Monday, May 31, 2021

May 30 Sermon and Announcements

 Memorial Day Weekend

DO WE REMEMBER?

Joshua 4:1-7

 

A couple of notes before we begin. At the close of the message, we will play a song by the group, Mercy Me, entitled “Say I Won’t.” For those of you watching on Facebook I simply googled Mercy Me and found the version of “Say I Won’t” by Mercy Me (authorized).

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhTHgaCjTJs.

This version has been viewed over 3 million times! Next, I must admit I lied. Last week I said we would spend the next few weeks continuing in Acts. We will skip this week to look at the reasons and purposes for celebrating Memorial Day. So let us get started!

 

Before we look at the verses, we read this morning, let us look at why we celebrate Memorial Day in America. Not everyone agrees with how and when it got started but most agree it began after the Civil War. When I looked it up the remembrance that is most like what many in America do today started in 1868. General John A. Logan encouraged loved ones as well as others to put flowers on the graves of the soldiers who lost their lives during the Civil War. Actually, General Logan called it “Decoration Day”, which many of you here this morning may remember that is what people called Memorial Day in the past. Over the years this day has taken on more meaning than originally intended. Many take time to remember family members and friends who have passed away, as well as others who have special meaning.

 

In scripture we are told time after time that it is important to remember special things and events that have happened. In Genesis 9 we are told the rainbow God often puts in the sky after a rain is to remind God that he will never again destroy the world with a flood. God’s people are to be reminded God has made us that promise so we can enjoy the beauty of the rainbow with confidence.

 

In Exodus 12 and 13 the Jewish people began a new celebration by remembering the Passover when the angel of death passed over the houses marked on their door posts with blood from a lamb while they were slaves in Egypt.

 

We remember both the Passover and the Lord’s death and resurrection when we take part in the Love Feast and communion as we read in I Corinthians 11. Theses are just a few of the examples we are given in scripture of how important it is for us to remember important events in our lives. The remembrance that this nation does on Memorial weekend though clearly has its roots in remembering those who have been willing to serve this nation primarily in the military.

 

Most of you know the Church of the Brethren is a denomination that is committed to non-violent ways to resolve problems, whether it is between individuals or between nations. Our denomination is one this nation has historically recognized as being able to accept alternate service to being in the Armed Services. I respect those who over the years have made that choice. I also respect those who answered the call to serve in the military as well. I do not know how many of you here in the sanctuary or watching on Facebook served in the military. I know Madison is currently beginning her service. To all of you I say, “Thank you!”

 

In Romans 5:7 and 8 it tells us the real story of how difficult it is to be willing to sacrifice everything for someone else. Beginning with the 7th verse we read, “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

I believe very few enter the military hoping for the chance to shoot at someone, let alone kill someone. But those who serve do it for loved ones, a way of life, for family, country and yet out of a love to God and how he has blessed us as a nation. Not everyone will agree with what this country has done over the years but we are blessed to live in a nation where we have been able to agree to disagree. This has been made possible by two things, I believe: God’s hand upon this Nation and men and women who have been willing to answer the call to serve.

 

As we close out this part of the service, I want to once again say thank you to those who have served this Nation. To those who served in the military, “Thank you.” Those who have served as police, “Thank you.” Those who have served as firefighters, “Thank you”. For those who have served in any way in health care, “Thank you.” Those who have served as teachers, “Thank you.” Those who are often left out, people who help keep this Nation going, “Thank you.”

 

We also remember moms and dads, aunts and uncles, husbands and wives as well as our children who God has blessed us with who may have already gone on to be with the Lord. We all need each other. God knows that and that is why he points out how important it is to remember events and people that have made life what it is. May we never forget the God who loved us enough to pay the price for our sin on the cross. We have much to be thankful for and much we should never forget.

 

At this time, we are going to play the song by Mercy Me called “Say I Won’t”. This was a favorite song of mine before I saw the music video that Mercy Me created to tell the story of Gary Miracle as well as the story of others. As I watched it, tears overtook me. I thought as I watched this video of how many who came back from Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, World War II whose lives were changed forever by the injuries they received. This video, as you will see, is not about that but it shows how lives are changed sometimes overnight by war, disease, injury, abuse, you name it. I am also reminded of a God who knows everything that happens to us, our loved ones, even our Nation. The title of the song may seem confusing so watch both the video and try to read the words so you get the meaning God is using this video for.

(After the video)

I felt like making a sign that says, “Say I won’t fail to remember.” I pray I will never forget those who gave so much to this Nation. Thank you to everyone here who has served this Nation and its people in a variety of ways. Thank you, God, for never giving up on me. On this Memorial weekend a special thanks to those past and present who have been willing to put it all on the line—military, police, fire and more. May I never forget the sacrifice of so many that allow us the freedom we have in this nation. May we also never forget it is God’s love and mercy that makes it all possible as well. The fighting spirit of Gary Miracle and so many others is why I pray I will never forget. The example of so many past and present that gives me hope. May we never forget what our God has done for us and may we never forget our loved ones that changed our lives, but most importantly on this Memorial weekend I say thank you for your sacrifice to all who have served this Nation in all the branches of the Armed Forces. Say I won’t ever forget!

Pastor Larry


Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

June 6 Last day to order strawberry pies

 

June 9 7:00 Executive Committee

 

June 12 9:00 a.m. Stem strawberries—We need volunteers.

June 13 Pies to be made before worship and distributed from 11:30 – 12:30 (or after worship for people who are here)

 

June 13 Terry Link is preaching

 

Camp Emmanuel schedules and registration forms are available in the back of the sanctuary.

 

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

 

Keep in Your Prayers

 

Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancey Gorrell’s niece); David Roe; Tera Runyan; Holly Flenner; Mike Gentry; Tim Laird; Carl and Wilma Cable; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Sherry Wright; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Evelyn Eads; Anna Gentry Thompson; Marlene & Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; 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 the 590,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of natural disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; victims of the volcano in Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda

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.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

May 23 Sermon and Announcements

 

AND NOW IT BEGINS!

Acts 1:1-26

 

We are going to look today at the last day Jesus was on this earth with his disciples,now called apostles. There are two things talked about in the first chapter of Acts. First Jesus’ final interaction with his disciples/apostles. And secondly, what the disciples did as soon as Jesus went back to be with God the Father.

 

The first thing talked about in Acts 1 is one of the centerpieces of what we as Christians believe. In verse 3 we see it said after Jesus’ suffering, which includes, obviously, his crucifixion, Jesus appeared to his disciples alive over a period of 40 days. This was a time Jesus was reassuring his disciples it was okay. “What I came to do I have done.” Then he tells them, “Now it is about to become your turn.” Jesus was telling the disciples, “It is not quite time to start yet. Wait for the Holy Spirit, then it will be time.” Most all Christians believe in three distinct characteristics of God; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

 

Throughout the history of the world each unique part of God has been actively working with men and women. God the Father was more actively involved with his people in the Old Testament times. God the son, Jesus, obviously came to earth with a particular mission and accomplished it. That mission, to pay the price for all of mankind’s sins past, present, and future, leads us to how God primarily works in our world since Jesus returned to God the Father.

 

In verses 4 and 5, we see Jesus is reminding his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until God the Holy Spirit comes and gives them power. Once that happens, then and only then, will it be time to begin. Jesus told them their primary mission, which had no limits. That mission is to take what you have heard and seen to the world. That message is that those living in darkness can experience the light of God in ways that no one has ever experienced before. Those living in bondage can be set free. Those who feel hopeless and helpless can live in victory. Man, what a message God has entrusted the disciples/apostles with!

 

Jesus had no more than said these words when he disappeared right before their eyes. Yet again, God the Father in His mercy sent two angels to explain what had just happened. The angels explained that just as you saw Jesus leave, that some day Jesus will return in the same way.

 

After all this happened, the disciples went back to Jerusalem to the place they had been staying. The remaining 11 disciples were there, as well as many women, including Jesus’ mother, Mary. Also among the group were other men, including Jesus’ earthly brothers. They gathered there in prayer asking for direction on how they should go forward. As most all of us know, one of the disciples had betrayed Jesus and killed himself. This, of course, was Judas. Since Jesus originally called 12 disciples, they felt they needed to replace Judas. As they were gathered waiting for the promised Holy Spirit, they decided to replace Judas themselves. We see they decided to cast lots between two men who had been part of Jesus’ followers from early on but were never actually among Jesus’ 12 disciples. The lot fell on a man named Mathias, so from that point on he was part of the inner circle with the other 11 disciples.

 

Jesus’ ascension happened 40 days after Jesus rose from the grave. On our calendar this year, it would have been on May 13. Can you imagine what it would have been like to have been one of those in that group who was almost always with Jesus? Jesus had ministered to literally hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. Yet there were just 120 people in that place seeking God’s guidance and waiting for their time. These men and woman had seen things that had totally changed their lives. And soon they would be the ones taking the lead in what would change the world forever. We are living in what is called the church age. During this time, the Holy Spirit of God is who is encouraging us and strengthening us to face whatever comes our way. Is the Holy Spirit operating today the same way he operated when power came to the disciples? That question will be a topic for another time. The fact is, though, that the same Holy Spirit that empowered the disciples and the early church 2000 years ago is still giving wisdom, strength and guidance to the church today.

 

Our God is still setting the captive free, bringing sight to the blind, causing the lame to walk, bringing hope to the hopeless. The only limits on God are the ones we put on Him. Over the next several weeks we are going to see how the Holy Spirit of God transformed ordinary men and women into the most vibrant, on fire people the world has ever seen. The question for you and me is are we ready for that to be us or are we already there? There is a lot that can be done right here in Cerro Gordo. Are we ready for the next chapter? And now it begins again!

Pastor Larry


Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

June 2 Submissions for the June newsletter are due to Carol.

 

June 9 7:00 Executive Committee

 

Women’s Fellowship will be making strawberry pies to order. Stemming is scheduled for Saturday, June 12. Volunteers are needed. A sign up sheet for pie shells is in the back of the sanctuary. Pie pans to be used are in the kitchen.

 

Camp Emmanuel schedules and registration forms are available in the back of the sanctuary.

 

Please place your offering in the plates at the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued 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

 

Keep in Your Prayers

 

David Roe; Tera Runyan; Holly Flenner; Tim Laird; Carl and Wilma Cable; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Sherry Wright; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Evelyn Eads; Anna Gentry Thompson; Marlene & Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; 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 the 580,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of natural disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church

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, May 17, 2021

May 16 Sermon and Announcements

 

IT’S NOT FAIR!

Jonah 4:1-11

 

Before we begin, I just want to take a moment to say what a wonderful Mother’s Day service it was last Sunday. God knows what we are capable of and everyone who contributed did a fantastic job. What a blessing it is to be able to share our Worship services on Facebook each Sunday.

 

Now let us wrap up our time looking at how Jonah reacted to God’s command to warn Nineveh. A quick review starting from chapter 1: God told Jonah to tell the people of Nineveh destruction from God was coming because of their wickedness. Jonah did not want to go, so he tried to run from God, but it did not work. Ultimately, Jonah’s disobedience was, seemingly, about to bring about his death but God had a plan. God sent a big fish to take Jonah to Nineveh. This time Jonah obeyed God and warned the people of Nineveh. The people accepted God’s warning and repented of their sin against God. God heard their cries for mercy and decided not to destroy Nineveh, which leads us to what we have read this morning.

 

When Jonah saw God was not going to destroy Nineveh, he got mad at him. Jonah said to God, “This is why I did not want to come to Nineveh to begin with. I was afraid you would change your mind and spare these Gentiles.” As it turns out, Nineveh is an enemy of Israel, and Jonah doesn’t believe any of Israel’s enemies ever deserve mercy from the God of Israel. Jonah is so depressed that he tells God to end his life as he believed it would be better to die than to live. In part, he was concerned that when his fellow Israelites find out it was he that warned Nineveh and caused them to be spared, they would kill him for treason. God then says to Jonah, “Do you have any right to be angry?” Jonah ignored God and went out to a place where he could see the city to watch, hoping God might yet destroy Nineveh. It was apparently hot so God made a vine to grow by Jonah to provide shade as he watched Nineveh. The next day God caused the vine to die and Jonah became extremely hot to the point he again said, “I just want to die!” God asked Jonah again, “What right do you have to be angry about the vine?” To which Jonah said, “Well I am and I want to die.” Then God used the vine to help Jonah understand what is important in the long run and what is not. God reminded Jonah that Jonah had nothing to do with that vine. It grew one day and died the next. Jonah did nothing for it. But then there is Nineveh, a huge city, filled with people who do not really have any idea what is right and wrong. Even though these verses do not actually say this, I believe God is trying to get Jonah to see, you warned Nineveh and the people listened. Shouldn’t you be more worried about 120,000 people than a vine that was here today and gone tomorrow?

 

Which leads us to what God is saying to all of us who will listen. One of the things God is telling us is that our God is a God of second chances. As long as we are still breathing, God will listen to our prayers, and if we need to admit to mistakes or sins and are willing to do that, God will forgive us and we get to start over again. One of the other things we can see is how we at times may believe we know more than God about certain things. Have you ever known someone who constantly pushes the limits? Someone who even purposely crosses the line of right and wrong? You say to yourself, “One of these days he or she is going to get it! They will get what is coming to them.” After all you have played by the rules and never seem to get credit for it, but this person is always messing up but never seems to get in trouble. Then it happens! It seems they finally get caught. You are looking forward to their paying for all they have done wrong. But wait, it seems the person admitted to all they have done wrong and instead of getting fired or punished they are given another chance. It is just not fair! Have you been there just like Jonah? After all, they deserved to be punished. It is the right thing to do.

 

Just like God tried to help Jonah understand, God is wanting us to understand as well. When Jesus came to minister to all who hear, Jesus came proclaiming love, grace, mercy and, yes, justice. We are to allow God to do things in his timing. Jesus told us in Matthew 5:38-42 how we should treat those who we may have disagreements with. Jesus said, “You have heard it was said, ‘eye for eye, and tooth for tooth,’ But I tell you do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him 2 miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” But God, why should we have to? It is not fair. We worked hard for what we have. We played by the rules and what do we get for our troubles? In a way, that is what Jonah was saying to God. The people of Nineveh do not play by the rules and yet they seem to have everything and you are not going to make them pay for their disobedience? How often do we look around us and see things that do not seem fair or do not seem right? And we ask God why? There will be a day of reckoning for everyone. What God was saying to Jonah, as well as to us today, is, “You just take care of you. I, God, will make it right when it is all said and done.” God is saying, “I showed mercy to you and it will be in your best interest to show mercy to others as well.” As we go back to the sermon title, “It’s Not Fair!” You know that sometimes it is not fair, but God simply wants us to trust him. Our God sees it all, and if there is a price to pay at the appropriate time, it will happen. Until then, just keep believing God, show mercy, grace and love to as many as we can and we will be blessed. You can count on it!

Pastor Larry


Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

Submissions for the June newsletter are due to Carol by June 2.

 

Camp Emmanuel schedules and registration forms are available in the back of the sanctuary.

 

Women’s Fellowship will be making strawberry pies to order. Stemming is scheduled for Saturday, June 12. Volunteers are needed.

 

Please place your offering in the plates at the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued 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

Keep in Your Prayers

 

David Roe; Tera Runyan; Holly Flenner; Tim Laird; Carl and Wilma Cable; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Sherry Wright; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Evelyn Eads; Anna Gentry Thompson; Marlene & Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; 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 the 580,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of natural disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

 

Praise: District of IL/WI has hired a new District Executive: Walt Wiltschek. He will start September 1.

 

                       

Our Mission Statement:

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



Monday, May 10, 2021

Mother's Day Scripture

 Pastor Larry was gone Sunday, but we had several readings and scripture around mothers.

Here is our Mother's Day scripture from Proverbs 31.

Prov 31:10-30 10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

May 12 Board Meeting 6:15 Executive Committee;

7:00 Commissions; 7:30 Board Meeting

 

May 16 Council Meeting immediately after worship

 

Camp Emmanuel schedules and registration forms are available in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your generous donations to the Camp! They will be greatly appreciated!

 

Women’s Fellowship will be making strawberry pies. Stay tuned for details. We will need help.


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

 

David Roe; Tera Runyan; Holly Flenner; Carl and Wilma Cable; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Sherry Wright; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Evelyn Eads; Anna Gentry Thompson; Marlene & Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; 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 the 580,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of natural disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

 

Families of Terry Marvin and Oscar Will Lanter

 

                       

Our Mission Statement:

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


Monday, May 3, 2021

May 2 Sermon and Announcements "How Will God Get Our Attention?"

 


HOW WILL GOD GET OUR ATTENTION?

Jonah 2:1-10, 3:1-10

 

Last week we saw in the example of Jonah that you can run from God but you cannot hide. Let us look at that example one more time for a minute from a different angle. Have you ever had your mom or dad, your boss or coworkers, your husband or wife or even a close friend tell you or, depending on your relationship, ask you to do something and you refused to do it? I still remember one occasion in particular when I did not do what I was supposed to do when I was grade school age, and my dad did not appreciate my resistance. I do not remember what I did or did not do, but I know dad had a punishment in mind I did not like. He was going to give me a spanking and instead of accepting my punishment I tried to run away from dad. He may not have said you can run but you cannot hide, but I think he said something like, “When you get ready to come in, I will be waiting for you!” If I had simply done what I was told to do, that would have never happened. Dad did not do much spanking, so I know what I did deserved the punishment I ultimately got. I do not believe I ever did or did not do something ever again to deserve that kind of teaching moment. Has anyone here done something like that?

 

In the 2nd chapter, we read what is called Jonah’s prayer. By what Jonah said to God, we can see he realizes he deserved the punishment he was given. Jonah admitted he believed his sin was going to lead to his death. As he saw his life about to end, Jonah saw God’s hand on his life. In the 7th verse Jonah said, “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your Holy Temple.” In verse 8 Jonah tells where he truly was in relationship to the Lord. Talking about himself to God, Jonah says, “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” The honesty and the desperation Jonah is feeling made him realize how far from God’s will he had drifted. When Jonah realized his physical life and spiritual life were as good as dead, the Lord helped him to realize it is not too late for things to change. Jonah had been chasing things that had separated him from God. Jonah realized for those who do that you will forfeit the grace God has for all who believe.

 

How much of the time am I doing and saying the things God wants me to do? Have I, have you, allowed some of the things of this world to have too much space in my life or in your life? How often do we, like Jonah, have to hit rock bottom before we realize we are off course? God has given us examples like Jonah to help us realize to not wait until it seems all is lost. God’s grace is available all the time. God does not want to see us struggle. God wants us to be victorious in every way. Jonah knew God was giving him a new opportunity.

 

When Jonah realized it, he had a thankful heart for that second chance he was given. Jonah vowed to God, “I will do what you have called me to do.” When we veer off course, do we have the courage and the desire to be like Jonah and say, “I messed up God. Please help me.” After Jonah came to the place of repentance, God had another opportunity in store for Jonah at Nineveh. Right there within easy walking distance of Nineveh, God has the big fish spit Jonah out right on the beach. We often times believe this big fish was a whale, but I believe God created this special fish just for Jonah. He may have been the only one that ever saw this fish. I believe God can do anything. After God had got Jonah’s attention in the most unusual way, God once again told Jonah to take his message to Nineveh. This time Jonah did what God had told him to do. So how did Jonah get greeted when he arrived in Nineveh? He probably did not look the best after riding around inside a fish for three days! On top of that, he is telling everyone how wicked they are. You would think the people of Nineveh, as well as its leaders would say, “Who do you think you are saying this to us?” To remind you of what the scripture said, the city of Nineveh was so big it would take three days to see the entire city. Scholars claim the city probably had around 120,000 people in it. Jonah is basically saying in 40 days this city will cease to exist. So, were the people mad? Were they ready to kill the messenger? No. They accepted the warning and did everything they could do to show God they got the message. Going as far as putting sackcloth on not only the people but also their animals. At this time in history, sackcloth was one of the ways to show you are in sorrow or you are seeking forgiveness for a wrong you have done. The king went as far as to say, “Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows, God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not parish.” So, what happened after all they deserved to be destroyed because of the evil they had committed against God? God destroyed them, right? No. We read that “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways he had compassion and did not bring upon them destruction.” We see another example of God’s patience and love.

 

When anyone admits to their mistakes, their sins, God will forgive and restore what was lost. We have seen two examples of God’s mercy and grace. First Jonah not only refused to do what God had called him to do, but also tried to run just as far away as he could. In spite of that, God gave Jonah a second chance. The same thing is true of the city of Nineveh. They were so far off track, God warned them of what was about to happen. Instead of ignoring the warning, they accepted the fact they deserved punishment and as a result God gave them another chance also.

 

How will God get our attention? We see what it took for Jonah and for Nineveh. What about you and me? Maybe most all of you have already had that moment when God got your attention. If so, what did it take? Was it a gentle nudge? Or was it a rock bottom experience? Or perhaps you saw such an incredible moment of God’s love and mercy that made it real for you from that point on. Everything God does he does because he loves us. What’s your story? We saw what lengths God has to go to sometimes get our attention. Remember God wants us to be blessed while we are on this earth. And the only way that can happen is to recognize God’s love and mercy through Jesus Christ our Savior.

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

May 9 Mothers’ Day

May 12 Board Meeting

May 16 Council Meeting immediately after worship

 

Camp Emmanuel schedules and registration forms are available in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your generous donations to the Camp! They will be greatly appreciated!

 June 4-6 Women’s Camp

June 6-12 High School Camp

June 13-19 Middle School Camp

June 20-23 Junior Camp

July 9-11 Pre-Junior Camp

July 26-30 Day Camp

August 6-8 Men’s Camp

September 3-6 Family Camp

The parsonage has been sold, and our new neighbor, Terry Southard, is moving in. Welcome, Terry and family!

 

Women’s Fellowship is hoping to make strawberry pies. Stay tuned for details. We will need help.

 

Please place your offering in the plates at the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving!

 

Extra masks are at the back of the sanctuary.

 

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

 

 

Keep in Your Prayers

 

Lauren Gentry; David Roe; Tera Runyan; Holly Flenner; Carl and Wilma Cable; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Sherry Wright; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Evelyn Eads; Anna Gentry Thompson; Marlene & Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; 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 the 570,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of natural disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

Poetry Corner:         

bees

 

them busy bees sure be a buzzin

maybe there could be a couple hundred dozen

 

they all live in a self made hive

where only Pooh seems to be able to survive

 

we laugh at him ‘cause he is so funny

when he gets a hankerin for some real good hunny

 

but those workers though really seem to mind

when he visits they sting him in his furry behind

 

bees do stay quite busy all the day long

their wings a singing a lively song

 

I often wonder what this devotion all means

working hard for just one queen

 

longing to study them, I would if I could

but if they object, well that’s not gonna end good

 

so I keep my distance from God’s creatures that are hard at it

and marvel from a far not stirring them up a bit!

 

 

By Robin Shively


Our Mission Statement:

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


Monday, April 26, 2021

April 25 Sermon and Announcements

  

YOU CAN RUN BUT YOU CANNOT HIDE!

Jonah 1:1-17

Earlier this month we celebrated Easter in which God came to the earth first as a baby, then grew to a man. A man who was called to bring the truth to a people and a world that needed to hear what God had to say. Jesus, God in the flesh, came to this world to accomplish several things. When the going got tough, Jesus could have said I am not doing this, but he stayed true to all the things he came to earth to do.

          This morning we read about Jonah and what he had been called by God to do. Jonah had been given the job of telling the people of Nineveh how judgement from God was coming to them because of their sin. As we read on in the book of Jonah the next couple of weeks, we will see why Jonah reacted the way he did. Jonah did not want to do what God had called him to do. Jonah had no plans of going to Nineveh. In fact, Jonah found the first ship going the exact opposite direction from Nineveh he could find and paid to go to the town of Tarshish. Clearly Tarshish was not anywhere near Nineveh. Jonah’s plan was clearly not to do what God had commanded him to do, but Jonah’s plans were not going according to the way he thought they would. Once Jonah was on the ship, he decided to stay out of sight as much as he could. He went below to sleep until they got to Tarshish, but God still had plans for Jonah. God caused the waters to be so violent that the captain was afraid the ship would break to pieces. The captain went down and woke Jonah up and told him to ask his God for help. Then the sailors decided to cast lots, believing it would reveal who brought this problem of a deadly sea upon them. God made sure the lot fell on Jonah. When that had happened, they asked Jonah, “Why is this happening?” Jonah explained he was a Hebrew and that he worshiped the God who made Heaven as well as the seas. Sailors had such a deep respect for the sea that when Jonah said this, they were afraid of what it all might mean for them.

Earlier Jonah had told some of the sailors he was trying to get away from what his God wanted him to do. The sailors were afraid of Jonah’s God as well as Jonah so they asked him, “What can we do to calm the sea?” To Jonah’s credit, he told the sailors to throw him into the sea. The sailors were afraid that Jonah’s God would be mad at them so they continued to try to save their ship but it was not working. In desperation they cried out to Jonah’s God saying, “Do not hold it against us if Jonah dies because we did what he told us to do.” The minute they threw Jonah overboard the sea became calm. As a result of what happened the sailors had a life-changing moment that led them to worship God. They offered sacrifices to God and made vows to God that reflected their thankfulness to God for saving their lives. These sailors were forever changed, but what about Jonah? Was God going to have to find someone else to go to Nineveh? After all, Jonah had to have drowned, right? No God’s plan to use Jonah to deliver the message to Nineveh was still in effect. God had another plan to get Jonah to Nineveh. He got to ride in the belly of a great big fish for three days and three nights. Satan had convinced Jonah to run. Satan did not want Nineveh to get the message God had for them. Satan believed he had stopped God’s plan for Nineveh just like Satan believed he had stopped God’s plan when he saw to it that Jesus was crucified. Satan, however, found out God’s plans will never be stopped.

Have you ever heard God calling you to do something before, but in some cases you came up with a bunch of reasons why you just could not do it? What we have read so far in the story of Jonah is that God is persistent. I think we will find out God accomplished his plan for Nineveh.

God will always complete his plans every time. The question at times for you and me is, will we help God complete his plans? God has plans to bless us and use us to accomplish his purposes. We may not know what God has in store for us next, but we can always trust in the fact that God loves us and will never ask us to do more than we are capable of. As we continue looking at Jonah’s story next week, will some of us see similarities in his story to our own? Jonah found out you can run but you cannot hide. One of the lessons we can learn from Jonah’s experience is when God is calling us to do something, it will probably be best if we just do it. Otherwise, we may end up in the belly of a big fish or maybe, just maybe, something worse.

Larry

Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

April 29 Newsletter deadline

May 9 Mothers’ Day

May 12 Board Meeting

May 19 Council Meeting immediately after worship

 

Executive Committee decided that as long as we are in our seats and socially distanced in the sanctuary, we may remove our masks, if we are comfortable doing so. If we get up or want to sing with the hymns, masks must go back on. We are grateful for the care everyone has taken to help prevent the spread of the virus.

 

Donation Box: Camp Emmanuel

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

 

David Roe; Terry Marvin; Tera Runyan; Holly Flenner; Carl and Wilma Cable; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Sherry Wright; Tim and Betty Sue Laird; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Evelyn Eads; Anna Gentry Thompson; Marlene & Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; 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 the 570,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of natural disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church

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.