Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Third Sunday of Easter: Co-laboring with God - Illinois Mennonite Conference Annual Assembly

On this Third Sunday of Easter, I preached at East Bend Mennonite Church which hosted the Illinois Mennonite Conference Annual Assembly from April 20 - 22, 2012.  Our theme for the Assembly was from 1 Corinthians 3: 1-9: We are Co-laborers with God.

Connect to A Vision for God: Seeing Whom God Sees.  Paul addressed the Corinthian Christians that they were fighting about which ministry and which leader was more important.  In so doing, they missed seeing God and they missed seeing whom God sees.  Ministry fails when we quarrel about what we believe to be important in ministry because we miss God and what God is doing and whom God is embracing.  May we not lose our vision of God in participating with what God is doing and whom God is embracing.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Second Sunday of Easter: The Cry for the Kingdom - The Lord's Prayer

On this Second Sunday of Easter Sunday, we move to a focus on praying the Lord's Prayer.  In being reoriented by Resurrection, we live praying a prayer that leads us into reorientation.  

The Lord's Prayer is a prayer that prays for the making visible of a new reality, a new reality that reorients creation through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  As a people who are now in this Resurrection community, we are a people of the new creation and so we pray for God's will and presence to be manifest on earth as it is in heaven.  The Lord's Prayer is a cry for the kingdom of God to reorient all creation - our economics, our security, our politics - in relationship with the Living and Loving God.  

The message for this Second Sunday of Easter focused on Matthew 6: 5-15 and Luke 11:1-4.

Connect to The Cry for the Kingdom: The Lord's Prayer.  In this message we discover that what the disciples of Jesus wanted to learn from Jesus is how to pray to God as personally and intimately as he did.  For Jesus praying to God was more than reciting the right words to God - it was entering into a personal, relational, family conversation with God.  This is what the disciples desired - may we desire to communicate with God in the same way - as family.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Sunday: Resurrection - The Ultimate Reorientation

On this Easter Sunday, we move from our Lenten focus on Psalms of Disorientation and Reorientation in which we were preparing ourselves for the new life that comes through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter, to celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus as the ultimate act of reorientation.  Our lives on our own are so often disoriented from the ways of God, but in being joined with Christ in his resurrection from the grave, we enter into a radically new orientation as human beings in human community.

The message for Easter Sunday focused on Acts 10.

Connect to Resurrection: The Ultimate Reorientation .  In this message we focused on the Spirit being the main character in Acts 10 who brings about transformation not according to our political or theological agendas, but according to what the Spirit desires to do in bringing a diverse human together as a community in Christ.  In the example of Peter and Cornelius - a Jew and Roman soldier, we as a community of Jesus are to be open to whomever the Spirit of God brings into our midst so that we might all be transformed in ways the Spirit desires. The Resurrection and transforming work of the Spirit are the ultimate acts of reorientation in our lives.