FBC of Middlesboro 02/18/2018
Well. Good morning. We're. Glad you're here on the, first Sunday, of Lent at, First Baptist Church in, spite. Of this flu season. Yeah. About. That it just keeps on keepin, on doesn't, it if you're, wondering where Christi is which, you always ask she's. Sick she's. At home, so. Pray for her and pray for all the, other people that are sick, and at home too. Well, welcome to church you'll, look in your order, of service here and see the calendar, of upcoming events. I. Just want to point out on, that actually, not a lot on this but. To say the business meeting will happen Wednesday, night, the 21st. And. Then, next, Wednesday night you'll notice that the carson-newman. Acapella. Choir, is coming. They're. Coming on Wednesday night at 6:30, and they're gonna sing so. You should come and support them they're, doing, a tour Beth, said they had luggage, for like a two, months worth of traveling, or something I don't, know but, I hear, that they're good also. Some. Other announcements. To make, there's. A sign-up sheet on, the Tal chapel door if you. Have any interest, in helping on Thursday, nights with. The CCM, feeding. Project, you can sign up down there or you can call the. CCM, office, and talk to Eric Martin, or Ashley, Witt also. Down there by the chapel. There, are a few offering. Envelopes, left, if you use those and you've been looking for those, yours. Might be down there on the radiator, across, from the chapel, there's. A handful, left. There's. Also. Easter. Lily order, form believe, that or not we. Have to get on that so start. Pondering. Easter. Lilies and then, the last thing I wanted to point out was this. Purple. Piece of paper that you picked up on the way in if. You didn't pick one up on the way and you'll have another chance to do that when we stand up to greet one another in, a moment, this. Purple, piece of paper today, at. The last. Him will. Go right down there in that bowl on, the table. And. I'm inviting, you to. Write on this paper sometime. During worship how. Am i keeping. Lent this year, right. The answer to that question and put, it on this table as. A part, of an offering. Today. That you bring forward, and leave, at the altar, for, God that's. What this paper is for. Well. It's. First Sunday of Lent we're. Getting, started, on our journey toward. Jerusalem. I, suppose. We should stand, up and pass the peace as, a part of that go. For it. Come. To the Lord with openness, seeking. God's presence, whatever, it brings. Let's. Stand together as seeing our praise him number 295, come thou fount of every blessing. You. May be seated. We. Cannot, earn God's, grace, or, favor, it. Comes to us not, as something. Owed, but. As something, freely. Given. Confident. In God's, love for us even. Though we are often, ourselves. Ungodly. We. Confess, our sins in. Faith. Let. Us pray. Lord. We come to you this morning. On confession, Sunday and, we, ask for your forgiveness, from, our sins, we. Pray Lord God that you will bless us indeed. You. Will enlarge our territory. You will keep us far. From evil and you. Will fill up our cups with your blessings, we. Ask Lord God for, your forgiveness in your name we pray amen. Friends. God. Is, for, us not. Against, us for. This very reason God, sent, the son into, the world not, to condemn, the world but that, the world might be saved through. Him. Believe. The, good news in Jesus. Christ we. Are, forgiven. Here. Now a reading from, the book of Genesis. God. Said to Noah and, to his sons, with, him I'm, now, setting, up my covenant, with you with. Your descendants. And with every, living, being, with, you with. The birds with. The large animals. And with, all the animals of the earth leaving. The ark with, you I will. Set up my covenant, with you so, that never again will, all life be, cut off by. Floodwaters. There. Will never again be a flood to, destroy the. Earth. God. Said this, is the symbol of the Covenant that I am drawing, up between me and you and every, living thing with, you on behalf, of every, future. Generation. I've. Placed my bow in the clouds, it. Will be the symbol, of the covenant, between me, and the, earth when. I bring clouds, over, the earth and, the bow appears, in the clouds I will, remember the covenant, between me and you. And every. Living being. Among. All the creatures. Floodwaters. Will never again destroy all. Creatures, the bow. Will, be in the clouds and upon, seeing it I will remember, the, enduring, covenant, between, God and, every. Living being, of all, the Earth's creatures.
God. Said to Noah this. Is the symbol, of the covenant that I have set up between me and all. Creatures. On earth. Here. Ends, the, first lesson. Let. Us pray. God. We. Have started, the. Journey toward. Jerusalem. We. Look, to Jesus example, as one. Of. Faithful. Diligent. Daily. Discipleship. God. We come here today as we. Do every. Sunday, we. Come here hoping to grow our own life. Just, a little bit more by. Being here, by. Praying. The prayers of confession. By. Singing. The hymns that have nurtured. Generations. Of Baptists. And nurture. Us today. God. We come here hoping to grow our lives a, little bit larger. Through. The hearing of the sermon. And the scripture, being read. God. Abide. With us this. Very day, hold. For, us the burdens, that we carry in our life that. We might be freer, to. Lean in and lean. On, you. And. God. Because. It's lint and because. Lint has. A certain. Daily. Prodding. Or trotting. To, it. We. Practice, our prayers, we. Practice, our prayers by praying, the prayer that Jesus, taught his disciples to. Pray we. Pray it in one bold. Congregational. Voice saying. Our. Father, who. Art in heaven. Hallowed. Be thy name thy, kingdom, come. Thy. Will be done on, earth, as it, is in heaven. Give. Us this day our, daily bread, and, forgive, us our trespasses as. We, forgive those, who trespass. Against, us and lead. Us not into, temptation. But. Deliver us, from evil, for thine. Is the kingdom and, the power, and the. Glory forever. Amen. In. Our journey toward Jerusalem, this year we're singing a lint in him it's an insert in your bulletin Jesus, drawing me ever nearer, we'll, learn it today and we'll sing it each week of Lent. A. Reading. From the Gospel of Mark. About. That time Jesus. Came from Nazareth of, Galilee and, John, baptized, him in the Jordan River while. He was coming up out of the water Jesus saw heaven splitting, open and the. Spirit, like, a dove coming, down on him and there. Was a voice from heaven you. Are my son whom. I dearly love and you, I find, happiness. At. Once the spirit forced Jesus out into the wilderness he. Was in the wilderness for forty, days tempted, by. Satan, he. Was among the wild animals and the angels took care of him, after. John was arrested, Jesus. Came into Galilee announcing. God's good, news saying, now. Is the time, here comes God's kingdom, change. Your hearts and lives and trust, this good news. Here. Is the gospel listen, our. Hymn of stewardship. Number. 169, Lord, who throughout these forty days let's. Stand. Let. Us pray. God. You are the giver of all. Good gifts, we. Come to this time in our service, O Lord where. We try to give back a, little bit of what, we have been given. God. We give back in. Part, because the. Church, needs. It to do good in the world. But. We give back also in, part because. In, doing, so, we. Say our hearts. Are, free. Of, the. Things, in, our lives, free. Free. To be yours. This. We pray in Jesus. Name Amen. You. You. The. Essential. Thing, in. Heaven, and earth is that. There should be a, long. Obedience. In, the same direction. There, thereby, results. And has, always, resulted. In the long run. Something. Which. Has made life worth. Living. Frederick. Nietzsche, of all, people, a devout. Atheist, wrote. Those, words a, hundred and thirty-two years ago in a, book called Beyond, Good, and Evil, they. Are the preparation. For, worship, in your bulletin, this, morning, the. Premise, of that book, was that. Was. That the past, philosophers. With, whom, Nietzsche. Was in conversation. Had. Been too tied up in the, metaphysical and. The, spiritual. And that their. Work lacked, a modern. Critical. Sense. Now. That was the thesis, of the book. Pastor. And professor, Eugene, Peterson, one, of my favorites. Loves. The quote Nietzsche of, all people, a devout. Atheist of, all, people, and, includes. This quote at the beginning of the first chapter of one of his books on Christian, spirituality. You'll. Never guess the title of that, book. Yeah. A long. Oh, btw. Insane. Direction. A, long. Obedience. In the same direction the, essential, thing in heaven, and earth is, Nietzsche. Wrote that. There should be a long obedience. In the same direction. There, thereby, results. And has, always resulted, in the long run. Something. Which. Has made life, worth. Living. Peterson's book has a subtitle, as well which reveals, the main subject. Of the book. Its, discipleship. Of course a long, obedience. In the same direction. Discipleship. In an, instant. Society. I. Mention. All of that this morning at, the opening. Of the, sermon, because I'm reading Peterson's. Books as part of my linton, practice, this season, and because. I couldn't, help hear, today's, Gospel, lesson, in the, first chapter, of a.
Long Obedience. In the same direction. Just. Two pages in. Peterson. Gets right, to it, he says the. Aspect. Of the world that. Makes the work of leading, and being Christians. In the, way of faith most, difficult. Is what. Gore Vidal. Has. Analyzed, as quote. Today's. Passion. For. The immediate, and, the, casual. Today's. Passion, for, the immediate, and the casual. Peterson, goes on to say. Everyone's. In a hurry the. Persons, whom I lead in worship, who, my counsel, visit, pray preach, and teach, they. All want shortcuts they. All want me to help them fill, out the form that will get them instant. Credit, in. Eternity. They. Are impatient, for, results. They. Have adopted the lifestyle, of the, tourist, they. Only want, the, high points. Now. Peterson's a pastor, type so of course is written, from that direction but. In a different book Peterson, says things same thing about preachers. He. Says pastors, are notoriously, impatient. People. We. Arrive we, get, started, and then, it seems like nothing's. Happening. For a while and, we, get antsy, and then. We start looking for. A different place or. A different career. Peterson. Is very clear, that all of this is all of our, problem. When. I read those lines this week I heard echoes, of the gospel, lesson that, Beth read, a few, moments, ago, here. In Mark's Gospel we, get the Cliff Notes version, of. Jesus temptation story. We. Always get the Cliff Notes version, and. Mark most. New Testament, scholars believe that mark was written first and, was. Used as a source by, Matthew, and Luke who, expand. On, Mark's, brief. Stories. In. Mark. We. Get no dialogue, no. Lag time. While. He was coming up out of the water Jesus, saw heaven, splitting. Open and the spirit, like a dove, coming. Down on him when. The baptism. Scene there, of course, and. There was a voice from heaven you, are my son whom, I dearly, love in you. I find, happiness. At. Once, the spirit forced Jesus out into the wilderness for forty days to. Be tempted, by. Satan. Don't. Try to catch your breath in, Mark's Gospel Jesus. Is still dripping, wet when. This happens, he's. Still standing hip-deep. In the water and the, spirit, drives. Him out into the wilderness for forty days. He. Was among the wild animals, and the Angels took care of him period. That's. The end of the story in mark. Yeah. All that stuff that's, going through your head right now is not in Mark's Gospel. That's. It that's all you get in mark if, you. Don't. Wear your seat belt and hold on to your hat you. Will be thrown from the ride that. Is the, Gospel, according to mark. But. We've. Read this story we've heard this, story so, many times. That. There's, really no way for us not, to hear, the rest of it is there, you. Already, are putting, it together in, your head you, are already, filling, in the gaps of marks brief tail and, you probably hear, the echoes of, Matthew. Since. You, are God's, Son. Command. These stones to. Become. Bread. It. Is written, people. Won't live by bread but. By every word spoken, by. God. Okay. Well, since, you. Are, God's. Son. Throw. Yourself down, for, it is written I, will, command, my angels, concerning you, and they will take you up in their hands so, that you won't hit your foot, on, a stone. Since. You are God's. Son. Again. It is written don't, test, the Lord your God. I'll. Give you all these, kingdoms, of, the world all of them and all of their glory if you'll. But bow down and, worship, me. Go. Away Satan, because. It is written you, will worship the Lord your God and, serve only. Him. That's. The way Matthew tells, the story anyway. Luke. Changes, the order of the, temptations a little and makes, sure to note that Jesus fasted, for, 40 days in. The desert but. It's a similar, conversation. Mark. Gives us a lot less but. 2000, years later I. Can't. Help but hear the whole tale in. My, ear. Echoing. And, the, truth is it's a truly. Fantastical. Tale. Complete. With all sword. Of good. Sermon. Hooks. Like. The. Spirit, drove, Jesus. Into, the wilderness to be tempted, did. You ever catch that before. The. Spirit, drove. Jesus. Into, the wilderness to, be tempted. It's. No wonder that when Jesus, is teaching his disciples to, pray later he. Included, that line that we always pray that, you always, wonder, about and. Lead. Us not into temptation. But. Deliver us, from, evil. Or. There's a hook like the, tempters, faith. In. Jesus. To be able to turn stones, into bread. Do. You hear the faith. Or. Maybe it's mocking, I'm not sure, but.
It's There, it's, kind. Of like hey Jesus. Since. You are, be. A little bit like. Moses. Elijah. David. Saw somebody. Prove. It. Since. You are. How. About the tempters, knowledge, of Scripture you have. Heard. That sermon, before I'm, fairly, sure I bet. You've all at one, point or another heard. Its and, you've heard you've, heard it's kind, of encapsulated. In a very short, pithy. Saying. Probably. Your mom or your dad when. You mouthed. Off, said. This to you, even. The devil can quote scripture. Yeah. I heard that chuckle. Yeah. You've heard that sermon, before you. Have to live it your. Parent probably said and, of. Course throw. Yourself, from the pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem, that's. A good sermon hook to. Show. The world Jesus. Who. You are oh, we. Do in here, let's, get on with this story. Says. The tempter, why, all. Secrecy. And, the teachings. And the miracles. And the, wandering. Through, the Holy Land why, why. What. A monumental. Waste of, time. The, tempter, says. Since. You are God's. Son. Get. With it, move. On. They'll. All know for, sure that. You are God's Son, when. Angels, come, rushing, down, out of the sky to. Catch you and set. You on the ground at the, temple gate in, Jerusalem. There, will be no doubt from. That moment on. Get. With it. As. I. Pondered all, of these angles, of. This text, this week I. Thought. About that last one that. Last, angle, that, that. Last part, and that question, of, why. Why. Didn't. Jesus, do, that, it. Would have expedited, everything. Why. Not. And. It's. A thought about it I thought I could only come up with one answer and. The. Only answer that I could come up with was. For. Us. For. Us is, the, only thing. What, is Jesus, waiting, on Jesus. Is. Waiting. For. Us. What. God already knows, we. Human, beings, have to learn. Anybody. In here an excellent, learner, anybody. Ever always, get, it the first time out, first. Time you wrote a bike you didn't fall off first. Time you went fishing you caught a 15, pound bass. First. Time you read the Bible you got all the answers just right, first time you took that quiz at the boys group home you knew all the trick answers. Didn't you yeah. Yeah. Anybody anybody, a quick learner like that go. Ahead, yeah yeah, yeah, me. Neither. In fact I, think you to be human, is to. Be a slow, learner. Yeah. We'll pick up some things quick. But most, important. Things we, don't. And. I'm not really talking about learning. As. Intellectual. Assent, I'm, not, talking, about I. Understand. That. Not. Talking about that learning. That happens, right here. Talking. About that learning, that, changes. You, and, me. That. Kind of learning. The. Chinese philosopher Lao. Su I think I'm saying that right you can find quotes by this guy all over the, internet, it's he's, prolific. He. Was he lived in the 6th century and. He. Says of, of. This that. The first step on the path to wisdom is, the ability to say I, don't. Know. Anybody. Good at that. Probably. Not. Maybe. You are. It's. Something you got to learn these, days because if our world prizes. Anything, it's somebody, that has all the answers even. If they're bad answers. The. First step. On the path to wisdom is the ability to say I don't know we. Like to believe that, we, know a great many things. We. Understand. Far fewer, of those things however then. We might like to admit. Knowing. A thing and, owning. It, truly. Being invested. In actions. And, outcomes.
Those. Are two different things. True. Wisdom, says. Lao, Zhu is. Ultimately. Not in, the knowing. But. In the, doing. I'm talking about the kind of learning here that changes, us the kind that, is the old quote, says. Takes. Us on the longest, journey, of our lives. You. Know where that journey is don't you you've heard that quote, it's. The 18, inches between your head and your. Heart, the. Longest, journey, of your, life that's, the kind of learning I'm talking. About here, and I think I, think that is exactly, what. Jesus is, waiting. For. In this, story. Jesus. Knows that. We are slow. To learn and. Jesus. Knows that if gee if he were to jump off the temple will that be all dazzling. And we'd eventually write. About it put, it in a book and set it on a shelf somewhere, how. About that guy you remember that guy, yeah. Jumped off the pinnacle, and lived to tell about it, yeah. But. Jesus. Stays awhile. Jesus. Gets. Into. The dirt a while, Jesus. Goes from here and starts doing what every, prophet, does. The. Kingdom, of God is at, hand. Get. Ready and. Then. And then. He goes and he calls disciples. As every. Prophet, does. For. Us. For. Us that we might learn. Really. Learn. From. Him. Eugene. Peterson, says that we live in an age of, spiritual. Tourism, I, love. That phrase because when. I read it I go yeah. I'm, guilty of that so. As everybody, else, he, writes it's. Not so difficult to get a person, interested, in the message of the gospel it. Is. Terrifically. Difficult, to. Sustain, the. Interest. Millions. Of people in our culture make, decisions. For Christ's but. There is a dreadful. Attrition. Rate. Many. Claim to have been born again but the evidence for, mature. Christian. Discipleship. Is, slim. In. Our, kind of culture, anything. Even. News about God can. Be sold if, it, is just packaged. Freshly. But. When it loses its novelty, Peterson, says. It. Goes in the garbage heap and, we're, on to, the next thing. He. Then says this. There's. A great market, for religious. Experience. There is little. Enthusiasm. Though, for. The patient, acquisition, of. Virtue. There. Is little, enthusiasm. For the patient. Acquisition, of. Virtue little. Inclination, to. Sign up for a long. Apprenticeship. And. Whatever. Went, earlier. Christians. Did. With. Their lives, they. Called it holiness. And they. Worked on it. It's. That line the. Patient, acquisition, of virtue that hooked, my imagination. With both this story and my. Own story. Or, rather part, of my story in. My family of origin I've always, had a subtle, but powerful. Affinity. For, my Aunt Jane. My. Aunt Jane, Jane. Or, Janie as the nieces and, nephews, call her is my mother's, oldest. Sister. And since. The death of my grandmother, she's. Been the, matriarch. Of the family. It. Is, Jane who taught me most. Recently. About, the patient, acquisition, of. Virtue. Many. Of you met Jane by, the way she. Was here for the baby shower in, September. She with. My Uncle Jim and their. Daughter my cousin, Rachel, and, Rachel's. Daughter Addison. They. Were all here in the fellowship, hall. That's. The thing about Jane, you know, she. Always. Shows. Up. That's. What Jane does if. If I think back, all, the. Way back to. The bleachers, of the, Mason, County, Fieldhouse. The. Fieldhouse by the way is the basketball, arena named. For Alan Feld, house chalk. I wanted to put that in for you. But. The field house is also where we graduate. Mason. County High School if I think back and, I. Go, through the bleachers. Yep. Yep, there's aunt Jane, there. She is, with. My uncle Jim and my, cousin, Rachel, there. They are at my high. School. Graduation. When. I, think back to the. Sunny breezy. Day, in. Giddings. Circle. At Georgetown, College. The. Day that I put on a black robe and a black hat with a tassel, on it and. It. Got hotter as the day went on and everybody started, to sweat, and, complain.
You. Know, graduation. Right this is the universal. Experience, when. I think back at that and I think back and I think through, yep. Yep, there's Jane, there's. My aunt Jane and my. Uncle Jim and my, cousin Rachel, there, they are on, Giddings. Law and cheering. Me, on. And. Then there's there's. A wedding, the. Wedding at Northside Drive Baptist, Church in Atlanta all, the way down, in Atlanta. Christine. I knew that some of the family weren't making that drive. But. We we. Had it there because that was the right place and. Yep. You. Guessed it. Jane. Jim. Rachel, they. Were there, for. The wedding. And. At, the table up front near. Where Christy and I sat in fact the closest, table to us I think that's. Aunt Jane to. The. Closest table to us there they are at, the. Baby, shower. And. Even, most recently, even. Most recently. Jane. Showed up at. 45, 93. Clarke's Run Road where I grew up to, visit, Christy and me, no. No, I'm just kidding, she came to visit Elinor. Of course. But. She came we, went to see dad and Jane, and Jim show, up at the, house. That's. What. Jane, does. She. Shows up. When. She was in town for the baby shower in September. She. She. Was here, for the weekend, we had, the festivities, at, my house here, whatever and, I remember that I texted, my Aunt Jane or maybe I called her and, I said you know I'd love for you to come to church on, Sunday, morning you're gonna be able to stay. And. She said. Well. I'm going to st. julian's, I have to follow my. Faith. If. I'm honest, about it I was a little bit irritated. With, that. Jane. If you're watching I'm sorry a, little. Bit irritated, I said, Christy I mean come on you know come, on I wanted, Jane to see what was up what was going on here, the good here, I wanted. Her to celebrate. Like. She. Always, had. This. Time she, had other plans I. Have. To follow my faith Jane said of, course. You. Remember singing, or sitting right there in the Pew -. She. Did make it because she's Aunt Jane she, always shows, up. She. Made it because, the. Baby shower got over in time for. Her to go to Mass on Saturday, night at, st. julian's, I. Have. To follow my faith Jane. Said. I'll. Never forget that, I'll. Never forget that as, long as I live because here's. My Aunt Jane, you. Know there's no more Catholic. Catholic, than. Jane rout, Jane. Has been a Catholic since, she was born. What. In the world could. Jane possibly. Learn. That. One, day at that. One Mass from.
That One, sermon. You. Know that's the wrong question right. Jane. Is not in, it for the, novelty, of it. Jane. Is not in, it as a spiritual. Tourist. Jane. My. Aunt Jane is a pilgrim. She. Is a disciple, she, is in it for. That slow. Steady. Life. Long. Acquisition. Of, Christian. Virtue. As. I. Look back over all the stories, I just told you, it's. Clear to me now that, all. Of them come. Out of that same thing. They. All do, Jane. In, that, pursuit, of. Christian. Virtue, over. The course of her life. Is. Finding, it I. Couldn't. Think of a better story than that for. This story. Of why. Is, Jesus. Waiting. I, couldn't. Help but think that just maybe. Jane. Somewhere. Along the line read, the temptations, story and said yep. I see. That I see that this, story. This. Story is. A calling. On my. Life on, your life on our life, together. It. Is a calling. Not. To, the, flash in the pan, not. To the latest, novel. Trend. But. To the slow. Steady. Trotting. Accumulation. Of Christian. Virtue. Over. The course of our. Lives. Hate. To be the bearer of bad news as, the preacher, the. Christian, faith only, works that way. It. Only works, that way we. Only grow. In, maturity, that. Way. That's. Why I love, Lent. That's. Why. We're. Worshipping. In the, spirit, of Lent. But. You know, Lintz. Just six weeks long. Christian. Faith is. A, lifetime. Jesus. Is. Waiting. For. Us. Amen. You. Remember that piece of paper. Now's. The time. In. Just, a few moments we, will stand. And we will sing, and, that is the moment you are invited, to bring this piece of paper forward, and leave. It at the, altar your. Commitment. To, Jesus. This, season. Let's. Observe our. New, tradition, now the. Service, of Lenten. Lights. In. The church year, Advent, and Lintz, our siblings. Both. Our seasons. Of repentance. And preparation. For, the highest of, Christian. Holy days. The. Lights of, the Advent, wreath are, circular. And they, grow and spiral. Inward. Toward. The Christ, candle, until. It lasts, on Christmas. Eve they. Are all a flame. The. Light of the world, arrives. The. Lenten lights are, linear. And one. By one they, fade, until. At last on, the eve of Easter. They. Are all dark. The. Light of the world. Is snuffed. Out. The. Service, of Lent and lights is a time set apart for you, ready. Your heart for. The mystery, and the, miracle, of God's. Grace. Let's. Stand to sing Jesus walked this London Valley. Oh. Surround.