April 5, 2020

“Sales, Not Management”

Passage: Psalm 24

Live Stream
Palm Sunday – “Sales, Not Management”
CCLI: 2734287
CVLI: 504214253

Celebration for the Community Food Bag pick up.

Spring Break food bag pick up.

Call to give the full tithes and offerings

Prayers for the families of the late great Bill Withers and Ellis Marsalis

Opening Prayer
Psalm 24
Psalm 24 English Standard Version (ESV)

The King of Glory

A Psalm of David.

24 The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof,[a]
the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the Lord
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.[b] Selah

Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory! Selah


Hymns# 363 “And Can It Be That I Should Gain

And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

Words: Charles Wesley, 1739, Music: Thomas Campbell, 1835

Hymn #140  “Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be

Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me

Summer and winter, springtime and harvest
Sun moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love

Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me

Pardon for sin, and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside

Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me.

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: William M. Runyan

Great Is Thy Faithfulness lyrics © Hope Publishing Company, So Essential Tunes, Hill And Range Songs,inc.


Hymns #292 “What Wondrous Love is This”

1 What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,
what wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

2 When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
when I was sinking down, sinking down;
when I was sinking down beneath God's righteous frown,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul!

3 To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing,
to God and to the Lamb, I will sing;
to God and to the Lamb, who is the great I AM,
while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
while millions join the theme, I will sing!

4 And when from death I'm free, I'll sing on, I'll sing on,
and when from death I'm free, I'll sing on;
and when from death I'm free, I'll sing and joyful be,
and through eternity I'll sing on, I'll sing on,
and through eternity I'll sing on!

Words: USA Folk Hymn, Music: USA Folk Hymn; harm. By Paul J. Christiansen, 1955


19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight[a] the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” 24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son[b] of God.”35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”

(prayer) May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O’ Lord. Amen


Today is Palm Sunday. Normally we would be waving palm branches and putting palms on the cross in the sanctuary. We would be singing Hosanna’s. We would normally start having a lot of visitors coming into the church because we are about to enter the season of Easter. For pastors this is the big, BIG, HUGE!!! season of the year. A lot of people like Christmas because they get to give and receive gifts and presents and stuff. However, in the life of the Church, Easter is the big take away holiday. Easter is the big deal. Palm Sunday is the Sunday when we have our last hurrah of preparation before we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. Palm Sunday is the day we celebrate Jesus entering into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. People celebrated Jesus’ arrival by waving palm branches in the air and laying their cloaks down at Jesus’ feet, and the hooves of the donkey. Today is supposed to be a day of celebration, and you know what, that’s great. That’s really great, but have you ever asked the question, “What are they celebrating, and why?”

No? Well I have been thinking about it this week and this is a part of what I think is going on. I think a part of what is going on is the people are celebrating and recognizing the simple fact they are in sales and not management. Management has to make all of the really big decisions. Management has to take the responsibility if things don’t work out. And good management shares the glory when everything goes according to plan. Here’s an example.

We have a two year-old at home. (pause) We have a two year-old at home and she thinks she runs the house. She is full on terrible-twoing and sometimes that means she can be a real handful. The day we hung the Easter eggs on the bush out in front of the parsonage she sat on the front steps because she couldn’t tie the string for the eggs. (make a face) While she sat there, she watched everything and just kinda had this look on her face like she was making sure the workers were doing their job. And she was going to make sure the job was done right. (pause) I have no idea from where she gets that from. (pause) But in her little mind she was the manager, or at least that’s what we called her that day. The manager’s job is important. Someone has to take responsibility for the way the work is done and someone has to make sure the work is done right.

As I look around the internet and social media, and even in our government there is a lot of head scratching about who is in charge. Did y’all see that news article about the governor of Florida, and the way he kept trying to put it on President Trump to tell Florida to issue a “stay at home” order? President Trump kept saying, “No. That’s the job of the governor.” It was only after the number of Covid 19 cases in Florida surged that the Florida governor finally issued the “stay at home order” and even then he tried to use the President’s coat tails to cover himself. It seems like there are so many of us wondering who is in charge and yet no body wanting to take on the responsibility, or carry the consequences. That is not what John the Baptist is doing in this morning’s Scripture.

John the Baptist recognizes John is in sales and not management. John Baptizes with water for repentance – as a sign that people are turning their lives around and turning back to God. However, John makes it very clear John is not the Messiah. John is not Elijah come to serve as the herald of the coming Messiah, and John is not the prophet spoken about in Deuteronomy 18:15 as one who would come among them and be like God, and the people would listen to Him. John is not dodging responsibility because as we read in the synoptic Gospels John has no problem holding people accountable or being in charge. In this passage John is taking his right and proper place as a salesman of the Gospel and not the Good News Himself; the Messiah, Jesus Christ. John is a salesman. Jesus Christ is the Gospel. Jesus Christ is the manager. Jesus Christ is God. Where does the buck stop? (pause) The buck stops with God, and Jesus Christ is God. When we wave the palm branches, we are acknowledging Jesus Christ is God. Jesus Christ is in charge. Jesus Christ accepts the full mantle of responsibility because Jesus is God.

Now my brothers and sisters, there are some who take this to mean we are off the hook. My sisters and brothers, there are some who presume that because God is in charge; because God is the manager, we bear no responsibility for our actions, this world, and the mess this world has become. It is NOT true that we bear no responsibility because God is in charge. God is the manager, and more than that God is the good Father. God loves us all – even much more than a father loves their children; and like a good father, God will hold us accountable for our actions.

So what are the people doing when they lay down their cloaks at Jesus’ feet? (pause) They are acknowledging that God is in charge and we are not. I don’t know how many of y’all are like me, but when I get really scared, or stressed, or frustrated, or tired, I find myself attempting to take over. I find myself trying to be in charge or take control – especially when I feel out of control. (pause) Laying down the cloaks at Jesus’ feet is a recognition that God is in control and we are not. So as your pastor I will attempt to lead by example. Do you see this. This is the robe I normally preach in. I am laying it down for Jesus. Do you see this. This is the alb I usually save for special occasions. I had intended to wear it during the season of Easter. I lay it down at Jesus’ feet. Do you see these stoles? These stoles are the sign of my office as an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. They represent 12 years of work, and growing and stretching, and expense for the kingdom of God. However, what are my accomplishments compared to the King of kings and the Lord of Lords. (pause) They are nothing; because God is in management and I am only in sales. I lay them down at Jesus’ feet.

My sisters and brothers what are you willing to lay down so that you may fully offer yourselves in service to the One True King? What are you willing to let go of? What are you willing to surrender so that you may put God first and fully serve God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your might? If your pastor’s example is not enough, consider the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the cross. My brother and sisters prepare yourselves because Sunday is coming.

In the name of Jesus Christ,

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