August 16, 2020 - Home Worship Service

Welcome & Announcements: Good morning church!

 

Sunday 9:00 am Zoom Worship & Prayer

Jennifer Parks-Snyder is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Worship

Time: Aug 16, 2020 09:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

 

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Worship:

I invite you to light a candle to welcome the Light of the World in your presence and prepare your heart for worship this day

Call to Worship

L: We gather here this day to hear God’s word for us.
P: We praise God for the opportunity to gather together.
L: We are sent forth from this place to share God’s transforming love.
P: Lord, encourage us and empower us to do your will. AMEN.

 

 

Opening Hymn: Because He Lives by Donna Farver

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/because-he-lives-by-donna

 

God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal, and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives

 

Refrain: Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives

 

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy He gives
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain day, because He lives

Refrain

 

And then one day, I'll cross the river
I'll fight life's final war with pain
And then, as death gives way to victory
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He reigns

Refrain

 

 

Gathering Prayer

Lord, be with us today as we come to you from all life’s circumstances. Give us courage and strength and fill us with your love and grace that we may serve you effectively and fully. AMEN.

 

 

Children’s Time: 

It's our children's time and I want to start with a question I ask you each and every week: Who are you? Children Respond: Special Gifts of God!

PJ: That's right, you are special gifts of God each and every day and I'm so lucky to spend time with you!

 

Last week we spoke about the fruit of the Spirit and we spoke and sang about the joy of the Spirit. This week we will look at another fruit of the Spirit, that is how God is at work in our lives to be more like Christ, and that fruit is peace. And yes, I found a great song with wonderful motions that describe what it’s like to have peace in our life from Jesus. Enjoy!

 

I’ve got Peace Like a River

https://youtu.be/DKrMYrzwwdA

 

I've got peace like a river, I've got peace like a river
I've got peace like a river in my soul
I've got peace like a river, I've got peace like a river
I've got peace like a river in my soul

 

I've got love like the ocean, I've got love like the ocean
I've got love like the ocean in my soul
I've got love like the ocean, I've got love like the ocean
I've got love like the ocean in my soul

 

I've got joy like a fountain, I've got joy like a fountain
I've got joy like a fountain in my soul
I've got joy like a fountain, I've got joy like a fountain
I've got joy like a fountain in my soul

 

I've got peace like a river.  I’ve love like the ocean.  I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul
I've got peace like a river.  I’ve love like the ocean.  I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul

 

 

Sharing of Joys & Concerns with Pastoral & Lord’s Prayer

Lord, what a blessing it is to come together in this community of faith. We come from all walks of life, from different ages and stages, and are welcomed in Your love and your presence! Today we bring before You the names of loved ones who are struggling with loss, with illness, with depression, with addiction, with alienation from those that they love. Be with each of them. Lay Your hand of healing gently over their lives and pour out Your balm of peace on them. Help us to reach out to be of service to each other in Jesus’ name. Lord, we also bring to You situations of celebration: birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, family gatherings, special occasions which lift us up and remind us of the goodness that there is in life. Breathe Your Spirit into these wonderful events that all who gather may rejoice and celebrate the blessings You have given each of us. Keep our hearts and minds open for Your reconciling word for us; for we ask this in Jesus’ name, who taught us to pray saying…Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen. 

 

 

Invitation to Offering:

As God has so richly blessed us, let us return a portion of these blessings to God, asking that these gifts may be used in service to others through the ministries and mission of this church. Let us receive our morning offering.

 

Prayer of Dedication

God of abundance and joy, we thank You for the many blessings You have poured on our lives. Receive these gifts, lovingly given, and bless them in Your service. AMEN.

 

 

Sermon: The Fruit of the Spirit is Peace

 

As we are working through this sermon series of the Fruit of the Spirit, we have talked about love and joy, both that when we think about them, can bring the warm fuzzes, right? That is, make you feel good.

 

But what about peace? Not exactly a warm fuzzy feeling when you think of peace. When I think of peace, I tend to think of the opposite of peace.

 

According to the Oxford Language Website the antonyms of peace could be noise, or irritation (I imagine the Grinch complaining about all the noise, noise, noise on Christmas morning).

 

Another antonym of peace could be mental chaos and so one strives for peace with meditation.

 

Then there is this antonym of peace, that is war. Like the novel War and Peace by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy, telling the story of the French invasion of Russia under Napoleon’s leadership.

 

Peace for me, starts with its opposite, because I have to face what is bothering me, what is problematic so that peace can be the answer.

 

In our Scripture lesson we will hear Jesus promising peace, and today I am going to suggest that the peace He offers is a peace to help us overcome our fears.

 

So, receive our lesson taken from John 14.

 

Scripture Lesson: John 14:25-27

John 14: 25 ‘I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

 

As was mentioned in the children’s sermon, the fruit of the Spirit are offerings from God that help us be more like Christ. And in the text, you just heard, that is exactly what Jesus is sharing with His friends, His disciples, before He goes to the cross. He tells them He will not be with them much longer, but God offers them the Advocate, the Holy Spirit so that they should not be afraid.

 

When I hear the word Advocate as describing the Holy Spirit, I tend to think in legal terms. When I was a children and youth caseworker and would appear before a judge, I was considered the advocate of the child. I was there to speak on their behalf, for their welfare. Jesus is offering us the Spirit in the same manner. In fact, in Greek the word Advocate is parakletos, which means, “one called to the side of another” in other words, to counsel or support another. Some Biblical interpretations have Jesus saying, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name…”.

 

So, the idea is, just as an advocate or counselor in a trial is there to assist a person with the judicial process, Jesus was there to assist His disciples with their lives. But now the Holy Spirit will come and be by their side, replacing the physical presence of Jesus. This of course, is done at Pentecost.

 

You see, in the Hebrew Bible the Holy Spirit would come and be present, but with time would leave. It would speak through prophets and kings but did not always remain with them. For example, in 1 Samuel 16:14, when King Saul, the first king of Israel did not obey God’s Word, we read, 14 Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul.

 

However, we know that Spirit came upon Jesus at his baptism, and on Pentecost, the same Spirit came upon the believers and continues to be with us, guiding and teaching.

 

Moreover, in this passage, we are reminded the Spirit gives us peace, and Jesus says it is his peace in verse 27, the peace that comes from His heart, His life. A life without fear because the life of Jesus was shaped by trusting in the unending presence of God.

 

Let’s face it, the core of our fears is the worry we are alone. That I alone, must face the challenges and even dangers of life. Be it irritations that make us mad, or mental chaos that affects our well-being, or war that pits us against another.

 

Yet one of the fruits of the Spirit is peace, the peace Jesus held, the peace that passes all understanding, the peace in knowing, I am never on my own, God is always with me. And when we allow that fruit to thrive in our lives, we can experience a peace that helps us and leads us to overcome all those challenges and dangers so we may live and experience a better way of life. A God-filled way of life that is good and holy.

 

Many of you may be familiar with the story of the 1914 Christmas Truce. It was during the first World War when thousands of British, Belgian, and French soldiers put down their rifles, stepped out of their trenches and spent Christmas socializing with their German enemies along the Western front.

 

And while no one seems to accurately know where it began or how it spread, nevertheless, it was documented that some two-thirds of troops — about 100,000 people — laid their guns down on Christmas Eve. In fact, there were occasional moments of peace throughout the rest of World War I, that would eventually claim over 15 million lives, but such peace never again came on the scale as it did that Christmas of 1914.

 

One of the soldiers who experienced this miracle was Graham Williams of the Fifth London Rifle Brigade and before he passed, he documented the event like this:

“First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we      started up ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words Adeste Fideles. And I thought, well, this is really a most extraordinary thing ­– two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war. The next morning, German soldiers emerged from their trenches, calling out “Merry Christmas” in English and holding up signs that read, “You no shoot, we no shoot.” Over the course of the day, we exchanged gifts of cigarettes, food, buttons and hats.”[1]

 

I reflect on that historical event and I can’t help but think it was the singing of those Christmas hymns that inspired such peace. Carols that told of the story of God being born among us, so there shall be no more fear, no more chaos, no more noise or battles, but peace, because God is with us.

 

Friends, Jesus has given us His peace, and in that is our counsel, that can and will shape our lives when we let the Advocate of the Spirit support us. So in the days and weeks to come when you may struggle with fears regarding the health and safety of your children, your parents, your neighbors; in the days and weeks to come when finances and work are a concern; may the fruit of the Spirit so fill you that your hearts are no longer troubled, because your life will not be shaped by fear, but by the peace in knowing God is with us.  

 

 

Closing Song: You are Holy (Prince of Peace) by Michael W. Smith

https://youtu.be/1yd2mMEqS0s

 

You are holy
You are mighty
You are worthy, worthy of praise
I will follow
I will listen
I will love you, all of my days

 

I will sing to and worship the King who is worthy
I will love and adore Him, I will bow down before Him
And I will sing to and worship the King who is worthy
And I will love and adore,  and I will bow down before Him
You're my Prince of Peace, and I will live my life for You 

 

Repeat

 

 

Benediction/Sending Forth

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).
May the peace of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit go with you as you re-enter God’s world to serve those in need. Go in peace. AMEN.

 
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