September 14 Sermon

WHY I BELIEVE: ALL THINGS NEW

A sermon preached at Lyonsville Congregational United Church of Christ on September 14, 2014 (Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.                    - Genesis 1:1-5

 

Revelation 21:1-6

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Although I decided not to do a sermon on them – for now – there have been some news events of the past few weeks that I think are important to reflect on in light of the faith that we profess. Today, let me just say something about the news of a professional football player who has been suspended for beating his then-fiance’ (now wife). You can discuss what should or shouldn’t be done about it over coffee after worship, but I want to state unequivocally that domestic violence is never acceptable. I will offer the counsel that I give to couples who are planning to marry here in this church: Any incidence of abuse or violence is reason to seek professional counseling. If you are in an abusive relationship, seek help, or get out. No one deserves to be hit or abused; promises to change are almost never kept. Love — is not violent or cruel. In the words of the apostle Paul, “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5) If you would like to talk with me in private about this – let me know.

The sermon I planned for today is on some of the things that we believe as Christians. Why do you believe?   Why do you believe in God, and in Jesus? What would you answer if some person, on learning that you were a Christian and part of a church , asked you why? Would you have an answer? The New Testament book of 1 Peter counsels believers, “Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter 3:15) Continue reading

Volunteer Opportunities

Here are some upcoming mission opportunities you can help with:

Greater Chicago Food Depository: Join us to help volunteer at the Greater Chicago Food Depository  on Saturday, September 13, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. We will meet at church to carpool at 8:15. The GCFD, Chicago’s largest food bank, is a non-profit food distribution and training center providing food for hungry people.  They rely heavily on their volunteers to help repack bulk products, assemble boxes with food, check expiration dates, glean produce, etc.  Participants must be at least 13 years old.  Contact the church office if you would like to help. We volunteer every Wednesday from 6:00 to 9:00 (meet to carpool at 5:15).
Now that warmer weather is here please keep in mind that the GCFD requires long pants and close-toed shoes when working.

CALLING ALL BAKERS- We need your help!
Please help us for our upcoming Garage Sale / Community Event on Saturday, Sept 27th (9-3pm). We are having a bake sale in addition to all of our other fun activities. You may drop off any goodies (cookies, brownies, bars or cupcakes) during the week of Sept 21-26 (we can freeze them if dropping off early) or you may bring them in on Friday, Sept. 26 from 9am-8pm. Any questions, please contact Laurie Tsukuno or Aleta Belletete. Please call the church for hours if dropping off during the week (708-246-1255).

LUNCH BOXES
Our September Mission Project will be to collect lunch box items for our own food pantry.  We are looking for items such as (but not limited to):  granola bars, packaged pretzels, packaged trail mix, fruit cups, peanut butter & crackers, applesauce and pudding cups.  We thank you for your support of this mission.

Lyonsville Church Food Pantry: Come and help out at our own food pantry for just one hour.  The pantry is open on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  We would like to have 2 people there to help our guests/visitors during this time.  Volunteers help restock any donated food, and bag up food for guests.  If you would like to donate food, we have a current need for canned meat products (tuna and chicken), and paper products.  Contact the church office if you would like to help.  Donated food can be dropped off while the pantry is open, or contact the church office.
Oral care products - In addition to food, we give out personal hygiene products such as deodorant, bars of soap, tooth brushes and tooth paste.  We would be interested in receiving tooth brushes and/or tooth paste from your dentist.  In exchange for his/her donation, we would put a thank you note in our Good News (which results in free advertising for them).  The next time you are at the dentist, please consider asking for a donation.

BEDS Plus, which provides homeless people with food and shelter, is having orientation sessions:
August 11, 2014
September 15, 2014
October 13, 2014
November 10, 2014
December 8, 2014
All sessions begin at 7pm at the First Presbyterian Church of LaGrange, 2nd Floor Conference Room. 150 S. Ashland Ave., LaGrange.

For more information, contact Diane Kassel at 708-354-0858 x7 or kassel@beds-plus.org.

They especially need volunteers willing to work those late-night and early morning shelter shifts. BEDS is also looking for volunteers to help organize our ongoing fundraising events.

September 7 Sermon

WONDERS AND SIGNS

A sermon preached at Lyonsville Congregational United Church of Christ on September 7, 2014 (Gathering Sunday/Communion Sunday)

Psalm 100

Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” 40And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

- Acts 2:38-47

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Welcome once again to this “Gathering Sunday” (or Rally Day) worship after many of us have been away for summer adventures and vacations. Worship is a vital part of what we do as a church and as people of faith. God is worthy of worship. Worship is good for us, because it reminds us that we are NOT God, nor is any human or anything that people have created. Worship can help reassure us after a difficult week of trying to live as followers of Christ in the world, and inspire us to try to do better in the week to come. And worship provides a vital witness to the rest of the world. Continue reading