Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: People, connection, joy, reward


1 Thess 2:13 -20 (p835) October 21, 2012

Deacon’s Sunday


As I prepared for this Sunday I did as I usually do…I read the text, reread it, usually in The Message translation…and then I prayed for spiritual insight and read it again…

But in between the reading and praying I looked around my office…I’ve got a lot of Eagles because I love Isaiah 40…I’ve got tons of U.K. stuff…everything from posters to little hotrods (gifts from friends)…I’ve got tickets and mementoes from 2002 winter Olympics that Steve Poston and I went to…I’ve got tons of golf stuff, including some trophies from when I could really play...back in the early and mid 90’s I played a lot and was pretty good…

My office is filled with books and pictures …I’m surrounded by the things I love and keep safe that help me recall fond memories.

I have one trophy in particular that’s my favorite…It’s small, only about 6 inches tall (here’s a picture of it)…on top of the little wooden podium is a guy throwing a horseshoe…the plaque on it is engraved simply KU Picnic, 1st ….71….My name’s not even on it, but you don’t have enough money in this world to buy it fro me…

In 1971 I was 10…turned 11 in April…In 1971 on April 2nd I was burned badly, 3rd degree burns over about 50% of my body…my Dad had saved my life…burning his own arms and hands extinguishing the flames…I spent almost 3 months in St. Joseph’s Hospital before they removed all the skin from my legs to perform skin grafts over the burned areas…when I left the hospital I looked like a feeble little old man who could hardly walk…

I think it was June or July when we had the huge KU Picnic at Keeneland…Dad was a Vice President…it was something we all looked forward to…but I’d only been out of the hospital for a few weeks..it was early in my healing, but Dad and I entered the horseshoe competition…and something magical occurred…we beat dozens of teams, we threw ringer after ringer…one of them I bounced off Dad’s prosthetic leg and it scored a ringer…I still remember the look of shock on the other team as he bent over and said Ouch..and then threw the shoe…we won…an eleven year old that could barely stand up and a one legged Veteran from World War II…A gift from God…I’ll always think so, but it’s not the trophy…I could have ordered one made for 15 bucks…It’s the joy I have remembered…remembering my Dad and that special day in our relationship.

When Paul writes to the Thessalonians it’s the people and the relationships he celebrates…they are his joy, they will be his crown in glory…they are the proof of his hope.

What did Paul remember?


V13 “We also thank God continually because when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”

[I remember making this volcano in sixth grade science class…out of chicken wire, paper mache…I used plastic trees and animals and the mouth of the volcano was a “baby food jar”…in it was baking soda and red food coloring…but when I pretested the volcano I poured vinegar into the baby food jar containing the baking soda and red food coloring and “ the vinegar became a “catalyst” for Lava to flow…over the trees, animals and country side…it was very cool.]

How can you tell if someone has not only heard the gospel, but has accepted it as true and life changing? When it begins to change a believers life…when the word of God became the catalyst for Christ to overflow into their community and world through them.

I hear people say, I believe in God, but I don’t go to church…or he or she believed in God, but they weren’t really religious…I hear it at funerals a lot…people say it of themselves a lot, too…I believe in God…but…

People hold up their belief in God like it’s a get out of Hell free card…like believing is the ticket into heaven…but if belief doesn’t lead to repentance…if belief doesn’t lead to a saving relationship with God through faith it’s worthless…

James writes: “You believe that there is one God? Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder” (James 2:19)

Satan believes in God, I promise you…his minions, the demons have encountered Jesus personally, they believe…and they shudder in fear over their future…

If believing isn’t a “catalyst” for surrender, repentance, baptism, and rebirth through the Holy Spirit...you are in the same place as Satan and the demons, destined for Hell…and if it doesn’t’ make you shudder in fear…you’re in a worse place.

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