Pastor’s Sermon

Pastor’s Sermon

November 6, 2022 – Our Legacy

Dave Vail

Archeologists often say “Man is best described by what he leaves behind”

Our Northwest is full Archeological “digs” from historic animals of eastern Montana, native American cultures learned from (and were amazed by) based on their tools and those who traveled and explored before us (Lewis and Clark).

Sometimes for people it is by what they left behind – their trash.

Imagine what future generations will learn from our roadsides and our throw away products we leave behind.

Have you gone to the county dump or transfer station lately?

We all leave some form of a legacy when we leave this world. On the flip side we all receive from those who have left us.  Not just our individual DNA, eye color, height that are passed on from our parents but their character and values.

Hebrews 11:4 describes a man by saying, “he, being dead, yet he speaks.

Many people are known by their legacies – both positive and negative..…

Alfred Nobel who established the Nobel Peace Prize to recognize World peace makers first invented dynamite that was developed for uses in war. Today he is most know for the peace prize.

Louis Pasture the French chemist and microbiologist is renowned for his development of pasteurization also discoveries of the principles many vaccines including one for rabies – which he wanted to test on himself until a young boy was bitten by a dog and he used it on the boy and saved him.

One man during WWII, Sir Nicholson Winton from Czechoslovakia, is credited for saving 699 Jewish children when Hitler (who also had a legacy) invaded by sending them out of the country in trains. It was studied that of those 699 children there were at least 7,000 offspring.

There are many legacy stories of those who were part of the 42 people in June of 1993 felt called to form a new church – which became PCC.

Let me share with you couple stories of those who were the backbone and strength of the church through their prayer, service, talents, abilities and giving financially.

Jim and Lois Aznoe originally from Ft. Benton, MT. where Jim had a large and successful farm machinery and implementation dealership. Jim was part of the original finance and building committees of this church and Lois kept each church social or memorial service supplied with her world famous pumpkin bars.

Fred and Millie Mielke – Fred a banker and Millie a nurse. Fred also was part of the building committee and finance.

Now during the Passing Of the Peace, Millie who sat toward the front would end up at the back of the sanctuary have have to be called back to her seat by pastor Widerholdt – often Millie was a greater to everyone who entered the church. She’s probably still working her way through heaven passing the peace right now.

Look inside your hymnal and pew Bible – and you will see legacies memorialized inside the cover and around the church many of the items on the alter and fixtures in the church were given in memory of legacies in this church.

PCC would not be here here today if it weren’t for these and many more people who came to this church over time – including you! The foundation (cornerstone) of a community church is its people.

In the PCC church history it is written – “everyone was asked to contribute their talents as needed. Talents hidden away were brushed off and joyfully shared.”

Unknown talents were discovered. Members led services, sang in the choir and even sang solos, meetings here hosted in homes, everyone served refreshments and whenever asked to serve did so with joy.

The group was determined to mesh in love and as one of the original prayer warriors – Mary DeVries stated, “our harmony is our strength”

Eugene Peterson was a pastor, scholar, writer, professor  – who grew up in Kalispell – After graduating from college he attended seminary founded and pastored a church in Maryland for almost 30 years. He returned to Montana and resided in Lakeside and Kalispell until his passing in 2018.

In all he wrote over 40 books. One of the writing tasks he took on was to translate the Bible into everyday language based on the original languages. The Message is that work and as he said any translation is a paraphrase.

I would like to read to you his paraphrase of Psalm 112:1-9 which we read earlier.

It speaks of a persons reputation of honor and dignity. Something we all seek to obtain.

Hallelujah!

Blessed man, blessed woman, who fear God,

Who cherish and relish his commandments.

Their children robust on the earth

And the homes of the upright – how blessed!

Their houses brim with wealth

And a generosity that never runs dry.

Sunrise breaks through the darkness for good people –

God’s grace, mercy and justice!

The good person is generous and lends lavishly;

No shuffling or stumbling around for this one,

But a sterling and solid and lasting reputation

Unfazed by rumor and gossip

Heart ready, trusting God,

Spirit firm, unperturbed

Forever blessed, relaxed among enemies,

They lavish gifts on the poor –

A generosity that goes on, and on, and on.

An honored life! A beautiful life!

We are all preparing for our individual legacies while we live with our character and reputation in the present day – but churches also build and leave legacies or have their own unique character or culture.

What brought you to PCC? Did it have something to do with people?

In today’s terms – when you Google PCC what comes up?There are Google reviews – 4.9 out of 5 stars! Is it as what Mary so wisely said all almost 30 years ago?

Churches/denominations differ as some rely on the old testament or the book of Revelation on the end times. Some the literal interpretation of words. Some focus on the fear or the wrath of God while others focus on love. It is interesting (and not just in Polson) to read what scripture verses churches put on their reader boards and web sites.

Blessed are those who love and fellowship ….

Blessed are those who fear the judgement….

Some churches laugh  – others don’t. You can’t tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor and likes to hear us laugh. Hey, just look at who is sitting next to you.

When I was at SPU getting my Christian Education degree, my church history professor said that churches tend to spend far too much time time focusing on our differences – the Fundamentals sleep in the pews while the Pentecostals jump over the pews.

There can be differences based on faiths and denominations but they can co-exhist – Like Cat and Griz fans.

The bottom line we have the same foundation.Have you ever heard of the phrase “ The ground is level at the foot of the cross” – it comes from an old song

“You may own earth’s silver, have riches untold, but all of earth’s wealth; my friend won’t save your soul. You may live in a mansion, all the world knows you name, but at the foot of the cross, my friend, everyone stands the same.”

The passage from 1 Peter 2 is one that has stones at the center or in some translations refer the the corner stone.  It is one that calls us living stones and means to share with us important truths about our identities as believers.

Peter tells us that our lives as believers are built on the foundation of our faith in Jesus Christ. We are spiritual houses built to look like Him. Again look at your neighbor. When God looks out over His church, He should see the lives of His people reflecting Jesus Christ. He should hear the words of our mouths honoring Him. He should see in our relationships we pattern ourselves after His way of living. He should see when we sin we do not sit and wallow in it, but we move towards forgiveness and restoration. Each one of us should be a carved stone that is a testament to the power of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Look at page 2 of your bulletin – the PCC Mission Statement

We are a community …

We come from…

We believe…

We are people who trust in God and are not put to shame.

We are people who accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

We are people who understand the message Jesus taught is hard and difficult.

We are people who share the message of Jesus and understand that not everyone will accept it.

We are people who live in the light and try to get rid of darkness in our lives.

We are people who have received mercy from God and share his mercy to others.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are commanded to follow Christ – to be carved like Christ. Now some of us are not there yet  – If we are molded from clay I think I am still a blob.

We who are believers should pattern our lives after what Jesus has taught. We are not perfect. We are not without error. We are people who seek wholeheartedly after God through Jesus Christ with the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

The anticipation of calling a new pastor to lead is not easy.  The struggle of waiting for Gods timing and knowing that some and moved on from PCC. It’s hard.

If you look at the history of the Christian church, you will find the church grew the most in hardest times.

As our speaker said last week, COVID has taken many things away from us  – the lasting results center around people.

Maybe its time to get back to BC – Before COVID –

Re-creating that harmony. If we loose the harmony, the togetherness, what will be our legacy?

A teacher gave a balloon to every student in the class, they were blow them up and write their name on it and throw it in the hallway.

The teacher then mixed all the balloons. The students were then given 5 minutes to find their own balloon. Despite a hectic search, no one found their balloon.

At that point, the teacher told the students to take the first balloon that they found and hand it to the person whose name was written on it.  In less than 5 minutes, everyone had their own balloon.

The teacher said to the students: “These balloons are like happiness or you can insert Mary’s word of harmony here. We will never find it if everyone is looking for their own. But if we care about other people’s happiness, we’ll find ours too.”

God will direct your steps…our steps

You don’t have to be perfect to accomplish God’s purpose.

but the choices we make will determine our legacy and the legacy of this church!

Amen