KinmundyChurch.org: Welcome to our church blog!

We Would Like You To Know —

WORSHIP THIS WEEK …  four options:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit us on Facebook here!

Listen to or download sermons and slides by clicking here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sermon 09/13/20: Tiny Gratitudes (Pentecost XV)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 09/13/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

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

HYMN Bill & Gloria Gaither – Thank You [Live] ft. Ray Boltz
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxntuF5Hrt8

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 Marshall Hall – Thanks [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKklTvwbuDg

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: Tiny Gratitudes
Text: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 1 Peter 1:6-9, 4:12-13
Series: Tiny Habits for Growing Christians
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Wesley UMC Sermon Audio

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SERMON NOTES

1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always, 17 pray constantly, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Peter 1:6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. 9 As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

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HYMN Charlotte Ritchie, Jeff & Sheri Easter – In Everything Give Thanks (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcZ46aKpb_I

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

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

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

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

Photo images from NickyPe and others via Pixabay.

TRANSCRIPT

We’re talking about how we can be effective as Christian people, how we can do our ministry, how we can practice our faith in a day when everything has changed. And all the good old days and the good old ways and our most comfortable way of worshipping, our most comfortable way of serving, all the comfortable ways are no longer available. How do we be Christians today?

The nation of Israel dealt with the same problem. They were jerked out of Jerusalem. They were taken away from their temple. They were not allowed to worship as they had always worshipped, but they had to learn how to cope. And we do too.

And what I have suggested to you is that, if we change tiny things, those tiny things can make huge differences. And the first thing to adjust is this: Jesus is here no matter where we are. And we interact with Jesus out there at the grocery store. We interact with Jesus out there in the neighborhood. And he’s real out there. And we can worship and serve him out there and sometimes in new ways that are more fruitful and beneficial to actual people. Today.

Quick review. When you want to change a habit, try doing it in tiny ways. You look for an anchor, something you always do that’s as natural to you as brushing your teeth. And the new behavior that you want, tie it to that thing that’s already a habit so that when you brush your teeth, you pray a specific prayer.

I saw this week, on the Internet, a little video from Daniel Pink who’s a business school professor, and what he recommended was that when you wash your hands (anchor), be thankful (new, tiny habit). When you wash your hands, and he said at least for 20 seconds, that will give you time to think of what to be thankful for. When you wash your hands, be thankful. I suggested to you when you enter a room, declare that this room, this is a place where Jesus is Lord because it changes how you see that place. Tie the new behavior to something you already do.

And then the third thing is to celebrate because what Stanford professor B.J. Fogg says is that when you allow yourself to feel good, because Jesus is Lord, because of what you remembered when you washed your hands that you’re thankful for, if you allow yourselves to feel emotionally good– men, I know this will be a challenge! If you allow yourself to be emotionally happy– friends, if you’re grumpy, this will be difficult! But if you can find a little bit of happiness and celebrate, those emotions will be like cement that will glue this new habit into place in your life.

If you’re having trouble doing something that’s good for you, it’s very possible you’re not celebrating enough … that you need to give yourself a little jolt of joy to help you to want to go back and do it again because it feels so good.

When we understand the first commandment, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul, with all your mind,” you know the natural response to love is to feel joy. To have a desire to celebrate. We have so many reasons to celebrate. The way that God lives and is a part of our life today.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Happy 2020. My favorite joke about 2020 is this. I called my mom on the phone and reminded her that when I was a kid, she promised if I kept doing this or that, she would kick me into next year. And I said, “Mom, please, would you please come by and do that?”

I was sitting in my La-Z-Boy recliner and all of a sudden I heard this incredible sound of laughter from the woman on the couch next to me because she had seen this cartoon. If 2020 was an ice cream truck … see what the sign on the side says? It’s selling liver and onions and the kids are hiding. There’s at least one person here this morning who loves liver and onions. My dad loved liver and onions. He loved liver and onions so much my mom finally refused to ever cook it for him again. And he didn’t care. He would cook it himself. I want to tell you, I’ve had my entire life’s quota of liver and onions. So that’s me hiding on the side of the house there.
Now, you know why we make jokes? When something hurts, if we can laugh about it, it takes some of the pain away. When something is uncomfortable, if we can laugh about it– especially, if you can learn to laugh at yourself, you will never run out of reasons for laughing! But if you can laugh at it, it can’t scare you like it did before. One of the ways that human beings deal with stress is to laugh about it.

And so if you’re feeling down in the dumps, if you’re feeling depressed– and there’s a lot of depression around us. There’s even PTSD because of people living and dealing with ongoing pressure, which leads to depression. There’s a lot of it all around us. But if you can train yourself to change your emotions, you have a powerful remedy for how we feel. And here’s the first thing I absolutely want to tell you. You actually can change your emotions.

How many of us have been angry, have been sad, have been feeling anxious, and somebody told a joke and all of a sudden we were laughing and laughing and laughing (until the bad feelings came back). You can change your emotions instantly by telling a joke. Now we all know there are some people who can’t tell a joke at all.

And some people have said that I’m one of those, so I actually have a book. Some of you know this story. Kim and I have this book of jokes with us when we travel. Not so much because we get depressed when we drive down the road. Not so much because we get anxious. Not so much because we argue with each other.
But when we get tired, the one not driving, which is always me. The one that’s not driving starts reading jokes to the one that is driving. And you know, about one out of five actually causes her to chuckle. It keeps us awake.
You can change your emotions by something as simple as telling a joke.

Now I don’t go to scary movies. But just think about the last time you went to a scary movie. There you are with that hot date and you’re buying your ticket and you’re saying, “Oh boy, oh boy. I can’t wait to see this movie. I can’t wait to see this movie. Halloween number 26. Can’t wait to see this movie.” And the minute you’re in there, flickering light on a screen causes you to feel incredible emotions of fear. And you know in your mind that it’s just pictures. But you still feel it, don’t you? You still feel the feelings.
You can change your feelings by changing what you pay attention to. And one of the simplest ways to change what you’re paying attention to is to ask yourself the right question. One of the best questions for me is what’s funny about this? Because when I turn that self-deprecating humor on myself and I see some way I’m an idiot and all of a sudden, my arrogance, my anger, my frustration disappears. What’s funny about this?
A more serious question: Leo Buscaglia said that the thing that his father did that helped him to become a college professor, that helped him succeed in life, is every night before he went to sleep, his father came in and sat at the edge of the bed and said, “Leo, what did you learn today?” If you ask the question, “What can I learn from this?” it will direct your mind toward what will make a big difference.
The question I most recommend is this one. “What is God doing here? Right here right now?” Because you know something? God is trying to do something even in the most uncomfortable moments of your life. God is trying to do something even when there’s great pain and distress. If we can look at what God is doing, then we can add our little bit of effort to strengthening what God is doing for the benefit of everyone involved.
And the final question? It’s a really good one. B.J. Fogg recommends another tiny habit. This is one of his handful of basic habits. When you get in bed at night to sleep don’t fall asleep until you’ve made a mental list. What happened today for which you can feel gratitude? What happened today so that before I fall asleep I can be thankful?

There some people who recommend literally as a way to change your life to change your thinking habits to change your emotional habits to literally keep a gratitude journal so that when you’re frightened, take a moment to look on paper and read of all the good things that God has done, and it will change how you feel. Take a minute to look through all the kind and good things that people around you have done, and it will change how you feel. Being thankful … little gratitudes are very powerful to change how we feel when we’re stuck in a bad place because they change the focus of our attention from what we complain about to how we are blessed.
Here’s what scripture says about this. First Peter 4:12, beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you— I’ll explain what that means in just a moment. To prove you as though something strange were happening to you. Now if you’re a silversmith, if you’re a goldsmith, you know how you purify the metal? You turn up the heat until it melts, and all the garbage flows up to the top, and you can scrape it off. Friend, one of the reasons why the heat is being turned up on us is it brings up the garbage that’s buried deep inside. When it’s flowing on top you can scrape it off.

But don’t be surprised when that happens. It’s always going to rain sooner or later on a day when you want to go outside and play. Don’t be surprised, but rejoice on that day. Rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings. It wasn’t easy for him. That you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. No matter what’s happening today guess what lies in wait in the future? Many good things.

It’s only September but some of us are already looking forward to Christmas. Many good things await in the future, but in this present moment sometimes there is difficulty. And we got to get through the present to get to the future, and if you’re Christmas obsessed, to get to the presents. Let what’s going to happen in the future change your perspective of what’s happening right now.
Peter writes, In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials. Why? Verse 7, so that the genuineness of your faith more precious than gold, which though perishable is tested by fire. You see … that’s the heat that brings up the garbage. We’re all going to be tested. We’re all going to be heated up. And what’s garbage is going to come up to the surface. It’s going to happen. Without having seen him, Peter goes on to say, “You love him, though you do not now see him. You believe in him and you rejoice. Rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy as the outcome of your faith, the outcome of practicing your faith, you obtain the salvation of your souls.”

So when things get tough, what is God’s will? Here it is. Rejoice always. Rejoice is always the choice that you have. Pray constantly. As the King James says, pray without ceasing. Because troubles drive us to pray. But finally, look at the 18th verse. “Give thanks in all circumstances.” Good days, bad days, and everywhere in between. Give thanks in all circumstances, for to be thankful, this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Now you and I sometimes may feel a little bit like this dog. There is a treat on your nose. It’s not fun to wait till you can have the treat. But notice the dog’s eyes: Are they focused on the treat? Or are they focused on the master who will give permission? We need to give thanks for what we have but can’t quite enjoy yet, knowing that the signal will come in a moment. And what’s resting on our nose will be ready for us to enjoy.

You can make choices that will change how you feel. It’s as simple as telling a joke. It’s as simple as asking a question.

It’s as simple as finding a good book. We have a library here in Kinmundy that is full of them.

But if books aren’t for you, there is a good movie. I looked at Kim yesterday and I said, “You know, if today’s a bad day, we need to pull Rat Race out of the bin and watch it again.” That’s her favorite crazy funny movie. It always works. But maybe for you it’s not a movie. Maybe it’s a comedy television show. Maybe it’s something as calming and simple as a jigsaw puzzle. Hopefully it’s not an ice cream sundae. I had one of those yesterday too, because too many of those can cause other problems! But there’s something that will bring you joy that you can choose. Choose to rejoice. Choose joy.

You can work at a goal till you win. This is the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series in 2016. They were happy that day. And you can work toward a win, whatever that might be in your life and rejoice in it. And not only that — you could look back on it just as if it was yesterday and feel that joy again. You can think back over your victories, the good things that have happened, the days that you were a winner, and the feelings will come right back. And you’ll get to enjoy them again. Walk back through your memories and be thankful for every victorious moment.

There is always embedded in every difficult situation a reason to be thankful … if for no other reason than, as I have frequently said that is the Minnesota state motto which is, “Could be worse.” But to be honest, there’s always a reason to be thankful somewhere. Keep looking. And when you find it, celebrate. Whatever tiny piece of good is in the midst of whatever we struggle with.

When you’re looking for something to be thankful for, don’t go too far from home. Because there’s a whole lot of us that when we think about what would make us thankful, we think something like, “Well, I could go to France.” Unfortunately, with the pandemic, you can’t go to France.
“I could go to New York City.”
“I can go to a high school football game.”
If you look too far away from home, you’ll begin to think the thing that you need to be happy is something that’s far, far away because for many of us, for most of our lives, going on a trip, going on vacation, going to see the grandchildren, that’s been our choice when it’s time to rejoice. And we don’t always have that privilege. How much more wise it is for you to look for reasons to be happy right here right now. So don’t go too far.

How long has it been since you have rolled down a hill on your back on the grass? When you were a kid, this probably really caused a great deal of happiness, although if you were wearing a white wool sweater like this lamb is, your momma probably wasn’t too happy.
But you always have a choice of doing something that brings you joy. And if that’s not good enough and strong enough, I’d like to encourage you to take BJ Fogg’s advice. When you pray at night before you fall asleep, count your blessings. Look for ways that you can be thankful, and if you really want to make the power of this last, take a moment to make a list and literally write them down in what some people call a gratitude journal.

Because the day will come. You’ll need to open that journal and start reading backwards from today to previous days. To pull your emotions and your mind out of a dark place into a place that is full of God’s light and love and happiness. Because we always have a choice to be thankful. We always have a choice to rejoice.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, these are challenging days for some of us. Lord Jesus, these are difficult days for some of us. But these are harder days if we cannot hold onto the reality that life is not all difficulty. The day is not all darkness.
That you have given us in the midst of whatever we’re going through right here and right now something even if it’s just a memory of winning the World Series. You’ve given us something to be happy about.
Help us, Lord, just like a person drowning to grab onto that happy, thankful thing, like a life preserver … so that it can help us stay above the deep waters.
And so Lord, we ask that in the midst of difficult times, which these certainly are, that you would teach us how to be thankful. That you would teach us what it means to rejoice. And then throughout the day every time we do something that’s a good thing, Lord, help us to anchor it in our life by taking a moment to celebrate. We ask these things in the name of Jesus the 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.
 

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

Sermon 09/06/20: Tiny Attitudes (Pentecost XIV)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 09/06/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

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

HYMN: Gaither Vocal Band – Jesus Is Everywhere
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADR8kkQf0j4

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 Old Friends Quartet – I Want to Be More Like Jesus Every Day [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGpo1ke0EWE

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: Tiny Attitudes
Text: Philippians 2:1-17, Matthew 10:25a
Series: Tiny Habits for Growing Christians
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Audio for sermon at Wesley UMC

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SERMON NOTES

Matthew 10:25a it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master.

Philippians 2:1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 

14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured as a libation upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.  

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HYMN Alan Jackson – Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufYSFCKKoHs

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

How are we to practice our faith in this new day? We are living in something that our world has not seen for over 100 years – a pandemic. How are we to do what faithful Christians do today? Well, if we cannot do big things perhaps God will help us to do tiny things. Because if all of us are faithful, the tiny things will mount up to be far more than the big things we used to do.

I’ve encouraged you the past few weeks when you arrive at a new place to announce, whether it’s just to yourself or out loud, “Jesus is Lord,” knowing in your heart that Jesus is here and that Jesus is LORD right here and right now, even if that’s a place that doesn’t seem to be much of a holy place. A grocery store, aisle like this one; it’s a hard place to be holy. It’s a hard place to be spiritual, but Jesus is here.

And in a way, it’s possible that you can be his missionary in places as ordinary and difficult as this, but you can be his missionary in every part of your ordinary life. And that’s because of one very simple tiny truth that I hope will fill your heart this morning.

And here is that tiny truth, Matthew chapter 25. It is enough, It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher and the servant like his master. How are we going to live our faith in this day and this time? It is enough to be like Jesus. It is enough. While somebody is bound to ask, “Pastor, it’s not easy. How exactly do I be like Jesus?”

Let’s look at what the scripture says. Philippians 2:5-11, we believe that this is actually an early Christian hymn that people would sing these words to remind them. Have this mind among yourself, Paul writes, which is yours in Christ Jesus who though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God as a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. It is enough for you to be like Jesus. So how can it be … This week? This day? That you would empty yourself.

How can it be … This week? This day? That you could find yourself taking the form of a servant. As you do, you will be like Jesus.

The next part. In being found in human form just as we are, he humbled himself, and he became obedient unto death. Even the death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name. It is enough to be like Jesus.

So… This week? This day? How do you imagine that you will become obedient, willing to sacrifice yourself? Whatever form that takes, you will be like Jesus. It is enough to be like Jesus. The verse goes on to say, verse 10, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on Earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. How is it, this week or this day, that your knee will bow, that your tongue will confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, right here right now, wherever you might find yourself?

Because … why do you confess that Jesus Christ is Lord? He is with us, and because it’s enough to be like Jesus, He will help you in every time, and every place where he is acknowledged to be Lord. This week, this day, how will you fall to your knees, and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, in the place where you are, right here, right now? Well, if we did that, what would we see that would be different? There’s an old phrase … intentions are good, emotions are good, but obedience is something that a camera can see. If obedience becomes something that you do, a camera can see it. So, if people did this, what would a camera see? What would you or I see in people?

Just before this hymn to Jesus Christ, and just after, Paul explains that. And here’s what he says– whoops, got ahead of myself here! It’s enough to be like Jesus. You see I didn’t want you to forget that. It’s enough to be like Jesus. But if we are like Jesus, what are we going to see? What’s the camera going to see?

Well, if there is any encouragement, Paul writes if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the spirit any affection and sympathy, complete my joy,” Paul writes. By being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord, and of one mind; this is what a camera can see when people are willing to humble themselves and take the form of a servant and be like Jesus. Do nothing from selfishness or conceit. But in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. It’s a little bit like taking up a cross to benefit all mankind, which is what Jesus did. How will we humble ourselves further to be like Jesus? “Therefore my beloved,” Paul writes, “As you have always obeyed. So now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work …” You didn’t think it would be anything but work, right? Pretty much every problem that we face in this life is helped to be solved by work. Are we willing to work? What does Paul say? “Work out your own salvation.” Work at being like Jesus. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling … don’t take anything for granted. Believe in, trust and work, because, verse 13, “God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” God wants salvation to come to us. And God is working in us to bring that to pass. It is enough to be like Jesus. Paul goes on to say — just think for a moment about how hard this is would be for some people — or how hard this would be for some churches. Verse 14, “Do all things without grumbling or questioning.” Uh-oh. Questioning is not asking questions because you want to know. Questioning is doubting and challenging and arguing and feuding because if you can do all things without grumbling or questioning, you will be blameless and innocent. You will be children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life. So that in the day of Christ, Paul writes, “I, Paul, may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.”

This is what a camera would see if we were like Jesus. Because it is enough for a disciple to be like his teacher. It is enough for a servant to be like his master. And it is enough in this time for us to be like Jesus.

And, in a sense, when we do that, we will be missionaries in all kinds of places. Because if Jesus goes with us, we bring the light of Jesus Christ into the darkness of the world. And there are some places that are pretty dark, but there is no place that remains dark when you bring the light to it. And so Jesus is here in this grocery store line or any place else you might find yourself. Jesus is here. Jesus is Lord.

And it is enough, if you can, in this place, to be like Jesus. You’ve heard these letters before, WWJD, they stand for What Would Jesus Do. Well, there you are, in a challenging place, people are fighting and arguing, and there are so many temptations.

There’s the temptation to look at this young man and judge him for what he’s buying. What sort of family is he caring for with what he’s buying? Well, I sure hope there are some vegetables wrapped up in that plastic, but the little thing you see ahead of there, those are peanut butter cheese and crackers. Children need better than that, assuming he has some children to feed. It’s so easy for our personal judgment to come out as we look at other people, as we are tired, as we are standing in line, as we are feeling inside ourselves, the unrest, the feeling these days of being unsafe because of people not practicing safety precautions in the grocery store or somewhere else. But can you pray here? Yes, you can.

And, in this place, you can be like Jesus, but you’ll need to turn your eyes away from all the temptations, to imagine yourself on your knees in this place and ask yourself a very good question. What would Jesus do if he was standing in a grocery store line? What would Jesus do if he was standing here? Because if I know what Jesus would do, then I can choose, to the best of my ability, to be like Jesus.

Let’s take a poll. What would Jesus do? If you look through the scripture, pretty much what he would do is he would pray. He would pray for the people. He would pray for the hurts and the needs of the people in that day and in that place. What would Jesus do? Well, he’d probably pray. You could pray too.

There might be something else Jesus would do. Are you ever tempted to pay for the groceries of the person in front of you? You ever find yourself coming up on that line in the McDonald’s drive thru and feel yourself tempted to pay for the person behind you? Have you ever looked across the restaurant at a family that looks like they’re financially struggling and felt the temptation to pay for their meal? What would Jesus do? Maybe we should give in to that temptation because that’s what it would be like to be like Jesus.

I want to add something too, because not only is it what would Jesus do, sometimes Jesus would say something that would change a person’s life. And you might have an opportunity to say something. That’s what Jesus would do. And as it says in multiple places in the scriptures, he says to the disciples, “Don’t worry about how you’ll explain. Don’t worry about how you’ll defend yourself when you’re accused. Don’t worry about how you will speak when you’re dragged into court and being persecuted. What you will say will be given you in that hour.” And sometimes what we say out there in the real world can make a tremendous difference in someone’s life, even if it’s just to wish them well.

What would Jesus do? What would Jesus say? If we allow ourselves to follow through on whatever we are given, in that moment, we will do what Jesus asks us to do, we will say what Jesus asks us to say. And, in that moment, and in that time, and in that place, we will be the blessing of what it is for us to be like Jesus because that’s what the world needs. And, friends, it’s what we need also. It is enough to be like Jesus.

Lord Jesus, we don’t always know what to say, but, Lord, in that moment, help us to listen to you and be guided by what you say to us. Lord, we don’t always know what to do, but, in that moment, Lord, help us to be guided to do what you would have us to do. And more often than not, Lord, we realize that we have done something that you do not want us to do. And sometimes the thing that shows your presence, and your living within us, is for us to do and for us to say that thing which is so hard which is simply to say that we’re sorry. But, Lord, when we need to apologize, help us to apologize. When we need to do something good, help us to do something good. When we need to say something that brings a blessing, Lord, help us to say something. But, in all things, Lord, we ask that you would help us to be like Jesus because that is enough. 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.
 

Posted in Attend "Worship at Home" | 2 Comments

Sermon 08/30/20: Tiny Prayers (Pentecost XIII)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 08/30/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

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

HYMN The Statler Brothers – Official Video for ‘Til the Storm Passes By [Live]’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6JA6LPgNN0

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 Lynda Randle – His Eye Is On the Sparrow [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMtoYD4NhkE

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: Tiny Prayers 
Text: Mat 22:35-40, Luke 16:10, 1 Timothy 2:1-6
Series: Tiny Habits for Growing Christians
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.

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SERMON NOTES

Mat 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.” 

Luke 16:10 He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 

1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. 3 This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time.

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HYMN Bill & Gloria Gaither – Down to the River to Pray [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7wcNcmyoXE

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

Sixty years ago this coming February, 60 years ago in the stadium at Florida University, Billy Graham conducted a very powerful revival. This fall in many stadiums across the country, there will be no football season. The stadiums will be empty. We are living in a different time, and we’re not able to do what we have always done before as universities, as a nation, as churches.

How do we live our faith? How do we practice our faith in this new day? Well, friends, when you can’t go that way, take a look, God may let you go this other way. When God won’t let you go over, maybe you’ll find that the way is open for you to go under. Let’s let God find us a way, and let’s ask the question, “How can we practice our faith in these days?”

Well, the main difference I see is the great big things that we’ve always done as a church to bring everybody together for worship, to bring everybody together for a potluck, to bring everybody together for a fundraiser, to bring everybody together for a party, to bring everybody together for a Bible study. Maybe we can’t do those things like we used to do them, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t study the Bible, that doesn’t mean that you can’t worship, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do what Christians do. You just may need to do it in a tiny way these days.

But the Bible is accustomed to tiny ways. Luke Chapter 16:10, Jesus says it very plainly, “He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. And he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.” Little things, done for God, count. And God sees them. And little things done by little people begin to have a very major effect. If we can’t do big things in the church today, we may need to adjust to do little things.

Now, I know … if you’d been there to hear Billy Graham preach, if you’d been there to hear the choir directed by Cliff Barrows to sing, a choir of hundreds of voices, if you’d been there to hear George Beverly Shea sing, you would really be able to worship. It’s very easy for us to love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength when we’re there in the cathedral with a crowd of our friends and everything is so beautiful.

But you know something? You can love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength when you’re here, standing in line at a grocery store checkout. And I’ve recommended to you my tiny habit, which I’m trying to train myself to do. I find that I’m doing it in my heart, but it’s hard for me to do it literally. And that’s when I come into a new place, I say, “Jesus is Lord.” Now, if you come into the grocery store line, maybe you don’t want to say that really loud because what matters is not how loud you say it. But that you say it. Even if you say it only in your heart. But to come to that grocery store line and say, “Jesus is Lord over this time and this place.”

Now, why do I pick a grocery store line? Friends, if you’re like me, you get frustrated when the line doesn’t move. And when you and I are frustrated, that’s when we most need to declare, “Jesus is Lord here,” even if I’m frustrated with that guy in front of me. Have you ever found yourself in a grocery store line looking at what other people are buying and just kind of shaking your head? Apparently that guy needs not one but two kinds of beer. Have you ever found yourself just kind of shaking your head and feeling just a little critical of someone else, just maybe a tiny little bit judgmental?

In the old days when people had food stamps, they actually had to pull something out of their pocket and pay with pieces of paper. And everyone in line could see that they were on welfare. I have to tell you the truth. When I would see that happening with the person in front of me, I’d look over what they were buying, and I would say to myself, “Honey, you should buy the cheap macaroni and cheese.” I would judge what they were buying. Jesus was not the Lord over me that day in that place. But I need to learn how to love God with all my heart and soul and mind and strength. Not just in the church building. But when I’m out there in the world. Jesus is Lord.

And the second part in that is for me to realize that I can pray in this place in this grocery line just as effectively and just as powerfully and just as meaningfully as I can pray when I’m in the church sanctuary. Might be a little more distracting, but every distraction is probably something or someone that needs my prayers.

Missionary to China, Rosalind Rinker, taught people how to pray out loud. We had a sermon series on that once. I’m sure you remember every single word I said several years ago! Well, it’s possible.

But what she taught in prayer is four simple, basic phrases. And the first one was this, “We begin to pray when we realize Jesus is here.” And that grocery line, any place else you might find yourself, Jesus is here. And to be honest, that’s the same thing as we’re praying when we say, “Jesus is Lord.” Jesus is Lord. Jesus is here. Can you pray here? Not as easily, but– yes, you can.

Jesus is here, and we are able to pray, and we’re able to look around and ask ourselves, “Well, Jesus is here. Who else is here?” Because you see, every single person you see from the guy buying, not one but two kinds of beer– guess what? He’s your neighbor. In the grocery line– yeah, but he’s your neighbor. And the cashier, is she having a good day? Can you tell? The person at customer service, way in the back, I don’t know if you can see your face. She’s smiling. She’s either having a great day or really good at faking it. But these people are your neighbors. And God has instructions for us about our neighbors. The problem is that we are so often totally focused on ourselves that we don’t notice our neighbors, but we can pray here.
There’s the book by Rosalind Rinker– that’s a long quote. You’ll be able to look at it and read it on the slides, but she talks about how this whole system of learning how to pray came about. Today, we’re going to remind ourselves of two parts of that. The first one is that Jesus is here. And when we realize that Jesus is here, we can love him and appreciate what he’s doing and be thankful for what God is doing, right there, in the grocery store line or wherever else we might be. Jesus is here, but other people are also here. And Rosalind Rinker says we need to get used to this prayer, “Help me, Lord,” because you’re supposed to love your neighbor, but you’re supposed to love your neighbor as yourself. And when you notice your neighbor, you use one of her other phrases, “Help my brother. Help my sister, whoever they might be.” But those are the two parts. Jesus is here. “Thank you, Lord. My neighbor’s here. Lord help my neighbor. Help my neighbor.”
In 1 Timothy 2:1 you find these words– first of all, Paul says to Timothy, “I urge that supplications, pleading, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.” Not just the people we like, not just the people we admire, but all people who need prayer. We can say these tiny prayers, and when God answers those tiny prayers, there will be major blessings that will come to pass. But Paul doesn’t ask us to be choosy. Paul doesn’t ask us to discriminate. Paul says, “Pray for all people.”

“This is good,” he says in verse 3, “And it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” Why? Take a look at verse 4. “Our Savior desires all people to be saved. Our Savior desires for all people to come to the knowledge of the truth about Jesus Christ.

So you and I, wherever we are, Jesus is Lord, Jesus is here and I can pray tiny prayers that will bless tiny people whom God wants to come to him. So you can pray here. Lord, help my neighbor. Help him to buy better groceries. Help him, Lord, to not root for the wrong baseball team. Help him, Lord, with all his problems and Lord, help me with all of mine. You can pray here if you let yourself notice the people around you. Because all too often it’s very clear, they’re not having a good day. And there’s something there that you can pray for. It may just be a tiny prayer. The tiny prayers make big differences. You can pray here. You see, that grocery store line, that’s part of your neighborhood.

Here’s a list of the other neighborhoods we’re a part of. There is a neighborhood of your family and friends. It’s a neighborhood. But you know what makes it a neighborhood? There are neighbors living in it. And when they’re hurting, please pray for them. When everything’s going well, please give thanks.
You also see people where you have common interests. You like to quilt. That means that you have neighbors that quilt with you. Pray for those neighbors. Every place you have a hobby and interest unless it’s something that you do all by yourself. If it brings you into connection with other people, pray for them.

There was a day a couple of years ago, we went prayer walking and people went here and there through town and they reported back great and amazing blessings. When they prayed for people they encountered just going on a walk. You see, they’re going on a walk through their neighborhood. You know if you don’t even get out of the house but you’re in that place where you say your prayers in the morning, you can mentally go walking in these four neighborhoods. You can mentally look down the list of your family and friends, you can think of the people you know through activities. You can pray for people in those neighborhoods without even leaving your home.

There are the neighbors that you have from where you work, or if you’re retired, where you used to work, or where you volunteer. They need your prayers too. They’re your neighbors.

It’s so silly, we forget about this. There are actually the people that live in the real-life physical neighborhood up and down the street. If you live in a big town, like in a suburb of St. Louis, like I did for nine years, it’s very possible: you may not even know your neighbors’ names, because people don’t really feel safe in those bigger towns.

But it’s not the case in a little town or out in the country, you probably know your neighbors’ names. And given life the way it is you probably know the problems your neighbors are dealing with. You can pray there and your tiny prayers can make a big difference because they unleash the power of God to work in the lives of your neighbors and in your life.

One of the things the pandemic I think is going to teach us, especially those who are pastors and church leaders and bishops and such, is we’re going to learn that we need to stop trying to fix the institutional church. To focus in a tiny world where we’re limited in what we can do is going to mean to shift from big things like what the church can do to little things like what each individual Christian can do. And especially if we can help each individual Christian begin to love their neighbor.

And where do we start with that? The simplest way to love your neighbor is to notice them and to begin to pray for them. But if we can’t fix the church, and if people become better Christians … we are going to live in a better world where God’s will be done on earth just as it is in heaven. You can pray for them. You can pray here because, all around you, there are people not getting along. It’s obvious these two in the picture are sisters. I find this hard to believe – that sisters are not always friendly to each other. I never had a sister. All I had were brothers and I knew that brothers tend to not always get along.
But if you look around you, you’re going to see obvious things where your prayers are needed. And if you’re in the line at the grocery store or wherever it might be, I strongly encourage you when you get home, when you’re praying, when you’re reading in your Bible make a little note in your notebook. Two sisters were obviously not getting along and I prayed for them. Because you know next week maybe you’ll see them. Maybe you’ll see that God has changed things. Maybe you’ll see that God has answered your prayer and it will encourage you to keep on praying little prayers because they make big differences in little people’s lives. You can pray here and not only that, you can keep on praying if you see them the next week and the next week and the next week because they’re still going to need God’s help. They’re still going to need your tiny prayers.

You’ve seen this slide before because I’ve recommended it to you now since 2014. There is a beautiful way to respond to a person who is whining and complaining and that’s to understand that their gripe, their complaint whether it’s said in a very sweet and kind voice or whether they’re very angry and bitter … for you to understand that their complaint, whatever it is, is a request for God’s help. That they’re complete. Whatever it is is an opportunity for you to be prayerful. So I have recommended these words to you. When somebody complains about anything, “My cat ran away,” here’s something you could do. Looked them right in the eye and say, “I go to a church that prays for people whose cat has run away. Will it be okay if we pray for you?”
Doesn’t matter how ridiculous the need is, something they’re feeling in their heart, we can offer to pray. But you know something, the very next conversation you have with that person it’s going to be all about whether God answered your prayer. It’s going to be about the Lord’s ability to answer prayer. It’s going to be about why it’s a good thing for people to pray for each other and from tiny prayers like this for an upset stomach, for a cold, for a cat that’s run away, for my daughter who’s ill and can’t go to work, whatever it might be open a door for God to work in that other person’s life.

Tiny prayers that you can pray can make a huge difference because when we pray out there and we can pray there, we see God’s work happen right before our eyes.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, the next time we’re tempted to be critical of the person in the grocery store line in front of us because we know what they should have bought instead of what was in their cart… The next time, Lord, we’re frustrated because the person we’re talking to wants to talk about their problems instead of talking about us… Help us to understand that their complaint is a request for prayer. And whether we say anything to them or not, we can say a tiny prayer to turn loose your love and your Holy Spirit to live and work in their life. And address their problem and help them find their way through it, and to solve whatever it might be that they struggle with. Help us, Lord, to see these opportunities around us to pray tiny prayers. And we ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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

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

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka 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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Sermon 08/23/20: Solid Habits Make Good Anchors (Pentecost XI)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 08/23/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

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

THE FIRST HYMN: The Haven of Rest [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU4HgK-R6C4

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.

THE SECOND HYMN
Bill & Gloria Gaither – Rock of Ages [Live] ft. Vestal Goodman, The Martins
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2W7Elmao3c

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: Solid Habits Make Good Anchors
Text: Hebrews 6:19-20, Luke 16:10, 6:48-49
Series: Tiny Habits for Growing Christians
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Sermon audio at Wesley Church – a different version of the same sermon.

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SERMON NOTES

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Hebrews 6:19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchiz’edek.

Luke 16:10 He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.

Luke 6:47 Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

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THE THIRD HYMN
Ben Speer, Wesley Pritchard, Terry Blackwood – I’m Standing On the Solid Rock [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdoECkNgENE

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

I’ll ask you a question and ask you to ponder it. What percentage, would you think, of your day, do you spend those hours living as if you were an atheist?

Now, I’m not implying that you want to be an atheist. I’m not implying that that’s your intention. I’m implying how much of the day goes by where what you do … it doesn’t matter if God is alive or not. What part of your day goes by where the Lord is no part of that day? Now, I understand you’re busy driving the tractor, you’re busy washing the dishes, you’re busy doing whatever it is that you have to do. But what part of the day is God with you while you’re doing that?

That’s the whole idea behind the first tiny habit that I talked about last week, and it seemed to make so much sense to me that we ought to talk about it again today. Because in Proverbs 3 it says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” How would you add that to your life as a habit to in every way acknowledge him?

Well, one way could just be that if every time you came into a new place, you declared, “Jesus Christ is Lord over this place!” – that’s the tiny habit – you would make yourself aware that God is there and Jesus Christ is in charge. In all your ways, acknowledge him. We can take a scripture and turn it into a habit so that we are living by it. And we’re talking about how we could do that.

And the first part of tiny habits is what B.J. Fogg calls an anchor because anything that God tells you to do, you can make it into a tiny habit. But you’re going to start with an anchor.

Now, this is an anchor. See the really heavy part? It drags along the bottom of the ocean. But the little part that’s like the cross part that sticks out that is resting on, sooner or later, it will catch on some irregularity in the surface underneath the water, and it’s going to start to cause that anchor to tip to a different position.

And here’s the picture of that position. It’s going to cause that hook to turn, so that it begins to dig itself in. All of a sudden, now, you will have your anchor in the solid ground, and it will hold you steady even in a storm. Now that’s an anchor but you know what does the same thing? This thing (a mooring post embedded in concrete on the dock), it’s kind of an anchor, too, because if you tie what you want to live to something that is solid and immovable as that, it’s not going to move. You can tie up what you do, what you think, how you pray. You can tie it to something that is solid and immovable and Jesus says very plainly that leads directly to a blessing.

In Hebrews, we find the actual term anchor used. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. A hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf… Jesus goes into the holy of holies in heaven to pray for you and me. He is our anchor, he is our haven of rest, and he himself talked about tying up to something solid.

This is from Luke. Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like. He is like a man building a house who dug deep and lay the foundation upon rock, tied the building to the rock and when a flood arose, when the storm came, when the stream broke against that house – friends there are always going to be storms – those storms could not shake it because it had been well built, it had been secured, and fastened to the rock. Which Jesus says is what he tells us to do.

Now here’s the opposite. This is a boat where the anchor failed. You know why the anchor failed? It was actually a hurricane. But when a boat loses its connection to something that is immovable, the rock, it becomes adrift and the storm just carries it along its way. But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation fastened to nothing against which the stream broke and immediately it fell and the ruin of that house was great. An anchor will hold you in place.

In Tiny Habits, there’s three steps A, B, C. And the first step, A, is to find an anchor. Because the new thing that you want to do, the new behavior, the way of living that’s different than what you’ve always done before, the way that’s more in accord with what Jesus said but it’s different from you’ve always done before. It’s very, very helpful if you tie that boat up to a solid rock, to an anchor, which will hold the new habit in place by connecting it with an old habit.

We have many routines, don’t we? Do you ever find yourself driving and you’re not thinking and instead of turning to go toward the grocery store, you turn on the road to go home because you’re driving on automatic pilot? Do you know what that is? You have a habit. You have a routine and if you’re not paying attention, your routines take over. So when you want to change something that you do, look at your routines for an anchor. For something you automatically do.

Since I’ve started taking blood thinner I no longer shave with a razor. I still walk into the bathroom and want to reach for the razor. Why? Because for over 50 years I’ve been reaching for that razor first thing when I walk in as a part of the taking a shower routine in the morning. But if you connect the new thing that you want to do … let’s say flossing one tooth … with a habit that you already do … like shaving … after you shave, it’ll be easy to move on to the new thing, which is the floss one tooth.

You’ve heard what is my habit every morning. If I could connect everything I need to do with drinking coffee, it would happen automatically. The blue cup. It was my father’s and he died in 2003, and I’ve been drinking coffee out of it since a few weeks after that. It feels like it connects me to him. It’s an anchor, and I’ll be honest with you, when I forget and leave it over here I have to drink my coffee at home out of something else … and it’s just not the same. It’s just not right.

There are times I have pulled on some clothes and actually come over here to get the blue cup because it’s the only right way to have coffee and so consequently, you’ve heard me say this before, I do my morning devotions with the coffee in the blue cup, because you start with something that’s an anchor. Start with something that’s a sure thing. Start with something that makes it easy and then you tie the new habit to follow it. I always do that after the first sip of coffee, which is my prayers or reading a chapter in scripture. I do that after the second sip of coffee. Or praying for your neighbors. Well, I do that after the third sip of coffee. But if you start with something that’s already a habit you can add to that habit and the anchor will help you be certain to keep doing the new thing that you want to do.

Last week I mentioned to you that I take my watch off before I take a shower and set it on top of my pillbox. When I get out of the shower it’s automatic: Go put your watch on. Oh, and take your pills. Well, yesterday I didn’t put it on the pillbox and I didn’t take my pills. If you connect the thing that you want to do … If you connect the thing that Jesus Christ wants you to do … to something you’re already doing … You’ll find that because you have an anchor, the new habit will be much easier to become a part of that habit. To where, now, for me reading scripture while I drink coffee out of that blue cup, it’s automatic. And in fact, I could add another tiny behavior, tiny habit, to it because it’s become natural and automatic.

But why? Because I tie the new behavior to an anchor, an existing and powerful habit for my life. And this is my new habit: In every setting, to declare that Jesus is Lord over that place. And the anchor here is the going into that new place. In the mornings, I will walk across the street to the church. I can tie to that behavior that’s automatic this new prayer, which makes Jesus Lord. I’m announcing that Jesus is Lord over this new place.

When I get in the car and go to the store, the store becomes the place where Jesus is Lord. When I get in the car after the store, and I come back home, when I come into my home, Jesus is Lord over this new place, my home. When you connect the habit to an anchor, something you already do, you’re anchoring the new habit into the anchor that is the old habit. So if you want to change something, make it part of your routine. Look for part of your routine that is so strong that you wouldn’t not even think of skipping it, and then connect that new behavior to the old behavior which is automatic.

Little things that we do can add up. And little changes in what we do can create a great difference. If you’re flying an airplane from one side of the country to another, and you make the tiniest little adjustment in your course, when you get to the other side of the country, you’re going to be miles and miles and miles in a different direction. Little tiny things matter. And if we begin to focus on them, we can adjust and change our lives. And of course, in the current time of this pandemic, we are prevented from doing the great big things that are our preference. But we’re still able to do the little things. And I think that can make all the difference.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, help us to have the serenity to accept the things that we cannot change but the courage to change the things we can. And help us also to understand, Lord, that one of the ways we make something impossible to do, one of the ways we make change impossible, is when we make it this great big task that would take an army, that would take a bulldozer, that is beyond our ability as simple human beings. But help us, Lord, instead, to focus on those little tiny changes which are well within our powers to make. Help us tie them, Lord, to the anchors of current habits. But even more, Lord, help us to tie our tiny little changes to what your scripture asks us to do, so that as we are people who live out your scripture, we might see the blessings of the promises that you make flowering all around us. We ask this in the name of Jesus the 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.

Posted in Attend "Worship at Home" | 1 Comment

Sermon 08/16/20: The Incarnation Habit: Jesus Is Lord. Here. Now. (Pentecost XI)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 08/16/20. If illness or travel prevented you from joining us for worship Sunday, or if you would like to experience the worship again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a new tab, and close that tab when finished.)

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

HYMN Gaither – Since Jesus Came Into My Heart (Live) [Official Video]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoCC1NjIHPE&list=RDA97aLphdL00&index=15

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

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

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

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

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

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

HYMN   David Phelps – Joy to the World [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfYXoOrIFqk

MESSAGE: The Incarnation Habit: Jesus Is Lord. Here. Now.
Text: Luke 2:9-12, Matthew 4:19-20, 28:18-20
Series: Tiny Habits for Growing Christians
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Audio at Wesley UMC
(Apologies for the scratchy audio!)

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SERMON NOTES

Luke 2:9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; 11 for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Matthew 4:19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

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HYMN Gaither Vocal Band – You Are My All in All With Canon in D [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDZZ0-F5EKk&list=RDA97aLphdL00&index=6

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

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

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

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

TRANSCRIPT

One of the things that was amazing this week is I looked for a version of Joy to the World where they included this verse. I could not find one. When the Gaither Vocal Band sings this in concert, they leave this verse out. Why would they do that? “Joy to the world, the Lord has come,” and he’s going to change this world.

But this is the verse that has to do with us:
“No more let sins and sorrows grow” … in your heart, in my heart because
“He’s come to let his blessings flow.
Far as the curse is found.
Far as the curse is found …
Far as, far as the curse is found.”

This is about Christ coming into the world and changing our lives. And the sad thing for me is I get up in the morning, and I look in the mirror and, unfortunately, there are still many parts of my life that I would like to change. On the other hand, it seems like I’m the one that has to do something to make that change happen.

How do we make changes in our lives? And the whole world is turned upside down. We are being forced in churches to move from our favorite big events where we draw everybody together in a crowd for a concert, for a revival, for a parade, or a picnic. We’re now only able to do tiny things. But tiny things done well, just like seeds, can sprout and grow and become something mighty. God loves tiny things. Here’s this verse: “He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. And he who is unfaithful or dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.” Little tiny things predict the future. And God is just fine with working through all the little tiny things that we can do, although, for us, they’re a little bit easy for us to miss.

There is this book called Tiny Habits. It’s written by B.J. Fogg, who is a Stanford research behavior psychologist, and he advocates that, instead of trying to do big things, that we focus on starting with little tiny things. In fact, he says, “The smaller the better.” And I got to thinking the past few weeks. I wonder if we couldn’t take what the New Testament asks us to do and apply this scientific pattern of being able to do it, so that we can figure out the tiny things that we Christians can do that would add up to a big difference in our world in spite of all the restrictions on our world at the present time. And so I want to give some thought with you in a new sermon series about how we can take the habits that Jesus asked us to practice and make them tiny and do them better.

Now, there are three parts to this theory. The first one is you begin with what he calls an anchor. That’s something you already do. And then immediately after that anchor you insert the new behavior that you want to be able to practice. And then after you practice it, then there’s a time of emotional celebration. ABC!

B.J. Fogg’s famous for the idea that what you should do is floss one tooth. Now, I don’t know about you, but no dentist has ever been able to threaten me to the point to where I am willing to floss. Here’s what BJ Fogg says, “Don’t floss. Floss one tooth.” One tooth. And before you know it, when you’re in the habit of flossing one tooth it won’t be any problem at all to floss the one next to it. And then the one next to that. And before you know it, you’ll be flossing every single day because you want to start with something really tiny.
Another tiny habit he uses is whenever he uses the bathroom in his home, he does one push up. Now, I have not done a push up for probably several years now. But I think every single one of us could probably do one push up. Well, he’s now up to 26. It’s a tiny habit.

I take my watch, my Fitbit, off when I’m headed to the shower, and I set it on top of the container that holds my medicine for the day. Because I’ve noticed that I have a problem remembering to take my medicine. But I have no problem whatsoever remembering that I need to put my watch back on. So I have put the two of them together. The anchor is my watch. The behavior is the watch reminds me to take my medicine. And now I have no problem being certain that I take my medicine every day. (Except on those days when I don’t take my watch off because I don’t take a shower. I’m still working on that!)

But these are tiny habits. And they work. The reason they work is the hardest part of something becoming a habit is for us to get started. Once we’re started, we don’t have much problem continuing.
The third thing that B.J. Fogg points out is that is very, very important and very, very valuable is for you to celebrate. For you to be emotionally happy when you floss that one tooth. For you to be emotionally happy when you take your medicine and put your watch back on. For you to do a little dance there in the kitchen, and make a big deal out of this tiny thing. Because B.J. Fogg says when the emotion of joy is connected to something that you feel you ought to do, that’s the thing that will cause you to do it. When you walk past the pill container later that day, you’ll remember the happy dance. The happy feeling when you did what you made a commitment to do.

I took his online course this past week, and B.J. Fogg recommended what they call the Maui habit. Now Maui is an island in the Hawaiian Islands. It’s known for its beautiful beaches, and there is a long story behind this. But basically 30% of people who attempt to use the tiny habits as a way to change their lives, wind up starting with the Maui habit.

Here’s the Maui habit. When you sit up and your feet land on the floor, you count off to yourself, “One, two, three.” And you say, “It’s going to be a great day.” And then he recommends you point your fingers up in the air and shake them like this and have your little happy moment. You really feel silly when you do that. But when you stand up after doing that, the good feeling continues. The good feeling continues. The happy dance, the happy moment, the moment of celebration, is what gives energy to the new habit becoming established. This is used to change your emotions about the day because every morning those feet land on the floor, you know that’s going to happen. When you stand up, you can tell yourself it’s going to be a great day.

So all last week, my feet landed on the floor and I found myself doing my version of this which is “It’s going to be a great day because Jesus is Lord and he is in control.” And so I give the day to Him. And then I would do not just pointing my hands in the air but I’d lift my hands in prayer. And you know something? It worked. It affected my emotions all day long. But you know what I found out? When I walked across the street over to the church I wanted to say it over here. And when I went from one place to another, I wanted to say it there. And when I went home for lunch I wanted to say it as I entered my home. And as I left my home to come back to work and came into the church, I wanted to say it in the church. I wanted to say this every time I left one part of my life for another. And so I said to myself, “Let’s not have it just be a morning thing. Let’s have it be when I step into a new place …”

And so, I decided to call it the Incarnation habit. Which is that whenever I entered a new place, a new room, maybe not from the bedroom to the kitchen but significant changes in where I was, I would pronounce over that room that Jesus is Lord here and now, and that He is the Lord of what happens here. And then, I would celebrate.

Maybe not quite like this. I had a thought this morning that maybe I should run down the aisle celebrating but I thought to myself, maybe that’s a little bit too much. And I didn’t want to strain anything. So you may not wish to celebrate this strongly!

But for you to tell a new place you enter into Jesus is the Lord here is a profound way to change your perspective. Particularly if the place you’re entering is one that is challenging. The home perhaps of somebody you don’t get along with. If you’re going into a hospital building, you may want to pronounce that Jesus is Lord here. If you go to a funeral home, you may want to pronounce that Jesus is Lord, Here.

Because we are not alone. At the beginning of the service, we sang about the changes that happened when Jesus comes into our heart. You know what the biggest change is? Wherever you go, your heart goes. And friends, wherever your heart goes, Jesus goes with you. You are not alone. But to say this thing that’s true out loud, changes how we feel, changes our perspective. And hopefully changes what we say. Changes what we do.

No more let sins and sorrows grow! Nor thorns infest the ground! Because when you walk into a place and announce that Jesus is Lord, when you think about the idea, you are bringing Christmas into that new place. Because anybody who’s there, to them is born a savior. And He is Lord in this place. That’s a great joy for us to announce. Jesus is here. And not only that because Jesus is in your heart, when you come into a place where He is the Lord, He will beckon to you to follow him, to do things in this new place that are a match for what he wants us to do.

When you announce to the room, Jesus is Lord, whether you’re shouting it or just whispering it in your heart, you’re making a declaration that He is the boss and you’re here to live His way. And that will make a difference.

As I spoke with you last week, we are the people who are expected to go to go and make disciples, to baptize them, to teach them how to obey everything that Jesus taught us to obey, for us not only to practice it but to teach it to others. We have this very human tendency to not go but to want to hang around in our comfort zone, to hang around in Jerusalem. And I said to you last week, “We’re not sure how we can go.”

But the one thing I know I told you last week is that when you go, Jesus goes with you, and he will show you, in every situation and every moment, what you are to do because He goes with you. You bring the Lord Jesus Christ everywhere you go. And you bring his light into the darkness everywhere you go. And whenever you come up to a person who is struggling in darkness, the light of Christ is shining on them because you bring the Lord Jesus Christ with you.

Now, when you think about that, that’s a very tiny thing. But a very tiny thing like that could change the lives of every single person around you. For you to make Jesus the Lord in every place. So maybe it’s my Maui habit. I’m going to begin my day by declaring that I believe it’s going to be a good day. Why? Because Jesus is Lord.

Maybe it’s what I’m calling the incarnation habit, which is that when you go from here to there, but you understand that not only is Jesus going with you, but he is going to be the Lord wherever you are. And that will make a gigantic difference.

Now the key thing here, according to B.J. Fogg, is that we need to emotionally take joy in that new perception, that we need to rejoice and celebrate, whether that’s just simply a smile on your face or whether you decide to do a little happy dance. Some of us are happy dancers. Some of us are not. But however, you would wish to go, add your own heart to it. You strengthen everything that you surround with happiness and joy.

So think about this. Think about this with me. What could we make a tiny habit? And when I thought about this, I decided that it would be true that any place I’m reading through the Bible, wherever Jesus says, “Do this,” that could be something that we could begin to do. Well, maybe what we need to do is do it as a tiny habit.

Because all too often, I start off with these big plans. And by the time I’m done making all my plans, I’m just so worn out. Maybe the small thing is the hardest thing for me to do. And this is the tiny habits approach. Is to make the behavior that I want to become a regular part of our life … Make it easier. Make it tinier. Make it something that is so easy to do that I can’t say no. [Floss 1 tooth?] Put my watch where my medicine is. Make it a little thing that then I can add onto. And in a sense, I think we could do this for every single command in the New Testament.

When you read through your Bible this week, perhaps one thing will speak to you. And it will be something entirely different that speaks to you, and another thing that’s entirely different that speaks to another person because we’re all different people in different situations.

But this “tiny habits” tool of psychology might help us to become better Christians. When Christianity is expressed in the tiny little things that you and I do because – and this is the point – the problem with a habit seems to be getting started. When we make it too hard, it becomes impossible to start. But if you’re up on the top of a high hill and could sit down on your skateboard and get it going, I want you to know that that little tiny thing will work all the way downhill!
But getting started has always been the most difficult thing for me. Could very well be the most difficult thing for every one of us. Please pray with me. Lord. Jesus, every time we complain – and some of us complain a lot – we’re actually wishing that something would be different. We’re actually hoping that something would change. And Lord, we’re always praying for the serenity to accept the things we cannot change. But we are forgetting that there are things that we can do and that we need to pray for the courage to do the things we can. And Lord, if it helps us to obey you more effectively, more efficiently, to obey you starting with little tiny things, then Lord, I pray that you would bless our little tiny efforts so that we can build on them and let them grow. And may their influence upon our lives and the lives of people around us also grow. Lord, help us not to avoid what we need to be doing by trying to do it in too big a way, but to understand that even the smallest thing done to honor Jesus Christ and obey his word will lead to good in our lives. We ask you to change our perspective to little things that we can do and help us, Lord, to get started. And we ask this in the name of our Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ.

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

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

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka 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.
 

Posted in Attend "Worship at Home" | 1 Comment

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

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

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

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

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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SERMON NOTES

Selections from Acts 10 and 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRANSCRIPT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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SERMON NOTES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image by u_jup1hbno from Pixabay.

TRANSCRIPT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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SERMON NOTES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRANSCRIPT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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SERMON NOTES


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRANSCRIPT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay.

TRANSCRIPT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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