PENTECOST 5C  Go to: for getting this site.  I'm no longer using Yahoo Groups. Lindy

 July 27,  2010       


  • 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14. Elijah is taken up by a chariot of fire, and Elisha asks for and receives Elijah's mantle and a double portion of his prophetic spirit.
  • Psalm Response: Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20 (UMH 798). Sing the response and use Tone 1 in D Major for the chant.
  • Galatians 5:1, 13-25. Two paths, and two results — the way of slavery to the works of the flesh, and the way of freedom in the fruit of the Spirit.

    -Galatians, often called the Magna Carter of Christian Freedom

    -the gifts are what God has given us to work with, and the fruits are what God would like to see at work in our lives as a result

    -Freedom of religion is freedom from religion

    -We cannot be free for something until we are free from certain things. Fulton Sheen

    -We could exchange one form of slavery for another.                                                                                                                                                                                                         

    -The Gospel is our Emancipation Proclamation

    -Basic test of freedom is less what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do. REALITY

    - Freedom is never free

    -God makes man, man makes slaves. Freedom

    -To serve God is the highest freedom.

    -Why use freedom to do something that will make you a slave. *

    -As you come to our Lord’s table today you will symbolically partake of His body and blood of Jesus.  Our Lord Jesus Christ did not suffer,

    die, and rise from the dead so that you can do whatever you want regardless of the consequences.  At our Lord’s table you will not find here

    unbridled license, you will find love—unconditional acceptance and generous grace.  Take that love that your Lord gives you today.  Share that

    love with others.  Be free through Jesus Christ our Lord. William G.Davidson

    - Fourth of July sermon thought.The very fact that we worship a God who called a people out of slavery, to prepare for the gift

    of Jesus, the constant call to discipleship based on grace and freedom rather then violence or the Law

    -Freedom is not license. I like the hymn: "Make me a Captive,Lord, and then I shall be free" Sometimes under the

    guise of freedom we let "things" or "passions" or "pursuits" have dominion over us.

    -I am wondering if the works of the flesh are what WE do and the fruits of the Spirit are what GOD does through us

    -"For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Quite a

    challenge, in this "free society."

    -we must be careful that we don't define the freedoms we enjoy so much solely as 'freedom from' -- forgetting that

     the real test of freedom's value is how we use our 'freedom to or for'" The freedom to truly serve Christ.

    -Christ has set us free, NOT to be independent, but precisely to BE dependent (on God), and inter-dependent

    (responsible to and for each other).

    -Oh, how I wish the desires of the flesh were limited to fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolotry, and sorcery!

    THESE I can avoid. I can avoid drunkenness and carousing, too, come to think of it. I don't know if I can avoid

     enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, and envy - and things like those. But to use Paul's

    list as a prescription for good behavior is to miss the point ... RATHER, be filled with the Spirit, and live by the Spirit

    and be guided by the Spirit


  • Luke 9:51-62. On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus confronts would-be disciples with the totality and urgency of following him. This passage duplicated in
  • Matthew 8:19-22.  Unlike Elisha, these would-be disciples prove to be less committed.

-This is the beginning of the road to Jerusalem, as Jesus sets his face and the pace to go there, knowing full well what it will mean for him. Much of the

 rest of Luke finds us on this journey to Jerusalem with Jesus. He will finally reach it in 19:28. Each story after this is seen in this light. 


-Now it would be easier to get to Jerusalem to go through Samaria. But most Jews avoided this as they felt it made them unclean. But not Jesus. In fact,

he apparently sent some of his disciples ahead, as he would do in regard to preparing for the Passover.  Because Samaritans hated Jews as much as

Jews hated Samaritans, no lodging was was granted.  James and John, ever the sons of thunder, are ready to call down lightning and destruction on these

people. But Jesus will not allow such attitudes or actions. In fact,  he rebukes his disciples for even thinking such a thing. What follows are stories

from Galilee, which probably means the group had to turn back and re-route around Samaria). This is not the way of Christ, and his disciples had

yet to learn it (us included). This kind of love is the one that Paul is writing about above.  Bass Mitchel


-Basically, Jesus' mind is set, already, on where he is ultimately headed. He knows, even as he is teaching and traveling,

 his physical and spiritual destination. On what is your face set, and how does it influence how you live your life each day? Beth Quick


- we pray for strength, we ask for forgiveness when we fail, and renew our determination to walk the way with him.
And the good news is, we journey not alone.


-In spite of other claims on his time, Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem,” though to do so meant certain death. He was

clear on his calling and purpose. His decisions came from his center and he acted with clarity and courage. 


-  Follow your bliss.  Joseph Campbell   

-Christians have been known to plot against people who reject our Lord. There have been terrible Crusades during the

Dark Ages of the church. Even today, in Africa there are Christians who are in armed conflict against those who have

murdered their fellow Christians

- Radical discipleship-


-The problem is that becoming a Christian, a true Christian, often presents us with new problems. It is not

easy to follow Christ. I mean, look where it leads - to a cross!


-Three men toying with discipleship but not fully committed


- The word surrender in  the NT does not mean defeated.  Instead it means surrendered to: God's will.


-"I heard him call , "Come and follow" and that was all.  My gold grew dim; my soul rose up to follow Him.  Who wouldn't follow

if they heard that call? "


-John Bunyon in his book Pilgrim’s Progress has a character called “Mr. Facing-both-ways.”


-Fear conquers faith in some; faith conquers fear in others.


-'let the spiritually dead bury those who are physically dead'.


-Most people have a book shelve approach to God. Most people believe in God but they place him on the shelf to admire

or to refer to in the proper company.


-“BUT, follow me anyway; follow me while doing those things; follow me in a way that makes you do those things in a new

way. Follow me forever: no ‘BUT FIRSTs;’ no ‘insteads;’ no ‘YES AND’—not ‘either/or.’ Instead:   ‘both/and.’”  It's not about

what you are doing or not doing; it is instead about what and who you are being.   Following Jesus is 24/7, it doesn't mean

not doing everything else, it means doing everything else with your face set toward Jerusalem. Dr. Greg Rickel


-A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.  M. Luther.


-Go to any book store and you'll find lots of items pushing the warm fuzzies of the faith but little about the hard challenges of

 living out the Christian faith in a fallen world


-We are the choices we have made


- They take their Christianity like cream in their coffee – just a little something added to life to make it interesting. 


-“Half of success is just showing up.” 


- Religion is like Patriotism in that both begin with happy emotions but eventually both expect something in return.


- Let's not be insipidly neutral.


-Here I come ready or not!  In that case, Lord, I think I'll hide a little longer and maybe you could count to a thousand before

 you holler, "Ready or not, here I come!" I'm really not ready yet.

SERMON                                                    POWERLESS POWER   I love this paradox.  Never thought about it till Jesus came along  but

now I find it in much of life.  Lindy


-Jesus returns to Nazareth:  rejection,  powerless times,

-Paul writes to Corinth: defend, thorn, powerless times

-Power: political or spiritual?   Spiritual power is what we admire.

*Teaching    you don’t demand authority, students lay it on you.

-History:   Lincoln, Ghandi, Sweitzer, King, Mother Theresa, / powerless so God could work thru them.

-Best example is the cross:  both powerful and powerless. 

-Testimony to his teachings: turn cheek/ first-last/ life for neighbor/ servant/ love enemy

-Worldly power is rooted in weakness/  spiritual power  rooted in love, faith, truth.

-Communion:  share: suffering,  be powerless so God can work through us as he worked through Jesus. 

-Spiritual power heals world, heals relationships, heals ourselves. 

-They remind me that there are two kinds of Power I can have.  One is called political power...that power that comes when

I coerce people, move things around, including myself in order to find the greatest power.  This could be called worldly power.

The world rewards us for worldly power so consequently we spend most of our lives seeking after it.  Whether it’s  power with

 money, with social success, achievement, control, it’s worldly power we strive for.   The second kind of power is spiritual

power...that power that belongs to God but works through me or through you. Most of the time spiritual power comes

 or works through us when we are powerless.

- Godly power depends on inside things love, faith, truth, We find this kind of power so often in Paul and in Jesus:

-Paul rendered himself  powerless so many times on his journeys.   (3 X beaten; 5 X 40 lashes, dangers at sea, 

dangers from robbers, dangers from Romans and then all the opposition from the churches.   But through it all..."My grace is sufficient"...

-  No better example of powerless power than the Cross.

- The bible is full of examples of powerless power:  first last, last first,  turn other cheek, those who are servants, 

give life for your neighbor,  love your    enemy.

- And we have numerous example of powerless power in our own society.

1.  Teacher authority * (see above)

2.  Parent and child

3.  In our history,   Ghandi,  M.L.King, Sweitzer, Mother Theresa. 

- How often have you seen God’s power working through a powerless human being?

-Power is made perfect in weakness    2 Corinthians 12:9






-"Before I begin the sermon, I have something important to say"

-Little boy defined Christian:  "Christians are mild, weak, quiet, people who never fight or talk back."  Then he added,

"Daddy is a Christian but Mother isn't."

-Only  responsibility some get is passing the buck, pushing their luck, jumping to conclusions, carrying on  about  problems.

-Parody on “Foot prints in the sand”.  One night I had a wondrous dream. One set of foot prints there were seen.  The foot

prints of my precious Lord but mine were not along the shore.  But then some stranger prints appeared.  I asked the Lord,

“What have we here?”  These prints are large and round and neat but Lord, they are too big for feet.   My child he said in

somber tones.  For miles I carried you alone.  I challenged you to walk in faith but you refused and made me wait. 

You disobeyed, you would not grow; the walk of faith you would not know.  So I got tired, I got fed up and there I dropped

you on your butt.  Because in life there comes a time when one must fight and one must climb.  When one must rise and take

a stand…or leave your butt prints in the sand.

-The police were trying to get the man to turn, lean over and put his hands on the hood of his car. The man was screaming,

"Hey... I'm an American and I live in America and that means nobody can tell me what to do!" One of the frustrated, but

somewhat amused officers replied, "Yea, sure buddy... If you can spell American, I'll let you go." The drunk, offended by

the reflection on his sobriety yelled back, "Don't make fun of me sir... I can spell it borwards and fackwards!"


1.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran theologian, wrote a series of reflections on the Sermon on the Mount entitled

The Cost of Discipleship, in which he maintained that discipleship requires us to make a fundamental decision to follow

Jesus and to accept the consequences of that decision. His own religious convictions led him to stand up to the tyranny of Nazi

Germany and to participate in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. The plot was uncovered, Bonhoeffer was apprehended, and the

 ultimate “cost” of discipleship was exacted of him. He was hanged by the Nazis on April 9, 1945.

2.  Those of you who served in the armed forces know what it means when the drill sergeant calls out, "Fall in!" That means

it is time to drop everything immediately, assemble and come to attention. That's what Jesus did when he set out for Jerusalem

and the crowds were watching as though spectators. Jesus called out, "Fall in!" 

3.  Composer Giacomo Puccini wrote a number of famous operas. In 1922 he was suddenly stricken by cancer while working

on his last opera, "Turandot," which many now consider his best. Puccini said to his students, "If I don't finish 'Turandot,' I want

you to finish it for me." Shortly afterwards he died. Puccini's students studied opera carefully and soon completed it. In 1926 the

world premiere of "Turandot" was performed in Milan with Puccini's favorite student, Arturo Toscanini, directing. Everything

went beautifully until the opera reached the point where Puccini had been forced to put down his pen. Tears ran down Toscanini's

face. He stopped the music, put down his baton, turned to the audience and cried out, "Thus far the Master wrote, but he died."

A vast silence filled the opera house. Toscanini picked up the baton again, smiled through his tears and exclaimed, "But his

disciples finished his work." When "Turandot" ended, the audience broke into thunderous applause. No one at the premiere

performance ever forgot that moment.



- Are you free from or free for?

-A Native American Grandfather was sharing with his grandson how he felt about life. He said, "I feel as if I have two wolves

fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other is the loving compassionate one." The grandson

asked him, "Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?" The grandfather answered, "The one I feed."



God.  In our every day lives, you are there.  Your spirit works within us with a soft and persistent voice…telling us when our

 lives are empty or meaningless or unbalanced.  Telling us, Be still and know that I am God.   Forgive us when we do not hear

you…when there are too many distractions; when we are too busy with our own agendas to busy to listen to our own inner voice. 

Forgive us when we are too willing to live in Your shadow.  Forgive us when we are just too busy to be still….to busy to know You.