Sermon May 29, 2022: Rerun, Part 3: “Okay. Let’s roll.”  (Eastertide 6, Memorial Day)

Image by Tim Mossholder via Unsplash

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/714835401

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/c3hUcCVr9IL

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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: (St. Teresa of Avila:)

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.


HYMN We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations
We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations – Harvest
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwFzG9diulI

(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 − Almighty God, through Jesus Christ you overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life. Grant that we, who celebrate the day of our Lord’s resurrection, may, by the renewing of your Spirit arise from the death of sin to the life of righteousness; through Jesus Christ our 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 Onward Christian Soldiers
Bill & Gloria Gaither – Onward Christian Soldiers/We’re Marching to Zion (Medley) (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Vua7LwiAQ0

(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: Rerun, Part 3: “Okay. Let’s roll.” 
Acts 1:7-14, Mark 4:26-29, Matthew 9:36-38
Series: Instructions for Resurrection and Revival

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

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SERMON NOTES

Acts 1:7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Sama’ria and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 1:12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away; 13 and when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Mark 4:26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, 27 and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.   – Howard Thurman

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HYMN 572 Pass It On
Pass It On – TheNCrew
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovdKx6lQ8OM

(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

And as we are called by Jesus Christ to march forward, let me remind you – I’ve shared this verse with you multiple times through Lent in this Easter season – Here’s what Jesus tells us that we are marching toward: John 20:21 “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” In other words, just as Jesus was sent by God, now Jesus is sending us.

Let me tell you three stories. What we’re wanting to do is to explain what this means. Because now that Jesus has ascended into heaven, you and I are the people who are going to do God’s work because Christ has chosen this — I might want to talk him out of this when I think about my faults and my weaknesses. But Christ has chosen to work through people like you and I. We are now the feet. We are now the hands. We are now the eyes. We are now Christ’s body.

Now, what does that look like? And if you look at the words across the bottom, they explain it all: “To each is given … the manifestation of the Spirit … for the common good.” People are going to see the Holy Spirit show up and act. That’s the manifestation, the revealing that the Holy Spirit is at work. And how does that happen?

Let me tell you three stories. One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Johnny was staring up at the large plaque that hung in the foyer of the church. The seven-year-old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the boy, and said quietly, “Good morning, son.” “Good morning, pastor,” replied the young man focused on the plaque. “Sir, what is this?” Johnny asked. “Well, son, these are all the people who have died in the service,” replied the pastor. Soberly, they stood together staring at the large plaque. And little Johnny’s voice barely broke the silence when he asked quietly, “Pastor, was– all those people that died, was that the 9 o’clock service or the 10:45 service?”

See friends, here’s the truth, there is a cost in following Jesus. There is a cost in following Jesus. But in the United States of America, thank God– usually, thank God, people do not serve in the army of the Lord and lose their life. They do not die. There is a cost in following Jesus. But for us, it’s usually not the cost of our life. On Memorial Day weekend, we remember those who gave their all. And I would hope that they would inspire us to also give our lives.

Second story. A friend was in front of me coming out of church one day and the preacher was standing at the door, as he always is, to shake hands. He grabbed my friend by the hand and pulled him aside the pastor said to him, “You need to join the army of the Lord.” My friend immediately replied, “I’m already in the army of the Lord, pastor.” The pastor said, “If you’re in the army of the Lord, how come I don’t see you at service except at Christmas and Easter?” And the man immediately replied, “Pastor, that’s because I’m in the Secret Service. And you don’t see me because it’s a secret.” Well, I’ll be honest with you, friends, there is no Secret Service. There is no Secret Service. There is not meant to be a Secret Service. What is meant to be is people like you and me doing what Jesus told us to do, which is you go out there and you love your neighbor, not supposed to be a secret. But there is a temptation for us to think that what we ought to do is serve Christ in some kind of secret way.

And let me tell you the story of this picture; this is a Chick tract. Back in the early 70s’, I was a student at Eastern Illinois University. And occasionally, you would walk through the library. You would walk through some of the public buildings at the university, and you would see one of these little booklets. Now, let me explain to you what it is. It’s actually a comic book. And here’s the truth about comic books. There’s just a whole lot of people, they see a comic book, they pick it up and they start to read it.

This was in a restroom at a gas station in Highland, Illinois. I hadn’t seen one in years. I did not pick it up and read it, but the person who left it there wanted to do God’s work without ever actually being in contact with another person. One of the worst forms of these: I saw some in St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia once. They’re actually printed to look like a $100 bill. And you pick it up and on the back, it’s all about how you can become converted. But I don’t know how anyone can pick up that phony $100 bill and not think that they’re being made a fool of.
Back in my freshman year of college, I actually knew someone who would buy things like these and sneak into the grocery store and put them inside all the magazines … because the idea was “I can do God’s work without actually getting involved with people.”

And that’s not the way it works. There is no Secret Service. If you and I are going to be witnesses, we will probably need to interact with someone. You heard me you say with our neighbors. You notice I’m wearing a shirt that has Kinmundy Church on it – and genuinely, some people might think that’s the uniform of the Secret Service: All I really need to do is to put the church’s name on a shirt and walk around town to be a witness. Well, some of us are so good-looking that might work! But that’s certainly not me. If I’m going to be a witness to Jesus Christ that He’s alive and can help people, I’m probably going to need to get personally involved.

And in fact, that’s what the Bible talks about. Acts 1:8, Jesus says these words to the disciples just before He rises up into heaven, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. And you, having received that power, shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, where you are, in Judea and beyond that, in Samaria and beyond that, and on out to the ends of the Earth.” But you need to wait till the power comes.

I thought it was very amusing when somebody pointed out on Ascension Day, which, by the way, was last Thursday. It’s that many days before the day of Pentecost. What they said was happening on Ascension Day is Jesus rose up into heaven because from now on, He was going to, quote, “work from home.” And you know how he can work from home? Because the choice of God is to work through you and me and God is going to give us the power to do that work. And here’s what it looks like:

Matthew 9:36, “When He, Jesus, saw the crowds, He had compassion for them because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.'” You see, there are people who want to come to Christ. There are people who desperately need Jesus’ help to live this life. The problem is there aren’t enough people to go out and bring them in. And so Jesus – look at verse 38 – asked people to pray. There are only two places in the New Testament where Jesus asks for you to pray for something specific. The first one is to pray for your enemies and those who persecute you. And this is the second. “Pray, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, to send out laborers into His harvest.” Not the Secret Service, but real people. Real people.

And that’s because this is true. I’ve shared this with you in previous weeks. Sociologist Rodney Stark, all the way back in 1965, proved scientifically through sociological research that true religious conversion, conversion that lasts, is the result of a close relationship with a genuine, caring, practicing Christian. And the reason that people are not coming to Christ – because the scripture says that people are ready – is because many of them do not personally know anyone who is a genuine, caring, practicing Christian.

Well, if you’re willing to serve, the Holy Spirit empowers that sort of relationship with people in your micro-mission field; the Holy Spirit will work on them. You don’t need to wear a Christian shirt; you don’t need to preach a little sermon; you don’t need to hand them a piece of paper. If you just get close enough, the Holy Spirit will begin to work and change their hearts. We’re all grieving because of the shooting that occurred in Texas earlier this week. How sad it is that the Holy Spirit didn’t get a chance to work in the life of one family who so desperately needed God’s presence, and so much sadness came from that.

Somebody might say, “Pastor, what do you mean, ‘mission field’?” Well, friends, each one of us is a missionary. But I want to tell you what your mission field is. It’s quite small; it’s very doable. I want to suggest to you that your “micro mission field” are the ten or twelve people that you talk to on a regular basis this week. Now, some of you are really extroverted. You walk up to 100 people a week and say, “How are you?” Well, you’ve got a big mission field, then. But the people you talk to are people that the Holy Spirit can influence simply because you’re spending time with them, and that brings about a change.

Now, interestingly enough, in Mark, Chapter Four, what Jesus points out is there’s basically just two things that we do. And he said, “The Kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground.” Now, those of you who are farmers, I know there’s a lot more to farming than just going out and scattering the seed just everywhere, but this is what the scripture says. “The Kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and then leave, and should sleep and rise, night and day. And without the farmer doing anything, the seed should sprout and grow. He knows not how.”

So here’s the first thing you do in your micro-mission field: you just go out there and spread the seed. You just go out there and spread the seed. The seed can be all kinds of things. It might just you being a person who smiles and shows that you care. “The Earth produces of itself first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain and the ear.” If you go out there, and you let the Holy Spirit work, it will happen. Oh, by the way, you know it changes colors when it’s ready for the harvest? “But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle because the harvest is come, and those people are gathered in … because here’s the principle, friends.

The Holy Spirit is working in the hearts and minds of people all around us to say to them, “You need the Lord. You need Church.” And when the Holy Spirit gets through to them, you know what? They’ll go to Church with the caring person who’s touched their life.

So here’s the reality. You’ve seen this slide before, too, Ephesians 2:10, for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand. You see, the Holy Spirit goes out there and creates opportunities for you to interact with people. The Holy Spirit gets everything ready. All you really have to do is show up and let God work. Because everyone you have a conversation with between this Sunday and next Sunday, it is not an accident that God has brought them into your path. And at the very least you can say a prayer for them, but quite often they’re there so that you can say something to them.

And with regard to that, please don’t feel overwhelmed because it’s the Holy Spirit that does the heavy lifting. The Holy Spirit does the work in somebody’s hearts. You and I don’t need to preach, we don’t need to nag, we don’t need to criticize, we need to let the Holy Spirit do the work. Our task is to be present and let God work.

Now, here’s what that feels like. You’ll be talking to somebody and all of a sudden you’ll have this sense that you should say something, or you may have a sense that you shouldn’t say anything. You’ll have a sense that you should do something, or maybe you’ll have a sense that you shouldn’t do anything. But I think it’s wise for you and I to assume that what’s happening to us is from God.

So at 5:30 this morning when I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed two hours before it was supposed to happen, I said to myself, “Well, it’s not the first time the sermon came true in my life. I must need to get up and pray for somebody,” and I got up and did my morning routine and I made my coffee and I took a drinks, and then I actually prayed for about five minutes. I had no idea who I was praying for. But you know something – it doesn’t matter. If you’re willing to do what you feel led by God to do, you’ve done your part. And apparently at 6 o’clock in the morning when I would much rather have been asleep, that was my part. It might happen to you tomorrow because, you see, here’s what’s happening.

You’ve seen this slide; this is a centering prayer. When a person out there prays, “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 of the center of my life.” When a person out there turns toward Jesus Christ … each of them is given a person to walk with them, a person who will guide them to all that is good, a person who will listen, and a person who will help people turn away from all that is not good. And in that sharing, in that encouragement, the Holy Spirit will become visible. God gives to people who turn toward Jesus, a person who will be there to teach them Christ’s ways and help form in them Christ’s nature. This is how the Holy Spirit will show up. You’ll remember a Bible verse that seems to fit that person’s situation. It’ll just come to you.

But what people need when they’re turning toward Christ is someone to guide them. In addition to that, the full verse says to each is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. Every single person here has a way that God chooses to work through them. Some people are amazing singers. Not me. I don’t know who this young lady is in the picture, but she has the gift of being in charge of the meat. If you’re trying to decide who in the kitchen ought to do what, you want the person who has the gift of meat to be cooking the meat.
Now, you laugh, but I kid you not. If all of us are doing what we’re really good at, everything’s going to be perfect. Furthermore, I’ll be honest with you. You see the woman behind her washing the pots and pans? You don’t want me to wash the pots and pans. I miss lots of stuff. Thank God for people who can see the dirt! Because you see, if that’s you, the way you help people is through your cleaning. Or maybe the way you help people is through your cooking. There’s someone in this room. I won’t tell you who it is, but their gift is to wander around town and look for things that need doing and people that need help. That’s a wonderful gift!

And every single one of you has some kind of specialty whereby you are kind and good and help people. And you should be doing that, whatever that is. To each of us is given a way that the Holy Spirit shows up in the things that we do for the common good.

And finally, here it is, friends. Since the commandment from God is for us to love our neighbors, that means when our neighbors need us, we need to notice. And if we’re willing to be in the Lord’s army, to be willing to work, to be willing to let God work through us so that people around us can come to Jesus, we will be willing to allow God to work through us to redeem the whole neighborhood. Because when someone is turning to Christ, the Lord Jesus Christ gives them a person who will help them come home.

That little boy in the picture, standing on the roof of a car, isn’t he cute? Don’t miss the fact that his father is keeping him safe and holding him steady. Friends, for people around us to come to Christ, they need someone to be like that in their life. And that person will help them to understand what it means to be forgiven of their sins, to understand what it means for Jesus to be their shepherd and their Savior and their Lord. And I don’t know of anything more noble or honorable for any of us to do than to be that sort of person in the life of someone who’s coming to Jesus Christ.

Let’s understand this. There’s no need for drama. There’s no need for melodrama. Martyrdom is not needed. Sacrifice isn’t needed. But presence is needed, to be the kind of person that the Holy Spirit works through so that people around us come to Jesus. So the disciples are getting ready to do it all over again. Everything that Jesus did before, now Jesus is going to do through them. Friends, it’s the same with us. Will you be willing to let the Holy Spirit work through you?

You see those words at the bottom of the screen? “Okay. Let’s roll.” I don’t know if you remember them, but at 911, there was a plane, a jet airplane. I can’t remember if it was headed to the Pentagon or headed to the White House. I’m sorry, I’m getting upset. A man on that plane called his girlfriend or his wife, told her what was going on, and said, “Some of us are going to do something about it.” And before he hung up, she heard the voice say, “Okay, let’s roll.” Friends, if you want to live in a different world, if you want to live in a better world, if you want to live in a world of love and joy and peace, the church has this same opportunity. Let’s roll.

Lord Jesus, it seems like such a simple thing … instead of ignoring the people around us, to pay attention to them. Instead of ignoring our neighbors, Lord, to notice and take a moment to say hello and ask how they are. Instead of avoiding our neighbors, to have a conversation. And perhaps in that conversation, there’s a lesson or an observation or even a scripture that we can share like a seed that falls on the Earth. But, Lord, I pray that you would work through your church as you chose, that you would work through the people of your church as you chose. And I pray that you would find us willing. And I ask that 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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