February 14, 2021 - Home Worship Service

Feb 14th

Welcome & Announcements: Good morning church! We continue to offer on-line worship through ZOOM and Facebook Live at 9am on Sundays.

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)

 

Sermon by PhoneEach week, following the live worship service, Pastor Jenn will upload the service to an account that when you call a local number, you will hear the service.

The number is:1-570-215-3814

You don't have to type in the 1 if you are in the 570 area code. There is no code or password. It takes you directly to the service.

 

You Are Never Alone by Max Lucado Bible Study with Pastor Ron beginning February 16th.

When life feels depleted, does God care? I'm facing an onslaught of challenges; will God help? When life grows dark and stormy, does God notice? I'm facing the fear of death; will God help me? The answer in the life-giving miracles in the Gospel of John is a resounding yes. (see promo at: https://youtu.be/LuCR8n-J0rw )

10am Tuesday mornings in person at the Lighthouse. (Please register with Pastor Ron, there is a limit of 10.) 6:30pm Tuesday evenings with ZOOM and Facebook Live.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84464947805?pwd=ejRHZ3h3NlVKSGd3MFRoU2NwUTVSZz09

Meeting ID: 844 6494 7805               Passcode: 261088

One tap mobile:  +19294362866,,84464947805#,,,,*261088# US (New York)

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

 

Worship Service:

I invite you to prepare your hearts for worship by lighting a candle and welcoming the presence of the Divine at your home.

 

Call to Worship

People of God, come hear the good news.
But we hear the voice of God calling us to places we are afraid to go.
People of God, take courage in the loving, sustaining presence of God.
We are here to find strength and courage, to find faith and hope, to lean on
the everlasting, loving arms of God.

Opening Song: Leaning on the Everlasting Arms by Donna Farver & Linda Creasy

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/sets/feb-14

1. What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms;
what a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Refrain:
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

2. O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way, leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day, leaning on the everlasting arms. Refrain

3. What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms. Refrain

Opening Prayer

O God, You are our rock and our fortress. In You we find strength to go on. We praise You for the gifts of faith, hope, and love. We will live out our call to be all You have created us to be.

 

Children’s time: Valentine’s

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!

 

Today is Valentine’s Day and it is named after a priest, who is also a saint. Saint Valentine lived in a time when the emperor would not allow soldiers to marry because he wanted the soldiers to stay focused on defending their empire. However, St Valentine knew this was wrong and would perform marriages secretly.

 

When Valentine’s actions were discovered Valentine was arrested and eventually he was killed on February 14, on or about the year 270.

 

Legend also has it that while he was in jail, St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it “From Your Valentine.”

 

For his great service, Valentine was named a saint after his death.

 

On Valentine’s day we are to tell the people we love how much we do love them and appreciate them. Whether as a family member or a friend, or even God. In fact my challenge to you today is make time to tell God how much you love Him, because God deserves to hear that too.

 

Let’s pray: Thank You God, that You love us. We love You too. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Sharing of Joys & Concerns:

Prayer & Lord’s Prayer:

Loving God, we come this morning seeking to abide in Your presence.  We thank You for the ways You were with us this past week, blessing our lives with healing, with joy, with strength.

 

And we thank You that You hear our prayers for others, who need Your hope and comfort, Your peace to assist them through difficulties they face.

 

And in this time that we are gathered, may You open our minds to Your spirit of wisdom, that we may know how to live as Your people.

 

And most of all, may You open our hearts to Your spirit of truth, that we may love all Your people with a love that speaks of justice, kindness, and radical grace.

 

For we know this is our calling as Your beloved children, and Your Church, whose Savior taught us to say, praying…. 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 the Offering:

As we open ourselves to God, we open our hearts to the needs of others. Let us reach out and share what we’ve been given.

 

Offering Prayer: Eternal God, we pray You would receive these gifts we give this morning as ones that come from our hearts, Lord; hearts full of faith, hearts full of hope, and hearts full of love for You and for those around us. We pray this in the Holy name of Jesus, Your Son and our Savior. Amen.

Scripture Lesson: Matthew 5:1-5

5 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6 NRSV)

 

HUNGER & THIRST

MATTHEW 5:6

FEBRUARY 14, 2021

 

            Did you ever notice that Americans love to eat? Annually we spend over 4 trillion dollars on food. About 5% of our food money goes for snacks; that’s a mere 20 billion dollars each year.  The old saying goes, “You are what you eat.” I wonder what that would make some of us, I know what it would make me (ice cream).  This old saying not only applies to our physical being, but also to our spiritual being as well. Throughout scripture we find the simple truth that it’s what’s inside of us that really counts.

            In Luke 6:45 Jesus says, “The good person out of the good treasures of the heart produces good, and the evil person out evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.” (NRSV) Put simply, we become what we eat. Whatever we feed our minds, whatever we seek to have fill our lives, whatever consumes our time and energy – these things determine who we really are. Why are your family and friends the way they are? Why do people say the things they say or do the things they do? The answer is found in what they feed their hearts – what nourishes their spiritual being.

            What do the people around you fill their lives with? What captures their attention and their energy? Do they chase after power and money? Do they crave status and fame? Is it entertainment or pleasure they seek? These are the “gods” people create for themselves.

            These would be gods that people run after are lifeless and likewise the people who serve them remain spiritually dead. These gods have ears, but they do not hear when we praise them. They have eyes, but they do not see when we worship them. These gods offer them nothing. People who follow these gods will awake each morning just as hungry and thirsty as they were when they went to bed the night before.

            What they really crave is spiritual food and beverage. And when they chase after the earthly gods they have created there is nothing to fulfill that hunger or quench that thirst. So this morning I ask you, “Has your spiritual hunger and thirst been satisfied, or are you still looking for something to fill you?

            Listen again to our Beatitude for this morning: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6 NRSV) A sign that we don’t feel well is that we lose our appetite; we just don’t feel like eating. However, as a healthy person we regularly go to the cupboard or refrigerator to find something to eat, and with our food we pour ourselves something to drink. In the same way we all experience physical hunger and thirst, we also have a spiritual appetite.

            The Bible tells us that God has placed within the heart of humanity a hunger and thirst for more than what this world can offer. We sense the need for eternity and that is something only God can truly satisfy. Still we look to all kinds of things to fill our spiritual hunger only to go away feeling empty. Before long our hunger and thirst returns and we look for different ways to satisfy our desires.

            Many people today are living in a spiritual famine. We know what physical hunger looks like. We’ve seen images of it on our TV screens for as long as I can remember. The spiritually famished satisfied their hunger by filling themselves with whatever crumbs the world has to offer. People look for meaning in money and things; they try to find satisfaction through popularity and power. They scrape the bottom of the barrel in hopes of finding something to satisfy their spiritual hunger, but they are left empty.

            What happens when we find something that satisfies our hunger or thirst? We want more. When you go out to eat (which I hope you are avoiding right now) how often do you order a meal that you have had before? Few of us try something different each time we eat out. And how likely are you to return to a restaurant if you were disappointed with the food you were served? In our spiritual lives it seems to be that we keep going back to the same worldly things that have disappointed us before. Sisters and brothers, only Jesus can satisfy the hunger of the soul. He won’t leave you spiritually empty. He won’t break His promises. In John 6:35 Jesus declares: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (NRSV)

            Your hunger and thirst for Jesus should be growing. Daily you should desire more of Jesus and His righteousness. You see, the beatitudes are building blocks to help us be more like Jesus. They are what we could call the “BE-ATTITUDES”. They are the qualities and characteristics of the Christlike life. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness is at the heart and center of being like Jesus.

            Remember, just like the Ten Commandments, you can’t just pick and choose which of the beatitudes you would like to be a part of your life. It’s all or nothing. The beatitudes show us a process for spiritual growth. We follow that process as the beatitudes make us more like Jesus.

            First, the blessing of being poor in spirit is laid upon our lives. With humility we acknowledge our dependence daily on God. The next blessing is that of mourning. It is to grieve for self, for others and for the condition of the world. As we recognize these first two beatitudes in our lives we then allow the blessing of meekness into our lives. The meek are not weak, they have submitted their strength to God. The meek fully surrender their lives to God. They join Jesus in praying, “not my will but Yours be done.”

            Jesus promises the poor in spirit that they shall inherit the kingdom of God. He promises those who mourn that they shall be comforted. And he promises the meek that they shall inherit the earth.

            This brings us to the fourth beatitude. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6 NRSV) Jesus promises to fill or satisfy our hunger and thirst. If you truly want God’s righteousness you shall be filled. He doesn’t mean we will be so full that we will never want to eat or drink again. We will continually hunger and thirst for more of God, not the things of this world. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness is but one choice at the buffet of life. From time to time we still look to the things of the world to satisfy our hunger and thirst. But we know that when given the choice we need to choose the righteousness of God.

            So what do you think righteousness means? Many people think only of right-conduct – living according to a set of rules for right and wrong. But brothers and sisters, righteousness is a lot more than just right-conduct. Jesus took a strong stand against the scribes and Pharisees for their perceived righteousness. Just living by a strict set of rules is not enough.

            In Matthew 5:20 Jesus says to the crowd that had gathered: “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (NRSV)

            Then in Matthew 6:1, in The Message, Jesus says: “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.”

            Talking to the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:27-28 Jesus says: “Wow to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (NRSV)

            Jesus saw through those would be followers of God. The religious people and teachers of the law like the Pharisees should have known better. Anyone can put on a show pretending to be something they are not. We may fool one another, but we won’t fool God. God does not look at the outward appearance of what we say and do; God looks at the heart. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

            You and I can try to be righteous – to fulfill a standard of right and wrong, but right conduct is not true righteousness. Genuine righteousness is not what we do, but what the Spirit of God produces in our lives. Righteousness is not something we have made; it is something produced by God. I’m not interested in setting down a legalistic set of rules for Christians to follow. That will not produce righteousness within them.

            What I’m trying to say this morning is that the Holy Spirit will do a better job than me to produce righteousness in my life. The Holy Spirit will do a better job than you to produce righteousness in your life. God declares us righteous through our faith in Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit will bring the power of God into our lives to produce righteousness. Righteousness is the work of God not us.

            The emphasis of this beatitude is not to hunger and thirst once. Rather it is to keep hungering and thirsting for righteousness and the things of God. God will satisfy that hunger and thirst.

 

 

Closing Song: Stand in Your Love by LUMC Praise Band

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/stand-in-your-love/s-jIkIbW7MT0h

When darkness tries to roll over my bones. When sorrow comes to steal the joy, I own
When brokenness and pain is all I know Oh, I won't be shaken, no, I won't be shaken

My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love!

Shame no longer has a place to hide. I am not a captive to the lies
I'm not afraid to leave my past behind. Oh, I won't be shaken, no, I won't be shaken!

'Cause my fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love!

 

There's power that can break off every chain. There's power that can empty out a grave
There's resurrection power that can save. There's power in Your name, power in Your name

 

My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love!

 

My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love!

 

(No matter what we’re going through, if you stay in His love, rely on Him, He’ll be there with us.

As we go through life, configure our lives, we need to use Him to fight our battles.)

 

This is how I fight my battles. 

This is how I fight my battles. 

This is how I fight my battles. 

And it may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.

And it may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.

And it may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.

And it may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.

 

My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love!

 
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