The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Eeyow, Jesus, how did you know? (for Sunday, 9-23-06)

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Embarrassed Chimpanzee by Tim DavisI would love to have Jesus as my pastor. I think.

Every once in a while, I’d be begging him to talk about somebody else, if you please.

We pastors sometimes get requests like that. “How come you aren’t preaching more salvation messages, Pastor?” Or, “When are you going to ‘take your stand’ on _________ ?”

I wonder if Jesus would respond to the former, “You’re wanting to be saved? Oh, good – we don’t need another sermon for that!” And to the latter, “Ah, I’m sorry – I didn’t realize __________ was a struggle for you. How can I help?”

We like him to talk to us about them. But when Jesus talks to me, he mostly talks to me about me –for it’s my heart that I know for sure needs to grow. I assume he’ll be talking with you about yours.

I’ll walk along with you (if you like), and help any way I can (if you like), but in the end, what God seems to want most is for each of us to grow up. Our help to each other, I suppose, lies mostly in encouraging one another to keep listening.

Watch him speak to people about their own hearts as recorded by Mark. And below that, follow along as the Spirit says something similar through James. Both are from this Sunday’s readings, and will come up in this Sunday’s sermon.

And does he speak through them to you?

Mark 9:30-37

Leaving there, they went through Galilee. He didn’t want anyone to know their whereabouts, for he wanted to teach his disciples. He told them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed to some people who want nothing to do with God. They will murder him. Three days after his murder, he will rise, alive.” They didn’t know what he was talking about, but were afraid to ask him about it.


So You Want First Place?

They came to Capernaum. When he was safe at home, he asked them, “What were you discussing on the road?”


The silence was deafening—they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest.


He sat down and summoned the Twelve. “So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all.”


He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me—God who sent me.”



The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson


James 3 and 4 excerpts

Live Well, Live Wisely

Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom. It’s the furthest thing from wisdom—it’s animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others’ throats.


Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.


Get Serious

Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.


You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way. . . .


So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.


The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson



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Written by Monte

September 21, 2006 at 8:20 pm

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