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You may use it to give you peace of mind, and to locate a missing item. There are several companies like TrackR that offer a super tiny electronic tracking device you register to your smart phone and attach to a item of value, like your key ring. Should you misplace your keys, “Beep. Beep. Beep.” You not only hear the signal, but you can open your smart phone and locate the missing item on a map. TrackR’s tagline: Find more. Search less.
Finding what’s lost is not a new idea. This week, we will hear Jesus’ story of the lost sheep which begins with a highly questionable assumption: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?” If that crowd around Jesus included 100 shepherds, it is more likely that ninety-nine of them would be thinking—
“Are you kidding me, Jesus? I’m staying with my ninety-nine secure sheep and doing everything I can to make sure I don’t lose any more of them. Wow. Why would I leave what I already have to head into the wild, unknown places, to look for just one lost sheep—who is not worth it and is probably already dead or injured? That’s crazy!”
But Jesus insists that a truly GOOD shepherd would immediately go looking, not stopping his search until the animal is located. The GOOD shepherd listens for the “Bleep. Bleep. Bleep.” Then, when that one sheep returns on the loving shoulders of the GOOD shepherd, he will triumphantly and joyously parade back to his friends and neighbors calling them to “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.” Every One matters to Jesus. How about you?
What are you searching for? Maybe you feel a bit lost? We put Jesus’ priority of searching and finding the one’s who are not here (instead of being content with those we already have). One is worth everything to the GOOD shepherd who invests in those who Are at risk and most deserve attention and compassion.
“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:10).
This week, Pastor Kevin’s message is titled, “Who Is Your One?” from Luke 15:1-10. Get resources to help search for the One’s and the None’s all around us. Jesus’ tagline: “Find one. Rejoice. Search more. ” One’s matter to Jesus.
Hi. I can’t find my iPhone. Will you help me? Thanks. Press the AppleWatch face here… great. Hear that beep? Where is my phone? Will you search for it with me? Yeah, you found it!
It awful when we loos something we love. Have you ever lost a favorite toy? Money? Your pet? Sure. How long did you wait to search for it? No waiting right? Well, when we feel a bit lost, unsure, confused, let’s remember that God has a very special way to always find us. God’s spirit, that inner voice inside us, can remind us that God loves us all the time. We are in the palm of God’s hand. God is always walking with us. We can feel lost from time to time, but God will always find us!
We sometimes overlook, or misunderstand, the revolutionary character of Jesus’ message. This week’s text from Luke 14:1, 7-14, is worth taking a closer look. Jesus’ advice was to, “not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors to your luncheons, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid.” Instead Jesus declares that his followers (that’s us!) should invite those who have no hope of ever repaying their host— those he so-called “the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.” In other words, those so-called outcasts who can never promote their hosts’ status, and whose presence at table will most likely pull down their host’s standing in the community social structure. Wow. Hospitality occurs when the stranger and neighbor and the excluded are intentionally invited and included! All are welcome means, well, ALL are welcomed (and intentionally invited, sought out, and brought!).
Jesus is describing a whole new model of hospitality. How could our worship, concerts, dinners, bazaars, and all other community-facing events become more seed-planting, farming-style, and hospitality-driven? Let’s consider our amazing events to be interconnected… and stack them up, one on top of the other, each connected to the other, so that together they become cascading opportunities to welcome the stranger, reach out to neighbors, and in the end, embrace God’s own love for us all. Let’s not overlook God’s seeking out of us, welcoming us into the abundant life through Christ!This Fall, let’s stack-up our events in authentic and humble hospitality. God’s love… for all! (Who will you invite?!)
About the Pastor
The Rev. Dr. Kevin Yoho is a minister member of West Jersey Presbytery, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He began in September 2016 serving Cold Spring Church in a part-time, interim role as Transformation Pastor. His mission is to resource the leadership and congregation to clarify its mission, reconnect to the community at large, and improve the growth and vitality of the church. Kevin’s life mission is building hopeful and healthy communities using the lens of theology, technology, and transportation. (You can listen to Kevin’s messages, and read Kevin’s blog at www.reciprocalrevo.com.)
Kevin’s new book on community and congregational transformation, Crayons for the City- Reneighboring Communities of Faith to Rebuild Neighborhoods of Hope, was recently published by Wipf & Stock’s Cascade Books. More information can be found at the Amazon Page link: http://amzn.to/2z8timg.
Dr. Yoho Kevin served more than nine years as the executive (General Presbyter) of Newark Presbytery (NJ), a regional council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Prior to his call to Newark in 2006, Dr. Yoho served 23 years in parish ministry as a pastor. As a mission specialist, he offers transformative leadership in community building.
Kevin serves on the faculty of both Drexel University, teaching in the Goodwin College for Nonprofit Professional Studies, and City Vision University. He is an instructional designer and teaches Strategic Planning for Nonprofits, Social Entrepreneurship, Introduction to Youth Ministry, Leadership and Management, Organizational Systems, Technology, Life Balance, and Addiction, and Vocation and Calling: Theology of Work.
Dr. Yoho is a graduate of Washington Bible College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. In 1999, he earned a Doctor of Ministry degree with honors of distinction for his thesis project on church and community transformation, Revitalizing the Local Church for Mission.
Dr. Yoho is married to the love of his life, Dr. Melissa Arnott, EdD LPC LCADC, and they enjoy their family and neighbors making their home in Ocean City, New Jersey.
Cold Spring Church
780 Seashore Road
Cold Spring, NJ 08204 USA