Kirkmont Cares Week #1 – ‘Rethinking Poverty’

Touching Introductory Video ~6 minutes
https://vimeo.com/141823504

Sermon Audio:

Pastor Dan (transcript):
“We are beginning a new five week series here at Kirkmont, called Kirkmont Cares.

Now maybe you’re hearing that and you’re thinking… “that sounds a little braggy of the church … ya know, let’s have a five week sermon series talking about how much the church cares.. Ya know, “Kirkmont Cares”.

I want to give you an idea of of where that whole sermon series title came from.

When we talk about the idea that Kirkmont Cares… it comes from this idea that here at Kirkmont we’re experimenting with the language called Come, Connect and Care.

2015-10-31 (9)

For those of you more familiar with Kirkmont, you might be used to the language Go, Grow and Glorify… which is wonderful language, and we’re just thinking about using the terms Come, Connect and Care because we think they might be a little bit and easier to understand… but also because we’ve put them in an order that we think makes sense for people.

So the first thing we’re doing is inviting people to come to church, and then eventually if they’ve been coming for a while we’re inviting them to connect further with like a small group or a Bible study of some kind. And then eventually we’re inviting them to support us as we care for the for the community around us and the world around us.

And so under the Care Tab at our Web site you’ll find our local missions, our global missions, and places where people can support the church on with online giving and all that kind of thing.

2015-10-31 (4)

http://www.kirkmont.org/

So that’s where we got the whole idea of Kirkmont Cares.  And I want to share this vision with you.  Wouldn’t it be neat someday, if someone asks you, “What church do you go to?”  And you said, “I go to Kirkmont?”.  If they were able to respond “Oh that’s right… that’s the church that cares”.

They may not go to church, they may not believe in God then I have no interest in going to church in any way at all or.  Or maybe their theology is just different than our church and so they don’t necessarily want to come to Kirkmont.  But when you say, “I go to Kirkmont”, they say “Oh that’s right, that’s the church that cares”.

What a wonderful reputation it would be to have that in our community – Kirkmont Cares.

2015-10-31 (10)

And so that’s why we’re doing this series… this five weeks series called Kirkmont Cares; and I have to be honest with you in my nine months here as the pastor Kirkmont, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to be proud of Kirkmont in the area of caring for the community and the world around us.

The first thing that comes to mind is our budget here at the church.  We’re committed to having at least ten percent of our budget go towards missions.

Now I want to clarify by saying, ‘at least ten percent of our budget going towards missions’, we don’t mean that we only spend ten percent of our budget on the mission of the church.  That would be a horrible statistic wouldn’t it?  What do you do with the other ninety percent?

To be clear we believe that our goal is to spend one hundred percent of our money on the mission of the church.  So whether we hire staff or whether we put mints in the bathroom, we do it because we think that it will help us with the mission of the church.

http://www.kirkmont.org/local-missions/
2015-10-31 (6)

What we mean by giving ten percent of our budget to missions, is to say that we are taking ten percent of the money that we receive and giving it to other people and other organizations who are working on behalf of the name of God, and to help support their efforts. We use the other ninety percent to glorify God in our efforts here at the church.

We have a six hundred and some thousand dollar budget here at Kirkmont, which means that we give over sixty thousand dollars away to other people and to other organizations.

And in our series we’re going to be looking in the weeks to come at the some of the details of who are who are we supporting, and why are we supporting them; and are we supporting the right people and is there someone else or some other cause that we think that God might be causing and leading us to support based on the truth of His Word.

http://www.kirkmont.org/global-missions/
2015-10-31 (5)

So I’m encouraged by our budget.  I’m encouraged by the Easter offering and the $1800 we were able to give Samaritan’s Purse as we just talked about a few minutes ago.  And it’s led to some some personally encouraging moments as a pastor as well.
– – – – – – –
This summer I walked out of our office area, and I was cutting through the back of the sanctuary, I was heading over to the soundboard to to fiddle with the with the sound… they love it when I do that here at the church (Laughter) … the technology pastor… you know.  And I was heading over there, and as I was walking through the back of the sanctuary someone walked in the doors.

They walked in I could clearly tell they had had better days.  And I welcome the gentlemen, I said “Hi, my name’s Dan, I’m the pastor here, is there something that we can help you out with?”  And he said “Yeah, truthfully to be honest with you, I’m traveling through..” and he said, “I’m out of money for food, and I’m out of money for gas and I could really use some help.”

GV-HomelessPastor

I just want to ask you when you hear that story… what comes to mind?  (pause)… if it’s con artist, if it’s scam, you know… and of course that all exists, but if it’s the first and only thing that comes to mind, I think this series is going to be challenging to you.

So I had to say to him, “Well truthfully, I’m a new pastor here, I really don’t know what we have available to help you.  Let me go and see if we have any way of helping you out.”

So I went back into the office area and I said to Christie, our secretary, I said “do we do we have a way of helping this person out, here’s what they’re in need of.”

She opens a drawer and she hands me a gift card to a local fast food place; she hands me a gift card to a local gas station and gives them to me and I’m able to walk out the door.

And oh, by the way, as I’m walking to the gentleman, I pass by our free Bibles back there and I grab one of those and I walk up to him I say here’s a Bible, here’s a gift card for food, here’s a gift card for gas… I put my hand on his shoulder and I say, “May I pray for you before you leave?”

dd

And you know what? …it felt really great to be a part of a church that’s able to support people in a situation like that.  And that’s a moment was proud and happy to be here at Kirkmont, and thankful for your generosity; thankful to be able to respond to someone that way.

Friends… if you consider yourself a church person.  If you consider yourself to be a follower of Christ.  This morning I want to ask you what is your definition of the gospel? When you hear the word ‘gospel’, what word comes to mind; what definition comes to mind?

the-gospel1

I think we’re going to hopefully maybe challenge that a little bit this morning.  And I want to ask you, “Do you think that the Gospel has anything to do with social justice?

And those who are unchurched who might be here this morning… who are still trying to find out who God is, and who the church is… if you’ve bought into the idea that the church is just a bunch of people who are preaching judgment, and talking about sin and forgiveness, but not ever really doing any tangible good in the world around them… then I want to just encourage you to listen to the message today, and consider that the Scripture teaches us that we ought to be something very different from that.

Luke 14

Well if you’ve got a Bible either with you or if you want to turn to one in the pews in front of you… we’re going to go into the book of Luke 4: 14-21.

Luke-Sermon-Header4_14_21-960x350 - Copy (2)

If you don’t have one, or are unsure where the Book of Luke is, that’s all right, we’ve got a screen behind us, we’ll have the scripture there. Luke, chapter four starting in versus fourteen through twenty one.  Here’s what the Scripture says,

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, 

I always thought that was an interesting addition.. ya know, Jesus is the Son of God, he’s God in the flesh, why does he really need the ‘power of the Spirit’? … but nonetheless… 

He returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.  He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him.

So he is given a scroll.. he doesn’t have a selection, he’s not involved in the decision of what scroll he’s gonna read from… he’s given the scroll, but …

Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

So within the Scroll of Isaiah that he was given, he chooses a particular passage to read that day. And this is the passage that he wanted people to hear. Now remember friends, this is Luke, Chapter 4… if that doesn’t mean anything to you, the interpretation is, “this is the beginning of the ministry part of Jesus’ life… this is how he is showing up on the scene. Of all the passages, he decides that what he wants people to hear about his arrival, this is what he says

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.”

jesus-teaching-10

God sort of gave me this analogy last night… I was hanging out at the church as a usually do, and I had gone to the hay ride, and then I went over to Buffalo Wild Wings, and I was wearing a baseball hat… I wore it in church guys… I’m sorry but I was wearing a baseball hat… but it was on Saturday night I think that’s allowed (smiles)… so I was wearing a hat, and not only that I was wearing it backwards.  So I think that’s why I got this analogy.  But I sort of had a little swagger in my step if you will… or whatever, but anyway so,

I picture Jesus, getting up, he reads from the scroll and he hands it back and he sits down and like… I’m trying to picture a modern day equivalent of this… and I’m thinking of like Jesus out on the street with a group of guys playing basketball… and maybe they’re having an impromptu slam dunk contest… and Jesus walks over, grabs the ball and He does Michael Jordan’s slam dunk from the free throw line.  He puts it through the hoop, he walks over hands it to someone and sits down and it’s like “Boo yaaa”…

Jordan

Boo ya

(LAUGHTER)

You know… “TOP THAT”… and it’s kind of like how I was picturing this whole thing… Jesus reads from the scroll… he hands it over, he walks over and he sits down.  And it might not be that far off because listen to what the Scripture says next.

“The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.  He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Friends, we’re going to get into some of the details of the passage in a minute, but I think that beauty is not in all the details of what Jesus says, but in the overall spirit of what he says.

And the first and the most profound thing about what Jesus says is, “This passage has been fulfilled and you’re hearing from my lips here this morning.”

And what he means is, “The spirit of the Lord is on me… the meaning that Isaiah wrote about seven hundred years before this… “ Jesus is saying, “that me… is me” (Pastor Dan chuckles). “I’m that me….  The spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me.  That is me.  I’m the one that Isaiah wrote about seven hundred years ago.  I’m the one who’s shown up to do all of these things that Isaiah wrote about some seven hundred years ago.” 

this is important

And notice what Jesus doesn’t say at the outset of his ministry… the passage that he chooses to read from instead of one that we might expect him to say…  He doesn’t show up and give the people, “The Four Spiritual Laws”... “oh.. by the way, I wanted to let you know that God created you, that you’ve sinned, that that sin separates you from God… but I’m here to die in the cross for your sin, and if you trust me you can have eternal life and the forgiveness of your sins.”

He doesn’t say that.

I’m not suggesting that that’s not true… or that it’s not important; in fact I would suggest that that is very true, and the absolute foundation of the Christian faith. But notice that that’s not what Jesus leads with.  That’s not how he expects people to identify him when he shows up seven hundred years after the prophecy.

Instead what he says is, all these things… that he’s come to care for the poor, the prisoners, the blind, the oppressed.  This is what he shows up in leads with.  This is how he chooses to arrive on the scene.

And here we come across a tension that exists in the church.  There is a portion of the church that is identified and relates to this whole social justice component, and they view the entire Bible through Liberation theology … everything in the Bible is about another group of oppressed people being liberated somehow.

And because they view the entire scripture that way, that group of people fail to recognize that we are sinners… that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one goes to the Father through him.  They don’t talk about the Cross, they don’t talk about forgiveness or repentance; they only talk about social justice issues.
– – – – – – –
And then there are there other churches like Kirkmont who say, “That’s not right… that’s not what the Bible is all about… that’s not what Christianity is about… Jesus came to die in the cross for our sins… people need to hear that.”

So we leave all the liberation theology behind and we proclaim the Four Spiritual Laws to people:
– God created you.
– You have sin.
– Jesus died for your sin.
– You can have the forgiveness of your sins through Jesus.

Then we are left with these two very different churches.  

a89c33f5be572922c863d5c491e366d4

But here’s a beautiful thing guys… I think that God is doing a movement in the church in America, and he is bringing those two together.  

And he is doing it by helping the Evangelical Church, that clings to the for spiritual laws to keep those intact… not to sacrifice them in any way at all, but to build upon that foundation, some of the social justice issues that God cares about.

And Jesus arrives on the scene saying “Here’s the prophecy about me.”

Friends, what do you think, what definition comes to mind when you think of the gospel? And is it possible that there’s a hole in your gospel?

You know there’s an author, named Richard Stearns who’s the president or the C.E.O. of World Vision, and he wrote a book called The Hole in Our Gospel.

hole in gospel12

And the whole book is challenging Evangelical Christians who have reduced the Good News of Jesus to the fact that he forgives sins, and have forgotten about the fact that when Jesus arrived on the scene, He was also making other wrongs right as well. His restoration went beyond just the forgiveness of sins, to the quality of people’s lives, to the oppressed, to the poor, to the blind, that is part of Jesus’s ushering in Good News and part of his restoration is well.

So is there a hole in your Gospel?

The details of the passage, verse 18,

 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.

Some of your thinking, “There it is Pastor you must’ve missed the obvious indicator, it says he’s just preaching the good news to the poor.”

There is no way you could possibly conclude that what Jesus meant by that was just telling poor people about the Four Spiritual Laws… that would totally manipulate the passage.  That’s not what Isaiah meant, and certainly not what Jesus meant either.

There was something far more comprehensive than, “I’m just going to go to the poor and tell them about the forgiveness of sins”.  In fact, Jesus’ half brother, later on would write in James Chapter two… this is a famous verse for people who’ve been around the church.

In James 2:15-17 James had come along and wrote these words.

James2-245x300

Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

19da1323354f72e5415da2a7f913a6fb

So James gives us an indicator… like look, if you’re trying to tell people about Jesus and the forgiveness of sins, but they have an obvious physical and material need, and your ignoring that, while trying to tell them about forgiveness, it’s not going to be very effective.  You can’t tell people about how much God loves them and wants to have a relationship with them when you have three coats and they have none — it just doesn’t work.

And so he’s brings the two together… and that’s all I’m suggesting here.  “The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed to me to preach good news to the poor”.

60559a7cb8f26bee2678bc3a56fb6b96

You see, we have to understand that the idea that people would live in need and in want was not a part of creation.  This is all about Jesus showing up and beginning the restoration of creation… reversing the effects of the fall and restoring the creative order.  It was not a part of creation.

And then it goes on to say, “And his sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners.”  

You know I’m convinced that when you study the Bible especially in the Old Testament, whenever a country or a nation takes its eyes off of God, one of the first downfalls is their justice system begins to fall apart.

The first stage I think of the justice system falling apart is countries who begin to not imprison people who should be in prison. 

Some of you read the story about a police officer who was recently killed by another person who in the years prior had done everything they possibly could to go to jail for the rest of their life.  And some judge comes along and decides to liberate them and try to reform them and let’s this person out and he goes and kills a police officer.

they-finally-tested-the-prisoners-dilemma-on-actual-prisoners--and-the-results-were-not-what-you-would-expect

One of the first signs of a declining justice system is not imprisoning people who should be.  But there’s a more dangerous place than that… and that is when a nation begins to imprison people that shouldn’t be.  And that was happening in the Old Testament and in ancient times, all the time, and it was usually associated with economics — people being in prison because they know could no longer pay their debts.

ngbbs4214e3debc1a8

If that ever starts happening in this country that is a scary place to get to. So Jesus arrives on the scene and says, “People have been wrongfully imprisoned… that is an injustice that I am here to make right.” That is one of the parts of the Gospel as well… is making things that are injust, just.

Is there a justice component that our church is engaged in… is there a wrong that’s happening to people, that they are the victim of, that we are engaged in trying to make right.

And then he goes on and he says… “And recovery of sight for the blind.

You know this is so challenging to our attitude about poverty in general because if you’re like most Christians in America we view people who are lacking, who are asking for help, and in need, as being people who have just made bad decisions… scam artists… whatever it might be.

And Jesus reminds us that there are people… due to circumstances that have nothing to do with their decision that will be in constant need in their lives.

A blind person back then was basically a street beggar.  They had no way of caring for themself; they were at complete mercy of the society.

blind person

And so Jesus is showing a heart and care and concern for them.

You know the statistics are alarming… we often think of a homeless person as being someone who just obviously made bad choices in their life.  But the statistics are alarming… I think it’s something like ninety percent of homeless people have some sort of a mental disorder or condition which will never allow them to function as an independent, productive citizen in America.

And Jesus is coming along showing us look there are people who are born with ailments that keep them in a constant state of need. And the Church of Jesus Christ should care about that.  And here he shows up and says… “to restore the sight to the blind”.

And then finally… “to release the oppressed and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”  And those two go together because they refer to an incident brought up in the Old Testament that refers to the Year of Jubilee.

Year of Jubilee

Some of you maybe have studied this or heard it before, but the year of Jubilee was something that happened every seven years… that God wanted his people to do; and then in a more profound incomplete way every fiftieth year as well.

But this year of Jubilee was like sort of like hitting a reset button.  And it often refered to people’s debts with each other, what they owed each other; it was a way of hitting the reset not only for the forgiveness of sins but then debts among each other… basically saying: “Forgive each other’s debt.  Give people a start over, a do over every seven years in this year of Jubilee.

And it’s tied into the release of the captives because that was one of the ways that many people became slaves… of because again, they didn’t have the money to pay off their debt.  And so they became slaves to the people who they owed money to.

And Jesus says  I care about that situation as well.  Part of my arrival is righting that wrong as well.  The Year of Jubilee is connected with Jesus’s arrival.  Because there’s this canceling of debt, this freedom, this starting over again.

Jubillee1

Friends this is the ministry that Jesus began.  He starts with it… here by quoting Isaiah 61... and he promises to end it some day and to make it totally right.

Some of you remember Revelation 21:3-4… we’ll pull the Scripture up.  Just to show you a picture of what it’s going to be like when Jesus completes his work in this area.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain… none of those things are part of creation; they are all being restored by Jesus…  for the old order of things has passed away.”

11

So Jesus has begun this ministry…  and he promises to finish it someday, and I want to ask you as a church as people who consider yourself, if you’re here, and you consider yourself to be a follower of Christ…  What does that mean for your life? 

Do we just sit and celebrate the fact that Jesus cared about people back then, and he’s going to make things right in the future.  Or do we acknowledge the fact that as_followers_of_Christ, He’s handed us the baton in his absence, and is inviting us as the church, to carry on that work in those efforts.
Hands Passing Baton --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisWhat does that mean for us?

When Jesus arrived John the Baptist said, “The Kingdom of God is at hand.”  The Kingdom of God is at hand.  Meaning… the restoration has begun… the way things that God meant them to be has begun.  And he’s going to come back someday and consummate it.

But until then, you and I are charged with the task of expanding and growing the kingdom of God… not just by telling people that Jesus loves them and died on the Cross for their sins — that’s foundational.

Do not leave Kirkmont if you’re visiting here and think, this church doesn’t believe in that… that is foundational to who we are.  But I’m suggesting it’s not the whole Gospel… that:

… for every wrong that we make right, we expand the kingdom of God.
… for every injustice that we make just, we expand the kingdom of God.

And we have the privilege church, of discussing for the next several weeks, about how God can work through us to expand the kingdom of God, by making those wrongs right.

– – – – – –

For those of you who are in our small groups, and perhaps are continuing on; now that we’ve finished The Prodigal God sermon serious, and perhaps you’re here in a small group in your thinking… “What should we study next?”  By all means you’re welcome to study whatever it is you guys would like to study as a group, for the most part.

But if you’re looking for ideas.. we’ve got a couple books in the back.  One of them is The Hole in the Gospel, that’s back there, but we put a couple other books back there: one of them is called Unfinished,

unfinished

and it’s basically picking up on this theme–that Jesus began a ministry, it’s unfinished, and the church is supposed to continue the ministry.  It’s called UNFINISHED and that’s back there for you to take a look at.

And then also another book by David Platt called Radical… taking back your faith from the American dream.

radical2

Both books are very challenging… about our attitude towards the Gospel and social justice, and about our care for those who are need.  And so we want to invite our small groups if you’re looking for a topic to consider one of those books.

Also I want to give you a heads up as to what’s going to be coming in the next few weeks.

We’re going to be looking at our budget a little more closely in discussing some of the things we’re going to be doing.  We’re going to be looking at some of the… I think the biggest players that God is moving in the church in this area, and that is the orphan crisis, human trafficking, and also a crisis in this world with the lack of access for peoples to clean water.

And we’re going to be looking at some of those things, connecting them to the Biblical mandate to care for people, and I want to invite you to continue to be a part of that as we move forward.”


2015-10-29 (1)
Pastor Dan Borgelt
Kirkmont Presbyterian Church
Beavercreek, Ohio 45385
http://www.kirkmont.org/

Kirkmont Cross


Fascinating ADDENDUM: Click link below to read the background story to this picture used above; he is not a homeless man and you’ll be blown away by his story.

GV-HomelessPastor

This Homeless Man is Not a Homeless Man – And You’ll Be Blown Away By His Message!

Share Your Thoughts Below ....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s