5/30/99, Trinity Sunday/Memorial Day, Year A
ome things are worth remembering, others are better left alone. One of the many wonderful things about growing old with Marilyn is that we provide an ongoing reminder, and a check, of precious memories. Names mean a lot for they are connections to the stories from the times gone by, and between the two of us we can usually come up with the right names. Names of places visited in our many thousands of miles camping through the great 48 states. Remember that time the camper almost rolled into the river in Uhhh; where was that? Yosemite! I chime in; Or was it Yellowstone?
Some things are worth remembering--- they are far better than gold and silver. Every year during this Memorial Day weekend I remember the many from my past who paid the supreme sacrifice. I often recall that sinking feeling in my soul when I received the call that my best buddy, the other of the two guard Bobbies for the 1961-62 conference champion Asheboro High School Blue Comets, had been killed in the Vietnam War. Bobby Bulla was the better person of the two of us; and I sometimes wish that I could have somehow shared these wonderful 33 years since.
As Matthew records the last sentence that Jesus spoke He says, And remember, I am with you always... Jesus had existed as God forever, He came to earth for 33 years, and He lives through, and within, our lives and hearts still today as the Holy Spirit. He is as close as our breath; our counselor, teacher, and empowerer.
Jesus continuing power has accomplished far more than anyone could have imagined. He has taken a run-of-the-mill bunch of mediocre folks like the guys we now call Apostles, and used them far beyond their human strength and wisdom, to begin the campaign that has turned the world upside down. Note in verse seventeen how Matthew honestly admitted that some still doubted. After seeing Jesus resurrected, some still doubted? How much more human could they have been? Yet, Jesus continuing strength provided the power necessary to, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations... (v.19, NRSV).
And He still uses us. Everybody who comes to Christ says they came because of one of somebody like us. Seekers each bring a story of how one of you reached them with your witness and invitation. Sometimes it was a mere glance, the power of a friendly smile, the kindness in a voice. Other times it was hard sell evangelism. Advertising. Television. Web Site. Door to door crusades. The Yellow Pages. Maybe Bill Bright himself shared his Four Spiritual Laws with them at Daytona Beach. Everybody who has come, came because of somebody just like you who was used by the continuing presence of Jesus through their flawed and frail personality.
One of the things about being your Pastor that I love the most is that I am freed up to do it more, to have more opportunities for witness than the average disciple. I get to preach to 80-K per week via, T.V. I am the one who has the honor of coming up with creative advertisements in the Atlanta Journal Constitution each Saturday. The one yesterday may have been a bit over the edge; but, everybody I have met since has commented on my black eye, captioned by Fightin the Devil at: AFUMC. Several have already observed, Looks like you are losing the fight, HA! HA! But they noticed the ad, and just maybe somebody out there, Where the Dew Covers Dixie, will feel some positive vibes and come visit this church, and eventually tell the story that some wild preacher got my attention with a black eye. Stranger tales have been told around here. You all remember the legend about the bullet in our churchs front door, that led to a resumption of Sunday night worship services. Do we remember how God has used even fools for Christ?
And He wants to utilize us in greater ways. Every one of us can be a tool in His toolbox that has a purpose. Maybe you are a monkey wrench and He need a hammer today; but, there will come a time when only a monkey wrench will do the job. Perhaps your desire was to be a college president, but you are still the prof. But, remember, more college annuals are dedicated to college teachers than to presidents. My mother loved her first graders, she prayed with them every day in public school, and they still stop her on the street, some looking older that her 90 years, and tell her how much she meant to them at age six.
Jesus gave us this privilege and responsibility of--- This Great Commission as we call it, and He promised us a share in the force that flung the stars into space; the Church has called it the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--- We have all power, more power than we can sometimes control. We are like a teenager driving a 500 Hp. Mustang--- This Spirit sometimes seems too much. But, its always sufficient, whether we are cruising the back streets, or merging into I-285, we have enough power. Our listlessness, laziness, and lostness is never His fault. We have sufficient means to get the job done. But sometimes we forget. Folks get caught up in church politics and damage a local church. Unbelievers read about it in that Dixie Covering newspaper, and many souls are discouraged. They say, If thats the church then I am better off without it. Church folks dont need the devils help to mess things up; we sometimes mess it up under our own power.
But when we do remember who we are, whose we are, and what we are called to do--- then we are unstoppable. Not because of our getting it coordinated and organized according to human ingenuity; but, simply because we remembered Him.
I feel Jesus continuing presence beginning to move at our great church. I smell the smoke and I feel the flames of His Spirit. There is no telling what great things He wants to do here. Let us give ourselves to the vision of what He can do if we will only remember to depend on His power available to us, and to follow His will with diligence.
Jesus said it best, And Remember, I am with you always...
a sermon synopsis
by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor