â€œAn unlikely bunchâ€
Bruce Willis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Jobs of Apple, Gary Larsen-the Far Side Comicâ€™s guy, Johann Sebastian Bach, John â€œCougarâ€ Mellencamp, Stormin Norman Schwartzkophn-Leader of the Allie forces in Desert Storm one, Ace Freley from Kiss, David Hassellhoff, Theodor Geisec-The Author of the Doctor Seuss books and Kris Kristofferson all have something in common. They are all Christians, and incidentally, Lutherans.
Actors, rock stars, extremely clever humourist, millionaires, Leader of the military, and the Hoff-â€œBabe watchâ€ Arenâ€™t Christians meant to be sought of like boring or goody two shoesâ€™â€¦well Iâ€™m not sure-but some of these â€œguysâ€-Christians, oh then I remembered myself. No theyâ€™re fine.
A lecturer at the sem. said it best. Half way through our first class, he looked around and stated â€œIt never ceases to amaze me of just how ordinary (make that un-special) the people are that God calls to this placeâ€. As usual, he was write-at least in my instance (if Greg, Harry or Jade are reading this).
It reminds me of some call meetings where you get the sense that they might not be happy to call Jesus himself. Obviously the good people of the Gilgandra-Dubbo parish arenâ€™t so pious as seen in their recent Pastoral appointment.
But we might ask whatâ€™s changed. We heard that Jesus goes to his home town and they essentially ridicule him. Seriously, theyâ€™re hanging with the man and wonâ€™t listen to him. (and) what of the disciples, they see this-and then Jesus sends them out to preach and teach-sounds to me like a bad career move to me.
But they did, and had success. Were they better orators or had more charisma than Jesus? Hard to imagine. No the power, their power was that they were doing Godâ€™s work, preaching and teaching the truth-The Gospel of our Lord Jesus.
Incidentally, a study of effective leadership found that charisma is only a very, very minute part. Itâ€™s more to do with consistency, fairness, not just talking too-but listening and so on.
But we do know that many people listened to Jesus and came to faith-but also we know, many didnâ€™t which we see with Jesus on the Cross. But why didnâ€™t they listen, who knows, led by the devil, worried about their own status-we could go through all our human traits. But one thing for sure that confused them was Jesus himself. He seemed to come from back to front land. Heâ€™d have a crack at the up standing Pharisees and yet, seemed drawn to the outer fringe of society. He would openly declare that Roman guards-the opposition, the Samaritans-about as popular in those times as a New South Wales person in Brisbane at the State of Origin last Wednesday, that a thief, prostitutes and so forth-he would openly declare that their faith will see them living in one of the many rooms in heaven.
Look through the bible, some of Godâ€™s and Jesusâ€™ â€œsupport staffâ€ where frightenly a lot like us.
(and) right there we see the gospel. Certainly Jesusâ€™ has workers in the field from the top shelf, but he also has plenty as well from the other end of the scale and all the way in between, so that HE can be heard, so that he can save Prime Ministers, farmers, small business owners, CEOâ€™s, Bank workers, the homeless, the shamed and even pastors.
Likewise, Jesus speaks in Cathedrals and on death row. Amongst others, there are two worship services Iâ€™ve been too that Iâ€™ll never forget.
One, under the stars in one of the bush camps out of Alice Springs, with the Pastor reading by a gas lantern. The worshippers sitting in the dirt, and many with a VB in hand. (and) Iâ€™ll remember till I die when one of the VB guys started getting a bit too loud and his wife giving him a good old clobbering.
And two, in a small bush church-Not a Lutheran one as we couldnâ€™t find one. But a town with a few houses and the church. There were about ten people there, the pastor had a strong stutter and was the only musician, and he certainly was no Darryl Reichelt, Janet Cheal, Jenny or any of our talented musicians.
But in those two services-it felt as if I could almost reach out and shake Jesusâ€™ hand. Every Christian in the world owes our salvation to Jesus-we know that. But Jesus didnâ€™t write it down, the only thing we hear of Jesus actually writing was only one time and that was with a stick in the dirt, and we donâ€™t even know what he wrote. That actually intrigues me, Iâ€™ll have to ask him what we wrote when I meet him.
We owe everything to the Triune God-we know that: but how do we know that, because a group of unlikely gentleman called apostles and others that witnessed the life of Jesus. An unlikely bunch-that now sees us, a just as unlikely bunch-hearing for ourselves the Words of our Saviour-His Words direct to us.
His Word that is powerful, His Word that works, His Word that saves.
An unlikely bunch. A friend of mine several years ago had a good job, a loving wife and family and was liked, trusted and respected by most. But outward appearances can be very deceiving, as no one knew of his long inner fight in what he saw of himself. But one night, he found himself with no fight left. So after drinking in the shopping centre car park for a while-he realised it was just too much, so he drove thru the bottle shop to buy a few last drinks for the â€œtripâ€. As he was being served, a bedraggled homeless looking gentleman approached the attendant as he was walking over with my friendâ€™s drinks, but remained by the car-which by now had alcohol bottles on the seat, cigarettes and money lying around.
But he did not ask for any of these things, but in an obviously NOT inebriated tone asked for a ride to the nearby suburb. My friend replied that he canâ€™t as heâ€™s not sure where heâ€™s going. This bedraggled looking man, then clearly and with authority said â€œJesus Christ knows who you are, and you are one of hisâ€ and walked off. My friend is now alive and well, and a committed Christian.
An unlikely bunch they were and an unlikely bunch we are, to hear his Word for ourselves-and live in that Word that others might just somehow find peace with their Lord and Saviour.
Iâ€™ll finish with a prayer.
Lord, we did not ask for you but you came to us anyway. We do not deserve your love and forgiveness but you give it to us anyway. Lord, as unworthy as we are-we thank you and ask that whether it be preaching in a Grand Cathedral, loving and serving our family and friends, befriending those who do not like or agree with us, or simply a smile to a stranger-that somehow, your Word will be heard-and they will find peace. Amen.