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I Desire Mercy, December Sermon Series

“I desire mercy” is the theme for our December sermon series.   It answers a major part of the question of Why Jesus?  Mercy is of paramount importantance because the real competition against the real Jesus in Doylestown is not atheism or other religions.   The real competition is a version of Christianity that is really not New Testament Christianity.  It is a non-merciful, unbeautiful, triggered by self-conceited worthiness-view of God that is a false god.  This view impersonates Christianity.

“I desire mercy” is what Jesus said when the in-excusables and un-defendables were under assault in Mathew 9.  “I desire mercy” was what Jesus said when his appointed spiritual leaders were under attack in Matthew 12.   It’s Jesus word for all seasons and all people.   When the good people are criticized Jesus says, “I desire mercy”.  When the bad people are creating scandal, Jesus says, “I desire mercy”. Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6, “I desire mercy” as a verse for all situations.

But Jesus actually goes a step further!

You might expect the founder of a religion to say, “I desire mercy and sacrifice”.  But Jesus does not say that. He says, “not sacrifice”.  He excludes sacrifice by saying, “I desire mercy, NOT sacrifice”  “Not sacrifice” is  anti-religious speech on the lips of Jesus and it is music to our ears.

This series will focus on Matthew 9 and expand on how Jesus rocked the religious culture of his day by both actions and words that could not be harmonized within a traditional moralistic framework.

This series is in part inspired by a ground breaking book by Richard Beck titled “Unclean”.  In this book, Beck asks the question:  Why do churches, ostensibly following a Messiah who broke bread with “tax collectors and sinners”, so often retreat into practices of exclusion and the quarantine of gated communities?  Why is it so difficult to create missional communities?”

Beck tells the parable of a demonic person seeking refuge, threatening the purity and safety of a community.  The punch line to the request is that the real threat to the “purity” and “safety” of the community was the threat of closing their doors and exchanging mission for quarantine.

Beck writes:

“Evil seeks to rob us not of our safety, but of our hospitality, for if we are robbed of our hospitality then evil wins for it has actually triumphed over us.”

“The call to hospitality is not simply a call to charity but is, rather, a call to remake the heart, my emotional stance toward otherness.”

God is concerned about my emotional stance towards others.  Only God can really change it.  And the change comes to us in Jesus who blows to smithereens any conceit that provides a platform or posture other than eager love and unconditionally open hearts.   All because Jesus did it first.  Jesus did it perfectly.  And it’s what Jesus is all about.

Through prayer the Holy Spirit led me to this series which I pray now will unlock some doors for us and show us the way to give Jesus back what He desires.  He desires MERCY.

This is another series that is aimed to rock the world of your most beloved person who is far from Christ, as well as your heart and mine.  The series will include the Christmas Eve message on Jesus’ first miracle of new wine that cannot be contained in the old wine skins. 

 

12/10 Matthew 9 “I Desire Mercy Not Sacrifice”
Mercy and Purity and Fellowship Part 1
Matthew 9
12/17 Matthew 9 “I Desire Mercy Not Sacrifice”
Mercy and Purity and Fellowship Part 2
Matthew 9
12/24 (23) WHY JESUS  New Wine/ Why Jesus Came Matthew 9/ John 2:1-12
12/31 Matthew 9:18-26 Matthew 9:18-26
Posted by Bob Myers with

Hurried for the Holidays

Tomorrow is the first day of December.  That sentence is unnerving to many of us.  It stings us with a sense that we’d better hurry up!

The world tells me that “Hurry” is a  by-product of being an important person.   When I indulge in hurry, I  carry the contagion of ego-centric self-absorption. 

Have you ever been late and in line somewhere?  A person in a hurry communicates self-importance even in their body language.  There’s no time to notice the cashier and speak a life-giving word to them.  There’s no time to be aware of God’s presence and to be the person you are meant to be.   When I am in a hurry my self is on the Throne and God’s voice is muted.

Jesus accomplished more than anyone and was never in a hurry.   He had the fullest life ever, but was never busy.   I believe if we had been present, one thing we would find remarkable was that Jesus never allowed hurry to get inside his personality.  He moved with perfect control. 

Here’s what helps me guard my heart from hurry, especially in busy seasons:

  1.  Enemy:  See “hurry” as a threat to everything that God wants me to be and become. This is most important, and the singular thing that is the most helpful to me. 
  2. Gratitude:  I heard a Christian leader I respect say that when he lacked gratitude he was fragile.   When he was not thanking God, criticism from others  was unbearable. When we let hurry get inside us, we often feel self pity (“I have too much to do”) , a sense of martyrdom (“I work so hard”)  and entitlement (“I shouldn’t have to wait in these long lines”). 
  3. Input:  Open multiple ways for God to give me input.   Daily Audio Bible is a great app and podcast while I drive.   It even prays through the passages in ways that often feed my soul.   Journaling thoughts and writing out prayers and reviewing them gives me focus. 
  4. Exercise:  When I put my body through the ringer it helps my spirit focus.  It sounds unspiritual to some, but we are not disembodied spirits.   For me, exercise is a friend to prayer.
  5.  Connect:  We slow down for friends.   Someone told me recently that he was purposefully scheduling a daily phone conversation (brief) with a friend every single day.   If you don’t have such a friend, how about slowing down enough to pray that God sends you one.
 You will keep in perfect peace
    all who trust in you,
    all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3
Posted by Bob Myers with

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