Monday, July 25, 2022

July 24 Sermon



July 24, 2022


Be On Guard

Romans 16:17-20


Last week we looked at the verse at the heart of this year’s Annual Conference, Romans 15:7. We looked at that verse and also verses 6-13. Since we were in Romans 15 last week, I have felt led to continue to look at what Paul was being encouraged to say to the largely Gentile part of the church in Rome. Before we go further, I want to point out that Romans may be the most controversial book of the New Testament for a variety of reasons.


Paul wanted to sound the warning alarm that there are those who either intentionally or unintentionally may not be giving the accurate gospel to the new believers, which is largely, at this point, the Gentiles in Rome. In verse 17 Paul is bluntly saying to watch out for those who may cause divisions within the church. Some of the divisions may be caused by putting obstacles in their way. In other words, some are telling these new Christians there are certain things you have to do before they can be followers of Christ. Paul clearly believes the truth has already been told to them so they should not be tricked into believing something else. Paul even goes as far as to say when they encounter such people, stay away from them. Paul is pointing out that these people have their own agenda that does not match God’s plan. He is also pointing out they know exactly what they are doing. Paul is implying what some may tell you will sound good or seem to make some sense, but it is really not agreeing with the teachings of Christ. Then Paul goes on to give these “new” Christians a little bit of a pep talk saying everyone has heard of their obedience. In other words, we all know their desire to learn and to be faithful to the Lord, but they must be on their guard to carefully consider those teachers who first brought the true, honest gospel to them. Match that up with the others who may be telling them something else. Paul goes as far as to say some who share a false view of the gospel are evil.


In the first half of verse 20, Paul tells what God will do to those who deceive His people. He first reminds them that God is a God of peace yet, he then goes on to say, the God of righteousness and justice will soon crush Satan under your feet. In other words, Satan and those who share Satan’s lies will pay the ultimate price and the day is coming when that will happen. Paul finishes verse 20 with the encouragement “the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”

 So as is the case with everything that has been recorded in God’s word, what is the Lord reminding us of and what is he telling us today in these verses? II Timothy 2:15 says we should, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” So how do we do that? Tomorrow, we begin Bible School. One of the songs I remember is, “Read your Bible, pray every day, if you love the Lord.” Now I am not saying God does not love us or that he won’t allow us in his eternal kingdom if we do not literally do those things every day, but the song is a reminder of how we can know God’s word and draw close to Him. These verses in chapter 16 of Romans are a reminder that we must be careful of what we are doing. Some will claim to be God’s people, but they have actually been deceived and are spreading Satan’s lies. The best way for us to be able to overcome Satan’s evil is to know God’s word, continue to study God’s word, pray that the Holy Spirit will lead us into God’s truth, and make sure those we are listening to are proclaiming the true and honest word of God.


Just as we were encouraged to be in unity within the church last week, Paul is making it clear: do not have unity just for the sake of unity, by diluting the word of God so what we are following is no longer the true message that the Lord Jesus Christ brought to those who will believe. No one is perfect or will ever get everything right all the time. No pastor will ever have everything exactly right all the time. No congregation or denomination will get everything God wants us to know exactly right either, but the important thing is to be able to point to God’s word for why we believe what we believe. Not pick and choose a verse here and a verse there that may seem to make sense when in fact the whole meaning may have been changed by how we piece the scriptures together. The great thing is, is that we have God’s Word now to refer to. They did not have the New Testament when Paul shared this truth with the Christians in Rome.


The next thing is, however, we know God wins! In fact, God has already defeated Satan, he just won’t admit it. And we His people will win as well when we stay true to God and His Word. I know I am preaching to the choir. However, I must continue to sound the alarm that Satan is alive and well and he wants to destroy every professing believer he can. But Jesus has won the victory for us. As Paul said to the church in Rome, I say the same to you here today. “I am full of joy for each and every one of you.” Do not give up, do not let Satan lie to you. The victory is ours through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Pastor Larry





Monday, July 4, 2022

July 3 Sermon and Announcements



July 3, 2022


Praying for a Happy Birthday!

Romans 13:5-12


Tomorrow, July 4th, America will celebrate yet another birthday. There have been a lot of things happen in the past 246 years. This nation has grown from 13 states to 50 states. Going from mainly the east coast all the way west to the Pacific, as well as an island state and a state north of Canada. There have been many changes and challenges that have faced this nation and its people. The nation first declared its independence from England in 1776 but did not get an official guiding document that outlined our laws until 1787.


The first thing those gathered working on our Constitution agreed on was the mission statement for our country. It is called as most all of you know, the Preamble of the Constitution. It states these goals, these beliefs. “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”


The Constitution then went on to outline how America would work. There were provisions built into the Constitution to make changes as, in time, it became clear they should be made. It was a system put in place that allowed for all the things that would be necessary to make changes as this nation grew. The framers also thought it was a good idea to have three different branches of government as well that were intended to function together yet independently. Nothing quite like this form of government had ever been tried before.


Here we are almost 250 years later. This nation has had a series of challenges during its history. A little over 160 years ago, a war that literally led families to go to war against one another occurred. It would have been easy to have seen this nation come to an end at this time but it did not. This nation continues to face serious challenges to its core promise stated in the Preamble. What was stated is a goal to create a more perfect union. You notice they understood it would never be possible to create a perfect union. The goals and dreams of the original framers is what lives on today. There continues to be people in this nation that believe those goals are still worthy and worth striving to achieve.

While there is some disagreement on just how the framers lived out their faith, all of the framers had a belief and a faith in God guiding them as this nation was formed. They believed with God’s help these goals of the Preamble might be achieved, which leads us back to today and the birthday we about to celebrate. There are problems facing this nation, it seems, on every front. I am not going to highlight them. You can come to your own conclusions.


The verses we read this morning from Romans highlight what God is calling us as Christians to do. First, we are to obey the laws. We are to pay taxes. The 6th verse goes as far as to say our leaders are God’s servants. Verse 7 says to give to everyone what is owed them. Verse 8 makes it clear what debt we are allowed to owe. That debt is to love one another. A brief checklist of some of the Ten Commandments is then stated with the concluding thought that love is the fulfillment of the law. Just as there were challenges to the Christians during the Roman Empire when these words were spoken, we Christians clearly have challenges today as well. Paul wrote this encouragement and warning to the church in Rome, but it could just as easily be written last week to Christians in America. “Understanding the present time, the hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”


As America celebrates another birthday, it is time for us as Christians to make our voices heard. That can take many different forms, but we need to lift up God’s holy standards. We need to try to draw others to God’s redeeming power and his forgiveness. And most of all, we must do all of that out of love for one another. That is what God is calling us to do as his children and as citizens of this still great beacon of hope, which is the United States of America.


May God’s blessing continue to rest upon this imperfect union. Remember the sacrifice first of all that Jesus Christ made for you and me. Also remember those who have tried to do their best for the people of this nation throughout our nation’s history. May God’s guiding hand still lead us today and may God bless America.

Pastor Larry



Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study


July 10 Guest speaker Jim Helton of Prison Ministries


July 10 – 14 Annual Conference in Omaha—Pastor Larry is our delegate


July 13 Board meeting—6:15 Exec Comm; 7:00 Commissions; 7:30 Board


July 23 9:30 – 10:30 Food bank distribution at Kirby Medical Group, Cerro Gordo


July 25-29 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. VBS here at our church

August 3 12:00 noon Women's Fellowship Luncheon--salad potluck


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


Donation Box: AC bills

First Sundays: food donations for food banks


Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362


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Keep in Your Prayers

Janet James and family; Mike Nuding; Michelle West; Tom West; Carolyn Hirsch; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Joe Waltz; Doug Larrick; Anna Rose Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Anna Gentry Thompson; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Maralyn Heckman; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Sonna Hall; Tina Wilhelm; Baby Tate; Bryce Ashenfelter; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Sarah Rudelick; Carl and Wilma Cable; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker;  Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Candy Dobson; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of those who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for Camp Emmaus and camp managers Bill and Betty Hare


Church of the Brethren vision statement:

Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.


Our Mission Statement:

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