Radcliff United Methodist Church
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God's People Filled with God's Presence Fulfilling God's Purposes

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October 20, 2013 - We Believe He Lives

Saturday, November 02, 2013 View Comments Comments (0)
 

              WE BELIEVE……. HE LIVES!

                        Matthew 27: 15-26

                       Matthew 28:5-6

   ** “ He’s Alive, whether you believe it or not!”**

Those were the words a young soldier’s wife uttered to her family, the military liaisons, and a host of other people who had come to officially tell her that her husband who had been MIA for over a year, would now be declared “legally deceased”. That declaration would free up his death benefits, and assure her that their young child would be taken care of. Bills , which had mounted up would be paid.  “ He’s still alive” she insisted, “ The Lord told me”.

  A disciple, a mother, and some other caring women had watched Jesus breathe His last on a tortuous cross. A crowd… some angry, some caught up in the moment, had seen Jesus beaten and sentenced to be crucified. Religious leaders felt smug as a Roman leader was forced to vote their way. Soldiers carried out their orders and fulfilled the execution order. They all believed Jesus dead!    BUT WE BELIEVE HE LIVES!

  We believe… He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried, and on the 3rd day rose from the dead!

                        WE BELIEVE HE LIVES!


** HE LIVES…. EVEN WHEN WE CHOOSE SOMEONE ELSE!**

The people in the crowd that day… people living under religious rules and domination, were given a choice. A momentary freedom. They could choose to have a prisoner released.

CHOICE ONE- Barabbas. A robber. A murderer. One who had been convicted, found guilty, sentenced and imprisoned. Blight on society… a killer.

CHOICE TWO-  Jesus. A Rabbi. A worker of miracles. One who had been thought innocent by Pilate, and declared an “innocent man” by Pilate’s wife. Two choices: A murderous criminal, or a Loving Lord.  They chose Barabbas.

 Sometimes, we too choose others. We see a God who really loves us unconditionally… but we put conditions on loving Him. ( “ I’ll love you as long as things are going good”.)

We know the good choices He prescribes for us…. But the sinful choices are a lot more fun. We see that following Him is a straight but narrow path,   so we choose the wide road that ultimately leads to destruction.  We, like that crowd, choose over and over and over again to choose someone else. ( The world, our selfishness, sin….) and in doing so, it’s like Jesus is dead to us.   But HE LIVES NO MATTER WHO WE CHOOSE TO FOLLOW!

     Lee Strobel wanted to choose someone else. Lee is a Yale educated lawyer turned investigative reporter and journalist. He was an avowed atheist who set out to disprove the historical Jesus and the resurrection. Those Christian “myths” regarding Jesus.

After doing extensive research and investigating the evidence: Lee became a Christ Follower! Lee saw that Jesus does live and he wrote the Book: The Case for Christ. He is now one of the world’s leading advocates (apologists) for the Truth of Christianity. He travels the world, showing the evidence for Jesus.

  EVEN WHEN WE CHOOSE SOMEONE ELSE…JESUS LIVES!


** HE LIVES… EVEN THOUGH WE HAND HIM OVER!**

 “Crucify Him!”  A Call to execute.. The death penalty, the hang-man’s noose, the electric chair, the lethal injection of biblical times, the cross! The Religious leaders knew He was innocent. Pilate asked, “ Why, what crime has he committed?” Surely there were people in that crowd who had mercy, and doubts about this whole thing. Surely there were people in that crowd who had just a few days before been shouting, “ Hosanna”, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”,  “Hosanna in the highest.” And yet, as the crowd got larger and the pitch rose.. As the religious leaders through more and more fuel on the fire called blasphemy… the people in that crowd heard themselves shouting, “ Crucify Him---crucify Him---crucify Him!” They handed Jesus over!

    Now, we can look at that crowd and think: “I wouldn’t have gone along” or “ I would have raised my voice against the injustice” or “I would have defended Jesus”. We can say “ I have never wanted to crucify Him”, or “ I don’t want to hand Him over”…But. Are we so sure that we are innocent? See, I may not shout the words, “ Crucify Him” but too many times my words deny my knowing Him. (Negative words… judgmental words… harsh words…. Hateful words….)  All deny the love of Jesus.

Too many times, my actions, put the “crucify Him” order into effect. ( When I refuse to help the hurting… when I turn my back on people I don’t like…. When I’m selfish and self-centered) I’m really saying “Jesus sacrifice doesn’t matter”!   Too many times my sin (the very thing that put Him on the cross) continues to bring pain and heartache and destruction.  I TOO CRUCIFY HIM… AND YET HE LIVES ANYWAY!

       Tammy was a young woman who had been bullied in school. She was overweight and she wore glasses and was always being picked on. She was called all sorts of foul names and never had anyone to sit with her at the lunch table. They teased, and tormented and played prank after prank after prank and gave hurt after hurt after hurt.  Years later, one of those bullies... now grown up and now a Christian, saw Tammy in church while coming back to his hometown for a visit. He had felt terrible for years over the way they had treated this poor girl. He mustered up the courage, went over to Tammy and apologized. Tears began to stream down His face, as she said, “ I was hurt, but don’t you worry. That hurt helped me to turn to the Lord, and now I’m a Christian. So are you. You are my brother and I love you and I forgive you.”

  Those young people had handed Jesus (and Tammy) over….. But JESUS STILL LIVED to save Tammy, and that young man.



** HE LIVES… EVEN THOUGH WE TRY TO IGNORE HIM!**


 Pilate tried to clean those hands…but what he was really looking for was a clean conscience.  “ I am innocent of this man’s blood.” He was looking for a way to appease both what he knew was right, and the religious leaders who were wrong. He wanted to look the other way, to wish himself out of the situation, to hide his head in the sand. He was doing everything he could think of to ignore the whisper of conscience that said over and over and over again… Jesus is innocent! He washed his hands of Jesus!

 Too many times, we also try to ignore Jesus. We look the other way, when that which is clearly wrong is going on right in front of us. Too many times, we have heard that “still, small voice” say, “I need you to serve”… and yet we answer, “ I don’t have time”, or “I’m not qualified”, “or get someone else”. Too many times the Lord has called us to repent, or apologize, or pray for someone… and we act like he never said it.

Too many times we know what is right… but we live in the fantasy of the “times have changed” or “society is different” or “sin is not really sin”. We too try to ignore Jesus…. And yet HE LIVES ANYWAY!

     Years ago, when my son Chance (who is deaf) was little, we went  on a day trip to Frankfort. At one point, we went into a little coffee shop, and the sodas were in a glass refrigerated case behind an open counter. Chance wanted a soda, and so he started to walk back into the opening of the counter towards the case. The manager started yelling at him…. “ Hey, you can’t go there.. Hey kid… stop”.  He was very rude and obnoxious.   I ( being in the angry Father rather than the good Christian witness) mode yelled, “He’s Deaf..He can’t hear you”.  I then told the man that we wouldn’t be buying anything from his store, and that I would have the power to shut his place down! We went to our van, and I was still fuming. Talking to both Paula and myself I said, “ There is a large deaf community here. I’m going to write a letter to the paper and talk to the deaf community and use the word discrimination and boycott this place….” And on and on I went.

( Now I know that I had preached, “ turn the other cheek” and “ pray for those who persecute you” and “bless those who curse you”…..”) But I wasn’t listening to that.  Then little Shelby, who was probably about three said, “ Daddy, don’t you think we just need to pray for that man?”

 See, I was ignoring Jesus…. But He spoke through the voice of my little girl!

WE MIGHT TRY TO IGNORE HIM… BUT HE LIVES ANYWAY!

  

    The young soldier’s wife said, “HE’S ALIVE... WHETHER YOU BELIEVE IT OR NOT”  Turned out, she was right! After being “missing in action” for over a year and almost two months…he was found alive!

     After going to a cross over 2000 years ago….   JESUS LIVES!

** HE IS NOT HERE…(in the tomb) HE HAS RISEN!**



October 13, 2013 - We Believe in Jesus the Christ

Saturday, November 02, 2013 View Comments Comments (0)
 

             WE BELIEVE IN JESUS THE CHRIST!

                         2nd Corinthians 5:18-6:2

                    ** WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?**

Jesus once looked in the eyes of His disciples and asked that very pointed and personal question. “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Peter would confidently answer. See, somewhere, deep down in his gut, Peter not only believed… but he knew exactly who Jesus was. Jesus was and is the Christ!


     ** We believe in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord”.**

 We, like Peter, believe in Jesus the Christ. ChristMessiahOne who saves… the “anointed One”…. The Divine Son of God”… the Savior of the World…. The Lord…. God!

This belief in Jesus the Christ determines how we who do believe will live. Because He is the Christ……


   ** Because Jesus is the Christ… We connect people to Him!**

2nd Corinthians 5:19 tells those who believe in Christ, “ He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” To “Reconcile” is to: “cause people or groups to become friendly again after an argument or a disagreement.” God created us. He knows us. He loves us, but there has been a strain, and problems, and a wedge which has separated us from the God who created us. That “wedge” is called SIN. Sin has caused a major problem in our relationship with God. Humanity has a need to be “reconciled” to the Lord. Jesus the Christ is the great “reconciler”. He is the “Prince of Peace” and He and he alone reconciles us to God.  It is because we have known this reconciliation in our own lives, that we are called to help reconcile others to God.  “He has committed to us the message of reconciliation”.

 How do we do it? WE CONNECT PEOPLE TO HIM!  We connect people by inviting them to church. We connect by sharing with others what He has done for us. We connect by talking about Jesus and living for Jesus. We connect people to God by sharing of His forgiveness, His grace, and His mercy. We connect people to Jesus… and Jesus reconciles those people to The Father!

       Growing up in West Texas, I have been around much of the Native American culture.. Particularly the tribes of the plains. One of the most prominent features in the Native American culture is that of the “Peace-Pipe”. (** Project picture of peace-pipe) The “Peace –pipe” was used as a sacred ritual for connecting the physical and the spiritual worlds. It represented peace not only between people and people (when warring tribes laid down their weapons leaders would smoke from the same pipe) but also peace between God and humans. The pipe was seen as prayer in physical form, and as the smoke rose from the pipe the person was saying… “I want peace with God”.

Jesus the Christ is our “peace-pipe”. He makes peace between us and God the Father, and because He does that… we connect our friends and neighbors and acquaintances and enemies to Him!

BECAUSE HE IS THE CHRIST, WE CONNECT PEOPLE TO HIM!

   ** Because He is Jesus the Christ… We represent Him in this world!**

The Word of God says, “ We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us.” An “Ambassador” is: An authorized representative or messenger” The Ambassador conveys the wishes, the desires, and the will of the authority who has authorized them to act on their behalf. The Ambassador represents the One who he or she serves. An ambassador speaks the words and lives the values of the One they represent. A good “ambassador” truly represents their country or people or as is in our case…. Their Lord!

 How can we be good ambassadors for Jesus?  Represent Jesus’ love, by loving others as He loves us. Represent His grace, by showing others grace which they can’t deserve. Forgive as He forgives. Serve as He serves. Care as Jesus cares! Be His representative in the world.

    When I was in the military, one of the first things they told us was this: “When you put on that uniform, you are representing the United States of America! (**project picture of American Flag**) Make sure you represent her well!”

   Christian, by believing that Jesus is the Christ, we are called to represent Him in this world! Do it well!

   ** Because Jesus is the Christ…We work with Him to Carry out His mission!**

  The Bible calls us, “God’s Co-workers”. We work with the Lord to carry out His mission in the world. What is that mission?

Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the Lost.”  The Lord told those who believe in Him, “…. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…”

The Lord has a mission.. To save people, to make disciples, to grow His family, and we work with Him to do these very things!

 How do we work with God? We pray for the people who do not know Him. We use the spiritual gifts and natural talents He has given us in order to serve Him. We see everywhere we go and every person we meet as our “mission field”. We invest our time and our talents, our money and resources in that which will give eternal returns. We give up our lives… in order to really live! We work with God!

    In 1980, the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team upset the greatest Hockey super-power in the world, the Soviet Union. This “miracle” only occurred when this group of college individual “hot-shots” realized who they were playing for…..**(movie clip “who do you play for” from movie, “Miracle”)

       We play on God’s Team!  We work with Jesus to carry out His mission!





       We believe, In Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord!

             ** CONNECT PEOPLE TO JESUS

                  REPRESENT JESUS IN THIS WORLD

    WORK WITH JESUS TO CARRY OUT HIS MISSION!


October 6, 2013 - We Believe in God

Saturday, November 02, 2013 View Comments Comments (0)
 

                  “WE BELIEVE IN GOD”

                          Genesis 1:1-8


**“PREACHER, I BELIEVE IN GOD”.**   ( I may drink and cuss and lust and steal and lie and gossip and over eat, and judge others, and live like the devil…..)  But “I believe in God.”

Now, I have never heard anyone put it exactly like that… but that is exactly what many people are really “saying” when their words and their actions combine. See, its one thing to “believe” in god… and another thing to BELIEVE IN GOD!

This morning we will see what it means to really BELIEVE IN GOD!

 ** I BELIEVE IN GOD, THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH.**

What does it mean to really BELIEVE IN GOD, verses simply believing in god? What does a life that really does believe in “God the Father Almighty Maker of Heaven and Earth” look like?

What does that person do….and not do? How does he or she live?

                          **  WE BELIEVE IN GOD!**

Genesis begins, “In the beginning God….” God exists. He is real. He was and He is and He always will be. We can’t always see Him or feel Him or hear His voice….but He is real. He isn’t just a theological thought or a religious debate…. He is! “In the beginning God….”

  Scratched on the wall of one of the “Death rooms” in a world war two concentration camp were these words, “I believe in the Sun even when it isn’t shining. I believe in love even when I can’t feel it, and I believe in God even when He is silent.”

                           WE BELIEVE IN GOD!






                **WE BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER!**

In Psalm 68:5, the Bible says,  A Father to the Fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His Holy dwelling place.”  “ Father” was Jesus favorite term for addressing God, and He uses the term “Father” 65 times in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and over 100 times in the Gospel of John. We believe in God the Father!

 “Father” suggests personal relationship. God is not just some unknown entity, but One who loves and can be loved. He knows and can be known. A “Father” has children and a family. A good Father nurtures and provides. He will do all that is necessary for the well being of the children He loves. A relationship with God our Father isn’t cold and aloof, but it is warm and protected. A good Father isn’t just a “father”, but He is “daddy”. That’s who our God is!

     For the longest time…. Since she was old enough to talk, my daughter Julieann has called me “Daddio”.  Now I have no idea where she got it, or why she started saying it, but whenever she says, “You’re my daddio” I feel the love. I’m more than just a father… I’m her “Daddio”.

God is more than just God….He is Our Father… our “Daddio”.

               WE BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER!


** WE BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY!**

 As God began to create, the Word says, “ And God said…” God spoke and things happened. Things happen, because when the Almighty speaks… things move! God is “ALMIGHTY”. That means He is , “ALL POWERFUL”, “ALL PRESENT”, and ‘ALL KNOWING”! He is eternal. He has always been and will always be. He can do all things.

When things look hopeless; He brings hope

When people are hurt; He brings healing.

When things are tight; He provides.

The government might shut down…. But He never does! He is ALMIGHTY!

   The Bible tells about how God delivered His people from utter destruction when they were cornered at the Red Sea with the world’s strongest army bearing down on them--- He can deliver us from that which would harm us! HE IS ALMIGHTY.

The Lord fed five-thousand people with a few fish and a little bread… He can put food on our tables! HE IS ALMIGHTY!

The Lord made blind people see and cleared out leprosy… He can handle our sickness. HE IS ALMIGHTY!

      WE BELIEVE IN GOD, THE FATHER ALMIGHTY!


**WE BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Look around… God made all of this. He made our complex bodies- cell upon cell- nerves-skeleton-skin-thought. God spoke the mountains and the plains into existence. As each leaf falls from the trees which He engineered, none escape His notice. He designed the delicate eco-systems that are this world… and He sustains our very existence. Second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, year after year He is! Everything that is, begins with God and God is the center of all that is!

   Several years ago I had just been appointed to a church, and a long-time member of that church was dying. I went with another member to visit, and as we approached the door , there beside the walk were two doves. Those birds weren’t over three feet from the path, and they would NOT fly away, even when people walked up. I Mentioned the doves to the wife of the sick man and she said, “they arrived days ago when He began to really go down, and they haven’t left.” I visited that home over several days and the doves were there every time I went. Then, as we were called in when he took his last breathes… the doves flew away!


If the very One who created all things can order two doves to stay by a door until a child of His breathes his last and is ushered into heaven… then the maker of heaven and earth can handle our problems!

WE BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH!


  What does a life that Really BELIEVES IN GOD look like? It’s a life that is centered in the very God in whom we believe. It is a life that places ALL TRUST, ALL OBEDIENCE, ALL LOVE, ALL WORSHIP and ALL FAITH in His hands! It is a life that lives…     ** I BELIEVE IN GOD….. THEREFORE MY LIFE CENTERS IN GOD**


   


September 29, 2013 - I Am Second...Our Second Stories

Wednesday, October 02, 2013 View Comments Comments (0)
 

    I AM SECOND…. OUR SECOND STORIES

                               ACTS 1:8

     “Dad, tell me a ‘Scott story’, please”. That is a sentence that I regularly hear from my daughter, Julieann. Now, the “Scott” she is talking about is one of my best friends from high school. Scott Nettles was one of those guys who could basically get away with anything. He could do crazy things and not get into trouble. He could somehow take what doesn’t make sense and make money from it. Scott could pull off the impossible… and so, through the years I have told the kids some great, real-life stories of the adventures of Scott Nettles. So, whenever Julieann wants a laugh, or a smile, or just a good story… she will say: “Dad, tell me a Scott story.” Scott Nettles makes a great story.

            

                ** WHAT IS YOUR SECOND STORY?**

We all have one. Our lives are collections of experiences… sometimes funny; sometimes sad; many times in-between. We too have stories… but for Christians, there are even better stories. For those of us who have put Jesus first in our lives… we have more than just a story. We have a TESTIMONY. We have a WITNESS. We have our “SECOND STORIES”.   So, WHAT’S YOUR SECOND STORY?

   In Acts 1:8 Jesus was telling His followers that they would have a “second story”… He said, “You will be my witnesses”. Jesus, God in the flesh, was saying to them, and saying to us, that because of our relationship with Him: Because He is our Lord and our Savior; because we know Him and love Him; we have more than a story! We have a TESTIMONY, a WITNESS, and a “SECOND STORY”.






        ** OUR “SECOND STORIES” ARE POWERFUL!**

 Jesus said, “… you will receive power…”

When the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords enters into a person’s life… when the very God who created all things speaks and acts in and through the people He created… when God Himself is ruling and reigning in our lives…. There is great power!

  Our Second stories are powerful because they are ours. We aren’t some made up “character”. We are frail, far from perfect, messed up, flesh and blood, and humans. We are REAL. We face what other frail, far from perfect, messed up, flesh and blood human’s face. Our Second stories are powerful because they speak to people who are going through similar things and similar situations. Our witness shows how the Lord can help and bless and change everyday people like us. Our “Second Stories” are powerful!

  John was addicted. Not to drugs or alcohol or some of the common things we tend to think of people being addicted to…. But he was addicted to pornography. It had begun as a young boy when he had found a playboy magazine… and it had just taken over from there. John was raised up in church, he knew right from wrong, he accepted Jesus, even taught the Bible. He didn’t want to look and to lust…. But he was struggling and losing. He was addicted and he thought there was no hope to be free.

Then, he heard Ricky’s story. Ricky was also a Christian.. He too had been raised in church.. He had also accepted Jesus.. And he had also struggled with pornography… but God had helped! Jesus had come through. The Lord had delivered and Ricky had been set free!

John heard Ricky’s story, and asked for help. He dealt with his addiction. God delivered, and now, John hasn’t even glanced at pornography for 16 years!

Our “Second Stories” are powerful!




** OUR SECOND STORIES POINT PEOPLE TO GOD**

 Jesus said, “ … you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”   Our “Second Stories” aren’t just ours… but rather they are touched and influenced and infused by the Holy Spirit of the Living God! The power of our witness and testimony doesn’t come from us… but rather from God.

See, the experiences we have in life, have either been given from God, or will be used by God to help bring us and others into a deep, loving, relationship with Him. Our “Second Stories” don’t glorify us; they don’t desire for people to applaud us; our “Second Stories” point people to the One who helped us.. the One who delivered us… the One who saves us! They come from the Holy Spirit!

     Gordon Webb is a member of Lebanon United Methodist Church. Gordon plays the guitar and sings for the glory of God in church… but how he ever started to play guitar is part of his “Second Story”. See, as a young man, Gordon was an athlete, a jock. He played football in high school and one season, early in a game, he took a hit His leg buckled, then broke. Gordon, this jock who never sat still, would have to be in a cast and off his feet for * weeks. His mother, trying to make Gordon feel better, bought him a used guitar. He taught himself how to play, found a great interest, and now 40 years later, he sings and plays for God’s glory. Gordon says, “ The Lord didn’t break my leg… but sure has used it.”

Our “ Second Stories” point people to God!


 ** OUR “SECOND STORIES” HAVE AN EVER GROWING INFLUENCE!**

 Jesus said, “ You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

 Our witness travels! It doesn’t just stay close to home, or close to us, but rather the testimony our lives become will affect people close by and people far away. Our witness will influence our “Jerusalem”. The Lord has placed people that we are close to… family, friends, neighbors, in our lives. Our witness affects them. Our testimony affects our “Judea”. Those folks we are acquainted with… co-workers, school mates, folks who see us in public.  We are witnesses in “Samaria”. Our Second stories can have profound influence on the people who are very different from us. Different cultures, race, languages, affinities…even enemies. Our testimony can make them friends. Our “Second stories” can ripple out and affect the world. God is the same in America and in China. He loves white folk and black folk. Our “Second stories” are international!

    E. Stanley Jones was a missionary to India. He was preaching and testifying, when a young man named Sam Kamelason heard his story, was moved by the Holy Spirit and accepted Jesus. Sam Kamelason began to preach and to teach and was led by the Spirit to work with a different “caste” of people within the society so plagued by Hinduism. He testified and preached and witnessed on the Island nation of Sri Lanka, where3 a young man named Adjith Fernando was moved to accept Christ. Adjith became a Christian, was called to preach, and came to America to attend Asbury Theological Seminary. As a student at Asbury, Adjith  partnered with American churches as a missionary to Sri Lanka, and one of the churches he partnered with was in a small West-Texas town called Brownfield. Adjith would visit the church, preach mission weekends, and stay in the homes of a member of that church who had a young boy.  Adjith would help disciple and teach that young boy, in the times he was in West Texas visiting, usually once a year.  Adjith would be preaching in that same church, many years later, when that young man (about 20 years old) who was home on leave from the navy… would hear that preaching, and accept Christ, and would later be called to Preach as well. The young man’s name-   Darren Gillespie.

From America, to India, to Sri-Lanka, to Brownfield, Texas, to Radcliff , Kentucky.

Our “Second Stories” have world-wide influence!


See, We who follow Christ… have “Second Stories”.

   ** WHAT IS YOUR “SECOND STORY”?  **

  ** WILL YOU SHARE IT?**


    


September 15, 2013 - I Am Second...Jesus is First

Wednesday, October 02, 2013 View Comments Comments (0)
 

          “I AM SECOND…… JESUS IS FIRST”

                          Revelation 17:14


** Sermon will begin with the Brian Sumner Video see it here**


    ** WHO IS REALLY FIRST IN YOUR LIFE?**

    Now, I don’t mean who you say is first… or who should be first… or the Sunday morning at church answer…. But who is really first in your life? Who is first when it comes to your work? Who is first when it comes to your family? Who is first when it comes to your hopes or your plans or you?  WHO IS FIRST IN YOUR LIFE?   

    Revelation 17:14 gives us the answer to that question. As the great battle between ultimate evil and ultimate Good is described….we see who is really first.


We see that **THE WORLD WAGES “WAR” AGAINST OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD**

  You and I were created to be in relationship with the very One who create us. We are made to know God and Love God and Serve God. Our lives have purpose and meaning. We are here for a reason. To know God and Love God and serve the Lord brings ultimate joy and ultimate fulfillment….. but, the “world” wages “war” against that relationship!

   The Bible says, “ … they will wage war against the Lamb”….

Life, sin, selfishness, loneliness, unhappiness, and other areas of our “fallenness” work against our relationship with God. All the “stuff” of life pulls and tugs and grabs our attention and focus, yelling in our ears…. “ I’M FIRST…I’M FIRST…I’M FIRST!”

We are torn and attacked and beat down, as the enemy tempts us to put anything and everything (except Jesus) in first place. THE WORLD WAGES WAR AGAINST JESUS!

    Brian Sumner was victimized by that war. As a young man, “He felt all alone”. Always fighting, getting into trouble. He found skateboarding and that “defined him”….. but still NO PEACE.

He found love, a wife, a child…. But still NO JOY!

He was angry… HE HURT THE PEOPLE HE LOVED.

He was asking  “ IS THIS WHO I AM? “ “DO I MATTER”

Brian was at war.

  Many of us are fighting that same war. We too are hurt, or angry, or feel alone. Our job, or hobbies, or family, or sins “define us”. We too are asking “Is this really me” and “ do I really Matter”?The world is also tugging and pulling and screaming at us to make anything and anyone other than Jesus first.  We too are at war!


 ** JESUS WINS VICTORY OVER THE WORLD BECAUSE HE IS FIRST!**

 Although the World wages war against Jesus… the world can’t win because of who He is.   “ …But the Lamb will triumph over them because He is Lord of Lord’s and King of Kings.”

Jesus wins victory because of who He is! He is eternal! All things were created through Him! He is the alpha and the omega… the Lion of the tribe of Judah….. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and one day everyone will admit that!

The Word of God says, “ That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord…”

JESUS WINS VICTORY BECAUSE HE IS FIRST!

  Jesus won the victory in Brian Sumners life. The “war” Brian had been fighting… the fights- the broken relationships-the hurt- his life forced Brian to ask…. ARE YOU REAL?  Brian asked that question, and God answered. The Creator of the universe showed up!..... at a Christian thrift shop…. In Christian music…. Through a book called The Case for Christ ….In The Bible.   Jesus won victory in Brian’s life…. because Jesus became First in Brian’s life!

  When He is First… that very same Jesus will win victory in our lives as well! That same Jesus will heal our hurts… He will restore our relationships… He will answer our questions… He will give us purpose! That same Jesus will reveal Himself to us!  When He is first… He will win victory in our lives too!


** WHEN WE ARE SECOND….. LIFE IS FULFILLING**

Putting Jesus First, puts us on His team… AND HIS TEAM WINS! The Word of God says, “ … and with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers”.  That means we share in His victory… and sharing in that victory means we share in His rewards! We receive eternal life! We Know His unconditional Love! He gives us a Plan and a purpose for Life!   We do have meaning and fulfillment and a way to make a difference!   WHEN HE WINS… WE WIN!

  Brian Sumner shared in that victory! When Jesus became First in His Life…. “ He felt the presence of God”…. “I’m Not angry”… I’m not the same Brian…” “I am Second- and I enjoy it!”

He became Second… and Life became fulfilling!

When we are Second and Jesus is First…we to find the fulfilled life. We too have purpose and meaning. We experience Eternal life. We find unconditional love.  HE WINS…. AND BECAUSE HE WINS, WE WIN!

 

                   Who is really FIRST in your life?

The world says, “Anyone and anything other than Jesus.”

The Word says, “Jesus… the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

The question is…. WHAT DO YOU SAY?

      I pray that we all can say and live … **I AM SECOND…JESUS IS FIRST!**


September 8, 2013 - I Am Second...I Have Struggles by Darren Gillespie

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 View Comments Comments (0)
 

        I AM SECOND….. I HAVE STRUGGLES

                                 MARK 5:1-20

** Sermon will begin with Josh Hamilton video - Watch on YouTube**


  Josh Hamilton… major league ball player… millionaire… famous all-star….. HAS STRUGGLES!

A homeless, crazy, demon-possessed man….. HAD STRUGGLES!

Darren Gillespie….Pastor…Christian…Husband and Father….. HAS STRUGGLES!

 ** WE ALL HAVE STRUGGLES… THE QUESTION IS , WHAT DO WE DO WITH THEM??????????**  

   In Mark 5:1-20 we read of a crazed, demon-possessed man who had major life struggles. Now, we may be tempted to think that his problems were bigger and larger and worse than ours…. But is that so? Are our struggles really that different?

  ** HE HAD STRUGGLES…. HE WAS OUT OF CONTROL!**

 This man was the poster child for an out of control life. He lived in the creepy, stench-filled tombs. He broke the chains, and whipped the people who tried to help him. The Word says, “No one was strong enough to subdue him.” HE WAS OUT OF CONTROL!

 If we are honest, at times, so are we. We try to control our environments, our careers, our families, our churches, and everything else in life…. but we struggle! We find that we can’t control our jobs or our circumstances. We lose our patience and our tempers. We feel the sting of sin and can’t seem to break free from bad habits. We too hurt those who are trying to help us. At times, we too are out of control!

   Josh Hamilton was addicted to the feeling he found on the field..and too the drugs and alcohol he found on the streets. His mind said “no”… but his body said “yes”. He was out of control.

                                        ARE WE?

** THE MAN HAD STRUGGLES… HE HELD ON TO HIS HURTS!**

This poor, pitiful, hurting man had been wallowing in his pain for so long, that that is exactly what his life had become. He was so accustomed to the filth that he was living in, that he couldn’t break out of it. When Jesus, (the only one who could help him) showed up, you would have thought that the man would have jumped for joy…. But instead he said, “what do you want with me Jesus?”

This poor man was HOLDING ON TO HIS HURST--- WHEN HELP WAS RIGHT THERE!

 Don’t we tend to do the same thing?

    As a pastor, I have been around many, many families at funerals. Too many times, I have seen brothers or sisters, parents and children who have been feuding for years. I’ve seen people who wouldn’t even speak to one another at the funeral of a family member, because of some hurt from 20 years before.

WHAT HURTS ARE YOU HOLDING ON TO THIS MORNING?


 ** HIS STRUGGLES….BROUGHT OTHERS DOWN!**

 The demons that had so tortured the man… were bent on hurting others. In this case, as Jesus cast the demons out—they took out the pigs—which hurt the economy—which hurt the people--- which turned people away from the only One who could really help.  Their response: “Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region”.

One man’s struggles, brought others down.

Josh Hamilton’s struggles hurt his team. As he was trying to deaden his pain with booze and drugs… he was suspended from baseball. Teammates who counted on him were hurt. His team was hurt. The fans were hurt. His family was hurt. His struggles brought others down!

SOMETIMES, SO DO OURS!

        I know a man who has been angry and bitter and mean for most of his life. Nothing was ever good enough.. he never really seemed happy, and he would take that un-happiness out on his family. He and his wife divorce.. he had a strained relationship with his children. He was mean.  Someone in the family began to study and to research and to try to find out why he was so angry and bitter. Turns out, that this man, who had once been a Christian, had been called by God into the ministry when he was young… but because of fear and worry- he ran. He struggled, and those struggles brought down the very people he loved.

ARE YOUR STRUGGLES BRINGING OTHERS DOWN?

  

  So, we, like Josh Hamilton: like the poor, pitiful, tortured soul in the Bible story: we too have struggles. Those struggles can overtake and overwhelm---- IF THEY ARE FIRST.

But, what would happen if our struggles didn’t define us? What if our struggles were SECOND…. And JESUS WAS FIRST?


  ** WHEN HIS STRUGGLES WERE SECOND… JESUS BROUGHT HIM THROUGH!

 Jesus took the man’s struggles: those “demons” that had so tortured him: and Jesus cast them out! He lifted the man out of the decaying tombs, and sent him into a world of possibilities! He took those struggles and turned them into opportunities. Jesus said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

JESUS HELPED HIM THROUGH!

Jesus helped Josh Hamilton through and He will help us through as well!

  Do you remember in Josh Hamilton’s first dream… he was fighting the devil on his own. He was getting tired, and he was whipped, and he couldn’t fight any more.   But then, when Jesus became FIRST in his life… Jesus was right there beside him in the fight!

When Jesus is FIRST…. He gives us victory over those struggles!

 Brothers and sisters, we aren’t any different from Josh Hamilton… or the demon tortured man. WE TOO HAVE STRUGGLES!

If those struggles are FIRST… if they define who we are and how we will live: then we will continue to be hurt, and to hurt others. BUT HOW ABOUT WE ALLOW THE LORD TO CHANGE THAT!  How about we PUT JESUS FIRST…. AND OUR STRUGGLES SECOND!

The demon Possessed man did. Josh Hamilton did. SO CAN WE!

                     ** ARE YOU SECOND?**



September 1, 2013 - The Day After Tomorow

Tuesday, September 03, 2013 View Comments Comments (0)
 

                “THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW”

                              Revelation 21:1-8


   How would your favorite movie turn out if you could choose the ending?   Would Rhett stay and marry Scarlett?  Would Goose survive and win the Top Gun trophy with Maverick? Would the Titanic not sink … Maybe Darth Vader wouldn’t really be Luke’s Father or Madea wouldn’t go to jail but would become president.

If we were given control, we would probably make every movie end in just the good way we would want it.

   Now, we all know that we don’t get to choose how our favorite movies end….. But what about the “ending” of this life? What if we had some control as to whether the “ending” of God’s” New beginning” were good or bad for us.  This morning, as we conclude our “Day after tomorrow” teaching series, we will see that there are two endings for two groups of people in God’s “Day after Tomorrow”.

    Revelation 21:1-8 gives us an incredible vision of what awaits all of creation in the time of the final establishment of God’s kingdom. We are given a picture of God’s “Day after Tomorrow”


   ** For the Righteous… The Day after Tomorrow brings A New Home!**

Our God is busy making a new creation, a new dwelling place, and a new home for His people.  The Word says, “ …. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth… I saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God….”

The Lord has an incredible new home and new creation for the people who know and who love Him. A creation that is without brokenness and scars. A world without tornados and hurricanes and ice storms and war. He is creating a place and a time in which the world and the people and all of creation is made new and restored to the very image for which we were created. The “Day after tomorrow brings a New Home… for the Righteous.

      One of the most popular TV. reality shows from 2003 to 2012 was called, “Extreme Makeover Home Edition”. Each episode of the show would feature a family that had faced some sort of on-going hardship and struggle ( special needs children, disasters, children facing terminal illnesses, wounded soldiers, etc…) and needing new and better housing. The climax to the show comes when the entire team, plus the family, shouts, “ Bus Driver, move that Bus” and a new and improved home is revealed.)


 In God’s ‘Day after Tomorrow” the Lord is going to “move the bus” and give the Righteous a NEW HOME!


** For the Righteous…. The “Day after Tomorrow” brings an Intimate Relationship!**

Our God is a God who is all about relationship. He created us for that personal and deep knowing of Him. He gathers us as a people into His kingdom and invites us to belong to His family. He revealed Himself by coming in the flesh in the person of Jesus… and He has led us into His Truth and His will with His Spirit. The Lord wants to know and to be known by His people!

  The Problem is in our “today”. In the present, we only partially know Him. The relationship is NOT all that it could be. The Word of God says, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror”….”

The Good News is this: In God’s “Day after Tomorrow” we will see God “Face to Face”. The Scripture says, “… look, God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will with them and be their God”.  Where we are face to face with God , all the hurts of our “todays” will be gone! “ No more death or mourning or crying or pain….”  An intimate relationship with God!

   Our daughter Julieann and I and Paula have some special “hugs” and “kisses” that we give one another. ( butterfly kisses, Eskimo kisses, big bear hugs, little bear hugs, ant hugs, wiggly worm hugs, etc….) Now, we can do those special hugs and kisses because she is our daughter and we are her mommy and her daddy and we love her!

Can you imagine that in God’s “Day after Tomorrow” that the hugs and the kisses will come from the Lord Himself! God’s “Day after Tomorrow” brings and intimate relationship with God….. for the righteous.


** For the Righteous…. The “Day after Tomorrow” brings an Eternal Inheritance!**

God has a great plan and great rewards for those who follow Him. He provides all our needs. He allows us to see the difference our lives have made. He gives us eternal life and He rewards our obedience. He has a banquet and a feast and a table reserved just for us. We re-unite with the loved ones we have missed so dearly, and we see the One who died for us face to face. He has a forever lasting inheritance saved for us! The Word says, “…to the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this…”


        I once saw a license plate that said, “I’m spending my kid’s inheritance”. (** picture of that plate will be projected**)

God is NOT doing that! God’s “Day after Tomorrow” brings an Eternal Inheritance…. For the Righteous.



     Now, that is the “good ending”. But there is another one.

The “Day after Tomorrow” won’t be so good for those who refuse to follow Christ. Those  who won’t accept the gift of salvation are going to be hurting. Those who turn away from His love will suffer.


** For the wicked… The “Day after Tomorrow” brings a Terrible Destruction!**

Sin destroys… and that destruction wreaks havoc and reverberates all the way into the “Day after Tomorrow”.  “  But the cowardly, the un-believing, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars- they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death.”

Failing to receive Christ is a “life and death decision.” That decision has eternal life and death consequences!

       I was witnessing to a man in the last church that I served, before coming here to Radcliff. He was an open and sometimes hostile non-believer, but I was able to build relationship, and trust and even a sort of friendship with him. I tried to not only talk about the love of the Lord, but also to model that love. I eventually just laid everything on the line and said: “ let’s pretend that my belief in Christ is non-sense. Let’s pretend that I am wrong, and you are right.. that God is everywhere and you don’t have to accept Jesus to be saved. Let’s pretend that you are right.    IV’E LOST NOTHING! I have had a faith that carries me through rough times. I’ve had a church family to love me. I’ve had hope that went beyond circumstance. If it’s not true… I’ve lost nothing!

 However, if I am right and you are wrong and God is real and Jesus did die to save you and yet you still refuse that offer of salvation… YOU HAVE LOST EVERYTHING!

If I am right…. This is going to end bad for you!


 Brothers and sisters, we don’t get to choose how our favorite movie will end…. But we do have the opportunity to choose what we are going to do about Jesus. That choice that we make today… will determine our “Day after Tomorrow”.

How will your “Day after Tomorrow be”?


August 25, 2013 - Day After Tomorrow: Tomorrow by Pastor Darren

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 View Comments Comments (0)
 

                          “TOMORROW”

                           Romans 8:22-25

                           Acts 1:4-8

   Have you ever played the “I wonder about tomorrow game?” My family and I have had a lot of transition in our lives lately, so we have been doing a lot of “I wonder about tomorrow”… kind of thinking.   “I wonder what tomorrow at Radcliff United Methodist Church will bring.”    “We wonder what Shelby’s tomorrow at College will look like.”   “Jonah and Julieann have asked what tomorrow in new schools, on new teams, with new friends will be like?”   “Our infuse clergy staff team is dreaming about the tomorrow of Infuse ministries”.

We human beings are prone to ask about our own “tomorrows”   But what about “God’s Tomorrow?”  What does His tomorrow look like?

   In Romans 8:22-25 we are given a general glimpse of God’s tomorrow. “…We wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies, for in this hope we were saved….”

** GOD’S TOMORROW IS FILLED WITH ADOPTION, REDEMPTION, AND SALVATION.**

  

  God is at work in the present to grow tomorrows family through ** SPIRITUAL ADOPTION.** He created all of humanity and He desires that all of humanity belong in His family. He wants to adopt all of us as His children. We are created for his family, and He came in the flesh to give us a way to belong. As God’s Word says in John 1:12, “…Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”

God’s tomorrow is one of ADOPTION.

 God is at work in the present to bring a tomorrow in which EVERYONE and EVERYTHING is **REDEEMED!** Our God is a God who redeems. To “Redeem” is to:  “recover either living beings or personal property from impending loss.” It is to SALVAGE… to RESTORE… it is to give NEW PURPOSE to all people and to all creation. God is busy redeeming all that He created. God’s Word says… “They will be called Holy people, the redeemed of the Lord.” (Isaiah 62:12)

God is busy re-creating… “A new heaven and a new earth.” GOD’S TOMORROW IS ONE OF REDEMPTION!

   God is working now to bring about **TOMORROWS SALVATION. **

We know, and we are loved by a God who SAVES. Biblical “salvation” is both deliverance from the spiritual danger of sin, and restoring to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wholeness and health. So, God’s tomorrow is one in which people are saved from the spiritual death caused by sin, and all of creation is restored to the completeness and wholeness for which we were intended. In describing tomorrow’s salvation, the Bible says, “…Hallelujah, salvation and glory and power belong to our God…”   GOD’S TOMORROW IS ONE OF SALVATION!


   So, that is a great picture! Tomorrow looks good. Tomorrow looks hopeful. God’s tomorrow looks bright!   The question is:  How do we, who are living in “today”… prepare for God’s “tomorrow”? See, the Bible tells us that we have a role to play in His tomorrow. “…For we are co-workers in God’s service” (1st Corinthians 3:9)  YOU AND I WORK WITH GOD TO BRING ABOUT HIS TOMORROW!

                                            HOW?


   BY ** WAITING FOR HIS EMPOWERMENT**

As Jesus was meeting with His followers following His resurrection and before His ascension, he said, “…do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father has promised…” Before they just launched out to bring about His tomorrow, Jesus called them to WAIT. He knew they couldn’t do this on their own. They would need His strength...His PowerHis direction. So He told them to WAIT!

 If we are going to be part of His tomorrow… we too must WAIT FOR his empowerment. Wait in deep prayer. Wait by saturating your life with His Word. Wait by entering His presence in worship. Wait for His Power!


    When I was in the navy, I was a police officer at Naval Air Station Pensacola. One of the things we were taught over and over again was to ALWAYS “wait for Back-up”.  Being the young, cocky, kid that I was, I once failed to wait on that back-up… and it almost cost me. We had someone who ran the gate, and I was the first one to respond. I pulled over an old, junked up car with California tags, and saw that there were two people inside, a man and a woman. I ordered them out of the car…. Could tell that they were both “high” so I ordered her to stay at the back of the car with her hands on the truck, while I searched him. He started to fight, I subdued him, was getting ready to cuff him, when I heard behind me: “FREEZE”. I looked back and my partner had shown up, and had his gun drawn on the woman I had left by the trunk. She had made her way behind me, I hadn’t even noticed her, and when He pulled up she had a knife in her hand.

I didn’t wait for back-up, and it almost cost me!

WE LIVE IN TO HIS TOMORROW BY WAITING FOR HIS EMPOWERMENT!


   LIVE IN GOD’S TOMORROW BY **RECEIVING HIS HOLY SPIRIT**

 Jesus said, “…But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”   Real ministry is only able to be carried out through The Holy Spirit of the Living God. As we open up our lives to His Spirit, He will carry us into His tomorrow. As we listen to the Spirits voice He gives us God’s Truth. As we seek Him through prayer and Word and Worship He gives us God’s direction. As we focus away from the things of the world and toward the things of God,  The Holy Spirit lives more and more and more in us. RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT AND SEE GOD’S TOMORROW.


 WE WILL USHER IN GOD’S TOMORROW WHEN WE ** WITNESS TO HIS SALVATION**

Jesus told His followers, “… and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

God, in all of His wisdom and sovereignty, has called his people to work with Him in seeing His tomorrow become reality. We are to share the good news of Jesus with the people we know. We are to tell the people whom we work with and whom we play with about a Lord who saves. We are expected to share Jesus’ love with the stranger in our midst… and the enemy who comes against us. We are to witness to His salvation… to the “ENDS OF THE EARTH.”

      In speaking to the preachers of the people called Methodists… John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Movement, said… **“ You have nothing to do but save souls. Therefore spend, and be spent in this work,”**


   Brothers and Sisters, the Lord has a great tomorrow planned for all of creation! A tomorrow filled with ADOPTION- REDEMPTION- and SALVATION!   Friends… we have a role to play in that tomorrow… today!   LET’S GET TO IT!


August 11, 2013 - The Day After Tomorrow: Yesterday by Pastor Darren

Thursday, August 15, 2013 View Comments Comments (0)

Genesis 12:1-5

 

** WHAT WAS GOD UP TO “YESTERDAY”? ** Now, when I say “Yesterday”, I don’t mean just “yesterday” (August 10th).. but I really mean “every yesterday”. What and how and where has God moved and shown up and revealed Himself in the history of His people.. and in the history of His church? What was God doing “yesterday”?

In Genesis 12:1-5 we read of what God was up to “Yesterday”. We see God calling Abram (who would become Abraham) to a new journey and a new life with Him. We see the beginning of a new people and a new covenant. We experience what God was up to “yesterday” in the history of His people and we see what God was (and is) doing in the history of Radcliff United Methodist Church.

 

We See that ** ABRAM WAS IN RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD**

The very first verse says, “The Lord had said to Abram…” Abram was in such a close, personal, everyday relationship with the Lord… that God “spoke” to him. He heard God’s voice. He knew God’s direction. He walked with God, and talked with God, and listened to God. He prayed, and worshipped, he served…. Abram loved the Lord! He was in relationship with God!

 

**SO ARE WE!**

Through all of the “yesterdays” of Radcliff United Methodist Church, we too have been blessed by people who are in relationship with God! We have been blessed by Sunday school teachers who dove deep into God’s Word and shared scriptures and songs and activities to help us know who the Lord is. We have been lifted up day after day and year after year by those saintly “prayer warriors” who interceded on our behalf. They pray for you and I and the church in their “quite- time” each day. We have been led by people who are called by God and sent from the conference, those who are set apart to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments, and who have been faithful in doing it. We have seen how to serve… by the examples of people building the holy halls and keeping them focused on God’s purposes, by people willing to help the hurting… to reach out to the community…. To visit the sick… to love those who feel unlovable.

Through our “yesterdays” we know people who are in a loving, close, vibrant, relationship with the Lord!

 

When asked about memories or thoughts of Yesterdays here people wrote… “I am grateful for the people who have invested their love and gifts to help shape me into the Christian I am today”

 

A church family that loves me as I am”

 

I remember how much we were welcomed”

 

I couldn’t have made it without them”

 

We have served and been served”

 

people loved the youth… Main Street, lock-ins, vbs”

 

Special people who have impacted our lives”

 

lots of hugs…”

Our yesterdays are filled with people who know and love God!

 

**ABRAM WAS BLESSED BY GOD**

The Lord promised great blessings for Abram. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you….”

The Lord loved Abram and the Lord loves His people. God made an incredible promise of incredible blessing. Abram would see his people become God’s people. He would have incredible influence upon the World and history. Abram and His people would live in God’s divine favor and God’s incredible protection. He would take those blessings from God, and share them with the rest of the world… “ and all the people’s of the earth will be blessed through you.” Abram was blessed by God!

 

** SO HAVE WE BEEN**

Church, through each and every one of our “yesterday’s” we too have been blessed by God. We have seen our people (our families, our friends, our co-workers) become God’s people, as they accepted Jesus at this very altar. We have witnessed the positive and life-changing influence that Radcliff United Methodist Church would have upon this community. We too have seen God’s divine favor. He has blessed Radcliff UMC with a beautiful building in which to worship and work, and a beautiful church family whom we love and serve with. God has protected us from the enemy who is always trying to trip us up. We too, like Abram have taken the blessings that God has given and shared them with the world as we send missionaries to Thailand and Christian soldiers to Fort Knox. We share his blessings, when we pray for our friends and invite people to the church and to the Lord. We too have been blessed by God!

I was looking through some ministry highlights from Radcliff UMC 50 year celebration, and I was so blessed by the many ministries Radcliff UMC has shared with the community. Look at this list of over 50 ministries!

* List will be displayed*

 

** ABRAM WAS OBEDIENT TO GOD!**

Abram loved the Lord so much, and Abram was focused on serving the Lord so well… he was willing to obey the Lord, whatever the cost. The Lord had said, “ Go from your country, your people, and your father’s household to the land I will show you….” And then the Word says, “ So Abram went as the Lord had told Him.” He obeyed. It was risky… it was different… he wasn’t sure how God would fulfill His promises… but He obeyed!

Abram was obedient to God!!!!!!

 

** SO ARE WE**

In 1960, the Lord planted within the hearts and minds of a group of committed Christ-followers in the Radcliff/Fort Knox area… that He had a plan and a vision for them. The Lord wanted to use them to plant and to nurture and to grow and to build His Church…. And they said YES! They, like Abram,were willing to step out… to go a new direction… to take a risk.. to be OBEDIENT!

 

So T. Brown and Lorraine Logsdon were obedient to donate the land. Families were obedient to save S and H Green stamps to purchase a piano. Ray and Mary Johnson were obedient to provide an organ. In 1985 the church was obedient to build a parsonage. Visionaries were obedient to make every person and every place accessible with an elevator and ramps. The people of Radcliff UMC have been obedient to begin new ministries.. to reach out to the community…. To lead people to Jesus!

We too have been Obedient!

 

WHAT WAS GOD UP TO “YESTERDAY”? He was doing great and miraculous things in Abrams’ life… and in the “Yesterday’s” of Radcliff United Methodist Church. Friends, that God who has so “blessed” our yesterdays… is the same God we serve today! “ Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”!

August 4, 2013 - What Do We Do - We Send People Out! Pastor Darren

Thursday, August 15, 2013 View Comments Comments (0)

John 20:19-23

 

** “AN ARMY IS JUDGED NOT BY WHO IS IN THE BARRACKS… BUT BY WHAT HAPPENS ON THE BATTLEFIELD”**

 

** “ THE CHURCH WILL BE JUDGED NOT BY HOW MANY ARE IN THE PEWS… BUT BY WHAT THEY ARE DOING ON THE MISSION FIELD.”**

 

Church…. What do we do? WE SEND PEOPLE OUT!

 

The disciples were together… but they were locked in and locked up. They were locked in for safety, and they were locked up because of fear. Oh, it was true that they had seen Jesus’ miracles. They had heard his teaching. They even truly believed that He was the “Messiah”.. .the Son of God… the Savior. They had really believed… but they also saw Him arrested and beaten and crucified. Some had watched Him die, and even with reports of an empty tomb and some wild stories of His really being alive--- THEY WERE AFRAID! That fear locked them up and locked them in.

 

Sometimes our fears also lock us up, and lock us in. Sometimes we are afraid of CHANGE. Maybe we are afraid of LOSING PEOPLE or LOSING CONTROL. Maybe we fear DISCOMFORT or losing our LONG HELD TRADITIONS. Perhaps we fear what more and different people coming into the church would mean for us. WHAT IF WE LOSE “OUR PLACE”? So we, like those disciples are tempted to lock in and lock up as the church. We are tempted to “hold our ground” and “stay inside”.

 

But that’s NOT what the Church does! Jesus would not let His disciples stay locked in and locked up. He showed up and He said… “ As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

Jesus sent them… and Jesus sends us out!

 

CHURCH, WHAT DO WE DO?..... WE SEND PEOPLE OUT!

 

** WE SEND PEOPLE OUT WITH HIS PEACE!**

 

The first thing Jesus did for those scared disciples, was to calm them down. He saw their FEAR. He knew their DISCOMFORT. He realized that going beyond the walls would be RISKY. So the very first thing that Jesus did was to give them HIS PEACE. He said, “Peace be with you.” That peace.. that “shalom” which only Jesus can give is a “calm in the midst of uncertainty”.

 

It is a Trust that even when things look impossible, “Gods’ got this.” It is the assurance that the Lord goes beyond the walls with us and “He has our back.” His peace is knowing that Our God will win!

 

I was standing behind the pulpit of Lebanon United Methodist Church (the church I just moved from) and I was announcing that the Lord was moving us after 8 years of serving in ministry there. At that time, I couldn’t tell them where we would be going or anything about this new type or model of ministry the Lord had for us. As I thanked them for the wonderful years there and as I reminded them that we are about God’s plan and God’s will and not our own… I realized how “AT PEACE” I was. I shared that same peace with them by saying, “although there is uncertainty and anxiety and challenges ahead… the best place—the most gratifying place—the most peaceful place to be is in the center of God’s will.”

 

WE ARE SENT OUT AND WE SEND PEOPLE OUT WITH HIS PEACE!

 

**WE SEND PEOPLE OUT WITH HIS SPIRIT!**

 

When the Lord sends people out, He NEVER sends them alone. He calmed His disciples down with His peace, and he filled them up with His Spirit!

 

The Word says, “and with that He breathed on them and said, ‘receive the Holy Spirit’.”

The Lord knew that these disciples could not and would not ever be able to get out from behind their walls of fear in their own strength. He knew they could never rely on their own talents and their own plans to carry out the mission He had for them. He knew that they would need a LARGE DOSE OF JESUS TO GO! So He sent them, and He sends us filled with His Holy Spirit!

 

General George Patton was giving His famous speech to the 3rd army prior to “D Day”. At one point he said to these American Soldiers, “... we have the best team-we have the finest food and equipment- the best spirit and the best men in the world.”

He wanted these men to know that they were sent with what they needed to win the war.

Our General… Our Lord Jesus sends us out with who and with what we need for the mission field. WE ARE SENT AND WE SEND PEOPLE OUT FILLED WITH HIS HOLY SPIRIT!

 

** WE SEND PEOPLE OUT TO OFFER SALVATION!**

 

We are sent and we send people out for a reason… a purpose. Jesus said to those locked in and locked up disciples… “ If you forgive anyone’s sins their sins are forgiven; but if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” What was Jesus saying to them? What is He saying to us?

 

Jesus was giving them their mission. He was letting them know why they couldn’t stay locked up behind those walls. Why they couldn’t let their fears and worries paralyze them. He was letting them know why He was sending them out. The purpose is SALVATION! They, and we are sent out to offer His forgiveness.. .Eternal Life….Salvation to the world!

 

** “ People are only forgiven in as much as we share Jesus offer of salvation with them.”**

 

There is a fictional story of the Lord speaking to the angels and sharing His plan to save humanity eternally. “ I’m going to raise up those who would follow me… I will call them the Church… and I’m going to send them out into the World to offer my forgiveness and my salvation to people.”

The angels began to think about us humans; how we mess up; how we tend to lose focus; how we tend to get complacent, and one of them got up the nerve to ask. “ and Lord, what is your ‘plan B’?” The Lord smiled and said, “there is no ‘plan B’.”

 

WE ARE SENT OUT AND WE SEND OUT TO OFFER SALVATION!

 

 

Church, what do we do? WE SEND PEOPLE OUT! We send people out to play music or sing specials for our brothers or sisters at Longview and Alpha. We send people out to help little children learn about Jesus at Stovall or West Point. We send people out to share the love of Jesus in the school system and in the work place. We send people out to show Christ while defending our nation in the military. We send people out to minister to a village in Honduras or on the streets of Thailand. We send people out to serve in ministry… to speak in pulpits.. to teach in classes…. To plant new churches!

 

WE SEND PEOPLE OUT…. THE REAL QUESTION IS: WILL YOU GO?