I am sure at some point you have been asked a get-to-know-you question like, "If you could have dinner with one person in history, who would it be?" So, let me ask you, who would you chose?
I think you can guess who I would chose.
Let's see what that dinner might look like.
"Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.
Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” John 12:1-4
What a scene?!
There is the "Energizer bunny" Martha; sleeves rolled up and ready to serve, reliable, hardworking Martha.
Who is that over there on her knees? While Martha serves with her hands, Mary lifts her hands in praise and prayer. For she loves to worship, she lives to pray.
And Lazarus? Why is he beaming and unable to shut up? He’s sharing his pinch-me-I’m-dreaming death experience.
What about Judas? Interrupting with a complaint. "You are doing church/worship/thanksgiving all wrong."
I wonder if there was anyone missing from the table. Someone who did not make it to this dinner celebration. I wonder what was so important that they would miss out on being with Jesus.
Martha’s role was to thank Jesus by seeing to the details of the dinner.
Mary’s role was to thank Jesus by pouring this expensive ointment out on Jesus.
Lazarus' role was to thanks Jesus by telling his story.
Judas' role was to pop the bubble of Jesus.
The too-busy disciple who missed out on the action role was to take Jesus for granted.
In all these ways they expressed their response to the greatness of Jesus and his grace and power to raise Lazarus from the dead.
The Marthas who serve, the Marys who pray, the Lazarus' who testify, and the Judas' who complain—all seated at the table together. Let's not forget about the disciple who is missing. In God’s house, each one plays a different role.
Would you ever want to have dinner with Jesus? Which role would you play? Which role are you playing right now?
Seeking to serve Jesus. Seeking to worship Jesus. Seeking to tell stories about Jesus. Hoping never to miss out on Jesus.
Pray without Ceasing
July 10, 2015
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
Sometimes we pray and sometimes we don't.
Sometimes prayer seems to be the last resort.
Sometimes all we can do is pray.
Have we learned that we need to pray all the time?
Let's praise God for who He is. List in your mind all the characteristics that describe Him...
Praise God for the blessings He gave you. List them... Long list, huh?
Praise God for adopting you.
Praise God for the Psalms, for providing for Southtown, for helping us love Him, each other and those far from Him.
Praise God for a successful Ice Cream Social on Wednesday night. Praise God for the team of Arkansas youth who came and served Southtown this past week.
Praise God that more groups will be coming in August to bless us with construction and renovation work on our building. Praise God for Hank & Angi Harris being trained and equipped to plant a new church.
Praise God for training us to be more of a disciple-making church family.
Let's pray for God's will be done in our lives and at Southtown.
Pray for VBS this coming week...
Pray for our love of Scripture to grow.
Pray for our love for each other to grow.
Pray that our love for those far from God will grow.
Pray for a season of conversion growth.
Pray for those considering Baptism.
Pray for me and our other church leaders.
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.”
Ephesians 6:18-20 NLT
Are you stuck?
I read a funny and poignant story about a cow who put her nose into a paint can and it got stuck. The cow could not shake the can lose, putting herself in serious danger; lack of air and unable to eat or drink. The farmer went to help. When the cow saw its rescuer coming, it got scared and ran. For three days the farmer and his helping hands chased after her. Finally, they were able to corner the cow and remove the can. Freedom. Fresh Air. Food. Water. Healthy once again.
Have you seen any people stuck in a can lately?
People with dehydrated souls and malnourished hearts?
People who are out of spiritual breath because they are running from God?
People who are avoiding Christian friends and their church family?
All because they put their nose where it does not belong. God came running to help and rescue, but they ran.
Does this describe you? Have you ever put your nose where it does not belong? Have you ever got your nose stuck in over spending, over eating, over working, gossip, addiction to entertainment, alcohol or any other place?
God reveals that people who put their nose where they should not "are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against Him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity." Eph 4:17-19 (NLT)
Re-read those symptoms of a malnourished soul and dehydrated heart. Do these symptoms describe your spiritual condition right now? Have you ever experienced these?
Due to the love-bursting heart of our Rescuer, Jesus Christ, Jesus sets out to disentangle us. His team of rescuers (God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, The Word, His church, His creation and His orchestrating circumstances) never give up, never get tired, never run out of care and concern for you and me.
God reminds us that malnourished souls and dehydrated hearts "aren’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy." Eph 4:20-24 (NLT)
God invites us to stop running. Let Him remove the can from our nose. Let Him forgive and start the healing process. Let Him gently pour His spiritual food and water into your soul and heart. Then, thank Him. Re-engage with Him, His Word, His church, His mission of helping Him remove cans from others who are stuck and running away.
Hopefully, you are enjoying reading, studying and memorizing the Psalms this summer. God is waiting to nourish your souls and hydrate your hearts with the Psalms this summer. What Are Summers Made For....
See you Sunday,
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.