The Invitation to Serve

Sermon preached on Sunday, March 29, 2020  at Vestavia Hills Baptist Church. You can view the recorded version here.

 NRS Luke 9: 44 “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.” 45 But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was concealed from them, so that they could not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.  46 An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. 47 But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, 48 and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.”

This is the final message in my series on “Better Reasons to Believe” and it is this: “because we are invited to serve.” That sounds strange, I admit. “The chance to sacrifice what I want so someone else can have it” doesn’t top most people’s lists of what matters the most.

The poor lieutenant governor of Texas this past week, in a moment of bravery, said, “We grandparents need to risk sacrificing our lives for the economic futures of our grandchildren, even if we die.” The firestorm was predictable. Whatever his intentions, a lot of people said, “After you, sir.”

But how do we sacrifice in this moment of global pandemic? And will that be enough?  It’s a real question. But not a new one.

This Bible story happened in the aftermath of the confession at Caesarea Philippi, when

GARY4
Gary Furr

Peter acknowledged that Jesus is the Messiah, and then followed the Transfiguration, when three of the disciples went with Jesus to the top of the mountain and saw a vision of Jesus radiant with the glory of God and a mysterious voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved son”

After this astounding spiritual experience, though, they went back down the mountain and the next day everything started to go wrong. First, the disciples, giddy with their calling to go forth try to help, try to help a poor child who suffered from convulsions and the father came to Jesus, saying in essence, “Your disciples tried, but they couldn’t help.” Continue reading “The Invitation to Serve”

20 Generic New Year’s Resolutions for 2013

  1. See 2012.  Ditto, and this time, mean it.
  2. Write fewer words and say more with them.
  3. Go to bed earlier and more often.  In some cases, stay there as long as possible.
  4. Stop caring about your career and start caring most about getting something done.
  5. It’s a free country.  Say what you want about it.  I’ll think what I want about what you said.  Neither of us will do
    Ugh. Time to do it.

    anything about it other than listen or respond coherently.

  6. Less anger, more effort.  (For a significant portion of you:  GET HELP)
  7. Let’s shorten election cycles to three weeks, and allow representatives to have a career but after two terms you have to take one off and get a real job, and that does NOT include lobbying.  Lobbyists are required to clean the offices of the people they oppose and babysit their children.
  8. Find all the ways to work on something in common, and if there’s time left over we can accuse, caricature, spin and lie about each other.
  9. Continue reading “20 Generic New Year’s Resolutions for 2013”