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, May 25, 2008

A few words on the Word

May 25, 2008
Second Sunday in Pentecost

Isaiah 55:10-13, Mark 2:13-17, 2 Corinthians 3:1-6

“My word... shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” - Isaiah 55:11

My sermon outline:

• Mr. Johnson, a businessman from Wisconsin, went on a business trip to Louisiana. He immediately sent an e-mail back home to his wife, Jennifer (JenJohnson at email dot com). Unfortunately, he forgot his wife's exact E-mail address and the e-mail ended up going to a Mrs. Joan Johnson (JJohnson at email dot com) of New Jersey, the wife of a preacher who had just passed away.
The preacher's wife took one look at the e-mail and promptly fainted. When she was finally revived by her daughter, she nervously pointed to the message, which read: 'Arrived safely, but it sure is hot down here.'

• Melissa and I text message / email a few times a day, usually. To keep in touch.

• Jesus probably would’ve text messaged. God communicates in difft ways. Me & psalm 103

• Just want to say a few words about God’s word.

• As you’ll see in newsletter, pastor’s story of reading the paper, convicted to read word. Sitting there nodding my head. Yes that’s me. Class notes in mail yesterday.

• Ironic, sad, both that we live in Age of Communication & God’s word is valued so little.
So again I renew my commitment to reading scripture for me for purpose of letting it soak into me (read it 50 times before studying it!) so that I might have closer communion with God.

• Isaiah: God promises that God’s word will be successful, it will do what it’s sposed to do. what’s it sposed to do? inform & nurture people, bring forth life & strength… increase & improve life.

• we remember that the beginning of the book of John Jesus is called the word, the word became flesh and dwelt among us…
Mark 2 the simple story of Levi, simply responding to Jesus’ call “follow me”
and Jesus the living word of God sharing his purpose of what? to bring healing and salvation to people… increase & improve life, bring forth life & strength.

• then in 2 cor that word lives in us, not by our own merit or accord, but by the spirit of God. it is a living word which gives life.

• An unknown writer said, “This Book is the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding; its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s character. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. Follow its precepts and it will lead you to Calvary, to the empty tomb, to a resurrected life in Christ; yes, to glory itself, for eternity.

• Tomorrow is Memorial Day. May this song allow us national pride mixed with the humility of sharing God’s earth with others.

• Hymn 437 This Is My Song

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: 56 in worship.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Making the Pledge

May 18, 2008
Trinity Sunday

Joshua 24:1-27 and 2 Corinthians 8:1-7

“Choose this day whom you will serve...” Joshua 24:15b

My sermon outline:

• The reading from Joshua. Specific national salvation history, emphasizing GOD’s actions, GOD’s works of salvation in very real ways, GOD bringing victory and prosperity, it’s all GOD.

• Jewish history with highs and lows, including the recent generation of acquiring & settling the Promised Land.

• Michael W. Smith sang “If they were to write about the story of my life / they would have to mention you in every page they’d write”. Joshua: there’s not a part of your/our history that doesn’t have God leading us, saving us.

• Following the history, Joshua the leader (btw “Joshua” = “The Lord saves” and is pretty much the same name as “Jesus”) says OK I’m dying. I’ve followed the Lord’s commands and led us this far, now it’s time for you leaders to take up the reins... you need to decide and declare whom you are going to serve.

& just as when I marry a couple I ask “will you take this person in sickness & in health, and forsaking all others keep yourself for them as long as you both shall live” Joshua asked the people, the leaders “Will you take this God, the God of your ancestors, the God who has brought you through thick and thin, time and time again, to be your only God, to love and to serve, from this day forward and forever more?”

If you’re thinking this sounds like covenant language you’re right it is.

• You gotta love the way Joshua negotiates with the leaders:

Josh: choose
Leaders: We choose God
Josh: You can’t choose God... he’s holy, he’ll hold you accountable.
Leaders: No really, we choose God!
Josh: In front of God and all these witnesses, you know...
Leaders: We know. We choose God!
Josh: Okay then. Let’s shake on it.

Then Joshua, The Lord Saves, the leader, makes a covenant between God and the people. They decide and declare how they’ll serve God. They make a commitment.

• FFWD to NT early church Paul to Corinthians  your gifts to the church are gifts to God and are a sharing in the ministry. As you are exemplary in your service to God in so many areas, be exemplary in this area too, giving generously and faithfully, sharing in ministry.

• & so I join with Joshua in challenging you to declare your commitment, with God as your witness. As much as God was a part of the history of Joshua and his people, God is a part of OUR history AND our present. God was there as our grandparents in the faith gathered at the Lyceum on Main Street, as the Union Meeting House was soon built on this location, as the need for a new building (the Old church) was built, as the congregation planted the Rford church and then built this building... God was with us as we and the town grew together. I join with Joshua in challenging you to declare & renew your commitment to our God, the God of our predecessors, with God as your witness.

& I join with Paul in encouraging your faithful giving & ministry.

• So let us sing our faith as we prepare to offer our commitments to God.

• Hymn 581 Lord, Whose Love Through Humble Service

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: xx in worship.