Tag Archives: Kingdom of Heaven

Starting Spiritual Conversations


We have been working rather loosely through Bill Hybels & Mark Mittelberg’s book,Becoming a Contagious Christian.   Over the past few weeks each preacher has been given a different chapter as the basis for our sermon for the Sunday and study notes for the Fellowship Groups and Bible Studies that meet during the week.  I say “loosely” because we have followed the idea and not necessarily the content of the chapter.  It was my turn today and the chapter was entitled “Starting Spiritual Conversations.” 

PRESTBURY METHODIST CHURCH
26 September 2010, 09h00

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 130:1-8; 2 Corinthians 4:1-6; Matthew 13:44-46

What are you passionate about?

Of course, when a preacher asks you what you are passionate about, you’re supposed to say religious things and talk about God and faith and things like that. And I hope we are passionate about these things, but what else are you passionate about?

Does anyone know about your passion?
I’m pretty sure they do……………..

We are at the heart of the Contagious Christianity series about sharing our faith. This is the crunch message. This is the one we were all dreading. We all knew it was coming. Somewhere along the way, someone was going to tell us we have to go out there and tell people about Jesus. Well, this is it!  In spite of all we’ve said about the importance of relationships, you’ve still got to actually open your mouth and say something about your faith. And I’m supposed to tell you what to say.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Sermons

Ten Bridesmaids: A Soccer Story


 

This story was first told at Prestbury Methodist Church on Sunday 18 July 2010

   SCRIPTURE: Matthew 25:1-13

“At that time the Kingdom of heaven will be like this. Once there were ten young women who took their oil lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. (2) Five of them were foolish, and the other five were wise. (3) The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any extra oil with them, (4) while the wise ones took containers full of oil for their lamps. (5) The bridegroom was late in coming, so they began to nod and fall asleep. (6) “It was already midnight when the cry rang out, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come and meet him!’ (7) The ten young women woke up and trimmed their lamps. (8) Then the foolish ones said to the wise ones, ‘Let us have some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’ (9) ‘No, indeed,’ the wise ones answered, ‘there is not enough for you and for us. Go to the store and buy some for yourselves.’ (10) So the foolish ones went off to buy some oil; and while they were gone, the bridegroom arrived. The five who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast, and the door was closed. (11) “Later the others arrived. ‘Sir, sir! Let us in!’ they cried out. (12) ‘Certainly not! I don’t know you,’ the bridegroom answered.” (13) And Jesus concluded, “Watch out, then, because you do not know the day or the hour.

WHAT’S THIS ABOUT?

What were ten bridesmaids doing waiting around in the middle of the night for the bridegroom?  Why was the bridegroom so harsh?  Ok, they weren’t ready; they didn’t have enough oil; they messed up.  But you and me, we’d know these foolish bridesmaids. We’d probably say, “You bunch of skelms.  What you doing out in the dark?  Get inside!”  And later, no doubt, we’d tell our bride about her dilly friends.

 The other stories and illustrations Jesus used were all taken from everyday life and were very easy to understand.  So we assume this one would also have made sense to his hearers at the time.  But what is clear to us is that these bridesmaids had a responsibility.  We might not know what that was, but it was important enough to impact on a number of people, including themselves, and to have serious consequences.  It is also clear that relationship with God is not about who we are, but about what we do.

 Given those truths, how would Jesus have told the story if he was speaking to us, in South Africa today, after a most successful soccer world cup?

And what if, instead of talking about the people involved, Jesus told it from the point of view of one of the characters?

 Let’s listen….

 

SOCCER KIDS

I was always mad about soccer, ever since my folks gave me a soccer ball when I was two years old. I’d make my Dad play with me. Where I grew up soccer was everything, and being able to play like Lucas Radebe was every kid’s dream.

By the time I hit high school there were ten of us in the neighbourhood. We used to kick a ball around together in someone’s yard, or on the street, or down in the park. We were at different schools but we had all grown up together. Well, except Midget—he was the shortest of the group, obviously—he came later, but in spite of his height, he fitted in pretty quickly.

PHILLIP AND ME

Phillip and I would compete for best placekicker. We could hit anything at 20 paces. We also did trick shots like scissor kicks. I know we were just showing off but, hey, if you’ve got a talent there’s no point hiding it under a bowl. Phillip would practice like mad but I was lucky, more of a natural. I could usually beat him and tackle the ball away from him. It made him really mad. I think that’s why he worked so hard; he was determined to get the better of me but I could still hold my own. Whenever I went to his place I’d find him kicking the ball or bouncing it on his feet like the soccer stars do. And when I left him after we’d been playing in the park, or wherever, I knew he’d go straight back to practicing—sometimes spending an hour or more at it. I’m so glad I didn’t need to do that. It would have taken all the fun out of it.

We were going to play professional soccer one day. We dreamed of the day a talent scout would come to our neck of the woods and spot us. We’d be the talk of the town. What a life we’d have!

Phillip also worked pretty hard at his books. Me? I just did enough school work to get by and keep my folks off my back. “Could do better,” was a regular comment on my reports but I didn’t care. Once I became a soccer star no one would care about my grades. 

Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Stories

The Treasure Hidden in a Field


THE TREASURE IN THE FIELD

A story told at Prestbury Methodist Church, Pietermaritzburg on 14 February 2010

Matthew 13:44

The Field

I was digging in old Benjamin’s field.  He allowed us to plant vegetables in the lower end of the field by the old fig tree, just as long as we shared them with him.  He wasn’t one to give anything away.  Joanna had made my lunch as she always did when I was working away from home.

  

“I’ll just finish this furrow,” I told myself.  “Then I’ll stop for lunch.”

As I dug, some of the earth fell away and subsided into a hole below ground.  An old foxhole, I thought, and as I dug further into the hole it seemed to run closer to the fig tree.  I found pieces of wood and then the remains of an old wooden box, about four feet by two.  Most of it had rotted away and that may have encouraged the collapse of the hole.  The box was full of clothing, I think.  It was hard to tell; most of it had also rotted and, mixed with the soil, it disintegrated in my fingers.  But there was something else—another box under the clothing, unlike anything I’d ever seen before.  Although it was very dirty it was clearly very beautiful.  When I rubbed it, what looked like gold shone in the sunlight.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Stories