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, April 15, 2007

We Are Witnesses

April 15, 2007
First Sunday After Easter

from Acts 5:27-33 and Revelation 1:4-8

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give reason for the hope that you have." – 1 Peter 3:15

My sermon outline:

• If I told you there was a Phillies game last night would you believe me? TV, radio, plausible, credible, eyewitness, 35K ppl. It’s because of witnesses that we are here today, and our faith and trust that their testimony is both credible and true.

• We are here in church, a voluntary organization, why? Why deal with the politics, the hassle, the thou-shalt-nots, the financial sacrifice, giving up Sunday mornings and more?

• B/C of that credible and true witness
and b/c we’re called to be witnesses:

“Repentance and forgiveness of sins
will be preached in Christ’s name to all nations.
You are witnesses of these things.” Jesus, in Luke 24:47-48

“You will be my witnesses... to the ends of the earth.” Jesus, in Acts 1:8

• We’re called to be witnesses, we witness when we desire to be a part of God’s saving work in the world, and we witness because people have questions.

• Leading the fastest growing religious beliefs in U.S. are Wicca and Islam, and certainly atheism and Mormonism are high ranking. Some say the day is not far off when Christianity will be the minority in America. These groups are increasing in number because they are answering questions and addressing needs that people have, because their witness is strong. Or at least the perception is stronger than Christianity’s, where people look in and see the politics and hypocrisy and want no part of it. “Your Jesus I like,” Gandhi is reported to have said. “Your Christians I do not like. They are so unlike your Jesus.”

• I happen to think we have the best story. I believe it’s the truest and the most life-changing story. Christianity is the only one that offers both incarnation (God becoming human) and redemption (God saving, forgiving, reconciling humankind)

• Questions of why do you do what you do, what does Christianity have that’s of value to me, why should anyone be a follower of Jesus Christ?

• I’m a beggar, showing other beggars where to find bread. I’ve seen a messed-up world and I’ve seen a cleaner-upper, a wise one who knows that a solution I work for means more to me than something I’m given.

• Because Jesus Christ is the most solid foundation you could ask for (On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand) Because Jesus Christ is a buoy in a sea of change. Because Jesus Christ was healing people and was a threat to others then and now alike. Because Christ is the first and the last, before, during, and after. He who spoke existence out of nothing makes us into God’s glorious kingdom. (Rev. 1:6)

Jesus Christ is the foundation, and people have foundational questions.

"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow to attain the resurrection from the dead" (Phil 3:10-11).

• B/C I’ve read credible accounts like Acts 5 where people are willing to stand against corrupt authorities, under persecution, under threat of life. And many died for their faith, rather than renouncing God (Heard on radio when the 15 Brits were hostages how this radio host would appease the captors... made me think of whether under threat of death or torture I’d say what they wanted me to say or whether I’d trust in God even to the point of death.

• We don’t know time of coming (Rev. 1:7), or when we’ll be put in a situation where someone asks the right question. Therefore steep life in word, in prayer, in discipline, in fellowship.

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: 46 in worship. Nor'easter! (cold, hard rain)


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