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.!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

"Be Good To You"

October 1, 2006
World Communion Sunday
from Mark 9:38-50 and James 5:13-20

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you." – Isaiah 43:2

My sermon outline:

• Riddle: What can you brush your teeth with, figure out your taxes with, and listen to on the stereo? (a toothbrush, a calculator, and a CD... different tools for addressing different needs)

• "Be good to you" is my way of signing off when talking with a particular friend online. My way of saying "I love you, I care about you, I believe in you, take care of yourself." (An online friend, sometimes heavy discussion, about her depression. She had needs, and I had one of the tools to address her needs. She was in need of a caring listening ear, of unconditional love. In need of meds and counseling... body and soul needs.

• My wife under the weather, needed to take some meds... needed to be cared for, needed rest, water, drugs... body and soul needs. Provided by her handsome nurse :)

• We as humans are in need in body and in soul, in need of someone who will listen to us and love us and address our needs. Need a way to get thru life. "In my life are times of hope and times of fear, times when no one’s there to know my tears, but the Lord hears our cries and takes us by the hand to clear our eyes..." (a song by Kerry Bart)

• One of my fave verses is Isaiah 43:2 (quoted above)
"...when you walk through fire you will not be burned..."

• But we read in Mark 9:50 that “everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”... hm. One Bible interpreter, Eugene Peterson writes the passage this way: “Everyone's going through a refining fire sooner or later, but you'll be well-preserved, protected from the eternal flames. Be preservatives yourselves. Preserve the peace.”

• Thought on that... everyone will go through a refining fire, a purifying fire.
• Precious metals like gold and silver are purified by intense heat;
• Pottery is fired by intense heat (twice!)
• Precious stones (rubies, emeralds, diamonds, etc) form under pressure and heat;
• We will pass through intense heat as we are purified and healed by God, being made useful and beautiful... (may mean that followers will have to suffer because of their faith) (where our hearts and minds are opened and grown after being split open by the challenges of life... seminary challenges what you know, tears down the thin unsubstantial stuff so that new framework can be put in, but that’s scary.) (salted with fire is also willingness to do whatever it takes to be pleasing to God)
• Or think about the pain of something like childbirth. And parenting in general. It’s tough to be a parent, it tests you even as you use tools and trials to shape and develop your child. In love.

• You may be saying, “PK I don’t want to be a gem.
Or a pretty pot. Or shiny gold. That hurts.”
I’ve had enough pressure and heat.”
But that’s why I love Isaiah 43:2 : you’re not alone...

• “Everyone's going through a refining fire sooner or later, but you'll be well-preserved, protected from the eternal flames. Be preservatives yourselves. Preserve the peace.” (Mark 9:50)

• We have strength for that purification because of God’s presence in us – God preserving us like salt preserves meat (for thousands of years it’s been used... and that’s why canned goods have so much sodium...)

• We have this need for purification, and we have tools to help with the job
• We preserve by getting rid of path to sin (cut off hand, foot, eye. Covenantal stuff)
• We preserve by prayer and fasting, by anointing and praising, by confessing and keeping accountable (holiness club) (James 5 list)
• We preserve by love, and we love because He first loved us.
We can be good to ourselves because God is good to us...

• We preserve by communion. It is one of God’s ways of addressing our needs of body and soul.

"In the breaking of the bread we are made whole...
When we take of Jesus’ body and his blood
in community, we share God’s holy food.
For his people God provides –
he gives us strength to live our lives
filled forever with the goodness of his son."

• So be good to you. Come with joy to meet God... (UMH#617)

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: Cool and clear. 89 in worship. World Communion Sunday.


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