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Monday, October 27, 2014

10262014 Reformation Sunday (Observed)

Sermon Audio

October 26, 2014
What is our legacy?
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

            Last Sunday as I sat in the Sherman Theater, our Film of Faith entitled, The Ultimate Life challenged me.  It wasn’t the connection to The Ultimate Gift and the twelve gifts that Jason Stevens learned about.  It wasn’t learning the back story of how Red Stevens had built an oil empire with an express goal of being a billionaire.  It wasn’t the love story of Hannah and Red because of a chance encounter on a street in rural Texas.  What impacted me most was the statement that Hamilton, the man who was clinging to life itself after being hit on the 205 on his way to eat Christmas dinner with his mother challenged Red Stevens with as he lay in the hospital bed after receiving the donation of Red’s kidney.
          Hamilton said after acknowledging Red had accomplished his goal and dream of being a ‘billionaire’, “your legacy, your legacy is your family”.  Up to that point in Red’s life, money and being a billionaire was the only thing that mattered.  Red had sacrificed his family, relationship with his wife and children and the clearest impact he could have in the world after he was gone all on the altar of the almighty dollar.  The question that I asked myself thinking about myself and Emmanuel Lutheran church was, “What is our legacy?”

Today we stand at a crossroads in history here at Emmanuel.  We need to ask ourselves this question that will have lasting effects, not only upon our church, but our relationship with one another, with our community and even with our world.  We need to ask ourselves today “What is our legacy?”

Martin Luther stood up on October 31, 1517 and clearly spoke the words that changed history and the world when he uttered, “Here I Stand, I can do no other”!  This was the legacy that not only sent shock waves around the world, but clearly changed the landscape of the church and set in motion the Protestant Reformation.  The protest that Luther had was over the abuses that were occurring in the Catholic Church.  The Legacy impact he had we feel even today.  Because of Martin Luther standing up to the Pope, the Cardinals and the Catholic Church we gather here today.  Outside of our church on our front lawn is not a monument, but the legacy that Luther stood up for, our sign that calls us Emmanuel Lutheran Church.

The legacy we live does not begin with Luther, but connects us through Martin Luther to Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ stood in the temple and cleansed it because of the abuses that were occurring in His Father’s house.  Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice of dying on the Cross in order that we might live and have eternal life.  Jesus Christ legacy was to enter into the world in a lowly manger, live as a lowly carpenter’s son, teach the truth about His Father and die on the Cross of Calvary to set us free.  We are Jesus Christ’s legacy, passed down by the Gospel writers, inspiring Martin Luther to return to the Gospel of Salvation and which we here today gather to celebrate with our remembering the Reformation.

But the question still remains, “what is our legacy?”  What will Emmanuel Lutheran Church be remembered for?  Will it be our being a church that was built by the founders blood sweat and tears only to fall in ruin?  Will Emmanuel be known in our community as a closed group of people?  Or will our legacy be different?

Jesus Christ wants our legacy to be measurable, meaningful and to matter for us and for our community.  This was why Jesus Christ was born in a manger, walked the desert of the Middle East, ministered to the people He met along the way and made His way to Jerusalem to die for you and for me on the Cross of Calvary.

What is Jesus calling us to?  To measure our legacy, not by how much money we give or have at the end, but the impact we have with the money God has entrusted to each of us.  As Jim Stovall wrote in the Ultimate Gift, “In the end, a person is only known by the impact he or she has on others.”

Our lives have meaning, not only to the parents that brought us into this world, but especially to our God Who redeems us.  Stovall said, “If we can learn how to live one day to its fullest, our lives will be rich and meaningful.”  We are each given every day of our lives to live to its fullest and “be the church” and fulfill our legacy.

For in our fulfilling our legacy, our lives will matter.  Do you think Martin Luther from the day he began his studies to be a lawyer knew he would ultimately leave law school, enter a monastery and end up saying, “Here I stand, I can do no other.”  Probably not, but our legacy like Martin Luther’s is extremely important for the people that we meet, it will matter in the eternal scheme of things.  All because God is working through each and every one of us in order that the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be shared, here in these four walls, when we pass through the doors of the church and each and every time we tell what Jesus Christ has done each of us and for all of mankind.

So I want each of you to ask yourself today, as a child of the Reformation, a saint of Emmanuel, redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.  “What is your legacy going to be?”  AMEN.

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