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, August 12, 2007

Ask A Pastor: What Can I Do to Make the World a Better Place?

August 12, 2007

from John 13:12-17 and 2 Chronicles 27

"Jotham ... did what was right in the sight of the LORD just as his father Uzziah had done..." – 2 Chronicles 27:1-2

My sermon outline:

• Good: “Live so that the preacher won’t have to lie at your funeral”
Better: “Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

• Today a look at one of the ancient kings of Judah, Jotham. In the line of kings that followed David and Solomon and lasted until the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were destroyed or exiled, Jotham was about the 11th. Some were real good, some were real bad. Jotham was one of the good ones. Reigned around 740BC, during the time of the prophets Isaiah, Hosea, Micah, and Amos. Jotham is a direct descendant of David, and is listed in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1, as well. Here in 2 Chronicles, he’s got his own chapter, chapter 27.

• Verses 1-2. He did right like his father, but he didn’t invade temple.
(Uzziah his father had done right in the sight of the Lord until his pride took over and he tried to enter the priestly part of the temple to offer sacrifices. Got huffy. Got leprosy. Died in relative dishonor)

• Verses 3-5. Worked hard. Worked on God’s house, worked for God’s kingdom, fortifying cities in the countryside. Brought home the bacon (well...) he made some good money shall we say taxing the Ammonites.

• Verse 6. God made him strong. Then he died (I like to think he died serving the Lord). Died at 41, when his 20 year old son took over. Verse 28:1. Uh-oh. Ahaz didn’t do what was right (28 tells all about it). And remember the people were corrupt anyway (27:2). These things tell us a bit about Jotham: even though his loved ones and countrymen didn’t follow the Lord, he did. Man of integrity, man of God. Regardless of what others did or didn’t do.

Did right, worked hard, brought home the bacon, ordered his life acc. to God.
Thomas Jefferson: Whenever you do anything, act as if all the world were watching.

• I’ve mentioned Brother Lawrence before. 17th Century French monk, practice presence of God, made the kitchen his sanctuary.

He was assigned to the monastery kitchen where, amidst the tedious chores of cooking and cleaning at the constant bidding of his superiors, he developed his rule of spirituality and work. In his Maxims, Lawrence writes, "Men invent means and methods of coming at God's love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God's presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?"

For Brother Lawrence, "common business," no matter how mundane or routine, was the medium of God's love. The issue was not the sacredness or worldly status of the task but the motivation behind it. "Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do. . . We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God."

• He wished he could do something for God unnoticed, so that he might not receive any return from God, just the knowledge that he had acted lovingly towards God. He complained lovingly that god did not let any of his actions pass without God-love reward.

In his writings we are left the following prayer:

"My God, since You are with me, and since it is Your will that I should apply my mind to these outward things, I pray that You will give me the grace to remain with You and keep company with You. But so that my work may be better, Lord, work with me; receive my work and possess all my affections."

• SO what can you do to make the world a better place?

Do what you do, do it well, do it for the love of God.
If you sew, paint, play music, teach, rock babies, cook, walk, talk, if you’re good at math... offer it to God. Coach, mow lawns...
Mother Teresa said, “Go home and love your families.” If you love your families you can influence those around you, and you can send positive ripples out...
...Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can. John Wesley.

• Hymn 452 My Faith Looks Up To Thee

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: 50 in worship. Warm and humid.


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