Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Ripple Effect: An Open Book

Oct. 20, 2013 The Ripple Effect: An Open Book Pastor Carol P. Taylor

Psalm 119:97-105 New International Version
97 Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands are always with me
and make me wiser than my enemies.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.
100 I have more understanding than the elders,
for I obey your precepts.
101 I have kept my feet from every evil path
so that I might obey your word.
102 I have not departed from your laws,
for you yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.

John 17:13-19 Good News Translation
13 And now I am coming to you, and I say these things in the world so that they might have my joy in their hearts in all its fullness. 14 I gave them your message, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but I do ask you to keep them safe from the Evil One. 16 Just as I do not belong to the world, they do not belong to the world.17 Dedicate them to yourself by means of the truth; your word is truth. 18 I sent them into the world, just as you sent me into the world. 19 And for their sake I dedicate myself to you, in order that they, too, may be truly dedicated to you.

The Ripple Effect: we never quite know what effect we may have on another person. We have all heard those stories of how one person made a difference in the life of someone, by a seemingly small thing said or done. When we live out our faith, we are causing ripples that can have quite an effect on others!


I am using GNT here while the NIV is up on the screen very deliberately. In Bible study, it can be very helpful to use different translations.
I love that they use the word “Dedicated” here for “Sanctified”
To be sanctified means to be set apart, separated, saved to be used for specific purpose. In the NT this word is also translated “holy”.
...sanctification is the same Greek word as holiness, meaning a separation. Separated, set apart for a purpose!

Jesus was sanctified, separated FOR US, dedicated for our use.

Just as this beautiful baby has been 'dedicated' for God, set apart so that she can make that choice one day, so we can be dedicated, set apart for God to use for God's purposes. When I say 'we' I mean each of us as individuals, because we never know what effect we may have today! But I also mean 'we' as a church, to help our members, our community (like with Hands of Faith...Trunk or Treat, visting homebound members, and so on. so we, individually and as a church can be dedicated, set apart for God to use for God's purposes.

How do we know God's purposes.....

well, they are here...in the Bible!
Well, yes ok, but the bible is hard to understand sometimes.

Though as mark twain said, it ain't the parts of the bible I don't understand that bother me, it's the ones that I DO!

Richard Foster in Life With God
Pay attention to the recurring themes of the stories of the Bible: God loves human beings; human beings always seem to want what they can't have; God is grieved and angered when human beings rebel but pursues them and forgives them anyway; God is involved not just in the lives of the chosen people, but in the lives of all peoples, and in the concerns of every living thing in creation.

why read the bible? Its confusing, it hard to understand.

yes it is, this is not the latest popular novel or biography. And you can't read it the same way you would read one of those! The Bible is a collection of books of historical events, poetry, instructions, stories that can be hard for us to relate to! Jesus talks about seeds and wheat and chaff, fish and bread as a meal. There are stories of miracles that are just unbelievable..i mean REAALLY unbelievable! And some of the prophecies, well they are scarier than a Stephen King story!
Yes! The bible is challenging! But there's a big picture here....all those events, poems, instructions, stories, and prophecies point to one theme. God is with us!

R. Foster again.....The divine assurance thundering throughout the ages is also a divine invitation: I am with you will you be with Me? This dynamic is the absolute unifying center of the Bible. Every story in the Bible, no matter its twists and turns, whether the human characters are trustworthy or untrustworthy, whether the story is sad or happy, is built on this clarion call to relationship.  {God says} “I am with you- will you be with Me?” 

The bible has survived, parts of it, for thousands of years! There must be SOME reason for that!

And yes the bible is relevant today. There is comfort in the bible, written in beautifully poetic language...to everything there is a season,
Isaiah said that God's word WILL accomplish it's purposes and on the day the mountains will sing and the trees will clap their hands! That verse right there can get you through a tough day.

So why should our bibles be open?

Because God is LOVE. And it says Life ain't about you and me.

Oh I wish it were, I think if I were in charge of the universe for a few days, I could REALLY shape up a few things! But what God is interested in is how we care for each other, how we recognize God in each other. Yes God is in every human being...sometimes we have to look pretty hard! But God is in every single person and all of creation. That's why our covenant says we seek to reach out in God's extravagant love, we affirm!

This week I was prepping for a  funeral and one of her favorite verses is Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad.”
and I looked in my bible..and was reminded that the verses immediately before that are " The stone  the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;   the  Lord  has done this, and it is marvelous  in our eyes."

Jesus referred to this Psalm when he was talking about going to the Cross. The stone that was rejected, was Jesus. He endured the rejection –the separation from God, that should have been ours! And became the cornerstone of faith, of the church, of our lives. This is the Day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!

The Bible is a LOVE story. That's why we have it, that's why we need to read it, even when it's hard to understand, even when it bothers us, because over and over God says to us I LOVE YOU, Love me and love others!

Jesus sanctified himself for us, dedicated himself, set himself apart, for US. On the cross, He was separated in another way...separated from God, his father (whom he said, “I and the father are one”) but on the cross, covered in OUR SIN, Jesus endured the full separation from God that made him the bridge between us and our perfect Holy God. Jesus became totally separate from God, dedicated himself FOR US. For you and me, purely out of Love. We are to be set apart too. Not to isolate ourselves, but to be in relationship with other believers to carry out the work of God―to make the Kingdom happen here on earth.

Let God's love ripple through you, through your life. Allow that love to flow from you to others and see what the effect is!

Let's pray

Loving Lord God, thank you for your word that challenges, inspires, teaches, scolds, but most of all, shows us your love. Help us better grasp your love and allow it to work in us and through us to better this community and this world in Your name. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.  

No comments:

Post a Comment