Sermon: John 14:15-21

Today’s sermon is up on my sermon blog. It’s the fifth in my series for the Easter Season this year — based on John 14:15-21 and entitled “An ‘Easter Church’ Makes A Difference”.

Here’s a portion of it:

A set of twin girls were born 12 weeks premature, each about two pounds. They were placed in separate bassinets. One started to do just fine – but the other one began slowly to fade. Her heart beat was rapid — she was visibly anxious — and nothing the nurses could do seemed to be able to stop what seemed like her inevitable death. Then one of the nurses remembered something she’d read about treatment of preemies elsewhere in the world. As a sort of last resort the nurses put the weaker twin into the bassinet with her sister. The results were immediate and dramatic. The smaller twin snuggled up to her sister, and her heart rate immediately slowed to normal. Her color came back. The baby visibly relaxed, almost with a sigh of relief. She accepted nourishment. The crisis was over. She would survive. That tiny baby did not know who she was, or where she was. But somehow she knew where she belonged. And she knew when she was where she belonged.
Our souls are like that.
Deeper than words, back behind all conscious thought, our souls know what they need.
Sometimes all a person needs is to know that they are not alone – that someone – maybe you – are there to walk with them through whatever it is they are facing. Walking as a companion, not a judge, not a guide, not as someone with all the answers. But simply as a loving and caring companion. As their friend and – and a friend of Jesus who lets them know they are not alone.
I think that’s what Jesus meant when he said:
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
Loving Jesus.
Obeying His command.
Making a difference.
Making a difference to God.
Making a difference to Jesus.
Making a difference to each other.
Making a difference to others.

You can read the sermon here.

Got Young Adults? (Learning 5 from the Pew Foundation U.S. Religious Landscape Survey 2008)

Several weeks ago I began posting about the Pew Foundation’s US Religious Landscape Survey 2008. The 5th “learning” from this survey is that:

“More than six-in-ten Americans age 70 and older (62%) are Protestant but . . . this number is only about four-in-ten (43%) among American ages 18-29.” [p. 7]

To me, this comes as no real surprsie — every Church I have served had few young adults — but it shows that we are not doing a very good job at addressing the spiritual needs of young adults. You can blame the “young people” all you want, but until mainline Protestant churches are willing to make some changes it is going to be difficult to reach the next generation of believers.

What types of changes need to be made?

That depends on the congregation and what they are doing now — but letting the young adults know you are interested in them and welcoming them is vital — for a church and for the young adults!

George Bullard posted today about what he calls “low threshold community cultivation events” — events that are not a lot of work on the part of the congregation and not threatening to those you are trying to reach — like recruiting non churched folks for Crop Walk Teams, Cancer Society Walk Teams, and the like. These could get young adults around your church folks, and let them see that they are fun to be with!

What are some other ways churches might reach the young adults in their community? Leave some ideas as comments!

You can read my other posts on the Pew Foundation U. S. Religious Landscape survey here and hereread George Bullard’s ideas on on this particular learning here — and read the survey from the Pew Foundation here.

Sermon: John 14:1-14

I’ve posted my sermon for today on my sermon blog. It’s the fifth in my Easter series on “An Easter Church” — based on John 14:1-14 and entitled “An ‘Easter Church’ Has Comfort”.

Here’s a portion of it:

In the “bad days” – the hardest days – the worst days of our lives – we can be “Easter Christians” – taking comfort in Christ.
We can be an “Easter Church” – taking comfort in Christ.
An “Easter Church” takes comfort.
An “Easter Church” takes comfort.
An “Easter Church” takes comfort in Christ.
The first step is to trust in His presence.
The second step is to trust in His promises.
The third step is to trust His person.
Trust in His presence —
Trust in His promises –
Trust His person –
Take comfort.
Whatever your burdens are this morning, the solution to a troubled heart is still the same — to trust Jesus, to trust in His, to trust in His promises, and to trust in His person.
We can trust Jesus.
We can trust in His presence with us – always.
We can trust in His promises – always.
We can trust in His person – always.
We can take comfort – always.
An “Easter Church” takes comfort.
An “Easter Church” takes comfort.

You can read the sermon here