Sunday’s Sermon

“Passion, Priority, and a Sure Thing ”                    August 9, 2020

Welcome! I’m so glad each of you are here and that we are able to gather together, even at a distance. I’m pastor Melody from the Empire UMC bringing you this morning’s message here on our facebook page.  Be sure to hit the “like” button and “share” this recording so we can reach as many folks as we can.

Let’s begin with prayer…

O God, let your face shine upon us this day and fill us with your life-giving Spirit, that we may rejoice and return praise unto you. In Your holy name we pray, Amen.

Our sermon for today is titled:

One year my brother-in-law bought my husband a small fishing boat just before we went on vacation; and that was the number one thing on my husband’s mind for weeks. He wanted to get the boat ready for our vacation so he needed to get oars, and a fish-finder, a battery and charger, and get the materials to put floors in the boat, and life preservers and whatever else he thought he needed. He was very passionate about his boat and it became one of his priorities for that space of time.

We’ve been seeing how Laurie is helping with collecting cans and bottles to provide funds to help support the church ministry.  You can see her passion for this particular project – she has made time in her busy schedule to promote and encourage folks to drop off their empties. She takes the time to cash them all in. The bottle collection became one of her priorities to help the church in this space and time.

I have a friend who is an avid fan of one of the college teams. He goes to every game that he can, he buys sweat shirts, t-shirts and whatever that has the team logo on it.  When he is watching the game on TV you can’t talk to him, or make any noise in the room because all his attention is on the game. He is so passionate about the team that he even has sheets on his bed with the team logo.  He will take off of work, skip going to church or cancel a family event just to watch or attend a game.  You can see where his passion and priority lay.

Whether you’re passionate about fishing, hunting, Michigan or Michigan State, or ministries of the church, whatever your passion is, so will it be your Priority. 

A friend told me this story he said,

“Last week something happened to my wife and me that I am a little personally embarrassed about. We were on our computer working on our financial budget.  It was the first of the month and already we were in the red. My wife turned to me and asked, “What are we going to do?” Joking around I said, “Well I could go and get a second and third job!”

I turned my attention back to the computer screen and continued working trying to figure out what we could do. Then my wife got up from her chair, went to the bed, grabbed a pillow, and put it on the floor. She motioned me to join her in prayer. We both got on our knees and prayed, putting God first.” 

Why is it that when times get rough and tough many times the last place we go is to our God? All things are possible through God yet many times he is our last priority. I mean we have a ringer who can help us, yet we leave him out of the game of life. 

Growing up there was this little league baseball team in the neighborhood. There was this one kid who just could not hit the ball. I mean it was so bad that if it was two outs they just started walking to the dug out because they knew he would strike out. But, I don’t know what happened over the summer, but this little guy learned how to hit the ball. It was amazing.

The next year, he became a super star. 9 out of 10 times when he went up to bat he would hit the ball over the fence. He became their “GO TO” batter. When he got up to bat and they had two outs, they began walking the bases because they knew he would come through. He was their sure ringer. 

In our lives, we have a ringer. We have a “sure thing,” yet we leave him on the bench. Instead of putting God first when times get tough, we turned to him later if at all. Whatever is our passion so will be our priority. 

Let’s look at Matthew 6:19 through 33. We are going to skip around a little bit but I would encourage you to go back and read the parts that we will hop over. 

Matt 6:19-21
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for your selves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

What Jesus is talking about here in this excerpt from Matthew is about materialism. If you ever want to show that Jesus is still relevant today then look at scriptures like these. I know all of you would agree that materialism is still a problem today as it was back then. 

 Jesus tells us don’t get caught up in material things, and especially don’t make them your priority in life. Materialism can be a pitfall to many people, but as these scriptures say, they will eventually corrode and fade away. Only things from God are eternal. So why would we make material things of the world our priority when we could have things that last? 

But focus on verse 21 for a second. “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” When I came across this verse it gave me goose bumps because this was God’s way of saying where your passion is so your priority will be. God wants to be our passion and our priority. 

Skip down to verse 24. 
Matt 6:24 – “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Notice that the verse doesn’t say “you should not serve two masters.” No, it says you cannot. It is not possible. You will love the one and hate the other. It’s like oil and water… it doesn’t mix, and here’s why. When you try to serve two masters, somewhere down the road they will conflict. You will have to give priority to one over the other. It is just not possible to keep them separate.

We can only love God. We can love only one thing with “ALL our heart, ALL our soul, ALL our minds”. God wants us to love Him and make Him our passion. Because whatever our passion is, so will be our priority. God wants to be that priority in our lives. 

People hear this and say but… but… we need all these things and we need money to get them. Doesn’t God want us to have any fun?  Of course, he knows we need these things. That is why this next part of Scripture is the do not worry part. 

If you read Matt 6:25-33 He tells us do not worry about food, drink or clothes. I used to read this scripture every time I would begin to worry about something in my life, but I think I would forget one important part.

It says don’t worry, BUT instead, [verse 33] “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” This is a huge part to miss! You see instead of seeking these other things, it says seek God, not third, not last, but FIRST and he will give us what we need.

So how do we make God a priority? It all begins with baby steps. God wants to be our priority. We need to put him first in everything we do.

Maybe in your car put the Christian station on the number one preset. (baby-step) Give him the first part of our day, by taking a few moments to pray and get in the word. (baby-step) Give him the first 10% of our money. (baby-step) Make him be the “Go to Guy” in our life – going to him before trying everything else first.

I thought about this one day as I was printing up some permission slips for the Youth program at a church where I served a few years ago. There is a spot that says “Emergency Contact” on it.  Why not put “GOD” in that spot. If something happened to you wouldn’t you want them praying for you first?  Make God your 911 call at the first sign of trouble or at the first sign of conflict or the first sign of stress. Go to God through whom all things are possible. 

Let’s not leave here today without making at least one baby step to making God #1 in our lives.

God; our passion, our priority and He’s a sure thing.  Make God the priority in your life. 

Let’s pray…

O God,

We want to make You the priority in our lives, but we know that often we tend to forget. We sometimes allow other things to creep into our lives that end up placing You on the back burner of our lives or we may try to fix the problem ourselves. We know that through You all things are possible. May we remember to place You as the priority in our lives.  In Your name we pray. Amen.

A Reminder of what is happening this week here at Emprire UMC. . .

Thursday – 2:30mp Bible Study Zoom Mtg.    

Thank you for joining me today. We are continuing to gather for worship at Johnson Park each Sunday at 10am thru August. Or you can continue to watch the sermon on the church facebook page or our church website. We hope you can join us again. Have a great week!

~ Pastor Melody