January 14, 2024 - Home Worship

For the week of January 14 – 2nd Sunday after the Epiphany

Morning prayer: O God, You spoke Your word and revealed Your good news in Jesus, the Christ. Fill all creation with that word again, so that by proclaiming Your joyful promises to all nations and singing of Your glorious hope to all peoples, we may become one living body, Your incarnate presence on the earth. Amen. (Lectionary Prayers)

Hymn #139 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

  1. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation.
    O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
    All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near; join me in glad adoration!
  2. Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigning

Bears thee on eagle’s wings, e’er in His keeping maintaining.

God’s care enfolds all, whose true good He upholds, Hast thou not known His sustaining?

  1. Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
    surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
    Ponder anew what the Almighty can do, who with His love doth befriend thee.
  2. Praise to the Lord, who doth nourish thy life and restore thee,

Fitting thee well for the tasks that are ever before thee.

Then to thy need God as a mother doth speed, Spreading the wings of grace o’er thee.

  1. Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore Him!
    All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him!
    Let the amen sound from His people again; gladly forever adore Him.

Psalm 139:1-6

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.

You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You discern my thoughts from far away.

You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.

Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, You know it completely.

You hem me in, behind and before, and lay Your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.

Children’s Time 1 Samuel 3:9-11

Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if He calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”

Then the Lord said to Samuel, “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle.

Children’s Message

Samuel came to live in the Temple with Eli. Samuel was an answer to his mother Hannah’s prayer and as such, Hannah dedicated Samuel’s life to God and the work of God. One night while Samuel was sleeping in the Temple the Lord called his name. Samuel thought it was Eli calling him, so he went to see what Eli wanted from him. Eli tells Samuel that it wasn’t him calling and it must be the Lord and told Samuel what to say if the Lord called him again.

The Lord calls us in all stages of our lives. For Samuel, he was a young boy when the Lord called him and told him what the Lord desired him to do with his life. Sometimes, we get called when we are older. There is no right or wrong time to be called into the Lord’s service, there is only the Lord’s time.

I wanted to tell you Samuel’s story to encourage you and to encourage you to share with others what the Lord has told you. I believe it is through these messages from God, we can encourage each other and see where God is directing us as individuals and where God is directing our church. Never think that because you are young, you don’t have a place in the building of the Kingdom of God.

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 spotlight: Human Relations Day is set aside to remind United Methodists to be involved in community and youth outreach.  The date has been chosen to be close to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.  The offering will fund Youth Offender Rehabilitation programs. 

Offering prayer: God of wisdom, we are amazed that You know everything and understand everyone. Long ago, You established Your plans to redeem the world from our sin. Your prophets prepared the way for Jesus, who lived as a teacher and healer, embodying Your righteousness and grace. Help us to grow in maturity as disciples who follow Christ with trusting hearts. We dedicate these tithes and offerings for Your work in our community of faith, through Jesus’ name. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn of preparation: #128 He Leadeth Me:  O Blessed Thought

  1. He leadeth me: O blessed thought! O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
    Whate'er I do, where'er I be, still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me.

Refrain: He leadeth me, He leadeth me, by His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be, for by His hand He leadeth me.

  1. Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom, sometimes where Eden's bowers bloom,
    by waters still, o'er troubled sea, still 'tis His hand that leadeth me. (Refrain)
  2. Lord, I would place my hand in thine, nor ever murmur nor repine;
    content, whatever lot I see, since 'tis my God that leadeth me. (Refrain)
  3. And when my task on earth is done, when by Thy grace the victory's won,
    e'en death's cold wave I will not flee, since God through Jordan leadeth me. (Refrain)

Message Scripture:  John 1:43-51

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, He said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked Him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Message:                       Pastor Becky

Scripture contains so much; it contains prophecies, poetry, prayers, promises, histories, genealogies, and parables. But what keeps drawing me back into the scriptures are the conversations. The glimpses of interactions between God and God’s people, Jesus’ dialogues with His disciples, Jesus’ conversations with the religious leaders, and the way Jesus talks to ordinary folks. Then we come to today's scripture account and we get to eavesdrop on the conversation between Nathanael and Philip. We don’t get many conversations between the disciples before the crucifixion that don’t include Jesus at their start.

It is this conversation that shows us just how relatable the disciples were to the way we think today. They are very human in the way they see the world and they contain characteristics of how we too can see the world. Sometimes I think we can forget the disciples are encountering Jesus not as Messiah at first meeting as much as they are being introduced to someone new. A stranger from a different place, a teacher with a following – for the disciples in their pre-disciple days they are meeting a man described as a rabbi.

Philip is telling Nathanael about his encounter with Jesus. Philip describes Jesus as the one Moses and the prophets spoke of, the son of Joseph of Nazareth. Nathanael responds “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Nazareth at the time of Jesus is a village of about 400 people. It won’t be until the late 19th century before Nazareth becomes a large city of about 72,000 people. This is largely due to immigration and resettling due to the conflicts within the region, along with a tourism campaign highlighting the hometown of Jesus.

Nathanael doesn’t see something as wonderful or miraculous as the Messiah coming from a village of 400 people. He seems to have some preconceived ideas about Nazareth. He gives us the impression Nazareth isn’t even worth thinking about for any reason. How can anything good come from there?

We can be like that too. Do we expect much from small places? Do we even consider someone or something could? We tend to write off those places, we describe them dismissively: one horse town places, the blink and you miss it kind of places. We tend to focus on what they don’t have opposed to what they do have: no traffic lights, roll up the sidewalks at dusk kind of places. Worse than that, we also feel that way about the folks who live in these small places. I’m sure you can come up with some fairly common assumptions about small town people without my help.

We have biases, conscious or not, about places and people and we have to be invited out of our assumptions just as Nathanael was invited out of his by Philip. Philip simply responds to Nathanael with “Come and see.”

It is apparent Philip and Nathanael have some history together before they met Jesus. Philip knew he could have tried to build a case for Jesus to Nathanael with all the facts as to why Jesus is Jesus and he did, at the beginning. Remember Philip tells Nathanael that they had found the one Moses of the law and the prophets had spoken of, but that didn’t sway Nathanael. Nathanael focused on the part about where Jesus came from, Nazareth. The only way for Nathanael to experience an encounter with Jesus is for Philip to take Nathanael to Jesus. It is astonishing to think Nathanael could have missed Jesus if it were not for Philip calling to him to “come and see.”

Philip wasn’t deterred by Jesus’s origins; the fact He was from Nazareth didn’t stop Philip in the least. Philip knew Jesus was who Jesus is and he wanted Nathanael to know as well. We all need a Philip in our lives and we also need to be Philip for others.

We need a Philip because we each have blind spots, prejudices, biases, and assumptions. We need another person to speak possibilities into our lives and challenge all the things that can hinder our growth and understanding. Because if no one calls us into new places, we won’t venture out past what we know and what we are comfortable with. This will keep our worlds small and the smallness will inhibit our relationship with God, it won’t grow deeper if we don’t see where else God is. God is vast and we can never fully comprehend that vastness, but we have to be willing to reach past what we know to see God more deeply.

Outside the smallness we will find healing and reconciliation. We will expend love into places that are lonely and dark. We will see God in ways we never dreamt and it is Philip that will keep us honest with God, each other, and all creation. Just as Philip could see Nathanael needed a companion for this venture and reached out his hand, we need to grab the hand of the Philips of the world that extend their hands to us. This is the great invitation; “Come and see.”

Closing Hymn: #593 Here I Am, Lord

  1. I, the Lord of sea and sky, I have heard My people cry.

All who dwell in dark and sin My hand will save.

I, who made the stars of night, I will make their darkness bright.

Who will bear my light to them? Whom shall I send?

Refrain: Here I am, Lord.  Is it I Lord? I have heard You calling in the night.

I will go, Lord, if You lead me. I will hold Your people in my heart.

  1. I, the Lord of snow and rain, I have borne my people’s pain.

I have wept for love of them.  They turn away.

I will break their hearts of stone, give them hearts for love alone.

I will speak My word to them.  Whom shall I send?  Refrain:

  1. I, the Lord of wind and flame, I will tend the poor and lame,

I will set a feast for them.  My hand will save.

Finest bread I will provide till their hearts be satisfied. 

I will give My life to them.  Whom shall I send?  Refrain:

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