Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Announcements June 30

 Summer is a busy time so putting sermons on this page will be occasional, at best. Please feel free to watch the sermon on facebook live each Sunday. We also have photos of the bulletin on facebook.


Announcements:

Sunday School 9:00--no Sunday School on July 7

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

July 3-7 Annual Conference in Grand Rapids

July 7 Our speaker will be Carol Olson.

July 22-26 6:00 – 8:00 pm VBS at the Brethren Church—help

will be needed


NO board meeting in July


The July/August newsletter will come out AFTER Annual

Conference. Please give Carol any submissions by July 10.


Please sign up for children’s message during worship and/or for

a story lesson in the nursery.


Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

Donation Box for June: VBS

First Sundays: Food Bank donations


Keep in Your Prayers


Sharon Traughber; Ruth Siburt; Missie Wright; Steve Needham; Mike

Roach; Shirley Clarkson; Ava; Nora Hanaver; David and Jan Bower;

Larry Traxler; Randy and Michelle West; Mike Gentry; Eli Brunner;

Nancy Fansler; Doug Larrick; Ron and Kathleen Petersen; Debbie

Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Adiline

Young; Mayo and Darlene Hanaver; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell;

many unspoken requests; victims of disasters; victims of shootings;

shut-ins; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Israel, Iran,

the Palestinians; Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Annual Conference and for the

participants and officers of the conference.

Monday, June 10, 2024

June 9 Sermon and Announcements

 CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

June 9, 2024


What is Christianity?

I Corinthians 1:21-30


I do not know how many of us have really asked that question. This

question is not like asking, “What is a Brethren, Baptist, Methodist,

Lutheran or Catholic or even what is Christian? Each denomination has

specific things, specific reasons they began. Each of the denominations

or each independent church has one or more doctrines of portions of

the Bible they have felt is important to emphasize. Maybe at a time in

history denominations formed because some Christians did not believe

something in the Bible was getting enough emphasis.


In some ways, it may be easy to say what a Brethren is, but what about

what is Christianity is? All those different denominations that I

mentioned and hundreds of others I pray have a common reason for

existing. Christianity. But once again, I ask you to consider, what is

Christianity? This question is different than the question, what is a

Christian?


As you continue to consider the question, I would like to share some

definitions that I ran across.

1) The religion based on the person and teaching of Jesus of

Nazareth or its beliefs and practices.


2) Webster dictionary says, “The religion derived from Jesus Christ

based on the Bible as sacred scripture, and professed by Eastern

Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant bodies.”


These are two of the definitions you can fine online. However, do they

really tell the full story of what Christianity is? I was led to the message,

this question by reading the Billy Graham devotional Cathy and I are

using this year. It has led to several of the messages I have shared with

you this year. On this occasion, the particular devotion had nothing

really to do with this question and yet it, to me, has everything to do

with the question, “What is Christianity?” On the particular day that led

to this question, Billy Graham was talking to one of his associates after

an evening service. Billy was disappointed by how few came forward at

the end of the service and he wondered why. His associate told him,

“Your message did not talk about the blood of Jesus.” From that night

on, every message had some mention of the cleansing blood of Jesus

for the rest of his ministry. That is what led we to ask myself, “What is

Christianity?” What is it that makes the Christian faith so different, so

life changing. So, I began to think of what Christianity truly is. Can it be

defined? I thought what the key elements to Christianity that virtually

all of the denominations I mentioned earlier agree on. This is what I

came up with.


1) Christianity is not a religion. I disagree with the earlier definitions

that call Christianity a religion. Religions require strict following of

every rule that has been established for its’ followers to hopefully

appease its God. Christianity is a personal relationship that is

available through Jesus Christ, our risen Savior, who is alive and

seated at the right hand of God the Father. Romans 8:3-4.


2) So, at the heart of Christianity is accepting Jesus as our Savior and

Lord. This happens when we put our faith and trust in Him. Faith


and trust in the fact that we are sinners and Jesus’ death paid the

price for our sins. As a result, our sins are forgiven.


3) The forgiveness we can receive is not based on how many rules

and laws we keep; it is based on our admitting we have broken

God’s rules, God’s laws and yet Jesus paid the price for our sins on

the cross. We are saved by God’s grace for we are all sinners.

Does that mean we have the green light to sin as often and in as

many ways as we want? Of course not. Romans 6:1-2.


4) The fourth key of Christianity is that God is three persons, yet one

– the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. As Christians and as

Christianity becomes real is our lives, the Holy Spirit gives us the

power to sin less and less and the power to honor God in more

and more ways.


So what is Christianity? I believe at the heart of the answer to this

question is the first verse of a hymn we have sung at Easter for all of

our lives.


HE LIVES!


I serve a risen Savior; He is in the world today.

I know that He is living, whatever men may say.

I see His hand of mercy; I hear His voice of cheer.

And just the time I need Him, He’s always near.

He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today.


He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.


He lives! He Lives!


Salvation to impart.

You ask me how I know He lives,

He lives within my heart.



That is Christianity. That is why I am a Christian.

Pastor Larry



Announcements:


Sunday School 9:00

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study



Thank you to all who helped in any way to make our annual

Strawberry Festival a success!


Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

Donation Box for June: VBS

First Sundays: Food Bank donations


Keep in Your Prayers


Lola Mogged; Ruth Siburt; Missie Wright; Steve Needham; Mike Roach; Shirley

Clarkson; Ava; Nora Hanaver; David and Jan Bower; Larry Traxler;

Randy and Michelle West; Mike Gentry; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler;

Doug Larrick; Ron and Kathleen Petersen; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea

Wood; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Mayo and

Darlene Hanaver; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken

requests; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the

Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Israel, Iran, the

Palestinians; Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Freeport congregation and for

all the youth and for the youth ministries in the District.

Monday, June 3, 2024

June 2 Sermon and Announcements

 

CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

June 2, 2024

 

 

Your Purpose in Life

Psalm 27:11

 

How often have you asked yourself the question why am I here? Have you asked what is my purpose yourself recently? Many of us here this morning have lived through several changes during our lives. I am guessing everyone here graduated from high school. If anyone has not, I am not wanting you to believe I see that as a flaw or some other negative. In all honesty, my dad never graduated from high school, and I consider him one of the smartest, wisest men I will ever know. Obviously, I am a bit biased! I am just looking at the different events many of us have gone through. If you graduated from high school, what was next? Some went to college; some may have gone into the military, some got jobs. Then along the line many of you got married. Many have had children. Some have become grandparents, some great grandparents, some even great, great grandparents. Each of us has potentially had many things happen during our lives that have brought changes to our lives.

 

With many of those changes came a new perspective or focus on life. At times we may have questioned whether we were ready for the next phase of life. With each change there may have come the question, “What is my purpose?” Am I really up to this new change I am facing?

 

This morning’s message title is “Your Purpose in Life”. Through the different changes we face in life our overall purpose should never change. If we honestly seek the Lord for guidance and direction, we are given the power to always fulfill the purpose God has given to each of us. While all of our lives will have different aspects, the overall purpose for God’s people is always going to be the same. In Romans 8:28 we are told this truth, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” So, who does this apply to? It is for everyone who loves the Lord.

 

As we age, as we go through different changes to our lives, we may have questions about our purpose. Satan is very good at lying to us. He wants us to believe that our most useful days are behind us as we grow older. That might seem to only work on people who have lived long lives, but Satan tragically is sometimes able to make people believe that no matter their age.

 

I want to encourage each of you just as God is encouraging you to understand you have a purpose and meaning to life today, no matter your age or status. Yes, from time to time we need to say to God, “Teach me your way O Lord”. Also to say, “Teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me for you are God, my Savior and my hope is in you all day long” as we read in the Call to Worship from Psalm 25. Your purpose in life is to love and serve God, to love and serve your family, your friends and your neighbors. By the way, everyone is your neighbor. Yes, from time to time a more specific purpose and plan will be given to you. The most important thing each of us needs to remember is that God loves you. He cares about all the things we face in life. He has promised to never leave you or forsake you. So, in the greatest joy you experience or the most difficult moments, God’s purpose and plans for you and me remain the same. Stay strong, stay faithful and know God is always there helping us fulfill the purpose in life we have.

Pastor Larry


Announcements:

 

Sunday School 9:00

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

Today 4:00-6:00 Strawberry Festival

June 6 6:30 pm Executive Committee

June 7,8 Town rummage sales, including The Lord’s Storehouse sale at the Brethren Church

June 9 2:00 Peoria church—concert by Jocelyn Watkins

 

 

Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

Donation Box for June: VBS

First Sundays: Food Bank donations

 

 

 

Keep in Your Prayers

Lola Mogged; Missie Wright; Steve Needham; Mike Roach; Shirley Clarkson; Ava; Nora Hanaver; David and Jan Bower; Larry Traxler; Randy and Michelle West; Mike Gentry; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Doug Larrick; Ron and Kathleen Petersen; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Mayo and Darlene Hanaver; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Israel, Iran, the Palestinians; Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for Camp Emmanuel (Women’s Camp ends today), for the camp managers Don & Kelly Davis, and for all the campers and counselors who will be there this summer.


Wednesday, May 22, 2024

 Announcements:


Sunday School 9:00

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study


June 1 9:30 stem strawberries—many hands are needed to

help

June 2 Strawberry Festival—signup sheets in the back for pie

crusts, other supplies, and for help that day

June 6 6:30 pm Executive Committee

June 9 2:00 Peoria church—concert by Jocelyn Watkins


The Lord’s Storehouse rummage sale will be at the Brethren

Church June 7 and 8. No clothing donations will be accepted.

To drop off donations, make an appointment with Marcia

Cedarburg 217-412-0999 or Leslie Clark 217-358-0205.


Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

Donation Box for May: VBS

First Sundays: Food Bank donations


Keep in Your Prayers


Graduates; Missie Wright; David and Jan Bower; Shirley Clarkson; Ava; Nora Hanaver;

 Larry Traxler; Randy and Michelle West; Mike Gentry; Eli Brunner; Nancy

Fansler; Doug Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Debbie Leibrock;

Dorthea Wood; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Mayo &

Darlene Hanaver; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken

requests; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the

Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Israel, Iran, the

Palestinians; Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Charismatic Christian Center in

Chicago and for National Young Adult Conference in late May.

Monday, May 13, 2024

May 12 Sermon and Announcements

 CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

May 12, 2024


RUTH: A Faithful and Loyal Woman

Ruth: 1:3-5, 8-9, 16-17; 4:13-17


Many of us are at least somewhat familiar with Ruth’s story. Her life has

many lessons for all of us. She was a tremendous example of what a

faithful and godly woman should be like. The Book of Ruth is only four

chapters long, so I encourage you to read it and see all the ways Ruth

speaks to us through her life and example. I shared several small

portions of scripture with you this morning, but they only scratch the

surface of this incredible life and story.


To set the stage for how everything happened, there had been a famine

in Judah where Elimelech and Naomi lived. For their survival, they

decided to move to Moab because things were much better there.

While there Elimelech and Naomi’s two sons married Moabite women.

One son married a woman by the name of Orpah and the other Ruth.

Before their marriages occurred, Elimelech had died. About 10 years

after Naomi’s two sons married these two women, the boys also passed

away. Namoi had no real family ties in Moab, so she decided to go back

to Judah. Naomi told her two widowed daughters-in-law to stay with

their families in Moab. She prayed the Lord would bless them with

husbands and children since they had been so good to her. Orpah

agreed to stay in Moab, but Ruth refused. In fact, Ruth said in chapter

1, verse 16, “Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay.

Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Remember the

Moabite people did not worship the same God as the Israelites. So,


Ruth was willing to leave everything she had ever known to go to a

strange land with her mother-in-law.


To fast forward through the story, there was a man in Bethlehem

where they went that was a relative of Naomi’s husband. He was a well

respected and successful man. His name was Boaz. Without Ruth’s

knowledge, she started picking up the leftovers in Boaz’s field for

herself and Naomi to eat and live on. Boaz took notice of Ruth and

when he found out who she was had tremendous respect for her

because of her love and devotion to Naomi.


There are several things that happen in this story in the second and

third chapters, but we are not going into those details. Before we finish

looking at this story and reflect on what it means to all women and

mothers, I would like to read for you part of chapter 4, verses 11 and

12.


If you remember last Sunday we read Tamar’s story. It says, “May the

Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachael and

Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you have standing

in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. Through the offspring the

Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of

Perez who Tamar bore to Judah.”


The last verses we read to begin with point out Ruth’s son was named

Obed who was the father of Jesse who was the father of King David.

The Bible is full of compelling stories of God using people who are

willing to think of others more than themselves.


Let us look at Ruth’s examples. First of all, to you women and also to all

of God’s people. Not to take anything away from Ruth, but the fact is

she was just an ordinary woman. She did not come from a rich and

famous family. She did not seek the limelight. Ruth was a woman who

had grown to love and respect her mother-in-law, Naomi. She had been

married faithfully to her husband for 10 years and when he passed

away, she was left with her family in Moab and her mother-in-law who

was not a Moabite. Naomi urged her to stay with her family where she

had lived her whole life, but she had grown to love and respect Naomi

so much and also was probably worried about her so much she said no.

I will go where you go. So off Ruth and Naomi went to a land Ruth had

only heard about and people who would be total strangers to her.

Throughout this story God blessed Ruth and brought together miracle

after miracle. The field she went to pick up in just happened to be

owned by the man who was her former father-in-law’s relative. If you

read the story, you will see piece after piece of this puzzle just

happened to fall into place.


What can you women in particular get from this story? As I look out this

morning at the women here today, I see in you many of the wonderful

traits Ruth exampled.


1.) Loyal. Whether to your families, to your church, to God, you

example the kind of commitment Ruth showed during her life.


2.) A willingness to keep moving forward while things may not always

work out the way you have wanted you have never lost faith. You

have been willing to trust in God for guidance and direction.


3.) Most of you have been willing to try new things even when you

were not sure how it would work out.


4.) A willingness to trust that God will see you through no matter

what. Ruth did not at first believe in the God of Naomi, but she

came to know and worship Him by her faithfulness and her

actions.


These are traits that make for great women and mothers. I trust

everyone of us here have had women and mothers who have been

examples that have helped to get us where we are today, godly women

who taught us important lessons in life. I thank each of you women

today for the example God has empowered you to be. We celebrate

the privilege of having you in our lives.


Ruth is a testimony of how God uses those who will be faithful in things

that at times may be small, only to have them turn into good things. I

am sure Ruth never knew what the impact of the choices she made

would be. That may also be true for you women today. On behalf of all

the men here today, I say thank you. You may never know how much of

a difference you have made in the lives you touch but God does.

Pastor Larry


Announcements:


Sunday School 9:00

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

May 19 Mary Jessup is preaching.

Council Meeting after worship

4:00 CGHS Baccalaureate

June 2 Strawberry Festival!—signup sheets in the back for pie

crusts and other supplies

June 6 6:30 pm Executive Committee

June 9 2:00 Peoria church—concert by Jocelyn Watkins


The Lord’s Storehouse rummage sale will be at the Brethren

Church June 7 and 8. No clothing donations will be accepted.

To drop off donations, make an appointment with Marcia

Cedarburg 217-412-0999 or Leslie Clark 217-358-0205.


Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

Donation Box for May: VBS

First Sundays: Food Bank donations


Keep in Your Prayers


Graduates; Shirley Clarkson; Ava; Nora Hanaver; Larry Traxler;

Randy and Michelle West; Mike Gentry; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler;

Doug Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea

Wood; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Mayo & Darlene

Hanaver; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests;

victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian

church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Israel, Iran, the Palestinians;

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Champaign congregation and all

the churches’ ongoing efforts to be “Jesus in the Neighborhood.”


Monday, May 6, 2024

May 5 Announcements

 

Announcements:

 

Sunday School 9:00

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

Today directory information/changes due

May 7 12:00 Women’s Lunch—baked potato bar

May 12 Mother’s Day

May 19 Council Meeting after worship

          4:00 CGHS Baccalaureate

June 2 Strawberry Festival!—signup sheets in the back for pie crusts and other supplies

June 6 6:30 pm Executive Committee

 

The Lord’s Storehouse rummage sale will be at the Brethren Church June 7 and 8. No clothing donations will be accepted. To drop off donations, make an appointment with Marcia Cedarburg 217-412-0999 or Leslie Clark 217-358-0205.

 

Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

Donation Box for May: VBS

First Sundays: Food Bank donations

 

Keep in Your Prayers

Graduates; Shirley Clarkson; Ava; Nora Hanaver; Larry Traxler; Randy and Michelle West; Mike Gentry; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Doug Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Israel, Iran, the Palestinians; Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the La Place congregation and the “Part Time Pastor/Full Time Church” program that seeks to encourage and support small congregations and their pastors.

Monday, April 29, 2024

April 28 Sermon and Announcements

 CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

April 28, 2024


GOD’S SEVEN WONDERS

Psalm 63:3-4, Revelation 3:20


Most of us have heard of the Seven Wonders of the World. A little quiz

as we get started. How many of you know what the seven wonders

are? These seven are all manmade, not natural wonders, just to make

sure we are talking about the same thing.


These are the seven most believe are worthy of the title:

1) Great Wall of China

2) Taj Mahal in India

3) Petra, Jordan. Some believe this town was built where Moses

struck the rock and water came forth.

4) The Colosseum - Rome, Italy

5) Chichén Itzá in Mexico - Mayan

6) Machu Picchu – Peru – Incas

7) The Great Pyramid – Egypt


How many of you got all of them? I will admit I only remembered one

before I saw the list. What we are going to spend a few minutes this

morning looking at is God’s Seven Wonders. To give credit where it is

due, the devotional book of Billy Graham is where this list came from.

Last week in our devotional what we read about and the Lord led me to

really think about was the amazing way God has dealt with us, his

creation.


These seven wonders remind us of what God has done and continues

to do in the lives of those who seek him. I am going to give you the list

Billy Graham came up with and then we will look a little closer at them.


GOD’S SEVEN WONDERS


1) The wonder of God’s love.

2) The wonder of God coming to live among us.

3) The wonder of the cross.

4) The wonder of conversion.

5) The wonder of peace and joy given to us through Jesus Christ.

6) The wonder of God’s plan for the future.

7) The wonder of your own commitment to Jesus Christ.


Let’s go over them one more time. So, what do you think? Do they

make sense to you? Would you have different ones? As you think about

that, let us briefly look at each one of these seven a little closer.


1) The wonder of God’s love. We may not fully be able to

understand it, but the creator of the universe loves each and

every one that he has created. God’s desire for each and every

one of us is to have the best life we can and that is only possible if

we recognize who God is and what he has made available.

2) The wonder of God coming to live among us. The wonder that

God came to earth in a human body and lived and breathed just

like we do. One of the reasons God did this was to experience first

hand what we go through while we are here on this earth. Jesus

felt pain and sorrow. Jesus was tempted and Jesus felt joy as well.

Because of that, God can relate to us in ways he would not have

been able to do otherwise.


3) The wonder of the cross. Not only did Jesus come to live among

us and experience many of the ups and downs we all go through,

Jesus also came to this earth to pay the price for our sin. In

Romans 3:23, we are reminded, “For all have sinned and fallen

short of the glory of God.” Try as we might, we do sin, but God

loved us enough to come to this earth and be the perfect sacrifice

for our sin. The verse we all know found in John 3:16, “For God so

loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that

whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting

life.”

4) The wonder of conversion. The word conversion means to

change, to turn. We cannot convert ourselves. We all need God’s

help. God has also given us the Holy Spirit that helps us to more

consistently say no to sin. When that happens, we are given a new

life, a new focus.

5) The wonder of peace and joy given to us through Jesus Christ.

When we come to realize we are forgiven by God, we understand

how much God loves us and cares about us, we begin to develop

peace and joy that just was not really possible before. In

Philippians 4:7, we are told of the peace that passes all

understanding that will guard our hearts in Christ Jesus our Lord.

6) The wonder of God’s plan for the future. God has made several

promises about the future. For the here and now for His people,

he says in Jeremiah 28:11, “I know the plans I have for you, plans

to give you hope and a future.” Also, God’s future plan for us is

that when our time on this earth is over, we will spend eternity

with him. And also, in the future Jesus will return for His church.

7) The wonder of your own commitment to Jesus Christ. God’s

seventh wonder has to do with you and me - our own

commitment to Jesus. Jesus came to this earth to save all who will

receive God’s gift of love. However, God will not force anyone to

receive it. That decision cannot be made by anyone but you and

me. When you and I make that decision, what a miracle and

wonder it is. It does not mean there will never be any more


problems in our lives. What it does mean is the creator of the

universe now is able to step in and help us through the tough

times and rejoice with us in the good times.


So, what do you think? Does this list accurately describe the wonders of

God? May we truly live in awe of the wonder of God. He loves you and

me in ways we may never fully realize, but we should never stop trying.

As we close out our time together, let us look one more time at the

verses we started off with.


Psalm 6:3-4


Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.


I will praise you as long as I live.


Revelation 3:20


Here I am; I stand at the door and knock. If anyone

hears my voice and open the door, I will come I and eat


with him, and he with me.


These scriptures directly relate to God’s seven wonders and God’s

commitment to you and me as well as our love and commitment to

Him.

Pastor Larry


Announcements:


Sunday School 9:00

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

Today 3:00 here Traughber Pie Party

May 1 12:15 Books Between Bites with Ruth Siburt at the Decatur Public Library

--deadline for newsletter submissions

May 2 7:00 Board meeting (commissions & board)

May 5 directory information/changes due

May 19 Council Meeting after worship

Camp Emmanuel registration is open. Schedule is on the

bulletin board.

Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

Donation Box for April: Camp Emmanuel

First Sundays: Food Bank donations


Keep in Your Prayers


Martha Wood; Shirley Clarkson; Mike Roach; Dave White; Louis &

Carol Sulwer; Ava; Nora Hanaver; Larry Traxler; Randy and Michelle

West; Mike Gentry; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Doug Larrick; Ron &

Kathleen Petersen; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Tina Wilhelm;

Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Mayo &

Darlene Hanaver; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken

requests; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the

Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Israel, Iran, the

Palestinians; Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Springfield congregation and the

ministries of CROP, SERRV, and Heifer International, all started by

the Church of the Brethren.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Sermon and Announcements April 14, 2024

 CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

April 14, 2024


DON’T STOP PRAYING!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


We have looked at prayer before. I may have used some of the same verses in the past as I am sharing today, but today I want you to listen to a song that the Lord is using in my life. The Lord is saying to me that no matter what the outcome, don’t stop praying. Don’t quit, don’t give up, don’t stop believing and trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. Don’t quit trusting in my heavenly Father as well. God understands and sees what we, what I, am going through always. Always believe that.


Before I go any further, I want you to listen to this song that the Lord is using to refocus me on prayer. I may have had another song played by this artist before, maybe not. A little background for those of you who don’t know Matthew West, he graduated from Millikin, probably around 20 years ago. He is one of the top contemporary Christian artists and many of his songs the Lord has used to speak to me. The song title is, Don’t Stop Praying.


Before we look at some of the things said in this song, let us look again at what was said in 1 Thessalonians 5. First, be joyful ALWAYS! Of course, that is easy to do, isn’t it? While we trust in the Lord and hope and believe God is on our side, things happen that can steal that joy we are encouraged to have. Second, we are told to pray continually. We are not to simply one time offer up a prayer and then hope for the best. We are told to pray continually. In the parable of the persistent widow, we see an example of this. A widow keeps coming before a judge day after day, maybe week after week. It becomes obvious to the judge that she won’t stop until she gets just the result she is asking for. So finally, the judge gives in. This parable is found in Luke 18, verses 2-5.

Jesus then goes on to say to his disciples in verse 7, “And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you; He will see that they get justice and quickly.”


This song has so many honest feelings stated in it. It starts off asking, what’s your impossible? Your, I need a miracle? What’s got you barely hanging on by a single thread? Then the song asks, “What looks so hopeless now? What weighs down your heart with doubt? You beg for a breakthrough, but no sign of a breakthrough yet. When you’ve cried until your tears run dry. The answers won’t come and you don’t know why. And you wonder if you can bow your head even one more time. 

I believe the Lord inspired these words to then be written.

Don’t stop praying.

Don’t stop calling on Jesus’ name.

Keep on pounding on Heaven’ s door and let your knees wear out the floor.

Don’t stop believing.

Cause mountains move with just a little faith.

And your Father’s heard every single word you're saying.

So don’t stop praying.


In the video of this song, he is printing off a variety of papers and things that say, Don’t Stop Praying. I am not sure what he meant by doing this, but it showed me that I need God’s constant reminder to stay strong and to keep praying for whatever the Lord has laid on my heart. Sometimes I admit I do better at this than others. To finish up on some of the things the Lord reminded me to be in prayer for in this song, there is quite a list.


Don’t stop praying for the prodigal,

Praying for the miracle,

Praying that addictions end,

Praying for deliverance.

Praying for sickness healed.

Praying for God’s power be revealed.

Praying for his kingdom come.

Praying that his will be done.


That list covers basically every category of problems and concerns every Christian will ever have. Are we promised we will always get the answer we want? No. Even Jesus prayed to God the Father for something that didn’t happen as he hoped for. In Luke 22:42, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.” Jesus didn’t pray this because he was afraid to die. Jesus prayed this because he wanted more time to teach His disciples and anyone else who would listen. Jesus didn’t get the answer he asked for on this occasion. God the Father understood more than Jesus was allowed to see at this time. That is also true of us as well. God understands things in ways we simply cannot. That doesn’t necessarily make it any easier for us when we are going through tough times. Jesus understood God the Father could see all things clearer than he could, that is why he ended the prayer with, “But not my will but yours be done.”

As difficult as it is at times, that must be the believer’s attitude until our prayers are answered one way or another, we must be willing to do what the Lord is encouraging us to do in this song.


Don’t stop praying.

Don’t stop calling on Jesus’ name.

Keep on pounding on Heaven’s door.

Let our knees wear out the floor.

Don’t stop believing.

Cause mountains move a little faith

And your Father hears every word you're saying.


SO DON’T STOP PRAYING!

Pastor Larry


Announcements:

Sunday School 9:00

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

April 20 1:00 Decatur Poets (including Ruth), Decatur library

April 21 Blanket Sunday

April 24, 26, 27 7:00 pm Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor

Dreamcoat, CGHS and 2:00 on the 27th

April 27 10:00 – 12:15 District Creation Care Event—virtual—2

workshop opportunities--more info to come

April 28 3:00 here Traughber Pie Party—bring a pie and enjoy

pie and fellowship. RSVP by April 21 to 217-855-4961


Camp Emmanuel registration is open. Schedule is on the

bulletin board. Work week begins April 20.


Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

Donation Box for April: Camp Emmanuel

First Sundays: Food Bank donations


Keep in Your Prayers


Shirley Clarkson; Martha Wood; Mike Roach; Dave White; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Ava; Nora Hanaver; Larry Traxler; Randy and Michelle West; Mike Gentry; Eli Brunner;

Nancy Fansler; Doug Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Debbie

Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Tina Wilhelm; Mike and Carol

Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Mayo & Darlene

Hanaver; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests;

victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian

church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Israel, Iran, and the Palestinians

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the District Ministry Leadership

Development Team and for the clergy retreat this week.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Sermon and Announcements March 17, 2024

 CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

March 17, 2024


Make the Most of our Time

Luke 20:4-47, 21:1-4


We are continuing today to look at what Jesus was doing as his time on

this earth drew to a close. Jesus continued to teach, to answer

questions from skeptics, to simply make the most of the time he had

left before his arrest and crucifixion. Last week we looked at the three

ways talked about by Luke, that the priests and Pharisees were trying to

stop Jesus. We did not look at the ways they were trying to trap him in

detail, but Jesus always had an answer that was within God the Father’s

will.


Today we read three examples of teaching moments Jesus had with His

disciples, as well as some of those teachers of the law that were out to

get him. Jesus first sought to answer the question about who exactly he

was in relationship to God. He then went on to warn, especially the

disciples, about how there will be those who will put on a good show

for God but are really only worried about themselves and their position.

Warning to not be deceived by their clever lies and their false religious

actions.


Jesus then gives one more example of those who really care more

about God and His work than themselves. In the last two examples,

Jesus drew the contrast between the ones putting on a show and those


who just want to do the right thing for God. The final example Jesus

gave was about the widow who had very little to give. She barely had

enough to get by on for herself, yet gave to God’s work faithfully. Jesus

showed how she gave far more than those who gave greater amounts.

God sees and understands the attitudes of our hearts and understands

every situation. In all of these teaching moments, Jesus knows his time

with his disciples is drawing to a close. Jesus also knew what was going

to happen to his disciples when they were the ones continuing to teach

the message of salvation, grace, love and righteousness. Jesus knew

things were not going to be easy. So, he sought to prepare them as best

he could in those final weeks they were together. Jesus knew that at

times personal sacrifice would be necessary. So he wanted them to, not

only, understand who he was as the Son of God, but also be aware of

what would lie ahead for them. That is why he warned about those

who pretended to be teachers of God’s word. And then showed the

example of true humility and faithfulness.


If we were to have finished the 21 st chapter we would see Jesus then

gave them a picture of what would happen at the end of this age. We

might say the end of the church age. Jesus did this to let the disciples

know there will come a time when God will bring an end to all the lies

and deception that will happen. Jesus also wanted everyone to know,

especially future generations, that things will get worse before they get

better, but God will give His people the ability to overcome.


The final two verses of the 21 st chapter says this, “Each day Jesus was

teaching at the temple, and in the evening, he went out to spend the

night on the hill called the Mount of Olives and all the people came

early in the morning to hear him at the temple.” Jesus was making the


most of the time he had left to teach and share with those he loved, his

disciples as well as God the Father. In many ways that is another of the

examples Jesus has given to all of us. We have a limited amount of time

on this earth. God is calling each one of us, his children, to use the time

as wisely as we can. Spend time with our family and friends. Share

God’s love and His righteousness as often as we can, in the ways the

Lord leads us. Sometimes it will be all about mercy and grace as Jesus

showed in some of the verses we read. Other times it will be tough

honest and yes loving truth that we will be called on to share as we also

read in these verses this morning. That must always be the purpose for

us as it always was with Jesus. The desire to draw our family, our

friends, our neighbors to share in the eternal life God has for each who

will receive.


In closing I will ask you the question I felt God asking me, which goes

back to the sermon title. Are you, am I, making the most of the time

God is giving us? Both in sharing time with those we care about, those

we love, as well as using our time as ambassadors for Christ. As we see

how Jesus used every moment, every opportunity to teach and to love,

that is what he is asking us to do as well. God has great things in store

for each and every one of His faithful servants. We can, at times, get a

glimpse of that while we are here on earth. But truly the best is yet to

come when we hear our Heavenly Father say to each one of us, “Well

done good and faithful servant!”

Pastor Larry


Announcements:


Sunday School 9:00

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

Today and next Sunday—One Great Hour of Sharing—special

envelopes in the back

March 20—12:00 Women’s Fellowship luncheon and

meeting—meal provided, in the Fellowship Hall

March 28 7:00 p.m. Love Feast at the Brethren Church—we

are invited to participate with them.

March 31 Easter—sunrise service at Veterans' Park (at our church if

inclement weather)


--Please sign up to give a children’s message during worship

and/or children’s story lesson in the nursery during the sermon.

We need your help.

Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

Donation Box for March: Camp Emmanuel

First Sundays: Food Bank donations


Keep in Your Prayers


Mike Roach and family; Carole McClarey; Dave White; Louis and Carol Sulwer; Ava; Nora

Hanaver; Jan Bower; Larry Traxler; Randy and Michelle West; Mike

Gentry; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Doug Larrick; Ron and Kathleen

Petersen; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Tina Wilhelm; Mike and

Carol Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Mayo and Darlene

Hanaver; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests;

victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian

church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Israel and Hamas war

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Oakley Brick congregation and

for the denomination’s Discipleship Ministries Office.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Sermon and Announcements March 3, 2024

 CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

March 3, 2024


Lord Teach Us To Love

Mark 12:29 – 31


In four weeks, we will celebrate Easter. This was the moment God

proved, even though he did not have to, how much he loved all the

people--past, present and future. We will begin looking in depth at all

the events leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection next Sunday.


Before we look at those events again, I would like for us to look today

at what Godly love really is like. Is it flowing through out lives as it

should be? If not, why? How can we get it and day in and day out put it

into practice? One of the best ways to know if we have God’s love

flowing though us on a consistent basis is our ability to forgive. Jesus

taught his disciples how to pray as written in Matthew 6. One of the

points in the prayer Jesus taught his disciples was to ask God to forgive

us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. Jesus then bluntly

states in verses 14 and 15 of chapter 6, “For if you forgive man when

they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if

you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your

sins.”


So, as we consider the verses, we first read which stated what the

greatest commandment was, we saw that the love of God and the love

for our neighbor covers all of the other commandments. Now as we


consider these two verses about forgiveness, we can see if we do not

have the ability to forgive one another, we really don’t love God or our

neighbor.


When Cathy and I were gone we spent a total of around 20 hours in

planes. Several years ago, I bought the book, Mere Christianity by

C.S. Lewis. I had started on it some time ago but had not completed it.

So I took it with me hoping to complete it. I wish reading was

something that came naturally to me but it does not. Anyway, I began

reading this book again and found several points interesting that

C. S. Lewis was making. Quick quiz--What book is C.S. Lewis probably

best known for? Chronicles of Narnia. I do not know how many of you

have read Mere Christianity or any of the other books C.S. Lewis has

written but if you are familiar with him, you already know in early

adulthood he was an atheist. C.S. Lewis felt God’s presence in ways

around him he could not keep on denying and he ultimately accepted

Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior from that time on and all his books

had a Christian theme to them.


Mere Christianity reflects the journey he has been on as a Christian and

tells of his observations about Christianity, Christians and the world.

Some of you may know C.S. Lewis is from Great Britian. Early in the

chapter entitled “Forgiveness” he makes this statement. “Everyone says

forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive, as we

had during the war.” Those of you who know history know Germany

bombed London day after day, killing hundreds of thousands and C.S.

Lewis recognized God is compelling His people to find forgiveness in


their hearts for everyone, even those who sought to kill you. How easy

is that to do?


C.S. Lewis went on to tell of a news story where someone was accused

of doing terrible things. It was a person easy to dislike, easy to hate. But

it turned out the person had not done the things he was accused of

doing. He goes on to say how disappointed many were that the person

had not done the things he was accused of. Because they had created

such dislike, they wanted the person to be punished. He goes on to

suggest the true evil person may be the one who still holds the grudge.

Can that at times happen to anyone of us? What C.S. Lewis writes in

this chapter is consistent with what the Bible says. We are to hate evil,

this is true. We must condemn sin when it is in direct contradiction to

God and His word. However, we must always promote love in all

circumstances. While many today do not believe in the death penalty,

C.S. Lewis said this as he wrapped up the chapter on forgiveness. “We

may kill, if necessary, but we must not hate and enjoy hating. We may

punish, if necessary, but we must not enjoy it.” He goes on to say,

“Even while we kill and punish, we must try to feel about the enemy as

we feel about ourselves to wish that he were not bad, to hope that he

may, in this world or another be cured; in fact, to wish his good.” That

is what is meant in the Bible by loving him, wishing his good, not feeling

fond of him nor saying he is nice when he is not. I admit that this means

loving people who have nothing lovable about that.”


Let’s face it, some people are not easy to love. Some are not easy to

forgive, but Jesus made it clear if we expect God to forgive us, we must

be willing to forgive. If we expect God’s love and mercy, we must be

wiling to show love and mercy to one another. Every night on the news


you can hear stories of evil done to someone across this country. How

often do we take a minute to pray for the victims and their families?

How often do we pray for those who have committed those evil

crimes? Jesus not only commanded us to love the Lord our God and

love our neighbor as ourselves, he also said in Matthew 5:44-45, “But I

tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that

you may be the sons and daughters of your Father in heaven. The

sermon title is “Lord Teach Us to Love”. C.S. Lewis identifies how

difficult it can be to love as Christ loves us. Without the Holy Spirit’s

help, it is impossible to love as God loves us. May we admit to our

prejudices and our shortcomings and honestly ask God to teach us to

love as he loves us.

Pastor Larry


Announcements:


Sunday School 9:00

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

March 10—Commissions and Board meetings after worship

March 20—12:00 Women’s Fellowship luncheon and

meeting—meal provided, in the Fellowship Hall


--Newsletters are available in the back.

--Please sign up to give a children’s message during worship

and/or children’s story lesson in the nursery during the sermon.

We need your help.


Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362


Donation Box for March: Camp Emmanuel

First Sundays: Food Bank donations


Keep in Your Prayers


Carole McClarey; Dave White; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Ava; Nora

Hanaver; Jan Bower; Larry Traxler; Randy and Michelle West; Mike

Gentry; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Doug Larrick; Ron & Kathleen

Petersen; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Tina Wilhelm; Mike and

Carol Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Mayo & Darlene

Hanaver; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests;

victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian

church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Israel and Hamas war

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the York Center congregation and

for Children’s Disaster Services.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Sermon and Announcements February 25

 CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

February 25, 2024


What Is My Gift?

Romans 12:4-8


The last time I was with you was Service Sunday. The Church of the

Brethren encouraged us to think about different ways we can serve our

church and our community, how we can serve God and one another.

This Sunday I would like each one of us to take it a step further.


Both in Romans, chapter 12 and 1 Corinthians, chapter 12, we are told

of gifts that have been given to those of us in God’s church, gifts given

to us by the Holy Spirit. We are to use those gifts to build up one

another and to serve in whatever way God leads us.


This morning, we are going to look at the verses in Romans. I know

virtually everyone in this congregation has served in 1 or more ways in

this church or in another church during your lifetime. God has given

each and every one of us gifts we are to use for His kingdom work.

Some of us may feel we are better in one area but maybe not as good

in some others. Paul is pointing out to the church in Rome that just as

the human body has many different parts, so does the body of Christ.

For the human body to work it’s best all the different parts need to

operate to the best of their ability. That is also true for the body of

Christ.


There are 7 different gifts mentions in these verses in Romans. In 1

Corinthians there are 9 different gifts listed. On the surface the lists

seem very different but when you understand the purpose of the gifts,

they are pretty similar. To build up the church and to empower us to do

what God has called us to do.


This morning, we are going to focus on the ones found in Romans.

1. Prophesying

2. Serving

3. Teaching

4. Encouraging

5. Contributing (giving)

6. Leadership

7. Showing mercy


Most of these gifts are pretty easy to understand. Let’s quickly look at

them one at a time.

~~Prophesying may also be viewed as someone in a spiritual leadership

position. One willing to faithfully proclaim the Word of God whether it is

easy or not. Multiple examples of prophets in the Old Testament

proclaiming God’s desires for His people.

~~Serving. That can take on a number of different meanings. It requires

someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish a goal

without worrying about who gets the credit or who is in charge.

~~Teaching. That one also can take a variety of appearances. There are

many things that need to be taught and it takes a special person to be

able to effectively and sometimes patiently teach others.

~~Encouraging. The church needs cheerleaders, people who will build

others up, especially when things are not going well.

~~Contribute. This does not just mean giving money in support of God’s

work. It can also mean giving of your time. Whatever way God call a

person to contribute they are encouraged to do it generously.

~~Leadership or being a leader. As with many of the other gifts, this can

go many different directions. There can be a variety of different

projects going on in the church throughout the year. It is important that

someone be willing take a leadership role to see that it is successful. In

most cases, there can be different leaders throughout the year,

depending on the project or job.

~~Mercy. I believe every member of the body of Christ should have this

gift. However, some are called to use this gift in a more powerful,

compassionate and consistent way than others.


When we look at these 7 gifts, I believe every church needs to have

these gifts flowing through it on a regular basis. If we are to fulfill the

call placed on us, both as individual Christians and as the church, being

examples of Jesus Christ to our part of the world and our communities.

We must encourage one another to use those gifts God has given us.

The most important thing is that we allow the Lord to use us right here,

right now as best we can to be God’s witnesses in an honest, loving and

faithful way.

Pastor Larry


Announcements:

Sunday School 9:00

Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study

February 28 Newsletter submission deadline

--Please sign up to give a children’s message during worship

and/or children’s story lesson in the nursery during the sermon.

We need your help.

Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

Donation Box for February: Utilities

First Sundays: Food Bank donations


Keep in Your Prayers

Carole McClarey; Dave White; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Ava; Nora Hanaver; Jan Bower; Larry Traxler;

Randy and Michelle West; Mike Gentry; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler;

Doug Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea

Wood; Tina Wilhelm; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Adiline Young;

Kim Lehmann; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Stacie Warren; Nancy

Gorrell; many unspoken requests; victims of disasters; victims of

shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine;

Israel and Hamas war

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Leap Day “week”—pray for our own

congregation and about what leap of faith we might make this year.