WORSHIP WITH US!
8:30AM, 9:45AM in the hall, or 11AM

Location:
7150 Pines Blvd
Pembroke Pines, FL 33024
The SE corner of Pines Blvd and 72nd Ave
Across the street from Broward college South Campus lake
(954) 989-1903
tlcppines@gmail.com


Join Us For Worship!

Join Us For Worship!
Sundays at 8:30AM, 9:45AM, and 11AM

Featured Post

Advent Meditation on Joseph

The reading for Sunday, December 17, 2017: Matthew 1:18-25 This Sunday we read about an angel appearing to Joseph in a dream. We've no...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Pastor Keith's Sermon for Sunday August 11th



SERMON based upon Acts 14:8-20 
August 11, 2013

There’s a knock on the office door and it is a young man barely out of his teens and he has the look of one out of sorts and out of money. It is not an unusual look. Not for some time.

He speaks and quickly; no beating around the bush. No long story. He gets right into it: “I lost my job and my wife and I are trying to get to North Carolina but we don’t have money for gas. Can you help us?”

It had been a week of such requests. Of people knocking on the door who said that they had lost their jobs and couldn’t pay their rent or were about to lose their electricity or that their automobiles were about to be re-possessed. The stories were often complicated and full of impossible facts, meant, I suppose, to tear at my heart, to sway my decision. Maybe there was a thread a truth dressed up in those impossibilities, maybe not. And the week had tried my patience when a woman called pretending to be a different person but with the same story and the same phone number and acted as if she was calling for the first time and when caught, backpedaled into a different story, money for a different need.

So I listened to this young man, the second person that week asking for money for gas, trying to get away and find a new job, a new life, and then he mentioned that his wife was in the car. And that they were hungry. Great, I thought. That I can deal with, this young man and I walking to the narthex and me collecting up some of the donated food from the previous Sunday and handing him a bag of it, canned fruit and such. Immediately he left to put the groceries in the car, returning a while later to ask again about money for gas, they were on fumes you see.  And they had no one to help them. Not family. Not anyone. And I suggested that we go outside and meet her, feeling once again that my emotions were being played with and that I was determined to put a stop to it.  

We hear this morning these words from Paul:
We bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God.

We hear this morning a call to turn away from something so one can turn to God. To let go of things that cling to us and hold us back from the freedom that is ours in and through Christ Jesus.

Folks in Lystra had just with their own eyes seen Paul heal a man crippled since birth and that my friends is pretty heavy stuff. Miraculous stuff. god-like stuff.  So the good people of Lystra tried to bring them some worship. And a garland each for Paul and Barnabas, or may be more, to wear around their necks. And some oxen to sacrifice to them. Not a dove or a chicken or a sheep, not even a goat, but an entire oxen. They must have been seriously impressed!

But Paul would have none of it – pointing out to them that the one true God is the God who has giving them rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filled them with food and their hearts with joy. 

We bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God.

It was an invitation to turn from gods and idols that offered nothing but empty promises and failed hope to the one true God who offered salvation, grace, welcome.

So out in the parking lot there sat this old rusting car, the back seat filled to the ceiling with the detritus of one couple’s life, everything that they owned. In the passenger seat sat a very pregnant young lady, the bag of groceries now at her feet, she eating from a can of peaches from the bag, opened I found out, with a can opener that she kept in the glove compartment. Shyly, she offered thanks and gave me her name, before returning in her hunger to the peaches.

We bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God.

The man called to minister to others was ministered to and the best Good News that I could muster was a softer heart and a more repentant life, for me. We think that we do such good for people and that should be enough, but we forget  that the living God whom we serve, who calls us children of the Kingdom, who has saved and redeemed us, calls us to love not just in words and not just in deeds, but in our own repentance; to love by turning from that which robs us fully expressing God’s love to others, robs us of most fully embodying God’s grace.

Immediately I brought them into the hall and fed them from left overs in the fridge and gave them money for gas and offered them a blessing for their journey. The rest of the afternoon proved quiet and thankfully so, , me thinking of all that had come to pass, my haste to judgment, me wanting to deal with what I in my mind had labeled a problem, as quickly and painlessly as possible.

We bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God.

Paul says in Ephesians:
“You were taught to put away your former way of life, ….to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

All of us are called as ambassadors of Christ to bring the Good News in word and deed and many of us will struggle as I did, worn down by, allowing the judgments and cynicism of our age to rob our hearts of the welcoming love of Christ necessary for that holy work in which we all share. We think that we are inviting others to change, but what is needed is for us to change. The change we seek in others, the new life to which we seek to invite them, is a repentance that must constantly seek for ourselves, to, as Paul says, clothe ourselves, with our new self created according to the very likeness of God. When others see our willingness to struggle to be who God is calling us to be, then they will see in us, one who is truly capable of loving and accepting them in Jesus’ name.

When others see our willingness to struggle to be who God is calling us to be, then they will see in us, one who is truly capable of loving and accepting them in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

No comments: