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September 12, 2013, 10:38 AM

sermon brief : DOES JESUS ASK TOO MUCH?

Does Jesus Ask to Much?

Luke 14: 25-33

 

INTRO

Rally Day has varying meanings in churches.  Ours is no different.

But the point is Rally Day is a time to get focused and start a season of growth and commitment.

After the baptism of his baby brother in church, little Johnny sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car. His father asked him three times what was wrong. Finally, the boy replied, “That pastor said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home, and I want to stay with you guys!”

 

A LOOK @ LUKE 14: 25-33

  • It is shocking to our sensibilities and seems to go contrary to “honoring father and mother” and Christian emphasis on family and home.
  • The context clue to its meaning is in verse 25:  “A large crowd was following Jesus.”
  • “Hate” is a Semitic idiom meaning “to love less.”  NLT has it right.
  • This is not encouraging psychological hate, but the placing of Jesus Christ and being a disciple as priority #1.
  • Discipleship, the very thing our own church mission statement says is our objective, cannot be a part of our life somewhere down the list of other priorities.
  • “Develop” means we are on a journey of understanding that, of becoming that.
  • This does not mean being a “church mouse.”  It means being an ardent, dedicated, ambassador of Jesus Christ.

 

  • Verse 27:  “Carry your own cross” means “giving it your all” not some burden.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

  • Verse 28 - 33:  Counting the cost.  Do we really understand this morning’s lesson?  Do we get it?

 

  • Verse 34 – 35:  A sort of Christian level does not get the job done.  This is likely even more so in our post-Christian culture.

 

  • This is why Jesus rejects the “casual” following of the crowd.

 

APPLICATION

Varies with the person.  Note in the Bible how Jesus response varies in the specifics.

  1. Redirection of time and energy
  2. Change in personal relationships
  3. Change in vocation
  4. Redirecting financial resources

 

REPEAT WITH ME OUR MISSIONAL STATEMENT OF TRINTY CHURCH:

Empowered by God

(This is not Larry Baird’s Church.  This is not Nate Lange’s Church.   This is not the Administrative Council’s Church.  It is God’s Church.  We need to understand God’s agenda and get on board.)

Trinity Church Will

Follow Jesus,

(Our sole agenda is to “Offer Christ” and all that means to as many as possible, wherever they are.)

Develop Disciples

(Trinity Church needs to have a clear path and program to do this and ask if what we are doing contributes to this in measurable ways.)

And Transform the World

(Just as did Jesus, we make one disciple at a time, and Just as Jesus as His body in the world we impact the world when we do that.)

 

Pastor Larry Baird




September 5, 2013, 7:01 PM

Times for Courage


School has resumed in most places, and each year we hear stories of children going off to kindergarten for the first time.  It takes a lot of courage on the part of the child to make this transition, and perhaps an equal amount on the part of concerned parents.  I actually remember my first day of kindergarten.  I know that is quite a feat since it was so long ago, but major events such as that have a way of making an indelible impression.  In the news this morning there was an account of a child's worse nightmare.  A 5-year-old boy was let off a bus miles from home.  Thankfully a caring adult found him, and the police eventually got him home.  It will take an extra dose of courage the next time he boards the bus.

Today I also led a worship service at a nursing home and spoke on the subject of courage.  It occured to me that many of the residents were also in a situation that requires courage.  It has been said that growing old is not for the faint of heart.  With uncharacteristic attention the elderly congregation listened carefully as I spoke.  I began with asking them if perhaps they could remember their first day leaving home for kindergarten.  I then talked about the many times and places in life that called for varying degrees of courage.  Was there one who had to find courage as a soldier?  Was there another who had to face some family situation with courage?  Were any in need of courage for facing the mental, physical, and spiritual challenges of advanced age?

The Bible speaks frequently of courage.  It recognizes that it is a key element in living life.  Deuteronomy 31: 7 and 8 share Moses' advice to the emergent leader Joshua.  "Be strong and courageous!"  "Do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord will personally go ahead of you.  He will be with you; he will neither fail you or abandon you." ( NLT)   This Old Testament reference foreshadows the Christian understanding of courage.  There we are told to live courageous lives in the knowledge that Jesus Christ is present in the life of the believer through every aspect of life and death.  "Be on guard.  Stand firm in the faith.  Be courageous.  Be strong."  1 Corinthians 16: 13  (NLT)

In what area of your life do you need courage?  Consider your relationship with Jesus Christ, and be of good courage.  He has gone before you and through faith He will journey with you to give you courage and strength.

Pastor Larry Baird

September 5, 2013

 

 

 

 

Comments
Christine King on 09-06-2013 at 8:48 AM
Wonderful!
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July 17, 2013, 1:36 PM

Summer as Sabbath


“Be still, and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10

*This blog entry is from Pastor Baird's article in Trinity Church's Summer edition of TRINITY TIDINGS

 

Of all the past times I miss the most are the summers that made up my life during my elementary school years.   July and August were quite simply giant, extravagant Sabbath rests.  I have not experienced summers like that since, and only anticipate to do so again in retirement.  Brenda may have other ideas for me, but let me dream for a moment.

 

The summers I remember were free from anything resembling appointments, except for Sunday mornings.  We were a family who worshipped 52 Sundays a year.  The rest of the week entailed enjoying the outdoors, reading, and generally indulging in the finer things in life.  Outdoors my brother and I would collect insects and keep them for a time in vented glass jars on the back porch.  We learned about them that way, came to appreciate their characteristics and then released them back into the bug world.  Some days were filled with chasing butterflies with our homemade nets. There were always gardens to tend, and even they seemed not a little like leisure as we sampled strawberries, peas, and anticipated the ripening of many other kinds of fruit and vegetables.  There were trees to climb, adventures to be had including trips to Johnson’s Creek to fish for bass, pickerel, bluegills, and bullheads.  A special treat would often await upon our return to home base.  Most often this was an orange Popsicle.  There was a proper way of enjoying these and that was to leisurely suck on them drawing the full flavor from their icy consistency.  I would sit on the lowest step of the front porch and lean forward to make sure there were no drips on the steps.  They would still melt but the drip would traverse down my arm and drip on the sidewalk where ants would gather to share in the delight.  Somehow this became a ritual now imbedded in my mind as a near sacred moment.

 

I’ll bore you no longer with my tale of “perfect summer” only to ask you to consider if it is possible that today we rob our children, and ourselves of these delightful times.  Today we tend to fill our children’s and our times with nearly frenetic appointed and arranged activity.  There is no time to hunt for frogs in the low lying fields next door.  There is no time to really savor a Popsicle.  And so I think, no I know, life gets somehow diminished and we become stressed-out adults raising stressed-out kids.  And for what?  To find a good life?

 

God had a word for us.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  I know now that those summers were a part of my spiritual development.

 

Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, author of the book we are using for the outline for my summer sermon series entitled Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us, Intervarsity Press,  2005 writes this in a section called “slowing:”

 

“The mother was busy hurrying her daughter out the door when the little girl replied, ‘Mommy.  Stop! Why are we always in a hurry when we never go anywhere important?’  The little girl intuitively knew that hurry got in the way of what was important.  Life is too precious to miss, and the faster we go the more likely we are to miss what really matters.”  (p. 79)

 

So worship this summer.  Have some Sabbath rest.  Yes, that should include public worship with your brothers and sister in Christ.  But, it should also include a leisurely stop at the fishing hole and a time to suck on a Popsicle; preferably orange and using the proper technique.  These are important places to go.  May we all journey to this sacred space many times this summer.

 

Excuse me now while I go to the store for some Popsicles.  I know two little kids who need to know about this.

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June 27, 2013, 2:28 PM

Practices That Transform Us/ #3 Relinquishing the False Self

The 8 and 10:30 AM sermon series continued this past week as we moved on looking at spiritual disciplines.  This week's fpcus was "Relinquishing the False Self."  Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Psalm 139 provides a strong basis of understanding the spiritual discipline.
  • We are fully and completely known by God.
  • As the Psalmist states:  Such knowledge is "too wonderful" or "incomprehensible" for us too fully grasp
  • The implications of this for Christian living are  a) God does not want to play the games we often play with Him or each other.
  • If we are open to God, God will transform us into exactly what God wants us to be.
  • This will allow us to have "life to the full" because it unleashes our full God-given potential and we take our place in contributing to life the way God meant us to so do.

Questions for the Week

  1. What "masks" do you wear in your relationship with God?
  2. Pastor Adele Calhoun, the author of the book, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook:  Practices That Transform Us  (IVP) which is providing the outline of these spiritual disciplines, says  "Self examination is a process whereby the Holy Spirit opens my heart to what is true about me.  This is not the same as a neurotic shame-inducing inventory.  Instead it is an opening myself to God within the safety of his love so I can seek transformation."  
  3. This self-examination can have many aspects to it.  1)  Think about your besetting weaknesses such as self-centered habits and broken relationships.  2) Review your life in terms of Biblical standards. such as the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20) and the 7 deadly sins (Proverbs 6: 16-19)

Be confident that as you place yourself before God that this God who knows exactly who you are and knows exactly who you could be is willing and capable of transforming you through the work of the Holy Spirit.

THE AUDIO OF THIS MESSAGE CAN BE FOUND ON THIS WEB SITE, MAIN PAGE, BY CLICKING THE SERMON BUTTON.

If you have any questions feel free to include them below or email Pastor Baird at LarryRBaird@gmail.com.

 

 

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June 18, 2013, 1:08 PM

Practices That Transform Us - Part 2 "Being Open to God"

This week we moved from the first spiritual discipline of "worship" and "sabbath keeping" to "opening ourselves to God."

THE AUDIO OF THIS MESSAGE CAN BE HEARD BY CLICKING ON THE SERMONS BUTTON ON OUR HOME PAGE.

  • This spiritual discipline transforms us in that it keeps faith alive and vital.
  • "Being Open to God" is an extension of worship, in that it focuses on attentiveness to God between sabbath observances.
  • In the message I shared that for too many people, even some church members, God is not much more than a sacred vagueness.
  • It is the "forgetfulness" of God in our daily lives.
  • The author of our book which provides the inspiration and outline for our series, Pastor Adele Calhoon says, "We cannot open ourselves to someone we do not notice!"
  • One of our Scripture references was Deuteronomy 8.  There the Israelites are reminded "Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day."  8:11  and "Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase ... then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God."  8:13-14

 

  • Therefore on a daily basis we need to "open ourselves to God."
  • This is the practice of looking for God in the actviities, encounters, and events of our daily lives.
  • I mentoned as an excellent example, and in recognition of Father's Day, my father's photographic series called "Learning to See."  In it he moved from pictures of broad scenes, each photo thereafter moving in closer and closer on an object.
  • How often do we miss God in God's creation by not being observant?
  • I used the illustration of fishing.  I use polarized sun glasses.  Without them you can only see the surface of the water.  Use them and you see another whole world below the surface.  You can see the depth of the situation.

 

ASSIGNMENT:  This week choose a situation or issue, and think about how God sees it.

KEY THOUGHT AND PRACTICE:  Use "inductive Bible study" to help you see as God sees.  Three basic steps open us to the "mind" and "presence" of God so that we can take this insight into the world.  These Bible Study steps are:  1.  Ask how God is active in the Scripture you are reading?  2.  Apply it to your life.   3.  Ask, how is God active in the same way today?

 

SOME GUIDING QUESTIONS SHOULD YOU WANT TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG, OR SIMPLY WORK PRIVATELY ON YOUR OWN:

 

  • What situation or event allowed you to look deeper this week which helped you discover God being present in your life?
  • How did it change how you perceived the event?  How you reponded to the event?
  • What would life be like if you did more of this "opening yourself to God?"
  • Do you have any questions or want more dialogue?

 

 

Comments
Fred Claus on 06-20-2013 at 11:42 PM
I try every day to go through my life with an eye out for God. I find myself thanking God for everything that happens. If someone cuts me off in traffic, I don't get upset with that person, or try to do the same to them? Instead I thank God for that person. It's God's way of showing me I was doing something he didn't approve of. Maybe I was lacking something and God needed to wake me up. I also thank God for the good things that happen to me as well.

If everyone was to "Open" themselves to God around them I think we all would be a happier society. I know that by looking at situations as "What would God do?" I find my choices a bit different than I have in years past when I was just thinking about myself.

Praise God
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