December 5, 2018
Good afternoon Congregation,
Today our country holds a funeral for former President Bush, 41 as he is often called. As I reflected on what I know about him and what he did for our country I had some thoughts that I will share. His age of 94 seems like a long time when you are younger than that but is very minuscule when you think in terms of eternity. I am reminded that all of us will come to an end here on earth at some point in time. When our time on earth is done, what we have done is what others will remember – the dash between the numbers, 1924-2018. We all know what happened in 1924, President Bush was born and in 2018 he passed away. What is most notable and what makes those two numbers mean what they do is what happened in between. The sum of his life. People reflect on whether he was a good president or not, what kind of father and husband he was, how well he served our country, etc. The list goes on and on about what he achieved or what he didn’t do. I don’t bring this up to say what I think about President Bush, I bring it up to remind us that we will all receive the same treatment someday. I remember many things about the President, but what I remember most is when he was elected president, it was the second election I could participate in. He was very intentional to be a man of integrity as a husband and as a father. He tried to be the best president that he could be. But what we will all remember is the dash.
What people will remember about each of us is the dash, how we lived our life. In the next month we remember the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. For Jesus, we know when he was born to Mary and Joseph, but we mostly remember that he always was and always will be. His life is a dash – a dash that always was and always will be. When asked what it means to be in a relationship with him, to be a follower of him, to be called son or daughter is summed up in the phrase from John 14, “If you know me, you know my Father as well.” What does that mean, to know and be known? It isn’t confined to what I do, or how much I know, or anything that I can do, it has everything to do with Jesus. He invites us to come, he forgives our sins, he restores us, he leads us, he…. he does more than we can dream or imagine. And that relationship with him changes everything. It changes how we live, what we think, what we do, even who we hang out with. No, it doesn’t mean that I need to stay away from you or anything like that. It means that I intentionally spend time with people that I share Christ with. Some are helping me to grow and some I am helping to grow. Both are needed.
This past Sunday we talked about what it means for us to live “over” God, trying to manipulate and to focus on the principles more than the giver of them. This coming Sunday the sermon is about what it means when we live life in the posture of “from” God, a very me-focused mind set. You can read Luke 10 and Luke 15. Let me ask you one question for you to ponder, think about. Who/what, is the center of your world? Be honest.
On December 23 we will be receiving a special Christmas offering. The money raised in this special Christmas offering will be used to make a difference in our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. We will distribute the monies to places that represent these four places. We will give more information as we get closer to this Sunday. In past years we have done coats, boots, cash and a variety of ways of making a difference. We have purchased groceries for the Wauseon School Food pantry, we have helped families in need in our community and we have sent money to other countries and many things in between. We will do the same again. Let’s see how much we can raise and change lives for Christ - that all may come to know and experience the fullness of Jesus Christ!