May 27, 2008

It's Good To Be Reminded

Here are some excerpts from a sermon I gave this past Sunday. I tried to keep it from being too long so you wouldn't get bored reading it and Blogger messed up the format so bear with me if you dare.

Memories are funny things. They have the power to motivate us and they have the power to freeze us in our tracks. It seemed right to take some time on this Memorial Day weekend to talk about memories and the importance of being reminded. Webster’s dictionary had some interesting things to say about memory. It defined memory as:

1 a: the power or process of reproducing or recalling what has been learned and retained b: the store of things learned and retained from an organism's activity or experience 2 b: the fact or condition of being remembered 3 a: a particular act of recall or recollection

The part I found most interesting with what Webster had to say about memory was the relationship between the word memory and recollection. It says that recollection “adds an implication of consciously bringing back to mind, often with some effort.” It made me wonder if there have been times in your life when you have wanted a certain memory to revisit you but you really had to search for it? It was probably something that was good or enjoyable. It could be anything: a memory of a certain food, someone’s voice, a smell, a place, a song. In those moments, it’s good to be reminded. And sometimes when we have forgotten the consequences of an action or a set of words (our own or another’s) and the hurt that was caused, and though it’s not easy, it’s good to be reminded in hopes that we have learned something in the process so we won’t have to experience or cause that hurt again.

On a Memorial Day weekend, it’s good to be reminded of those that have gone before us and those who even now are serving their country so that we have the freedom to call it ours as well. It’s good to be reminded of loved ones that are no longer with us but not forgotten. The memory of these and many more is not and should not be reserved for just one day of the year. Dr. Carl Sagan said, “You have to know the past to understand the present.” It’s good to be reminded of that.

Dr. Bill Schwein said, “There is something within us that realizes the importance of remembering. That’s why we tell stories, take pictures, make scrapbooks, and keep journals.” And it is good for us as Christians, as people who are trying to follow Jesus, to be reminded. Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:12-13… We need that don’t we? There are countless times in our lives when we need to have our memories refreshed, it’s not that we didn’t know, we just forgot. Here are a couple things that I think are important to be reminded of as Christians…

  • We need to be reminded that there have been heroes of the faith that have gone before us.
    1. a.) Hebrews chapter 11 lists individuals of faith that helped pave the way for us today
    2. b.) Part of this is being reminded that we aren’t doing this alone. That there have been people of faith that have struggled with the very same issues we struggle with today.
    3. c.) It’s good to be reminded that we are not thrust into the world on our own.
  • We need to be reminded that we are loved unconditionally, with no strings attached.
    1. a.) When we are faithless, Christ remains faithful. When we turn our love away from Him, His love remains.
    2. b.) It’s important to remember that there is nothing you or I can do to earn this love and thankfully there is nothing you or I have done or will do to lose this love.
    3. c.) It’s good to be reminded that there is a place to seek and find love unconditionally regardless of who we are or what we’ve done.
    4. d.) AND because He first loved us in this way…
  • We need to be reminded that we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves.
    1. a.) William Barclay said, “If a man’s Christianity does not cause him to be kind it is not real.”
    2. b.) Part of being a Christian is putting others before ourselves, it’s not easy but it’s also not an option.
    3. c.) We simply need to be nice to people, realize their worth as one of God’s and treat them accordingly.
    4. d.) It’s good to be reminded that God loves people and so too should we.
  • We need to be reminded that faith requires action.
    1. a.) It’s hard to follow standing still. You’ve probably heard the story of Peter stepping out of the boat onto the water; his faith forced him into action.
    2. b.) Do you want to know a great way to measure the pulse of your faith? Ask yourself if it is pushing you into action. James tells us in chapter 2 of his letter that faith without deeds, without action is dead.
    3. c.) The actions of your faith will be varied and could be anything from helping someone at the grocery store, supporting a child in a developing nation or striking up a conversation with someone you might not choose to interact with.
    4. d.) It’s not that the action itself isn’t important but also that you feel compelled to do something, to act in a particular situation.
    5. e.) It’s good to be reminded that putting our faith in Jesus means we actually have to go and do...that maybe "faith" is actually a verb.