Waynedale United Methodist Church
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Feb 26, 2017 Sermon

“I Believe:  We are Stewards, We Face Eternity”
Psalm 24:1, 2, John 14:1, 2
Ted Jansen  February 26, 2017  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        The Bible, God’s inspired Word, begins in Genesis telling the story of Creation.  God created all and we are created in the image of God.  Adam and Eve were tempted and wanted to be like God and they sinned and left the Garden.  God continues seeking to restore humanity, men and women, back into a relationship with God in the pages of the Bible.  We have the Old Testament and the New Testament.  We see God’s promises, a special people, the Ten Commandments, laws, prophets, and people obeying God and people disobeying God. 
 
2.)        Jesus, God’s only Son, gave His life so that we might have a right relationship with God.  We can trust Christ and His death and resurrection to give us eternal life.  As we read about the church and its beginnings we move to the last book of the Bible.  This book of Revelation in chapter 21 speaks of a new heaven and a new earth, where there will no longer be any suffering or pain or tears.  God will be there.  We understand that this place is called heaven and that hell exists.  It is a place where those who choose to separate themselves from God will dwell.  We affirm that Jesus is returning one day to be our judge and King.  There is more teaching in all of our scriptures about this statement of belief.  I believe there is a heaven and hell and that Jesus will return to judge all people and to establish his eternal kingdom.      
            There are things that we don’t understand about the Bible and the vision that John had as he wrote the book of Revelation might hard to comprehend.  We must read and understand.     
 
3.)        Last week we affirmed a belief that God loves all and all need Jesus.  When we come to our last days we thank God that we are not judged on what we did, but on what Jesus did for us.  That is comforting and is the essence of faith. 
Jesus spoke to His disciples about the future while in the Upper Room.  Listen to what He said in John 14: 1 – 2.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, trust also in me.  In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.”   
            Jesus is preparing a place, we call heaven, for us for eternity.  We trust in Christ and have the assurance of our faith.  We might not have a clear picture of what is being prepared for us but we can have confidence that it is a place where God is with us.      
               
4.)        After a preacher died and went to heaven, he noticed a New York cab driver had been awarded a higher place than he.
            "I don't understand," he complained to God. "I devoted my entire life to my congregation."
            God explained to him, "Our policy here in heaven is to reward results. Now, was your congregation well attuned to you whenever you gave a sermon?"
            "Well," the minister had to admit, "some in the congregation fell asleep from time to time."
            "Exactly," said God, "and when people rode in this man's taxi, they not only stayed wake, they even prayed."
5.)        What is your image or picture of heaven?  Or what is your image or picture of hell?  Or what is your vision of the kingdom of God?  How do you think Jesus will come again and reign in the world?  Do you picture Jesus as judge? 
These are all different images and ideas that we have based on our thinking about heaven and judgment and our concepts of how to get there. 
Here is a fun example of a story of heaven.       
 
6.)        Three men died, but before God would let them into heaven, God gave them a chance to come back as anything they wanted.
            The first guy said, "I want to come back as myself, but 100 times smarter." So God made him 100 times smarter.
            The second guy said, "I want to be better than that guy, make me 1000 times smarter." So God made him 1000 times smarter.
            The last guy decided he would be the best. So he said, "God, make me better than both of them, make me 1,000,000 times smarter." So God made him a woman.
 
7.)        We started this “I Believe,” series with asking the question, “Is there a God?”  I hope you have been enriched as we have explored beliefs we have held and how then we act on those beliefs.  I encourage you to get a copy of the sermon by going to our website or picking up a copy to see how I explored the various beliefs.    
The last statement of belief gives an overall sense of God’s presence.  I believe everything I am and everything I own belong to God. 
             
8.)        Listen to Psalm 24: 1 – 2.  “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.” 
            God is beyond anything we can imagine and all that we see, including our lives and all the people and all the streams, mountains, oceans, planets, suns, stars, galaxies, space… 
            As we understand this truth it might bring us a sense of humility and awe.  Wow!  God has created all things and allows me to be a caretaker for a little bit of creation.  God needs me to be a steward of some of the many and vast resources God created.    
           
9.)        How many of you are or have been parents?  When Sue and I were first pregnant we were so excited.  That pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage and complications.  We wondered if we would ever be able to have children.  Then God blessed us with three children and I can remember feeling like I was witnessing a miracle at their births.  Wow.  We were given a child to love, raise and nurture. 
Do we “own” our children?  No, we were blessed by God to have them in our hearts and to guide them for a period of time.  We are stewards, as parents, of the gift that God gave us.  You are a steward if you are a parent. 
You have been given a gift of a child to guide, love, discipline, care, pray, invest in them.  You are and were a steward of what God gave you, a miracle, a blessing.  You are a steward of more than a life, because God has given us many other things, like our bodies, resources, a mind, the earth, other people, the church, the mission, the ability to love.     
 
10.)      Being a steward of a life, a parent, is a great task and challenge.  I remember when we were headed into the teen and young adult years with our children I was having a hard time figuring out my role.  I had done a pretty good job as a Dad when the children were young.     
            So, I asked a women on Sunday morning after services this question.  “How do you parent young adult children?”  She smiled and said to me, “you don’t.”   
            I looked at her and laughed and thought this is not helpful.  She laughed and told me stories of how her adult children did their own thing. 
I needed some guidance.  What I was realizing is that with children your role as a parent, a steward, changes as they change and grow.  This was not easy to accept or understand and adapt.     
 
11.)      We are stewards and our role changes based on the gifts that God has given us at this time.  How are you doing with your health, money, energy, personality, vocation, skills?  What do you need to be doing as a steward to bring God glory?   
            Let us thank God for the resources we have been given and enjoy our role as stewards.  Use our money, use our time, and use our gifts to be a blessing. 
Sometimes we can be so focused on being a steward that we forget to enjoy the blessings of resources and share those with other people.    
 
12.)      George and his wife Bessie went to the county fair every year. This was their "big" event of the year. In fact, it was the closest thing they ever had to a vacation.
And each year George would say to Bessie, "I sure would like to ride in that there crop dustin', acrobatic airplane." And each year Bessie would say, "I know George, but that airplane ride costs ten dollars. And ten dollars is ten dollars."
            After many years, George and Bessie went to the fair as usual, and George said, "Bessie, I'm 81 years old. If I don't ride that airplane this year, I may never get another chance."  Bessie replied, "George, that there airplane ride costs ten dollars. And ten dollars is ten dollars."
The pilot overheard them and said, "Folks, I've seen you here year after year. I know you've been wanting to ride in my airplane all that time. I also know that money is pretty important to you, and you don't part with it lightly."
"Tell you what, I'll make you a deal. I'll take you both up for a ride. If you can both keep quiet for the entire ride, and not say one word, I won't charge you a thing. But if you say even one word, it'll cost you ten dollars."
George and Bessie agreed. They got in the plane and took off. The pilot did all kinds of twists, turns, rolls, and dives, but he didn't hear a peek from George or Bessie. He tried his fastest upside roll and it was still quiet from the back.
When they landed, the pilot looked at George: "Well, I don't believe it George, I did everything I could think of to get you to yell, but you didn't."
George replied, "Well, I was going to say something when Bessie fell out of the airplane...."   "But, ten dollars is ten dollars."
 
13.)      May we be clear and strong what we believe and what we value.  As our church is going through a process of “re-focusing” our vision may our behavior be lived out and seen by the world. 
Spend more time reflecting on the beliefs that Randy Frazee explores in his book, Think Act, Be Like Jesus. 
May the Lord guide us as we focus on the essentials of our life and ministry together.