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

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

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

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

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

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

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

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

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

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN
GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRANSCRIPT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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