Monday, November 28, 2022

November 27 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

November 27, 2022

 

How long do we have to wait?

Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7

 

How patient are you? When someone says they are going to do something, especially something that really needs done, are you content just to wait until they get good and ready? After quite a while passes, do you get frustrated if nothing has happened yet?

 

As we begin today with the what the Bible has to say about the Savior of the world’s coming, we have read the promise made by God to Israel through the prophet Isaiah.  This prophecy was given 700 years before any of the events would actually happen. Israel had been overrun for a long time at this point. The people were asking God to free them of the oppression they were feeling. After all they were supposed to be God’s chosen people. God’s favor was supposed to rest on them. They were the ones who should be leading the world. Instead, they had been taken captive and felt humiliated and forgotten. Never mind about the fact their difference against God should have anything to do with their problems. The fact is God is supposed to come to their rescue. So finally, we see God making some promises of a new day for Israel. Isaiah reported to the people in the chapter 7, verse 14, “The Lord himself will give you a sign. The birth to a son and he will call him Imanuel.” Immanuel means God with us. So, something truly special is going to happen. Finally, God has heard our cries and is going to come and defeat their oppressors. It gets even better in the 9th chapter, 6th and 7th verses. God gives them even more details. Man, this is going to be good just to see what God is going to do. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord almighty will accomplish this.” Do you hear that? Everyone is going to realize who is in charge soon? Finally, God is going to show the world that Israel and Jewish people are the best. But something did not quite work out like everyone thought. The people waited and waited and waited and nothing was happening.

 

When someone says they are going to do something you might not be upset if it did not happen today or tomorrow. Depending on what was promised, maybe even a week or two would be okay, but after that you begin to wonder, “What’s the deal? If you were not going to do anything, why say you are?” Israel and the Jewish people waited 700 years for this promise to become a reality.

 

Many generations of people came and went waiting to see God make good on his promise. Can you imagine the frustration, the disappointment, the doubts that had set in? Admittedly, when God inspired Isaiah to tell the people these things, he never told them when it would happen, but the people felt they deserved help right then. Why God have you allowed the nations to mock us? It is just not fair!

 

Have you ever felt let down because you felt a promise had been made that was for now only to find out it was never really quite as certain as you thought? If so, did you get angry or frustrated? Disillusioned to the point you had trouble trusting anything anyone said to you again? The Israelites had to have felt that way. The people during Isaiah’s time thought something was going to happen very soon. God was going to restore Israel to the glory days of King David, but they waited and waited and nothing happened, nothing changed. We begin this season of promise with the first predictions that God is going to do something truly amazing. As we read these verses over 2,000 years later, it is hard to imagine what God’s people were thinking about this promise.

 

America in its current form has only existed 250 years. God’s people waited 3 times as long as we have existed to see the promise start to take shape. By the time things start to happen did anyone still even know about the promise made through Isaiah? Did anyone believe it would really happen? Next Sunday we will begin to look at this most wonderful story, the most important prophecy fulfilled there ever was.

 

A closing thought for today—the next time you get impatient about a promise someone made to you that hasn’t happened yet, just think of the Israelites that waited 700 years to see God’s promise he fulfilled. It may not make you feel any better, but it does remind us that things do not always happen in the timing we want. Just stay patient, stay optimistic and believe hopefully what was promised will at least happen in your lifetime.

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

 

November 27 Soup lunch/ then decorate sanctuary

 

November 29 Deadline for December newsletter submissions

 

December 4 4:00 Christmas Vespers HERE—need food donations and help in the kitchen; also need a special

 

December 6 12:00 Women’s Luncheon—will reveal prayer partners; meat & drink provided; please bring a dish: A-H vegetable; K-S salad; T-W dessert

 

Get your candy orders in! See the flyer on the bulletin board and give Chelle Shively or Nancy Born Martin your orders. Pick up is on Dec. 3.

 

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

 

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

Jonah Martina; Jan Bower; Larry Traxler; Jill McBride; 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; Tina Wilhelm; Tate Sawyer; 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; healthcare workers and first responders; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library; Florida; Puerto Rico; La Place congregation

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the West Branch congregation in Ogle County.

 

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, November 21, 2022

November 20 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

NOVEMBER 20, 2022

 

 

What are you thankful for?

Psalm 136:1-9

 

We are just a few days from celebrating Thanksgiving once again in America. It has become a tradition for most families to get together and share a meal. Sometimes family members make more of an effort to get together and use this day as an opportunity to reconnect with one another not only with a meal but also spend some time just catching up with one another. Hopefully most of you will have a chance to do some of that this week. When we think about Thanksgiving, we oftentimes think of Pilgrims and turkey and a meal they shared with the Indians who had helped the Pilgrims get through a tough year. But how often do we take time to acknowledge what God has done and is doing in our lives? All of us have had both some good times during our lives and some tough times. Through it all God has been there for us. Sometimes he has led us as His people to be there for each other. As I considered Thanksgiving this year, I got wondering just how much God emphasizes being thankful in a number of ways and for a number of reasons. I did a little research to see how often something to do with being thankful is mentioned in the Bible. Thankfulness is mentioned 71 times in the New Testament, 20 times of which is found in the four Gospels. Gratitude, which is similar to being thankful, is mentioned 157 times in the Bible. Thankful at least 7 times and thanks 33 times. So, at the very least, some form of thankfulness is mentioned over 250 times in the Bible. That does not include verses like we read this morning that repeats itself 3 times in 3 verses.

 

So, the question for you and me this morning is what are you, what are we thankful for? In our busy lives how often do we take a few minutes to reflect on the things that make life worth living? Whether it is things going on right now or recognition of things in the past that have special meaning still today. Do we take the time to say thank you to people who help us deal with life? For those who have jobs, are you thankful for being able to work? Are you thankful for the ability to get by, to have at least what you really need? In other words, maybe not only pay the bills, but also maybe have a little extra to do other things with. For those who have had relatively healthy lives or really healthy lives, are you thankful for that blessing? Those who have family close by especially, do we let them know we appreciate them and how important they are to us? For those who live farther away, I hope you are keeping up with those members of your family as well by taking advantage of the modern technology we have available to us today. How about friends that check in on you as you check in on them? Are we thankful for being able to put food on our tables and clothes on our backs? Are we thankful we have places to live as winter closes in; are we thankful for that or just take it for granted?

 

There are so many things most of us should be thankful for, but do we get too busy to really be thankful? With all of these things and people I have mentioned, I have not even said anything about the one who makes it all truly possible. Our God! God created the world we get to enjoy. God created you and me. God did this because he wanted us to enjoy not only what he has created but to also have a relationship with him as well. It may be that every one of you take time each day to give thanks for the blessings you have. If you are like me though, things seem to get in the way at times. Thanksgiving is, to me, the kick off of the holiday season. The one-month period of Thanksgiving to Christmas that causes me to take some time to reflect on what should be really important. The greatness of God, the blessings of life, both of the past and present. And a desire to have a greater attitude of thanksgiving. As we celebrate Thanksgiving once again this year, I pray each of us will truly take some time to reflect on the blessings we have had during our lives. Those who the Lord has blessed us with, those who are no longer with us as well as those in our lives today. Focus on the good things, not things from the past that cannot be changed, even though at times we might wish we could change them. God has great things in store for His people. Coming before the Lord with a thankful heart is a good place to start. As the first verse says in Psalm 136, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, His love endures forever.” God loves you and always will. If that is not a reason to give thank, I do not know what is.

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

 

November 20 Council Meeting immediately after worship

           

The Lord’s Storehouse Thanksgiving basket donations due today—sign up sheet is in the back of the sanctuary today.

 

November 27 Soup lunch/ the decorate sanctuary

 

November 29 Deadline for December newsletter submissions

December 4 Christmas Vespers HERE—need food donations

 

Get your candy orders in! See the flyer on the bulletin board and give Chelle Shively or Nancy Born Martin your orders. Pick up is on Dec. 3.

 

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

 

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

Jonah Martina; Jan Bower; Larry Traxler; Jill McBride; 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; Tina Wilhelm; Tate Sawyer; 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; healthcare workers and first responders; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library; Florida; Puerto Rico; La Place congregation

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Rock Community congregation in Fairfield.

 

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, November 14, 2022

November 13 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

NOVEMBER 13, 2022

 

Wouldn’t it be nice?

II Chronicles 1:1-12

 

As we all know we have just finished another election cycle in this nation. Are you glad to see the nonstop barrage of advertising come to an end? These elections will impact us nationally, statewide and locally. We can celebrate the fact that in America we do get to have our voices heard when we take advantage of the opportunity to vote.

 

I would like to make a few personal observations before we look at what we just read. In many ways I am saddened by the amount of money spent on elections in America today. I heard of one US House of Representative’s race in which over $20,000,000 was spent. Just so we understand there are 435 house races every 2 years nationally. Admittedly not every one of those 435 saw that kind of money spent but think of the possibilities. There was one US Senate race that over $200,000,000 was spent (I may be low on that amount). On average there are 33 of those type of races every 2 years. These dollar amounts do not take into account how much presidential elections cost or any statewide or local election. What an incredible amount of money spent every election cycle to try to convince people to either vote for you or vote against the other person. Probably most of you picked up on how much is being spent nowadays but I just felt compelled to share those numbers as we consider how we do elections today.

 

Let’s now go back to what we read in scripture today. Here we see Solomon who has taken over the leaders of Israel. One of the first things he feels led to do is speak to every group of people he will be leader of. He speaks to those in positions of authority in Israel, all the commanders. Then he seeks out and speaks to the judges God has established over Israel. Then, it would seem, he speaks to the other leaders in the country from the national to the local type. We then read that Solomon spoke to the heads of the families as well. We see Solomon went to the place called the Tent of Meeting that had been established with God’s blessing first by Moses, then by King David, Solomon’s earthly father. He gave everyone the opportunity to talk to him there. Solomon during his time at the Tent of Meeting went to the altar and offered to God 1,000 burnt offerings. Did you catch that? 1,000 burnt offerings! As Solomon humbly acknowledged God’s authority over his life and the life of Israel.

 

We then see in verse 7 God tells Solomon, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Now think about that for a minute. What would be your answer if the God who created the world we live in from nothing asked you to make any request you want of me? Would we be so surprised we would not know what to say? Would we say, “What’s the catch?” What do you think you would say or do if you were given that question knowing God would really honor it? The fact is God did tell Solomon he could ask for anything. And what did Solomon ask for? Was it fame and fortune? Was it to be viewed as the most powerful man in the world? Was it to live a long, healthy life? No. But before he gave God his answer, he once again acknowledged God’s goodness and mercy to both him and his Father. He then let God know he understood how important a job he had been given to lead the nation of Israel. So, what did Solomon ask for? Wisdom and knowledge. To be able to properly lead God’s people Solomon understood the thing these people need him to have more than anything else was wisdom and knowledge. What an incredibly unselfish request. Did God say to Solomon, “Are you sure that is the thing you want more than anything else?” No, God understood the character of Solomon. What a humble man he was! So, as a result, not only did God honor that request, but basically gave him everything else almost anyone could want.

 

As the sermon title says, wouldn’t it be nice. Wouldn’t it be nice if the leaders we have in this country would humbly ask God in an honest way to help them lead this nation’s people? What a different nation and world it might be. Instead, we have lies and name calling. Too often it is less about working together as much as telling people how bad the other side is. I am saying all of this still knowing how blessed I feel to be able to live in this nation. We have faults, lots of them, but God’s hand is still reaching out to the leaders and the people of this country. Yes, it would be refreshing to have leaders that understood they can do little for the people of a community, state or nation without God’s guiding hand and wisdom. We must pray for God’s mercy in our lives, our community, state and nation, our leaders. The one true leader God has given us that will never let us down is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We must be wiling to admit those in leadership will often fail us, but our God will never fail us.

Pastor Larry 

Announcements:

 

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

 

November 13 Care Package snacks are due. We know of Michelle Wright, Alena Vest, Sarah Hissong. Are there others?

 

November 20 Council Meeting immediately after worship

            The Lord’s Storehouse Thanksgiving basket donations due—sign up sheet is in the back of the sanctuary today.

 

November 27 Decorate sanctuary after soup lunch for all.

 

December 4 Christmas Vespers HERE

 

The women are taking orders for homemade candy again this year. See the flyer on the bulletin board and give Chelle Shively or Nancy Born Martin your orders. Pick up is on Dec. 3.

 

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

 

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

Jonah Martina; Jan Bower; Larry Traxler; Jill McBride; 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; Tina Wilhelm; Tate Sawyer; 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; healthcare workers and first responders; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library; Florida; Puerto Rico; La Place congregation

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Naperville 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, November 7, 2022

November 6 Sermon and Announcements

 


CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

NOVEMBER 6, 2022

 

We are all in this together!

Colossians 4:2-6, 10-18

 

I decided to take one more Sunday looking at what is being told to the church in Colossae. Paul is reminding everyone as he ends his letter of the importance of prayer. They are also encouraged to be both watchful and thankful. What do you suppose it means to be watchful? I believe the church is being encouraged to stand firm in what they have been led to believe. Do not let others deceive you. In fact, in the earlier chapters, that very point was made. The Colossians, in others words, are to be on guard. As was stated in Chapter 3, verse 15 we saw the importance also of believers being thankful. Paul then gets personal reminding the church of what he, as well as some others, are currently going through. That their efforts to continue to proclaim the good news has been limited because they are in prison. He reminds them to pray that he can continue to share the message of Christ clearly, no matter what. Paul then gives advice on how to share Christ with those who do not believe. They are then encouraged to make the most of every opportunity. In other words, when God opens the door, do not fail to go through it. While grace needs to be part of how you share Christ, make sure you add some salt. Do not give a watered-down version of the gospel. While grace is a key part of the approach, the truth of God’s righteousness must also be a part. Then the church is encouraged to be able to answer questions that may arise.

 

As we continue our look at Chapter 4, we did not read verses

7-9. Paul is telling the people of whom is being sent the letter  details about the ones coming. We pick things up again with verse 10. Here Paul is still talking about some things that may happen in the future and who will be involved. The list of those either currently with Paul or those who have been with him continues for the next few verses. Paul is sending a message to the Colossians about how much we need one another. In verse 12 Paul mentions Epaphras. He says Epaphras is one of you. He then tells how much Epaphras is praying for them. Epaphras’ love for the people of Colossians is so strong it says he is wrestling in prayer for them. Why? Because he wants them to stand firm and be victorious in their walk with Christ and not be deceived. Do you and I wrestle over ones we love? Paul wants the church in Colossae to understand just how much Epaphras is doing for them. Paul then mentions others they clearly know or know about. Luke and Demas are also two who want this church to know prayers are being lifted for them. Then they are encouraged to share all they have read and heard with others. In fact, in verse 16 they say, “After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and then read the letter they received as well.” They close out this letter by making sure Archippus completes the work the Lord gave him to do. Then Paul wants the church to know he personally wrote this letter. Oh, by the way, remember I am in chains! He then says, with all that going in in his life to the church, “Grace to you.” When we look at the letter to the Colossians, we see honesty on display. Paul does not dwell on his circumstances as much as he wants this church to be strong in the Lord. In chapter 4 it is obvious Paul wants these churches to know how important every single person is. After all, we are all in this together. And we are strongest when we stand side by side together. That was the message of the church of Colossae and Laodicea and it is the message for the churches in Cerro Gordo today. Everyone working together can do great things. It was true then and it is true today. That is the message Paul and Timothy wanted to leave with these churches. And that is what God wants to leave with us today. Be prayerful, be thankful, be faithful to God’s word and stand together. If the church does that, we cannot be defeated. We will not be stopped from doing everything God is calling us to do.

Pastor Larry

 Announcements:

 

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

 

November 9 6:15 executive committee; 7:00 commissions; 7:30 board

 

November 13 Council Meeting immediately after worship

            Care Package snacks are due.

November 27 Decorate sanctuary after soup lunch for all.

 

December 4 Christmas Vespers HERE

 

The women are taking orders for homemade candy again this year. See the flyer on the bulletin board and give Chelle Shively or Nancy Born Martin your orders. Pick up is on Dec. 3.

 

Hard copies of the November newsletter are in the back.

 

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

 

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

Jonah Martina; Jan Bower; Larry Traxler; Jill McBride; Cecil; 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; Tate Sawyer; 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; healthcare workers and first responders; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library; Florida; Puerto Rico; La Place congregation

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Highland Avenue congregation in Elgin, IL

 

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, October 31, 2022

October 30 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

OCTOBER 30, 2022

 

 

What does God expect?

Colossians :1-15

 

I always marvel at how the Lord led Paul to speak to the churches in his letters. There is almost always a greeting that sets a positive tone. Then he moves into what is behind why the letter is sent. Oftentimes there is a blunt, honest discussion of what should be going on in that particular church. Other times it is an honest discussion about things that are happening in the church or churches. Then Paul always ends each letter with words that intend to pump the churches up to follow Christ in ways that will lead to eternal life, as well as successful life while on earth.

 

Today we are looking at Paul and Timothy explaining that there are certain things that cannot be a part of a true believer’s life. These they are acknowledging used to be part of many of the lives but should not be a regular part of their lives anymore.

 

Once again, I want to remind you that Paul and Timothy are speaking to a mainly Gentile church. A lot of things that did not go along with God’s teachings in the Old Testament or what Jesus taught while he was on the earth were part of their past life. They get real blunt beginning with verse 5 when they say, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature; sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.” They continue on in the 8th verse with more things to eliminate. “You must rid yourselves of all such things as these, anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator.”

 

Let us stop for a minute and look at all theses things that are being mentioned. Quite a list, isn’t it? The question for you and me is how are we doing with this list? One of the points they are making is when you are born again things need to be changing. For some, overnight transformations happen. For others, it takes time. The point they are making is change needs to happen. Did you notice in verse 7 they acknowledged reality? Paul and Timothy understand many of these things used to be a normal part of their lives. That can be true in our world today as well. In America especially lifelong Christians sometimes believe everyone should understand the basic concepts God has established but that is not always true. Patience, love and mercy need to be a part of leading others to a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In spite of their blunt talk, you can sense the love and mercy they are showing this church. To go back to those lists for a minute, some of them may be easy to stay away from for most Christians but some of the others maybe are not as easy. We might not be sure about what is meant by impurity and greed, but we understand the challenges of anger, rage, even filthy language. They want the church to know Christ has won the victory over all of those things.

 

Paul and Timothy as men of Jewish roots want to remind these churches God views all people the same now. Christ died and the victory has been won for everyone if you confess your sins and trust in the salvation God brought to everyone through the cross. They then remind the churches what should be flowing through every believer. Beginning with verse 12 we read, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and early loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Once again, an amazing list of things we are free to do and experience as often as we can. Some are easier to make a part of our lives, but others are, at times, a challenge. Again, how are we doing? Are any of you struggling with patience, humility and forgiveness? They made a point of saying in verse 14 that over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. What a promise once again we are told to walk in! These churches are being reminded what separates them from receiving the full blessing of God. They are also point blank told what things leads to God’s blessing and victories flowing to believers. In other words, we are told still today what junk to rid ourselves of and also what good things will help us stay on the right track. Then notice what they close out the verses we looked at this morning with. In verse 15, we are encouraged to, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” While challenges are knocking at every door of life, God has given us the formula to the best life possible. It all begins with a real relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Then it is basically up to you and me. How much will we allow God’s Holy Spirit to lead us into the life changing truth that is at our fingertips. If we take advantage of what God has provided us with, we can live a life of peace and instead of being angry and bitter, we have the ability to live lives full of thankfulness. What a contrast that is once again available to us.

 

Paul and Timothy wanted these churches to take their faith to the next level and that is still the goal for God to see happening in His churches today. After all we looked at today what kind of grade do you and I honestly give ourselves? Is there still a lot of work to be done? Are we moving in the right direction? Or are we stuck in the mud? Depending on our answer, do we admit that we still need to be working really hard on some things or can we praise God we are really on the right track? God loves you and me. His mercy is never ending. Let us go forward clothed in God’s peace and thankfulness!

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

 

November 1—Deadline for newsletter submissions

 

November 4 and 5 District Conference at the Peoria church

 

November 9 Board meeting

 

November 13 Council Meeting immediately after worship

 

November 27 Decorate sanctuary after soup lunch for all.

 

 

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

Jonah Martina; Jan Bower; Larry Traxler; Jill McBride; Cecil; 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; Tate Sawyer; 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; healthcare workers and first responders; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library; Florida; Puerto Rico; La Place congregation

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Cherry Grove congregation, near Lanark, IL

 

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.


Wednesday, October 12, 2022

October 9 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

OCTOBER 9, 2022

 

THY WORD IS A LAMP UNTO MY FEET

Psalm 119:105

 

The psalmist understood how important God’s word was for living life, even though at the time Psalms was written there was not nearly as much recorded as we have today. David understood how important the word of God is for encouraging and guiding us through life’s ups and downs. A little later this morning we are going to dedicate a new altar Bible. For Christians the Bible is more than a book we know is important to have around. It is a book that when we open and read it, it allows the Holy Spirit to show us the heart of God for His people. The last I heard the Bible continues to be the best-selling book year after year. However, because of the fact it outsells every book year after year, it will never be found on any best seller list. Maybe part of the reason is because it is a book that has been around so long. Maybe also it is because many of the Bibles are not necessarily bought to be used or read as other books on those lists are.

 

Of course, God wants us to use the Bibles that we have and are most comfortable using. There are over 60 English language versions of the Bible and the Bible has been translated into at least 700 different languages. The Lord wants us to find a version that works best for us and one we will consistently use.

 

The verse we read in Psalm 119 points out that the Bible is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. In other words, the word of God helps us see where we are at and also where we are going or should be going. In Hebrews 4:12 God’s word gets even more specific. We read, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword; it penetrates even to the dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Wow, what a powerful resource God has given us! That very first statement in verse 12 sets the tone for what God’s word is and what it can be and should be in our lives. The word of God is living and active. God’s word wasn’t something that was given to people a long time ago that has no meaning today. No, the word of God is just as important and meaningful today as it ever was. When we allow God to use His word in our lives this 12th verse also reminds us we will gain wisdom, understanding, instruction and correction. The Word will judge our thoughts and attitudes. God’s word takes only one side one might say. God’s perfect will for his creation is revealed. When we have trouble accepting things told straight from God’s word, it is our thoughts and attitudes that are out of touch with God’s will.

 

What is so nice about God giving us his written word is we do not have to rely on what a minister or some teacher might say. We can go directly to the source. This also is not some new message that has been recently written. The Bible has been around by some accounts for over 1800 years with very few changes having been made since it was recorded around 200 A.D. The Bible has stood the test of time. The word of God continues to guide and direct those who seek God still today.

 

We are, as earlier stated, going to dedicate a new altar Bible this morning. This Bible is in the most prominent place at the front of our church. It is our confirmation to all who enter and to God that this book is the source of our strength and trust in God the Father, Jesus our Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit to guide our lives.

 

We are here this morning committing ourselves once again to God and His word. We acknowledge to one another and to God what is written about His word in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is God breathed, or inspired by God, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

We join together this morning to dedicate this Bible to God in this place today. Barb Baker loved God and lived her life guided by God’s word. Some of her memorial funds have been used to purchase this new altar Bible. Barb’s love for God and His word continues to guide and encourage so many of us still today. We commit this Bible to God realizing it is not just a symbol of God and His word but more than that it is our acknowledgement we need God and His word guiding us as individuals and as His church.

 

May God’s blessing continue to rest upon this church and its people for years to come. May this Bible be a reminder of God’s commitment to us and our commitment to Him. May we allow God to use His word in our lives as is spoken in 2 Timothy 3:16. God, we need you in our lives and in the life of this church. With the dedication of this Bible this morning we recommit this congregation to your service as well.

Pastor Larry


Announcements:

 

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study – studying Proverbs.

 

Today Bible Dedication in memory of Barb Baker

3:00 Gospel Sing at Hammond UMC

 

October 12 7:00 p.m. Executive Committee

 

October 22—Soup supper fundraiser—Sign up sheet for donations is in the back of the sanctuary

 

November 4 and 5 District Conference at the Peoria church

 

 

Dorthea Wood’s new room number is 317.

 

 

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

Jonah Martina; 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; Tate Sawyer; 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; healthcare workers and first responders; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library; Florida; Puerto Rico; La Place congregation

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the denominational staff and the Mission and Ministry Board.

 

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.