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, January 11, 2009

This is a Battery Holder

January 11, 2009
First Sunday after the Epiphany

Spirit Batteries

Mark 1:1-11 and Acts 19:1-7

My sermon outline:

• flashlight example: this is a Christian, this is the church. Designed with the purpose of giving light to the world (and not to self, btw... designed to point away from self). Designed to house and carry within the very power that shines through. First thing God created? Light. & God’s design, desire, and plan is that the world know his light (& in turn give him glory for the light).

• Acts 19. Paul traveling through new territory doing what? Spreading the gospel, sharing the light (do you know about the light of the world? Do you know about the savior? Lemme tell you how I met him on the road to Damascus, let me tell you how he has changed my life, let me tell you of the joy I have, the peace the forgiveness the wholeness that God has given me and that he wants to give you.)

Imagine his joy to find a community of believers, a community of converts, and disciples of John the Baptist. Converts because they don’t seem to know the Spirit of God... something is amiss... like saying “I know a great knock-knock joke. You start!” something is off. Paul finds a flashlight but it ain’t lighting.

Did you receive the HS? Do you know about batteries? HS? Batteries? What’re you talking about? Tell me about your baptism. John’s baptism.

Okay. First step. A good and necessary first step, the baptism of repentance. A gift from God, even, called prevenient grace. The welcome center along the road. But you don’t vacation to welcome centers... you start there and you embark from there. You start with repentance and embark from there, into what? What’s God’s plan? Light the world! Bring it into right relationship with God & therefore with others.

Paul baptizes them in the name of Jesus & lays hands on them & they receive the Holy Spirit – the batteries, & the next leg of their journey has begun. By the grace of God they’ve been justified – forgiven and cleansed and set right – and Paul tells ’em This is the first day of the rest of your life! & they begin the process of sanctification, of the God-given renewing of their minds. Luke (author of Acts) gives a few details about the wholeness, the perfection, the shalom of the event: the 12 (God’s number) new disciples (now baptized properly & in right relationship with God) speak in tongues and they prophesy – signs that God’s plan and purpose is for all the world, not just the chosen race, and that it is for individuals and for communities.

• Spirit filled church (God’s design and plan).

John Wesley: Wherever the church is being filled with the Spirit, scriptural Christianity is coming alive... people are walking in faith.

What’s this mean? Individuals and communities that have the HS, that are plugged into God’s HS batteries are increasingly in the mind of Christ, and the folks they come in contact with are growing in Christ as well. This sanctification is a lifelong process, a continually working gift of God, again for individuals as well as communities

• in 1744 John Wesley (who’d been preaching for 20 years... he’d preach another 40 years yet) took a good look at the church around him, determined that it was so bogged down in the maintenance of its own body that it no longer needed God, so JW said farewell to the Church of England and hello to the guidance of the HS, who led him to preach in open spaces and minister to the poor and imprisoned and to those whom no one would minister to, and to ensure that the believers in the New World would have a vital connection to Christ. His examination had led him to see that the folks he was around were spending more energy on how the flashlight looked than on how it worked.

• & we hear Paul’s words for us today as we examine our commitments to Christ as individuals and as a community... we examine whether we’re at the welcome center or driving down the road, whether we’re actively in our lives and in our life bearing God’s light in our little corner of the world, whether scriptural Christianity is alive & people are walking in faith & bearing the fruits of the Spirit...

• The gift of the spirit is given freely, & we cultivate it through prayer & study & action.

• Hymn 604 Praise and Thanksgiving be to God

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 60 in worship, in spite of ice storm.


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