The Lighthouse Keeper

Greetings from Pastor Kerry, former pastor of Spring City UMC. This blog contains my sermon outlines and/or manuscripts from my pastorate among the people of Spring City PA, from 2006 to 2011. Pastor Dennis is now the lighthouse keeper. Come and worship on Sundays at 10:00 a.m.!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

"Dress For Success"

August 27, 2006
Ephesians series, 7/7
from Ephesians 6:10-20 and Isaiah 11:1-15

"Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." – Ephesians 5:15

My sermon outline:

• 7 weeks ago I told you about my first wife Tricia. Life-giving in her last two years was "The Business".

• The Business offered social structure, offered HOPE, usefulness, use skills, make a contribution. Also beauty.

• The Business also taught wonderful principles of vision and personality. Also got us reading some great books: How to Win Friends... 7 Habits...

• Also I renewed my faith for first time as adult

• Dress for success. Suit and power tie. The Business: "Professional dress".

• My mom sometimes speaks truth bluntly. What profession? What is "professional dress"? Surgical scrubs is professional dress.

• What you wear is related to what you do, what you hope to achieve. (I choose not to wear tee shirts as much now)

• Christian dresscode for success in Eph. 6:10-20. If you call yourself a follower of God, people should see the following in your lives: truth and righteousness, peace and faith, salvation, God’s word, and prayer. If you wish to be successful you'll practice these.

• These garments are not only the fruit (result) of the life of faith but the path to the life of faith (business example: dress up if you want to move up). Proactive.

• What you wear is related to your environment. (surgical scrubs, power tie, collar)

• Struggle against rulers and authorities (not mayors governors senators presidents per se but more like spirits, real or figurative, that influence individuals and masses), & cosmic darkness & spiritual forces of evil.

• We can’t say ‘evil’ these days for fear of offending people. Who benefits from that? Evil. Evil is real. Evil is powerful and it is personal

• Recap of Ephesians:

• Things are not always as they seem. We don’t see the whole picture, so things that seem bad might not really be bad. Also things may be deeper than they seem (Elvis). Part of the life of faith is trusting in the unseen, trusting that our "us" is in God already...

• The living body of Christ... we are an organism together, and God is our food and our source of life. Body can be affected by variety of poisons. As Christ’s living body it’s important to dress for success.

• Talked about how and why we should imitate Christ (remember that whoever imitates Christ SWEEPS sin out of their lives... Sacrifice, Walk, Eat, Engage, Pray, Seek...) and how "God, by power at work within us, is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine..."

• Therefore set sights on God and God’s vision... dress for success and strive to be what God made you to be, what God empowers you to be. To him be the glory forever, amen.

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: Humid. Cloudy. 62 in worship.

Monday, August 21, 2006

"I Sing For The King"

August 20, 2006
Ephesians series, 6/7
from Ephesians 5:15-20 and Luke 10:38-42

"Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people, but as wise, making the most of time, because the days are evil." – Ephesians 5:15

My sermon outline:

• Quite a week. Most of week cease fire okay. Volcanic eruption in Ecuador. Formerly unknown JohnMark Karr now all over the news. Illegal immigrant taking sanctuary in Chicago (Elvara Arellano, 1997, false ssn, 7yo son). And of course the 29th anniversary of Elvis' death.

• Things are not always as they seem. Wisdom and time and prayer our best tools for discerning.

• How did "The King" die? (btw he'd be 71 yrs now) Drug overdose. I even emailed the congregation about the lifestyle choices that led to his self-destruction, Rx drugs for insomnia, pain, energy, nerves, depression... Apparent fatal rx interaction following dentist visit.

• 8/17/77 dead on bathroom floor. "Cardiac arrhythmia, unknown cause". 42 years old.

• His mother died when he was 13 at 44, conditions strikingly similar to Elvis'. Obesity and depression in late 30's early 40's, arteriosclerosis, rapid aging... compare pictures of her a few years before dying, before decline... it's like Elvis at 35 and at 42. Big difference. Elvis' death not a simple case of boy lured by fame and fortune and led astray by Rx drug abuse. Elvis' death genetic.

• Like many Elvis bore unspoken pain in his soul, and as his blood vessels hardened from his disease and lifestyle, his own depression consumed him as well. Not careful how he lived, he lived unwisely, not making the most of his time.

• John Mark Karr, things may not be as they seem, and we must avoid jumping on either side until more is revealed. In need of our prayers.

• Cease fire violations as Israel moved into E. Lebanon... to prevent arms transfers from Iran... which has been testing missiles again. More we know, more complicated it gets.

• I feel, btw, like part of my job as pastor is to talk about current issues in light of a life of faith.

• Mary and Martha. Song from my daughter's CD from Why Not Sea Monsters
(Mary says sit right down and listen to the 'shh shh shh'... I haven’t got the time to listen to the 'shh shh shh'... there is no time but the 'shh shh shh'...) Distracted by many things. Not filled with Sprit. Fill our lives with God’s treasures of Word, family, and Family.

• Not "Someone else will take care of it" (another song from same CD: Not Today) or "I’ve already done my bit"

• Church sign out by 724 on Bridge: "Life offers many choices; death offers 2"

• How will you live your life? Make most of time, fill with Spirit, fill with praise.

• Viewing Elvis again... Elvis very charitable... Gave away hundreds of thousands of dollars, many anonymously. Sang "How Great Thou Art" at concerts. Once told some screaming fans "I am not the King. I sing for the King, and his name is Jesus Christ."

• Days are evil, therefore exercise wisdom (by Word and Spirit), exercise praise.

• Intentional ways of praising and praying. At traffic light, on hold, while brushing teeth or brewing coffee, waiting for the waitress or stylist, during commercials or while the microwave is going, think on God, remember a psalm or a bro/sis-in-Christ, say thanks. With a partner.

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: Humid and uncomfortable again. 52 in worship.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

"The Imitation of Christ"

August 13, 2006
Ephesians series, 5/7
from Ephesians 4:25 - 5:2 and John 6:41-51

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God... and live a life of love... – Ephesians 4:31 – 5:2

My sermon outline:

• Thomas a Kempis's 15th century The Imitation of Christ one of the most read books in past 500 yrs was behind the message title. Imitation not easy neither is it wishy-washy (explain) but worthwhile and necessary.

• Cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah. Who ceases first?

• What does it mean to imitate God? Study everything about, get to know inside and out... Do what he does, learn how he would do things.

• Imitate Jesus how?

Sacrifice. Jesus Sacrificed. My first sermon here touched on Philippians 2:5-11 and Jesus' self-sacrificial and voluntary pouring out of his lifeblood. As it says in Romans someone might die for a good person, but Christ died for us sinners. You make sacrifices for those you love. Jesus made ultimate sacrifice for those who rejected him. Attitude of sacrifice says "I give of myself for you".

Walk. Jesus Walked. Kind of kidding here, tho we wouldn't be worrying about gas prices and perhaps we’d maintain better health longer...

Eat. Jesus Ate. Two brothers were trying to figure out who would get the bigger piece of cake... "You can be Jesus this time." As you look through the gospels Jesus is often eating (with ppl you shouldn't eat with, no less) or feeding or talking about food. Jesus made holy even the mundane parts of living; we should do no less. As Jesus hung out with the disciples for 3 years surely they spent many meals together, fellowshipping, getting to know you, laughing, talking politics, experiencing each other. Think how much our lives revolve around eating.

Engage. Jesus engaged with the people in his setting. He got dirty with them. He touched the untouchables and broke the social conventions that said thou shalt not talk with this kind of person. He told stories that all could relate to, he addressed needs of hunger and wellness and spirituality, as well as addressed economic and justice issues in the political arena.

Pray. Jesus Prayed all the time. (Andrea and Justin. Pastors pray) Original audience probably familiar with Jesus' prayer habits cuz it was theirs too, but we're blessed that The Gospel of Luke tells us. 5:16 Jesus often withdrew to private places and prayed... 6:12 spent the night praying to God on the mountaintop... 22:39 As usual, he went to the Mount of Olives to pray... This was a man passionate about being intimately connected with God. Knew who he was and whose he was, knew his purpose, his direction, the source of his strength... Imagine telling God "Today I'm going to make some decisions without you..."

Seek. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing: Jesus sought me while a stranger / wandering from the fold of God / He, to rescue me from danger / interposed his precious blood. (Sacrifice). The prodigal son. The shepherd seeking the one. Luke 19:10 Jesus says to Zaccheus: "The Son of man came to seek and to save what was lost". If we would imitate God we would seek and save the lost.


• Imitate Jesus why?

• Biblical commands: (1 John 2:6, John 13:15)

• That we might have light (John 8:12 Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life." Same with bread & water.

• That we might have peace (from intro to Imitation: How often do we hear or say "If only I could have a little peace!"). Also John 14:27 Jesus said "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives...". Also Jesus rested, even in storms.

• Good for you/easier than alternative (Mt. 11:28-30)

• But I'm preaching to the choir

• Imitate Jesus because 1 Peter 3:15

• Imitate Jesus because Matthew 28:19

• Because as we seek to address community needs and revitalize this community and this church our witness is strengthened

• Because whoever imitates Jesus SWEEPS out of their life the list from Ephesians 4:31... Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: Quite comfortable weather. 69 in worship.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

"Needing Bread"

August 6, 2006
Ephesians series, 4/7
from Ephesians 4:1-16 and John 6:24-35

"'The bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.'
They said to him, 'Sir, give us this bread always.'
Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never hunger...'" – John 6:33-35

My sermon outline:

• Letter to editor, why go to church? (30 years: 1500 sermons, 32,000 meals. Spiritual nourishment)... So we come for spiritual food, and like meals, we come again and again, and God feeds us.

• In reading from John, the crowd (same crowd that was fed w/ 5 loaves & 2 fishes just before) is looking for Jesus. Really looking for Jesus? Jesus knows what they’re thinking, tells ’em not to waste their energy striving for perishable food but instead to work for food that nourishes their lasting lives.

• Jesus knows that even though we are looking for him today (are we really?), we waste our energy on things that do not nourish. We misuse our energy. We confess our improper action and our lack of proper action. We hold on to sins of the past (grudges) and close our eyes to sins of the present.

• Addicted to sin. Addiction is when a body so strongly craves a certain something that it neglects its own well-being to get it. Mel Gibson fell off the wagon and will reap the harvest of that for some time. If he knew the result of his fall beforehand he may have acted with more integrity.

• We are surrounded by results of sin. 61 years ago tomorrow the USAF B-29 Enola Gay dropped atomic bomb Little Boy on Hiroshima, killing a quarter of a million people. We had an idea of the power of the bomb but a lack of awareness on the full impact of its force, not only on the city and inhabitants of Hiroshima, but on the history of the world. If we knew the impact of our actions in Japan 61 years ago we may have acted differently.

• Hezbollah has admitted that it didn't know Israel would react so strongly to the July 12 kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers. We do not know the long term effects of our actions.

• God knows that his body the Church and indeed his children the World suffer the effects of sin every living moment, so he gives gifts for the building up of his body, and the whole body works together.

• knee surgery affected body and way of life for half a year. Different parts of my body had to work together to build the body.

• (1 cor 13 when I was a child) (static is tragic) No longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by bad teaching or trickery.

• They ask for a sign, as their ancestors had bread from heaven. (Imagine that, this crowd asking for bread!) God gives bread (it’s me) to give life to the world.

• Simple solution / NVPeale story. Sir, give us this bread always.

• We do not know the long-term effects of really any of our actions.

• Garbage In / Garbage Out.... You Are What You Eat...

• “ ‘The bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’
They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’ We need this bread.
Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never hunger...’ ”

• Therefore we should frequently feast on God’s bread, that we might lead lives worthy of the calling of God, with humility and gentleness, with patience and love, striving for unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We should constantly infuse our lives with God’s life-giving communion, that all of us might come to the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: comfortable weather. A communion Sunday. 67 in worship.