Deuteronomy 30:19b-20; Psalm 1 (9-09-07)
(The best translation of this passage for true understanding, is THE MESSAGE, by Eugene Peterson)
"Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn't first sit down and figure the cost so you'll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and
then run out of money, you're going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: 'He started something he couldn't finish.' "Or can you imagine a king going into
battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can't, won't
he send an emissary and work out the terms of peace?' "Simply put, if you're not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it goodbye, you can't be my
disciple. "Salt is excellent. But if the salt goes flat, it's useless, good for nothing. "Are you listening to this? Really listening?"
Let us pray: Lord, by the power of your Holy Spirit, guide my heart and guide my words, and prepare the hearts of those who listen that they each may hear what you want them to hear
that applies to their life and relationship with you. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Peace and love to you from our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.
When I gave Louise the title of my sermon, I left out a word. The title is actually, "It's a Great Durter Day!"
Perhaps some of you know what a 'durter day' is. Several months ago I asked for the cardboard roll inside of paper towels, toilet paper, wrapping paper and the like. Each of you
picked one of those out of a box as you came in. If you came in late and didn't get one, raise your hand because everyone needs one.
These are 'durters.' They are much like a kazoo. You put one end up to your mouth....and you supply the sound effects, announcing something really important, something really great,
like this......DUR-DUR-DUR-DUR-DUR-DUR! Some might like to add a little 'doodle' in there, like this...DURDLE-DUR-DUR-DUR-DUR!
Okay, now, on the count of THREE, you try it....one, two, three...DURDLE-DUR-DUR-DUR-DUR! Oh, you can do better than that...again, on the count of three.......Much better.
Now every time I want to make sure you know that something important, something great, is being said, I will give you the count of three and then you will announce it with DURTERS.
You haven't had a chance to do this since childhood-and maybe you had a childhood in which you were deprived of doing this, so this is your chance to go wild, and of course if you're a
kid, a youth, maybe you've done this, maybe not. But here's your chance. And the adults are counting on you. They'll be somewhat bashful, but you can lead them out of that.
Okay. Here's something great from the Scriptures that were read. One, two, three.....DURDLE-DUR-DUR-DUR-DUR! "If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding
you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will
bless you....Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days..."
Wow! Is that great or what? And here's another. One, two, three.....Durdle--------"Happy are they who delight in the Word of the Lord and they meditate on his Word day and night. They
are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; everything they do shall prosper." Wow again! And one more....One, two, three....Durdle-------"If
a king sits down and considers whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand...and sees he cannot, then, while the other is still far
away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace."
Wow! Did you notice it DIDN'T say 'he has his men battle to the death rather than admit he's out numbered'? And did you notice it DIDN'T say 'he sends a delegation and asks for the
terms of SURRENDER!' No, it says he asks for the terms of PEACE!
As Christ's disciples, we are NOT armed with weapons of destruction; we are armed with the PEACE of Christ as we fight the devil and the various ways he gathers together forces, seen
and unseen, in this world. Being armed with the peace of Christ is more powerful than any armed force. I have one of those ribbon magnets on the back of my car. It says, "Cultivate
We are "peaceful warriors." That is, our objective is peace. To bring about peace in our world, we have to battle the REAL enemy, Satan, the Devil. He is crafty and tricky and works
through all sorts of people and situations. He does everything he can to take our focus off the objective of the peace of Christ, the love of Christ. He does his best to make us believe
there is more hate in the world than love. He does his best to make us believe there will never be peace between all nations.
And he's very crafty in how he does it. He starts with each individual. He tries to make you, me believe that our individual efforts don't count. He tries to make us give up the hope
of peace. He tries to lead us into thoughts and situations that are un-peaceful. He does his best to create turmoil in our individual relationships so that we don't have a clear picture
of what peace really is. Peace in the world, as the song goes, "Peace begins with you and me." And that's true. If the Devil can make us lead our individual lives in thought and action
in ways that are not peaceful, he has a strong grip on us!
But listen up!! One, Two, Three......Durdle........
There is more love in the world than hate! The Word of the Lord is the Sword of Peace. You have to love the Lord more than your family. There comes a time when parents need to let go
of their adult children and let them live their lives, putting the Lord first. There comes a time when youth grow into adults and have to let go of their parents and family and put the
Lord first. If we can do that, then the family relationship becomes a strong bond-strong because it is the LORD that holds the family together, not just the individual love family
members have for each other-which in too many families turns into estrangement from one another.
If parents or young adults can't let go and put the Lord first, then it's not a peaceful sword, but a sword of division, when one in the family decides to put the Lord first and the
others don't follow suit. It becomes very divisive. Some parents hold their children back from truly knowing the Lord. But know this...One, Two, Three....Durdle....
Peace, love, abundance are staring each one of us in the face. But we have to let go of everything we think is so important and grab onto the outstretched hands of Jesus and there you
have it...One, two, three....Durdle.......Abundance and love and peace beyond your wildest imagination! And the peace that you have will spread to others. It will ripple around the
world. Peace is contagious. Love is contagious.
Have you read the sign board out front that's been out there for a couple weeks---"Forgive your enemies...it messes with their heads!"?
We are peaceful warriors. It's not that the battle against the Devil isn't a fierce one-he's always at the ready to turn our focus from the Word of Christ, the teachings of Christ,
and he certainly can easily do that to all those who know the Bible so minimally. They will defend it to the death even though they haven't the vaguest idea what 90 percent of it says;
and what they do think they know, they most often misquote, or unknowingly twist it to fit their own purpose and will.
One, two, three.....Durdle......We have to be armed-armed with the Word of the Lord. We have to be armed-armed with the power of the Spirit. We have to be armed-armed with the power
of prayer. We have to be armed-armed with thoughts of peace and love. We have to be armed-armed with acts of kindness and compassion.
To win the battle against Satan, the Devil, it only takes being armed with all the armor of your faith-knowing Christ's words, knowing Christ's teachings, staying in close
communication with God through prayer, praising God and living in an attitude of gratitude for all that God has done for us through the love of Christ, and continues to do for us through
the power of the Holy Spirit. One more time....
One, two, three, Durdle.....Onward, Peaceful Christians, Christ appointed you. Don't just hope for true peace, make that peace live true. Thoughts of peace and love in you, turn back
Satan's call; let your living be a source of peace to one and all. Onward, Peaceful Christians, Christ's love fills our hearts, And as Christ's disciples, peace we must impart. Amen.
(Full text of "Onward, Peaceful Christians" follows. Tune: "Onward Christian Soldiers." Permission granted to reproduce for use; not for publication or profit.) Text by the Reverend
Nicholas Brie, ELCA, 1996.
ONWARD, PEACEFUL CHRISTIANS
Onward, Peaceful Christians, Peace sets us apart,
For the love of Jesus fills our willing hearts.
Christ our Guide and Teacher, leads us in the Way,
Urging us to live his vision of a brighter day.
Onward, Peaceful Christians, Christ's love fills our hearts,
And as Christ's disciples, peace we must impart.
Onward, Peaceful Christians, believe, do not cease,
For the Truth of Jesus is what leads to peace.
We are in Christ's Army, armed with love and light,
To find peaceful ends to conflicts: Christ's love, not our might.
Onward, Peaceful Christians, Christ appointed you.
Don't just hope for true peace, make that peace live true.
Thoughts of peace and love in you turn back Satan's call;
Let your living be a source of peace to one and all.