Cruising on the Disciple Ship #4
Yes, Hip IS temporary. Everything that is IN eventually goes out of style.
Yes, as embarrassing as it is to admit, your parents and grandparents really danced and dressed like that. And unfortunately, Yes, there really is a “How To Be Hip University” in Antioch, California.
So, What is “HIP?” In 1973 the group Tower of Power released a funky song asking that same question, “What Is Hip?”
There’s a whole blogsite devoted to hip things titled “If It’s Hip It’s Here.”
Hip is following the newest trend or fashion especially in music and clothes. According to the urban dictionary, there are a boatload of synonyms for HIP such as cool, off the chain, tight, flerkin, awesome, swish, fabulistic, sick, hot, fresh, sweet, wicked, bad, tubular, danglin, classy, teeb, dope, the bomb, swedgy (or swanky and edgy), radical, Baltic and Nate (which is the description of a guy who is an uber nerd, lovable geek who is so totally kissable.)
Someone who is hip has been called a hipster and I love the definition I found on one of the blogs. And it wasn’t exactly complimentary. “Hipsters are the friends who sneer when you tell them you like a certain kind of music they think is passe. Hipsters are the people who wear t-shirts silk-screened with quotes from movies no one has ever heard of. Hipsters are the ones who smoke European cigarettes and think Pabst Blue Ribbon is a good beer. They wear berets and sunglasses and talk about the character of alternate spirituality. Hipsters caringly dress in their uniform of non-conformity exactingly constructed to give off the vibe that they just don’t care.”
That’s what the world says is hip. In Discipleship being hip is something else completely. In our Cruise on the Disciple Ship, being HIP in the journey of faith is Honoring God while Investing in the Future through our Prayers and Pledges. That’s what we’ll unpack out of the last drawer in our steamer trunk today.
Before we dig into what it means to a HIP Disciple, let’s look at Romans 12:9-21 (NRSV)
 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good;
 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.
 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.
 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.
 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.
 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.
 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
 No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.”
 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I. HONOR GOD:
A. As we look at the passage, one of the first things Paul says is “outdo one another in showing honor.” The Message rephrases it by saying “practice playing second fiddle” and the NIV translates it as “Honor one another above yourselves.”
Some have interpreted this passage to be Paul writing about honoring God, others say Paul is speaking about how we treat one another, and while that seems to be the case, I’d like to make the case that it’s about both. You see, I think we Honor God by doing all the things, living all the attitudes which Paul describes here.
If our love is genuine, if we hold fast to what is good, love one another with mutual affection, serve the Lord, rejoice in hope and all the other things listed here then we will Honor God in everything we do and in all of our relationships.
B. Nearly ten years ago the Newspapers carried a story about a 55-year old North Florida man who went to a judge with an unusual request. He asked the judge to allow him to change his name to “God.” The judge refused, so the man went a second time with an alternative request. He asked to have his name changed to “I am who I am,” which, if you remember, is the translation of the name God in the Old Testament. The judge agreed, so this man’s first name is “I am” and his last name is “Who I am.”
When asked why? The man said his decision was based on his recent conversion; he wanted to honor God by changing his name.
In my opinion, if this guy really wanted to honor God, a better way would simply be to live out the principles Jesus taught. We don’t have to change our name to Honor God, we have to change our hearts and our actions. And it’s not enough to just change our actions. Our hearts have to change as well. (1)
Without a change of heart we’re simply going through the motions. We’re being obedient and following the law. But there’s a difference in being obedient and honoring God. Obedience can be accomplished without the heart. Honor can’t. The heart is essential to a life which Honors God.
Obedience is about law. Honor is about love. Honor is always obedient but obedience doesn’t always honor God. However, when we do live a life which Honors God, a life like Paul describes in Romans, then through Honoring God we are Investing In The Future.
II. INVEST IN THE FUTURE:
A. We’re called to Invest In The Future, that’s one of the most important tasks of the church. If you remember our first week of this series on Discipleship we talked about how it’s not about us. And it’s not. For one thing, the mission of the church is about sharing the Good News with those who have never heard it or accepted it for themselves. Well, we’ve heard it. We’ve accepted it. It’s NOT about us, it’s about how God can use us to effect change in the lives of others especially our children and youth.
I don’t know how many of you realize what an extraordinary thing it is to have three young people who have openly declared their call to full time ministry. Carly Payne, who is in St. Louis MO attending Exporation 2012 an annual Ministry exploration event put on by the United Methodist Church, her brother Jack, who will be eligible to go next year. And our Music Director, Owen has also declared for the ministry and begun that process.
There are congregations bigger and older than this congregation who have never had anyone answer the call to ministry from their church. This congregation is blessed beyond measure. I believe God has honored this church because this church has Honored God and Invested in the Future through it’s youth and children’s ministry. That’s a great thing.
But I’m here to tell you that we can’t stop. Instead it’s time for us to step it up again. We have to invest ourselves, our money and our time in making sure the next generation of children and youth have the same opportunity to hear God’s call in their lives through the programs and ministry provided for and with them.
B. One of the areas which the Council on Ministries and the Administrative Board has identified which needs to be improved is the area of children’s ministry. Our children and youth ARE the future. We have to Invest in them. When we do, we Invest In The Future. One of our goals is to Build all areas of our Children’s Ministry.
The first step in fulfilling this vision for Children’s ministry is a new and revamped Sunday School program which will begin on December 10th. It will incorporate music as well as small groups and classes and we think will bring some new excitement and energy to our Christian Education ministry.
Our plan includes Owen using his musical talents and ability to help us grow a children’s music ministry by growing Children’s Choirs. But it won’t happen without everyone’s help and participation. Nor will it happen without our financial support because part of the vision is to bring Owen on ¾ time by next July.
Unfortunately, Carly Kirkly, our Youth Director has decided to take a secular job here in town. We are truly going to miss her in the Youth Department. She and the girls will still be a part of the church and she’ll work with the youth on a part time basis until we can find a replacement.
However much we are going to miss her, it has given the Staff Parish Relations Committee the opportunity to review the job description and discuss the needs for the present and future of the Youth ministry of this Church. Their conclusion is that we need to look at not just a Youth Director but a Youth Minister. An Associate Pastor who would be in charge of Youth Ministry and would have both the theological and Biblical background for taking it to the next level. This person would assist on Sunday Mornings as well as in all the other Pastoral duties but also give oversight to the Educational aspect of Children’s Ministry. We feel like a seminary trained individual will be able to strengthen and build upon the great ministry we already have and lay the foundation for future generations.
C. I’ve been praying about this a lot, especially since we came back for the Leadership Institute at Church of the Resurrection. I’ve been trying to discern God’s will in all of this and AI think this is the direction God wants us to go. And I think it is all very, very exciting, but here’s the kicker. It means we are going to have to invest ourselves even more. It means we’re going to have invest both our time and our wallets to fulfill this vision.
It’s not a huge investment but it will add $10 to $15 maybe even $20,000 to the budget. We’re still trying to work out exactly how much more we would need to be able to afford a full time Associate Pastor. It would also mean the probable revamping of some office space. There would be adjustments and there will be change and change causes stress. But because it’s from God, with God leading us, we’ll make it through and be stronger for it.
And that leads right into the third point.
III. PRAY AND PLEDGE:
A. As Disciples, we’re called to Pray and we’re called to Pledge. I really don’t like that word Pledge but it’s the only Stewardship word that begins with the letter P to fill out our Acrostic. But it will take both your Prayers and your Pledges, your giving to fulfill this vision and grow these areas of ministry.
According to our Declaration of Independence all people are created equal. We affirm that every day in this great country. And yet, as you look around it’s obvious that while we’re created equally, not everyone is equally endowed with the same gifts, talents and abilities. If we were, then I could play guitar like Eric Clapton and not like Eric the Viking. I could play football like Emmitt Smith not like Emmitt Kelly, the clown. If we were equally endowed I could play basketball like Michael Jordan not like Barbara Jordan.
The truth is that we aren’t all endowed equally. We don’t all have the same gifts and abilities. However, we are all called and are able to invest ourselves equally in Christ and the Kingdom of God. The important part of our investment is not what we have or what we have gained but what we do with what we have been given. It’s not equal giving but it is equal sacrifice.
B. And that’s one of the reasons why we need to pray.
This past week there was a great illustration in the theological section of the paper, the comics. Curtis walks into the living room where Dad is reading the paper and says, “Dad, did I see you , um, praying on your knees last night?” Dad says, “You might have, Curtis.”
“It’s an old habit, I guess…. My mother taught me to pray that when I was real little…”
“And I continue to do it to this very day.”
Curtis says, “But you’re a grown-up! I thought grown-ups ain’t sacred of anything!”
To which Dad replies, “Welcome to planet earth, Curtis!” (2)
As most adults know, we don’t pray only when we’re scared. We pray for our families, for our friends. We pray for strength and we pray for guidance. That’s what I challenge you to do. Pray for Guidance in how you will Invest in the Future. Pray for guidance in how much you can give or Pledge to make the vision God has placed in hearts become a reality.
Scripture tells us that God calls us to tithe. In Malachi 3:10 (NRSV) we read, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.”
God challenges us to test Him through our faithfulness and Honor Him with our obedience so that God can bless us with an overflowing blessing.
Maybe you’re not a place where you can tithe yet but you know that’s the Biblical standard. Then Pray and challenge yourselves to give proportionately. If you can only give 5%, then give that 5% out of love and Honor. But challenge yourself to increase your giving by 1% every month or two so that over a period of time you can grow yourself into the Tithe.
I’m not going to talk a lot about money or giving but I will challenge you to think about it and Pray about it. It is the biggest challenge to Stewardsihp and Discipleship that there is. So, Pray and Pledge as a way to Honor God and be part of Investing In The Future. Listen to what God would have you do.
So I guess that brings us right back around to our original question. “Are you HIP? Does you life Honor God? Have you Invested In The future with your faith and with your wallet? And will you Pray and Pledge in order to fulfill the vision and mission of the church?
That’s the challenge. We know that Christ gave his life so that we could have this life of faith and be here for each other to encourage one another on this Journey of Faith. Now it’s up to us to stop and listen to God. What is it God wants you to do?
This is the Word of the Lord for this day.
1. Preaching, January-February 2003
2. Curtis by Ray Billingsley, 11-11-10