August 10, 2011

SCRIPTURE: One day as He [Jesus] was teaching the people in the Temple and telling them the good news, the Chief Priest and the Scribes came with the Elders and said to Him, “Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things? Who is it that gave you this authority? [Luke 20:1, NRSV]

QUOTE: No man is fit to command others that cannot command himself. William Penn

THOUGHT: If it all revolves around you than it all depends upon you: that is a heavy load for a human to carry.

COMMENTARY: During passion week, Jesus spent his nights with Mary, Martha and Lazarus but He spent His days in the Temple teaching and healing. The Temple had been grossly misused and Jesus was restoring it to its intended purpose. The Chief Priest, Scribes and Elders represent the stock holders, the turf lords, the established members of the church that claim their rights by seniority. The ancient turf lords viewed Jesus as a threat; He was invading their territory and they didn’t like it. They were offended because Jesus was using the Temple without their permission. The truth of the passage is obvious: Jesus was focused on the needs of people and the Jewish religious leaders were thinking about power and protocol. Christian churches today still have the turf lords; those that have taken ownership via their many years of service. Some 35 years ago I was helping one of my sons in the ministry by preaching a revival meeting. About mid-way through the revival, all hades broke loose. He had a deacon who was also a local elementary school principal who was boycotting the meeting and the pastor asked me to go with him to confront this pouting church leader. The pastor kept prodding until he hit the right button and man exploded. He went into a diatribe about the church being his daddy’s and his grand daddy’s church. Somewhere in his exposition of ignorance he actually said, “this is my church and I will not stand by and do nothing while you bring in all this white trash”. When I heard him claim ownership to the LORD’s church, I stood up and confronted him myself. “You claim this church is yours; let me ask you, did you die for it?” He didn’t like the question and he refused to answer but I already knew the answer. He was not willing to die for it that very moment. He did not want the church to grow because he did not want to lose his place as the “Turf Lord”. The new members felt no loyalty to him, his parents or his grandparents and that made him feel threatened. Some of our folks ran into a Turf Lord last Saturday night in the person of a 70-year-old woman. She was standing guard: making sure we did not use their tables and chairs. ¬†Obviously, she is out of touch with the mission of the church and its MASTER. The church belongs to Christ and His mission always involves reaching and ministering to people. It is His Church and He is the LORD of His church, not you and not I. Years of service have nothing to do with who runs the church. If it really is a Christian church, Jesus was there first.

EXTRA: Work night tonight. We have 6:00 at the starting time but you can come earlier if you like especially if you are working in the grace barn. There is a lot of processing to do tonight. Tonight, we move the picnic tables, clean the pavilion and set up the fences.

Hackleburg Block Party



Juan having fun in the sun with a bun after playing in the duck pond

Luis taking a break at Hackleburg