04 Jun Life In The Spirit: Reach Graduation
Sunday, June 3rd. Graduation Service
After video- Round of applause for the grads.
Congratulations to all of you, enjoy this time in your life. Normally at this time I would pray over the students with all of you, but being as this is a special class, that have been here so long, I thought it would be fitting to have a student pray over their own class this year.
Amelia Park will be praying over herself and her peers, but I’ll ask all of us to stand and join her in prayer as well.
After student prayer: High Five, Hug, Handshake while being seated
Student Testimony and Pictures:
City we have a great group of teenagers in this church. Our youth ministry meets Sunday mornings 10am at City Church Central.
And to get us going this morning before we jump into the Word, I’m going to ask a few of our students to join me on stage to share a bit about what REACH has meant to them, and about what we do.
Before they do that though let me just take a moment and reflect on how far these students have come.
Got a couple of pictures here just to put into perspective what it looked like 7 years ago, when they started.
TEENAGERS SHARE THEIR PART IN REACH
We have a lot of fun in youth ministry—wouldn’t be it without fun.
It’s not just who we are.
Story after story—14 years in uth min, 7 of them here.
Tubing down the James—midnight at jump—all-nighters and 100th game of Gargoyles
Times where we laughed ourselves stupid.
Times I want to strangle them—Nicaragua
Stories that make you laugh—
Stories of how the Holy Spirit has moved in the lives of these students, and how they have grown
Our youth ministry is focused on one simple thought:
We exist to build life-long followers of Jesus.
That when they graduate from High School and take the next step they do so with a deep relationship with Jesus that is rooted in scripture, Spirit-Led, and reaches out to others around them.
They can articulate foundational principles of scripture—they understand their faith and how to impart it to others.
Our youth ministry is one where we are seeing students give their lives to Christ who become disciples who make disciples.
Our youth ministry is here to see the kingdom expand in Charlottesville and bring Christ to those who need to know him.
And my heart as a youth pastor is to see them grab ahold of Christ and never let go.
I have seen these students pray prayers that would stun most adults, I have heard them speak of scripture that can only be reveled by the Holy Spirit.
I have seen students internalize Scripture, understand it, and watched their character form around what they read.
Students escape addition, abusive relationships, lead parents to Christ, and their friends.
Do we have fun at youth? Absolutely, but it goes so much deeper.
This morning I want us to look at a special moment in Scripture that reflects what we desire and hope for them—in their love for Jesus.
And I believe it’s something that we all should lock onto as believers.
Turn in your Bibles, or on your phone, or on Screen to
Gospel of Luke, written by Luke, a doctor by trade, a Greek gentile, a follower of Jesus but not a disciple.
Luke writes a very unique Gospel—as many scholars would agree this all Gospel writers wrote with a specific audience in mind—Luke was a Greek who wrote for Greeks (Gentiles)
A few ways we know this: He leaves out significant portions of Older Testament references that Matthew, Mark, and John have—as most Gentiles would get it, or care much about it.
He changes wording—such as skull in place of Golgotha, lawyer in place of scribe, and he favors Master over teacher/Rabbi.
But the crown of his Gospel—I believe is found in the parables of Luke 15 (Lost Sheep, Coin, and Son) and then wrapped up in Luke 19:10, where the Son of Man came to, “seek and save the lost”.
Luke’s Gospel has a universality to it, where he describes Jesus as the Messiah of all peoples.
He emphasizes stories that lift the poor, disenfranchised, widows, children, women, and the sick.
Most of his narratives show those who are lost forced to wrestle with matters of faith with the intention of making them come to a decision about Jesus—and when they do, it will be the greatest deicing they have ever made.
Where we come to Luke in chapter 10, is a moment where Jesus is with believers and followers and he is eating with them and speaking to them. He is teaching his disciples, ministering to them. Spending time with them in a most intimate and precious moment.
Let’s READ LUKE 10:38-42
BREAKDOWN THE STORY
We have heard this story before. Much of my life, I always gave Martha a bad rap. She is the one who just doesn’t get it. But as we will see in this story—there are two sisters at play, but I believe we see ourselves in both of them.
They are at the home of Martha—which we know from the other Gospels was the village of Bethany
1.5 miles east of Jerusalem just beyond the Mount of Olives
This town was home to this family which also included Lazarus (the one raised from the dead), and Mary—a devoted follower of Jesus
In John’s Gospel, chapter 11, when Lazarus is raised the beloved disciple, JOHN, makes mention that when Jesus is called to come to Lazarus the words, “the one you love,” is sick.
Indicating to us that Jesus had not just a ministry relationship with this family
But they had a special relationship—Jesus loved this people deeply.
Martha—was a work horse in ministry (she took care of Jesus: clothed, fed, financed, followed). John 12, the story of Jesus’ anointing by Mary, John makes mention that Martha was serving everyone.
This was probably her ministry.
I love these people in ministry.
She always gets bad rap in Luke 10, but let’s be honest—if there were no Martha’s nothing would get done.
Keith Rogers say “AMEN”
Imagine her at work in this moment: cleaning, cooking, preparing the homes, receiving guests. It seems as though she is the oldest in the family so much of the burden of the home falls on her.
And they need her: churches need her.
Mary on the other hand—everyone likes. She makes the right choice.
Her story is very sweet. And her love for Jesus is no doubt deep.
Matthew and Mark both tells us that “a woman” from Bethany anointed Jesus and prepares his body for burial.
John takes it an extra step and tells us it was Mary
READ JOHN 12:1-3
At a dinner in honor of Jesus (probably for raising Lazarus)—at the home of Simon the Leper (a man probably healed by Jesus) she takes a bottle of expensive perfume (about a years wages)
And she anoints his feet, and wipes it with her hair.
An interesting point that I’ve heard and read from pastors and scholars is that this was not an uncommon thing to do during this time period. Although reserved for very honored guests.
Servants would often offer hair, or a head covering to guests of honor for them to wipe their hands….but also, if a servant was wearing a perfume, they would put it in their hair, and other would touch it and the sweet smell would be on them.
I find it interesting that the reverse happens here. That Mary, wipes his feet with her hair, so that the smell that was on Jesus’ body would now be on her.
A way for her to carry the aroma of Christ with her—to identify herself with him.
In Luke we have a different anointing story. Luke 7 shares that another woman does something similar to Jesus—but because of location and who was involve and the point of the story, it is mostly assumed the this is a separate story of a woman honoring Jesus.
But for her—she could not contain emotion and disrupted a dinner, because the bible says she was a sinful woman and found forgiveness in Christ.
Mary’s anointing was an act of worship and an act of identity.
MARTHA’s BAD RAP
Like I said, it’s easy to love Mary in the story of Luke 10.
She sits at Jesus’ feet, in the pose of a disciple, and she absorbs everything he has.
But this story is sandwiched in between Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan and teaching his disciples about prayer.
This portion of Luke was recorded for disciples to learn how to keep their focus on Christ.
Jesus, according to Luke, just told a story of how to be a good neighbor.
And if Martha isn’t being a picture-perfect neighbor right now, I don’t know what is.
She is serving at least 13 men, and everyone who shoved into the home.
She is serving Jesus—she is active in ministry—she is working for the Lord. But what we are seeing is a loss of focus.
She was disctracted by the work:
We can all go here: God has gifted me for a purpose, God has given me an opportunity, God has called me to do this thing, and I’m doing it all for the Lord.
We can be busy about doing what God wants but get so wrapped up in it that we can lose sight of Jesus’ desire to know us and of us to know him.
I was nearly out of ministry before I started.
I heard the Lord say, “this is the longest you have sat at my feet in months.”
Jesus was trying to tell Martha—put down the dishes, forget the food, I’m here for a night.
Martha had a seat right next to Mary—but I’m guessing she was too busy to notice it, or to upset about the many things to think she could get there.
Jesus said that Mary had chosen what was better and it wouldn’t be taken from her.
We have things in our lives: school, work, sports…but we can lose it…but what we can never lose, is what we gain at his feet.
WHAT DID MARY GET: Worship Team!
The presence of the Lord
Revelation that was live changing
Relationship that gave meaning, purpose, and was the blood that gave life to everything in her life.
Waylan Seers: You must surrender to get at the feet of Jesus. Being at his feet is spiritual and so every manner of your flesh will fight it and look for every reason to avoid it—test, papers, practice, job, relationships, social life, varying responsibilities.
But when you fight to develop a life that is continually surrendered to and surrounded by the presence of God
It transforms your life.
Like the aroma that filled the room when Mary broke that jar—so to the aroma of Christ is with us always.
Imagine graduates: as you sit at his feet, you then take him to your dorm, class, locker room, internship, job.
Adults: Homes become a place where the peace and presence of God dwells…. our work places can see advances in the Kingdom and change lives that need him.
This is the relationship that we need. This is what we can never afford to lose.
Graduates always to surrender and get at his feet. To remember to slow down, and sit at his feet, and take in Jesus.
Maybe you have been a long time without sitting at the feet of Jesus—I want to encourage you today to surrender and spend these next few moments worshipping at his feet.