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 20, 2011

Jesus' Picture

February 20, 2011
Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany

1 Corinthians 3:10-23

“Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Cor 3:16)

My sermon outline:

As we gather this morning a Chrysalis weekend is in process. Next week one of our church members will preach while I help lead another one. Chrysalis is part of the Walk to Emmaus community, an international discipleship development & renewal retreat, largely lay driven, with purpose of deepening individual’s relationship with Christ, for the strengthening of the church body.

Driving in the car yesterday, thinking about where I was going, listening to the radio, Rolling Stones song, & thought of how music affects me. Sacred music generally lifts me, secular music notnecessarily. I'm not opposed to secular music, but I recognize that (like last week fitness) sacred music is strengthening. It's a constant reminder of sorts of who I am and who I love. I encourage it, happy to give suggestions.

Talking to someone yesterday who wasn’t sure if he’d met my wife, I pulled a picture out. Imagine if I instead surrounded myself by pictures of other women... Like the music, pictures are reminders of who you are and who you love. They affect relationship.

When I talk to couples about marriage I talk to them about learning what their partner likes, what their emotional needs are, and about “love-busters”, things we say or do to sabotage relationship.

• Everything I’m talking about is about foundation and building on good foundation.
Paul has a few points in 1 Cor 3:10-15:

- that it matters less WHO your leader is than that you’re building on the foundation of Jesus Christ.

- that one is ultimately responsible for one’s own life of faith – I can’t build yours and you can’t build mine, and discipleship is expected of all of us... each is required to build (& build well) on the foundation of Jesus – not someone else’s work, neither work done once a long time ago.

- that we the body of Christ are the body of Christ when we each bring our discipleship to the table.

• What to do? Study & worship, as individual and as part of community, proclaiming what Jesus has done in your life, keeping his picture ever in front of you.

• Hymn 451 Be Thou My Vision

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 55 in worship.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

On Maturity in Discipleship

February 13, 2011
Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

On Maturity in Discipleship
1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything,
but the only one who is anything is God who makes it grow. – 1 Corinthians 2:7

My sermon outline:

• I ran every day of January. End of year I rose at 6am 4x a week for Bible and prayer and reflection. Now it’s 3rd week of Feb & I’m feeling the slack. I resist the discipline, but I like the fruit of the discipline. Feel healthier in body and spirit.

What has that to do with Corinth? On the surface nothing. Paul’s talking @division, @bickering, @immaturity. Honestly or naively we’re not really divided.

But Paul has an indirect point: okay he says it directly, but there’s a corollary...

God provides the growth. Which means we can interfere. Which is what had happened with the Corinthians getting worked up about Paul and Apollos.

In addition to We can interfere, we can cooperate. We can work together. We can move towards maturity together.

• Hey, Paul talked about maturity in the beginning of chap 3. said the Corinthians were like babies.

That’s why I was talking about discipline. When I’m disciplined, it’s a kind a maturity. When I’m not, well, I’m not.

• So what are marks of mature disciplined disciple?

“As I reflected on the meaning of maturity, I realized that there is a central mark of maturity. In the human physical realm, maturity is gauged by when a person is able to bear or father children. A tree is mature when it bears fruit. A stalk of grain is mature when it can be harvested. In all creation, fruit-bearing is the preeminent mark of matuirity.
“Certainly the spiritual realm differs little. A mature believer bears fruit of two kinds. The first is that of character and holiness of life. The second is becoming a spiritual parent either by leading others to Christ or by adopting a baby or growing a Christian.” – Jerry White, The Power of Commitment, 130.

• Let us be about the business of growing disciples, and trust in the growth that God brings.

• Hymn 472 Near to the Heart of God

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 46 in worship.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

How Do I Live Without You?

February 6, 2011
Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
Souper Bowl of Caring

How Do I Live Without You?
1 Corinthians 2:1-16
...God has prepared things for those who love him that no eye has seen, or ear has heard, or that haven’t crossed the mind of any human being... – 1 Corinthians 2:9

My sermon outline:
• 1997 Movie CON AIR (Nic Cage, Monica Potter)
Not exactly a blockbuster movie, but one of my favorites.
The movie is about Cameron Poe, who’s been in prison for killing a man in self-defense. He's out on parole when his transport gets hijacked while he’s on his way home to his wife & his 7year old daughter who was born while he was in prison... touching reunion scene at the end which never fails to make me cry, except for the song... Trisha Yearwood sings How Do I Live Without You?

How do I live without you?
I want to know.
How do I breathe without you
if you ever go?
How do I ever survive?
How do I live?
Songwriter: Diane Warren

Background, this movie (& song) came out 7 months after the death of my wife Tricia, and I was still alive. As much as I loved her and as much sorrow as I felt over her death, I was still alive. I didn’t stop breathing. I survived. & song took on a whiny feel for me. kwityerwhining, you’re not gonna die, you’re going to be sad but you’re not going to die.

• Paul... writing to church of Corinth, who he’d established a few years before & was writing to now in his absence & in their distress... It was not me, not my presence or cleverness or words or wisdom that bound you together, that saved you... it is one thing and one thing only, it is Christ crucified, let there be no mistake about it. The proclamation of the love of Jesus Christ & the forgiveness of sins & reconciliation available because of his crucifixion, this is the be-all and end-all. Question the current circumstances but TRUST GOD WHO “HAS PREPARED THINGS FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM THAT NO EYE HAS SEEN OR EAR HEARD OR THAT HAVEN’T CROSSED THE MIND OF ANY HUMAN BEING.” (1 Cor. 2:9)

• & Christ wouldn’t want you to bicker about it but to proclaim it loud, from the mountaintops. I remember the first sermon I preached in PA was on Matthew 5:14 light of the world, city on a hill can’t be hidden... Not proclaiming look at me, look at Jesus! Live for Jesus, give every breath in his worship & service & praise.
Celebrate Jesus’ in our lives in the very elements of bread & cup, in which salvation is offered to us, through which Jesus is made known.

How Do I Live Without You? Now if that song were about Jesus, I’m all for it.

• Hymn In The Breaking of the Bread

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 62 in worship.
Communion Sunday
Appointment Announcement: It was announced today that Bishop Peggy Johnson has appointed Pastor Kerry to pastor the church at Campbelltown, beginning July 1, 2011. He has served the church at Spring City for five years and accepts this call with both grief and excitement.