First Lesson: Isaiah 49: 1-7
Responsive Reading: Psalm 40: 1-11
Second Lesson: 1 Corinthians 1: 1-9
Gospel Lesson: John 1: 29-42
Grace and Peace from Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
The 1998 Minnesota Vikings appeared to be the definition of a middling football team in the last four seasons they had gone 8-8, 9-7, 9-7, whereas their biggest rivals the Green Bay Packers had gone 11-5, 13-3, and 13-3 with a Super Bowl win in the middle. When the NFL was having its annual selection of college players that spring, there was a wide receiver available named Randy Moss. Top College Football coaches Lou Holtz and Bobby Bowden described Randy Moss as one of the best athletes they had ever seen. In College, Randy Moss scored 55 touchdowns in two seasons, as the most dynamic playmaker in College Football.
Randy Moss had baggage, he had gotten into a fight in high school and charged with battery. In college, he tested positive for Marijuana. Randy Moss failed to show up to the NFL’s equivalent of a job fair in the combine. Draft day comes, Moss is expected to be one of the top 5 players taken, and no one takes Randy Moss even though he looked to be one of the clear-cut best players available. Finally, the Minnesota Vikings take him with the 21st pick. Why did the Vikings take him? Randy Moss is one of the most famous football players ever, but you might not know that Randy Moss had a half-brother named Eric Moss.
Eric Moss seemed to be Randy’s opposite in a lot of ways. Whereas Randy was one of the fastest players in the league, Eric Moss weighed 315 lbs. Whereas Randy Moss was one of the best players in College Football, Eric Moss was not one of the 240 drafted players the previous year. In 1997, The Minnesota Vikings signed Eric Moss as one of their practice players who was unlikely ever to get in a game. Here’s the thing about Randy Moss his mother Maxine was a single mom who worked long hours as a nurse’s aide. So the person who watched out for Randy Moss as a child was Eric Moss. So even as every other team was shying away from Randy Moss during the 1998 NFL Draft, the Vikings figured they had a good influence to keep Randy Moss on the relatively straight and narrow in Eric Moss. 1998- The Vikings have their best season ever 15-1. Randy Moss quickly becomes one of the best players in football. Everyone knows Randy Moss, but they might not consider the role Eric Moss played in his story unfolding.
Jackie Robinson is one of the most famous Baseball players ever. Robinson broke Baseball’s color barrier in 1947. People regard Jackie Robinson as having some of the greatest character in American history for his ability not to lash out in the presence of continual racial hostility. Every Major League Baseball team has permanently retired Robinson’s number #42 for what he meant to the game of baseball. What you might not know about Jackie Robinson is that he like Randy Moss also had a brother named Matthew “Mack” Robinson. Jackie Robinson like Randy Moss was the son of a single mother. So Mack would be one of Jackie’s biggest influences growing up. Mack Robinson was a great athlete himself. Robinson came in second the 200 meters to Jesse Owens in 1936 Berlin Olympics, in the presence of hostility of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party. Jackie Robinson arguably does not change American Baseball apart from the witness of Mack Robinson in the face of hostility.
Final story: Later this week, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as President of the United States. What you might not know about Donald Trump is that he refuses to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. Donald Trump had a brother named Freddy Trump Jr. Freddy was the best man at Donald’s first wedding. Freddy seemed to have it all: good looks, outgoing, yet an extreme lack of self-discipline. By his mid-twenties, Freddy Trump’s drinking and eventually his life spiraled out of control. In 1981, at the age of 43, Freddy Trump was dead. In the case of Donald Trump, he continually speaks of how Freddy’s witness impacted his life every day moving forward after he left this world.
Now what I want you to do is picture Randy Moss, Jackie Robinson, and Donald Trump now picture their seemingly anonymous brothers and the huge impact that they played in their lives. Now picture: Randy Moss, Jackie Robinson, and Donald Trump the impact that their lives have had or will have on the lives of others. How none of this happens apart from their brothers. Now let’s talk about Today’s Gospel Lesson.
Saint Peter along with Apostle Paul were the two most influential leaders in the Early Church. Jesus declared Peter to be the rock upon whom he would build his church. The big events of Jesus’ ministry: The Transfiguration, The Garden of Gethsemane. Peter was right there. Saint Peter’s preaching on the day of Pentecost led to the eventual conversion of 3000 people.
Peter is the definition of a big deal, but we know less about his brother Andrew.
Like Eric Moss, Mack Robinson, and Freddy Trump. Jr, Andrew plays a very integral role in Peter’s story and the eventual birth of the Christian church.
Shortly after Jesus’ Baptism, he is hanging out in the Judean wilderness in the presence of John the Baptist. Andrew was a close follower of John the Baptist. Jesus walks by Andrew and John the Baptist, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” Andrew and the other disciple proceed then to spend the afternoon with Jesus. What Jesus says we don’t know?
Here’s what we do know, Andrew is so moved by what Jesus says he immediately goes to find his brother Peter (the closest person to him in the whole wide world). Andrew then introduces Jesus to the man who would become the first head of the Christian church. Andrew is a great evangelist, but what makes Andrew a great evangelist is interesting.
As I’ve talked about before, when I was in college and seminary, I was overweight. My Dad was concerned for my long-term health as he should have been. So Dad signs him and I up to attend a nutrition class, I didn’t want to go. No one likes to be lectured about everything that they’re doing wrong especially if it’s true. The classes would always have snacks that I thought no sane person would ever in a million years. My Dad has made much better investments over the years then sending me to that class. Eventually, though a few years later, I came to a realization that I needed a change in my life. Ironically enough most of what that class taught: High-fat, low-carb is how I try to eat today.
Here’s the thing about Andrew, he realized that was never going to get anywhere telling his brother Peter that “He must listen “or scold him into change. Andrew rather just said to Peter “My life had changed and you can listen too!”
Tim Zingale recalls an attorney one time saying the following: “When I have a poor case, I prepare an eloquent speech, when I have a good case, I simply call the witnesses.”
I believe the Christian Church often gets Evangelism wrong because we misunderstand it.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book The Tipping Point describes three types of people needed to make any social movement such as a church grow.
Gladwell talks about Mavens who are the information people. You ask a Religious Maven a question about what makes “Lutherans different then Methodists?” or “Why does the Bible have so many letters by the Paul fellow?” Mavens can give you an answer. Mavens would be seminary professors, seasoned pastors, and highly educated laymen. You will learn probably the most interesting things from a church maven. The thing about mavens though is you find a room full of them no one else will be able to say a word.
The second type of person, Gladwell talks about needed in any social movement is salespeople. Salespeople can persuade others of the worthiness of their cause. Salespeople are ready to respond to objections often without hesitation. Salespeople would great be preachers like Andrew’s brother Peter along with other seemingly larger than life personalities who help build communities.
You might hear these two descriptions and believe that you’re neither a theological maven nor a skilled preacher so therefore you’re not an evangelist. According to Gladwell though, you don’t have to be. Andrew was a connector. Andrew’s gifts were in extending invitations to others.
Phillip McLarty gives the following example. The Billy Graham Crusade had a program called Operation Andrew. Operation Andrew would seek to find normal, everyday believers within local churches and have them invite just one person to hear the great religious salesperson Billy Graham. Billy Graham didn’t become the country’s most famous preacher because of his Peter like preaching; Graham became the country’s most famous preacher because all sorts of Andrews were extending invitations for others to hear him.
Ed Markquart makes the following observation: “I would like to suggest to you that throughout the history of the church that there have been 10,000 Andrews for every one Peter”. Without Andrew, there is no Christian Church.
Andrew’s gifts of connecting people with the faith are on display throughout the course of his life.
In John 12, a couple of random Greeks are passing through Jerusalem. Jerusalem was like Minneapolis in that it was the hub of all activity. These Greeks hear Jesus preach and want to meet him. The following outreach would have been a huge deal as Greeks would have been way outside Jesus’ typical crowd. Phillip tells Andrew of the Greeks request, Phillip and Andrew both tell Jesus. Pretty soon, all sorts of unlikely Greek disciples are made.
John 6, Jesus is followed to the other side of the Sea of Tiberius by a large crowd of 5,000 people. Nightfall is coming soon; everyone is hungry and long ways from home. No one has any idea how to feed all these people. Andrew though had been walking through the crowd and came across a young boy with five loaves of bread and two fish. Andrew then introduced this boy to Jesus. Pretty soon, five thousand people were fed all because of Andrew, even though very few people think of Andrew when they think of the feeding of the 5000.
My point for this morning is this. You might not see yourself this morning as an evangelist. You might see yourself like Andrew. Andrew wasn’t a brilliant religious scholar or a charismatic public speaker. I picture Andrew as the type of guy who works at the mine; walk around Zup’s with taconite-stained clothes, Andrew would be the type of guy who likes hunting, fishing, football, and Nascar. The Church always needs people like Andrew. People whose lives are so changed by Jesus’ presence that they invite others to also follow. To some Andrew might have only been the other brother, yet too many others more, Andrew might have been the one to help introduce them to Jesus. Amen
 Guest. “Randy Moss, From Beginning to End.” Pro Player Insiders. Feb. 2.2013. Web. 10.Jan. 2017.
 “Mack Robinson”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation.Aug.12.2016. Web. Jan.10.2017.
 Horowitz, Jason. “For Donald Trump, Lessons from a Brother’s Suffering.” New York Times. Jan.2.2016. Web. 10. Jan.2016.
 John 1:36.
 John 1:39.
 Zingale, Tim. “Concerning Your Calling.” Sermon Central. Jan.14.2008. Web. 10. Jan.2017.
 McLarty, Phillip. “Lamb of God.” Sermon Writer. 2010. Web. 10.Jan.2017
 Markquart’s semon served as my spark for this week.
 John 12:20-26.
 John 6:8-9
 Markquart. Edward. “Series A: Andrew”. Sermons from Seattle. Web. 10.Jan.2017.
Pastor Stew Carlson
These are all Sunday sermon's written by Pastor Stew.