Sermon 06/21/20: You Need To … Repeat the Gospels (Pentecost III)

WORSHIP AT HOME for 6/21/20. 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 Bill & Gloria Gaither – When We All Get to Heaven ft. Terry Blackwood, Karen Peck (Live)

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 Gaither – Since Jesus Came Into My Heart (Live) [Official Video]


MESSAGE: You Need To … Repeat the Gospels
Text: John 20:19-23
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.
Kinmundy 9 am service Sermon audio.

HYMN Gaither Vocal Band – Yes, I Know (Live/Lyric Video)

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

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis )

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


Once upon a time, in a congregation that was not a United Methodist Church, a congregation that had to find and hire their own pastor, a church was very excited to hire a new, young pastor fresh out of school. He came to preach a trial sermon and his trial sermon was so powerful, so emotionally moving, so insistent that the people practiced their faith, that they lived the life that Jesus Christ asked us to live. They hired the new preacher on the spot. The vote was 100% in favor.

A month later, the new preacher moved into the parsonage. And the first Sunday came, and the new preacher stood up and preached exactly the same sermon with exactly the same enthusiasm and power. And the elders of the church thought for a minute and they wondered, “Perhaps he thinks there are people here who did not hear it. That’s why he’s preaching this sermon. Certainly, it’s an excellent sermon.”

And a week went by and he stood up and preached the exact same sermon again. And this time, there was a lot of muttering in the congregation. And seven days later, it was the same sermon again.

Finally, there was a meeting of the elders. And they called the young pastor and they said, “We want you to know there’s been a lot of criticism of your sermon past three weeks. It’s the exact same sermon that you preached when you were a candidate for this job. We simply have to ask you. Do you know more than one sermon?”

The preacher looked him in the eye and calmly said, “Why should I preach a new sermon when you haven’t even started on practicing what I told you to do in this first sermon?”

You see, we all need to really think for a moment about what it is that we do at a church.

Once upon a time, over 100 years ago, back in the days of the Great Depression, the grocery store owners in small towns would let people buy food on credit. Think about that for just a minute. It’s the winter. Your family’s hungry. What’s the owner of the grocery store going to do?

So there was a small town and it just so happened that the owner of the grocery store in this small town was an atheist. And the new pastor came to town.

And the new pastor came into the grocery store to buy his groceries. And as the grocer rang up his purchases, he said, “I’m the new preacher at the Methodist Church. I’d like to invite you to come to worship.” The Methodist people standing around shivered in horror because of course, that led to a 20-minute shouting match between the atheist grocer and the new preacher.

But the next week, the grocer came to ring up the groceries of the pastor and as they were finishing, the pastor said, “I’m the new pastor at the Methodist church and I’d like to invite you to worship,” and, again, there was a shouting match because this man was a very angry atheist.

But every week, pastor would do the same thing and atheist grocer would do the same thing, but there finally came a day, about three months later, when the Methodist pastor invited the atheist grocer to come to church. The man said that he thought he would. Methodist people in the store were shocked. And the pastor said, “Well, I’m really glad to hear that. That’s wonderful,” and the atheist said, “Well, it’s my understanding that you’re a really good preacher,” and the pastor said, “Well, you’ve never been to worship. I wonder what leads you to that opinion?” And the atheist grocer leaned across and whispered quietly into the ear of the preacher, “It’s because your church members are paying what they owe me. They’re paying their bills.”

There’s a lot of times we think a sermon is supposed to be motivational. I’m almost ashamed to say that some people think it should be entertaining. Some people think that a sermon is meant to be educational, “You should learn something about God. you should learn something about the bible by the time it’s over.” But the fact of the matter is, the point of the sermon is that what you do is supposed to change because of what Jesus said and did, but until what we do changes, the sermon has not had a full effect for which it’s intended. You see, it’s what we do that’s important.

I’d like to remind you what it means to be a professional musician. I have a picture here of Yo-Yo Ma. 60 years old. Pretty well understood to be the best Cielo player in the world. You would think if you got to a certain level of expertise, all you would need to do is show up to performances, but Yo-Yo Ma and practically all professional musicians are very quick to tell you, that’s not the case at all.

The reason Yo-Yo Ma is so good when it comes time to perform is because he practices an average of about five or six hours a day. And I’m not exactly certain what is a part of that practice but I know a large part of it, if it’s five or six times a day, probably a full hour, maybe two hours, is merely the practicing of scales. Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do. Over and over and over again. In fact, I read an article once that said that he liked to do his scales while he was watching baseball. Since exciting things didn’t happen that often, he was able to pay attention to doing his scales!

But it’s what he did in private to learn how to practice his instrument that made all the difference when the important moments of performance came. In the same way, friends, we need to learn how to practice what we preach, or, to say it differently, we all need to learn how to practice what we are preached to about. Because if we don’t put it into practice, those skills tend to get rusty. They tend to drift away, and we lose all the progress that we’ve made. One specific thing that Yo-Yo-Ma has said is that what all string players have in common is that if we don’t play for a while, we actually start from ground zero. 40 years of professional experience, 50 years of professional experience, if you don’t practice, it’ll all disappear in a very short period of time.

The faith that we have is a faith that is strengthened when we do what Jesus has asked us to do. So what is the purpose of the church as we emerge from this period of waiting in place, of sheltering in place, of being hidden away?

Well, there’s no different purpose for when we emerge in 2020 than when the church emerged on that first Pentecost almost 2000 years ago. Jesus still tells us what to do just as he told them.

John, chapter 20, verse 19: On the evening of that day, that first Easter, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were for the fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Then, Jesus gave them three tasks. And those three tasks come down to us thousands of years later just as they were handed to his first followers. Verse 21, Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so, I send you.”

Let that sink in for just a minute. “Everything that happened to me is going to happen to you. Everything I told you to do, now’s the time for you to go out and do it. Everything you experienced when you were with me, now go do it again. Been there, done that. Now, go do it again.”

Verse 22, and when he said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Just like in those days, we need to open ourselves up to receive the Holy Spirit, and as Luke says, from that will come an understanding of the Scripture.

Finally, verse 23, Jesus says, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” We are in the business of the forgiveness of sin. This is what we’re to do.

And as we emerge from our sheltering in place in this century in this year 2020 to begin a new era in the life of the church, because certainly, just as the coronavirus pandemic has changed American history, it’s going to change church history. There’s going to be a new sort of church that will be needed. But as we move into the future, it’s the lessons of Jesus that will guide us into this new version of the church. Keep those same words in mind again, John 20:21, where Jesus said to them again, “As the father has sent me, even so, I send you.”

In other words, this is a reboot. If you have a computer, you know what that is. You’re having some kind of trouble. Your computer’s not working right. Things aren’t happening the way they should. Do you know what you do? You turn the computer off. Then you start it up again. You restart it. And as it restarts, it loads the operating system. It organizes itself to do its work. It does each thing in a particular and specific order. And all of a sudden, the problem you had before is gone. Every now and then, the church has to reboot. Every now and then, the church has to start over.

And if you look at church history, the first restart was in those days between Easter and Pentecost because the book of Acts is very different. But then as history moved along, there were other times to reboot and restart. St. Francis, Martin Luther, John Wesley, General Booth, and the founding of the Salvation Army … the church has always been rebooting and restarting. And when it does, it reloads the original commands so that it can follow what it followed at the very beginning.

We’ve talked about this couple weeks ago. What do you and I need to know? Well, here’s the reality. It is the word of God that will give us the truth. And out of that truth, we will understand how to operate in this world today. The word of God is our operating system. And when the church reboots, the word of God loads in, and people begin to do what the scripture commands. And all of a sudden, it’s a brand new day. And it’s a brand new church.

Jesus specifically commanded that this happen with the last verse in the book of Matthew, which is a part of the Great Commission. He commands his disciples, “Everyone who becomes a Christian– you need to teach them to observe. All that I’ve commanded you–”

Now notice what that is. It’s not, “Teach them so that they can hear everything I’ve commanded.” It’s not, “Teach them so that they can be aware of everything I commanded.” It’s not even, “Teach them so that they can discuss everything I commanded.” But it’s “Teach them to observe, to do, to practice, to actually do all that Jesus commanded us,” because what happens in the reboot of the church is we reboot and do everything that Jesus commanded the disciples to do.

Last week I talked about Autofocus, that time management system where you write down everything you need to do, and you run your eyes down the list until you find the thing that you’re supposed to do. And you feel the sense in your spirit and your heart in that moment. There’s an emotional excitement. “That’s what I’m supposed to do now.”

When the commands of Jesus are reloaded, when we face a situation, what we need to do is open ourselves up to the Spirit and run our finger down that list of commands until we find the one that fits the situation that we face right now.

“What did Jesus say about this?”

Now, sometimes, we have to figure it out because it’s not exactly something Jesus said, but we have to think, “What did Jesus say about this?” And, of course, the Holy Spirit helps us to understand because the new church runs under the fuel of the power of the Holy Spirit. Zechariah 4:6– “Then, he said to me, ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel,’ and here’s the word of the Lord to you and I. Not by might, not by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” Not by military power, economic power, not by the power of how loud you can shout, but God says that it’s by my Spirit that God’s work will be done.

The Church 2.0, the restart of the church on the day of Pentecost, and the restart of the church now as we come out of the sheltering in place to be at the church that’s needed this time, this year, and this day, the command to us is to understand that it’s the power of Holy Spirit that does the heavy lifting– the work.

There’s a saying– W. Edward Deming said it, but it actually comes from Arthur Jones. “All organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they get.” I would like to tell you in my younger days I was somewhat arrogant, and I had a belief that, in our days with computers and the internet and flying jet airplanes and all of the other technology that we have, there was a time when I thought seriously I thought that we knew something about how to do church that was smarter and wiser and more successful than the words of Jesus.

I can tell you, sadly, as I get older, I’ve become very well aware that there’s nothing that we think we know today that is wiser or more effective in church life than the words of Jesus. All organizations are perfectly designed to get the results that they get. Let’s take just a minute and consider that the design of the church of Jesus– he started by calling 12 to follow him and spent three years getting them ready until, in the upper room, waiting for the day of Pentecost, there were 120 people that he had personally trained– personally trained by sharing with them all of those commands that we just talked about from Matthew 28, and those 120 people were present on the day when the Holy Spirit fell and the church began.

And all of a sudden, the design of the church created by Jesus went from 120 to 3,000 converts in a single day. That’s a good design. Not only that, as they practiced what Jesus preached, those disciples went from 3,000 to probably something like a church of 15,000. Mom, Dad, children– that’s an effective design. And on down in the two centuries since then, the estimated population, Christian population, in the world today is 2.3 billion. That’s 31.2%– just a little bit less than a third of all human beings on this Earth are Christian. The design that Jesus created for a church is a better design than any human intelligence can develop.

But it still has the same weakness it’s always had. If you’re aware of it, that means very little. If you understand it, that means very little. But if you practice it, what Jesus taught the church to be can be very powerful.

So I want to direct your attention to the three things that Jesus used to get the disciples ready to be the church on the day of Pentecost. He reminded them they needed to wait for the Spirit to act, and we need to wait in the same way– not wait a second longer but to act in the power of the Spirit.

Jesus had them talk those 50 days in the upper room– to pray and to talk about everything that he had said and done, and in the same way, we need to talk and become familiar with everything that Jesus said and did– not to be aware of it, but because honestly, we need to do everything Jesus said and did.

And then, finally, if you’ll remember doubting Thomas– he had to ask for what he needed to believe, and when Jesus gave him exactly what he asked, it says that he fell to his knees and said, “My Lord and my God.” And so I want to ask you today– what do you need to believe in that way? What do you need that would allow you to shift from being a person who is aware of the gospel, who is aware of the teachings of Jesus– what is it that you need to pray for that would allow you to shift to actually be a person who does what Jesus asks? To believe so powerfully that you would actually live your faith– to believe so powerfully that you would actually live to do what Jesus asked us to do?

Please pray with me. Lord, Jesus, we know that the Holy Spirit wants to act today. We know that your word is still true today, but we also know that we fall far short of what we could be when it comes to being faithful disciples who not only know but who also do what you’ve told us to do. Help us, Lord, to become the disciples who obey you. 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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