Tuesday, October 4, 2022

October 2 Sermon and Announcements; World Communion Day

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

OCTOBER 2, 2022

 

COME TO THE TABLE

Luke 22:7-8, 14-16

 

Today is World Communion Sunday on the Christian calendar. All around the world Christians in a variety of ways will be celebrating the last meal Jesus shared with his disciples before the events that changed human history forever. In the verses we read this morning we see Jesus eagerly looking forward to sharing this time with his disciples. This meal had special meaning for a couple of different reasons. First of all, this was the most important celebration on the Jewish calendar. This was the celebration of Passover. Most of us know what this meal means to the Jewish people. This is the meal that remembers the bad and good of what happened to God’s people during their time in Egypt. At first because of God’s hand upon Joseph thousands of years before Jesus’ time, the Jewish people were welcomed in Egypt, but before long the number of God’s people grew and grew. The pharaohs forgot about Joseph and how God not only blessed his own people but also the Egyptians. They became afraid of the large number of Jews and made them slaves. It got to the point that the Egyptians were killing all the Jewish baby boys when they were born in order to stop the growth of the Jewish people. God ultimately heard the cries for help from His people, and Moses became God’s representative to speak to Pharoah. Plague after plague was sent by God to convince Pharoah to let the Jewish people go. Time after time Pharoah refused. In Exodus Chapters 11 and 12 where we read of this, finally God sent the angel of death to kill the first-born son in each of the Egyptians’ homes. The angel of death would spare any home who had blood over the doorpost and no harm would come to the boys in those homes. God told Moses to tell each Jewish family what they must do to remain safe. The time came and the angel of death “passed over” all of the Jewish homes but brought death to the home of the Egyptians. Finally, with the cries in the streets of the Egyptian people, Pharoh let the Jewish people leave.

 

Fast forward once again to Jesus and his disciples. The meal had such special meaning to Jesus. And soon it would have additional special meaning to all who would accept and receive. The traditional Jewish Passover meal includes bitter herbs to help each generation remember how difficult it was for their ancestors in Egypt. What was it that saved God’s people from the angel of death in Egypt? The blood of the lamb that was to be brushed over the doorposts where Jewish people lived. Jesus knew that another lamb was about to be sacrificed. This lamb’s blood would be shed to save the lives of all who would believe. Of course, that lamb was Jesus. Jesus so looked forward to gathering around the table one more time with his disciples. These were men Jesus had grown to love and trust. Jesus also was fully aware of what was going to happen before another day was over. The disciples, despite Jesus’ warnings and teachings, did not have any idea what would happen soon after they finished the Passover meal. Fellowship has always been an important part of the life of God’s people. The coming together, the breaking of bread, the sharing of life with one another.

 

This evening we will share in the Lord’s Supper. It is once again a time of celebration and remembrance. God’s blessing is upon each one who will share in that meal. Clearly, not everyone will be able to make it tonight, but I encourage all who can to come and share this important time together. During the course of that evening Jesus shared with his disciples he explained virtually everything we need to understand about God’s relationship with us, our relationship with God and how our relationship with one another should work. So, on this World Communion Sunday, God is saying, “Come to the table.” I look forward to meeting you afresh there. Some of the greatest moments in life are shared around the table. God bless you!

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study – studying Proverbs.

 

Today—World Communion Sunday—6:00 p.m. Love Feast—all are invited

 

October 4 12:00 Women’s Fellowship luncheon—soup and sandwiches.

 

October 12 Executive Committee

 

October 22—Soup supper fundraiser—more details to come

 

November 4 and 5 District Conference at the Peoria church

 

Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving!

 

Donation Box: CWS blankets

First Sundays: food donations for food banks

 

Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

 

To keep up on Church of the Brethren news:

Denomination: www.brethren.org/news Sign up for Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.

District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link) and on facebook

Our pages: cerrogordocob.com (printed sermon, announcements, & calendar) and on facebook


Keep in Your Prayers

La Place congregation; Florida; Puerto Rico; Jill McBride; Cecil; Mike Nuding; Michelle West; Carolyn Hirsch; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Joe Waltz; Doug Larrick; Anna Rose Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Anna Gentry Thompson; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Maralyn Heckman; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Sonna Hall; Tina Wilhelm; Baby Tate; Bryce Ashenfelter; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Sarah Rudelick; Carl and Wilma Cable; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker;  Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Candy Dobson; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of those who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Polo congregation

 

Church of the Brethren vision statement:

Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.

                        Our Mission Statement:

Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.


Monday, September 26, 2022

September 25 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

September 25, 2022

 

So what do you think?

Lamentations 4:5-13, 5:15-22

 

We began what has turned into a mini series four weeks ago, looking at why some congregations are doing really well and others not so much. There are at least two basic answers why some are full and others just getting by.

 

One answer is God is blessing some congregations because they are honestly and accurately proclaiming the Word of God. Ironically, others may be doing well because they are good at doing what is talked about in 2 Timothy, Chapter 4, verses 3 and 4. There we read, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” In other words, some churches may be full because they are drawn to a “gospel” that allows them to do whatever they want to do.

 

As we have looked at Lamentations for this the 4th week, we see God’s people who have been led away to follow the godless world of their time. Jeremiah has been honest about what has caused Judah and God’s people to not only be overrun by people who clearly could care less about God. But literally struggle to grow enough food to provide for the basic needs of the people. They are struggling in every part of life. It is because of their turning their backs on God.

 

We read last Sunday, however, God does not take joy in allowing hard times to come to His people, and that was found in Chapter 3, verse 33. God, at times, allows tough times to happen with the hope His people will admit to their sin and turn back to Him and receive His mercy and forgiveness. What we read in Chapter 4 this morning should make all of us cringe. Was Jeremiah being overly dramatic in verse 10 when he said, “With their own hands compassionate women have cooked their own children, who became their food when my people were destroyed.” Were the people so desperate to survive that this really happened? Had they wandered so far from God they were willing to do such evil things to their own children?

 

When we once again look at what is happening in America today, as well as other parts of the world, is God willing to protect and bless people who are allowing some of the things that are happening now? Are the things happening occurring because we are not honoring God and giving him the dominant place in our lives?

 

Some of these things mentioned last week include the murder rates that show disregard for life. The question of what is a man and what is a woman as God’s word clearly indicates. The drug abuse that is worse every day. The suicide rates that are also hitting new records. The fact some schools are more concerned with social engineering than teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Have we gone to a place like Judah had where God’s blessing are simply not possible as they once were? Are we willing to honestly acknowledge our sins as Jeremiah pointed out in Lamentations?

 

The last 8 verses of Lamentations spell it out. “Joy is gone from our hearts; our dancing has turned to morning. The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned! Because of this our hearts are faint, because of these things our eyes grow dim. For Mount Zion which lies desolate with jackals prowling over it. You O Lord reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation. Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? Restore us to yourself, O Lord that we may return; renew our days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.” Jeremiah was laying it on the line. Yes, we have sinned against you. Yes, we have deserved what has happened to us. But God please give us another chance. Show mercy to your people. Restore us once again to yourself.

 

As the sermon title asks, “So what do you think?” Are the things happening in this nation and throughout much of this world occurring because of the spiritual decline that is very similar to what was spoken of in Lamentations? Are we as individuals, as well as our congregation, where God truly wants us to be? Are some of the more successful congregations successful because of their faithfulness to God, or are some successful because they are providing a “feel good” message that is not exactly in line with God’s word? Are others struggling because they are “too” biblical and people do not want that much anymore? Or because they have a watered-down message and God will not bless those congregations?

 

As we wrap up this look into the state of the church today, we again may have more questions than answers. What God is challenging me to do is to be honest with myself first of all. While none of us are, or ever will be, perfect, are our spiritual hearts in the right place? God has given a very simple yet profound recipe to receive His blessing both as individuals and as congregations and even as nations. Let us close out our time in this study by once more looking at God’s promise of how to receive his blessings as found in Jeremiah 29:11-14, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.”

Pastor Larry


CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

September 25, 2022

 

So what do you think?

Lamentations 4:5-13, 5:15-22

 

We began what has turned into a mini series four weeks ago, looking at why some congregations are doing really well and others not so much. There are at least two basic answers why some are full and others just getting by.

 

One answer is God is blessing some congregations because they are honestly and accurately proclaiming the Word of God. Ironically, others may be doing well because they are good at doing what is talked about in 2 Timothy, Chapter 4, verses 3 and 4. There we read, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” In other words, some churches may be full because they are drawn to a “gospel” that allows them to do whatever they want to do.

 

As we have looked at Lamentations for this the 4th week, we see God’s people who have been led away to follow the godless world of their time. Jeremiah has been honest about what has caused Judah and God’s people to not only be overrun by people who clearly could care less about God. But literally struggle to grow enough food to provide for the basic needs of the people. They are struggling in every part of life. It is because of their turning their backs on God.

 

We read last Sunday, however, God does not take joy in allowing hard times to come to His people, and that was found in Chapter 3, verse 33. God, at times, allows tough times to happen with the hope His people will admit to their sin and turn back to Him and receive His mercy and forgiveness. What we read in Chapter 4 this morning should make all of us cringe. Was Jeremiah being overly dramatic in verse 10 when he said, “With their own hands compassionate women have cooked their own children, who became their food when my people were destroyed.” Were the people so desperate to survive that this really happened? Had they wandered so far from God they were willing to do such evil things to their own children?

 

When we once again look at what is happening in America today, as well as other parts of the world, is God willing to protect and bless people who are allowing some of the things that are happening now? Are the things happening occurring because we are not honoring God and giving him the dominant place in our lives?

 

Some of these things mentioned last week include the murder rates that show disregard for life. The question of what is a man and what is a woman as God’s word clearly indicates. The drug abuse that is worse every day. The suicide rates that are also hitting new records. The fact some schools are more concerned with social engineering than teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Have we gone to a place like Judah had where God’s blessing are simply not possible as they once were? Are we willing to honestly acknowledge our sins as Jeremiah pointed out in Lamentations?

 

The last 8 verses of Lamentations spell it out. “Joy is gone from our hearts; our dancing has turned to morning. The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned! Because of this our hearts are faint, because of these things our eyes grow dim. For Mount Zion which lies desolate with jackals prowling over it. You O Lord reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation. Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? Restore us to yourself, O Lord that we may return; renew our days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.” Jeremiah was laying it on the line. Yes, we have sinned against you. Yes, we have deserved what has happened to us. But God please give us another chance. Show mercy to your people. Restore us once again to yourself.

 

As the sermon title asks, “So what do you think?” Are the things happening in this nation and throughout much of this world occurring because of the spiritual decline that is very similar to what was spoken of in Lamentations? Are we as individuals, as well as our congregation, where God truly wants us to be? Are some of the more successful congregations successful because of their faithfulness to God, or are some successful because they are providing a “feel good” message that is not exactly in line with God’s word? Are others struggling because they are “too” biblical and people do not want that much anymore? Or because they have a watered-down message and God will not bless those congregations?

 

As we wrap up this look into the state of the church today, we again may have more questions than answers. What God is challenging me to do is to be honest with myself first of all. While none of us are, or ever will be, perfect, are our spiritual hearts in the right place? God has given a very simple yet profound recipe to receive His blessing both as individuals and as congregations and even as nations. Let us close out our time in this study by once more looking at God’s promise of how to receive his blessings as found in Jeremiah 29:11-14, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.”

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study – studying Proverbs.

 

TODAY - The donation box in the back of sanctuary is for donations for blankets for Church World Service.

September 28 Submissions for October newsletter due

September 30 (4-7 pm) – October 1 (8-4)—The Lord’s Storehouse rummage sale at the Brethren Church.

October 2—World Communion Sunday—6:00 p.m. Love Feast

October 4 12:00 Women’s Fellowship luncheon—soup and sandwiches. Sign-up sheet is in the back of the sanctuary

October 12 Executive Committee

November 4 and 5 District Conference at the Peoria church

 

Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays 10:00 – 10:45—Easy Exercise Class at the CG UMC. Open to all. See Martha Lynch for more info.

 

Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving!

 

Donation Box: CWS Blankets

First Sundays: food donations for food banks

 

Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

 

To keep up on Church of the Brethren news:

Denomination: www.brethren.org/news Sign up for Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.

District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link) and on facebook

Our pages: cerrogordocob.com (printed sermon, announcements, & calendar) and on facebook 

Keep in Your Prayers

Puerto Rico; Family of Kathy Whitted; Cecil; Mike Nuding; Michelle West; Carolyn Hirsch; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Joe Waltz; Doug Larrick; Anna Rose Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Anna Gentry Thompson; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Maralyn Heckman; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Sonna Hall; Tina Wilhelm; Baby Tate; Bryce Ashenfelter; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Sarah Rudelick; Carl and Wilma Cable; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker;  Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Candy Dobson; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of those who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library; La Place congregation

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for Pinecrest Retirement Community

 

Church of the Brethren vision statement:

Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.

                        Our Mission Statement:

Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.

 

Monday, September 12, 2022

September 11 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

September 11, 2022

 

What is Happening?

Lamentations 2:1, 3-6-11-14,19, 22

 

As we consider the condition of the church in America and throughout the world, we must honestly look at how God has treated those he called his chosen people. As we are looking at Lamentations, we can see God’s hand of protection has been removed because of the sins of the people and of the nation. Why would God do what is spoken of in Lamentations 2? As the sermon title asks, “What is happening?” We have not looked at the details at what has led to what we are reading in Lamentations. How Judah, in particular, and its people have forgotten the Lord, and how God understands his creation better than we do. God knows what will get the attention of his people and give them the opportunity to prosper once again. However, before that can happen, the sin of the people must be addressed by God.

 

From the beginning of God’s relationship with mankind, he has made it clear that He will bless those who acknowledge who he is. From the garden of Eden on, there is a cause and effect that is at work in everything we do. God as creator set certain things in motion both in nature and on the spiritual side of life. Faithfulness and obedience to God will bring blessings in both the natural world and spiritual world. However, God cannot allow those blessings to continue indefinitely if we purposely reject God’s holy standard that has been established since the beginning of time.

 

In the 2nd chapter of Lamentations, we see the continued results of Judah’s disobedience and defiance of God. I am going to raise some questions and look at some potential parallels to our world today with what has happened to Judah. In verse 3 we read that, “In fierce anger he has cut off every horn of Israel. He has withdrawn his right hand at the approach of the enemy. He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire that consumes everything around it.” In our nation and in the world, we like to believe we control our destiny. More and more people seemingly deny the role God has in the world He has created. Mankind, at times arrogantly, wants to believe we cause problems and we can solve every problem that we face. This clearly denies the role God is still playing in the world we are a part of. When we look at the problems much of the world highlights, as well as in this nation, man believes we are the one who will solve the problems we face all by ourselves. There is rarely an acknowledgement that the problems we face have anything to do with the relationship the world does or does not have with the Lord.

 

One of the problems that is highlighted in the news and on social media virtually every day is global warming. I am not going to go into the argument for or against this potential problem other than to say this. In verse 3 we read today that it says, “He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire that consumes everything around it.” When we jump ahead in Lamentations and see what is written in the Chapter 4, we read in verse 9, “Those killed by the sword are better off than those who die of famine, racked with hunger, they waste away for lack of food from the field.” Skipping to verse 11 we read, “The Lord has given full vent to this wrath; he has poured out his fierce anger; he kindled a fire in Zion that consumed her foundations.” So, if global warming is a real threat in our world today, isn’t it just as likely or even more likely God is trying to get our attention before it is too late about our sin, our rejection of the Lord, just as was the case for Judah during the time Lamentations was written?

 

So, to go back again to the sermon title, “What is happening?” The spiritual decline in the world may be the cause. I do not claim in any way to be a prophet; I am simply an observer of life. When I see what is happening in this nation and in the world, I have to honestly ask the question why would God bless the nations of the world? The only reason God has held back as much as he has is we live in the time of God’s grace for His creation. Twenty-one years ago, America was asking the question of why? As much as I hate to say this, can we honestly look at what is happening in this nation and in the world today and say God’s influence is stronger than it was 5, 10, 20, 30 or more years ago?

 

Next week we will look a little deeper at some of the things happening in this nation and around the world that seem to be at odds with God’s word. One might conclude that this message is all doom and gloom. I believe it can and should be the exact opposite. Brothers and sisters, God wants to bless us and the world he created, but the starting point at times is to acknowledge our sins. It is the word of God, with the help of the Holy Spirit, that can lead all who come to a more abundant life and to an eternity beyond our wildest dreams. That is the message the church has for the world. We simply need to allow God to show us how to share his message with a world in need.

 

The theme for these messages is how we will close out our time together again today. God’s forever message for all who will receive is found in Jeremiah 29:11-14, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Pastor Larry


Announcements:

 

 

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

 

 

September 14 Board Meeting: 6:15 Exec Comm; 7:00 Commissions; 7:30 Board

 

September 30 – October 1—The Lord’s Storehouse rummage sale at the Brethren Church. Drop off times for clean, boxed items: 4-7 p.m. Sept. 13, 15 (north door)

 

October 4 (a Tuesday) 12:00 Women’s Fellowship luncheon—soup and sandwiches. Sign up sheet is in the back of the sanctuary

 

Thank you to all who came to Work Day yesterday!!

 

Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving!

 

Donation Box: AC bills

First Sundays: food donations for food banks

 

Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

 

To keep up on Church of the Brethren news:

Denomination: www.brethren.org/news Sign up for Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.

District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link) and on facebook

Our pages: cerrogordocob.com (printed sermon, announcements, & calendar) and on facebook

Keep in Your Prayers

Cecil; Devon Wright; Mike Nuding; Michelle West; Carolyn Hirsch; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Joe Waltz; Doug Larrick; Anna Rose Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Anna Gentry Thompson; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Maralyn Heckman; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Sonna Hall; Tina Wilhelm; Baby Tate; Bryce Ashenfelter; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Sarah Rudelick; Carl and Wilma Cable; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker;  Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Candy Dobson; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of those who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Girard congregation

 

 

Church of the Brethren vision statement:

Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.

                       

Our Mission Statement:

Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.

 

 

Monday, September 5, 2022

September 4 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

September 4, 2022

 

What is going on?

Lamentations 1

Last week I asked you think about why some churches seemed to be full and others not as much. I am guessing you may have considered what is happening in Cerro Gordo with the different congregations. I do not believe we would consider any of our local churches being full of people on a regular Sunday morning. Yet many of us can remember a time when the local congregations were close to full most Sundays. So, what is going on? What has changed? Clearly there are some larger congregations in Decatur that are for the most part full. There are more than enough people to fill every church in every town in this state, this country and in the world. If you look at statistics, they will tell you that there are fewer people attending worship services on a regular basis in American today than ever before. There are a lot of warnings about this happening in scripture, warnings in the Old Testament and clearly numerous warnings in the New Testament. A lack of faithfulness in worship is simply a symptom of a larger problem.

 

We started off this morning looking at what is being said about God’s people in Lamentations 1. There are also warnings in the New Testament to consider. We have looked at the verses in Chapter 4 of II Timothy before where it says, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” In II Thessalonians verse 3 we are told that the Lord’s return will not come until and “unless a great falling away first occurs.” To go back to Lamentations, we see what the writer says of this once great city and great nation, and he explains why this has occurred. I am going to skip a lot of Lamentations 1 today, so I would encourage you to reread the entire first chapter to get all that is happening. In the first verse we read how deserted lies the city once so full of people. How like a widow is she who once was great among the nations. Skipping to the 4th verse we read, “The roads to Zion mourn for no one comes to her appointed feasts. All her gateways are desolate, her priests groan, her maidens grieve and she is in bitter anguish.” Moving ahead to verse 8 we read, “Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean. All who honored her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness, she herself groans and turns away, her filthiness clung to her shirts. She did not consider her future. Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her.”

 

As much as faithful church attendance has dropped in America, it has fallen way more in Canada and Europe. So, as we seek answers to last week’s questions about church attendance and why some seem to be doing really well and others not so much, we need to also look at the bigger question. To go back to the sermon title, “What is going on?” Are we living in the end times that are talked of in the Old Testament prophetic books, as well as what is said in the New Testament? We looked at the two scriptures from the New Testament that, without hesitation, says what will happen in the end times. While everything looked hopeless to the writer of Lamentations, we know that God still had a plan for His people.

 

We are going to continue to use Lamentations as a reference in the next few weeks. We will see if there are any similarities to what happened to Israel during the time that Lamentations was written and the world we live in today. The one thing that is sure is God’s plan for His people is never over until we have breathed our last breath. God’s love, mercy and grace are always available to His people when we are willing recognize who he is while also understanding what and who we are. If we allow the Lord to reveal His plan for us more completely in the weeks ahead, it will cause us not to be discouraged but rather to be encouraged. God wants us to know we have choices that you and I alone can make. God also wants us to understand the choices we make have consequences.

 

Most Bible scholars believe Jeremiah wrote Lamentations, and in the midst of the disappointment and discouragement, Jeremiah felt the Lord gave him this promise to tell his people and that means for you and I as well. It goes like this in Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.”

 

Over the next few weeks, we are going to look honestly at this nation and the world and see just what God may be saying to us right now at this time in history.

Pastor Larry



 Announcements:

 

 

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

 

September 10 8:00 a.m. Work Day—meal provided by Women’s Fellowship

 

September 14 Board Meeting

 

September 30 – October 1—The Lord’s Storehouse rummage sale at the Brethren Church. Drop off times for clean, boxed items: 4-7 p.m. Sept. 1, 6, 8, 13, 15 (north door)

 

October 4 (Tuesday) 12:00 Women’s Fellowship luncheon

 

 Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving!

 

Donation Box: AC bills

First Sundays: food donations for food banks

 

Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

 

To keep up on Church of the Brethren news:

Denomination: www.brethren.org/news Sign up for Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.

District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link) and on facebook

Our pages: cerrogordocob.com (printed sermon, announcements, & calendar) and on facebook


Keep in Your Prayers

Oren Wright; Cecil; Randy West; Devon Wright; Mike Nuding; Michelle West; Carolyn Hirsch; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Joe Waltz; Doug Larrick; Anna Rose Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Anna Gentry Thompson; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Maralyn Heckman; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Sonna Hall; Tina Wilhelm; Baby Tate; Bryce Ashenfelter; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Sarah Rudelick; Carl and Wilma Cable; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker;  Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Candy Dobson; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of those who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for Bethany Theological Seminary

 

Church of the Brethren vision statement:

Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.

                       

Our Mission Statement:

Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace. 

Monday, August 29, 2022

August 28 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

August 28, 2022

 

What does it take?

1 Thessalonians 1:4-10

 

When we were gone last Sunday, we went by several churches that were either finishing services, I would guess, or had recently concluded services. Yes, I must admit, in all honesty, we did not go and worship at any church last Sunday. With that confession being made, as we went by some churches on the highway we were traveling, I noticed some did not have many cars in their lots. A few others were seemingly clear full. My first thought was “Good for them”. (The full ones.) But my second thought was what makes one church have a few cars in their parking lot while another is bursting at the seams? One church even had their lots full and people parking along the road in the grass! So, I wondered, what does it take for people to want to come that badly to a place to worship that they will park a ways a way to be able to join in that worship. I do not know how many of you have attended a place of worship that had not just a hundred people there but a thousand or more on a normal Sunday morning or in some cases Saturday evening service.

 

There was a radio ministry Cathy and I really enjoyed listening to that was based in a western suburb of Chicago, and we attended a few times when we visited our son when he lived not terribly far away from this church. What was the first shock to the senses was that the local police were helping get cars into their parking lot to reduce congestion. The same reason we enjoyed listening to this pastor on the radio, I am sure, is why the church was virtually full at every service. The pastor made the Bible come alive with real down to earth, easy to understand messages. Yet the messages were Bible based and faithful to scripture. Word of mouth I am sure is why that church went from a home church to a church with thousands of members. Have any of you attended equally well attended churches? If so, what do you think made them so successful?

 

We need to be careful to understand that having a lot of members does not automatically mean the church is successful in God’s eyes. When we think of the scripture, we looked at this morning from 1 Thessalonians, we see Paul, Silas and Timothy bragging a little bit about the church in Thessalonica. How the believers in this church have become well known throughout the entire region. But why did they brag about this group of believers? Because once they heard the message, they grabbed ahold of the message of salvation and, in spite of everything, did not let go. And this was not a group of people raised in church, so to speak. In the 9th verse we read how these Gentiles turned from worshiping idols to believing in the true and living God. How they also realized what Jesus had done to bring about their salvation on this earth and looked forward to God’s coming eternal kingdom. So, in the verses we have looked at today we can see a glimpse of what makes a congregation successful in the eyes of God. But what does it take to make one congregation burst at its seams and another just get by? Is it a charismatic pastor? Is it an engaged congregation? Is it the message that is at the heart of worship? Is it the music ministry? Is it the programs that are available? Is it a combination of all of these?

 

What is our vision here in Cerro Gordo at this church? Over the next few Sundays, we are going to bounce back and forth between the Old Testament and the New Testament to see what God expects of His church and His people. I believe if we are honoring God with our worship, He will bless His church. The challenge for the church today is to understand that we are in the world but are not to be changed by the world. I am also convinced we must all acknowledge that Satan is real and is trying to deceive as many people as he can.

 

I am pretty sure virtually everyone would love to see this sanctuary clear full every Sunday. What does it take to make that happen? What would we have to do differently to make it happen? Is there anything we can do to make that happen? Are there things we can do while we understand it is all about simply being faithful to God? These are some of the things we are going to look at in the next few weeks as we seek to grow in the Lord personally. While at the same time ask God: “What can we, as your people, do to keep doing the work you have called us to do right here in Cerro Gordo?” In other words, “Lord, if you want us to grow as a congregation ‘What does it take?’ ”

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

 

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

 

August 31—deadline for Sept newsletter submissions

 

September 10 8:00 a.m. Work Day—meal provided by Women’s Fellowship

 

September 14 Board Meeting

 

September 30 – October 1—The Lord’s Storehouse rummage sale at the Brethren Church. Drop off times for clean, boxed items: 4-7 p.m. Sept. 1, 6, 8, 13, 15 (north door)

 

The sound system is fixed; electrical breakers are repaired; the clavinova is awaiting repair, as is the screen. Thanks, Ron!

Shirley and Oren Wright trimmed many of the bushes. Thank you! And to all who help in any way!

Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving!

 

Donation Box: AC bills

First Sundays: food donations for food banks

 

Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

 

To keep up on Church of the Brethren news:

Denomination: www.brethren.org/news Sign up for Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.

District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link) and on facebook

Our pages: cerrogordocob.com (printed sermon, announcements, & calendar) and on facebook


Keep in Your Prayers

Oren Wright; Cecil; Devon Wright; Mike Nuding; Michelle West; Tom West; Carolyn Hirsch; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Joe Waltz; Doug Larrick; Anna Rose Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Anna Gentry Thompson; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Maralyn Heckman; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Sonna Hall; Tina Wilhelm; Baby Tate; Bryce Ashenfelter; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Sarah Rudelick; Carl and Wilma Cable; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker;  Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Candy Dobson; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of those who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Charismatic Christian Center, a Filipino ministry in the Chicago area.

 


Church of the Brethren vision statement:

Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.

                       

Our Mission Statement:

Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.