-Man hangs there. There’s Superman, Captain America, Batman, and many more. If you could be the hero of your own story, what powers would you want? Here’s the good news, while those particular powers may not be granted, Jesus makes you the hero of your own story. You’re created to know the Super Savior, Jesus, who is quite different than the other cool superheroes.
1. For one thing, superhero’s aren’t real! Jesus is.
2. Superhero’s all have powers, but they are vulnerable to one or more dangers, even fatal ones. Of course, we all have anxieties, fears, and parts to our life that may be called vulnerabilities, so we are more like superhero’s than we might at first think. But Jesus, has no vulnerabilities, sinless, nothing stops him from loving us or being with us. Jesus is a real hero because gave his life for us to live forever, then came back to life for ever! No superhero can do that!
3. Superhero’s have fans, but not followers. Jesus is personal and wants us not only to follow him, but to be like him! He gives us the Spirit to live more like him every day. Jesus invites us into our story and to share that story with others! Superhero’s don’t do that.
What kind of hero will you be? Chose to follow Jesus, to know Jesus, and an amazing story will be yours!
It’s Father’s Day, and we honor everything that is awesome and amazing about dads. Often we recognize how our experience with our parents can inform our understanding of God, too, for good or bad. Father’s Day is a great time to reconnect with the best of Dad-ness, whether our own dad, our experience as a dad, or the role of dad that someone had in our life. It’s also Trinity Sunday when we celebrate the collaborative nature of God expressed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When Jesus introduced the idea of a trinity- three in one- it not only startled his listeners; this idea angered most. Find out why during worship on Sunday!
We will take a look at our gospel text, John 16:12-15, when Jesus sent his team out with a special presence of God. This new gift of the Holy Spirit, would reveal the truth, the “real deal” about the awesome and amazing abundant life that was announced as now accessible for everyone. That includes you and me!
The Greek word for truth used in this text is “aletheia,” literally meaning to “come out of hiding.” While the disciples were “hiding” in Jerusalem since the crucifixion and resurrection, now under the Influence of the Holy Spirit, they were sent on a mission from God and to “come out of hiding” and live the truth of Jesus Christ as the Messiah to all the world.
Possibilities abound when Jesus saying, “Here I am” invites us to respond, “Here am I” in courageous hope as together we are sent on a mission from God, too!
What kinds of things in your home needs a code or keys to open? Right! The house. Car. Your iPhone. Logging into websites. Well, there’s one thing in your home a very special key is needs to open… you! You were created with amazing potential, and to unlock that potential, a very special key, custom made for you, is needed, and Jesus is that Key to unlocking your life’s potential. Pray. Listen to God as you read the Bible. Meet with others who inspire you, maybe like your dad! Or other care giver. Be open to the possibilities as you follow Jesus here at Cold Spring Church. You’re amazing and God will unlock that potential more and more every day!
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