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July 8, 2018, 12:00 AM

Watershed Moments


by Sandy Bach

4-6 Jesus told them, “A prophet has little honor in his hometown, among his relatives, on the streets he played in as a child.” Jesus wasn’t able to do much of anything there—he laid hands on a few sick people and healed them, that’s all. He couldn’t get over their stubbornness. He left and made a circuit of the other villages, teaching.

7-8 Jesus called the Twelve to him, and sent them out in pairs. He gave them authority and power to deal with the evil opposition. He sent them off with these instructions:

8-9 “Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment. No special appeals for funds. Keep it simple.

10 “And no luxury inns. Get a modest place and be content there until you leave.

11 “If you’re not welcomed, not listened to, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.”

12-13 Then they were on the road. They preached with joyful urgency that life can be radically different; right and left they sent the demons packing; they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits.  (Mark 6:1-13 The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson)

When Jesus walked into Nazareth that day, did he know what to expect? It wasn’t so long ago that his family had tried to get him to come to his senses. They thought he was out of his mind and wanted to take him home. Some were worried about him; I suspect others wanted to stop the embarrassment he was creating for them.

Surely, he had a hint that things may not go well. Did he plan on using this as a watershed moment? Was it to be a lesson to the disciples who would eventually be sent out as apostles?

My husband had had bad teeth all his life. When he played trumpet, he pressed the mouthpiece to his lips off center to accommodate the space between his two front teeth. He grew a mustache to try to cover up what he thought was an unattractive smile. He learned to smile without showing much of his teeth.

It wasn’t until he was an adult that he could do anything about them. He went to a dentist who sent him to get braces. He endured the pain and the inconvenience of a wired set of teeth. But the day he received his new teeth was worth it.

His smile was now complete. Rather than hide it under his mustache or behind his hand, he allowed the smile to fill his face. He enjoyed laughter and now it no longer embarrassed him.

It was a watershed moment. It changed the image of himself and gave him the impetus to enter into new adventures in his life. And, to my great joy, he shaved that mustache!

As Jesus stood in that synagogue feeling the doubts and unbelief of his friends and family, it dampened his spirit. He didn’t stay long. Only long enough for the disciples to learn that despite amazing miracles in Galilee, across the Sea and even on the sea itself, people were people everywhere and they would, at times, be run out of town on a rail.

Watershed moments lead to great things. The disciples went out in pairs and returned marveling at the great deeds they had done in Christ’s name and the many people who were willing to listen to their words. I trust there were a few towns they had to “shake off.”

The history of Christ's Church is rich with possibility and hope and excitement. It also holds disappointment, lack of faith and dampened spirits. Today the church is experiencing watershed moments.  God is at work, breaking down and building up.  Jesus calls us to proclaim, to heal, and to claim victory over evil. What does it look like?

I remember one of the Bible verses I learned in Sunday school: “Do unto others what you would have others do unto you.” (Luke 6:31 KJV)

What do you sense Jesus calling you to do?  What are you already doing?  Are you aware of Jesus' activity in your life?  Are you where God needs you to be or do you feel drawn to a different place?

Let’s picture it now.

Close your eyes for as long as it takes to imagine some one or some thing or a some group.  Why do you think God has put that on your heart?  (Close your eyes now and read on when you're ready.)

What did you see?  What did you discover about yourself?

Are you proud of the work you have put in?  Is there more you feel led to do?

Close your eyes and envision them again.  Try speaking with them. (Read on, when you're ready.)

What did you say to them?
What did they say to you?

What are they hungry for?
Food? Justice? Companionship? Friends? Jesus?

Are you able to treat them they way you would want to be treated?

I wonder what you’re thinking? What worries you? What scares you? What excites you?

Most importantly of all, what insights have you gained from this exercise?

This is a watershed moment. Hold this in prayer and seek God's call to you.  Perhaps all you can do is write a check.  You may be able to visit someone.  You may find yourself getting more involved than you thought you could.  Whatever the case, remember this: Prayer.  Prayer is what we do before, during and after.  Prayer is what makes things turn out right.  Prayer is the single most important thing you can do.

This is a watershed moment.   But it's scary.  What if we fail?

Failure won’t happen, because there’s no such thing as failure in God’s kingdom. Perhaps the outcome will be disappointing. But, always remember that God doesn’t call us to be successful; God calls us to be faithful.

With that in mind, will we reach out and attempt to make a difference in the lives of those who cross your path?

Or will you find yourself missing opportunities and losing blessings?

All glory and honor be to God.

Amen.

Watershed Moments

by Sandy Bach

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