Sunday, June 23, 2013

Talk, "Fourth Day", given at Men's Walk to Emmaus, April 2011

Walk to Emmaus #53
May 2011
Script for Talk #15
Fourth Day

Slide 1 (Walk to Emmaus slide)

From early in my childhood, we were really active in the church. I even gave the Children’s Sunday Sermon – on the Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies, when I was in 6th grade.

But when I went to College in 1978, I left the Church. And, I wouldn’t come back for 25 years.

In 2003, at the end of a very unhealthy relationship, I started going to church because I saw the love Wesley UMC gave to a lady they didn’t know when her husband died. I was beside her in his room in the nursing home when he died.

She had told me she thought they were married in a Methodist Church. There was no record of her being a Methodist as far as they could tell; but they still loved her anyway, in the name of Christ. I thank God for that divine appointment.

In 2004 – I joined Church (Jan), graduated law school (May), and sat for Bar (July). Later that summer I knew God was calling me to study his Word, for the 1st time in my life. I started attending Disciple I bible study that fall.

I have been blessed with a gift of poetry from God. I really started to write from my faith when I opened God’s Word in 2004.

At the time of my Walk in October 2007, I was up to 1,700 poems.

On the Walk, I was convicted that I needed to do more
-         To Set my priority
-         To Make a plan for my life
-         To Growth through Study
-         To Work to change my piece of the world
-         AND
-         to Use the gifts I had been given in Christian Action

I promised God I was going to let God use me to share his message through this gift of poetry.

Since then, God has given me 9,600 new poems, including about 5,000 in the last year. They have been used in worship, in teaching, all around the world.

But I’ve really been challenged since October 2009, when I gave the Laity Sunday sermon on the parable of the rich man, as to exactly what God is calling me to do with my gifts and talents.

It is found in Mark 10:17-31

The rich man ran up to Christ and asked him what to do to inherit eternal life. Christ referenced the commandments. The man said he did those things. But then…

21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

And Jesus often talked about what it means to follow him, what we must be prepared to give up. Those first disciples gave up everything. They did drop their nets, left their families. They stopped serving one master and chose to serve another. They took up their cross and followed Jesus.

We need to always be testing our lives against the example of Christ and his teachings, to the words of our faith, and to Jesus’ challenges to the rich man, to all of us.

God is challenging us to trust in Him, that He will provide if we are faithful servants. That is in our work and in our sharing of our gifts on our Fourth Days.

It is a journey we are ever on, determining our priority, our call, our faith, our trust. It will happen in God’s time, not our own.

Slide #2

My Name is Ray Foss
and the name is this Talk is Fourth Day

Slide #3
There is A Lot to Do in the World

to Change the World, and it certainly needs changing.

Slide #4
A Lot to Do Closer to Home

To start locally and move out from there. These are pictures from a mission trip to Machias, ME from 2007, building bunks, repairing a roof, building a ramp, and repainting a house. Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

The weekend is almost over. We have spent three days in holy conversations, sharing so much around these tables, in this room, in quiet times, like on Thursday night, in dying moments, in candlelight, in worship, in communion, and around the tables sharing meals together.

We have been blessed by gifts of Agape and prayers around the world and around the clock.

But we are here today, right now, because we are able to leave, to separate, to be sown light wondrous seeds to the world, to continue this journey until we are joined with Christ in glory.

We are about to enter our Fourth Day, our life after, a succession of Fourth Days. It won’t be easy, it won’t be smooth sailing. God didn’t promise that.

In our Fourth Day, we must continue our commitment to be Christ in the world for others.

This weekend has been about what comes next.

If this is all there is, we have all failed. The fellowship, the sharing, all of it is to prepare you for your Fourth Day, your Fourth Days, all the rest of your lives on the journey of your faith, joyfully serving others, as Christ did.

We have met God anew here but we are to go forth now, back into our lives, into our communities, into our churches, energized for the work.

Slide #5
Meeting God Afresh

Seeing God, feeling Him with me
meeting God afresh, in fellowship
In those moments, precious
sensing love, familial, agape
Walking, journeying with God
in a daily covenant
Touched by Pentecost fire, filled by his grace
being a witness, yoked to Christ
With God as our master
great things we can do

Slide #6
You have a mission to
      Strengthen the Christian Community
    to share freely
    because the benefits are far reaching
      Develop Christian Disciples
    to inspire
    to equip
    to show them your new eyes, after these days set apart
      It is like the story of Moses
    not telling about the bush,
      about leading, the people of Israel from slavery into the promised land of relationship with God
      It is like the story of Jonah
    It is not about the fish, where he was for three days
    It is where we hear Jonah’s prayer, from within the fish.
    And the story of Jonah is about going as God commands, and his 4th Day, the day he said Yes to God, even if reluctantly.
      That was how I was on my walk, staring at my life, my history in the pit, knowing that God had reclaimed me, for a purpose
      And it is not about these 3 days per se
    Though each was time set apart
    Sort of like after the cross
    when Christ was transformed from a dead human to a new body, getting ready to ascend to heaven, free from the earth
    These days set apart are transforming us in ways we can’t imagine
    just as it changed Jonah
      And it is about us
    When we act
    We all have a role to play, as part of God’s revelation of the kingdom

Slide #7
Life Grace is a Journey
-         not a destination

It is a process, moving from grace to grace to grace, moving on to perfection
-         prevenient grace – a cloud of God’s grace around you
-         justifying grace – at that moment we open God’s free gift
-         sanctifying grace – every one of our Fourth Days

But it is what we do with it,,,
-         The burning bush wasn’t for Moses, it was for the people of Israel
-         Jonah was saved to save Nineveh
-         AND we’ve changed, by being here
o   but no one else has been
o   and this weekend is about them, not us
§  We are just to be authentic and joyful
-         It is about what we do from here on, during our Fourth Day.

Slide #8
Two Great Dangers after today

      Danger #1:
    Believing you are someone special
    That’s my head on the body of Robert the Bruce… my wife was joking she needed a knight in shining armor, so I did this…
    Don’t be overconfident
    you aren’t special or indispensible
    Lots of people find God, Christ, feel the Holy Spirit
    Emmaus is only one way

      Danger #2:
    Believing you are nobody, like an empty chair
    It took God 80 years until Moses got going
    We have a part to play; don’t give up, keep working
    God isn’t looking for those who are able; God is looking for those who are available, open to his call
    Frustration isn’t in charge; God is

In 1 Corinthians 15:9, the Apostle Paul said,

“For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”

Could you imagine what the church would be like today if Paul had really believed that?

We all have received gifts, as he says in 1 Corinthians 12, and we are all to use them.

Slide #9
How to be Yeast, Salt, Light

We have a key role to play, to be leaven in the dough, salt of the earth, and the light in the darkness (Matthew 13:33, and 5:13-16).

But How do we do that…

      WE Stay in touch with Christ
    read the word, dive in, like with Growth through Study
    This is fresh oil for your lamp, so you can shine
      WE Stay in touch with friends  who share your priority
    Like the reunion groups, like our Men’s group at church
    They help you be accountable, real, be salt
      WE Stay in touch with people whom God has given you to influence
      Share the grace you have been given
      For me that is my poetry, especially when a student approaches me.
      Or some of the homeless who come to our weekly dinner, Our Family’s Table, at the church

Slide #10
All Saints Day

This is a picture of our church’s altar on All Saints Day. Anyone who wanted to came forward with the name of someone who had gone before us. One of the pastors read the name and the other one lit a small candle, which the organist rang a chime. It was so powerful, because we were naming the saints we know, who led us to our faith.

That is part of what this weekend is about, being that kind of person for someone else downstream from us, no matter how chipped or flawed we are, we just have to be a willing vessel; God will do the rest.

Slide #11
Through a Willing Vessel

Your grace oh Lord,
poured out, a libation for the world
shared through a willing vessel
no matter that it is worn, chipped,
damaged and patched,
worthy for the father’s purposes
for the continuing ministry of faith
through a willing vessel
gifts beyond measure
can pour

Slide #12
Equipment for the Journey
      A clear concept of your priority

Right from the beginning of the weekend, from the first talk, we have been talking about our priorities

I hope you’re getting the idea that the world is selling us bad goods.

Christ should be our priority.

Slide #13
Equipment for the Journey
      We need a clear concept of the task
      The world needs change
      Through the Holy Spirit we can be used
      When we meet resistance, we meet it with love and perseverance
      Some don’t like Emmaus
      Some don’t like pushy Christians
      Some don’t like Christians
      Some think they have it all figured out.
      We are just to remain faithful.

Slide #14
Equipment for the Journey
      We need a clear concept of people
      God’s gifts of Grace are different in each person
      But that’s a good thing
      We are all gifted for the work of the kingdom.

Slide #15
Equipment for the Journey
          And Lastly,
      We need a Clear concept of holiness     
      It expands life to the fullest
      When we use all our talents
      When we stay grounded in grace and our true destiny in Christ
      and when we put our trust in God

Slide #16
Her Knight in Shining Armor

Oh, and that lady who I helped back in 2003, which led me back to my faith. Well God wasn’t done with that nudge to stay faithful, to stay on the journey of my Fourth Days.

For you see in 2010, I looked through an old photo album from one of the retired pastors of our church. That was during a rough patch last year when I was really struggling with what my call was. Sure enough, there was a wedding picture of that nice lady and HER knight in shining armor.

It is a reminder to remain faithful and act in Christian love, even when we struggle.

Slide #17

Walking on this Journey

Walking on this journey
because I know my feet
stumbling, leading me
away from the path of life
wanting to be near God
yet walking far from Him
guiding me ever wayward
when I want to be like Him

Walking on this journey
knowing it is a struggle
wanting to submit to Him
but my weakness is within
Standing on this path
His hand to guide me
walking with my Savior
striving ever
to heed the shepherd’s call

Slide #18
May God be with you on your Fourth Day

Slide #19

De Colores

All of my poems, photographs, and videos are copyrighted by Raymond A. Foss, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. All rights reserved. Contact me at Ray Foss ( for usage. See all 41,090+ of my poems at Poetry Where You Live.

No comments: