Waynedale United Methodist Church
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Jan 1, 2017 Sermon

“Will You Remember?”
Psalm 111
Ted Jansen  January 1, 2017  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        What will you remember in 2017?  It is just beginning today and we have 365 days of memories and moments. 
            The ancient Hebrews had a great way to help the Israelites remember the truths about God all year long.  They wrote some Psalms that had a memory structure that could help them. 
            Psalm 111 is a Psalm written with each sentence starting with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  That style is an acrostic and this means all 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet begin the 22 lines of this Psalm.  It would be the equivalent in English of creating a song with a sentence that begin with A, then B, then C until you got to Z.  That way it helped people to remember.  This was a Psalm created so a person of faith could remember truth.        
            I want us to speak the first 12 words of this Psalm as a way of beginning our New Year.  I will have us practice this as a part of the message. 
            “Praise the Lord!  I will thank the Lord with all my heart…”  (Psalm 111:1)
 
2.)        The author of Psalm 111 wants us to remember:
The works of the Lord (vs. 2)
His (the Lord’s) deeds (vs. 3)
His (the Lord’s) righteousness (vs. 3)
The Lord is gracious (vs. 4)
The Lord is compassionate (vs. 4)    
 
            The author also wants to remind us that it is God’s responsibility to remember:
His covenant (vs. 5)
His power (vs. 6)
His redemption of the people (vs. 9)  
 
3.)        This is important for us as we begin 2017.  God is at work in our lives and in the world.  God’s deeds, God’s action, are based on righteousness.  We know that grace is an attribute of God loving and caring for us unconditionally. We believe compassion is one way that God expresses love to us.  If we remember this truth it will help us in this New Year. 
We also need to remember that God initiated His love to us in the covenant of the Old and New.  God’s power is greater than any power we have. God is redeeming people, we are not able. Jesus Christ, and His death upon the cross, allowed redemption to occurs.  A new relationship between God and people has been restored.  We are to share the message of Jesus and God’s redemption.  That is our part of faith.    
“Praise the Lord!  I will thank the Lord with all my heart…” (Psalm 111:1)
 
4.)        It is important for each of us to remember what is most vital.  We have a tendency to forget. 
Two very elderly ladies were enjoying the sunshine on a park bench in Miami. They had been meeting in that park every sunny day, for over 12 years, chatting and enjoying each other’s friendship.
One day, the younger of the two ladies, turns to the other and says, "Please don't be angry with me dear, but I am embarrassed. After all these years, what is your name? I am trying to remember, but I just can't.
"The older friend stares at her, looking very distressed, says nothing for two full minutes, and finally with tearful eyes, says..."How soon do you have to know?"
   “Praise the Lord!  I will thank the Lord with all my heart…”  (Psalm 111:1)
 
5.)        There are experiences, like taking Communion, that help us remember important things.  You remember your birthday because people told you about it and people celebrate with you.  You were not able to remember your birth, but it is important.  Here is a “story” how experience teaches.  
 
An old geezer, who had been a retired farmer for a long time became very bored and decided to open a medical clinic. He put a sign up outside that said: "Get your treatment for $500 - if not cured get back $1,000."
Doctor "Young," who was positive that this old geezer didn't know beans about medicine, thought this would be a great opportunity to get $1,000. He went to Dr. Geezer's clinic and this is what happened.
 
Dr. Young: --- "Dr. Geezer, I have lost all taste in my mouth." can you please help me?
Dr. Geezer:  "Nurse, please bring medicine from box 22 and put 3 drops in Dr. Young's mouth." 
Dr. Young: --- Aaagh!!  "This is Gasoline!" 
Dr. Geezer: "Congratulations! You've got your taste back. That will be $500."
 
Dr. Young gets annoyed and goes back after a couple of days figuring to recover his money.
Dr. Young: "I have lost my memory, I cannot remember anything." 
Dr. Geezer: "Nurse, please bring medicine from box 22 and put 3 drops in the patient's mouth." 
Dr. Young:  "Oh no you don't, that's gasoline!" 
Dr. Geezer: "Congratulations! You've got your memory back. That will be $500."
 
Dr. Young (after having lost $1000) leaves angrily and comes back after several more days. 
Dr. Young: "My eyesight has become weak.  I can hardly see!!!! 
Dr. Geezer: "Well, I don't have any medicine for that so…  Here's your $1000 back." 
Dr. Young: "But this is only $500..." 
Dr. Geezer: "Congratulations! You got your vision back! That will be $500."
6.)        John Wesley wanted disciples to have a clear vision of God’s grace, a vital memory of their faith and a delicious taste for sharing God’s love.  John created a Covenant Renewal service that the disciples were to participate in at the beginning of each year.  Listen to this Covenant Renewal Prayer that has been adapted since John’s original version in 1755. 
 
7.)        Let me be your servant, under your command.  I will no longer be my own.  I will give up myself to your will in all things.  I will be satisfied that Christ shall give me my place and work.  Lord, make me what you will.  I put myself fully into your hands: put me to doing, put me to suffering, let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you, let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing.  I freely and with a willing heart give it all to your pleasure and disposal.  Amen 
 
8.)        The Wesleyan “revival” grew because of the methodical way John Wesley wanted the disciples to remember.  All of the classes, groups, bands, societies, were designed to help people “remember” the Lord, the faith, their commitment, their love. 
“Praise the Lord!  I will thank the Lord with all my heart…”  (Psalm 111:1)
 
9.)        Do you know what people in Spain do at the beginning of the New Year?  I discovered that people in Spain eat twelve grapes, one at each strike of the clock.  If you eat 12 grapes at midnight they believe good fortune and luck will come to them all year.  They eat 12 grapes to symbolize each month of the New Year. 
As I thought about the number 12 and grapes I had some ideas.  What do we do with grapes in the church?  We use them for grape juice that we drink as a part of Communion.  Grapes are sweet and nutritious.     
What about the number 12?  I thought about 12 words from scripture and I looked at Psalm 11.  I picked out the 12 words that begin this Psalm. 
“Praise the Lord!  I will thank the Lord with all my heart…” (Psalm 111:1)
I invite you to eat these words, these 12 words, all year long.  I invite you to eat grapes and drink the juice and think of new life and new beginnings, just like people in Spain do.   
 
10.)      As we celebrate Communion may you come with a heart of praise to the Lord.  May you thank God with all of your heart for His grace, compassion, and desire to be in relationship with you. 
“Praise the Lord!  I will thank the Lord with all my heart…” (Psalm 111:1)