Why Are We Talkin’ Baseball instead of Jesus? (Camp Meeting, 8/25/19)

Posted by on Aug 30, 2019 in FEATURED, Pitman Camp Meeting, Sermons | 0 comments

Before entering the ministry, Pastor Bret Walker was a life-long member of Pitman United Methodist Church.  Like many of us, he felt the touch of Jesus’ touch salvation in his life.  Like some of us, he felt a call to enter professional ministry, and he became a local pastor.  He is currently the pastor of two churches:  The
Hudson UMC ( in Pedricktown) ,  and the Ebenezer UMC ( in Auburn).

Before entering the ministry, Bret lived in Pitman and was a regular attender of the Pitman Camp Meeting services.  He developed a love for the “old time gospel music” that is sung from our Camp Meeting hymnals.  He also developed an awe for the history of the Camp Meeting; to stand in the same place where Billy Sunday once preached and C. Austin Miles once sang is like standing on hallowed ground.

As a pastor and speaker, Bret brings his love of Jesus, connection with music, and respect for heritage to the pulpit.  All of this was present when Pastor Bret brought us his witness in music and word on Sunday 8/25/19.

 

Music…

In the Pitman Camp Meeting tradition, the speaker’s church is designated as the “Host Church” and they supply the special music for the service.  In this case, Bret, with his voice and ukulele, provided the worship through music.  He opened the service with the 1858 hymn “I Gave My Life for Thee“, and then moved into some more familiar songs:

As the last hymn says, “we sing because we’re happy.  We sing because we’re free…”  It was a perfect segue into his message.

“Let the Lower Lights Be Burning” was written by Phillip Bliss and published in 1871.  It was also recorded by Johnny Cash in 1962. Here’s Pastor Bret’s rendition…

 

 

Word…

We humans like to talk about a lot of things.  We gather around the water cooler, facebook wall, and church narthex and we talk about things like sports, vacations, and fast food restaurants. 

What do you think of Andrew Luck’s decision to retire as the Colt’s quarterback?  He was in the prime of his career….  And what about Popeye’s?  Have you tried their new sandwich?…   And here’s a selfie of us at McDonalds, eating a big mac…

It’s easy to talk about trivial events (“stupid things”), but why is it so hard to talk about the most important thing that’s ever happened to mankind?  We share good news about our job, or church, or family- but do we share the Best News of all time? 

Jesus solves humanity’s #1 problem:  Sin.  The best news of all time for all people is that Jesus restores us to a loving faithful relationship with our Creator.  Jesus brings God’s purpose and meaning into our lives.

Maybe the reason that we don’t share that good news is that we don’t fully appreciate who Jesus is and what He did (and does) for us.

 

Now He Speaks through…. Us

Pastor Bret used Hebrews 1:1-4 for the foundation of his message:

1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,

2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

NKJV

 

 

Jesus: The Son

Jesus is THE Son of God.  Not just a great preacher, not just a good man.  He is, in ways that we may never fully understand, the very essence of God.  When we see Jesus, we see God.

Michelangelo’s statue of David is a wonderful work of art.  It is in David’s image.  But it can’t move, it can’t think, it can’t reason, and it can’t talk.  However, when we look at Jesus, we see more than a depiction of God.  We see God.  The statue of David comes nowhere close to David’s “heart after God” or to Michelangelo’s artistic glory. 

But, Jesus does represent all of God’s love and glory.

Do We Know Jesus???

 

 

Jesus: The Heir

When Jesus breathed His last, a Roman centurion standing by the cross said, “Truly this man was the Son of God.” (Mark 15:39).  Think about all that God “owns”: the fish, the air, the stars, the things we can’t see… and us.  A son is the heir of all that the father owns.  And, Jesus is the rightful “heir” of everything that is the Father’s.

In Matthew 28:18 (known as “the great commission”), Jesus tells US  that He has been given all authority.  And by that authority He is sending us into the world to make disciples of all nations. 

Because Jesus is the “Heir” of all that the Father owns (in other words- everything), we can stand on His authority and tell people about Him.

Do We Know Jesus???

 

 

Jesus: The Creator

Our passage in Hebrews says that God “made the worlds” through Jesus.  The opening verses of Genesis tell us how God made the world… 

  • God said, “Let there be light”. 
  • God said, “Let there be dry ground.” 
  • God said, “Let the water team with living creatures.” 
  • God said, “Let us make man in our own image.” 

God spoke, and it was.  God created the universe by His Word.  John chapter 1 tells us that Jesus is the Word.  That He was with God in the beginning.  That He is God.  Paul says the same thing in Colossians 1:16

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.    NIV

All authority and power belongs to Jesus.   He created us.  He knows us. 

Do We Know Jesus???

 

 

Jesus: The Brightness of God’s Glory

The moon reflects the sun.  But Jesus doesn’t simply reflect God’s glory; His glory IS God’s glory.  You can look at Jesus and think:

“Wow!   He’s powerful.  Look at all those miracles.  And, how could He love us so much that He would willingly die a cruel death on a cross for us?  And the transfiguration and resurrection.  And His description in the Revelation

This Jesus is really something special!”  

When you look at Jesus and marvel at His glory, you’re looking at God and marveling at HIS glory.  All of the glory of God is contained in Jesus.  The apostle John put it this way:  “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  (John 1:14, NIV)

Do We Know Jesus???

 

 

Jesus:  Purged Our Sins

God created us to be in His image.  He loves us and wants us to be in fellowship with Him.  He has a purpose for each of us and He knows that we will be happiest when we live out that purpose.  But something went wrong.  Somehow, humanity choose to follow our own ways instead of seeking God.  So we feel unfulfilled, anxious, and guilty.  But Jesus’ life and death solved that problem and gave us the chance to return to God’s fellowship.

Jesus is the only one who can do that.  We can try our best to “be good” and to “clean up our act,” but the only way to God is to trust in Jesus’ sacrifice.  Jesus took on our imperfection and exchanged it for His perfection.  Our sins can be purged.

Here’s how Paul put it in his letter to the Colossians:

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him [Jesus],  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Col 1:19-20, NIV

This rebellion against God- this desire to reject God and to choose our own way- is what we call Sin.  The result of sin is that we are eternally separated from God.  Just as we can’t imagine how life on earth would be without the sun, we can even begin to imagine how terrible it would be to be completely separated from God.  The result of sin is infinite and eternal punishment.  Jesus is the only way to be reconciled to God.

Do We Know Jesus???

 

 

Jesus: Superior to Angels

Angels, like humans, are created beings.  Jesus, however, is eternal and “begotten.”  He’s the unique Son of God and He’s always existed.

So don’t bother asking angels to help us.  Go right to God- go to Jesus!  Jesus is our only connection to God; He’s our only mediator.

All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven,  in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever.  He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything.

Ephesians 1:20-21, (from THE MESSAGE)

In Philippians 2:9, Paul writes the Jesus’s Name is above all names…”

Do We Know Jesus???

 

 

 

Talkin’ Baseball?  Or, Talkin’ Jesus???

In 1981, Terry Cashman recorded the song “Talkin’ Baseball.”  It was a reflection on the impact that this sport has had on American (and global) culture.  It’s part of our summer evenings, part of our “water cooler” discussions, part of our tweets.  But it’s a temporary pleasure.  Maybe that’s why it’s called a “pastime.”

But there’s nothing about Jesus that’s temporary.  There’s nothing about Jesus that’s trivial.  Jesus gave His life and gave us a way to have an eternal relationship with our Creator.

Then why do we tend to talk about things like baseball more than Jesus?  Could it be that we haven’t given the attention to Jesus that He deserves?  Could it be that we don’t really know Jesus well enough to want to talk about Him?

Jesus isn’t just some good teacher, or concept, or historical figure.  He’s at the core of all human existence.  He’s calling to us.  He wants to make us free to live the lives we were created to live.  “Come home, come home.  Ye who are weary, come home.

Jesus knows you.  Do you know Him???

 

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