Have You Seen Jesus, Really

Sermon:  Have You Seen Jesus, Really?
Rev. Ben Herlong

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“Forever And A Day”

Anthem:  Forever And A Day
AUMC Chancel Choir
Violin:  Faith Nyberg

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Freedom’s Great Responsibility

We rejoice in God and thank Him for the freedoms we have as a nation. As such, we are free to be and do as we wish within the ability of ourselves to provide the means. However, monetary limitations are not the only limitations that need to be firmly in place as a guard against our freedom destroying us. But some would argue that freedom with limits is not freedom at all. To the contrary, freedom without limits is self-destructive. The question is from where these limitations should come and there still be freedom.

Some would say that is the place of government. Officials freely elected by a free citizenry can be trusted to impose restrictions as they deem necessary to insure our safety in our freedom; in other words, to protect us from ourselves. I imagine the divine rights of kings might have been inculcated upon Christendom by just such a philosophy. In any case, it proved to be very oppressive. “Power corrupts….”

Our founding fathers truly believed that in the words of Christ were found a basis upon which a people, with minimal outward restrictions, could exercise awesome freedoms without falling into the self-destruction of moral licentiousness. “If you abide in My word you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free,” Jesus said. Free, yes; but we are not cut loose from godly instruction. Free, but limited by that which is within us, not that which is imposed upon us by human devises. A dependence upon God to be the Limiter of our freedoms by His Holy Spirit within us and His word to guide us, is that which enables freedom without self-destruction. Our forefathers, whether Christian, deist, theist, or agnostic, all looked to the Bible as the source of good, moral instruction for society, in spite of their own personal shortcomings.

Freedom’s great responsibility is that a truly free people, as a whole, practice self-control in all areas of life, and not give themselves to every whim of desire. They take as a standard, not the changing mores of sinful man, but the loving instruction of Christ whose word sets them free indeed. Enjoy your freedom. It is God’s good gift to those who follow Him. — Ben

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How Do We Fare?

Sermon:  How Do We Fare?
Rev. Ben Herlong

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Family Rewards

Sermon:  Family Rewards
Rev. Ben Herlong

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Have You Been Blessed Today?

We often see signs that say things like “Too blessed to be stressed.” It sounds too good to be true, so we smile and say, “I wish that were true for me.” Why isn’t it? It should be if we truly believe the Scripture. “All of God’s promises are ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ in Jesus Christ.” But we act as though the promises are not for us, not really. But why are we hesitant to stand on the promises we are so ready to sing about? Could it be that we have some false humility that we need to confess and leave behind?

Are your prayers often like this? “Lord, there are so many people with so many needs, lots of them with needs so much greater than mine. I feel guilty asking for my little needs to be met, so You just keep that which I would ask for and give it to someone in greater need.”  Sounds humble and selfless, doesn’t it? However, it casts the darkness of poor theology upon our Christian life. It reflects a faith in a limited god.

The truth is that God’s power, love and resources are inexhaustible! Keeping blessings from you to give to others does not make more for others to have from God. Receiving blessings from God does not take away blessing resources from others. “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” Paul writes. Not only that, but He blesses us that we can be part of God’s blessing to others. By not receiving the blessings, we are limiting our ability to help others.

When I was in college someone gave me a $20 bill and said I would know where to use it. I did not need it and had no clue what to do with it. But I took and kept it. Later that week I saw a friend of mine who needed work shoes, obviously. When I mentioned his need for shoes he said, “Yeah, I know. I’ve been praying.” I said, “Come with me.” You could buy a good pair of work shoes for $20 back then. After the purchase, he said, I wonder why God just didn’t give me the $20. I said, “Cause He knows you would have bought the cheap pair that would have worn out in six months.” He said with a smile, “Yeah, that’s probably right.”

Receiving is the first step toward helping. Open your heart. Receive all the blessings God has for you. There is no guilt in living in the fullness of His grace. — Ben

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Vacation Bible School 2015

Theme:       Camp Discovery, Jesus at Work Through Us
Dates:         July 14  –  16, 2015
Times:        5:45 PM –  8:00 PM
Dinner:   5:45 PM
Ages:          3 – 12 Years
Covenant Presbyterian Church
1830 Celanese Road
Rock Hill, SC   29732

Online Registration:    https://vbs.cph.org/tools/churchInfo.aspx?Church=2093491B

Adult Volunteers needed from Aldersgate UMC!!!

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The New Covenant

Sermon:  The New Covenant
Rev. Ben Herlong

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The Redemption of the Screen?

Most everyone admits to spending too much time watching television. Today, you don’t even have to have a TV to watch TV; just use your computer or phone or whatever. Goodness, there’s no getting away from that mindless pursuer of our time! But even before ETV, Groucho Marx found a very positive use for TV. He said, “I find television very educating. Every time someone turns on the set, I go into another room and read a book.”

However, long before television was ever invented, philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), who never considered himself a prophet, summed up our plight with these prophetic words. “Suppose someone invented an instrument, a convenient little talking tube which could be heard over the whole land….I wonder if the police would not forbid it, fearing that the whole country would become mentally deranged if it were used.” Have you seen any “reality” TV lately? I think we have arrived at what Kierkegaard could only begin to imagine. Our remedy is to do what Groucho did. And in picking up our books, let’s linger longer in the Book of books than in the rest. Did I say “book”? In this day you can just download them. I guess redemption has come to the screen! In any format you choose, let us read the Bible. — Ben

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Sermon:  Permission
Mr. Harvey Mayhill

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