Jesus’ first recorded words in the Gospels

8009021150_23905f8f15_z

_

They spent 3 days searching for Jesus and then Jesus asks them a question,  “_____________________?”

_

Listen in to Pastor Mark’s sermon for the 1st Sunday of Christmas, 2012:

_

 click > Jesus’ first recorded words

_

Or…

_

_

________________________________________________________________

_

Thank you, Pastor Mark.

_

And thanks to flickr and Senex Magister, for the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_

Advertisements

The Three Jesus(s)

DOMINGO CARRERAS PAVAROTTI

   from Pastor Mark Anderson’s blog   (title and photo chosen(here) by the old Adam)

_“Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

                                                                                                                        – Matthew 16:16

_

When we’ve had enough of ourselves, in whatever form it takes, we start looking around for a messiah. And when we do, they usually come in one of three pre-conceived forms: revolutionary, moral reformer or revivalist.

The revolutionary gathers up all our grudges and grievances and pummels our enemies with them, for some enemy or another is the problem.  He\she leads the army of the righteously disgruntled in storming the battlements of injustice, in order that our particular form of justice may be violently forced on others. Many wanted, and still want, Jesus the revolutionary.

The moral reformer rails against the vices and corruption of the age. Society and it’s institutions are falling apart because people – other people – are misbehaving. The corrective to society’s ills may be found in the moral realignment of society and it’s values. The moral reformer wants to see moral/ethical revision extend from the board room to the bedroom. Many wanted, and still want, Jesus the moral reformer.

The revivalist sees the dilemmas of both church and state deriving from the lackluster faith of backsliding believers and stodgy religion. The world is a mess because we do not have enough energetic, sincere faith to make it otherwise. The revivalist summons us from religion set on simmer to religion turned up to a full boil. When we are serious enough about God, things will change. Many wanted, and still want, Jesus the revivalist.

There may be a place for all three of these concerns as sinners struggle to tidy up the messy world we have made for ourselves. In fact, turn on your television any day of the week and you’ll find these salvation stories being given back to you in any manner of law and order programming. But to equate one, or all three, of these with the Messiahship of Jesus is to miss the mark by a mile. Tidying up the world may make us feel more secure and better about ourselves but it will save no one.

When Peter made his confession of Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, it was some combination of these three salvation motifs he had in mind. You probably do too. But when Jesus began to explain that the Messiah would be handed over, suffer and be killed, Peter raised a furious objection. It was then that Jesus called Peter ‘Satan’ and told him to knock it off.

Now, perhaps, we can see why Jesus told His disciples to not spread the word that he was the Messiah. For he knew that the word would aggravate the misunderstandings already in place. Then, as now, people would hear the title Messiah, Christ, as revolutionary, moral reformer or revivalist. These, in fact, are the programs of many Christian congregations.

The meaning of the title’  Messiah’, ‘Christ’ does not come from human projections of what we think needs redemption. Jesus was telling His disciples that it was, in fact, at the hands of the revolutionaries, moral reformers and revivalists that he would suffer and die.

The god of the revolutionary, moral reformer or revivalist is simply inadequate to deal with the enormity of the evil we inflict on each other. To call upon these gods in the name of salvation is like putting band aids on terminal cancer. Forget it.

The title Messiah, Christ, may rightly be given to Jesus because through His way of innocence, vulnerability, suffering and death He took upon Himself our justifications, defenses and prejudices – our devilish programs of salvation. God refused to be a party to our programs of revolution, reform or revival. He came, and still comes, in the way of mercy and grace, consigning all our works and all our ways to death on the cross in order that He might have mercy on us all. 

 

“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

_

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_

Thank you, Pastor Mark.

Pastor Mark Anderson’s Daily Devotional blog site

_

And thanks to flickr and Jim653, for the photo.

_

_

_

Romans 11

680c60_27509df8a9964508067c063c7c5cc4f7

_

From  Pastor Mark Anderson’s Daily Devotional blog site

_

” For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon allO the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory for ever. Amen.”

_

The photo above is of the baptismal font in our sanctuary. It stands centrally in the aisle and greets worshipers as they enter. Seeing it reminds of me of an event from years ago.

I was visiting a friend who had just started his ministry in a new congregation. While I was there he asked it I would help him with a project. With toolbox in hand he took me to a closet located near the altar at the side of the sanctuary. He opened the door to reveal a wooden baptismal font on wheels. An hour later we had removed the wheels and permanently attached the font to the floor just inside the entrance to the sanctuary. 

The explosive language of Paul in the text above is not language that wonders at a God we can’t figure out. It is the language that marvels, wonders at the unfathomable grace of God that has not given up on this tiny world. To go a step further, it is the language of one for whom the story of Jesus, His cross and resurrection, have become defining. For not only has God not given up on this world, in Jesus He has committed Himself to this world, in justice and mercy, when there is no obligation for Him to do so.

The Gospel of Jesus, mediated through the word and sacraments, bring us into the story of God. Sacraments are the living events through which God continually comes to us and keeps us in His grace, shapes us and conforms us to the death and new life of the cross and resurrection. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are not ambiguous events, shifting sands. The sacraments are events in real time, part of the actual story, history of God’s people, where we are encountered by God’s faithfulness, through which God creates trust by extending His mercy and grace.

My friend was absolutely right in reaffirming baptism as a symbol of permanence, and to locate that symbol in a place where the worshiping community could not push baptism into a closet. Now, they would come face to face with baptism every time they gathered. They would come face to face with an unbuffered view of the self and God in the light of the cross.

As you come and go from worship, the font stands as a reminder of the certainty of God’s judgment on sin and the certainty of God’s grace and mercy. The sacrament of baptism is not a symbol, an ambiguous spiritualizing of God. Baptism is a tangible, on going God-event in which He commits Himself to the death of your old self and the bringing to life of the new you in Christ.

A movable font is symbolic of how we can make destructive even the story of Jesus. For such a practice presents us with baptism as a perfunctory ritual, removes it from it’s central place in worship, in effect rendering ambiguous and uncertain the utterly reliable certainty of God’s grace. It becomes a symbol of our ambivalence about baptism, about God, about ourselves.

On the other hand, the immovable font, the place of grace, plants God’s decision for us firmly in our midst as a worshiping community. It states clearly that grace comes before faith. It makes clear that the Church is not first and foremost a community of faith but a community of grace. For, the great story of Jesus is the story of God’s faithfulness to a disobedient, faithless, violent and corrupt world. No wonder Paul marvels at the “depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God”. For He owes us nothing. Yet, in Christ Jesus, He has given us everything. This is the utterly gracious, reliable and unshakable promise of your baptism.

 _

 “May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

_

__________________________

_

Thank you, Pastor Mark.

_

Lutheran Church of the Master Corona del Mar, CA

_

_

_

What God thinks of our “spirituality projects” (Christmas Day sermon, 2012 )

4161935408_9b02a46dd9_z

_

Pastor Mark’s Christmas Day sermon for 2012:

_

click > God in Jesus, a real man, from a real woman, in real time…for us

_

or…

_

_

_____________________________________________________________

_

Thank you, Pastor Mark.

_

And  thanks to flickr and jeffweese, for the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_

Romans 8 and freedom and courage to live in a new way

2953910913_023eb87cd9_z

_

We have been freed from’ the torah’. From the old way of living by the law. Freed that we might have the courage to do what we can do.

Listen in to Pastor Mark’s last midweek Advent sermon for 2012 as he reads from Romans 8 and substitutes the word, ‘torah’, for the word, ‘law’:

_

 click> Romans 8 and the freedom to have courage

_

or…

_

_

___________________________________________________________________

_

Thank you, Pastor Mark.

_

And thanks to flickr and Paul Forsdick, for the photo.

_

Baptism as lifestyle

5200463596_5a8d4e2004_z

_

Sadly, for many, Baptism is a moment in time that you move away from. It is so much more than that.  It is ongoing. Baptism continues all throughout life. It is a way of living out the Christian life.

_

Listen to Pastor Mark’s class as he describes Baptism as lifestyle:

_

click > Baptism as lifestyle

__

or…

_

_

____________________________________________________

_

Thank you, Pastor Mark.

_

And thanks to flickr and Ronnie R, for the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_

_

 

Using religion to get yourself ‘off the hook’


4650697884_fdc3d04e01_z

_

A lot of people use their Baptism as a way to try and get themselves “off the hook”.  But there is something far better that is found in your Baptism…”a new way of living”.

_

Listen in to Pastor Mark’s sermon for the 3rd Sunday in Advent:

_

click > Using religion to get yourself off the hook

_

or…

_

_

__

_______________________________________________________________

_

Thanks, Pastor Mark.

_

And thanks to flickr and ragtime, for the photo.

_

_