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Published by drbarley
This sermon goes with the July 17 powerpoint.
This sermon goes with the July 17 powerpoint.

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Published by: drbarley on Jul 22, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Rev. Dr. Sharon L. BarleyTitle Slide
1) Sermon: At the Cross Road of Change & Choices: What Happens Next2)
17:1 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John the brother of James, and led them privately up a high mountain. And he was transfigured beforethem. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. ThenMoses and Elijah also appeared before them, talking with him. So Peter said toJesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, I will make three shelters – one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my onedear Son, in whom I take great delight. Listen to him!” When the disciples heardthis, they were overwhelmed with fear and threw themselves down with their facesto the ground. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Do not beafraid.”
When they looked up, all they saw was Jesus alone. As they werecoming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Do not tell anyoneabout the vision until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.”I continue to be amazed by God’s goodness and grace. There were many times inmy life, where I’ve been to the mountain top, where I’ve experienced unusual turnsin events, unanticipated celebrations and triumphs.
(slides 5)
And, some of thosemountaintop experiences were precious moments, like when I was sitting here onelate morning with my kids. A real mountaintop experience! My heart was full of awe and thankfulness that day. There are times in our lives that are exhilarating, breath-taking, and you feel like you are on top of the world.
(Slide 6)
There are also those unexpected trials, heart-wrenching sorrows. Timeswhen you wonder how you will make it through another day. Perhaps the anxiouswaiting for long anticipated news, only to be devastated again, and suddenly lifegoes on hold. But, what is true no matter what circumstance I have found myself,in both triumph and trial, I can say that -
(Slide 7)
God is faithful.
Can I get an Amen?
In spite of choices that brought sorrow or pain to my life, God is faithful.In spite of circumstances that I didn’t choose, and things fell apart, my God isfaithful. In lack, in prosperity, in deep pain and tears, in joy for good news,my God is faithful. If you know Christ and live by faith, then you know that onething is sure, beyond all doubt,
God is faithful.
 Yet, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t admit that there are times,
(Slide 8)
when we reach a cross-road in life, where we don’t know which way toturn,
when we don’t have answers
and we feel abandoned by those closest to us,friends or family, or even God.
 In looking back though, we see with all sense of certainty, that God was faithful?
 Yet, when you stand in the midst of sudden and tragic news or trials, and when thefuture looks uncertain, when we hear a diagnosis that threatens our life; when wefeel betrayed God can seem very far away.Most of us have lived long enough to have reached several personal cross roads inlife and have experienced many set backs and lived through crisis. We all crossthese paths, whether in leaving home, going to school or work, in marriage, in the birth of children, in growing older and seeing those children leave. And CrossRoads come in unexpected events of life, where we are forced to make decisionswe wish we never needed to make.
(slide 9This is a picture of my mother, Beverly,
she had a stroke on July 2, last year, washospitalized for 2 months, in rehab, 4 months, and has moved to long-term care.She will never go home again. One day was full of hope, the next full of despair.I would have never dreamed that this brilliant, independent, pianist and artistwouldn’t talk or be able to use her right hand to paint again.
Sometimes, we get to places where the burdens of life are just too great to bear. Like the disciples, we want to build a tent on a mountain somewhere. Get awayand just linger in the word and in prayer. I want to forget the cares of the world.
In every event and change in our lives, we come to cross roads and we ask,
(slide 10)
sometimes desperately, Oh my,
“What Will Happen Next?” 
 In some sense we know that can depend on our attitude, our beliefs and thechoice we make about how we will respond to our new circumstances.
Andour faith in determines how we live through (or for some of us ‘survive’) thechange. Our attitude and our faith, make all the difference in whether we move beyond the crossroad or stay stuck, frozen in time and unable to move forward.
(slide woods) We get stuck so often
because rather than moving forward withhope believing, we struggle and worry or kick and fuss because we want what wewant now. It is human nature to want certainty, to demand answers. We don’t likecross roads in life, we want to either be told which way to go or we want to knowthe way before we step out in faith. With information access as it is today, we wantand instant message, obsessed with the idea of knowing and explaining everything.And sometimes we don’t understand, but we got to keep going…
(slide 12) 
 A story is told 
of a little boy who lived in a religious home whose father expressed the usual before dinner command -- "Hurry up, and wash your hands and come tothe table so we can say a prayer and eat."  As the boy went toward the bathroom, he was heard to mutter, "Germsand Jesus, germs and Jesus! That's all I hear around here, and I can't see either one of them." 

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