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Following Jesus

Recorded on January 20th, 2019

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We forget just how powerful worship can be. Join us as Pastor Alissa Rothschild examines how prayer can change lives.

Transcript of Sermon:

[Music] the scripture this morning from John 2:1 through 11 this is from the New International Version on the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee Jesus mother was there and Jesus and his and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding when the wine was gone Jesus mother said to him they have no more wine woman why do you involve me jesus replied my hour has not yet come his mother said to the servants do whatever he tells you nearby stood six stone water jars the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing each holding from twenty to thirty gallons jesus said to the servants fill the jars with water so they filled them to the brim then he told them now draw out some out and take it to the master of the banquet they did so and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine he did not realize where it come from though the servants who had drawn the water knew then he called the bridegroom aside and said everyone brings out the choice wine first then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink but you have saved the best till now what Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory and his disciples believed in him the Word of God for the people of God thanks be to God today we are standing what I see is kind of a precipice a way of looking forward together as a community and I thought for the next few weeks up until we hit Lent we are going to be living in the feet of Jesus because as we seek Jesus and his will for our church and for us individually I thought the best way to do that would be to see how Jesus spent his time while he was here with the disciples while he was here teaching and doing miracles and so today we start in the very beginning of the Book of Luke only two chapters in you see Jesus doing performing his first miracle and it’s a really interesting thing that Jesus does here because right before this he calls his disciples to him one of them is named Nathaniel and the reason that Nathaniel decides to follow Jesus first he was recommended by a friend so let’s remember that recommended by a friend is a big thing in this world but also jesus said to him Nathaniel I knew you and I saw you before you even standing before me I saw you while you were still sitting under that tree and Nathanael says to Jesus oh my goodness you truly are the king I am going to follow you and Jesus says oh well if you think that’s something just wait just wait until you see what’s coming no grab kid I am paraphrasing please understand that and then what we see is exactly what Alan read to us the miracle of turning the water into wine which is such an interesting way for Jesus to begin his ministry as reported by Luke that the first miracle that Jesus would produce would be something so seemingly worldly I mean to me it would there’s so many other things that could harken in the coming of the kingdom but Jesus chose in a moment surrounded by friends surrounded by his mother and most likely some more of his family members in the middle of a wedding party to start his work now you see Jesus it becomes aware of this need by his mother his mother comes to him and mothers have all sorts of ties over their children you can ask my kids in case you’ve forgotten what that’s like but mothers have hold over their kids and Mary says to Jesus she says Jesus there’s a problem here they’ve run out of wine and in that day that was a big deal because the wine it symbolized so many things and she knew it would be a problem if it got known that the wine was gone and so she asked Jesus and granted there’s nothing in scripture to tell us why she asked Jesus to fix this problem but she does and his words to hurt our woman why are you involving me in this it’s not my time yet now first you need to understand that woman back then was not a derogatory comment he wasn’t saying it like you would hear that today if if Joe ever said to me woman I’d look at him with the cross eyes and maybe not talk to him for the rest of the day right that’s not the same thing that’s happening here in this time he’s addressing his mother and he says to her why are you involving me in this it’s not yet my time but the very next thing that happens is that Mary tells the servants to do whatever it is that Jesus tells them to do so you have to understand that there’s something happening here there’s got to be some look that happened between Mary and Jesus that let her know that he was going to do something about this his statement didn’t tell us he was going to do anything about this but Mary had no doubt that Jesus was going to step into this moment of need and fix the issue and so she says to the servant she says to them very specifically to the servant she says do whatever he tells you do whatever he tells you you see this is something that you and I need to understand very deeply is that Jesus tells the servants to go and fill these huge stone jars with water I think they hold something between twenty and thirty gallons of liquid that’s a lot of liquid and so Mary and Jesus both understand that not only is Jesus going to step into this moment but that he’s not going to produce the miracle all on his own no instead he uses the people that are there to help participate in his work on this earth Jesus as you and I have talked about for the past few months actually since I’ve been here that Jesus does his work on this earth through you and I you see Jesus didn’t just look at the stone jars and do a little hocus-pocus and they filled with water and then turned into wine which he could have done he’s the king he is God there are any number of ways that Jesus could have provided a miracle in this moment but the way that Jesus chose to do that and the way that he chooses to work over and over again in Scripture is to work through the hands of his servants and then one other thing we need to pay attention to is the fact that he used these stone jars Jesus looked around saw what was available and used what was already there when you and I are looking for miracles in our lives when you and I are looking for Jesus to be a part of our lives when you and I are looking to participate in Jesus’s work what we need to understand is that everything we need to do whatever it is that Jesus is going to ask us to do we already have so many churches feel as if they just had a little bit more money or if they just had a few more people if we just had whatever that long list of things that we just had were then we could do the work that we are being called to do but that’s not the way scripture works Jesus will use whatever it is that we have here he will bless that he will equip us to do the work that he’s calling us to do the servants were equipped to do the work that God that Jesus was asking them to do you and I Jesus’s servants have everything we need to do the work that Jesus is calling us to do right now in this space in time and then we look at the servants the servants in this moment they take these incredibly heavy things fill them with an incredibly heavy more just so much more weight of water and they don’t just fill in part way scripture tells us that they filled them to the brim they filled them to overflowing and they didn’t hesitate in the moment that Jesus asked them to move as servants we need to be the same we can’t hesitate when Jesus is asking us to step forward into the work that he’s calling us to do and when we do step forward to do that work we need to do it with joy and to do it fully and completely like the servants in this miracle did the servants did another really astonishing thing because they didn’t really know much about Jesus it’s not like he’d been doing miracles forever already this is his first real miracle yet they obeyed him immediately they did it joyfully and then they stepped out in faith because what happens next in the story is that Jesus tells the servants to draw up some of that water to take it to the master of the ceremonies that’s not really what it is the master of the banquet so that he can taste it now what you have to understand is what the servants see is water what is still in those barrels is water and Jesus is telling these servants to dip into that barrel to take the water to the master of the event so that he can taste the wine and see how good it is how terrifying would that have been if any of the TV shows we watch about this time are correct then we can understand that that would have been a terrifying event because if you were taking one if if so if this master of the banquet was expecting wine and got water how much trouble could those have servants have gotten into their necks were on the line but they didn’t question Jesus they didn’t stop and count the costs they didn’t hesitate they drew up the water they took it to the master of the banquet and when the master of the banquet tasted the water it was wine not only was it wine but it was the best of wine you see you and I are going to be asked to work with the things that we already have you and I are going to be asked to work to do something that’s miraculous as Jesus’s hands and feet the servants did not create this miracle they were simply the hands and feet of Jesus in the work and you and I are going to be asked to have faith that as we step forward to something that looks a little bit uncertain a little uncomfortable sometimes or something that might just scare us altogether that Jesus is going to be there and that when we step forward towards that work there’s going to be blessing this little miracle of wine is not so much about the wine now is it it has everything to do with a relationship that Jesus is setting up between himself his disciples his did set himself and the world we’re told at the very end it says what Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of signs through which he revealed his glory here’s what I know about the world that I live in today there are not a lot of people who have seen the glory of God there are not a lot of people who get to experience day in and day out the life-changing presence of Jesus instead what I see are people who are bound and oppressed by the struggles of life by the ins and outs of this daily world and what they need more than anything is what you’ve already had a taste of the glory of God the presence of a savior and I believe as we begin this journey of trying to understand and discern where God wants us to go how God wants us to make a difference in the lives of others I believe that first and foremost what God wants more than anything is for us to share the glory that we get to live with every day and as we look at the ways that we do things best at our strengths and maybe some of our weaknesses as we look at those we need to understand that we’ve been given everything that we need to do the work that God’s calling us to do everything it’s already here and then we need to pray that God would give us boldness that God would make us brave enough to step forward in faith to be joyful and fulfill his calling the way that the servants at the banquet did so before we head back for a amazing lunch I want us to look together at this church now I have only been here since June I can’t believe it’s already been six months but what I know about you more than anything is that this is one of the most loving beautiful congregations of people that I’ve ever been lucky enough to be able to participate in I love every second spent with you and what I’ve learned about each and every one of you is that you have a heart for this community and for God’s people but I would love to know more about this community and I decided to do this here so that you could hear me because we don’t have a mic in the back so when we go to lunch it might be a little bit too loud but I want to know more about us so one of the things I want to know and this is gonna require audience participation for those of you who have been here a while and for anyone who’s new you have some good ideas about what we are now people who have been here since 1963 or 53 or 1860 when this church began I’m guessing there’s nobody here from 1860 but you never know the spirits right anyone who’s been here forever tends to miss the things that new people see so if there’s strengths that you see share them and then we’ll look at some weaknesses and then we’ll look at things that God’s done in this myths before so that I get a better idea of who we are and so that we can kind of see together what it is that God’s already given us all right so what are some of our church strengths you can just speak up be bold number one get surprised I don’t know what it is amber okay we we love Jesus we do what else welcoming I agree you know I came here with three children terrified that they wouldn’t have a place and they have never felt more welcomed and more at home than they have here am i right babies yes what else friendship yes yes we’re a very faithful group you know one of the first questions I asked when the des was telling me that I might come here was how much debt does the church have because what I know after leading a few churches is that the debt amount of debt at church has limits the amount of ministry a church can do and when he told me that this church had zero debt none whatsoever I jumped for joy because I knew that there were faithful people making ministry happen now granted we don’t have abundance an abundance of a budget but we have enough to do God’s working we have no chains holding us back because of the faith of you that sit here and do God’s work what else do we have don’t be shy I’m gonna write one we have incredibly amazing volunteers and staff actually Janet and Tom are amazing and I what I see of these people is that you all do you above and beyond every single time you’re asked to participate in something you’re in the community all of the time I’m going to add that on there you love this community you sing to the community you collect food for the community you host meals for the community we let the uga foundation use our field we do all sorts of things so that the community can feel blessed by us and we don’t just use this building for our good which is an amazing thing not every church is like that what else is good about us my friends yes there are so many ways in which you guys give not just tithing those baskets that you all did over Christmas for our shut-ins the ways that we try and respond when there is a specific need it’s a beautiful thing the tablets that we’ve purchased for some of our sudden so that they can watch church so they can feel part of their community still because they miss you all so much that’s all because of your giving why’d you say does their thing you are a thankful group you know how lucky you are there’s no pridefulness that’s a bit there’s no pridefulness in this place you know when you come into a new church you wonder what the sacred cows are because every church has them and I haven’t found it yet because you’re humble you know that this place isn’t yours it’s ours and it’s the community’s and it’s God’s that’s a beautiful thing Keeton’s respectful to each other yeah

[Music] so we’ll leave that we’ll come back to it if you think of more but what do you if you thought of what are things that hold us back what are some weaknesses if we’re going to call it that for lack of a better word what are some things that make it hard to do ministry

[Music] hahahaha that’s a good personal weakness I like that amber I’ll say it our finances are tight right we don’t have an abundance of finances so if we were looking at ways that we could go out into the community we can’t we’re not going to pull on a big fund that says we’re gonna go buy cars for everybody who doesn’t have a car as a really wild example we’re not going to do the Oprah version of Church here what are some other things that make it hard to do ministry thank you for saying it and I didn’t have to to many seniors and not enough youth and what does it it’s not bad to have too many seniors but what I’ve noticed is that seniors tend to feel like there’s only so much we can do because I only have so much energy left in me right and we don’t have enough youth to pick up the slack and

[Music] Families young families aye but from what I understand most of you who are here when your children were growing up this was their church so at one time this is a church that was filled with families and I believe that God is calling us to and I actually you know why I believe this cuz you’ve told me you want this every almost every one of you have said how much you enjoy my raucous children which God bless you thank you for saying that but that you love the idea of having children back in the class we love having Dallas we love having families back in this place yes any other weaknesses that make it hard for us to do ministry numbers can you remind me your name Robin I yes we have a lot of people who are not well in our church right which is good because we minister well to them I think I think we love on them well but it makes it hard to go outside that’s good I like that Robin my wit ridings getting worse and worse sorry so then that what are some of the community needs that you guys notice what are some things that our community Bogart Oconee County Watkinsville because we kind of crossed those Athens we kind of are in the middle of three areas what are some needs of our community okay homelessness

[Music] I’m an at brokenness did you know that our church is very centrally located in the exact center of the fastest-growing area in our district in the North Georgia al-attas Athens Elberton district we are located in the fastest-growing area and the fastest-growing is really families and most of these families are not searched because they’re younger families and the trend right now is that younger families are feeling their way forward churches kind of hurt some people or we have a bad rap because some of us don’t do church so well that’s just a reality in our world and I think people get lost and you know they’ll go to a church and it’s it’s too much and they’ll go to a church and it’s too little and some churches some of us as churches as leaders have taught people to be consumers in church instead of members of church and that becomes hard too and I think what all of this kind of leads to is that not knowing the glory not getting access to the glory right I mean what if even if they never came to our church what if we could affect this part by just sharing this piece because we don’t have to have strong bodies to do this we don’t have to have young people to do this we don’t have to live we can live in a retirement home in an assisted living facility and still share access to the glory of God and as I’ve been praying for this day and it’s 12 o’clock so we’re gonna pray in just a minute and finish up and go eat but as I’ve been praying for this day one of the visions that God keeps putting in my mind is that us is a church and I want we’re gonna have some prayer guides that come in the next few weeks for us to pray through this so there’s not just me and some idea that I have but that you all agree or that you all see or can have input in this but what God has shown me is that our goal should not be numbers of people in church our goal needs to be numbers of people blessed by the people of our church if every week we had an opportunity right before prayer time to celebrate the ways that we have touched somebody that week and trust me I’m not telling you to go say Jesus’s name to everyone you see what I’m asking you to do is to help somebody put groceries in their car one day or is to be extra kind to a cashier that you can tell has had a really tough day it’s to go about every moment of your day looking for an opportunity to bless somebody else whether it’s with money with food with a smile with a kind word with a helping hand that’s something we all can do and at the end of the year can you I bet you we’d have over a thousand people that have been blessed by simple gestures of God’s love and then as we continue to do that God will make himself known because as we will see when we walk the feet of Jesus these next few weeks Jesus did not go to church and ask people to come to him Jesus went out into the world and took the good news to them and what if you and I made that our goal this year and every year that I get the honor and privilege of being your pastor that our goal is blessing people outside these walls and celebrating it together and then watching what God does looking for opportunities to get them connected on another level that’s where my heart is that’s where I feel like God’s leading me that’s where I feel every one of us from my seven year old daughter to our oldest 90 year old member can participate in doing God’s work through our community sir I can’t do that that’s not fair I’ll put a good because we have great leadership it’s not just me all of the leaders are great thank you sweet pea I’m glad to be here and I feel like I’m blessed to be here because if I were at a different church this would be almost impossible to do but at this place we have a unique opportunity to do something different that I really think will make a difference yeah Holy Spirit let’s pray God we thank you so much for this place for every strength that you’ve given us because the list is long and I know we didn’t even get all of them and I thank you God so much for working through our weaknesses knowing who we are yet calling us anyway so god I ask us to please see the Wells before us to take what we already have to find you in it and to be your hands and feet in this place God show us how to make a difference in this broken community two families who are moving in here by the dozens who don’t have a closeness and awareness of you who are struggling and suffering and who could be so much blessed by us being your hands and your feet God and Boldin us help us to see your desire for us it’s in the name of Jesus we pray amen