KinmundyChurch.org: Welcome to our church blog!

We Would Like You To Know —

WORSHIP THIS WEEK …  three options:

1.  At this time, due to surging Coronavirus rates, the United Methodists Churches of our Illinois Great Rivers Conference are not holding face-to-face services until at least December 20, 2020. Please click on the link at the blog post of the day in the “Attend Worship at Home” category to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone as of November 22, 2020.

2. 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.

3. If you don’t have the internet and you would like to watch the video on DVD, please call the church office.

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If anyone wishes to have Communion please contact Pastor Dave and he will schedule a midweek morning or evening “socially distant” Communion Service at the church to serve you communion.

PASTOR DAVE intends to telephone all active members in the coming months, so don’t be surprised when your phone rings or there is a message on the answering machine from him! If you’d rather not wait, call the church office (547-7423) to let him know you would like a phone visit!

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SAFETY RULES FOR INSIDE, FACE-TO-FACE WORSHIP – Postponed at this time until after the holidays.

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. And now the New Year! (We hope to return to worship face-to-face soon.)

1. Six-foot minimum 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 exhaled 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.  (If needed, 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. Thank you to the artists and/or production companies who have given us permission to use their videos.

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 and Wesley 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!

Posted in Overview | Leave a comment

Ten Little Christians

QUOTE OF THE DAY … a friend reminded me of this little poem:
Ten Little Christians
.
Ten Little Christians came to church all the time;
One fell out with the preacher, then there were nine.
.
Nine Little Christians stayed up late;
One overslept on Sunday, then there were eight.
.
Eight Little Christians on their way to Heaven;
One took the low road, then there were seven.
.
Seven Little Christians, chirping like chicks;
One didn’t like the singing, then there were six.
.
Six Little Christians seemed very much alive;
One took a vacation, then there were five.
.
Five Little Christians pulling for Heaven’s shore;
One stopped to take a rest, then there were four.
.
Four Little Christians each as busy as a bee;
One had his feelings hurt, then there were three.
.
Three Little Christians couldn’t decide what to do;
One couldn’t have his way, then there were two.
.
Two Little Christians each won one more;
Now don’t you see, two plus two equals four.
.
Four Little Christians worked early and late;
Each brought one, now there were eight.
.
Eight Little Christians if they double as before;
In just seven Sundays, we have one thousand twenty four.
.
In this jingle there is a lesson true;
You belong either to the building, or to the wrecking crew.
.
~Author Unknown


May we all be on the “building crew” and build one another up.

Posted in Devotions & Spiritual Exercises | Leave a comment

Sermon 01/17/21: Power Tool #2: The Ministry of the Word (Epiphany II)

At this time, due to surging Coronavirus rates, the United Methodists Churches of our Illinois Great Rivers Conference are not holding face-to-face services. Please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone.

Link to Video:

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/crVD0J9iHY

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/501314321

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to 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 Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition: 

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

HYMN
I Know Whom I Have Believed
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLX-6BmZ04Y

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
Thy Word (with lyrics)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ycs23FQDRI

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: Power Tool #2: The Ministry of the Word
Text: John 1:1,14; 15:3, 7; 8:30-34; Matt 28:19-20
Series: Those Methodist Tools (Attend Upon All The Ordinances of God)

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

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SERMON NOTES

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.

John 15:3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. … 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.

John 8:30 As he spoke thus, many believed in him. 31 Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” … 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin.

Matthew 28:20 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
Trust and Obey (Hymns with Lyrics)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB4KcleYiWM

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 ONE Thing. And the idea behind The ONE Thing is this, in every moment of our life, there is always ONE Thing that is the most valuable and beneficial thing that we can do. Such that by doing that ONE Thing, everything else will be easier or possibly even unnecessary. This is one of the great truths of this life.

But something for us to keep in mind, the ONE Thing is, actually, ONE Thing after another. Last week we talked about the ONE Thing that is most important, being to rededicate our lives to Christ, as Savior and Lord, with a prayer that renews that covenant. And that prayer of submission on our parts, that’s the ONE Thing. It is a Wesley rule. It is a spiritual power tool that can greatly change our life. But once you do that ONE Thing, give your life to Christ, there is a new ONE Thing that comes right after that. And that’s for you to learn what it means to follow Jesus. For you to learn what it means to be obedient.

So now, there’s a new ONE Thing, and it has to do with the role of the Bible. Holy scripture, that’s in our life. In Psalm 119, verse 105, you hear those words that we just sang about. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet. The Bible provides light in our darkness so that we can see where we’re going.

You’ve been on a country road, like this, in the night many, many times. The headlights on your car help you to see where you’re going. Not all the way to your destination. Not even past the next little hill. But your headlights give you the light that you need for right now. The next step, to look to the right. Is there a deer on the side of the road, on either side? To look ahead. Is there oncoming traffic? To see the road. This is a very straight road in the picture, but how long do you think you could stay on it if you closed your eyes? Not very long. We need that light. It shows us the path.

When I was much, much younger, my family would go camping. And I had to grow up, to a certain point, to where my dad would allow me to have the flashlight. I don’t know if this happens to you when you’re camping, but there’s such a temptation when you’re a kid to shine the light all around. Or even worse, shine the light into the eyes of someone walking toward you. “Where the light is needed,” my dad would explain to me, “is where we’re going to take our next steps.” It needs to be shining on the ground, not in our eyes to blind us, but on the ground so that we can see where to put our feet.

Thy word is a lamp unto our feet. It provides light in our darkness. And along with darkness, sometimes, when we’re in the darkness, it’s easy for us to be worried, concerned, afraid. It’s easy for us, if we’re trying to make our way through the woods in the dark, to worry about getting lost. And because the Bible helps us to see, one of the realities is the Bible helps us to see that Jesus loves us. The picture on the screen is one to where literally the print of the Bible reaches out and wraps its arms around a young girl who’s afraid. The line of text across the top says this, “Only the word of God can do this,” because when you read those printed words, Jesus becomes real. When you read those printed words, those words are a demonstration to us of what God does to help us. They are a demonstration that Jesus loves you and me and is there for us in our difficult times. The word of God can comfort us when we’re frightened and upset.

Now, how this works for me, might be the same for you, is I’m really angry, and, all of a sudden, I remember a verse of scripture that tells me to calm down. I’m really sad, and, all of a sudden, a word of scripture comes to my mind that reminds me that there are reasons for joy. I am filled with regret, and a verse from scripture comes to my mind that reminds me that if I ask God to forgive me, I will be forgiven. And not only that, but Jesus will work to change whatever it is in my life that caused me to go astray. The word of God cannot only light up the path and inform us, the word of God can emotionally comfort us and encourage us. If it’s inside of us, then it can rise up to help us when we need it, but it needs to get inside of us.

Somebody once said that the most frightening words that any man ever read on Christmas Eve were the words some assembly required. It’s also true that the word of God doesn’t just light up the path, it doesn’t just encourage it, sometimes we have a problem and that needs some research. The smartest question you can ask yourself is, what did Jesus say about this? The smartest question you can ask yourself is, where did something like this happen in the Bible, and what did God teach God’s people to do? Because that will let you assemble your life when your life is all in pieces.

Now, I’m like most men. I don’t like to ask for directions, and I absolutely do not want to read the instructions. They are supposed to make it so simple that I can put it together without ever opening a book of instructions. That’s their job, not my job. But every now and then, my back is against the wall, and I just don’t know what to do. Every now and then, so many things come to me and overwhelm me, and I don’t know which one is the right one. And that’s where I can open my Bible and start to work my way through it. It’s a little easier to read that some of these instruction manuals that we have. But I can work my way through it and find the place where the Bible helps the Christian know what to do when your life falls apart into a million pieces. Thank God, the Bible is there to be the instructions for our life.

How does that work? Well, here’s what happens in the Gospel of John. The very first verse, “In the beginning was the word. And the word was with God, and the word was God.” And you read on down 14 more verses, and it says, “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. And we have beheld His glory, glory as of the only son from the Father.”

If you ask me who Jesus Christ was, I would tell you that Jesus Christ was the word. Jesus Christ was God’s attempt, a successful attempt, to communicate to people what God wanted, what God is like. Jesus is the voice of God coming into our world. And every word he said to us becomes words of truth from God to you and me. Jesus Christ is the Word. And he spoke to us what God wanted us to hear.

Eight chapters later, John, chapter eight, verse 30, “And as Jesus spoke to us, many believed in him.” Verse 31, “Jesus then said to the Jews who believed in him, ‘If you continue–“ And the Greek word here is also translated in John 15 as abide. “If you continue in my word.” If the words of Jesus surround you continuously, they will teach you, they will comfort you, they will guide you, because they are God speaking to us through Jesus. “If you continue in my word,” Jesus says, “you are truly my disciples.”

It’s a wonderful thing to go to church. It’s a wonderful thing to listen to Christian radio and sing along as you’re on your way to work. But Jesus defines what it means to be a disciple. A disciple is someone who listens to his words. That’s what it means to continue in his words. And what happens if you surround yourself with the words of Jesus is described in verse 32. You will know the truth. When life is confusing, you will know the truth. When life is tragic and fearful, you will know the truth. When life seems to not make any sense, the words of Jesus will help you to know the truth. And knowing the truth will make you free.

The people who are listening to Jesus said, “We are always free. We always know the truth.” Well, we know they didn’t. But in verse 34, Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” And the words of Jesus will help you to know the truth about what is right and good and true. And they will help you to know the truth about what is not right, what is not good, what is not true. Because it’s very easy to become a slave to sin because you’re uninformed. The Bible tells us the truth.

Now, if you want to have your own personal Bible study, you see that little acronym down at the bottom of the screen – “S-O-W” – the SOW Bible study method.

You read one verse and you ask a question, “What does it say?” And you try to put the words of that verse into your own words to determine what it says.

And then you ask the second question, “What does it say that I need to obey?” Obey is the O in the SOW questions. A lot of the scripture explains a lot of truth to us, but there are some times when Jesus gives us an instruction, something that we are to obey. And we need to notice that. I think you should make a little star in the margin of your Bible or use a highlighter or underline anything that seems like an order, a command, an instruction from Jesus because you will want to include that in your way of life.

The final question is, “Who needs to hear this?” because sometimes the truth that we discover in a Bible isn’t really for our benefit. Sometimes it’s for the benefit of someone else. Sometimes it’s for the benefit of someone who is greatly suffering and the truth from the Bible could help them. Now, it’s important that you tell them in a way that allows them to hear it, because far too many of us have been lectured to by a well-meaning person. Sometimes it’s our parent. Sometimes it’s our preacher. Sometimes it’s somebody who just won’t mind their own business. But it’s very possible that a truth that you discover in the scripture might literally save another person’s life.

What does it say? What does it say that I need to obey? And who needs to hear this? Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s someone else. That’s one way to do Bible study – one verse at a time – because every verse has some benefit for us.

So we look on through John, we get to John, Chapter 15, my favorite chapter in the scripture, where Jesus talks about how we’re a branch on the vine, and he talks about how God will prune the branches on the vine so that they can be more fruitful. And you might think to yourself, “Well, how does God actually prune us?” Take a look at the third verse. You are already made clean. The Greek word there is the same one we translate as prune, as pruning. You are already “made pruned” by the word. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. If you surround yourself with the words of Jesus, they will clean up your life. The words of Jesus, in your mind, in your heart, as you discuss them with others, in your mouth, they will clean up your life. They will clean up the mess that sometimes you find that your life is in. The words of Jesus will clean you up and make things that are falling apart all of a sudden start to work well. Let the words of Jesus have their full effect upon you.

And as you abide in Jesus, as you surround yourself with the words that he has spoken, there’s a beautiful promise in verse 7, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you” – two parts – “and my words remain in you. Ask whatever you will, and it will be done for you.” Being able to pray with faith and have answered prayers comes about because we allow the words of Jesus to continuously surround us with the truth that comes from Jesus, the word sent to us by God, the Father.

So, how should we live our life? How should we help other people? The Gospel of Matthew ends very, very simply with this instruction. You’re to go out and make disciples of all nations. You’re to baptize them. But what then? How do we help people change their lives?

Well, there’s only one other thing we’re supposed to do, teach all those people. Teach them to observe. Now, that doesn’t mean simply to study. That means to live by the words of Jesus, to observe all that Jesus has commanded them. This sermon should remind you of things that Jesus has commanded of you. That’s our task (in preaching). We’re surrounded by the words of Jesus, and when someone, including us, needs to hear them … We are a part of God teaching them because it is the words of Jesus and, in particular, the commands of Jesus that solve our problems, straighten out our lives, make marriages better, make children happier, draw families together, cause forgiveness to happen, help people turn their lives around to live better. All of that comes from the way the words of Jesus act upon our hearts and upon our minds.

And in order for them to be observed, how they show up in our hands and in what we do, it’s not enough for us to know the words of Jesus. It’s not enough for us to talk about the words of Jesus. God is pleased when God sees us doing the words of Jesus.

The Bible is a power tool that can powerfully affect our spirituality. Well, here’s how to use that power tool. The basic truth is simply this: What did Jesus say about this? And you read through the Bible, and when you get to one of those commands, you stop for just a minute and you pray. You say, “Lord, help me not just to know but also do what you want me to do.”

It starts with knowing what Jesus said, and it goes into us doing our best to do what Jesus asked. I think the best model is to read through a chapter a day … to set that as your goal. Now, some folks, that just seems like too much. Well, then read one verse, but a chapter a day. When I was at Caseyville United Methodist church, we intentionally began to read in the Bible. I didn’t tell people what to read. (Although I’ll be honest with you, if it’s the words of Jesus that change our life, I think the place for us to start is Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and start by reading the words of Jesus.) But simply anyone could read any chapter that they wanted to, and then they would come to church and in the front pew there would be a clipboard. And on the clipboard they would write how many chapters they had read in the past week. It became really clear very quickly who was serious about reading the Bible. One of the most interesting stories, I had one lovely church member in her 80s who was afflicted with arthritis and fibromyalgia, who was in pain quite often at night. So during the week, in the night, as a way to try to calm herself and go to sleep, she would read through the Psalms. And on Sunday, she would write down 150 chapters. If she went through the Psalms twice, 300 chapters.
She sort of embarrassed all the rest of us, including me. But that reading helped her to deal with her own physical pain.

Read through a chapter a day.

I like to take the book of Matthew. And today is the 16th, so you read the 16th chapter of Matthew. I also like the Book of Proverbs, 31 chapters. Just like Billy Graham always did, read the book in chapters, the chapter in Proverbs that corresponds to the day. So this morning I actually read Proverbs 16 which has an awful lot to say about the wise way to live your life. And I copy those verses that speak to me (into my diary). And I think about them throughout the day, and I’m continuing to listen to God. Lord what does this say? What does it say that I need to obey? And quite often, before the day is over, I have learned something valuable for myself from that chapter I began to read in the morning.

We want to let the scripture influence us, and the best way to do that is to accumulate instructions by writing them down somehow so that you can reflect on them again and again. That’s how to power tool.

And you need to remember to let those scripture verses speak, because, again, the most important thing, what did Jesus say about this? Let those words, what Jesus said, apply them to your life. They’ll be like a compass to keep you going in the right direction.

One of the principles that they have in computer programming is called garbage in, garbage out. Whatever you put into your life grows there and comes back out. It’s a good thing for you to be aware of the information that you take into your life because what you take into your mind will influence your thoughts. And you’ll see what you take into your mind come back out through how you live.

Consider, just for a moment, what you like to watch on television. We have a tendency to like to watch television shows where bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people. But there’s a time there in the middle where it looks like the good people are really going to suffer. But I want to ask you this with all sincerity, if you spend all this time watching these soap operas, do you really want to live in the middle of a soap opera? Do you really want your life to be involved in suffering like the people you watch on the little screen? Garbage in, garbage out. What you put into your life begins to come out in your actions. What a brilliant thing it would be for you to put scripture in, and then God and other people could see scripture coming out.

Gary Keller, the author of the book, The ONE Thing, says that the purpose of a goal is to be appropriate in the moment. The purpose of a goal, an instruction, a command from Jesus is to help you to be like Jesus in the moment when you’re tested. If you fill yourself up with Jesus by absorbing the words of Jesus, when you are tested, when bad things happen, you know what’s going to come out? Jesus. Zig Ziglar once said that when you have the bucket and the bucket is full and you get in a hurry, pretty soon everybody sees what the bucket is full of. If you let your bucket be full of the words of Jesus, even if life gets a little rough, what people will see is Jesus. That’s a power tool: to let the scripture into your life.

And Jesus, also, was spoken of as God’s light in the darkness. That’s in John 3. Also, John 1. Let God’s word– let the words of God’s word, who is Jesus — shine into your darkness and the darkness that might surround you, the darkness of people that you love – you’d like to see their life be different – let the words of Jesus Christ be light that shines into the darkness all around you.

Let’s pray. Lord Jesus when it’s dark and we can’t see, your word is like a lamp for our feet. When someone comes toward us in the dark and we’re frightened, we don’t know if their friend or enemy, your light helps us to see and know the truth. We need your help in this life. We need to know the truth to calm our anxious hearts. We need to know the truth, to know what we should say and what we should do. Lord, inform us by your word, and form us by what the words of Jesus say to us. So that when we’re pushed and jostled by the world … (we know that’s going to happen) … what comes out of us are the words of Jesus. 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.
 

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

Sermon 01/10/21: Power Tool #1: Morning Prayer (Epiphany I)

At this time, due to surging Coronavirus rates, the United Methodists Churches of our Illinois Great Rivers Conference are not holding face-to-face services. Please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/crV6erP4MU

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/498783124

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to 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 Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition

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

HYMN Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us
Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us (lyrics) by 4Him
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQe8slFjX-o

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 Have Thine Own Way, Lord
Have Thine Own Way, Lord – paulhornemusic
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3EoCmCFmK4

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: Power Tool #1: Morning Prayer
Text: Mark 1:32-39, Romans 12:1-2
Series: Those Methodist Tools (Attend Upon All The Ordinances of God)

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

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SERMON NOTES

Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Mark 1:32 That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together about the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

35 And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with him pursued him, 37 and they found him and said to him, “Every one is searching for you.” 38 And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out.” 39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.

Image: New york times square-terabass.jpg from Wikipedia “Times Square”

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HYMN Sweet Hour of Prayer
Alan Jackson – Sweet Hour of Prayer (lyrics)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-feujfKXA_Q

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

History has a strange likelihood of repeating itself. Many, many years ago, in the previous century, there was a revolution in Cuba against the Spanish governors and the United States began to be drawn into that conflict.

The United States sent a naval ship, the USS Maine, into the harbor at Havana to protect U.S. property and interests and citizens in the midst of that conflict. That night, the warship Maine was sunk in the harbor by a gigantic explosion.

They did not understand at the time what would cause such an explosion, although in 1976, many, many years later, a team of American naval investigators dived on the wreck of the USS Maine and there identified that the explosion was most likely caused by a flaw in the design of the ship that would allow a fire to spread into the ammunition storage area of the ship. And as you can imagine, this would cause the ship to blow up. But they didn’t know that 100 years before.

And something you may not know is that there were two newspapers in New York City. One was The New York Journal, the other, if I remember correctly, was the New York World. One was owned by the Pulitzer family, the other was owned by William Randolph Hearst. And they were in the middle of a circulation war.

Randolph Hearst had actually sent an artist to Cuba to draw pictures of the Cuban revolutionaries and he went all over the country on horseback and never could find any. So he wired the publisher back in a telegram, he said, “I can’t find any of these rebels. Please let me come home. There is no war here,” And in a very famous telegram–friends this is a fact–publisher William Randolph Hearst replied by saying, “You send me the pictures, and I will provide the war.”

And he actually did. He used his newspaper to stir people up, to put pressure on the politicians to declare war on the Spanish Empire. And this was the Spanish-American war. And he used his newspapers to stir up the people and get everyone angry because no matter what was true he would twist it, and exaggerate it, and make it even more dramatic so that people would get even angrier.

Down in the lower right hand corner there’s a copy of another front page. Supposedly there were Spanish vessels off the coast of the United States, supposedly they were going to be privateers. They were going to attack and steal like pirates … American vessels, fishing vessels, shipping vessels, private yachts. One of the most heinous pictures was something that Hearst completely, simply, made up, which is that the Spanish military were boarding American ships in open international waters to search the passengers. And they had this tendency to strip search American women. And, of course, I can’t show you this picture, but one of the pictures he published was supposedly of that act taking place. You see, it wasn’t about what was true. It was what he could do to stir up people’s sense of anger and outrage.

And that’s because if he can make you angry, he can make you do what he wants. There is a great deal of money to be made when you can grab the attention of people and get them all upset. And from that day on down to this day, the temptation has always been there for the news media to not say what is true, but to say the truth in a way that makes it less than truth because it gets people all stirred up and upset and angry.

And so consequently, you’ve actually heard me say, I posted it on Facebook: When you read something, the angrier it makes you, the more likely it is, in all honesty, that you are being lied to.

Watch out for people who will do anything they can to get your attention. Because when you think about it, your attention is worth a lot of money. The easiest way to make money is to get your attention, and then you’ll be interested in these products. You’ll be interested in buying that product. That’s the whole point of every sign, every billboard. If they can get your attention, they can sell you something.

Well, let’s be honest. They can sell you something that you don’t need. And the easiest way to get your attention, the easiest way to trap your attention, is to manipulate you emotionally, to stir up feelings of anger, to stir up feelings of envy, to stir up feelings of greed. “I just got to have that, whatever that is.”

Your attention is worth a lot of money, and that’s why they’re out to get it. When you think about it, the only thing that Facebook has to sell is your attention. And they actually have studied this: Facebook and all the other media sources from the national television networks, you name it, they are literally designed to almost be addictive. You need to go on Facebook to see if somebody has responded to the picture you put up of your little baby taking his first steps. You have to see what people said about that. You have to see if people liked it, or people made a little heart symbol. And it can almost be an addiction.

Now, we are familiar with temptation in all kinds of ways, but we may not be so familiar with the addiction and the temptation to give our attention to something that it would be smart if we would ignore it.

I’ll give you some of my own personal temptations. I have finally been able to convince myself that there is nothing on sale on Black Friday that I need. The temptations still there, though, just because I’m German on my dad’s side. I’m Scottish on my mother’s side. So I get it through both sides of the family. If it’s on sale, I need it.

My primary goal in the New Year is to lose weight, but I need to tell you where all my excess weight came from. What’s around my waist today is from all of those buy-one-get-one-free sales because I ate the one Whopper, and then the other Whopper moved into my waist and has been living there for over a decade. It’s not the Whopper I paid for that’s causing me a problem, it’s the one they gave me for free, and that’s true for all kinds of things. I cannot begin to tell you how exciting it is for me to go to a buffet where I pay five dollars and eat thirty dollars worth of food. But the extra twenty-five dollars worth of food, it still lives around my waistline. It’s not really a bargain if you don’t need it.

But that’s just some of the temptations I deal with. You may deal with different ones, but it all starts when they get your attention. Then they’re able to manipulate you and tell you, “Go over here. No, go that way. Buy this. No, don’t buy that.” They’re able to manipulate your behavior, and they know about it.

In the new year, it’s a caution for us because certainly, a lot of the problems that we face come because people are manipulated. There’s a devil whispering into one ear and an angel whispering into the other. They’re not quite sure which one is right. So what distracts you, and how distracted are you? Is there something that you do that you can’t stop doing, a television show that you can’t stop watching, a radio dialogue that you can’t tune to something else? Is there something that distracts you from your children? Is there something that distracts you from work that needs to be done? Is there something that distracts you from taking care of your home or taking care of your health … because if that’s true, someone has taken ownership of your attention.

If you think back to days in high school or junior high school, we were always distracted by what the cool kids were doing, what the popular kids were wearing– and if we got in trouble, it’s probably because the popular kids told us that we ought to be just like them, that we ought to do what they’re doing– do you find yourself tempted by what’s popular but not good for you?

Are you tempted, perhaps, to please people? That if you can make other people happy, certainly, that’s the best possible thing that you could do. Have you figured out yet that it never works and it never lasts?

Perhaps like me you’re a little bit of a rescuer. If you can do good, if you can help someone— that’s certainly a powerful attraction to me. And I still do struggle with that.

But what helps lots of people, what is popular, what makes other people happy– those aren’t always the good things that we should be doing either as human beings, as United States citizens, or as people who follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

How do we stay on course in the middle of an environment that continually manipulates us to do, maybe not what is wrong but what is not for the best. Earl Nightingale said it many, many years ago. “The strangest secret–” that’s what he called it. “The strangest secret is this– we become what we think about most of the time.” And if that’s right, you become what has your attention … either because you’re happy about it and you want more of it … or because you’re afraid of it.

What has your attention makes you more and more anxious and afraid and angry. But what has your attention foretells the future of what you will become.

Jesus had a way to deal with this, and it’s something that can greatly benefit us. In Mark 1:32, Jesus has become a celebrity. Jesus has become famous. It’s gotten around that Jesus can heal people. Jesus can set people free. Jesus can change people’s lives. So Jesus goes to the home of Peter, and his mother-in-law is making supper. And they can’t even get done with the meal before, at sundown, all around the home are gathered a gigantic crowd. In fact, it says, literally, “The whole city.” That evening, at sundown, Mark 1:32– that evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons, and the whole city was gathered together about the door. You see, there were those who were sick and those who brought them, and there were those who just simply wanted to watch for their own entertainment like the healing of sick people was a circus. The whole crowd had come together for a circus.

Verse 34, “And he, Jesus, healed many who were sick with various diseases and cast out many demons.” And that went on, I can assume, until late in the night. And in the morning, a great while before day, before the sun was up, I can assume, Jesus rose and went out to a lonely place— not a crowded place, not a noisy place, not a place where there were any distractions. He rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. I assume he prayed for hours.

Meanwhile, it says that Simon and those who were with him pursued him, and they found him. And they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” Now, we can’t really blame the disciples for this because when you think about it, whenever you can attract a crowd, the crowd has money. The crowd represents an opportunity and I can imagine the way Simon Peter and the disciples are thinking, “Lord, there’s a big crowd of people here. We could build a church. Then we become the largest church in Israel. Lord, the sick people are lined up. They desperately need you. We could build a hospital. We can make billions of shekels. Lord, there’s a crowd of people, and they all need you.” And that means power and influence.

But you see, here’s the whole point. Jesus is not attracted to power or influence. Jesus is not attracted to running a business of healing people.

But even beyond that, we would assume that Jesus is attracted by the idea of helping people. And certainly, it’s a lot less work if they come to him. And maybe Jesus might be tempted by the idea of a very large synagogue where he could have a great deal of spiritual influence.

“Everyone is searching for you,” Peter says, “Because everyone wants you to pay attention to them. Everyone wants a piece of you, and everyone has their will for you to follow.”

But Jesus had spent time in prayer. And in fact, Jesus had spent time in the worship of God. In this pandemic, we can’t have public worship like we used to. But we can have private prayer. And there in the dark in the hills, praying, Jesus, Simon and the disciples were worshipping God. And that gave Jesus the strength to understand God’s will, to understand something that the disciples did not understand.

Peter says to Jesus, “Everyone is searching for you.” As if that meant that Jesus should do whatever they wanted, as if they should be the priority, as if pleasing them should be the purpose of His life. But Jesus has been praying, and Jesus understands that his life has another purpose. And Jesus said to them, “Let’s go.”

“Let us go on to the next towns that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out. That is the purpose for which God sent me to this earth. This is what God wants me to do.”

And if you think about it, Jesus and the disciples left that deserted place and never showed up to do anything for the crowd, just walked away and left them sitting there wondering where Jesus was. How could Jesus do that? Well, because God had another purpose than pleasing the crowd. God had another purpose than Jesus being popular. God had another purpose than Jesus being influential or the disciples making a bunch of money or whatever it was that concerned them. Jesus had another purpose.

But the thing that we need to understand is the reason that Jesus knew what that purpose was because he walked away from the crowd and took time to pray, and not all the time to pray but first thing in the morning. So the rest of the day he would be doing what God wanted, not what everybody else wanted.

John Wesley gave us the idea that there are habits and practices that are like power tools. And they are powerfully effective to help us to grow spiritually. Prayer in private, prayer with your family, worship, if you can’t do it in a church building, you can do it in your home.

But worship is a powerful way to grow your spirituality. And the reason is because, before you’ve done anything else, you have focused your attention not on the world, not on the noisy people, not on the people complaining and trying to get you to do what they want, you have focused your attention on the living God because first thing in the morning, just like Jesus, you set aside time to pray and seek God’s will.

And then the rest of the day was about doing what God wanted, not what everybody else wanted. And he went through all Galilea preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons and healing people and then going on and doing it again because this was God’s purpose for his life. What a tragedy it would have been if he had given up God’s purpose to make other people happy! There’s a lesson in that for us.

There’s a wonderful book written by Gary Keller, who is a very famous realtor. It’s called The One Thing. And it’s well worth your purchase. It’s well worth your reading.

The point that Gary Keller makes in the book, it’s based on what’s called the Pareto Principle that out of 100% of the things you do, 20% will bring the greatest benefit. But if you look at that 20% – guess what? – only 20% of that 20% will bring the greatest benefit. And then if you look at the 4%, only 20% of that tiny little section brings the greatest benefit. And the point that Gary Keller makes is that if you apply it again and again, what you realize is there’s just one thing, there’s one thing. And if you can figure out what that is, it will bring more benefit to you and people you love than anything else that you could possibly do.

So the question Gary Keller asks is this, “What’s the one thing I can do, such that, by doing it, everything else it will be easier or literally unnecessary?

Because that one thing is my most powerful opportunity to change things for the good. I want to suggest to you that Jesus figured out what His one thing was and His one thing was to begin His morning with worship, to begin His morning with prayer. And during that time of prayer, He renewed His commitment and His covenant with God. As He prayed and talked with God, He came to understand His purpose. And He started from the big purpose of what God wanted and worked it down to, “Well, Lord, what is it you want me to do today?”

And it turns out … it’s not to go back and make a crowd of people happy. It turned out that it’s not to go backwards, even to help a bunch of sick people. But the one thing for Jesus to do is to go forward to do God’s will right here and right now. And what helped Him to do that was the spiritual tool of setting time aside for morning prayer.

Now, I’ll be blunt. You should do this.

If you don’t have a second to spare when you wake up, maybe you should set your alarm clock 30 minutes early so you could spend time with God first thing every morning, because this is a powerful way for God to bless your spirit.

Because at the heart of that practice of morning prayer is this, you are rededicating your life to obeying and living for and following Jesus Christ in this world today. Morning prayers.

Romans Chapter 12 tells us what the real meaning of worship is. “I appeal to you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.” In other words, there’s an altar in your private life. It’s a place where you come to pray and that you bring to that altar yourself as a sacrifice. And Paul defines this as what it means to worship, which is, Paul writes, “Your spiritual worship.”

The Greek word that is used there for worship is called proskuneo. It’s a Greek word, interesting enough, that literally means to kiss.

Now there are other words used for worship. One is the Greek version of the word liturgy. It’s all about how we’re going to stand up. We’re going to sit down. We’re going to read this. We’re going to say that. We’re going to read this responsively. We’re going to sing this hymn. It’s about all the stuff you do when you worship. But the point that Paul wants to make is unless you give yourself to Christ as a living sacrifice, it’s not really worship. You’re going through the motions of worship.

Verse 2, Romans 12 do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that you may prove what is the will of God.

Do you want to know how to understand the will of God? Well, you see, it’s like this. You go down to your knees and give yourself as a sacrifice, “Lord, thy will be done”. That’s the prayer we pray, isn’t it? And as you rise up from that prayer to stand your feet, you understand what it is God wants you to do. You are now able to prove what is the will of God because you go out and do it. And in the demonstration of what God told you on your knees, it will be quite obvious what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Do not be conformed to this world that tries to get your attention, that tries to manipulate your behavior, that tries to sell you something you don’t need, that tries to get you to do something you’re going to regret because they got you by your eyes. And the more you give them your attention, the more you become the person they want you to be and, perhaps, very different from the person that God wants you to be.

So here’s the question for your prayers. At what time, is there a kiss?

The implication here in the Oriental world where Jesus lived is you would kiss the hand. You would kiss the ring of the ruler as a sign, “I will obey.” You would fall upon your knees, and you would touch your forehead to the ground as an expression of profound reverence, profound willingness to obey. These physical demonstrations, when done in prayer, what they say is, “Jesus is Lord.” What they say is, “Not my will be done, but thine.”

And if that’s a part of your morning prayer, maybe it’s kind of like a kiss, as the Greek word implies.

I remember a kiss. I remember a kiss on my wedding day because that day was all about making a covenant that would be a permanent relationship that would last forever. True worship points us toward a relationship with God and Jesus Christ. True worship renews the covenant to love and to follow. Let’s not trade that for a mess of pottage, a stew like Esau did. Let’s not trade that for something of this world. Let’s let our attention be focused on the relationship that brings us the greatest joy.

One of my favorite little proverbs is this. And it’s one that I pay close attention to because I believe it’s true. I’m sure you’ve heard it. “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” And I will tell you … if the happiness of your bride is very important to you, it’s very likely that you’ll be living a happy life.

But think about this on a slightly bigger context. If God isn’t happy, how can you ever be happy? If Jesus isn’t happy, how can you be happy? We need morning prayers in our lives to start our day with that most important thing, “My Jesus, I love you. Lead me. Guide me. Forgive me. Help me to do your will.” Because if Jesus isn’t happy, ain’t nobody going to be happy.

Please pray with me. Lord, we have many priorities in this life. We have many priorities in this world. And everyone is wrestling with us, trying to control what we choose as a priority. Lord, help us to get it right, first thing in the morning, the first thing that we do, the first opportunity to do what’s right. And Lord, through morning prayers, make you the priority of the rest of our day. 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" | 1 Comment

We Would Like You To Know — 01/10/2021

Kinmundy First United Methodist Church
Published by Vervadene Keen ·

We Would Like You To Know —

1. Dear friends: Thank you for attending our worship face to face over the previous months and following every possible safety precaution. As you know COVID-19 cases are on the rise and it is simply not safe to meet face to face at this time. COVID is now the third leading cause of death in the state of Illinois, right behind heart disease and cancer.

Our Bishop has requested no face to face worship till mid-January. Our Administrative Council agreed with this, as the situation is worse. The Pastor thinks that if you wanted to take a risk, you would rather spend time with your family.

So we wanted to send you this letter so you would know there is no inside or parking lot worship this Sunday at either church until later in January.

Instead I will be recording a video of the entire service so you can watch it as a video over the internet in your own home on your computer or your smart phone.

If you don’t have the Internet, a computer or a smart phone, we can make a DVD that someone could leave on your front porch. Please call the church office at 547-7423 if you would like to have a DVD.

We will continue to mail the bulletin with the sermon transcript and prayer concerns every week to those that request them. Call the church office or the Pastor if you are not already receiving these. Also, watch the church Facebook page for the latest news.

We’ll be back! But for this period of time, please be careful and please stay safe! Pastor Dave

2. Due to your care in following safety precautions, no one has gotten COVID from a church activity at our church. THANK YOU!

3. WRITERS NEEDED for Kaskaskia River District LENTEN DEVOTIONAL

Many enjoyed the Thanksgiving Devotional this fall. It’s a great way for us to stay connected as churches in the district during this pandemic that keeps us apart.

The theme is “From Ash Wednesday to Resurrection Sunday: A Lenten Journey,” which spans from February 17 to April 4.Writers should center their thoughts on our/their specific journeys with God. We will need 47 submissions. Pastor Therese Malena is creating the cover.

Devotional entries should be no more than 250 words. We also ask authors to send digital photos of themselves. Deadline is Sunday, January 31. These can be emailed to pastorrogerboyd@gmail.com.

Rev. Carol Lakota Eastin

CHURCH SCHEDULE & EVENTS January 10 – January 17, 2021

THIS WEEK’S CHURCH CALENDAR

Sun 1/10 … NO In-Person worship at Kinmundy First UMC or Wesley UMC. Watch Pastor Dave’s video of the service at Kinmundychurch.org

Sun 1/17 … WATCH Pastor Dave’s video on kinmundychurch.org

A transcript of the sermon is mailed out with the bulletin on Monday’s to all church members that would like to read them. If you are not receiving one, call the church office at 547-7423 and we will send you one. DVD’s of the online sermon are available to anyone who wants one. Just ask.

And the Upper Rooms are on the table in the office, if you would like to pick one up.

Offerings for either church can be mailed to KUMC, PO Box 158, Kinmundy 62854.

Posted in Bulletin, News and Prayer List | Leave a comment

OUR CHURCH FAMILY PRAYER PAGE — January 10, 2021

OUR CHURCH FAMILY PRAYER PAGE — January 10 – January 16

PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR PASTORS: David Kueker, our Superintendent, Carol Lakota Eastin, and our Bishop, Frank Beard. If you need Pastor Dave for prayer, please call or text his cell phone, 780-0151, or email at dkueker@yahoo.com. Or on Facebook as David Oliver Kueker.
Prayer Request From Jesus: Matthew 9:37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Please Pray For God To Bless Our “Care Card Ministry” Person Of The Week –
K Dean Jones, Rm 301, Manor of the Woods, 441 S Hotze Rd, Salem, IL 62881

Please Pray For God To Bless These People For Special Needs –
K Dolores Johnson – Had cataract surgery Thursday 1/7, Doing well. (Kim’s Mother)
K Israel Molina – Has COVID-19, is at home doing well
K Navy LCDR Jason Montgomery – Aboard aircraft carrier USS Nimitz remains in Persian Gulf due to threats from Iran. Jason is the son of Gerri’s healthcare worker, Pat, who lives in Kinmundy.
K Gerri Molina – Angioplasty procedure at Christie Clinic in Champaign, Friday January 8. All went well. Please keep Gerri in your prayers.
K John Holzhauer – Chemotherapy treatments.
K Kelsie Hanks – Had surgery at St Elizabeth’s hospital in Shiloh Thursday 12/31. All went well, surgeon removed thyroid said the cancer was contained within it. (Dick & Diane’s granddaughter, Curt’s daughter).
K Kay Feather Lydick – Prayers and cards still appreciated. (Address in care card box)
K Russell Kilby – Please keep Russell in your prayers.

Please Pray For God To Bless These People With Ongoing Needs – Caitlin Engel (Julie Jones’ cousin), Quinten Butts, Barbara Shanafelt, Haven Mueller, Brittany Sauter & Dustin Knott, Mike Donoho, Brenton Connor, Kayley Wilhelm, Gary White, Larry Sullivan, Larry & Dolores Johnson (Kim’s Parents), Nancy Weeks-Lafenhagen

Please Pray For To Bless Our Expectant Mothers –
Debbie Price – Baby Girl Price will be here in February.

Please Pray For God To Bless Our Military Families
Chris Myers – Serving in Indonesia (Shirley Miller’s Son)
Sergeant Rusty & Nicole (Nolan, Michael, Lydia) Robb – Member of the Presidential Helicopter Squadron.
Navy Lieutenant Commander Jason Montgomery – Serving on aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. (Gerri’s helper’s son)

Please Pray For Those Grieving For –
Harold Behnke, Kinmundy

Prayer Updates:

2.30 pm Friday: Answered prayer … just in from daughter Jill regarding Gerri’s surgery today:
Mom is done and doing well. Praise the lord! Thanks for the prayers!
Pastor Dave

Posted in Bulletin, News and Prayer List | Leave a comment

Sermon 01/03/21: Jesus Is Here! (Let’s Get Started) (Christmastide II)

At this time, due to surging Coronavirus rates, the United Methodists Churches of our Illinois Great Rivers Conference are not holding face-to-face services. Please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:

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

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/kwumckueker/review/496493151/5ee6f080a4

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to 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 If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee
If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFfYKN6Jw1o

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 242 Love Came Down at Christmas
Love Came Down at Christmas – High Street Hymns
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=781BtAEu-mA

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: Jesus Is Here! (Let’s Get Started)
Luke 4:14-29
Series: Into A New Year … With Those Methodist Rules


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

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SERMON NOTES

Luke 4:14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read; 17 and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” 20 And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth; and they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23 And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Caper’na-um, do here also in your own country.'” 24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country. 25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Eli’jah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; 26 and Eli’jah was sent to none of them but only to Zar’ephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Eli’sha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Na’aman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and put him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. 30 But passing through the midst of them he went away. 

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HYMN 245 The First Noel
The First Noel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvAJqK9a6Bw

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 realities of graduate school is if you make a statement that something is true, you’d better be able to footnote it. You’d better be able to tell your professor where that’s from! And there was one particular quote that I knew by heart because it meant so much, but I couldn’t find which book out of the hundreds of books that I had read where the author had made the statement I’m about to share with you.

The author of the book was quoting Win Arn, a seminary professor from Fuller Theological Seminary, and I could not find it anywhere … until finally, I found it in the last place I looked, of course.

Win Arn took a survey of church people, and he asked them What’s the purpose of the church? And he gathered their answers together and interestingly enough, two were the most common. So he put these two in a survey, and he shared it very, very widely. Two choices, what is the purpose of the church?

Choice number one was this: the purpose of the church is to meet my needs and the needs of my family.

The second choice was that the purpose of the church is to seek and save the lost.

The results that he got back were very surprising because they divided 90% of the people on one choice and the remaining 10% of the people on the other choice. So here’s the quite shocking answer. Purpose of the church for the laity– 90% of the laity picked choice number one, the purpose of the church is to meet my needs and the needs of my family.

Choice number two, the purpose of the church is to seek and save the lost, was the selection of 90% of the clergy, of the pastors, and those serving on church staff but only 10% of the laity.

Those are some distinct differences.

Today, we’re going to be looking at a problem that occurred in Jesus’s home church, in the church that Jesus was a part of throughout his life at Nazareth. What was the problem at Nazareth? I would suggest to you that it comes to these two choices and the conflict that they can create.

Luke 4:14. Jesus returned from his 40 days of fasting from being tempted by the devil. He returned in the power of the spirit in the Galilee and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country. He was healing people. He was setting people free, and he taught in all their synagogues, the Jewish form of the local church, and he taught in all their synagogues being glorified by all. Jesus was becoming quite famous.

Verse 16 and he came came to Nazareth where he had been brought up. And he went to the synagogue as his custom was on the Sabbath day and he stood up to read. He stood up to read scripture and was handed a scroll by the attendant. They didn’t pick which book of the Bible.

Verse 17. And there was given him the book of the prophet Isiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written. The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the core. He has sent me to proclaim, “Release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind. To set at liberty those who are oppressed. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” This is a good scripture for the New Year because everything that was true in the past, now it’s a new year. And this is the acceptable year where God is going to answer praise.

Verse 20. And he closed the book and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. They stood up to read scripture; then they sat down to talk about what it meant. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled and you’re here.”

I’m not quite sure what would happen here at Kinmundy United Methodist Church or at Wesley United Methodist Church if I read some part of the scripture and then claimed that it referred to me. But apparently, at Nazareth, that was just fine. Look at Verse 22: And all spoke well of him and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” In other words, this is a hometown boy. This is someone we know. This is someone who grew up in our town. And look at him, he is now fulfilling God’s promises. They were impressed.

And then Jesus began to explain to this to them. Verse 23: And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Caper’na-um,” all those healings and miracles, do here also in your own country”.

Verse 24: And he said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is acceptable.” Another translation: no prophet is honored in his own country. Verse 25: But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah. And the heaven shut up three years and six months. No rain for three years and six months. When there came a great famine over all the land.

Verse 26: And Elijah was sent to none of them. But only to Zarephath in the land of Sidon to a woman who was a widow. A woman who was a gentile. A woman who was not of their religion. Verse 27, and there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elijah. And none of them was cleansed but only Naaman the Syrian, a Gentile, someone who wasn’t of their religion, someone who believed differently than they did.

What are the people going to say now?

Verse 28, when they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. That is kind of interesting. First of all, it’s not most of them or many of them. It says all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. When I look out over my congregation on a Sunday morning, every now and then, they might get a little irritated if the sermon goes too long. They might get a little testy if the sanctuary is too hot or too cold. But I’ve never in my life experienced a time when all in the sanctuary were filled with wrath.

What is the problem at Nazareth?

Verse 29, and they rose up and they put him out of the city and led him, probably dragged him, to the brow of the hill on which their city was built so that they might throw him down headlong, so that they might throw him over a cliff. I’ve had church people get angry with me from time to time. I’ve never had anyone try to kill me.

Why were they so angry? What is the problem at Nazareth?

Verse 30, and passing through the midst of them, He went away.

Let’s talk about Nazareth for just a moment.

Rick Warren, who is a pastor in Southern California, wrote a book called The Purpose Driven Life. It’s been a gigantic bestseller. It’s honestly probably true that you have a copy somewhere on your bookshelf, somewhere in a box, perhaps in your basement or your garage, but so many people have bought this book. And the first sentence in the book is this: it’s not about you. I want to suggest to you that’s the problem at Nazareth.

Rick Warren goes on to say, “I chose those four words, ‘it’s not about you,’ to start The Purpose Driven Life because that’s the most countercultural revolutionary message that you could give in today’s world because nearly everything in society, songs, video games, TV shows, news stories, and advertisements, everything in society says, ‘You’ve got to think about yourself first.’ Sometimes I wish I hadn’t put that sentence in the book because I had no idea that for the rest of my life I was going to be constantly tested on that phrase. I have to repeat it to myself 20 times a day. When someone praises me, when someone criticizes me, when someone misjudges me, when someone disagrees with me, I have to remind myself, it’s not about me. Why? Because when I focus on me, I’m going to get discouraged.”

Friends, whatever church is about, it’s not about me. It’s not about me. Whatever it is that God wants to do in this world, it’s not about me. Whatever it is that I want to happen, well, it’s not about me. And maybe you’re fine with that. But when it goes around to where it’s also not about you, you might be filled with wrath. Because the point that Jesus was making was just this simple. God had chosen now to heal the blind, to set free the oppressed, to heal the sick, to do all these wonderful and beautiful miracles. But it wasn’t necessarily true that he was going to do them at Nazareth … first.

Jesus mentions two Gentile people and everybody goes crazy, “What do you mean you’re not going to take care of us first? You grew up here. I gave you cookies when you were a little boy. What do you mean you’re going to help someone else first?” And when you look at the two answers to the survey, pretty clear which side the people at Nazareth were on.

The purpose of the synagogue is to meet my needs.
The purpose of Jesus is to meet my needs.
The purpose of God is to meet my needs and the needs of my family …
because we all know, everything revolves around me being happy.

And if God doesn’t understand that, God better wake up and smell the coffee because I’ll go down the street and find a different synagogue if I’m not the person who’s the center of everyone’s attention.

Right.

Choice number one, 90% of the laity, 10% of the clergy. The purpose of the church is to meet my needs and the needs of my family because of the person for whom this was their first choice. That’s what’s really important. It’s all about me.

But then there’s the other choice. If you look at Luke 19:10, you find the source of that second choice. Jesus says, “For the son of man–“ Jesus, in other words, “came to seek and save the lost.” It’s not even all about Jesus.

Look, the purpose of the church is to join Him in the task that God has given Him to do. But if we’re willing to do that, that means we have to let go of what our own human nature says should be the most important. Because our own human nature is crying out, “It’s all about me. It’s all about me.”

Now maybe you’re a higher-level Christian than other people. Maybe you don’t think to yourself, it’s all about me all the time. But you probably know someone who has that sort of understanding. Where, from their point of mind, everything in the church is all about, “What I want.”

And here’s the difficulty, brothers and sisters. When a coronavirus pandemic comes along, it’s all about the pandemic. You don’t get to have what you like. You don’t get to have worship in the sanctuary. If you are in the sanctuary, you don’t get to sing, because that causes other people to get the coronavirus. You don’t get to have a potluck. You don’t get to have your ice cream social. You don’t get to have Sunday school, or Bible study, because, literally, for you to come together to do all of your favorite church things could be deadly. You don’t get to have church the way you like it. You don’t get to “have church.” It’s all about you.

Because here’s something I’ve been saying to you repeatedly ever since last March. There’s nothing in the restrictions that come to us because of the pandemic that prevents you from being a good Christian.

There’s nothing in the restrictions that come to us from the pandemic that prevents you from being a person who follows Jesus. We are asked to pray for others. Nothing in the pandemic stops you from praying for others. We are asked to read and study the bible. Nothing in the pandemic keeps you from reading and studying the bible. We are asked to show love to others. Nothing in the pandemic prevents you from showing love to others. You just can’t do it the way you always have before. You can’t do it as part of a big group.

And now it simply comes down to, if you have to be a Christian all by yourself, are you willing to do that? There’s a definition of integrity that says, “Integrity is what you do when nobody’s watching.” Since the pandemic has prevented us from getting together to do all of our favorite Christian things, here’s the reality. If you keep doing those things, keep singing along with the music, keep praying the prayers, keep reading the scriptures. And of course, you want a sermon? All of these are online. If you keep doing all of these things even when there’s no one to see, I think you definitely are proving that you are a follower of Jesus Christ.

We have one church member whose wife is quite famous as a baker. He tells us that he’s gotten rather fond of enjoying the sermon with a mug of coffee in one hand and a muffin that his wife has made just that morning, warm, melted butter on it. It improves the sermon. I’m a little bit jealous of him because I think one of those muffins with melted butter on it would be just about perfect whenever I’m listening to a sermon.

What you do when no one’s watching shows the world who you are, and everything Jesus Christ would want you to do, you can still do. You just may need to do it on a slightly smaller scale.

Last week, we talked about the wise men. And certainly, you and I need to be wise in how we practice our faith. I reminded you that they needed to turn to God for guidance. They needed to correct their course. And when they did that, in Matthew chapter two, all of a sudden, they saw the star return to them, to guide them to where they could be with Jesus Christ. Friends, you will be guided in this pandemic if you are listening. You will hear the voice of God guiding you.

A week before that, we talked about what we could give God. The shepherds in the hymn, in the bleak midwinter, say, “What can I give Him, poor as I am?” Well, all they had to give was a lamb. You can only do what you can do, and God is aware of this. In a pandemic, there are some things we can’t do, but God is aware of this. But nothing with regard to a pandemic can keep God from achieving the purpose that God wants to achieve. You can only do what you can do. But if you listen to God and obey, you will see miracles happen.

This was the Sunday that I talked about the gallon of milk. Such a small thing. Just a couple of dollars. But in the story, it was exactly what a young and poor family needed, and it was God’s answer to prayer. And I said to you, the thing that I most wanted to do with my life was to be the person standing on the front porch with a gallon of milk because I had listened to God. And because I had heard what God wanted me to do, and because I was obedient, people came to understand the great beauty and wonder of God. I can only do what I can do. I can’t do more than that. You can only do what you can do. You can’t do more than that. But when God asks you to do something, you will find that it’s within your power. And if you obey, you will see miracles happen. Little miracles. The miracles that change lives, nonetheless.

I’ve also talked about when we’re not sure what to do we have the benefit of the Methodist rules, the first one of which is do no harm. Do no harm, love your neighbor, and protect them.

The second rule is to do all the good you can. That’s also a wonderful rule. But if you’re not sure what your resolution should be about this year, let them be about doing less harm to yourself and others. Let them be about doing all the good you can, because even in a pandemic you are not helpless. Because worship services face-to-face might not be happening but worshipping online is not canceled. Your quiet time with God is not canceled. Your ability to pray for the sick is not canceled. Your ability to check on a friend just to pick up the phone and call and say, “How are you?” That’s not canceled. And whether it’s a gallon of milk or a plate of cookies or something else helping others is not canceled either. Being the church now happens in small ways for many many people including you. We are not helpless. Please do all the good you can please stop doing any harm whatever that might be.

And then this rule which seems mysterious but really isn’t attending upon all the ordinances of God, which is a fancy way of saying anything that you can do that helps you to grow as a Christian, that helps you to grow as a disciple that’s a good thing. Do more of that.

And John Wesley had a list of these tools for spiritual growth and unfortunately, the public worship of God … a pandemic interferes with that. But it doesn’t interfere with all the other things that can help you grow. The ministry of the word. You could still read the Bible for yourself and you can still hear sermons online. In fact, a never-ending quantity of sermons online.

Partaking in the Lord’s Supper Holy Communion. If you want to take Holy Communion you get in touch with me and we’ll find a way to help that to happen. You’re still able to do family and private prayer and we’re still able to learn how to be more powerful in our prayers. You’re still able to search the scriptures to find something in the Bible that applies to a particular need that you have, so that God guides you through God’s word. And then this thing that maybe you never thought about: fasting or abstinence, which is where we add power to our prayers by going without food or something else.

In the next few weeks, we’re going to talk about these different spiritual tools and how we can use them and how they can help us. If you’re making resolutions, these Methodist rules can help you identify what would be a blessing, to be different in this new year.

But I like to invite you as wise people– as wise men who are seeking Jesus only he’s no longer a baby now He is the Lord of all, but if you want to find Jesus listen to God. And there are many destinations many things that you can do in obedience to God. I used the star as an example that guided the wise men toward God’s will for their life. You can do the same thing. You could pick a star. And then move toward it. Move forward to do God’s will. Move forward to do what you can. Don’t worry about what you can’t do. But do what you can

Why? Because in this new year, Jesus is here. And because Jesus is here, it is now a different time than it was before. A time when God answers prayer. And nothing, not even a pandemic, can stop the church from being effective. If our purpose is to do God’s will– if our purpose is to do what Jesus told us to do, nothing can stop us from that. So in this new year, I plead with you, I beg of you, because Jesus is here: Let’s get started. Let’s get started.


Lord Jesus, you live and move through your Holy Spirit all around us. Preparing the scene, getting everything ready, and then all of a sudden we appear at the front door with a gallon of milk. It is the answer to prayer. Lord help us to perceive and understand that you’re working all around us every day, in the people around us every day. So that these little miracles that happen when Christian people do your will might continue in this new year. And so I pray Lord that you would reach out through the people of your church at a time when the building of the church must remain dormant. At a time when the activities of the church need to temporarily stop. Lord now, now you can reach out through your people. And I pray and I believe Lord Jesus that you will find them ready and willing to do. We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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

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

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

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

Sermon 12/27/20: My Christmas Present (Be Wise) (Christmastide I)

At this time, due to surging Coronavirus rates, the United Methodists Churches of our Illinois Great Rivers Conference are not holding face-to-face services. Please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:

On Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/494864595

Screencast-o-matic; https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cYltcK8sAD

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to 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 254 We Three Kings
Anne Murray – We Three Kings [with lyrics]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaheOgdGKJQ

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 249 There’s A Song In The Air
There’s A Song In the Air
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvrrMRZE5aA

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: My Christmas Present (Be Wise)
Matthew 2:1-16
Series: Those Methodist Rules


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

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SERMON NOTES

Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: 6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.'” 7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; 8 and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; 11 and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. 13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt have I called my son.” 16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. 

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HYMN 256 We Would See Jesus
We Would See Jesus
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfdiPcuGy8A

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 what a shepherd could give. You cannot give something that you don’t have to give.

This week we ask about being a wise man. The same beautiful hymn In the Bleak Midwinter says if I were a wise man I would do my part. Well, friends, that’s the question. What is my part in this Christmas season? What is your part? What is it that God is asking each of us to do?

Well, here’s the reality. If I were a wise man, it would be wisdom that would tell us what we are to do. And if you want to know what wisdom tells us what you need to do is listen carefully.

Let me reflect for just a moment about what wisdom is. Mark Twain said, “Good decisions come from experience.” Mark Twain went on to say, “Experience comes from making bad decisions.” The more experience you have the more likely you are able to make a wise decision but that’s because of you paying attention to the lesson that is taught to us by making bad decisions because wisdom comes from learning from our mistakes.

And in fact, as I’ll tell you, I’m 65 sliding toward 66 at the end of the month of January. The major benefit to being older is to know from personal experience what not to do again. In fact, here’s a solid truth based on wisdom. If you never make the same mistake twice it won’t be long before you are living a perfect life. So we need to learn from our bad decisions and also, save yourself some trouble, we need to learn from the bad decisions of other people. This is one of the beautiful things of you reading books to your children and grandchildren because if you can learn from a bad decision in a book it will save you a great deal of grief and sorrow in this life.

Wisdom comes from learning from our mistakes and many times, seriously, we choose to learn the hard way and the hard way is this. To make the same mistake over and over and over and over again because the strange thing about the world that God has created it teaches us the same lesson again and again and again until we learn to do something different.

I’m reminded of this every Christmas Eve because one thing that is said is that the most frightening words that anyone hears on Christmas Eve is to suddenly read these three words. Some assembly required. It doesn’t seem to matter what we’re assembling. It doesn’t go into place easily. Many times we choose to learn the hard way And that is unnecessary.

There is a joke. What would have happened if there had been three wise women instead of three wise men? First, they would have asked directions. Second, they would have arrived on time. Third, they would have helped to deliver the baby. Fourth, they would have cleaned up the stable. They would have made or brought a casserole. And in addition to that, brought practical gifts like fresh diapers, casseroles to last a week, and the little picture on the screen says lots of wine, which I’m quite sure is for medicinal purposes. There are different kinds of wisdom and sometimes the wisdom of women really shines a light for us men to learn wisdom.

Three Wise Men, however, they came toward Jesus and they made a huge mistake. Matthew Chapter 2, Verse 1. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold wise men from the east came to Jerusalem saying, “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen a star in the east and have come to worship him.” They’ve come all this way. And they come to the capital city and they are shown into the presence of King Herod and so they ask this question. “Where is the newborn king?”

Here’s why that’s a problem. King Herod was a politician. He was a king who was very jealous of hanging onto his power. He was so jealous of hanging on to his power he literally executed his own children and many members of his family so that they could not be a threat to his political power. And so now all of a sudden the wise men appear and say, “Hey, where’s the new king?” And King Herod, who has killed his own children, goes, “There is no new king here.”

Why did the wise men come to King Herod? Well, because it’s not something men particularly do. I don’t think they came to King Herod to ask for directions. I think they came to King Herod because they made an assumption and frankly, friends, assumptions get us into big trouble. They made the assumption that the place you look for a king is in a king’s palace. Where is he who has been born the king of the Jews? Now I’m not quite sure why this happened, but here’s the first mistake that they made.

The first mistake that they made is they lost sight of the star. The star high in the sky guided them through mountain valleys, guided them over high mountains, guided them forward. But somehow between where they were in Jerusalem, they lost sight of the star. They took their eyes off it and then they couldn’t find it again. And so they made the assumption that the thing to do was to go to the King’s palace because that’s where kings are supposed to be found, including newborn kings. So that’s their first mistake.

Here’s the next one. When Herod the King heard this he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him. Rumors were flying everywhere and King Herod, assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he asked of them where the Christ was to be born. Now, think about this for just a moment. Here is a Jewish man, who is completely unaware of where the Messiah is to be born. He doesn’t even know the details of his own religion. That just kind of lets you know what sort of spiritual person King Herod was. Verse 5. They told him in Bethlehem of Judea, “For so it is written by the prophet, and you, oh Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people, Israel.” So Herod immediately understands that a rival to his throne has been born in Bethlehem.

So here is the second mistake of the wise men. They made assumptions and one of their assumptions was that they could get good help from the king. Now what we would say today, that’s going to a politician for help. We certainly have had a lot of things involving politicians happened this past year, haven’t we? Ronald Reagan’s words so many years ago just meant a lot to me as I was thinking them about this week. Ronald Reagan said, “The most frightening words in the English language are this, ‘I am from the government and I am here to help you.'”

King Herod is the government. And to assume that he is willing to help you is a very big mistake. Some kings are good kings. Herod was not a good king. Some politicians are good people but some are not, and Herod was not a good person. That’s their second mistake.

Verse 7. Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared and he sent them to Bethlehem saying, “Go and search diligently for the child. And when you have found him, bring me word so that I too may come and worship him.” What a smooth and oily sentence that is. “So when was this newborn king born? When did it happen? Now you go find me the address because I want to come and worship Him too.” Sure, sure.

So the wise men leave. When they had heard the king, they went their way and what a surprise. Now all of a sudden they are looking and guess what they see? A lone star which they had seen in the east reappeared. It went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. They now again had God’s guidance and they were paying attention, and it led them directly to where Jesus was. Verse 10. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house— now that’s something we need to keep in mind. Christmas pageants show everything happening on the same night. But it could be as long as a year, maybe even two years later, and now Mary and Joseph are not in the stable. They are living in a house. Verse 11. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother and they fell down and worshipped him. And then opening their treasures, they offered him gifts. Gifts that would be easy to transport. Wealth that would be easy to hide upon your person because of course everyone was afraid of robbers in those days. They offered him gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. The wise men corrected their mistake. They were now paying attention to God’s guidance.

So look at verse twelve. Here’s what God’s guidance says to that. Being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. They had learned from their mistake. Now when they had departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. The assumption is that very night. And said, “Rise and take the child and his mother and flee. Flee to Egypt and remain there till I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to destroy him.” And Joseph arose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt.

Bethlehem is south of Jerusalem. It’s on the main highway to Egypt. Very quickly, they were on the road. Joseph shows that he is a wise man because he listened to God and did not procrastinate. He listened to God and did not delay. But he went into action. Sadly, so many of us, this is one of those problems where we learn the hard way. We hear the voice of God and we procrastinate. We do not get into action, but that’s not Joseph.

And so the baby Jesus is saved — verse 16 then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men who did not return, was in a furious rage and he sent and he killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in that region who were two years old or under according to the time which he had a certain from the wise men. The time from the wise men; I don’t think if it was exactly two years later … Herod would not risk that … so maybe the time was a year later … but we’re going to kill all these babies up to two years old in order to make sure that there is no rival for Herod’s throne.

There are many questions about how many babies were actually murdered. Even one is too many. But archaeologist, W. F. Albright, studying the ruins, the ancient ruins of Bethlehem estimated the population of Bethlehem at this time is around 300 people and consequently, it would be six to seven babies within Bethlehem. Now you go out into the region maybe it’s more … even one is too many, but this is the way an evil king acts in our world today.

Wisdom makes a huge difference. Course correction number one, the wise men turned to God for guidance. They left the presence of Herod, they had no idea where to go, maybe they said a prayer. And all of a sudden they see the star return. Friends, if you turn your attention to God for guidance, you will be guided. If you’re listening, you will be guided.

Course correction number two. When you hear wisdom, then don’t procrastinate. Do what God wants. Follow the guidance. It will lead you to where Christ is. And you brought gifts for this purpose. Present your gifts to the Christ child. And don’t turn back to an evil king, but continue to do what God wants because you will be guided if you’re listening. And if you act according to the guidance, you will be able to do the will of Jesus Christ in this moment.

We need wisdom today. We’re living in a bizarre and horrifying time that has happened far in the past but not in the conscious memory of people living today. This Coronavirus requires us to act wisely. And to ask ourselves the question, “What does God want?”

There’s an old saying about Napoleon, the great French general. The order he gave was that if you’re out in the field, and you don’t know what to do, he told his officers to march toward the sound of cannon fire because that’s where you’re going to be needed. That’s where I’m going to want you to be.

I wonder if there’s not the same sort of thing that is Christmas wisdom, which is that we need to march toward the sound of a crying baby. There’s a poem that I came across this week. It’s quite lovely. Let me read it for you. It’s written by Philip Brits and it’s entitled Why We Come.

We have not come like Eastern kings
With gifts upon the pommel lying.
Our hands are empty, and we came
Because we heard a baby crying.

We have not come like questing knights
With fiery swords and banners flying.
We heard a call and hurried here –
The call was like a baby crying.

But we have come with open hearts
From places where the torch is dying.
We seek a manger and a cross
Because we heard a baby crying.

Source: Philip Brits, Water at the Roots: Poems and Insights of a Visionary Farmer

I don’t know where God will lead you in this Christmas season. But if you hear a baby crying that child might need your help the way the Christ child needed the wise men, the way the Christ child needed the shepherds. And so you may have the great and wonderful privilege if you listen to God and let God guide you to be a part of the ongoing Christmas story today because there is a baby in this world that needs your help, and you will be guided if you are listening.

What a wise thing it is to be listening.

Now you have to pay attention to the world in the same way that you need to pay attention to oncoming traffic. But you don’t have to pay attention to the world such that the things that the world values, such that what the world wants you to do should become your agenda, should become the purpose of your life, because certainly, the purpose of our lives would be to live wisely. And what could be more wise than to do in this world today what God wants us to do today, and to do in this world tomorrow what God wants us to do to tomorrow, and so go through our lives day by day seeking to do God’s will?

Because you will receive guidance if you’re listening.

But don’t let the world dictate your values. Don’t let the world dictate your purpose. You need to look up and be aware of a star that guides you to where you will find the Christ child in this day and this time. And the star will guide you over the mountains. It will guide you through difficult places. It will guide you in the middle of the night. The star will guide you around the obstacles of this world that seek to distract you from doing God’s will, And that star could be the guidance that comes to you from the voice of Jesus Christ because you will be guided if you’re listening.

We’re approaching– honestly, when you think about it in this final week before Christmas and New Year– one of the saddest times of the year, not because of a reason that may have occurred to you, but most of us are people that make lists of what we hope will be better in the New Year.

We make lists of New Year’s resolutions. I am going to do this. I am going to do that. I’m going to learn about this. I’m going to act on the basis of what I’ve learned. I’m going to live a better life. I’m going to believe and learn and act wisely and do the best that I can and in the new year be a better person. If you give your list of resolutions to me, I’ll give you a gift: I’ll pray that they all come true. I’ll pray that everything you hope for in the new year comes to pass.

But after many, many years of listening to people’s New Year’s resolutions, I want to tell you there’s something that is almost heartbreaking about every one of them. You almost never hear a resolution where a person says that their New Year’s resolution is to be a better Christian. You will rarely ever find a New Year’s resolution where a person says, “I’m going to pray more. I’m going to read the Bible. And not only am I going to read it, not only am I going to study it, I’m actually going to do what Jesus Christ asks me to do.”

You almost never see that kind of New Year’s resolution because people are distracted by the things of this world. “I want more money. I want a bigger house. I want a fancier car,” or perhaps even a little sadder, “I want to lose weight. I want to look prettier. I want to be healthy,” when it is Jesus Christ that can bring all those things to pass in our life. If you seek Him in this Christmas season, if you seek Him in your New Year’s resolutions, what an amazing difference you will discover becomes true in the new year because it’s actually quite rare for a person to make a New Year’s resolution to become a better Christian. But that’s a very, very wise thing to do.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, every year we put our faith into New Year’s resolutions. We construct an image in our minds of what we want. We construct a visual symbol of hope in those sentences. Lord, this is what we want most in the new year. Lord, help each of us to include You in our hopes, to include You in our dreams, to include You in our plans so that as we move forward with all these plans, Lord, we will have Your guidance because we will receive guidance if we’re listening. Lord, help us to listen and turn to you in every time of need. 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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CHRISTMAS EVE Outdoor Service 12/24/20 at 6 pm

Kinmundy UMC CHRISTMAS EVE COMMUNION SERVICE
December 24, 2020 – – – 6 pm

Welcome

O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting light;
the hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.

Away in a manger
No crib for His bed
The little Lord Jesus
Lay down His sweet head
The stars in the sky
Look down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King:
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with th’angelic hosts proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

O come, all ye faithful,
joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold him,
born the king of angels.
O come let us adore him,
O come let us adore him,
O come let us adore him,
Christ the Lord.

MEDITATION – Pastor Dave

Sharing of Needs for Prayer

Pastoral Prayer

Prayer of Humble Access: We do not presume to come to Your table, Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but only in Your mercy. We are not worthy to gather up crumbs under Your table, yet You welcome us as Your family. Grant that, as we share in this Sacrament of Your Son Jesus Christ, we may walk in newness of life, may grow into His likeness, and may evermore dwell in Him and He in us. Amen.

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.

Distribution of Communion Elements

Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
round yon virgin mother and child!
Holy infant, so tender and mild,
sleep in heavenly peace,
sleep in heavenly peace.

You are welcome to take communion tonight, or wait until Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, as you wish. Please say the “Prayer of Humble Access” before you partake.

TRANSCRIPT

Jack Canfield once told the story of an enthusiastic college professor who became a Buddhist, who said:
Whenever I talk about Buddhism, my parents hate me. 
Whenever I act like the Buddha, they love me.

There’s a lesson here for us:
Whenever I talk about religion, people hate me. 
Whenever I act like Jesus, they love me.

or
Nobody cares how much you know
until they know how much you care.

Nature Boy … song performed by Nat King Cole, describes who Jesus is to me:
And then one day 
A magic day he came my way 
And while we spoke of many things, fools and kings 
This he said to me 
“The greatest thing 
You’ll ever learn 
Is just to love 
And be loved in return”

This is Jesus, who was asked: Matthew 22:36 “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.”
And John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

Someone may ask me:
Pastor, what do you expect from me … I’m a country boy, born in a log cabin on a farm, never went to college.

I expect nothing more than I would expect from a boy born in a stable, who also never went to college … but who says this to us:

“The greatest thing You’ll ever learn 
Is just to love …
And be loved in return”

May love flow between us all in this Christmas season. Amen.

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Sermon 12/20/20: If I Were A Shepherd (Bring What You Have) (Advent IV)

At this time, due to surging Coronavirus rates, the United Methodists Churches of our Illinois Great Rivers Conference are not holding face-to-face services. Please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video: https://wp.me/aat229-2uT

Alternative Option 1, Google Drive:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RONAX7s-n8enf4GARmXVIjl1eduzHLi-/view?usp=sharing

Alternative Option 2, there is a problem with this link.
https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cYlq0d8B7v

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to 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 240 Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – Amy Grant (lyric video) HD
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djh02-DP9r8

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 239 Silent Night, Holy Night
Kelly Clarkson Featuring Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood – Silent Night (LYRICS)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QGP6f9nVC8

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: If I Were A Shepherd (Bring What You Have)
Luke 2:1-16
Series: Those Methodist Rules
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.

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SERMON NOTES

Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. 2 This was the first enrollment, when Quirin’i-us was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. 7 And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 8 And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 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.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

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HYMN 234 O Come, All Ye Faithful
O Come All Ye Faithful with Lyrics – Martina McBride
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3egGjeiWEA

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

As we talked about last week, what happened in the birth of Christ was the theological concept of incarnation, which is that God way up there came down here to be Emmanuel, God with us. And because of the incarnation, God has an address. Not just an address, but it’s a local address because the meaning of the incarnation is that God is with us right here, right now, right here in Kinmundy, a small town not much bigger than Bethlehem. Right now, wherever you are, Jesus Christ is present and with you.

Today we look at Luke Chapter 2 and the actual events of that night when Jesus came to be with us. And these events involved the shepherds.

I’d like to ask you to think about what it means to be a shepherd. A shepherd is out there with the flocks, watching over the flocks at night. In essence, a shepherd is a security guard for the sheep. The shepherd is there with the crook and the rod to protect the sheep from any enemy that might come to harm them. The shepherds were pretty much like security guards.

I was a security guard while I was in seminary. I wore a uniform, I carried a gun, and if there was any problem I practiced glaring in an intimidating manner at people so that they would behave. I know what it’s like to be up all night just like the shepherds were that night.

The song In the Bleak Midwinter has a beautiful verse, it says, “What can I give him, as poor as I am, if I was a shepherd…” I wonder if you ever feel like a shepherd? That there’s just not a whole lot that you have to offer, there’s just not a whole lot that you can give?

Even though it’s true: through answered prayer you can participate in the doing of miracles in partnership with God. But the reality is you can only do what you can do.

And it seems in this pandemic we’re adapting to the reality that we can do less and less. But it is true, we can only do what we can do. It’s true, you could probably be a better person, I could probably be a better person. You could probably do a lot more, and so could I. But you and I can only do what we can do. We live within our own personal limitations. And so the shepherds think, “What can I give him, poor as I am,” and it’s very likely the answer that comes to them is not very much. Maybe you’ve felt like that over the past few weeks and months of this pandemic.

But here’s the truth to remind us, they say yesterday is history. There’s nothing we can do to change history. Tomorrow is a mystery, something we can’t understand, something we can’t predict. But today, today, the limitation of just these 24 hours, today, today is a gift, and it’s true. You can only do what you can do. But what you can do today is a gift. And the rest as the saying goes that’s why we call it the present. What can I give him, poor as I am, if I was a shepherd? I could, I would give a lamb. That’s what we can do today.

Let’s look at the scripture. Luke Chapter 2:1, “In those days, a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee from the city of Nazareth to Judea, to the City of David, which is called Bethlehem because he was of the house and lineage of David.”

We talked about this last week, the estimate from archaeologists is that the population of Bethlehem was 300 people. But to that tiny little town, everyone who was from there was coming back home in this season. What we expect to see in the Christmas story but do not find is that Joseph is surrounded by his family and his relatives because they are all traveling to Bethlehem. “And he traveled there,” verse 5, “to be enrolled with Mary his betrothed who was with child.” Verse 6, “And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered for her baby to be born. And she gave birth to her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn.” And this has become a very important part of the Christmas story.

There was no place for them where it was safe to have a baby. We don’t know why they were not welcomed by Joseph’s relatives. We don’t know why there wasn’t a place inside the inn that they couldn’t have made some sort of place for a pregnant woman about to give birth. We don’t know. But what the record shows is that Jesus was born. We call it a stable, and Jesus who was born there in the stable. And he was laid in a manger, the trough where they would put food for the animals. Another thing that we do not know is if the innkeeper offered them the use of the stable, or if they simply snuck in in the middle of the night. But by all accounts, Joseph and Mary were alone and friendless and without support at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. That’s not something that God is willing to put up with!

Verse 8, and in that region, there were shepherds out in the field keeping watch over their flock by night. As I said before, security guards were watching over sheep and staying up all night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them in the glory of the Lord shown around them and they were filled with fear. 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 for to you is born this day in the City of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you. You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest. And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

Allow yourselves to think of what it’s like to be a shepherd at this moment. What are they to do? Well, if you know anything about sheep and if the flock of sheep was very large, you know you can’t get the sheep to go from one place to another very quickly. Maybe some of the shepherds stayed with the sheep. But some of them decided to come and find out what the angel was talking about. Verse 15, when the angels went away from them into heaven the Shepherd said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste, those who went and found Mary and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger. So the shepherds left, some of them left the flock, and they went to find the baby because of what God had said.

“What can I give Him, poor as I am … if I was a shepherd, I could give a lamb?” On the slide on the screen, there’s a picture of a sandwich – I would like you to note that that is a lamb steak sandwich. You see the tomatoes? You see the onions? Do you see the feta cheese? I want to tell you just looking at that picture makes me hungry. I wonder if the shepherds brought what they could bring. I wonder if somebody actually brought their lunch and gave it to Mary and Joseph who possibly have had nothing to eat for some time. Who are the shepherds and what can they do? Well, they could bring a lamb. They could bring a sandwich.

It’s my own theory but I think the very next night, Joseph and Mary were camping with the shepherds, surrounded by the sheep. They had found someone who would watch over them, someone who cared about them, someone who would be family for them. If I were a shepherd, I would give a lamb. If I were a wise man – that’s next week – I would do my part. But what I can, I give him. I give my heart.

What would happen in your life and for people you love and for people around you if you were to give your heart to Jesus Christ? What might happen because of that? And my answer today involves a story. Because here is what I would suggest would happen, and that is a gallon of milk.

This is a famous story. It’s a story that whenever I read it I actually weep. I may begin to cry uncontrollably as I read it for you now. Who knows what may happen? But here’s the gallon of milk story.

A young man had been to Wednesday night Bible study and the pastor had shared about listening to God and obeying the Lord’s voice. And the young man couldn’t help but wonder, “Does God still speak to people?” After the Wednesday night service, he went out with some friends for coffee and pie, and they discussed the message and several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways.

It was about 10 o’clock when the young man started driving home and sitting in his car. He just began to pray, “God, if you still speak to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey.” As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought, that he should stop and buy a gallon of milk.

He shook his head. And he said out loud, “God, is that you?” He didn’t get a reply, and he started on toward home. But, again, the thought came, buy a gallon of milk. The young man thought about Samuel and how Samuel didn’t recognize the voice of God and how little Samuel ran to Eli and Eli said, “Listen to the voice and do what it says.” And he said out loud, “God, is that you?” He didn’t get a reply, and he started on toward home but, again, the thought came, buy a gallon of milk. He stopped and purchased a gallon of milk and started off again toward home. As he passed 7th Street he felt the urge, turn down that street. “This is crazy,” he thought. And drove on past the intersection. Again, he felt that he should turn down 7th Street. So at the next intersection he turned back and headed down 7th Street and half jokingly he said, “Okay, God, I will he drove several blocks when, suddenly, he felt like he should stop.

He pulled over to the curb and looked around. He was in a semi-commercial area of town. It wasn’t the best neighborhood, but it wasn’t the worst of neighborhoods either. The businesses were all closed, and most of the houses looked dark as if the people were already in bed. Again, he sensed something. “Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street.”
The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door, and then sat back in his car seat. “Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they’re going to be mad and I will look stupid.” Again, he felt like he should go and give the milk. Finally, he opened the door and he said, “Okay, God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I will give them the milk. And if you want me to look like a crazy person, well, okay. I am willing to be obedient. I guess that will count for something. But if they don’t answer right away, I’m out of here.”

He walked across the street and rang the bell, and he could hear some noise inside. A man’s voice yelled out, “Who is it? What do you want?” And then the door opened before the young man could get away. The man who lived in the house was standing there in his jeans and a T-shirt. He looked like he had just gotten out of bed. He had a strange look on his face. And he didn’t seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his front porch. “What is it?” he asked. The young man thrust out the gallon of milk. “Here,” he said. “I brought this to you.”
The man took the milk and immediately rushed down the hallway speaking loudly in Spanish. And then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man was following her holding a little baby and the baby was crying. The man had tears streaming down his face. The man began speaking through his tears, “We were just praying. We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn’t have any milk for the baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk.”

His wife from the kitchen yelled out, “I asked God to send an angel with some milk. Are you an angel?” The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him, then put it in the man’s hand. Then he turned and walked back to his car with tears streaming down his face. He knew that God still answers prayer.

You see, God is always talking. God is always speaking to us. And if we could for a while, just for a while, just turn the music off, turn the television off, turn the world we will be able to hear the Lord speak to us. And in listening, we would be able to obey. And in obeying, we might be God’s means to bless someone in need. Are you that person? If you will allow God to speak to you, and if you will obey, you are carrying someone’s miracle with you. Turn the world off so that you will know where to go and what to do when you get there.

The blog post where I took this story says it is a true story, and it is a true story, but perhaps not the way that you might think. Hollywood could take this story if they wanted to and make it more dramatic. The wife threatens to leave her husband over his inability to provide milk. The husband is sitting in the Hollywood version in the darkness of the living room, holding a gun in his hand. He’s thinking of robbing a liquor store, and if he’s caught, he’ll go back to prison and unable to be with his baby growing up. As a child, his baby will not have a father present. “If there is a God,” he thinks, “why don’t we have a gallon of milk?” And in the dark, in the Hollywood version, you could see the gun in his hand. He’s raising it to his head, about to kill himself when he hears the doorbell ring, because this is Hollywood.

At the door is the hero of the story with a gallon of milk.

I’ve been a pastor for 40 years. I have been a Christian since 1972. And from the very first day of my faith, I’ve always wanted one true thing. And this is what’s true about this story. I’ve always wanted to be the man at the door. With the gallon of milk. Such a small thing that means the whole world to someone else because God answers prayer.

But you see, God frequently chooses to answer prayer through a person like you or me who listens and who is willing to do what they can do. So who are you in this Hollywood drama? If you’re listening to God, it’s really quite simple. You’re the hero at the door with the gallon of milk. You are providing the answer to prayer. What an amazing world we would live in if all of us would listen to God and bring the milk. In the dark weeping with anger, the man hears the doorbell ring…

Friends, you could probably be a better person. You could probably do a lot more. But you know something? You can only do what you can do. But when God asks you to be an answer to prayer, He always asks you for something you can do, even in a pandemic, even in these godforsaken days, God will ask you only for what you can do. And to you, it’s a gallon of milk. Such a small thing. But to someone else, whatever it is that God asked you to do, it’s a miracle. What connects the two is that you listen to God and you are willing to do what you can. And that, from the first Christmas when the shepherds came to show Mary and Joseph that they were not alone, to today in whatever it is that God might ask you to do, if you listen to God and do what you can, it is enough. The blog post says it’s a true story. It is, but perhaps not the way you would think. What’s true is that this, I believe, is truly what we hope our faith can be like.

We pray and listen.
God speaks.
And then, we bring the milk.

Please pray with me. Lord, the world is noisy. It wants our attention. Lord, You have many enemies and they want to distract us. They want our attention, too. Advertisers want our attention. The media wants us to turn away from the real world and pay attention to what’s on the little box in our living rooms. Lord, if we are willing to listen to You, it may be like the shepherds, and we will hear angels singing. Lord, if we are willing to listen to You, it may be that we will walk a path where we will find the baby Jesus or some other baby that is hungry and needs us. Lord, if we are willing to listen to You and then do what You asked, whether it’s a gallon of milk, a plate of cookies, or some other way that we provide assistance in a time of need, even if it’s merely a smile and a cheerful face and the sign that someone cares. Lord, we know that you can take those little, tiny miracles that if we have the courage to do them, can entirely and completely change someone’s life. Lord, not only the person who gets the milk, but entirely and completely change our life. Lord, we ask for 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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OUR CHURCH FAMILY PRAYER PAGE — December 20 – December 27

PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR PASTORS: David Kueker, our Superintendent, Carol Lakota Eastin, and our Bishop, Frank Beard.

If you need Pastor Dave for prayer, please call or text his cell phone, 780-0151, or email at dkueker@yahoo.com. Or on Facebook as David Oliver Kueker.

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

Please Pray For God To Bless Our “Care Card Ministry” Person Of The Week -K Louise Cheatum, Apt 107, Centralia Estates, 1916 E McCord St, Centralia, IL 62801

Please Pray For God To Bless These People For Special Needs

– John Holzhauer – Low blood count, unable to continue chemotherapy treatments for now.
K Kelsie Hanks – Diagnosed with thyroid cancer, Surgery scheduled for January (Dick & Diane’s granddaughter, Curt’s daughter).
K Kay Feather Lydick – Feeling better, out of the hospital, spending a few days in a nursing facility at Hickory Nursing Village. Prayers still appreciated. Send cards to her home at 511 W Buckingham, Decatur, IL 62526
K Tim Butts – Doctor has released him to go back to work.
K Russell Kilby – Finished with the first round of chemotherapy, will have pet scan to see if he will need more. Please keep Russell in your prayers.
Congratulations to Bill & Jennifer Magnusson of Kinmundy on the birth of their daughter, Kaya June. Kaya was born Wednesday, 12/9 in St. Louis. She weighed 5lbs 1oz and was 18 inches long. She is welcomed home by 2 big sisters.

Please Pray For God To Bless These People With Ongoing Needs – Avanelle Schwengel, Caitlin Engel (Julie Jones’ cousin), Marie Dickerson, Quinten Butts, Barbara Shanafelt, Haven Mueller, Brittany Sauter & Dustin Knott, Mike Donoho, Susan Smith, Brenton Connor, Kayley Wilhelm, Gary White, Larry Sullivan, Larry & Dolores Johnson (Kim’s Parents), Nancy Weeks-Lafenhagen

Please Pray For God To Bless Our Military Families
Chris Myers – Serving in Indonesia (Shirley Miller’s Son)
Sergeant Rusty & Nicole (Nolan, Michael, Lydia) Robb

Please Pray For Those Grieving For —
Keith Theisen, Manhattan, IL (Katie White’s brother)
Fern Custer, Iuka (she and her husband, Ralph, came to our SALT Potlucks)
Gary Harper, Florida (Melba Ford’s brother)

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