Summary: The first sermon in a three part series, ‘The Church That You and God Have Always Wanted.’
(1) Yesterday, mom and I attended a second cousin’s wedding in Lafayette. During the ceremony they took communion but did so without the help of the pastor.
As they did so I was reminded of a wedding that I performed here a couple of years ago. The couple asked for communion as part of the ceremony and when it came time for communion, I turned to the communion table that was place behind me, and… no communion!
I was embarrassed by the situation and I ended up returning $20.00 of my fee to them for the mistake.
I was also recently sent a video clip of a baptismal service in which a child decided to cannonball himself into the baptistery. It was featured I believe on one of the national video TV shows.
He got the pastor soaked, the pastor’s Bible soaked, the side of the baptistery soaked, and I believe some of the platform furniture soaked as well! It took a while for the laughter to die down.
Then there are those well circulated bulletin bloopers that cause a good chuckle as well. (2) Food announcements can be re-written and cause quite a chuckle. This one appeared probably appeared in the weekly calendar section of the bulletin:
(2A) Thursday night: Potluck Supper - Prayer and medication will follow.
We had a good Easter breakfast a few weeks ago (thanks men!) but aren’t we glad that this request did not get printed in the bulletin: (2B) The Pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.
One of the most important things that a church can do to reach out to the community is provide space for support groups. However, I don’t think that this next announcement is a good way to get the point across!
(2C) Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30 p.m. Please use the back door.
As we begin this series, I remind us that the Lord loves, as unique and important individuals and as a unique and important congregation.
This series comes of out a significant time of prayer, reading, and reflection over the past several months. It comes, I believe directly from God’s heart and desire for us as the First Church of God. It also comes out of the Easter season and my pastoral concern and desire that we need to live in the power of Christ’s resurrection each and everyday as both individual believers and as a local congregation.
This series is designed to help us prayerfully consider who God is calling us to be as the First Church of God in Kendallville, Indiana. To help us begin our prayerful consideration, here is a clip that I found quite helpful for us to consider who we are and who God wants us to be. As we view it this morning, please reflect on the ideas and questions presented in it. (3) (The clip ‘Who Are We’ from sermonspice.com was used here.)
Over the next three weeks, I want us to keep in mind the following questions raised in the clip:
(4) Who are we?
(4A) What is our assignment?
(4B) Where is God at work right now?
(4C) What are we good at?
(4D) What’s the next step?
Each of these questions are important ones to ask and we will answer them, directly and indirectly in the next three weeks. But the question we begin with this morning is question number 2. What is our assignment? (5)
I believe that the starting point in answering that question begins with our main text for this morning. (5A) ‘For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.’ Notice the underlined sentence, ‘He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.’
There are two key separate but equally important statements in this sentence. (6) The first is the basis for the second. ‘He has created us anew in Christ Jesus.’
This is a foundational statement upon which our identity as believers is built. Neil T. Anderson has clarified this ‘newness’ with three important declarations:
1. (6A) I am accepted In Christ
2. I am secure in Christ
3. I am significant in Christ
Three of the most important needs we have as human beings are in the three descriptive words of each statement – acceptance, security, and significance. All of need to feel accepted, to feel secure in the love and care of another, and to feel that we are significant. But beyond just feeling these things, we need to experience all of these things and we can, and do, when we are made anew, born again by the confession of our sin and the acceptance of God’s forgiveness through Christ. We are new people. Only Jesus can make us truly feel and believe that we are accepted, secure, and significant.