Input sound file: Audio 2018_11_04.mp3
the vision of what we are, who we are as a congregation, is on the screen. We are a functional family of God. And what is it that families do? They love each other. And when families love each other in a healthy and holy way, Jesus is Lord and people grow. People grow because they get the love that they need. That’s why Jesus said that the primary commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor, and to love ourselves. We are the people who love one another. And when that need for love is met, curiosity begins to develop, and we become the people who learn together. And when you look at these things, you see the typical church.
There’s two things about the typical church. The first one is they worship, they love each other, and they learn together. The other thing that most often happens in these typical churches is they’re getting smaller, they’re getting older, and, quite often, they close their doors. There’s a lot of reasons for that. Well, one of the main reasons is we have to go beyond this if we want to be helpful. And where we go is for each person who’s a part of the church to say the phrase, “Thy will be done is important for my life.” Because that’s what’s next. I’m learning what Jesus wants me to do. Thy will be done. How do I go about doing it? As we talked about the last time I was here, if anyone who had come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me, there’s something you are supposed to do. And God is preparing you for that. You have everything you need to do. What God wants you to do, it’s provided, including the talent and ability that you have. You have been made to fulfill this purpose from God. In the centering prayer, it’s put this way, “Help me to serve You as I am gifted.” Now, a lot of us are task-oriented. We understand the importance of work, there’s something I must do. But if the primary command is for us to love one another, we know that the primary task we’re called to do is a who, not a what. The thing that God wants you to do involves a person who needs your help. Sometimes it’s me. And every single week I’m helped by all kinds of people to do God’s work. But sometimes it’s someone else. The phrase from the centering prayer puts it very plainly, “Help me to notice my neighbor.” How can you love your neighbor when you don’t notice what’s going on in their life? Help me to notice my neighbor. And by loving them, God will be [inaudible]. Work through me to redeem my neighborhood. This is what life beyond the [inaudible] churches become alive. In the book of discipline, the rulebook of the United Methodist Church in 2008, all of a sudden this amazing flames appeared. The mission of the church among other things, the mission of the church includes this, every live person, and the sticking point is every, Every life is called to carry out the great commission word. Pastor Dave, how do I do that? Well, that’s the rest of the [serve?]. Every person is called to be missional. What does it mean to be missional? It means you have a mission that will be done when you recognize God had something for you to do. And all the many different things that we do, all work together to help the church flourish and glow. Every person, here is what Jesus sets about, now we have a lot of farmers in the midst you, understand the importance of harvest. Jesus called this the harvest, Mathew 9, 36 there is huge crowd everywhere around him and he has great compassion for them, why? Because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. And when Jesus saw the problems they were having, he turned to his disciples and said this words, will you read them out loud with me, “Then he said to his disciples the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Pray therefore the lord of the harvest can send out laborers into his harvests.” There are only two times, in the gospels where Jesus had a prayer request. Where he said I want you to pray this. And this is one. You see the problem with the harvest, is there is no enough people who are ready and willing to work to bring to in. In John 4, 35 in the context of the story of the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus says to the disciples who are totally obsessed with lunch. I’m going to try not to take that personally. But in the church when you get obsessed with lunch and our needs and doing the things that we need, And Jesus tries to change the focus of their attention. Do you not say he set us. There are yet for months and then comes the harvest. All around them the fields around the well are bare, why? It’s four months before harvest. There is nothing there. Jesus tells to them I tell you, “Lift up your eyes and see how the fields are already ripe through the harvest.” When he knows that they don’t is the whole town is coming to the well to meet Jesus. And the reason they don’t know is they’re focused on lunch. And now people, Jesus, God is always focused on people. And all around us, there are people who are ready. There are people who are ready if we lift up our eyes and notice our neighbor will get to see them. You know this kind of field, this is the field where we are efficiently creating a situation where everything gets ripe on the same day so you can run your equipment over it, and we realize that Jesus live life it’s a little bit more like this. It’s more like a garden, you have to go out there every day and see what’s ready. You have to be aware every day, you have to [walk?] at every [plan?] [plant?] every day, so that you know what’s ready. Jesus goes on to explain about the Harvest. About how [inaudible] souls in another [inaudible], other people have done all this work to get the Harvest ready. And you, lucky you, verse 38, “I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” You’re the one who gets to bring in the results of all of their work. You just have to go out in the Garden and get it. It won’t come to you, you have to go out and get it. The Garden might look a little bit like this, you remember? We’ve talked about this before, every single one of us has four neighborhoods. And the commandment is that you need to love your neighbor in each of these neighborhoods where’s the neighborhood of your family. Every single Sunday morning we pray for people and families who need our prayers. But there’s also a neighborhood of your interests and hobbies, your friends, the things you do for fun. There’s also the neighborhood of where you work, or if you’re retired, where you volunteer. There’s people there in that neighborhood who need your prayers. And of course, there’s people around your geographical house too. And in those neighborhoods, there are people who are ready, and it just may be that you are the one that God says if you’re listening, “I need you to love that person, they’re ready.”
[inaudible] [ripe?] on the same day. They [ripe?] in according to God’s timing and God’s will. And when they’re ready, we need to be ready. Now, when you see someone who’s harassed and helpless, you can use the magic words if you want. What I’d like to encourage you to do is to talk your neighbors and ask them, “How are you?” And if everything’s fine, your prayer is, “Thank you, Lord,” and everything’s fine. But on the day when things are not perfect, that’s when you can use these words. You can say to that person, “I go to a church to pray for people who have lost someone, who are struggling with the flu, who have a granddaughter in the hospital, who have a grandfather in the hospital, whose cat ran away.” It doesn’t matter, if their heart hurts, you can offer to pray. And you say to them, “I go to a church to pray for people who feel just like you, would you mind if we pray for you?” And almost always, the person will say yes and the next time you see them, you ask this very simple question. “Did God answer our prayer?” If the answer is yes, you thank God, and if the answer is not yes, then you say, “We’ll keep praying.” But every conversation you have with your neighbor after this is a conversation about God answering prayer. It sows seeds of faith into their life.
Well, [inaudible], “What exactly is it that you’re asking me to do? What exactly is it that I would do to work for the Great Commission?” Well, keep in mind that God is growing people all around you, in your four neighborhoods. What I’d like to ask you to do is to notice your neighbor and be aware that God is going to say, “I believe this person is your mission for the next year. And what I’d like to ask you to do is this, whoever that person is– by the way, it shouldn’t be 100 people. Maybe it’s just one. Maybe it’s 12 like Jesus watched over. It’s fine, but if it’s 100 you won’t have time to pay particular attention to any of them. What I want to ask you, in your prayer chair, pray daily for that person that God gave you. I’d like to suggest you have a list. Maybe it’s on an index card in your Bible or it’s a bookmark. Pray daily for that person. And remember they’re already in your neighborhood, but if you don’t see them, once a week you go find them because you need to ask the question, “How are you?” You need to ask the question, “Has God answered our prayers?” But if you do that every week, guess what that person will figure out? You really care about them and you have a God who really cares about them. And that’s where it begins in their hearts. Oh, and once a month, invite them to a [party?]. We have Southern [party?]. Why? You can invite them to come with you to a Southern [party?]. We have the bus going to the Southern Luncheon. You can invite them to come with you to the Southern Luncheon. But you know something? It doesn’t just need to be something that happens at the church.
Oh. Also, don’t forget Hand in Hand. There are two ways for more children that can happen in our church. The first one is for you to go out and have more kids. Anybody who’s willing to do that let me know. But if you’re not willing to bring your own kids– by the way that’s why there were so many people 30 years ago. If you’re not willing to bring your own kids, maybe you would be willing to reach out to the parents who are probably frazzled and bring a little kid from your neighborhood. Fill up the room with happy little children. The more the merrier. But to invite monthly to something that increases the relationship. And it doesn’t have to be a church thing, you can just have them over for dinner. You can just get together and play checkers, or gin rummy, or whatever else it is that you like to do for fun. And I will promise you this, if you pray for somebody like that over a whole year’s time, I think you’ll find their life has been changed. But after a whole year, maybe ask the Lord, “Should I pray another year or should I find someone else to pray for?” That’s something to ask. Well, if you do that, you’ll be loving your neighbor in a scriptural way that draws them into what we do here as the church. All we have to do is be neighborly. The harvest is waiting. Someone is ready. And if your heart notices, you’ll be able to make a huge difference in their life. We have another video. There’s no words to it, but it’s about a little girl who is new in the neighborhood. Now, if you’ve lived here for 150 years, you’ve never been new, but other people are new. Let’s see if your heart senses this person calling. Let’s play the video. It’s called Anna.
[music] People are going to heaven because someone showed love to them. Let’s be those kinds of neighbors. Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, we’re busy people. We’re so busy with our lives and so worried that we’ll miss something that is on television tonight or some ball game somewhere will happen without our awareness. Sometimes we’re so busy, Lord, that we’re too busy for church. But then, Lord, we come to church and we learn how to love the people and be loved by them and then sometimes, Lord, we get so busy with church that we don’t notice the neighbors you asked us to watch over. Lord, I pray that you would open our hearts so that your Holy Spirit might flow through us to change the lives of the people around us and draw them to you. We ask this in Jesus’s name. Amen
The photo …
This post is based on the sermon “___” from the sermon series “___”
*date*, at Kinmundy United Methodist Church.
Slides and audio for this message can be downloaded from http://www.disciplewalk.com/K_Sermons_June_2018.html
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.