It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals, than falsehood that comforts and then kills. It is better to be hated for telling the truth than to be loved for telling a lie. It is better to stand alone with the truth, than to be wrong with a multitude. It is better to ultimately succeed with the truth than to temporarily succeed with a lie. There is only one Gospel. Adrian Rogers
"Give me all of you!!! I don't want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don't want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self---in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will shall become your will. My heart shall become your heart." C>S> Lewis, Mere Christianity
This morning allow your holy imaginations to sweep you up the mountain of Transfiguration in Matthew's Gospel. We may experience an inkling of visionary mystery. but beware. if you try to understand this story with your mind, you will most certainly be disappointed. It is only if you try to see it with your soul, that you may find your heart strangely warmed. In this pivotal story in the gospels we are midway through the story - halfway between the birth and the death - teetering between the baptism and the resurrection. And as modern life, midpoint travelers we are still trying to find Jesus. Up until now this Jesus story hasn't been all that hard to imagine. We know about Jesus as a baby, as a teacher, as a preacher, as a moral example, even as a healer. Then we experience the mystery of God. All ofsudden the earthy Jesus with his dusty feet and tired eyes becomes the ethereal Jesus - robe glowing and face shining - a shimmering window into pure, unadulterated divinity. This isn't just a "thin place" where hints of the holy seep into the ordinary. This is a ripping of the barrier between God and us - and God comes flooding into our midst.
The Lost Son: This has been called the greatest short story in the world. It speaks about the deep effects of sin, the self-destruction of hatred and the infinite mercy of God. This is a story of love, of conflict, of deep heartbreak, and of ecstatic joy. The scene opens on a well-to-do Jewish family. With the immaturity of a spoiled brat the younger son demands impudently of his gracious father, "Give me the portion of goods that falls to me." Under Jewish law, when a father divided his property between two sons, the elder son had to receive two-thirds and the younger one-third (Dt 21:17). In Jesus' parable, the younger son sells out his share of the inheritance and then squanders the money in a faraway city. The land was sacred to the Jewish people because it was the Promised Land given to the Chosen People. Hence, each bit of land was considered holy, and no Israelite could lawfully sell his property. (Lev. 25:23, 1Kings 21). Ancient "social security" basically consisted in sons farming their father's land and taking care of their parents until their death. Thus in selling his land, the prodigal has sold his parent's social security
Have you ever decided to try something new, despite your own questions about how you'll succeed, and then the moment you share your new goal with someone they turn into a dream-stealer? They'll pepper you with questions like: "So how exactly are going to do that?" Unfortunately, some of those naysayers are people who are the closest to us. They have a great skill for putting more "How Hurdles" up on the track.
Don't let the naysayers top you! Take a moment to share your "why" with them and how it's going to look and feel for you to accomplish that goal. Invite them to support you by brainstorming how you could accomplish the goal. Share your commitment to doing whatever it will take to cross the finish line.
Luke 14: 7-14 Christ calls us to genuine humility
We need to practice humility in personal and social life: Humility is grounded in a psychological awareness that everything I have is a gift from God, and therefore, I have no reason to boast. I must not use these God-given gifts to elevate myself above others. hence, humility means the proper understanding of our own worth. The humility that the Gospel urges upon us has nothing to do with a self-deprecation that leaves a person without proper self-esteem. we must simply admit the truth about ourselves: we do not know everything, we do not do everything correctly and we are all imperfect and sinners. Nevertheless, we also recognize that we are made in the image and likeness of God and that we are called to help build the kingdom of God with our God-given gifts. We are not of value because of those gifts but because we are loved by God as His children, redeemed by the precious blood of his son Jesus. The quality of humility that Jesus is talking about has a sociological dimension too. For Jesus is inviting us to associate with the so-called "lower classes" of society-even the outcasts. Jesus invites us to change our social patterns in such a way that we connect with the homeless, the handicapped, the elderly, and the impoverished - the "street people" of the world - with agape love.
What do we mean when we reflect on worship? King David's definition says, "Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together." Psalms 34:3. Worship is the act of magnifying God. Enlarging our vision of Him. Stepping into the command center of the universe to see where He sits and observe how He works. Of course, His size doesn't change, but our perception of Him does. As we draw nearer, God seems larger. Isn't that what we need? A big view of God? Don't we have big problems, big worries, big questions? Of course we do. Hence we need a big view of God. Worship offers that. how can we sing, "Holy, Holy, Holy" and not have our vision expanded?
Luke 12: 22-40Do Not Worry
Be watchful servants: Steven Anthony "Steve" Ballmer (born March 24,1956) has been chief executive officer of Microsoft Corporation since January 2000. He was one of the richest people in the world with a personal wealth estimated at US$14.5 billion in 2010.. He is Bill Gates' hand-picked successor. In 2004, he was seen crawling on the floor of the General Motors' executive conference room, trying to fix a connection that would enable him to make a pitch to GM engineers. The image of Microsoft CEO on his hands and knees to please some customers made such an impression on the author Steve Hamm that he wrote a whole article based on this one incident. [Steve Hamm, "Why High Tech Has to Stay Humble," Business Week (19 January 2004), pp76-77] Corporate executives will get on their hands and knees to show customers how much they care. In today's Gospel Jesus warns his followers to be ever prepared by doing the will of God always in their lives, as the time of their death is uncertain.
I choose JOY!
I will invite my god to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical...the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.