August 9, 2020 - Home Worship Service

Welcome & Announcements: Good morning church!

Just a quick announcement:  This week communion will be offered during the 9am ZOOM worship that Pastor Jenn leads. Have on hand bread/crackers and some form of juice. If you cannot connect, the communion elements will be blessed by 10am Sunday morning, including your own. You may read the blessing after the message below and know by 10 am you can take the elements for communion.

Sunday 9:00 am Zoom Worship & Prayer

Pastor Jenn and your church leaders invite you to ZOOM, Sunday morning, 9:00 am. 

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: Give thanks and praise to the Lord!

P: For God has dealt mercifully with us!

L: Even when we turned our backs on God,

P: God forgave us and restored us to life.

L: Rejoice in God's abundant love.

P: We will continually praise God who heals and loves us. AMEN.

Opening Song: Only Trust Him by Donna Farver 

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/only-trust-him/s-Nw7jZFUEfKR

 

Come, every soul by sin oppressed; There’s mercy with the Lord,
And He will surely give you rest by trusting in His Word.

Refrain:
Only trust Him, only trust Him, only trust Him now; He will save you; He will save you; He will save you now.

 

For Jesus shed His precious blood Rich blessings to bestow;
Plunge now into the crimson flood That washes white as snow.    Refrain

 

Yes, Jesus is the truth, the way, that leads you into rest;
Believe in Him without delay and you are fully blessed.      Refrain

 

Opening Prayer:
Bountiful God, who gives to us all that we need to sustain our lives: Open our hearts today to hear Your words of compassionate justice, that we may focus on the ways in which You intend us to live and be of service to You by serving the world. In Jesus' Name, 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!

 

Pick out 2 pictures of fruit trees.  Trees that have fruit on them.  

 

When we see an apple tree, we know it will have apples, not oranges or bananas. Well we each have been given fruit from God. What happens is through God’s Spirit, God is at work to fill our lives with what are called in the Bible, fruit. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

And you know who had all that fruit? Jesus.  So, the idea is when someone sees us, like the apple tree shows an apple, we show Jesus. Last week Pastor Ron spoke about us loving God and loving others, that shows Jesus. Today I will talk about the joy Jesus gives us.

There’s a song that shares what I am talking about. I want to share with you all today (and it’s got motions!)

https://youtu.be/GTW5WCY37zU  I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.  (Where?) Down in my heart.  Down in my heart. 

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.  (Where?)  Down I my heart to stay

Refrain:  And I’m so happy; so very happy.  I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart

And I’m so happy; so very happy.  I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart

I’ve got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart. (Where?) Down in my heart.  Down in my heart. 

I’ve got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart.  (Where?)  Down I my heart to stay

Refrain:  And I’m so happy; so very happy.  I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart

And I’m so happy; so very happy.  I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart

 

Sharing of Joys & Concerns with Pastoral Prayer     The Lord’s Prayer will be said during Communion.

As the summer days move rapidly toward the busyness of autumn, our attention is drawn forward. We begin to think about all that is coming; children preparing for the new school year; young people off to service, work or college; return to regular work schedules, preparations for retirement. There are so many things looming on our horizons that our focus is placed on them. Be with us, loving God. Remind us to place our focus on Jesus, who calls us to trust in His mercy and care. Keep the needs of others in our hearts and minds; needs for healing, for comfort, for friendship. Help us to reach out to them and offer our gifts and service in Your name. We name these dear ones with our voices and in our hearts. As You have loved and healed us, so we ask Your healing mercies on these whom we have named. We also ask Your guidance and patience with us as we march through the last weeks of summer. Confident in Jesus’ love for us, we pray. AMEN.

Offering Invitation: The richness of God’s mercy is poured over us every minute of our lives, even when we least expect it. We offer our gifts and tithes in gratitude for all that God does for and with us.

Song of Preparation: Lean on Me   https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/lean-on-me

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain. We all have sorrow. But if we are wise We know that there's always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you're not strong And I'll be your friend. I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long 'Til I'm gonna need Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride If I have things you need to borrow.

For no one can fill those of your needs That you won't let show

Lean on me, when you're not strong And I'll be your friend. I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long 'Til I'm gonna need Somebody to lean on

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand.  We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'll understand. We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me, when you're not strong And I'll be your friend. I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long 'Til I'm gonna need Somebody to lean on

Lean on me, when you're not strong And I'll be your friend. I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long 'Til I'm gonna need Somebody to lean on.  We all need somebody to lean on

 

Offering Prayer:

O God, we stand before You as a people of faith, investing our lives and our treasures for the glory of Your kingdom. Bless these gifts and those who gave them, in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

Sermon: The Fruit of the Spirit is Joy

I want to start this message with a question posed to all of you: What brings you joy? What makes you happy and cheerful and bright?

Could you pinpoint what it is? Or would you say “If onlys”? For example,“I would be happy, I would feel joy, if only I had a bigger house…if only I had more money…if only I could see my friends face to face without a mask!”

I’m taking an online course called the Science of Well-being; you might have heard of it. It’s the number one online course in the States right now. It comes out of Yale where a professor by the name of Laurie Santos, teaches us what true joy can be.

And while most people will say happiness will come when they make more money, get a better job, a nicer car, or house, studies show this simply is not true. In fact there is a term for this fallacy, it’s called miswanting- it’s when our brains deliver to us what we want, but they are wrong about it because our brains have been shaped by biases relative to reference points we establish.

Here is a clear example of an incorrect reference point that we misjudge: The Ebbinghouse Illusion. Search for this image online.  Which orange circle is larger?

They are actually the same size.

 

Our minds play tricks on us, based on our reference points, and in this case, it was based on the size of the black dots around the orange dots.

So, in this class we learn that our ideas of having more money, more success, more of everything simply do not bring us joy, because our reference points are constantly adapting to those around us.  

For example, Vogel et al did a study in 2014 looking at Facebook and happiness. And what they discovered was the more you were on Facebook, the lower your happiness, because the lower your self-esteem, as your mind is bombarded with images of what others have and you do not.

Our comparisons affect our happiness.

In our Scripture Lesson today, we meet a man who was searching for joy in his life, and he finds it in the name of Jesus.

Scripture: Acts 8:26-39  Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

26 Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Get up and go towards the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a wilderness road.) 27So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over to this chariot and join it.’ 30So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ 31He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:
‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
so he does not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.’
34The eunuch asked Philip, ‘About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ 35Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?’ 38He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip, and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more and went on his way rejoicing.

 

Last week Pastor Ron and I started a new sermon series based on the Fruit of the Spirit. In his letter to the Galatian church, the Apostle Paul writes of fruit that the Spirit gives to each of us in order that our lives might become closer to Christ’s. Last week, Pastor Ron spoke about love, the love God gave us in Jesus, and the love Jesus commands of us to give to one another.

This week we are going to look at the gift of joy. And what we are to know is that the fruit of joy is given to us so that we can experience the joy of Christ.

Does that mean Christ is going to give us more money if we follow him? Does it mean we will get a bigger house or a nicer car? No. To receive the spiritual fruit of joy, is to know and experience the joy of Christ in our lives.

Consider the joy Jesus gave to the blind, the deaf, the hungry. Think about the joy He gave to the lepers, to children that were shunned, and to His disciples?

He gave them joy with His healing, with His love, with His presence. And when the eunuch in our lesson today is informed that the prophet God promises through Isaiah is Jesus, whom Philip shared died and rose from the grave to offer our salvation, the eunuch experiences new life with baptism and as the text says, “went on his way rejoicing”. He was filled with joy because he experienced Jesus.

Our lives can be filled with joy, every day, when we welcome the experience of Jesus, as our Friend, our Healer, our Teacher, our Savior.

So, what can that look like?

Well interestingly enough, going back to the class on the Science of Well-being, Professor Santos shares that investing in experiences make us happier than investing in stuff. It’s a way to reset our reference points.

She shared a study done by Sonja Lyubomirsky and her colleagues where they asked their subjects to replay happy memories in their mind for eight minutes a day, for three days a week. They would set their timer on their phone and for the next eight minutes, they thought about a really happy memory they had. Like maybe getting into the school of their choice. Or their first kiss. Or their first time driving or first job. And their exact instructions were, think about the event as though you are rewinding a video and playing it back in order to relive the moment. 8 minutes a day, 3 times a week.

And what they found was this reliving of positive experiences had huge effects on the subjects’ wellbeing. In fact, the people in this study actually increased their positive emotions for up to four weeks later.

This is the idea of experience. And for us as Christians, there are many ways we can consider for 8 minutes a day, 3 times a week, the joy Christ can bring us. Like the time He listened to a heart-felt prayer that we gave, and the answer came later. Or when we turned to Him when it seemed like no one else was there for us, and we just felt His presence holding us. Or when you or your child was baptized and claimed by God and this Church family. Those experiences gave us hope. They gave us healing. They gave us joy, that we can always remember and claim.

Today we are going to end our worship service with another type of joy filled experience, as we receive the gift of communion.

This was the act Jesus shared with His friends before He went to the cross, so that every time they had bread and wine, they could experience Christ’s friendship, His love, His joy in their lives. And today, even though we are physically separated from one another, we are still bound together as family with Christ, through this joy filled covenant, therefore let us lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord, our God….

 

Response: The Great Act of Thanksgiving

We thank You, Creator God, that You made us in Your image, and breathed into us the breath of life. When we turned away, our love failing, You reached out to us again and again, providing healing, wholeness, and new life.

 

When the flood came, You provided an ark.  When the plagues came, You provided safety.  When evening came, You provided a pillar of fire.  When exile came, You provided a new song.  Day after day after day, Your love remained steadfast.

 

And so, with Your people on earth, and all the company of heaven, we praise Your name and join their unending hymn.

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord! God of power and might!  Heaven and Earth are full of Your glory.

Hosanna in the Highest!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of our God.

 

Blessed is Your Son who came to preach the good news to the poor, release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, freed the oppressed, and announced that the time had come when You would save Your people. He healed the sick. He comforted the lost. He is healing and comforting, now. He will heal and comfort us, day after day after day.

 

On the night in which He gave Himself up for us, He took bread, gave thanks to You, broke the bread, gave it to His disciples, and said “Take, eat; this is My body which is given for You. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

 

When the supper was over, He took the cup, gave thanks to You, gave it to His disciples, and said: “Drink from this, all of you; this is My blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

 

Pour out Your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and cup. Let them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by His blood.

 

In this season of social distancing, may You remind us that we are never spiritually distant from You. We belong to Your body. Therefore, by Your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory, and we feast at His heavenly banquet. Through Your Son Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church, all honor and glory is Yours, almighty God, now and forever. Amen.

 

The Lord’s Prayer And now, let us pray the prayer Jesus taught us, 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. 

 

The Breaking and Experiencing the Bread & Cup

O taste and see that the Lord is good! Take and eat in thanksgiving.

The Pouring of the Cup

May the joy of the Lord fill you and quench your thirst. Take and drink in thanksgiving.

 

Prayer After Receiving:

Most bountiful God, we give You thanks for the world You have created, for the gift of life, and for giving Yourself to us in Jesus Christ. We thank You that in the power of Your Holy Spirit You have fed us in this Sacrament, united us with Christ, so that we may experience His joy to fill us.  We are Your children, and Yours is the glory, now and forever; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Closing Song: O Come to the Altar by the LUMC Praise Band

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/o-come-to-the-altar/s-5NUQ7H6qHjN

Are you hurting and broken within? Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin? Jesus is calling
Have you come to the end of yourself? Do you thirst for a drink from the well? Jesus is calling

 

O come to the altar. The Father's arms are open wide.

Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ

 

Leave behind your regrets and mistakes. Come today, there's no reason to wait. Jesus is calling
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy. From the ashes, a new life is born. Jesus is calling

 

O come to the altar. The Father's arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. 

Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood!...

 

Oh, what a Savior, isn't He wonderful? Sing hallelujah, Christ is risen
Bow down before Him, for He is Lord of all! Sing hallelujah, Christ is risen (repeat)

 

O come to the altar. The Father's arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ!

 

Benediction:

You have been embraced by the love of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and blessed by the joyful experience of Jesus, to go into this world to live and share the gospel. AMEN.

 

 
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