A digital version of this week’s worship bulletin and sermon.

Gathering

PRELUDE

THANKSGIVING for BAPTISM

GATHERING SONG                 “Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound”               red book # 779

GREETING

CANTICLE of PRAISE                                                                                                    page 149 (set 4)

PRAYER of the DAY

Word

ISAIAH 49:1-7

PSALM 40:1-11

1 CORINTHIANS 1:1-9

JOHN 1:29-42

SERMON                                                                                                                  Pastor Chris Halverson

Evangelism

Did you hear the one about the man who went to a new doctor? Everything went perfect, the Doctor had a good bed-side manner, she didn’t make him wait, she did a minor surgery right there, and it didn’t even hurt! Best off, the man was cured from his disease!

Then, when the man told a friend about the doctor, he said, “oh, well, the waiting room was clean.”

Then another time he overheard a couple in a Diner fretting about the exact same medical problem he had… and he didn’t tell them about his new doctor, he said to himself, “Well… I don’t want to offend them, maybe they’ve had bad experiences with doctors before—after all doctors used to use leeches.”

Or did you hear the one about the woman who stumbled upon a Korean Barbecue/Japanese Sushi place, in a strip mall—she’d never seen it before, but was so glad when she found it. It became her new favorite place, she ate their sushi by the truck load.

She was so impressed that she’d stop random people she’d never met on the street and tell them how good it was,

but they’d never go, because they didn’t know her and had no idea if she had good taste in food or not.

Then one time a friend of her was talking about how much he missed eating good Korean food… and she said nothing to him about her favorite restaurant, because she only ate the Japanese food there.

After a while she stopped telling anyone about it, because she figured, “well, it’s always been there, if they wanted to find it they’d know where to look,” forgetting that her finding the place had been completely by accident.

 

Finally, have you heard the one about the old woman whose computer kept shutting down. Well, a computer programmer came and fixed her computer, and because the solution was pretty simple and it was an old lady after all, he did so for free! She was ever so grateful, but never told anyone about that programmer.

She didn’t tell people about him because, “Computers are complex, so I might not tell them about what he did correctly…

for that matter I’m so new to computers I’m sure my opinion wouldn’t matter… and, for that matter,” she added,

“He’s the programmer, clearly if he’s good at working with computers

he must be good at working with people too,

so it’s his job to get people to know about fixing the computer… he’s the professional.”

Let us pray.

 

In today’s gospel, we read of John the Baptist pointing to Jesus.

We read of him telling his disciples about Jesus and about Andrew telling his brother Peter about Jesus.

When the disciples come to Jesus he asks them about their deepest needs, knowing that whatever they were he’d fulfill them.

He calls on them to come and see.

And they do, being with Jesus, even for that one day, is transformational.

It transforms Andrew into a zealous convert—though he was new to knowing Jesus he brought his brother along to see Jesus quickly.

His brother, who Jesus already knows to his core, is named by him, named  Peter—the Rock.

 

          Every excuse people make to not point to Jesus, finds an answer in today’s gospel.

Every mistake we make when trying to tell people about Jesus, finds a remedy in today’s gospel reading.

 

We, like the Sick Man pointing to his Doctor, might tell people unimportant things about the faith—surface level things about being Christian here, like “St. Stephen has a funny pastor and a leaky roof.”

Or, like the sick man, we might even hesitate to tell people about our faith because we don’t want to offend and we don’t want people to think we’re religious nuts.

To this, today’s tale of Baptism and Discipleship, points to Jesus—

who we have faith in because he comes to us at our deepest needs, not our surface level ones.

Jesus who already knows those people we’re going to tell about him by name!

Jesus, who we point to, who isn’t some add on philosophy, but transforms our very lives and will transform those who we evangelize to.

 

We, like the Sushi lady, might make the mistake of witnessing to people we have no relationship with…

I think of a man I met in College, who wanted to tell people at the University of Oregon about Jesus, but was afraid to talk to them—because he assumed College Students were such heathens that their sin would rub off on him, so he left pamphlets about Jesus in the men’s urinals… which really didn’t work… at all.

(Dr. Sebastian’s example)

To that indirect, non-relational type of evangelism, it is worth noticing that John pointed his disciples to Jesus and Andrew pointed Peter, his brother, to Jesus…

they knew and cared for and were trusted by the people they told about Jesus.

 

Like the Sushi lady we might think if someone has different needs than we do when it comes to faith in Jesus, then Jesus can’t help them.

To this I point out that Jesus is Messiah to Andrew and the Lamb to John—that Jesus knows your needs and he knows mine, even if they are different.

And, like the Sushi lady, we might also assume if someone wants to know about Jesus they know where to go—that the church door is always open and always inviting, that they don’t need an actual human invitation.

Yet when Jesus is right there, in the flesh and blood, John still points to him, he still says “Come and see.” Have we ourselves forgotten who pointed us to Jesus?

Do we think we did it on our own?

By no means!

 

Finally, we, like the Computer Lady, may figure evangelism is solely the Pastor’s Job, he’s the professional after all, and that we don’t have all the right answers, and that we’re too new to the faith to tell people about it.

The Pastor is one person, and there are whole webs of relationships I’m not connected to, but you all are.

Witnessing to your faith isn’t telling someone exactly what the Augsburg Confession says about a particular subject—though thinking through our faith is key to sustaining it—

No, telling people about where you’ve met Jesus is what Evangelism is about.

It’s pointing to where we’ve met Jesus and saying come and see

—it’s about joining with people you care about, or will learn to care about, on their faith journey.

 

For that matter, sometimes the person who can tell the story of faith the best, is someone for whom it is the freshest,

those newly inspired to the faith

—those Andrews of the world who go to Peter and tell him what he’s found.

 

And ultimately, the good news about Evangelism for all of us, is that we’re pointing to Jesus, who knows the needs and names of those we come into contact with.

He who is Our Teacher, the Messiah, the Son of God and the Lamb of God, takes away the sin of the World, and that’s good news worth sharing.

HYMN of the DAY                        “Let Us Go Now to the Banquet”                       red book # 523

APOSTLES CREED

PRAYERS of INTERCESSION

PEACE

Meal

OFFERING

OFFERTORY ANTHEM                         The Potter’s Hand

GREAT THANKSGIVING

LORD’S PRAYER

COMMUNION SONGS

Also, “Let There Be Peace On Earth”, red book # 313, red book # 456

Sending

BLESSING

ANNOUNCEMENTS

SENDING SONG                      “ Jesus Calls Us; o’er the Tumult”                    red book #  696

DISMISSAL

POSTLUDE

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