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, February 28, 2010

Lent 2: Jesus Thirsts

February 28, 2010
Second Sunday of Lent

The Suffering Savior’s Agonizing Thirst
Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
John 19:28

My sermon outline:

• I used to love the TV show ER, young doctors were always asked Why do you want to be a doctor? And pretty much the answer was always the same: I want to help people.
Teachers give the same answer to the question Why? I want to make a difference.
Racecar drivers Why? I want to drive fast :)
These desires, these thirsts fuel & motivate people.

& actually it’s important to have desire & thirst... just a few days to die w/o water... a great problem after natural disasters is fresh water supply. Many of world’s ills could be bettered by access to clean water. But that’s an aside.

• Jesus’ thirst. Keep in mind it was through thirst of people that Jesus’ first miracle occurred... turning water into wine (good wine) at the wedding of Cana. (Remember that Jesus’ ministry began with good wine). This first miracle indicates Jesus’ divinity, shows him fully qualified to do the work of salvation, which only God can do.

And it was through Jesus’ own thirst that the woman at the well was touched (John 4), she & her village. Jesus’ human-ness is revealed in his thirst, showing him qualified to be our mediator (for if he were not human he could not stand in for humans).

• Jesus was physically thirsty after events leading up to crucifixion... where along the way?
Last supper... praying in agony in garden... betrayed with a kiss... arrested at night.
Taken to Caiaphas’ house where... early in the morning he was condemned...
Taken to Pilate’s palace, then Herod’s, then back to Pilate’s, mocked and beaten.
Unjustly sentenced, severely beaten (i.e. massive blood loss)...
Carried cross (75 lbs? half a mile? From here to pretzel depot)

• Jesus longed for relationship with Father... (Canadian figureskater Joannie Rochette’s mom died Sunday and she skated on Tuesday, earned bronze medal... longed to share moment. Imagine any performer anxiously scanning audience for a last minute glimpse from mom or dad)

Jesus had given it all up (Philippians 2:5-7 made himself nothing, taking form of servant)

Jesus thirsts for divine blessing.

• Jesus thirsts for salvation of a lost world...

John 12:27 Jesus speaks to his own troubled heart, and steels himself up: this is why I came... to redeem the lost. (also 1 Timothy 1:15)

Desire to finish act of salvation kept Jesus faithful at temptation (a goal motivates and strengthens us)...

Desire to finish act of salvation kept Jesus faithful when ridiculed by townsfolk, dissuaded by disciples.

Desire to finish act of salvation kept Jesus from saying No in the garden of Gethsemane or on the cross... helped Jesus to complete the task, to drink the Father’s cup (John 18:11), to drink the sour wine on the cross (remember the good wine at the beginning).

• Jesus thirsts for fellowship
... with God (My God why have you forsaken me... next week)
... with disciples, who’d abandoned him
... with YOU (Revelation 3:20 I stand at the door and knock...) (that’s why he came)

• per Isaiah 55 it is in God alone that the thirsting of our souls are satisfied

• Remember the wedding feast at Cana and the good wine there? We want that to be a full celebration. Let’s get people to it!

• Hymn 452 My Faith Looks Up to Thee

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 65 in worship.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lent 1: Suffering Savior's Concern for Sinners

February 21, 2010
First Sunday of Lent

The Suffering Savior’s Concern for Sinners
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
Luke 23:34

My sermon outline:

• Season of Lent, 40 days in prep for Easter, reconciliation, instruction. Self examination, reflection. Prayer, fasting, self-denial (giving up). Interestingly chocolate and Lent.

Take on a spiritual discipline. Fast and give.

Matthew 6 Jesus warns against practicing acts of piety in front of others, and I tell you my fasts and disciplines not so you’ll ooh and aah over me (but go ahead if you want) but so you’ll have the example of a leader before you who does acts of piety. Not for you, not for me, for God.

& as Ephesians 5, be imitators of God.

During Lent talking on some of the things Jesus said from the cross, today’s on forgiveness...

• Forgiveness in the news this past week with Tiger Woods. Thanksgiving revealed affairs, been in an inpatient program for 6 weeks, made big public apology, public opinion about forgiving TW. A) he didn’t do anything to me, B) he makes some worthwhile points including that his real apology to his wife will not be proved by words but by his behavior over time.

• On a trip from England to America a traveler drank Governor Oglethorpe’s favorite wine, and the gov locked him up, livid, saying to his companion John Wesley “You know I never forgive” to which JW responded “In that case, sir, I hope you never sin.”

• Jesus said, "Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing."
For whom does Jesus ask forgiveness?
- the soldiers crucifying him, inflicting suffering, insults, gambling over possessions.
- the leaders who conspired out of self-righteousness and fear to have Jesus crucified
- Pontius Pilate, who delivered an innocent man to death for fear of the mob, and Herod, who treated Jesus as a performer and then sent him away
- Judas, for betraying
- the mob
- the disciples, for denying and deserting
- everyone... all have sinned, all must honestly declare “I am a sinner and in need of forgiveness.”

• Why might Jesus ask forgiveness for these people and circumstances?
Perhaps in intercession, to hold back the wrath of God upon those who were unjustly crucifying an innocent...
Perhaps that those who had sinned against Jesus might be granted opportunity to repent and experience forgiveness...
To experience forgiveness is to experience restored relationship – that what Tiger Woods hopes to experience with his wife & with the public.
To offer forgiveness is to say I do not wish for this sin to be a wall between us.

1 Timothy 2:3-6 : ...God our Savior... desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all... That’s why he came!

• A famous story of forgiveness Jesus tells is commonly known as the Prodigal Son... the father eagerly awaits the return (the repentance) of the son, with only desire to restore relationship.

To be forgiven is to enjoy the love of the Father’s heart and home... to enjoy the experience of restored relationship.

• Though not a condition for giving forgiveness, repentance is necessary for receiving forgiveness... Tiger Woods cannot receive forgiveness from his wife or public unless he asks for it, humbles himself and repents... the prodigal son could not receive forgiveness without humbling and repenting...

• Also part & parcel of receiving forgiveness is having faith, recognizing the possibility and clinging to the hope that reconciliation is possible, to the promise that God is about reconciliation, that that is why Jesus came, to forgive & bring us into right relationship & teach us to do likewise.

• We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us, and some evil in the bets of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.

As an act of right relationship with God and with those whom God loves and came to save, it is our duty & hopefully is our hope to be about the business of forgiveness, as we have been forgiven.

Your Lenten challenge: to forgive someone... to say those words out loud to someone: I forgive you. And similarly to seek forgiveness.

• Hymn 390 Forgive Our Sins as We Forgive

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 59 in worship.