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Sermon For Ordinary 11 - Year B
Mark 4:26-34
"Beginnings and The Life of Faith"


READING:  Mark 4:26-34
SERMON :  "Beginnings and The Life of Faith"

Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
b-or11se 


CHILDREN'S TIME - FATHER's DAY
Theme: Appreciating Father

Today is father's day - and I want to talk a bit to you about
fathers --- how many of you here today have a father???  Father's
change a lot over the years - I want to read you a column from the
newspaper about this, one published by Anne Landers a few years
back:

             A GENTLE REMINDER NOT TO FORGET FATHER
                                
                           When I was
                                
- four years old:        - My daddy can do anything.
- five years old:        - My daddy knows a whole lot. 
- six years old:         - My dad is smarter than your dad.
- eight years old:       - My dad doesn't know exactly everything.
- ten years old:         - In the olden days when my dad grew up,
                         things sure were different.
- twelve years old:      - Oh, well, naturally, dad doesn't know
                         anything about that.  He is too old to
                         remember his childhood.
- fourteen years old     - Don't pay any attention to my dad.  He
                         is so old-fashioned.
- twenty-one years old   - Him?  My Lord, he's hopelessly out of
                         date.
- twenty-five years old  - Dad knows a little bit about it, but
                         then he should because he has been around
                         so long.
- thirty years old:      - Maybe we should ask dad what he thinks. 
                         After all, he's had a lot of experience.
- thirty-five years old  - I'm knot doing a single thing until I
                         talk to dad.
- forty years old:       - I wonder how dad would have handled it. 
                         He was so wise and had a world of
                         experience.
- fifty years old:       - I'd give anything if dad were here now
                         so I could talk this over with him.  Too
                         bad I didn't appreciate how smart he was. 
                         I could have learned a lot from him.

What do you think is special about your father?....
Mine taught me all about boats - and getting jobs done - and about
being responsible...  (invite appreciations regarding Father)

LET US PRAY -- DEAR LORD GOD -- WE THANK YOU FOR OUR FATHERS --
HELP US TO REMEMBER THEM - AND TO TREAT THEM WELL.  BLESS THEM WITH
YOUR WISDOM -- AND WITH YOUR LOVE - THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. 
AMEN


SERMON
This Sunday in Corinth, and next Sunday at St. John's are very
special Sunday's - today 5 young men are being confirmed in the
faith.  They are renewing the baptismal vows taken on their behalf
by their parents some 12 years ago, and at St. John's Marie and
Jennifer will be professing their faith, and a young child, Cody,
will be baptized.

Each of these events is a mile stone in the journey of life that
BJ, Mat, Tim, Lee, Nick, Marie, Jennifer, and Cody are on.

Today I want to speak to them  and to all of us, about what I feel
is important to hold on to as they begin another leg of their faith
journey.

FIRST    MOST OF THE IMPORTANT THINGS OF LIFE ARE INVISIBLE; BUT THEY
         ARE MORE POWERFUL THAN THE THINGS WE CAN SEE

         - this starts with the Spirit of God,
          - the spirit that gives life
          - HEBREW - RUAH - MEANS WIND OR BREATH
          - without air - you cannot live
         - and extends to every facet of life.
          - love cannot be touched
          - mercy cannot be touched 
          - self respect cannot be touched
         - but while they cannot be touched they have an impact
             - the breath of life is seen in the rising and falling
             of the chest
             - the love of God is seen in the kindness of strangers,
             the acceptance of family members, the food on our tables
             - mercy is seen in every act of compassion
             - and self respect is seen when you treat yourself as an
             important person - too important to destroy with fast
             cars, overeating, or feelings that "I am no good"

         - ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT - AND MOST INVISIBLE THING IN LIFE
         IS TRUST
          - without trust a person cannot function
             a person cannot become close to another
             a person cannot escape fear
          - the most important thing we can do is TRUST GOD,
             - trust god that he will be our refuge and strength in
             times of trouble
             - trust god that he will be present with us and help us
             accomplish all that he asks of us
             - trust god that he will give us the power we need, the
             people we need, the joy we need.   Trust in the promises

          - Trust is spoken of in today's gospel reading.  You
          plant a seed, and it grows - whether we are awake or
          asleep, it puts forth first a shoot, then a head, then
          the full kernel in the head.  By some means or other -
          life comes out of the seed that is planted.  SO TOO OUT
          OF TRUST PLANTED IN OUR HEARTS COMES LIFE.

		  
SECOND    -  THE MOST SUCCESSFUL LIVES AND THE GREATEST OF
         ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD ITSELF, IS AND ARE
         BASED ON AND ARISE OUT OF THE SMALLEST AND LEAST SIGNIFICANT
         THINGS.

         - This too is spoken of in the gospel today -- by asking you to
         consider the mustard seed
             great bush
             birds can shelter in it,
             but it is small at first.

         - Jesus said the kingdom of God is like the mustard seed; and
         his life shows that this is true.

         - the kingdom of God works, God works, with the little things.

         - We are wired on big, on grand, on flashy -- big cars, big
         houses, big buildings, huge stages and tremendous sound
         systems, we are impressed by big money, big fame, big status.

         - God choses what is little to work with - from Jesus - a
         carpenter born to a peasant girl, to the 12 disciples - simple
         fisherman - to you and I.
         
         - The bible says over and over again that God loves the little
         ones, the humble ones, the people that others despise and
         reject.  

         The BIBLE SAYS THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS ARE THE LITTLE
         THINGS AND THAT IN THE END THEY WILL OVERTURN THE BIG
         THINGS, THAT THEY WILL BRING DOWN KINGS AND SHOW THE
         EMPTINESS OF WEALTH AND POWER.

         - The signs of God's kingdom are not big churches, big
         congregations, or gold and silver and fantastic wealth - but
         bread and wine - stuff that can be found at the 7-11 and in
         most people's refrigerators - ORDINARY STUFF for ordinary
         people.

         - God's work is done by some flashy people - Billy Grahams
         and Florence Nightingales, and Bishop Tutus -
         but most often it is done - and done well by you and I. 
          - Whenever we give a panhandler a dollar
          - or we help a person whose car is stuck in the ditch,
          - or help a person across the street,
          - or give a few bucks and a can of beans to the food bank
          - or volunteer for a reading program for the deaf
          - or run meals on wheels around
          - or pick up old candy wrappers and pop cans lying in the
          woods
         - all these little things - all these acts of care - are God's
         work.  OUT OF THEM GROWS THE KINGDOM OF GOD.  WITHOUT THEM - 
         THERE IS NOTHING.

         - God's kingdom is found in the bread and the wine we share
         here together, in the meals we share at home, in the fellowship
         we have with others that sees in them another human being in
         need of love and who is loved by God.


THIRD- LIVING FAITH MEANS FOCUSSING ON GOOD - NOT EVIL
          IT MEANS BELIEVING GOOD, NOT EVIL

         I am sure you all remember the story of Chicken Little - he
         thought the sky was going to fall in, and ran around warning
         everybody, he fretted and fumed and worried.

         Many people are like Chicken Little
          they look all the time at the darkness and evil in our
          world.  Unemployment drug addiction, crime, pollution and
          war haunt their waking hours.

         Fear is fostered in their hearts - fear of failure,
          fear of losing what they value,
          fear of being alone,
          fear of death.

         They rob themselves by focussing on what is bad,
         and the more they look at it the bigger it gets.

         Other people are like the centipede in the old german tale
         about a centipede and a fly.
          The fly says to the centipede, I have six legs and I know
          how to walk.  You have 100 legs; how can you walk?  The
          centipede starts to think about it, and he thinks and he
          thinks, and he becomes paralyzed.

         OUR FOCUS IS ON GOD - AND ON HIS GOODNESS.  THEN WE WILL
         RADIATE, WE WILL BRING LIGHT TO OTHERS AS WELL AS DISCOVER
         LIGHT IN OURSELVES

         LOOK AT THE SIMPLE AND ORDINARY MIRACLES -

         In the last few days I have been looking at trees.
         I think it is absolutely remarkable how trees grow.

         Someone showed me a row of trees that they had planted only 15
         years ago.  When they were put in they were only 4 feet high. 
         They now are close to 40 feet tall.

         How they do it?

         Corn too is remarkable stuff.  You put a little seed in the
         ground in May - and with the right conditions - by September
         you have a plant that is over six feet high and which contains
         literally thousands of kernels of corn.

         How do they do it?
         
         Growth is a remarkable thing -
         and growth is what our scripture lesson today is about,
          growth from a tiny seed to the largest plants,
          growth - which seems to occur as if by magic...
         you plant a seed
          you provide some water and nutrition,
          perhaps you even cultivate the ground,
         but in the end what happens is beyond human control,
          it is virtually beyond our imagining -
          it is a miracle -
             the miracle of God
             the miracle of life.

         LOOK AT THE DAILY GOODNESS OF LIFE - loving families, happy
         marriages, people working together, playing together - think of
         the good things - not the bad - and it will be for you GOD'S
         SEED GROWING IN YOUR HEARTS.

         WE BELIEVE IN THE GOOD - IN GOD - AND THAT IS ALL WE NEED TO
         PAY ATTENTION TO AND TO DO

		 
FOURTH AND FINAL
         God is the author of all good stuff - it is God who sows the
         seed and provides for its growth into the kingdom of God

         ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE GOD'S FIELD - OPEN YOURSELF TO HIM AND HIS
         WORD - BY READING IT - THINKING ABOUT IT - ACTING ON IT.

         THIS IS BEST DONE WITH OTHERS WHO ALSO WANT TO BE GOD'S FIELD,
         THE PLACE WHERE HIS KINGDOM GROWS.

		 
REMEMBER THE BEST STUFF IS INVISIBLE
         - THE MOST IMPORTANT STUFF SEEMS INSIGNIFICANT AT THE BEGINNING
         - LIVE FAITH BY LOOKING AT THE GOOD & OPENING YOURSELF TO GOD
         AND GOD WILL DO THE REST
         - GOD WILL BE YOUR PROTECTOR AND YOUR SHIELD
          HE WILL BRING YOU INTO THE FULLNESS OF HIS KINGDOM       
          AND PEACE, JOY, WILL BE YOURS BOTH HERE IN THE MIDST OF WOES
          AND AT THE END IN THE ETERNAL REALMS OF GOD

copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild - Spirit Networks, 1997 - 2006
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.



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