What does it mean to take up our cross? Christians are NOT to take up unnecessary suffering. We are to be faithful witnesses to Jesus’ love, no matter the cost.
34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?
Mark 8:34-37 New Revised Standard Version
We have choices if we are to take up the cross:
- The first choice is to run from or run towards our transformation in Christ.
- The second choice is: Have we come to die to selfishness?
- The third choice: Are we following a transformed cross?
Based on Mark 1: 9–11 NRSV: In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
#1 Jesus is baptized in order to show his solidarity with us.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 2 Peter 9-10 NRSV
#2Low Self-esteem, whether it leads to cattiness and envy or to beating up on ourselves unnecessarily, does not honor Jesus or our baptism.
#3 Choose one of the next questions that really strikes you, and then try to answer it.
- If you had only one last message to leave to the handful of people who are most dear to you, what would it be in 25 words or less?
- Of all the things you have done in your life, which is the one you would most like to undo? Which is the one that makes you happiest to remember?
- Is there any person in the world, or any cause, that if circumstances called for it, you would be willing to die for?
- If this were the last day of your life, what would you do with it?
Sermon Notes “Store up True Treasure” February 18, 2018
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[a] consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust[b] consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 NRSV
#1 Are you looking at life with ___________________________ in the midst of whatever life is dishing out to you?
#2 Prayer and all spiritual disciplines are about ______________________
Or to put it another way true prayer leads us to ______________________
#3 How do we function in our modern society and honor Jesus?
___________________________________________ from the light of God’s love.
- Are you looking at life with the enthusiasm of a child, convinced that you will find a God of love in the midst of whatever life is dishing out to you?
- Prayer and all spiritual disciplines are about growing more faith, hope, love and joy in our lives. Or to put it another way true prayer leads us to more faithful living.
- How do we function in our modern society and honor Jesus? Question everything from the light of God’s love.
This sermon reviews the previous sermons on forgiveness in this series, and then examines issues that are particularly hard when it comes to forgiveness including apologies, reconciliation, and the lack of either.
At the end, Kim tells of a powerful story of forgiveness and transformation among a man (Azim Khamisa) whose son was killed by another man’s grandson, that grandfather (Ples Felix) and now the grandson himself. You can watch the TED Talk of Azim and Ples by clicking on this link: Aziz Khamisa and Ples Felix
Larry Stoneking filmed and edited this lovely 10 min montage of scenes from worship on Sunday, Jan 28th including the bringing in of the light by our children, the sharing of joys and concerns, and coffee hour.
Pastor Kim’s sermon is on a different post under sermon videos.
Pastor Kim’s sermon this week in her series on forgiveness reflects on how the past can be a burden that drags like a dead weight. Or it can give us the building materials to create a better and more generous future.
#1 God forgives in order to invite us into ____________. God’s ___________________. Another name for this is the _______________________.
#2 What if the past we drag around beating each other up with could instead be a ______________________________________.
4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 14 Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.
#3 Do you not think it was clear that their new reality __________________?
#4 You assume a __________when you wrong me. I assume an inclusive and even more important ___________when I forgive and ______________________________________.
#1 God forgives us in order to invite us into God’s life, God’s abundant life. Another name for this is the kingdom of God.
#2 What if the past could instead be a bridge to a bright and gracious future?
#3 Do you not think it was clear that their new reality was a gift from God?
#4 You assume a power when you wrong me. I assume an inclusive and even more important power when I forgive and refuse to remain hostage to your wrong.
First scripture Matthew 5:43-48
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters,[a] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
#1 No power in the whole universe, _______________________, can prevent God from taking you to that goal of ___________________.
#2 What forgiveness is not:
Second scripture is Matthew 18: 15-17
15 “If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. 16 But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
#3 The steps to forgiveness are:
The 2nd sermon in the series on forgiveness based on L. William Countryman’s book, Forgiven and Forgiving. Before we can love others, we need to be able to love ourselves, and that means forgiving ourselves. But God wants us to be transformed through God’s grace. Based on Mark 2:1-12
#1 God wants to give us a mind and heart like God’s own. That mind/heart of God is never into ______________________ towards ourselves or towards our enemies.
#2 But God’s notion of justice, unlike that of some humans isn’t focused primarily on ___________________. It is focused on ____________________________________________
#3Jesus says to us I ____________________________________________________________.
Answers (view the sermon first):
2. punishment; new life and new creation
3. “I forgive you, now take up your mat and walk my way“
Pastor Kim’s initial sermon on the series on forgiveness, based in part on “Forgiven and Forgiving” by L. William Countryman. Below are her sermon notes:
When King Herod heard this, he was frightened and all Jerusalem with him; Matthew 2:3 NRSV
#1 The wise men remind us that: Jesus ______________________ and the good religious people and leaders of Jesus day _____________!
4 John the baptizer appeareda in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins….. 8 I have baptized you with[b] water; but he will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:4-5 and 8 NRSV
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved;[d] with you I am well pleased.” Mark 1: 9-11
#2 Our Savior identifies with_________________________________________.
#3 God forgives everyone to undercut the worst temptation of good people: __________________________________.
answers (listen to the sermon first)
#1 “came for everyone” and “missed it”
#2 “identifies with us rather than condemns us”
Pastor Kim’s sermon addressed when the excitement of Christmas wears off, or is mixed with disappointment, grief, or even anger. The scripture was from Paul’s rather angry letter to the church in Galatia (Galatians 4: 4-7). The congregation ended with this benediction that completed the sermon:
“When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.” Howard Thurman