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, October 10, 2010

This Is My Gospel

October 10th, 2010
Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching that you heard from me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Protect this good thing that has been placed in your trust through the Holy Spirit who lives in us. – 2 Timothy 1:13-14

My sermon outline:

• Paul tells us his gospel: This is my good news... (2 Timothy 2:8-15)
Jesus was THE Promised one, the promised king shepherd savior messiah son of David, the one the prophets foretold (and it’s not even Advent yet)... (Paul should know, he’s a scholar, he has personal experience too).
Jesus is the Christ (Greek for Messiah, for beyond the walls of Judaism).
Knowing I’m serving him makes it all worthwhile (Jesus redeemed me), even the prison, even the suffering. The gospel has great value, it is bigger than me, and Jesus is why I do what I do.

Remember this, Timothy, and remind people. Identity in Christ is the best place to be.

• Letter to Timothy. If today, perhaps an email. I posted this on Facebook the other day:

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.

Shared that little bit of wisdom on the computer, and a friend of mine (lives in Spring City, not a believer) responded “I'm confused. Are you saying it's all about the journey? Cause I do know you're an advocate for the destination...”

• In a way, he was asking me what my gospel was. In a way he was characterizing Christians in general as being primarily concerned with the destination: getting to heaven. Now, did my friend really believe that my primary goal as a Christian pastor is to get people to heaven? I don’t think so. Regardless, I took the opportunity to explain what my gospel is:

First of all, it's from a James Taylor song, and I'm in a JT mood, and you know me and lyrics.

Secondly, I would hope that Christianity in general, or at least my attempt at living Christ-like-ly, is substantially more journey than destination. "Follow Jesus so you can get to heaven" (or worse yet, "follow Jesus or you'll go to hell") is pretty shallow and mis-representative. "Follow Jesus because he's good" is much better, don't you think? Brother Lawrence (17th Century French monk, 'famous' for his posthumously published writings, The Practice of the Presence of God) earnestly desired that he could out of sheer gratitude do something for God without being noticed and rewarded by God, merely for the pleasure of doing something for God. That is how I would like to live. That is how I would like to be known.

My gospel is like Paul’s: Jesus is the Savior; through Jesus we have redemption. Jesus is a worthy model and it is worth it for me to live like Christ and to live for Jesus. My life is God’s gift to me, and what I do with it is my gift to God. My aim is not to attain heaven or to avoid hell, my aim is to celebrate God while I live.

• I was blessed by this interaction with a non-believer... opportunity to show who I am... There’s a holiday coming up in a few weeks that I believe we can use as an opportunity to show people who we are... All Saints’ Day, when we remember those who have died since the last ASD. Opportunity: ask those around us Have they lost anyone in the last year, could we lift them in prayer during our observation of ASD? Have they any other prayer needs? Invite them to remember & pray with us.

Remember & remind. Share load, share light. Be useful, effectual now, for kingdom.

• Hymn: Lord speak to me (463): use me here and now for thy kingdom thy glory. Prayer that others might know God as we do, & receive the comfort and blessing and forgiveness and challenge we receive...

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 55 in worship.