Monday, January 24, 2022

January 23 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

January 23, 2022

 

What do we trust in?

Matthew 6:19-34

Today’s message could have two titles; maybe the first should be, “Where is our treasure?” In the first 5 verses we read this morning, Jesus is reminding us of what should truly be our goals in life. As we get older, we begin thinking more about how we will live once we no longer have a job bringing in a regular salary for our needs. In America everyone has some degree of retirement income. Some depend totally on Social Security, while others have been able to have something in addition to live on. Jesus is telling us that it may be okay to have acquired some “security,” but what is really the best retirement plan for us? Are we keeping our eyes on God for what we need, or are we obsessed with the need to provide our own “safety net”?

 

In the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament, it is clear there is nothing wrong with acquiring things and having some money in reserve. However, if we are having our whole lives revolve around getting money and things, that is the problem. In fact, in 1 Timothy 6:10 we read, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Jesus is warning in these verses to keep everything in their proper place. And we are being told that proper place is always to understand God has to be the place we put our faith, our trust and our hope. There is no other sure security but with him.

 

Beginning with the 25th verse, Jesus then goes on to acknowledge the fact he knows we will and do have concerns about how we will provide for ourselves and our families while we are on this earth. When Jesus lived there was not as much emphasis on money to provide for their every need as there is today. That being said, it still was necessary for most people to have money for some of life’s necessities. Today very few people here in America can provide for all of their needs. So, when Jesus started off talking about treasure or one might say money, he knew he needed to help everyone understand what God will do for his people. Jesus points out to not worry about life, about food and drink or about what to wear. Then he gives examples of how God provides for those needs throughout all of creation. Jesus even goes as far as to point out the obvious. Can worrying add a single hour to your life or an inch to your height? The reality is, if anything, worry may shorten our lives, not add to it. Jesus then goes on to show how one of the most revered and blessed men from Israel’s past could not match what God can and will do for his creation every day. To go back to the 26th verse, Jesus points out that as much as God loves the birds, as well as other things he created, he values us so much more. After all we have been made in God’s own image. So, to spare us unnecessary worry, keep our eyes on what is really the goal. In verse 33 Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and then we will be alright. Jesus does add one more very important part to that encouragement. And that is not only seek first the kingdom of God but also to seek his righteousness. What does that all mean? We need to have our priorities in place. God needs to have first place in our lives. If that is true, our primary goal will be to serve God with our lives in every way. That can be a real challenge because there are lots of thing in this world pulling us a lot of different directions. That is why we should regularly pray, as Jesus showed us last week, to deliver us from the evil one who wants to separate us from our Heavenly Father.

 

Going back to the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said in Chapter 5, verse 6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Jesus is going full circle by helping us understand that if we have our priorities in the right order God will provide us with everything we need while we are here on this earth. What a promise that has been made to us!

 

Jesus closes out this section by then confidently saying to us all, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its’ own.” Medical experts will tell you the most dangerous health problem facing everyone is stress. Jesus knows how we are made, what our limitations are. He was telling everyone first of all, do not stress over things you have no control over. Secondly, do not drive yourself crazy worrying about things of this world. God is in control and he knows what we need.

 

Jesus is asking us, what do we trust in? It is a simple question. Do we trust in the God who created the world we live in, who knows everything we need before we know we need it? Or do we feel we can handle it ourselves? Thinking that we are in control of our life and do not need anyone or anything to help us? If the second is a person’s plan, what a foolish way to live life. Jesus is trying to continue to teach us how much easier life will be if we simply will put our faith and trust in God. What is your answer? What has been your plan for life? I pray our answer is the same as given by Joshua long before Jesus was on this earth when he said in Joshua 24:15, “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Our God will provide every time. May we answer the question the message title asks by saying, “My faith, my trust is in you Heavenly Father, help me not to lose that focus.”   

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

2021 offering envelope summaries are in the mailboxes.

 

February 6—Steve Needham, former Decatur pastor, will be preaching.

 

March 9—Board meeting

 

Offering envelopes for 2022 are available by the copier.

 

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

 

 

Donation Box: Utilities

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

Larry & Luana Cripe; Tina Wilhelm; Devon Wright; Dan & Val Rokosch; Shirley Krall; Baby Gemma; Baby Tate; Maralyn & Galen Heckman; Bryce Ashenfelter; Andy Flenner and family; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Randy West; Jen Durst; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike Gentry; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Anna Gentry Thompson; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 860,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren

 

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

 

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, January 10, 2022

Jan 9 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

January 9, 2022

 

What Motivates You?

Matthew 6:-1-4

 

We are going to begin again with our look at the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus had been explaining in more detail what was truly in God’s heart on a variety of issues that were covered by the laws given to Moses nearly 2000 years earlier. One of Jesus’ missions was to help everyone understand better what God hoped for his people to do as well as understand why God the Father felt these things are so important.

 

Today we pick it up with why we do good things for one another. Jesus is explaining how God looks at the heart of each person to understand why we do the things we do. It is a good thing to do good as we have the opportunity. Sometimes that involves giving money, sometimes it involves giving of our time and talents.  All these things are very helpful for those around us at different times during our lives. Doing a variety of things for others, even if it has some selfish reasons, can still benefit people who can use a helping hand. What Jesus is pointing out is if you are doing some of those things for a pat on the back, do not expect God to also give you that same treatment. As far as God is concerned that person has already got their pat on the back, their “Ataboy” or “Atagirl.”  God wants his people to be motivated by what Jesus said later in Matthew. In Chapter 7, verse 12 Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We should be motivated by a desire to help as we can because some day, we may also need some help. It is all about God’s people being there for one another, again with no strings attached. God desires to bless his people, but he simply cannot bless as freely when we are motivated by our own sometimes selfish reasons.

 

When you look at our world today, you can see a lot of things done and built as tributes to men and women both past and present. It is one thing if others, after someone’s passing, want to honor them by naming foundations or other things in their memory. In those cases, it was not that person who did it to toot their own horn. It was others who saw how selfless someone might have been and felt it a fitting tribute to keep their memory and selfless attitude alive. Others, however, do things that make sure everyone knows who is behind what they are doing. In those cases, Jesus is simply pointing out they already are getting their reward. I cannot help but think of one of the most visible examples in our world today: Bill Gates has donated literally billions of dollars to a variety of causes around the world through the Bill Gates Foundation. There is no question it has helped those causes do more than they could have without those donations. But to be perfectly honest, this is almost exactly like what Jesus told those who were there in the synagogue seeing a similar thing happen in the story found in Luke 21, verses 1-4. There we read, “As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasure. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. I tell you the truth. He said, “This poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Jesus was not saying on that occasion the wealthy did anything wrong because they did not draw attention to what they were doing. What Jesus on this occasion was pointing out is that God sees everything that is going on and will reward accordingly. This example is not exactly like Bill Gates because the fact is the word does get out to everyone paying attention to what Bill Gates is doing. What this does point out is sometimes we do not think our gifts are big enough or important enough if they are not really major. Jesus is pointing out in the passage found in Luke that God sees what we are doing, no matter how big or small, and God recognizes the sacrifices we are willing to make for one another.

 

Going back to what we started with in Matthew, Chapter 6, Jesus just wants us to know God takes special notice when we do things without expecting headlines or special praise from men and women around us. If you want that pat on the back here on earth, that is okay, but that is not necessarily getting you any special reward from God when your time on earth is over. Doing good things can be helpful to people here on earth no matter what your motivation is, but God is looking for men and women who feel it is more important to do the right thing without expecting anything in return. God is not going to take a reward from you. However, if others may refuse to stay quiet about what you did, it really comes down to you and me.

 

So, to go back to the question asked in the sermon title, “What Motivates You?” I believe there should be one over all motivation for God’s people and that is found in one more verse I would like to close with this morning. In John 13:35 we read, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” That love for God and his people is what Jesus is talking about that should drive us to do good, not the praise of man!

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

Newsletters are available on the back table.

 

2021 offering envelope summaries are in the mailboxes.

 

February 6—Steve Needham, former Decatur pastor, will be preaching.

 

 

Offering envelopes for 2022 are available by the copier.

 

 

Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you!

 

Donation Box: Utilities

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[U1] 

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


Keep in Your Prayers

Larry & Luana Cripe; Tina Wilhelm; Devon Wright; Dan & Val Rokosch; Shirley Krall; Baby Gemma; Baby Tate; Maralyn & Galen Heckman; Bryce Ashenfelter; Andy Flenner and family; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Randy West; Jen Durst; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike Gentry; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Anna Gentry Thompson; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 800,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren

 

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

 

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, January 3, 2022

January 2, 2022--Happy New Year

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

January 2, 2022

 

2021 Year in Review

I Peter 5:6-7

 

We are not going to look at any specific things that happened this past year. What I will ask you to consider is your own personal thoughts on the year that has just ended. We can all acknowledge that January 1 is not really any different than December 31st. As many of us view birthdays now, it is easy to say it is just another day on the calendar. We can easily say the same thing about December 31, 2021, as opposed to January 1, 2022. What makes the 1st any more magical than December 31? That being said, there is something symbolic about beginning with a new calendar that has everything blank on it. Many of you may mark your calendars with appointments or important events as the year goes on and here we are again with a clean slate waiting for us to begin filling in the blanks.

 

Each year has things happen that are different from the year before. Things we did not see coming happen out of nowhere. Then other things happen that we knew were headed our way but surprised us with how they worked out. This past year saw many affected by the fact loved ones passed away and went to be with the Lord. For some it was not a total surprise, for others it was something no one saw coming. Health concerns stayed front and center for most everyone for a variety of reasons. Many have had a financially challenging year, yet for others there have been difficulties because of relationship problems. As is always the case, we have learned to adapt to what has come our way. For some that has been easier to do than for others.

 

As we saw in our scripture from 1 Peter, God is there for us in every one of life’s situations.  A similar message is stated in Psalms 55:22 where God reminds us to “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you, he will never let the righteous fall.” What incredible promises our God makes to his people. We, of course, lean on these scriptures most often when life becomes difficult when unexpected and unwelcome things happen to us and our loved ones. We can easily handle those events that are happy and joyous. It is the other things that causes us to at times wonder why. In spite of everything, we have the assurance God is there in the middle of both the ups and downs of life.

 

As I have shared a number of possible ways, this year of 2021 may have affected you. What do you think? Have you taken a little time yet to reflect on the year we have just said goodbye to? What about 2022? Have you already looked ahead to what it may bring to you, your family, and others you care about? I hope and pray most everyone can think back on 2021 with some fond memories. Even for those of us who may have had really tough times, I pray the Lord has shown you how he was there in the middle of it all. How God was cheering you and maybe your loved ones on, providing you with the strength and courage to keep moving forward. For those who can see special blessing that came your way, I hope you recognized the fact the Lord was there enjoying every minute right along side of you as well.

 

What the verses we have looked at today remind us of is God cares for each and every one of us. We are not guaranteed that there will not be some tough times. What we are promised is that God will see us through every situation we face in life. What a comfort to know that we have a Savior that experiences many of the things we each face in life. The joy of friends and family and the special blessings that come our way as well as the disappointment, pain and sorrow this life brings at times.     

As we begin our journey with a New Year, may we allow the Holy Spirit room in our lives to help us grow in our faith and trust in our Lord and Savior.  There will be challenges this new year that many of us will experience we have no idea about right now. I pray there will also be victories that lie ahead for us as well. One thing you can be sure of is our God will be there no matter what, as we are reminded in Psalms 55:22 where it says “God will never let the righteous fall.” So let us all say with confidence, “2022, bring it on! My God is ready for everything and he is on my side.” 

Pastor Larry

                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Monday, December 20, 2021

Fourth Sunday in Advent

 


CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

December 19, 2021

 

GOD’S LOVE HAS COME!

Luke 2:8-14

God’s love story for His people is about to come to pass as we get closer to the celebration of Christmas. Let us not be confused by what I am saying to mean God did not love his creation before. God has always loved His people beginning with Adam and Eve and continuing through everything that happened in the Old Testament. The thing God has always wanted is to have a vibrant relationship with His people. However, when sin entered in at the Garden of Eden, that love relationship became difficult. Too often Satan has deceived God’s people and made the relationship with God hard. God cannot stand defiant disobedience, just like most parents will not tolerate that attitude with their children. God chose to make a way His people could get right with him once and for all.

 

That new plan began in a manger over 2000 years ago. God changed everything that day. A Savior came to earth in the most unsuspecting way. As we have talked about before, the Savior was not born to a powerful earthly king. Instead, Jesus was born to an average woman in the most usual way. Jesus was not even born in a house or inn. He was born amidst God’s creation in a manger. His earthly dad was also just an ordinary man who worked with his hands to provide for his wife and baby. We also see the first to hear the news were not the powerful leaders of the town but working people, shepherds. The announcement to those lucky few was pretty impressive though. First, an angel appeared to the shepherds. Then a heavenly choir miraculously appeared out of nowhere to make the announcement of what had just happened. Can you picture what a moment that was? For Mary and Joseph to have such an incredible way Jesus was welcomed to the world. They both knew Jesus was not an average baby but was sent by God to do something special. But who could have imagined that the most unlikely men would be sent to confirm to Mary and Joseph what was soon going to happen?

 

Jesus came to earth to accomplish a couple of things. The most life changing was to show God’s love to His people in the most unusual way. Jesus came to earth to do what we could not do for ourselves--to destroy the effects of sin once and for all. God’s love came to earth in the most unusual way and then was fulfilled in the most unlikely of ways as well. 1 John 4:10-12 says “This is love; not that we love God, but that he loved us and sent his son an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” This is the message of Christmas. God loves us. God’s love has come and we can show we belong to God and he belongs to us if we share that love with one another. That is why the tradition of gift giving at Christmas began. God gave us the most perfect gift he ever could—the gift of eternal life and love. Now it is up to us. This Christmas may we find new ways to share God’s love with those around us. That is the legacy our Heavenly Father has given us. Enjoy this next week and may God help each of us experience his love in a new and fresh way and then may we pass it on to others.

 God bless you!

Merry Christmas!

Pastor Larry


Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday—studying Hebrews

 

Poinsettias are $11. If you ordered one, please pay Shirley W.

 

Advent Offering envelopes are in the back.

 

December 22 7:00 Christmas Service here; we plan to have it on facebook live as well. We’ll finish the service with communion and candlelight.

 

December 25 Christmas Day—Have a blessed day!

 

 

 

Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you!

 

Donation Box: The Lord’s Storehouse

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

Larry & Luana Cripe; Tina Wilhelm; Devon Wright; Dan & Val Rokosch; Shirley Krall; Baby Gemma; Baby Tate; Maralyn & Galen Heckman; Bryce Ashenfelter; Andy Flenner and family; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Randy West; Jen Durst; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike Gentry; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Anna Gentry Thompson; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 800,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren

 

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

 

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, December 13, 2021

Third Sunday in Advent Sermon and Announcements

 


CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

December 12, 2021

 

LET US RECEIVE GOD’S JOY!

Luke 1:39-45

We are getting closer to seeing God’s promises fulfilled as we are about to Christmas Day. In the verses we read this morning, Mary has already been told by God what is going to happen. We see Mary feeling the need to be with a trusted family member who she has been told is also about to experience a bit of a miracle. Mary leaves her home to go to where Elizabeth lives. She wants to see and hear if what she had been told by the angel of the Lord is true. What Mary had been told just is not possible, she thought. And yet she felt what she had experienced was real and true. Elizabeth will be the one to prove one way or another if what she had been told was really going to happen. We see the minute Mary greeted Elizabeth something miraculous happened. The baby Elizabeth was carrying leapt in her womb. And the minute that happened, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you will bear. But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” She went on to proclaim, “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” Why did she say these things? Elizabeth without hesitation said as soon as your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Elizabeth had no idea what had happened to Mary until she heard her greeting. Then the Holy Spirit spoke through not only Elizabeth, but also through the baby she was carrying. God confirmed these things to Mary in another miraculous way. The world changing event that would soon take place was so powerful even the unborn child’s joy could not be contained.

 

As we get closer to another Christmas celebration, is that unstoppable joy part of our lives? Are we too easily bogged down by the things going on around us to experience the true joy God wants us to have? When we see God’s promises comes to pass, are we feeling the uncontrollable joy that God wants us to have? In Psalms 132:13 we read, “For the Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling: This is my resting place for ever and ever, here I will sit enthroned for I have desired it. I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor will I satisfy with food. I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints will ever sing for joy. Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one. I will clothe his enemies with shame, but the crown on his head will be respondent.”  We are told in scripture as God’s children we are a royal priesthood, we are the saints of God. Because of what happened 2000 years ago, the joy spoken of in Luke and again here in Psalms is ours to claim. As we also read when we lit the advent candles, God’s hope for us is to experience his true joy.

 

In the next two weeks, look for those places where God is reminding you of his joy. Also, may God use us to bring joy to others as well. God’s promises are real. Elizabeth knew it, Mary understood it. May God help each of us to receive and share the true joy the Christmas season is all about. Salvation has come to us, God’s people, because of what started at Christmas. That truly is the reason we should experience the joy God has promised to us.  

 Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday—studying Hebrews

 

Today

Hard copies of the December newsletter available in back.

Church of the Brethren Advent offering; envelopes are available in the back for this special offering.

Poinsettias are $11. If you ordered one, please pay Shirley W.

 

December 22 7:00 Christmas Service here; we plan to have it on facebook live as well. We’ll finish the service with communion and candlelight.

 

Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you!

 

Donation Box: The Lord’s Storehouse

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

Larry & Luana Cripe; Devon Wright; Dan & Val Rokosch; Shirley Krall; Baby Gemma; Baby Tate; Maralyn & Galen Heckman; Bryce Ashenfelter; Andy Flenner and family; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Randy West; Jen Durst; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike Gentry; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Anna Gentry Thompson; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 795,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren

 

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

 

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, December 6, 2021

2nd Sunday in Advent Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

December 5, 2021

 

GRANT US PEACE

Luke 1:68-79

 

As we see in the words of Zechariah, something major is about to happen. Zechariah came to understand God is about to begin changing the way, so that not only the Jewish people, but ultimately everyone, will see God in a new way. Zechariah had been told his son will set the stage for what God is going to do. However, it will not happen in a day or a month, not even a year. God will have things happen, as always, in his timing. We see God is fulfilling what he promised his people through the prophets long ago. Through Zechariah he is refreshing everyone’s memories by saying, “I told you this day was coming.” We are less than 3 weeks from Christmas. The things the Holy Spirit promised through the words of Zechariah are still what God’s people hold onto today. Christmas is a time to be reminded of God’s love and mercy for all of his people. As we count down the days until Christmas, it in some ways is like what Zechariah was doing when he received those words of hope and promise all those years ago. He faithfully waited for what had been told to him through the Holy Spirit to come to pass. I believe the peace that Zechariah and the peace mentioned in other places in scripture is often misunderstood. We want to believe God is promising an earthly peace where there will be no family conflicts, no social problems that have bad results. A belief the nations of the world will live in perfect harmony. That is not what God promises. Jesus in John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Jesus is reminding everyone who will listen the peace God gives does not mean or promise everything will always be in perfect harmony. However, in all of life’s ups and downs, I will give my peace that only God’s people can fully receive.

 

Christmas reminds us of God’s perfect love. Jesus came into the world because God wants everyone to have a chance of salvation without conditions. I guess there is one major condition and that is that we realize we are sinners and Jesus came to build a bridge between God and man. Everyone must cross that one bridge to get to the salvation that is waiting for us on the other side. There is nothing wrong with us getting excited about Christmas no matter how young or how old we are. The fact that all of the promise started with a baby in a manger adds to the amazing beauty of God’s love. May the story of Christmas never grow old in our hearts. As that day gets closer and closer, may we allow God to cut through the potential hustle and bustle to reflect anew on God’s goodness, love, and mercy. This 2nd Sunday of Advent is about allowing God’s peace to be part of, not just the Christmas season, but part of every day of our lives. May God show us how to trust him more and more to the point the peace Zechariah was talking about and the peace Jesus promised can be ours. Not only in the good times but the difficult times as well. May the miracle of God’s love, mercy, grace and peace be more and more a part of our lives. May we be examples of all those characteristics of God to Cerro Gordo and beyond. We are never too old to receive the wonder of the Christmas season. Soak all of it in you can. May our prayer truly be “Lord grant us peace” as we celebrate Christmas this year with friends and family. It is the most wonderful time of year.

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday—studying Hebrews

 

Today—please pick up a few Angels if you haven’t already.

Hard copies of the December newsletter are available in the back.

4:00 Christmas Vespers at the Cerro Gordo UMC.

 

December 8 12:00 Women’s Fellowship Potluck luncheon

Last initial A-J main dish; K-N salad; O-Z dessert; drinks and table service will be provided. We’ll reveal prayer partners and draw for 2022. All women are invited to attend.

 

December 8 Board Meeting 6:15 Exec. Comm.; 7:00 commissions; 7:30 board; reorganization follows. “Old” and “New” members, please come.

 

December 22 7:00 Christmas Service here

 

Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you!

 

Donation Box: The Lord’s Storehouse

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

Lee Legg and family; Dan & Val Rokosch; Shirley Krall; Baby Gemma; Baby Tate; Maralyn & Galen Heckman; Bryce Ashenfelter; Andy Flenner and family; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Randy West; Jen Durst; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike Gentry; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Owen Wright; Anna Gentry Thompson; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 780,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren

 

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

 

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.