My Sermon From The Garden Of Gethsemene

Sunday Morning I had the privilege to preach the Gospel in one of the most memorable places ever. I preached in the Garden of Gethsemene on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

We know, of course, that Jesus spent the night before the crucifixion praying and preparing for the events of the next day. We also know his place of prayer was a garden on the Mount of Olives. One of the traditional sites is a church and garden cared for by the Franciscans. If this is not the site, it must be close.  In addition, we know Jesus often prayed in this place because Judas knew where to find Jesus in order to betray Him to the Romans.

I was privileged to take our group in the garden itself among olive trees which were already bearing olives in the time of Jesus. We were the only people allowed in the garden.

Our worship service began with prayer by Elaine Rypkema followed by Martha reading Mark’s account about the prayer of Jesus in the Garden (Mark 14:32-50). After Larry Masterson led us in singing “Amazing Grace,” I spoke about “The Presence of God.”

This was my theme: “We experience God’s presence wherever we are.” We are enjoying being in Israel, and we are enjoying a special feeling about this place. At the same time, God is the creator of the ends of the earth. All the world belongs to Him. We experience God in the Holy Land because as Marlaine Peachey said in a prayer “we bring God with us to the holy land.”

I used Isaiah 6:1-9 to talk about the presence of God.

How do we experience God’s Presence?

First, you must want to experience the presence of God. Recently, I read through the Gospel of Mark. Again and again, Jesus talked about the faith of some and the lack of faith for others. In some places, Jesus did not do His mighty works because of their lack of faith.

Second, actively seek Him. Tell God you want to know Him. Many of us know a lot about God. How many of us know God? Ask God to reveal Himself to you. Pray earnestly, and pray believing.

Third, be courageous. When God reveals Himself, God will expect your action. Being in God’s presence will demand action. You will see your sin, and you will have to act on it. God will expect you to serve. All of this demands courage.

Finally, enjoy the blessing of God’s presence. Do you think Isaiah ever got over His personal experience with God? I believe that the person who experiences God’s presence will never go back.

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3 Comments


  1. Bethellen
    May 01, 2012

    What a wonderful worship experience you had last Sunday. What a memorable day that had to be for all of you. We too had a worship experience on Sunday. Especially Sunday evening when Jason led us all in worship. I’m sure everyone to attended felt God’s presence.

    We are praying for your safe trip home in two days!


  2. Kim Martin
    May 01, 2012

    Thank You For Bringing Your Days into Ours
    I Can Only Imagine the Overwhelming Presence
    That Everyone Felt!!!


  3. Ed Matthew
    May 01, 2012

    Last night at the East Jefferson Wellness Center Warm Water pool a lady, a bit older than I, struck up a conversation with me while I attended my Mother. She began talking about the problem with the schools in Louisiana compared to the other places she, her children and grand children have been. Louisiana is behind and full of problems was the thrust of her message associated with God not being invited into the classrooms of public school. She ended sharing that she worked at Harrah’s Casino part time. She stated that she was the only Caucasian there workig there part time. She went on to say how careful the other workers were not to exceed their thirty hours; they did not want to risk their financial assistance for their housing and their multiple children. Evidently she has heard the talk of the other females, since she then spoke about their twelve and thirteen year old daughters getting pregnant making them grandparents at 30 and younger. She commented on seven people shot down and how it doesn’t even seem to make a ripple in our society, remarking: how different things are.

    I responded, it is even more of a reason for the Church to recognize it has a social responsibility. When one does the math, history tells anyone who has ears to hear, the current paradigm is not sustainable. No one will be able to isolate themselves from what will come when animal instinct is the dominate force. We have allowed God to be uninvited in our Schools and made Him politically incorrect. We have removed the sanctity of Life in many of our social and business decisions. There will again come a time in history when there will be no place to run; or a place to carry our relationship with God in the security of our isolation.

    I shared this morning in prayer the frustration of being helpless helping those who have needs beyond my ability to help them that they may have the tools to be thankful after facing the facts of their situation properly equipped. People sometimes need legal help. People sometimes need medical help. People sometimes and very frequently need to be able to work and feel of worth to themselves as well as others. There must be a network in the Body/Bride to plug into, to facilitate such ministry! My cry for help to our Lord returns me to Scripture and the descriptions of His Church. My cry to His Church largely has pointed to economic gain for an individual making decisions on an economic basis; just a bit different from the talk on Psalms 23 heard this morning.

    Is not the Fruit of the Spirit found in facing adversity head-on, rather than ignoring it till tomorrow? I am thankful for a Body of Believers who are doing just that in their leadership and challenging those following, to find their place in the Body, to remind us we are saved with Purpose. While being mindful they frequently are overwhelmed in their own challenges as are those they lead deal with personal growth, family and business in a world which thinks differently. Does not the world respect success and want it? Perhaps James 5:13-20 does work if employed. Many are trying. Send more Lord! See the prayer of Jabez, 1 Chronicles 4:10.

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Verse of the Day

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. — Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)