Tuesday, June 29, 2021

June 27 Sermon



The Promised Holy Spirit Has Arrived!

Acts 2:1-28


In the first chapter of Acts Jesus told the apostles to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came. This is the same Holy Spirit Jesus told the then disciples about in John 16:5-14. In these verses Jesus told his disciples what the Holy Spirit’s job would be. To convict the world of guilt in regard to sin, righteousness and judgment, to guide us into all truth and bring glory to Jesus. In Acts 2 we see the promised Holy Spirit had arrived. What an incredible moment in time it was when, for the first time, the Holy Spirit came to minister to the apostles and then to all believers. As had become the custom, the apostles and some of the other followers of Jesus were all together in one place. The apostles had committed themselves to prayer as they waited for what was going to happen next. Suddenly, without warning, we are told a violent wind from heaven filled the whole house. Admittedly, the houses at this time did not have insulated windows with central air conditioning or furnaces, so the windows were in all likelihood open. I am pretty sure though this was something none had ever experienced before. We have all seen the wind come up all of a sudden, but we often take shelter in a building to get out of it. Here the wind is in the house, so if you wanted to avoid it, you would actually have to go outside. Of course, the apostles did not want to avoid this wind, because they knew it was something special sent from God. In spite of this violent wind, they also saw what was called tongues of fire that at first was in the room they were in by itself and then they separated and appeared to be on each person’s head. Obviously, no one got burnt or had any issues with the wind or fire, but what an incredible miracle God sent their way. This display was for one purpose – to help the apostles know the promise Jesus made to them about the Holy Spirit coming and providing them incredible power and wisdom was happening. But the Holy Spirit was not done yet. Now every one of the apostles began speaking in a language that they had never learned. I believe it would be like you and me thinking of something to say in English, like we always would, but when we actually started to speak it, it came out in German, French or Japanese. Would that get ours and others’ attention today if we started speaking and a language foreign to most all of us came out of our mouths? This is exactly what happened with the apostles. They thought in their native language but spoke something much different. We saw the list of nations or regions that were given. Many Jews from all over had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and still remained in Jerusalem. They did not have a clue what was happening or what it meant. The funniest explanation was to basically say they were drunk. I do not know if any of you at an earlier time period in your life drank alcohol to excess, but I am pretty sure no one suddenly spoke fluent Chinese under the influence. Just like today, though, the people there had to explain why things happen. Even if the explanation is, to be blunt, stupid, sometimes we still feel the need to do it. Peter then stepped up to explain to everyone that had gathered what was really going on. I thought it was a little strange, though, that Peter told them they could not be drunk as it was only 9 a.m.  I seriously doubt those in Jerusalem started speaking in a language they did not know even if they were drunk later in the day. Anyway, Peter goes on to quote the Old Testament prophet, Joel, to draw them to scriptures God had given the Israelites maybe 600 years earlier to show them what God is doing at this time. In many ways, Peter is telling the people gathered around, that this is a sign of the beginning of the end. God is moving in a powerful way, starting today. Transforming lives by allowing his spirit to live and work among men and women as well as live in men and women who will believe. Peter then goes on to point out that everything that is happening began with Jesus. Jesus is the one who performed miracle after miracle and you rejected him. Jesus proved God was alive and real to the Jewish people and yet most refused to see the truth. The final miracle performed in Jesus was that the grave could not hold him. Peter then quoted David, one of the most respected men of old, to further say what was happening and what could be happening. The 25th verse makes this clear statement of God’s presence in our lives, “You have made known to me the paths of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence. “


This is what the Holy Spirit has come to do in the church. The church age we are still a part of today can and does have access to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is still alive and well, seeking men and women of God to encourage, strengthen, and, yes, point out sin when necessary. What began in Acts 2 is still changing and transforming lives today. May we seek more and more what the Holy Spirit is making available to all followers of Christ. Maybe it is and has been happening in your life for a long time, but may we seek to be the ones people ask, what is going on with them? There is something different about them that is so good. I want that in my life too. May each of us ask once again, Holy Spirit fill me with your love, your power and your wisdom. Teach me the ways of God in a new and powerful way. I want a fresh dose of your transforming power today.




Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday


If you are willing to give children’s messages, please sign up on the sheet on the east bulletin board. We hope to start those in July.


June 30 Submissions for July newsletter are due.


June 30 Annual Conference begins with worship at 7:00 p.m. Worship services are available to all. Go to brethren.org and follow the links. These services are always wonderful! There is one each evening through Saturday and then Sunday morning at 9:00.


July 14 Board Meeting


Thanks to everyone for your faithful giving!


Donation Box: VBS

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


Father's Day Sermon


June 20, 2021


To The Fathers

Proverbs 23:22-26


We are going to briefly look at several scriptures about fathers this morning as we celebrate Father’s Day. I do not know all of you well enough to have known all of the fathers of those here this morning. I pray everyone here today, as well as those sharing on Facebook, has many good memories of your earthly fathers. The verses we looked at to begin with this morning talk of the importance of both our fathers and mothers. God’s perfect plan is for children to have both an involved mother and father in our lives. Unfortunately, that is not always the case and those children without truly struggle. More often than not, if there is a single parent in the home, it is normally the mother who must take on all the responsibility for raising the children. In those cases, if the mother has a relationship with the Lord, she knows there is help available. In 2 Corinthians 6:18 it says, “I will be a father to you and you will be my sons and daughters says the Lord Almighty.” God will be there to encourage everyone, especially in times of specific need.

As I look out at those in the sanctuary, I see many fathers this morning.

I have been in situations that have allowed me to see some of you showing love and support to your children. With others I just have not had that same experience. I feel confident, though, every father here this morning has tried your best to raise the children God has blessed you with. There is no perfect earthly father in spite of our best efforts. God the Father will fill in the gaps we may leave. If you have read some of the life stories of the great men of the Old Testament, you will find virtually every single one has their strong points and every single one has places where they fall short when it comes to parenting. Let us look at what a father’s responsibility is according to scripture.


Proverbs 13:1 says a wise son heeds his father’s instruction. Before we look at any more verses, let us all understand while it may mention a father’s son it is also just as important for the daughters to learn from their father as well. Proverbs 15:5 says, “A fool spurns his father’s discipline.” In other words, when you need correction, accept it and learn from it as well as the instruction we receive. And continuing on that theme, Hebrews even tells fathers, “You must be willing to discipline your children when it is necessary for their good.” These verses show how God the Father and our earthly fathers will at times need to discipline us for our own good. Hebrews 12:5-11 says, “And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons. My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline, God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined, and everyone undergoes discipline, then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respect them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best, but God disciplines us for our own good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Many of us here this morning have had our earthly father already pass on ahead of us.  From a personal standpoint, this is the first Father’s Day my dad is not alive to wish a Happy Father’s Day. This is also true of the Arnold Schultz family and many more in the Cerro Gordo area and beyond. At the same time, I once again look out here in the sanctuary and see many fathers here this morning and others who I am sure are sharing with us on Facebook as well.


As we have read in the verses we looked at this morning, fathers have important jobs to do. It does not matter how old or how young a father might be. God has work for us to do. And be assured for those who have had little involvement from an earthly father, God the Father is there for you. As we celebrate this day, I ask each of you to think of something that made your dad special to you. We should never forget. We also have a heavenly Father. We should take some time to give a special thank you to our Heavenly Father as well. To the fathers here in the sanctuary and those watching, thank you for all you have done in the past and continue to do in the present. We children at times do not say it often enough but we do appreciate how you make a difference in our lives. That goes for you grandfathers and great grandfathers as well. Keep doing what God is calling you to do and that is to be a father.


Have a great Father’s Day! Whether we always see it or not, your children, grandchildren and in some cases great grandchildren need you and are watching and listening. God bless you all!