Monday, March 30, 2020

March 29 Message

Below is Larry's message from Sunday, March 29. You may also watch it on our facebook page,
Cerro Gordo Church of the Brethren.
Next Sunday morning, April 4, Larry will be on facebook live again at 10:00 a.m. with that morning's message.

Today we are going to look at the events that took place in the Book of John, Chapter 11. I would encourage you to read the entire chapter if you get a chance this week, because we are going to look at a small portion of this chapter only. My Bible breaks this chapter into four different sections. Each section tells its own story of what is happening. We are now less than two weeks away from the most important event to ever happen. These events take place over a four-day period as we will see.
11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,
Now Jesus had just been told that his dear friend, Lazarus, was sick so what did he do? He did what any of us would do, right? He left immediately to go see what was going on and how he could help? NO. He stayed where he was for two more days. But the disciples at least said aren’t we going right now to see Lazarus?
Let’s see the disciple’s response: and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
No they said nothing until Jesus said, “Let’s go.” Then their response was they tried to kill you last time. We were there. Are you crazy? Jesus response to that was, there is no time to waste because he knew things were about to start moving fast. The stage was about to be set for what would change the world. So off they went to see Lazarus. In verse 17 we read Lazarus had already been dead four days. When Martha hears Jesus is getting close, she leaves her friends, family and sister to go meet him. Her first words were “Lord, if you had been here, he would be alive.” But she also added one interesting comment as well. “But I know even now, God will give you whatever you ask.”  Jesus said, “He will rise again.” Martha showed she had been listening to Jesus’ teaching by saying, “I know he will be raised in the last days.”  But clearly that’s not what Jesus meant.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Martha then went back to tell Mary that Jesus is here. When Mary met Jesus, she said the same identical words her sister said, “Lord, if only you had been here.” Mary was weeping as well as their friends and when Jesus saw this outpouring of loss and love he too was moved to tears, which leads us to the shortest verse in the Bible, verse 35, “Jesus wept.” Some in the group though were saying, “couldn’t he have done something if he wanted to?” Which leads us to Lazarus’ grave. Lazarus had been put in a cave with a stone rolled in front to seal it. Jesus told them to take the stone away. Martha quickly stepped up and said, “He’s been in there for four days. I would like to see him again too, but it’s not going to be pretty in there.” Maybe it’s not quite recorded that way, but she did say it’s going to smell. At that point, he said, I told you if you believe you will see the glory of God.
In verses 41 and 42, we read 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
He then commanded Lazarus to come out of the tomb and he did, which leads us to the scripture we read at the beginning. Some left Lazarus’ tomb praising God and letting people know the Messiah has come. Others left the tomb with a totally different agenda. They went immediately to the Pharisees and what was their response? Did they praise God for his goodness and mercy? No, they said that Jesus must die. They said he was going to mess up everything. They have it pretty good with the Romans and he is going to cause trouble for us all and Jesus must be stopped. So, what do we see happening over this four-day period of time, less than two weeks from the most important events in history? Jesus gets word Lazarus is sick but instead of going immediately he waits two more days before he goes to see Lazarus. It shows us God’s timing and ours often times are not the same. We also see God’s plans and ours also don’t always match up. We also see that despite the fact the disciples had been with Jesus for three years, they still didn’t understand who he was and what he was capable of. Are we the same way more often than we should be? Then we see Lazarus’ sisters genuinely grieving the loss of their brother, they say, “If you had only been here.” With what is going on in America and around the world are we Christians questioning God the same way as Mary and Martha? Are we saying, God, if only you would take this away all would be good again? Just as God was teaching something to all who would see through Lazarus, is God wanting us to learn something about ourselves and about our need for God in our lives, which leads us to the final part today. Isn’t it incredible that Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead is what set the stage for the Jewish leadership to plot to kill Jesus? There is so much that happened in such a short space of time. The Jewish leaders were more concerned about their position and power than seeing lives changed. May we use these next couple of weeks to look at our lives and our relationship with the Lord. In spite of everything that is going on in our world, God loves you and he cares about what’s going on in your life. Next Sunday, we celebrate Palm Sunday and I will be reading from John 12:12-19 as we get closer to the events that changed the world. I look forward to seeing you next Sunday at 10 a.m.
God bless you and your families. Have a safe and blessed week!

Our announcements for the week:

April 4: Lord’s Storehouse Easter box contributions due. Suggested amount, $25.00 per box. Please put any donations in Carol’s mailbox at church by Friday, April 3 or put them on her front porch. Checks can be made out to The Lord’s Storehouse.

April 5: Palm Sunday, no worship in the church, Larry on facetime at 10:00

Offerings: Please mail your offerings to the church at PO Box 45 or, if you have a key to the church and would rather put it in the donation box at the back of the sanctuary, you may do so but also please use a regular offering envelope or an envelope that you have labeled “offering.”

Let Stacie know of any supplies you need and are unable to get for yourself. Someone in the church will get them for you.

Easter Sunrise Service and breakfast has been cancelled.

We are not asking for snacks for college care packages this spring. We do not want to encourage you to go out and purchase things just for these, and we are concerned about many hands touching all the snacks. It is healthier to forego this at this point. We hope we can resume providing the care packages this fall.


April 8: 7:00 p.m. Executive Committee

April 19: 12:00 All church birthday dinner—potluck

First Sunday of the month: Food Banks
Food needs: boxes of cereal, boxes of prepared foods, such as soups, potatoes, rice, mac & cheese, peanut butter, jelly

Donation Box: Camp Emmanuel

--Don’t forget to check mailboxes when you are able.
--Women’s Fellowship is looking for a strawberry festival chair or co-chairs.           

Keep in Your Prayers
Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Liam Martina; Ali Bryant; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Mike Gentry; Gary Jesse; Robert & Laurie Morr; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Tim and Betty Sue Laird; Larry Nall; Leslie Lake; Jennifer Like; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross: Denice Mosbach; Stacie Warren; Parker West; many unspoken requests; traveling mercies for those on the road; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders

Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

Prayers and cards of encouragement are requested for our Shut-ins:
Zola Copeland – 214 E. Fitch St. Forsyth, IL.
Anna Rose Larrick C/O Evergreen Place #110
4825 E. Evergreen Ct. Decatur IL. 62521
Shawn Cain – 208 West Wait St. Cerro Gordo IL. 61818
Robert Cripe – 21 Park Street Danville IL. 61832


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