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Livestream 3-29-20


All right well we're GONNA be in Romans Chapter Twelve. You have your bibles start with first one. I appeal to you. Therefore brothers and sisters by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice holy acceptable to God. Which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may discern what is the will of God what is good and acceptable and perfect for by the grace given to me. I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think but to think with sober judgement each according to the measure of faith that God has assign for as in one body we have many members and all the members have the same function so we who are many are one body. In Christ An- individually we are members of one of another we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us prophecy in proportion to faith ministry in ministering the teacher and teaching the exhort and exploitation the giver and generosity the leader. Diligence the Compassionate in cheerfulness. Let love be genuine hate. What is evil hole faster? What is good love? One another with mutual affection outdo one another in showing honor do not lag in zeal but be ardent in spirit serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope be patient in suffering persevere in prayer contribute to the needs of the church extend hospitality to strangers bless those who persecute you bless them and do not curse them rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. We're Lord expedia got as many of you know. I used to be a children's pastor and one of the Games that I stumbled upon a children's pastor was blob. Tag and Blob tag was as you start out with a kid who's any taxes someone else but instead of being a what happens in blog tag is that they link arms and now the two of them have to go tagging other kids if they tag the third kid now he's linked arms so there's three kids with linked arms and then more and more come onto you have a chain of like fifteen kids trying to chase down a k. one kid who's darting around trying to escape it's an interesting game because what the kids always find. Is that the more people who are involved the harder it is to work together to achieve your goal. They try to function as a single blob but frustrations emerge. There's a kid who has a strategy but isn't able to communicate very well to the rest of the group. There's a kid who's normally fast and able to do well tag. Who is now stuck to some slow kids even eventually you see. Sometimes that kid just breaks free and just to go tag. Someone knows. It doesn't count. He doesn't care anymore he's done But very rarely the kids especially ones who've played the game before are able to actually learn to work together and they're actually able to achieve their goals. Paul is talking about community. The Community of faith here in Romans Chapter Twelve. So how do we live in community? Might Christ how do we learn to work together as a community faith especially in pandemic when we aren't legally allowed to play? Blob tag we can't we're not within six feet of one another we're all influenced by our culture. Culture is the air we breathe and a lot of things that we take for granted is true are sometimes just cultural understandings of the world. How things should work how people should relate to one another and sometimes those things are positive. Sometimes they're morally neutral. And sometimes those cultural things actually caused harm to people one of those cultural values that we have is rugged individualism. It's not about you in all countries and cultures but it is a value for us. In America. It's informs everything informs our heroes in movies and books and our music. It informs our political conversations. How we think of individualism versus community. Paul says this brothers and sisters. In view of God's mercy offer your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual worship. Paul says this group of very people with very political backgrounds and socio economic backgrounds so the slave and free to the Jewish person the gentile person to the male and the female. He addresses them. All brothers and sisters offer all your body's as one living sacrifice to God sacrifice that's alive and if you do that that's your act of worship and then he says how to do it. Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought to offer the gifts you have to God and it all has to be done in the context of genuine love. Paul says that's worship and I think that really speaks into our context now especially since our worship service format has changed. A lot of us have sometimes thought worship. Is the thing we do hanging around this building for an hour or two on a Sunday morning and some of our some of your definitions of worship may have expanded beyond that but Paul really expands beyond our common definitions to say. It isn't just confined to the spiritual round. Your spiritual worship isn't just spiritual involves happens with your body in community and it's still root and some of the most ancient commands of Israel in here at Newburgh Nazarene. We've talked multiple times about the Chamois Deuteronomy chapter six words. Chamois is a Hebrew word which means listen. And it's a crucial passage for the people of Israel and it's still recited in many households. Listen Israel the Lord your God the Lord is one so love the Lord your God with all Your Heart. Soul and strength. Jesus quotes the Shimaa to the people right except the ads in mind loved the Lord with all your heart soul mind and strength which is his way of saying that. Use everything you are to love God. And that's what Paul is channeling here. He says how you love God like you know in the Shimaa is all of you working together to offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God personal spirituality is important really is but it's found within the context of the community of faith. Even the Bible itself is a book that was formed by the community for community not just individuals and the community of faith has a serious looming expiration date. When we ignore what Paul is saying. Here too the Romans he says. Don't think too highly of yourself. Use your gifts for the good of the community and love has to be the foundation for everything. Thinking too. Highly of yourself is something Paul Talks about a lot and it's just a quick way to destroy community and any of us is capable of it but when you think of yourself. Humility you're able to serve in life giving ways. Humility allows you to give without expecting something back in return and humility is just one of those things. We have to develop as disciples of Christ otherwise Christian community. Just doesn't work. Paul talks a lot about losing conceit. Losing prideful NECE. If you as an individual person in the church want to grow spiritually there is no growth to be found down the path of condemning others and denouncing other people's sins. You actually don't grow that way and we're really good condemning others. I've actually learned this a little bit in parenting culture since having that there's a pretty toxic parenting culture whereby parents judge each other based on the decisions that they would or would do like. Oh you gave your kid a piece of candy. I don't ever get my kid. Candy are hey. I take my kid on hikes. You your kid is a couch. Potato we condemn others when we feel superior tooth and pride destroy spiritual growth and the more you live with a spirit of judgement over others the harder it is to live with compassion and it's really difficult to follow. Christ if you don't have compassion on others I know of your thinking. Well there are times when we do need to address wrongs because of the harm onto others. That's true but even then we don't get to simply pronounced judgement on someone. It's only done in humility and with love as motivation. Paul explains that love enables you to care for the Community of faith love enables you to serve with humility love enables you use your gifts chapter verse. Nine love must be genuine. Be Devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourself. Never be lacking in zeal serve the Lord be joyful in hope patient in suffering and pain faithful in your prayers to God share the Lord's people who are in need and he keeps expanding it to those outside the church now extend hospitality to strangers. Now show love to those who persecute. You actually might be out to get you or harm. You blessing persecute are living. Live in harmony with others as much as you're able to live in peace with other people. Don't be proud. He says again and Verse Sixteen. Be Willing to associate with people of low position. Don't be conceded which is another way of saying. Don't be proud again since the theme employees letter here love has to guide everything in the Christian community church so he said stop thinking so highly of yourself because doing that will kill your community of faith. You won't mean for it to but it will happen when we become a group of people who looked to our own self interest and our own desires i. It's interesting when The Roman Emperor. Constantine became Christian and three twelve ad. Some Christians celebrated. The persecution was ending and other Christians were skeptical of this emperor's new found faith in Christ and some believers thought urging the Roman Empire with the Christian faith might not be such a good thing and Constantine's edict of toleration of Christians had the result in Mediocre Christians joining the Church. Some people they found were joining the church to further their social standing. Which is something that had never been a thing before since the emperor was Christian impart because of this. Some Christians fled into the desert. They became what we now know as monks. They wanted to escape an easy path of their life in discipleship one of the first we know about his named Anthony and he's generally recognized as the first monk who went into to the wilderness but he thought spirituality could and should be done alone in solitude and so that's what he did he a lot of his life stories. I'm going further and further into isolation at I see was with others who lived in the desert Other monks who are learning to live together in community in the wilderness but he faced constant temptation which he described as like demons wrestling with them. And so if you were to google a picture of Anthony the hermit you might find a picture a painting of him being pulled apart by all these little scary looking demons fell so he felt he knew the answer. Go deeper go further into isolation. That's what he did. You went to more isolated places but occasionally still coming in contact with other people other people who would even agree to bring him. Food and necessities eventually felt. You would still be struggling. So he went further entice elation and he became eventually totally isolated he would not have contracted coded nineteen. He would have been okay. He was safe far away from all human beings. Only problem is you never achieve peace doing this. Eventually people did come and seek him out. They wanted to learn this monastic way of life. They wanted to from it and at first. He refused and fled. And you go further into hiding. This guy just went into the Christian life alone himself but eventually he came out informed one of the first true monastic communities community of faith in the literal wilderness. Try as he might. Anthony wouldn't be left alone. It wasn't the way to do the Christian life. And you know eventually emperor. Constantine heard about Anthony Anthony's fame and spread as a spiritual guide for people in the desert and Constantine asked Anthony to pray for Anthony Spell amongst were actually excited. Maybe a little starstruck. Hey this is the Roman emperor asking for you to pray for. Anthony wasn't star Trek Strip starstruck. He wrote a letter. It's Constantine set praying for him and asking Unison Stop steaming things of the world and he asked them to stop disregarding the ways of the Kingdom of God eventually Anthony even briefly left the desert head back into Alexandria to participate in a debate was happening in Christianity at the time about the divinity of Jesus whether Jesus was divine or not so he left the wilderness to go into the city and to have a theological conversation with some people to talk about his experience of Christ. Anthony seem to learn that this faith has to be done in community even when he was in isolation in the wilderness. The Apostle Paul says in Romans. Don't think of yourself too highly. Use your gifts for other people and do it. All in love be joyful and hope patient in times of suffering pain. Faithful and prayer share with the Lord's people who are in need practice hospitality to strangers. We're living through stuff today that I don't think any of us have really experienced before some of us are feeling pretty isolated but we can still let the love of Christ guide us in all things we can still do everything in Christian love. We can still altogether offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God being joyful and patient in the time of suffering and pain faithful in prayer and sharing with those who have a need. And if you've been receiving emails to to our church than you know we were trying to set ourselves up. Structurally to do that during this time. We're trying to use a new toolbox during this pandemic to connect using google meat for small groups and meetings. We're calling every one of our members every few days We're reallocating our budgets. Handle CHURCH MEMBERS CRISIS CRISES? We're doing a supply drive for the nurses of Friends of you. Who are on the frontlines of this illness or the running out of personal protective equipment in these days of dealing with corona virus. We have to learn to live as a living sacrifice to God. That's how we worship. That's our spiritual worship pulses. During these days we have to learn to lift one another up even if we don't within six feet of one another in the best of times Blob tag is a difficult game. It takes true teamwork to link arms with fifteen other people and chase a kid down right. We all have our own ideas about strategy and how to get the job done and sometimes we might even face frustrations and just want to break the link and do something ourselves off over here but you know what I found. Was that wind. The kids actually learn to work together when they would play this game and they achieved their mission. They could celebrate the win together to no one person could get the glory when they won that game it was shared win and the defeat was a shared defeat to. May it be the same for US NEWBURGH? Church of the Nazarene that we have shared winds and shared losses may we rejoice with those who rejoice? And maybe we more with those who mourn may we offer our bodies as one living sacrifice to God self interest conceit pride. It's that will kill us. I don't know how many times Paul says in Romans. He says it four times in this chapter alone. Love and humility are how we do community as Christ's disciples and that's how we'll make it through this pandemic crisis and beyond together and you might be dealing with some of the stuff that Paul feels within this letter. This self interest rightfulness conceit. The things Paul addresses. We all have those things in us all of us do. That's why Paul and Jesus talk about them so much but the good news. Is this the God who calls us to live as one? Sacrifice is always at work in US. Transforming us into people who love like. Jesus so we climb on that alter together a living sacrifice offering ourselves to God in worship to God and asking. Christ the former US into people who love like him who live with humility and self sacrificial love a pandemic can't kill Trish unity. Only self interest in concede can do that so may we embrace the love of Christ allowing Christ to transform Lewis Being Joyful Hope Patient and affliction faithful in prayer and sharing with those Coveney. We're GONNA share communion again this week. Even though we're from a distance you know I was thinking a lot. About how share communion from a distance. It there are things we just can't do. The communion is only meant to be shared physically together. We share it from one single table from one single to show that we are one in Christ as we share the sacrament together but in these extreme days. I think we make allowances because I've especially thought today of those in our congregation who are isolated and suffering. I think of Carol Miller over at Astor House where the diagnosis continue to climb there for Cogan. Nineteen I think about Shirley Belshazzar who auster husband this week. Someone we all know and Love Gordon and I think it's important in this time even though we aren't gathered physically here at the building to know what we recognize in communion is still true that the presence of Christ is with you and that we are together still. We don't do communion alone even now as we're separated in different places. We don't do communion along we're together as we share the elements of the volume. Blood recognizing the means of grace for us today so as I told you last week substitutions are okay Christians. A lot of times throughout the world don't have access to bread and wine so grab what you have and I thought I would read part of that Nasreen Liturgy again this morning for us as we meditate on the Lord's supper together. We believe that Communion Supper Institute by our Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ is a sacrament proclaiming his life sufferings death and resurrection and the hope of his coming again. The Lord's Supper is a means of grace in which Christ is present by the spirit. All are invited to participate by faith in Christ and be renewed in life salvation in unity as the church. All are to participate in reverend appreciation of its significance. And buy it. Show for the Lord's death until he comes again. Those who have faith in Christ and love for their fellow believers are invited by Christ's to participate as often as possible. We come to the table that we may be renewed in life and salvation and be made one by the spirit. Would you join me in prayer? Lord we gather this morning at your table in the name of your son. Jesus Christ was anointed to preach the good news to the poor proclaim. Release the captured and offer freedom to the oppressed Christ. The sick fed the hungry eight was centers and established a new covenant for the forgiveness of Sins and we live in the hope of his coming again on trade. He took the bread and after he had given. Thanks he broke. It gave it to the disciples and he said this is my body given for you do this. In remembrance of me take any after supper he took the cup and he said this Cup is the new covenant in my blood poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this as often as you drink it. In remembrance of me drink and be thankful and in our separate space in receiving these elements the body in the blood we are preserved blameless in Christ unto everlasting life as disciples of Jesus Christ proclaim the Ministry of our faith together. Steve should have it in the comments. But if most of US know it. Let's say the mystery. The Gospel of our faith together crisis died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again on Lord we give you thanks for this moment that we share across the distance we remember. Your presence is with us in the darkest times and though we are separated we are still unified as your church helpless to embody the elements that we have just eaten and drunk that we would be more like you that altogether we would function as one living sacrifice to you and that that would be our active true worship and we pray these things. In Christ's name on an interdiction be the same as it was last week. We're going to pray. The prayer of Saint Francis this prayer that I discovered years ago which has always been meaningful to me. I think especially especially meaningful in these times. So I believe it's in the comments section for you. bullets pray this prayer together. Lord make me an instrument of your peace where there is hatred. Let me so love whether is injury. Pardon where there is discord union. Were there is doubt faith where there is despair hope where there is darkness light and where there is sadness joy o divine master grant that. I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console to be understood as to understand to be loved as to love for. It isn't giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned and it is in dying the we are born to eternal life on the go in the peace of Christ. Thanks for joining us today.

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