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, June 24, 2007

On Baptism and Discipleship

June 24, 2007

from Matthew 28:16-20 and Colossians 2:6-12

"See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ." – Colossians 2:8

My sermon outline:

• On baptism. Many ancient traditions had purification rituals involving water, and Christian baptism starts there. John the Baptist changed it, incorporating life-change and repentance as well as preparing for the one who would baptize with fire. In baptism, Jesus associates with the sin of humanity and we associate with Jesus. The sinful part of humanity goes under the water, dies, as Jesus died, and becomes purified. As Jesus rose from the dead so the baptized emerges from the water cleansed and renewed. In baptism in Jesus’ name we have the hope of life. At least six times in Acts baptism is prescribed, in response to hearing the gospel and repenting and professing faith in Jesus Christ.

• Megan and Greg promised to nurture Samuel in the Christian faith (as Colossians: live your life in Christ, rooted and built up in him, established in the faith.) Samuel is a plant, a living thing planted in the soil that is Christ, watered with faith and thanksgiving, that he may grow in wisdom and in strength and ultimately produce fruit for God. You too have taken part in this promise to nurture Sam in faith and life.

• In fact when we read Matthew we see that baptism is a milepost on the road of discipleship. Jesus Christ, who has all authority in heaven and earth, says Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

What should we do with all nations, all people? Teach ’em about the life-changing life-saving power of Jesus Christ.

And not only will we have to get out of our seats to “Go” but we’ll have to commit to them as we’ve committed to Samuel today, and as some congregation committed to you when you were baptized. Making disciples is not a momentary thing but a life commitment.

• Go, make disciples.
What’s a disciple? Not just a believer, subject, follower, but in ancient Greek, literally a student, pupil, learner. Go make learners. Example about my daughter’s dance recital and the dance teacher’s disciples. Disciples of weight watchers or the 12 step program, learning students. I’ve learned that if I don’t eat right and exercise then my body’s not in the shape God designed it to be in, and I won’t be able to live as God wants me to live. I’ve also learned that I can take some control of that.

I knew a man who said he used to be practicing Catholic, then he got good at it and stopped practicing. Oddly enough even the word “practice” derives from a word having to do with usefulness, not just being ornamental. Instead of practice to get good, Christian discipleship is like the game of bridge: it takes a few hours to learn, a lifetime to master.

• Making disciples, making learners.
How do people learn? Some by lecture, sure. Sometimes it seems like that what church or bible study ends up being; many listening to one, and while that’s a good start, there’s much more to learning. knowing about something is not the same as knowing something. We learn by doing, we learn by being mentored or apprenticed, we learn by immersion. Do you practice your faith? study and continue to learn and grow? Know how Samuel is going to develop into a Christian, into a disciple? By the example of his parents, his family, his church family. I know how my daughter picks things up from her parents, both good and bad, and that motivates me to nurture her properly.

• Therefore go and make students, teaching them, immersing them, mentoring, apprenticing them in the Christian life. My daughter’s going to take more dance lessons. Yesterday we learned that one of her teachers will be leaving to pursue more of a career in dance.

• Go, make disciples, baptizing, teaching… Go, find the lost, teach the found, send the taught.

• 451 Be Thou My Vision

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: 70 in worship.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Daddy Duty

June 17, 2007

from 1 Timothy 6:11-16 and Matthew 7:7-11

"Is there a man among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone?" – Matthew 7:9

My sermon outline:

• Story of Ken Chafin (author, Help! I’m a Layman!), who asked his 5 year old daughter what makes a good daddy. A good daddy can "catch a fish. Build a fire. Fly a kite. Catch a butterfly. Plant a flower. Get a kitty out of the mud." Ken noticed all the things his daughter listed involved activity, not money. Do. not buy. do not buy. greatest gift is self. Presence over presents.

• Spiritual duties of daddy:
• Continuation. As last week, no one is born a Christian, you become one. Timothy benefited from a heritage of faith. Raised in Christian household… mom and grandmother. (2 Tim 1:5)
• Continue the heritage. Fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12) You were called to bear witness. Do it.

People learn faith from families. Be a witness in yours.

• Character building (Calvin and Hobbes cartoon)

• pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. From a father boys should learn how to treat women, how to respond to adversity, how to act. Me and my dad, an honorable man. Father should not be model of what not to do… (friend whose husband says to shut up, will stop when kid starts… too late)

• Mark Driscoll on when his 3 year old daughter wanted to marry him

• Confess Jesus Christ as savior, and waver not, as Christ wavered not.
feed store story

• We do right things (Matthew 7:9) because God is in us, we’re designed in God’s image and God is good. We could do none of the above without God.

• Some of the duties of dad. Make stronger homes.

• 128 He Leadeth Me

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: 74 in worship. Cooler this morning.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

"Christians are made, not born"

June 10, 2007

from Jeremiah 18:1-11 and Acts 2:36-47

"And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved" – Acts 2:47

My sermon outline:

• Reading from Acts picks up where we left off on the day of Pentecost, Peter’s speech after the people think they’re drunk. Jesus was the promised Messiah. You crucified him. God raised him. People respond: What should we do? Answer: Make a change in your life.

• Reading from Jeremiah. Jeremiah was priest and prophet in Jerusalem 400 years after King David, 600 years before Christ. The northern kingdom of Israel had been conquered by Assyrians 100 years before. Jeremiah’s message to the surviving southern kingdom: repent, turn to God, reject evil, and you’ll be restored, God’s promises of land, people, blessing with be given.

• In Book of Jeremiah God uses object lessons, such as the todays: pottery.

• What does potter tell us about God? Creates for and with purpose, for utility or beauty, takes pride in creating and in creation.

• What does clay tell us about us? We are formless on our own, able to be shaped. Created on purpose for a reason.

• God desires to enjoy us, to use us, to take pride in us.

• When we cooperate, listen as people of Acts, it brings God pleasure. Both scripture readings today have the directive to return to God, repent, and do something.

• “Christians are made, not born,” says early church father Tertullian.
Acts: Study, fellowship, prayer. Communion. Care for one another.
“What marks us in the eyes of others is our lovingkindness. ‘Only look,’ they say, ‘look how they love one another.’” - Tertullian

• Imagine doing these with your neighbors. Fellowship. Study. Prayer. If you don’t, why not? What might happen? What would happen if you asked your neighbor how you might pray for them?

• Result: God is pleased, people live in goodwill, needs are met, God increases church.

Acts 2:46Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

• Hymn 427: Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: 60 in worship. Cooler this morning.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

What Now?

June 3, 2007
Trinity Sunday
Peace with Justice Sunday
Graduate Recognition Sunday
Communion Sunday

Isaiah 58:6-12 47828683

from Micah 6:6-8 and Isaiah 58:6-12

"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?" – Isaiah 58:6

My sermon outline:

A recent graduate got a job through a temp agency, and excitedly reported for his first day of work. The manager greeted him with a warm handshake and a smile, gave him a broom and said, "Your first job will be to sweep the floor."

"But I'm a college graduate," the young man replied indignantly.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know that," said the manager. "Here, give me the broom - I'll show you how."

• What's the first question you ask a grad? What’s next? What are you going to do now?

Traditional answers might include going to college if they just graduated HS, or getting a job if they just finished college. Let’s say three basic categories: Take a break, Further education, Use the skills/training I’ve completed.

• Last week we celebrated Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was given to the church. We might ask the same question asked of graduates: what are you doing to do now? Take a break, Further your education, Use the skills/training you’ve completed?

Christianity is a verb, it describes action. It’s more than something you are, it’s something you do. It’s a way of life, and it includes all 3 of the above.

• Shared two scriptures today, both related to how God wants us to be in the world. Coulda shared Matthew 25 (Sheep & goats) or James as well (be ye doers as well as hearers). Isaiah 58: The fast God chooses is that we loose the chains of injustice, untie the cords of the yoke, set free the oppressed, feed the hungry, provide shelter for the poor, clothe the naked...

God wants us to act justly or do justice (not just be a nice person).

• Peace with Justice Sunday, one of six special offerings a year. From the 2004 Book of Discipline: ¶264.5 Pentecost celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s calling for God’s shalom. Peace with Justice witnesses to God’s demand for a faithful, just, disarmed, and secure world.

Ways we can act justly, love mercy, do Isaiah 58:

Advocate for human rights
Buy fair trade products
Care for environment
Work to eradicate poverty
Feed the hungry
Mediate conflict
Provide health care
Seek affordable housing
Model nonviolence

• As we ask graduates What’s Next, What’s next for us? take offering, participate in the larger church, yes. Yet God didn’t say “I want you to pay for stuff”, he calls us to action. We’re here on the corner of Church and Broad, in Spring City. Our church and the very town of SC grew up together. We’ve thrived together and we’ve suffered together. What community need is there that we can address together? If we find ourselves doing the kind of things mentioned in Isaiah 58 or Matthew 25 or Micah 6 then

8Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 9Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, 10if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. 11The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. 12Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: 57 in worship. Communion today. The heat is here.