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, June 27, 2010

Life in the Spirit

June 27, 2010
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Life in the Spirit
For freedom Christ has set us free. – Galatians 5:1
If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. – Galatians 5:25

My sermon outline:

• Verse 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Another stating of the keystone of the letter of Galatians: Righteousness through the faith of Christ, not through the law, therefore clinging to the law is saying Christ is not sufficient... Imagine sinking, lifevest, rescued. wearing lifevest after you’ve been safely saved: you trust the vest not the savior

• Called to freedom, however, is NOT license to do whatever you want. 5:13 not opportunity for self-indulgence. Driver’s license (speed limit, on roads, inspection), freedom of speech... these freedoms accompanied by obligations to be community-minded.

These will be indicators of living in the Spirit: in your life (in the life of the community) will be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Living in the Spirit? These things will be evident. That’s why I pray that others may look at you, at us, and know that we’ve got something different, something good.

• Paul gives two lists, a list of some characteristics that will exist in community in Spirit, and a list of some characteristics that will exist in community of flesh... This is what’ll happen when people live self-gratifying lives, live without regard for others, there will be strive, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissension, all kinds of anti-community stuff.

Lists are representative but not comprehensive, not all-encompassing.

• However worthwhile to note that “convenience” is not a FOTS.

Indeed, we’re called to service – a nice way of saying verse 13, do not use your freedom for self-indulgence but through love become slaves to one another. Decidedly not convenient.

• Unusual request for this community to witness via an inconvenient commitment to a singular circumstance... support of a homeless person (just got a PT job) who’s been receiving your indirect care (shelter)... request to make that direct care... to go beyond the “flesh” concerns and objections (no diploma, has been in jail, nimby)

• In the midst of our own personal financial difficulties, even in the midst of our church’s tight budget, I’m asking for us to come together as a community and give this person a home... if 15 who are here today will pledge $10 a week for six weeks, she’ll have a room for six weeks. Do you think we can come up with 15 people or couples who will make such a pledge with me?

Would you sponsor 30 minutes of phone use so she can be in touch with doctor and other concerns?

Would you give a grocery card or better yet invite for a meal? & give leftovers? & let her do laundry while she’s there?

Would you drive her to appointments on Monday? On Thursday?

• Unusual request to make, yet certainly a strong community witness, and way of living by and being guided by the Spirit.

• Hymn 500 Spirit of God, Descend upon my Heart

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 49 in worship.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Life in Christ

June 20, 2010
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Father’s Day

Life in Christ
You all belong to the family of God through faith in Jesus Christ. – Galatians 3:26

My sermon outline:

• 3:24: Law was disciplinarian. Contemporary negative image of disciplinarian. punisher, but in our time and Paul’s, discipline is good and proper, and in Paul’s time Disciplinarian had to do with instruction, raising up a person right. Paul saying Law = disciplinarian is not a bad thing.

Guy in traffic wants directions to Carnegie Hall… practice (discipline. effort, time, will. regular repeated behavior becomes learned natural). 1 hr/20 days >> 20 hrs/1 day

Knee surgery physical therapist. provides rigid and sometimes painful opposition for purpose of making right, of setting free.

• not beholden to non-life-givingsystem but life abundant in JC. (as opposed to may it go well with you)

• There is no longer Jew or Greek, Slave or free, male and female; all one in Christ Jesus. Abraham’s offspring, heirs. (3:28-29): Paul’s two points to end this section: Justified life, abundant life available to all, and, well, available to all.

Story of man and son in auto accident… gospel open to all

Story of me and father and anesthesiology… gospel for individuals.

• Gift of God that none may boast.

• Gift of love invitational, become children of God, heirs where earlier you couldn’t become an heir, that was by birth only.

• Hymn 408 Gift of Love

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 60 in worship.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I Am Resting All My Weight Here

June 13, 2010
Third Sunday after Pentecost

I Am Resting All My Weight Here
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live,
but it is Christ who lives in me.
- from Galatians 2:19-20

My sermon outline:

• recap... last week, SCUMC proclamation of gospel of God’s gift of justification via Christ’s faith, plus God’s power to transform.

• This week: Paul’s context... no need (or stronger!) to compel non-Jewish followers of Christ to follow Jewish customs & laws...
Rather, faith in Jesus Christ, who lives in me.

• Church membership, couple times a year, next time is next month. What does it involve (declare identity... I belong to God) (prayers presence gifts service witness). Why join a church. (receive)

No need to join church AND make separate commitment to Christ, since c to C is already part of joining church.

Galatians 2: like dialysis (law. Do this and live.) ... But after a kidney transplant, no need to compel dialysis.

• A missionary was living among the people and translating the Bible to them but could find no word in their language for “believe.”
One day a runner arrived exhausted from another village with an important message. After delivering the message the runner collapsed into a hammock and uttered a single word, which the missionary did not understand.
“What did he say?” asked the missionary.
“He said, ‘I am resting all my weight here,’” he was told.
“That is the word for ‘believe’.”

Believing is simply casting one’s self unreservedly into the open arms of the Lord Jesus and saying, “Lord, on Thee I rest my soul for eternity. I am trusting Thee to hold me up and to keep me safe and secure forever! I am depending on You and on You alone to save me! I am resting all my weight upon who you are, and what you have done and what you have said.”

• Hymn 356 When We Are Living (We Belong to God)

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 62 in worship.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Lighthouse on the Hill

June 6, 2010
Second Sunday after Pentecost

The Lighthouse on the Hill
Galatians 1

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age,
according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Galatians 1:3-4)

My sermon outline:

• Fortunate (maybe) to live in a time when not much controversy… (flip side is that only controversy when you’re doing something… if you’re in a parked car, you won’t get a speeding ticket. but you won’t get anywhere either)

• There are controversies that strike fear into the hearts of pastors and congregations alike. Should we offer an additional service? (Yes!) what kind of music? (oh no) Shall we paint the fellowship hall? (Yes it needs it) What color? (oh no) Shall we have communion the same way every time or try it different ways?

Some things are Let it be… how you answer doesn’t make you “more” or “less” Christian.

• Some things are not “Let it be”. Shall the church oppose Hitler or sit back and watch? Shall the church have anything to do with bringing down apartheid? Shall the church defend slavery as it did once upon a time?

• Paul’s letter to the Galatians is a letter to an established congregation (or region) about a controversy within the body, something Paul deems not to be a LetItBe.
We’ll get into that part later on, but Paul opens letter with a reminder of the Gospel through which we (he includes himself) are justified – made right with God – through faith of JC.
(note: it’s easy to hear faith IN JC, but it’s faith OF JC) but again, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Justification (rectification) is the gift of God through the faith of JC who gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age.

• Paul says Here’s my credentials, you believed the gospel once, don’t let it be twisted around.

• What if no SCUMC? look first at history… why SC? (vision) Why UMC? (zeal)
current vision & mission. Trusting God, Demonstrating God’s Love.
Lighthouse on the Hill.

Vision… We are called to grow as a Church that is Christ-centered, open to the Holy Spirit and welcoming all people in its mission, outreach and witness.

Mission… to reach people in the community and developing surrounding areas and invite them to become part of a caring, believing church family that is growing in faith and commitment and in developing Christian education, fellowship and service opportunities to meet needs.

If no SCUMC, dark! Not because we provide the light – God does that – but like lighthouses we illuminate the safe passage, we illuminate that it is through grace that our present day conditions are dealt with.

• Paul reminds us of the power of God to transform amazingly.
We’ve seen transformation of Peter, who went from denying and locked up alone but was transformed into street preacher of boldness.
Paul’s transformation from defender of the Jewish faith to ancient day Billy Graham.
We look forward to our own transformation as we illuminate and celebrate the safe passage that is Jesus Christ.

• Hymn Insert: Living For Jesus

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: muggy. 70 in worship.
Communion Sunday