Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Colossians 3:17

The Wedding of Kent Boydston & Samantha Morrow, Dublin, California, 04 August 2018

You’ve heard the expression, “Not all who wander are lost.” In light of the travel theme in this wedding I thought it would be appropriate to unpack that saying a bit. The reality is that many wander about because they are lost. But others wander because they want to experience new things. They are driven to get out there and see the world.

Now, that was not as big of a deal when I was growing up. The generations behind us have figured out that there is real value in seeing and experiencing more of the world. And that’s great.

But I want to suggest that there is a third reason why some wander.

The first is because they are LOST.
The second is because they want to EXPERIENCE the wonders of this great world.
And the third is because -- they're on a MISSION.

Christians are especially tuned into this dimension. Jesus sent his followers out to spread his good news.

We read in John 20:21 that after Jesus was raised from the dead he appeared to his disciples and said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”

But we're not just talking about some class of spiritually elite individuals. We're all called to represent Christ, his message, his love…

And I'd suggest that it's not just individuals but also couples.

In the NT book of Colossians, the apostle Paul spells out some instructions on healthy marriage in Colossians 3:18-19 -- which I am not going to read. You can check that out on your own. But I would like to focus on the preamble to those comments in Colossians 3:17 --
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Or I might paraphrase it for this context --
Whatever it is that you do or say -- wherever you travel -- whoever it is that pays your salary -- your underlying mission is to represent the Lord Jesus -- and do remember to thank God with each step you take along the way.
Yes, a wedding ceremony is a celebration of your love and commitment to each other. But it is also a commissioning service to send you out together as a new team on a journey to represent Christ Jesus -- his good news -- his kingdom agenda -- and his way of life.

When we lived in Turlock we had a man in our church whom I'd have do premarital counseling for me. He was much better at that kind of thing than I am. And he'd meet with the couples before I'd officiate at the ceremony.

Kent, you remember Lloyd Ahlem. Lloyd was a retired psychologist and college president. And one thing he'd always ask couples to do is to write out their corporate mission statement. Lloyd was a genius and that one assignment quickly got couples talking about the point of marriage.

What is your mission statement? What is your corporate purpose? Why are you going on this journey? Why are you wandering?

Is it because you're lost and you need a spouse to help you find your way? Is it because you're looking forward to experiencing the world with a kindred spirit? (And Kent and Sam seem to be very kindred spirits. I think it was Stephen Kim who first figured that out and hooked them up. Thank you!) Maybe it's a combination of both those reasons.

And really when you think about it, wandering because you're lost or wandering because you desire to experience things together aren't such bad reasons. But remember your prime directive as individuals and a married couple -- to represent Christ as you wander on your journey. If you make that the first priority the other aspects of the marriage journey will fall into place.

And believe it or not, that is the good news.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Luke 2:1-20

"The Night Heaven Declared Peace on Earth"
MasterPiece Church
Christmas Eve -- 24 December 2017

“Glory to God in heaven,
and on earth peace among
those whom he favors.”
~ Luke 2:14 (CEB)

You might think that given their place in the heavenly ranks that the angels would have an inside scoop on what God is up to. But that's not entirely true. Angels have been known to get things wrong -- terribly wrong at times.

Now, of course, they knew God was up to something. There was a lot of buzz in the capitol and there had been several recent dispatches centered around a lovely young human woman. Something was definitely happening. But that was all privileged in detail.

Besides, no one ever quite knows what God is up to. He only reveals so much...

That, of course, did not stifle the speculation. And if you asked the average angel on the street he would have told you that in his educated opinion God was about to launch a judgment offensive.

I mean if you looked at the signs it made a lot of sense. The humans were in political turmoil under oppressive dictators. Ordinary people lived morally indifferent lives. The religious were the biggest hypocrites around. And everyone dreamed of getting rich -- even if it meant displacing vulnerable people and shortchanging both the poor and the creation to get there.

So the off-duty angels -- soldiers of the heavenly host -- would sit around the pub drinking celestial brew and speculating on what kind of battle tactics the commander would utilize in the offensive against the evil of the world.

Old Arnie was about to say that it would be like that time they opened the skies and flooded the earth during the days of Noah. But his memory kicked in just in time to catch himself. God had promised he wouldn’t do that again.

But Anders, an experienced yet low ranking angel, jumped in, stating that he was fairly certain it would look something like that time when they unleashed plagues and death on the Egyptians before the Exodus.

“Yeah,” everyone at the table piped in. “That was pretty cool. No doubt that God has something along that line in mind.”

But a couple of the younger experts at the far end of the table raised their voices -- “NO WAY! Have you seen how much worse things have become since then? The world has fallen into chaos. The leaders are self-obsessed uncaring narcissists and to make matters worse -- their subjects -- their very victims are so blind that they support the corrupt regime thinking they’ll somehow get rich, too. It’s a greedy hell hole down there. And God will most certainly unleash a bloodbath unlike anything ever before seen. History can no longer be used to predict the future.”

So a couple of hours later when the heavenly host was summoned for assembly most of them showed up in full battle gear -- even though the gear wasn’t a part of the order.

But the captain commanded them to stand down and stow the gear -- “You don’t need that stuff -- not now -- maybe never again. We’re on choir duty backing up a messenger.”

“Sir,” a sergeant jumped in. “But what if the infidels don’t like the message and turn on the messenger? Shouldn’t we be ready to protect him?”

“Don’t worry,” the captain responded. “The messenger will be meeting a group of shepherds out at night watching over their flocks. Believe me, these guys are no threat. They’re about the only ones left who don’t fancy delusions of power. They watch sheep!”

Then the captain handed out music for a quick run through.

They warmed up and started to sing --“Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”

Arnie quietly turned to his buddies -- “Can you believe this? ‘Peace to the earthlings. They have found favor…’ How can this be? This is a whole new era -- a new way of doing battle. God is launching peace against the bloody rebels! The only way that will ever work is if he shows up in person to lead the charge. This is going to get interesting.”

Then they all loudly joined the reprise -- one more time before boarding transport -- “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”

And believe it or not -- that is the good news.

Monday, December 11, 2017