KinmundyChurch.org: Welcome to our church blog!

We Would Like You To Know —

1.  At this time, due to decreasing Coronavirus rates, the United Methodists Churches of our Illinois Great Rivers Conference are worshiping in face-to-face worship services. On May 14, 2021, the Illinois Great Rivers Conference announce a significant relaxation in safety standards in harmony with recent announcements by the CDC and the Illinois State Department of Public Health. You can read more about these changes below.

2. YOU HAVE SIX CHOICES TO PARTICIPATE IN WORSHIP, depending on what you feel is best for your own safety and situation in this Coronavirus season. We respect your decision.

Choice #1: You are welcome to attend live, Face-to-Face worship at Kinmundy United Methodist Church at 9 am Sunday morning OR at Wesley, 10:45 Sunday morning.

Choice #2: We broadcast the audio of the live service on your car’s FM radio, FM 87.9, to the parking lot at Kinmundy UMC at 9 am. This is a little safer than inside for those who are unvaccinated or concerned about safety. A bucket just inside the door on the corner has bulletins in it. Just like a drive-in, you can bring snacks and coffee.

Choice #3: Please click on the link at the blog post for this Sunday in the “Attend Worship at Home” category to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone. Sermons and worship services for previous weeks are also available.
The same links will be provided on the Kinmundy Church Facebook page.
Pastor Dave intends to continue providing an online service on into the future.

Choice #4: You can also click on the links at the blog post of the day in the “Attend Worship at Home” category to have your own worship service experience, for whatever you are interested in. You can listen to the sermon on audio, pray the prayers, play YouTube versions of the hymns, and/or view the sermon slides with the sermon audio.

Choice #5: 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. The transcript can also be read on the blog after 2 pm on Monday and used in your devotions through the week. Pastor Dave intends to continue provide this on into the future.

Choice #6: If you don’t have the internet and you would like to watch the worship video on DVD, please call the church office.

INFORMATION ON CURRENT SAFETY PRECAUTIONS (May 23, 2021):

WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO KNOW … Due to your careful love for your neighbor, the State of Illinois is relaxing COVID restrictions in response to lower numbers. Please pray for wisdom for our leaders and a calm response throughout to the gradual lifting of restrictions.

On Friday May 14, 2021, Curtis Brown, Director of Connectional Ministries for the IGRC, issued an Update on Wearing Masks for the Illinois Great Rivers Conference to say: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has updated their safety guidance to state, “… fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting.” … This means that fully vaccinated people will not need to wear a face mask or physically distance in most of our churches during worship services, gatherings, and meetings, including while speaking and singing.” The IGRC recommends that churches should avoid creating special events, gatherings, or worship experiences only available to those who are already fully vaccinated. Our ministries are meant for all, and we need to be diligent in ensuring that an individual’s access to vaccination does not become a barrier for people’s full participation in the life of our churches.

Unvaccinated people may choose to wear masks for their own safety and the safety of other non-vaccinated people.

Additionally, some fully vaccinated people may wish to continue to wear masks out of an abundance of caution or in solidarity with children and other people who are not able to be vaccinated. Please do not crowd each other as we adjust to these changes.

We will continue to practice all safety measures recommended by the Illinois Department of Public Health, as listed above. As a United Methodist Church, we do not wish to discriminate against unvaccinated persons, or require more from them than what we ask of vaccinated persons.

We will also very carefully and kindly respect anyone who chooses to not attend worship at this time, whether it is because they wish to be safer or because they wish to avoid wearing a mask. We love you and support your personal decision, and look forward to seeing you again.

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

You may read the complete text of Dr Curtis Brown’s Update on Wearing Masks for the Illinois Great Rivers Conference by clicking here.

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


Worship at Kinmundy: 9 am Sunday. At Wesley: 10:45 Sunday.
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
Worship Sunday mornings at 9 am.  Please join us!        

Wesley United Methodist Church
3381 Kinoka Rd, Patoka, IL  62875
Worship Sunday mornings 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!

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

Sermon 6/13/2021: The Lessons of the Comforter (Pentecost 04)

At this time, due to Coronavirus concerns, many are not quite ready to return to face to face worship. If this includes you, please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/562286040

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cr1l3HVh979

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: 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

HYMN Trust and Obey
Trust and Obey – Delran UMC Virtual Choir (Mother’s Day 2020)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1tUsyJm1vI

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

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 Majesty
Bill & Gloria Gaither – Majesty (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gr2jpojRb5o

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

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: The Lessons of the Comforter
Text: John 14:22-29, 15:1-10
Series: The Gifts of the Comforter

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.

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SERMON NOTES

John 14:22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. 25 “These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe.

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.

John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

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HYMN Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus
TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS performed by Casting Crowns
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DdgkvnsHjM

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

BENEDICTION: 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.

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

TRANSCRIPT

The Lessons of the Comforter … and the lesson really basically simply is this: God intends to work through people like you and like me. “As the father has sent me,” Jesus told us, “Even so, I send you.” You and I are sent to make a difference in people’s lives.

And if you’re like me, the first question you want to ask is, “Well, what is it I’m supposed to do? What am I supposed to do?” And the answer, of course, is that the Holy Spirit’s going to tell you.

And of course, it helps if you’re familiar with the story. One of the most delightful things about falling in love is what the person you love likes. And Kim’s favorite movie of all time is the movie Airplane!, an absolutely ridiculous movie that if you haven’t seen it, you need to go see it. Find a way to rent it or look at it. Kim has probably half, if not three-fourths, if not all of the dialogue memorized. You see, she’s familiar with the story.

One of the jokes is that if you use the word, “Surely,” in a sentence, she will look at you and glare and say, “Don’t call me Shirley.”

It took me three times this afternoon to get her to glare at me and say, “Don’t call me Shirley.”

And I told her I wanted to talk about this movie and how wonderful it was and the message, and that started an over a five-minute monologue of jokes from the movie Airplane! It was absolutely marvelous. But it was easy for her. You know why? It was easy because she’s familiar with the story. And that means that when it’s time for her to speak, she has no trouble remembering what to say.

Friends, you and I at one time or another are going to be sitting on a park bench next to someone, maybe a complete stranger, maybe a close friend. And we’re going to feel that prompting in our hearts that we should say something. That we should share something. And something we should keep in mind is there are no coincidences. This conversation is a part of God’s plan. God has planned for us to have this conversation for centuries. You see, everything in your life is either a sequel or a prequel. Everything that happens all fits together. Everything tells a story. And sooner or later, it will come time for you to say your lines. Don’t get stage fright. Don’t get alarmed because you really just have a small part in this story of the Gospel – this story of how much God loves people. You’re not even the hero of the story because we know that Jesus is the hero of the story. But on this particular day, at that park bench or at that table in a restaurant or wherever it might be, you’re going to be a part of God communicating the love of Jesus Christ. You’re going to be a part of God communicating God’s willingness to forgive people. You’re going to become a part of God’s willingness to help people with healing, with hope. Whatever it might be, you will have a part to play. There are no coincidences at all. And you see, when you have something to say, it really, really helps if you’re familiar with the story.

“I have questions,” you say. And of course, you want to understand, but you don’t know in that moment for certain what you are supposed to do or what you are supposed to say. And what I want to say to you is the scripture that we’re looking at today will answer these questions in a very clear and specific way.

How is it that the Spirit will answer your questions? Well, here it is. John chapter 14, beginning with verse 22. Judas, not Judas Iscariot, but the other one. Judas said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest, reveal, show yourself to us and not to the world?” Verse 23. Jesus answered him. “If a man loves me, he will keep my word.” That’s important. “And my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words. And the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s, who sent me. These things I’ve spoken to you while I am still with you.”
Now, look at verse 26 very carefully. “But the counselor, the comforter, the paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

In fact, I want to be very, very blunt. How will the Holy Spirit teach you everything you need to know? The Holy Spirit will remind you of everything Jesus said and did.

And friends, that’s everything you’ll ever need to know. And that’s why it’s good to be familiar with the story. Verse 27. Jesus goes on to say– these are good words for us when we feel anxious. “Peace, I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I go away and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place so that when it does take place you may believe.”

And then, next verse comes to the 15th chapter where Jesus says, “I am the true vine. My father is the vinedresser, the gardener. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away. Every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes that it may bear more fruit.”

Take a close look at verse three. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Everything that Jesus said, everything that Jesus did, friends, cleans us up but keeps us focused on what’s important. It’s what we need to know.

“Abide in me,” Jesus says, “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. I am the vine. You are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him, he is that bears much fruit for a part for 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.

But here, look a verse seven. If you abide in me. Now, that’s a connection between the plant and the root. And we all know that the plant withers without what the root sends to it. But that’s not all it says. If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.

Do you want your prayers to come true? Do you want what you ask for to happen? When you pray for someone else who is in desperate need, do you want them to receive the help that they need? If that’s what you want, you need to let the words of Jesus Christ abide in you. You need to be not only familiar with the story, but you need to read those words over and over again, because they are words of power. They are a means by which God answers prayer. If my words abide in you, 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. It glorifies God when people talk about answered prayers, not because you prayed them, but because it proves that God is a God that answers prayer. It proves that God is a God that cares for us. That’s why the Father is glorified when your prayers are answered. So verse nine: as the Father has loved me, so I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments … and how can you keep the commands of Jesus if you’re not familiar with them? 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. You’ll be more and more like Jesus.

You see, God intends to work through you. Yes, ordinary, fallible, mistake prone, clumsy you. All the same applies to me! God intends to work through you … as the father has sent me, even so, I send you. And just like Moses, we can think of dozens of other people who are smarter, better looking, more influential. And just like Moses, God looks at us and says, “I’ve chosen you. I want you. I want to work through you.”

So what’s going to happen if God is working through you? Well, first, one is when you have an opportunity to sit on the park bench next to someone who might need your prayers. You won’t walk in the other direction. Don’t be afraid of someone who might need your prayers. You’ll sit down, you’ll say hello. You’ll say, how are you? You will listen and be kind and caring. And while that person is speaking, in fact, sometimes, even if they refuse to speak, you will get a sense in your heart of what they need from you in prayer.

But here’s the point of this particular passage of scripture. The form that that sense, that word of wisdom and knowledge will come to you will be as a reminder, a reminder of something that Jesus did or said. The Spirit will work through you by reminding you about Jesus and whatever comes to your mind about something Jesus said or did, whether it’s from your life, words out of a hymn, or words right out of the gospel: this memory that comes to you will show you how you are to pray.

You will find this is easier and easier as you become more and more familiar with the story. And then you can be faithful and pray according to what God seems to tell you. Now, let’s assume … maybe it’s possible … that you get it wrong. But God still knows why you’re praying. Have faith and step out in prayer for the people you talk to. Because you see, God intends to work through you. There are no coincidences. Every person you encounter, you have an opportunity to influence them, perhaps in a very, very small way.

But powerful things grow from tiny seeds. And the Holy Spirit will prune you. The Holy Spirit will clean you up, help you focus, declutter your life by reminding you about Jesus. And then we’ll need to be faithful and, of course, we’ll need to be familiar with the story. You’ll be reminded by the spirit of something Jesus said or did, and this will guide you away from what’s not fruitful. It will guide you toward what is fruitful.

But the most important thing is very simple, if God intends to work through you, let yourself be guided. Because, you see, God intends to work through you. We might wish for it to be different, but that’s the choice for all time. And if God is working through you, the Spirit is going to teach you by reminding you about Jesus. Something Jesus said, something Jesus did. It will come into your mind. If you have time, you may want to look that passage of scripture up. It will be on your mind. It will wake you up in the middle of the night. It will come to mind while you are driving. The Spirit will teach you by reminding you of something Jesus said or did and you can be faithful to this leading by the Spirit, by turning that insight, whatever it might be, into a prayer. And it will come more and more easily if you’re familiar with a story. Read the Bible. Spend time thinking about it. Be familiar with the good news. And God will use your familiarity more and more.

Now be yourself, because that’s why God chose you. He wanted to bring this good news in a container that is just like you. Be yourself … but let God use you. Learn and grow, speak of that thing, pray about that thing that you remember from the life of Jesus. And in all things, when you interact with other people, let Jesus be your model.

Please pray with me: Lord Jesus, there were times when you healed people. Lord, help us to pray prayers for people to be healed.
Lord, there were times when you commanded the devil to stop. Lord, it might not be out loud, but there are times when we will find we need to command the devil to stop.
Lord, there were times that you broke bread and shared it with people, and strangely, there was enough bread for thousands of people. Sometimes, Lord, the story of you sharing with others will remind us that we should share because that’s what people do when they love other people.
Lord, I ask that you would remind us of everything you said and did to the point where we’re so familiar with the story. And that we are willing to let you be our model when we think about how we should pray, and when we think about what we should say, when we think about what we should do. And we ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ who loved us. 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 Road, 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.

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

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

Edward Joseph McKeon – Memorial Service

A brief memorial service for friends and family of Edward Joseph McKeon took place at Kinmundy United Methodist Church at 2 pm, June 6, 2021. Pastor David Kukeker led the service – you can listen to it at this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GzlL4PZGZlDYs-_zFMhB0fmD1dEwzo7y/view?usp=sharing

Edward Joseph McKeon, 75, of Kinmundy passed away Saturday, May 22, 2021. He was born on August 4, 1945 the son of Joseph and Dorothy McKeon in Brooklyn, New York. He married the love of his life, Sherri Stubbings on May 12, 2013 in Stuart, Florida and she survives him in Kinmundy.

Along with his wife, Sherri McKeon, survivors include his beloved family, daughter, Jennifer Butterworth and husband Thomas of Tennessee; stepdaughter, Julie Ann Jones and husband Jonathan of Iola; grandchildren, Jonathan Jr., Faith, and Ava; and brother, James McKeon.
Edward was preceded in death by his parents.

Edward was a proud United States Army veteran, serving in Vietnam as a sergeant. He was an active and a lifetime member of the American Legion Post 126 in Jensen Beach, Florida, where he served as a former commander. He was an Accredited American Legion service officer and graciously used his training to assist fellow veterans and their families. Edward worked the polls in Martin County, Florida. He loved the game of football cheering his favorite team, the New York Jets, on to victory ever since he was a boy. Edward was down to earth and had the ability to make anyone he was around feel welcome and at ease.

Irvin Macz Funeral Home in Centralia is privileged to be assisting the family of Edward McKeon with arrangements. A celebration of life service will be held privately by the family.

We have come here today,
not to remember the death of Eddie McKeon
but to remember his life…
We have come to be in the presence of God,
who comforts our hearts,
so filled with sadness & memories at this time.
Let us, in this moment of silent prayer,
give our thoughts and feelings
into the hands of Christ Jesus who loves us.

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

Sermon 6/06/2021: The Gift of the Comforter (Pentecost 03)

At this time, due to Coronavirus concerns, many are not quite ready to return to face to face worship. If this includes you, please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/559484208

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cr1h0aVhBPt

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: 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

HYMN This Is My Father’s World, 144
This is My Father’s World ~ Amy Grant ~ lyric video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3-C4jp7BNw
or
This Is My Father’s World – Fernando Ortega (Lyric Video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OorHNGB3q1c

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

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 Let Us Break Bread Together, 618
Let Us Break Bread Together – Agnes Choo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Egk-pX_1nHg
or
J.D. Sumner, The Stamps Quartet – Let Us Break Bread Together [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QoolEJe6a0

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

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: The Gift of the Comforter
Text: John 14:12-21 plus Matthew 22:35-40,  John 20:21-23
Series: The Gifts of the Comforter

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
(Audio may not be available till Sunday afternoon.)

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SERMON NOTES

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; 14 if you ask anything in my name, I will do it. 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

Matthew 22:35 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.” 

John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

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HYMN Open My Eyes, That I May See, 454
Open my eyes – Fountainview Academy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XSN7aVTAFU

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

BENEDICTION: 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.

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

TRANSCRIPT

The gifts of the Comforter: The Lord Jesus Christ in the Upper Room, in six different scriptures, described how after the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit would come into your life, into my life, and work through us to make a difference in the lives of people all around us. Since the Holy Spirit wants to do that and you– still today, just as he did it so many years before, I think it’s useful to remind ourselves of how the Holy Spirit works or at least what Jesus said in these particular scriptures.

And of course, everything is to fulfill this plan – what we call the great commandment is the blueprint for what God wants in the church, the pattern for what God wants in Christians. You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and Luke adds, with all your strength. This is the great and first commandment.

So you see on the screen there’s a big heart there because what God desires is that your love would flow toward Jesus, that your love would flow toward God. This is the first step in what some people call the JOY formula. It’s been on the sign out in front of the church for years, but it should be written also on our hearts.

The very first step for joy in your life is for Jesus to come first and for you to love your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

And then God points our attention to the second half of the plan. Now that you’re loving Jesus, Jesus says, “I want you to turn that love around …” And, of course, he sends love to be at our heart as well. “… And let your love flow out to others.” The second is as Jesus said. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Now, that doesn’t mean that you love your neighbor and never love yourself. That doesn’t mean that you only take care of yourself and not love someone else. It means there should be a balance. And then come these strange words in verse 40. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.

So when you go outside the church into your neighborhood, when you go outside your front door into your neighborhood – although to be honest, the people you live with are also your neighbors – the love from Jesus Christ is supposed to flow back and forth between Jesus, others, and yourself. J-O-Y.

And you will find those people in your neighborhood because Jesus, through you, wants to come and be real in your neighborhood today. Here’s the mission. You’ve heard me say this before. It’s occupied my attention for over a year. What does Jesus want? Jesus wants us to repeat what Jesus did in the New Testament. Or as he puts it in John 20: Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. In the same way that Jesus did everything he did, now Jesus is sending us to do more of the same, to do more of the same.

Now you are welcome – if you want to argue with Jesus – because when you say, “Lord, we’re not good enough to do this. We’re not smart enough. We’re not as smart as You. We’re not holy enough. We’re not as holy as You. We are not loving enough. We’re not as loving as You.” You can argue anything you want about how little you are, how inadequate you are, but Jesus Christ says, “This is what I want you to do, to be Me in your neighborhoods, doing what I would do if I were there.”

Some churches have a sign over the door right by the exit, just to remind people: when you leave the doors of the church, you’re now entering the mission field. When you leave the door of your house, you’re now entering the mission field. In fact, since loving your family is part of your mission, when your feet hit the floor in the morning, you are entering the mission field. And what Jesus Christ wants from us, now that we have had these days of preparation after Easter Sunday and that the day of Pentecost is come, we are now ready to be missionaries in our world.

Now it may be that some of you would like to go be a missionary in China or in Africa. It may be that some of you may want to go be a missionary on the Mediterranean beaches where all the expensive resorts are. (I’m not sure where you think it would be fun to be a missionary!) But I would like to suggest you and I are adequate to be missionaries right here, right now with people we know. The best place to be a missionary is your own neighborhood, where people trust you, where people know you, where people like you. And you speak the language and you understand how people feel. There’s no adjustment to the culture. Jesus wants us to be the missionaries to our own neighborhood and our own neighbors.

Here’s some more scripture about that, John 14:12, “Truly, truly. I say to you, ‘He who believes in Me will also do the works that I do.'” Now you and I are less powerful than Jesus, but this is what Jesus said. Not only that, He said, “And greater works than these will he did because I go to the Father.” Jesus is ascending up to heaven and now we get to carry on and do the work.

Verse 13, “Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Verse 14, Jesus repeats Himself, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

I remember the day when I sent my son off to college and I handed him a credit card, and I said, “You decide what to use this for and I’ll pay it. Use it wisely.” Friends, this is like God giving us a credit card that is without limits. “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” No limits. What a temptation it is to start by asking for a brand new Cadillac for ourselves. What a temptation it is for us to start by asking for a brand new home, with a hot tub, probably. What a temptation it is to ask God for all those pounds to disappear, and to provide us with a designer wardrobe. What a temptation it is to love ourselves. But to be very honest, the purpose of this credit card is for us to know that God wants us to love others, and God will provide what is needed for others to be loved.

Now, it says in verse 14, “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” We’re all familiar with the prayers we prayed that were not answered in the way that we wished. We all have prayed a prayer like that. I still don’t have that Cadillac [laughter] in my driveway. We all have prayed a prayer where the answer wasn’t what we wanted. But yet, this is the principle; God is encouraging us to be daring in our prayers because God is ready to answer them. And sometimes, the answer is no, to our great regret. But many times, the answer is yes.

And here’s the thing that I’d like to ask you to consider. What good might happen if we had the courage to do little things? You remember what the Serenity Prayer says? What good might happen if you and I had the courage to pray for God to work in the lives of those two people who just can’t seem to get along, for God to bring healing where there’s illness and disability, for God to help children who are struggling … maybe just with homework? Because – why should we limit our prayers to big things? Why? Why shouldn’t we pray for God to bless people in every way that occurs to us? How much good would happen in this world if we turned our faith loose and prayed and hope and we said to God, “You do what’s needed here. I don’t even know everything that is needed here. But, Lord, I know that you know,” and we turned God loose to answer prayers?

Because Jesus, I think, wants us to have this faith. What could happen if the people of God took the courage to pray and set God loose to work in this world? I think we’d see miracles on the mission field, that is, our neighborhood. Verse 15, Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments …” Where will you find those commandments? They’re in Jesus’ words and in the Gospels in the Bible. “And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another counselor.” King James uses the word comforter, which is the word I prefer. Other translations use the word helper, intercessor, advocate. But what the Greek word, which literally is paraclete, that’s the Greek word, what the Greek word means is someone who comes alongside and provides whatever you need in the moment. Sometimes you just need the comfort of knowing you’re not alone. Sometimes you need an extra pair of hands to hand you a tool. Sometimes you need someone to bring a tool that you don’t have or to bring energy if you’re tired.

The counselor, the comforter, the paraclete is God coming alongside of you to help you live, to help you do God’s will, to help you take care of yourself (because you’re supposed to love yourself), to help you love others because you’re also called to do that. God comes to help with this missionary task. To be with you forever, even the spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him for he dwells with you, this one who comes alongside and will be in you.

Verse 18, “I will not leave you desolate. I will come to you.” Jesus comes to us in the presence of the Holy Spirit. “Yet a little while,” Jesus says, “and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live also. In that day, you will know that I am in my father and you in me and I and you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, he is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my father, and I will love him and manifest or reveal myself to him.”

So there you are on that park bench sitting next to your neighbor. “Lord, what do you want me to do?” we ask. The Lord Jesus will reveal that through the Holy Spirit who is within you.

So let’s think this through. Who is Jesus? He certainly is the savior of the world. He certainly is our savior. But he is also Lord, and he has a task to be done. And all of the Sundays after Easter, I told you he was getting the disciples ready. And I said he’s getting us ready, too. And we talked about what’s next.

But now the day of Pentecost has come. We’re actually right there. And I can tell you, you know what’s next? We are now entering the mission field. Jesus is now going to work through us because that’s his choice. Jesus is now going to work through the people of the church because that has always been the plan. Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you. As the father has sent me, even so, I send you.” So when you go out these doors into the mission field in just a few moments … Please know that you are being sent and that Jesus wants to work and live through you to change this world.

Who is your other? Well, when Jesus shared the great commandment, the lawyer taunted him. The lawyer argued with him. The lawyer said, Who is my neighbor? And Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan – meaning that your neighbor is really anybody you come into contact with.

I like to say it a little different in this age of cell phones. Your neighbor is anybody you have a conversation with this week.

Your neighbor may be in Africa. I have a friend who is a retired pastor from Illinois who now lives in Uganda. I communicate with him on Facebook. He’s quite a distance from me. But he’s my neighbor.

Part of my neighborhood is in Austin, Texas, where my grandchildren play.

But by and large, for most of us and me, my neighborhood is right here. My neighborhood is right where I live. And so I would like to suggest to you that your neighbors, by and large, consist of the people that you speak to on average every week. And you can start today and just make a list. Write down everyone you speak to, even if it’s just to say hello. And by the end of the week, you’ll have a list of who lives in your neighborhood.

Some of us are extroverted. It’s going to be a long list because there’s nothing we extroverts like more than bumping around in a crowd saying hello to five or six hundred people at once.

Some of us are introverted. There might be only three people on our list.

But I would suggest to you that your neighbor and your neighborhood is everybody you talk to. Some of them, like the Good Samaritan, you might meet as a stranger this week, someone you’ve never met before, someone you will never meet again. But when he came in contact with that neighbor, he did what Jesus wanted to be done.

And we can do the same thing. Why? The very next verse after Jesus says, “I want you to go do this work for me. I’m sending you.” Jesus breathes on them and says to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” because it’s the Holy Spirit that will work through you.

And trust me, friends, you and I are still weak and sinful and arrogant and far from people who are special. But the Holy Spirit can make up the difference in all of us. We need to let the Holy Spirit do it now. Jesus chose 12 people to spend most of his time with. So maybe you could try to imagine this week, “Who are my 12?” And you’ll find yourself on something like the equivalent of this park bench. There will be someone else to talk to. There will be someone else to visit with. And when that conversation concludes, take some time, either right then or later that day to pray.

Why? Because Jesus said God would answer your prayers. Lord help them. Lord, heal them. Lord, make their lives more spiritual and beautiful. We’ll never know what never happened because we were too busy to say a prayer. But God was very ready to answer. Take some time to love your neighbor by praying for them.

Now, it may be God would want to ask you to do something else. Something in addition to a prayer. Well, that’s fine, too. But at its most basic, the greatest gift you can give someone is answered prayers.

So who are you? I want to suggest to you that just as Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem and change this whole world, we are now a part of that plan. We are asked to live and be born right where we are. Jesus never left the nation of Israel. We may never leave our neighborhood. But God can do amazing things right where we live because God’s love can flow to people through you and me.

So how do we bring more J-O-Y joy into our own lives? Well, love Jesus with all your heart and soul and mind and strength, and then be aware that he wants you to share that love with others and also with yourself.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus. We look at you. And we pray. We say, “Lord, what do you want? What do you want me to do? Lord, what do you want? What do you want me to do?” And we’re continually asking, as if you had never answered this question before.

Help us, Lord, to understand that what you want us to do is to love and to pour our love out toward you, toward God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and strength. And as love overflows out of our heart, Lord, you want us to let it overflow toward our neighbors and toward ourselves. Lord, help us turn the desert green. Help us turn disaster into rejoicing. Lord, help us change our lives and the lives of people all around us by praying prayers of love for ourselves and others that your love would flow into our lives. And, Lord, we trust you to answer those prayers for what is best. 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 Road, 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.

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

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

Sermon 5/30/2021: Remembering Wisdom (Memorial Day)

At this time, due to Coronavirus concerns, many are not quite ready to return to face to face worship. If this includes you, please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/556690791

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/crhU34VhFGn

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate 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
America the Beautiful – United States Navy Band
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSqVkuTegxY

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

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
Let There Be Peace On Earth (lyrics) – Sang by Vince Gill; Written by Jill Jackson Miller (1913-1995)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_DxNpW1kHQ

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

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: Remembering Wisdom
Text: Ephesians 5:15-17, James 1:5-8, Proverbs 11:14, 24:5-6
Series: Building Bridges from Easter to Pentecost

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.

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SERMON NOTES

Ephesians 5:15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, 8 unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls; but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

Proverbs 24:5 A wise man is mightier than a strong man, and a man of knowledge than he who has strength; 6 for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.

So you see, that’s why we ask the question: In light of my past experience, in light of my current circumstances, in light of my future hopes and dreams— regardless of where that leads— if I was wise, what would I do? – from Ask It: The Question That Will Revolutionize How You Make Decisions by Andy Stanley

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HYMN America
My Country, ‘Tis of Thee (Lee Greenwood with Lyrics, Contemporary)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4oNMcDvEtM

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

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

(UNEDITED) Remembering Wisdom: where does wisdom come from?

I volunteer at the library on Wednesday afternoon and different people come in. It’s always a joy to be at the library. The library is full of books. And if you ever thought about it, the library is full of wisdom in all of those books. We also need to remember all of those books come from people because other people are a great source of wisdom.

And a woman came in and we were having a conversation and she knew I was a pastor. And she said, “Pastor, I just wanted to ask you a question. When we get to heaven, will people in heaven, when they see us, know who we are?”

And I just felt great because she asked a person who was wise for that answer. And unfortunately, I gave her my typical answer, which was very long, citing multiple scriptures. But I also said to her that I’d be quoting one of them this morning for the Memorial Day weekend. She’s not here, but you’re going to hear it in just a moment.

About – I don’t know – two or three weeks ago, something happened to me that happens to me quite commonly. I’m someone who wakes up in the middle of the night and for some reason, I remember, maybe it’s because I was dreaming it, but I’m remembering some injustice or wrong done to me. And my brain starts going on one of those hamster wheels where it just goes around and around and around. Sometimes I imagine that I’m in some sort of courtroom and I’m destroying the fool who dares oppose me with one brilliant argument after another. This goes on for hours. Maybe this happens to you. Maybe I’m not arguing. Maybe I’m grieving and full of regrets. There’s always something.

But I’m quite astonished to learn the following morning that no matter how brilliant I was in the middle of the night, I can’t remember a word of it.

So one of the things I’ve learned is that when my thoughts want to take me away on something that is not useful is to pick up a book. And so I’ll reach for my phone and I’ll turn in the phone to Kindle and I’ll find something to read. And about three weeks ago, I ran across this book that I had bought while it was on sale. And it’s called Ask It. It’s written by Pastor Andy Stanley. And it was a short book.

And that night, it was extremely useful to me. He basically said there’s a question and, if you ask it, it will straighten out your life. It will solve all kinds of problems. Things that have been a great struggle will all of a sudden evaporate and become easy. And being quite a clever man, you have to read a third of the book before he tells you what the question is! But I’ll start right out front and let you know. Here’s the question.

If I was a wise man, what would a wise man do right now?

And I said to myself, a wise man would go back to sleep. And son of a gun, I turned off the phone and turned over and went right back to sleep. And on the next morning, I said to myself, “That’s got to be a sermon coming up soon.”

So here’s the question that solves all the problems, that will revolutionize how you make decisions. If I was wise, what would I do? Ephesians Chapter 5:15, these three verses are the basis for the book that I’m telling you about. Look carefully, Paul writes, then, how you walk not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of the time because the days are evil. The days have problems. There are things that hurt us. So watch where you put your feet. Verse 17, therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

And as you can see in the picture, there is a young woman, I assumed. Her toenails are painted, carefully watching where she places her feet as she walks across the sharp rocks. Now, if you were a wise person, what would you do? I suspect you’re quite like me when you look at that picture. “Girl, where are your shoes? You don’t have to hurt. You don’t have to pick which sharp rock you’re going to stand on if you just remember to wear your shoes. See how wisdom cuts through all kinds of nonsense?

Well, Pastor Dave, someone might say, if I were a wise person – well, I don’t know that I am a wise person. The scripture is really helpful to us. James says if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives to all men generously and without reproaching And it, wisdom, will be given to him. If you’re not sure what wisdom is, ask God to show you. More often than not, God will point you to his Son, Jesus, and will tell you that if you do what Jesus did, that will be wise. And we are blessed to have the Bible. In fact, it’s something that you can read at night when you can’t sleep. And the truth and wisdom in it will be of great value.

Where else can we go for wisdom? Well, here’s the truth, you will find a lot of wisdom in your past. For some of you, the picture of the man on the screen is a complete stranger. But nonetheless, the point is still true. Good judgment comes from experience. And experience, well, it comes from poor judgment. Every mistake that you can make, you have probably made before. And I guarantee you science will invent new ways to make mistakes. But they’re just new versions of the same old, same old, same old. If we paid attention to the lessons of the past, we would grow wise and make fewer mistakes.

I have always had a resolution that has helped me. And that resolution is this, if I can never make the same mistake twice, soon, I will be perfect. But isn’t it true, the things that trouble us the most, they are the mistakes that we make over and over and over. So your past can help you to become a wise person.

And not only that, in the present, you can connect the past with the present. Because here’s the reality, W. Edwards Deming said this, “Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.” Now, what that means, whether it’s the United States government system or the public school system or the system which is your physical health, every bad thing that’s happening comes about because of how the system is put together. What that means is every result has a cause. And if you think about it, you can trace it back.

On the screen, I have a picture of the label of something that is called a monster energy drink. Not being one who believes in drinking, energy drinks, at least, I’ve never had one. But I’m quite sure if I did, there would be all kinds of ruminating thoughts and I’d be like this young lady in the picture. I want to go to sleep, but I can’t. Why can’t I go to sleep? Well, monster energy drinks have a lot of caffeine in them. And it’s going to get in the way of you going to sleep because (if I were right), the chemical half-life of caffeine is something like 12 hours. So if you drink coffee at 7:00 o’clock in the morning, half the caffeine is still working on you at seven o’clock at night. If you drink coffee at 7:00 o’clock at night, it’s going to work on you all night long.

Now, friends, you are not in charge of tornadoes, you’re not in charge of car accidents. There are some causes which you have no control over. But if you’re wise, you will see how things fit together. And you’ll notice the causes that you have some control over. There’s a tornado coming. Friends, going out into the front yard and yelling at the tornado is not wise. But you can take shelter. You cannot jump in front of a car and stop a motor vehicle accident. But you can put on your seatbelt and it will help keep you safe. Connect the dots in the present … if I was wise, what would I do?

Because the scripture says very plainly, whatever you sow, you’re going to reap. There’s something in what’s going wrong, where you have some little bit of influence to change that result. And in the moment, you can make a decision to do something different, to think differently, to feel differently, and you’ll begin to notice reality will change. Really understanding what’s happening in the present can teach you a lot of wisdom.

The other source of wisdom comes from the future. And you and I are not able to go into the future. But the future reminds us of what we’ve already learned, which is that good judgment comes from experience. And experience comes from bad judgment. But it takes a wise person to learn from his mistakes. But what’s even wiser is to learn from the mistakes of other people.

So if you look around yourself, especially the people who irritate you because they make all kinds of mistakes, are you able to learn from their mistakes? Because if you do, that will be a great source of wisdom to help you in your future. Now, you should learn from your own mistakes. But I guarantee you there are some mistakes you have made yet. By the time you live to be 100, you will probably have made most of them. But there are probably some mistakes even now you have not yet made. But other people have made them. And I want to encourage you to allow other people’s experience to teach you wisdom.

This is the verse that I was going to tell the young lady at the library. Here’s what heaven is like. Hebrews 12:1. (We assume it’s Paul who is the author of Hebrews.) Therefore, since we are surrounded by so a great cloud of witnesses…

This is the reverse of the idea that some people have that when you get to heaven, people won’t know who you are and you won’t know who they are, which is similar to the idea that when you get to heaven, you will find that people there don’t remember and don’t care about anything that has happened on Earth. What I want you to understand is that heaven is a great cloud of witnesses, just like people gathered here at Busch Stadium to watch a ballgame. But what you don’t understand is that, in heaven, that big a crowd has gathered to watch the Hailee Price show. And every time Hailee does something smart, they cheer and clap and are so happy. And every time Hayley strikes out, they just all go, “Aw!” … since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses. Friends in heaven, people are watching the Kinmundy channel because they still care about you.

Now, have you ever been to a scary movie? By the way, why is it in scary movies, the pretty young girl always goes back into the haunted house and down into the basement where the maniac is? But if you notice in the scary movie, people in the theater will literally call out, “Don’t go there! Don’t do that!”

Friends, if you could only hear the voices in heaven, “Don’t go there.” You know why they say that? They made that mistake. They lived through those problems. But unfortunately, you cannot hear their voices, but this scripture says very plainly that the people in heaven are watching and shouting encouragement to all of us. So, therefore, let us also lay aside every weight and every sin which clings so closely and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. You see, you are surrounded by witnesses.

You are surrounded also by counselors. Proverbs 11:14 mentions another form of wisdom. It comes from what other people tell you, not only in heaven, but also in this life where there is no guidance. Proverbs says, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls; but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”

If 100 people stand around you and tell you what to do, they will not all agree. But as you listen, one by one by one, it may be number 98. You may have to listen to a lot of wrong answers. But the point of this scripture is if you get a lot of suggestions, one of those may be made of solid gold. In an abundance of counselors, there is safety.

The worst thing that could happen is for everyone you know to tell you everything alike about what to do. Proverbs 24:5-6, a wise man is mightier than a strong man and a man of knowledge than he who has strength for by wise guidance, you can wage your war. And in the abundance of counselors, there is victory. Let other people remind you of what’s wise in this life.

And if you want to go to the place where the greatest amount of wisdom is – other than the library – it would be to take a walk through here. (A cemetery.) And many of you will go for such a walk today. You’ll lay flowers at the graves of family members. That’s what we do on Memorial Day weekend.

But I’d like to remind you of a book that you probably heard about. You probably were required to read it in school. It is called the Spoon River Anthology. Edgar Lee Masters was a young man growing up in Petersburg, Illinois. I’ve been there. A young man growing up in Lewiston, Illinois, where I preach the sermon in the Methodist Church in Lewiston many, many years ago. And he became a lawyer in Chicago and decided he would write poetry.

And for some reason, I don’t quite understand what he came upon as his theme was this. He would write poetry about the people buried in the cemetery in his hometown. And in the poems he wrote, they would tell you the truth about what a mess their life was when they were alive here. He wasn’t completely stupid. He changed the names on some of the poems. But what he wrote about was so well known in town, every single person knew who he meant. Consequently, Edgar Lee Masters never returned to his hometown the rest of his life or certainly thought carefully about it because he was very, very unpopular!

But friends, people who live here (at the cemetery), they have no more problems. But if you listen to them, they’ll give you wisdom to guide you in this life, especially those who are heroes.
Let God and let the people around you help you to understand, by what they’ve done wrong, what would be wise for you to do right in this life.

Here’s a direct quote from the book. So you see, Pastor Andy Stanley writes,

that’s why we ask the question.
In the light of my past experience,
in the light of my current circumstances,
in the light of my hopeful future, my future hopes and dreams,
regardless of what those views may be, regardless of where that leads:
If I was wise, what would I do?

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, the Bible tells us in James that if we lack wisdom, we can ask for it. And so, Lord Jesus, we ask you for wisdom for this life. We ask you to help us to understand the lessons of our own past, especially, Lord, the lessons of our victories as well as our mistakes.
Lord, we ask you to help us to have wisdom today instead of going around and round in circles like a hamster on a wheel. Help us, Lord, to understand what’s happening to us right now and connect it to things that are a part of our life that are causing these problems. Lord, when we look into the future, help us to receive the wisdom that comes from the lives of other people. Help us to make it true that their dying was not in vain, but that we are learning from them how we can choose to live so that the future will be a bright and beautiful life that lies ahead of us. Lord, help us to think and be wise because certainly, in this life, Lord, we need to be wise. 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 Road, 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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OUR CHURCH FAMILY PRAYER PAGE — May 30 – June 6

OUR CHURCH FAMILY PRAYER PAGE — May 30 – June 6

PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR PASTORS: David Kueker, our Superintendent, Carol Lakota Eastin, and our Bishop, Frank Beard. If you need Pastor Dave for prayer, please call or text his cell phone, 618-780-0151, or email at dkueker@yahoo.com. or on Facebook as David Oliver Kueker.

Prayer Request From Jesus: Matthew 9:37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Please Pray For God To Bless Our “Care Card Ministry” Person Of The Week
K Shirley Miller, Kinmundy, IL 62854

Please Pray For God To Bless These People For Special Needs –
W Fleta Lybarger – Christian Northeast Hospital, St. Louis, surgery for 3 bypasses on 5/24, the surgery went well. Fleta is in a regular room now and is feeling much better.
K Gerri Molina – She is being weaned off the ventilator, stayed off for 24 hrs, has a tracheostomy collar and she can speak a few words, has videoed chatted with Jill and is able to sit on the edge of her bed. Keep praying for everything to keep improving. Cards may be sent to Rm 121, Select Specialty Hospital – St Louis,
300 S 1st Capitol Dr, St Charles, MO 63301.
April Mercer – Breast cancer, taking chemo. Shirley Brinkley’s niece.
Mike Webster – Serious health issues. Missouri Baptist Hospital. Mike is an employee of the city.
Bill Olden – Has been diagnosed with a mass in the Pancreas. Will see a cancer specialist in Centralia on June 2.
Gene Simmons – Farina, has cancer.

Please Pray For God To Bless These People With Ongoing Needs –
Duane Ambrose, Marie Dickerson, Cindy Kueker (Pastor Dave’s cousin), Molly Monical, Shirley Miller, Russell Kilby, John Holzhauer, David Mendenhall (Steve Wilkin’s friend), Helen Sullivan, Aaron Guerrettaz (Jo Williams’ nephew, Jim & Nancy Guerrettaz’s son), Kay Feather Lydick, Caitlin Engel (Julie Jones’ cousin), Quinten Butts, Haven Mueller, Mike Donoho, Brenton Connor, Kayley Wilhelm, Larry & Dolores Johnson (Kim’s Parents), Nancy Weeks-Lafenhagen

Please Pray For God To Bless Our Military Families
Sgt Rusty & Nicole (Nolan, Michael, Lydia) Robb – Member of the Presidential Helicopter Squadron.
Navy Lieutenant Commander Jason Montgomery – Serving on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.

Please Pray For Those Grieving For –
– Edward Joseph McKeon, Kinmundy
– Suzanne (Hiestand) Garrett, Salem

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WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO KNOW — May 30 – June 6, 2021

CHURCH SCHEDULE & EVENTS & WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO KNOW —
May 30 – June 6, 2021

THIS WEEK’S CHURCH CALENDAR
Sun 5/30
9:00 am … WORSHIP in Sanctuary at Kinmundy First UMC
10:45 am … WORSHIP in Sanctuary at Wesley UMC

Mon 5/31 — MEMORIAL DAY (Office Closed)

Tues 6/1 — PASTOR’S SABBATH DAY
Wed 6/2 — 1:00-5:00 pm … PASTOR volunteers at Kinmundy Library

Sun 6/6
9 00 am … WORSHIP in Sanctuary at Kinmundy First UMC
10:45 am … WORSHIP in Sanctuary at Wesley UMC

WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO KNOW —

  1. UPCOMING MEETINGS …
    Mon 6/ 14
    7:00 pm … Trustees Meeting
    If you would like to attend any meeting from home by phone or over the Internet, please let Pastor Dave know or call Vervadene at the church.
  2. Due to your careful love for your neighbor, the State of Illinois is relaxing COVID restrictions in response to lower numbers. Please pray for wisdom for our leaders and a calm response throughout to the gradual lifting of restrictions.
  3. On Friday, May 14, 2021, Curtis Brown, Director of Connectional Ministries for the IGRC, issued an Update on Wearing Masks for the Illinois Great Rivers Conference to say:
    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has updated their safety guidance to state, “… fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting.” … This means that fully vaccinated people will not need to wear a face mask or physically distance in most of our churches during worship services, gatherings, and meetings, including while speaking and singing.” Additionally, some fully vaccinated people may wish to continue to wear masks out of an abundance of caution or in solidarity with children and other people who are not able to be vaccinated.
    The IGRC recommends that churches should avoid creating special events, gatherings, or worship experiences only available to those who are already fully vaccinated. Our ministries are meant for all, and we need to be diligent in ensuring that an individual’s access to vaccination does not become a barrier for people’s full participation in the life of our churches.

  4. SOBER REALITIES: Unvaccinated people may choose to wear masks for their own safety and the safety of other non-vaccinated people. Please do not crowd each other as we adjust to this change. It is possible but very unlikely that a vaccinated person can get COVID.
  5. THIS WEEK’S PRAYER FAMILIES — Members & Friends
    Shirley Miller Family
    Gerri & Israel Molina Family; Jill Shirley Family; Justin & Nicole Shirley
    Alex & Debbie Phillips Family
    Leslie Randall Family, Jack Randall; Brenna & Mitch Black, Rayven; Serena Germany, Trent Koch
  6. HAND N HAND … “Our Welcome Back” to Hand n Hand evening was so much fun! The kids enjoyed seeing each other again! Thanks to Cathy, David Oliver Kueker, Amy Hoard, and Levi Bridges for attending and helping!
  7. QUILTERS will meet for the first time since last fall on Wednesday, June 9 at 1:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall. Anyone interested in attending is welcome.
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Sermon 5/23/2021: Resurrection Instructions: John 20 (Pentecost I)

At this time, due to Coronavirus concerns, many are not quite ready to return to face to face worship. If this includes you, please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/553810781

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/crh0cDVfPN5

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate 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 57 O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing
O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing: Congregational singing (Shepherds’ Conference) Grace Community Church – Sun Valley, California
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nx0rCabJ16c

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

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 334 There’s A Sweet Sweet Spirit
Gaither Vocal Band, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound – Sweet, Sweet, Spirit [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i73PZJugjTk

There’s a Sweet Sweet Spirit – sung by Kaoma Chende
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLOWWrm_Yjc

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

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: Resurrection Instructions: John 20
Text: John 20:19-23, Matthew 9:2, 37-38
Series: Building Bridges from Easter to Pentecost

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.

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SERMON NOTES

John 20:19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Matthew 9:2 And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”

37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

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HYMN Spirit Song Maranatha Singers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC7RDZP7tFw

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

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

Since Easter Sunday, I’ve been talking about the fact that Jesus used the 50 days between Easter Sunday and the day of Pentecost, which is today, to give his disciples instructions on what would come next, on what they were to go and do. And friends, starting today, those same instructions apply to us. We need to understand them so that we can actually do them.

The problem with the church, the problem with your pastor, the problem that many of us have is if we understand something that Jesus wants, it doesn’t always become something that we actually do. So, therefore, we’ve been looking at the instructions. (And I went on vacation last week, so these were the instructions for last week!) But they’re not too late. And in fact, I feel that the ones for today could very well be the most important instructions of all of them. These come from John chapter 20.

But before we look at John chapter 20, let’s look for just a second at Matthew chapter 9, the second verse. Four friends brought a paralyzed man to see Jesus, and the house was full of people who wanted to watch Jesus. There was a giant crowd around the house of people who wanted to hear and see everything Jesus did. And in fact, it was a crowd of people that wouldn’t let them in. But these four friends had faith and knew that if they brought their friend, the paralyzed man, into the presence of Jesus, he could receive help and healing. So they actually opened up a hole in the roof. Now, in those houses, in the desert climate, that’s a matter of moving tiles and stacking them. It was easy to fix. I wouldn’t want to do that with a roof anywhere today, but it wasn’t very hard for them.

And they lowered this man into the presence of Jesus. And when Jesus saw their faith, the faith of the four friends – the faith of the paralyzed man was not what Jesus responded to – when he saw the faith of the four friends, Jesus said to the paralyzed man these words, “Take heart, my son. Your sins are forgiven.”

Immediately, there arose in the crowd a great argument as to whether or not Jesus could forgive sins. The argument didn’t touch for one second on what the paralyzed man needed. The argument also did not even notice that Jesus claimed a relationship with the paralyzed man. “My son,” he called him; someone in his family who he cared for. But at the end of that story, Jesus said, “So that you may know that the son of a man has the power and the authority to forgive sins,” he says to the paralyzed man, “Stand up and walk.” And he did.

But the reason I want to share this with you is that when you think about it, what Jesus said, what Jesus did, how Jesus lived every day of his life was as a person who gave forgiveness to people. And even at the close of his life, when he died on the cross, he made forgiveness possible for all people, everywhere, for all of history. Certainly, if you ask me what is the thing, the major theme that Jesus communicates, it’s this, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Your sins are forgiven. It is possible that you and I might think that we were so smart that we could win an argument with Jesus. When I was younger, I probably argued with Jesus quite a lot. But as I got older, I learned that I couldn’t win an argument like that because he is Lord, and he is savior, and he desires for people to hear about forgiveness. And that’s part of what we’re talking about today.

In the Great Commission, it says that we are to go and make disciples of all nations. That’s one of our post-resurrection commands. But in Matthew chapter 22, we find these words, a lawyer, a teacher of the law, a scribe came up to Jesus and as a way to test him, as a way to get him into an argument, he said, “Teacher, what is the great commandment in the law?” And He, Jesus, said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”

So what you and I do after the resurrection, what you and I do after Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit comes to guide us and empower us, what you and I do is love the Lord, our God, with all our heart and all our soul and our mind; and everything we do in some way falls under the authority of this command. God comes first.

And after that comes this tiny little command that a lot of people don’t think about what it actually means. Verse 39, Jesus goes on to say, “And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

There are three things that are important. We need to love God first. But when God has our attention, He’s going to point us to our neighbor. And if you kept track of everything you do this week to love your neighbor, you would be doing God’s will. If you kept track of everything you said this week that brought comfort and help to your neighbor, you would be making a list of how you have done God’s will. Because, as Jesus says in verse 40, these two commandments summarize all of the Old Testament law. Now, before I forget, there are some of us, like myself, who are codependent. We will love someone else and sacrifice ourselves. The commandment is not to love others and neglect yourself. The commandment is there needs to be a balance between the love we give ourselves and the love we give others.

There’s one United Methodist pastor. He’s retired now. His name is Michael Slaughter. He built an astonishing church near Dayton, Ohio, and he’s someone who, whenever he could, he took the Bible literally. What that meant is if his kids got new shoes, he bought identical pairs of shoes for children in poverty. If he bought another car, he bought a car of equal value to give away to someone who desperately needed one. He tells a story about coming home from a trip, and his wife was just really, really sad. And he said, “Honey, what’s wrong?” And she said, “Our kids need braces.” Mike Slaughter says, “I had no other choice. I had to buy braces for four other kids.”

You may not take this commandment that literally, but this is what we’re supposed to do – it is to genuinely love people. And so, therefore, as it says in the Great Commission, you will find yourself going to your neighbor, to other people to find out what they need, how they are feeling. How are you doing, by the way?

You know how you do that? You just walk up to somebody and you say, “How are you?” And instead of moving on, you actually listen to what they say. And if they say something that you can pray about, then you offer to pray for them. If the Lord tells you to do something to help them, well, you just go right ahead. That’s what it means to go out there and love your neighbor.

One of the problems we have in our church is we expect people to come to the church. By the way, thank you so much, all of you, for coming to the church today! But if you and I wait for everybody else to come, it’s likely we’re going to wait a long time. Churches that are shrinking are churches that expect other people to come. But churches, where people go out to their neighbor and do God’s will, are churches that tend to grow because if someone is out there and they know they have a friend who is here, they’ll go to church where their friends are.

So when Jesus says, “Go out and love your neighbor as yourself,” he’s building up the church because the command is for us to love one another.

Now, another scripture where Jesus was asked this question, the scribe challenged him after he told the parable, “Who is my neighbor?” And Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan to answer that question.

You have four neighborhoods in your life where you interact with people.

First, there’s the neighborhood of your family and friends.

There’s the neighborhood of your interests and activities where you spend your time. Maybe you’re out at the ballfield watching the high school baseball team play. Maybe you can be found at Walmart endlessly shopping. I don’t know where you might be found, but you’ll find friends and neighbors there. And in fact, you’ve got friends and neighbors here at church because this is one of the activities of your week.

The other neighborhood is the place where we serve, the place where we work. Some of you your work is going to school, and you’re doing very well. Some of you, your work is to work for a paycheck and some of us are retired. But we still find ourselves busy volunteering and in some way or another, helping our neighbors.

And then, of course, there’s the place that the dictionary says is your neighborhood and that’s the area surrounding your geographical home place. You probably know the names of your neighbors. You may already be praying for them. And the church that goes out to love their neighbor is the church that finds that their neighbor comes into this place to be with the people who have shown love to them.

John 20: On the evening of that day, Easter Sunday, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were for fear of the Jews… (They were afraid that just as Jesus had been crucified, their day was coming to also be crucified.) On that first Easter Sunday, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” And when he said this, he showed them his hands and his side, the place where the nails went in, the place where the spear went in. And that proved who he was. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

And then came three instructions. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the father has sent me, even so, I send you.” And you know what that means?

Kim and I are going through NCIS. We’re up to season 10. We are watching the entire season in order. It’s called reruns. You’ve probably done the same thing. You’ve probably found yourself watching reruns, saying to yourself, “Well, I’ve seen this before. I know how this story ends.” Well, Jesus says to them, “As the father has sent me, remember those three years, you remember everything we did, you remember everything I said, we’re going to go out and do it again. We are going to repeat everything you and I did together. Only this time, you’re going to be doing it, as the Father has sent me, the exact way the Father sent me. Now you get to go out and do that.”

That’s why when Jesus tells them to go and make disciples, he doesn’t have to explain anything. They are to take what they read in scripture that Jesus said. And when they find a matching situation, if the shoe fits, they apply that story of Jesus. As they went through those three years, everything that Jesus did, when they find themselves in a situation that matches, they need to do what Jesus did.

Therefore, when you read the Gospels, you are reading the blueprint for what Jesus wants his people to do. When you read the Gospels, you are reading the plan of what Jesus wants us all to do to build his church, because everything Jesus said and did was for our benefit, so that even now, thousands of years later, you and I can read what Jesus said and did and we can practice it as a part of our life.

As the Father has sent me, even so, I send you – now if that’s true, brothers and sisters, you’re going to need to take some time to read the scripture because when you come across a situation, it will remind you of what Jesus said and did, and you’ll know what you should do in the same way.

Here’s instruction number two in Verse 22 and instruction number three in Verse 23, “And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.'”

At the beginning of his ministry, the Holy Spirit came into Jesus Christ, and everything that Jesus did from then on was through the power of the Holy Spirit acting through him. Now there is no question that Jesus is smarter than we are, that Jesus is stronger than we are, but nonetheless, when Jesus emptied himself to become a human being (Philippians 2:5-11), the other half of that is that everything that God did through Jesus, he did through the power of the Holy Spirit.

And consequently on the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit comes into the disciples, you would hope – because the principle indicates it’s true – they have all the power that Jesus ever had, to the degree they’re willing to allow the Holy Spirit to live and act through them. Consequently, when you pray for someone to be healed, you’re not the healer. God is the healer, and the Holy Spirit does the work. When you pray for someone’s life to turn around, you are not the person who can fix everything that’s wrong, but you know the person who can repair everything that’s broken, you know the person who can heal every illness, that can help people’s hearts change by the power of the Holy Spirit as you pray. He can do that.

So the second instruction is this, you need to receive the Holy Spirit. The implication is that you breathe in the Holy Spirit, then you breathe out prayers that change the lives of people. This is what the disciples had been doing for three years with Jesus, so they just continued to do what they’ve always done.

Now Verse 23 is the strange part of this because it’s very questionable if you have ever heard a sermon that actually talked about this. But the job that Jesus Christ wants you and I to do is to help other people be aware that they are forgiven, to help other people become aware that God loves them and wants to forgive them. Just like the paralyzed man Jesus saw, his true need was to know that he was forgiven. And friends, I’ll be honest with you, the true need of all of us, the true need of people all around us, that they need to know that they’re also forgiven.

Now I told you that you were supposed to love your neighbor. Do you know what people do when you tell them to love your neighbor? They say, “Well pastor, let me tell you about my neighbor from hell,” and believe me, the minute you think about it, you will know who that is, the one who is a great and enormous this trial to you, the one that is so frustrating, that is so obstinate, that is so stubborn. If you’re lucky, you are not married to that person! But we all have that neighbor that is hard to get along with. Sometimes it is someone in our family, sometimes it’s someone else. But you know something? It may be hard for you to love one person. But since you’re supposed to love all of them, why don’t you start with the easy ones … because what happens is that we get focused on the ones that are hard to love, and nobody gets any love.

In the same way, you have the task of forgiving people. You have the task of choosing for them to be forgiven. You have the task of announcing to them that God desires to forgive them. And every single one of us has someone in their life who is very, very hard to forgive. And of course, your brain instantly goes directly to that person and gets stuck there. But if everybody else in your life is easy to forgive, maybe you want to warm up on the easy people. And as you build up your strength, you can build up your strength with that other person who is hard to forgive.

I have to confess my sins to all of you. Every now and then, Pastor Dave gets upset. And I found myself yesterday when I got upset saying under my breath, “I forgive you. I forgive you. I forgive you.” I’m still not sure it’s true yet, but I’m working my way up to it. I forgive you. I forgive you. I forgive you. And when you ask someone, “How are you?” And they share their story of woe with you, perhaps in some way, you can say to them, “Because in Jesus Christ’s love, you are forgiven, and I forgive you too.”

You see, people out there, they struggle with shame. “God can’t love me,” they think. “I’m terrible. I’m worthless. I am worse than useless,” they think. So many people out there feel like that. But to be told you are forgiven … You are appreciated … You are loved by God … can be so kind and helpful to someone whose constant inner language is one of self-criticism. You can be the one that announces that they are forgiven.

But I think about what it means if we take this 23rd verse literally, it actually is perhaps even a little more stark than that. There is the impression that when someone stands before God, it could be true that God would look at them and say, “David Kueker never would forgive you.” It could be true that God would say to that person, “David Kueker decided that you would retain your sins.” I hope that’s never true of me or of you!

There’s a saying – boys and girls, please close your ears. There’s a saying sometimes when adults look at someone and they’re really angry and they say to them, “Go to hell”. And something that should sink into our awareness is that could just come true. We need to be givers of forgiveness, not people who assign guilt and blame and shame.

Matthew 9:37, then, this is at the end of the chapter where Jesus said that the paralyzed man needed forgiveness. Then he, Jesus, said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”

In this town, in every town, in every county, in every state, in this nation, there are people who want to come to church. There are people who want to have God’s help. There are people who want to become faithful Christians. But no matter how high the corn gets up in the field, somebody has to go out and get it. And this is why Jesus looks at you and me, part of the instructions after the resurrection, the crop is ready to bring in, and Jesus says to us: I need you to go out and get it.

And in fact, there are only two times the Lord Jesus gave the disciples a prayer request. There are two times he told them what to pray other than the Lord’s Prayer. And one of them was this in verse 38, pray therefore the Lord of the harvest, because it’s God’s harvest, to send out laborers into his harvest.

And the people who go to do the will of Jesus Christ are the people who go into the harvest to do this labor.

What am I supposed to do, Pastor Dave when I go? Love people, forgive people, tell them what Jesus said and do what Jesus did. That’s all we have to do, to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Ephesians 4:32 puts it this way, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. And if you act in this way, people will sense that the church is a place that welcomes them.

We pray this phrase of the Centering Prayer every week, but we pray for a reason … to let it sink in because you have a neighbor. And so we pray, Lord, help me to notice my neighbor, because if you just simply notice, that will get you started doing what God wants you to do. And once you notice, then we pray, Lord, work through me to redeem my neighborhood.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, we are people who are less than perfect. But you have shown us through what you said to the first disciples, which is available to us any time we open the New Testament to read the Gospels. You have shown us through what you said and did how we can be better people and better Christians. Lord, we ask that since you’ve given us a job to do, that you would help us learn how to do it, that you would help us to move forward, that you would help us to fulfill your will, because, Lord, without your help, there’s not much we can do. Thank you, Lord, for bringing us through the resurrection in this time between the times, for the crop is now ready. Lord, we pray that you would send us out to do your will, filled and empowered by your Holy Spirit. 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 Road, 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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CHURCH SCHEDULE & EVENTS & WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO KNOW

CHURCH SCHEDULE & EVENTS & WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO KNOW
May 23 – May 30, 2021

THIS WEEK’S CHURCH CALENDAR
Sun 5/23 9:00 am … WORSHIP in Sanctuary at Kinmundy First UMC
10:45 am … WORSHIP in Sanctuary at Wesley UMC

Mon 5/24 11:00 am … MISSION COMMITTEE Meeting
6:00 pm … HAND N HAND “Welcome Back” Meeting
7:00 pm … AD COUNCIL Meeting

Tues 5/25 — … PASTOR’S SABBATH DAY
6:00-8:00 pm …WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY

Wed 5/26 9:00-11:00 am … WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY

Thurs 5/27 1:00 pm … TWILIGHT CIRCLE Joyce Holley, Hostess;
Jeanette Hoeinghaus, Devotions. Roll call is “good advice from your parents”.

Sun 5/30 9:00 am … WORSHIP in Sanctuary at Kinmundy First UMC
10:45 am … WORSHIP in Sanctuary at Wesley UMC

UPCOMING MEETINGS …
Mon 5/24 11:00 am … Missions Meeting
Mon 5/24 7:00 pm … Ad Council Meeting
Mon 6/ 14 7:00 pm … Trustees Meeting
If you would like to attend any meeting from home by phone or over the Internet, please let Pastor Dave know or call Vervadene at the church.

WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO KNOW …

Due to your careful love for your neighbor, the State of Illinois is relaxing COVID restrictions in response to lower numbers. Please pray for wisdom for our leaders and a calm response throughout to the gradual lifting of restrictions.

The Kinmundy Health & Safety Team and the Food & Fellowship Team met Friday, May 21, to consider what was safe to do. On Friday, May 14, 2021, Curtis Brown, Director of Connectional Ministries for the IGRC, issued an Update on Wearing Masks for the Illinois Great Rivers Conference to say:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has updated their safety guidance to state, “… fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting.” … This means that fully vaccinated people will not need to wear a face mask or physically distance in most of our churches during worship services, gatherings, and meetings, including while speaking and singing.”

The IGRC recommends that churches should avoid creating special events, gatherings, or worship experiences only available to those who are already fully vaccinated. Our ministries are meant for all, and we need to be diligent in ensuring that an individual’s access to vaccination does not become a barrier for people’s full participation in the life of our churches

Unvaccinated people may choose to wear masks for their own safety and the safety of other non-vaccinated people.

Additionally, some fully vaccinated people may wish to continue to wear masks out of an abundance of caution or in solidarity with children and other people who are not able to be vaccinated.

Please do not crowd each other as we adjust to this change.

THE KINMUNDY HEALTH & SAFETY TEAM and the Food & Fellowship Team are pleased to announce that:
KINMUNDY FOOD & FELLOWSHIP will return soon—after worship concludes. Please join us for a time of coffee and refreshments in the Fellowship Hall.
KINMUNDY SUNDAY SCHOOL for Adults and Children will return soon.
We will be planning a FELLOWSHIP MEAL for our church sometime in June.

“WELCOME BACK TO HAND N HAND” on Monday, May 24, at 6:00 pm. It will be outside with food, songs and story, and play on the playground. We are also considering planning a mini-golf and ice cream meet in June.

THIS WEEK’S PRAYER FAMILIES — Members & Friends
Stan & Linda Jones Family
Steve & Julie Jones Family
Sam & Jane Lowe Family; Dennis & Joyce Seavers, Neil, Seavers, Shawn & Lily Seavers, Rodney & Sami Rose, Tori, Karli
Judy McCarty Family

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OUR CHURCH FAMILY PRAYER PAGE — May 23 – 30

OUR CHURCH FAMILY PRAYER PAGE — May 23 – May 30

PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR PASTORS: David Kueker, our Superintendent, Carol Lakota Eastin, and our Bishop, Frank Beard. If you need Pastor Dave for prayer, please call or text his cell phone, 618-780-0151, or email at dkueker@yahoo.com or on Facebook as David Oliver Kueker.

Prayer Request From Jesus: Matthew 9:37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Please Pray For God To Bless Our “Care Card Ministry” Person Of The Week
Duane Ambrose, 10718 E. Aminoff Dr, Effingham, IL 62401

Please Pray For God To Bless These People For Special Needs –
K Gerri Molina – An update from Jill – Mom looks really good. Getting rid of infections, still on a ventilator. There is concern about her kidneys. So prayers for kidney function to improve. Cards may be sent to: Rm 121, Select Specialty Hospital – St Louis, 300 S 1st Capitol Dr, St Charles, MO 63301.
April Mercer – Breast cancer, taking chemo. Shirley Brinkley’s niece.
Mike Webster – Serious health issues. Missouri Baptist Hospital. Mike is an employee of the city.
Bill Olden – Has been diagnosed with a mass in the Pancreas. Will see a cancer specialist in Centralia on June 2.
Gene Simmons – Farina, has cancer.

Please Pray For God To Bless These People With Ongoing Needs –
Duane Ambrose, Marie Dickerson, Cindy Kueker (Pastor Dave’s cousin), Molly Monical, Shirley Miller, Russell Kilby, John Holzhauer, David Mendenhall (Steve Wilkin’s friend), Helen Sullivan, Aaron Guerrettaz (Jo Williams’ nephew, Jim & Nancy Guerrettaz’s son), Kay Feather Lydick, Caitlin Engel (Julie Jones’ cousin), Quinten Butts, Haven Mueller, Mike Donoho, Brenton Connor, Kayley Wilhelm, Larry & Dolores Johnson (Kim’s Parents), Nancy Weeks-Lafenhagen

Please Pray For God To Bless Our Military Families –
Sgt Rusty & Nicole (Nolan, Michael, Lydia) Robb – Member of the Presidential Helicopter Squadron.
Navy Lieutenant Commander Jason Montgomery – Serving on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.

Please Pray For Those Grieving For
– Suzanne (Hiestand) Garrett, Salem
– Barbara (Lane) Ball, Salem – Ella (Mulvany) Campbell, Kinmundy,
K-A Class of 1971

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