Summary: A sermon about Christian witness through living for God.
by: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN
If you missed last Sunday evening’s cookout here at the church…
…you missed a very good time!
We had some awesome fellowship and great food.
What a blessing it is to be part of such a loving and joy-filled community of faith!
And the music after dinner was fantastic.
We moved into the sanctuary and celebrated as Andrew, Butch and Doug led us in worshiping God with such enthusiasm and talent!
I was having such a good time.
Have you ever seen the movie, The Apostle, starring Robert Duvall?
In it, Duvall plays the part of a very flawed, but God-loving and infectious Pentecostal preacher.
And the church which he pastored loved to sing…
…but not only sing…
…they loved to dance before the Lord!!!
One of the songs in the movie was I’ll Fly Away.
I love that song.
I can get lost in that song.
As Andrew, Butch, Doug and the rest of us were singing I’ll Fly Away this past Sunday evening, I got thinking about that movie, The Apostle.
And I got tempted to jump on the back of the pews and start dancing like the folks in that movie.
I would imagine many of you had the same feeling and excitement.
When I told Andrew about this later, he kind of looked at me like, “Well, what’s wrong with that? Why didn’t you do it?”
And what is wrong with that?
Why didn’t I do it?
Well, I wasn’t brought up in the Pentecostal tradition for one thing…so it would have been maybe a bit unnatural for me…
…but I was also self-concious…
…I thought I might freak everyone out.
And there certainly is a biblical grounding in not doing things which will freak people out.
We don’t want to turn others off or scare them away.
In 1 Corinthians Chapter 14 Paul is giving the congregation instructions about speaking in tongues, and he says to them that if everyone is just speaking in tongues all over the place—out of control—“will they not say that you are out of your mind?”
Then he continues with, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.”
But there is a time to dance!!!
There is a time to get totally lost in our love for God.
And when we do this, the troubles of this life…
…those things which bring us down and lay heavily on our hearts aren’t so heavy any longer.
In Matthew Chapter 11 Jesus calls out to you and to me: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
We live in a weary and burdened world, do we not?
People are tired and people are depressed.
The economic hardships of the past couple of years have caused many to feel as if the weight of the world lays on their shoulders.
I think there is an unusually high level of stress and hopelessness throughout our communities, our country and our world.
And one might think that this would cause many to return or, for the first time, come to church to find rest and peace…
…but it doesn’t seem to be working that way.
All across our Holston Conference, church attendance has gone down as the recession and jobless rates have gone up.
Why is that?