First John 5: 1-6
JOHN 15: 9-17

Those of us who remember the days when the only way we could watch a movie a second time was when or if a television network or a TV station chose to show it again.  Yes, if we had a favorite movie or two that we could watch over again, well … our options were extremely limited.  More than likely Gone with the Wind would be shown some time during the year as would the Wizard of Oz because they were QUOTE ON THE SCHEDULE but we’d have to carefully scan the television listings to see what movies were coming up to make sure we didn’t miss the chance to see one of our favorites again; in fact they sometimes were limited to the after 11:30 time slot and that meant little or no sleep.

I still remember the days when there were no PROGRAMS on DEMAND and not even a NETFLIX AMAZON PRIME, HULU or even a RED BOX.  In fact, I remember walking into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Grass in Florida and seeing this huge machine in their living room … the machine allowed that to record television programs onto some sort of tape.  Yes, I can remember those days … no replay, no movies to purchase at TARGET … I had to see it the first time or I’d lose out.

On this Communion Sunday, I would like to suggest that Christians are in need of a regular replay of the realities of our faith.  In today’s world we are offered options for our time that truly challenge us to plot our days and evenings.

We had held out hope that the working realities in the 21 st Century would shrink as technology provided more leisure moments yet we are living in a time when there are suggestions from some that the work week should be expanded beyond 40 hours without the benefit of overtime pay; where vacation time traditionally offered to employees has been reduced or eliminated and where even family focus has become a mere asterisk to employers who would rather use up and toss away people rather than employing people living balanced lives.

Just yesterday, I was able to turn on my television set … watch The Magnificent Seven, which I had recorded off of Turner Classic Movies and then continuing my Western theme, I watched Have Gun Will Travel starring Richard Boone, which was first shown in the early 1960’s.  I finished my day tuned to Netflix.  In fact, reading an AARP publication I discovered that those of us over 50 are spending more time glued to our television sets than any other age group … perhaps it is a longing for what was or discovering we can squeeze a lot of binge watching if we just keep our eyes open and stare at the television …

Walk out of our church and into your daily Sunday routine … what will be the priority of the day? Sunday Brunch? Shopping? Daily chores?  Will the taste of the Communion Bread and cup prayed over and blessed dissipate with each passing moment or will you do all you can to be the Body of Christ into the world?

I have a ROKU … I have a FIOS controller with ON DEMAND options and I can pull up all the shows I have chosen to record on our DirecTV DVR feature.  Heck I can even ask my phone to replay music <<HEY GOOGLE PLAY DUBLIN GOSPEL CHOIR on SPOTIFY..>>.

It’s so easy to just go through life living by REPLAY … EASTER PEOPLE; it is vital that we live the message of our Savior!  It’s essential that we are the ones that bring EASTER’s true message out into public venues … our homes … our workplaces because otherwise the faded Easter memories will blend chocolate eggs into Easter Santa’s and Jesus will be shelved.

John Wesley preached,

A Christian is one who loves the Lord his God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his mankind and with all his strength.  Yea, his joy is full and all his bones cry out ‘BLESSED BE THE GOD and FATHER of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, who hath begotten me again until a living hope of an inheritance in haven for me!”

The reality of faith … the strength of God … is not something locked into a dusty Bible and it’s not tied to clock watchers who quickly down the Holy in order to make the next appointment on time.   John wrote in his letter,

This is how we know … by loving God and carrying out God’s commands. And, God’s commandments are not difficult … everyone born from God defeats the world … the victory? OUR FAITH!  Who defeats that world … THE ONE WHO BELIEVES.”

That’s us … the EASTER PEOPLE … God’s people … believers who take God’s WORD and keep it right here … and here … and actually throughout our entire being.   And, one of the commandments of Jesus … Lord and Master, right?  Savior, right?  When we gather … we remember Jesus mighty acts … through the bread and the cup.  A REPLAY believers … an EASTER PEOPLE REPLAY.

I know that I am not worthy of Jesus sacrifice … but my sins are forgiven through the Son of God’s sacrifice.   When you come to the Table … are you pausing here in this beautiful church to pray silently to God … ‘here’s my sins; forgive me … help me repent … thank you God for Jesus and Your grace God’.  Are you thinking about your relationship with God … or does the world and its commandments get in the way?

This Thursday a small crowd of strangers gathered for some powerful prayer moments … the folks from my good friend Pastor Derek Gatling’s church wore these shirts … UNITY.   Not division … and I said I need one.   We prayed holding hands … and Pastor Derek shook up the room saying we were to hold hands with someone we don’t know … truth is we were holding hands with another one of the Jesus followers … a child of God … someone new to love not reject because of color, ethnicity, accent, nation of origin, denomination, neighborhood, past life experiences … God’s replay friends is our call to follow the commands Jesus taught.  As we come to the Lord’s Table we have our time to reflect … no, my ROKU doesn’t work and can’t replay your moment of faith preserving it for the moments when a pastor walks in and says hold a strangers hands ….

Jesus taught in our GOSPEL … remember Jesus.  People of faith you do remember Jesus don’t you?  Jesus the Christ … Jesus the Son of God … Jesus the Savior … Jesus the Sacrifice … Jesus the Rabbi …. Jesus … who by the way …. HE IS RISEN <<He is Risen Indeed>> … it’s so easy to shelve Jesus and to dismiss Jesus commands but don’t you want to be in His love or is the world’s divisiveness your call of the day?

Jesus taught … actually Jesus made this simple request of those who follow Him.   Jesus wanted to pull in all the sheep … didn’t want one outside the pasture where the wolves await … Jesus asked,

Remain in my love.”

But, he added … you see it’s not up to a magical wave of the hand at a revival meeting … yes, we can remember our moment when we discovered Jesus … a replay but truth is being an Easter person is to be alive and moving forward … taking what we know to change the world and this is either the hardest or easiest part … and it comes from Jesus.

Today, as we head to the Great Thanksgiving … are you in love with Jesus?  This week did you remain in Jesus’ love or did the world take you?  Today, is your chance to pray and be forgiven.

Jesus said …

“If you keep my commandments; you will remain in my love.”

And, then Jesus repeated what he had taught numerous times during this walk on earth,

This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you.”

So, love each other … not just those here in this church … but those who are different; those who the world or others tell you to despise, put down or reject.  You are a child of God my friends … you are one of the EASTER PEOPLE!  Chosen by God … appointed to produce fruit that lasts forever for God.

Our replay on those days when we are fortunate enough to consume the bread and cup … remember that Jesus gave up His life for us on that brutal cross; “no greater love” my friends.  And, today … if you have been too busy switching channels I am asking you to replay your faith moment … be an EASTER person here and out there!

Take the time … accept the reality … that it’s time to hear Jesus once again.  Let the Spirit speak to you no matter what your friends and family think … Choose to “remain in the love of Jesus”  who gave us His commandments “so that we can love each other.”

Simple but we really do need a daily replay of what Jesus tells us to do so we can get our priorities in place for our time here … brothers and sisters, be in prayer as you approach the Lord’s Table … allow today’s meal to nourish you in ways you have never sensed before because God needs each of us beyond these walls.  AMEN

Watch a video of today’s worship service:

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