6. Take Your Worries to the Lord (Matthew 6:24-34, August 5th, 2018)
Disciples who left families and jobs to follow Jesus probably wondered how they were going to make the ends meet. Jesus gives them specific examples and tells them to not worry. "Look at the birds of the air!" "See how the lilies of the field grow!" Because God feeds the birds in the air and clothes the flowers of the field, we need not worry by saying, "what shall we wet, what shall we drink, what shall we wear?" Those who worry about these things are pagans, who live without faith in God. Worrying about what to eat, what to wear is an act of faithlessness. So the antonym of the word, 'faith' is not unbelief nor doubt, but anxiety and worry. People who believe in God do not need to worry about these things.
4. Hospitality of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14-17, July 22nd, 2018)
The Holy Spirit as "the Spirit of Adoption" again and again pours hospitality in our hearts, as we acknowledge that we are living in God's adoptive love in Jesus Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who makes us confident of the depth of God's love for us, each and every moment. The Holy Spirit urges us to show God's love to our neighbors. So we can call the hospitality of the Spirit as "missional hospitality." Mission: the movement of the Gospel -- of God's grace and love -- beyond the walls of separation and exclusion, whether political, social, cultural, or even religious. The authenticity of mission greatly depends upon the way the Christian lives in the hospitable love of the Holy Spirit: "Gospel hospitality -- seeing God's welcome, living God's welcome, and extending that welcome to others -- is a life of mission." (Amy Oden)
1. A Ministry of Hospitality (Hebrews 6:1-2 on July 1st, 2018)
The cross enables us to follow the divine model of hospitality. Jesus' broken body is the very symbol of God's hospitality. Thus Holy Communion shows us how much God was hospitable to us through His son, Jesus Christ! So now, empowered by the cross of Christ, by His body broken and His blood shed, we each have our own ministry of hospitality. This ministry is more than showing good manners in public. It is more than kindness and friendship and entertainment. It is a redemptive ministry, like Christ's, whereby we bring a sense of healing and genuine acceptance to all other people.
7. What Shall We Look Like? (Acts 20:36-38 on August 12th,2018)
The church is far from perfect. But the church is really far from hostility! The church is not a museum of saints and good people, but a hospital for sinners, emergency for the broken. We are not perfect people to be put on a pedestal; we are sinners saved by grace trying to learn the Christian life so that we may be just like Jesus! By this saving grace, we can pray for one another and we can love one another. That is our picture! That is our painting we have to create! Praying and loving for one another make our church much more impressive to God! What shall we look like? Let us more ardently pray and more passionately love one another!
9. We Are Called to Dress for Faithfulness
Without Christ, the church is nothing. Without fellowship, the church is useless. By our compassion we show the world the difference that Jesus makes. Being rooted in love we are able to know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge, that we may be filled with the fullness of God. The purpose of the full armor of God is for us to be faithful to God as a soldier of Christ. We have been called to dress for faithfulness, not success. We're called to live a life that is pleasing to God in all that we do. Jesus didn't die on the cross so we could be successful by worldly standards. Jesus died on the cross because of our sin, because we couldn't be faithful. God doesn't want to us pursue worldly success. He wants us to pursue faithfulness.
5. The Hospitable Church (Ephesians 2:11-22 on July 29th, 2018)
Our Triune God of hospitality calls us to build up His church in hospitality. As God is hospitable, so the church should be hospitable. How can the hospitable church be made? My answer is simple: unity! United in love. United in peace. United in humility. To be united, we must break down walls. Let's knock down the walls of hate and hostility and build bridges of reconciliation and love. Jesus fought the battle of Golgotha, and the walls came tumbling down, the wall between Jews and Gentiles, between men and women, between people of different colors, between saints and sinners. Then Jesus himself became the bridge between God and man. The hospitable church is united in love. There are no walls. All people are embraced. All people are welcome.
8. We Enjoy Daily Renewal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
As the vessel of life, our body is used to benefit others, but is itself wasted away. Like the candle that gives forth light, it glows shorter with each passing hour until its resources are expended. Paul was willing to suffer all things for the sake of winning souls to glorify God. In doing so, his outward man was slowly dying through trials and sufferings, but his inward man was being renewed day by day. Paul has a word for each of us in the midst of life, we are hard pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. How can it be possible? It is all possible by faith. By faith we can be strong. We need to grasp onto Jesus Christ so we may deal with the adversities of life, and as a result, gain the eternal treasure, faith in Jesus Christ.
2. Hospitality of God (Genesis 18:1-15 on July 8th, 2018)
God is our guest. God comes to us as strangers. We know there are angels out there visiting us in disguise. God can be also our host. God comes to us as a welcoming master. We know there are angels out there preparing for our blessings. Let’s get into God’s hospitality by receiving strangers who often bear God’s welcome. God is personal, relational, social and communal. God loves to make a community just like a family by offering His hospitality. The church as the community of faith has been created by God’s hospitality. Therefore, we must open our hearts to welcome strangers. The more we pay attention to our own experiences of God’s welcome in our lives, the more ready we are to participate in God’s welcome.
3. Hospitality of Jesus (Luke 10:25-37 on July 15th, 2018)
The hospitality of Jesus can be found in his seeing with sympathy the stranger. Both a priest and a Levite saw the man, but they passed him. They didn't have the eyes of compassion. It is not enough for us to have physical eyes for offering hospitality to the stranger. We need other eyes -- eyes that burn with the love of God. Seeing people is a practice of hospitality. What that means is that hospitality must begin with seeing people, seeing people with Jesus' eyes, seeing people with compassion. That is the heart of God. That is the start of hospitality. Also Jesus' hospitality is the Eucharistic hospitality. Bread and wine symbolize Jesus' whole life given to us for delivering us from sin and death. The cross is our sheer sign of the hospitality of Jesus Christ!