Sunday, September 27, 2020

September 27 Announcements

Announcements

There is no sermon today, due to the illness of Pastor Larry.

Sunday, October 4--We will have bread and cup communion during worship. If you are worshipping with us on facebook live, we encourage you to have a cracker or small piece of bread and a small amount of juice or water available so that you can also partake in communion.

Submissions for the October newsletter are due this Tuesday, September 29.

CUIC meeting Tuesday, Sept 29 7:00 at our church

Every Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study--all are welcome. 

Wednesday, October 14 7:00 Executive Committee

The Lord's Storehouse is asking for donations for Thanksgiving baskets. Amy says that $25 will provide a basket for a family of 4. Donations can be left in the locked box at the back of the sanctuary (Be sure to label it "Lord's Storehouse." If writing a check, make it out to The Lord's Storehouse.). 

No Women's Fellowship the rest of this year.

Thank you for bringing your offerings to church.

Donation Box: The Lord's Storehouse

First Sundays: food donations for the food banks



Monday, September 21, 2020

September 20 Sermon and Announcements

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

September 20, 2020

 

GOD IS CALLING TO EVERYONE!

2 CHRONICLES 7:14-16

 

Today is Back to Church Sunday. God is reaching out to all people no matter where we might be, no matter what we have done. God seeks to encourage each person to draw closer than ever before to him. Many here this morning, maybe most of you, attended church faithfully your whole lives. That may also be true of most of you watching on Facebook. But some of us may have had times when we haven’t been as faithful in attending worship as now. Is it essential to literally worship with fellow believers in a church building to be a faithful worshipper of God? Probably not, I cannot say, only God knows the heart. We are, however, encouraged to as much as possible worship with fellow believers. We read in Hebrews 10:25— “Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the day approaching.” Yes, God knows we are stronger together than we are when we try to go it alone.

 

Even though this year sports have been a challenge at all levels, I cannot help but think how successful a pitcher in baseball would be if there was no one in the field to make plays for him? Or how long a quarterback would last if no one blocked oncoming rushers once he got the ball? No, in almost every major sport, if you are going to be successful you need a strong team around you. As we live life, God has caused us, on purpose, to have a need for, first of all, God himself, but almost as importantly, a need for one another. We are never intended by God to face life’s up and downs alone. My family this past week faced what everyone here today and everyone watching on Facebook has faced before. We said goodbye to someone we deeply loved and will miss. What makes these difficult times easier to face is the love and support of so many like you in our church family, as well as other friends and family.

 

God wants us to rely first of all on him. God has promised to be there for us in all of life’s joys as well as sorrows. But God also knows there are times we have wandered away from him. In Romans 3:23 it says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” It does not say a few, it does not say some, it says all. God is limited by his righteous nature on what he can and cannot do if we have walked away from him. However, God is constantly reaching out to us. The verses we read to begin with from 2 Chronicles are very blunt on what we must be willing to do to be able to receive all God has for us. In these verses is kind of a check list for us, God’s people, on what we must do. When we do these things, God has made a powerful promise to you and me. The second part of the 14th verse say, “Then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Not only will we personally see God move in our individual lives but God will move in our Nation in a powerful way as well. It all begins with you and me and the choices we make. But God wants us to be a united people working together, lifting up one another, supporting one another. Going back to the beginning of the 14th verse in 2 Chronicles 7 it says, “If my people who are called by my name.” You see God wants us to be working together as a people. He knows that is when we are the strongest and the best.

On this Back to Church Sunday, God is calling us to be a unified people. Gathering together at houses of worship, loving God and one another. Yes, we are in unique times. I realize many have real concerns gathering together in large groups. Each of us must decide what we feel is right in that regard. But the most important thing is God wants us connected with one another. If you have not been worshipping with fellow believers, we would love to have you join us. This is a place you will be loved.

 

The most important thing is to find a place of worship to be connected with and remember God loves you and care about you. God makes an incredible promise to us in 2 Chronicles 7:15-16. If we will do what is said in the 14th verse, this is what God is promising his people and his church.

 

15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

 

God is saying to each and every one, “Come home, I have a place for you.”

Larry

 

Announcements:

 

Every Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study—studying Acts. All are invited to attend.

October 14 7:00 Executive Committee

October Newsletter submissions due to Carol by September 29 please.

Bread and Cup Communion on October 4, World Communion Sunday, during worship. Those worshipping at home are invited to participate with us using your own bread and juice.

No Women’s Fellowship for the rest of the year. We will try to find a creative way to reveal prayer partners and get new ones.

Upper Room and Daily Bread issues are available.

Donation Box September/October: 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)

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

 

Keep in Your Prayers

Larry & Cathy Traxler and family; Evelyn Eads; Mike Gentry; Anna Gentry Thompson; Larry Cripe; Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 200,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

 

           

Our Mission Statement:

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

 


Monday, September 14, 2020

September 13 Sermon and Announcements

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

September 13, 2020

 

THERE IS A TIME FOR EVERYTHING!

2 SAMUEL:15-23

 

This morning I am going to again ask your indulgence as I will get somewhat personal. I say I am getting personal but in reality, this is everyone’s story, everyone’s message.

 

As you know my dad passed away this past week on Friday. As I have thought what this past week has been like for us, I was reminded of what happened to King David and his young son who was seriously ill. On this occasion, we will not go into the details of this son of King David or how and why he was born. We are just looking at how David reacted when his son became ill.

 

Every single person here this morning or watching on Facebook has had someone close to you pass away. In some cases, we have been given some warning about what is about to happen. In other cases, the loss of a loved one came out of nowhere in which we had no time to prepare in any way for what was happening. Regardless of the circumstances, we still in a way are not truly ready for that day, that hour, that time to come. As we see how David reacted, we see a man who was pleading with God for his son. You never are ready for something like what happened to David’s son. Whether it would be a young child, a husband or wife, brother or sister, mom or dad, we feel should have had many more years. Under those circumstances, we are really never ready to say goodbye. With older parents or grandparents, even brothers or sisters, maybe we can understand it better, but we still at times find ourselves saying, “Lord, just one more week or at least one more day.”

 

We see David was torn to pieces by what was happening to his young son. He would not eat or would not sleep. He just could not face the thought his son would die. All of us deal with these times in life differently. Some of us feel, “Doesn’t the world understand what is happening?” Others may put on a happy face even when they do not really feel that way. For us as Christians we can have confidence about eternity, but it does not make the hurt and sense of loss go away. God is good. He will give us the strength to go on in all of life’s difficult times if we truly turn to him. David has been called in scripture “a man after God’s own heart,” yet he was truly distraught at the thought of his young son dying.

 

As each one of us face these times in life, and we will continue to face them, we have choices to make on how we handle them. God does not expect us to be really exited about the prospects of losing a loved one, but yet God wants us to understand when we have breathed our last on this earth it is not the end.

 

As we read in Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven; a time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up;  a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.

 

Once David’s son had passed away, those closest to him did not know how to tell him. He would not eat; he would not sleep when there was still a chance his son would get better. How would David do? How would he react when he received the news that his son had died? His reaction stunned everyone around him. Instead of withdrawing even further or something worse, we see he got up, cleaned up, got something to eat and prepared to go on with his life. They just could not understand why David did what he did. And we see what David said. It is a powerful lesson to all who are left behind when our loved ones pass. If we really believe in the Lord Jesus, if we really believe God is with us in all of life’s situations, especially when we lose a loved one, will we, with confidence, respond as David did? David truly understood and felt God’s love. Even though he did not agree with what had happened, he found peace with God. Listen again to David’s response. “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, who knows, the Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live, but now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” You see he found in the midst of his loss, comfort knowing I will see my son again, but until that day, God has a plan. Life will go on. With God’s help, I will faithfully live until it is my time to go to the Father.

 

Each of us have had to say goodbye to loved ones before we felt it was time or before we wanted it to happen. And in all likelihood, we will experience it again. How will we face that time? I pray we will call upon the strength only the Lord can truly provide and in our own way go forward in the confidence David showed to those around him. I believe he confidently and triumphantly said, “I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” He understood God has a place waiting for each one of us and when it is our time we will cross from this life, with all its ups and downs, to eternity with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and those loved ones that have gone on ahead.  

Larry


Announcements:

 

Every Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study—studying Acts. All are invited to attend.

October 14 7:00 Executive Committee

No Women’s Fellowship for the rest of the year. We will try to find a creative way to reveal prayer partners and get new ones.

Upper Room and Daily Bread issues are available.

Please place your offering in the plates at the back of the sanctuary.

Thank you for wearing masks and helping contain the spread of the virus. Extra masks are at the back of the sanctuary if you don’t have one. Remember: the cloth masks are washable.

Donation Box September/October: The Lord’s Storehouse

First Sundays: food donations for food banks

Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

Larry and Cathy’s address: 2642 CR 600 E, Lovington, IL 61937

 

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)

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

Keep in Your Prayers

Larry & Cathy Traxler and family; Evelyn Eads; Mike Gentry; Anna Gentry Thompson; Larry Cripe; Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 190,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students

 

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

 

 

 

            G         God’s

            R         riches

            A         at

            C         Christ’s

            E          expense

  

           

Our Mission Statement:

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



Monday, September 7, 2020

September 6 Sermon and Announcements

 

WE ALL DISAGREE AT TIMES!

ACTS 15:36-41

Last week we saw that some in the church wanted to make the Gentiles follow all the Jewish laws before they could truly become Christians. It was such an important problem that was brewing that Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to get answers to this question. We read that after several of the apostles talked before the council, it was agreed the Gentile Christians should not be required to do all the Jewish laws and customs that never truly saved anyone.

 

Now this week we see a more personal disagreement occurred. Barnabas wanted John to go with him and Paul on the next mission trip, but Paul disagreed. Paul reminded Barnabas that John had deserted them on an earlier mission trip. In Acts 13:13 we read that it says “From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.” Obviously, Paul did not want John to leave when he did. There was still a lot to do that he could have helped Paul and Barnabas with, but John decided to go home. Paul did not trust John anymore, so he did not want him to go with them again. Barnabas clearly believed John deserved another chance, however, so clearly Paul and Barnabas agreed to disagree. They each went on different trips instead of continuing to work together. Barnabas took John and headed for Cyprus; Paul took Silas and headed for Syria and Cilicia.

Last week when a disagreement arose within the church, it seems they all came to an agreement on what to do, but on this occasion, it was more personal. Paul would not give in, knowing they needed people that could be trusted. But Barnabas was obviously convinced John would work with them okay. Clearly everyone of us has times when we feel strongly about what we believe to the point we are hard pressed to change our minds, just like Paul and Barnabas. Then there are other times we realize things can and should be worked out just like with the church at Jerusalem.

 

As we see, even as much as the early church was in tune with the Holy Spirit’s leading, there can and will be times not everyone will agree on everything. And clearly that is alright. We as the church should, when we do not agree, be willing to disagree without being disagreeable. God is calling for his church to be unified as often as possible. In fact, as we read in Romans 12:18, we are encouraged to “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

 

As we saw earlier in chapter 15, disagreements will occur, even when everyone is trying hard to do the right thing. The question is: how do we deal with disagreements, whether it is at church, at work, at home or with our friends? Things will happen at times that will bring about conflicts. How we deal with them will show just how well we are allowing the Lord to guide us through these tricky times in life.

 

There is a Christian song I remember from back in the 80’s that gave a godly option that we should at times use to work through disagreements. The chorus of this song was, “Quiet please, too much has already been said, just let it be, learn to listen instead. For sometimes through the silence, big problems become small. If you cannot find something nice to say, say nothing at all.”

 

Clearly Paul and Barnabas did not argue and fuss over their disagreement. They found a way, God’s way, to disagree, but yet move on still working for the common goal of reaching different places with God’s word.

 

May each of us look at ways to first of all limit our disagreements, but when that is not possible, may we allow the Lord to show us ways to disagree yet still work together with the ones we may disagree with, whether it be at church, at home, at work, or wherever it might be. God will always provide a way to work through conflicts if we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us. We simply must have an open heart and an open mind, just like Paul and Barnabas did. 

Larry


Announcements:

Our Mission Statement:

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

Sundays: Sunday School 9:00; Worship 10:00 Please social distance and wear masks. We continue carrying our worship on facebook live and have found that it reaches many people beyond our congregation.

Every Tuesday at 9:30 is Bible Study. The group is beginning a study of the book of Acts. Larry Solomon is leading the study. All interested persons are invited to attend.

The first Sunday of every month is designated for Food Bank donations. Suggested donations are boxes of cereal and prepared foods. Also peanut butter and jelly.

Wednesday, Sept 9 Church board meeting: Executive Committee at 6:15, Commissions at 7:00, board at 7:30 pm

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. The Annual Report video is available on the homepage www.brethren.org

District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link)

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


Keep in Your Prayers

Evelyn Eads; Mike Gentry; Anna Gentry Thompson; Junior and Evelyn Traxler; Larry Cripe; Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 180,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students

 

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers



Poetry Corner—submitted by Robin Shively

The Perfect Church

   I think that I shall never see

A church that’s all it ought to be;

A church whose members never stray

Beyond the straight and narrow way;

   A church that has no empty pews

Whose preacher never has the blues;

A church whose deacons always “deak”

  And none is proud and all are meek;

  Where gossips never peddle lies

  Or make complaints or criticize;

Where all are always sweet and kind

 And all to others’ faults are blind.

  Such perfect churches there may be,

   But none of them are known to me.

  But still we’ll work and pray and plan

       To make this one the best we can.

 

                                Roseville Bulletin

 

 

 

Monday, August 31, 2020

August 30 Sermon and Announcements

WHAT IS THE RIGHT WAY?

ACTS 15:1-35

 

As we continue looking at what was happening in the early church, we see that a debate arose. While the Jewish Christians were excited to hear the Gentiles had received the gospel, they believed there were some things the Gentiles needed to do. Paul and Barnabas had been led by the Holy Spirit to realize God had created a different plan for his church. What God had required the Jews to do had not truly saved anyone. It always depended on faith in God combined with frequent sacrifices to be made right with God in the past. Even then you had to do this over and over again to stay right with God.

 

Paul and Barnabas knew God had created a new plan when Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for everyone’s sins. The old requirements were no longer part of God’s plan. They, led by the Holy Spirit, talked to the leaders in Jerusalem and explained what God had revealed to them. The church leaders in Jerusalem agreed, as the Holy Spirit confirmed everything Paul and Barnabas said. They sent Paul and Barnabas on their way to different places of the Gentiles as stated in verses 22 and 23. They even sent Judas and Silas with them so there would be no question they were in agreement with what Paul and Barnabas had been saying. As I read of this dispute that had started in the early church, I could not help but think of some disagreements that occur in the church today. One of the biggest disagreements is over baptism. The Church of the Brethren believes immersion is what should be used. Other denominations sprinkle or at least something short of full immersion. Is one way more right than another? Some denominations that believe in baptism will not accept anyone’s baptism but their own seen by their own eyes. Does God believe this is something the church should be divided over?

 

My question is why do we cause disputes at times, that create unnecessary obstacles to receive God’s word with fellow believers?  The church at times will question the clothes we wear, the way we look, the things we say and do. While I believe God has clearly stated certain things should not be a part of a believer’s life, it is the Holy Spirit’s leading that helps us understand these things. Yes, we as a church should out of love, encourage one another. At times, even as God’s word says, “Speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).

 

I have grown to appreciate the attitude of this congregation that allows us to reach out to God with a degree of personal freedom. While I believe there are certain areas there should be no compromise on, there are many other areas where there should be space given for the Holy Spirit to guide and direct. The church in Jerusalem listened to the Holy Spirit and gave the new Christians, who were Gentiles, space. May we in the church at Cerro Gordo always give the same respect to the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us. There continues to be turmoil and controversy in our nation and world. I believe God is calling the church to be healers to the broken and to those who feel helpless or forgotten. Those feeling this way are feeling this way for many different reasons. We should show God’s love and compassion for all who feel left out. There are those in this community that need to know God loves them and cares about what is going on in their lives. When we see a need for love and compassion, God is calling you and me to be available to bring hope, not condemnation. As we continue to seek God and his direction for our lives and our church, may we be like the church in Jerusalem. May we embrace one another out of love. May the message we send be like the one sent to the believers in Antioch.

 

May all who know God, recognize God’s hand on our lives as his representatives here in Cerro Gordo and beyond. That should be our passion and our goal, to encourage all to receive everything God has for us, leaving no one behind and never making things harder than they must be. May we capture the spirit of the early church having as our main desire to serve God to the best of our ability, to bring hope to the hopeless and God’s love and compassion to all who will be open and receive. 

Larry


Announcements:

 

Every Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study—beginning a study of Acts with Larry Solomon leading. All are invited to attend.

 

Sept 9 Board Meeting: 6:15 executive committee; 7:00 commissions; 7:30 board meets together

 

A monthly newsletter will start in September. Please give Carol any news or articles you would like to have in it by Sept 1.

 

No Women’s Fellowship in September.

 

New Upper Room and Daily Bread issues are available.

 

Please place your offering in the plates at the back of the sanctuary or mail in to PO Box 45, Cerro Gordo.

 

Thank you for wearing masks and helping contain the spread of the virus. Extra masks are at the back of the sanctuary if you don’t have one. Remember: the cloth masks are washable.

 

Donation Box: AC bills

 

--Don’t forget to check mailboxes.

 

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)

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

 

 

Keep in Your Prayers

Evelyn Eads; Mike Gentry; Anna Gentry Thompson; Junior and Evelyn Traxler; Larry Cripe; Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 180,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students

 

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

Our Mission Statement:

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



Monday, August 17, 2020

August 16 Sermon and Announcements

 

WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

MATTHEW 6:16-18

 

Last Sunday we saw that Paul and Barnabas were sent out by their Christian brothers and sisters to take the gospel to the Gentiles. We saw that after they had been praying and fasting about what they should do next, that is when the Holy Spirit led them to go to Cyprus. It was only after they had prayed and fasted before God that they felt led to go. Last Sunday I said we would possibly look at this more today and that is what we are going to do. I am pretty sure most all of us in our own way pray on a regular basis to God as we feel led, but I wonder how many have felt led to use fasting as a way to find peace or answers to big problems or questions we have?  I do not want you to raise your hands or anything like that, but how many have or do use fasting as a way to seek God? In the verses we read this morning, we see Jesus said not “if you fast” but “when you fast.” Jesus clearly believed it would be part of what God’s people would do as they would seek God’s wisdom and answers to things we would deal with during our lives. In the Bible, fasting is mentioned over 70 times in scripture, so clearly it is something that is mentioned more than a little in the Bible. By the same token, prayer or praying is mentioned almost 400 times in scripture, so obviously the prayer life of God’s people is emphasized far more than the need for fasting. So, what should we in the church today do? I will ask again and do not want you to truly signal, but how many of you have done fasting in the past? For those of you who have, and maybe it is all of you, why did you do it?

 

I will admit I fasted on especially one occasion, but it was a long time ago. In fact, it was when I was doing the 3-year course (with Mary Jessup from Decatur Church of the Brethren) to grow spiritually that I felt led to do this. I was hauling to St. Louis a week at a time, leaving on Monday and coming home on Friday. The Lord led me to seek answers to what the Lord would want me to do and I felt led to fast for three days. For me, the most difficult day was the first day. I believe if we commit to fasting, there should be a real purpose for it. Why would we fast? What is the purpose of it? As we read in Acts 13 last week, the apostles were looking for direction. There is a reference to prayer and fasting in Mark 9 regarding a boy who is said to have an evil spirit living in him. We see in both Acts and Mark there is a specific purpose for fasting.

 

So once again, what about us in the church today? Does God want and expect us to use fasting now? To go back to our scripture in Matthew, Jesus clearly says “when you fast” not “if you fast.” I cannot speak for anyone here, maybe all of you have had fasting as part of your relationship with the Lord. I, however, must admit I have not used fasting for a long time. While I believe the Lord wants us to use fasting, no one should fast because a minister, a Sunday school teacher, a wife, a husband, a son, a daughter, or anyone else says you should. Each person should only do things as the Lord through the Holy Spirit directs them. That being said, what has this congregation been doing in regard to prayer and fasting? If that has not been part of our walk with the Lord at all, maybe that is what is holding us back. Maybe as individual Christians and as the church, we need to commit to seeking the Lord on a more regular basis with both prayer and fasting. Fasting is not like giving up something for Lent. It is not a diet plan, although the Lord may use it to help us keep our bodies more in check. I am convinced fasting is most effective when used to seek specific answers to questions or problems we just cannot seem to get a handle on.

 

I believe God sees a determined focus by his people to seek his guidance, wisdom, and our understanding, and it mobilizes God’s power in ways that simply will not happen otherwise.  In Mark 9, Jesus told his disciples you will only find this answer through prayer and fasting. Is God going to beat us over the head if we do not fast? Of course not! However, I believe fasting is one more tool the Lord has given his people to win battles over Satan in a variety of ways and situations. Fasting is not a one size fits all thing either. The Lord may lead you to fast for one meal, one day or maybe more. It may not even be about food. The Lord may direct you to purposely give up something else that you either enjoy or feel is important to you for a period of time. There should be a plan, though, to use the time you would normally use for that activity to seek direction or answers from the Lord for whatever it may be. We should never do any spiritual activity just for the sake of doing it or because someone told us we should. As is true of everything, our relationship with the Lord is a personal journey. Yes, the church should be an important part of our journey, yet it still comes down to us individually and the Lord, which leads us back to what the sermon title asks—WHAT SHOULD WE DO? The answer is –whatever the Holy Spirit leads us to do. God only wants the best for us. Part of that is the strongest, deepest relationship we can have with God, using everything he puts at our disposal is always going to be in our best interest. For those of us who have fasted in the past, did we see answers or direction we were seeking? If the Lord is leading you to fast again, maybe we should consider partnering with others to seek answers for our lives or for our church. All God is asking us to do is seek him with all our hearts. Gods wants to help us face whatever challenges we face. He just wants to remind us to use everything he has made available to us. We will find victory when we use those tools God has provided us.


Announcements:

 

Every Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

Please do not bring any more donations for the Kentucky Mountain Mission. This fall’s trip is cancelled and there is no room for more items. We will let you know when donations can be taken again.

A monthly newsletter will start in September. Please give Carol any news or articles you would like to have in it by Sept 1.

Women’s Fellowship is collecting monetary donations for health kits. $15 will buy a kit through Church World Service. If you have already put together some kits, bring them to church and we will mail them. Donations will be collected through the month of August. Give donations to Carol or Nancy F.

Kevin Kessler is retiring as our District Executive on Dec. 31.

Please place your offering in the plates at the back of the sanctuary.

Thank you for wearing masks and helping contain the spread of the virus. Extra masks are at the back of the sanctuary if you don’t have one. Remember: the cloth masks are washable.

Donation Box: AC bills

Don’t forget to check mailboxes.

Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

Larry and Cathy’s address: 2642 CR 600 E, Lovington, IL 61937

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)

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

 

Keep in Your Prayers

Evelyn Eads; Mike Gentry; Anna Gentry Thompson; Junior and Evelyn Traxler; Larry Cripe; Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 170,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers


Our Mission Statement:

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


Monday, August 10, 2020

August 9 Sermon and Announcements

Our congregation is pleased to announce that we have called Larry Traxler as our pastor.
We are looking forward to working with Larry as we minister to the community.

GO TO THE PEOPLE!

ACTS 13:26-49

The continuing growth of the church and its spread throughout the region now shifts to the direction of Paul and Barnabas. Although we did not read that verse, Saul begins to be called Paul starting in verse 9 of chapter 13. These two men are the first to be sent out with a specific mission to take the message to the Gentiles. While Gentiles heard and received the message of Christ in earlier chapters, we read in Acts 13 today that the message is now going to them with real purpose. These two men give such an incredible sermon to those who are listening. As I read it this morning, I can still feel the power of this particular message all these years later. Once the Gentiles heard this message and knew they were now included with no strings attached, it is hard to imagine how they felt. For centuries they had been treated by the Jews as outcasts unworthy of God’s message. Now it is just as available to them as to anyone else. God’s message of salvation and redemption is really for us, they might have been saying to one another. How incredible it had to make them feel.

 

In the world we live in today we face many obstacles. Sadly, belief in God is under attack from many different directions. Unlike the Gentiles that were not worthy or God’s message for so long, we have different challenges in our world today. They were hungry for the opportunity to be included in God’s plan of salvation. However, more and more people in this nation and around the world do not believe there is a God and if there is one, they believe he doesn’t really care. These are the things that challenge those of us who not only believe but more precisely know there is a God. So, the challenge for us is how do we get the message of salvation and redemption to make sense to a world that needs this message more than ever? We must find a way to have the passion and purpose Paul and Barnabas showed to those they spoke to.

 

In verse 44, we read how after the message Paul and Barnabas had delivered the previous Sunday, the WHOLE city came out to hear them. We also read, though, not quite everyone was excited about the message. The Jewish leaders were badmouthing Paul and Barnabas every way they could, but we see it did not stop them. They even pointed out that they first took the message to the Jews but when YOU rejected it, they went to the Gentiles. What exciting and challenging times they lived in. For multiple reasons, we live in equally challenging and yes, in many ways, exciting times as well.

 

In the verses we read for our call to worship in Acts 13:1-3, we see Paul and Barnabas began this journey with prayer and fasting. I have heard more and more pastors recently challenging their congregations to pray and fast for this nation and the world. In our world today, is this how God wants his church to ignite the fire that may change our town, our county, our state, our nation, our world? Are we serious about seeing those in Cerro Gordo and surrounding areas come to a better, stronger relationship with God that can change hearts and minds? What are you and I willing to do to be used by God to see this happen? When I read about Paul and Barnabas and how powerful their message was and how it was received, I wonder, can that happen right here in our community and our nation today? This is what is before us, to find ways for God to use us in ways maybe we haven’t done before. The way we begin is to continue to show love to one another as we read in John 13:35. Not only those in the church but share that love everywhere we can. It can be difficult, not everyone is ready to receive God’s love through us. We must keep hanging in there and be persistent, just like the widow we talked about last week. We may be called to be more focused personally. God may want us to do what Paul and Barnabas did—not only pray but also fast. The prayer and fasting must be targeted, though, with a purpose. We may look at that a little more next week.

 

God wants us to be honest and real, recognizing our shortcomings as well as our strengths but as important as anything else is a willingness to say to God, “Here I am, use me.” I know many of you have done many things for this church and in the community for years and for that I say, “Thank you.” In whatever ways we can, though, God still needs us. Our message title today is “Go to the people.” God still needs some good men and women to make themselves available. May God show each one of us what we can do to help change our world, starting right here. God does not want you to do more than you can do, but he wants us to do everything we are ready and able to do. 

Larry


Announcements

 August: 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. Adult Sunday School is at 9:00.

 Every Tuesday: Bible Study 9:30

August 12, 7:00 p.m.: Executive Committee

Please do not bring any more donations for Kentucky Mountain Mission. This fall's trip is cancelled and there is no room for any more donations. We will let you know when we can start collecting again.

 NO Women’s Fellowship meeting in August. We were going to collect supplies for health kits, but in view of our circumstances right now, the co-presidents decided it would be more feasible to collect monetary donations from our women/congregation toward making them. We will send these donations to Church World Service which can then purchase the supplies for the kits themselves. The kits are always made on behalf of CWS and shipped out from our own Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, MD. $15 will purchase a kit; please give your donation to Kathy Gentry, Carol Kussart, or Nancy Fansler by the end of August. If you are writing a check, make it out to Women’s Fellowship.

 

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

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.

Masks are still available at the back of the sanctuary if you need one. Remember that the cloth masks are washable.

 

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

 

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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. NOTE: The Lord’s Storehouse can particularly use peanut butter and jelly. They are hard to come by for them and jelly is expensive for them to purchase.

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   

 

Our district disaster services coordinator, Loren Habegger, has recently provided the following notice for the next disaster ministries service opportunity: 

Our district is scheduled to provide 8-10 volunteers for a new rebuild project near Dayton, Ohio, the week of November 29 through December 5, 2020. We anticipate that this location closer to the District will encourage potential volunteers that were somewhat reluctant to make a trip to previous more distant project sites such as in North Carolina.  The volunteer assignment will again be shared with South/Central Indiana.

If you, or members or friends in your congregation think serving on the Ohio project this winter is a possibility, please contact me as soon as possible. If you have questions/concerns regarding volunteering, BDM leadership is wanting to help in any way they can and has taken many steps to ensure that the health & safety of volunteers is a priority during the pandemic. -Loren Habegger

Ilwi.ddc.lh@gmail.com 

 

 

Keep in Your Prayers

Evelyn Eads; Anna Gentry Thompson; Mike Gentry; Larry Cripe; Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; 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 156,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; the unemployed; the family of Ali Bryant; teachers, staff, and students as school starts up again

 

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers