Sermons August 22 2021: Help Me To Serve You As I Am Gifted (Pentecost 12)

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

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. Thank you to the Collingsworth Family for permission to use three of their videos in our worship during the pandemic! Please visit them online at https://thecollingsworthfamily.com/

Link to Video:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/589566194

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/crjq36VjmT2

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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.)

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 133 Leaning On The Everlasting Arms
The Everlasting Arms – Collingsworth Family
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1ZffJPRpmI

(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 The Collingsworth Family (Holy, Holy, Holy) 05-03-13
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbezPGo9gB0

(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: Help Me To Serve You As I Am Gifted.
Text: 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11-27
Series: A Church Centered on Jesus

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

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SERMON NOTES

7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

11 All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single organ, where would the body be?

20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those parts of the body which we think less honorable we invest with the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, 25 that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

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HYMN The Collingsworth Family – Since Jesus Came Into My Heart
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pp4aPI4FJGc

(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 the service of Jesus as 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

As I shared with you for a couple of months now, there’s been a moment in the service where no one is going to know what happened in advance because the pastor says, “The Holy Spirit is going to ask someone to take the offering.” Now, I’m sure that some of you think that’s just a little silly, but something that is less and less common in churches is for us to be open enough to let the Holy Spirit lead people in the service. All too often in churches today, everything that’s said is scripted. Everything that happens is planned out so that worship can never vary. And in some ways and in some times, that keeps the Holy Spirit from acting in people’s lives.

In a whole lot of churches, they won’t allow the microphone to be taken around for people to share a prayer request. Do you know why? No one knows what someone will say. And so … is there an opportunity for people to do what they feel God wants them to do? Is there an opportunity for people to share their gifts, even if it’s as a beginner, as Halee just did, playing a piano solo? Are we willing to allow room for the Holy Spirit not only to interfere but to shape what happens on a Sunday?

Now, there are some of us that love reruns on TV. We love reruns. We love knowing every single thing that’s going to happen! But Sunday morning is a little more interesting if you don’t know everything that’s going to happen. And so a church that is connected to the Holy Spirit, a church that is connected to Jesus, will make room for people to share their individual gifts and talents so that when a person hears Jesus speaking to their hearts, when they hear the Holy Spirit speaking to their hands, they will feel comfortable standing up to do what God wants them to do … because each one of us who is following Jesus has something to do.

A little bit later today, there’s going to be a family gathering in my family, and right now, everybody’s thinking, “What can I bring?” Some of those things are worked out in advance. Some of them aren’t. “What can I bring?”

Let me tell you a joke. Once upon a time, an elementary school teacher said to the class, “Boys and girls, we’re all different people from many different places. So I like to invite you to bring to show and tell tomorrow something about your religion.” And so the next day, a little boy came in and said, “My family and I are Islamic, and this is a prayer rug. And three times a day, we get down on our knees on the prayer rug, and we pray.” And the teacher said, “Well, that’s wonderful.”

And another little girl came up and said, “My name is Mary, and my family’s Catholic, and my mama uses a rosary.” And she held up the rosary so that people could see it, and she told the kids about how each bead helped you keep track of your prayers; her mama would hold one bead and say the Lord’s Prayer. Then she’d say it again. And she’d say it again. Then she’d say it again.

Another little boy came up and he said, “My name is Billy.” And he unzipped a container and he said, “I’m a Methodist and this is a casserole.”

But Methodists don’t use prayer rugs and we don’t use rosaries. But boy, we know how to use casseroles, don’t we? In fact, God can minister through casseroles; they bring people together.

But there is one other thing about casseroles that we all know. There are certain things you should never, ever, ever, ever bring to a potluck. Do you know what they are? They are the things that someone else always brings. Because by God, if you bring Chinese slaw, Aunt Fran is going to be very upset. And if you bring pea salad, Betty Mae is going to be really upset because that’s her dish to bring. And so everybody thinks through, “What can I bring so that everything is provided on the table when the people gather?”

When I was in seminary, I went to a Southern Baptist church. It was a Southern Baptist seminary. It’s a wonderful church. They had a potluck just before their prayer meeting every Wednesday night. Do you know what the problem is with having a potluck every single week? People stop showing off. [laughter]

That’s the thing about wonderful Methodist potlucks is that, if everybody’s showing off, it’s better than any restaurant you could want to go to. But when it’s every single week, you know what happens? Twelve different kinds of macaroni and cheese out of a box. [laughter] One lady puts corn in hers, another lady puts green peppers in hers. So at least they’re a little different. But we are at our best when everybody brings their best. God works in the Methodist Church through casseroles.

Now, which instrument is more important? A lot of that just simply depends on who you are. Because if you’re the mother of the tuba player, you wish that singer would sit down so that your tuba-playing daughter could have her solo. Isn’t that true? And if that tuba player comes to our church, we’ve heard her play all kinds of sacred music. Because just like a casserole, it comes out of who we are and we love that.

But you can imagine what it’s like for the mother to have two daughters and one sings and one plays the tuba. And one thinks she’s better than her sister. And one thinks that all the attention should be on her. And the mother’s looking at them saying, “Both of you are wonderful and special.” But they don’t always feel that.

Think about the casserole again. Which ingredient is the most important? In that cheesy casserole, I can see zucchini, I can see tomatoes, I can see cheese, I think I see a mushroom. We all have our favorite ingredients. But you know something? If you had your favorite ingredient in a big pile in the middle of the dish, it would not be as good as what happens when all the flavors are together. See, that’s the challenge for a church. How do we let each individual flavor be tasted so that every flavor works together? That’s the challenge.

Here’s what 1 Corinthians 12 says about that: the church is just like a human body. In fact, Paul calls it the body of Christ.

And the key point there is verse 7: to each– to each. Let’s not be mistaken, to each. To each is given the manifestation of the spirit for the common good. One of the saddest and cruelest things that you can say to anybody in a church is you have nothing to offer. But it’s also not scripturally true, because it is very plain, by the wording of this verse, God’s Holy Spirit shows up– that’s what it means to manifest. God’s Holy Spirit shows up in every single person in some way for the benefit of everyone. And there’s a little acronym called S.H.A.P.E. that helps us to identify how God shows up.

God shows up in the center of your heart and who you love. When God asks you to do something to serve in some way, it’s going to be you reaching out toward people you feel love for. You will be drawn to certain people. You will be drawn to help people with certain problems, because the Holy Spirit will point you to the people, will point you to the need where you have something special to offer.

Not only that, you’ll find that what the Holy Spirit asks you to do will fit with your abilities and what you do well. There are some people, honest to God, the Holy Spirit does not want them to sing a solo. But they have something else that they have a wonderful ability to do! What God asked you to do will fit with how God has made you in terms of your abilities.

What God asks you to do will also fit with your personality. Now, occasionally, God has us do things that are uncomfortable so that we can grow. But generally speaking, the way God made you will fit with what God is asking you to do. If you’re a shy person, you’ll not be going door-to-door talking to strangers. God’s will for your life will fit with the kind of person God has made you to be.

And not only that, you’ll find that you’ve had lots of experiences, lots of practice. God does not put people on the spot and expect them to do something they have never tried before. Frequently, God prepares you for what God wants you to do, so you’ll be able to look back and say, “Well, I’ve done that before, and I’ve done that before. I know how to do that.” These are all the different ways that God shows up and works through us.

Paul goes on to explain this in the Corinthian church because, you see, they had a problem with competition. They had a problem with people arguing to get more attention to themselves. And they had an argument about whose gift is more important. And Paul had to correct that. Prior to Verse 11 here, nine gifts are listed. Those are not the only nine guests. Those are the nine that they fought about. All these, Paul writes, are inspired by one and the same Spirit who apportions to each one— to each is given, apportions to each one individually as He wills. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one spirit, we were all baptized, connected, put into one body, Jews or Greeks, slaves or free. And all were made to drink of one Spirit.

That’s what we have in common. A connection to one another through the Holy Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member, but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.

You see, the problem they had in Corinth is people were looking at themselves and saying, “Because I’m not like that person, I have nothing to offer.” And brothers and sisters, that’s simply not true. We’re all connected to the body. We all have something to offer, but sometimes we don’t realize what we have to offer.

You see, each one of us has a specialty. We’re alike in many, many ways, but each one of us has a specialty. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing. If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? If everybody was a singer, where would be the rhythm section, the bass and the drums and the organ and the piano? If the whole body were a soprano, where would be the harmony? You see, all those different specialties work together so that God’s will can be done because each one of us is special. You were made special.

And here’s the worst part. You don’t get to choose how you’re special. But, you know, because if you did, you’d want to be the singer. And if you did, you’d want to be the lead guitar player. And if you did, you’d want to be– well, you probably wouldn’t want to be the preacher, but you know what I mean. Envy works in groups of people. But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. God arranged every one of us in the church to do what we’re supposed to do, each as he chose.

So, therefore, we need to ask ourselves, “How am I special? What can I bring? What can I do that others can’t?

And it’s especially important that no one look down on the gift that God has given them because you’re necessary for the body to be in good health. If all were a single organ, where would the body be? Because that we’re special, each one of us is actually a specialist. And so God makes sure that everything’s handled. There’s someone who has a specialty to do that thing. As it is, there are many parts yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor, again, the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” Nor can the pastor or anyone else say, “I have no need for you,” because God has designed you to be an essential part in the area where you are a specialist.

So what can I bring? The psychological word for this is differentiation. We are at our best, we are at our happiness, we are most fulfilled when we’re able to be different and do our own thing, whatever that is, yet feel connected and loved and a part of the family of God.
So that’s what Howard Thurman said: “Don’t ask what the world needs because then you won’t be obeying your specialty. You’ll be trying to fit yourself in with what someone else thinks is needed. Let God tell you. Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it, because what the world needs and what the world needs to see in a church, what the world needs to see in people of faith is people who have come alive.”

As Saint Teresa said – and this is each one of us doing what we do together – “Christ has no body but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands. Yours are the feet. Yours are the eyes. You are his body. Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world. Christ has no body now on Earth but yours.”

Because as 1 Corinthians 12 points out, this is how God decided to work: through all of God’s people. And when we’re each doing for the common good, what we’re allowed to do, then everything is in place. So our prayers, we follow Jesus. We start by making a commitment. We begin to learn in ways that show us the map of what God wants us to do. But eventually, we’re going to be asked to do something.

And if you’re not certain what that is, really, please remember you have a specialty and you are special. And not only that, you are this church’s expert on that one thing, whatever it is, that is your specialty. We cannot be all that God wants us to be without you.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, unless we’re arrogant, unless we’re narcissistic, when we look into the mirror, we’re actually kind of humble. We’re not always certain what you want us to do. We’re not always certain that we’re up to the task. Lord, help us to believe the truth of scripture that it is your choice to work through all of your people. And that means, Lord, it’s your choice to work through us, each of us. We bring our flavors, we bring our specialty, and we make everything wonderful when each one of us does what you have created us and called us to do. Lord, may that be even more true than it is today. 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.

(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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