Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc.
The Church in Central New York founded and consistently fostered by the GLBTQIS community. October 31, 2018 was the 35th Anniversary in our 36th year in Ministry.
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Sermon by Vocational Ministry Candidate - Larry Fuller on RESURRECTION 4th SUNDAY B 5/14/00


The following are the Scripture readings as scheduled in the "Revised Common Lectionary," an ecumenical schedule of readings of Holy Scripture. Our sermons are based on these readings.

Acts 4:5-12
RESURRECTION 4th SUNDAY B 5/14/00



5The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, "By what power or by what name did you do this?" 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11This Jesus is

‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’

12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved."

This is the Word Of The Lord; Thanks Be To God.

Psalm 23

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; 3 he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely£ goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long.

RESURRECTION Week 4, Year B SUNDAY 5/14/00
1 John 3:16-24

16We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? 18Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him. 23And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.

This is the Word Of The Lord; Thanks Be To God.

John 10:11-18
RESURRECTION Week 4, Year B SUNDAY 5/214/00



11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.


Reader: This is the Gospel of the Lord; Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.




Sermon by Ray Of Hope Church Vocational Ministry Candidate, Larry Fuller on RESURRECTION 4th SUNDAY B 5/14/00



Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 23
1 John 3:16-24
John 10:11-18

As Brother Benedict always says, the readings this week are right on the mark for us.

The 23rd Psalm today is especially important as we celebrate "Shepherd's Weekend." We usually associate this reading with funerals because this is looked upon as giving us strength in our sorrow, but I find that the 23rd Psalm can be used in a joyful celebration to thank God for His many blessings. Most of all His love, guidance, and patience.

The most important word here is guidance because a good shepherd guides his flock with love and with patience.

Psalm 91:1 tells us; "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." The Trinity is always with us, protecting us. He knows what we need and what we want before we do. We may not always agree with Him but we should remember the "Serenity Prayer": "God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.." Our Shepherd has not promised us total happiness in this life, but when we are sitting at the "Marriage Feast of the Lamb," which is promised to us in verse 5; 'You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies', we will then know what complete and total happiness is.

Christ becomes our Shepherd only after we are obedient. Only after we are obedient to Christ can we claim the promises of Psalm 23.

When I am obedient, the Lord is my Shepherd. When I am obedient, I shall not want. When I am obedient, He makes me lie down in green pastures. When I am obedient, He leads me beside still waters. When I am obedient, he restores my soul. When I am obedient, he leads me in right paths for his name's sake. When I am obedient, even though I walk through the darkest valley, I shall fear no evil. When I am obedient [I know] you are with me. When I am obedient, your rod and your staff--they comfort me. When I am obedient, you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. When I am obedient, you anoint my head with oil. When I am obedient, I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.

Obedience always leads the Believer to the Cross! The Cross leads to Resurrection!

The Gospel reading today states in John 10:11, "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep." Jesus died on the cross bearing the sins of every single one of us so we can know forgiveness of our sins. They only way our prayers are answered is if we are obedient to Christ and do what is pleasing to Him. This is told to us in 1 John 3:22-23 from our Christian Scripture reading today: "and we receive from Him whatever we ask, because we obey His commandments and do what pleases Him. And this is His commandment, that we should believe in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us." Verse 24 continues; "All who obey His commandments abide in Him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit that He has given us."

Acts 4:12: "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved." goes hand-in-hand with 1John 3:23-24; "And this is His commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just s he has commanded us. All who obey His commandments abide in Him, and He abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that He has given us." This is a commandment to the Church now! Salvation is only through Jesus Christ. Christ is our Shepherd!!

Our Gospel tonight in John 10, verse 14 says; "I am the good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me." The book of Nahum, chapter 1, verse 7 teaches us, "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who trust in Him." The Trinity knew us before we came into this world and knows every thought and every need before we do. Jeremiah chapter 1, verse 5 confirms this; "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." The Holy Spirit is so willing to shepherd us in our Covenant with the Lord. We are shown this in Acts 4:31; "And when they had prayed, the place where they had assembled together was shaken; and they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness." Aren't we blessed knowing that salvation is ours through our Loving God, the Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit?

This weekend's readings hold a special significance in two ways, not jus one. Our blessings are so very strong.

Our first blessing is the earthly shepherd of this flock: Br. Benedict! His love for God and the holy Scriptures is so crystal clear and his love for the congregation is so apparent in the measures he will go to protect our flock. We all know that he would lay down his life to protect, defend, and uphold the Word of God. His ears are so fine-tuned to everything the Holy Spirit is saying to us so we can all be led to salvation.

In today's Gospel, John 10:12-13 there is something very interesting that Brother asked me to pass on to all of you. "The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away -- and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep."

Brother was telling me there are constantly people who want him to go to visit in their homes to discuss problems they claim to be having with people here at church, or with the church, or with him as Pastor. Brother says if he did this and walked into these dens of trouble he would be leaving the flock (meaning us) vulnerable to any trouble that came along. Often someone says they have a problem with Ray Of Hope and they won't return until he personally comes to them for private discussion. Brother refuses to go because this place here is where the flock is, this place here where we gather is where all the problem solving should happen. Brother wants us to work out our differences here in the community, using our discussion plan we all have agreed upon, namely the Local Leadership Committees and the Ray Of Hope Church Council. Brother is here and available for any discussion, but he is not like a hireling who will walk away and leave the sheep because some people are disobedient and they refuse to use our communal based system of problem solving. Many people believe, as Brother has said many times, that he should be their personal friend and constant companion because they perceive the Pastor to be such. The other day Brother said to me if he is loved, popular, and had total-respect of all persons -- he'd be a fraud because the Holy Spirit produces challenges, not popularity and fame.

1 John 3:18-19 informs us; "Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him." We will know we are firm truth when we see people loving in truth and action; not just words and paper.

I told you we had two blessings to celebrate today. The second blessing we recognize this weekend is Mother's Day. We have Mothers, Grandmothers and, Great-grandmothers sitting here today. These saints gave birth and nurtured their children seeking God's love, guidance and patience. The Holy Spirit lives in their hearts with His light showing inside and out. (At this point Larry passed out carnations to mothers, white roses to grandmothers, and red roses to great-grandmothers who were in attendance at worship. It was very touching and emotional for everyone.)

Our celebration is all the more meaningful and special as we pray, "Thank you God!" for our Heavenly Shepherd, Jesus Christ Our Lord and Saviour, Chief Shepherd of the Church; and for the shepherds our Precious Saviour has placed in our lives on this earth - our Mothers and our Pastors, Bishops, and all who are called to ministry in the Church of Jesus Christ.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

May Almighty God bless all of us, in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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