May 12, 2024, Resurrection Instructions for Mother’s Day, Eastertide 6

If you prefer to worship at home at this time or simply wish to listen to the service or sermon again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP
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.

HYMN 206 I Want To Walk As A Child Of The Light
I Want to Walk as a Child – Trish and Ed
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QISk0oYYpuk

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. 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 Faith of Our Mothers, Living Still
Faith of Our Mothers – Bush Hill Presbyterian Church
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0V4MBqj1IE

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: Resurrection Instructions for Mother’s Day
Philippians 3:9-10, 2 Timothy 1:1-7, 2:1-2, Ephesians 6:1-4
Series: Instructions for Walking In Newness of Life

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

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SERMON NOTES

Philippians 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

2 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life which is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God whom I serve with a clear conscience, as did my fathers, when I remember you constantly in my prayers. 4 As I remember your tears, I long night and day to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lo’is and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you. 6 Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7 for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 2:1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

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HYMN 445 Happy the Home When God Is There
Happy the home when God is there – Mike Burns
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ERrXbitgLg&t=17s

BENEDICTION

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

We’re talking about how God wants us to live after Easter because Romans 6 says we have the privilege of leading a new life. We have the privilege of walking in newness of life. Well, what is it God wants us to do? And I think Mother’s Day is a good day to talk about a higher level of love that the world desperately needs, and that’s how to encourage others to also do God’s will, because you see, mothering is a superpower.

Up in the top corner there is a photo of my mother and I 20 years ago. I look a little younger, but she looked the same for decades. But about six years after this, when she moved back to Texas to live in assisted living in Dallas, one day while I was visiting, we were pouring iced tea into glasses at my brother’s house, and I asked my mom because I was pouring, “Would you like some iced tea?”

And she said, “No.” And I said, “How come?” And she said, “Well, I was reading an article the other day that said that if you drink while you eat, whatever you drink dilutes your digestive juices, and it makes it harder to digest your food.” So she said, “I’ve decided not to drink anything when I eat.”

And I want to tell you, it was astonishing. All throughout that meal, I did not take a single drink of my iced tea, and in fact, I’ll be honest with you, it was years before I began to drink while I was eating a meal because mothers are just that powerful. I could not go against my raising. Just this offhand comment she made, all of a sudden, it became a rule that I just had to live that way.

And you see, friends, mothers have influence. Fathers do too. Friends do. Teachers do. Pastors do. But influence is a superpower, and we need to use it for good because the world needs the good that it can do.

As you know, we’ve been talking about this verse, how God wants to work through you, how you are created and formed and shaped by God to do good things, how God’s love flows into you and then flows out from you to your neighbor because you see, your neighbors– one definition, your neighbors are people over whom you have some influence.

And you see, neighbors are a gift from God. It is a reality. Unless you live way out in the country, you don’t really get to pick who your neighbors are. The priority is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and God’s love flows into us so that we can do God’s will, which is the second part of that, which is to love your neighbor as yourself. And God, as you go through your day, brings people in front of you, and they are your neighbors.

Now, some of them are neighbors you’ve chosen. Some of them are family members. But some of them are just the house that you walk by, when you go for a stroll and you see children’s toys in the yard and you think, “I need to pray for those children. I need to pray for that family.” Because you see, God chooses who your neighbors are. And God provides you with a way to love them because everyone you meet is brought in front of you so that they can receive your love.

Now, as any young child growing up knows, mothers are very loving but sometimes they also have a temper. But if you’ve ever had to be straightened out by a mother because you deserved it, you’ve also learned that that’s also a form of love. Sometimes the neighbors we meet are people whose lives are not together. And if nothing else, we can pray for God to mend what’s broken in their lives. Nonetheless, God will bring people in front of you as you go through your day … for you to pray for them and sometimes, sometimes to use your influence to help them live a better life.

I would also like to tell you that mothers are teachers. When I was in fifth grade and I did not understand it, she said, “Dave, it’s time for you to learn how to iron a dress shirt.” So here I am, a fifth grader. I’m standing at the ironing board. One of my dad’s white dress shirts is on the ironing board and my mother patiently shows me how to iron a dress shirt. And she stands there and she watches me until I can do it perfectly. You see, that’s what coaches do. I’m going to do it and you watch me. Now, do what I do. And then we do it, and we watch, and we learn. And then finally, I can do it. And the mother watches and says, “You missed a spot,” because I did.

I asked her, I said, “Mom, this is the weirdest thing. Why do I need, at the age that I am as a fifth grader, to learn how to iron a dress shirt?” And she said, “Dave, it’s just very, very simple. If I don’t teach you this, you’ll marry the first girl who will iron your shirts for you.” [laughter] True story. That’s exactly what she said. It caused me to wonder about my dad, but she taught me how to iron.

And my brother and I learned how to cook and we made supper on weekdays. She went to work and my father thought it would be a kind thing if she would come home and not need to cook. And so my brother and I, starting at sixth grade, seventh grade, we began to cook supper every weeknight. Now, I’m not really sure that was a kind thing to do. She never complained about the concoctions we made And in addition to that, we were not such good sons that we cleaned up the kitchen.

But mothers are also teachers. They form us. They teach us good manners because otherwise, little boys would grow up to be heathen, and I probably would be one of the worst. Mothers are a special kind of love. Now, again, sometimes it’s grandmothers, and sometimes it’s a teacher at school that provides this kindness. Sometimes it’s a Sunday school teacher. But we would not be the people we are today if someone had not mothered us.

There are two kinds of families in this world. On the left side of the screen are biological families. You don’t get to choose who your parents are. You don’t get to choose who your brothers and sisters are. But as you grow up, you get to form what is called a chosen family. And this idea is very popular because, as you become a grown-up, you’re going to choose friends, and they will be like a chosen family. And you’re going to sometimes have a family at work. That’s the secret of NCIS; Jethro is the dad, and nobody better mess with his kids! Two kinds of families.

And you see the same thing in the Bible where Paul says to Timothy, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and now, I’m sure dwells in you.” What we learn as children comes toward us, and we absorb it from our biological family. And that is a wonderful thing sometimes. And sometimes it’s not quite as wonderful because we absorb lessons from our biological families that aren’t very good, or ways of behaving that aren’t very nice.

And I’ll be honest with you, I still remember the day I walked down the hallway turning light switches off and saying to myself, “You’d think we own stock in Illinois power.” And all of a sudden, I just stopped and I said, “Oh, Lord, I’ve become my father.” Because we absorb things from our biological family. And sometimes they’re wonderful and sometimes they’re not. But the great joy is this. You and I can choose a family that will help balance whatever it was about how we were raised.

And Timothy was also a chosen child. 2 Timothy 1:1 begins with these words, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.” And then he says this, “To Timothy, my beloved child. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus, our Lord. I thank God whom I serve with a clear conscience as did my fathers, when I remember you, Timothy, constantly in my prayers. And as I remember your tears, I long night and day to see you that I may be filled with joy.” Paul felt God calling him to adopt Timothy and to care for him like a father. Then he says this, “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Now, that’s two generations. There’s Paul and there’s Timothy. And then Paul says to Timothy, “And what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust the faithful people, faithful men, who will also be able to teach others.” And what you see here is a chosen family of four generations because this love that causes Paul to call Timothy his son, it goes on and on and on through the history of the church. A church is a chosen family. And the world needs that sort of family.

Why? Here’s the truth. This was on the wall in the YMCA in Quincy, Illinois. If you who are good don’t have time to teach children to do what is right, someone who is not good with lots of time will teach them to do what is wrong. Mothering is needed in this world. Somebody has to look across the park bench and say to a kid, “Come over here. Your shirt’s not buttoned right.” Somebody needs to care if a child doesn’t get enough to eat. Somebody needs to step up and be the chosen, caring person who chooses to care for someone who might not be their flesh and blood, but who needs someone to love them. And the person who does that will do that because they know that God put us here to love people. That’s why we’re here. God put us here to love people.

One of the most powerful examples of loving people – I told you this story a few weeks ago – the church in Korea that I find so inspiring, they organized their 700,000 members into 50,000 small groups. And they say to each group, “Find someone to love. Find someone who needs your love and reach out and love that person.” And so they select someone who’s not a Christian, one of their neighbors. And they pray about it. Lord, is this the person? And then they pray for that person. They love that person. They do things to take care of them and serve them. They bring meals, sweep out the person’s store, whatever it takes to show them that they really care for them. And of course, the person says, “Why are you doing this? Why are you treating me so well?” And our people answered, “Jesus told us that we’re supposed to do good all people. And we want you to know that we care, that we love you, and so does Jesus.”

And the pastor of this church says after three or four months of such love, the hardest soul softens up and surrenders to Jesus Christ because they feel the love of Jesus flowing toward them and then it fills them where they are empty. And then you know what happens? They sit down with the group and pick the person to be loved next.

Now, you don’t have to pick the person, if you want. You can let God bring people in front of you and there will be someone you’ll be drawn to. There will be this feeling of adoption: “I care for that person.”

But this is why we’re here. God puts us in this world to be a church. And the best definition of a church I’ve ever heard is this one: We are a functional family… A church is a family. Now, not all families are functional. Some families are dysfunctional. Some churches are like families that are dysfunctional. But ideally, a healthy church is a functional family of God. And a child or an adult who becomes a part of that functional family begins to repair anything broken that’s leftover from their childhood. They learn in this new family whatever they didn’t learn from their biological family, and it heals them where they’re broken and hurting.

A church is this. We are a functional family of God where Jesus is Lord and people grow. People grow up. And so you see, God is a chosen Father because people who don’t love God choose to love God. And a church is a chosen family because people who don’t have a church feel drawn to it because they hunger for that sort of family. A church is a chosen family, and what causes those family things to happen are the parental influence and the caring that today I want to call mothering.

And it’s my hope and prayer that each one of us will be a good influence in a way that is natural to us for the people around us because that sort of caring, that sort of mothering is needed here because people are loved into the family of God. Sermons are good. Worship is good. Potlucks are good. Advertising is good. The church sign out here, it’s good. But what draws people into the family of God is they feel the love of Jesus pulling them towards something they have always wanted. So when you have the opportunity to be kind to a neighbor, when you have the opportunity – should it happen – to feel that you need to adopt someone just like Paul adopted Timothy, let what’s in your heart flow out to people who need you.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, I thank You today for everyone who ever loved me. Starting with my mother and grandmothers, starting with good friends that they had who sort of became unofficial aunts and uncles, and Lord, all the people down through all the years, including all the church members that have loved me. I thank You for all that love that has made me whatever it is that is good today in me. Lord, help me and help us to choose wisely and to love others, 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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