CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
August 28, 2022
What does it take?
1 Thessalonians 1:4-10
When we were gone last Sunday, we went by several churches that were either finishing services, I would guess, or had recently concluded services. Yes, I must admit, in all honesty, we did not go and worship at any church last Sunday. With that confession being made, as we went by some churches on the highway we were traveling, I noticed some did not have many cars in their lots. A few others were seemingly clear full. My first thought was “Good for them”. (The full ones.) But my second thought was what makes one church have a few cars in their parking lot while another is bursting at the seams? One church even had their lots full and people parking along the road in the grass! So, I wondered, what does it take for people to want to come that badly to a place to worship that they will park a ways a way to be able to join in that worship. I do not know how many of you have attended a place of worship that had not just a hundred people there but a thousand or more on a normal Sunday morning or in some cases Saturday evening service.
There was a radio ministry Cathy and I really enjoyed listening to that was based in a western suburb of Chicago, and we attended a few times when we visited our son when he lived not terribly far away from this church. What was the first shock to the senses was that the local police were helping get cars into their parking lot to reduce congestion. The same reason we enjoyed listening to this pastor on the radio, I am sure, is why the church was virtually full at every service. The pastor made the Bible come alive with real down to earth, easy to understand messages. Yet the messages were Bible based and faithful to scripture. Word of mouth I am sure is why that church went from a home church to a church with thousands of members. Have any of you attended equally well attended churches? If so, what do you think made them so successful?
We need to be careful to understand that having a lot of members does not automatically mean the church is successful in God’s eyes. When we think of the scripture, we looked at this morning from 1 Thessalonians, we see Paul, Silas and Timothy bragging a little bit about the church in Thessalonica. How the believers in this church have become well known throughout the entire region. But why did they brag about this group of believers? Because once they heard the message, they grabbed ahold of the message of salvation and, in spite of everything, did not let go. And this was not a group of people raised in church, so to speak. In the 9th verse we read how these Gentiles turned from worshiping idols to believing in the true and living God. How they also realized what Jesus had done to bring about their salvation on this earth and looked forward to God’s coming eternal kingdom. So, in the verses we have looked at today we can see a glimpse of what makes a congregation successful in the eyes of God. But what does it take to make one congregation burst at its seams and another just get by? Is it a charismatic pastor? Is it an engaged congregation? Is it the message that is at the heart of worship? Is it the music ministry? Is it the programs that are available? Is it a combination of all of these?
What is our vision here in Cerro Gordo at this church? Over the next few Sundays, we are going to bounce back and forth between the Old Testament and the New Testament to see what God expects of His church and His people. I believe if we are honoring God with our worship, He will bless His church. The challenge for the church today is to understand that we are in the world but are not to be changed by the world. I am also convinced we must all acknowledge that Satan is real and is trying to deceive as many people as he can.
I am pretty sure virtually everyone would love to see this sanctuary clear full every Sunday. What does it take to make that happen? What would we have to do differently to make it happen? Is there anything we can do to make that happen? Are there things we can do while we understand it is all about simply being faithful to God? These are some of the things we are going to look at in the next few weeks as we seek to grow in the Lord personally. While at the same time ask God: “What can we, as your people, do to keep doing the work you have called us to do right here in Cerro Gordo?” In other words, “Lord, if you want us to grow as a congregation ‘What does it take?’ ”
Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study
August 31—deadline for Sept newsletter submissions
September 10 8:00 a.m. Work Day—meal provided by Women’s Fellowship
September 14 Board Meeting
September 30 – October 1—The Lord’s Storehouse rummage sale at the Brethren Church. Drop off times for clean, boxed items: 4-7 p.m. Sept. 1, 6, 8, 13, 15 (north door)
The sound system is fixed; electrical breakers are repaired; the clavinova is awaiting repair, as is the screen. Thanks, Ron!
Shirley and Oren Wright trimmed many of the bushes. Thank you! And to all who help in any way!
Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving!
Donation Box: AC bills
First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
To keep up on Church of the Brethren news:
Denomination: www.brethren.org/news Sign up for Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.
District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link) and on facebook
Our pages: cerrogordocob.com (printed sermon, announcements, & calendar) and on facebook
Keep in Your Prayers
Oren Wright; Cecil; Devon Wright; Mike Nuding; Michelle West; Tom West; Carolyn Hirsch; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Joe Waltz; Doug Larrick; Anna Rose Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Anna Gentry Thompson; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Maralyn Heckman; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Sonna Hall; Tina Wilhelm; Baby Tate; Bryce Ashenfelter; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Sarah Rudelick; Carl and Wilma Cable; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Candy Dobson; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of those who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Charismatic Christian Center, a Filipino ministry in the Chicago area.
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.