Global Mission Sermon
- Author: Mark Aune is the Senior Pastor at Augustana Lutheran Church, West St. Paul, MN.
- Updated: 06/23/2008
- Copyright: Mark Aune
This is a an "ask sermon" preached on Global Mission Sunday, April 25, 2004. The text for the sermon was John 21:1-19.
Mark tells about a profound lesson he learned from his brothers and sisters in Tanzania.
Of particular note is the example of how a stewardship leader invites the congregation to join him in being a generous giver.
Global mission sermon
Dear friends in Christ, grace and peace. Amen
Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberius so begins this last chapter in John's Gospel.
There is a common thread that runs through all the stories we read in the NT about Jesus after he is raised from the dead
The common thread is that Jesus is always the one who shows himself to the disciples -- it is never the other way around -- the disciples don't find him because they are out looking for him but rather Jesus shows himself to this small band of followers. It is I think an important distinction.
I love this story in John 21 -- it is a long story and what touches my heart the most and gives me hope is that it is a story where real people -- Peter, James, John, Thomas, Nathanial and 2 other disciples - were out doing their real jobs -- fishing -- and they were doing their jobs in real time -- it is in this context that Jesus shows himself to His followers.
After the heartbreak of the crucifixion and the unspeakable joy of what happened 3 days later when they found the empty tom -- we are given a picture -- a glimpse if you will of how Jesus can appear
When we least expect him to appear.
The other thing I relate to is that the disciples aren't sure at first. They aren't sure it is Jesus. And isn't that always the case -- we aren't really looking for him and then something happens in our lives or we have an experience where the presence of the living Christ is revealed to us.
John 21:4 Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5Jesus said to them, "Children, you have no fish, have you?" They answered him, "No." 6He said to them, "Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish.
Real people living real lives in real time.
Children, you have no fish have you?
Cast the net on the right side of the boat.
He reveals himself in the instructions.
He reveals himself in the abundance of the catch.
They were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish.
And notice that the net is not torn even though the catch is 153 large fish -- the abundance of Jesus will never tear or destroy our resources or our gifts that we use in our daily lives.
This is a lesson I have learned in the most profound ways from our sisters and brothers in Tanzania.
I haven't spoken of the trip a lot since we returned on Feb. 8th
I was immediately swept back up with family and ministry -- you know the drill -- real life in real time.
What I would like to share with you this morning is how very personal this trip to Tanzania was for me -- my second time back.
The joy our group experienced with our companion congregation -- Ipogoro was truly amazing -- their hard work -- planning for growth in their ministry -- their strength of faith -- community and how they continue to look forward w/vision and courage and with trust in the power of the risen Christ was crystal clear.
What I wasn't prepared for was my encounter with the weavers. Meeting them -- seeing their work -- how they have grown and how their lives have changed because they have learned to weave was a net filled with fish.
I was not prepared for the emotion that came upon us all as we saw with our own eyes how the gifts and caring of this faith community has had such a profound effect on these women of faith.
They are deeply aware of and conscious of the Christians at Augustana and how Jesus has been revealed through your actions. Jesus has revealed himself to these women and Jesus showed himself to us in these women.
When Janis my wife was teaching these women to weave in November of 2000 --I sent word over to Janis about the concerns that were going on at Augustana with two children who were facing heart surgery -- Jennifer Spurr who was to receive a transplant -- and Kyle Van who had to have some other heart surgery.
When Janis shared these concerns with the weavers, Mama John said -- we should stop right now and pray for those children. If we pray for these children here in Tanzania, God can heal them in America.
I brought with me pictures of both of these children who are now healthy vibrant young adults and as they looked with wonder at the pictures -- they praised God for His healing power.
I also told them about our family's loss -- the death of their teacher's mother -- Janis' mother -- they cried and they prayed and they shared our burden and they reminded us that Janis' mother was now with Jesus.
He said to them, "Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish.
Dare we cast our net once again this year?
Is it possible for you and me to test once again the promise that the abundance of Jesus will never tear or destroy our resources or our gifts that we use in our daily lives?
Our goal again this year for the Global Mission offering is $40,000 -- that is a lot of fish -- and if God is going to fill that net up we will need some large fish and medium sized fish and lots and lots of small fish.
Are there 15 families or individuals who will join me and Janis in giving a gift of a 1000?
Are there 10 families or individuals who will give a gift of at least 500?
Are there 25 families or individuals who will join with Pastor Erickson and his wife Lynn in giving a gift of 250?
In order to fill this net we need at least 100 individuals or families in giving a gift of 100.
Last year a record number 399 families or individuals participated in this good work -- and remember my friends - there is no way we can tear this net that is cast.
Let's fill it even more full than last year -- 410 -- 420 -- the size of the fish is not the most important part about this kind of fishing -- it is the number of fish in the net.
This is where Jesus makes himself known in our midst.
This is what the body of Christ does -- and as our lives and churches are connected across the globe -- the one who first told a small group of men in a boat to cast their nets on the other side of the boat is also inviting us to do the same.
Nema is her name and these are her words to you and me;
You remember that there's no other way to weave except for Jesus.
And there's no other way to live except for Jesus.
This is how we live. We can't live without Jesus.
Thank you Lord -- for showing yourself to us in this way.
In Jesus name and for his sake. Amen