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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sermon 10212012 20th Sunday After Trinity

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

Let us pray!  Lord Jesus Christ, it is clear, You chose us.  We have not done anything that would warrant our redemption, but out of Your great love for us You came to save us from our sins.  Enable us to have faith in You and Your plan of salvation and accomplish the God dreams that You place on our hearts.  For this only occurs because of the promises made to us in our baptism into Your life, death and resurrection for all of mankind, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

When Coach Taylor in “Facing the Giants” had two seconds left on the clock in the State Championship game he decided to attempt a field goal.  Everyone around him thought he had lost his mind.  But the response he gave to the assistant coach was clear, he was “preparing for rain”.  Reminiscent of Mr. Bridges coming to him and telling him the story of the two farmers, Coach Taylor placed all his trust in God by sending in David to attempt a field goal and was in true faith and obedience ‘preparing for rain’.

Coach Duke of the Giants wanted to ice the kicker and cause him to doubt his ability.  Thus in response and in clear faith and obedience Coach Taylor told David, the second string kicker a clear truth we need to hear today as well.  If you doubt from the beginning then you are defeated, but if you give it your best and trust God for the results God can do some amazing things.

How are we any different today?  Today we stand at a crossroads, do we continue in the old habits of a congregation that celebrates 90 Years of Ministry to the people of Goodland, or do we embark upon a new adventure that God has in store for us?  Clearly this is a question which has divided many congregations throughout the country and world and allowed Satan to dance in victory, just as he did on Good Friday.  Or is this the opportunity we have here at Emmanuel to embrace a new reality?

For Coach Taylor it was clear that after losing the first three games of the season, it appeared as if nothing was possible.  But with trust, determination and Mr. Bridges speaking a word of truth in his life, Coach Taylor was now on the verge of a State Championship and was going to prepare for rain.

I want to prepare for rain as well.  I want Emmanuel Lutheran Church to be a healthy congregation that isn’t known for dysfunction, distrust and division in the church or in our community.  I want an Emmanuel Lutheran Church that is a pace setting church ready to encounter Satan head on, not worried about ‘how many people attend’ church on Sunday, but how many people are ‘changed by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ’?  Not worried about ‘what it costs for a project’, but dreaming God dreams for our community and church to have had a lasting impact upon the people of Goodland, KS and the entire world.  Not worried if the doors will be open or the money will be in the offering plate, but seeking to serve by ministering to those who have not heard what Jesus Christ did on the Cross of Calvary for all of mankind.

This encompasses not only trusting in God, leaving it on the field, but especially preparing for rain.  When we take ownership in the message of Jesus Christ and His death on Calvary for all of mankind and live, eat, and breathe this message, we lay claim to God’s purposeful action in our lives.  Just as Jesus said in the Gospel this morning, “For many are called, but few are chosen”, we have been chosen for this task of spreading the Gospel message here in Goodland, KS.  Through our baptism into Jesus Christ, life, death and resurrection, we have been chosen to spread the message of salvation for all of mankind.

When the waters of Baptism were poured over our head and heart, we were changed.  In a moment that time stood still, God reached down in our collective lives and touched each and every one of us.  We no longer were mired in sin, mauled by the assaults of the devil or mangled by the oppression of sin in our lives.  We have been set free by God.  We though still simultaneously saint and sinner are set free by the Gospel of Jesus Christ to prepare for rain.

Consider if you will earlier this fall, the farmers who have experienced a drought reminiscent of the Dust Bowl years prepared for rain.  Though moisture was not in the forecast the farmers still went and drilled winter wheat.  And God in His wisdom and time has given us moisture for the wheat crop we anticipate next spring.  They were ‘preparing for rain’.

So to in our church, God has empowered each of us by calling us through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and our baptism to prepare for rain.  And God will provide us what we need, not just to survive, but ultimately to flourish so His Glory may be revealed and we are empowered to spread the Gospel of Salvation.
In “Facing the Giants” David after being iced by the opposing coach, is ready to step up to do his best and leave the results to God.  Previously he had doubted, but in faith he takes the field, measures his starting position sees that he is kicking into the wind and prepares for rain.  And God mysteriously puts the wind at David’s back and ‘makes it rain’.

This is what God does every day.  All that we as a church need to do is ‘prepare for rain’ and allow God in His infinite wisdom and mercy to reach down like at our baptism and touch our lives with His unending love.  For the promises of God are sure and certain, He sent His Son Jesus Christ in to this world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  And this promise is revealed to each of us today, not only through the Word of God proclaimed, but in the meal we are about to receive.  As we come and receive His precious Body and Blood, Jesus Christ will strengthen each of us not only to receive His Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sins, but also in faith to ‘prepare for rain’ in each of our lives.  God’s glory will be revealed and we as a congregation and as individuals will receive the greatest blessings.  Blessings not only meant for a select few, but like ‘preparing for rain’ prepared for all of mankind, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  So let’s ‘prepare for rain’.  AMEN.

//trial script