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, July 27, 2008

Kingdom Statements

Kingdom Statements
July 27, 2008
Eleventh Sunday in Pentecost

Matthew 13:44-52 and Romans 8:28-39
"Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."(Romans 8:38-39)
My sermon outline:
• Things kids say about heaven:

Tommy, 7: I know what heaven is, but I don’t want to go there. I want to go to NC.

Scott: Heaven is up in the sky, and you could look down at circuses for free if you want to, except you have to ask God for permission first.

David, 7: Heaven is kind of big and they sit around playing harps. I don’t know how to play a harp, but I suppose I should learn how to play that dumb thing pretty soon.

Eric, 8: It is a place where there is a lot of money lying around. You could just pick it up, play with it, and buy things. I think I am going to buy a basketball, and I am going to play basketball with my great-great-grandmother.

• For as much as we believe in heaven, it’s not talked about much. Much more energy is spent talking about specific sins (typically ones that apply to other people especially) and I’d guess more time is spent talking about stewardship and giving to the church than heaven.
And today’s no different – I’m going to talk about other peoples’ sins, and then ask you for money (jk)

• How would you describe the taste of a banana to someone who's never tasted one? Blind men describe elephant. (tail, tusk, leg). How describe heaven?

• Jesus of course, had been to Heaven, not only that he was an architect of it. If any human has ever had ability to speak with authority about H, it’s Jesus.

Jesus tells a few short parables about the Kingdom of Heaven. KOH not exactly the same thing as H, which may in fact be one of Jesus’ points. 8 parables in Mt 13, at least 7 have to do with KOH. In fact about 80 times in NT. H is like a location, KOH is more a state of being. Like “house” and “household.” I live in a house (provided by you, tyvm) and I am a member of a household, which includes M & S & cats and is more a state of being than a location. I behave a certain way because I enjoy membership in that household; by that household I am glad to order many aspects of my life.

H may be a location of sorts, but KOH is that state of being where your life is guided by principles laid out by God... where your household’s priorities are set by God... where society is aligned by God the almighty king, especially in light of his saving grace.

And since KOH is not just a location but a state of being, it is something that is both future (KOH is near) and present (KOH is here). It is coming, and it has in part already arrived.

• Jesus’ parables...
KOH is familiar (growing seed, baking bread, day to day stuff) and surprising (size, yield).
KOH is sought (merchant went out looking) and stumbled upon (plowman found)
KOH is more valuable than anything else... worthy of lining life up against
KOH involves justice (as last week, a separation of good and evil, a triumph of good)

• inasmuch as we live kingdom values, work for justice, live with compassion and humility, offer praises to God, love to neighbors, KOH is among us.

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: 53 in attendance.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Why do bad things happen to good people?

July 20, 2008
Tenth Sunday in Pentecost

Matthew 13:24-30 and Romans 8:17-28

"Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty,
but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest."
(Proverbs 14:4)

My sermon outline:

• Parable is a mere six verses, a mere 140 words, combined with Romans, answers the question of all questions, why do bad things happen to good people

• first, the bad stuff. God is not the source (an enemy comes in the night and sows weeds among the wheat). There is an enemy. The weeds look like wheat at the beginning. The bad permeates the good, and is distinguishable. we would do well to keep watch in the night. Romans 8: all creation is subject to the suffering.

• God allows it. (read verse 30) Why? A number of reasons.

• Why #1. Solution could wipe out the good with the bad. If you had a blood disease, you don’t solve the problem by draining the blood. Likewise you don’t treat an infection with bleach, for although the bleach will take care of the infection it’ll take care of the healthy tissue too.

• Why #2. Timing isn’t right. God plants and wants the harvest in its time, and some things take time. You can’t speed up a pregnancy. Sashi frequently asks about time, minutes… (When will my Mac and Cheese be ready?) But she doesn’t understand minutes either… When’s the harvest gonna be ready, God? God knows, but we don’t understand God’s minutes.

• Why #3. God may in fact be pleased with the process. Growth that comes through trial, or even the strength of witness when a person doesn’t come through the trial.

Prov 14:4 Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.

You can have a clean barn where there are no oxen. No mess. And no production, either. Oxen in the barn means a messy barn, and gives a way to reap the harvest.

• Why #4. It’s temporary. Both Matthew and Romans affirm that there is suffering and badness now, and that it will come to an end, and that goodness will triumph. Matthew: there will be a harvest, God’s crop will come to fruition, and the weeds will be burned. Romans: Our suffering now doesn’t compare to the glory to come. Sashi’s questions can be frustrating, but like the pain of childbirth is forgotten (so I’ve heard) the love and joy far outweighs the frustration. God’s glory will be revealed in his people and in creation. Our bodies will be redeemed. In hope we are saved.

• And finally, God’s spirit is with us no matta what. Present and future. Romans 8:28

• Hymn 407 Close to Thee

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: 41 in attendance. There's a heat wave. Again.