CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
September 11, 2022
What is Happening?
Lamentations 2:1, 3-6-11-14,19, 22
As we consider the condition of the church in America and throughout the world, we must honestly look at how God has treated those he called his chosen people. As we are looking at Lamentations, we can see God’s hand of protection has been removed because of the sins of the people and of the nation. Why would God do what is spoken of in Lamentations 2? As the sermon title asks, “What is happening?” We have not looked at the details at what has led to what we are reading in Lamentations. How Judah, in particular, and its people have forgotten the Lord, and how God understands his creation better than we do. God knows what will get the attention of his people and give them the opportunity to prosper once again. However, before that can happen, the sin of the people must be addressed by God.
From the beginning of God’s relationship with mankind, he has made it clear that He will bless those who acknowledge who he is. From the garden of Eden on, there is a cause and effect that is at work in everything we do. God as creator set certain things in motion both in nature and on the spiritual side of life. Faithfulness and obedience to God will bring blessings in both the natural world and spiritual world. However, God cannot allow those blessings to continue indefinitely if we purposely reject God’s holy standard that has been established since the beginning of time.
In the 2nd chapter of Lamentations, we see the continued results of Judah’s disobedience and defiance of God. I am going to raise some questions and look at some potential parallels to our world today with what has happened to Judah. In verse 3 we read that, “In fierce anger he has cut off every horn of Israel. He has withdrawn his right hand at the approach of the enemy. He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire that consumes everything around it.” In our nation and in the world, we like to believe we control our destiny. More and more people seemingly deny the role God has in the world He has created. Mankind, at times arrogantly, wants to believe we cause problems and we can solve every problem that we face. This clearly denies the role God is still playing in the world we are a part of. When we look at the problems much of the world highlights, as well as in this nation, man believes we are the one who will solve the problems we face all by ourselves. There is rarely an acknowledgement that the problems we face have anything to do with the relationship the world does or does not have with the Lord.
One of the problems that is highlighted in the news and on social media virtually every day is global warming. I am not going to go into the argument for or against this potential problem other than to say this. In verse 3 we read today that it says, “He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire that consumes everything around it.” When we jump ahead in Lamentations and see what is written in the Chapter 4, we read in verse 9, “Those killed by the sword are better off than those who die of famine, racked with hunger, they waste away for lack of food from the field.” Skipping to verse 11 we read, “The Lord has given full vent to this wrath; he has poured out his fierce anger; he kindled a fire in Zion that consumed her foundations.” So, if global warming is a real threat in our world today, isn’t it just as likely or even more likely God is trying to get our attention before it is too late about our sin, our rejection of the Lord, just as was the case for Judah during the time Lamentations was written?
So, to go back again to the sermon title, “What is happening?” The spiritual decline in the world may be the cause. I do not claim in any way to be a prophet; I am simply an observer of life. When I see what is happening in this nation and in the world, I have to honestly ask the question why would God bless the nations of the world? The only reason God has held back as much as he has is we live in the time of God’s grace for His creation. Twenty-one years ago, America was asking the question of why? As much as I hate to say this, can we honestly look at what is happening in this nation and in the world today and say God’s influence is stronger than it was 5, 10, 20, 30 or more years ago?
Next week we will look a little deeper at some of the things happening in this nation and around the world that seem to be at odds with God’s word. One might conclude that this message is all doom and gloom. I believe it can and should be the exact opposite. Brothers and sisters, God wants to bless us and the world he created, but the starting point at times is to acknowledge our sins. It is the word of God, with the help of the Holy Spirit, that can lead all who come to a more abundant life and to an eternity beyond our wildest dreams. That is the message the church has for the world. We simply need to allow God to show us how to share his message with a world in need.
The theme for these messages is how we will close out our time together again today. God’s forever message for all who will receive is found in Jeremiah 29:11-14, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study
September 14 Board Meeting: 6:15 Exec Comm; 7:00 Commissions; 7:30 Board
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. 13, 15 (north door)
October 4 (a Tuesday) 12:00 Women’s Fellowship luncheon—soup and sandwiches. Sign up sheet is in the back of the sanctuary
Thank you to all who came to Work Day yesterday!!
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
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Keep in Your Prayers
Cecil; Devon Wright; Mike Nuding; Michelle 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 Girard 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.