Tag Archives: sermon

Don’t let yourself be insulated

05 January

I recently read the story of the rich man and Lazarus from Luke Chapter 16 in the Bible. In case the story is unfamiliar to you, Lazarus was a poor beggar covered in sores and an unnamed rich man wore purple linens and feasted sumptuously every day. Lazarus sat outside the rich man’s gates and begged. Eventually both men died and Lazarus went to heaven and the rich man went to hell. The rich man begged for comfort from Lazarus but Abraham reminded the rich man of how things were when they were alive and explained that a great chasm now existed and there was no way Lazarus could come to the rich man to bring him even a drop of water. The story goes on further but this is where my mind began to wander. The rich man knew poor Lazarus. He saw him outside his gates whenever he left his home. He saw his pain. He saw his weakness. He knew Lazarus’ name and his needs.  And he chose not to help.

It struck me that I am much more like the rich man than Lazarus. That most of us are. Most of us have food on our tables (we even go out to eat once in a while), most of us have clothes on our backs – even quality, brand name clothing, and most of us have comfortable homes. It also struck me that I don’t see many Lazarus’ today. No one sits near my home sick and hungry and begging for my help.

You see, in this first world country that we live in, we are insulated from the needy. The government provides food stamps and welfare checks and medical assistance. Non-profits give food and clothing and home repairs and counseling and job skills training.  In this wonderful country I call home, I rarely meet Lazarus. I don’t know what his needs are. I don’t know how I can help. I don’t even know his name.

And I’m not really sure what I should do about this. I know what the rich man 2000 years ago should have done.  He should have bandaged Lazarus’ wounds and given him food and water. He should have welcomed him into his home and taught him a useful skill so Lazarus could have supported himself or even hired him as a servant.

But today when we don’t see Lazarus, when we don’t know who he or she is and what his or her needs are, what are we to do today?  I’m really not sure.  For me, I’ve chosen to give my life to a place where “rescue me now, please” is heard every day and where I can be a part of answering those cries.

When a woman calls our office because her hot water tank hasn’t worked for months, or a young parent reaches out because their furnace stopped doing its job, or an elderly widow calls because her roof is leaking and her ceiling is caving in, I know my work is making a difference.  When I hear about an impoverished single mom raising her child with special needs by herself or a widow trying to get by on less than $10,000 a year or a woman carrying her disabled husband from the car to the house because they don’t have a wheelchair ramp and can’t afford one I know that I am right where I need to be to help God’s children.

We live in a world that insulates us from the needs of others.  Shootings in the ghetto neighborhoods of Pittsburgh seem so distant even though, in reality, I can visit those areas within a half hour after leaving my home.  People living without heat or hot water seem so far away – maybe in a third world country – but in reality, my children go to school with kids who don’t have these basics in their home.  Lonely widows who have no money for a Thanksgiving dinner and no one to share the meal with anyway aren’t visible to me but, in reality, there’s at least one living right down the road from my house.  Kids who don’t ever get to celebrate their birthday because there’s no money for such things, who think that the only kids who do receive birthday gifts are kids on TV, live pretty close to me, too.  And although I believe wholeheartedly that the most precious gift came to us on Christmas morning a little more than 2000 years ago, I still believe that having a gift sitting under a Christmas tree today is pretty important whether you are 3 or 93 and I know that even though I don’t see their pain or hear their quiet pleas that there are people in my own community who haven’t received such a gift in years.

And so when you hear the stories from Hosanna Industries or other mission organizations, when your eyes are opened to needs around you, when you heart feels the pain of another person’s hurt, please do something about it.  Don’t let yourself be insulated any longer.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Make a difference in the world.  Don’t make today’s Lazarus wait until he or she is with Abraham to be comforted.

Julie Wettach, Mission Worker

Three not-so-easy points for a person trying to Improve

23 February

We recently hosted a group of volunteers and we certainly got a whale of a lot of work accomplished for the Lord! It was also the coldest week of winter so far, and not one complaint from the youthful group. Throughout the week, the staff shared the responsibility of morning devotions with the volunteers. Many of us choose to read from the inspiring book written by Dr. Morlege, “It’s a Great Day in the Kingdom!”.

As I was commuting to work, I was inspired to choose a different mode for devotions. I presented a mini-sermon with three points. I emphasized that the points were for anyone who wanted to improve as a person and believer of the Lord. The points were inspired by things that I personally need to be reminded of, and I think that’s what made the sermon so easy! What were they?

  1. Patience
  2. Have an open mind and heart
  3. Let the Spirit lead you (hopefully into action!)

None of these points are easy, especially when trying to initiate them at the same time. But our Saviour lived these daily and so we must try to also. Thank you Perinton Presbyterian for teaching me many things last week, and I hope you learned a few new things also!
Blessings,
Becky Hetzer, mission worker

Exactly what this preaching clinic achieved

05 November
preaching clinic

Katie delivering her sermon in the            Morledge Chapel at Hosanna                                        during the Preaching Clinic

For the past five weeks at Hosanna Industries, every Monday night from October 7-November 4, we conducted our first preaching clinic. It was a new experience not only for Hosanna, but also for individuals that are current preachers and individuals that have an interest in preaching. This clinic was open to the public for anyone, no matter if you we’re a current preacher or not. A few of the staff that work for Hosanna even attended, including myself. When I was given the opportunity to preach at The Congregational Church of Etna back in August while Pastor Donn Ed was on vacation, it really sparked my interest in wanting to learn more about preaching. I felt a certain groove once I stepped up to the pulpit and started to preach, almost like it came naturally. Being able to participate in this preaching clinic really opened up my eyes not only on how to speak the word of God and get it across to the congregation, but also have a better insight on how much time, preparation, and dedication it requires of the preacher beforehand.

The clinic started off the first week with reviewing basic knowledge and the meaning of preaching. The next two weeks we reviewed several different passages and went over the steps of how to conduct a good sermon. The last two weeks, each individual wrote their own sermon and practiced preaching. One of the most important pieces of information that I learned in regards to preaching is the status of the heart. It is critical that the heart of the preacher carries the right motives, practically feeds off God’s word, has a positive attitude, and at the core, to strive to bring people to Christ and to keep them on that path. One cannot preach the word of God if their heart isn’t set on God and His messages.

Not only did the preaching clinic assist the individuals that attended, but it also assisted Hosanna in adding to the unique aspect that the mission holds. Hosanna is a mission unlike any other mission, which I think is one of its greatest characteristics. It strives to achieve various goals that fit to any individual, no matter their current state. One of the things I believe to be at the heart of the mission is to aid all people in any way the Lord leads — and that is exactly what this preaching clinic achieved.

-Katie DeJournette, Mission Worker