CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
September 4, 2022
What is going on?
Last week I asked you think about why some churches seemed to be full and others not as much. I am guessing you may have considered what is happening in Cerro Gordo with the different congregations. I do not believe we would consider any of our local churches being full of people on a regular Sunday morning. Yet many of us can remember a time when the local congregations were close to full most Sundays. So, what is going on? What has changed? Clearly there are some larger congregations in Decatur that are for the most part full. There are more than enough people to fill every church in every town in this state, this country and in the world. If you look at statistics, they will tell you that there are fewer people attending worship services on a regular basis in American today than ever before. There are a lot of warnings about this happening in scripture, warnings in the Old Testament and clearly numerous warnings in the New Testament. A lack of faithfulness in worship is simply a symptom of a larger problem.
We started off this morning looking at what is being said about God’s people in Lamentations 1. There are also warnings in the New Testament to consider. We have looked at the verses in Chapter 4 of II Timothy before where it says, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” In II Thessalonians verse 3 we are told that the Lord’s return will not come until and “unless a great falling away first occurs.” To go back to Lamentations, we see what the writer says of this once great city and great nation, and he explains why this has occurred. I am going to skip a lot of Lamentations 1 today, so I would encourage you to reread the entire first chapter to get all that is happening. In the first verse we read how deserted lies the city once so full of people. How like a widow is she who once was great among the nations. Skipping to the 4th verse we read, “The roads to Zion mourn for no one comes to her appointed feasts. All her gateways are desolate, her priests groan, her maidens grieve and she is in bitter anguish.” Moving ahead to verse 8 we read, “Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean. All who honored her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness, she herself groans and turns away, her filthiness clung to her shirts. She did not consider her future. Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her.”
As much as faithful church attendance has dropped in America, it has fallen way more in Canada and Europe. So, as we seek answers to last week’s questions about church attendance and why some seem to be doing really well and others not so much, we need to also look at the bigger question. To go back to the sermon title, “What is going on?” Are we living in the end times that are talked of in the Old Testament prophetic books, as well as what is said in the New Testament? We looked at the two scriptures from the New Testament that, without hesitation, says what will happen in the end times. While everything looked hopeless to the writer of Lamentations, we know that God still had a plan for His people.
We are going to continue to use Lamentations as a reference in the next few weeks. We will see if there are any similarities to what happened to Israel during the time that Lamentations was written and the world we live in today. The one thing that is sure is God’s plan for His people is never over until we have breathed our last breath. God’s love, mercy and grace are always available to His people when we are willing recognize who he is while also understanding what and who we are. If we allow the Lord to reveal His plan for us more completely in the weeks ahead, it will cause us not to be discouraged but rather to be encouraged. God wants us to know we have choices that you and I alone can make. God also wants us to understand the choices we make have consequences.
Most Bible scholars believe Jeremiah wrote Lamentations, and in the midst of the disappointment and discouragement, Jeremiah felt the Lord gave him this promise to tell his people and that means for you and I as well. It goes like this in Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.”
Over the next few weeks, we are going to look honestly at this nation and the world and see just what God may be saying to us right now at this time in history.
Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study
September 10 8:00 a.m. Work Day—meal provided by Women’s Fellowship
September 14 Board Meeting
September 30 – October 1—The Lord’s Storehouse rummage sale at the Brethren Church. Drop off times for clean, boxed items: 4-7 p.m. Sept. 1, 6, 8, 13, 15 (north door)
October 4 (Tuesday) 12:00 Women’s Fellowship luncheon
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
To keep up on Church of the Brethren news:
Denomination: www.brethren.org/news Sign up for Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.
District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link) and on facebook
Our pages: cerrogordocob.com (printed sermon, announcements, & calendar) and on facebook
Keep in Your Prayers
Oren Wright; Cecil; Randy West; Devon Wright; Mike Nuding; Michelle West; Carolyn Hirsch; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Joe Waltz; Doug Larrick; Anna Rose Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Anna Gentry Thompson; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Maralyn Heckman; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Sonna Hall; Tina Wilhelm; 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; 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 Bethany Theological Seminary
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:
God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.