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, November 29, 2009

Looking Forward

November 29, 2009
First Sunday of Advent

Looking Forward
the Candle of HOPE

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 and Jeremiah 33:14-16

The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. – Jeremiah 33:14

My sermon outline:

• Children’s sermon: Have kids tell story of Cinderella, of baby Jesus, of themselves... How’s this one end? In Advent we count down to Christmas, a story we know. But many years ago people didn’t know the outcome of the story – they had to wait, and cling to HOPE. And so we think about what that would be like, and we thank God that he loves us and gives us life. In Jeremiah 33:15 God says I will give you a good leader. So we trust in God’s promises.

• Children’s sermon is as much for me and you as it is for children, you know . We have something of a “Rest of the Story” a la Paul Harvey... we have the benefit of reading hundreds of years of history, of reading God’s promise of sending a righteous leader, salvation & redemption, a Messiah (anointed one, one set aside for divine purpose, for priestly ministry, making others right with God)

• Imagine living in Jeremiah’s time, hearing the words of this prophet who warns of God’s judgment, who admonishes and warns folks to repent. Imagine living in time & place of gross injustice and unrighteousness, power hungry leaders sapping the life strength out of povertystricken masses, imagine hearing The days are surely coming when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah... I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up... Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. (Jer 33:14-16)

That HOPE would be like a candle in a dark room, LOOKING FORWARD to the fulfillment of God’s promise.

• We read last week (on Christ the King Sunday) of this fulfillment, of the single candle of hope shining as a sun of righteousness, a light of God’s revealing for all people, when Jesus was born and presented in the temple, and Simeon praised God, saying

Sovereign Lord, as you have promised... my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel. – Luke 2:29-32

We have the rest of story, we see the fulfillment of what people were LOOKING FORWARD to.

• Fast-forward a generation, salvation has come to full fruition in the sacrificial death and miraculous resurrection of Jesus, and the disciples of Jesus are planting churches, telling the Good News (which is what? The hope of redemption! God’s faithfulness!)

• Paul writes a letter to a church he planted but has been away from, a letter of encouragement, even as he’s just heard from Timothy how well things are going for the church in Thessalonica. Paul gives thanks and LOOKS FORWARD to the return of the Lord, Jesus’ fulfillment of promises to come again, to the fulfillment of righteousness and the crushing of unrighteousness.

Paul says “I’m so glad you’re doing well. Keep on holding fast, no matter what... be strengthened by God & be blameless so when he comes back, we’ll all be ready.

• & we LOOK FORWARD still, not knowing the rest of the story but trusting in the rock-solid promises of God, celebrating that Christ came and LOOKING FORWARD to his return.

• Hymn 110 A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 53 in worship.


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