May 5, 2019 CELEBRATING OUR SENIORS - Heritage Sunday Romans 13:7 This morning I think I will start by saying a joke or two just to break the ice. I searched the internet and found what I thought was going to be pretty funny until I started reading and found myself actually being part of this! I would like to share with you briefly ways to know you’re getting old: You know you are old when: • Your joints are more accurate than the meteorologists on the Weather Channel. • You know you are old when people call you at 9:00 pm and ask did I wake you. • You know you are old when you sing along with the elevator music. • It takes you longer to rest than it does for you to get tired. For you who are 70+: • You know you are 70 when have a hard time locating the keys in your pocket and finding your cell phone when it rings, but you can find the snooze button from four feet away with your eyes closed. • You know you are old when the oxygen masks drop from the ceiling when your birthday candles are lit. For you who are 80+: • You know you are old when you write a note to yourself reminding you not to take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night! • You know you are 80 when your staying power is for the cake! For you who are 90+: • You know you are old when kidnappers aren’t very interested in you! The Bible says in Romans 13:7, “Give everyone what you owe him…if respect, then respect, if honor, then honor.” This morning, I want to talk about an incredibly valuable and underused asset that we have in the Kingdom of God and that is you…our senior saints. You, our senior saints pass on a solid foundation of wisdom, stability, and strength! We live in a world that often celebrates its young people and most everything is geared toward the younger generation. For example, technology is geared more toward the younger generation. Computers, iPods, cell phones, and GPS systems oftentimes are a status symbol of success in the eyes of the younger generation rather than a tool used to carry on the function of living. In our churches we have incorporated a second Sunday service, one is called “Traditional” and is geared to the older generation. Hymnals are used and the volume of the music is oftentimes softer. The second service is called “Contemporary.” It is geared toward the younger people. The music is louder, the atmosphere is more pumped up, and the age of the people in this service usually ranges 40 and below. Although this is fine because we are able to reach a greater amount of people with diverse worship styles, we must understand and appreciate the value that you, our senior saints offer to the Kingdom of God. Sadly, many churches and even more young people do not give their senior saints the honor and respect due them. This is why we as the Bowman UMC have a Heritage Sunday! We realize that many of you are often times pushed to the other side of the church, not intentionally, but we forget you are the very ones that helped form the foundation of the church. We must understand that the senior saints are truly the stability of the church. Many of the senior saints have the church at heart. When work needs to done the senior saints are always there. When projects need to be funded you can count on senior saints to contribute. When the doors of the church are open, the senior saints will always be found there. You, the senior saints are the pillars of the House of God upholding the Holy standard! You, the senior men and women of the church know God intimately because many of you have been walking with Him for decades. You the senior saints know every inch of the Throne room of God because you have spent time there praying for the church. It’s you the senior saint that has the experience with God to know that prayers may not be answered in the first 30 seconds, but you also have the endurance to wait upon the Lord until He does. The senior saint possesses the patience to stand still until they see the salvation of the Lord! To the senior saint the scripture is totally true when the Bible says God’s Word is the lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. The senior saint knows the Word of God. All you have to do is look at their Bibles to know that they have been read over, over and over again! You the aged warrior have incredible wisdom about life, both natural and spiritual. You have lived 70, 80, 90 + years and we as the church need to tap into the decades of wisdom and experience you have to offer. The young man needs to seek out a senior man in the church that will agree to stand with them and fulfill the scripture in Titus 2. The young woman needs to seek out a senior woman in the church that will stand with her and teach her as the Bible says. Sadly, in many churches today so many of our senior saints have been asked to sit on the sidelines, because we see the gray hair and feel as though their time is over, when they still have so much to offer. Proverbs 16:31 says, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” We could say it this way, “Gray hair is a crown of glory to those who love the Lord.” Psalms 92:12 says “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree; they will grow like a cedar in Lebanon”. The palm tree is known for long life and its ability to stand even in the storm. The Cedar of Lebanon are known to be solid, strong, and immovable. Senior saints are seen or should be seen as upright, strong, and unmoved by the winds of circumstances who know how to trust in God no matter what may happen like a tree planted by the rivers of water. Jesus says in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Since there is no retirement from the work of God, I would encourage you to use this acronym A.S.K. (A) - ask God to make your value noticeable, (S) – seek opportunities to share the great wisdom and experiences of your life with the next generation, (K) – knock down the stereotypical mindset of a senior saint. The greatest legacy you will leave behind will be in the lives that you touch for the Lord. God has given you the gift of long life, which has blessed you with wisdom, knowledge, and understanding! Therefore, your ministry is to share that gift with as many as you possibly can before God says that your work here is finished and calls you Home to Glory. To you the Senior saints – I thank you – for establishing the foundation, for stabilizing church and for being there when no one else was. Thank you for your many years of service to our Lord, in the Kingdom, and in the field of the world. I pray that I and all those that have not come into our senior years will not take for granted the marvelous asset we have in our senior saints, that we will follow in the footsteps of you and be found faithful in the service of the Lord as you have been.
April 28, 2019 THE B.I.B.L.E 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Let’s start out this morning by singing a children’s song called,“The B I B L E”! Did you know there are many bibles out there like the Beauty bible, the Fisherman’s bible, the Golfer’s bible and even the Cooking bible! Each of these books claim to be standard authority on that particular subject. These are not the bibles I am speaking of today! So what is the Bible? The word “Bible” means a book or collection of books regarded as authoritative on a topic. No other book is more authoritative on the topic of our Christian faith than the Christian Bible. Consider this: The Christian Bible is a collection of 66 different books divided into two sections: The Old Testament and the New Testament. These books were written by over 40 different authors over a span of 1500 years. They were written in three different languages – Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The message of the Bible has maintained its integrity that portrays a unified portrait of God’s plans and purposes for our world. There are different types of literature: history, poetry, humor, prophecy, romance, letters, biographies, songs, journals, advice, laws and stories. The Bible was the first book ever printed on the printing press: The Gutenberg Bible. The Bible is still the best-selling book of all time and portions of the Bible have been translated into over 1900 different languages! Today we have more access to the Bible than in any time in history and yet in 2002 a book called, “The State of the Church” by George Barna showed the following about Christians: 48% could not name the four Gospels. 60% could not name even five of the 10 Commandments. Barna said, “Americans revere the Bible, but by and large they don’t know what it says. And because they don’t know it, they have become a nation of Biblical illiterates.” You might think…that was 17 year ago how is it today? Christianity Today did a survey in 2015 and here is what they found out: 45% of those who regularly attend church read the Bible more than once a week. 40% of those attending regularly read their Bible occasionally, maybe one or twice a month. 20% of churchgoers say they never read the Bible which is essentially the same as the number of churchgoers who read it every day. 30% of parents didn’t know Adam and Eve, David and Goliath or the Good Samaritan story in the Bible. 27% think Superman might be a biblical story. 33% believe the same about Harry Potter. 54% believe the same about the Hunger Games. Let me illustrate: A new pastor was asked to teach a junior high Sunday School class in the absence of the regular teacher. The pastor decided to see what the class knew about the Bible, so he asked who knocked down the walls of Jericho. The whole class denied having anything to do with knocking down any walls. At the next elder’s meeting he shared with them about his SS class and that not one of them knew who knocked down the walls of Jericho. The group was silent until one man stood up and said, “I know this seems to be bothering you, but I have known these kids since they were born and if they said they know nothing I believe them. We can just take some money out of the maintenance fund, fix the walls, and let it go at that!” I hope and pray that we never get to that point!! I want to share with you some thoughts why the Bible is precious, awesome and amazing. • You will be blessed. Psalm 119:1 says in the Amplified Version, “Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are the undefiled who walk (order their conduct and conversation) in the law of the Lord.” If you want to be blessed, live according to God’s Word! • God’s Word will make you pure. Jeremiah 23:29, “’Is not my word like fire,’ declares the LORD, ‘and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?’” • You will see amazing and miraculous things. Psalm 119:18 says, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from your law.” The Bible is full of miracles, but remember Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” • God’s Word will revive you. Psalm 119:25 says, “My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to your word.” You want to be revived? It will never happen apart from God’s Word getting into your heart! • God’s Word reveals His love to us.Psalm 119:64, “The earth is filled with your love, O LORD; teach me your decrees.” • God’s Word reveals His faithfulness. Psalm 119:89-90, “Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth and it endures.” God is faithful! People have tried to destroy and discredit the Bible – but to no avail. • God’s Word gives wisdom and direction. Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” • God’s Word will give you great peace. Psalm 119:165, “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” John 8:31-32 says, “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” An unknown writer penned these words, “This Book is the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s charter. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. Follow its precepts (teachings) and it will lead you to Calvary, to the empty tomb, to a resurrected life in Christ; yes, to glory itself, for eternity.” My challenge to you this week is to read your Bible, love your Bible, and do what your Bible says!