Sermons August 01 2021: A Church Centered on Jesus (Pentecost 09)

If you prefer to worship at home at this time or simply wish to listen to the service or sermon again, 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:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/581359227

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/criv0uVi8Xu

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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 “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in 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 In The Garden
Alan Jackson – In The Garden (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhIGIfsLxVk

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer:
Day by day, day by day, O, dear Lord, three things I pray:
to see thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
follow thee more nearly,
day by day. 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 Because He Lives
Because He Lives (Lyric/Live At The Cove Billy Graham Training Center, Asheville, NC/2001)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKaRk1qpR4o

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

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: A Church Centered on Jesus
Text: Colossians 1:9-23
Series: A Church Centered on Jesus
Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Kinmundy Audio … Wesley Audio.

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SERMON NOTES

Colossians 1:9-23 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

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HYMN I Am Thine O Lord
“I am Thine O Lord” by 200 Voice Mass Choir, Conductor: Emmanuel Ponraj
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3OS0sHUwlk

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

BENEDICTION: Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of the Prayer of St. 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

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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

TRANSCRIPT

Three stories.

Story number one. Once upon a time at the children’s sermon, the boys and girls came forward all excited, all happy, all full of energy. And the pastor looked them carefully in the eye and said, “Kids, I want to ask you a very serious question. What has brown fur, lives in a tree, and eats nuts?”

And this little boy in the back row got all excited. He raised his hand, he said, “I know, I know.” The pastor said, “Okay, son, what’s the answer?” And the little boy smiled and he said, “It’s Jesus.” And the pastor said, didn’t want to embarrass the kid, “Now, let’s listen to the question again. What has brown fur, lives in a tree, eats nuts?” And the little boy in the back row goes, “It’s Jesus. It’s Jesus! I know it’s Jesus! I know it’s Jesus!” The minister gave up.

Second story. In 1956, I was one year old. Chicago radio personality Earl Nightingale owned an insurance company and he would give a little pep talk to all the salespeople on Monday morning. And there was a week where he was not going to be there. So he actually recorded his pep talk. It was called “The Strangest Secret.” And it really hit home to many, many people. People began to ask for copies of the recording and it went on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies in the years since then– the 65 years since then. And the strangest secret, Earl Nightingale said, is this: you are now and you do become what you think about. In some versions of the talk, it says whatever you think about most.

Third story. What happened here? (There is a picture of a semi-truck stuck under a railroad bridge.) In order to figure out the problem, the company gave out a survey so that everybody could vote. 45% of the people said that the problem was that the bridge was too low. 45% of the people said that the problem was that the truck was too big. 10% of the people who voted in the survey said the problem is you have to believe because if you believe you can do it, you can make it happen. The CEO of the company received the votes and he looked at them and he said, “I know what’s wrong.” He said, “We need a new driver.”

Now, we don’t know whether the driver was distracted. We don’t know if the driver was texting. We don’t know if the driver was having an argument with his girlfriend and trying to eat a Whopper and steering with his knees or didn’t– we don’t know what happened. But we know that truck does not go into the space under that bridge. And if we’re not paying attention when we drive, bad things happen. In fact, distracted driving is a huge cause of accidents.

But not only that, distracted living. Remember the age of Facebook – all you have to do, folks, is get on Facebook and six hours later, you’ll realize you’ve been distracted. Distracted living can be very dangerous, too.

Oh, let me tell you the rest of the story with the little boy. Pastor finds the kid after church and says to the little boy, “Listen, tell me the truth now. What has brown fur, lives in a tree and eats nuts?” And the little boy goes, “Well, a squirrel. And the pastor said, “Well, that’s the question I was asking. Why didn’t you give me the answer I wanted?” And the little boy just looked at him mystified and said, “But aren’t you supposed to be talking about Jesus?”

Friends, it’s important in all that we do, but especially here in church, to not be distracted. We need to keep the main thing, the main thing. And there are a whole lot of people who will argue with you about what the main thing is. But the truth is that the main thing is always Jesus.

In Colossians, Paul prays a prayer for us. And really, if God answers this prayer the way he phrases it, you will have a wonderful example of a fully mature Christian. And so from the day we heard, Paul writes, “We have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit and every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God”. This is what God wants to happen in the churches.

Verse 11, being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father who is qualified you to share in the inheritance of the Saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness… We don’t live there anymore. And transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He, Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, for by him, all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things. He comes first.

And in him, all things hold together. Please remember that the next time it feels like everything in your life is falling apart!

And he is the head of the body, the Church. Jesus Christ is meant to be the head, the place where decisions are made. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead. And here’s the key point: that in everything, he might be preeminent, which is a fancy word that means that in everything, Jesus Christ comes first. He is always the priority, always the leader.

Verse 19:4, in him, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him, toward us, to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Let’s not get distracted. In all things, Jesus should be preeminent.

Verse 21, and you who once were strange and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he is now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him. Verse 23, here’s what is asked of us, provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel, for which you heard.

Friends, how do we shift from the hope of the gospel? How do we become unstable? Let’s not get distracted. Let’s keep in mind who Jesus is and keep in mind how Jesus works. Let’s not get distracted.

The picture behind these words is a picture of a computer motherboard. Aren’t computers wonderful? We’re starting to put them in everything. But everything that a computer does is controlled and directed by what is called the CPU, the central processing unit. It’s that big chip, smack dab there in the middle of the picture. It controls everything, and enerything happens in the right order. And it sends out signals to every component. You get to do what you’re supposed to do now, and then you, now you … it’s like a conductor of an orchestra. And everything works together when the CPU is in charge, and everything follows the directions that it gives. If you take that chip out of the throne or whatever you want to call it, where it sits, everything shuts down. Nothing happens.

And it’s the same way in the church. Nothing can go in that place but Jesus Christ … or the church just falls apart. When you went to elementary school, you probably learned this joke: where does an 800-pound gorilla sit? And the answer is anywhere it wants to.

Well, here’s the point about Jesus Christ: where does a loving, all-powerful, all-knowing, always present Savior sit? Tell me the answer: Anywhere He wants to. We need to be a church, if we want everything to go well, we want to be a church where it’s Jesus Christ who is in charge and who makes the decisions. As the CEO of the company said, we need a new driver. And when the church gets into trouble, friends, we need a new driver. We need Jesus to take the wheel.

Some 30 years ago, I heard Michael Slaughter, who is a pastor of Ginghamsburg, United Methodist Church, a church out in the country, around Dayton, Ohio, on a county road, a church that went from 90 people to over 1,200 in just a couple of years because they decided to be this kind of church.

I was at a workshop where Mike Slaughter proclaimed — and he has a gift of irritability, by the way. He irritates people to stir them up! He looked out over all this huge crowd of pastors, and he looked at us and he said, “Here’s something we say at our church. If Jesus would vote yes, you cannot vote no.”

Let me explain that a little bit because all you have to do is get on Facebook for a few minutes and you will find that 10,000 people have 10,000 different opinions, and every single one of them thinks their opinion is right. It’s not that Jesus Christ doesn’t value your opinion. It’s not that Jesus Christ is not interested in how we differ in what we think is important. It’s not that Jesus Christ doesn’t want us to talk over how we think and feel and come to an agreement when we disagree.

It’s not that at all. But when it comes time for the army to march, it’s the general that gives the orders, and everybody doesn’t do what they please. They follow the orders they are given. Now, it is possible if you sat down with Jesus, you could have a discussion with him, and maybe by the time you were done, he would change his mind and agree with you. It could happen. It’s not very likely. And I know many pastors who are always arguing with Jesus because that’s how they try to figure out what Jesus wants them to do. It helps them to understand Jesus more deeply.

But the reality is, is when it’s time to steer the wheel, it’s the driver that drives the bus. When it’s time for the church to move, Jesus Christ is the driver. Jesus Christ is the general. And if you want unity in the church, the place where we find unity – let’s not get distracted – is by joining together to do what Jesus told us to do. Joining together to do what Jesus showed us to do, because sometimes Jesus taught us by giving us an example. And if you and I have a disagreement, we can resolve it by trying to figure out what Jesus would do, and I will gladly join you in that, if that’s what turns out to be true.

Now, please understand what I just said. The pastor’s not supposed to drive the church, nor is the pastor the general. We need to replace the pastor, wherever the pastor’s running the church, with Jesus because that’s when the CPU is in the right place and everything begins to happen smoothly. If we’re going to have a disagreement, let’s let it be about what Jesus wants, and let’s figure it out together because when Jesus is in charge, things will fall into place.

That’s the strangest secret. The more we think about what Jesus wants us to do, the more we will do what Jesus wants us to do.

And I would like to tell you that in 1972, I gave my life to Christ. That was a very, very long time ago. And ever since that day, I’ve been like the little boy who sees Jesus everywhere. I’m always thinking, what does Jesus teach? What does Jesus want? What does this have to do with Jesus? What does Jesus want to tell us about that? And it’s been an amazing life.

I’m now the adult that seeks Jesus everywhere because, since it’s most of what I’ve been thinking about for 49 years – he has become the center of my life, and I give him the credit any place where my life is working. It’s because he is the center of it and the Lord of it. And if Jesus is at the center and the Lord of our church, everything that needs to happen will happen.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, we don’t always know what you want. Lord, we don’t always understand what your Bible teaches, so we do need to talk about it with each other. But help us, Lord, to understand that you need to be the driver, that you need to be the general, that we need for you to take your throne, just like the CPU is in the place in the computer to control what happens so that everything fits together and works together for the benefit of everything in the church and all of the people. Lord, help us to set aside our own personal wishes, and help us, Lord, not to be distracted so that you can be at the center of our church. 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.

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

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