putting skin on the sermon: do this in remembrance of me

 

Last Monday I started a new series of regular posts here entitled Putting Skin on the Sermon. These posts are meant to (1) remind you of the gist of my preceding Sunday morning sermon and (2) to offer you some random thoughts as to how to apply some aspect of the sermon to your daily life in the future.

My sermon yesterday morning was from Luke’s account of the Last Supper (Luke 22.14-20), what becomes the institution that we commonly know as the Lord’s Supper or communion. In this sermon we focused on Jesus’ direct statement to his disciples to “do this in remembrance of me” (vs. 19b).

1. We remember Christ is with us as we share in the supper. Take the fact and awareness of his constant presence with you after communion. Strive each day to develop increasing mental sensitivity to Christ’s ceaseless presence with you. As one put it several centuries ago: “practice the presence of God.” That is, remember him right now.

2. The church is Christ’s body. As you share in the supper each first day of the week, ask yourself: “How can I let Christ live through me this week to bless the rest of his body, this body of believers with whom I am assembled?” In short, remember him right here.

3. As we commune with Christ and his followers, we do so on a worldwide scale. That is, our union in communion spans the globe. Seek each day to attune your mind to this perspective. As you listen to news of world events, consider how fellow family members in Christ might be affected by such. Then let such thoughtfulness prompt you to pray for them. In other words, remember him everywhere.

4. Instead of focusing solely on Christ’s death on the cross and/or his resurrection during the sharing of communion, deliberately recall a different aspect of Christ’s words or work. After all, his words were “remember me.” When he says “remember me” he does not mean “remember only one or two matters about me.” And as you recall, think specific. For example, as you share in communion one week, focus on Christ’s power and compassion as seen in his miracles. Ponder on how his power and compassion continues to flow through you in your connection with, and service to, other believers. Another week, remember some of his conversations and dealings with his disciples. Then, meditate on how your conversations and choice of words with other Christians makes a great deal of difference to them, since you, like them, are a representative of Christ. Etc. Think of it this way: remember him in every way.

5. Christ’s attention to detail and tenderness toward all is obvious in his institution and sharing of the supper with his disciples. And so, just as Christ shared words of faith and encouragement to his disciples as he shared the supper, share a brief word of such with those to whom you pass the communion elements to each Sunday. Remembering his encouraging ways, determine to give brief, deliberate words of faith and encouragement to two followers of Christ every day of the week. Such could take the form of a simple, face-to-face word of affirmation or appreciation. Or perhaps a text message, Facebook post, or e-mail. Deliberately plant seeds of faith and encouragement as our Lord did in the supper. In sum, remember him in the best of ways.

LIFE group guide: do this in remembrance of me

 

NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church tomorrow (Nov. 3). This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon tomorrow morning from Luke 22.14-20. This sermon is entitled “Do This in Remembrance of Me” and is another installment in the Jesus: Master & Commander series.

To find previous group discussion guides, look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous issues. All Scripture texts reproduced below, unless otherwise noted, are from the CEB.

Reason

Stated in a single sentence, this is the purpose of the sermon series, or this particular sermon in a series.

To call our attention, and our conscience, to some of our Lord’s direct charges to us.

Revelation

These Scriptures form some of the foundation of the sermon. Underscored words are emphasized in the Greek text.

When the time came, Jesus took his place at the table, and the apostles joined him. He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. I tell you, I won’t eat it until it is fulfilled in God’s kingdom.” After taking a cup and giving thanks, he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. I tell you that from now on I won’t drink from the fruit of the vine until God’s kingdom has come.” After taking the bread and giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he took the cup after the meal and said, “This cup is the new covenant by my blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22.14-20)

Relation

These icebreaker questions are meant to help us all start thinking, talking, and relating to the topic or texts. Discuss one.

1. Tell us about a memento or souvenir you have to remember someone or something.

2. What do you want to be remembered for when you’re gone?

3. While participating in the fellowship of the Lord’s Supper I typically think about ____.

Research

These questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this morning’s sermon. Choose some.

1. Compare and contrast Luke 22.14-20 with Matthew 26.26-30 and 1 Cor. 11.23-26.

2. What day of the week did Jesus institute the Lord’s Supper (cf. Luke 22.15)?

3. Note the words emphasized in 1 Cor. 11.23-26. Read their context (vs. 17-34). How, specifically, are the Corinthian Christians defiling the Supper’s intent and purpose?

Reflection

These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us thru his word. Choose some.

1. To neglect observing communion, sharing the Lord’s Supper, would be to __________.

2. When participating in the fellowship of communion, a person is __________.

3. How must Christ’s resurrection have changed the Supper’s meaning for the apostles?

4. Ought children to share in the Supper? Is this best left to individual choice? Explain.

5. An unbaptized Christ-seeker understands something of the Supper and shares in it. Thoughts?

6. Sharing in remembrance of Christ is essential. What aspects of the Supper aren’t?

LIFE group guide – body language: lost in translation

 

NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow night (April 7). This guide will enable your follow-up in our LIFE groups of my sermon tomorrow morning from 1 Corinthians 11.17-34 (Body Language: Lost in Translation). Look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous discussion guides. All Scripture texts reproduced below are from the CEB.

Aim

To examine familiar Scripture more closely, so as to correct common misunderstandings.

Word

Now I don’t praise you as I give the following instruction because when you meet together, it does more harm than good. First of all, when you meet together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and I partly believe it. It’s necessary that there are groups among you, to make it clear who is genuine. So when you get together in one place, it isn’t to eat the Lord’s meal. Each of you goes ahead and eats a private meal. One person goes hungry while another is drunk. Don’t you have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you look down on God’s church and humiliate those who have nothing? What can I say to you? Will I praise you? No, I don’t praise you in this.

I received a tradition from the Lord, which I also handed on to you: on the night on which he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread. After giving thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this to remember me.” He did the same thing with the cup, after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Every time you drink it, do this to remember me.” Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you broadcast the death of the Lord until he comes.

This is why those who eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord inappropriately will be guilty of the Lord’s body and blood. Each individual should test himself or herself, and eat from the bread and drink from the cup in that way. Those who eat and drink without correctly understanding the body are eating and drinking their own judgment. Because of this, many of you are weak and sick, and quite a few have died. But if we had judged ourselves, we wouldn’t be judged. However, we are disciplined by the Lord when we are judged so that we won’t be judged and condemned along with the whole world. For these reasons, my brothers and sisters, when you get together to eat, wait for each other. If some of you are hungry, they should eat at home so that getting together doesn’t lead to judgment. I will give directions about the other things when I come. (1 Corinthians 11.17-34)

Open

Icebreaker questions are meant to help us all start talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.

1. What do you enjoy most about family meals or a meal shared with a close friend?

2. What emotions bubble up in you, and how do you act, when you think you’ve been snubbed?

3. What do you tend to think about during communion? Be specific and transparent.

Dig

These questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture related to this morning’s sermon. Choose some.

1. While reading the text aloud, emphasize the underlined words (i.e. – what’s stressed in Greek).

2. Read vs. 21,27,29 & 33 aloud as one, unbroken thought. What’s the problem? The solution?

3. What sort of feelings does Paul have as he writes this (cf. the strong sarcasm in vs. 19-20)?

4. What body is to be in view as we’re to be about “correctly understanding the body” (vs. 29)?

Reflect

These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us thru his word. Choose some.

1. I most deeply sense my union with all other Christians, and am moved to demonstrate such without any favoritism whatsoever, whenever I _____.

2. What factors can contribute to the difficulty of practicing “the union of communion” today?

3. Name some beliefs/behaviors that turn the “the Lord’s meal” into just “our own meal.” (vs. 20)

4. How does typical, modern-day church building architecture affect the union of communion?

5. What attitudes/actions have you had during the meal of which you have repented (vs. 28)?

6. What can you practically do during communion to help promote the union of communion?

7. How can we make the way we practice communion a “healthier,” less “lethal,” action (vs. 30)?

this went thru my mind

 

Church welcome: I Wish Every Church Said What This Church Says in Their Bulletin by Jon Acuff [required reading]

“We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.

“We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism.

“We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too.

“If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.

“We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!”

Forgiveness: Forgiveness

“Here are two videos on forgiveness that I found helpful. Lewis Smedes and Miroslav Volf …”

Grace & legalism: * Max Lucado Goes Overboard on Grace an interview by Mark Galli [required reading]; * The Attraction to Legalism by Matthew Olson

* “… [let me speak regarding] this tendency we have to fall back into legalism though we have been saved by grace. There are a few reasons for this. First, everything else in the world is based on legalism. If I have to pay money to buy bread, then surely at some point I have to pay for my eternal bread with some type of work. Second, down deep within us, we believe grace is too good to be true, and we feel better if we make some kind of contribution. Third, teachers fear what people will do with grace: ‘If I really teach grace, is that couple in the fourth pew who are living together—are they really going to get out of that relationship and get married?’”

* “Why is legalism so attractive? It is attractive because it feeds the sinful flesh. … The problem is that we can’t see it. … What makes our own legalism hard to see is that on the surface we can be doing a lot of things right.”

Humility: 7 Ways To Put On Humility by Mark Altrogge

“We must put humility on. This doesn’t mean we fake it, but that we begin to do it, even though it takes effort. Putting on humility isn’t easy. After all, it’s not easy to be humble when we’re as great as we are.  But it can be done.”

Internet addiction: * Silicon Valley Says Step Away From the Device by Matt Richtel; * What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Michael Hyatt

* “Stuart Crabb, a director in the executive offices of Facebook, naturally likes to extol the extraordinary benefits of computers and smartphones. But like a growing number of technology leaders, he offers a warning: log off once in a while, and put them down.”

* “On average, Americans stare at some type of computer screen for eight hours a day.”

Lord’s Supper: A Lord’s Supper Home Meal — A Method by John Mark Hicks

“On many different occasions, and some recently, I have been asked about how I conceive or conduct the Lord’s supper as a home meal. … In my small group, several of my classes and other occasions I have led or participated in group meals as the ‘Lord’s supper.’”

Leadership: * 4 Words of Advice for a Newbie Leader by Ron Edmonson; * How I Coach People into True Missional Leadership by Hugh Halter

* “Learn the people first … Go slow to change … Think intentionally in all you do … Pace your leadership for the long-term.”

* “I am giving you four key aspects of a leaders life that must be coached for a true missionally incarnational leader must be:
Deep in Character, Clear in Calling, Culturally Savvy, and Able to Lead Inclusive Community.”

Parenting: If You Are Not Praying for Your Children by Jim Martin

“If you as a parent are not praying for your children, then who is?”

Skype & privacy: Can Skype ‘Wiretap’ Video Calls? by John Sutter

“The video calling service Skype recently made a change to how it routes calls. Yawn, right? But here’s where it get a little juicier … the changes, which push some of the video calling process onto Skype’s own computers instead of onto random machines on the Internet, could help the app spy on users’ calls, presumably at the request of a court or government.”

Texting while driving: Driving While Intexticated [infographic]

“In the 5 seconds you read a text at 55 mph, you travel the length of a football field.”

Violence: * The Myth of Redemptive Violence by Shane Claiborne [required reading]; * Gleanings in Pacifism by J. Daniel Kirk; * Gun Laws, None Dare Call it Time by Sandy Levinson; * Assault Deaths within the United States; * Mark 15:1-20 – The Crowd Chooses Violent Revolution Rather than Jesus by John Mark Hicks [required reading]

* “I had a veteran friend once tell me, ‘The biggest lie I have ever been told is that violence is evil, except in war.’ He went on, ‘My government told me that. My church told me that. My family told me that … I came back from war and told them the truth – ‘Violence is not evil, except in war… Violence is evil – period’.”

* “… Christians must actively work for peace: blessed are the peacemakers. That should typify kingdom people.”

* “The GOP is in bed with the NRA; the Dems learned from Al Gore’s opposition to gun laws, which many Dems supported, that they can’t win elections with that platform. So today no party is willing to re-examine our gun laws.”

* “… it’s well-known that there are strong regional differences in the assault death rate in the U.S. by state and region. Here’s what the patterns look like by state from 1999 to 2009. … As is well known, the South is more violent than the rest of the country, by some distance. … Despite their large differences, all of the U.S. regions have higher average rates of death from assault than any of the 24 OECD countries we looked at previously.”

* “The crowd chose violent revolution rather than the nonviolent revolution of Jesus. … What do we choose?”

word for the weak: week eighteen

 

Communion is the theme for this week’s reading in the Uncommon Truth for Common People project at MoSt Church. The schedule looks like this:

• Mon., Apr. 30 – Exodus 12.1-30
• Tues., May 1 – Jeremiah 31.31-34; Luke 22.7-23
• Wed., May 2 – John 6.26-59; 1 Corinthians 10.16-17
• Thur., May 3 – Hebrews 9.1-28; 10.19-22
• Fri., May 4 – 1 Corinthians 5.6-8; 11.17-34

This week’s memory verse is: “…we who are many are one body, because we all share the one loaf of bread.” (1 Corinthians 10.17 CEB)

this went thru my mind

 

20-Somethings: The Religious Views of 20-Somethings (parts one, two, and three) by Brandon J. O’Brien

“… those students who do consider themselves religious—most of them Christians—saw their religious beliefs having very little impact on their personal or professional goals.”

Communion: The Argument for Excluding Wine from the Lord’s Supper by John Mark Hicks

“Interestingly, the extended argument was needed and pushed by the Temperance Movement because churches generally, until very recently, had all used wine in the Lord’s Supper.”

Criticism: Criticism by Joshua Graves

“If you have the gift of criticism and gossip, you should consider what this says about the state of your own emotional health and the toll others are paying for your anxiety, toxicity.”

Depression: Depression and Serotonin

“One after another, the experts grant that there is no real evidence linking depression to low serotonin. Amazingly, they justify the propagation of the ‘low serotonin story’ simply because it is easy to understand. In other words, it doesn’t have to be true to be helpful.”

God: All Religions Are Not One

“I am for tolerance, but tolerance isn’t ignorance. Tolerance doesn’t equate to pretending differences don’t exist. Tolerance falls short of its own goal–both in inter-religious and inter-racial dialogue.”

Grief: Good Grief (parts one, twothreefourfivesixseveneight, the way of gracepost mortem & sermon on earthen vessels) by Ben Witherington

“When a person suffers the devastating loss of a loved one, you should — however well-intentioned you might be — keep your mouth shut. Or at the very least, you should think long and hard before you say anything. Here are some of the things I recently heard that did not help, and frankly were not true.”

Marriage: What I’ve Learned After Being Married for 33 Years by Jim Martin

“I knew very little about marriage when we began. At this point in life, I am still learning.”

Parenting: * 50 Rules for Dads of Daughters by Michael Mitchell; * Should We Read Our Kids’ Texts? by Jonathan McKee (thank you, Adam Marshall, for pointing me to this article!)

“… to all you Dads out there – be sure you pay close attention and heed these wise words …”

“I agree with all my parents’ guidelines except the one about them being able to read my texts at any time. I’m not gonna do that one with my kids when I’m a parent.”

Personal preferences: Scripture and Our Druthers by Timothy Archer

“It’s time to take the ‘I feel’s and ‘I like’s and put them in a drawer. It’s time to seek what’s best for the body as a whole.”

Reading: How to Read a Book by Chad Hall

“For several years I’ve used a method I call the “Reading Pyramid,” which provides five categories of reading. Perhaps it will be helpful for you. Here goes …”

Time management: The Biggest Myth in Time Management by Peter Bregman

“The idea that we can get it all done is the biggest myth in time management.”

this went thru my mind

Among the things I read online this week, the following you too might like to read …

Cancer: 7 Things I’ve Learned From Cancer by Trey Morgan is required reading.

Church, technology, preaching & worship: When Chuck Swindoll speaks, I (can’t help but) listen. An interview with Swindoll entitled The Problem With Pizzazz can be found right here. Read Chaplain Mike’s take on this interview while you’re at it.

Cynicism: We all should bookmark Jim Martin’s Experiencing Life Without Becoming Cynical and read it once a month for life.

Evernote: Are you an Evernote user? Then Michael Hyatt’s post How to Organize Evernote for Maximum Efficiency will definitely be on your “to read” list.

Giving: (a) I don’t know, but I strongly suspect Tim Spivey’s post entitled Are Christians Generous? The Rule of 1/3 is spot-on. (b) Now having read Spivey’s post, read Eugene Cho’s powerful reporting entitled homeless man donates thousands. Wow!

Lord’s Supper: So if we exchanged grape juice for wine in communion, why didn’t we trade unleavened bread for leavened? If you’ve ever wondered such, Bobby Valentine’s post entitled The Bread on the Table is enlightening.

Persecution: View this ten minute view on Christian persecuted in Romania under Ceausescu years ago and you’ll surely be humbled and convicted of many things. It makes me realize just how far up the shallow-end of the pool of Christian faith I’m swimming when I hear these kinds of stories come out of the mouths of persecuted believers. With Every Blow You Give, I Pray for Your Forgiveness by Trevin Wax.

Reading: Every minister needs to love to read, but how to read well, ah, that’s the question. Trevin Wax steers us in his post D.A. Carson on Different Ways to Read.

Student-bullying: Here’s an eye-opening infographic on student bullying.

Youth: The suggestion at the end of The Red Bull Gospel by Drew Dyck has real potential.