August 2, 2020 - Home Worship Service

August 2nd Worship Service

 

Welcome & Announcements:

Good morning church! Due to Pennsylvania’s restrictions of no more than 25 for an inside gathering, we are going back to ZOOM worship at 9am.

 

Here is the information: Sunday, 9:00 am.  Your leaders are planning to worship with ZOOM through August:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85441468430?pwd=aEJmcnJ3SGdkbWphMnlRV3JwQ3dXQT09

  Meeting ID: 854 4146 8430        Password: 279040

One tap mobile:  +19294362866,,85441468430#,,,,0#,,279040# US (New York)

For audio only using a landline or non-smart phone:  +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

 

 

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: People of God, whom do you love?

            P: We love the Lord our God, with all our heart, soul, and mind.

L: People of God, whom do you love?

            P: We love our neighbors even as we love ourselves.

L: People of God, whom do you love?

            P: We love the One who calls us and completes us in holy love.

 

 

Opening Song: Raise a Hallelujah by the Praise Band

https://soundcloud.com/user-984921493-147587523/raise-a-hallelujah-1

I raise a Hallelujah in the presence of my enemies.

I raise a Hallelujah louder than the unbelief.

I raise a Hallelujah.  My weapon is a melody.

I raise a Hallelujah.  Heaven comes to fight for me.

 

I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm.

Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar.

Up from the ashes, hope will arise.

Death is defeated.  The King is alive!

 

I raise a Hallelujah with everything inside of me.

I raise a Hallelujah.  I will watch the darkness flee.

I raise a Hallelujah in the middle of the mystery.

I raise a Hallelujah.  Fear you lost your hold on me!

 

I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm.

Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar.

Up from the ashes, hope will arise.

Death is defeated.  The King is alive!

 

Sing a little louder (Sing a little louder)

Sing a little louder (Sing a little louder)

Sing a little louder (Sing a little louder)

Sing a little louder (Sing a little louder)

Sing a little louder (In the presence of my enemies)

Sing a little louder (Louder than the unbelief)

Sing a little louder (My weapon is a melody)

Sing a little louder (Heaven comes to fight for me)

Sing a little louder (In the presence of my enemies)

Sing a little louder (Louder than the unbelief)

Sing a little louder (My weapon is a melody)

Sing a little louder (Heaven comes to fight for me)

Sing a little louder!!

 

I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm.

Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar.

Up from the ashes, hope will arise.

Death is defeated.  The King is alive!

I raise a Hallelujah

I raise a Hallelujah

I raise a Hallelujah

I raise a Hallelujah

I raise a Hallelujah

I raise a Hallelujah

I raise a Hallelujah

I raise a Hallelujah

 

 

Opening Prayer:

            God of ages past and days to come, be with us this day. Shower us with Your love and truth. Open our hearts and minds to truly love as You love us and as You call us to love. With the confidence of Christ’s grace in our lives, we pray. 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!

Pastor Jenn has been on vacation with her family, but Ben Dodge is preparing a special message just for the children in our faith community.  If you can ZOOM, you can see Ben on the computer or maybe your parent’s phone. 

            Let us pray: Thank You God, that You bring us together and make us stronger with Your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

Prayer & Lord’s Prayer:

            God of steadfast love, turn away Your anger and frustration: when we fall short in Your eyes, when we forget to love, when we are afraid to love, when we neglect to love. Forgive us and transform us with Your amazing grace. Fill us with Your love so completely that our lives may overflow with love – in heart, mind and soul. We ask this in the name of Jesus who taught us to pray sayingOur 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 the Offering:

From everlasting to everlasting, God has cared for us. Let us show our love and concern for others as we give of ourselves in this time of offering.

 

 

Offering Prayer:

            God of abundant love, multiply these gifts to become gifts of abundant love for a world in need. In the name of Christ, who first loved us, we pray. Amen.

 

 

Offering Hymn: He Lives!

https://soundcloud.com/user-984921493-147587523/he-lives

1] I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today;

    I know that He is living, whatever foes may say.

    I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,

    and just the time I need Him, He’s always near.

 

Chorus:

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!

He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.

He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!

You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.

 

2] In all the world around me I see His loving care,

    and though my heart grows weary, I never will despair.

    I know that He is leading through all the stormy blast;

    the day of His appearing will come at last.

 

Chorus:

 

3] Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing

    eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!

    The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find;

    none other is so loving, so good and kind.

 

Chorus:

 

 

Scripture Lesson: 

Matthew 22:34-40

34When the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question to test him. 36“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

 

 

Sermon: Grayish-Green Stew on Rice.  A Message from Rev. Ron French

 

            One of the most remarkable Christian witnesses in the late 20th Century was a man named Charles Colson. Many of you may remember him as the political hatchet man for President Richard Nixon. While he was serving as special counsel to the President, Colson seemed to be a despicable man, seemingly without conscience. Then quite remarkably, Chuck Colson had a thorough and complete conversion experience. It was in 1973 during the height of the Watergate proceedings. Please don’t be suspicious. This conversion experience was no ploy to keep Colson out of jail. In fact he refused to plea bargain and pleaded guilty to a crime no one knew he had committed. Judge John J. Sirica subsequently sentenced Colson to the maximum prison term permitted under federal law. After his release from prison, Colson founded the Prison Fellowship Ministry, which, to this day, reaches out to men and women in prisons throughout the world.

            In Colson’s books, he often told about his experiences in prisons. Some of those stories tug strongly at the heart. For example, in his book, Being the Body, Colson tells about the time he and a close friend, businessman and philanthropist Jack Eckerd visited a woman’s prison in the old Soviet Union. All the inmates, says Colson, were dressed in threadbare babushkas and ragged long dresses. The cell-blocks were freezing and full of mud. Colson and Eckerd were able to talk with many of the women, including several who spoke English.

            When they arrived in the mess hall, however, with its long rows of wooden tables and its dirty floor, they noticed that none of the inmates looked up. It was a very controlled and intimidating atmosphere and they had been trained to keep their eyes down. But Jack Eckerd did something the Soviet handlers hadn’t planned on. Colson describes Eckerd as a tall, lanky, irrepressible lion of a man who loved Jesus and was not intimidated by anybody. Eckerd walked over to where the cooks were ladling out the food. It was a grayish-green stew dumped over a scoop of rice. And it smelled dreadful.

            Eckerd, whose family owed the Eckerd Drug Store chain and could afford any pleasure he desired, leaned down, smiled broadly, and asked the server, “So! How’s the food here?” “Oh no,” thought Colson, “she’s going to offer us some. And we’re going to have to eat it.” Colson’s doctor had told him to avoid foods of unknown origins on that trip. And this prison gruel was definitely of unknown origin. The chunks sticking out of it looked like no meat Colson was acquainted with.

            Colson said, “The next thing I knew, my fears came true. The woman heaped a huge serving onto a plate for Jack…and then smiled and ladled an even bigger portion for me. I did the only thing any of us would have done in those circumstances,” said Colson. “I thanked her. Then Jack and I walked over to one of the wooden tables and joined the inmates there.” Colson and Eckerd then bowed their heads and prayed. Colson said it was the most fervent grace he had ever uttered in his life. He asked God to sanctify that food and save him from every microbe lurking within it.

            “The moment we started to eat,” Colson goes on to report, “the atmosphere in that dismal prison dining hall was transformed. Inmates got up from other tables and joined us. People laughed and spoke with us. Some of the women showed us crosses that they wore around their necks. Even the ones who did not speak English knew that because we were eating their food, breaking bread with them, we were one with them.” Chuck Colson and Jack Eckerd gave the women in that prison a very special gift that day. They identified with them. They entered their experience and identified with them.

            Today Pastor Jenn and I are beginning a series of sermons on the “Fruit of the Spirit.”  The first of the fruits is love. And today I want to deal with the nature of love. Not the popular love that song writers extol. I’m talking about true love – agape love – a love that comes from God. I believe that this love has something to do with a willingness to eat grayish-green stew on rice in the primitive conditions of a Soviet prison.

            In our Gospel lesson for this morning (Matthew 22:34-40) the conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees has reached its pinnacle. First, the Pharisees seek to trap Jesus with a trick question. They send some of their own out to ask him, “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” (Matthew 22:17b) Talk about a loaded question! But Jesus was up to the test. Probably we can all recite Jesus’ answer by heart: “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21b) That same day the Sadducees, who didn’t even believe in life after death, ask him another loaded question. It was about a woman who married seven brothers, each one dying without leaving an heir. The Sadducees posed this question, “In the resurrection, then, whose wife of the seven will she be?” (Matthew 22:28) Jesus answered them, “…in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage.” (Matthew 22:30) Again, Jesus passed the test.

            This brings us to today’s lesson from this same chapter. Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together again. One of them, an expert in the Law, tested Jesus with this question: “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” You know the answer. “He said to them, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all you soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the laws and the prophets.’” (Matthew 22: 36-40)

            The perfect answer. What is it that matters most in life? Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Nothing could be simpler than that – unless you ask the question: “What does it mean to love?” So to answer that question we turn to the example of Christ himself.

            Let’s start here: God cared enough to come into our world. Just as Charles Colson and Jack Eckerd cared enough to go into the dirt and despair of a Soviet prison and even to eat the grayish-green stew on rice, God cared enough to come into the dirt and despair of our lives. That’s what love does.

            The Rev. Susan Zencka tells about a parishioner of hers who died from Hodgkin’s disease. Kim left two small children. At her viewing, the six-year-old, Brian, was inconsolable. He sobbed and sobbed, his whole body shaking with the force of his grief. Everyone wished there was something they could do, but how do you cheer up a little boy who knows he has lost his mom? Everyone ached for him. His dad tried to calm him down, but when he held him, Brian’s grief just rocked them both. His aunt came over and tried to talk to him, but Brian was unreachable. His loss was overwhelming. He was sobbing and hurt. Quietly, two of his friends, two little six-year-olds who had been in school with him since they had all been three, walked over and stood on either side of Brian. No one told them to go to him, and no one told them what to do. They just stood there with him, and one of them put his hand on Brian’s shoulder. Brian looked up and saw them, and kept crying. But they stayed there with him. They didn’t talk to him, they didn’t try to cheer him up, says Rev. Zencka, they just stood by him, willing to stand in his pain and be there for him. Slowing his weeping tapered off, and before long the boys were scampering around the funeral home, chasing each other and giggling. Every so often, Brian would come back to the front of the room and sit by his mom’s casket, and cry, and the other boys would stand with him quietly and wait on him.

            That’s what love does. If you are asking how you can show your love for God and for neighbor, find someone who is in pain and go to them. Stand with them. Minister to them. Love them. God is probably not asking you to go into the mission field to show your love. But God may be asking you to go next door. Or down the street. Or to the other side of town. Or even just to the other side of the house. So, first of all, God cared enough to come into our world.

            But even more impressive, God cared for the undeserving. That’s you and me! Many people today only want to help people whom they deem worthy of such help. “They made choices just like I did,” these well-meaning people complain. “I’m not obligated to care for people who refuse to care for themselves.” And as the world sees it, that’s true. Fortunately, God doesn’t see it that way. In Romans 5:6-8 the Apostle Paul writes: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” In other words, Jesus gave his life for the undeserving.

            Pastor Len Niehoff, tells about a man who reached out to someone most of us would agree did not deserve his help. The man who reached out was named Louis Saunders. ‘He was not a rock star or a political leader or some other sort of celebrity,” Niehoff says. “He was just a Disciple of Christ minister who lived quietly and served as a pastor in Texas. But when he died in 1998 a long memorial to him appeared in the newspaper because of a single act of love he performed. Let me share some of it with you. “Saunders was serving a church in Fort Worth when he learned that Lee Harvey Oswald – the man who had assassinated President Kennedy and who had in turn been killed by Jack Ruby – was going to be buried in his town. Pastor Saunders knew Oswald’s mother was a Lutheran, so he worked the phones and arranged for two Lutheran pastors he knew to conduct the service. Everything was put in place and, when the day arrived, Saunders stopped by the cemetery to observe. When he got there, Saunders discovered that the ministers had backed out; they objected to the open-air ceremony, fearing they would be exposed to potential snipers. The small, forlorn, and impoverished Oswald family asked Saunders to fill in, so he did. He left his Bible in the car, but he knew some of the service by heart; so from memory he recited the 23rd Psalm and part of John 14. And he said this, ‘Mrs. Oswald tells me that her son, Lee Harvey, was a good boy and that she loved him. And today, Lord, we commit his spirit to your divine care.’” Pastor Niehoff adds this commentary to the news story, “I think it is fair to say that on that date in this country there was no more hated person than Lee Harvey Oswald. No one had anything to say about him that allowed any room for grace or redemption. No one, that is, except his mother – and Rev. Saunders.” And, of course, God. God cared enough to come into our world. He cared for the undeserving.

            And finally, God kept his focus on that which is eternal. When He came to us as Jesus He was tempted just as we are tempted to live a mediocre life focused on His own pleasures and well-being. But Jesus knew He had a mission and a purpose – to love God and his neighbor with all his heart, soul, and mind.

            This is love. Love that is willing to sit at table and eat grayish-green stew on rice. It is also the love that brings lasting joy and peace. It is love following the example of God, Who cared enough to come into our world, cared for the undeserving and focused on that which really mattered, that which was eternal. Rocks aren’t eternal. Even diamonds aren’t eternal. Only people are eternal. That is why, when Jesus was asked which commandment is most important, he replied: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (37-39) And this means that you will sit at table and share in the grayish-green stew on rice. It is the first gift of the Spirit…LOVE!

 

 

Closing Song:  Be Thou My Vision

https://youtu.be/Optrm7lF16s  (feel free to type this in or copy and paste in your web browser to sing along or listen and enjoy)


1. Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night, Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

2. Be thou my Wisdom, and thou my true Word; I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son, Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

3. High King of heaven, my victory won, May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

 

 

Benediction:

L: Go forth in the knowledge and love of God.

            P: We go confident in God’s steadfast love.

L: Go into the world, loving without limits,

    Caring without boundaries.

P: We journey forth to fulfill God’s law of love.

 

 

 

 
  October 2020  
SMTWTFS
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
     
Bible Search
Contents © 2020 Lightstreet United Methodist Church • Church Website Builder by mychurchwebsite.netPrivacy Policy