August 7-13, 2022 - Home Worship

08/07-13/2022 – 9th week after Pentecost

Morning prayer: God of the Past, Present, and Future, Seldom do we know what You’ll ask of us each day. Many times, we are in the moment when we feel the nudging of Your spirit to act. As we spend time in Your house today, may our souls be aligned with You, so that we may readily respond when You call! Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn: #144 This Is my Father’s World

  1. This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears
    all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
    This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought
    of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wrought.
  2. This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise,
    the morning light, the lily white, declare their maker's praise.
    This is my Father's world: He shines in all that's fair;
    in the rustling grass I hear Him pass; He speaks to me everywhere.
  3. This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget
    that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
    This is my Father's world: why should my heart be sad?
    The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!

Call to Worship Psalm 33:12-22

Happy is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom He has chosen as His heritage.

The LORD looks down from heaven; He sees all humankind.

From where He sits enthroned He watches all the inhabitants of the earth--

He who fashions the hearts of them all, and observes all their deeds.

A king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.

The war horse is a vain hope for victory, and by its great might it cannot save.

Truly the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His steadfast love,

to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and shield.

Our heart is glad in Him, because we trust in His holy name.

Let Your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in You.

Children’s message Scripture:  Isaiah 1:13-17 (the Message)

“Quit your worship charades.

I can’t stand your trivial religious games:

Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings—

meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more!

Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them!

You’ve worn me out!

I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion,

while you go right on sinning.

When you put on your next prayer-performance,

I’ll be looking the other way.

No matter how long or loud or often you pray,

I’ll not be listening.

And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing

people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.

Go home and wash up.

Clean up your act.

Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings

so I don’t have to look at them any longer.

Say no to wrong.

Learn to do good.

Work for justice.

Help the down-and-out.

Stand up for the homeless.

Go to bat for the defenseless.

Isaiah's message is one children can understand: God is not fooled by people who worship God, but do not obey. Isaiah's references to Old Testament worship practices, however, are a problem. The easiest way to solve this problem is to point out that sacrifices, new moon festivals, and sabbaths were ways people in Isaiah's day worshiped, just as choir anthems, Christmas pageants, Easter flowers, and beautiful prayers are ways we worship today.

If there was a stage you’d probably prefer to skip, it would be this one. Isaiah seems at his grumpiest height. Sure, that’s the rep that prophets have. But it seems excessive here. Yet, as a crusader for justice, you have to ruffle a few feathers from time to time. To get something done, you need a “just saith the Lord” now and again. And Isaiah is ready to step up to the plate for this one.

Prayers of Intercession:  Thank You, Lord, for hearing our prayers for those dear to our hearts.  We now pray as You have taught us: 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 sins, as we forgive those who sin 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. 

Offering spotlightThe Missions Team designates part of your missions offering for AGAPE, the Bloomsburg Food Cupboard, the John Buck Memorial Food Bank in Orangeville and Lightstreet’s Blessings Box to provide healthy food choices to those who need help.  Over 1400 households served each year, 24,000 adults and 13,500 children. 

Offering prayer: God of love and grace, we bring our offerings this day and ask that they might be dedicated to strengthening Your church for the making of disciples for Jesus Christ. Your prophet Isaiah reminds us that offering money or possessions is not enough. Isaiah proclaims to the Israelites that unless their offerings are accompanied by a wiliness to “learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow,” the offerings are futile. Open our ears to hear what pleases You and open our eyes to see the opportunities all around us. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

Hymn of Preparation: #592 When the Church of Jesus

  1. When the church of Jesus shuts its outer door,

lest the roar of traffic drown the voice of prayer,

may our prayers, Lord, make us ten times more aware

that the world we banish is our Christian care.

  1. If our hearts are lifted where devotion soars

high above this hungry, suffering world of ours,
lest our hymns should drug us to forget its needs,

forge our Christian worship into Christian deeds.

  1. Lest the gifts we offer, money, talents, time,

serve to salve our conscience, to our secret shame,

Lord, reprove, inspire us by the way You give;

teach us, dying Savior, how true Christians live.

Gospel Lesson Luke 12:32-40

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. “But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

Message:              Pastor Becky Cuddeback

When we started out the summer in the gospel of Luke, I stated our purpose was to find a deeper, clearer path for our discipleship. For us to grow as disciples, to commit or recommit ourselves to Jesus’s call to follow Him.

Today’s lesson reveals to us, we have a problem with the way in which we think we become disciples and chapter 12 of Luke illuminates this for us.

The problem is, we can’t be disciples in this or any church building. Just being present inside doesn’t make us disciples.

Inside the building we can worship.

We can have fellowship.

We can learn and study.

We can train.

But, gathering in the building, doesn’t make us disciples. We may use the building to do disciple work – like the coat drive, VBS or use the building as a collection point for food, clothing and other necessities. But merely gathering in the building doesn’t make us disciples. We can only be seen and take on the name of a disciple outside these walls, in our communities in relationships with other people. We aren’t meant to huddle here in safety and wait for Jesus to come back in some grandiose showing of power and might, while there are hurting people in our communities. That is not to say I don’t believe Jesus will return once and for all; what it means I believe, Jesus appears over and over to us in our everyday lives in the people and situations we find ourselves in. Every day we are given the opportunity and responsibility to respond to Jesus wherever Jesus presents Himself.

How do we know this? By what Jesus tells us about the least of these. Jesus tells His followers about the sorting of the sheep and goats at the judgment – it is captured in Matthew 25. Jesus says that when we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and imprisoned – we do these things for Him, not in His place – but for Him, as if He were the one standing before us hungry, naked, thirsty, sick or imprisoned or homeless. This is what defines the not knowing the time of Jesus’s return. Currently, all these conditions exist and there doesn’t seem to be a cure for any of them.

Which is why we have to take Jesus’s words seriously. He tells us to be dressed for action and have your lamps lit. Not to lean too heavy on mottos, the Boy Scout motto fits perfectly here – Jesus is saying BE PREPARED! In order for us to be prepared for our encounters with Jesus we have to be alert and not be preoccupied or held down by the things of the world – the things that can over take our devotion to Jesus. I’m not saying don’t have hobbies or interests, but weigh out the priority they take in your life.

We have to gauge our commitment to Jesus and we do this by weighing out where our heart is. Our hearts contain our truths, what we are committed to, what we are most passionate about and the things, thoughts, ideas contained within our hearts reveal who we truly belong to.

If you could dump out the contents of your heart on a table, what do you think you will find there? I am only asking about your heart, don’t let your head get involved. It will possibly deceive you into thinking everything in your heart is right or good. Our logic, reason and knowledge do a wonderful job of justifying and comforting us when we are wrong and they also will give us the right answer, or at least the acceptable answer and it will be all for show. Because what we know in our heads, doesn’t necessarily move to our hearts and inform our behavior or beliefs. What is contained in our hearts guides our behavior and is reveal in the ways in which we speak about those dearest to God: the poor, the sick, the homeless, the widow, the orphan… the least of these.

By no means are any of us perfect, but we are to be moving toward perfection in relationship with God and what our hearts are aligned to, is where our treasure is found.

What is your treasure? Your heart knows and so should your head after you weigh it out. Now, what happens when you find that your treasure doesn’t align with the Kingdom that God so pleases to give you? You have to start the work of shedding those things that keep you from desiring the Kingdom, the one thing you can possess that will not decay, cannot be destroyed, and cannot be taken from you.

Beloved, our first day living in the Kingdom of God does not have to be the day you die – it can be today.

Closing Hymn: #733 Marching to Zion

1        Come, we that love the Lord, and let our joys be known;

Join in a song with sweet accord, join in a song with sweet accord

And thus surround the throne, and thus surround the throne.

Refrain:  We’re marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion;

We’re marching upward to Zion, the beautiful city of God.

2        Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God;

But children of the heavenly King, but children of the heavenly King

May speak their joys abroad, may speak their joys abroad. 

3        The hill of Zion yields a thousand sacred sweets

Before we reach the heavenly fields, before we reach the heavenly fields,

Or walk the golden streets, or walk the golden streets.

4        Then let our songs abound, and every tear be dry;

We’re marching through Emmanuel’s ground,

we’re marching through Emmanuel’s ground,

To fairer worlds on high, to fairer worlds on high.

Go into your week with the blessings of The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit.

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