KinmundyChurch.org: Welcome to our church blog!

We Would Like You To Know —

WORSHIP THIS WEEK …  four options:

1.  Worship in the Sanctuary under Phase 4 guidelines. (See below)

2.  You may continue to join us for “Drive In Worship” at KUMC at 9:00 am. Tune your car radio to 87.9 FM.  Masks are optional outside of the church. The bulletin is in the bucket at the Southeast corner of the church near the steps and also online as a part of the “Worship at Home” service.

3. Worship at Home at any time. Visit our church blog at https://kinmundychurch.org, look under Categories and click on  Attend “Worship at Home”.

4. A copy of the “Worship at Home” service AND a sermon transcript will be emailed or sent by US Mail Monday to anyone who requests it. Call the church office at 547-7423 to subscribe.

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If anyone wishes to have Communion please contact Pastor Dave and he will schedule a midweek morning or evening Communion Service.

Devotional materials & Upper Rooms are in the pews with the bulletin for those who like to read them. If you don’t want them, it is ok to leave them.

PASTOR DAVE intends to telephone all active members this month, so don’t be surprised when your phone rings or there is a message on the answering machine from him!

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The Kinmundy worship planning team met June 15, 2020, and made decisions for our return to worship in the sanctuary. (All interested were invited to attend that meeting.)   WE EXPECT THAT LIFE WILL REMAIN UNUSUAL (and require some inconvenience and discomfort) THROUGH THE SUMMER and hopefully be back to normal this fall.

1. Six-foot social distancing is identified by bulletins placed on pews, which are also marked with a verticle strip of green masking tape. Families can sit together but please maintain that distance with others, especially when moving about.

2. We will still broadcast the service on FM 87.9 so that people can attend in their cars, whether for reasons of safety or comfort (mask optional).

3. For safety, wearing a mask in the church sanctuary is mandatory; the virus is spread by the breath of people, and you can be contagious two weeks before you know it. Outside the church and in your car is a “mask optional” zone.  (When allowed, we will attempt to create a mask optional zone within the church building.) The pastor has a mask for you if you need one!

4. If you are going to sneeze, please cover your mouth with a Kleenex. A box should be present at each seating spot.

5. The pastor will wear a face shield while preaching as “sermon virus” can spread over 20+ feet.

6. Please do not sing aloud in the sanctuary during hymns, as that widely spreads the virus. Humming along softly is OK. Singing outside and in your car is OK. Please enjoy the recorded Southern Gospel music as it is shared.

7. Groups under 50 can meet inside the church building with masks and social distance. We’ll let our bible studies and other groups decide if they wish to meet at the church this summer or wait until the fall. Meeting outside or elsewhere is OK.

8. We are not providing food but you can “bring your own beverage” to any meeting.

9. As United Methodists, we follow our Bishop’s recommendations, which are based on Illinois Department of Public Health safety guidelines. You can view them here:
Coming Back to the Heart of Worship
Phase 4 Guidelines
Phase 3 Guidelines

10.  Our goal is to provide the safest possible environment for inside worship at Kinmundy UMC, plus safe choices for our members to worship in this time of the coronavirus pandemic.  We will not compromise.

(This is why a mask or face shield is required to attend worship in the Kinmundy Church sanctuary.)

CURRENT REALITY: As the Coronavirus spreads, large UMC churches as close as Olney, IL, have retreated to parking lot services, canceling their indoor services. Other churches throughout the south are going backward to online services only. All UMC Church buildings and property in Mississippi are shut down entirely, no gatherings of any kind, including for worship, due to the spread of Coronavirus in that state. We do not feel the need to retreat as long as everyone present cooperates with all known safety precautions. If we do need to make a change, it will be to return to parking lot worship in your cars.

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KinmundyChurch.org: The Blog of the Kinmundy and Wesley United Methodist Churches, 308 E. 3rd St, Kinmundy, IL, 62854

AFTER CORONAVIRUS requirements cease, we will return to our normal schedule:
Worship at Kinmundy: 9 am Sunday. At Wesley: 10:45 Sunday.
Wednesday@Wesley Bible Study for both churches: 7 pm Wednesdays.

Visit us on Facebook here!

Listen to or download sermons and slides by clicking here.

Vision Statement: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
Mission Statement: “Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional.” (¶126, Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church)

The world has 2 needs and 2 kinds of people: People who need to become disciples
and disciples who need to become disciple-makers.
(T4T)

Kinmundy United Methodist Churches
308 3rd Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854
AFTER CORONAVIRUS CANCELATIONS, Worship at 9 am.  Please join us!        

Wesley United Methodist Church
3381 Kinoka Rd, Patoka, IL  62875
AFTER CORONAVIRUS CANCELATIONS, Worship at 10:45 am.

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY:
PLEASE CHECK THE CHURCH FACEBOOK PAGE FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION!

Weekday policy: if South Central public schools are closed because of bad weather,
church activities that day are postponed.
Be Safe!

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Sermon 08/09/20: Pentecost – Instant Replay (Pentecost IX)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 08/09/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of the Centering Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help. I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life. Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not. Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature. Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted. Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood. I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

HYMN Gaither Vocal Band – I Believe in a Hill Called Mount Calvary (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NSdy2N7mHA

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN
Guy Penrod, The Nelons – The Ninety and Nine (Live)
Lyrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcYgJ0kqmzA
Performance
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NbHZjlnWos&list=PLrQ_9CjH0M3AQm_izrWBXmcFdVMf7KsdX&index=17

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: Pentecost – Instant Replay
Text: Acts 10, 11
Series: Four Spiritual Laws (after Sheltering in Place)
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.

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SERMON NOTES

Selections from Acts 10 and 11

1 At Caesare’a there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, 2 a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms liberally to the people, and prayed constantly to God. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius.” 4 And he stared at him in terror, and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa, and bring one Simon who is called Peter …

10 And he became hungry and desired something to eat; but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11 and saw the heaven opened, and something descending, like a great sheet, let down by four corners upon the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “No, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has cleansed, you must not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.

28 and he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit any one of another nation; but God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.”

44 While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.

Acts 11:1 Now the apostles and the brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, 3 saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” 4 But Peter began and explained to them in order …

15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” 18 When they heard this they were silenced. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance unto life.”

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HYMN Steve Green – People Need The Lord (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uZcGaixMhg

In church:
HYMN Steve Green – People Need The Lord (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nbxvc6eeXso

BENEDICTION: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

Last week we talked about the reality of the need, when you enter a room, to ask yourself, “What am I here after?” And the very best answer to that, I suggested, was that what we’re here after is to love God with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength because when He is the principle that organizes our lives, when He is on the throne at the Lord He sorts everything out as it should be. And when He is in the right place in our hearts, we are always adjusting to what He requires from us. We’re always adjusting and that’s still true.

Friends. I want to tell you of a problem. The problem has to do with the reality that God chose for the Christian religion to begin in the environment of Judaism. And when I say Judaism, or Jewish, today, I want you to understand I’m not talking about the way Jewish people are today. I’m talking about the way they were 2000 years ago. Because 2000 years ago, no matter how much Jesus would say, “All lives matter,” what they heard was, “Jewish lives matter.”

You know the parable – we just heard the song about it – the parable of the lost sheep, the lost lamb. You imagine yourself walking through the wilderness and you hear this cry and you come up and there’s a lamb trapped in a hole. You see, the first thing they would say is, “Are you a Jewish lamb?” Because if you weren’t a Jewish lamb, they’d say, “Good luck.” Now it’s pretty bold of me to say that, but it underlies the scriptures that I want to share with you this morning. Because no matter what Jesus said, they had a tendency to hear what they wanted to hear, what their background and their culture told them to hear. And please, again, keep in mind these are Jewish people from 2000 years ago, not Jewish people today.

To where there came a point to where God had to say to the first disciples, “Gentile lives matter.” Because the behavior of the disciples showed that the truth was very different than what God wanted. Let’s begin with John 3:16. “For God so loved” – what does it say? – “the world.” Now wait a minute. Wait a minute. The world is full of unholiness and sin and we’ve been told that God hates unholiness and sin and that God hates sinful people and as a result we should stay away from them. Friends, what does it say? “God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that” – please join me – “whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Or, as we said a few weeks ago, God loves you. No matter who you are. And has a wonderful plan for your life. God so loved the whole wide world.

And so, at the end of the gospels, just before Jesus leaves, as he’s giving them their final instructions, he is very blunt and clear. And Jesus came and said to them “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. I’m the boss.” That’s why they say Jesus is Lord. So listen up. I’m going to tell you what you need to do.

What’s the next word? Go. Go therefore and make disciples of Jewish people. Now, wait a minute. It doesn’t say that, does it? Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. Because you see, no matter how you’re prejudiced, gentile lives matter. And baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. And then, verse twenty, pass this command on to them. Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Every command that Jesus gave the disciples is to be taught to every new disciple. And then they’re to teach it to the other new disciples. Because you see, the Great Commission comes to every single one of us. And lo I am with you always to the end of the age.
But, the big one is, go. In Mark, you see it this way. Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” I don’t know if you knew this or not, but Saint Francis had the habit of preaching the gospel to the trees and the grass and the birds. Because, you see, he took this literally. A little bit further down (this will be important later) seventeenth verse, one of the signs that accompany those who believe, belong to Jesus Christ, and there is an important reason why it’s in this context. It has to do with the instant replay that I’ll be telling you about. It says that one of these signs is that they will speak in new tongues just like the disciples did on the day on the day of Pentecost. I’ll explain that in just a minute.

In Luke, Jesus says it this way, “Plus it is written that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in God’s name, his name, to all nations beginning from Jerusalem.” Why? You are witnesses of these things.

In Acts, it’s repeated in a similar way, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” In other words, going out from Jerusalem, the disciples are to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to every – every nation through the whole earth.

So here’s the question. Is that what they did?

Here’s the problem. After the Holy Spirit fell upon them, all of a sudden, they had a church of 3000 members. Within a few months, that church of 3000 members had reached to where there were some 15,000 members. And they all went to the temple every day to worship and they all met in their homes every night. And the disciples gathered with the leadership in a place called Solomon’s Forge in the temple, and everyone respected that. Every one honored them. And they gave up the idea of going because taking care of what they had in the temple was to them, the highest priority. And of course, in the temple, everyone honored them, and maybe they got a little bit too excited about it.

But as the numbers of Christian people grew, persecution happened. Acts 8:1, “And on that day, a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem and they were all scattered throughout the region in Judea and Samaria …” So persecution actually brought the command of Jesus to become true. Except, you notice what it says there? Except the disciples. They still hid away in Jerusalem because that was their idea of where they were most needed.
Friends, the disciples walked with Jesus for three years, but they struggle with the same problems we did. The church that they had seemed to be at them, to be the most important thing. The 99 healthy sheep seemed to them to be their highest priority. And not only that, all these other Christians who are scattered everywhere, take a look at what verse 19 in Acts 11 says. “Now, those who were scattered because of the persecution of the rose over the death of Stephen travelled as far as Phoenician, Cyprus and Antioch. And wherever they went, they spoke of Jesus Christ, but only to Jewish people. Only to Jewish people.

So you see, the little lamb that’s trapped down in the ground. “Are you a Jewish lamb? Oh, you’re not a Jewish lamb — well, God bless you.” The person whose car is broken down by the side of the road. “Do you go to the Methodist church? You don’t? Oh, God bless you.” We still have the same tendency today.

Then it came to a point in time to where God just couldn’t stand it anymore. God could not wait for them to get it. So he created what I’d like to call an instant replay. Now, what I’m about to tell you actually covers two chapters in the Book of Acts.
It’s very long, it’s very lengthy. We’d be here until the afternoon if we read the context of every one of these scriptures. So, I invite you to do this at home. But basically, here’s what happens.

In Caesarea, there was a man named Cornelius. He was a centurion. He was what you would call a colonel or a general. Caesarea, and you’re looking at the pictures there of the ruins of the palace of Caesarea. Kim and I were there. This happens to be a picture that I took. It’s magnificent. It’s right on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s beautiful. And that’s where Pilate’s palace was. The Roman government– the seat of Roman government. And Pilate actually spend almost all of his time here. He would come to Jerusalem once or twice a year when the Jewish people would get irritable. But this is the seat, the capital city in a sense of the entire region of the Roman government. It’s an important place. And if you’re the centurion, you’re an important person.

And this centurion believed in God. This centurion prayed daily. This centurion did good deeds. And all of a sudden, one day he was praying and he was shocked because the voice of God appeared to him. And the voice of God said this, “I’ve heard your prayers. I want you to send to Joppa for a man named Simon. His other name is Peter. And he’s in the house of the tanner in Joppa. Go and tell him to come to you because he has something you need to hear.”
Now Joppa – today they call it Jaffa – is some 35 miles straight south down the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s 42 miles northwest from Jerusalem and 35 miles from Caesarea. It takes about 12 hours, according to Google Maps, to walk that far. So this was no small thing.

And so, servants of Cornelius begin to make their way to this tanner’s house in Jaffa. And when they’re about an hour away, all of a sudden, Peter gets hungry. And they’re making his lunch. And maybe it smelled so good he couldn’t deal with it, so he went up on the roof to pray. Now, in those days, flat roofs, no rain. They had their patio on the roof. So there he was up on the roof to pray, and he fell into a trance and he had a vision, you might call it a dream. But he was very aware of every aspect of it. And this is what the dream was like.

“And he became hungry and desired something to eat and while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw that Heaven opened and something descending like a great sheet laid down by four corners upon the earth. And in it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air.” Animals and reptiles and birds of the air. The Jewish people weren’t allowed to eat them. Verse 13. “And then came a voice to him, “Rise, Peter. Kill and eat.” But Peter said, “No Lord. No, no! “for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean. I’ve always been a good Jew, in other words. Verse 15. And the voice came to him again a second time. Please read this with me. What God has cleansed, you must not call common. Now, in case you didn’t get the point, it happened three times, and then the sheet was drawn up.

And all of a sudden there comes a knock at the door. Somebody pokes his head up through the hole to the roof and says, “Peter, there’s some people here to see you.” And the Holy Spirit says to Peter, “I’ve sent them. You go with them.” So they tell their story. So you see there’s a whole line of coincidences here to help Peter to get it. And he travels that 35 miles north to Caesarea along the coast, and then he meets Cornelius, and the two of them share their tales of the coincidences. Well, I was told to do this. Well, they did that, and I was told that they were coming, and they went back and forth and figured it all out.
And finally, Peter says to all the people who were there, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate or to visit any one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” So Peter makes clear to them what the Jewish rules are, but he goes on to say, “So when I was sent for, I came without objection.” I asked then why you sent for me?” And Cornelius tells them about how he has a message that God wants them to hear. And Peter begins to talk about Jesus Christ.

And while Peter was still saying these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. Now, what does that mean? That means all the people who were gathered around, who were gentile, experienced the day of Pentecost. It was an instant replay because you see the Twelve Apostles did not make the right call on the field. It was to correct their misunderstanding — that what they were supposed to do was stay in Jerusalem and take care of the church — when what pleased God was for them to go and preach the gospel to the world.

And the believers from among the circumcised who came with Peter, the other Jewish people who were witnesses, they were amazed because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the gentiles. What an astonishing event!

Instantly, Peter got in trouble with the Jewish leaders back in Jerusalem. He wasn’t following the rules. They called him on the carpet. They demanded he explain himself. Now, the Apostles and the brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. What a horrible thing. It’s our special little secret. Verse 2. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” Or, to put it in a different way, “Why did you break our Jewish rule?”
So Peter began to explain it to them. He went through all the different coincidences, and what God had said to him, and how each prediction, men are coming to get you. They want to take you here. How each of these predicted coincidences prove that God was acting.

And finally, he said, “As I began to speak–” God didn’t even wait for the end of the sermon. “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'” Yes. “Then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Who was I that I could withstand God, that I could disagree and argue with God?”
Now, keep in mind, this is happening in Jerusalem. These are the most Jewish of the Jewish people. They were trying to practice Christianity as Jewish people and keep all the Jewish rules. But notice what happens immediately when Peter mentions this. When they heard this they were silenced. Who can argue with the point God is making in this instant replay? How could we disagree with God? And they glorified God saying, “then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance unto life.”

And so the disciples began to speak about Jesus with people who weren’t Jewish. And because of that, centuries later, you and I are worshipping in this church because the early church got off to a bad start. They thought that the church that they had, the 90 and 9 on the hillside, were what they were supposed to take care of, when, in reality, they were sent to the one that was lost, the one that was not with the others. Jesus told them repeatedly, “I want you to go. Now, start here in Jerusalem, but I want you to go and begin to teach all the people in the world, gentiles too, what it means to follow Jesus Christ.” And when they went astray, God gave them an instant replay to show them what they were really supposed to do.

And friends, you know something? Sometimes we need the same thing. We need God to remind us of what we’re supposed to do. I took this picture on the first Sunday morning when the church had been closed down by government order to try to keep people safe. And starting way back in March right up to this day, those of us who are pastors and leaders in the church are asking the same question, “How do we be Christian in this world that is changing?” Now the form that question took back then was, “How do we be Christians without a church building? How do we be Christians without coming together every week for worship?” All the favorite tools that we use to do our work were in a moment taken away from us. We had to figure out, “Well, how do you practice the faith in a new way?”

Now I’ll be really humble with all of you, friends. Jesus never intended for the apostles to operate a temple in Jerusalem. He was starting something new with them way back when. So, the answer to that question, “How do we be Christians without our buildings? How do we be Christians in the midst of this pandemic?” is still the very same answer. You turn to the beginning in Matthew and you start reading. And when Jesus says, “Follow me,” then you do that. And when Jesus says, “I want you to do this,” then you do that. And then when you get all the way to the end and Jesus says, “Now it’s time for you to go,” then you do that.
For centuries, the way the church in Kinmundy and Springfield and Chicago and New York and Paris, France, and Rome and Jerusalem operated was to sit there in the church building and say, “You all out there, you come to us.” Things haven’t changed a whole lot because the command of Jesus is still for us to go to them.

“Well, Pastor, distancing says I’m not supposed to go near them.” That’s true.

“Distancing says I shouldn’t invite a whole bunch of my neighbors over to my house for a barbecue.” Well, that’s true.

But you see, what we need to remember is that when we go into a room or we go into a situation, just like today, what we do is we announce to the room, we announce to the coronavirus, we announce to Governor Pritzker, and anyone else who needs to hear it, “Jesus is Lord right here and right now.” And then you look your eyes up to heaven and you say, “Lord, if you want me to go, you’re going to need to show me how. Lord Jesus, if you want me to do something I’m gonna need your help. You’re going to need to show me how because I’m out of my depth and out of my comfort zone.”

So friends, let me remind you what the instant replay is. We’re still supposed to go. What a church is about is not the ninety and nine or the hundred and ninety-nine or whoever is here. It’s about who’s not here.

And I’ll be very honest with you. With the restrictions that are asked of us, I’m not exactly sure how we can even go. But here’s the thing I want to encourage you. If God opens a door, I encourage you to walk through it. If God provides you with an opportunity to talk to someone who does not believe in Jesus Christ, I encourage you to take advantage of that opportunity. And if God does not open a door, I encourage you to pray that God would open the door.

Because what Jesus said to the twelve apostles– he says to us. “You go out there. And if you go, I am going to give you some sheep to take care of. They are not sheep from my fold. But I have many sheep throughout the whole wide world. And I want you to go and find the ones you’re supposed to watch over and you watch over them.

Oh, and then you can bring them back to church just like this guy’s bringing his sheep down the highway.

But no matter where you are, no matter where you go, no matter who you’re with, it’s still the same thing. We are always adjusting to what He requires from us. And I want you to know that I want to give you a 12-point plan for how to do this. I want to give you a recipe to follow. But I’ll be honest with you, brothers and sisters. I don’t have a clue. And that really bothers me because I’m the guy with all the books.

But there is one thing that I do know. If you make yourself available to God, God will use you to do God’s work in ways that I can’t even imagine and will probably amaze you as well. Just be willing to go.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Raod, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

Posted in Attend "Worship at Home" | Leave a comment

Sermon 08/02/20: LAW #4: Choose this day whom you will serve (Pentecost IX)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 08/02/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of the Centering Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help. I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life. Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not. Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature. Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted. Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood. I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

HYMN Gaither Vocal Band – Where Could I Go [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjxMpitgep4

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN Gaither Vocal Band & TaRanda Greene – Jesus Hold My Hand (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA639oCTm5E

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: LAW #4: We must follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Text: Luke 6:45-49; Joshua 24:13-25
Series: Four Spiritual Laws (after Sheltering in Place)
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.

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SERMON NOTES

Luke 6:45-49
45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. 46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

Joshua 24:13-25
13 I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and cities which you had not built, and you dwell therein; you eat the fruit of vineyards and oliveyards which you did not plant.’ 14 “Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 And if you be unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” 16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; 17 for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, and who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; 18 and the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land; therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”
19 But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the LORD; for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. 20 If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good.”
21 And the people said to Joshua, “Nay; but we will serve the LORD.” 22 Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” 23 He said, “Then put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD, the God of Israel.” 24 And the people said to Joshua, “The LORD our God we will serve, and his voice we will obey.” 25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem. 

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HYMN Bill & Gloria Gaither – Blessed Assurance (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LRI-lLYyq4&list=PLrQ_9CjH0M3AQm_izrWBXmcFdVMf7KsdX

BENEDICTION: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

Image by u_jup1hbno from Pixabay.

TRANSCRIPT

I told a joke last week that’s been on my mind a lot this week, so let me tell it again, even though you know the punchline.

A pastor said to an older member of the congregation, “Ma’am, at your advanced age, you should be thinking about the hereafter.” And the woman said, “Pastor, I think about the hereafter all the time. I go down in the basement. I go upstairs to the bedroom. I walk through my house. I walk into the kitchen. And I’m constantly thinking, “What am I here after? What am I here after?”

And it occurred to me this week, that’s a really good question. You know where you are. What are you here after?

Well, let me give you a clue. Let me give you a hint. This is what Jesus says is at the root. This is what Jesus says is at the foundation. Wherever you are, I would suggest to you that this is what you’re here after, what you’re seeking.

Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? Which is the one that has the priority, that comes first, that comes before everything else?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the great and first commandment. So when you walk into the kitchen, the question is, “I’m here. How do I love God here? How do I love God here with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my mind?”

Now there’s some of us when we’re in certain places, we’re really good with the heart part. We understand our emotions, but you know what gets us into our trouble? We understand our emotions. We’re not using our minds. Have you ever been in a place where you knew what you were feeling, but not what you were thinking? With all your soul, with who you are, but if you’re not in touch with your feelings, are you really aware of who you are? And anybody will tell you the mind is a thing I like to use. I’m always thinking, but I’m not using everything that God gave me if I’m just using the thinking part. The feeling part’s important too. No matter where you are, if you will listen, you’ll feel something in your heart that God needs to be done. You’ll feel something in your soul that’s important. Your mind will notice something that needs fixing. If you take a minute to listen, God will show you the things that you can change, and you can have the courage to change them!

It would be wonderful if you could walk into the kitchen or the basement or the garage or whatever part of the house it is and feel this sense from God that everything is as it should be. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? May it happen all the time! Well, I think this is what we’re here after.

Jesus expands it; He says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” So if you’re in the kitchen with your neighbor, your neighbor’s important and so are you. And then Jesus says, All of the law and the prophets, every commandment, every request, fits somehow under the umbrella. But it all starts with this: “I am here, but what I’m here after is to love God with all my heart and soul and mind and strength.

As Christian psychologist Henry Cloud says, “When loving God is our orientation principle in life, we’re always adjusting to what He requires from us.” And wherever you are, there is something that God requires from us.

Here’s how Jesus put it; this is Luke 6:45. “The good man, the good woman, the good person, out of the good treasure of his heart, produces good, and the evil man, the evil woman, the evil person, out of his evil treasure, produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart,” in other words, what’s in here and overflowing, overflows out of your mouth. Whatever’s inside your heart overflows out of your mouth. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

And then Jesus says this little phrase, which indicates the difficulty that many of us have. “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” Now, if you’ve raised children, you’re very familiar with that. “Why do you call me, ‘Mom, Mom,” and not sit there and do what I tell you? Why do you call me, ‘Dad, Dad,’ and then ride your bicycle unsafely in the street?” And the answer is, “Well, I’m a kid; what did you expect?”

Nonetheless, it’s a good question. If I’m the Lord, then it would be wise for you to think about what I’m telling you to do. Here’s why, Jesus goes on to say. “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words–” and see, that’s the thing with kids. They hear the words. Jesus says, “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words,” that’s good, but the second part’s even better, “and does them, I will show you what he is like. He is like a man building a house who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock, and when a flood arose, when trouble happened … trouble is always going to happen. When a flood rose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it because it was well-built. It was well-built on a foundation, not of just coming to Christ, not of just hearing the words of Christ, but built on a foundation of doing what we’re told.

The next part. He who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell and the ruin of that house was great.

Now I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this, particularly when there’s a flood, the flood does not knock the house down. The flood makes the house unstable, and it collapses from its own weight. The stream is always going to come. But the practice of doing what Jesus asks us to do builds a firm foundation.

What am I here after? I want that firm foundation. I’m here not only to come to Jesus, not only to hear what Jesus wants, but I want to be a person who does what Jesus told me to do.

The original four spiritual laws booklet put it very plainly. Who are you going to serve? Joshua 24, this comes from a very long passage. It’s on the back of your bulletin, but the people of Israel have come into the promised land. God has kept his promise to them. And Joshua calls them all together and gives them a warning. “You need to choose whom you will serve.” Maybe you’ll choose the old-fashioned gods, the ones your fathers served in the region beyond the river. Or maybe you’re going to just cave and serve the new local gods. The ones that the people around you worship. The gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But Joshua plainly says to them, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

And the people of Israel say, “That’s what we’re going to do too.” And Joshua warns them if you do not keep this promise, bad stuff will happen. And there is in the bible a concept called the Deuteronomic cycle.

Israel falls away. Drifts away from God to serve other priorities, other gods.
And bit by bit, piling up upon them, are the consequences of those poor decisions,
which cause them great suffering,
and of course, the minute that all hell is about to break loose,
all of a sudden, now they want to turn back to God
and the Lord hears their prayer and saves the day.
And they swear to themselves, “I will never again turn away from God
and sure enough, a few months later, a few years later, it all starts up again.

Most of the Old Testament has that story. So just as Joshua looked at them, I went to look at you and say this, we need to choose whom we’re going to serve.

Because what the Fourth Spiritual Laws booklet had said was, “You need to decide who’s on the throne. Who is going to be the king in your life? Because the best answer is Jesus Christ.”

But to be honest, for many of us, when we look into the mirror, the person that we see who we have put in charge of our life is the person we see in the mirror, and it doesn’t always go well.

Some of us are so co-dependent, some of us are so wanting to please other people, we put another person on the throne because we thinking, “Oh, if I make mom happy–” you’ve heard the phrase, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”? There’s some truth to that. If I put Mama on the throne, if I put my boss at work on the throne, if I put my child on the throne and try to spend my whole life trying to serve them and make them happy, that doesn’t always end well either.

Who’s on the throne? Who is the lord of our life? And it’s Jesus who does the best job of that. Jesus is Lord. What am I hereafter?

I am hereafter … to come into a room and say Jesus is Lord over this room, and sometimes that means, immediately that I’ll become aware of something I need to do. I need to do that because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, it’s a good thing to say. And believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. The book of Romans says, “You will be saved.”

Now, if I say Jesus is Lord, that doesn’t mean that it’s true at every situation quite yet, but it’s the right place to start because life will bring you to your knees. There’s a lot of times that, of course, I’m looking at Facebook, because when I look through Facebook, I’m looking for people who need my prayers. And I continually will see on Facebook, the reality that people love the savior part. They love the part where they come to their knees and they cry out to the Lord, “Save me.” They love the part where they come to their knees and they cry out to the Lord, “Forgive me.” And they love the part where they fall to their knees and believe that they’re helpless, and they cry out to the Lord and they say, “Help me.”

Well, Pastor Dave, what could be wrong with that?

You know what I hear underneath that tone? Lord, since I’m helpless, I need you to do all the work because I am helpless, I am so thankful that I don’t even have to lift a finger because you will do all the work.

And you know something? Often times that’s true.

While my children were children, I had to tie their shoes, but I was so happy when they learned to tie their shoes. I was so happy when I didn’t need to buy them with diapers anymore, but I sometimes think that when we fall to our knees, we’re asking God to do things that God has asked us to do. Sometimes we fall to our knees because there’s work to be done. Some of you have gardens? What happens when you fall to your knees and pray that the weeds will disappear? What happens when you go into your room and your a child and everything’s a mess and you kneel down your bed and you say, “Lord, please come and clean up my room.”

The answer from God if we could hear it, is that God has given us the strength to obey God. Then we know what we’re supposed to do. And when it is beyond our strength, that’s when we need God to come here to help us. But doing the Lord’s will, sometimes, requires us to do something. Sometimes it requires us to do some work. It requires us to move from the third law, which says, “Lord, Jesus, only you can save me,” to the fourth law, which says, “Lord, Jesus, I’m ready to do what you ask me to do.” And from that, come so many blessings.

I don’t know if you noticed or not but this is the sign that you see when you drive, this way. Somebody asked me several months ago, “Are you ever going to put something different on that sign?” And my answer was, “Absolutely not.” Because that’s the great commandment. That’s what people need to know. Do you want JOY in your life? It works this way, Jesus first, and obey him, and while you obey him, he’s going to direct you to others. They need your love. And he’s going to direct you to yourself because you need to love yourself as well, but if Jesus is on the throne, you can expect that as Lord of your life, he will eventually ask you to do something. And that’s when we find out whether he’s actually the Lord.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, it’s so easy when we feel helpless to cry out and ask you to give us serenity. Because we’re imagining that all around us there is nothing that we can do and nothing that we can change. How definitely hard it is sometimes, Lord, for us to find the courage to do what we can, to pull the weeds in our garden, to come into a room and say, “Lord, Jesus, you are Lord over this room. What do I need to do?” What a wonderful thing, Lord, when the answer is, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” And so, Lord, as we go from place to place and room to room, looking for what we’re here after, may it be that we would find that everything is as you would wish it to be. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Raod, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

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Sermon 07/26/20: LAW #3: Jesus Christ Can Solve The Problems Of Sin In Your Life. (Pentecost VIII)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 07/26/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of the Centering Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help. I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life. Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not. Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature. Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted. Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood. I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

HYMN David Phelps – We Are The Reason (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo_6t9MmK6Y

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN Sinner Saved By Grace (Live At Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, SC/2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Gk95v3hmFM

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: LAW #3: Jesus Christ Can Solve The Problems Of Sin In Your Life.
Text: John 3:16-21; 1 John 1:5-10
Series: Four Spiritual Laws (after Sheltering in Place)
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.

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SERMON NOTES

John 3:16-21
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 18 He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.

1 John 1:5-10
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; 7 but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

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HYMN The Martins – Softly And Tenderly (Live In Columbia, TN/2020)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KI-lS46CWc

BENEDICTION: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

First spiritual law – God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our life.
Second spiritual law – there is a problem in the world around us, and it’s the problem of sin.

The third spiritual law that is the foundation for our faith is that Jesus Christ can solve the problem of sin in our lives and in our world.

I don’t know how you react to problems. I can tell you in the greatest honesty how I react to problems. I head for the bookstore. Because there’s just something in my heart, there’s just something in my brain that believes that there is an answer to any problem in the world. And for some reason, I think I’ll find that answer in a bookstore. If you walk into my office here in the church, you will see that every space on the bookshelves is full. Because you see, in a problem-filled life, I’ve been to the bookstore a lot. And not only is every shelf filled, there are boxes of books stacked on the floor. We haven’t even gotten over to the house yet.

When Kim and I got married, she said, “Please do me a favor. If you really love me,” and she said, “stop buying books because I don’t like to dust them.” And I said to her, “Are electronic books okay?” Unfortunately, she said, “Yes.” So I’m still looking for answers to problems in books.

But what I want to say to you this morning is even though that’s still what I think in my heart, I know that the answer to human problems is found in Jesus Christ. Some of you here love to watch that game show Jeopardy. I have watched more Jeopardy in my life than I ever wanted to watch because when it comes on, it sort of draws you in. Alec, please give me Problems of the World for $100. And the little card pops up and here’s the answer. You know what it says? It says, “Christ is the answer.” I’ll tell you a secret – if you play Jeopardy in a Christian way, the answer to every single square on the board is Christ is the answer.

People who like to argue with us Christians say, “Well, if Christ is the answer, what is the question?” But you know our answer to that is? Doesn’t matter. Christ is the answer for every human question; Christ has the best answer to every human question.

A pastor said to an older woman, “Ma’am, given your age, you need to be thinking about the hereafter.” She said, “Pastor I think about the hereafter. All-day long, every day. I go down into the basement. I go up to the second floor, I go from room to room in my house, and every time I walk into the room, I say to myself, what am I here after?

Doesn’t matter what you’re here after. Jesus has the answer to every human question, to every human problem, to every human situation. Cara’s next job? Christ has the answer. How to operate the sound system? Christ has the answer, even if I don’t. Christ has the answer to every human question.

And of course, we turn to a book, the Bible, to read Christ’s answers. We turn to books written by theologians and religious experts to learn some of the answers of Christ, but you and I can go to the source because Jesus Christ asks to be a part of our lives. Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling to each one of us to come home to a relationship with Him that is not a matter of intellectual speculation. It’s not a matter of emotional cycles, but it’s a deep and genuine reality. Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life, and it includes Him coming to this Earth to do whatever it takes but also coming to this Earth to be a part of our lives. Christ is the answer for everything.

John 3:16, you know those words so well, you could probably recite them from memory, “For God so loved the world.” That’s where the first law came from, “that He gave his only son,” that’s the source of the third law, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” This overcomes the second law, which is the problem of sin.

But how many of us know the next verse? “For God sent His son into the world not to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him.” This is why Christ is the answer to the problem of sin. Because God sent Christ so that the world might be saved through Him. He is the cure for whatever problem you struggle with this morning, but not only that, He’s also the vaccine.

Now, you know the difference between the cure and the vaccine … the cure fixes the problem. The vaccine creates antibodies within you. It stimulates you to create antibodies so that you can now fight off the problem. Christ does both of those things within us. He forgives us. And He cleanses us from all that is not right. And enables us to stand and do better. But whenever we struggle, Christ is the answer.

When Christ appears in the world, look what happens. He who believes in Him is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only son of God. Jesus is the cure. There are people who want to tell us that there are other cures. There are people who want to tell us that drinking 1% milk or eating lots of oranges, or watching lots of Jeopardy on television … that that could be the cure. And you know something? We’ve heard a lot of fake news. But it could be possible that watching television could help. But I want to tell you with the greatest of confidence in my heart, whether anything else could be the cure, I know a certain cure for all that harms us.

And so I’m not interested in anybody’s home remedy because I know a cure for human sin that I know works. And if you reject the cure that works to rely upon something else that is unproven, that is your choice. That is your choice. And so a great movement begins, verse 19. This is the judgment that the light has come into the world. And human beings loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. As it says in 1 John: 1 God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

The minute the light of Jesus Christ appears in the world, the whole world starts to move. And a very large part of the world begins to move back from the light because the light reveals the way they truly are. A British newspaper did an experiment back in the 1800s, made up a list of the most powerful and influential men in England. Sent them all a telegram late one night, “all is discovered, flee at once!” The next morning they went to the homes of these men and found that they had all left the country. They wanted to slip back into the dark because for all that they had done to be revealed is a horrible thing for them. For everyone who does evil, sometimes that’s me, for everyone who does evil hate the light, and does not come to the light unless his deeds should be exposed. What that means is that the closer I get to you, the more you realize that I’m not an expert at operating the Worship system computer. You have to ask yourself, “Wow, Pastor Dave, Dave really makes a lot of jokes about his inability to put a battery in a mouse.” (Thank you, Judy, for suggesting that fix!)

You know why I make those jokes? Because I don’t want to feel bad about you finding out that I’m not perfect. By the way, anybody here, if you think I’m perfect, we’re going to get you some help. My wife will straighten you up. Wives are good for that! They see us as we are. Husbands are good for that. They see us as we are! Jesus is like that. He sees us as we are and loves us anyway.

But here’s the human tendency, John 3:20, the human tendency is thatt we want to step back and hide when we are not perfect. Verse 21, he who does what is true because what is true is that I’m a sinful person, what is true is that I’ve fallen far shorter of what God would wish me to be. What is true is, even though I might be better then someone else, I still have this problem of sin. But he who does what is true, which is, then, I know I’m a sinner, comes to the light that it maybe clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.

As I come closer to the light, you’ll see me as I really am. But when you see the things that are not right, you will see that I want forgiveness more than I wish to hide my imperfections. I want a cure. Not only that, I want to be cleansed so that now I can live a new life, and I will find that life in Jesus Christ. What it, basically, says is that it gets crowded at the foot of the cross because the people who want new life come closer and closer together. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and— the verb tense here is one that indicates continuously — the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin. This is the answer to what we are seeking.

By the way, you’ve heard about this thing called the coronavirus, right? Heard about it? You know, lock-down, shut-down. All the things that have happened since last March. People are asking the question, “What can we do in our church?” And they’re not just talking about the local church. Pastors who are thinking about the ways church operates, every method that we had to do church, the coronavirus interferes with. And, by the way, those methods of doing church are all the easiest way.

For centuries we have gathered people together in large groups as the smartest way to do church. Guess what? It doesn’t work quite as well as it used to. This morning I saw on the internet– by the way, what’s not always true either! They did a survey of major-league baseball fans. 50% of them do not feel safe returning to the stadiums. There’s a lot of people who are just uncertain that it’s safe. And we have this method of bringing them together into large groups and it’s not going to work as easily as it used to.

Not only that, we have this method of bringing people together into small groups where they talk and do Bible study and maybe that would cause more of a spread of the coronavirus due to all that conversation than the big worship service.

We’re not sure how to do church. In fact, to be honest, there’s a whole lot of people who are ready to admit that they do not know what the church within the next year will look like. There are several very giant churches in the United States, very famous churches, very progressive churches. Andy Stanley’s church down in Atlanta is one of them, and there are others. They just simply declared, “We’re not going to have our big worship ’til at least 2021.” Because for their whole big church, made up of many young people for whom computers are their friend, they are saying “We want you to learn how to do church online in little online groups. We’re not going to do anything else for a year.” By the way, that’s insane. But it reflects the reality that the experts don’t know what to do and maybe that’s because they’re looking at books or writing books for these answers. (And no book anywhere predicted the coronavirus pandemic!)

But I do know someone who knows what we should do. He’s the one who rose from the dead on Easter morning. He’s the one who said to His followers, “I want you to pray,” and over 50 days from Easter to Pentecost, before they came out of sheltering in place, before they came out of hiding, they spoke with Him and prayed with Him and with each other. And, of course, if you read the book of Acts, what they figured out through prayer worked perfectly.

Friends, we know who has the answer for the church because Christ is still the answer. And Christ still has the answer. And for whatever it is, whether it’s a granddaughter looking for work or if it’s dealing with a grieving heart, or if you are weak with an illness, Christ still has the answer. And turning to Him can only help us.

There’s nothing wrong with reading books. There’s nothing wrong with surfing the net or watching television, however you get your information. But we would be wise if we turned to Jesus Christ first. Because the light is shining into the darkness of this world and here is the reality as it says in the Centering Prayer with which we begin our worship, “Jesus today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help.” That is true of every one of us. But at the close of the Centering Prayer is the acknowledgment, “I am a sinner. Please be my shepherd (to guide me) and please be my savior. Forgive me and cleanse me.”

Jesus is calling to us, “Come with me. Let me be your savior.”

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, we are people who turn many places for the information that guides our life. It’s not always true that we turn to you first. But we pray that you would guide us poor sinners to come home to the benefit of that relationship with you. We know, Lord, that you are calling to us tenderly and sweetly to be closer to you. Lord, may we hear your call and become the people who follow the shepherd through this valley of the shadow of death that is the pandemic, up and out and toward the light of a new day with you. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Raod, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

Posted in Attend "Worship at Home" | Leave a comment

Sermon 07/19/20: LAW #2: We Have a Problem, And The Problem Is Sin. (Pentecost VII)

Photo: Contact lens found on the bathroom floor when I arrived.

WORSHIP AT HOME for 07/19/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of the Centering Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help. I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life. Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not. Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature. Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted. Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood. I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

HYMN Sow Mercy – Gaither vocal band (Lyrics)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoTtf5MzTOI

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN The Collingsworth Family – “Take Time to be Holy” A cappella
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6l9-CDuoag

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: LAW #2: We Have A Problem, And The Problem Is Sin.
Text: Galatians 6:7-10, 1 John 1:5-10, Matthew 19:35-40
Series: Four Spiritual Laws (after Sheltering in Place)
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.

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SERMON NOTES


Galatians 6:7-10
7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

1 John 1:5-10
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; 7 but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Matthew 19:35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

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HYMN Gaither Vocal Band – I’m Forgiven (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdnku7rwzd4

BENEDICTION: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

Photo: “Contact lens found on the bathroom floor when I arrived” from TripAdvisor.

TRANSCRIPT

And the second rule is the rule for today: Law #2: we have a problem and the problem is sin.

Now, there’s a whole lot of people who will tell you that the problem is something else. Most of these people will tell you that the problem is this person or that person or it’s the person who agrees with them or it’s the person who they don’t like. And not only that, if you begin to talk to people about right and wrong for very long, they will say to you, “What you are doing is wrong but there’s nothing wrong with what I am doing.” And instantly, we change the subject from me to whether something is right or wrong.
And there’s a whole lot of yammering all around the world about what I do is not wrong. How do we define right from wrong when it’s always been so difficult? And so I just want to suggest that right from wrong is this, if it’s less than what God wants, if it’s less than what Jesus would do, then it fits into that umbrella of the problem of sin. If God’s not happy, ain’t nobody happy. And of course, just as we began the service today with a prayer, “Today I’m far less than the person I want to be or can be”, that’s where the whole world is. We have a problem and the problem is that life is not what God would wish it to be. You know why? Because God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.

And so let’s talk about this; there’s a theologian by the name of Scot McKnight and he said, “Everybody needs to take what Jesus said and make from that their own creed and their own statement of what they believe that Jesus wants them to do.” And in the spring before I came here, I was reading that book and I said to myself, “Okay, what’s my Jesus creed?”

And I like to invite you under your breath if you’d like to join me in saying the all part.

I asked Jesus, “What do You want from me?” and here is the answer I received.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And you are to love your neighbor as yourself and you are to love one another as I have loved you. By this shall all people know that you are my disciples.” By loving like Jesus, we become disciples, become known as disciples, and become disciple-makers that fulfill the Great Commission.

That’s how I defined what Jesus wants from me.

Back in 1970, a long time ago, I was 15, I switched from glasses to hard contact lenses and I was a happy teenager!

But numerous times, I would find myself on my knees, not praying but humbly searching for my lost contact lens. I don’t know if you can see it but it’s up there in the corner of the picture. In Mountain View, California, somebody checked into a motel and they saw this contact lens on the floor left behind by the last person there.

It’s very hard to see these looking down on them. How many of you have had to look for lost contact lenses, either for yourself or for children? The way you do it is you get down on your knees, you get down on your floor, and you do a little bit of praying but you look across the floor at the level of the floor and instantly you see two things.

The first thing you see is every speck of dirt on the floor and you think to yourself, “How long has it been since I swept this floor?” Every grain of sand, every tiny particle.

But if God blesses you, off in the distance you’ll see this little shining gleam that will be the thing that you’re looking for, your lost contact lens.

You see, looking down from above on our own behavior or the behavior of other people, it’s awfully difficult sometimes for us to see. But if you humble yourself and you get down and you look across your life, you will see protruding up from the floor all kinds of things that you had not noticed before. And once you see them, you can begin to take care of them. They’re all little things but until you see them you can’t do anything about them.

The other trick, especially in the dark, is to take a flashlight, lay it on the ground, and when you shine a light across the floor, it reveals everything that you’re looking for. So let’s imagine this scripture is like a light: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength.” And if you get down on your knees and you look across your life with this as the light, it’ll show up every kind of inconsistency where your life is not like this. John Wesley’s third rule has that in mind when he says, basically, my interpretation of it, take advantage of every opportunity you have to grow in faith and spiritually and be close to God.

But the light doesn’t only show that. Verse 39, the minute God has our attention because we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, God says, “Okay. Now look sideways. A second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” And you look across the ground in the light of this command from God and all of a sudden you notice things are not right with you and your neighbor.

In the sermon on the mount, Jesus really says this (Matthew 5:23-24): You’re sitting there in worship at the temple and you realize there’s something that’s not right with how your neighbor feels about you. Jesus says you need to get up and leave worship right then and there and go take care of your neighbor right now. I’m sure glad we don’t take that literally or there would never be anyone making all the way through a church service! Because I might think I behave perfectly toward all my neighbors, but that’s not what Jesus said. Jesus said, “If your neighbor has anything against you,–” Well, you know those dumb, sick, stupid, crazy, ordinary people out there, some of them do have things against me. But there I am trying to blame it on them instead of just trying to make the world around me the way Jesus would want it to be. And by the way, this should bother us.

But you know what goes unnoticed so often? We pay more attention to the other people in our lives than we pay to ourselves. Sometimes the person that you are cruel to more than any other person in the world is the person you see in the mirror. You need to love them too because God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life. And so you need to love yourself as well, not be selfish. But for God’s sake, let there be a balance. But if you humble your self and look across the floor with light, the light will show you many, many little adjustments that each one of us needs to make, different for each one of us. But all of a sudden, because the light is shining on them, you could see.

Here’s another verse that brings things to light. From the first chapter of John, three significant points. First, if we say we have no sin, and there are people who do, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us because the truth will tell you where you are less than perfect.

And then comes this beautiful promise at verse nine, if you admit that God is right, then you are wrong. That’s what it means to confess your sins. Instead of arguing with God that God is wrong and that you’re right, if you confess what is not right as a sin, you can trust God. Because God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. You can trust God that God will be faithful and that God will be fair and just and will respond to the prayer confession by doing two things. God will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, sometimes, there’s some bit of work for us to do; but the promise of this verse is that when it comes to our life being less than perfect, God is willing to do the heavy lifting. God is willing to take what’s not right and clean it, and renew it, and make it right. The theological word for that is justification. Justification by faith.

But then, John comes full circle around to verse 10 and makes this other principle: If we say we have not sinned, we’re calling God a liar. Now, where would anyone get the idea that they have not sinned? You would not get it if you opened up the bible – His word – and read it because, as Jesus says in John, chapter 8, it’s by reading of the words of Jesus that we become aware of sin in our life. In John, chapter 15, Jesus literally said to his disciples, “You are pruned. You are made clean by my word.” The words of Jesus Christ are actually like pruning shears to clean us up. So if you’re someone who would say, “I have not sinned,” then you’ve not felt the pruning shears of the words of Jesus going to work on your conscience. When we humble ourselves and look along with the light, we begin to see things that God is willing to make right in our lives.

Friends, some of our problems are just plain obvious. Not only that, a lot of them reflect this principle that, if what you really want is to be loved, you will not feel loved at the bottom of a carton of ice cream, no matter how good the ice cream is. You will not feel loved at the bottom of the second carton, the third carton, the fourth carton. I know this from personal experience! There’s not enough ice cream in the world to cleanse you from all unrighteousness, yet we do these things that are just simply, obviously wrong.

But most of what’s going on in our lives is a little more subtle than this. There is this reality of what Paul described in Galatians – Stephen Covey calls it the “law of the farm” – the plain reality, do not be deceived, God is not mocked. The world is created in such a way that, whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

Sometimes, the connection between what’s happening right now and the wrongness of it is not quite obvious. You have to ask yourself, “What did I sow that is resulting in this problem?”

Not only that, here’s where our memory plays us false. “What did I do a month ago? Three months ago? Six months ago? … that lead to this happening right now. You have to connect the dots.

But the truth is very simply this: if you don’t like what you’re reaping you can change what you’re sowing. Now keep in mind, whatever seeds you sow it takes a while for the consequences to happen. If you make a change today you’ve got to have faith and hang on. Everybody who tends a garden, everybody who farms 40 acres or more, you put the seed in the ground and you just hope that this time, like every other time in the rest of history and life on this earth, that it will come up. You live by faith that it will come up.

In addition to that, Jesus pointed out when you connect the dots, you may not know this – it may not be seed that you have sown. Jesus told a parable about a man that came onto his neighbor’s land and sowed weeds among the wheat.

Sometimes what’s coming up in your life isn’t due to things that you’ve done … but what other people have done to you. And we need to heal those wounds and hurts that come from the past. And sometimes we need to stop people from sowing harm into our life. But we understand that when we connect the dots.

You see – here’s the problem with thinking that you’re perfect. If you think that you’re perfect, then there’s nothing you can do to make your life better. Because you said it – you’re perfect. But knowing that you are a sinner, knowing that there’s more that you can do, knowing that God will show you the way, knowing that God will show you that little thing that you can change that’s like a leverage point. And it can change your whole life.


If you know that you’re a sinner you know that you have the power to make your own changes so that life can be better. Sometimes the change you need to make is to forgive someone. Sometimes you need to pay attention to what you’re sowing. But I’ll be honest with you, I think you all would agree with me if you see a weed there is no point walking past it. Pull it. Pull it. And you can pray because, as I said, God does the heavy lifting. You can pray for God to bring change into your life. These tiny little things that you see when you humble yourselves they’ll be like dominos and one will fall after another. If you are able to acknowledge that sin is the problem then you are able to pray and enlist God’s help in solving your problem. You are able to change your ways and solve your problems.

Law number two is simply this, we have a problem and the problem is sin. But through prayers of confession, asking for forgiveness and cleansing– it’s like that “reset” button on your computer. You just press “reset” and it restarts, starts up according to God’s will and we can go onward from there.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, help us not to be deceived into thinking that we’re perfect. Help us not to be so proud that we are unable to see the truth. Because, Lord, in the midst of that truth … like little levers as we change what’s not for the best in our life … you cause good things to grow in our life. And so, Lord, we confess our sins. We ask for forgiveness. We pray for cleansing. And by faith, we know we will live in a new and resurrected world. We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Raod, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

Posted in Attend "Worship at Home" | Leave a comment

Sermon 07/12/20: LAW #1: God Loves You And Has A Wonderful Plan for Your Life. (Pentecost VI)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 07/12/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of the Centering Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help. I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life. Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not. Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature. Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted. Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood. I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

HYMN The Collingsworth Family (Holy, Holy, Holy) 05-03-13
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbezPGo9gB0

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

HYMN This Is My Father’s World Official Performance Video The Collingsworth Family
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6wmWrDWLiQ

MESSAGE: LAW #1: God Loves You And Has A Wonderful Plan for Your Life.
Text: Psalm 23, John 10:10b-11
Series: Four Spiritual Laws (after Sheltering in Place)
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Audio from Wesley UMC
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SERMON NOTES
Psalm 23:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want; 2 he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; 3 he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

John 10:10b I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

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HYMN The Collingsworth Family – Since Jesus Came Into My Heart
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pp4aPI4FJGc

BENEDICTION: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay.

TRANSCRIPT

We are trying to figure out how to do church after the entire world has changed. Now, there are some people who don’t believe that anything’s changed, but I think the entire world has changed. How do you do something new when the world changes? Here’s what I would suggest, you go back to the basics.

If you’re going to build a building, you’re going to start with a firm foundation. There’s a lot of ways to describe the foundation of the church, but I wanted to go back to something that was popular when I was in high school. I still remember the day my father said to me, “Dave, can we go in the living room? I want to talk to you.” And he opened this little booklet, and he said, “This booklet explains the four spiritual laws that are the basics of our faith. Here’s the first law. God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.

And here’s where the plan starts. This is what we talked about last week. The plan starts with God’s promise that if my people— this is us. If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways. The promise is that God will hear from heaven and will heal our land. So this is where God’s wonderful plan starts … with us humbling ourselves and seeking God’s face.

Isn’t it wonderful that God has a plan? Here’s the problem that most of us have with God’s plan. The difficulty is not with the fact that God has a plan, not with the fact that God does love us. Our difficulty comes because from time to time the plan is beyond our understanding. You and I, we also have a wonderful plan for our life. Guess what, we are often very wrong about what would actually be wonderful!

When there’s a mismatch between what we think should be God’s plan and what we see happening around us, sometimes it causes us to question our faith that God does love us. We question our faith that God does have a wonderful plan. I have a mental list, you probably do too, of things that I want to ask God when I get to heaven. And right now, at the top of my list is why did we have to go through this pandemic of coronavirus? Now, the trouble is that there will be a very, very long line of people wanting to ask God questions. All those people want to know why there are mosquitoes. I don’t know if you’ve heard the joke, but it’s like “Why didn’t Noah smack those two mosquitoes on the ark?” And the rest of the people in line want to know why there’s poison ivy. Every mother of a small child who’s out of school in the summer wants to know why. But for some answers, we have to wait till heaven.

But we can believe that God does have a wonderful plan for us and that God does love us. But sometimes we need to be reminded that this is my Father’s world, that God made the world for people and all of God’s creation. And that we can trust God to watch over us.

There are many, many things that we do not understand. But that in itself is easy to understand. Sometimes we need to be reminded that when we feel far, far, far away from God, the problem’s not really with the telescope. Sometimes it’s even that God is so close we can’t even discern what God is doing in our midst. But we can believe God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our life.

Now, sometimes God sees problems coming. This is not the first pandemic that has spread across the world. From the flu in the 1918 era all the way back to the bubonic plague in the Middle Ages, the world from time to time has come up with dangerous diseases.

Sometimes God sees problems coming that you and I do not. Who among us, if we had made a list of what it meant to have a wonderful plan for our lives, who among us would’ve put what we’re going through with the coronavirus on that list? Now, please understand, I’m not saying that God has caused this pandemic but that God can help us with it. Because such things happen in the world that we live in.

And when I feel helpless, here’s a scripture that comes to mind for me. A psalm of David. Certainly, there was no one in the Bible who struggled with more difficulties than David. But here’s how David stated his faith. “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness.” The right path, the right choice, the right direction for his name’s sake. That sounds pretty wonderful, right? That is a wonderful plan for my life.

Here’s what David says when it gets dark, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, the tools that a shepherd uses thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows.

And here’s where David ends up. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me… Keep in mind that David is following God. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Let me give you the shortest, simplest summary of God’s plan for your life. There is it right there what Jesus said to the disciples in Matthew 4:19. He said to them, “Follow me.”

I don’t have any scientific answers for the coronavirus. I’m still shocked to this day that neither President Trump or President Obama or President Bush has not called me to check before they make any important decision. I’m shocked. I’m about to give up. I don’t think I’m on the President’s speed dial. But here’s the thing that I know, there’s God’s plan for my life. Here’s God’s plan for my life. Jesus says, “Follow me.” That’s the main thing I need to be concerned about. Follow me.

And if I follow the shepherd, goodness and mercy will follow me, and probably catch up to me. This following business is enhanced by remembering this verse. (This happens to be Kim’s favorite verse and it’s certainly the favorite of many, many people.) Jesus reminded them, “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd,” Jesus says. “A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep,” and we know that Jesus did. None the less as you and I follow, we are going to find that our wonderful plan does not match up with God’s wonderful plan.

Garth Brooks recorded a song. It was a big hit for him. He and his wife were back at a high school reunion and they went to a football game and ran into his high school girlfriend. As he tells the story this was the girl that he prayed and poured out his heart, “God this is the one for me.” And at the end of the song, he says how thankful he is that God knew better than his young, idealistic, impatient prayer. Where he says and he reminds us, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

Now if we knew then what we knew now, we might pray different prayers … but the flat reality is this, God is looking over our prayers and has something just as good or better for us whenever we don’t get what we think we need and want.

It’s an old saying when we pray to God, there’s basically three answers. There’s actually a multitude of different ways that God gives us the answers, but here’s the big three. Sometimes we pray and the answer is yes. Sometimes when we pray and the answer is no. Sometimes we pray and the answer is just wait, be patient.

Sometimes that’s because it takes God many, many years to answer a prayer, if God’s going to answer it perfectly.

Sometimes it means that God has something far better, but it’s just not quite ready yet.

Sometimes we have to wait to get our head on straight. If we met the perfect girl for us now, she would decide at that time she didn’t want us until we cleaned up our act. So God gives us time to clean up our act.

Sometimes the best answers to prayer require us to wait a bit. And I think, honestly, we’re waiting now.

Think about what it’s like to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Do you ever find yourself driving down the road at night? Does it ever bother you that you can’t see more than a hundred feet ahead of you? You’re probably watching for Bambi and other animals.

Well, we go through life a little bit like somebody driving through the dark on the road they’ve never been on before. There is a plan. There is a path. There is a road. You can only see the next few feet, but if you pay attention today, you have all you need because you only need to see the 100 feet or so in front of you. If you didn’t leave your home until you had figured everything out, you would never be able to leave your home. If you never left your home until you could see every possible thing that could go wrong, you would never leave your home.

But when you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, you are not going to see far to the side. You’re not going to be able to see that far ahead. Maybe all you can make out if you’re a sheep that’s afraid of the dark is the shape of the shepherd walking a few feet in front of you. And here’s the truth brothers and sisters.: that’s enough.

These words come from psychology. Don’t overfunction. You can’t do more than what you can do. Don’t be lazy or stupid and underfunction, do less than what you should do to be safe. Just function. If you and I just do what we need to do today, today will be a good day because you can see ahead of yourself enough to know what Jesus wants you to do, not for the rest of your life, not for next week and maybe not even for tomorrow, but for right now. You can see by the light that He provides what you need right now.

Or as Jesus said to them, “Just follow me.”

Please, pray with me. Lord Jesus, I’m still going to pray and ask you for all the answers because that’s the way I’m made. I want to know everything. I want to be able to explain everything, and I want to be able to read about it in a book with footnotes. Good Lord, in the valley of the shadow of death when darkness surrounds me, I can’t see except for just a few feet in front of me. But Lord, if I can see You, help me to realize, in this moment, I have what I need for this moment because I believe, Lord Jesus, that you proved it to us on the cross … you love us, and you have a wonderful plan for our life. Help me to deal with reality. That I only get to find out about it a few feet at a time. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Raod, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

Posted in Attend "Worship at Home" | Leave a comment

Sermon 07/05/20: The Looking Glass (Pentecost V)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 07/05/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of the Centering Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help. I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life. Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not. Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature. Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted. Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood. I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

HYMN Larnelle Harris – America the Beautiful [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHnHEY8pHU0

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN Mike Allen, Allison Durham Speer, Kim Hopper, Dean Hopper – My Country ‘Tis of Thee [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTnOWvx-4q4

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE:
Title: The Looking Glass
Text: 2 Chronicles 7:11-16
Series: A Church Comes Alive (After Sheltering In Place)
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Sermon audio for Wesley UMC
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SERMON NOTES

2 Chronicles 7:11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD and the king’s house; all that Solomon had planned to do in the house of the LORD and in his own house he successfully accomplished. 12 Then the LORD appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever; my eyes and my heart will be there for all time.

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HYMN Terry Blackwood, Sue Dodge, Ernie Haase, The Talley Trio – This Land Is Your Land [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzpH3ZrLSEM

BENEDICTION: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

Image: Solomons Temple-City of David.JPG From Wikimedia Commons. Silhouettes from Pixabay

TRANSCRIPT

Mirror, mirror, on the wall who’s the fairest of them all? You may have seen that movie. Nowadays the looking glass is telling us something different. Because we’re asking it something different.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s to blame for it all? Whose fault is all this mess? Who’s to blame for everything I don’t like about life in my world?

And you know something – if you ask your mirror that, your mirror will give you an answer – I shouldn’t actually say mirror. I should say looking glass. Because unless you are under the influence of illegal drugs, your mirror probably doesn’t talk to you. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a looking glass that talks to you.

Think about it. Where do you think you spend all day looking? Here’s your looking glass. It sits up there on the wall and tells you everything that you ought to feel miserable about. And then it tries to make you feel better. You know how it tries to make you feel better? It tries to make you feel better by telling you who to blame for whatever’s wrong. Good luck with that. Because if you listen to this looking glass, you’re going to find yourself living in a soap opera.

Now the one thing I can tell you without any dispute is I’ve rarely ever met anyone who was happy in a soap opera. But I guarantee you in a soap opera, if they’re unhappy, they can tell you who did it. And who’s at fault.

And the ironic thing is this. You never hear anyone in a soap opera take responsibility for what they’ve done. It’s always someone else’s fault. That’s human nature. And just like with Hitler and the Jewish people, and you and whatever it is that you’re upset about, you know exactly who messed everything up. Because your looking glass told you. Now some of us have that computer screen looking glass instead of a television screen. But we spend way too much looking in the looking glass. And certainly– and by the way when I say way too much time I’m talking about for the average family, probably more than five hours a day. That is our main influence on how we feel.

If you turn that screen off, it’s human nature for us to start finding someone to blame closer to home. You have a different glass to look through. You look through the window and by God, there’s that neighbor that’s the cause of it all. Look at their crabgrass. Look at their mole trails. Look at their teenage son and his loud music. And nobody’s washed that car in a month! Or I don’t know what it might be. But you know when you’re really upset and stirred up inside, you have to put those emotions somewhere. And it’s really easy to find someone to put it on when you look out your window.

I’m sorry to tell you, sometimes people put the blame on someone in their own family. That’s even more painful for us. Because as long as we’re looking for someone to blame, our feelings get stronger and stronger in a bad way.

If you want to notice what’s wrong, here’s where you look. You look at yourself. You ask yourself, “Is it my fault?” I am so thankful to have a loving wife who points out things like my belt buckle not being properly centered. During my single days, I once went to church with my tie coming out from under the collar and going over the button right here. And a whole churchful of people just stared at me for the whole service, and nobody told me until afterward that I looked like a goofball!

But the reason I looked like a goofball was that I didn’t look at myself. If you want to know who needs to change, the clearest picture of that person you will find is in your mirror. And the quickest way to have a better attitude and a happier life is to fix that person. Because you know something? They listen to you, and they’re willing to do what you tell yourself to do. Start with the person in the mirror.

God gave us a recipe to heal our country. And all around the United States today, there’s going to be sermons printed and preached on this scripture. This is 2 Chronicles 7:11. It comes from the days when they dedicated the first temple that Solomon built. Thus, Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house. All that Solomon had planned to do in the house of the Lord and in his own house, he successfully accomplished. Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice.”

I’ve been talking about how the church is emerging from sheltering in place. Here’s a church that is emerging– and here’s what God said to the people of Israel. It’s good advice for us today as well. Now here’s the first peculiarity. It’s not, “If …” but “When bad things happen–“

I think it’s quite amazing that, given the human tendency to look for who to blame – God, right off the bat, looks at people and says, “You can blame me.” Because it says, “When I,” as if God did it. “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, when I command the locust to devour the land, when I“– this sits a little too close to home during the Pandemic — “send pestilence or disease among my people,” here’s how you fix it. There’s a threefold if and a threefold then. “If my people…”

Unfortunately, when this sermon is preached all across the United States today, most people are going to be told the reason that bad things are happening in our nation is because those bad people need to change their bad ways. And of course, whatever looking glass– because preachers provide a looking glass, too — Whatever one you’re looking into, they have their own list of who needs to change, who is evil in this world.

But God’s promise here is he doesn’t ask the evil people to change, he asks God’s people to change. Do you know why? Even God would grow impatient waiting for evil people to want to change but there’s some hope that you or I would be willing to change if we loved God. So this truth is focused not on the sinners out there but the sinners in here, inside the church.

God says, “If my people who are called my by name”– here’s the first if. “If they humble themselves and if they pray and seek my faith and if they,” God’s people, “turn from their wicked ways.” When that happens, here’s what God promises. “Then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and I will heal their land.”

That’s the promise that comes to us that we can fulfill if we look in the mirror and work on the person that God wants us to work on. “If my people.”

Now, God says, “My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place, Solomon’s temple, and all the churches that have come after. For now, I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.”

So brothers and sisters based on this promise from the Old Testament, we have our work set before us. “If my people,” God says. Here’s a word from John Wesley: Beware that you are not a fiery persecuting enthusiast. Do not imagine that God has called you. I have to lift this up to read. That God has called you just contrary to the spirit of him you style to be your master. Do not imagine that God has called you to destroy men’s lives rather than to save them. Never dream of forcing men into the ways of God. Think yourself and let think. Let other people think. Use no constraint on matters of religion, even those who are farthest out of the way. Never compel them to come in by any other means than reason, proof and love.

I was watching a Youtube video last week that was talking about research and how to change people. And the scientist said the most certain way to fail at changing people is to try to push them to change. The most certain way to try to change people and fail is to scare them, to threaten them, to warn them of harm that is going to come upon them if they don’t change. Because you know what happens? Their minds begin to look for something more pleasant. And they figure out some kind of shortcut that makes them happy and from that moment on they ignore everything you have to say.

[That video: How to motivate yourself to change your behavior | Tali Sharot | TEDxCambridge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xp0O2vi8DX4&t=620s ]

I wish I could intimidate people into doing the right thing. But what psychology says and John Wesley warns, if you try to compel people to do the right thing you will always fail. But ironically God offers a cure for our land that does not require that. It requires three things:

If my people who are called by name humble themselves. I have to watch myself because every now and then, even though it might seem otherwise, I get a little testy. I get a little irritable. My wife knows all about this, right dear? She’s nodding her head. Sometimes I get angry but what I’ve learned– and it’s because of this little saying here which I saw on the looking glass of Facebook one day and saved it because I thought it told a great truth. I sat with my anger long enough until my anger told me her real name was grief. And when I realized that what I’m truly feeling when I get angry is sorrow.

And I want to suggest to you, if you find yourself feeling angry, allow yourself to look underneath that anger and see if what’s not really happening is that somewhere deep down inside you’re very, very sad.

Because I find that when I’m angry there is no way that I can humble myself. There is nothing humble in my anger, but when I’m sad about the choices people make and the harm that can come from them, whether it’s my own decisions or the decisions of others, it’s a lot easier for me to fall to my knees and humble myself. So look for what you’re sad about, and it will teach you to be humble.

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face.” Again, consider, when you’re angry, when I’m angry, are we angry at God? We’re angry at all kinds of other people. If we humble ourselves and are sad, we can turn to God with open hearts as we pray and seek God’s face.

And finally, finally, God asked us to turn from our wicked ways because that’s the beginning of everyone around us turning from theirs. It always starts with Christian people being more like Jesus Christ. To turn away from anger and to turn toward humbling themselves.

You may not believe this, but when I was a younger man, I loved to argue with anyone who would provide me the entertainment of disagreeing with me. And my arguing would go on for days. Now, my dad loved to argue too, but I even wore him out. But there came a day I was walking down the stacks in the seminary library – I did this all the time – and a little book caught my eye, and I pulled it off the shelf, and it was a book of little poems. Not limericks, but poems just about that same length. They were by a Dutch mathematician by the name of Piet Hein. He called these little poems, Grooks. And at random, which lets you know it wasn’t random at all, it was the hand of God. I opened it to one page and read this little poem which changed my life.

“In view of your manner of spending your days,
I hope you may learn before ending them
That the effort you spend on defending your ways
Could better be spent on amending them.”

If I look in the mirror and see where I have gone wrong, if I turn away from everybody else including the shouting that comes through the media of who to blame, and simply look at myself and let God show me where I could change, my whole life could change in a moment, and the whole world around me could change over time.

Please pray with me.
Lord Jesus, help us as we see the great need that is in our land on these difficult days, these days where the looking glass of the television set gives us one kind of bad news after another. These days when the looking glass that is the computer screen shows people going to war over what ultimately are foolish things. Help us, Lord, to look in the mirror, and beginning with us, bring us up out of the grave. Bring us out into the light. From the Winter, help Spring to begin. And as we humble ourselves, Lord, we pray that you’ll change our lives and change our world, and we ask this in the name of Jesus.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Raod, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

Posted in Attend "Worship at Home" | Leave a comment

Sermon 06/28/20: Father John’s Three General Rules (Pentecost IV)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 06/28/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Our call to worship is to pray the Wesley Covenant Prayer:
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
Exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O Glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

HYMN Larry Ford – What a Friend We Have in Jesus [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coO5Sl8Vnlw

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of the Centering Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help. I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life. Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not. Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature. Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted. Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood. I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN Sow Mercy – Gaither vocal band (Lyrics)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoTtf5MzTOI

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE:

Father John’s Three General Rules
Do no harm
Do all the good you can
Take good care of your faith and grow

Text: Galatians 6:7-10, 2 Corinthians 9:6, John 15:1-10
David O. Kueker
Series: A Church Comes Alive (After Sheltering In Place)
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
(Sermon audio will be uploaded ASAP after the 9 am service concludes.)
Wesley Sermon Audio

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SERMON NOTES
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

2 Corinthians 9:6 The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

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HYMN Larry Ford – What a Friend We Have in Jesus [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm3mKa2buhg

BENEDICTION: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

We didn’t really get a chance to celebrate Father’s day. Last week on Father’s day we were getting ready to come back inside, so I thought I’d talk just a little bit about fathers, or at least one aspect of fathers this morning. And as fathers seem to be the ones, in my opinion, typically, that bring the rules to various situations.

My father was an extremely patient man. I still remember the day that, having watch too many cartoons, I thought it would be funny to put a thumbtack on his breakfast chair. As he came in with his tie on, and his dress shirt on, and was ready to go to work as a high school teacher in Belleville, and when he sat on the tack it was very funny, but it wasn’t at all funny. He jumped up about two feet, spilled Cheerios all over the front of his shirt, and he looked at me, and he went, “Grr.” And then he said, “Your mother will have to iron another shirt now.”

My father set an example for me that day of a great deal of patience, but I think his main rule was, “Think.” But … Sometimes we don’t have time to think. And that’s when it’s good to have rules. And it’s especially good if the rules are clear, and easily understood.

And John Wesley, who is the father of the Methodist movement, also had rules. By the way, today is John Wesley’s birthday. How’s that for a coincidence? John Wesley’s rules, he had three. Three basic rules, and each rule came with a very long list of specific things that were against the rules. But they all were grouped under a category of three.

And the first rule was, “Do no harm.” Now you know what the commandment is, we’re to love our neighbor as ourselves, and at the very least that has to mean that we will do no harm. What harm is will change from century to century; it’s changed since John Wesley made his list, but to do no harm to ourselves or to our neighbor is an essential rule of the Christian faith.

There are times that we need rules just to tell us to, as the sign says, “Whoa, you need to come to a complete stop.”

Another rule, there’s a picture there of a smoke detector, if one of those babies goes off, you need to go find out why. One went off one day in the middle of the afternoon and the husband went up to his wife and said, “Let’s eat.” And she said, “Honey, it’s the middle of the afternoon, what are you talking about?” And he said, “Well, my mom said whenever that thing went off it was time to eat, because supper was done.” (That’s a joke.) His wife explained to him that that wasn’t true in their house, and he learned a good lesson from that. But it’s good to have rules that tell us when to stop because the stopping is for our safety and for the safety of people around us. It might not hurt you to run that stop sign or that “whoa” sign, but it might hurt somebody else. Sometimes, we have to stop.

The other side of the same rule was to do all the good you can. There is a Methodist version that goes on to say, “Do all the good you can, wherever you can, in every place you can, to every person you can, as long as you can.” But that is a Methodist principle.

I want to imply that this is sort of a mother thing because my mom always came to me in my youth with good things. And it was quite clear that whenever my mother was coming toward me was good – because it smelled good, and it looked good, and it tasted good, and it was quite obvious that I wanted that. Do all the good you can is to yield to something inside your heart that wants to do good. You will be tempted to do good. That is the temptation you can yield to. So that’s a good rule. Do all the good you can. For each one of us, the specific ways we do good will be different, but do all the good you can.

And then here comes the one that’s frequently misunderstood. These rules have been updated. John Wesley’s version said to attend upon all the ordinances of God. What in the world does that mean?

People who want to simplify that rule have actually said that what it means is that you need to fall or stay in love with God. Now, I am a wise old man, but I do remember when I was a stupid young man and as a stupid young man, I frequently fell in love and I expressed my love in not very wise ways. So I kind of think what John Wesley had in mind was a little more than just to have the feeling of love toward God. Because I’m not so sure that everything else that we should do toward God comes from that because the commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Well, what it actually means to attend upon all the ordinances of God is to show up at every opportunity to benefit spiritually. If you come to worship, you’re going to benefit spiritually. To attend upon all the ordinances of God means to show up for worship. Holy Communion … show up for communion. Bible Study or class meeting … show up for Bible study and class meeting. Or as I put it in my own words, take good care of your faith and do everything that will help you to grow up.

Because our faith is something that lives within us. God sowed seeds in our hearts and they sprout and they grow, a lot of times underground, and you can’t see them growing. But we need to tend the ways that God is living in our hearts. Sometimes that means you have to take out your hoe and do no harm by taking out the weeds. Sometimes that means you have to take out the hose – you move from the “hoe” to the “hose” – and provide the good that growing things need to live and grow. But it’s God’s intent that we do everything that we can to become more spiritually fruitful.

Well, Pastor Day, where is this in the bible? Well, here it is.

Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the spirit will from the spirit reap internal life.” (Or you could say spiritual life.) “And let us not grow weary in well doing.” There’s that second rule of John Wesley! “For in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

You see, these rules are like seeds; results and consequences come from them. “So then.” Paul says, “As we have opportunity, let us sow good.” Or as he says here, “Let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

In 2 Corinthians 9:6, Paul makes the point, “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. And he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” So as we sow what is good, good comes back. As we take away the things that harm, more good comes. Those are good rules.

In John 15, which is my favorite chapter in the bible, Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it may bear more fruit.” Then he says this, verse 3, “You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you.” You’ve heard me refer to this, that as you read the bible it will clean you out of what does harm. It is the reading of the bible that does the actual pruning. It is the reading of the bible that cleans us up and sets us free.

Verse 4, Jesus says, “Abide in me, and I in you. Abide in me, and I in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine. Neither can you unless you abide in me.” What this means is that what’s growing within us is actually Jesus growing within us because, as it says there, “I am the vine. You are the branches. He who abides in me is connected to me, and I in him. He it is that bears much fruit. For apart from me, you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers. And the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned “

“If you abide in Me,” Jesus says, “And my words abide in you,” (an essential part of this), “Ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this My father is glorified, that you bear much fruit. And so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you, abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.” And out of that abiding will flow the answers to our prayers. Out of that abiding will flow goodness into our lives.

These are good rules that come to us from father John. It’s important that as you and I think through the decisions that we make that we do no harm. We’re certainly aware that there are great controversies and arguments raging all over the place. But you and I have to be aware and attentive and sort of find our way through those arguments to where hopefully we can find a place to stand where we do no harm.

As people try to stir things up, I’m finding that “doing no harm” is more and more difficult to do. But do no harm is a rule that we need in our time.

Well, Pastor Dave, how do we know what does harm? How do we know what does good? You tell us not to do harm, you tell us to do all the good, we can, but how do we know what to do?

I suggested to you several weeks ago, that you not let what you hear on the news determine the truth, but that you allow God’s Word to explain to you what is true. You might need to do some intellectual exercises to build a bridge between what Paul said almost 2,000 years ago, and what somebody on Facebook said yesterday. It might take you a while to connect the two together, but it’s worth doing. Because God’s word, as Jesus promised, prunes or cleans our life of things that do us harm and hold us back. Look into God’s word and let it guide you.

Finally, let the Holy Spirit guide you. I honestly think the Holy Spirit’s a little bit like that smoke detector. The Holy Spirit will sort of set off this little alarm, “Something’s not quite right.”

The phrase that I often use, if you remember it from Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi says “I sense a great disturbance in the Force.” There’s something that’s not right. The Holy Spirit’s kind of like God’s smoke alarm, there’s something going on. It’s just not right.

In counseling, counselors have a proverb. What they say is that if it feels icky, it probably is. And we need to be sensitive to how it feels within our spirit because sometimes that’s how the Holy Spirit talks to us. We just have this very deep sense that there’s something that’s not right. Or sometimes we have a corresponding sense of there’s something that’s really good here. We sense the Holy Spirit underlining what we’re feeling and trying to warn us in our hearts, to be aware.

Take good care of your faith, so that the Holy Spirit can communicate with you and show you the choices that lead to growth that lead to being fruitful. And in all things remember that you have a friend in Jesus, to whom you can turn when you’re not sure what to do, to whom you can turn when the rules don’t seem to apply. If you have a need, remember that you have someone who is your friend that you can turn to. And whatever that need might be, ask for it from the Saviour who loves you.

Please pray with me: Lord Jesus in this time of conflict over how we should live and what does harm and what does good, help us to keep growing spiritually. Help us to deepen our faith. Our faith needs rainy days and sunny days. In the same way, Lord, there will be both kinds of days for us. But we pray that you would help us to perceive you working through whatever is happening to us. And Lord, wherever we do not understand, remind us to turn to Jesus for the answers. We ask this in Jesus’s name.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Raod, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

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Sermon 06/21/20: You Need To … Repeat the Gospels (Pentecost III)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 6/21/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Our call to worship is to pray the Wesley Covenant Prayer:
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
Exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O Glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

HYMN Bill & Gloria Gaither – When We All Get to Heaven ft. Terry Blackwood, Karen Peck (Live) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ClwsynwVrI&list=PLCw04UnPoo9hsRJmNXX54lkUbxar2nJue&index=75

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of the Centering Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help. I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life. Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not. Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature. Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted. Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood. I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN Gaither – Since Jesus Came Into My Heart (Live) [Official Video]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoCC1NjIHPE&list=PLCw04UnPoo9hsRJmNXX54lkUbxar2nJue&index=74

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN
GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS

MESSAGE: You Need To … Repeat the Gospels
Text: John 20:19-23
Pastor David O. Kueker
Series: A Church Comes Alive (After Sheltering In Place)
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Kinmundy 9 am service Sermon audio.

HYMN Gaither Vocal Band – Yes, I Know (Live/Lyric Video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yms8x1k564&list=PLCw04UnPoo9hsRJmNXX54lkUbxar2nJue&index=5

BENEDICTION: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!


TRANSCRIPT

Once upon a time, in a congregation that was not a United Methodist Church, a congregation that had to find and hire their own pastor, a church was very excited to hire a new, young pastor fresh out of school. He came to preach a trial sermon and his trial sermon was so powerful, so emotionally moving, so insistent that the people practiced their faith, that they lived the life that Jesus Christ asked us to live. They hired the new preacher on the spot. The vote was 100% in favor.

A month later, the new preacher moved into the parsonage. And the first Sunday came, and the new preacher stood up and preached exactly the same sermon with exactly the same enthusiasm and power. And the elders of the church thought for a minute and they wondered, “Perhaps he thinks there are people here who did not hear it. That’s why he’s preaching this sermon. Certainly, it’s an excellent sermon.”

And a week went by and he stood up and preached the exact same sermon again. And this time, there was a lot of muttering in the congregation. And seven days later, it was the same sermon again.

Finally, there was a meeting of the elders. And they called the young pastor and they said, “We want you to know there’s been a lot of criticism of your sermon past three weeks. It’s the exact same sermon that you preached when you were a candidate for this job. We simply have to ask you. Do you know more than one sermon?”

The preacher looked him in the eye and calmly said, “Why should I preach a new sermon when you haven’t even started on practicing what I told you to do in this first sermon?”

You see, we all need to really think for a moment about what it is that we do at a church.

Once upon a time, over 100 years ago, back in the days of the Great Depression, the grocery store owners in small towns would let people buy food on credit. Think about that for just a minute. It’s the winter. Your family’s hungry. What’s the owner of the grocery store going to do?

So there was a small town and it just so happened that the owner of the grocery store in this small town was an atheist. And the new pastor came to town.

And the new pastor came into the grocery store to buy his groceries. And as the grocer rang up his purchases, he said, “I’m the new preacher at the Methodist Church. I’d like to invite you to come to worship.” The Methodist people standing around shivered in horror because of course, that led to a 20-minute shouting match between the atheist grocer and the new preacher.

But the next week, the grocer came to ring up the groceries of the pastor and as they were finishing, the pastor said, “I’m the new pastor at the Methodist church and I’d like to invite you to worship,” and, again, there was a shouting match because this man was a very angry atheist.

But every week, pastor would do the same thing and atheist grocer would do the same thing, but there finally came a day, about three months later, when the Methodist pastor invited the atheist grocer to come to church. The man said that he thought he would. Methodist people in the store were shocked. And the pastor said, “Well, I’m really glad to hear that. That’s wonderful,” and the atheist said, “Well, it’s my understanding that you’re a really good preacher,” and the pastor said, “Well, you’ve never been to worship. I wonder what leads you to that opinion?” And the atheist grocer leaned across and whispered quietly into the ear of the preacher, “It’s because your church members are paying what they owe me. They’re paying their bills.”

There’s a lot of times we think a sermon is supposed to be motivational. I’m almost ashamed to say that some people think it should be entertaining. Some people think that a sermon is meant to be educational, “You should learn something about God. you should learn something about the bible by the time it’s over.” But the fact of the matter is, the point of the sermon is that what you do is supposed to change because of what Jesus said and did, but until what we do changes, the sermon has not had a full effect for which it’s intended. You see, it’s what we do that’s important.

I’d like to remind you what it means to be a professional musician. I have a picture here of Yo-Yo Ma. 60 years old. Pretty well understood to be the best Cielo player in the world. You would think if you got to a certain level of expertise, all you would need to do is show up to performances, but Yo-Yo Ma and practically all professional musicians are very quick to tell you, that’s not the case at all.

The reason Yo-Yo Ma is so good when it comes time to perform is because he practices an average of about five or six hours a day. And I’m not exactly certain what is a part of that practice but I know a large part of it, if it’s five or six times a day, probably a full hour, maybe two hours, is merely the practicing of scales. Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do. Over and over and over again. In fact, I read an article once that said that he liked to do his scales while he was watching baseball. Since exciting things didn’t happen that often, he was able to pay attention to doing his scales!

But it’s what he did in private to learn how to practice his instrument that made all the difference when the important moments of performance came. In the same way, friends, we need to learn how to practice what we preach, or, to say it differently, we all need to learn how to practice what we are preached to about. Because if we don’t put it into practice, those skills tend to get rusty. They tend to drift away, and we lose all the progress that we’ve made. One specific thing that Yo-Yo-Ma has said is that what all string players have in common is that if we don’t play for a while, we actually start from ground zero. 40 years of professional experience, 50 years of professional experience, if you don’t practice, it’ll all disappear in a very short period of time.

The faith that we have is a faith that is strengthened when we do what Jesus has asked us to do. So what is the purpose of the church as we emerge from this period of waiting in place, of sheltering in place, of being hidden away?

Well, there’s no different purpose for when we emerge in 2020 than when the church emerged on that first Pentecost almost 2000 years ago. Jesus still tells us what to do just as he told them.

John, chapter 20, verse 19: On the evening of that day, that first Easter, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were for the fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Then, Jesus gave them three tasks. And those three tasks come down to us thousands of years later just as they were handed to his first followers. Verse 21, Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so, I send you.”

Let that sink in for just a minute. “Everything that happened to me is going to happen to you. Everything I told you to do, now’s the time for you to go out and do it. Everything you experienced when you were with me, now go do it again. Been there, done that. Now, go do it again.”

Verse 22, and when he said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Just like in those days, we need to open ourselves up to receive the Holy Spirit, and as Luke says, from that will come an understanding of the Scripture.

Finally, verse 23, Jesus says, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” We are in the business of the forgiveness of sin. This is what we’re to do.

And as we emerge from our sheltering in place in this century in this year 2020 to begin a new era in the life of the church, because certainly, just as the coronavirus pandemic has changed American history, it’s going to change church history. There’s going to be a new sort of church that will be needed. But as we move into the future, it’s the lessons of Jesus that will guide us into this new version of the church. Keep those same words in mind again, John 20:21, where Jesus said to them again, “As the father has sent me, even so, I send you.”

In other words, this is a reboot. If you have a computer, you know what that is. You’re having some kind of trouble. Your computer’s not working right. Things aren’t happening the way they should. Do you know what you do? You turn the computer off. Then you start it up again. You restart it. And as it restarts, it loads the operating system. It organizes itself to do its work. It does each thing in a particular and specific order. And all of a sudden, the problem you had before is gone. Every now and then, the church has to reboot. Every now and then, the church has to start over.

And if you look at church history, the first restart was in those days between Easter and Pentecost because the book of Acts is very different. But then as history moved along, there were other times to reboot and restart. St. Francis, Martin Luther, John Wesley, General Booth, and the founding of the Salvation Army … the church has always been rebooting and restarting. And when it does, it reloads the original commands so that it can follow what it followed at the very beginning.

We’ve talked about this couple weeks ago. What do you and I need to know? Well, here’s the reality. It is the word of God that will give us the truth. And out of that truth, we will understand how to operate in this world today. The word of God is our operating system. And when the church reboots, the word of God loads in, and people begin to do what the scripture commands. And all of a sudden, it’s a brand new day. And it’s a brand new church.

Jesus specifically commanded that this happen with the last verse in the book of Matthew, which is a part of the Great Commission. He commands his disciples, “Everyone who becomes a Christian– you need to teach them to observe. All that I’ve commanded you–”

Now notice what that is. It’s not, “Teach them so that they can hear everything I’ve commanded.” It’s not, “Teach them so that they can be aware of everything I commanded.” It’s not even, “Teach them so that they can discuss everything I commanded.” But it’s “Teach them to observe, to do, to practice, to actually do all that Jesus commanded us,” because what happens in the reboot of the church is we reboot and do everything that Jesus commanded the disciples to do.

Last week I talked about Autofocus, that time management system where you write down everything you need to do, and you run your eyes down the list until you find the thing that you’re supposed to do. And you feel the sense in your spirit and your heart in that moment. There’s an emotional excitement. “That’s what I’m supposed to do now.”

When the commands of Jesus are reloaded, when we face a situation, what we need to do is open ourselves up to the Spirit and run our finger down that list of commands until we find the one that fits the situation that we face right now.

“What did Jesus say about this?”

Now, sometimes, we have to figure it out because it’s not exactly something Jesus said, but we have to think, “What did Jesus say about this?” And, of course, the Holy Spirit helps us to understand because the new church runs under the fuel of the power of the Holy Spirit. Zechariah 4:6– “Then, he said to me, ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel,’ and here’s the word of the Lord to you and I. Not by might, not by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” Not by military power, economic power, not by the power of how loud you can shout, but God says that it’s by my Spirit that God’s work will be done.

The Church 2.0, the restart of the church on the day of Pentecost, and the restart of the church now as we come out of the sheltering in place to be at the church that’s needed this time, this year, and this day, the command to us is to understand that it’s the power of Holy Spirit that does the heavy lifting– the work.

There’s a saying– W. Edward Deming said it, but it actually comes from Arthur Jones. “All organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they get.” I would like to tell you in my younger days I was somewhat arrogant, and I had a belief that, in our days with computers and the internet and flying jet airplanes and all of the other technology that we have, there was a time when I thought seriously I thought that we knew something about how to do church that was smarter and wiser and more successful than the words of Jesus.

I can tell you, sadly, as I get older, I’ve become very well aware that there’s nothing that we think we know today that is wiser or more effective in church life than the words of Jesus. All organizations are perfectly designed to get the results that they get. Let’s take just a minute and consider that the design of the church of Jesus– he started by calling 12 to follow him and spent three years getting them ready until, in the upper room, waiting for the day of Pentecost, there were 120 people that he had personally trained– personally trained by sharing with them all of those commands that we just talked about from Matthew 28, and those 120 people were present on the day when the Holy Spirit fell and the church began.

And all of a sudden, the design of the church created by Jesus went from 120 to 3,000 converts in a single day. That’s a good design. Not only that, as they practiced what Jesus preached, those disciples went from 3,000 to probably something like a church of 15,000. Mom, Dad, children– that’s an effective design. And on down in the two centuries since then, the estimated population, Christian population, in the world today is 2.3 billion. That’s 31.2%– just a little bit less than a third of all human beings on this Earth are Christian. The design that Jesus created for a church is a better design than any human intelligence can develop.

But it still has the same weakness it’s always had. If you’re aware of it, that means very little. If you understand it, that means very little. But if you practice it, what Jesus taught the church to be can be very powerful.

So I want to direct your attention to the three things that Jesus used to get the disciples ready to be the church on the day of Pentecost. He reminded them they needed to wait for the Spirit to act, and we need to wait in the same way– not wait a second longer but to act in the power of the Spirit.

Jesus had them talk those 50 days in the upper room– to pray and to talk about everything that he had said and done, and in the same way, we need to talk and become familiar with everything that Jesus said and did– not to be aware of it, but because honestly, we need to do everything Jesus said and did.

And then, finally, if you’ll remember doubting Thomas– he had to ask for what he needed to believe, and when Jesus gave him exactly what he asked, it says that he fell to his knees and said, “My Lord and my God.” And so I want to ask you today– what do you need to believe in that way? What do you need that would allow you to shift from being a person who is aware of the gospel, who is aware of the teachings of Jesus– what is it that you need to pray for that would allow you to shift to actually be a person who does what Jesus asks? To believe so powerfully that you would actually live your faith– to believe so powerfully that you would actually live to do what Jesus asked us to do?

Please pray with me. Lord, Jesus, we know that the Holy Spirit wants to act today. We know that your word is still true today, but we also know that we fall far short of what we could be when it comes to being faithful disciples who not only know but who also do what you’ve told us to do. Help us, Lord, to become the disciples who obey you. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Raod, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

Posted in Attend "Worship at Home" | Leave a comment

Sermon 06/14/20: You Need … To Wait for the Spirit (Pentecost II)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 06/14/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Our call to worship is to pray the Wesley Covenant Prayer:
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
Exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O Glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

HYMN Josh Turner – Great Is Your Faithfulness (Live From Gaither Studios)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31ymVm-6YIw


A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of the Centering Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help. I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life. Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not. Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature. Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted. Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood. I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN
GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS

HYMN Bill & Gloria Gaither – Sweet, Sweet Spirit (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QZZtmhu3kc

MESSAGE: You Need … To Wait for the Spirit
Text: Matthew 7:7-8, Luke 24:45, 49, Acts 1:4-8
Pastor David O. Kueker
Series: A Church Comes Alive (After Sheltering In Place)
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.

HYMN Bill & Gloria Gaither – Holy Spirit, Thou Art Welcome (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqXc2XvtfCM

BENEDICTION: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

Easter is when God begins to change our world, and we begin to leave, lead, and live a new life. Matthew chapter 7 verse 7 reminds us of what’s important. It’s a beautiful promise. Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be open to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

As we’re beginning this new time of living after Easter, I think that applies perfectly to this time when we’re trying to figure out what the church is going to be like, because certainly after us sheltering in place, the church is coming back to life, coming back to public visibility in the same way that Easter brought Jesus back, but then he took 50 days to get the church ready to be the church visible in the eyes of other people. I think God can teach us something from how Jesus got the church ready so that we can get ready. We can get ready now for how to be the church after the season of sheltering in place.

The first thing, if you’ll remember back, Thomas needed something in order to believe, and I think the lesson from that is that if you need something in order to believe you need to ask for it because what he found out is that when he asked, Jesus Christ was right there to give him what he needed. Whatever you need, ask for it and let Jesus respond to your asking.

Last week we talked about how the truth gets very elusive and confusing in our world today, and I reminded you that no matter what the news says, if you want to know what the truth is about the way God made our world to be, you can find the truth in the words of the bible. Jesus said, “Seek, and you shall find.” Well, if you’re looking for the truth, if you’re looking for instructions, if you’re looking for help to know what to do or how to live, look in the bible. And if you seek it there, I know you will find what you need to hear.

In the scripture, the very first thing the disciples did when they were face to face with Jesus at the day of this ascension, they asked him if it was time for God to restore the kingdom to Israel. In other words, to get rid of those lousy Roman politicians. Friends, if you don’t like politicians, you should know that nothing is different today than it was 2,000 years ago. But they looked at Jesus, and they said, “When, when oh Lord, will we be set free?” And the answer that Jesus had for that is, “It’s not for you to know the time for that question.”

And it’s probably because Jesus had another question to answer. I would put this question that they’re asking as, “When will God be ready?” And Jesus says, “God will be ready soon, but you have to wait.” The specific verse says, “Wait for the promise of the father. Wait until God’s time. Wait for God to act.” And you know, ask, and seek. Remember what the next one is? Knock. Interesting thing. you knocked on the door. It may take a while for somebody to come, but if you keep knocking, within several days, someone will come to the door. Sometimes we need to wait for God’s timing, and if we keep knocking, the door will open.

Acts chapter 1 verse 4. Jesus says this. While staying with them, he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the father, which he said, “You heard from me for John baptized with water, but before many days, you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit. So when they had ask him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel, get rid of those Roman politicians?” Jesus says, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the father has fixed by his own authority, but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The second thing that he did, and we talked about this briefly last night, all those with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, asking Jesus for what they needed I believe they also took time to talk about the stories of Jesus. Where as now we would simply be able to open the bible to read them, but they did these things all with one accord, together with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. Verse 15 says, “There were 120 in the upper room.”

On Easter Sunday, Jesus helped this to happen. As it says in Luke 24:45 that, “He opened their minds to understand the scriptures.” Verse 49, “And behold I send the promise of the father upon you, but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” And as Jesus rose up in to heaven, verse 52, “They return to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.”

Friends, waiting is hard. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the famous marshmallow test. You put a little kid in a room, and in front of the little kid, you put one marshmallow, and you say, “If you can wait for just a few minutes, and not eat your marshmallow, when I come back, I’ll give you two marshmallows.” And they have a video camera rolling, and they just have these astonishing pictures of the frustration of children as they try not to eat that marshmallow. It is hard to wait. It is hard to delay gratification although as they’ve repeated this test over the last 40 years, children are beginning to have more patience. When they track those same children down through the years, the children who are able to wait, they get better grades, they do better in college, they do better in life, they do better in their careers, their marriages last longer because they’ve learned to delay gratification and not demand that they get what they want right now.

Friends, it is not easy to wait. If you saw the Facebook page this morning, you saw there’s a picture of a dog with the dog biscuit right here on the dog’s nose. With regard to us getting back in the church, I feel a little bit like that dog. I want God to tell me it’s time and it’s okay. I want everything I want but good things come when we’re able to wait. Ecclesiastes chapter three, for everything, there’s a season. A time to wait, a time when everything is ready, a time for every matter under heaven. Waiting is worth it.

Imagine with me, a woman expecting a baby. Waiting is worth it. Babies take nine months. Some come a little early, some take a little longer, but you want the baby to come at the right time. There is a time to be born and waiting is worth it. There is a time for us to die. Most of us don’t want to be in a hurry to get to that day. It’s worth it to wait.

Those of you who plant a garden, you know the sprouts begin to come up but you need to wait until they’re fully grown. There’s an old story about a little boy who asked his grandpa, “Why can’t we dig them up now?” The answer is, because there’s not anything there yet. It takes time and we need to wait. Good things happen when we wait. Waiting is worth it.

The disciples had to wait for the resurrection. But that’s not the first time people waited. People waited thousands of years for Christmas to come. They waited two more years for the wise men to arrive. Noah and the animals on the boat waited for the rain to stop, for the water to go down. Waiting is worth it. Because as we talked about last week, God has a plan and it’s a plan for good and not evil. It’s a plan about peace, to give us a future and a hope but we have to wait. We have to wait for the spirit.

I now like to change the subject and go to one of my favorite things to talk about and that’s time management. I’d like to take a second to tell you about a time management system for people who are not very organized, maybe that’s somebody here. It’s called autofocus. Autofocus is the brainchild of a British retired military man by the name of Mark Forster and with autofocus, you get yourself a cheap spiral notebook and you take your pen out and you write down in the notebook everything you have to do, page after page after page. It doesn’t matter how long you write things out– you may have 100 things. You may have 200 things. If you’re really disorganized, you may have 300 things but if everything’s on the page, nothing can fall through the cracks.

But then here’s the genius of autofocus, you take your notebook once a day and you look down through it for the task that you are eager and excited to do because the theory is if there’s a job on that list and you don’t want to do it, it’s probably because you’re not ready. If you don’t want to do it, there’s probably a reason. Maybe you only know that reason in your subconscious mind but something just tells you it’s not time yet.

Well, go right past all the things where you should wait and look for the ones to where it seems like God is shaking you and saying, “That’s the one. You’ll enjoy that. You’re ready for that. This is the one you should do today.” And this is what we do in all honesty when we wait for the spirit because the Holy Spirit is there to guide us

And if you don’t take time to go down through your list and say, “Holy Spirit, which one is the job for today?” you know what will happen? You’ll do one thing after another after another that really, in the long run, isn’t going to work very well. You’ll do one thing after another that won’t amount to much … because it’s not time yet and it won’t be fun and it won’t be interesting.

But if you go down your list and say, “Which one of these is exciting and am I eager to do?” And according to the experts that review it, if we’re focusing on the things that are like that, we’ll be enormously more productive. That’s what waiting for the spirit is like. The spirit makes it come alive. The spirit makes us want to do that. Waiting is worth it and God has a plan and God is on time.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, as we get ready to come back to the sanctuary of our church, as we get ready to come back to something that’s more normal, as we get ready to be the church that is visible rather than the church that was sheltering in place as we were for so long, help us to be aware of the spirit’s guidance. Help us to not be so certain that we are right but help us to be willing to listen to you and if the timing is not just yet, Lord, help us to wait three more days until there’s a resurrection. Help us to wait 40 more days until the rain stops. Help us to wait 50 days until the day of Pentecost so that we are aligned with your timing to fulfill your will as a part of your plan, and we ask this in the name of Jesus Christ.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Raod, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

Posted in Attend "Worship at Home" | Leave a comment

Sermon 06/07/20: You Need … The Word (Pentecost I)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 06/07/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Our call to worship is to pray the Wesley Covenant Prayer:
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
Exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O Glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

HYMN Allison Durham Speer, Wesley Pritchard, Sue Dodge, Larry Ford – Wonderful Words of Life [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q499q89HOpM

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of the Centering Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help. I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life. Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not. Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature. Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted. Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood. I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN Tell Me the Stories of Jesus (Andrew Remillard)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRoWoUPDbis

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN
GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS

MESSAGE: You Need … The Word
Text: Luke 24:13-47, Jeremiah 29:1-14
Pastor David O. Kueker
Series: A Church Comes Alive (After Sheltering In Place)
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Sermon Audio – Kinmundy UMC Drive In Church 06/07/20
Sermon Audio – Wesley UMC Drive In Church 06/07/20

HYMN Alan Jackson – I Love To Tell The Story (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrCpKa_xOcE

BENEDICTION: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

One of the handicaps of the bright sunlight is I can’t show you my pictures. And I’ve come to be aware of just how much I love my pictures. So for those of you with really good eyesight, there’s the picture. There’s a dog that is about eight feet tall, leaning over a Chihuahua, and the Chihuahua is just a little bit anxious.

Because from the viewpoint of that Chihuahua, as you’ve heard me say, it’s Friday. Sunday’s coming, but right now it’s Friday. And Friday means that life is hard to deal with, but Sunday’s coming. It’s a valuable thing for us to learn to be patient when troubles lean over us like an eight-foot-tall dog. It’s a little difficult for us to be patient when things happen to us that we do not understand because we feel like we are passing through the valley of the shadow of Death. And the shadows, for the moment, seem to be more powerful and scary than the shepherd that is guiding us forward. That happens on Fridays. Fridays are scary times. But if we have patience, Sunday will come.

And of course, the Sunday we’re referring to is Easter Sunday when the stone is rolled aside and all of a sudden, everything was made new. Because a resurrected Jesus that came out of the grave was the leader of a church that was going to be reborn. He’d gotten them started. But after the resurrection, they had the power of the Holy Spirit. They had the power of the resurrection. They were able to walk in newness of life. Nonetheless, that church would be hidden ’til the day of Pentecost. (Today is the day in 2020 when we celebrate Pentecost.) And then all of a sudden on the day of Pentecost, they would come out of hiding, but we’re taking a few days to look at what Jesus did during that 50-day period between Easter and Pentecost, to get them ready to be the church that Jesus wanted them to be. Sunday is here, but there’s still time to get ready.

How do we prepare to be a new and different church?

Let me change the subject just briefly and talk about Friday again. Last week, there was a regrettable death in Minneapolis, and the whole nation exploded into peaceful protest. And if that protest was all that happened, that would have been just fine because it’s a free country. People are able to say what they think and feel.

But unfortunately, as the sun went down, criminal elements and others came into those crowds and began to behave as criminals do. They broke the windows of stores. They ran inside to steal. They set buildings on fire. They set police cars on fire. And all kinds of violence swept across the nation. And that’s what happens on a Friday except in this case, it was actually a Thursday.

I have another picture in the slides of a young man standing on a burned-out car on a Thursday morning looking over his neighborhood and the mess that needs to be cleaned up. Because you know after the irresponsible people, after the criminal people behaved criminally, someone else has to come along and clean up the mess. That’s a Friday and a Friday is a day when we find ourselves saying literally, “I do not understand people. I do not understand why they do what they do. I do not understand why God allows such things to happen.” It’s one of the characteristics for Friday, we don’t understand and because we don’t understand the big dog gets bigger, the anxiety gets higher, and when you’re anxious you understand even less. This whole past week our nation has been going through a Friday and we’re still waiting for a Sunday because we do not understand.

We don’t take the newspaper at our house but I may need to change that because, to be honest with you, I’ve got to get my news over the internet. And the problem with getting the news over the internet is that there’s about a three out of four chance that the news you’re reading is just simply a pack of lies. There’s about a three out of four chance that the news that you’re reading is just simply not true. It’s not true about the violence that happened last week, it’s not true about the Coronavirus, and as politicians pile one attack on top of another on top of another, it’s not very true about politics either. We have become a nation of people who would rather listen to people tell lies that we like to hear than to put up with reading the truth that might not agree with us. Because we have so many different channels it’s not hard for us just simply to turn the dial to the person who’s telling us what we want to hear whether it’s true or not.

But if you want to know the truth, I can tell you where you will find the truth. If you go home today and open up your Bible to the words of Jesus, every word of Jesus you will find will be true. You’ll have to link it up with what’s going on now because Jesus did not deal with the Coronavirus … but he dealt with all kinds of illnesses like leprosy and he did heal people. And you will find in the pages of the Bible, the truth. Jesus didn’t say much about politicians but you can’t get more political than the leaders at the Temple and the Roman governor and it’s their actions of politics that put him on the cross.

But if you read the words of the Bible the truth will come to you because the words of the bible are true, particularly if you’re asking the question, “What should I do in response to all these feelings that I have, to all this trouble that is piling up around me?” If you want to know the truth of what you should do, the bible will tell you the truth.

On Easter Sunday, the disciples were worried that they would be next to be put on the cross. And so, they were hidden away. But two of them decided to leave town. And so, they were headed out of town, on the road to a small village called Emmaus, and what Luke 24 tells us is, Jesus came alongside and began to walk with them. And, he finally asked them what was the matter. And, they turned to him and they said, “Are you the only one who does not know?” And, they talked about how Jesus had been put on the cross. How Jesus had died. How all of there hopes for the difference that he would make in the world, were dashed because he was dead. And, they didn’t understand, plus, they said, “This morning some women came and told us that he had risen from the dead. Crazy women.” They didn’t understand.

And, if you look at verse 25, Jesus turns to them and says this, “Oh, foolish men. And slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” Verse 26, “Was it not necessary.” Please, say that with me. “Was it not necessary,” Jesus said, “that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory.” Verse 27. Jesus begins to turn their eyes away from this world, to point out to them the truth of the scripture. And, beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures, the things concerning himself. All the things in the bible that they were able to be aware of, but they were so busy paying attention to the world around them, they weren’t looking at the truth that was in the bible. They continued on to the village of Emmaus. They stopped for supper. They encouraged Jesus to stay with them, and as he broke the bread, all of a sudden they realized that it was Jesus, and he vanished. And, they looked at each other, verse 32, and they said, “Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?”

And, it says that they got up at that moment and went back to Jerusalem. The roads at night were very dangerous. That doesn’t matter. Jesus was alive. When they got to where the disciples were, they found out that Jesus had appeared to the disciples, and just a little bit later, all of a sudden, Jesus is right there. Everything is new and different. And, Jesus goes on to say, verse 44, after the were in the upper room together, “These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you.” He had already told them all of this. “That everything written about me in the law of Moses, and the prophets and the psalms, must be fulfilled it’s all written there, verse 45, here’s the key, “Then the he opened their mind to understand the scriptures.” When w’re getting ready to read the bible, it’s a wise thing to pray, “Lord, open my mind to understand the scriptures.” And he went on to say, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead. And that repentance and forgiveness of sin should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

This is the task of the church after Easter. This is the task, but now they need to get ready for that task. And it will take a little bit of time to get ready for that task for sharing the gospel. The prophet Jeremiah, back in chapter 29 of the Book of Jeremiah, sent the letter to the captives taken away to Babylon. When Jerusalem was conquered, their prophets were telling them that in just a very short time, they’d be returning home. And Jeremiah sends them a letter to say no, you need to hunker down, you need to settle in, you need to build homes and plant gardens and be good citizens because you’re going to be there for a while.

But, verse 10, “Thus says the Lord, when 70 years are complete.” We all have 50 days to wait between Easter and Pentecost, we all have three days to wait between Good Friday and Easter. They had to wait 70 years. But God encouraged them by saying, “I will visit you and I will fulfill to you my promise. And I will bring you back to this place.” Verse 11, this verse is often taken out of context, but it’s about waiting faithfully for God to work. Verse 11, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for evil. To give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart and I will be found by you, says the Lord. And I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I’ve driven you, says the Lord. And I will bring you back to the place from which I’ve sent you into exile.”

We need to give God time to work. It probably won’t be 70 years, but just like the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost, there’s going to be a few days between when this church comes out of hiding, so-to-speak, when we’re in our home and begin to be out in public again, like we started just a few weeks ago.

There’s going to be some time in-between there, for us to get ready to come back and be the church again. I wonder if you feel that this is sort of like a dress rehearsal each Sunday, here on the parking lot? We’re back. We’re not all the way back but well, we’re back on the horse. And during this time it makes sense for us to get ready to go from the church that was in hiding, just like Jesus was in the tomb, to be the church that is resurrected and alive and living in this world just like they were on the day of Pentecost.

Everything has changed. But God still wants us to be the church that reaches people in this day. If that means we have to wear a mask, then we’ll wear a mask. If that means the preacher needs a sheet of plexiglass in front of his mouth, we’ll put a sheet of plexiglass in front of his mouth. We want to give God time to work and then we want to adjust to the reality of the way life is now because the Holy Spirit is already acting in accordance with the reality of how things are now. When we adjust to our reality instead of fighting against it, we will be in the flow of the spirit to reach out to people. And we need a few of these days between Easter and Pentecost to get ready.

In the slides, there is a picture of the room that they call the Cenacle. The word Cenacle means dining room. It means the place where you are served. In English, we frequently call it the Upper Room. This was something like a restaurant – where Jesus held the last supper or Passover meal. But after Jesus died on the cross, the disciples returned there and they stayed in that room. They stayed in hiding. A lot of scholars think that they were in residence there, that they were sleeping on the floor in that room. Other scholars suggest no, it’s just where they gathered. But for the days between Easter and Pentecost, they gathered in the upper room. And on the day of Pentecost, there were actually 120 of them.

What did they do during those days? Well, the words of Jesus were not yet printed. They were not yet in a book that you could open and read for yourself. But I believe that as they gathered in that room, they began to talk about everything Jesus said. They began to talk about everything Jesus did. They began to talk for 50 days about everything Jesus told them to do. They refreshed their memory and they reminded themselves of everything Jesus asked of his church. And I want to remind you, as I said before, if you want to know the truth about what’s going on here, in the early church on the Day of Pentecost, you don’t want to read it in the newspaper, you want to read what Jesus told those people to do. Because these people are going to do what Jesus told us to do. And that’s how the church will be reborn.

You need, in order to live in this world today, in this new world that God is bringing to pass around us, you need the word so that you can know the truth and the truth will set you free. The truth will help you to understand. The truth will help you to decide wisely what you are to do, what you are not to do, and whether you just simply need to wait before you do anything and pray a little bit longer. The word from all those centuries ago that came out of Jesus’s mouth, that will tell you the truth about what you need to do today. You need the Word.

There is a church in Houston, Texas. It is a church that people love to make fun of. You know why people love to make fun of it? They’re the big dog. Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. One of the largest churches in the world. On an average Sunday, prior to the coronavirus they would have a church attendance and the arenas where they hold their church services. A church attendance every single week of over 52,000 people.

This church was started by John Osteen, who was a Southern Baptist pastor. And all of a sudden, just like on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit fell on him, and he became a Southern Baptist who was also a Pentecostal. And I’ll be honest with you, Southern Baptists don’t have anything to do with that. So after he was driven out, he decided to start a church for Southern Baptists who were Pentecostals, and it’s just kind of grown from there.

But here’s what I wanted to tell you. Every Sunday, at some point time in their service, every person in that church, 52,000 of them over a Sunday time will take their Bible in their hand and will hold it up, and they will say along with the pastor these words. “This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I can do what it says I can do. Today I will be taught the Word of God. I boldly confess my mind is alert. My heart is receptive. I will never be the same. I am about to receive the incorruptible, indestructible, ever living seed of the word of God, I will never be the same. Never, never, never. I will never be the same. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

You need the word to show you the truth. On a Friday, when it seems that the world is falling apart. You need the word to show you the truth on a Sunday, like Easter, when you’re coming out of the dark, coming out of a hole, coming out of the grave and trying to live a new life. You need the word to show you how to live on into the future that God has prepared for us. You need to worry a little bit less about the world and read the word a little bit more and then do what it says.

The very last slide– I really regret I can’t show you this picture. There’s a big round stone. That is off to the side because Jesus is about to leave the tomb. In this picture, I’ve superimposed on that big round stone, an image of the coronavirus. We are getting ready to come out of hiding. We’re gonna leave all of what’s in the past behind and move forward to be what God wants us to be as a church. And as disciples, you might say to yourself, “What comes next?” I’ll be very honest with you. I don’t know.

But I do know that God knows, and I do know that he will lead us. And I do know that if we want to know what God wants to happen, all we have to do is turn back to the book of Acts. All we have to do is turn back to the words of Jesus, and then we’ll know what to do, to do the will of the God who calls us forward. Please pray with me.

Lord Jesus, it’s so easy for us to be influenced by the media, whether it’s the internet or television or the news or a newspaper. We’re ready to swallow, without even thinking about it, whatever we’re told. Help us, Lord, instead to build a foundation in our lives made out of a living stones of every word that came from the mouth of Jesus. Help us, Lord, to build a foundation based on the Word of God. And then Lord grew forward with a firm footing. on the truth of what you have told us and not be distracted or dismayed or dissuaded or made doubtful or confused by all the noise around us. But let us be guided by the word of God living in our heart and living out through everything we say and do. And we ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Raod, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

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