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Living the Adventure (Trail Blazing #5, 2016-1030)

. 6 min read

10/30/2016
Christ Mountain Top
Call
to worship, Prayer of St Augustine, No psalm or sung response
Children,
Matthew 14.25-33 – walking on the sea (with Peter)
Message,
Mark 3.14-19 and Acts 2.37-47
We’ve
been moving through a message series titled “Trail Blazing”, showing the white
blaze of the Appalachian Trail, the “AT”, that Steve Ross is hiking. We’ve
heard him share the tradition of “Trail Magic” – unexpected kindness and
friendship encountered along the way. This is one more of those stories:
      VIDEO – Steve Ross (water jugs)
Theme Scripture
for the series:
Since
we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let
us lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,
and
let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,
looking
to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,
who
for the sake of the joy that was set before him
endured
the cross, disregarding its shame,
and
has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider
him, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.
from Hebrews 12:1-3
Overlapping
spheres of discipleship: Worship, Community, Mission
Tagline:
Friends. Purpose. Life.
Spirituality:
Giving, Faithful, Real.
Today,
we’ll have three stories, one each from these three dimensions of discipleship.
We’ll examine some of the themes raised by the Scriptures of the day. We’ll
bounce back and forth a bit and finish with a time to prayerfully consider how
God is calling each of us to grow.
      Scripture on the three themes:
            Mark, selection of disciples
(3.14-19)
                  To
be with him, preach/deliver
      Acts 2.37-47 – devotions
            Teaching, fellowship, breaking of
bread, prayer
            And, day by day, the Lord added

LIFE of Worship
– Marian Taylor’s story (video, a repeat)
Unique
You
Some people spend an hour each morning in prayer. I admire
them but just can’t do it. Some people pray best with a hammer in their hand.
By all means, join one of our Habitat for Humanity teams! But, however you pray
best, the Scriptures call us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5.17).
Some people have an
extraordinary gift of care and touch. These persons have gifts that far exceed
mine. No matter how gifted we are as caregivers, we are told that “pure and
undefiled” religion is to “care for widows and orphans in their distress”
(James 1.27).
Some people have a godly
magnetism that draws people to Jesus and an unaffected way of sharing faith without
putting others on the defensive. The rest of us are a bit more awkward in the
process. To Timothy, who does not seem to be uniquely gifted in this work, Paul
nevertheless gave the instruction: “Do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy
4.5).
Whoever
you are, you are someone that Jesus wants to be around. Do you hear the
first dimension of the call to discipleship that he offers to the first
apostles? He chooses them “to be with him”. There is no indication that they
have proven themselves by some exceptional service or piety. Each of them is a
unique individual, with foibles and gifts, potential and baggage. Jesus wants
to be with them, and Jesus wants to be with you. Likewise, Jesus wants you to
be with him. Each of our paths will be unique, and we can still walk together
as long as we are all on the trail with Jesus.
Community of FRIENDS
      The absent are safe with us (McQuilkens in
Japan)
Devoted
We
read that the primitive church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching,
to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.” The author implies
an intentional commitment to growing together as the people of God.
Many of us have personal
goals and priorities that have formed our lives. We set aside time for our
spouses, children, and family. We diet for weight loss or for renal failure. We
train for distance races. We prepare for promotion in the work place. We pursue
educational goals. We check things off our “bucket list.” This process is
calling us to give similar consideration to growing as followers of Jesus.
            We’ve had a
chance, over the past few weeks, to look at specific recommendations for
expanding and growing in your practices. I’ve encouraged you to pray over
several kinds of commitments for the coming 12 months:
·      
Expanding one of your areas of strength
·      
Experimenting in one of your areas of weakness
·      
Addressing a need for reconciliation
·      
Sharing your faith by invitation
·      
Growing in the grace of giving
·      
Growing in one aspect from each of the three large
categories
The PURPOSE of Mission
      Dad’s last $200, parking in Baltimore
Failures
I
love the story of Peter walking with Jesus on the water. Often it is told as a
failure story, and it is. But there’s all kinds of failure. And this one is a
pretty good kind. It is a failure that comes when taking a risk, a failure that
comes when trying something new. We often hesitate to devote ourselves to
following Jesus in a fresh way because we are afraid of failure.
      But notice how Jesus responds to Peter’s
failure. Jesus lifts him up. Jesus chides him, just a little, “You of little
faith.” “Peter, you little runt of a disciple. You’ve got puny faith.” I
imagine that Jesus spoke with a twinkle in his eye. I know that whenever one of
the kids on the team I coach fails in a spectacular way – trying to use their
non-dominant foot, throwing their body into the play only to miss the ball
entirely, they might get some instruction from their coach but they will also
see me smile. And Peter was the only one who had the guts to walk with Jesus on
the water. If he had puny faith, what about those guys hanging back in the
boat?
      Sometimes we rally ourselves with the cry,
“Failure is not an option.” Well, who says? What is not an option is a safe
life, a risk free life. Failure is surely an option. While I hate to fail, I
despise living in fear of failure all the more. While I hate my failures, I’d
rather try something great, experiment with something new, stretch myself in a
fresh way, live an adventure, than hunker down in the boat.
      So, don’t worry about the potential for
failure in this call to discipleship, to trail blazing with Jesus. You will
fail. So will I, and I do it routinely. Then, Jesus picks me up and I start
walking again.
As
the ushers distribute the Trail Blazing flyers, that include all the suggested
actions or devotions for the spiritual practices we’ve considered, I want to
explain the process for you.
      Each family or person will receive two
copies of the flyer, one to mark to turn in today, the other to take home as a
record of your prayerful intentions.
      You can select from the options listed
here, or you can amend it or write your own. This is about your walk with Jesus, your unique call.
      Please include your name. We would like to
be able to support your discipleship as a community of friends. Those areas,
like serving on an ActionChurch team or interest in a small group, will be
passed along to those who coordinate those ministry areas. Others, such as your
giving commitment, will be held in confidence.
      For those of you who are guests with us
today. First of all, thanks for being here. It is our privilege to welcome you.
We’re all about introducing people to Jesus and encouraging them to get to know
him better. You may find portions of this exercise to be helpful to you. I do
want to say, however, that the giving commitment is focused on those who are
already committed to Christ Church as their church.
      We will turn in our sheets by bringing
them forward as an act of worship. If you need assistance, an usher can bring
it forward for you.
      I will not read through the whole sheet
for you. I do want to remind you of areas to consider, and then allow you to
read through the sheet and prayerfully make your selections.
Areas
to consider:
·      
Expanding one of your areas of strength
·      
Experimenting in one of your areas of weakness
·      
Addressing a need for reconciliation
·      
Sharing your faith by invitation
·      
Growing in the grace of giving
·      
Growing in one aspect from each of the three large
categories
Pray
with me, once more, the prayer of St Augustine, a prayer that reminds us of the
power of failure when it is submitted to God:
Too
narrow is the house of my soul
for
you to enter into it:
Let
it be enlarged by you.
It
lies in ruins: build it up again.
      (from The
Confessions
)

Cindy
[Philip], please play the next hymn for us as we sit in silence and respond to
God’s call in our lives.