A Sermon delivered in munster in various locations, July 2015
whatever happened to the values of humanity?
Whatever happened to the fairness and equality?
Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity
That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ under
That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ down
There’s no wonder why sometimes I’m feelin’ under
Gotta keep my faith alive till love is found (now ask yourself)
Where is the Love?
Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’
Where is the love?
Black Eyed Peas 2013
Those are lyrics from a song from 2003, a pop song, a lament.
Where is the love?
I have been reading a book called Starving Jesus specifically about fasting but it asks these questions at that start:
Why are we stuck in the pews?
Why is Sunday the only time we see Christians?
Why is everyone such a hypocrite?
In 2 Corinthians chapter 9 it says
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work
In the passage from Exodus that we read earlier it talks about the women and men who were:
So that covers all the gifted, skilled able people BUT it goes further
Women and men were asked to COME, BRING, MAKE, GIVE
All whose hearts were moved.
All with free will.
That’s for everyone else.
We are all welcome
All of our hearts can be moved
All can offer
All can be given gifts
All can be given skills
There is a prayer, usually mumbled after the freewill offering is taken up and words like – all we have is yours Lord, our gifts our skills our talents…
But do we really mean it
Do we really mean the skill of teaching or accounting or housekeeping or nursing belongs to God?
Do we recognise that our talents skills and gifts come from God? And do we ask for new ones?
In the first monologue we heard, we met a lady who was tired, she was weary, she was burdened, she was helping, she was being practical. But she grumbled about it. She was doing out of duty, out of working her way to heaven, out of some sense come down through generations that this was the way to do it.
I was at a bible study on Monday night in Ballybunion and I listened as someone said, I am the way. And I have heard it many times and I have understood it many times. But I watched someone else get it in a new way and in watching them I got it in a new way. Jesus as the only way.
No amount of making dinners for homeless people, no amount of hours spent in a charity shop, no amount of cake making or ironing or getting people’s messages make any difference if we don’t know Jesus as the only way.
And that can seem a narrow way but actually it is a wide open space way.
Because ALL are wooed. ALL are invited. ALL are welcome.
Mark 12 from verse 30 says:
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. ’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself. ’ There is no other commandment greater than these
In the second monologue we met a lady who got it. She said right at the beginning, she set her stall out and said: “I love my Lord”
Everything she did, and she did the same chores as the first lady. But she did it differently. She loved doing what she did. She was inspired to think outside the box.
Everything she did was because she was in that personal relationship with God. At the end we heard how she lived her life when she wasn’t doing for other people. She read her Bible and she talked to God. She loved the Lord and because she accepted his overflowing love – it overflowed right through her and she was creative in her giving. Instead of just ironing for her neighbour, she was going to teach their husband to iron. Instead of just getting a shopping list from Gertie, she took her out and they spent time together and that led to something else.
When we give abundantly, amazing things happen. A few weeks ago in conversation with a Sunday School teacher I heard how despondent they were, discouraged, challenged and sure did they ever make a difference anyway.
A few nights after that I was talking to a 17 year old girl, who was living in a home that was less than ideal. And she was telling me how a lady would come to her house and take her and her big brother to church on a Sunday and she’d go to Sunday school. And she was asking me about Jesus and interjecting with things she remembered from that time at Sunday school. Words we probably don’t equate with Sunday school. Words like SAFE, CALM, PEACEFUL. And in the middle of the conversation she said the lady’s name. It was my despondent, discouraged lady. Of course I shared it back to her and she has renewed fire in her belly, there is nothing going to stop her proclaiming the truth to the young ones.
We don’t know the seeds that we sow. But we have to sow them in order that they might grow. And the more abundantly we sow, the higher the yield, for God’s glory and His kingdom.
What is God asking you to do? Are you being nudged by the Holy Spirit to step out in faith in some area of your life. A guy the other night said that he was enjoying his life, he is living life to the full, there is fire in his belly.
The likeness of Jesus grows in a person’s life;
the mind of Christ takes hold;
and the love of Christ grows stronger and stronger
until we begin to see, speak and serve with the heart of God himself.
There are no limits to how God can change a person from the inside out.
Are the fruit of the Spirit in evidence in your life?
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self – control.
Do you have a servant’s heart?
I end here but I really want to pray with you all. I want us to pray together about committing our lives to Christ or recommitting our life to Christ. And so I will say one line and you then repeat it. So we will have some silence and then we will pray.
Lord Jesus Christ,
I know that I have sinned and done things that have hurt you.
I am willing to turn away from what is wrong in my life.
I want to go where you lead in the future.
Thank you for dying on the cross so that I might be forgiven.
Come into my life this day;
Come in as my Saviour and Lord:
Come in to be with me forever.
Thank you Lord Jesus. Amen.