Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jesus As The Spice of Life

"You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.” (Matthew 5:13)

I don’t know about you, but I have never liked things “plain.”  Burgers, fries, hot dogs, sandwiches, soups, meats, holidays, vacations, days off, etc., etc.  No, for me I really can’t enjoy these kinds of things unless they’re somehow spiced and jazzed up!  I have to have all the “fixins’” on my burgers and hot dogs, fancy sauce, cheese and marinade on chicken or steak, hot sandwiches with all kinds of complex additions, and even vacations that go unique places, do unique things, and where I can see unique sights!  If you don’t believe me, just ask my wife and family and they’ll confirm all of this!

In point of fact, all of these are examples of things that add spice and zest to life -- they add taste, texture and fun to make life more enjoyable.  Today’s scripture says that you and I are the “salt of the earth” -- that means that we are to be the spice and zest in the lives of others.  But from where does our own “saltiness” come?

It comes from the presence of Jesus Christ within each of us.  Without Christ in us, we can live simple lives of existence, going about our daily routines in a dull, hum-drum kind of way.  But with Christ in our hearts, our daily actions and routines can become something entirely different. They can be exciting and always surprising, with Jesus bringing out the flavor and potential within each of us.  In other words, Jesus brings spice and “saltiness” to our lives so that we can bring spice and “saltiness” (or flavor and zest) to the lives of others lost, alone, and alienated from God. 

So, are you spicing things up?  Or are you losing your savor?  People in our world today are looking for something to add zest and flavor to their otherwise dull lives… and we have the answer:  JESUS!  So don’t keep your “saltiness” to yourself.  Spread the good news.  Be the spice of Jesus in the lives of those around you.  Don’t let your “salt” go to waste -- make someone around you “thirsty” for Jesus today by the way you live your life.  Remember that God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Goose Sense - Teamwork

“He called the twelve together and began to send them out two by two...." (Mark 6:7)

When you see geese flying along in a "V" formation, consider what they can teach us:

(1) As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following, adding at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.  When we share a common direction, we can get where we're going more quickly and easily because we travel on one another's thrust.  Do you know our church’s purpose/mission -- the one God has given us and asks us all to follow and be a part of?  (If not CLICK HERE).

(2) When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone, and quickly gets back into formation. If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are headed the same way we are.  Do you know how to respectfully and humbly follow the lead of your leaders? Or do you too often try to “go against the flow” just to make a point or to “be in charge” yourself?

(3) When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.  It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs, whether with people or with geese flying south.  How do you set reasonable limits for yourself to have time to renew yourself, and do you allow others the space and limits they need to re-energize, as well?

(4) Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.  What messages do you give when you honk from behind?

(5) Finally, when a goose gets sick or wounded and has to fall out of formation, two other geese fall out with it and follow it down to lend help and protection.  If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that, too. How do you respond when a fellow Christian brother or sister is in trouble?

You see, even Jesus knew that effective Christian ministry can't be a "one-man-show" -- instead, we need each other!  That’s why he began his own ministry on earth by calling twelve followers to be his Disciples.  As we begin a new year with new leaders here at East Cobb UMC, I look forward to us working for Christ together as a team!  Always remember that God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

All I Need to Know I Learned from Noah's Ark

“Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, ‘As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you’” (Genesis 9:8-9)

Lesson One: Don’t miss the boat.

Lesson Two:  Remember that we are all in the same boat.

Lesson Three:  Plan ahead.  It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.

Lesson Four: Stay fit.  When you’re 600 years old someone may ask you to do something really big!

Lesson Five: Don’t listen to critics, just get on with the job that needs to be done.

Lesson Six:   Build your future on high ground.

Lesson Seven:  For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.

Lesson Eight:  Speed isn’t always an advantage.  The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

Lesson Nine: When you’re stressed, float a while.

Lesson Ten: Remember the Ark was built by amateurs -- the Titanic was built by professionals.

Lesson Eleven: No matter the storm, when you are with God there’s always a rainbow waiting.

It’s good to know that no matter what we face, God is here for and with us! Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Early Years

Each new year gives us all a chance to re-evaluate our priorities and focus on what’s really important.  The focus of the early years of Jesus’ own earthly ministry gives us some indication of what he felt was truly important, as well. 
Join me for the five weeks of the Christian season of Epiphany (January 13-February 10, 2013) as we explore the early ministry of Jesus found in the gospels of Luke and John, and life lessons we can learn for ourselves today from them.

            January 13 - “The Heart-Mender”

            January 20 - “The Grander Call”

            January 27 - “The Wine of Life”

            February 3 - “The Power of Friendship”

            February 10 - “Listen to Him…”

Remember that God loves you and I do, too!