SERMON = The secret of ministry with internationals (Genesis 18)

Sermon = The secret of ministry with internationals
Text = Genesis 18
Second Sunday of Pentecost (A)

Note = After 18 years of serving as pastor of Church of the Nations… this is my very last sermon.  

Theme = Secret of ministry with internationals is it is not different or separate from ministry with Americans.

Google Slides presentation 

Introduction

  • June 1999
  • Seminary student and his wife and 2 young children
  • Travel from Virginia
  • To visit a church in Baton Rouge
  • Probably the church will vote and call this person to be their pastor
  • That Sunday was 2nd Sunday of Pentecost – year A
  • Bible reading was Genesis 18
  • Bible reading for 1st sermon
  • Same as Bible reading for last sermon
  • And the Lord appeared to Abraham… when he is sitting at the entrance of the tent during the heat of the day
    • Last December in Christian life magazine
    • Article about a global perspective of Christianity
    • About different churches + people
    • Who minister with internationals
    • At the end of the interview
    • I tell Susan Brown
    • Deep beautiful powerful secret of ministry with internationals
  • Almost everything that is important, that works in ministering with internationals applies to ministry with Americans
  • Many American churches and Christians do not realize this
  • What is good for internationals
  • Is good for Americans
  • Slow down
  • Speak simply
  • Come to my house for lunch
  • Let us be friends
  • Does UBC show CON the life + work of the Christian church?
  • As much as CON shows UBC this is how you do church
  • Perfectly? No – but in many ways
  • This is Christianity
  • What CON is and does is what every Christian church should be and should do
  • We see much of that in our Bible story from Genesis 18

  • Several years ago at conference
  • For people who work with internationals
  • Speaker is a Presbyterian pastor and leader
  • Challenges strongly idea that international ministry is “missions”
  • We often say this is how we make disciples of all nations
  • We do not travel there… to nations where often we cannot go and talk about Jesus
  • They come here… we do missions in our backyard
  • This is not wrong
  • But something else is even more correct
  • Ministry with internationals is ministry
  • We model worship + prayer + discipleship we model ministry for American church
  • The parent gives birth + protects + teaches the child
  • In many ways the child teaches + saves the parent
  • This is not missions
  • It is
  • Even more this is ministry
  • This is what Christian church + Christian faith are all about

 

  • Abraham lifts his eyes and look! 3 men (?) standing in front of him. When he sees them he runs to meet them and bows to the earth and says, Lord do not pass by, have something to drink, to eat, wash your feet, rest… and then continue on your way

 

    • They say okay – go ahead
    • This same pastor said,
    • Hospitality opens the door for the kingdom of God many times in the Bible
    • Especially here
    • Helps to remember the context
    • Abraham and Sarah are internationals
    • Leave their home country + culture + friends
    • Because God calls them to go
    • God gives them powerful promise
    • That drives the story of the Bible
    • All the way through the Old Testament to Jesus Christ and to the present

 

  • Go to a land that I will show you
  • Make you a great nation
  • Bless you
  • Make your name great
  • You will be a blessing
  • In you all the families of the earth will be blessed

 

  • Word of God
  • Great promise
  • To an old man and his wife
  • No visa
  • No land
  • No children – cannot have children!
  • They trust God and go
  • And wait and struggle and question
  • Try to make the word of God become true
  • Make mistakes
  • Maybe the promise is in danger
  • So God comes to visit
  • Where is this? Tent… apartment
  • When? Hot time of day
  • Normal ordinary time and place
  • What does Abraham see?
  • Three men… strangers… people who are different… standing at his door
  • Does he knows this is God and two angels?
  • Maybe – we do not know
  • What he sees are 3 strangers… foreigners… internationals
  • Thirty / hungry / hot / tired
  • Abraham and Sarah open their home
  • Their apartment! They have no AC
  • Share their apartment / their food / their lives
  • With 3 people who do not live here
  • They come / they visit / they will go
  • When they finish their research / their degree
  • Later yes we will send them
  • And now? Please come in and visit
  • We bring you a feast or a simple lunch
  • We have experienced this many times
  • Americans do this
  • Internationals do this very well
  • Who shows hospitality to whom?
  • Who teaches whom?
  • Where your wife Sarah?
  • Excuse me… Sarah???
  • Next year I will come back and she will have a child
  • A year from now God will do a mighty thing
  • That you cannot do for yourselves
  • God will give life
  • God will give joy and honor
  • God will keep his promise
  • God will do what God says in his word
  • What do you want?
  • What do you hope will happen?
  • What does God say to you Church of the Nations?
  • God steps in and saves the promise
  • In ways that are surprising and unexpected
  • Maybe different from what you plan
  • Sarah laughs – Ha ha! No way!
  • James Newsome scholar of Old Testament
  • What God says = what God does
  • Human weakness and human sinfulness
  • Threaten the word God speaks
  • However God protects that word
  • God sustains that word
  • Brings that word to completion
  • The promise of God bears fruit 

 

 

    • Last December in Christian life magazine
    • Article about a global perspective of Christianity
    • About different churches + people
    • Who minister with internationals
    • At the end of the interview
    • I tell Susan Brown
    • Deep beautiful powerful secret of ministry with internationals

 

  • Almost everything that is important, that works in ministering with internationals applies to ministry with Americans

 

  • Many American churches and Christians do not realize this
  • What is good for internationals
  • Is good for Americans
  • Slow down
  • Speak simply
  • Come to my house for lunch
  • Let us be friends
  • Does UBC show CON the life + work of the Christian church?
  • As much as CON shows UBC this is how you do church
  • Perfectly? No – but in many ways
  • This is Christianity
  • What CON is and does is what every Christian church should be and should do
  • We see much of that in our Bible story from Genesis 18
  • The story warns and encourages
  • Do you know God?
  • Do you trust? Do you seek God?
  • Give and receive
  • Welcome and show even more hospitality
  • What shall we see
  • This time next year?
  • Several years ago at conference
  • For people who work with internationals
  • Speaker is a Presbyterian pastor and leader
  • Challenges strongly idea that international ministry is “missions”
  • We often say this is how we make disciples of all nations
  • We do not travel there… to nations where often we cannot go and talk about Jesus
  • They come here… we do missions in our backyard
  • This is not wrong
  • But something else is even more correct
  • Ministry with internationals is ministry
  • We model worship + prayer + discipleship we model ministry for American church
  • The parent gives birth + protects + teaches the child
  • In many ways the child teaches + saves the parent
  • This is not missions
  • It is
  • Even more this is ministry
  • This is what Christian church + Christian faith are all about
  • Because God is king of the universe
  • God is the shepherd of our souls
  • Christ is among us
  • And in the temple made of living stones God the Holy Spirit dwells / speaks / and acts
  • #MicDrop

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