The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Archive for the ‘Worry’ Category

The baptism of Jesus

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[This sermon was first posted in January of 2007. Rick Reilly’s comment reminded me that many may be working on something similar, so it seemed good to update and re-post it.  Best wishes!  – Monte]
I have often thought of Jesus as pretty uncertainty-free: so totally God that humanity is just a minor irritation. So certain, so unsurprise-able, so un-swayed by what’s up.

For instance, I might think of his baptism like so: I imagine he becomes off-to-on aware that it’s time (click!), appears on the banks of the Jordan (click!), where the crowds part and everybody understands the obvious (click!), and he all but comes up out of the water with one finger extended for the dove’s perch. Of course he knows it all before it happens.

Doesn’t he?

We’ve been talking about the three audiences to the events of the Bible, especially regarding the gospel of Luke. Remember them?
1. The A.D. 30 Jews, who see it all first-hand.
2. The A.D. 80 or so Jews and Gentiles who first read Luke’s gospel.
3. And us. Now. Read the rest of this entry »

What if we already have what we need?

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Sermon of June 12, 2005 – Proper 6A

Genesis 18:1-15, (21:1-7); Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19; Romans 5:1-8; Matthew 9:35-10:8, (9-23)

Worship order summary:Sarah laughed

Genesis 18:1-15, (21:1-7);
Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19;
Come, Now is the Time to Worship
I Waited
Healing Grace
Ben and Monte: Romans 5:1-8
Sharon: Sharing
Give Thanks
Matthew 9:35-10:8, (9-23)
I Want to Know You

Worship order working copy:

10:42 flash lights
10:45 cue worship opener
when it’s done, lights 100% except spots off

Monte intro
Genesis 18:1-15, (21:1-7)

[Remember the promise from last week’s Genesis reading first, and mention the times they gave up on it]

[cue Sarah laughs]

GOD appeared to Abraham at the Oaks of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance of his tent. It was the hottest part of the day. 2He looked up and saw three men standing. He ran from his tent to greet them and bowed before them. Read the rest of this entry »

While packing

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suitcases.jpgI hate to pack. Hate it badly enough that I get the jitters when packing time comes around.

So we’re on vacation in Minnesota. After a week at the cabin, it’s time to go home. Pack-up and clean-up day. Jitters day.

Perhaps I’m jittery because I’ve often done poorly at interacting with the people I love while packing. And perhaps I’ve often done poorly at loving them then because I’m overwhelmed by the task. (I’m supposed to figure out what to wear next week? You want to get home with even numbers of shoes? Honestly, now, isn’t this a little perfectionistic?) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

July 31, 2006 at 6:26 pm

Do no great thing

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Adela's post – the one I recommended yesterday here – reminded me in the night of something.

Mother TeresaMy wife, Lori, gave me this small stone a year or two ago.  I was learning how profoundly my concepts of greatness had taken their cue from this world's values:  getting big, being influential, doing much.  But when I opened my Bible, there was Jesus, walking around doing good.  Content.  Serving.  Loving well.  Using whatever came his way to love the Father and people around him.  And these words of Mother Teresa rang so true:   Do no great things, only small things with great love.
I often envision heroism as something done in one final famous act:  the cross, for instance.  But in my life – as in most of Jesus's – discipleship does not call for "do-or-die" actions.  It's more like "Do.  Do this small thing.  Do it with tenderness and enjoy it if you can.  Use it to let Me teach you.  And then get some rest and we'll do something else tomorrow and the next day." 

Could it be that by these small mustard-seeds the Kingdom of God gets planted on the earth?   Could it be that heroism is more often about loving care given to others than fearless showdowns? 

Could it be that the character I need to face heroic confrontations – should they ever come – is built in daily tenderness?

Could it be that the daily, difficult tendernesses are the essence of heroism for me?

Written by Monte

June 9, 2006 at 9:21 am

Posted in Discipleship, Jesus, Worry

Getting nothing done

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Get "nothing" done today? And you're … worthless? Hopeless? Useless?

You'll like what Adela McKay's blog is serving up. Here's an appetizer:

KALONA, May 5 (UPI) — Crud. I didn't do one thing on my list yesterday. … I have nothing to show for myself! …

I'd like to write, "So what? Life isn't about getting things done. It's about loving God and the ones you're with. …"

My hands may type it, but my heart doesn't believe it. [editorial comment from Monte: "HAHAHAHA … Oh wait – me, too."]

This inability to be content without checking to see how I'm doing is partly due to my formative years as a follower of Jesus. …

Hmm, think of that: Discipleship that breeds an inability to be content.
I get what she's talking about, don't you? In my case, it's also due to the as-if-there-were-no-God-but-accomplishment worldliness I ignorantly grow along with my faith. Spiritual Creeping Charlie.

See where she goes with this – it's good. Click here.
Unless you're too busy.

Written by Monte

June 8, 2006 at 8:54 pm

Posted in Hope, Worry