November 11, 2018 Well done to those from Williamsville

Nov 11,18 Veteran’s Day

This morning we have been honored by having Paul Osman share some of his history of WW 1. We are thankful for all veterans that have served in the armed forces, and still serve to protect our freedoms, to protect our land. As I look back at my own family tree, my dad served in the army during WW 1, my brother Vinnie, my brother-in-law Lotzy, my brother-in-law Joe, served during WW 11 in the Navy, the Army and the Seabees. I have served in the Navy during the end of the Korean War. Our son Jim has served in the service, and now we have Dominic serving in the marines. 

So, well done our faithful service men and women, who have served this country throughout the years. Well done to those from Williamsville who left this community in order to go fight in places that they didn’t know much about, some gave their lives during WW 1 and shall be remembered shortly by the tolling of our church bell.

Without their service, without their sacrifice we would not be the land of the free and the brave. If it wasn’t for them, we would not be able to worship in this place this morning. We would not be free to believe as we wish. Those freedoms have been  given to us and we never want to forget those freedoms or take them for granted.

Promises! You know kids grow up promising that they will always do right. Or perhaps they promise to do this or that if they can have something they want, or even stay up to watch a special TV show. I’m sure I was like.

We also know that promises are made between couples as they join in marriage. People who join the church make a promise to be loyal to the church and serve it with their gifts, their times, their talents, their money and their witness.

Do you know sometimes those promises are broken? Do you know that some just utter the words from their mouths but they don’t believe them with their hearts? 

As I was writing this brief message I was looking at a small cute decoration of Noah’s Ark with the heads of some animals coming out of it, and a bird sitting outside all alone. The title to this one was GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES.

I think that is so important to us. Our God, the creator and sustainer of this world, keeps his promises. He doesn’t keep one or two, or three or four, he keeps all of them. As we know there is no conditional to those promises. From God, a promise is a promise. As Scripture tells us, God doesn’t lie. As an old Irish friend of mine once said, “If God said it, I believe it.”

I was taking a drink at my desk and looked up and saw the poem Footsteps and I was reminded that when that person was going through the tough times of life he only saw one set of footprints. When he got to heaven and asked how come there was only one set not two sets when things were not going well, he heard this answer. It’s a great reminder for us all… “That is when I was carrying you.”

How appropriate for today, because I was given as a gift Max Lucado’s book on standing on the promise of hope. Now really, if you think of it, where would we be without hope. Lots of folks give up because they have no hope. We may not see far into the future, but we know who is in command of it. 

In Noah’s lifetime when God told him to build the ark he had no idea what it was for. He only knew that God had called him to do it. He stood on God’s promise…. “Noah, build the ark for one day rain shall fall and I shall destroy the earth.” Did Noah question God? No! He got right to work. Day after day while others laughed at him and his family, Noah kept at his task. Without knowing what rain was, for there was never a drop of rain on the earth at that time, he went about his business. Though many of his friends would sit around watching him from day to day as he crafted this, this, huge boat, that they could not understand, Noah kept to his task, not trusting in what was, but trusting on the promises of God. “Build the ark Noah, for it is your way of salvation. You and all the animals will be saved. Stay to the task. Don’t give up, for I am with you through it all.”

These days in my live, that’s where I am. Trusting in the promises of God. Didn’t God tell me he would always be with me? Yes! Didn’t God tell me to cast my burdens upon him for his yoke was much easier than mine? Yes! Did God not promise me that when things get tough to count on Him? Yes! Oh, some of you who are here this morning have gone through all of that too, and some, much more.

But, here is my question for you and more importantly, for myself. DO WE BELIEVE IT? DO WE BELIVE THAT GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES?

Now that’s another story isn’t it. It’s easy to sing “Standing on the promises that cannot fail” while things are going well. The second verse goes like this. “Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubts and fear assail., by the living Word of God I shall prevail, standing on the promise of God.” What is the author telling us? Don’t fret! Believe, and keep believing and believe some more. Don’t through in the towel, get up and keep your eyes on the prize that has been set before you.

When we read the great Hebrew chapter and see all those people who counted on God’s promises we are encouraged to do the say. Look for promises that God has given us. In Noah’s day when he saw the rainbow he remembered God’s promise he would not destroy the world by rain again. We look at the rainbow and are reminded that the rainbow isn’t just some pretty thing after a storm, but a promise from God that he is there with us, and he hasn’t forgotten his promise. 

It isn’t just for us to count our blessings to see what God has done by naming them one by one. It’s knowing God will keep his promises. That is why we even stand when we sing “Standing On the Promises.” That last verse in the hymn says, “Standing on the promises I cannot fall, listening every moment to the Spirit’s call, resting in my Savior as my all in all, Standing on the promises of God.”

Those two words found in verse 2 and 4, leap right out at you. One, standing on the promises, you cannot fail. Praise the Lord. The second, standing on the promise you cannot fall. No! because the one who has called you into being is carrying you along the path of righteousness.

And so, it is this morning as we celebrate what God has done in this country through our veterans. We today still stand on the promises of God. Amen!

Rev. Dick Piscatelli, Pastor
About Rev. Dick Piscatelli, Pastor

Reverend Richard Piscatelli, (Pastor Dick) has been serving this church since 2006 and has begun his 13th year at Williamsville. Dick is a graduate of Asbury College, 1980, now Asbury University, and Asbury Theological Seminary, 1983, in Wilmore, Kentucky. Originally from Watertown, Massachusetts, he and his wife, Carole, have enjoyed living in the Midwest and have made many friends here. Dick’s first appointment was to Buffalo/Dawson UMCs, a two-point charge, which he served for almost 8 years when he was appointed to Paris Trinity UMC. He served at Paris for 6 years and was then appointed to First UMC at St. Elmo in southern Illinois. Dick’s final full-time appointment was to Roanoke/Secor UMCs, a two-point charge. These churches brought much satisfaction and lasting relationships in each. Williamsville UMC has been a joy to serve as he actually began his first church in “retirement,” and is very much involved in all areas of ministry, as the Lord leads. Pastor Dick has a special gift for doing Celebrations of Life and comforting the family. He prepares uplifting, inspiring sermons in a more casual and relaxed style, using humor when appropriate, yet ever-mindful of the importance of bringing the Gospel message for the salvation that Jesus Christ offers to all.