Spiritual Viruses (Camp Meeting, 7/29/18)

Posted by on Jul 30, 2018 in Pitman Camp Meeting, Sermons, Worship & Prayer | 0 comments

With all the recent news about hacking and malware, anyone using the Internet has to be concerned about Viruses.  Bad things have a way of slipping on to your hard drive and bringing your computer to a screeching halt.

In much the same way, bad things can slip into our lives.  Bad thoughts, bad habits, bad fears.  They start out small, but before you know it our awareness of God in our lives is sapped up.

During the Pitman Camp Meeting Service on Sunday 7/29/18, Rev. Bill Wilson spoke of the “Spiritual Viruses” that can infect our spiritual lives.  The Special Music was provided by the One Way Express, a blue grass gospel group from the New Brooklyn United Methodist Church (in Williamstown NJ).


Music: One Way Express

As is our tradition, Camp Meeting Director Tom Bennett opened the service with a hymn sing (and the ringing of the big bell).  He then “handed it over” to the One Way Express who lead us in their upbeat renditions of songs such as:

  • “This Land is Your Land”
  • “I Can’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore”
  • “I’d Like to Be the Keeper of the Door”

They also closed the service with a rousing rendition of “Victory in Jesus.”

Their blend of banjo, ukulele, harmonica, bass, and guitars complemented the vocal duet.  This sound might be common in Kentucky, but it was a unique worship experience to our South Jersey ears.



Message: Spiritual Viruses

Our speaker this evening was Rev. Bill Wilson, of the Chews United Methodist Church in Glendora NJ.  Rev. Wilson opened with a humorous story about a wife with a sickly husband.  Her husband just looked run-down.  He was weak, tired out, and way out of shape.  So she took him to a doctor who gave him a complete physical.  The doctor reported, “I don’t like the way he looks.”  The wife replied, “Neither do I, but he’s good with the kids!”

Sicknesses.  Sometimes we don’t know the cause, but they have a way of slipping into our lives.  And before you know it, you’re run-down and just don’t look good.

The sermon on the Mount (in Matthew 5 and 6) give us a heads up on some of the “Spiritual Viruses” that can infect us.  Rev. Wilson pointed out three of these “sicknesses of the soul”…



The first scripture we looked at was Matthew 6:1-2…

1  “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.

2 When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get.

Quotations are from Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

Rev. Wilson told the story of a group of house mice who became prideful.  They “knew” that they were fast enough, smart enough, and good enough to escape from the cat who roamed the house.  They became prideful.  So they made themselves metals and crowns.  But one day the cat attacked the mice.  The mice couldn’t get away because they were burdened down by all of their metals.  Their pride turned them into the cat’s lunch.

Yes, a bit of a dramatic and silly story.  But isn’t that actually what happens to us to some extent?  When we become “holier than Thou” we set ourselves up for scrutiny.  We tune out others and fail to learn from them.  We only see ourselves and our made-up versions of our greatness, and we fail to seek forgiveness.

When that happens, we loose our connection with God.  Our only “reward” is the temporary moment of “greatness” that we manufacture for ourselves.  This “spiritual virus” gives us little, but takes away much.



We then turned to Matthew 5:43-48…

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.

44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.

47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.

48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Hate, revenge, and grudges can tear you up inside.  When someone does something harmful to you- whether or not it’s actually harmful, whether or not it’s actually that person- you want revenge.  Anger boils up within you and you want to explode in revenge.  “How dare they ___!”. 

We seek to hurt others, but we soon discover that we’re consumed with this hateful emotion.  It takes over our minds as we scheme ways to get back at this “evil” person. 

With hate, we seek to hurt others, but we end up hurting ourselves.



The final scripture was Matthew 6:25-33…

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?

26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,

29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.

30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’

32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Rev. Wilson noted that there are actually two kinds of anxiety, one good and one bad:

  1. Constructive Anxiety
    Being anxious about a situation can create a focus that can be good.  Instead of ignoring the problem “constructive anxiety” prompts us to think about the situation and to come up with possible solutions.

  2. Silly Fretting
    But anxiety can cause us to focus on our own abilities instead of on God’s working through us.  Instead of constructively thinking of a solution or instead of praying to God for guidance, we “pray to ourselves” and think of reasons why we are going to fail.

The constructive reaction to a difficult situation is to turn to God.  He has promised that “all things work together for good”, so that the situation can bring us closer to Him (see Romans 8:28-29).


Take Jesus Off the Shelf…

So how do we avoid these viruses?  And if we’ve caught one of them, how do we drive it out?  If we look into the mirror and “don’t like the way we look,” how can we become well again?

Jesus gives the answer to each of these viruses:  Look to God.  Forgive.  Trust Him for your needs.  But all too often we put God on the shelf.  On Christmas, Easter, or on some Sundays, we take him off the shelf, dust Him off, and hope He will bail us out.  But to remain healthy and avoid the viruses, we need to allow Him to live in our hearts and lives all the time.


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