Speaker: Chris Maccourtney
Scripture: Joel 2

From the series Memorial Day 2024

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Well, good morning. Chevron’s day. Well, good morning, you guys. My name is Chris McCartney. Good morning. If you’re watching us online as well, humbled to be here and I will do as Pastor Tim and start to tell you a little bit about myself. I’ll do that in a minute. First of all, I’m going to tell you, I have been moving just very in a very tiny way into working with this group here at Shepherds Gate. I’ve been a member of Shepherds Gate for ten years. My wife and I have been so I have been around, but just working with them a little bit through Bible study and now a little bit more, I will tell you that the Gospel demands excellence in its proclamation. And everybody on this staff, whether it’s the tech guys back here or the band back here at the pastoral staff or the support staff or the volunteer staff, any staff is focused here in this place on proclaiming the gospel with excellence. It’s just humbling to be a tiny little part of that. So let’s give them a little round of applause as well. 

God’s moving in this place and we’re supporting that and their execute it with excellence. It’s it’s just a it’s humbling to be a part of it. It really is. But let me tell you a little bit about myself. As was promised, I had been a licensed deacon at Saint John. Many moons have passed since I did that. The license has lapsed. I’m actually going to have a meeting on Thursday with our church body, kind of organize an office in Ann Arbor, Michigan, have an interview with with that board or that committee, and hopefully that will take us to the next And concluding step. And you know, the reason Deacon means a lot of things to a lot of different church bodies and this I’m not really sure exactly what the definition is. The only definition for me was I saw pastors who needed a hand in word and sacrament. They were just stretched beyond reason and I knew that the pastoral office for myself was not a was not going to be a thing, but coming alongside in this way was going to be perfect for me. So that’s that’s exactly what I did. I have been in Detroit all of my life. We raised our family in Rochester, as I said in Saint John, I’ve been a broadcaster all my life on the professional, on women, on the management and sales side of it. 

I worked for the last 20 years for the largest Christian broadcaster in the country, Salem Media Group. And prior to that, here in Detroit. I worked for the NBC television network for a couple of years and then WXYZ TV for eight years. So I’ve been fortunate in that business, kind of unusual to be anchored right here in one town. And we’ve been able to raise our family there, and that’s been a real blessing for us. So I’ll tell you a little bit about that family. Here’s my bride, Linda. I will be married to Linda August 18th of this year for 40 years. She still keeps telling me it’s a trial relationship. Don. I’m never quite sure what she means there. Here’s the kids. I’ve got three kids. All of them are married. I have a picture of all the spouses. It’s much more recent. This is ten years old, but they’re all in their pajamas. So it got dim. So I want to go back to the beach this year with all these guys are we’re going to take another picture. But on the left is Erin Kathleen, the oldest on the right is Sarah in the middle child. And in the middle is Daniel Christian, the youngest? You? I don’t know. 

They’re 32, 36 and seven, something like that. I don’t know. They’re getting they’re getting old. So we’ll have to reshoot that. Aaron and Michelle are in Chicago. Daniel and Kate are the favorites now because they live here. And then Sarah and her husband James, live in Tampa, Florida. Now, I just want to make sure you understand these people are the most important people in my well, they were the most important people in my life. Now it’s these two. Noah Sloane is there on the left in her baptism dress, which I was fortunate thanks to Pastor Tim, to be able to baptize her in my backyard. So that was fun. She’s about 18 months old. Right. And then Shane Thomas is the newest addition to the team in Chicago. It’s Aaron’s daughter and he is eight months old ish, am I right? Oh, he’s five. He’s only five months old. So I see how time flies. So that’s who we are. We are blessed beyond measure. There’s no question about it. So today, you know, I was trying to think of a of a of a theme. And of course, because it’s Memorial Day, I thought of, you know, legacy of our American heroes and tying that into our legacy. 

Oh eight Actually, my wife Linda came up with that. She came up with connecting the Christian legacy to that. So I completely hijacked that. And that’s that’s where we’re going today. So let’s get started. And let me ask you this question and give me some feedback. What is your what is a definition of a legacy? What is a definition of legacy? Say it again, what we leave behind? What else? Things they remember you for. These are all good. Anything else like generation to generation? What the generational theme. Yeah. Okay. After your influence. After your time. That’s good. That’s good. So here’s the working definition. You guys have all kind of circled around it. Something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor from the past, which immediately, immediately makes you ask the question, Well, why do we want to leave a legacy? Well, I think there’s a couple of reasons here that we would leave a legacy. First of all, it makes you stop and think about what it is you’ve done for your life. 

So leaving a legacy, you quickly realize if you’re doing that is more than money. Your life is more than your W-2, your life is more than your career, it’s more than your material possessions. Another thing, the process of thinking about legacy. Does this make us think about the fact that a legacy can be the sum of what our lives have taught us? Or and this is interesting how we make others feel about us. Oops, that’s not what it says, how we make others feel about themselves. That’s interesting. Right? And finally, think about what matters most to you. Think about what matters most to you and why it might be important to you to leave. Whatever that important thing is behind for your posterity, for your family, for your kids. Three reasons to Talk about legacy. Our Christian legacy. Okay, who knows who this is? It’s not. Curtis is strange. That’s actually his name. Curtis Strange PGA Tour player. And I’m going to bring it back to 1988 to the Masters. And he is in the lineup. 

He approaches a 12 hole par three, just a beautiful, iconic golf hole. And he takes I think it was a read the story. I think it’s a seven iron. And he hits the ball. It takes two hops, rolls and goes in the cup, hits a hole in one crowd, goes absolutely crazy. It’s you know, most players are just happy to land on the green, let alone make a hole in one on that hole. This guy makes a hole in one. Crowd’s going crazy. He walks around the pond, across the bridge, he walks up to the cup, reaches down, takes the ball out of the hole. He’s waving to the crowd with the ball in his hand. So what do you think he did with the ball next through in one? Did you know did you read ahead that it was the most insane thing he did? He could do And he did. He threw that ball in the pond in front of the. Now, just to give you a little context, this hole in the in the competition of the Masters, there have only been three holes in one. So this is a this is a history making golf shot. 

So he goes into the press room afterwards and he’s and then they, of course, ask the question, what in the world were you thinking you could have given that ball to your grandchildren? And I love his response to this. And it sort of frames where we’re going today. So he says, I certainly hope that when I’m gone, I have something better than a golf ball to leave my grandchildren. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Something better than leaving a golf ball for your grandchildren. So we’ll talk about that in a couple of different ways. First, when do we start talking about this notion of legacy? Secondly, what do we do? What do we say in terms of that legacy? And third, who here is it? So we’re going to be talking about the when, the what and the who of our Christian legacy. With me now on the I’m the deacon who in the first in the first service left the clicker on his chair. So just fair warning that you that’s who you’re up against here so roll so roll with me. 

Let’s get started and let’s start with Deuteronomy and we’re talking about when our when to talk about our legacy. So here’s what Deuteronomy says in chapter six. These commands that I give you today are to be on your hearts, impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. So here’s the question What is God through Deuteronomy telling us about when we should share our story all the time? Right. I mean, there’s only it’s a pretty binary operation. You’re either lying down or you’re or you’re not walking around. So we should be telling our story all the time. Do we do that? Do I do that? Do you do that? Do we share? Do we I mean, are you going to stand on a corner and just be telling, telling your legacy all the time? I know that’s impractical. I know that doesn’t make sense. But are we searching for opportunities in our lives to share our Christian legacy? And then a couple of verses later, an interesting little warning, very subtle. 

You might blow right by it, not even see it. Deuteronomy says, Be careful when you’re in this process. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord because it’s not about us. It’s about your legacy. Your legacy is about God. It’s about what God has given you in your life, in my life, in my work, in your work, in our families. Do you find yourself forgetting who has worked in your life? If you’ve had a blessing in your life, like family, like friends, like material success, if you were delivered from something in your life, maybe an addiction, maybe a bad habit, you remember that God did that. And if you do forget and sometimes we do forget, life happens. Sometimes we forget. How much easier is it for your children to forget? How much easier is it for your grandchildren to forget? Did they ever hear the story? In fact, if you’re a parent or a grandparent, sometimes, I mean, you may know sometimes they don’t go the way you aim them. So always be focusing your legacy of faith, building your legacy of faith, telling them your story of how God brought you out of something, or as God has blessed their lives because of your legacy, because they know your story. 

That’s the blessing of the legacy. God wants us to tell His story. Your story all the time. All the time. All right. Who knows this person? Me neither. Listen to this story, though. Rebecca Richards Cornum. She founded the Rice University 360 degree meaning Global 360 degree Institute for Global Health, and began working with students on low cost, low power devices to save newborn lives. The team’s successes included a neonatal CPAP system for newborns with breathing problems as CPAP system that goes on your face a lot when a lot of people are sleeping. It’s obviously super small because it’s about newborns and it’s totally self-contained. It’s got a battery pack and it’s solar powered, so you can take this to any remote rural location in the world and save babies with it, which is exactly what they did. And then there’s this this thing is is called dose, right? If you think you’re looking at a plastic syringe with a plastic plunger and a purple plastic stick in it, that’s exactly what you’re looking at. 

This is the invention that allows rural moms in remote locations with no tech, with no infrastructure, any of that kind of stuff, to be able to dose the medicines right for their critically ill children, because many, many, many children were dying not because of what they had, but because they were getting the dose wrong. They were either under dosing or they were overdosing their kids. That purple stick just stops the plunger at the exact right dose. And that’s how they started saving lives. That’s how he that’s how she came up with this. That was their invention. So think about it. How many generations of kids exist now that would not have been born and then project that through the future? I mean, what what a legacy that is. This woman traveled halfway around the world a bunch of times to save kids and people that could not save themselves. Can you see the image of Christ in that pretty clearly Christ coming through or entering into time and space to save people who could not save themselves? 

All right. So that’s the when. Let’s take a look at the let’s take a look at the what who’s favorite book of the Bible is Joel, How many people knew Joel was a book of the Bible? Hard to find. It’s almost right at the end of of the Old Testament, and it’s easy to blow right by it. Let me commended to you. It’s a very it’s a very short read and it opens with and it speaks right to this concept of legacy and it opens with this horrible you know, Indiana Jones had his snake, his snakes that he hated. I hate bugs. So this is this is a this is a problem for me to read this story. So it opens with this massive invasion of locusts and this thing. There’s like four different he literally describes, I think, four different species of locust locusts that attack this land. And it completely destroys the economy, it destroys homes, it destroys families, it destroys it just destroys everything. So as Joel opens God speaking through, Joel urges the people to tell this terrible story as their legacy, as it says in the in the in the book, they tell this story to their sons. 

Their sons. Sons and their sons. Sons, sons. And my question was, what is the point? Well, here’s the point. The point is your legacy needs to be real. Sin is out there. We need to be transparent about that. Life does have sin. It’s got sin every day. So let’s not pretend we don’t commit sin. Let’s not pretend we’re not victims of sin. Can we do that? Humility is such a critical part of our legacy. Recognizing and telling the story of sin in our lives. Every time I look at that, it makes my spine tingle. Well, sometimes we’re dealing with like, one bug in our lives, right? Sometimes our problems are not massive. We recognize that. But they’re still there. Those sort of like the fly that was on the deck while I was trying to finalize the notes of this thing are just buzzing around and. And driving you, driving you crazy. That’s there. And sometimes it’s sometimes it’s a swarm that overwhelms and threatens your home, threatens your family, threatens everything. But that beloved is only half the story. That’s half the legacy. Yeah. We have a legacy of sin.

 We have to recognize that. We have to share that. But your legacy is also a legacy of salvation in Jesus. So then Joel takes us from Horror Story. This thing to salvation story. First of all, he says, Hey, tell the horror story in Joel one, three, tell it to your children. Let your children tell it to their children. It’s critical for the part that is coming and their children to the next generation. And then the tide changes in Joel and God delivers a promise to these people. And the promise is, I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy you fully. Never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations. So there’s a promise, right? And then salvation. So we’re in a horror, horror story and then salvation story comes in. Joel 226 It happens in two ways. One, there is a physical salvation happening and here it is. You will have plenty to eat until you are full and you’ll praise the name of the Lord, your God who has worked wonders for you. 

Never again will my people be ashamed. Hallelujah. Physical salvation. And then and Joel 228 Physical salvation and then spiritual salvation. Afterward I will pour out my spirit on all on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams and they cannot prophesy unless we tell them our legacy story. That’s what Joel is talking about here. So the when and the what? Here’s another person you probably don’t recognize, right? Irena Sendler During World War Two, she worked rescuing Jews primarily as part of a network of workers and volunteers from a department in the city of Warsaw. She worked for the city government. Mostly women were involved. Sendler smuggled Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and then provided them with false identity documents and shelter with Polish families and orphanages. She spread them all around. She ended up redeeming thousands of children from almost certain death in the Third Reich renaissance. Sendler was willing to sacrifice herself for children She did not know once again what a powerful vision of Christ legacy in her life, in the lives of those children and in our lives. 

Sendler took these kids from the horror story to the redemption story. Imagine the families again. Imagine the families that have continued on to this day, delivered physically and spiritually through this woman’s legacy. All right. The when the what now let’s take a look at the who. So who do we tell this legacy story to? So I just wrote a bit I just wrote a few suggestions down. Family members, of course, neighbors, friends, coworkers, maybe you’re a coach, so you tell the people you’re coaching, maybe you’re being coached. So you tell your coach anyone who comes within your sphere of influence, ultimately it’s people you tell the story to, people you trust and people who trust you. Paul says that the second Timothy 314 But as for you continuing, what have you have learned and have become convinced of? Because you know those you know those people from whom you have learned it. So here’s the question. You’re probably wondering why is my legacy that important? 

Then I need to be, you know, really focused on telling absolutely everybody in my circle of influence, my life, my Christian legacy story. And Timothy answers that question in verse and Paul answers that question and verse 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you. And here it is. Don’t miss it, beloved, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ because there is salvation in and this is the important part and the hard part in our world. There is salvation in no one else that’s the vital importance of building this legacy. Salvation is only through Christ and everyone is in need of this legacy. Everyone that trusts you should be hearing that legacy message from you. That is who you tell and that’s the who. That’s the when, the what, the who. But I’ll leave you with this story. Share this with you. I had a friend years ago that we lost to cancer. His name is Matt Kill. And that’s why Gina Spain actually was here, I think several months ago now doing a women’s t she she shared this Christian legacy story as well. 

So some of you may be ahead of me on this story. Nevertheless, I was friends with him. He he I got to know him through my in-laws family and then he we worked in the same industry and all of that kind of stuff. But his best friend was my brother in law, Mike. They played sports together. I mean, they they grew up since they were this big together, they did MSU together, which was probably a fiasco. They met their wives, I think, at MSU together. They worked for years at a couple of television stations together, very close, very tight, very strong, very close, very tight, very strong Christian brothers. And then Matt finds himself in his Joel one priest situation where he’s got a swarm of locusts called cancer. And his biggest concern, well, there’s a bunch of I don’t know if it was his biggest concern, but it had to be looming large. A bunch of concerns when you’ve got cancer. Right. But his biggest concern was his Christian legacy to his to small boys who he would not be able to teach, he would not be able to guide, he would not be able to coach, to love, to lead in the Christian life. 

If that’s not a swarm of locusts. Saints, I don’t know. I don’t know what is. But Matt’s commitment was strong to the Christian faith. He used to always say, you know, it’s a win win situation. If I don’t survive this swarm called cancer, then I’m with Christ. Hallelujah. Right. And if I live, I’m lost. I’m living testimony to the power of God, spiritual and physical, that we just heard about in Joel. Spiritual and physical redemption in our world. So he charges Mike with building that legacy of Christian faith after he’s gone. And Mike has honored that today matched two boys that you see. There are, of course, growing up doing well. Gina Spain has remarried to another great Mike. Mike Spain and now boasts five kids as they blended their families together right over the years. And Mike, my brother in law, Mike, is leading a Bible study. Two young men, including them, in fact, young women. Now, I think to about what it means to be a godly young man as it started by the godly young adult, as it’s now transforming to talking to in that Bible study to people in their twenties and their thirties. 

Matt Kels story The legacy of faith is being told to his sons and their sons will hear it and so it will continue. Times of suffering. Yes, and we need to be real about that. They happen. Times of sin. Yes, they happen. We have to be real about that. And then times of redemption through Christ. They wrote a book, Mike and Gina Spain wrote a book which you might have heard about again if you were at that lunch, The Color of Rain. I commend it to you. It’s a great story of legacy and a great story of God’s providence in this in this world. So I commend that to you. But on this Memorial Day, consider as I close consider the legacy of the American heroes that we’re honoring this weekend. And also ask yourself what matters, what matters to you most? And why is it important that you leave that thing behind, that Christian legacy behind? Yes, there is a legacy of sin. We all share it. We’re all stuck with it from Adam. But yours is also a legacy of salvation in Christ that finishes your story once and for all. Let’s pray. 

Well, Father, we thank you for this day, and we thank you for the legacy of our American heroes. We remember them with great honor and respect, and we pray for the families who experienced this loss directly. We thank you for that. SAT for that sacrifice. And Father, help us to write our own legacy, our own story of your saving work in our life. A legacy coming from suffering that we can be real about to salvation that you have been real about. That you have been real about all of this. And the precious name of Jesus, man.