Summary: A 2006 post-Easter sermon

(1) When failure strikes, where do you go to regroup? I asked that question to several persons this week and here is what some of them said:

(1A) One of them offered several different groups of people but ultimately said, “I drop to my knees, and pour my pain before the throne of God, and ask for His protection, strength, and Power! For God NEVER uses what I tell him against me, and He’s always there with the answer I need!”

(1B) Another one said, “You regroup by expecting the unexpected.”

Where do you go to regroup when failure strikes?

Now before I continue, here is what I have felt led to preach on from now until the first Sunday in June when it is Pentecost Sunday. For this week and next, I will be preaching on selected passages from the gospels’ final chapters as well as the opening chapter of Acts to help us understand the importance and significance of what happened after the Resurrection and prior to Pentecost.

In May, I will preach for two weeks on family life. My Mother’s Day sermon will be entitled, “Lessons I Have Learned from My Mother.” The week after that I will be preaching a sermon that I have definitely felt led to preach entitled, “Parents, Stop Beating Yourselves Up!” (What’s that about? You will just have to come and find out!)

Then, for Memorial Day Sunday we will begin what I am calling a ‘Week of Remembering.’ I will tell you more about that week as it draws closer. However, it will be a week during which you will be encouraged to remember not only fallen heroes but two additional groups of people. Those who currently serve our nation and those who have been a faith influence on you as we think about Pentecost Sunday. Invite a veteran or a member of one of our law enforcement units and/or fire departments or someone that has served as an example to you of faith and service to come with you that Memorial Day Sunday.

We will conclude that week on June 4th with communion and a solo by Lindsey Helmer who has graciously agreed to come and sing a wonderful song of remembrance entitled ‘I Remember You.’ (She would have done so on Memorial Day Sunday, but she will be returning from the West Coast that day.) Again, I encourage you to invite someone to come that Sunday.

(2) So, where do you go to regroup when failure strikes?

(2A) Others said.. When I feel lost or defeated I turn to prayer

(2B) I don’t have a ’place’ or a ’person’ that I go to.... I guess I go to a place inside myself. Never really thought about it.

(3) ‘If you are talking about the people I go to talk to, that would be my support group. Family and friends! If you are talking about a specific place it would be...the family farm… That is my favorite place ever to go relax and just feel like I’m miles away from everything.

(4) Another one said, “I go home to regroup; sometimes to Chain O’Lakes State Park or Pokagon...I visit family or colleagues. I try to be around people who will give me some support;”

(5) Finally another person said, “Personally, I don’t believe in failing. I think every opportunity is a learning experience and always take something positive from each experience. I like the book of Philippians, especially chapter 4.”

Now in addition to our main text for this morning, there is another text that I want to read, also from John’s gospel. It immediately follows our text with John 20:24 and concludes with verse 29: “One of the disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.”

Do you notice a common theme in these two passages? Let’s look again at verse 19 “That evening, on the first day of the week, the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders,” Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! And also verse 26, “Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them.”

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