Monday, July 6, 2020

July 5 Sermon and Announcements




LET US LIVE AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT! —PART 2

EPHESIANS 5:1-21



Last week what we looked in Ephesians was just the first half of what it means and what we would look like if we are living as children of light. In review I will hit some of the important characteristics from Ephesians 4.  Do not live as the Gentiles do in the futility of your thinking. We are no longer Gentiles, we are Christians. They are separated from God because of ignorance from a hardened heart. Get rid of deceitful desires by having a new godly attitude toward life. Quit lying to one another. It is alright to get angry but do not let it lead to sin. Quit stealing, instead do work, which is good for everyone. Only say things that will build up, not tear down. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit by falling back into your old ways. Eliminate as best we can bitterness rage, anger, brawling, slander, and malice. Instead as God’s people, be kind and compassionate, forgiving because God first has forgiven us of everything. That is the lengthy list of what we saw we should be doing and not doing from last week.

          This week we see in Ephesians 5 more practical application of how we should be acting as children of light. Let us look at these specific things mentioned today. No sexual immortality or any other kind of impurity or greed. No obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse talking. Do not let yourself be deceived with empty words or be partnered with those who are disobedient. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness. It is shameful to even mention what the disobedient do in secret. Do not live as unwise. Do not be foolish. Do not get drunk. This is the specific list of things not to do or be involved with as children of light.

          Now what we should be doing. We are to live a life of love as Christ loved us. Live as children of light, which includes goodness, righteousness, and truth. Expose the darkness. Be careful how you live as the wise. Make the most of every opportunity God gives you. Try hard to understand God’s will. Be filled with the spirit. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in Jesus name. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Why are we to do this? Out of our love for God and as we read, we are encouraged to “wake up o sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.” As children of light, we are to be different from the rest of the world. We are to speak up for what through God we know is right that can take a variety of forms. We are to have the courage to celebrate things that are going the right direction in our world and country. Yet at the same time, expose those things that are not right. Last week I acknowledged my own soul searching about what is happening in America at this time. Yesterday this nation remembered our Independence from Great Britain.  This year’s celebrations were much different than any other because of all the things going on in America at this time. The Coronavirus concerns lead to the cancellation of many of the events, not only in our area but in many other parts of the country as well. This nation is also facing other challenges as well at this time.

As I briefly pointed out last week, there is a desire by some to remove statutes and other historic landmarks across the country. This has already happened in many places across this country. There is a group of people who have decided for everyone what is appropriate and what is not. Every historic person is now viewed from the prism of race. The founding fathers of this nation are looked at differently by some now than every before. If they do not measure up to a certain standard, they must somehow be removed from sight. Some of the founders of this nation did some things that were good, but they also did or believed in some things that we now know are wrong. They were not perfect people, just as we are not perfect. Romans 3:23 says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The past and present leaders of this nation are no different. We, as a nation, should be willing to look at our past and our present honestly recognizing the things we have done right and yet also acknowledge those sins that did and do still exist. The founders from the very beginning knew this nation would be a work in progress. That is why they with God’s guidance, I am sure, created a constitution that allowed for changes as we the people saw the need arise.

In the midst of the turmoil, this nation faces on several fronts what God’s children, as children of the light, are to do. As we read in Ephesians 4 and 5 what children of light should and should not do, where does that leave us today? Again, what are God’s people to do? First, we should acknowledge this simple truth, we are Christians first. Americans second. One of the things mentioned in these verses is our willingness to expose the darkness wherever that might be, which means we must be willing to look at the entire lives of those men and women from our past and present that have and are currently playing a role in this nation’s history, which leads us to some of what is happening to American today.

This most recent racial divide occurred because of the death of George Floyd by a policeman in Minneapolis. Virtually everyone agrees he should not have died because of his crime. What has happened since in America has taken on a life of its own. While we agree George Floyd should not have died and those who believe this are of all races. We have been more divided by what happened in America ever since. One of the leading groups calling for change in America is called Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter has been more than willing to point out the shortcomings, even we might say, the sins of white people past and present. They, however, are ignoring the tragedy that is happening in virtually every major city in America.

This is a brief news story from the Decatur Herald and Review newspaper this past Monday: Shooting across Chicago kill 3 kids--Chicago—Activists and local leaders called for more state and federal support Sunday as weekend shootings across Chicago left three children deal, including a 10-year-old who was struck by a stray bullet that came through an apartment window. The Saturday night death was among at least 10 shooting fatalities since Friday evening, which follow a deadly Father’s Day weekend and fresh concern about a violent summer ahead. A 1-year-old and 17-year-old were also killed. “It’s out of control where even innocent children are losing their lives,” said neighborhood activist Raul Montes Jr., who planned a Sunday evening vigil on the city’s southwest side. He called for federal intervention while a state legislator announced a new task force to address underlying issues.

When was the last time you saw the national news spend any time on this story. This is happening every week across this country in virtually every major city. It is not just a tragic isolated event like what happened to George Floyd. I am sorry for saying this but as a child of the light, I must point out the hypocrisy of Black Lives Matters. One could almost conclude the black lives that matter are those wrongly killed by white people. But if blacks are killing their own across the country, dozens each week, that does not apparently matter. What a tragedy that should not be happening. I do not know what the answer is other than the simple, profound fact this nation needs Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Yes, we need equality for all in this nation. The irony is as many faults as this nation has the fact is millions are coming to this nation every ear both legally and illegally because this nation still gives opportunity for all. Is this nation perfect? No. Is God still using this nation? I believe so. I believe we should be willing to acknowledge the things the men and woman of the past did right that helped us get where we are today while also admitting to the things that have been done wrong in our past as well. As children of light, we must be honest about the things both good and bad as we seek to honor God as responsible Christians and Americans. In closing, the encouragement from God in Chronicles 2 applies if we are serious about seeking God’s help for ourselves and this Nation.



2 Chronicles 7:14-15 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.





Announcements

July: We will worship in the sanctuary at 10:00 for those who feel comfortable coming. Physical distancing must be maintained and the wearing of face masks, please. We will also continue the facebook live service for those who wish to stay home.



July 5: 9:00 a.m. Sunday School begins again.



July 7: 9:30 a.m. Bible Study resumes



July 8: Board Meeting 6:15 executive committee, 7:00 commissions, 7:30 board



Please remember to lock the doors when you are the last one to leave the church. We have found unlocked doors on occasion in the past month or so.



If you have copier issues, please let Carol know.



Upper Room and Daily Bread: new issues available in the back of the sanctuary



THANK YOU: to the people who have been mowing!

to all who helped in any way with our revised edition of the Strawberry Festival!

to the State Bank of Cerro Gordo for the grant money



Offerings are still being collected in the back of the sanctuary. We are thankful to all who are faithful in bringing them or mailing them. (PO Box 45)





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First Sunday of the month: Food Banks

Food needs: boxes of cereal, boxes of prepared foods, such as soups, potatoes, rice, mac & cheese, peanut butter, jelly



Donation Box July and August: AC bills



Keep up on denominational happenings at www.brethren.org and district at www.iwdcob.org

Larry Traxler’s phone number: 217-454-2362   











Keep in Your Prayers

Anna Gentry Thompson; Larry Cripe; Arnold Schultz (at Hickory Point Christian Village for rehab); Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Shirley Clarkson; Mike Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; Ali Bryant; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Jennifer Like; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 130,000 people who have died from COVID-19



Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers



Joe and Tina Martina thank everyone for their prayers for Joe’s cousin Lou who is now doing well after having COVID-19.






Monday, June 29, 2020

June 28 Sermon and Announcements


LET US LIVE AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT!

EPHESIANS 4:17-32

For the past four months this nation has faced challenges different than any it has ever faced before. The Coronavirus officially started to impact the way Americans conducted life back in early March. Then on Memorial weekend this nation was confronted with yet another tragedy. A policeman in Minneapolis killed a black man by the name of George Floyd. Ever since that day American cities across this country have seen both peaceful protests, chaos and destruction. To begin with the police across this country were being blamed for racism. But now the cry of racism has spread to include everyone in America, more specifically every white person in America. As I have considered all that is going on and what I as a Christian who is white in America should do, I have found myself asking God and seeking honest answers of myself. A variety of media outlets have been saying the same thing. We Americans are racist. Ironically, most of those saying that, that I have seen are white. As I have heard this over the past few weeks, I found myself asking myself this question. Larry, are you a racist? It seems many in the media are convinced if you are white in America you are a racist. So, before I can, with a clear conscience, go forward as a Christian I must answer the question. Am I a racist? And with great reluctance, I feel compelled to ask you the same question. Are you a racist? As professing Christians, we must honestly be able to answer that question. No one can answer that question for you. In reality only God and you really know that answer. The Lord drew me to this scripture we read this morning while I was seeking the Lord about what this nation and its people are facing. These verses force us as Christians to look at our lives honestly. Where we have been, where we are and where with God’s help we will be in the future. The first few verses point out we must rid ourselves of the things that hurt us and separate us from God, including what we think and some of the things we do. In verse 22 and 23, we see we are to put off the old self and to be made new in the attitude of our minds to put on God’s true righteousness and holiness. These verses clearly point out there is no place for racism and prejudice in Christianity. When I began hearing a variety of voices basically calling me a racist I at first was disappointed, then in many ways I became angry. To make a blanket statement that all white people in America are racist offended me. I am not going to take time this morning claiming to show that I am not racist. Words at times are meaningless. Actions speak louder than words. I then had to face my own outrage and anger that I at times felt about what I was hearing. In verse 26, we read, “Be angry but sin not. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath and do not give opportunity to the devil.” These verses tell us it is okay at times to be angry. Just how far we take it and what we do with that anger is the question. I have done a great deal of personal soul searching over the past few weeks. Every man and woman of God must do the same thing. When I think of where we are as a nation it saddens me. A few months ago, this nation was pretty united seeking answers to the Coronavirus. Now we are as divided as we have been in at least the past 60 years. The police are viewed by some in this country as the enemy. I personally know some members of the police force. They are good, honorable men who are trying to do their best at a very difficult job. I believe the overwhelming majority of police across this country are committed, caring men and women trying to do their best for everyone. I also believe the overwhelming majority of people of all races and religion in this country are people trying to live their lives as best they can. So, when I, as a Christian, am told I am a racist, when I see the destruction of personal, private and public property, what should be my response? As Christians what are we to do? In verses 29 through 30, we are reminded how Christians should conduct themselves in everyday life.

1.    Let no unwholesome talk come out of our mouths.

2.    Only saying things to one another that will build one another up.

3.    Do not grieve the Holy Spirit. In other words, do not fall back into old bad habits and destructive behavior we once had.

4.    Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

5.    On the other hand—be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other.

6.    Why? Because through CHRIST, God has forgiven us.



Okay we see what we as Christians should be doing, the question is how? I have taken some steps to limit what I see, hear and read. The more I heard, the more I watched, the more I read, the more frustrated and, yes, angry at times I got. So, I have made a decision to limit to 1 hour a day what I watch, hear, and read. That may sound like a lot to some of you but when driving a truck, at times I would listen for hours, then go home and watch more at night. I have filled that time instead with Christian broadcasts and simply seeking out the Lord in prayer and meditation.

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”

In regard to what is happening across the country what are we to do or thing about all these things. I am so thankful to live in a nation that allows for peaceful protests and demonstrations if we feel there is a need for change. That is one of the things that has made this nation so different from others. As a Christian I cannot support the destruction of property by a group who has decided on their own what is appropriate and what is not. I must admit I have no idea what it is like to be black or of any other race in America today. I was born into a white middle class home and family. I had nothing to do with it. We Christians are compelled by God to treat all people with respect, dignity, and honor. It should never matter what color of skin you have or where you came from. But even Christianity and Christians are under attack as well by some of those protesting right now. This past week there are some saying the pictures in your house or church, the statues or images depicting Jesus look too white. They must be torn down and destroyed. I do not know how many of you many have pictures of Jesus in your homes. The ones we have depict something that reminds us of who Jesus is or what God has done through him for me and everyone else who will receive God’s mercy and grace. In closing we who are Christian must decide what we will and will not do. What to agree with and support and what to say is wrong and inappropriate. I know a couple of things for sure. Anyone who is a racist is not a Christian. Also, anyone who destroys anyone else’s property, no matter what excuse you make, isn’t a Christian either, and this should not be accepted. God is calling you and me to pray for healing for our nation. When we can do things that can bring meaningful change that improves everyone’s lives, by all means do it. But always stand up for God’s holy standard and values. God will honor that, and we will be used by God as examples of what is right and true.

Larry


Announcements

July: We will worship in the sanctuary at 10:00 for those who feel comfortable coming. Physical distancing must be maintained and the wearing of face masks, please. We will also continue the facebook live service for those who wish to stay home.



July 1: Denominational Worship Gathering will take place virtually at 7:00 pm Central. It will center around the theme: “New World Coming!” Two of my cousins (Kendra and Janelle Flory) will be performing a musical number, probably with handbells since that is their forte`.  A children’s worship will take place at 6:30 p.m. www.brethren.org/ac/virtual  Follow the links to connect that evening.



July 2: an online Church of the Brethren concert, also at 7:00 p.m. The link above is the one to connect to the concert as well. Trust me (Carol), all of these events will be very well done and well worth your time to watch.



July 5: 9:00 a.m. Sunday School begins again.



July 7: 9:30 a.m. Bible Study resumes



July 8: Board Meeting



Upper Room and Daily Bread: new issues available in the back of the sanctuary



THANK YOU to the people who have been mowing!!! This chore is greatly appreciated;

to all who helped in any way with our revised edition of the Strawberry Festival; to the State Bank of Cerro Gordo for the grant money that we have received.



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First Sunday of the month: Food Banks

Food needs: boxes of cereal, boxes of prepared foods, such as soups, potatoes, rice, mac & cheese, peanut butter, jelly

This month please consider sending The Lord’s Storehouse a monetary donation. The address is PO Box 229, La Place, IL 61936.



Donation Box June: Vacation Bible School; we host in 2021.



Keep up on denominational happenings at www.brethren.org and district at www.iwdcob.org

Larry Traxler’s phone number: 217-454-2362   





Keep in Your Prayers

Anna Gentry Thompson (improving a little each day—still on pain meds); Arnold Schultz (in rehab); Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Shirley Clarkson; Mike Seidenstricker (back home after being in hospital for infection); Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; Ali Bryant; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Jennifer Like; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the 125,000+ people who have died from COVID-19



Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers



Joe and Tina Martina thank everyone for their prayers for Joe’s cousin Lou who is now doing well after having COVID-19.





Prayers and cards of encouragement are requested for:

Zola Copeland – 214 E. Fitch St. Forsyth, IL 62535-9668

Anna Rose Larrick C/O Evergreen Place #110

4825 E. Evergreen Ct. Decatur IL 62521

Shawn Cain – 208 West Wait St. Cerro Gordo IL 61818

Robert Cripe – 21 Park Street Danville IL 61832

Monday, June 22, 2020

June 21 Sermon and Announcements

THANK YOU, DADS!
GENESIS 27:27-40

Today I would like to share two different stories about dads from the Bible. As we celebrate what it means to be a dad, I want to recognize and say thank you to the dads here this morning and those watching online today. Just as we celebrated moms about a month ago and recognized the vital role women have played in our lives, I would like to do the same thing for our dads and those special men that have been so important to us during our lives. As I said I would like us to look at two dads from scripture. One in the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. First off let us look at what we can learn from Isaac and the way he dealt with his two sons. What we read was the second part of something going on between two brothers. To tell a little background without reading it all, we see two brothers named Jacob and Esau. In Genesis 25, we see how they were born and how things went as they grew up. In the 27th and 28th verses of the 25th chapter, we read the boys grew up and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents. Isaac, who had a taste for wild game loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. So, we see their dad had a special place in his heart for Esau who was the first born, but his mom had stronger feelings for Jacob. We skipped quite a bit by reading those small portions of scripture but in chapter 25 it showed us a little bit of how Esau thought about things. At this time, there were two really big deals that happened to the oldest son. One was the birthright; the second was the blessing. The birthright had to do about inheritance and leadership within the family. In chapter 25, we can see in 29-34 verses that Esau was more concerned about putting food in his stomach than the birthright, so he sold it to Jacob for some food. What we then read in chapter 27 has to do with his blessing--that also had great significance at this time. Children craved their father’s blessing. We see a couple of things happening here. Jacob’s mother helped Jacob trick his dad into giving him Esau’s blessing. As we read, we saw what the blessing said. When it was too late to take it back, Isaac realized what had happened. In verse 36 we read, though, Esau was not totally honest with his dad. He said Jacob took his birthright, which is not exactly correct. Esau sold it willingly for some food. But we see his dad’s love and compassion for Esau. Isaac knew he could not change Jacob’s blessing. It was binding before God, but he did what he could. Esau’s blessing acknowledged Esau’s life will be hard, but he would break the chains to his brother at some point. Isaac was a loving father that knew his one son would do alright. He had the birthright and the blessing. But he wanted Esau to also know I love you and I feel the hurt you feel.
Now I would like to quickly shift to the New Testament and share the story of the prodigal son. We find this story in Luke 15:11-32. Most all of us have read this story many times or heard it talked about in Sunday School or from the pulpit. I am not going to read it this morning. I will simply retell it to refresh our memories. As I am sure you recall, there was a dad who also had two sons. At some point, the younger son told his dad I want my portion of your inheritance. Apparently at this time that was something that you could ask for. So, his dad gave him what he would inherit. He left for what he probably wanted to believe would be fame and fortune, but the exact opposite occurred. In a short time, he was broke. He reduced himself to working on a pig farm, something no Jewish person would ever do, to try to get by. Before long he realized his dad’s hired men had it much better off than he did. I am going back home he said to himself. Not as a son but as a hired man. His dad saw him coming from a distance and said to some of his men we are going to have a party. To the younger son’s credit, he admitted he deserved nothing from his dad. He just wanted a job. When the older brother heard all the commotion and found out it was for his wayward younger brother, he was mad. How could you do this dad? It is not fair. But he explained to his oldest son all this will some day be yours. I appreciate your dedication and commitment, but I thought I would never see your brother again. I love you son, but I never stopped praying for and loving your younger brother. As we look at these two dads, we see men who loved their sons. Obviously, it could have been about daughters just as well. These are dads who showed God’s love, God’s mercy, God’s compassion and yet also showed God’s integrity. This Father’s Day I hope you all first off have some good memories of your dads, whether they are still alive today or have already gone ahead and are in the presence of the Lord. The truth is none of our dads were perfect, but I pray you can remember how God used your dad or an important father figure to help you become the person of God you are today. And for the dads here today or watching where you are, God still has important work for you to do. You men of God are being watched all the time. We must continue to step up and accept the challenge God has placed before us. I have been so blessed to not only have a great dad but also some great men who modeled God the Father to me. So, to all you men today, I encourage you in the Lord to keep doing your best. God will use you in a mighty way. Thank you and have a great Father’s Day! With God’s help, we will make a difference in our families and in our part of the world that the Lord has placed you in.

Larry



Announcements


June: We will worship in the sanctuary at 10:00 for those who feel comfortable coming. Physical distancing must be maintained and the wearing of face masks, please. We will also continue the facebook live service for those who wish to stay home. We have not started Sunday School yet.



July 1: Denominational Worship Gathering will take place virtually at 7:00 pm Central. It will center around the theme: “New World Coming!” Two of my cousins will be performing a musical number, probably with handbells since that is their forte`.  A children’s worship will take place at 6:30 p.m. www.brethren.org/ac/virtual  Follow the links to connect that evening.



July 2: an online Church of the Brethren concert, also at 7:00 p.m. The link above is the one to connect to the concert as well. Trust me (Carol), all of these events will be very well done and well worth your time to watch.



July 8: Board Meeting



Daily Bread: June – August issue is available.



THANK YOU to the people who have been mowing!!! This chore is greatly appreciated.



THANK YOU to all who helped in any way with our revised edition of the Strawberry Festival!! We will report the proceeds when we have finalized the figures, but it was successful.



THANK YOU to the State Bank of Cerro Gordo for the grant money that we have received.



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First Sunday of the month: Food Banks

Food needs: boxes of cereal, boxes of prepared foods, such as soups, potatoes, rice, mac & cheese, peanut butter, jelly

This month please consider sending The Lord’s Storehouse a monetary donation. The address is PO Box 229, La Place, IL 61936.



Donation Box June: Vacation Bible School; we host in 2021.



Keep up on denominational happenings at www.brethren.org and district at www.iwdcob.org

Larry Traxler’s phone number: 217-454-2362   





Keep in Your Prayers

Anna Gentry Thompson; Arnold Schultz; Steve Fansler; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Shirley Clarkson; Mike Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; Ali Bryant; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Jennifer Like; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; Joe Martina’s cousin who has COVID-19; the families of the 120,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; protesters



Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers





Prayers and cards of encouragement are requested for:

Zola Copeland – 214 E. Fitch St. Forsyth, IL 62535-9668

Anna Rose Larrick C/O Evergreen Place #110

4825 E. Evergreen Ct. Decatur IL 62521

Shawn Cain – 208 West Wait St. Cerro Gordo IL 61818

Robert Cripe – 21 Park Street Danville IL 61832

Monday, June 15, 2020

June 14 Sermon and Announcements


June 14, 2020


AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER


Two weeks ago, we saw that just before Jesus went back to Heaven to be with God the Father, he encouraged the disciples to wait. Wait because the Holy Spirit would come after he left, and they would then understand things better. Last we saw the wait was over and seemed to be worth it to have stayed together and to have waited. For a few minutes this morning we are going to look at a few things that were happening after the Holy Spirit continued to be with the apostles. We are going to read from the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th chapters of Acts. For our call to worship we saw some of what was happening in the 3rd chapters of Acts. God through the Holy Spirit is using the apostles to continue confirming God’s incredible power. If we were to continue reading on in the 3rd chapter, we would see how blunt Peter was with those who saw what had happened to the crippled beggar. In the 14th thru 16th verses we read, “You disowned the Holy and Righteous one and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. By faith in the name of Jesus this man whom you see and know was made strong.” He went on to say more to all who were listening. How was the message received? Was it the beginning of a happily ever after story? In verses 1-3 we see what the Sadducees had to say. The priests, the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But if we read verse 4, we see that those that received the message grew to about five thousand. We see while many accepted what the Holy Spirit was doing, not everyone did. But this was just an isolated case, right? Let us jump ahead to Chapter 5:17-18. “Then the high priest and all his associates who were members of the party of the Sadducees were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in jail.” (In the interest of time, we are skipping a lot of the details. I encourage you to read the 3rd through the 7th chapters to see everything that is going on and why.) Throughout all that is going on the apostles by the power of the Holy Spirit confidently spoke the truth of God’s word. Let us move ahead to the 6th chapter and see what is going on with Stephen. Beginning with the 8th verse, we read now Stephen, “a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the synagogue of the freed men-Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as their provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the spirit by whom he spoke. Then they secretly persuaded some men to say we have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God. So, they stirred up the people, the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin.” How can this be? The Holy Spirit is supposed to change the hearts of God’s people. But at least finally things were about to change, right? In Chapter 7, Stephen spoke a great deal to these important Jewish leaders. At least when he had finished speaking the Holy Spirit changed their hearts, didn’t he? Let us pick it up at the 51st verse and read through verse 60. But what was happening? After all Jesus said the Holy Spirit would change everything. I know it was the early stages of the Holy Spirit here on earth. It would take a while for the Holy Spirit to break through. We are now seeing the Holy Spirit changing everything in a positive way. After all those of you here this morning and those of you watching at home never have any problems, do you? You husbands and wives never disagree with one another and never have, do you? Moms and dads, your kids are perfect angels all the time. And kids, mom and dad are always easy to get along with, aren’t they? We never have had disagreements with bosses or employees. Every neighbor or person that we encounter in traffic are always kind and courteous. Are some of you saying that is not true? But the Holy Spirit is supposed to help us understand and get along. Well at least we have never had any conflicts in church, have we? What is going on? Jesus said the Holy Spirit would give power and make everything perfect, didn’t he? No, the reality is that was never promised. We were never told we would have Heaven on Earth. Remember what Jesus did say in John 16:3. He said, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE. But to take heart. I have overcome the world.” Jesus never promised the Holy Spirit would end all disagreements or even useless death. He never promised perfect health or finances. What he did promise is to provide peace in the middle of the storm. He promised the Holy Spirit would provide strength when we are running on short supply. And he promised there will come a day when all our pain and sorrow, all those difficulties we may feel will be gone. Just keep fighting the good fight. Try to see God’s hand in all the ups and downs of life. After all Jesus said, “Take heart, I have overcome the World.”



We will see you next week. Be safe. God loves you and we love you.

May the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face sine on you, and be gracious to you, the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Larry



 Announcements




June: We will worship in the sanctuary at 10:00 for those who feel comfortable coming. Physical distancing must be maintained and the wearing of face masks, please. We will also continue the facebook live service for those who wish to stay home. We have not started Sunday School yet.



July 1: Denominational Worship Gathering will take place virtually at 7:00 pm Central. It will center around the theme: “New World Coming!”

July 2: an online Church of the Brethren concert, also at 7:00 p.m.

Links for both of these will be in future announcements.



Graduates:   Jordan Wright, Madison Warren, and Allena Vest graduate from CGHS.

                        Congratulations to all three and the rest of the graduates!



Daily Bread: June – August issue is available.



THANK YOU to the people who have been mowing!!! This chore is greatly appreciated.



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First Sunday of the month: Food Banks

Food needs: boxes of cereal, boxes of prepared foods, such as soups, potatoes, rice, mac & cheese, peanut butter, jelly

This month please consider sending The Lord’s Storehouse a monetary donation. The address is PO Box 229, La Place, IL 61936.



Donation Box May and June: Vacation Bible School; we host in 2021.



Keep up on denominational happenings at www.brethren.org



Larry Traxler’s phone number: 217-454-2362   





Keep in Your Prayers

Arnold Schultz; Steve Fansler; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Shirley Clarkson; Mike Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; Ali Bryant; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Jennifer Like; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; Joe Martina’s cousin who has COVID-19; the 113,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; protesters; Elizabeth Skaggs family



Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers





Prayers and cards of encouragement are requested for:

Zola Copeland – 214 E. Fitch St. Forsyth, IL 62535-9668

Anna Rose Larrick C/O Evergreen Place #110

4825 E. Evergreen Ct. Decatur IL 62521

Shawn Cain – 208 West Wait St. Cerro Gordo IL 61818

Robert Cripe – 21 Park Street Danville IL 61832








Monday, June 8, 2020

June 7 Sermon and Announcements




THE WAIT IS OVER

ACTS 2:1-41


Jesus had promised the disciples the Holy Spirit would come after he left to go back to God the Father in heaven. As we read in the 2nd chapter of Acts, something historic that had never happened before happened yet again. During Jesus’ time on this earth many new things happened, and God had one more amazing miracle to share with his creation at this time. First, the disciples literally were speaking in real languages they didn’t know. I am sure it would be like you and me right now saying words we thought were in English but when the words came out of our mouths, it was Spanish, French, or Japanese or something else. When people who were there from different countries or regions heard this, they were amazed. Some of them tried to make excuses, these guys are drunk and that is why it is happening. If you and I were drunk, I could pretty much guarantee we would not be speaking fluent Russian just out of the blue. Of course, Peter stepped up and tried to explain what was happening. Some tried to stop God’s message of salvation and hope, and we see they failed. Because once again God’s plan and ours are often different from one another. The Jewish leaders knew what they wanted God to do; even the disciples knew what they hoped God would do.  But God’s kingdom is not of this world. John 18:36 says my kingdom is not of this world, if it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place. The Holy Spirit had come to all who receive, and He will transform the hearts and minds of people in ways that had never happened before. A new way yet again was being ushered in by God and God’s eternal kingdom is going to be established his way, not anyone else’s. Going back again in John, we are reminded what the Holy Spirit will help us do and understand. Let us read John 16:5-11. Submitting to the Holy Spirit of God is the only way to true change that will last. Peter explained this to the crowd that heard the disciples and saw what was happening.   And when Peter got personal and truly helped them understand God’s plan, the Holy Spirit did great things in the lives of thousands of people right then and there.  And God’s way of changing lives and this world had begun. When we look at what is going on in America today, this is what we truly need as a Nation now. God’s healing and transforming Holy Spirit changing lives. God is on the Throne. He can and will change lives and attitudes. But he will not go where he isn’t invited. As much as we want to force change, it only truly happens with a change of the heart. All we can do is live lives that as best we can glorify God and His Word. Yes, we can and should speak out when we see injustice, but we must accept the fact only God through the Holy Spirit can truly change and transform lives. But that is still happening: God is not done working in men and women’s lives yet. What the Holy Spirit began with the disciples 2000 years ago is still available and happening today. But we must admit Satan is still alive and well as well. He is still deceiving and tragically destroying lives wherever he can. It is up to us, church, to share God’s transforming message of true salvation as best we can. God is NOT dead. He is still in the business of speaking truth and love. We need to stand strong and stand firm. We read in the 2nd chapter of Acts the Holy spirit has come. God’s plans will be accomplished. We must not lose heart. God as overcome the world. We have the victory thru JESUS CHRIST, our Savior.

Larry

Announcements



June: We will worship in the sanctuary at 10:00 for those who feel comfortable coming. Physical distancing must be maintained and the wearing of face masks, please. We will also continue the facebook live service for those who wish to stay home. We will NOT start Sunday School yet.



June 10: Board Meeting: 6:15 executive comm; 7:00 commissions; 7:30 board meeting; physical distancing and face masks please.



June 13: We will need volunteers to wash and stem strawberries at 10:15 a.m. (Note change of time). We will practice physical distancing and face mask wearing while doing this. We will also need volunteers to put together the pies on Sunday morning before church time so people who come to church can take their pies and berries home with them. Donations will be accepted at the time you pick up your goodies.



Graduates:   Jordan Wright, Madison Warren, and Allena Vest graduate from CGHS.

                        Congratulations to all three and the rest of the graduates!



Upper Room: May/June issues are still available. You may also get a PDF copy of the May/June issue of UPPER ROOM on line at www.upperroom.org/covid-19



Daily Bread: June – August issue is available.



Offerings: Thanks to everyone for keeping up with your offerings! Please continue to either mail your offerings to the church at PO Box 45 or, if you have a key to the church, put it in the donation box at the back of the sanctuary in a properly marked envelope.



Please let Stacie Warren or Larry Traxler know of any supplies you need and are unable to get for yourself. Someone in the church will get them for you.



Let Carol Kussart or Kathy Gentry know if you need a mask.

**************************

First Sunday of the month: Food Banks

Food needs: boxes of cereal, boxes of prepared foods, such as soups, potatoes, rice, mac & cheese, peanut butter, jelly

This month please consider sending The Lord’s Storehouse a monetary donation. The address is PO Box 229, La Place, IL 61936.



Donation Box May and June: Vacation Bible School



Keep up on denominational happenings at www.brethren.org



Larry Traxler’s phone number: 217-454-2362   



Keep in Your Prayers

Arnold Schultz; Steve Fansler; Wilma Cable; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Shirley Clarkson; Mike Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; Ali Bryant; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Jennifer Like; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; Joe Martina’s cousin who has COVID-19; the 110,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; protestors



Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers





Prayers and cards of encouragement are requested for:

Zola Copeland – 214 E. Fitch St. Forsyth, IL 62535-9668

Anna Rose Larrick C/O Evergreen Place #110

4825 E. Evergreen Ct. Decatur IL 62521

Shawn Cain – 208 West Wait St. Cerro Gordo IL 61818

Robert Cripe – 21 Park Street Danville IL 61832