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Sermons from First United Methodist Church - DeRidder, LA (fumcderidder.org)

First United Methodist Church - DeRidder, LA Rev. Lamar C. Oliver

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Sermons from First United Methodist Church - DeRidder, LA (fumcderidder.org)

    It's Not Too Late! (Yet.) [Easter Revelations]

    It's Not Too Late! (Yet.) [Easter Revelations]

    It's not every Sunday that the people of God gather for worship and, as a part of that service, participate in the baptism of an engaged couple and their young boy, a baptism followed by the young couple exchanging marriage vows.

    As we concluded our Easter Revelations worship series by exploring the last words found in the book of Revelation, we found that, indeed, the text reminds the faithful the day of the Lord is coming soon.

    However, rather than presenting this as a dire warning to those who have not yet accepted the grace of God through Christ our Lord to get right or die, we saw it as a word of inspiration to the people of the church universal and eternal that there is still time to do all within our power to bring to a hurting world the unbridled joy of the assurance of God's peace.

    Family Reunion? (Or Something Better?) [Easter Revelations

    Family Reunion? (Or Something Better?) [Easter Revelations

    One of the most common beliefs amongst men and women worldwide is a belief that going to heaven is all about the idea of reconnecting with friends and family - "I just can't wait to get to heaven so I can see ___________" again. Make no mistake about it; the hope all faithful should have is that their loved ones have developed faith in Christ to the extent that, paraphrasing the words of the Apostle Paul, "Death has no victory, death has no sting." However, we discover in some of the final words recorded in Revelation that hoping for heaven just to see loved ones again is at best incomplete, and pretty much not rooted in scripture.

    Quit Keeping Score - It Doesn't Matter [Easter Revelations]

    Quit Keeping Score - It Doesn't Matter [Easter Revelations]

    The fourth installment of our Easter Revelations series draws us into the beginning of the conclusion of the book of Revelation. In these first six verses of chapter 21, Jesus provides John with a vision that radically transforms our faith along with our love of God, each other, and all creation. These six verses are, it could be fairly said, ones that, when we truly embody them, at the heart of our understanding - and living out - of the Christian faith. Jesus royally and majestically declares that all of the temporal stuff that consumes far too much of our time, efforts, attention, and devotion, are but temporary due to the coming reality that when Christ comes again in glory, all things are made new. Using the inconvenience of church members who are asked to sit in a different place during worship today, we see that if we have so much trouble simply giving up our favorite seat for a Sunday we cannot begin to imagine how hard it is for someone to give up their way of life and turn to Christ alone for fulfillment, satisfaction, identity, and purpose.

    Are You Shepherd or Sheep? [Easter Revelations]

    Are You Shepherd or Sheep? [Easter Revelations]

    We continue our Easter Revelations series on this Graduate Recognition Sunday by dropping in on the portion of John's Revelation found in chapter 7, verses 9-17. Through the vibrant imagery of the worship of the Lamb, we are confronted with the reality that we can be shepherd or sheep, but not both. If we are not fully committed to being led by Jesus Christ, allowing him to be our shepherd, we put at risk the rewards we have been promised through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ our Lord. Drawing on the experiences of our graduating seniors (who are referenced in several places in today's message) we are challenged to ask ourselves if we have learned the vital lessons of the example of Christ and allowed ourselves to experience the absolutely unbridled joy that comes from joining with the church eternal, universal, and triumphant to sing the praises of our God and King.

    It's Obvious Who You Worship [Easter Revelations]

    It's Obvious Who You Worship [Easter Revelations]

    In the second installment of our Easter Revelations worship series, we find ourselves in the fifth chapter of Revelation, observing all of creation worshiping Christ. Through the words of this passage, we are confronted with the question of who or what it is that we worship. We also continue our discovery of Revelation to be a story of grace, peace, hope, and salvation - far from the tawdry fear-mongering violent hatefest that is found all too common in people's understanding of the apocalyptic language of Revelation.

    Revelation One - There's More to Come [Easter Revelations]

    Revelation One - There's More to Come [Easter Revelations]

    IF ONE LOOKS HARD ENOUGH, ONE COULD MAKE THE CASE NO BOOK IN THE BIBLE IS MORE OPEN TO SENSATIONALISM AND MISINTERPRETATION than Revelation. The apocalyptic nature of the text along with the graphical imagery leads one in many different directions, many of which can be terrifying if one is not familiar with the language and imagery of the day. Also, given the commonly-accepted (but simply inaccurate) understanding that Revelation is written as a series of events occurring chronologically to scare people into confessing Christ as Lord before he comes again, one can easily find themselves truly living in fear as certain things come to pass.

    Looking at Revelation from another perspective, however, finds one discovering not a graphic, scary, fear-mongering warning to 'turn or burn' sensational supermarket tabloid full of fodder that is designed to grab headlines. Indeed, Revelation is full of hope, joy, assurance, and salvation. This Sunday we begin a series where we will look at six portions of Revelation, discovering some essentials for being a faithful follower of the resurrected Christ.

    We see early in John's Revelation five verses that help us set the stage for diving into the glory of Christ's presence. Verses four through eight of chapter one remind us of some absolutely key concepts that, when we hold fast to them, put us in a position to where instead of living in fear of the second coming of Christ we live in hopeful anticipation for the fulfillment of God's work of reconciliation, redemption, restoration, and renewal between the creator and creation.

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