Sermon 7/04/2021: The Advocacy of the Comforter (Pentecost 05)

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/570774040

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/crifnQV171p

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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 Prayer of Saint 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

HYMN This Is My Song
This Is My Song – Provided to YouTube by The Orchard Enterprises
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnIN0Oq1xB4

(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 He Touched Me
Gaither Vocal Band – He Touched Me [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m–ptwd_iI

(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: The Advocacy of the Comforter
Text: 1 John 1:6-10, 2:1-11, 2 Chronicles 7:14-15
Series: The Gifts of the Comforter

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Kinmundy 9 am Sermon Audio

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SERMON NOTES

2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.

1 John 1:6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; 7 but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He who says “I know him” but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly love for God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: 6 he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new commandment, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness still. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and in it there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But he who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

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HYMN Victory In Jesus
Victory In Jesus (Lyric Video/Live At The Cove Billy Graham Training Center, Asheville, NC
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEmkUrsloaU

(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 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.

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

First things first: Forgiveness is important. So I would like to ask you to turn to the person next to you. If you’re sitting all by yourself, point to someone on the other side of the sanctuary. Turn to them, look them right in the eye, and say to them, “I forgive you.” You don’t need to tell anybody what you’re forgiving them for, but you see, they need to be forgiven.

There are multiple instances in the scripture where Jesus is asked to actually heal someone. And the very first words he says is, “I forgive you.” Forgiveness loosens the power to act so importantly that Jesus gave the ministry of giving forgiveness to us who followed him.

But it’s worthwhile for us to think just a little bit about what it means to practice forgiveness. This is a favorite scripture on Fourth of July weekend, comes from the Old Testament. If my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways— do you see the “if”? But don’t get confused. Sometimes when preachers preach this, they want to say in churches, “If those people out there humble themselves,” and we think, “They ought to be humble.” “If those people out there pray and seek God’s face,” and we think, “Yes, they ought to do that.” “And turn from their wicked ways.” “Oh, all of them ought to change.”

But if you look at it, friends, that’s not actually what it says. God says, “If my people.” You see, the whole nation changes, the whole world changes when we begin with ourselves. God is calling for us to be humble. God is calling for us to pray and seek God’s face. God is calling us to turn from our wicked ways. Although some of us, our wicked ways are extremely mild!

If you want the whole world around us to change. If you want for the blessings to come through, understand: it starts with us.

Here’s the promise. “Then I will hear from heaven. I will hear their prayers, and I will forgive their sins,” God says, “And I will heal their land.” Isn’t it true that our land needs some healing? Amen.

Now, this particular promise is given by God at the dedication of the temple. And so these words are said in verse 15, “Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.” That was Solomon’s temple, but God is listening to the prayers made in Herod’s temple, the one in Jesus’s day. God is listening to the prayers that are made in this temple, in church buildings all across the world, but it all starts when we – we – humble ourselves, seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways. We begin the process of the world changing.

And here’s the joke. I just want to warn you, it is a joke. It’s a joke by comedian Emo Philips. When I was a kid, I used to pray every night for a new tricycle that I realized that the Lord doesn’t work that way. So I stole one and asked him to forgive me.

Let that sink in. Let that sink in for just a minute. And now let’s talk about what’s wrong with that.

See, first of all, God does work that way. God does answer prayers, but God doesn’t always answer prayers as quickly as we want God to answer them. Sometimes the answer is wait.

Sometimes the answer is work. If you have a child that has a room that’s a big mess, the way God answers your prayer that the room be cleaned up is for the child to actually do the work. If I think I need to do something, I’m not going to pray that God will do it for me. Sometimes I just have to do the work.

The third thing is we have a sin problem and we yield to the temptation of sin like an alcoholic races toward a drink. I’ve really been struggling with this lately, not because I’m racing toward a drink, but for some reason immediately after supper, every part of my body starts to scream, I want ice cream. And it’s a challenging, difficult thing to just squelch that and just say, no, no, no, no, until bedtime, at the very least. Now, I’m not saying I got up at midnight and had some ice cream, I’m just saying that it’s a struggle.

#4: We have a weakness when it comes to something that’s wrong or bad for us, and because we have that weakness, we try often to cover it up. Number four, we’re in denial of the fact that we have a sin problem. Mostly. But if you ask someone, if you tried to say to someone, I’ve noticed you have a drinking problem or something like that, they will come up with all kinds of reasons why you are wrong, because they think no one notices, which is kind of silly. And you probably have noticed my problem with ice cream. I take it with me everywhere. (Pats tummy!)

But we like to pretend that we don’t have that problem or sometimes we do something that’s actually a little silly. We’re quickly willing to say to people, I have an addiction to ice cream without telling you the real things I struggle with because it’s easy to talk about ice cream.

Consequently, it’s hard for us to forgive. And it gets worse when we start trying to go backwards and outwards as a way to solve that sin problem.

Sometimes we blame other people for the weakness that we have. “I wouldn’t eat too much ice cream if you were just nicer to me,” somebody might say. We tend to blame other people for the problems we have. Now, maybe not you because you’re perfect, but don’t we know a whole lot of people, though, who do that.

And in addition to that, when– have you ever noticed that people who are just like you really get on your nerves? When somebody who’s just like us does something that hurts our feelings, we get even more upset and we condemn them.

And sometimes, we’ve been hurt so badly we don’t want to forgive people because we think that forgiving someone means allowing them to hurt us again. And one of the ways we do that, maybe not you, but some people, is we keep the hurt alive to remind us not to trust that person. We keep the hurt alive to remind us not to let down our guard. Now, they’ve forgotten all about the thing they did that hurt us, but we’re still suffering from it because we’ve decided to use it somehow as an early warning system, and so we resist forgiving people.

One of the little bits of advice they gave us is pastors in seminary, they said, “When you come into a church, people are going to come up to you and tell you about the horrible, horrible, horrible thing that person did to them.” And they said to us, “What you always want to do is ask how long ago that was? And that’s when you find out that the horrible, hurtful thing was two years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, and sometimes all the way back to childhood because we have a tendency not to be willing to let go of the hurt we feel.” And as a result, we still suffer from not being able to forgive.

Consequently, it’s not easy for us to forgive, but here’s what the scripture says. Now, this is not from the gospel of John. It’s the epistle of John, First John, where the apostle John writes, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Please turn to the person next to you and say, “If you say you have no sin, the truth is not in you.” Do it. Do it now. It’s really fun to see these married couples say that to each other (and laugh).

You see, every single one of us has some kind of weakness, some kind of problem that we struggle with, and I know that I certainly do, but here’s the beautiful truth in verse nine. “If we confess our sins,” and by the way, to confess your sins means you say to God, “Lord, you’re right about that and I’m wrong.” We stop defending the bad thing we do, and we just simply admit that it’s wrong. If we confess our sins, He, God, is faithful and just. God is not waiting for you to confess so that God can punish you. God is waiting for you to confess so God can forgive you. See the rest of the verse. “He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins.” That’s what we want. But look at the extra added thing that God does. “And cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God takes the thing that we’ve done and begins to repair all the broken places. Begins to clean up all the chaos and the mess. Unrighteousness: God begins to fix everything that’s not right. And friends, this is a form of healing.

But the main point that John wants to make is this, “If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” There is really no room for defensiveness on our part.

In the very next chapter, John has these words, “My little children, I’m writing this to you so that you may not sin.” So it’s possible for life to get better. “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous. And He is the expiation …” That’s a big fancy word that means payment. It means remedy. It means medicine. It means what brings correction. He is the expiation for our sins. It is like a blank check. “And not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this, we may be sure that we know Him if we keep His commandments.” You see, what Jesus told us to do, if we do that, we’ll know that we are on the right track. And then John says this, “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ but disobeys His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, in him, truly, love for God is perfected.” You and I, friends, are not perfect yet. But as we strive to keep His word, God keeps His word and continues to work in us.

John goes on to say, “By this, we may be sure that we are in Him.” Verse 6, “He who says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.”

This is why I suggest to you, as you read the Bible and you see what Jesus did, you pray and you say, “Lord, that’s the model. If You want me to do that, please help me.” On the other hand, kind of a summary of the commandments is this in verse 9, “He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness still. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and in it, there is no cause for stumbling.”

I need to be honest with you. Knowing I was going to talk with this, God has been reminding me, Jesus has been reminding me, the Holy Spirit has been reminding me of every person in my life who’s ever harmed me, who’s ever hurt me. And with that reminder, rising up in me quite often are the feelings of hurt and resentment that tell me that I have not completely let go of that pain. There’s still hurt and resentment in me. I still have not yet forgiven people entirely as I should. The image that strikes me with great power is that have Jesus on the cross looking down on the people who nailed him on the cross, looking down on the Jewish politicians that conspired to put him on the cross, and saying these words, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

You see, friends, that’s the way God would like us to be able to walk. Now we’re not there yet. Sometimes we’re still full of anger and resentment and hurt, but Jesus gives us a picture of what we could possibly be like. Now we’re back to the Gospel of John, which is the anchor of all of these sermons we’ve been preaching, “As the Father has sent me,” Jesus says to the disciples on Easter Sunday, “even so, I send you.” In the exact same way, I send you. I send you to do what I did. I send you to say what I said. I send you to be like me in a world that needs that so much.

And there’s a couple of things you need if you take that as your goal. “Receive the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit flows from Jesus to us, and through us, and it’s by the power of the Holy Spirit acting on other people that God makes these changes. You and I cooperate with the Holy Spirit, but friends, it’s not dependent upon us.

And then after you receive the Holy Spirit comes this gentle reminder. “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” Now I’m very hopeful that when you think of the sin of someone who has hurt you and harmed you, that you don’t find yourself saying, almost as a prayer, “You can burn in hell for what you did to me. Retain your sin!” I hope that’s not how you feel. But you’ll notice the scripture there. Jesus said this. We need to take it seriously. If we say to someone, “May your sins stick,” that scripture implies that it could just stick.

Wouldn’t it be so much better to look at the other part of the verse, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven”? And I’ve talked with you about this several times over the last few months because here’s the reality: As I go through my week, when I am standing in the line at the grocery store and looking at the people in front of me, it never occurs to me to say, “May your sins be forgiven.” If I was at a ballgame, sitting in the stands, it would never occur to me to say, “Lord, these people are broken and imperfect just like me. Please forgive their sins.” In fact, to be honest, I might not even think very much of forgiving someone sin unless they have sinned against me. And of course, that means the forgiveness I give to people, it’s all about me. And not everyone has harmed me. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if because you were in the line at the grocery store that day, someone’s sins were forgiven? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you were at the ballpark that day and a married couple made a change in their lives because they somehow gained the power to forgive each other for how they hurt each other because you said a prayer? Not for somebody you even knew, but somebody who you knew God loved and wanted to help.

I’m astonished at how unusual it feels to me to say to in my mind, to a complete stranger, “Your sins are forgiven. God loves you.” Or to pray that God would forgive their sins. But that’s what Jesus said. That’s what Jesus did.

Maybe that’s what I should do, because, you see, God is in the business of forgiveness. God sent Jesus here so that we all could be forgiven, not just people who go to the same church we do. Not just people who feel the same way we do. Not just people who have the same beliefs that we do, not just people just like us. But God sent Jesus here so that we all could be forgiven.

So here’s the question that comes to you and me. Would you like to be in the family of God? I hope you would say yes.

Would you like then to be in the family business, which is the business of forgiveness? I hope you would say yes.

Would you like to be like Jesus? I hope you would say yes, but if it’s true, when you’re on the cross, you will look down on people who don’t deserve forgiveness and say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Because they don’t know what they do.

The metaphor for this whole series of sermons has been the idea that you’re sitting on one end of a park bench and some stranger comes up and sits on the other end … and that the Holy Spirit is going to help them through you. And as you go to and fro today to family gatherings, perhaps to go to celebrations, perhaps you’ll be in that line at the grocery store, since God gave us this privilege of forgiving people, let’s go find someone to forgive. Let’s go forgive some people and watch God change their lives.

And by the way, along the way, don’t forget to ask for your own forgiveness. When you find in your heart a resentment, when you find in your heart that you look to someone and you feel this anger, quite often it’s because that person or someone like that did something to harm and hurt you. And the names of people have been going through my mind. And the older you get, the longer the list. And I’ve been realizing that I need to root out any reluctance I find in myself to forgive others. And that resentment, I think, is a sign that I’m not quite ready to be like Jesus, but if I can ask for forgiveness for myself, then I can ask the same for another person.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, there are two things all human beings have in common.
One thing we have in common is the reality that you died for us so that we might be forgiven.
The second thing, Lord, we all have in common is that every single one of us needs that forgiveness.
Lord, you’ve given to us the privilege to pray that others would be forgiven. And in fact, Lord, you’ve said you sent us to do just that. Help us, Lord, to remember the power of forgiveness, to change people’s lives, and may that forgiveness flow through our prayers into the lives of other people around us. We ask that in Jesus’ name, 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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OUR CHURCH FAMILY PRAYER PAGE — July 4 – July 11


PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR PASTORS: David Kueker, our Superintendent, Carol Lakota Eastin, and our Bishops, Frank Beard and Gregory Palmer. If you need Pastor Dave for prayer, please call or text his cell phone, 618-780-0151, or email at dkueker@yahoo.com. or on Facebook as David Oliver Kueker.

Prayer Request From Jesus: Matthew 9:37 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.”

Please Pray For God To Bless Our “Care Card Ministry” Person Of The Week –
K Dean Jones, Rm 301, Manor of the Woods, 441 S Hotze Rd, Salem, IL 62881

Please Pray For God To Bless These People For Special Needs –
K Quinten Butts – Was in Good Sam hospital from Tuesday till Friday after falling on Monday. Feeling much better after rest, breathing treatments and antibiotics. Send cards to: 7400 Williams Rd, Kinmundy, IL 62854
Terry Hicks – Health Issues
K Gerri Molina – Is closer to home now at Nature’s Trail Health Care Center, Room 306 A, 1001 S 34th St, Mt Vernon 62864. She continues to feel better and is very happy to have Jered Gambill as her therapist to help her gain her strength back. Please pray for Gerri to regain her strength and come home.

Please Pray For God To Bless These People With Ongoing Needs –
Dennis Seavers, Cathy Wilkins, Noah Eller, Alex Hays, Mike Webster, Fleta Lybarger, Bill Olden, April Mercer, Gene Simmons, Duane Ambrose, Marie Dickerson, Cindy Kueker (Pastor Dave’s cousin), Molly Monical, Russell Kilby, Shirley Miller, John Holzhauer, David Mendenhall (Steve Wilkin’s friend), Helen Sullivan, Aaron Guerrettaz (Jo Williams’ nephew, Jim & Nancy Guerrettaz’s son), Kay Feather Lydick, Caitlin Engel (Julie Jones’ cousin), Quinten Butts, Mike Donoho, Haven Mueller, Kayley Wilhelm, Larry & Dolores Johnson (Kim’s Parents), Nancy Weeks-Lafenhagen

Please Pray For God To Bless Our Military Families –
Sgt Rusty & Nicole (Nolan, Michael, Lydia) Robb – US Embassy in Dublin, Ireland

Please Pray For Those Grieving For
– Brenton Conner, Mike Pannell’s grandson and Leslie Randall’s cousin.

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CHURCH SCHEDULE & EVENTS for July 4 – July 11, 2021

CHURCH SCHEDULE & EVENTS & WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO KNOW —
July 4 – July 11, 2021

THIS WEEK’S CHURCH CALENDAR
Sun 7/4
9:00 am … WORSHIP in Sanctuary at Kinmundy First UMC
10:30 am …SUNDAY SCHOOL at Kinmundy First UMC
10:45 am .. WORSHIP in Sanctuary at Wesley UMC

Mon 7/5
— … OFFICE CLOSED – National Holiday

Tues 7/6
— … PASTOR’S SABBATH DAY

Wed 7/7
1:00 pm … QUILTERS Meet

Fri 7/9
1-5 pm … PASTOR VOLUNTEERS at Kinmundy Library

Sun 7/11
9 00 am … WORSHIP in Sanctuary at Kinmundy First UMC
10:45 am … WORSHIP in Sanctuary at Wesley UMC
3:00 pm .. PASTOR DAVE to KRD Clergy Meeting

We Would Like You To Know –

  1. Upcoming Committee Meetings:
    Mon 7/26 11:00 am Missions Meeting
    Mon 7/26 7:00 pm Ad Council Meeting
    Mon 8/9 7:00 pm Trustees Meeting
    Mon 8/16 7:00 pm Endowment Meeting
  2. SOBER REALITIES: Unvaccinated people may choose to wear masks for their own safety and the safety of other non-vaccinated people. Please do not crowd each other as we adjust to this change.
    It is possible but very unlikely that a vaccinated person can get COVID. Not everyone feels safe not wearing a mask—please be kind. We’ve had a tough year!
    Please pray for wisdom for our government leaders and a calm response throughout to the lifting of restrictions.
  3. THIS WEEK’S PRAYER FAMILIES — Members & Friends
    · Karen Robnett Family; Charles Robnett & Family;
    Scott Robnett & Family;
    David Robnett & Family
    · Brandon Sauter Family
  4. KASKASKIA RIVER DISTRICT — Pastor David will be attending a mandatory clergy meeting Sunday, July 11, at 3:00 pm in Fairfield.
  5. HAND N HAND is going to Dairy Mart! On Monday, July 12, at 6:00 pm, come to Dairy Mart for a game of mini-golf and a sweet treat on us! Adults and children are welcome to participate. Hope to see you there. Let us know if you plan to attend.
  6. SALT POTLUCK is returning on Wednesday, July 14, from 11:30 – 1:00 pm. We will have a cookout with sides. Please plan to attend and bring a side dish or a dessert. The meat will be furnished. There is a sign-up sheet in the office or you can call Vervadene and get your name on it. This list is helpful in knowing how much meat to prepare, but if you decide to come at the last minute we will have plenty.
  7. THE DONATION CAN — On the counter in Vervadene’s office: Noah Eller, nephew and Alex Hays, son of Tom Hays of Alma was seriously injured in a car accident on March 31. Both boys will have to go back and forth to SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St Louis for follow up tests, procedures, and physical therapy to fully recover. The families of these boys are in need of prayer and support. Any donation to help with gas and medicine would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  8. VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL — We will be joining Salem Grace Methodist Church for vacation bible school beginning July 19-23 with the closing program on Friday, July 23. Rocky Railway, Jesus’ Power Pulls Us Through will be the theme. The black van will probably leave the church parking lot at 8:30 am and return around 12:30 pm. (Or you can meet us there.) Registration forms will be available soon. If you have any questions you can talk to Debbie Price.
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Sermon 6/27/2021: The Persuasion of the Comforter (Pentecost 05)

At this time, due to Coronavirus concerns, many are not quite ready to return to face to face worship. If this includes you, 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/567981781

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cr1tnOV14fG

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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 Prayer of Saint 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

HYMN Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us
Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us | Kaoma Chende (a capella)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_nffQ3HepA

(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: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

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 Something Beautiful
Gaither Vocal Band – Something Beautiful [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMQqSarDf8Y
or
David Phelps – Something Beautiful from Hymnal (Official Music Video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0jjZMlcUrM

(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: The Persuasion of the Comforter
Text: John 16:7-15
Series: Series: The Gifts of the Comforter

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

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SERMON NOTES

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

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HYMN There’s Within My Heart A Melody
Bill & Gloria Gaither – He Keeps Me Singing [Live] ft. Jake Hess
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gT-f8sDBJI

(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 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.

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

TRANSCRIPT

The persuasion of the comforter: God wants to persuade us to live a life that is more joyful, that is filled with more love and peace, that exhibits kindness, gentleness, patience, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. That’s the fruit of the spirit working in our life. God wants to persuade us to live a life that would give us greater joy and greater happiness.

On the other hand, sometimes, we get all excited when we think that we should persuade others to do just that. And when we jump into that persuasion, something beautiful doesn’t happen. Instead, there is brokenness and strife because we need to let God persuade people.

My father was a junior high math teacher. He loved giving people advice. I learned very early on not to ask him to help me with my math homework because the question of whether I got the answer right on a problem in algebra would lead to 30 to 45 minutes of exploration of all the history of mathematics … because my father loved information, and he loved sharing information, which is why he was a good teacher. And he would share his opinion with anyone.

Frequently, he literally asked me one question: “Son, would you like some constructive criticism?” Most of the time, I would not like it because I didn’t want to spend 45 minutes learning everything I could have done differently. But he would frequently ask that question and then just dive right into that constructive criticism, “Because if you leaned a half an inch to the left and if you turned a quarter inch toward the north, then everything would have been perfect.”

And I thought to myself, “That doesn’t work very well when I try to do that for others.”

But the unusual thing about my father’s constructive criticism is that I don’t remember my feelings getting hurt. I would get a little bored, but I don’t remember my feelings getting hurt.

I think I was something like nine years old when he asked me, “Dave, what do you want to do when you grow up?” And I said, “Dad, I’ve decided I want to be an astronaut.” My father looked sad. And he said, “Dave, I’m really sorry to tell you, but they don’t let people who wear glasses to be astronauts.”

And I said, “Okay, if they won’t do that, I’m going to be a jet fighter pilot.” And he said, “Dave, I’m sorry. They don’t let people who wear glasses be jet fighter pilots.” Now, when you think about that, all the things that a fighter pilot has to do with the jet, if my glasses fell off on the floor, I’d be in a world of hurt in a jet airplane. I can’t reach the floor in my car unless I bull over! When I drop something on the floor, I can’t reach down to get it. Maybe when I was younger I could.

So I said to my dad, “Well, if none of those will work, I guess I’ll just be an FBI agent.” And my dad said, “Son, they don’t let people who wear eyeglasses be FBI agents.” And I don’t know whether that’s true or not. Maybe it was true at that time, but I really didn’t like the idea that I couldn’t do anything I wanted to do. I was nine after all. I was almost a teenager.

But when I look back on it, what I remember is that even though my dad said, “You can’t do that,” he did not say, “You can’t do that because you’re a bad person.” He did not say, “You can’t do that because you’re stupid.” He did not say, “You can’t do that because you’re not good enough.” Oddly enough, when my dad gave me this avalanche of information, I never felt bad about myself. I was not ashamed.

And it’s interesting, when I read through the Bible, there are many places where Jesus says, “Do this,” and I know I don’t. But when Jesus tells me to do something, I’m not ashamed. I’m just aware of what I should do differently. And when Jesus tells me not to do something, I don’t feel like I’m a bad person. I just feel like Jesus has told me what I should do. It’s interesting how, when Jesus gives me constructive criticism, I receive the instruction but I’m not wounded in my heart.

Now, there are times I’ll wake up in the middle of the night feeling absolutely, totally awful about something I’ve done. Sometimes that’s the Holy Spirit. I understand as you get older, things you did that were harmful and hurtful that you regret, sometimes they can wake you up at night and they do. And I remind myself that I’m forgiven … but I still have to process the feelings. But I also volunteer to God that if I need to feel bad about what I did, I’m willing to do so. And as I pray for the person that I hurt and I try to make it right with God and I walk away from that without being wounded in my emotions.

Look at this stack of books. This is sort of the way my dad was, “Here’s all the information that you did about what you did wrong. Now, after you read these thousand pages, get back to me and we’ll discuss it.” (As a joke, maybe you’ve noticed these books are all in Chinese!) So you read those thousand pages of Chinese and get back to me. Here’s all you did wrong. Here’s all the information you need to help make it better. But I find that if I’m dealing with information, I can receive it without feeling bad about myself. And Lord knows, if there’s a better way to make my breakfast, if there’s a quicker way to fix the car, if there’s a smarter place to shop for dill pickles, I want to know that information. It does help me, but information does not cause me to feel ashamed.

There is a problem, however, with too much information. Most of the time, we don’t need all the information in the world that exists, and in fact, most of the time we know far too much about the wrong way. What we actually need to know is not the thousand things we did wrong and the thousand things we need to do right. What we need is for someone to tell us what is the next step in the right direction. What is the next step to a better life? Because if you continue to make the wrong steps, you’re never going to get closer to a better life, however you would wish to define that. What is the next step?

And when I would listen to my father, he would eventually get around to the next step. When I read through the Bible, it seems to me that Jesus points out to me the next step. And because it’s about information rather than about what a bad person I am, I am not ashamed and nothing I feel prevents me from taking that next step.

Here’s what Jesus has to say about it, because this is one of the things that the Holy Spirit does for us. Nevertheless, Jesus says in John chapter 16, verse 7, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It’s to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. I’m going to be in Heaven, but I want you to have an advisor, a helper, one who comes alongside here on this earth. And that will be the Holy Spirit. And it’s to your advantage for me to send him to you.

And when he comes, he will convince the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgement.” All too often we get all excited and we think it’s our job to convince the world, but it really isn’t. The Holy Spirit does that work. Now, sometimes we help, but the Holy Spirit is the one sent from God to convince the world of what they’re doing wrong. Concerning sin, Jesus says, Because they do not believe in me. The Holy Spirit is sent to this world to convince people that they are sinners, to convince people that they should believe in Jesus. And sometimes we help.

Verse 10, concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you will see me no more. The Holy Spirit is the one that God sent into this world to tell people what’s righteous and what’s not righteous, to tell people what needs to change, to tell people where they are going wrong. And sometimes we help, but it’s the work of the Holy Spirit.

Concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. It’s the job of the Holy Spirit to point out the works of the devil. Sometimes we help, but all too often our judging others does more harm than good because we need to let the Holy Spirit work.

Not only that. Take a look at verse 12. If Jesus told us everything before he left, he says very plainly, we would not be able to bear it. “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” There’s just too much. More than you can handle. But verse 13, “When the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.” He will tell you what you need to know today, and then tomorrow he’ll tell you what you need to know tomorrow. And next week, he’ll tell you what you need to know next week. And you will not be overwhelmed by that stack of a thousand books, because the Holy Spirit will tell you each day what’s important. Each day, what you need to hear … The Holy Spirit will reveal at the proper time everything Jesus wants you to know. So when you are in that moment of confusion, of doubt, of difficulty, if you just sit still and open your hearts to prayer, the Holy Spirit very likely will tell you what the next step is.

I don’t know if you have a GPS. I do. Most of us have one in our phone whether we use it or not. I finally broke down and bought one when I got lost in Chicago traffic one day over a decade ago. I was looking for a Target store and I could not find it. The reason I could not find it is I was trying to drive in Chicago traffic with one hand on the wheel and the other holding up the printed out directions from Yahoo Maps. And you see, I had all the directions, but my eyes couldn’t get to the next step, and I missed the right turn and I got lost. Then I got even more lost. Then I got even more lost. So when I finally got to Target, I just went up there and I bought a GPS. [laughter] I have never regretted it. Back then they were pretty expensive, but it was worth every penny because that was the last time I ever got lost.

Consider how a GPS works. It doesn’t tell you everything. It helps you to focus on the next step. And that’s how the Holy Spirit persuades us to do God’s will. For as Jesus says, he, the Holy Spirit, will not speak on his own authority. Whatever he hears, he will speak and he will declare to you the things that are to come. Jesus in multiple different ways has said, “Everything I tell you, the Father told me to tell you.” Now the Holy Spirit is going to tell us, but it’s the same sequence. Everything the Father tells me, I’m going to tell the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is going to tell you. And sometimes the Holy Spirit will tell you that you should say something and tell someone else. The same process: We hear from God The Father. We hear from God The Son, through God The Holy Spirit, all the things that we need to do, all the things that are to come.

And here’s one very quick test to understand that it comes from God: what you hear will glorify Jesus. What you hear from the Holy Spirit will increase your faith and belief in Jesus Christ, for, as Jesus said, He will take what is mine and declare it to you. You will feel that connection. All that the Father has is mine. Therefore, I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Friends, you and I have guidance that does not make us feel ashamed but points us in the right direction. We need to understand that we are not the boss of anyone.

Now let me step back and say, “You may have an employee. You may have a child that you need to straighten out. Sometimes you have to act like a boss, but ultimately you are not the boss of everyone in the world.” Persuasion is not your job. And it’s certainly not your job to get more powerful and pushy and brutal if anyone around you won’t do what you think is right. Anyone who has a two-year-old knows that if you try to make them do anything, it will not work.

Actually, that’s not quite true. It’ll work when you scare them. It will work when they are afraid of you. But you’ve lost one of the most powerful things of helping a two-year-old when you make them afraid of you.

Apologetics is the Christian version of that. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that term. Apologetics is when you go to a class and you learn all these arguments and you go out with your really big, thick Bible and you look for someone to fight with. And of course, there are people out there in the world that want to fight with you. To be honest, all you have to do is say your opinion, and people will line up because they want to fight with you! Have you noticed that?

Apologetics is when you have this pile of arguments to literally intellectually beat the tar out of someone who dares oppose you. And people come out of apologetics training hunting for atheists so that they can – what would you call it? – not convict, not contradict, but to conquer them. Their dream is that, by yelling and quoting the Bible, they can make someone believe in Jesus against their will. Have you ever noticed that working? I don’t think it does.

Apologetics is not your job. It is not your job to debate with someone to force them to believe in Jesus because not only is it not God’s will, it doesn’t work. Yet we keep doing it. We share more than information. We share in such a way that people feel ashamed. They feel belittled. They feel ignored, they feel disrespected and they certainly never feel God’s love or your love for them.

Here is one of the saddest things I have to tell you about my life. Kim has seen this before. There’s a part of me that thinks that I should take this cartoon and cut it out and frame it and put it by the computer. It’s by a cartoonist by the name of XKCD who gives permission for his cartoons to be used. And the man is sitting there at the computer. And the wife says, “Are you coming to bed?” because it’s 10 o’clock, and then it’s 11 o’clock, and then it’s midnight, and then it’s 1:00 AM, and then it’s 2:00 AM, and then it’s 3:00 AM. And each time the wife calls out, the husband says, “I can’t. This is important.”

“What?” she asks, and the husband replies, “Someone is wrong on the internet.”

Now, maybe you’re chuckling because that’s you. Maybe you’re chuckling because that’s the person you’re married to. But there is a reality that sometimes we get into an argument, and we just can’t let go.

And your pastor is telling you this morning, “Friends, this is something I suffer from.” Kim will tell you the worst thing to do is interrupt me while I’m putting something on Facebook because it’s like I can’t stop till it’s done. But you know what the problem is there? It’s never done, or, at least, it’s never done until they admit that you’re right and they’re wrong, which they’re never going to do.

But you see … this is the incredible grace that comes with the power of the Holy Spirit. Being right is no longer your job. And making everyone else do what we think they should do is no longer our job because God has taken it upon himself through the power of the Holy Spirit to persuade people around us. And one of the ways that God does that is by sharing information in a way that does not hurt people’s feelings and does not violate their sense of self-respect.

So please keep this in mind this week and on into the future. Maybe it should be the next step. When you let go, something magical happens. You give God room to work because, certainly, whether it’s a teenager or an employee or your next-door neighbor or whoever it is who loves arguing with you because they love making you angry and you make them so happy, you would not believe it … if they can get you to lose your temper and act in a way that does not glorify Jesus Christ.

When you let go of being right or trying to make everybody else see it your way, something spiritually miraculous happens: You give God room to work.

So what’s your next step? What’s your new job? Let the Holy Spirit go to work all around you to change people’s lives and help this to be a better world, a better town, and a better church.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we say, “Thy will be done.” But unfortunately, Lord, every time we get into a conversation, we are so very tempted to insist that our will be done. And, Lord, sometimes that’s good. A lot of times we are mistaken about what’s needed. Either we’re making people feel bad, which wounds their hearts. Or, sometimes, Lord, we’ve skipped a step that your Holy Spirit working in their hearts would cause them not to skip, would cause them not to feel hurt and turn away but to receive the good advice that God has for all of us … if we will allow the Holy Spirit to work in all of our conversations and all of our relationships and with all of our neighbors. Lord, we ask you to help us to step out of the way and let you do what you do so well. So help us, Lord, to let you do just that. 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 )
 

Posted in Attend "Worship at Home" | Leave a comment

Sermon 6/20/2021: The Witness of the Comforter (Pentecost 05)

At this time, due to Coronavirus concerns, many are not quite ready to return to face to face worship. If this includes you, 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/565106901

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cr1YVYV1oL5

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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 Prayer of Saint 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

HYMN Faith of Our Fathers
Faith of Our Fathers | Fountainview Academy | The Great Controversy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSHzrlGoelQ

(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: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

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 334 Sweet Sweet Spirit
Gaither Vocal Band, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound – Sweet, Sweet, Spirit [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i73PZJugjTk

(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: The Witness of the Comforter
Text: John 15:11-27
Series: Series: The Gifts of the Comforter

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Kinmundy 9 am worship sermon audio.

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SERMON NOTES

John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 This I command you, to love one another. 18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 It is to fulfil the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.’ 26 But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; 27 and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning.

Matthew 22:35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

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HYMN It Is Well With My Soul
Guy Penrod, David Phelps – It Is Well With My Soul (Live) [Official Video]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nJ6wQpLmuo

(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 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.

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

TRANSCRIPT

It was a wonderful blessing this past week to travel to Fairfield, Illinois, to the Ellen Moore United Methodist Church. I had the wonderful privilege of teaching about disciple-making to the District United Methodist Women of our Kaskaskia River District. And the specific topic was called Discipleship Pathways, or in other words, what is the step-by-step path which people follow to go from being a brand new Christian, a baby Christian, to grow up to become a fully adult Christian? Another way to put it might be Is there a recipe that we can find in Scripture to help people grow up in the best way to follow Jesus? And in a way, we’re talking about what the Holy Spirit does in that here in this series of sermons; we’ve talked about how the Great Commandment asks us to go out into our neighborhoods and love Jesus, to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. And then Jesus says to us, “I want you to love the people in your neighborhood.” So this is the formula for joy: to love Jesus first, then others and yourself also.

One of the concerns that came up during the workshop was that several of the women there expressed how difficult it was for them to think of going to this public place. And I’m asking folks to imagine the other side of that picnic bench and witness or talk to another person, perhaps even a stranger, about their faith. We feel uncomfortable doing that.

One of the reasons we feel uncomfortable doing that is our imagination of what it means to be a witness is to sort of be some miniature version of a preacher. And we’re uncomfortable preaching little tiny sermons to people we don’t know well. And if you’ve ever tried it, it’s probably also true that it was not a very welcome experience.

But Jesus didn’t tell us to preach to our neighbors. Jesus told us to love our neighbors and let the Holy Spirit help us with that. Let’s think about what that means. Part of what we talked about on Thursday was Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven Life as a way of helping people grow up spiritually. And so Rick and his wife Kay have been on my mind this week. Here is a quote from Joy Warren’s book, Choose Joy.

“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right and the determined choice to praise God in all things.” You see, you always have a choice and you can choose joy.

Kay Warren in this little quote points out that the entrance to Joy is to believe that God is in control of all the details of your life. And most of us, when we think about that, we think that that means that we’re little robots, little puppets that God is controlling in every single one of those details and for most people in our society, we just are unwilling to have that much of a limitation on our freedom. But you see, there’s a picture on the screen. And the picture on the screen is of a young child riding on the shoulders of his father. You see, the father is in control of all the details of where he’s going. But it’s not the kind of robot micromanagement that we would not wish. It’s that we’re going together. And God is giving us a ride. And we’re having a great time. God is in control. But that control more likely comes because we are riding on God’s shoulders because we’re young. Maybe we don’t quite know how to walk yet. But God helps us with everything that is beyond what we are able and ready to do.

You always have a choice. And you are able to choose Joy. That made me look for a quote from Rick Warren. And he said this. “If you are a follower of Jesus, joy should be a way of life. Why? You’ve been completely forgiven– no guilt, no shame, no remorse, no regrets. God has wiped them all out.” Sounds like a good reason for joy to me. Friends, choose joy. Choose to be forgiven. Choose to have your sins cleansed and wiped away. That sounds like a good reason for joy.

What does this have to do with witness? Well, let me tell you. The opposite of choosing joy would be to choose unhappiness, to choose despair. And you know one way to do that? And that’s to believe that when you interact with your neighbors about the meaning of your faith is to choose to believe that everything depends on you. Friends, you are good … but you’re not that good. God is the one upon whom everything depends. We just help. We just become present and play our part. When you choose joy, you choose to go with God, to go along for the ride, and let God take the conversations that you have with other people under his control as God brings you along. Everything does not depend on you.

You see, God wants to work through you. But God also wants to work all around you. God works through multiple coincidences, all the various details of a person’s life. God works through the weather. God works through financial difficulties. God even works through the problems that a person has, troubles that they have with relatives and family and– well, you know all the kinds of troubles that people have. God works through everything that’s going on. And so God prepares the way for a person to realize that they need the help of Jesus Christ with their life.

God prepares the way. Now we do our own small part. And then God brings everything to the conclusion that God has planned. You and I work in the midst of everything that God is doing. It’s not dependent upon us because we work with God. Here’s the scripture for that, John chapter 15:11. These things Jesus says, “I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and your joy may be full.” Consider Jesus wants us to be joyful — perhaps that’s an important part of the witness that turns people toward Jesus Christ. In the very next verse, Jesus says, “This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.” Perhaps people’s ability to see caring people being kind to other people, maybe that’s the witness that draws people to turn to Christ.

Greater love has no man than this than a man lay down his life for his friends, which Jesus did. And if we’re like Jesus, people will see us loving other people and people will see us being joyful. Perhaps that’s what we’re supposed to do when we witness.

Verse 14, Jesus says, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” You remember what we said about being joyful? Remember what we said about loving one another? “You are my friends,” Jesus says, “if you do what I command you.”

And not only that, Verse 15, no longer do I call you servants. And then He defines what it means to be a servant “for the servant does not know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends. For all that I’ve heard from my Father I have made known to you.” You see, Jesus keeps us in the loop. Jesus keeps us informed about what our role is, what we need to do.

And if you want to look at me as a pastor and say, “Pastor Dave, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.” I might remind you that if you’re a friend of God, if you are supposed to be doing something, you’d have been told. Until you hear something specific you’re supposed to do, why don’t you focus on being joyful? Why don’t you focus on being loving? Because Jesus said that you are his friend if you do what He commands you to do.

Verse 16, “You did not choose me, but I,” Jesus is speaking, “chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to you.”

And therefore, when you pray for your neighbor, when you’re in a conversation with someone and you’re joyful and they’re not and you find out what’s wrong … you can pray for them. And Jesus promises those prayers will be answered.

You see, our witness is to do what Jesus commands, and what Jesus commands is for us to love people. And one way that we love people is by praying for them and asking God to help them. Perhaps that’s the witness that is needed from us. Verse 18, Jesus points out, if the world hates you, know that it is hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, a servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you. If they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all this they will do to you on my account because they do not know him, the Father, who sent me.

You see, you being a witness does not involve you being popular. Not everyone is going to like you. Not everyone is going to like me. And because people didn’t like Jesus, but Jesus was still faithful, so we don’t want to chase that false idol of being the person who always says something that makes people like us. Not everyone is going to like us. That frees us to do what Jesus wants us to do, because our witness is not a popularity contest. It’s not getting people to like you. We’re asked instead to love one another.

But when the counselor comes, Jesus points out in the 26th verse, the comforter, as the King James calls it, the paraclete, which is the word in the Greek … But when the comforter comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father — Note these words, friends. He will bear witness to me. The job of being the witness is a job that belongs to the Holy Spirit.

In verse 27: You also are witnesses because you’ve been with me from the beginning. You’ve been with me for a long time. You know what I want. You know what I’ve commanded you to do. But it’s the Holy Spirit who is going to be the witness. The Holy Spirit needs us to be present, but the reality is the Holy Spirit doesn’t need us to do what needs to be done. We need to let the Holy Spirit do the heavy lifting. We’re extra hands. We’re there to help. But it’s the Holy Spirit that helps people turn toward Christ.

So, therefore, it doesn’t depend on you. You don’t have to force something to happen. All you have to do is be present and follow the leading of the Spirit while the Holy Spirit does the heavy lifting.

My father always had an opinion. I don’t know if your father’s like that or not — my father always had an opinion, and the older I get, the more I am amazed at how wise my father was, at least part of the time. But when I was a young man, perhaps like the young man in the picture there, my father and I argued a lot because even though he always had an opinion, I did not always agree with his opinion. And sometimes we would go around and around and around and frequently we would go around and around until my father lost his temper and had all that he could take. But I have to be honest with you, even if I did not agree with his opinion, the awareness of my father’s opinion would help me figure out my own. When my father communicated to me what he thought was right … suddenly, it became very clear to me what I thought was right. It wasn’t automatically in opposition to him, but he stimulated me to think. He stimulated me to make up my mind. My father here on Earth, by sharing his opinions with me, help me become a person with strong opinions.

You may still have an earthly father who gives you strong opinions, or maybe that role in your life comes from an uncle or a grandfather or could come from a spouse, could even come from a bossy child. But sometimes we figure out what we stand for when we deal with people who tell us what they stand for.

Now, if you don’t have anyone giving you opinions, I would like to invite you to let your heavenly Father step into that vacuum, because when you read the Bible, you encounter one opinion after another that comes to you from your heavenly Father. Perhaps you’re someone who would simply automatically agree with what God tells you. Perhaps you’re someone who wrestles and argues with God the way Jacob wrestled with the angels. But if you let the opinions of God, particularly the opinions that come to you through the scripture, into your heart, into your mind, wrestle with them and attempt to discern what is the truth, you will become a person, right or wrong, who is not wishy-washy, who is not confused.

And if enough evidence piles up, if you’re one of those people that disagrees with God, maybe you’ll come to the conclusion that God is God and you or not. We are blessed when fathers and others like them share their opinions with us. They help us to make up our minds.

And when the Holy Spirit is working to bear witness to Jesus Christ, I think sometimes that’s what the Holy Spirit does. The Holy Spirit stirs the person up. And at first, maybe they don’t seem to be taking God’s side. But we need to let the Holy Spirit work on them and give them time to learn from what God says in the Bible. To learn from their own mistakes, to learn the lessons from the prayers that we all are praying. God can help us when we no longer have earthly fathers who can do that for us.

Another reality if you’re acting in the role of a witness or a fatherly person, not everyone will like you. When they’re having a bad day, they’re not going to speak to you in the nicest way if they’re honest. And isn’t it worse if they lie to you and pretend to be something that they’re not? Not everyone will like you. But they may come to deeply appreciate you because in the hour when they are most alone, in the hour when they are most troubled and most frustrated, you are the person who took the time to sit with them and listen to them.

So even when people don’t like you, you can always be a witness. Just realize that you can always witness through kindness and love. Be gentle. Be patient because into that gentleness and the time you spend listening, the Holy Spirit will work all around you while you do your part to change a person’s heart simply by being present. You’re giving the Holy Spirit an opportunity to work in the heart of someone who’s very upset, very sad, very frustrated. Witness through your kindness and your love.

Finally, joy is the most effective witness. It draws people. People yearn to be happy. And people yearn to be around other people who are happy because your warmth warms them up. The coolness that you bring to a heated situation cools them down. Joy is the most effective witness. And that’s why Jesus said, “If you’re my friend, you’ll do what I say. You’ll love one another. And you’ll choose joy.” And the Holy Spirit will use the joy that Jesus Christ desires to bring into your life, to bring more people closer because they also want joy in their lives.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, we thank you for fathers and everything that fathers do and beyond that, all the fathering that happens beyond our biological fathers, all of which adds up to a great help and support to us all. Lord, I pray that you would bear witness to people all around us through your Holy Spirit. And Lord, may we as well be a part of that. May we help shoulder the burden. May we by being present have this sense that a word that we said, a prayer that we prayed, brought comfort and help. Lord, we ask that you would bear witness to people along with us and through us for the glory of God the Father. And we ask these things 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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OUR CHURCH FAMILY PRAYER PAGE — June 20 – June 27

OUR CHURCH FAMILY PRAYER PAGE — June 20 – June 27

PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR PASTORS: David Kueker, our Superintendent, Carol Lakota Eastin, and our Bishop, Frank Beard. If you need Pastor Dave for prayer, please call or text his cell phone, 618-780-0151, or email at dkueker@yahoo.com. or on Facebook as David Oliver Kueker.

Prayer Request From Jesus: Matthew 9:37 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.”

Please Pray For God To Bless Our “Care Card Ministry” Person Of The Week
Keith Green, 707 Hoffmeister Dr, Altamont, IL 62411

Please Pray For God To Bless These People For Special Needs
K Debbie Price – Had outpatient surgery Friday.
K Cathy Wilkins – Will be having outpatient surgery at St Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, MO on Thursday, June 24. This will be followed by radiation treatments. Please pray for Cathy in the weeks to come.
K Gerri Molina – Feeling much better, the trac has been removed. She is on face book and has called and talked to Pastor Dave. Prayers for Gerri to regain her strength and come home. Cards may be sent to: Rm 121, Select Specialty Hospital – St Louis, 300 S 1st Capitol Dr, St Charles, MO 63301.

Please Pray For God To Bless These People With Ongoing Needs
Mike Webster, Fleta Lybarger, Bill Olden, April Mercer, Gene Simmons, Duane Ambrose, Marie Dickerson, Cindy Kueker (Pastor Dave’s cousin), Molly Monical, Shirley Miller, Russell Kilby, John Holzhauer, David Mendenhall (Steve Wilkin’s friend), Helen Sullivan, Aaron Guerrettaz (Jo Williams’ nephew, Jim & Nancy Guerrettaz’s son), Kay Feather Lydick, Caitlin Engel (Julie Jones’ cousin), Quinten Butts, Haven Mueller, Mike Donoho, Brenton Connor, Kayley Wilhelm, Larry & Dolores Johnson (Kim’s Parents), Nancy Weeks-Lafenhagen

Please Pray For God To Bless Our Military Families
Sgt Rusty & Nicole (Nolan, Michael, Lydia) Robb – US Embassy in Dublin, Ireland
Navy Lieutenant Commander Jason Montgomery – Serving on aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.

Please Pray For Those Grieving For
— George Brimberry, Alma

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CHURCH CALENDAR June 20 – June 27, 2021

CHURCH CALENDAR & WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO KNOW —
June 20 – June 27, 2021

THIS WEEK’S CHURCH CALENDAR
Sun 6/20
9:00 am … WORSHIP in Sanctuary at Kinmundy First UMC
10:30 am … SUNDAY SCHOOL at Kinmundy First UMC
10:45 am … WORSHIP in Sanctuary at Wesley UMC

Mon 6/21
7:00 pm … ENDOWMENT Meeting

Tues 6/22— … PASTOR’S SABBATH DAY
Wed 6/23 1:00 pm … QUILTERS meet to tie quilts
Thurs 6/24 1:00 pm … TWILIGHT CIRCLE Meets Jeanette will have Devotions & Refreshments

Sun 6/27
9 00 am … WORSHIP in Sanctuary at Kinmundy First UMC
10:45 am … WORSHIP in Sanctuary at Wesley UMC

WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO KNOW —

  1. UPCOMING MEETINGS …
    Monday, June 21 … 7:00 pm … Endowment Board
    If you would like to attend any meeting from home by phone or over the Internet, please let Pastor Dave know or call Vervadene at the church.
  2. THERE ARE GREETING CARDS on one of the tables in the Fellowship Hall. The more signatures on the cards the better, so please sign them. Thanks.
  3. Due to your careful love for your neighbor, the State of Illinois is relaxing COVID restrictions in response to lower numbers. Please pray for wisdom for our leaders and a calm response throughout to the lifting of restrictions.
  4. SOBER REALITIES: Unvaccinated people may choose to wear masks for their own safety and the safety of other non-vaccinated people. Please do not crowd each other as we adjust to this change. It is possible but very unlikely that a vaccinated person can get COVID. Not everyone feels safe not wearing a mask—please be kind. We’ve had a tough year!
  5. THIS WEEK’S PRAYER FAMILIES — Members & Friends
    Amy Hoard
    Mike & Debbie Price Family; Hailee, Lillyanna
    Vicky Stevens Family; grandchildren, Eli, Faye Stevens
    Helen Sullivan Family
  6. DONATION CAN — On the counter in Vervadene’s office: Noah Eller, nephew and Alex Hays, son of Tom Hays of Alma were seriously injured in a car accident on March 31. Both boys will have to go back and forth to SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital for follow up tests, procedures, and physical therapy to fully recover. The families of these boys are in need of prayer and support. Any donation to help with gas and medicine would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  7. CONGRATULATIONS — To the South Central Cougars and Coach Curt Jones for winning the first State Championship in school history. They defeated Father McGivney High School at Glen Carbon, 4-2 at ISU on Thursday evening.
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Sermon 6/13/2021: The Lessons of the Comforter (Pentecost 04)

At this time, due to Coronavirus concerns, many are not quite ready to return to face to face worship. If this includes you, 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/562286040

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cr1l3HVh979

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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 Prayer of Saint 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

HYMN Trust and Obey
Trust and Obey – Delran UMC Virtual Choir (Mother’s Day 2020)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1tUsyJm1vI

(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: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

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 Majesty
Bill & Gloria Gaither – Majesty (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gr2jpojRb5o

(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: The Lessons of the Comforter
Text: John 14:22-29, 15:1-10
Series: The Gifts of the Comforter

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

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SERMON NOTES

John 14:22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. 25 “These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe.

John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

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HYMN Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus
TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS performed by Casting Crowns
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DdgkvnsHjM

(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 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.

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

TRANSCRIPT

The Lessons of the Comforter … and the lesson really basically simply is this: God intends to work through people like you and like me. “As the father has sent me,” Jesus told us, “Even so, I send you.” You and I are sent to make a difference in people’s lives.

And if you’re like me, the first question you want to ask is, “Well, what is it I’m supposed to do? What am I supposed to do?” And the answer, of course, is that the Holy Spirit’s going to tell you.

And of course, it helps if you’re familiar with the story. One of the most delightful things about falling in love is what the person you love likes. And Kim’s favorite movie of all time is the movie Airplane!, an absolutely ridiculous movie that if you haven’t seen it, you need to go see it. Find a way to rent it or look at it. Kim has probably half, if not three-fourths, if not all of the dialogue memorized. You see, she’s familiar with the story.

One of the jokes is that if you use the word, “Surely,” in a sentence, she will look at you and glare and say, “Don’t call me Shirley.”

It took me three times this afternoon to get her to glare at me and say, “Don’t call me Shirley.”

And I told her I wanted to talk about this movie and how wonderful it was and the message, and that started an over a five-minute monologue of jokes from the movie Airplane! It was absolutely marvelous. But it was easy for her. You know why? It was easy because she’s familiar with the story. And that means that when it’s time for her to speak, she has no trouble remembering what to say.

Friends, you and I at one time or another are going to be sitting on a park bench next to someone, maybe a complete stranger, maybe a close friend. And we’re going to feel that prompting in our hearts that we should say something. That we should share something. And something we should keep in mind is there are no coincidences. This conversation is a part of God’s plan. God has planned for us to have this conversation for centuries. You see, everything in your life is either a sequel or a prequel. Everything that happens all fits together. Everything tells a story. And sooner or later, it will come time for you to say your lines. Don’t get stage fright. Don’t get alarmed because you really just have a small part in this story of the Gospel – this story of how much God loves people. You’re not even the hero of the story because we know that Jesus is the hero of the story. But on this particular day, at that park bench or at that table in a restaurant or wherever it might be, you’re going to be a part of God communicating the love of Jesus Christ. You’re going to be a part of God communicating God’s willingness to forgive people. You’re going to become a part of God’s willingness to help people with healing, with hope. Whatever it might be, you will have a part to play. There are no coincidences at all. And you see, when you have something to say, it really, really helps if you’re familiar with the story.

“I have questions,” you say. And of course, you want to understand, but you don’t know in that moment for certain what you are supposed to do or what you are supposed to say. And what I want to say to you is the scripture that we’re looking at today will answer these questions in a very clear and specific way.

How is it that the Spirit will answer your questions? Well, here it is. John chapter 14, beginning with verse 22. Judas, not Judas Iscariot, but the other one. Judas said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest, reveal, show yourself to us and not to the world?” Verse 23. Jesus answered him. “If a man loves me, he will keep my word.” That’s important. “And my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words. And the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s, who sent me. These things I’ve spoken to you while I am still with you.”
Now, look at verse 26 very carefully. “But the counselor, the comforter, the paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

In fact, I want to be very, very blunt. How will the Holy Spirit teach you everything you need to know? The Holy Spirit will remind you of everything Jesus said and did.

And friends, that’s everything you’ll ever need to know. And that’s why it’s good to be familiar with the story. Verse 27. Jesus goes on to say– these are good words for us when we feel anxious. “Peace, I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I go away and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place so that when it does take place you may believe.”

And then, next verse comes to the 15th chapter where Jesus says, “I am the true vine. My father is the vinedresser, the gardener. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away. Every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes that it may bear more fruit.”

Take a close look at verse three. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Everything that Jesus said, everything that Jesus did, friends, cleans us up but keeps us focused on what’s important. It’s what we need to know.

“Abide in me,” Jesus says, “and I in you.” As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine. Neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine. You are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him, he is that bears much fruit for a part for me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers. And the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.

But here, look a verse seven. If you abide in me. Now, that’s a connection between the plant and the root. And we all know that the plant withers without what the root sends to it. But that’s not all it says. If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.

Do you want your prayers to come true? Do you want what you ask for to happen? When you pray for someone else who is in desperate need, do you want them to receive the help that they need? If that’s what you want, you need to let the words of Jesus Christ abide in you. You need to be not only familiar with the story, but you need to read those words over and over again, because they are words of power. They are a means by which God answers prayer. If my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you.

By this, my father is glorified that you bear much fruit. And so prove to be my disciples. It glorifies God when people talk about answered prayers, not because you prayed them, but because it proves that God is a God that answers prayer. It proves that God is a God that cares for us. That’s why the Father is glorified when your prayers are answered. So verse nine: as the Father has loved me, so I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments … and how can you keep the commands of Jesus if you’re not familiar with them? If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love just as I have kept my father’s commandments and abide in his love. You’ll be more and more like Jesus.

You see, God intends to work through you. Yes, ordinary, fallible, mistake prone, clumsy you. All the same applies to me! God intends to work through you … as the father has sent me, even so, I send you. And just like Moses, we can think of dozens of other people who are smarter, better looking, more influential. And just like Moses, God looks at us and says, “I’ve chosen you. I want you. I want to work through you.”

So what’s going to happen if God is working through you? Well, first, one is when you have an opportunity to sit on the park bench next to someone who might need your prayers. You won’t walk in the other direction. Don’t be afraid of someone who might need your prayers. You’ll sit down, you’ll say hello. You’ll say, how are you? You will listen and be kind and caring. And while that person is speaking, in fact, sometimes, even if they refuse to speak, you will get a sense in your heart of what they need from you in prayer.

But here’s the point of this particular passage of scripture. The form that that sense, that word of wisdom and knowledge will come to you will be as a reminder, a reminder of something that Jesus did or said. The Spirit will work through you by reminding you about Jesus and whatever comes to your mind about something Jesus said or did, whether it’s from your life, words out of a hymn, or words right out of the gospel: this memory that comes to you will show you how you are to pray.

You will find this is easier and easier as you become more and more familiar with the story. And then you can be faithful and pray according to what God seems to tell you. Now, let’s assume … maybe it’s possible … that you get it wrong. But God still knows why you’re praying. Have faith and step out in prayer for the people you talk to. Because you see, God intends to work through you. There are no coincidences. Every person you encounter, you have an opportunity to influence them, perhaps in a very, very small way.

But powerful things grow from tiny seeds. And the Holy Spirit will prune you. The Holy Spirit will clean you up, help you focus, declutter your life by reminding you about Jesus. And then we’ll need to be faithful and, of course, we’ll need to be familiar with the story. You’ll be reminded by the spirit of something Jesus said or did, and this will guide you away from what’s not fruitful. It will guide you toward what is fruitful.

But the most important thing is very simple, if God intends to work through you, let yourself be guided. Because, you see, God intends to work through you. We might wish for it to be different, but that’s the choice for all time. And if God is working through you, the Spirit is going to teach you by reminding you about Jesus. Something Jesus said, something Jesus did. It will come into your mind. If you have time, you may want to look that passage of scripture up. It will be on your mind. It will wake you up in the middle of the night. It will come to mind while you are driving. The Spirit will teach you by reminding you of something Jesus said or did and you can be faithful to this leading by the Spirit, by turning that insight, whatever it might be, into a prayer. And it will come more and more easily if you’re familiar with a story. Read the Bible. Spend time thinking about it. Be familiar with the good news. And God will use your familiarity more and more.

Now be yourself, because that’s why God chose you. He wanted to bring this good news in a container that is just like you. Be yourself … but let God use you. Learn and grow, speak of that thing, pray about that thing that you remember from the life of Jesus. And in all things, when you interact with other people, let Jesus be your model.

Please pray with me: Lord Jesus, there were times when you healed people. Lord, help us to pray prayers for people to be healed.
Lord, there were times when you commanded the devil to stop. Lord, it might not be out loud, but there are times when we will find we need to command the devil to stop.
Lord, there were times that you broke bread and shared it with people, and strangely, there was enough bread for thousands of people. Sometimes, Lord, the story of you sharing with others will remind us that we should share because that’s what people do when they love other people.
Lord, I ask that you would remind us of everything you said and did to the point where we’re so familiar with the story. And that we are willing to let you be our model when we think about how we should pray, and when we think about what we should say, when we think about what we should do. And we ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ who loved us. 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 )
 

Posted in Attend "Worship at Home" | Leave a comment

Edward Joseph McKeon – Memorial Service

A brief memorial service for friends and family of Edward Joseph McKeon took place at Kinmundy United Methodist Church at 2 pm, June 6, 2021. Pastor David Kukeker led the service – you can listen to it at this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GzlL4PZGZlDYs-_zFMhB0fmD1dEwzo7y/view?usp=sharing

Edward Joseph McKeon, 75, of Kinmundy passed away Saturday, May 22, 2021. He was born on August 4, 1945 the son of Joseph and Dorothy McKeon in Brooklyn, New York. He married the love of his life, Sherri Stubbings on May 12, 2013 in Stuart, Florida and she survives him in Kinmundy.

Along with his wife, Sherri McKeon, survivors include his beloved family, daughter, Jennifer Butterworth and husband Thomas of Tennessee; stepdaughter, Julie Ann Jones and husband Jonathan of Iola; grandchildren, Jonathan Jr., Faith, and Ava; and brother, James McKeon.
Edward was preceded in death by his parents.

Edward was a proud United States Army veteran, serving in Vietnam as a sergeant. He was an active and a lifetime member of the American Legion Post 126 in Jensen Beach, Florida, where he served as a former commander. He was an Accredited American Legion service officer and graciously used his training to assist fellow veterans and their families. Edward worked the polls in Martin County, Florida. He loved the game of football cheering his favorite team, the New York Jets, on to victory ever since he was a boy. Edward was down to earth and had the ability to make anyone he was around feel welcome and at ease.

Irvin Macz Funeral Home in Centralia is privileged to be assisting the family of Edward McKeon with arrangements. A celebration of life service will be held privately by the family.

We have come here today,
not to remember the death of Eddie McKeon
but to remember his life…
We have come to be in the presence of God,
who comforts our hearts,
so filled with sadness & memories at this time.
Let us, in this moment of silent prayer,
give our thoughts and feelings
into the hands of Christ Jesus who loves us.

Posted in Attend "Worship at Home" | Leave a comment

Sermon 6/06/2021: The Gift of the Comforter (Pentecost 03)

At this time, due to Coronavirus concerns, many are not quite ready to return to face to face worship. If this includes you, 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/559484208

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cr1h0aVhBPt

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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 Prayer of Saint 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

HYMN This Is My Father’s World, 144
This is My Father’s World ~ Amy Grant ~ lyric video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3-C4jp7BNw
or
This Is My Father’s World – Fernando Ortega (Lyric Video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OorHNGB3q1c

(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: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

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 Let Us Break Bread Together, 618
Let Us Break Bread Together – Agnes Choo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Egk-pX_1nHg
or
J.D. Sumner, The Stamps Quartet – Let Us Break Bread Together [Live]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QoolEJe6a0

(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: The Gift of the Comforter
Text: John 14:12-21 plus Matthew 22:35-40,  John 20:21-23
Series: The Gifts of the Comforter

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
(Audio may not be available till Sunday afternoon.)

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SERMON NOTES

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; 14 if you ask anything in my name, I will do it. 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

Matthew 22:35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” 

John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

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HYMN Open My Eyes, That I May See, 454
Open my eyes – Fountainview Academy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XSN7aVTAFU

(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 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.

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

TRANSCRIPT

The gifts of the Comforter: The Lord Jesus Christ in the Upper Room, in six different scriptures, described how after the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit would come into your life, into my life, and work through us to make a difference in the lives of people all around us. Since the Holy Spirit wants to do that and you– still today, just as he did it so many years before, I think it’s useful to remind ourselves of how the Holy Spirit works or at least what Jesus said in these particular scriptures.

And of course, everything is to fulfill this plan – what we call the great commandment is the blueprint for what God wants in the church, the pattern for what God wants in Christians. You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and Luke adds, with all your strength. This is the great and first commandment.

So you see on the screen there’s a big heart there because what God desires is that your love would flow toward Jesus, that your love would flow toward God. This is the first step in what some people call the JOY formula. It’s been on the sign out in front of the church for years, but it should be written also on our hearts.

The very first step for joy in your life is for Jesus to come first and for you to love your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

And then God points our attention to the second half of the plan. Now that you’re loving Jesus, Jesus says, “I want you to turn that love around …” And, of course, he sends love to be at our heart as well. “… And let your love flow out to others.” The second is as Jesus said. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Now, that doesn’t mean that you love your neighbor and never love yourself. That doesn’t mean that you only take care of yourself and not love someone else. It means there should be a balance. And then come these strange words in verse 40. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.

So when you go outside the church into your neighborhood, when you go outside your front door into your neighborhood – although to be honest, the people you live with are also your neighbors – the love from Jesus Christ is supposed to flow back and forth between Jesus, others, and yourself. J-O-Y.

And you will find those people in your neighborhood because Jesus, through you, wants to come and be real in your neighborhood today. Here’s the mission. You’ve heard me say this before. It’s occupied my attention for over a year. What does Jesus want? Jesus wants us to repeat what Jesus did in the New Testament. Or as he puts it in John 20: Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. In the same way that Jesus did everything he did, now Jesus is sending us to do more of the same, to do more of the same.

Now you are welcome – if you want to argue with Jesus – because when you say, “Lord, we’re not good enough to do this. We’re not smart enough. We’re not as smart as You. We’re not holy enough. We’re not as holy as You. We are not loving enough. We’re not as loving as You.” You can argue anything you want about how little you are, how inadequate you are, but Jesus Christ says, “This is what I want you to do, to be Me in your neighborhoods, doing what I would do if I were there.”

Some churches have a sign over the door right by the exit, just to remind people: when you leave the doors of the church, you’re now entering the mission field. When you leave the door of your house, you’re now entering the mission field. In fact, since loving your family is part of your mission, when your feet hit the floor in the morning, you are entering the mission field. And what Jesus Christ wants from us, now that we have had these days of preparation after Easter Sunday and that the day of Pentecost is come, we are now ready to be missionaries in our world.

Now it may be that some of you would like to go be a missionary in China or in Africa. It may be that some of you may want to go be a missionary on the Mediterranean beaches where all the expensive resorts are. (I’m not sure where you think it would be fun to be a missionary!) But I would like to suggest you and I are adequate to be missionaries right here, right now with people we know. The best place to be a missionary is your own neighborhood, where people trust you, where people know you, where people like you. And you speak the language and you understand how people feel. There’s no adjustment to the culture. Jesus wants us to be the missionaries to our own neighborhood and our own neighbors.

Here’s some more scripture about that, John 14:12, “Truly, truly. I say to you, ‘He who believes in Me will also do the works that I do.'” Now you and I are less powerful than Jesus, but this is what Jesus said. Not only that, He said, “And greater works than these will he did because I go to the Father.” Jesus is ascending up to heaven and now we get to carry on and do the work.

Verse 13, “Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Verse 14, Jesus repeats Himself, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

I remember the day when I sent my son off to college and I handed him a credit card, and I said, “You decide what to use this for and I’ll pay it. Use it wisely.” Friends, this is like God giving us a credit card that is without limits. “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” No limits. What a temptation it is to start by asking for a brand new Cadillac for ourselves. What a temptation it is for us to start by asking for a brand new home, with a hot tub, probably. What a temptation it is to ask God for all those pounds to disappear, and to provide us with a designer wardrobe. What a temptation it is to love ourselves. But to be very honest, the purpose of this credit card is for us to know that God wants us to love others, and God will provide what is needed for others to be loved.

Now, it says in verse 14, “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” We’re all familiar with the prayers we prayed that were not answered in the way that we wished. We all have prayed a prayer like that. I still don’t have that Cadillac [laughter] in my driveway. We all have prayed a prayer where the answer wasn’t what we wanted. But yet, this is the principle; God is encouraging us to be daring in our prayers because God is ready to answer them. And sometimes, the answer is no, to our great regret. But many times, the answer is yes.

And here’s the thing that I’d like to ask you to consider. What good might happen if we had the courage to do little things? You remember what the Serenity Prayer says? What good might happen if you and I had the courage to pray for God to work in the lives of those two people who just can’t seem to get along, for God to bring healing where there’s illness and disability, for God to help children who are struggling … maybe just with homework? Because – why should we limit our prayers to big things? Why? Why shouldn’t we pray for God to bless people in every way that occurs to us? How much good would happen in this world if we turned our faith loose and prayed and hope and we said to God, “You do what’s needed here. I don’t even know everything that is needed here. But, Lord, I know that you know,” and we turned God loose to answer prayers?

Because Jesus, I think, wants us to have this faith. What could happen if the people of God took the courage to pray and set God loose to work in this world? I think we’d see miracles on the mission field, that is, our neighborhood. Verse 15, Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments …” Where will you find those commandments? They’re in Jesus’ words and in the Gospels in the Bible. “And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another counselor.” King James uses the word comforter, which is the word I prefer. Other translations use the word helper, intercessor, advocate. But what the Greek word, which literally is paraclete, that’s the Greek word, what the Greek word means is someone who comes alongside and provides whatever you need in the moment. Sometimes you just need the comfort of knowing you’re not alone. Sometimes you need an extra pair of hands to hand you a tool. Sometimes you need someone to bring a tool that you don’t have or to bring energy if you’re tired.

The counselor, the comforter, the paraclete is God coming alongside of you to help you live, to help you do God’s will, to help you take care of yourself (because you’re supposed to love yourself), to help you love others because you’re also called to do that. God comes to help with this missionary task. To be with you forever, even the spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him for he dwells with you, this one who comes alongside and will be in you.

Verse 18, “I will not leave you desolate. I will come to you.” Jesus comes to us in the presence of the Holy Spirit. “Yet a little while,” Jesus says, “and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live also. In that day, you will know that I am in my father and you in me and I and you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, he is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my father, and I will love him and manifest or reveal myself to him.”

So there you are on that park bench sitting next to your neighbor. “Lord, what do you want me to do?” we ask. The Lord Jesus will reveal that through the Holy Spirit who is within you.

So let’s think this through. Who is Jesus? He certainly is the savior of the world. He certainly is our savior. But he is also Lord, and he has a task to be done. And all of the Sundays after Easter, I told you he was getting the disciples ready. And I said he’s getting us ready, too. And we talked about what’s next.

But now the day of Pentecost has come. We’re actually right there. And I can tell you, you know what’s next? We are now entering the mission field. Jesus is now going to work through us because that’s his choice. Jesus is now going to work through the people of the church because that has always been the plan. Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you. As the father has sent me, even so, I send you.” So when you go out these doors into the mission field in just a few moments … Please know that you are being sent and that Jesus wants to work and live through you to change this world.

Who is your other? Well, when Jesus shared the great commandment, the lawyer taunted him. The lawyer argued with him. The lawyer said, Who is my neighbor? And Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan – meaning that your neighbor is really anybody you come into contact with.

I like to say it a little different in this age of cell phones. Your neighbor is anybody you have a conversation with this week.

Your neighbor may be in Africa. I have a friend who is a retired pastor from Illinois who now lives in Uganda. I communicate with him on Facebook. He’s quite a distance from me. But he’s my neighbor.

Part of my neighborhood is in Austin, Texas, where my grandchildren play.

But by and large, for most of us and me, my neighborhood is right here. My neighborhood is right where I live. And so I would like to suggest to you that your neighbors, by and large, consist of the people that you speak to on average every week. And you can start today and just make a list. Write down everyone you speak to, even if it’s just to say hello. And by the end of the week, you’ll have a list of who lives in your neighborhood.

Some of us are extroverted. It’s going to be a long list because there’s nothing we extroverts like more than bumping around in a crowd saying hello to five or six hundred people at once.

Some of us are introverted. There might be only three people on our list.

But I would suggest to you that your neighbor and your neighborhood is everybody you talk to. Some of them, like the Good Samaritan, you might meet as a stranger this week, someone you’ve never met before, someone you will never meet again. But when he came in contact with that neighbor, he did what Jesus wanted to be done.

And we can do the same thing. Why? The very next verse after Jesus says, “I want you to go do this work for me. I’m sending you.” Jesus breathes on them and says to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” because it’s the Holy Spirit that will work through you.

And trust me, friends, you and I are still weak and sinful and arrogant and far from people who are special. But the Holy Spirit can make up the difference in all of us. We need to let the Holy Spirit do it now. Jesus chose 12 people to spend most of his time with. So maybe you could try to imagine this week, “Who are my 12?” And you’ll find yourself on something like the equivalent of this park bench. There will be someone else to talk to. There will be someone else to visit with. And when that conversation concludes, take some time, either right then or later that day to pray.

Why? Because Jesus said God would answer your prayers. Lord help them. Lord, heal them. Lord, make their lives more spiritual and beautiful. We’ll never know what never happened because we were too busy to say a prayer. But God was very ready to answer. Take some time to love your neighbor by praying for them.

Now, it may be God would want to ask you to do something else. Something in addition to a prayer. Well, that’s fine, too. But at its most basic, the greatest gift you can give someone is answered prayers.

So who are you? I want to suggest to you that just as Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem and change this whole world, we are now a part of that plan. We are asked to live and be born right where we are. Jesus never left the nation of Israel. We may never leave our neighborhood. But God can do amazing things right where we live because God’s love can flow to people through you and me.

So how do we bring more J-O-Y joy into our own lives? Well, love Jesus with all your heart and soul and mind and strength, and then be aware that he wants you to share that love with others and also with yourself.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus. We look at you. And we pray. We say, “Lord, what do you want? What do you want me to do? Lord, what do you want? What do you want me to do?” And we’re continually asking, as if you had never answered this question before.

Help us, Lord, to understand that what you want us to do is to love and to pour our love out toward you, toward God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and strength. And as love overflows out of our heart, Lord, you want us to let it overflow toward our neighbors and toward ourselves. Lord, help us turn the desert green. Help us turn disaster into rejoicing. Lord, help us change our lives and the lives of people all around us by praying prayers of love for ourselves and others that your love would flow into our lives. And, Lord, we trust you to answer those prayers for what is best. We ask these things 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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