Monday, May 16, 2022

May 15 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

May 15, 2022

So What Do You Think?

Colossians 2:6-15

 

This is part 2 of Are We Living in the End Times? We are going to spend a few minutes this morning looking at what you might think about that question. I do not know how many of you have thought about the main question about the end times. I really jumped ahead a little two weeks ago because for a Christian the first most fundamental question we must have an answer for us is all about Jesus. Do we believe Jesus actually lived on earth? Do we believe the first amazing part of His story that Jesus was born of a virgin? Depending on how we answer those questions will determine how much more we need to come to an understanding and belief of. If we said yes to those first two most fundamental questions of Christianity, then we go forward seeking out more understanding and answers.

 

The next question we must answer for ourselves is whether we believe Jesus died on the cross for our sins?  The next question to answer then is did God the father raise Jesus (the son) from the dead? How do you, how do I, answer these questions? If we have come to the place of confidently and victoriously answering yes to these questions, I believe we can then begin answering the question at the center of what we are looking at now. For those who were either here or joined us on Facebook two Sundays ago, I shared a number of scriptures that point to the reality that the world as we know it will come to an end. Some of the verses were from Jesus’ own words, the others were things Paul had shared during his ministry that went along with what Jesus had said earlier.

 

To refresh your memories from what we read two weeks ago, Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1, but mark this. “There will be terrible times in the last days.” Then moving ahead to 2 Timothy 4:1-4 Paul challenged Timothy with these words. “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge. Preach the word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. 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. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

 

When we look at what we read this morning, we see the same theme in the 2nd chapter of Colossians in the 8th verse. So, we see there are clear warnings of what will happen in society and in the church in the last days. In the past 100 or so years we have seen more changes in the way our world views things than in the previous 2000 years combined. What each of us must do is sort through these changes and decide what it all means. Have these changes been appropriate, God ordained changes, or are these consistent with the warnings we see in scripture? We must always go back to the other most fundamental question a Christian must answer. Is the Bible the inspired, accurate word of God that can be trusted in 2022? Before we can answer the questions about society and our world today and all the changes occurring, we must answer that question. So, what do you think about the honesty, accuracy and integrity of the Bible? Can it be trusted today or is it outdated in many ways and not valid in our world today? This is the question we must answer for ourselves.

 

I recently ran across a Christian book that looks at the moral issues of the day. I would like to read the general list that is given in this book and then look a little deeper at one of the concerns listed, that affects much of our world. It states things this way.

Let us pause and consider the great moral issues that affect our civilization—Peace, temperance, liberty. Simplicity of life, purity and sacredness of the home and the marriage relation.”

Do these headings cover most all the important areas facing the church first of all, and our world secondly? What makes talking and thinking about how things seem to be changing in our world so difficult is the fact more and more families see things happening that did not seem to happen 50 or 60 years ago. Virtually every family has seen things happen that were not that common not that many years ago. This is true both among those who do not claim to be Christians as well as in today’s church.

 

As we close our look at what is happening in the church today, verses when the Bible was written I would like to share concerns in this book about one specific area.

“A home to be happy and prosperous must have God in it, and the church holds that to maintain the permanence of the institution of marriage is the way to maintain the purity of society. The disclosures made in the courts of justice show a moral laxity which is a disgrace to our boasted civilization. Thank God, the church holds up a higher standard than than—one based on the preservation and integrity of the family institution as God originally made it. When the question of immorality in the church arose, the Apostles’ rule was that while it was no part of the church’s duty to judge those that are without, the church must purge itself of the member who was leading an impure life. What the world needs is the bright and consistent example of all Christian people, and to present an unbroken front against the flood of divorces which threatens to engulf our social civilization. Civilization to be morally right must have a standard, and that standard must be seen. All light, whether physical, moral or spiritual, has its origin in God. If the church is the light of the world, the church must be in the fore on every issue that stands for the uplift of the race.”

What do you think about the standards encouraged in this book and the concerns if they are not upheld? Divorce has affected virtually every family in America. I am not sharing this to embarrass anyone or pick on anyone. The Bible clearly talks of a number of things that can separate us from God if left undealt with. I will give a more specific list of things that have changed in our world and are challenging the church next week. If anyone has been made to feel uncomfortable, I do apologize for that. I shared that example for a specific reason. What book do you think I have been reading from? A very conservative Baptist book? Baptist, after all, is the fire and brimstone denomination. An evangelical book that is very conservative? Some extreme author? This book is written from the 1908 Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. Shirley Krall a while back offered to let me read some Church of the Brethren books she had. The point of me sharing this with you today shows how attitudes have changed within the church. Things that 100 years ago were understood throughout most of Christianity have drastically changed. Are these positive changes that God has ordained or are they steps stated in scripture that is leading towards possibly the end of this age? I ask for your patience and indulgence at least one more Sunday as we continue to look for God’s answers to these questions.

 

On what we are looking at in regard to living in the end times, I have no plan to give my opinion. These messages are to encourage you to look into God’s word for yourself and find the answers about what you think is going on. Next Sunday I will give a more complete list of things that are seemingly challenging the church within the last year or so and definitely over the last 50 to 100 years. What God challenged me to try to do quite a few years ago is know what you believe and why you believe it. That is my hope and prayer for each of you as well.

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

May 16 6:00 Village Board Meeting

 

May 18 12:00 Women’s Fellowship Luncheon, a salad potluck

7:00 p.m. via Zoom—Stepping Out of Covid, sponsored         by the District potluck committee

 

Women’s Fellowship is planning the return of the Strawberry Festival the first or second week of June. Sign up sheet for baked pie shells is in the back.

 

Offering plates are in 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

Evelyn Eads and family; Eli Brunner; Susan Gentry; Nancy Fansler; Oren Wright; Devon Wright; Leah Flory; 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; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library situation

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Franklin Grove congregation.

 

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.

Monday, May 2, 2022

What Do You Believe?

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

May 1, 2022

What do you believe?

Acts 1:6-8

 

We are going to begin a series that is entitled, “Are we living in the end times?” Ever since Jesus died on the cross and rose again, then ascended to the Heavenly Father, believers have been looking for Jesus’ return. In Acts 1:6 we read that the apostles asked Jesus before his ascension, “Will you restore the kingdom to Israel at this time?” Jesus answered basically “no” by saying in the 7th verse, “It is not for you to know the times or date the Father has set.” I am not sharing these upcoming messages to scare anyone or to get anyone worried about what lies ahead. I am sharing these messages because on some of the news broadcasts they are asking whether the world is headed toward World War III with what is going on in the Ukraine with Russia. With Russia seemingly becoming more aligned with China and Iran, it is easy to wonder where this is all going to lead. I feel obligated as the one entrusted to spiritually lead this congregation at this time to have us as ready as we can be. We need to fully understand what we believe and why we believe whatever that may be.

 

This morning I am going to share a number of scriptures that show what Jesus tells us about what is eventually coming to the world, as well as some other scriptures we find in the New Testament. The most fundamental question we must answer for ourselves is “what do we believe?”

 

Have you thought about the fact the Bible seems to point to a time the world as we know it will come to an end and Jesus will come back to earth to establish his eternal kingdom? Do we believe this is literally going to happen, or is it a kind of transformation earth will achieve without eternal life being part of an actual plan from a creator God?

 

How many of us have ever thought about these things? Are most of us aware the Bible talks about these things as facts that will indeed come to pass. Let us dig into some of the scriptures to better understand what is written in the Bible. First Jesus talks about signs on earth that will point to God’s judgment on a sinful world. 

 

Luke 21:25-28  25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

 

We read what Jesus is telling his disciples what to look for.

 

Matthew 24:3-14 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

 

He goes into more detail about what is happening on earth just before the end of this age and Jesus returns. In the verses in Matthew, Jesus is telling not only what will be going on in the last days but also challenging God’s people to stand firm and to not be deceived by those pretending to be Christian leaders who are really out to deceive.

 

Now let us look at some of the scriptures found elsewhere in the New Testament.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

 

In this we read a list of attitudes that are becoming common in the world. In verse 5 we are being warned that there will be a form of godliness but it is powerless. Basically, a watered-down version of what God has made available to his people.

 

We will see if we back up to 1 Timothy 4:1-3 some more warnings of what will happen during the end times. It talks of people abandoning the faith and believing what is called deceiving spirits. In verse 2 it goes as far as to say these false teachers are hypocritical liars who have no conscience. Paul in these verses even warns that they will discourage marriage and yet encourage people not to eat meat that God has said is acceptable to eat. Any of this sound familiar in today’s world?

 

I Timothy 4:1-3  The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.

 

The final passage I will share with you today is found below.

 

2 Timothy 4:1-5 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people 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. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

 

These verses are directed at the church, at true believers. Paul again is warning in the last days there will be a time when some in the church will turn from the truths of the Bible. People will embrace things, that suit their own desires by looking for “godly teachers” who preach what they want the Bible to say instead of what it really says. The 4th verse says they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. In other words, to lies that are not truly in God’s Word. These warnings were actually given to Timothy by Paul about some of what he would encounter during the ministry God had called him to.

 

The question for us today is, does any of what Paul was warning Timothy about happening in our world today? During Paul and Timothy’s times they were battling a variety of pagan religions that existed in their world. And some who were coming from those religions into the early church were trying to bring some of these evil beliefs with them. Paul was encouraging Timothy to stand strong in the true faith. In our world today is the church being attacked if they believe in the historical views of scripture? On a regular basis are we being told to accept things that not long ago would have been rejected by almost everyone in the church. We must go back to the question that the title of this message asks, “What do we believe?”

 

We will spend some time over the next few weeks looking deeper into what the Bible says about some of the things we read this morning. I ask your indulgence and patience as we look at the times we live in and what the Bible tells us to be looking for. I pray the Holy Spirit will lead us as we explore some of these things together. I hope never to give my opinion as much as share what God’s Word says. We must each know what we believe. Is what we believe based on what the world is telling us or what God is revealing to us in his Word? The first question we must answer is whether the Bible is trustworthy and still applies to the church and God’s people today.

 Pastor Larry

 Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

May 11 Board Meeting 6:15 Exec. Comm.; 7:00 Commissions; 7:30 board

 

May 15 Council Meeting immediately following worship

 

May 18 12:00 Women’s Fellowship Luncheon, a salad potluck

 

May 18 7:00 p.m. via Zoom—Stepping Out of Covid, sponsored by the District potluck committee—info on bulletin board

 

To register for Camp Emmanuel, go to: www.campem.com

Women’s Camp begins the season, June 3-5

 

Offering plates are in 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

Family of Liza Yore; Eli Brunner; Susan Gentry; Nancy Fansler; Oren Wright; Devon Wright; Leah Flory; 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; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library situation

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Oakley Brick congregation

 

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.

 

 

 

Monday, April 25, 2022

Can You Believe It?

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

April 24, 2022

Can You Believe It?

Luke 24:28-45

 

As we continue on in the 24th chapter of Luke, we continue to see what happened that first day of the week. This, of course, is Resurrection Sunday, Easter Sunday. We see that the men who had been walking to Emmaus and had been joined by Jesus had asked Jesus to stay with them that night. The men still did not realize it was Jesus who had been walking with them. Before the evening was over, they were sitting around the table eating when it happened: Jesus did with these two disciples the same thing he had done hundreds of times before. He took the bread that was at the meal, gave thanks for it and broke a piece off of the loaf. The minute this happened, their eyes were opened and they finally realized it was Jesus who was with them. It all of a sudden clicked and they both agreed that what the three had talked about all made sense. Instead of staying the night in Emmaus as was originally planned, they instantly left and went back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples what had happened. As these two were talking to the disciples, Jesus miraculously was standing in the room with them. In spite of what the women had told the disciples earlier in the day, even Peter saw that the tomb was empty. Then these two close associates of the disciples tell the 11 what they saw and heard. Even with Jesus there in the room with them talking with them, it was just too much to believe. They became frightened and thought Jesus actually was a ghost. Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked, “Why do you doubt even what you see with your eyes?” Then he invited those there to look at his hands and feet. They still showed the signs of his crucifixion. He then invited them to touch him, telling them, “You cannot do that with ghosts.”

 

After all this had happened, they still were having trouble believing it was really true. Then Jesus asked for some food, further proof that he was truly back to life as before. Jesus then reminded the disciples of everywhere in scripture that predicted what would happen to the Messiah, citing the Law of Moses, the prophets, as well as the Psalms. After all of this happened, we read that then he opened their mind so they could understand the scriptures. With everything that had happened in one day, they finally began to understand who Jesus truly is. After these three different encounters they kept saying, “Can you believe it?” But finally, Jesus caused it all to make sense and be real, which brings us to these questions. Have you ever had someone tell you something you just could not or would not believe? Did it take several people or things to happen before you were convinced?

 

As we looked at the question last week, “What’s it going to take?” Today the question is, “Can you believe it?” Would we have believed the women if it had been us there? Would we have believed two of our closest associates when they told us they had walked with Jesus? Would we believe our own eyes when Jesus was standing right in front of us? Again, remember you had seen Jesus tortured and crucified and knew Jesus had been put in a tomb. Would we have been like the others saying, “Can you believe it?”

 

We know that finally the eyes of the disciples were opened and finally it all incredibly made sense. The disciples went from skeptics to the most powerful witnesses to what God had done and is continuing to do for the world. What a transformation occurred! Everyone who has heard and read the story must answer the same question. Can you believe it? If we answer yes, I believe the fact is God is calling on us to continue to be his witnesses. What an incredible amount of trust God has placed in us! Also, what an incredible privilege it is for us to be part of what God is still doing in this world! May we take the challenge and confidently say, “Yes, we believe!”

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

Newsletter submissions due by Wed., April 27 please.

 

April 30 10:00 Annual Conference briefing, Springfield CoB

                  2:00 Centennial concert with Jonathan Shively

 

May 11 Board Meeting

 

May 18 12:00 Women’s Fellowship Luncheon, a salad potluck

 

May 18 7:00 p.m. via Zoom—Stepping Out of Covid, sponsored by the District potluck committee—info on bulletin board

 

Camp Emmanuel registration is open: www.campem.com

 

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

 

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

Nancy Fansler & Family; Baby Gemma’s Family; Oren Wright; Devon Wright; Leah Flory; 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; Liza Yore; 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; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Springfield congregation

 

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.

 

Monday, April 18, 2022

Christ is Risen!

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

EASTER SUNDAY, April 17, 2022

 

WHAT’S IT GOING TO TAKE?

Luke 24:1-26

 

In Luke 24 we read that the women went to the tomb where Jesus had been laid. The 23rd chapter tells of the final hours Jesus lived on this earth, ending with his crucifixion and death. The women had seen where Jesus had been taken with plans of coming back after the Sabbath to respectfully anoint his body, but something strange had happened. The stone that blocked the tomb had been rolled away and Jesus’ body was gone. Then suddenly they saw 2 men in the tomb and they asked the woman why they sought the living among the dead? Out of fear they bowed down before the men. The men immediately told the women, “He is not here, he is risen.” All the things Jesus had promised had happened just as he said. They then left the tomb looking for the apostles to tell them what they had found. We read they did not believe the women but, in this account, Peter had to go see for himself. He found things just as the women had said, but he still did not know what to believe.

 

We then read in the 13th verse that 2 of the men headed to Emmaus. As they went, they were talking about everything that had happened the past several days. They were joined on their walk by a third man. It was Jesus. Jesus asked, “What are you discussing?” We see they were kept from recognizing Jesus, but let’s face it, the last person they expected to see walking with them was Jesus. When asked what they were talking about, they were in disbelief. “Are you the only one who does not know what just happened in Jerusalem? To which Jesus asked, “Why, what happened?” Then they went on to tell of Jesus of Nazareth and what an incredible man of God he was. And that in spite of all that he was crucified. They wanted to believe this Jesus would redeem Israel. They went on to tell this man, who they still did not know was Jesus, what the women had found at the tomb. They also briefly mentioned Jesus had promised to be raised on the third day after his death, but obviously the men just could not believe it. Then the stranger (Jesus) begins to speak and say things that should have seemed really strange to the apostles. In the 25th verse Jesus says, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all the prophets have spoken. Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” It seems the 2 apostles did not even say to him or themselves, “I thought you did not know about Jesus or what had just happened in Jerusalem?” No instead they just kept walking.

 

Which leads me to ask myself this question. “What’s it going to take?” We all live in our own little worlds. That is understandable, but do we miss God’s blessings, his mercy, his grace, even his forgiveness because we just are not ready to see the risen Savior? That is where these 2 men were.

 

We are celebrating this morning because the eyes of the apostles were opened. The truth of God keeping his promises spread. As the angels told the women, “He is not here. He is risen.” That is the promise that continues to instill hope in our fallen world still today. Glory to the Risen Savior. I am redeemed. This is the truth for all who will receive and believe. What’s it going to take? I believe we have to all answer that question. More accurately, what did it take for your eyes and mine to be opened to the risen Savior? Christ Jesus is alive and as the Gaither song says, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.” Let us live in God’s victory. Death is defeated. He lives! That is the message of Easter. We not only have hope for tomorrow, we also have God’s promise fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

April 23 9:00 Camp Emmanuel Work Day—info on bulletin board

 

April 30 10:00 Annual Conference briefing, Springfield CoB

 

April 30 & May 1 Springfield CoB centennial celebration

 

May 11 Board Meeting

 

May 18 12:00 Women’s Fellowship Luncheon, a salad potluck

 

May 18 7:00 p.m. via Zoom—Stepping Out of Covid, sponsored by the District potluck committee—info on bulletin board

 

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

 

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

Nancy Fansler & Family; Baby Gemma’s Family; Oren Wright; Devon Wright; Leah Flory; 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; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker;  Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; 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; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Milledgeville congregation

 

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.


Monday, March 28, 2022

March 27 Sermon and Announcement

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

March 27, 2022

Don’t Give Up!

Luke 18:1-8

 

Jesus is continuing to teach his disciples as the time gets closer to when the perfect sacrifice will be made. This time we read Jesus is talking just to the disciples. The teaching moments are soon going to end, and then the disciples will have to stand on the their own. So here we see Jesus pointing out the most powerful tool God has made available to his people. Prayer.  Jesus gives a unique example of how they should go about it. Actually, first of all, this example was given to the disciples, but from the time this teaching moment was written down to today, it is available to all believers. Jesus is, in some ways, comparing God to the judge in this story. Obviously with a couple of big differences. First, Jesus said the judge in this parable did not fear God. Then he said the judge also did not care about what people were going through. Clearly, the exact opposite of the loving God we believe in.

 

In Jesus’ story there is a woman who apparently had been treated unfairly by someone. For the woman to bring it before a judge would seem to indicate it was definitely a legitimate complaint. The judge, to begin with, ignored the woman’s request for justice because as Jesus said the judge really did not care. In fact, it seems he was irritated that she was bothering him with the problem. Apparently, day after day, week after week, the woman came to the judge for help. Time after time the judge ignored her request. Finally, the judge said to himself, “The only way to get this woman to stop taking up my time is to agree to solve her problem.” So that is what the judge finally did.

 

Now in the 6th verse Jesus tells how God the Father will listen and meet the needs of his people. Jesus is basically saying that if this uncaring, godless judge will rule in the favor of someone who keeps asking for help, how much more will our Heavenly Father meet the needs of his children? After all, God purposely created us because he wanted to have fellowship with us. Jesus then gave an important tip, if you will, of how we should make our request known to God in the 7th verse. Jesus says God will bring justice to his “chosen ones” when they cry out to him day and night. Do you want to see God move in your life? Do you want to see prayers answered for yourself and loved ones? Do not make it a one and done request. Pray to God in the morning. Pray to God in the afternoon. Pray to God in the evening. Pray until you get an answer from God. Do not just pray once a day, once a week, once a month. Stay persistent until you undeniably hear from God. How many of us are that persistent? I also want to say what scripture also tells us; be specific. Do not offer generalized prayers. If there is a health problem, name the problem. If it is relationship problems, pour it out on God what exactly the problem is and how you think it can be resolved. Whatever the problem or concern is, be specific. And do not give up. I cannot say it enough. Jesus is giving us the green light to keep the pressure up on God. I wish I could honestly say I have done this in every situation I have faced or a loved one has faced that I was concerned about. Jesus is making it clear. You want to see God move in your life in this world, pray and do not give up.

 

Jesus closes out these verses with a promise and a question. The promise is if you are persistent in prayer, you will see results. The question Jesus presents to the disciples and to us today, however, is very sobering. When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? Jesus asked this question because he knew if you are going to be persistent in prayer, that will show God you have faith that your prayers will be answered. Otherwise, you may say a one-time prayer and be done because you do not have faith that God will answer.

 

We are now 3 weeks from Easter, the single most important event that has ever happened on earth took place on the cross 2000 years ago. Do we have faith that it really happened as the Bible says? And do we believe it changed the direction of mankind forever? These are some of the questions you and I must answer for ourselves. I believe everything changed when Jesus died on the cross for my sins, for our sins. I believe Jesus gave the disciples valuable lessons that stayed with them the rest of their lives. The disciples clearly used the power of prayer to transform their lives and the lives of so many others. Clearly the majority of the disciples did not give up. I believe those of you here today and those joining us on Facebook also have not given up. My only question for you and, yes, for me is, are we using all the tools God has given us? Are we like the persistent widow? As we see things happening in this world that are oftentimes troubling, are we flooding heaven every morning, afternoon, and evening with our concerns? That is what Jesus is saying we have every right to do. Let us change our families, our community and our world by being persistent in prayer. Do not give up! The victory has already been won!

Pastor Larry


Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

March 30 11:30 Women’s Fellowship luncheon and meeting;

Bring a covered dish; meat & drink provided; a time of visiting and reconnecting

 

April 10 – 17 Holy Week

 

April 13 Executive Committee

 

April 16 Food Bank Distribution at Kirby Medical Group, Cerro Gordo, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

 

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

 

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

Oren Wright; Devon Wright; Leah Flory; Joe Waltz; Doug Larrick; Anna Rose Larrick; Ron Petersen; Anna Gentry Thompson; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Maralyn Heckman; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Sonna Hall; Tina Wilhelm; Baby Gemma; Baby Tate; Bryce Ashenfelter; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; 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; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Canton congregation and their ministry in Fulton County. Also pray for Andrea Garnett, the district’s administrative assistant.

 

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.