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, September 16, 2007

God Delights In Doing The Impossible

September 16, 2007
UMC Special Offering: Health and Welfare Sunday

from Luke 18:15-17 and 1 Timothy 1:12-17

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners..." – 1 Timothy 1:15

My sermon outline:

• Funny song I heard performed by Jim Cole once:

So the man said to God, "What's a million years to you?"
And God said, "A second."

Then the man said to God, "What's a million dollars, too?"
And God said, "A penny."

So the man said to God, "Will you give me a penny?"
And God said, "Sure, you'll just have to wait a second."

God is good all the time.

Last week SS time is funny cuz we’re in it, can’t imagine being out of it. Like fish imagining life out of water.

Time like hourglass.
We can see the past, but we can’t change it, can’t get it back. Might be able to hide it, forget it, but can’t make it go away. We can examine different parts of it, learn from it, build on it, even celebrate it...
Sometimes present rushes by we sometimes have to take conscious effort to make the most of it, sometimes we tap the hourglass to see if we can make the present go by any faster; we can use it wisely or waste it...
The future we can make educated guesses about, based on present and past, signs that we see; we can make plans for it but chances are those plans will have to be adjusted, that’s why whenever you drive a car you hold the steering wheel instead of just letting go, even going straight always adjusting...
make plans for it or worry about it, but undoubtedly the wisest thing we can do is entrust it to God.

• Paul shares a few snapshots of time with us in his first letter to Timothy, the older, experienced pastor sharing some wisdom from his past with the newer Christian convert slash pastor, examining and contrasting his own past with his now. I was blasphemer, persecutor, a violent man, the greatest of sinners, Paul says. We talk about people you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley... for first century Jews, that was Saul. The last person you’d expect to be a witness for Jesus Christ (Ananias, Acts 9)

• But God delights in surprising people, in turning impossible things around. God had taken the infamous Saul, greatest of persecutors, and worked him into the greatest of evangelists. God gave mercy to Paul, so that when people looked at him they might not see the evil deeds of his past but instead his relationship with Jesus Christ. Mercy is an act of compassion when you’re set free from the wrongs you committed... Mercy says “that’s the past and this past need not be your future. By God’s grace, Paul received the free gifts of abundant faith and love. Mercy prevented Paul from getting his just reward; grace was a present aid to go towards the future, toward what God would have Paul become.

And if God could redeem Paul, if God could use him in his service, God could use anyone. God’s showing grace and mercy to Paul showed that God’s grace and mercy were deep.

• God delights in surprising people, and God delights in turning impossible things around. For the foremost sinner, the hardest human worker against the gospel to become its greatest supporter, impossible, unless you’re God. In the book of Judges, Gideon was leading an Israelite army against an enemy that was nigh uncountable – their camels numbered as the grains of sand, and Gideon had a mere 32K men. God ... whittled it down to 300, to show without a doubt that it was God who had the victory, so that the men might not boast in their own strength.

When the apostles had been spreading the good news of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem for a while, the Jewish council, the Sanhedrin, wondered what to do about it, and Gamaliel, a Jewish teacher of the law stood up and advised about future actions of the Sanhedrin: “If these men who claim to be doing God’s will aren’t, it’ll come out, we’ll know cuz they’ll fail. But if they are doing God’s will, nothing we do will be able to prevent it.”

• So I look at these things, that God delights in surprising people, and God delights in turning impossible things around, and I see hope for our future. May we make the best of our present, that our future may be guided by and credited to God. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever, Amen.

• Hymn: A Charge to Keep I Have

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: 57 in worship. muggy.


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