Scripture: Mark 6:32-44
Building Kickoff Sunday in Charlotte, 1998
Bob Carlisle sang (Butterfly Kisses)
Consultant: good news & bad news
The formula is in today’s text
God always provides whatever is needed to accomplish His will
Not necessarily to accomplish what we want
God provided this teaching opportunity
God provided a huge lawn for the mealtime
God even ensured the disciples had brought a little food with them
We will probably be called on to give all we have to God
Jesus told the disciples to feed the people
Jesus asked them what they had – check & see
Jesus took what they had – everything
Are we willing to give everything?
God will do miraculous things with what we give Him
Jesus looked up to heaven, blessed the loaves & the fish, broke them & gave them away
I believe miracles are dependent on our eyesight
What do we see? When Jesus arrived & saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep witho a shepherd.
Jesus saw beyond his own need for sleep to the needs of the people
< Lucado story >
I think this is a formula that works, because it was Christ’s formula.
I’m a little nervous talking to you from this text, because a former student of mine preached on this text & was fired the next week. It wasn’t the sermon, I’m told. It was what happened after the sermon. I’m sure it was a good sermon. He was a bright student & had a good reputation as a preacher. He had gone to his first church, somewhere in FL. He preached on this text, & following the sermon & benediction, his wife stood up & said, “I know this comes as a surprise, but I would like for all the congregation to come over to the parsonage for lunch.” The parsonage was next door. Well, quite a few went. Why not? When they got there, she opened the refrigerator & took out & put on the dining room table what was in the refrigerator. It wasn’t much – a shriveled pickle, a carrot or 2, a few eggs, a slice or 2 of bacon, quart of milk, some hot dog buns, couple slices of baloney, what was left of a head of lettuce, half a jar of boysenberry jam, that was about it. She asked her husband, the minister, to have a prayer to multiply the food. He prayed, & then they opened their eyes, & the food was just like it was before. She asked him to pray again, & he prayed again, & the food had not multiplied. During the third prayer, everybody left except the minister & his wife.
The next week the board met & fired him. Why? Why did they fire him? Lack of faith? If lack of faith will get you fired, none of us could hold a job. A failed miracle? Maybe that was it. Well, at least he tried. I don’t remember every trying to do a miracle. Unless everything we do is. At least, at least he believed that the things that used to happen can still happen. Things that are recorded in the Bible are not just yesterday; surely God is still able to provide & to do what God did. Was it because the church was embarrassed in the community when word spread?
By Monday morning the word was out, over cups of coffee. “Did you hear what happened at such-&-such church?” And the church, I’m sure, was embarrassed. That might’ve been it. I don’t know. It might have been the audacity to try & duplicate what J did when it was not even to a hungry mob in a desert. They were folk who were going to the restaurants anyway, have a nice meal, watch the ball game. It’s kind of nerve-wracking, really.
Bzuneh Tulema lives in a 2-room, dirt-floored, cinder-block house at the end of a dirt road in the dry hills of Adama, Ethiopia. Maybe 300 square feet. He’s painted the walls a pastel blue and hung 2 pictures of Jesus.
He wears a Nike cap with a crooked bill, a red jacket in furnace-level heat, & a gap-toothed smile. No king was ever prouder of a castle than he is of his 4 walls. As the 35 year old relates his story, I understand.
Just 2 years ago he was the town drunk. He drank his away his first marriage & came within a prayer of doing the same with his second. He & his wife were so consumed with alcohol that they farmed out their kids to neighbors & resigned themselves to a drunken stupor.
But then someone saw them. Members of an area church took a good look at their situation. They began bringing the couple food & clothing. They invited them to attend worship services. Bzuneh was not interested. However, his wife, Bililie, was. She began to sober up & consider the story of Christ & the promise of a new life. The offer of a second chance. And she believed.
Bzuneh was not so quick. He kept drinking until one night a year later he fell so hard he knocked a dent in his face that remains to this day. Friends found him in a gully & took him to the same church & shared the same Jesus with him. He hasn’t touched a drop of alcohol since.
It all began with an honest look & a helping hand.