Sermon January 2, 2022: All Year Long With Jesus (Christmastide 2)

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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:




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: Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with this prayer:

O holy Child of Bethlehem, Descend to us, we pray!
Cast out our sin and enter in, Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels, The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel!

HYMN 251 Go, Tell It On The Mountain
Lynda Randle – Go Tell It On the Mountain [Live]
David Phelps – Go Tell It On The Mountain (Live)

(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 − 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.

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 242 Love Came Down at Christmas
Love Came Down at Christmas with Lyrics (Choral) by The St Michael’s Singers
Love Came Down At Christmas ~ Jars of Clay ~ lyric video

(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: All Year Long With Jesus
Text: Matthew 4:12-25
Series: Christmas Story Connections – We’re In This Together

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


Matthew 4:12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee; 13 and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Caper’na-um by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles– 16 the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

23 And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.


HYMN 572 Pass It On
Pass It On performed by Stephen J. Nasby
Pass it on- It only takes a spark (with subtitle)

(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

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!


All year long with Jesus. Every year, we celebrate the Christmas story. It’s become a part of our culture. And every year it begins to build and it changes the way we look at the world. It changes the way we look at people around us. And this Christmas season has a name.

Now there are all the months that lead up to Christmas because, I’m sure you’ve noticed this, Christmas now begins in October. Sometimes it begins before Halloween is over! I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Christmas builds all the way through November and at the beginning of Advent, which is the Christian month or season of the four Sundays before Christmas, where we are supposed to be preparing our hearts for the coming of Jesus. But to be honest, in December, in Advent, we are beginning to celebrate that coming. Once Christmas Day comes, we have a new season that is actually literally called Christmastide.

But what I want to suggest to you this morning is it comes upon us actually like a tide. You know the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas? There are twelve days in this celebration of Christmas having come. And it’s just like a tide building and we are caught up in this seasonal flow that moves us into the New Year.

Now, there are some people– I won’t say anything bad about them — but the day after Christmas, everything’s gone. But in my house, all the decorations stay up for those twelve days because I don’t want to let go of Christmas. The tide begins to flow in and it catches us up and it points and pulls us toward the coming of Jesus Christ.

We have a rising tide of what you could call Christmas Christians because now all of a sudden it’s as if everyone all around us is celebrating this beautiful faith and hope. The world is full of Christians at Christmas. And we find ourselves asking this question– honestly, haven’t you? Why can’t we be like this all year long? Why can’t people be this nice all year long? Why can’t people put away the self-centeredness that so much fills the year and begin to think about others and love others all year long. Why can’t we have a flood of the fruit of the Spirit, those Christian virtues, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control— why can’t we have that all year long?

Because you see, just like that Santa’s gone until next year. But Jesus is still here with gifts that never end. Why can’t what God began at Christmas last for us all year long?

We have this custom of New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you’ve already made yours, maybe not quite yet. I’m always astonished because I offer to pray with people for their New Year’s resolutions. And if you bring your list to me, I will pray that every single one of them comes true.

But you know what’s kind of sad? What’s your greatest hope for the New Year? “Lord, I want to be skinnier and fit into those designer jeans. Lord, I want to make more money so I can buy more things.” I don’t know what’s on your list, but I rarely ever find, even in a person who comes to Church every Sunday, a New Year’s resolution that has anything to do with spirituality, to be a better Christian.

Well, here’s a New Year’s resolution I’d like to suggest to every single one of you. Make a resolution to be a Christian all year long. And I’m not saying that you weren’t, and I’m not saying that you aren’t. But I’m saying, wouldn’t the world be a beautiful place if every one of us all year long live the faith that we do during the month of December? Well, there’s that tide, that swelling of water. The reality is if you’re caught up in it, you’re going to go with the tide. [laughter] We built up some momentum, friends. Let’s let the momentum of the tide of Christmas carry us into a New Year and give us a head start.

Now, if you think about what the biggest difference is, it’s really this: we love Jesus all year long. That is true, but at Christmas time, we begin to seriously focus on loving other people: people in our family, people that we do things with, the games we go to, the activities we enjoy, people we work with, people who live around us. And you know another word for that? We begin at Christmas time to love our neighbors.

And here’s the truth I want to share with you. If you have a genuine experience of loving your neighbor in this Christmas season, where you really see them as someone whom God loves, and out of your heart, you reach out to do something, whether it’s small or large to help or bless, that genuine experience of loving your neighbor can literally be life-changing all year long. I’d like to introduce you to someone because I’ve asked him to come and tell a little bit of his experience. This is Kinmundy-Alma Fire Chief, Kevin Day, who’s going to come up here and tell you what it’s like to walk into somebody’s house, not to put out a fire, but instead give them something that they need. Kevin, if you’d stand at the microphone and tell us whatever story you would like to share, we’d love to hear.

Kevin Day: Well, first off, I’d like to thank the citizens of the community for allowing the fire department to be able to do our Christmas for kids. There are a lot of heartaches with it, and also a lot of joy. I had told Dave a story earlier. And it has been probably at least 30 years ago. Gerri Molina and I were going to deliver toys one night to a lady in Alma. Was a single mother with three young daughters, and she did not want us to bring the toys, or bring what we were going to give her until Christmas Eve because she wanted the children to think that they came from Santa Claus. So Gerri called me about 7 o’clock in the evening. We’d made arrangements. We were going to wait till the kids went to sleep, about 9 o’clock. We drove down there to the house, carried the sacks up to the door. Gerri and I are standing there in the doorway and I look around the house and I noticed that there was not a Christmas tree. And I turned around, looked at Gerri, and I asked the lady. I said, “Ma’am, where’s your Christmas tree at? We’ll put these under the tree.” And she said, “I didn’t have the finances to get a tree, nor did I have time.”
And I said, “Well–” I said, “We’ll be back in a little bit.” … I ran up to Don’s Meat Processing, which had some Christmas trees standing out by the road. Thank goodness for him! He didn’t care. So I stole a Christmas tree [laughter], went to the house and grabbed a stand to put it in, got some lights from the house, which everybody knows I’ve surely got a few extra lights around [laughter], and Gerri and I proceeded that night to make a Christmas tree in that house. We got done about midnight, by the time we had decorated the tree, and we even stopped and wrapped a few presents.
That one story has fueled my passion to make sure that the kids or the families of our community have an adequate Christmas. Over the years, we have always done toys. And the last, probably, 10 years, we have tried to not only do toys but– we do food. We do blankets. We do clothing for the entire family. Because there are a lot of people that have not got enough, or God forbid, they spend it on the wrong thing. God has blessed me very well, and I try to share that every day.
I’ve always tried to live my life by Matthew 4:25-40. Which basically says, “What you do to the least of my people, I will do for you.” So thank you.

Pastor Dave: Thank you, Kevin, and the Kinmundy-Alma Fire Department. [applause] Wouldn’t it be nice if that’s how it was all year long!

We are going to look at Matthew chapter 4 because at this beginning, what happens right after Christmas, you see the flow of Christmas with the baby in the manger goes right to Jesus, who’s an adult. And again in Matthew chapter 4, the appearance of Jesus in our world is like a great light that is shining in darkness. And the light of Jesus Christ appeared in the world. And look at verse 17. From that time, Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

If you have a desire to be a Christian all year long, the light of Jesus Christ will show you what you need to do to make that happen. And the light of Jesus Christ will show you what you need to stop doing … because repent means to turn away from things that we should stop doing and to turn toward the things that we should do to bring glory to God.

The very next thing Jesus did is he’s walking by the sea of Galilee, and he sees two brothers, Simon and Peter. And he says to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately, they left their nets and followed him. Jesus Christ is the light that shines in our darkness. And because he is light in this world, we now see what direction we should go because what we want to do is follow him and be like him.

The very next verse talks about how he went about all Galilee with the disciples, James and John, Peter and Andrew, now these four, and adding to them as time goes by. He was teaching in the synagogues and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. He was telling people how life can be different, how life should be different, but he was also making everything that is wrong, right … everything that is broken, whole. As it says here in Matthew chapter 4, he was healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.

Friends, the potential is there, as we follow Jesus for healing, to flow out from us to all the people around us as our prayers are answered. So here’s my advice to you in this new year. Listen to Jesus, and we know that how we do that is we open the Bible to read his words. Listen to Jesus and allow your life to be influenced by him.

That’s what it means to follow Jesus. We’re no longer going every which way. We are going his way, doing things his way, all year long. And as we listen to him, he will teach us how to love God.

And we’ll learn how to let God love us with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength all year long.

And because of that, miracles will happen all around us because what God wants us to do is to be where we are, to live in our neighborhood. That’s what Christmas was. Jesus came to live in our neighborhood. And now, because Jesus lives within us, Jesus lives in our neighborhood, right here. And Jesus will be here to help us love our neighbor all year long.

When Jesus talked about this, he was challenged. Somebody stood and said, “Well, who is my neighbor?” Now, remember what I said about following? Friends, do you think you get to pick who your neighbor is? Because if you’re following Jesus, you’ll be in different neighborhoods than you might choose for yourself.

So let me answer that question, who is your neighbor? Sometimes it’s a stranger, but normally, by the basic understanding of the term neighbor, it’s the person that you are nearby in proximity. You live down the street. You see them at work. They’re part of your family. Best definition I’ve ever heard is that your neighbors are the people you talk to every single week or maybe every other week. Sometimes it could be a stranger, but the people you continually see, those are the ones that God wants you to pray for and love and bless.

And I’ll be honest with you. If we as Christian people, if we as a Church, if we as a community will learn to notice and love our neighbor, the joy we feel at Christmas will fill our hearts all year long.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, thank you for this past Christmas. Thank you, Lord, indeed, for every Christmas we’ve been able to celebrate. But as the world gets colder, literally, I pray, Lord, that our hearts don’t grow colder but that we continue to love God and love our neighbor and follow Jesus all year long … because, Lord, that’s what you deserve. But, Lord, the changes it brings in the hearts of people, we also deserve that. May it so be. 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 )

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