This week we pray for Pastor Cliff and John Jordan as they attend the Annual Conference. There are many decisions that they must make regarding our church and the Methodist Church in the world. Pray that God will guide them as they do His work.
Steve and Karen Toone will celebrate their anniversary on Thur., June 12th. Have a great party with the family!
Sunday’s worship was about remembering Pentecost. The reading from Acts 2:17,21 are Peter’s words reminding us of Joel’s prophesy: ‘In the last days it will be; God declares that I will pour our my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall see dream dreams. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ This promise of God was fulfilled after Jesus ascension.
I Corinthians 12 addresses the outpouring and flow of the Spirit in more concrete ways, as power flows in and through everyone in nearly as many ways as may be imagined. The gifts listed in I Corinthians 12 is long, but it does not include [and we could never complete the list] “all” the gifts of God.
Every disciple of Jesus Christ who is walking [aware, receptive] in the power of the Spirit has been given many gifts, not just for use within the Christian community, whether a congregation, or a mission team, but to bless people wherever we may go as representatives and followers of Jesus. All of these gifts not only “build up the body, they also send that body out to be the body of Christ in the world. With only one exception (tongues, according to Paul himself), all of these gifts have both an “inside face” for strengthening Christian communities and a “public face” for blessing and a witness to others. Pastor Cliff stated: ”I ‘think’ the key to understanding I Corinthians 12 is in 1 Corinthians 13.”
In Mark chapter five, verses 21-34, there are two stories about Jesus healing folks. One is when Jairus’, a leader in the community, pleads for his daughter. He is desperate. He is afraid his daughter is going to die. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.”
How is she different than Jairus? She has no power, no money and is not a leader in the community. She is an outcast. And she doesn’t boldly ask Jesus. She believe that if she could just touch his clothes, something would happen. The next verse says: Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.
Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Does that mean when I am not healed, something is wrong with my faith? Have you ever felt that way?
Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue (Jairus), “Do not fear, only believe.” If I am not healed or God doesn’t answer my prayer, it is because I am afraid? Or I don’t believe? Jesus went to Jairus’ house, to see his daughter. Folks didn’t believe it was possible. I admit, that sometimes when people ask me to pray for someone, particularly someone very ill, I find myself thinking what to say to them when they ask me why God didn’t heal them. Jesus took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum-eh,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age).
What is common to both stories? Both Jairus and the unnamed woman they were out of “hope”. However, both the unnamed woman and Jarius’ believed the Jesus could heal. Is believing important? Mark chapter six in an interesting follow up to Mark chapter five. It says after this Jesus went to Nazareth, the folks there were “offended” that he had healed Jairus’ daughter and the unnamed woman. Do you ever wonder why God blesses some folks that don’t deserve it? That’s what happened in Nazareth. Unclean woman. The ultimate outsider. And Jairus’ daughter? Jesus became “unclean” the second he touched her, because she was “dead”. Folks got offended because Jesus healed the wrong people according to “their” view.
In Mark six, it says Jesus could do no deed of power there because of their unbelief. This is stunning to me. Are you stunned? Chapter six verse 6 says Jesus was amazed by their unbelief. Who does God want to heal? What if Jesus wants to heal somebody you aren’t sure “deserves” to be healed?
You see, folks, our job is to have faith. And believe, that God loves all people. Not just us or not just those we approve of. In Mark five, Jesus heals those that the experts say cannot be healed. And Jesus is able to heal them because they believed. In Mark six, Jesus could do no deed of power, and he was amazed at their unbelief. We don’t have to agree on everything. I invite you to believe that we are here, planted by God to feed the poor, to bind up the broken hearted. To heal the sick. To visit the prisoner. And God calls us to do that together. I don’t know about your church, but the ones I go to are made up of sinners, and broken people who need God’s grace.
I think praying when we are desperate is not the same as praying otherwise.