Sermon 9/15/19: The Adventures of the Followers of Jesus – Matthew 4:17-20

Sermon at Kinmundy and Wesley United Methodist Church on 9/15/19. Title: The Adventures of the Followers of Jesus. Text: Matthew 4:17-20. (We welcome Youth who attended this year’s District Youth trip.) Audio link – Right-click, open in new tab to play: Kinmundy. Right-click, open in new tab to view slides as a PDF: Slides.

TRANSCRIPT

(Pastor Dave) It was a very, very long time ago that I was a child. And the thing I most remember about childhood was that there was nothing to do. Nothing to do. It’s so boring. There’s nothing to do. And you say that a lot when you’re a child.

By the time you’re a teenager you realize, when you say that around other adults, what do the adults say? “Well, I’ll find you something to do!” So maybe you never say it out loud but still in your heart in the teenage years, quite often, it’s just that there’s nothing to do. And of course, the rest of what they don’t say is that, often, there’s nothing to do but get into trouble.

But there’s always something to do. The reason there’s nothing to do is you’re right there in your comfort zone where you are so comfortable there’s nothing to do. But all the joy, all the adventure, all the magic, it happens outside of your comfort zone.

And by the way, another person, also an adult who says, “I’ll find something for you to do!” is Jesus.

At the heart of what Jesus did is he came up to people and he said, “Follow me,” and all of a sudden they had something to do. And he left. And if they didn’t follow him, they got left behind.

But Jesus will open a door wherever you are to an adventure. Because wherever Jesus is an adventure is happening. And he told us this way back in the beginning. The very first verse about Jesus’ ministry is Matthew 4:17:

From that time Jesus began to preach… He never stopped. This is what underlies all the preaching of Jesus. Repent, turn from sin and turn to God. Turn to a new way of living. Why? Because the kingdom of heaven is at hand. It’s time. God is here. God is ready to do something. And if you think there’s nothing to do, you should know that God is willing to do something through you. Because the kingdom of God has come to people through you.

In the very next verse, as he walked by the sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother. They were casting a net into the sea for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ”Follow me,” and everything in their life changed. He said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” And immediately they left their net and followed him. They went off to wherever Jesus wanted to go. They no longer went where they wanted to go. They no longer had to figure out what they were going to do. They just, so to speak, got on the bus and went wherever the Jesus bus was going.

By the way, does that sound familiar? Because there is a bus involved in the message today – Cheryl, tell us about what happened after they got on the bus that morning.

Cheryl Cain: Good morning. First and foremost, we want to thank all of you for helping in making this district youth trip possible. Through your prayers, through all that you have done for us including loaning us your bus so that 20 of us could travel out to Colorado. It was a two-day journey and we arrived at Estes Park on Sunday. Before leaving, though, we had a very nice surprise because our district superintendent showed up and was there to bless our group as we were embarking on this trip. There were youth from both Neoga, Farina, and Patoka that went on this trip along with adults. And we were also blessed to have Carol Knapp with us and some of her family.

On the bus, we always stopped at the Colorado border — this was my first year going, but the ones that have gone before had always stopped right when we first got into Colorado because they had to have that picture to show that they made it to Colorado! We still had a ways to go but this said were there.

Our daily schedule kept all of us really busy, including the adults. Nobody had downtime unless it was free time. And we had an hour each day of free time. Thursday is different because that was the inversion day which gave everyone the opportunity to do something different in the morning. I’m going to let the rest of them here, all the youth, they’re going to come up and share what took place that week because I know for them it was a wonderful experience as it was for me.

My name is Sarah Cain, and our studies were based on the movie The Avengers and game and the parallels to our life of faith, and of course their Infinity Stones. On Monday, our scripture was from Judges 15 and Romans 12:19-21. The movie characters were Thor and Drax and the person from the Bible was Samson. And we discussed why the Bible doesn’t let evil conquer evil but, but we conquer evil by doing good.

My name is Dominic Bars. The Monday stone was blue for space and allows you to exist in any location. Genesis 1:1, In the beginning, God created the Heaven and Earth. Some of us went horseback riding and others went hiking.

I’m Jessica. Tuesday, the scripture was Acts 9:1-33. Corinthians 5:15-17, and Romans 12:2. The movie character was Captain America AKA Steve Rogers. The person was Paul, previously known as Saul. And we discussed what it means to be transformed into a new person by changing the way you think. Tuesday stone was yellow for the mind. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds. Tuesday was mission day and we put together flood buckets, then we had game night.

I’m _____ Clerk. Wednesday, our scripture was from Lamentations 1, John 11:1-44, and Romans 12:15. Movie characters were Hawkeye and Black Widow, and the people from scripture were Mary and Martha. We discussed loss in tragedy and how we deal with it. The Reality Stone for Wednesday was red for reality, and it gives the holder the ability to manipulate and distort reality. Psalm 139, “Oh Lord, You have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I am far away.” We went shopping in Estes Park and ended our day with a bonfire and concert.

Thursday. Thursday is inversion day so activity was first. Many went whitewater rafting and others went back on the trail hiking. Our scriptures were Acts 10, Philippians 2:3-4, and Romans 12:3. The movie character was Iron Man and this is where Peter comes along. Our lesson was on selfishness to becoming selfless. The Infinity Stone for today was green for time and the verse is Ecclesiastes 3:16-17, “Everywhere on Earth, I saw violence and injustice instead of fairness and justice. So I told myself that God has set a time and place for everything. He will judge everyone, both the wicked and the good.” We ended the day with a movie.

Right. My name is Matthew Landreth. And Friday’s Scripture was Luke 8:1-2, John 10:1-10, John 14:12, and Romans 12:1, 6, and 8. Here’s where Captain Marvel comes from the movie and Mary Magdalene from the Bible. Our discussion was on unlocking our potential and understanding that when we choose to follow Christ, we are freed from a life of sin and free to become who God wants us to be. Our last story was– our last stone was purple and it means power. “And so dear sisters, I plead with you to give your holy sacrifice, the kind you will find acceptable. This is truly the ways we worship Him. In his grace, God hasn’t given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift of showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” This was our last day so we spent the morning packing up and drove to see the Continental Divide. Eventually, the excitement died down and we were all tired from the wonderful God-filled time of meeting God on the mountaintop.

(Pastor Dave) And just like Thor has a hammer and Green Lantern has a ring, this is my magic stick (waves Remote control). That’s on the way home there. That’s what it’s like on the way home because you had fun, right? May God bless your trip.

We all need to become heroic. The world needs heroic, believing people because there are magnificent powers to do God’s will within everyone who is filled by the Holy Spirit. Now in this picture, you see a guardian angel.

But to me, that’s an image of the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is the Paraclete who comes alongside to provide whatever is most needed. But you know who the hero is? That little girl has the Holy Spirit inside of her. And when she comes close to that other little kid, she is bringing God’s power into that child’s life. And that’s what God gives us the privilege to do.

Please, pray with me. Lord Jesus, most of the time we feel stuck in our secret identity. It’s as if we’re not aware that there’s anything beyond this ordinary life. But because You invite us to follow You, You invite us to discover the kingdom of God, You invite us to discover how You can change people’s lives. And sometimes, Lord, it’s so scary. You show us that You have a desire to change people’s lives through us. Lord, we pray that everything You put into us, Jesus on the inside, would flow out of us to bless all people. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

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

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

Additional Resources

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

Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Raod, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.

VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
 
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)

Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

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