Sermon July 26, 2015

Scripture: Ephesians 3:14-21, John 6:1-15
Title: Enough
(listen here)

This morning we begin 5 weeks in John Chapter 6. Yes. 5.
This large section of John (71 verses in all) is commonly referred to as “the bread of life discourse.” Most recognizable to us in this upcoming few weeks will be the number of times Jesus refers to himself as the “bread of life.”
But before we can go there, we have to start here, at the feeding of the 5000.
This miracle is what sets up the next 60 verses of John’s 6th chapter. Today we see the miracle – the next few weeks will be Jesus explaining what that miracle means.
This is the only miracle that appears in all four Gospel accounts, so we know it’s a big deal.
It’s a story we are probably very familiar with – that we’ve been hearing about since our earliest days in Sunday school. (After all, it’s a little boy that brings the food forward to Jesus that is used for this miracle, so of course we’d hear about it as kids.)

In John’s Gospel, the focus isn’t on the miracles at all, in fact, John calls them signs instead of miracles because he wants us to know one thing and one thing only – that what happens here today is a sign of who Jesus is.
Each time something miraculous happens in John’s Gospel, a little bit more of Jesus is revealed to us.
So that of course, brings us to this story today.
What is revealed about Jesus through this sign, the feeding of 5000?
Jesus sees a large crowd, finds a small bit of food, and he distributes it and somehow everyone is fed AND they have leftovers. The people were hungry, and Jesus fed them.
Through this text today – we learn that something important happens when we encounter Jesus – our needs are taken care of, whatever they are – and John wants us to know that Jesus won’t just meet a need, but will meet it in abundance. Jesus fed the people, but he didn’t just give them a bit and hope it would tide them over until they got home later.
Jesus gave them so much more than needed.
So this sign sets up the next 60 verses with a theme of abundance. It’s an important theme to remember as we move forward in these upcoming weeks, as we hear Jesus tell us that He is the bread of life, and he’ll tell us what it means to be fed this bread of life in abundance.

But before we can do any of that – before we can really understand abundance, we have to first talk about scarcity.
Scarcity is a mindset that revolves around the idea that there isn’t enough.
That the resources of the world, or our own personal resources are limited.

We see this scarcity mindset in today’s text through the actions of the disciples:
verse 7 – six months wages would not buy enough bread for each to get a little
verse 9 – but what are they (five loaves, two fish) among so many people?
Do you see how they are thinking with a mindset of scarcity?
They can’t even imagine a scenario in which what they have could possibly be enough.

Our own scarcity mindset shows up all over the place too.
We are told, quite often – that we need more.
We need more money, more power, more stuff.
And, this scarcity principle also plays out in our relationships with each other and with God.

One of my favorite authors and bloggers Glennon Melton had this to say about our scarcity mindset: we believe that there is a scarcity of good things in the universe. And that belief makes us kind of small and scared and unable to feel true joy for others or peace for ourselves.
Let’s see.
When a friend, or God forbid, a frenemy, mentions that she’s received a promotion at work, her son won an award at school, she’s just bought her third vacation home, or recently lost ten pounds…how do we feel?I know we say we feel happy for her, but how do we really feel? I think sometimes we really feel a little panicked. Like a determined bride at one of those terrifying Filene’s Basement wedding dress sales, we feel like our friend’s news means that now we have to run a little faster, push a little harder and get more aggressive in general. Because we think if our friend’s family is getting extra money, approval, admiration, and general blessings…that must mean there are fewer of those things less left over for our family. …
Like an author I love wrote, some of us believe that there is a “cosmic pie” and a bigger piece of goodness for you means a smaller piece for me.
Think about the people in your life who operate under this scarcity principle. You know who they are, right? They’re the people who cannot stand for light to shine on others. Who grab attention back as soon as they feel they’ve lost it in a conversation, who respond to your news with their bigger news. They find little acceptable ways to put people down. They are the ones who make you feel jumpy and nervous in general. And when you leave their company, you feel sort of discombobulated and smaller but you can’t put your finger on why.

I have to confess that I’ve struggled with this a lot.
I’ve felt that way leaving conversations before.
And, quite honestly, I know I’ve been the one to make others feel that way too.
I’ve bought into the scarcity mindset.
And I know I’m not alone.
I think we’ve all bought into this myth in one way or another.
We have bought into the belief that what we have isn’t enough so we put ourselves in debt to have newer bigger better.
We have bought into the belief that there isn’t enough for everyone so we have to fight for our slice of the pie.
We have bought into the belief that what we bring to the table isn’t enough. That there’s no way I’m enough…
We’ve bought into the belief that we aren’t enough.
This scarcity mindset applies to our faith as well.
We believe that God’s grace isn’t enough.
That God’s forgiveness is big enough for SOME things, but not MY thing, or not that person’s thing.
We’ve bought into this idea that God’s love is big, sure, but it’s not unlimited.
We are living in a culture of scarcity, and we are fully engaged in it.
We’re all in.

So what does God do with this?
When the disciples are fully engaged in this mindset of scarcity Jesus takes the little bit they have, the thing they believe is not enough, and blows their idea of scarcity out of the water.
If signs reveal something to us about God through Jesus – then what we have revealed to us today is that God’s kingdom is not one of scarcity, but one of abundance.
Not only did the 5000 eat until they were filled, but they had food left over! And not just a little bit left over, but 12 baskets.
Scarcity doesn’t exist in the kingdom of God.
And when we’re fully immersed in it, as we are, we can trust that God doesn’t let us stay in this mindset of scarcity for very long.
Just like with the disciples, Jesus takes our lives and fills it with abundance.
So we can stop worrying.
So we can believe that there is enough.
This is what Jesus reveals to us today.
When we think we aren’t good enough -or when we think that there isn’t enough grace and love and forgiveness to go around… Jesus proves us wrong.
Over and over and over again.

Later in that same talk about scarcity – Glennon says “quit fighting for a bigger slice of pie and just bake a bigger pie, and then invite everyone to share in it with you.”

Through Jesus – God has made the biggest pie, for us.
And there is enough.
More than enough.
Enough for you and for me.
Enough that we can eat our fill and invite others to share in it with us.

If this is mind-boggling for you, you are not alone – look what Paul says to the church in Ephesus in verse 20 that Linda read for us today:

“(Jesus) by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine…”
Imagine the most grace and love and forgiveness you can, and God’s love and forgiveness and grace is still more than that.
More than we can even imagine.
More.
This is the good news.
It’s not what we have or what we bring or what we can or cannot do that makes a difference… it’s Jesus working in and through us and our offerings to transform the world.

Let’s go back to that Sunday school story, and imagine for a moment the little boy bringing his two fish and five barley loaves forward.
Imagine how he felt when the disciples pulled him forward to give his food to the crowd.
Not only did he know without a doubt that it wasn’t enough for that whole crowd, maybe he wondered if he’d even get any of it at all, if he’d be left out of the meal.
After all, he was just a kid.
No one important.
Maybe he worried. Worried that he’d go to bed hungry tonight.
Worried he’d have to explain to his parents where his food went.
Worried that the crowd would be upset that they didn’t get more food.
And then, imagine what he was thinking as he watched Jesus bring that food around to everyone. As HIS five loaves and two fish fed everyone.
Imagine what he was thinking as he saw basket after basket of leftovers be filled up.

This is what God does with us.
With who we are and what we bring.
Jesus is working in us right now, transforming our mindset of scarcity into abundance.
Over and over and over again, Jesus tells us:
What you have is enough.
Because you have me.
Who you are is enough.
Because You are a child of God
Christ has worked for you and is working in you right now…
and you are enough.

itle: Enough

This morning we begin 5 weeks in John Chapter 6.  Yes. 5.

This large section of John (71 verses in all) is commonly referred to as “the bread of life discourse.” Most recognizable to us in this upcoming few weeks will be the number of times Jesus refers to himself as the “bread of life.”

But before we can go there, we have to start here, at the feeding of the 5000.

This miracle is what sets up the next 60 verses of John’s 6th chapter.  Today we see the miracle – the next few weeks will be Jesus explaining what that miracle means.

This is the only miracle that appears in all four Gospel accounts, so we know it’s a big deal.

It’s a story we are probably very familiar with – that we’ve been hearing about since our earliest days in Sunday school.  (After all, it’s a little boy that brings the food forward to Jesus that is used for this miracle, so of course we’d hear about it as kids.)

In John’s Gospel, the focus isn’t on the miracles at all, in fact, John calls them signs instead of miracles because he wants us to know one thing and one thing only – that what happens here today is a sign of who Jesus is.

Each time something miraculous happens in John’s Gospel, a little bit more of Jesus is revealed to us.

So that of course, brings us to this story today.

What is revealed about Jesus through this sign, the feeding of 5000?

Jesus sees a large crowd, finds a small bit of food, and he distributes it and somehow everyone is fed AND they have leftovers.  The people were hungry, and Jesus fed them.
Through this text today – we learn that something important happens when we encounter Jesus – our needs are taken care of, whatever they are – and John wants us to know that Jesus won’t just meet a need, but will meet it in abundance.  Jesus fed the people, but he didn’t just give them a bit and hope it would tide them over until they got home later.
Jesus gave them so much more than needed.

So this sign sets up the next 60 verses with a theme of abundance.  It’s an important theme to remember as we move forward in these upcoming weeks, as we hear Jesus tell us that He is the bread of life, and he’ll tell us what it means to be fed this bread of life in abundance.

But before we can do any of that – before we can really understand abundance, we have to first talk about scarcity.

Scarcity is a mindset that revolves around the idea that there isn’t enough.

That the resources of the world, or our own personal resources are limited.

We see this scarcity mindset in today’s text through the actions of the disciples:

verse 7 – six months wages would not buy enough bread for each to get a little

verse 9 – but what are they (five loaves, two fish) among so many people?

Do you see how they are thinking with a mindset of scarcity?

They can’t even imagine a scenario in which what they have could possibly be enough.

Our own scarcity mindset shows up all over the place too.

We are told, quite often – that we need more.

We need more money, more power, more stuff.

And, this scarcity principle also plays out in our relationships with each other and with God.

One of my favorite authors and bloggers Glennon Melton had this to say about our scarcity mindset:  we believe that there is a scarcity of good things in the universe. And that belief makes us kind of small and scared and unable to feel true joy for others or peace for ourselves.

Let’s see.

When a friend, or God forbid, a frenemy, mentions that she’s received a promotion at work, her son won an award at school, she’s just bought her third vacation home, or recently lost ten pounds…how do we feel?I know we say we feel happy for her, but how do we really feel? I think sometimes we really feel a little panicked. Like a determined bride at one of those terrifying Filene’s Basement wedding dress sales, we feel like our friend’s news means that now we have to run a little faster, push a little harder and get more aggressive in general. Because we think if our friend’s family is getting extra money, approval, admiration, and general blessings…that must mean there are fewer of those things less left over for our family. …

Like an author I love wrote, some of us believe that there is a “cosmic pie” and a bigger piece of goodness for you means a smaller piece for me.

Think about the people in your life who operate under this scarcity principle. You know who they are, right? They’re the people who cannot stand for light to shine on others. Who grab attention back as soon as they feel they’ve lost it in a conversation, who respond to your news with their bigger news. They find little acceptable ways to put people down. They are the ones who make you feel jumpy and nervous in general. And when you leave their company, you feel sort of discombobulated and smaller but you can’t put your finger on why.

I have to confess that I’ve struggled with this a lot.

I’ve felt that way leaving conversations before.

And, quite honestly, I know I’ve been the one to make others feel that way too.

I’ve bought into the scarcity mindset.

And I know I’m not alone.

I think we’ve all bought into this myth in one way or another.

We have bought into the belief that what we have isn’t enough so we put ourselves in debt to have newer bigger better.

We have bought into the belief that there isn’t enough for everyone so we have to fight for our slice of the pie.

We have bought into the belief that what we bring to the table isn’t enough. That there’s no way I’m enough…

We’ve bought into the belief that we aren’t enough.

This scarcity mindset applies to our faith as well.

We believe that God’s grace isn’t enough.

That God’s forgiveness is big enough for SOME things, but not MY thing, or not that person’s thing.

We’ve bought into this idea that God’s love is big, sure, but it’s not unlimited.

We are living in a culture of scarcity, and we are fully engaged in it.

We’re all in.

So what does God do with this?

When the disciples are fully engaged in this mindset of scarcity Jesus takes the little bit they have, the thing they believe is not enough, and blows their idea of scarcity out of the water.

If signs reveal something to us about God through Jesus – then what we have revealed to us today is that God’s kingdom is not one of scarcity, but one of abundance.

Not only did the 5000 eat until they were filled, but they had food left over!  And not just a little bit left over, but 12 baskets.

Scarcity doesn’t exist in the kingdom of God.

And when we’re fully immersed in it, as we are, we can trust that God doesn’t let us stay in this mindset of scarcity for very long.

Just like with the disciples, Jesus takes our lives and fills it with abundance.

So we can stop worrying.

So we can believe that there is enough.

This is what Jesus reveals to us today.

When we think we aren’t good enough -or when we think that there isn’t enough grace and love and forgiveness to go around… Jesus proves us wrong.

Over and over and over again.

Later in that same talk about scarcity – Glennon says “quit fighting for a bigger slice of pie and just bake a bigger pie, and then invite everyone to share in it with you.”

Through Jesus – God has made the biggest pie, for us.

And there is enough.

More than enough.

Enough for you and for me.

Enough that we can eat our fill and invite others to share in it with us.

If this is mind-boggling for you, you are not alone – look what Paul says to the church in Ephesus in verse 20 that Linda read for us today:

“(Jesus) by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine…”

Imagine the most grace and love and forgiveness you can, and God’s love and forgiveness and grace is still more than that.

More than we can even imagine.

More.

This is the good news.

It’s not what we have or what we bring or what we can or cannot do that makes a difference… it’s Jesus working in and through us and our offerings to transform the world.

Let’s go back to that Sunday school story, and imagine for a moment the little boy bringing his two fish and five barley loaves forward.

Imagine how he felt when the disciples pulled him forward to give his food to the crowd.

Not only did he know without a doubt that it wasn’t enough for that whole crowd, maybe he wondered if he’d even get any of it at all, if he’d be left out of the meal.

After all, he was just a kid.
No one important.

Maybe he worried.  Worried that he’d go to bed hungry tonight.

Worried he’d have to explain to his parents where his food went.

Worried that the crowd would be upset that they didn’t get more food.

And then, imagine what he was thinking as he watched Jesus bring that food around to everyone.  As HIS five loaves and two fish fed everyone.

Imagine what he was thinking as he saw basket after basket of leftovers be filled up.

This is what God does with us.
With who we are and what we bring.

Jesus is working in us right now, transforming our mindset of scarcity into abundance.

Over and over and over again, Jesus tells us:

What you have is enough.

Because you have me.

Who you are is enough.

Because You are a child of God

Christ has worked for you and is working in you right now…

and you are enough.

Project 12:30 – July!

It’s July 15 – and I realized that I hadn’t written anything about this month’s project yet.
So here we go.  July is kindness month.

Now, you’d think this would be something I do anyway, but this month is a different focus. It’s not just basic ‘be a good human being’ kindness, but daily, intentional, above and beyond kindness.

Here’s what I’ve been trying to do.
1. If you’re not kind on the internet, you’re not kind.
2. Set an intention
3. We can do hard things

So:
1. If you’re not kind on the internet, you’re not kind.
this seems pretty self explanatory, but truly, it’s so easy to get sucked into things online.  And I’ve been trying to back away from engaging online and even from posting  as much as usual.  As I love facebook and twitter, this is NOT easy for me.  Though – I will say, that my reputation on twitter is one of kindness, and I’m really ok with that.  Somehow I find it easier to not engage on twitter than I do on fbook.

2. Set an intention
every morning I do yoga – and a part of the practice is setting an intention before I begin.  This month – my intention is to cultivate kindness.  I start my practice with that – and then end it with saying “may I have kindness in my thoughts, kindness in my words, kindness in my heart” as I move my prayer hands from head to heart.  It’s an important part of my practice and I think it’s making a difference

3. It’s all in the mind
It’s not like being kind is always easy.  It is easy while I’m on my mat and alone in my house.  But then my little throws a fit and someone passes me on the shoulder during my commute (yes, that happened) and kindness becomes harder to remember.  It’s in these moments, that I remember I can control only myself, and I can be kind, even when it’s hard.  As Glennon Melton says, “We can do hard things”

So there it is.
Sorry it’s late – but if you are joining me at all, there is still time!