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Sermon for Matthew 18:15-20   -   A Devastating Storm, An Incredible Promise
Proper 18
           

Announcing itself with shrieking, 145-mph winds, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast just outside New Orleans on Monday, submerging entire neighborhoods up to their roofs, swamping Mississippi's beachfront and blowing out windows in hospitals, hotels and high-rises. The night before landfall, I remember the Mayor of New Orleans saying that this was the One. The One we had all feared. The perfect storm. And it nearly was. He even described it, on Sunday night, as a catastrophe of biblical proportions.

Even though the storm just missed New Orleans and slowed down just enough before landfall, the financial tally of this storm may end up being more than Hurricane Andrew. South Mississippi and Alabama were swamped by the rising coastal waters and have been devastated. It is, at times like these, that we need to take heart and remember these words: "For where two or three come together in my name, there I am in the midst of them."

When we come together in pain: There He is with us. When we come together to pray. He is with us. When we come together in compassion to help. He is with us. Where do you find Jesus? That's our question for the day. In Matthew's Gospel Jesus makes an incredible promise to us: "Where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

Think about that. When a married couple kneels together beside their bed in prayer, Jesus is there. When a family bows their heads to give thanks at the dinner table, he is there. When a pastor has a prayer beside a bed in a hospital with someone who is suffering, he is there. When storms destroy our communities and we Christians bind together, he is there. Want to know where to find Jesus? Here's the secret: Get together with someone else who is a follower of his for the express purpose of studying his word, or worshiping his name or lifting up petitions in prayer, or binding the broken hearted, and he will be there, guaranteed!

1. We Are Not Alone.
2. In Knowing This We Find Our Strength.
3. The Surest Place to Find God Is in the Fellowship of Other Believers.

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