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"Teaching With Authority" - January 31st, 2021


"Your word is a lamp to my feet and light to my path."


Psalm 119:105


Message of Stewardship

from Claudia Tumaliuan


Hello! I'm Claudia Tumaliuan, the church's Children and Youth director.


I have already done this before where I say, “Oh, you know, please give to the church!” and I've even shown you guys cool cards and stuff - what I use your offerings for!


But I decided to ask Pastor Michael this week. So I went to the office and asked, “What does are offering go to when our doors are closed?” And he gave me a list.


The first one? Lights! Every time we're filming our services for you, we have to use our lights...meaning that's a bill we have to pay. If you've ever driven by either one of our locations, you've probably seen some beautiful gardens.


Our rose garden over at Little Brown Church and our backyard garden are both being up kept by gardeners and just regular staff members around making sure everything is beautiful.


Oh, and let's not forget the handiwork! That's right, folks. If you've driven over here to COV, I'm sure you've seen the beautiful paint job around the church.


All of these things are things your offering is paying for. Without you, these things wouldn't happen. So please, when you are giving, if it's a little bit or a lot, it is all important. It all goes to the upkeep of these beautiful buildings.


It also goes to the trash pickup here at church, water, and lots of other things. And then of course when we're in service, we have so many activities! Our children's goldfish, and our food pantry pickups, and just so many other things.


So please, no matter what you give, it's important. It all goes back to you!

Church of the Valley in Van Nuys, CA

They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. They were all amazed and they kept on asking one another. “What is this? A new teaching with authority!”


Mark 1:21 - 22, and 27


Pastor Michael's Sermon - January 31st, 2021


I attended Dunsmore Elementary School in La Crescenta, and I don't know how it is now, but when I was there the grade school went through sixth grade.


I was very shy when I was in grade school and most of the time I just tried to blend in. If the teacher was doing a problem on the board and I knew the answer, I probably wouldn't even raise my hand because I didn't want to draw attention to myself.


There were many people that I was friendly with. There were others that I would call my friends, but for the most part I tried to stay out of the limelight.


I remember one time when I was in about fourth or fifth grade, our teacher received a note calling her to the school office and as she left the room she looked back right at me and said, “Mike!” Yes, that's what everyone called me back then. She said, “Mike, I'm going to the office. You're in charge until I get back.” Then she turned the class and said, “Everyone, Mike's in charge till I get back.”


And the moment the teacher left, I remember all eyes slowly turning toward me

and I was frozen, realizing that they had all locked eyes with me. There was a brief moment before suddenly everything broke loose. Kids were screaming and running around the room! Paper airplanes flying through the air! Spit wads were being shot across the room! The noise level was through the roof and all I could do was stare at the door for fear that the teacher was going to come back.


In a couple of moments she did and instantly she yelled at the class to knock it off.


I remember her looking at me with such disappointment and I felt terrible the rest of the day.


The next year in another class that teacher approached me one day. She said, “I have something I would like for you to do.” I thought she was going to ask me to bang chalkboard erasers or go to the office and take the copies off of the ditto machine. So, if you don't know what it ditto machine is, ask somebody over say 45. Anyway, neither one of these were tasks that she wanted from me. She was letting me know that it was my turn to be Hall Monitor for a week. She wanted me for an entire week to stand in the hall before and after school and during recess telling kids not to run and make sure that they had hall passes if they were somewhere they weren't supposed to be.


Immediately my mind went back to the last time I was put in charge and how horribly that went in the short time it took for the teacher to go to the office and back. But I had no choice.


I was Hall Monitor the next day.


I was sent out into the hall to fulfill my responsibilities. But before I went, I was given the hall monitor badge. Now this wasn't something that you wore on your lapel. Really it was was a round metal disc and of course on it it said “Hall Monitor” and it was attached to a sort of thick fabric ribbon that was about 8 inches long.


So I went out into the hallway and when I took my place I began to do with the badge something that I had seen other Hall Monitors do and that was to spin the badge so that the ribbon would wrap around my index finger and then spin it back the other way, and over, and over. I thought it looked so cool when all the other Hall Monitors did that.


Anyway, right away there were kids in places that they weren't supposed to be.

And when I built up my confidence to tell them to go back to the playground, they did. They went back to the playground.


I saw a couple of kids running and I said, “Hey, hey, no running!” and they stopped.


This was very different than the last time I was left in charge in the classroom that year before and that's how it was for the whole week.


Kids listened to me. And I know exactly why. It was because I had the badge!


What I said meant something because of the badge. The badge gave me authority.


Today's scripture is one that talks of authority. In it, the people of the synagogue are astounded to hear Jesus speak. They're used to the scribes speaking and putting their own interpretations on the instructions they're given, or their explanations of what God wants from us. But then there comes this man!


Jesus! Whom they've seen perform miracles and healings and he has a new message and it seems to come directly from God.


The authority with which Christ speaks to them sends a clear reminder of the lack of authority the scribes and the pharisees really possess. Christ's authority is why we continue to follow him even today.


Christ's authority lives in who he is and the message he brings to us. We don't question Christ's authority to spread the word of God because he is the son of God sent by God. That is his Hall Monitor badge.


But consider this, as Christians we too spread the word of God.


So I ask you, do we have the authority to do so and if so what gives us that authority? Well, I won't keep you in suspense. Yes, we absolutely have the authority to do so and what gives us that authority is that we are followers of Jesus Christ, and we have been asked to continue telling the story and spreading the message of God Christ brought to us! We do this through our words and how we live our lives.


The problem lies in the fact that all of the followers of Christ have been given authority but that doesn't mean that all of Christ's followers are using their authority in a way that you and I might deem Christ like.


We've all heard some Christians use the name of Christ to spread a message of

division, a message of exclusion, a message of condemnation. It is important for us not to misuse our authority when we further God's message through Christ. We must remember that first and foremost Christ brought to us a message of sister and brotherhood. A message of inclusion, a message of lifting up all others, a message of hope, and a message of love. This is who we know Christ to be. This is how we must represent Christ to the rest of the world.


Right now in our country, we are laboring to get to a place of unity. We need so badly to get past an “us against them” mentality.


A message of love and inclusion and compassion is exactly what we need right now.


Our world is suffering. All over this planet, people are sick and people are dying from this terrible virus. Christ's message of God's hope is exactly what we need right now.


It is up to us to further God's message from the place that Christ delivered it. From a place of love for all people. A place that validates. A place that empowers and affirms.


We use our authority wisely when our understanding of the word comes from a foundation of caring and is delivered to others from a foundation of caring.


Throughout our daily lives, we must live the word. We must tell the word from a Christ like place. Playing out our authority in this way shines light upon the world.

It is a light of peace. It is the light of hope.


It's a lamp that lights our path and when we share it, God's word is a lamp to light the path of others as well.


If we remain constantly aware of the Christ that lives in our hearts and we know him to be compassionate, and we know him to be kind, and we know him to be loving, the message that we deliver to the world will be just as compassionate and just as kind and just as loving.


Go out and use your authority.


Shine the light of Christ before you and may that light be a beacon to the world.


Let’s pray.


Holy God, we thank you so much for entrusting us to continue teaching your word. As we do so, lead us and guide us so that your will shall be done. It's in the name of Jesus Christ we pray.


Amen.

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