Jeff and Penny Vann, Advent Christian Missionaries. visited SACC on Oct. 29. Jeff spoke during the Sunday School hour and Penny delivered the sermon during the worship service. After pastorates in the United States, Jeff, Penny, and daughters Elizabeth, Connie and Naomi, began their missionary journey. They arrived in the Philippines in 1996, serving until 2009. Jeff and Penny served the AC Mission and were Oro Bible College deans and full-time professors. From February 2010 to February 2011, they ministered in New Zealand as pastors at large. In 2012 they assumed the Directorate of the Asia Pacific Area for Advent Christian Missions. Their daughters have begun families of their own, providing Jeff and Penny with beloved grandchildren!
An amazing way to increase your commitment to the Lord is through gratitude. May giving thanks become a way of life. Ingratitude is a killer. Here’s a silly little joke about ingratitude:
Two old friends met each other on the street one day. One looked forlorn, almost on the verge of tears. His friend asked, “What has the world done to you, my old friend?”
The sad fellow said, “Let me tell you: three weeks ago, my uncle died and left me forty thousand dollars.” “That’s a lot of money.”
“But you see, two weeks ago, a cousin I never even knew died, and left me eighty-five thousand dollars, free and clear.” “Sounds to me that you’ve been very blessed.”
“You don’t understand!” he interrupted. “Last week my great-aunt passed away. I inherited almost a quarter of a million from her.” Now the man’s friend was really confused. “Then, why do you look so glum?” “This week . . . nothing!”
In the scripture today, ten lepers are healed and one returns to give thanks. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem it says in Luke 17:11. He is on the border of Samaria and Galilee, Gallilee is a region within Israel, Samaria is a foreign nation ~ despised half brothers of Israel going back 700 years when Assyria invaded the northern tribes and intermarried with them, thus creating a polluted people in the minds of the Jews. Ten lepers spot Jesus in this no-man’s land between the two nations. Lepers are outcasts, feared, they band together, required to stand at a distance so as to not to spread the terrible disease. We in the U.S. don’t really know what leprosy is (today it’s called Hansen’s disease)... in the worst case it eats away the flesh…
Fishing for compliments. We draw attention to whatever it is we want complimented. We complain about how aweful we felt about our performance in an effort for people to disagree. A meme defines Awkward as “that moment when you’re fishing for complements by speaking badly of yourself and nobody disagrees.” At times we crave attention, want to be noticed, want to be affirmed.
Several people pointed out in the scripture from the past two weeks Luke 17:1 the text says Jesus is talking to his disciples. That is likely a large group of committed followers… Contrast Luke 17:5 it says specifically the “apostles” say to Jesus, “Lord, increase our faith.” This is likely the 12 who were set apart by Jesus. It appears they want to be elevated even above the other “common” disciples: Lord, set us apart, give us greater responsibilities… They are fishing for affirmation, fishing to be elevated…
“Increase our faith” isn’t even a question, it’s a demand: “Lord, you have to do this.” Once in a while I run into somebody that demands I as a pastor have to help them with money, because it is the church’s duty.” If you want to see a stubborn Carl go ahead and tell me I have to give you money. “Increase our faith.” Set us apart, elevate us, make us awesome super apostles so we can bless you even more with our wonderfulness.
There is a great need in today’s world for more people to make a commitment to follow Jesus /become active disciples/committed to learning, growing, loving, living for Him!
Jesus is speaking to the disciples. Luke 17:1 says, “Jesus said to his disciples…” The disciples are the insiders to Jesus teaching… Jesus is challenging the disciples to grow, to put into practice what it means to be a follower. BELIEVE IT and LIVE IT. Jesus was speaking to the first disciples ~~ he is also talking to His followers today.
Who is the insider today? Anybody who wants to make a commitment. (e.g. The Druze) The invitation to follow Jesus Christ is open. To make a commitment to Jesus is to say, “Lord change me. I want to be a different person, I want to be who you want me to be. This truth is captured in the first three words of Luke 17:3: “So watch yourselves.”
In Luke, especially in the last few chapters we have been reading, we see Jesus’ addressing 3 different groups of people:
In the first verse of our text today Luke tells us, “Jesus said to his disciples.” When Luke says, “Jesus said to his disciples…” I think it has two meanings.
First, Luke is relaying an eyewitness account of an event that happened. Jesus did say these words or he was remembered as saying these words to some of his original disciples, but Luke also uses the phrase “Jesus said to his disciples” to get the attention of his contemporary readers who claimed to be Jesus’ disciples.
When Jesus addresses the crowds or the Pharisees or the religious leaders, it might have been easy for contemporary disciples to ignore what Jesus had to say, or to think what he had to say didn’t have anything to do with them…
Carl Crouse, Pastor
At SACC we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Every Sunday the worship service includes a message from the Bible. My words are an attempt to understand and apply the Bible to our daily living. I post weekly sermons and other biblical messages on this page. May you find meaning and hope as you read through each message and seek to hear God's voice. Leave a comment to ask questions or inspire others with your insights.