Extravaganza 2019 Theme
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
- Romans: 8:26-27
The Gospel is disruptive.
It is the nature of God…to step in to the world and act, not always in ways that we want or anticipate, but always in ways that we need. Look through the scriptures to see the stories:
• Abraham and Sarah, anticipating the final years of their lives with peace when God intercedes. “Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” - Genesis 17:3-7
• Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law when suddenly a bush bursts into flames, but the bush is not consumed. And then a voice speaks to him: "And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” - Exodus 3:9-10
• A young woman named Mary was anticipating life with her fiancé, Joseph, when she is visited by an angel: "But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” - Luke 1: 30-33.
• Saul was one who persecuted Christians. But God had different plans for him: "Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here, has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.” - Acts 9:17-19a
And there are many more stories throughout the scriptures, of the disruptive nature of God.
The very act of creation was a disruption. With a mere thought, God’s will reached into the void and sparked something new. It is so formative that the word “creation” serves both as a verb and a noun. The actions of God were creation; and what God made was known as “creation.” And in that act, God formed a vision for what creation was going to be like. For how humans would relate to everything around them, and most importantly to the creator. The disruptive act was something out of nothing.
But sin disrupted creation. And humans became captive to it. Until in the ultimate act of disruption, God became flesh, and Jesus walked the earth, taught, and disrupted the sinful human systems, bringing redemption and new life. Jesus entered death, and was resurrected, to bring life not only to himself, but to all of God’s people.
And now as people who are called to follow Jesus, we are called to let the Holy Spirit work through us, becoming disrupters in a world sorely in need of disruption.
• We are called to disrupt old habits of faith and replace them with new practices
• We are called to disrupt complacency and replace it with mission
• We are called to disrupt poverty
• We are called to disrupt “…isms of every kind"
• We are called to disrupt anger and violence
We disrupt these things with trust and love; trust in God’s presence and love that comes from God; love that overflows within God’s people; love that disrupts.
And as a community called specifically to work with children, youth and families, we are called to disrupt the everyday expectations that come to us through our culture. The messages that our young people hear from our culture are
• Messages of want and greed
• Messages of “you aren’t good enough as you are”
• Messages of accumulation at all cost
• Messages that focus on the self, not the other
• Messages that confuse our identity as children of God
Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we disrupt these messages with a Word that brings new life, and the possibility of living differently; of living as a disciple of Jesus, tethered to the Mission of God.
Let us live as holy disrupters, in the name of the one who came to disrupt our very lives with love and grace.
The Gospel is disruptive. And we should be too.