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Are You Slave?

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Our sermon is, are you a slave this morning? We're going to be looking at Galatians chapter 4 so we have two more weeks to get through the whole book of Galatians. So I'm just going to go ahead and read through 20 vs today. So I asked you to hear these words. What I am saying is that as long as you are, an heir is underage. He is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole Estates. The air is subject to the Guardians and trustees, until the time is set by his father. So, also, when we are underage, we are in slavery under the elemental, spiritual forces of the world. But when we went, but when the set time had come fully, God sent his son, born of a woman born under the law to redeem those under the law that we might receive adoption to sonship. For 6 because you are his sons, God sent the spirit of his son into our hearts and the spirit who calls out Abba Father. So you are no longer a slave, but God's child. And since you are his child, God has also made you and are remember the whole grafting of the tree. We are made errors. Formally, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those by Nature are not God. But now that you know, God or rather known by God, how is it that you were returning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you did somehow, I have wasted my efforts on you. And I plead with you brothers and sisters. Become like me for. I became like you you did me no wrong as you know it was because of illness that I first preached the gospel to you and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead you welcomed me as I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ, Jesus himself. Where's that has your blessing of me? Now, I can testify that if you could have done, so you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth. Those people are zealous to win you over. But for no good, what they want, is the alienate you from us so that you may have Zeal for them. It is fine to be zealous provided for the purpose is good. And to be so always not just when I am with you, my dear children, for who I am, again in the Pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you. How I wish I could be with you now and change my tone because I am perplexed about you. I want you to sit with those words. Call. Paul didn't beat around the bush, did he? You might have heard some anger and frustration. And disappointment from Paul from the church in galatia for you treated me as Christ. And now I tell you the truth and you're you're treating me with scorn, you're treating me like the enemy. So last Sunday, I think it was last Sunday. We celebrated the 4th. I think that's why we still have all these decorations up, right? We celebrated the 4th and we talked about freedom and some Churches. I did something called Freedom Sunday, so I thought it was only appropriate to talk about what it is to be a slave because galatian chapter 4 talks about our slavery today. So, I can or not, this country was founded on slave, labor, right? This is not a political statement. This is just history. And as you know, I was a history teacher, so, regardless of it being African-American slaves, or indentured servants, or the poor Irish folks that came here during the famines. Are the millions of people who are traffic in today and human slavery, don't want to give you a stat. In 2018, it was discovered that 403000 people are living in the conditions of modern day slavery here in the United States alone which equates the 1.3 victims of modern slavery for every thousand people here in the country. One of my friends in Florida had made her way to this country by slavery. Her grandmother was enslaved as a Cuban citizen to a rich family. In Miami was promised the world that should be given a better life for her and her family, who had yet been born at that time. And instead ended up a slave housekeeping for one of those families until she get Escape. Modern day, slavery is very real now. In south Louisiana, we had plantations, one of the famous ones, has the Trahan Plantation Destrehan does in French. The DEA is the right. So the Destrehan Plantation, I graduate from Destrehan, high school. So all of those, all that area, And I remember as a high school student, Middle School student walking around the slave quarters and saying that, but I saw the nerves weren't the only ones where we we Drive North. Here we go to Mount Vernon. The president's house, he had slaves And no way, do I endorse slavery? But it is what this country was founded on. We had labor free labor. And most of the time, unfortunately, it was family members that sold their own people into slavery for a prophet. It's still going on today, people selling their children into slavery. It's at it saddens me right down the road from LaBelle Florida halfway between Fort Myers and West Palm Beach. That's when we first moved there. That's where we moved, right? And you go up the road to a town called Immokalee Immokalee Florida. And we had agricultural slavery in Immokalee and this is what would happen. They would import immigrants. Oh, and they would force, they would you no pay them. 20 $30 a day or whatever to work on the fields, and their job was to collect oranges and then they would charge them another $20 for a bucket of water to take a bath. And it got so bad that, you know, they would become indebted to the people. So it's slavery, and once they became indebted, they actually found two men tied up in Chains. In the back of the U-Haul truck unavailable to leave. There is slavery. So, when I asked the question, are we slaves? I want you to think about what Paul is trying to get to. The seriousness of what slavery is people that are for students. There will kidnapped rate forced to do whatever the master wants them to do. And how the people of God and these passages were spiritually returning to slavery. They had freedom in Christ but then we're choosing to put those chains right back on. Now, when we think about physical slavery, why in the world? Would I, as a free man? Choose to enter slavery. Doesn't make any sense. Now I can tell you some slaves, historically, they didn't know what to do. Once I got out right, they had no skills, they had no training what to do outside of slavery, until they went back to their masters and they work for free until they died. I did happen. So we look at the Christian faith and we say without skills and development. We will go back to slavery. Yes. Here you know what skills and development? And Christianity is discipleship, right? And last, we are disciple into the faith. We will enter back into slavery. We will try our hardest to do whatever we can to free ourselves, but there's only one person right? That frees us, that's Jesus Christ. Our Savior and Lord. And so when we enter into our first part of this, passage this morning, it tells us that we are Heirs of the kingdom of God that we are again grafted in into that Kingdom that We are. Part of God's family.

No, we start talking about the freedom of Jesus and what it means to be errors of the Kingdom. We have to decide. Are we are as of the kingdom, are we slaves? So, part of being Heirs of the kingdom, is acting like a Christian. Like, we are Christians, because we love God, we've been saved by the grace of God, but it should change the way we interact with the world right now. I got some slack from some Lutheran pastors on this, but I was talking to our being the other day. And I kind of quoted him. If you want to know a person's Faith here in America, we need to look at two things. When you look at their calendar, right? He says their Calendar Book. I say their smartphone calendar. Cuz that's where all my dates are and we decide where is your time invested in the faith. Not because you're trying to save yourself, but simply, you are a believer of Jesus. So, therefore, you love God, so much that you give your time talent and treasure. Right? So, if we are to give our time to God, what does that look like? So if you were to tie on your top, 10%, we all know the Bible says, you start with a tithe. So if we start at 17 hours a week, giving to God, what is it look like? And I'm not saying you just spend 17 hours a week at church. That's what I'm that's not what I'm saying, but if you already give 17 hours a week to God, through Bible, study worship doing good in the community. How would that change your life? How would that change the world, right? If, if all Christians collectively gave 17 hours a week to God, what would happen? All right? And then the second way that we analyze kind of our faith is, you know, where do we invest our treasure? Now, this is something that, you know, people don't like pastors talking about, so they don't like pastors talking about money, but Jesus talks more about money than anything else right in the Bible. So if Jesus was concerned about money. So should we Hear this. I'm not telling you to donate all your money to the church. This is not a Prosperity Gospel preacher in front of you this morning, but I don't believe if you give your money God's going to bless you physically on this Earth. That's not what it's about, right? It's about your heart. Where's your heart? So not just the church right Ministry forgot, whatever that means for you, I was asked at what does that mean? Give your money to God? Well, that is between you and Jesus, right? It God. Lays on your heart, to help an orphan are a homeless person. Are there any the least of these Jesus, as we help the least of these, you help me write. So analyze, you know, how do you spend your time and how do you spend your money? That is the difference between being an heir of the kingdom and thinking with prosperity? And being a slave. Now, let's put this in reality, if we're a Slave. And we have a little bit of money. What are we going to do, right? We're going to protect that money. There's plenty of scriptures. We might bury it in the ground right? In a depression early. Depression days in this country, at least down-home people will put their money in tin cans and buried in the backyard, right? My grandpa did that. so, you bury your money but if you're an heir of the kingdom and you think of the wealth that you have in Christ, Man, you're freed. You're free to think freely about what the Lord may do. What? The Lord God made, do your life and the life of this congregation, right? We begin to be freed to dream of a better future together. I want to be Heirs of the kingdom of God. Don't think and scarcity no longer. It's not about what we can't do but what God is calling us to which brings us to our next Point here. We are unified now, you're probably saying pastor, you can come up with the unification of the body of Christ and every sermon because I do being a Christian is about the unity of the body of Christ. We can't be splintered, right? We can't be running in different directions all the time. It is about the unity of Jesus and the body of Christ. There is too much wrong out there to be splintered. And Paul makes it true. Paul talks in this scripture this morning, I don't want to go back and read word, Reeve read, all of it twice to you. but as you enter in, let's see here. Where is okay? Here we go. As we enter into verse 12 this morning. He talks about how the people of galatia welcomed him and then all of a sudden they turn their back on him right because he spoke truth. Now I just want to tell you this is what we do in pastoral Ministry. We know this, they tell assistant Seminary. So your first 12 months and congregation it is your goal to try not to touch anything, right? It is you're going to just take it. Easy, get to know your people. Now covid has disrupted. Some of that. I'm just now, I'm going to be here a year the last week of July. Just now, I'm beginning to know everybody because we were shut down. But at some point pastors have to be profits as well. That's what Paul had to do for a prophet and priest. So I guess we FYI we have a dog collar on so we could be the priest and preside over the table. But we're also the prophets where we speak hard truth and reality. So I guess this is my plea to you. As we enter your two as I begin to really kind of penalize, how do we grow and Thrive it first for Jesus? And when I begin to ask those hard questions that I hope you'll continue to treat me the way you would want to be treated, right? And so I'll just put it out there because I believe the church, this is the church. So council meeting, I kind of came up with three areas for the church at I need to really think about into the future. One is is family ministry, right? How do we Minister not to all the families out there cuz we're not prepared for that yet? But the families that we already have at our church. How do we serve Christ and serve those families? Because we just talked about, we have to be disciple, those young children. My Camellia. I think I saw her this morning. She That we promised at her baptism at this very church we would raise her up in the face and support her parents right now. How do we Embrace that type of genuine care as a congregation and I believe right now we have some Growing Pains to make that happen, right? I talked about work, we're going to have a nursery in the fall for every family they don't have to go there, but if they want to send their kids to Nursery, we're going to have it every Sunday 8:15 and 11. We have to write. We need to be able to do something with kids after they confirm Right? Because I saw some kids, one of our teenagers out in the hallway, I think last week and like, will where you at, you know, what are you doing this morning? Well, there was no Sunday school class. One, it's not a thought of me, it's not my fault. I fell my hair. She's working her tail off to to make this. These kids be loved and cared about. We got to do something, we got to wake up. It's it's I'm done talking about it and we're going to just do stuff, right? We're going to be Nike this year. Just do it with everything in this church. Just do it and we have to say, sorry afterwards. That's what we do, right? We have to be able to, to grow and Thrive. So what areas family ministry, the other areas worship. How do we as a church grow in our worship? Right. So I kind of have a reverse model here that we worship on Sunday morning because of all the ministry God has allowed us to do during the week, right? It's almost like that Weekly homecoming. The god. Thank you so much for allowing me the honor to serve you this week to be the hands and feet of Jesus this week. So we want to improve that we want to be able to give opportunities for different expressions of worship. Here we do a once-a-month contemporary I have not been have not had my opinion that I think we need a weekly Contemporary Service and I'm speaking at a traditional service, telling them that I know, but I think we need to do it. I don't think we need to get rid of traditional here, that a 15. You say 15. I hear you guys so don't get too mad at me, but we need to have that expression that consistency for families. When we invited the church. Hey, we got a traditional service for 8:15, if you love traditional worship and we have an 11:00 contemporary that if you love contemporary music, you're going to absolutely love that service and we're going to offer you Nursery in both Services, right? So that was something that we talked about. And I went to do something. So if there's anybody this morning that has family members that are gifted in any of those areas, you let me know cuz we need volunteers to do. So right, unless we use our property, we have a wonderful property Ministry that are working again, their tails off, to make this place all of what God wants it to be, but they need your support. They need finances to be able to do things, right? And we want to be able to run into this place. You guys have had, I don't know how many years of ministry here though.

1942. So, we've had many, many faithful years of ministry, and many editions were done to this building a property over the years and, and you guys purchase additional properties, right? It is time to be able to be a light on the hill. What is community. Because as we know Dundalk as Jobs, left this community as Bethlehem Steel closed, all those things this community has dropped in some of its morale. I mean, I was talking to I got a haircut and she said yesterday and I was in Townsend at sports clips and the lady is driving from Dundalk. She doesn't work at our sports but she drives over there and we were just talking about how this community has the morale has gone down a little bit. Right? And so this church can help start a revolution. There is a show on one of those home network TV shows. It's a HomeTown takeover. I think, where they redo the whole Community to brighten it up. Is anybody seen that show? It's pretty good, right? So, I Envision a start with, like one or two places and then they they create this massive change. So I look at the outward for size of this building and inside and I say, could we create a revolution to bring morale up in this community and to the serve Jesus because people are going to wonder what's going on, right? So, those are like, three of my goals for this church and I believe relate. So well to this passage in Galatians because next is we have to be zealous, we have to be zealots up and you read 17 through 20. It says this, right? It says that We are should not be zealous unless it's for good and for God. So it's okay to be zealous for God if we are doing good for the kingdom of heaven. So and also tells us that there are people who will try their hardest to alienate those who are zealous for good. So it is the goal of Satan, the take apart churches and congregations in the body of Christ to alienate people by themselves or in a little subgroups to divide the body. I mean, that this is right with the pastor just talking about, right? It says it right here, those people are zealous to win you over. So, you know, they speak really well, they're good politicians, right? Very good politicians and what they want to do is alienate you from us. So that you may have Zeal for them. I hear that. We are one family, brothers and sisters. We are of one mind now. Do we have disagreements? Yes, we have disagreements. But we should be able to go in the room, yell at each other for an hour and come out the other end and love and care and with one Mission and one mind for Christ. That's what it's about. It's being able to not just compromise but invite the Holy Spirit to create mission and vision for our church, right? It's the holy see, it's not about Pastor blue, it's not about any individual in church. It's all about with the Holy Spirit is doing So, I'm here to say in our congregation, we may have had some problems, write this past year. But you know what, I have to say is I feel the calmness of the Holy Spirit. I know for a fact that Jesus has calmed, our church is beginning to remove like these restrictions and all this, which also drives anxiety way out of the picture, right? And is preparing a place for us to move forward to be able to be of one mind together. So a couple months ago we I kind of launch this three-fold vision for the church and it's on your bulletin still faith, family picture. It continues to be my focus Faith AKA discipleship family, ministering to families, birth to death. We all matter in the eyes of God age. Doesn't give us a right to discriminate nor does anybody retire after they reach a certain age from doing Kingdom Minded work, right? And I get that from my own family, right? We are all used for God's purpose until he calls us home. And also the church, you know, I just want to pray for. I want you to pray for your leaders as they make difficult decisions as we work together to cash vision for the future, as we talked about challenging things that man could sound almost mean sometimes, right? But we have to talk about it as we discuss those three areas that I told you about and Steven or a larger Church level our denomination that we belong to is restructuring because they're growing. Now they're moving all their offices down to Texas, right? And they're going to start doing more church planning, and we have more Bishops that are becoming a part of the church. Why? Because we're a movement right? Donato denominationalism Is dying in this country and I say, for the glory of God because movements are being formed that are versus waiting on the trains to be built the railroads and that's where we plant churches. We are doing like the early circuit Riders of the church getting out on Horseback and riding to the people, right? We're going where the people are to preach Jesus to them. So how is God calling our church to do that? To his guy calling us to maybe in the future plants? A church, a fresh expression of the face. I don't know. I don't know if anybody likes tattoos. We were going to go ahead and order the tattoo shop Church, you know? Or maybe we'll go to the local bar. We have a few people, I know Rowdy works at a bar, maybe we can plan a search in the bar that he works at. I don't know, job is can come up with crazy ideas but it's not just from the pastor, right? You guys have crazy ideas to write, you're just as crazy as I am. So I need those crazy ideas so we can do something about it. So I want you to take today's sermon And the question that's in front of you. Are you a Slave? Are you a Slave? And changed the bondage of sin. Are you a slave? That is tied to the bondage of worried. Or are you an air of Jesus that lives in prosperity and thinking of the future? Let us pray. Almighty. God, help us be Heirs of Christ and all that we do, and moving forward. The mission of God into this world that we live in. Help us Embrace this book of Galatians as we continue to study it. That we that we love each. Other compassionately that we are even in our disagreements. See God War mission for First Lutheran Got so that we can be unified for you. And I want when people try to alienate us, we go back to the body of Christ and we say, guy, what are you calling us to do? God be with us as we Vision as we work together as we have conversations, got as we try to meet the needs of of the Children and Youth here. At first, as we try to meet the needs of our worship. Life together, God, and especially our facility, God that we can bring it to your glory. This building can be used for Kingdom work. And I'm so excited that that is beginning to happen, especially through outreaching to people with food insecurity in the coming months, got it for the nursery that will be done soon for young families that all of these are positive movements, Ford Lord. Can we pray for the people from from birth to death and our church to add that we do a good job at discipling them in the face? That week had a guy's people got in, they just continue to grow through their age, got in their relationship with you. Help us God. Be your hands and feet in Jesus name we pray. Amen.

You may be seated. So, next week, I just got to remember to tell the ushers. We're going to start passing the offering plate again in church. So there might be some of y'all that still feel uncomfortable. We're going to have the basket in the back. You know, that the Usher comes around. You don't want to touch it. Just give them the hand gesture that you don't want to touch it. So I just want to let you guys know that that's going on. And today, I'm going to try to be careful if you guys didn't know, between 8:15 and 11, my sermon changes a little bit. And so, I got some today for my message. So I'm going to try to clarify. Some points better than I did last service to the question here. This morning is are you asleep? And so in order to get the understanding of what Paul is talking about, in Galatians I was already here momentarily. Galatians chapter 4, cuz we earn our fourth week of the sermon series on the book of Galatians. We have to understand what slavery is. So let's read the passage. So going to bring Galatians chapter 4 1 through 20, or free to follow along in the screen on your Bible. And what I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. I mean are subject to the Guardians and trustees until the time set by his father? so also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental, spiritual forces of the world, But when the set time had fully come, God sent his son, born of a woman born under the law. To redeem those under the law that we might receive adoption to sonship. And because you are his sons, God sent the spirit of his son into our hearts, the spirit who calls out, Abba Father. So you are no longer a slave but God's children. And since you are his children, God has also made you and hair. And formally when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by Nature are not Gods but now that, you know, God or rather you are known by God. How is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? And you are observing special days and months and seasons and years. And I fear for you that somehow, I have wasted my efforts on you. I played with you brothers and sisters become like me for. I became like you and you did me no wrong as you know it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. And even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me, as I weren't angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself where then is your blessing of me. Now, I can testify that if you could have done, so you would have torn out your eyes and giving them to me. Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth. Those people are zealots to win you over but for no good what they want to do is alienate you from us so that you may have Zeal for them. It is fine to be zealous. Provided the purpose is good and the be so always not just when I am with you. My dear children, for whom I am again and the Pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you. How I wish I could be with you now and change my tone because I am perplexed about you. So let's talk about slavery. So, Paul uses the parallel. That in Christ, we are made Heirs of the father, right? We are made Heirs of the father. So again, we talked about this last week a little bit. We are literally grafted into the family, we are adopted before. We know Christ, we are slaves to sin. We are slaves to the world around us is what the scripture tells us? So this is a really Paul uses harsh language throughout his letters. So what is slavery? Now against last Sunday, we celebrated the Fourth of July and and some Churches called this Freedom Sunday, right? Because our nation was founded with people that sought Freedom, right? That all people are created equal in the eyes of the Lord. Now, I want to share with you that in addition to Freedom, that our country also was built upon the labor of slaves. It's not a political statement, it's a historical statement, we can drive around this country and we can see places even as close as Mount Vernon. That had slave labor right now. What is it? What is that mean? What is a slave? A slave of somebody that is usually a forced not of their will but someone else has to do work, right? So I want to go even Beyond historical statements. So in 2018, it was discovered that 403000 people In the United States are living in conditions of modern day slavery, which equates the 1.3 victims of modern a modern slaves for every thousand people in this country.

now, we know people who have personally been a part of modern-day slavery down in Florida. We had a friend in her early twenties. Her grandmother came over here from Cuba and hopes to have a better life. And she was promised the world to come here to the United States because we are a land of opportunities. Will some sick people in the world, take advantage of people, right? And so, she was brought over to this country and enslaved in a wealthy families, home to be the maid of that home for no pay for many many years until she escaped one day. We lived in a town called alabel and 60 miles up or south of us. The Collier County, which is one of the richest counties in the State of Florida. Naples is the main town there. There's a little country town called Immokalee and Immokalee has agricultural slavery. So we heard of a case of two men who have been brought over here to work on the farms and what happens is they give them a stipend, like 20 $30 a day to pick, oranges all day. And the sad part is a lot of my students. I taught that's all they wanted to do when they grew up because that's all they knew. 20 $30 today to pick oranges. And then these Farm owners will charge them $20 for a bucket of water to take a bath. And eventually what happens, is there indebted? To these owners of these farms for money. They can never pay back. And the police got involved after. It was discovered, that two men had been chained up in a back of a U-Haul truck at a hundred degrees weather outside and made Modern Day slaves. Now. This is not me trying to create a what's the term out? I woke sermon. It's simply me trying to make you aware that slavery. Still occurs in this country. And unfortunately, for our life experience, we have had first-hand interactions with people that have been a part of this because of the state we came from and I am sure. if we were to look around Maryland, I don't know where there are people in modern-day slavery so why even talk about this? What does this have to do with our lesson this morning? Paul tells the church in galatia that they were once slaves and are now free and they are choosing to go back into slavery. So I want you to think about that physical slavery that people endure from not being able to do what they want to do, being locked up by chains, being whipped, all of these horrific things,

I think anybody ever been to the slave quarters before.

Yeah, I got, I got in a lot of trouble last service for this. I meant too many slave quarters over the years. Again, I'm, I'm from the Deep South. They were everywhere, the Destrehan Plantation. I graduated from Destrehan high school and in French, you'll know, d e means the. So, the Trahan family was the plantation owners. And there's some horrific stories now, which, which is interesting as history move forward. The white slave owners had children with their black slaves and eventually those slaves became the owners of that Plantation in Southeast Louisiana, but to think about being free from slavery,

Some being tortured, some being raped than all these horrific things to choose to freely go back into that life. And that's what Paul is getting. That is life without Jesus is horrific life without Jesus. You have no. Will you have no freedom without Jesus? And these people in the Church of galatia we're choosing to ignore Being Heirs of Christ. They were choosing to ignore these first few verses their freedom that they have. And that the says that they are bounded to the world. See I let me just go right back to the scripture here. We were in slavery under the elemental, spiritual forces of the world. So the world and what's around us is keeping us enslaved. Because we are choosing not to be transformed right by God. But to Encompass with the real teachers now let's go back to that comment about being awoke sermon, right? So we can as a congregation choose to embrace with the world teaches or we can Embrace what God teaches and only one is going to give us pure Freedom here. I'm going to quote our Dean Dean David mcgilligan. I don't I didn't get his permission so I hope he's okay with me quoting him this morning. But we were talking about American Christianity and it's much different than the rest of the world, right? We have incredible Freedom, as a country we worship freely are in some countries, they have church states where every time you get paid a certain portion of your paycheck, goes to the church. Will we don't do that here, right? You guys choose so there's two ways to kind of see fruits and your life and to see where your faith. Stands one, is your calendar. So we all have a calendar. Some of us have a physical calendar, some, as in our phone, but depending on where you spend your time, speaks about your priorities. Now, if we were to ties our time to God, we give 17 hours a week to the Lord 17 hours. Now, I notice, if I'm not saying you need to get 17 hours to the church, I'm saying 17 hours to God, Bible study, prayer worship, right? All of those things, important changing the world to make it a better place. All for the glory of God. How different would this world be? If every believer of Jesus gave 17 hours a week to the the god of the universe 17 hours? That would be incredible if we would change the world and that can start by the people of first Evangelical. Lutheran Church of gray Manor saying, I'm going to start giving 17 hours a week to God. Now, I understand that's hard to do. We think we have jobs, you have whatever going on in your life. Now, if you're retired. 17 hours. I am sure passes by very fast, right? I don't know, I haven't been retired before, but you have 17 hours a week and you were tired. There's a gentleman in the church. Are there has been coming over and helping and do stuff at the parsonage. All like the last 2-3 weeks for me and it's common is always why I'm retired, right? I'm retired. I have time so that's why I don't say it hurts. Just needs to have only young people and it needs to have all ages because God can use you. You don't retire from God. The second one is our pocketbooks now. No one likes a pastor talking about money, it's just a thing, right. Pass was a boy talking about money congregation members get upset at pastors talking about it. But what I'm here to say is, Where you spend money, is your priority. And again, I'm not telling you to give all your money to the church cuz I'm not the illogically, do not believe. If you give money on Earth, God is going to bless you right now, in this space, it's a heart issue. Where you spend your money and someone asked me, what do you mean? Give more money to God? Well, that's between you and Jesus, right? I think it means not spending 100% of what I earn all on myself, right? That I give some back to God as we pray in the offertory prayer, right? There we are giving back to God. What is his you know, I look around the road and I wonder if Christians around the world truly gave a ties and we know the scripture says, do you start at a tithe which is 10% and we gave that to the world around us. Make it a better place, how different would this place be? I mean church, the church used to support orphanages and homeless shelters and all this kind of stuff. And you noticed that more and more churches are fighting to survive in the grow. There are some though that are still on call for that mission and it goes back this week to my son. Who, when we saw a homeless person on the street, he said, we'll Dad, we should make them part of our family, so they have a place to live. No, I didn't prompt him to say that but I was really proud of him, right? And then, he said, I told, what about us? What about an orphan kid? That doesn't have a family. He's absolutely, I'll give him my room. So, we as the church, that's the type that young, child, that can think of, and there's an orphan in the world and we have an extra room to spare. Let's bring them home. Let us make them part of our family. Now we can go 360 and say that's what Jesus is talking about that. We have been adopted into the family of God. We have been adopted, we're sons and daughters And it does, if it's so bothers me that there's thousands and thousands of children without a home, right? Here in this country. And that that is a political statement. This country makes it so difficult to adopt a child in today's world. And I know people in that line of work, you know, it's 40-50 $60,000 to adopt a child. And these there's parents that want to have children and can't and all they want to do is add opticut and they can't do it. But that's where the church comes in, right? So, I'm going back. I had a, to congregation members in the past, and they were in their 60s, their kids had left the house. I had an empty nest, right? And somebody at the church came to the church and gave a speech about how members of our congregation could adopt children. And those those folks that had an empty nest open their home up the teenagers and brought two teenagers home, and they came to church every Sunday and they legally adopt them. That's the church, right? That's the Church of Jesus Christ. So I just encourage you to think about, where are your priorities?

Are they enslaving you to the world? Are are they making you are as of Jesus? Which brings us to my next Point here and you guys are going to say. Man preacher talks about this all the time. We are unified. Write the scripture tells us starting verse 12 through 16, that we are to be unified for the body of Christ. Now, what it talks about is Paul says, basically this When I came among you to preach the gospel, you loved me and you welcomed me with open arms, right? But when I began to speak truth. You hate me. You hate me for speaking. Truth to you. But before that you love me now what I'm going to tell you this this is the formula of pastoral Ministry, okay. So when you become a pastor they teach you one thing first year in a church you try to just live. You try not to upset the nest too much, right? You try to get to know the people now unfortunately during covid, Italy, for a difficult, to get to know and build relationships. So just now I'll be here a year at the end of July. I'm just now starting to know people for the first time and I tried my best not to up upset people, right? But it's going to happen. So when I'm going to tell you is here to is, I'm beginning to vision for our future as a congregation. I really am. Amanda and I sat and we had a visioning meeting like 2 days straight. What is God calling? The people of First Lutheran to do And I began to try to incorporate that and my my Council reports and all that kind of stuff to try to get leadership behind the movement forward as a church. So I can if you look in your bulletins from our family retreat, There is still a three-fold vision. There every Sunday Faith Family future. Those are my three guiding principles. Now, when I mentioned the council, this past Wednesday is three areas of growth that we need. What is family ministry? We need to be able to take care of families at our church in a way that when a family comes in, they feel loved and welcomed, we have a nursery every Sunday at 8:15 and 11. That's a goal for the fall. It's being the, the facility is getting prepared for that, and we are ready. So, when a mom and dad comes to church with their young kids, if they don't want to wrestle them, they don't have to cuz we have a nursery ready for him that when they graduate and when those young children go by the way, we baptized in this church and we said the congregation, we are going to support this Mom and Dad, raising that child up in the face. Then when they finish being catechized are confirmed and middle school, that it doesn't stop there that we have something for birth to death at First Lutheran. Right? So family ministry is a must if we desire as a church to grow and Thrive and build the kingdom of God. The next area was worship. I haven't been apologetic about it. We know that this service once a month is contemporary, right? And I've heard all kind of things. I believe, without a doubt 8:15 to say traditional, but at 11, we need to look at a more regular Contemporary Service. So when we invite families to come to church, we can say man we have two different styles of worship. We got an 8:15 traditional 11 contemporary every single Sunday. We got to be consistent. So we got to do one thing or the other. So I need people that are skilled in the area of music to be able to to be able to grow off of the congregation in this, what the holy spirit is laying on my heart. And lastly is our property, right? Like we are blessed with our facility and what we kind of noticed is I've been told all of these stories you know Bethlehem Steel shutting down and people losing their jobs and you look at the community around us and you say it's evident. Right? When jobs left, my family is from originally in the quad cities in Illinois, again, where John Deere is from and when John Deere left, the whole city started to crumble, Now my hope is that First Lutheran here can be a light on the hill for this community and every way. And so I want us to really begin to dream about ways that God can use this facility for the mission of God. And one of them is that food pantry that we're going to be starting, right? But there's other things that we can do. We can all put a little Habitat for Humanity cuz it's Sweat Equity, right? Put some Sweat Equity into the facility and put some money into it, right to get it where it needs to be. To be a welcoming place for families. A safe place for not just kids, but the elderly we've had more than one fall down the stairs up here, right? We had to look at all of this together and yet it relates to this scripture because what I'm saying here some may find offensive, right? But sometimes we all have to be able to gather together and speak up which brings us to our last point, in verse 17 through 20, it talks about being zealous and what it says here in summary is that when we are zealous for God, it is a good thing. But when we are zealous for ourselves and is not and in fact, I just want to re-read the first very first verse And those people are zealous the win you over. But for no good. What they want to do is alienate you from us, so they may have Zeal for them. So What is what this is telling us is, there are people that begin to have like a political campaign with in church bodies, right? Like they have a certain of you and they have a certain View and they have a certain view Well it can't happen in the body of Christ, right? So what happens is at Council meetings at leadership meetings at any meetings, we have is as the body of faith. We can go and disagreeing we may even yell at each other, God forbid, I hope that doesn't happen, but when we go out of that meeting, We are unified for the mission of God, right? We are on the same speech pattern. We are in the same thought of mind, because we want. What's best for the church, right? We want what's best for the kingdom of God? We want the loss to be found, right? That the people that are damned to hell because they don't know Jesus. That's what it's all about brothers and sisters, right? So we want to become zealous not for this is in the Bible somewhere, right? Peter and Paul at it talked about having those sites, we want to be is Ellis for Jesus and his mission for our church. And you know, some of you guys know, we had some interesting times together. This first year, we've gone through some stuff together and that's okay. and let me tell you this over the last 60 days, I have especially felt a calmness that I haven't felt in a very long time, and it's God's. Holy spirit, bringing peace to this church. That truly surpasses all understanding. It's a piece So what we have to do now is that we have this piece as we have to light, a fire to move forward. That's a lot of fire to do things differently than we have before the truly and Compass your time, your talents and your treasure. That's all of us that we are thinking of God first. So I ask you these questions today Are you a Slave? Or are you free this morning? Are you free to dream? Are you free to vision for the future? Are you buckled by chains? That keep you held back? Chains of fear and worry and discontentment and man, it's always been done that way before. All of those things, right? Are chains that keep you from True freedom. I mean, do you think the people that founded this country once they decided they were going to move forward that? Well, I wonder what the Queen's going to think about all this, right? Know, they fought and they won the war. And brothers and sisters. We have a war. We have a war against Satan and we were warned against the evil in this world and we will win because God is with us. And scripture tells us that God is with us, who can be against us, right? God is for us, brothers and sisters. So choose not to be buckled by chains and choose to live in Freedom. Let us pray. God help us Be Free People. People that are called on mission for you. To spread the gospel to feed the hungry. To take care of the widows. Got to be a light on the hill here in Dundalk. Can we have an incredible opportunity to serve you together? We do, you've lost ties with people that love you that are here this morning, you have lost us with resources, both physical and spiritual financially. God help us free of the chains where they need to be freed. So the guy we can look to you and say, God, what do you want us to do? God and just move forward, put a fire under us God. So we don't move slowly. How about we move with and a fast pace for you? Help us. Dear God. Help us to love you more and more each day and we pray all this in Jesus name. Amen.

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