Monday, December 6, 2021

2nd Sunday in Advent Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

December 5, 2021

 

GRANT US PEACE

Luke 1:68-79

 

As we see in the words of Zechariah, something major is about to happen. Zechariah came to understand God is about to begin changing the way, so that not only the Jewish people, but ultimately everyone, will see God in a new way. Zechariah had been told his son will set the stage for what God is going to do. However, it will not happen in a day or a month, not even a year. God will have things happen, as always, in his timing. We see God is fulfilling what he promised his people through the prophets long ago. Through Zechariah he is refreshing everyone’s memories by saying, “I told you this day was coming.” We are less than 3 weeks from Christmas. The things the Holy Spirit promised through the words of Zechariah are still what God’s people hold onto today. Christmas is a time to be reminded of God’s love and mercy for all of his people. As we count down the days until Christmas, it in some ways is like what Zechariah was doing when he received those words of hope and promise all those years ago. He faithfully waited for what had been told to him through the Holy Spirit to come to pass. I believe the peace that Zechariah and the peace mentioned in other places in scripture is often misunderstood. We want to believe God is promising an earthly peace where there will be no family conflicts, no social problems that have bad results. A belief the nations of the world will live in perfect harmony. That is not what God promises. Jesus in John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Jesus is reminding everyone who will listen the peace God gives does not mean or promise everything will always be in perfect harmony. However, in all of life’s ups and downs, I will give my peace that only God’s people can fully receive.

 

Christmas reminds us of God’s perfect love. Jesus came into the world because God wants everyone to have a chance of salvation without conditions. I guess there is one major condition and that is that we realize we are sinners and Jesus came to build a bridge between God and man. Everyone must cross that one bridge to get to the salvation that is waiting for us on the other side. There is nothing wrong with us getting excited about Christmas no matter how young or how old we are. The fact that all of the promise started with a baby in a manger adds to the amazing beauty of God’s love. May the story of Christmas never grow old in our hearts. As that day gets closer and closer, may we allow God to cut through the potential hustle and bustle to reflect anew on God’s goodness, love, and mercy. This 2nd Sunday of Advent is about allowing God’s peace to be part of, not just the Christmas season, but part of every day of our lives. May God show us how to trust him more and more to the point the peace Zechariah was talking about and the peace Jesus promised can be ours. Not only in the good times but the difficult times as well. May the miracle of God’s love, mercy, grace and peace be more and more a part of our lives. May we be examples of all those characteristics of God to Cerro Gordo and beyond. We are never too old to receive the wonder of the Christmas season. Soak all of it in you can. May our prayer truly be “Lord grant us peace” as we celebrate Christmas this year with friends and family. It is the most wonderful time of year.

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday—studying Hebrews

 

Today—please pick up a few Angels if you haven’t already.

Hard copies of the December newsletter are available in the back.

4:00 Christmas Vespers at the Cerro Gordo UMC.

 

December 8 12:00 Women’s Fellowship Potluck luncheon

Last initial A-J main dish; K-N salad; O-Z dessert; drinks and table service will be provided. We’ll reveal prayer partners and draw for 2022. All women are invited to attend.

 

December 8 Board Meeting 6:15 Exec. Comm.; 7:00 commissions; 7:30 board; reorganization follows. “Old” and “New” members, please come.

 

December 22 7:00 Christmas Service here

 

Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you!

 

Donation Box: The Lord’s Storehouse

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

Lee Legg and family; Dan & Val Rokosch; Shirley Krall; Baby Gemma; Baby Tate; Maralyn & Galen Heckman; Bryce Ashenfelter; Andy Flenner and family; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Randy West; Jen Durst; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike Gentry; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Owen Wright; Anna Gentry Thompson; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; 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 780,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren

 

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

 

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, November 22, 2021

November 21 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

November 21, 2021

LOVE WITHOUT CONDITIONS

Matthew 5:43-48

 

This morning what we have read speaks of God views of how we should view one another. Beginning with the 13th verse of the 5th chapter of Matthew, Jesus is saying what we as God’s people should be about. The different things Jesus was pointing out lead us to the motivation Jesus shared in what we read today. Whether it be that we are to be salt and light; or fulfilling the law; or a closer look at the commandment on murder, adultery or divorce, as well as the oaths or promises we make to God and men; or how we deal with the saying of old about an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth.  Jesus ties all of these different things most of us will face in one way or another with the encouragement to show love. Not just love to those who are easy to love, but also those who are not so lovable. Jesus once again starts off by saying, “You have heard it said.” He is referencing what was written back in the book of Leviticus, chapter 19, verses 15-18.  What was told to the people then is similar to what we have read here in Matthew 5. Starting with verse 15, this says, “Do not pervert justice, do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly. Do not go about spreading slander among the people, do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord. Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” When you compare that to not only what we read today but all we read in the chapter 5, we see some similarities. However, we also see Jesus more clearly defining the Old Testament verses. While the 18th verse in Leviticus 19 gets around to saying you should love your neighbor as yourself, Matthew 5:43 and 44 say, “You have heard ‘love your neighbor and hate your enemy’ but I tell you; love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Jesus is saying if we do that, we will be sons and daughters of our Father in heaven. Jesus then goes on to point out God causes it to rain on the righteous as well as unrighteous; the sun shines equally on both as well.

 

Why is Jesus telling everyone this? Jesus is pointing out that if you truly want to be God’s sons and daughters, you need to love everyone as best you can while you are on this earth. Jesus goes on to say that if you love only those who love you, what’s the big deal? Jesus is saying even the most self-centered, godless people do that. Is that what you think God wants from his people? Jesus is saying, “No you are better than that!” Jesus is saying that God loves you without conditions, try as best you can to do the same for one another. Jesus was acknowledging it is not that hard to love those who love you, those you get along with. However, if you want to show the world what it is really like to love unconditionally just as God loves you, we must find a way to show love and compassion to those who not only do not seem to like us but even seem to hate us. That is what God’s perfect love is all about. As long as we live on this earth, we are to love everyone. God does not close the opportunity for eternal life on anyone until they have breathed their last breath, and neither should we. Jesus closes out the 5th chapter by saying something that may very well be impossible for us to achieve. Jesus said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” Is that realistic, is it possible? In all honesty, no it is not. However, Jesus is saying to us, “Keep aiming high.” It is easy to accomplish a lot of things if your goals are never very high. If in math we never move beyond 1 + 1, we will never learn anything else. By the same token, if we only love those who always seem to agree with us or go along with us, it is going to be pretty easy to convince ourselves, “Boy, we are doing good!” But when we try to love those who clearly do not like us, that is when the opportunity to grow comes into play. Also, that is when people can see how big our God is. Will it be easy to love without conditions? Of course not, but the reward for us, as well as those we see and interact with will be priceless and eternal. That is when we will begin to see God changing our lives, our families, our communities, our world. Love without conditions—that’s how God loves us. May the Holy Spirit help us to more and more share that kind of love with everyone that God brings our way.

 

America is about to celebrate Thanksgiving. I hope and pray we will all allow at least a little time to reflect on the blessings God has brought our way. For some this may be a difficult Thanksgiving for personal reasons. When we look at the verses Jesus gave to us in Matthew 5:43-48 we see God wants us to bring love, compassion and healing to one another. This nation faces some very difficult challenges. We are seeing divisions in too many places. We may not be quite as divided as we were in 1863, but in some ways, we may not miss it by much. We as God’s people must take the lead. May we embrace the challenge Jesus offered to God’s people when he said, “Be perfect, therefore as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” Christians in America should unite to make sure Jesus’ example of unconditional love and mercy is alive and well.

 

In closing, I would like to share the Thanksgiving Proclamation that Abraham Lincoln shared with a divided and broken nation in 1863, which was printed in Friday’s Herald & Review. See if it applies to what is going on in America today. We need God’s helping hand. May we be examples of our God’s unconditional love.

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

November 21—Council meeting TODAY after worship

 

November 28—Walt Wiltschek, our new DE, will preach. District Moderator Harold Rose plans to be here too. Afterwards, we’ll have a soup luncheon, and then we will decorate the sanctuary for Christmas.

 

Candy flyer on the bulletin board. Call Nancy Fansler or Chelle Shively to order by Nov 30.

 

December newsletter submissions are due Dec. 1 to Carol.

 

December 8 12:00 Women’s Fellowship Potluck luncheon

 

Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you!

 

Donation Box: The Lord’s Storehouse

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 Tera Runyen; Shirley Krall; Baby Gemma; Baby Tate; family of Deb Bell Sherwood; Andy Flenner and family; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Randy West; Jen Durst; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike Gentry; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Owen Wright; Anna Gentry Thompson; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; 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 747,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren

 

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

 

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, November 15, 2021

November 14 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

November 14, 2021

 

Let’s Keep It Simple!

Matthews 5:33-42

 

At this point in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is giving some practical suggestions on how to live the most stress-free life possible. Jesus is talking about keeping oaths, or you might say promises, as was stated in the Old Testament in Leviticus 19:12. And how we should be presenting our answers, our assurances to others and to God.

 

First of all, Jesus is reminding us the promises we make always involve God. God always sees what we are doing and hears what we are saying. As Christians, at times most all of us have made promises to God, especially when we are hoping he will do what we are asking or praying for. This usually happens when we back ourselves in a corner or face a situation in life beyond our control and we know only God can solve this problem. Sometimes we feel we can say to God, “Let’s make a deal!” We tell God that thing I am doing or not doing that I know isn’t where I should be--if only God will help me or a loved one, I will change. Have you ever tried to make that deal with God? If and when have you seen God give the answer you were looking for? Did you keep your end of the deal? The reality is God does not make deals. God does at times answer prayers in the way we have been praying, but it was not because we made a deal with him. God responds out of love, grace and mercy. Jesus also warned about promising things to God and making it seem more honest by saying, “God, I swear.” Jesus is warning us to avoid doing that. For one thing, it will not make God’s answer any more or less likely. And it also can simply make us look even worse when we do not follow through. Jesus is saying, “Let’s keep it simple” when faced with questions in life and just say “yes or no.” Making big speeches or emphasizing promises with a lot of words will too often only get you into trouble. God does not require it and, to tell you the truth, no one else does either. In most situations we face in life, actions speak louder than words. As we read last week, thoughts can get us into trouble but Jesus is reminding us today that empty, hollow words can also get us into trouble. Over inflated words can as well.

 

Jesus then goes on to talk about what was part of Jewish belief and practice that is mentioned in Exodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:20 and Deuteronomy 19:21, which is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Jesus again is clarifying what those verses said from long ago. Helping the disciples and everyone else understand what is truly God’s heart when it comes to dealing with one another, especially difficult people we face in life. We are not to seek out vengeance. We are to show mercy by giving even more of ourselves to those especially difficult people in our lives. Sometimes it might be people we have worked with, sometimes neighbors, sometimes people we worship with, sometimes family. Regardless of who it is, Jesus says do not repay evil with evil, instead repay evil with good.  How many of us have made that our first thought with those difficult people in our lives? Yes, by golly, that person made my life harder, my work more difficult, this situation between family members tougher, but I will just encourage them to keep doing what they are doing! In fact, they can do even more and make my life even more difficult! I will even help them! How many times have we responded that way? Jesus is saying that if someone steals from you, hits you, forces you to do something you do not want to do, that is fine, accept all of that and even more. Is that what you do? Except in a few rare cases, I doubt it. We like the eye for an eye response much better. We decide we will set them straight right now! But that is not what Jesus is saying. So, what really is Jesus sharing about what God expects? We will finish this part next Sunday. In the verses we will read next week Jesus shares why we should allow the Holy Spirit to give us the best way to respond to all of the things we looked at today.

 

Your and my assignment for this week is to respond to man and God the way we have been told in the verses we read today in Matthew. First of all, keep it simple when faced with difficult questions. When appropriate just say yes or no. Do not add a lot more to it. It only gets you into trouble more times than not. Then, when dealing with people who seem to be making life difficult, show love, mercy and grace. God will bless that attitude. See how many things happen this week where God allows these two situations possible for you to see how you respond and react.

 

Last week we saw thoughts can be as damaging to us as actions at times. This week we see words can also be as damaging as actions for us as well. We are seeing that God wants us to carefully consider how our thoughts can impact us, how our words can impact us as well as others, and, of course, how actions can change our lives and others. The things we think, say and do all combined together impact our relationships with the people in our lives as well as our relationship with the Lord. God expects us to understand that when we sin, we must confess that sin to God. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Jesus knew many of the Jewish leaders of the day were hypocrites that would say one thing and do another. Jesus wants us to know God’s heart and also that he loves us and cares about us. Sin will always make our lives more difficult. Jesus knew this. God wants us to live the most victorious life possible.

 

We could go into more detail than we did on this subject if you would like at another time. I hope and pray God is helping us understand more and more his love and concern for us, his people. This is what the purpose of the Sermon on the Mount is all about. Knowing and understanding the heart of God and how he wants to help us, his people, survive and thrive while we are on this earth.

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

Congratulations to Josh & Hannah Sawyer on the birth of Tate Joshua Sawyer November 9.

 

November 21—Council meeting after worship

 

November 28—Walt Wiltschek, our new DE, will preach. Afterwards, we’ll have a soup luncheon, and then we will decorate the sanctuary for Christmas.

 

Care package snacks due TODAY. Let Carol know of any who should receive one. Sadie S., Jordan W., Michelle W., Madison W. Others?

 

Candy flyer on the bulletin board. Call Nancy Fansler or Chelle Shively to order by Nov 30.

 

Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you!

 

Donation Box: The Lord’s Storehouse

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

Shirley Krall; Baby Gemma; Deb Bell Sherwood; Andy Flenner and family; Mindy Sawyer; Jim (Buck) West; Marlene Schultz; Randy West; Jen Durst; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Tera Runyan; Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike Gentry; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Owen Wright; Anna Gentry Thompson; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; 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 747,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren

 

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

 

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.


 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

October 31 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

October 31, 2021

 

Actions and Attitudes are Everything!

Matthews 5:21-26

In the scripture we read, Jesus begins talking about the 6th Commandment from the original law, the Ten Commandments. Jesus is basically saying you have all heard and are aware of the fact that it is a sin to commit murder. However, let me tell you something more. If you are angry with someone without a legitimate reason, you will also be subject to judgment. Also, if you call someone the name, Raca, which means empty headed fool, you will be brought before the church leaders or possibly the courts. If you say to someone, “You fool!” you will be subject to the fires of hell. That may be talking of a punishment for people that they knew from their past, mentioned in Jeremiah 7:31-32, initially a place of evil human sacrifice in an always burning fire. Jesus may have been referencing, however, the eternal punishment for those who sin against God. Jesus is not changing the Law of Moses by watering it down. He is actually letting everyone know not only evil actions such as murder will bring judgment, but also more innocent-seeming words can be just as damaging to everyone. Jesus then goes on to say that if you have a problem with your brother or sister, or if you know they have a problem with you, do not offer your gift to God until you have made a legitimate effort to get the problem resolved. Once you have done that, then you can confidently offer your gift to God and know he will bless you for it. Jesus goes on to give one more final encouragement to the people about actions and attitudes. If the problem is so big that a brother or sister is taking you to court, go to them. If you have honestly done nothing wrong, listen to them so you understand these problems. Maybe you can help them understand why you did what you did and they will realize it was just a misunderstanding. The same thing may be true with you. Maybe you did do something wrong but did not realize it was that big a deal to them. You can stop a smaller problem before it gets too big. Jesus is warning that you never know how things may work out. You may be thrown in prison just because you were too stubborn to listen to the complaint before it was too late.

 

Do we believe any of this applies to us today? Let us look at these one more time, one at a time. All of us, I believe, understand murder is a crime in America and is clearly a sin against God and man. We should all understand, there will be consequences from this nation, and if the sin is not dealt with before God, eternal punishment as well.

 

The next ones can get a bit trickier. They are about anger that is blown out of proportion. And two different types of name calling. Do we ever get mad at people when we think we understand all the facts only to find out there was more to the story? If that has happened either by us or to us, has it created a problem that became really difficult to fix just because we or someone else jumped to conclusions? What about name calling? In reality, is it ever appropriate? If you remember, I admitted I had to reduce the news I was watching because it was frustrating me, even making me mad. I was thinking, and in a limited setting saying, things about some of the leaders that were wrong. I have found myself slipping back into that same attitude. It is one thing to have legitimate disagreements with one another or with our leaders. It is another thing altogether to reduce yourself to a place of name calling. That is never going to accomplish anything but generate more anger. That is why Jesus was pointing out murder is pretty clear cut, but there are other things we do to one another that are just about as bad. In fact, those things that are said and done may be so damaging that we may cause others to give up on God, the church, our families, or one another. That is why Jesus then offered a potential solution. If you want to be right with God as best you can, be right with your brothers and sisters walking this earth with you. Do everything in your power to live at peace with one another. This principle is restated by Paul in Romans 12:18 which says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

 

Jesus closes things out by warning that in the most extreme cases you could actually go to jail because you refused to make a problem go away while there was still time. Jesus is telling us all that both actions and attitudes can get us in trouble with one another and can separate us from God. The old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” just is not always true. May we honestly look at not only what we do, but also be honest with what we say to and about one another. God is watching. The Holy Spirit can guide us into a better understanding of how we deal with the different situations we face in life. Jesus is not saying we cannot stand up for what is right. We should never compromise on God’s truth--that should be our guiding principle. However, Jesus is reminding us God wants us to be respectful and patient as we speak as well as live God’s truth.

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

Submissions for November newsletter due Nov. 3.

 

November 5, 6 District Conference

November 10—Board Meeting

November 21—Council meeting after worship

 

November 28—Walt Wiltschek, our new DE, will preach. Afterwards, we’ll have a soup luncheon, and then we will decorate the sanctuary for Christmas.

 

Care package snacks due by Nov 14. Let Carol know of any who should receive one. Sadie S., Jordan W., Michelle W., Madison W. Others?

The women will be taking orders for candy soon. Watch for details.

 

Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you!

 

Donation Box: Pastor’s Assistance Fund

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

Shirley Krall; Jemma; Andy Flenner and family; Mindy Sawyer; Jim (Buck) West; Marlene Schultz; Randy West; Jen Durst; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Tera Runyan; Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike Gentry; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Owen Wright; Anna Gentry Thompson; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; 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 700,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren

 

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

 

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, October 25, 2021

October 25 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

October 24, 2021

 

Just Wait a Minute

Matthew 5:17-20

 

As Jesus’ ministry gets going in high gear Jesus uses the Sermon on the Mount to make sure everyone has a better understanding of God and what he expects. When we look at what Jesus said in the verses we read this morning, maybe Christians today need more understanding than the people he was talking to on that day did. We often times want to believe the Old Testament law is no longer in effect. Jesus is giving everyone something brand new. However, we see Jesus saying right off the bat, don’t think I have come to abolish the law. Instead, Jesus clearly states that no, I have come to fulfill the law. The law explained in detail what God expects of his people. However, because we are all weighted down by sin, none of us can keep every aspect of the law so Jesus came to do what we could not do for ourselves: keep every single one of the requirements of the law. Every single one of the laws from the most significant to the least difficult will remain intact--10 Commandments and 613 Levitical laws.

 

The Pharisees loved putting on a good show emphasizing the laws they felt were important or that they were more capable of keeping and yet held over the people some of the laws most people struggled with. They tried to make it look like they had it all together but to the common people, the less informed people, they would lie and deceive to keep them in their place. Jesus saw all of this early on and was calling them out on it. By saying every aspect of the law must be observed and if you fail to do that you have no advantage over anyone else, Jesus is warning to be careful what you say and do, God is watching. Jesus did point out that some believe certain laws to be more important than others and seemingly would say by their actions it is alright to break some of the less important laws. Jesus then goes on to point out those who say some laws are more important to keep than others and teach people it is okay to let them slide will be called least in the kingdom of God. However, those who remain faithful to God, remain consistent on teaching the importance of all of God’s laws, will be called great in the kingdom of God. God knows we are not capable of keeping all of the laws. God knows we will all fall short at different times, but if you acknowledge your shortcomings and are honest about your limitations you will be viewed as great in God’s kingdom. The important thing is do not try to say that, just because you struggle with some of God’s laws, they do not matter or that God does not really believe they are important.

 

Jesus reminds us all until he returns for his church, his bride, God meant everything he said about the Old Testament law and its importance as a guiding light to us that are in darkness. Jesus also made one more very direct statement. Jesus knew the Pharisees were hypocrites that often times basically lived life by the one old saying, “Do what I say, not what I do.” Yet Jesus also acknowledged they were very serious about their version of how to worship and live for God. Jesus closed out the verses we read this morning by saying, “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. The Pharisees were really sincere about what they believed. Unfortunately, they had convinced themselves that certain things were important and others not so much. In the process they had deceived themselves and were teaching others the same wrong stuff.

 

So where does that leave us today? Jesus is saying to us, “Just wait a minute.” The Old Testament law that is very detailed was given for a reason. For one thing even back in the Old Testament days some wanted to believe they could be good enough to earn their salvation. Jesus is reminding us all if you want to earn your salvation apart from grace, you have to keep every one of the laws every minute of every day for the rest of your life. Something that is totally and absolutely impossible. Jesus is also telling us that he is doing what we cannot do, which is live a perfect life. Because of that, when we turn over our lives to God by recognizing Jesus lived and died for us, we can have confidence we are saved by God’s grace. Jesus is reminding us to simply live an honest life, which recognizes God’s holy and righteous word. Do the best we can to follow God’s laws knowing we will at times fall short. Be willing to admit we need a Savior because we cannot do it on our own. That is all God asks of us. Maybe, just maybe, others will see our honest love for God and will want what we have. Do not try to be something you are not, while at the same time you seek to accomplish everything God is calling you to do.

Pastor Larry

Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

Submissions for November newsletter due Nov. 3.

 

November 5, 6 District Conference—One delegate still needed

November 10—Board Meeting

November 21—Council meeting after worship

 

November 28—Walt Wiltschek, our new DE, will preach. Afterwards, we’ll have a soup luncheon, and then we will decorate the sanctuary for Christmas.

 

College care package snacks due by Nov 14. Let Carol know of any college students. Sadie S., Jordan W., Michelle W. Others?

 

The women will be taking orders for candy soon. Watch for details.

 

Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you!

 

Donation Box: Pastor’s Assistance Fund

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

Shirley Krall; Jema; Andy Flenner and family; Mindy Sawyer; Jim (Buck) West; Marlene Schultz; Randy West; Jen Durst; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Tera Runyan; Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike Gentry; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Owen Wright; Anna Gentry Thompson; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; 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 700,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren

 

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

 

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, October 18, 2021

October 17 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

October 17, 2021

 

CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?

Matthews 5:13-16

 

The verses we read this morning are pretty easy to understand. They talk about things we all either use on a daily basis or, at least when it comes to salt, used to use all the time. We all use lights in our homes. Jesus is comparing us to salt and light. In Jesus’ time, even more than today, salt was important for two reasons. Salt was the primary thing used to make meat especially last for quite a while. There were not restaurants or fast-food places along the roads they travelled every few miles. In addition, you, of course, did not hop into your car, SUV or pickup and drive from town to town. Every trip had its own challenges, so making sure you had enough supplies to make it from town to town was essential. Then, as today, salt also was something used to give vegetables and other foods flavor. So, when Jesus was talking to his disciples, as well as to the others gathered, he was explaining how important we are not only to God and what he is seeking to accomplish, but to society in general. We are being called to lift God’s holy standard up to our world and to those we come into contact with, as well as do the things that need to be done as an example to others. If we will not do that, how will God’s message ever go forward? If the church sits on the sidelines, how will anyone even know what God’s plans or standard for his people will be?

 

Jesus then says very bluntly that if we are not adding flavor to our world, we are basically useless to God, ourselves, as well as others around us. Once again, what does the 13th verse say? It says “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” When we look at the very last part of the 13th verse, Jesus seems to be saying that if God’s people will not lift up His holy standard and help others understand it, we may very well be run over by the world. No one will believe anything we say or do. What is motivating us to be the flavor of our world is the question. The Beatitudes reminded us that God’s righteousness is what gives purpose and brings blessings. The 14th verse says, “You are the light of the world.” Jesus then goes on to show real world things that help us understand what he means. Those living in a city use light to see their way and its effects show beyond one’s own home or business. Anyone travelling close to a town knows it is there. Also why do we have lights in our homes? So, we can see what we are doing, to safely do things we would not be able to do otherwise. At times lights also make it so others can find their way to our businesses as well. Jesus is pointing out that God’s people should not be hiding from the world but instead should be visible to all who are lost and need to find their way. We should confidently show all who will see what we believe and why. Our lives have been transformed by God’s love, mercy and grace and we should be willing to let our lives show how we have been changed. Jesus is saying to raise the shades of your life so everyone sees you. Do not try to hide who you are but, in spite of our shortcomings, know we serve a God who loves us and forgives us when we are honest about ourselves. The world, as well as people in our communities are looking to see people who live honest lives and also people who know there is victory through our Savior, which of course is Jesus Christ. In these verses we read today, Jesus is issuing a challenge. God needs men and women who will live honest lives but also lives that show we can have victory over the things that seek to destroy us. We need to honestly point out the source of our strength and that our victory is through Jesus Christ. The title of the message is, “Can you see me now?” Am I the salt and light God needs me to be? Is our church the place of comfort and healing? The place of victory we have been encouraged to be? We must always remember it must always be our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that is our example as we will continue to see in the Sermon on the Mount. At the center of everything is God and His holy and righteous standard. That is the source of our strength. Our love for our Savior and the people in our lives is what should motivate us to fulfill this call. You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. Wow! What faith, what trust God gives right back to us. Is that expecting too much of us? Remember Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ who give me strength.”


Announcements:

 

Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday

 

 

November 5, 6 District Conference—One delegate still needed

 

November 10—Board Meeting

 

November 21—Council meeting after worship

 

Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you!

 

Donation Box: Pastor’s Assistance Fund

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

Andy Flenner and family; Mindy Sawyer; Jim (Buck) West; Marlene Schultz; Randy West; Jen Durst; Sarah Rudelick; Sydney (Nancy Gorrell’s niece); Tera Runyan; Carl and Wilma Cable; Marge Starr; Mike Gentry; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Owen Wright; Anna Gentry Thompson; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; 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 700,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren

 

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

 

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.