January 28, 2024 - Home Worship

For the week of January 28 – 4th Sunday after the Epiphany

Morning prayer: God of power and might, You sent prophets to Your people, calling us back to Your covenant, and teaching us Your ways. In the fullness of time, You sent us Your Son Jesus, teaching with such authority, that our eyes were opened to see Your ways anew. Open our hearts and minds, that we may understand and proclaim Your teachings for all to hear. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn #140 Great Is Thy Faithfulness

  1. Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father; there is no shadow of turning with Thee;
    Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not; as Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Refrain:  Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; all I have needed Thy hand hath provided; great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

  1. Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, sun, moon, and stars in their courses above join with all nature in manifold witness to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
  2. Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
    strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Psalm 111

Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.

Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.

Full of honor and majesty is His work, and His righteousness endures forever.

He has gained renown by His wonderful deeds; the Lord is gracious and merciful.

He provides food for those who fear Him; He is ever mindful of His covenant.

He has shown His people the power of His works, in giving them the heritage of the nations.

The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy.

They are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.

He sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever. Holy and awesome is His name.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever.

Children’s Time Deuteronomy 18:15-20

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. This is what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: “If I hear the voice of the Lord my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.” Then the Lord replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put My words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in My name, I myself will hold accountable. But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in My name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die.”

Children’s Message

God is affirming to Israel, that the prophets will be raised up from their own people. God will call them and God will equip them and God will give them the words to say. And God has always been faithful to that promise. We see this in the biographical information found in scripture for all the prophets. God has promised to speak to God’s people through one of their own. That is not to say God kept them in their hometowns, but sent them out to others belonging to Israel all over the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. God even sent the prophets with the Exiles into Babylon and beyond.

God continues to lift up prophets. God knows we need to be reminded and inspired to God’s vision of salvation for the whole world and what that is to look like where we live. This is why we need to share what God is doing in our lives and what God reveals to us in our prayers and in our study of the scriptures. This is why it is also important for us to build relationships with each other in our fellowship of believers, so we are ready and willing to hear these messages for the ones we know and love. Because God’s prophet may just be sitting next to you.

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: EOS Therapeutic Riding Center strives to give children and adults with special needs and veterans individualized therapeutic horseback riding activities.  Missions funds support costs of animal care, building and grounds maintenance and adaptive equipment. 

Offering prayer: God of justice, mercy, and compassion; we bring our tithes and offerings to Your altar and pray they will be used to make Your amazing love known to all. Then, most often we leave and return to our weekday lives, expecting someone else to make that happen. Remind us that Your prophets, Your leaders, Your missionaries, were called and raised up from “among the people.” Help us open our lives and our minds to the possibility that we might be the ones You would call and send. We pray this in the name of Christ, our teacher and our redeemer. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn of preparation: #399 Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrated

  1. Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

Take my moments and my days; Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

  1. Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.

Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.

Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

  1. Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure-store.

Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

Message Scripture:  Mark 1:21-28

They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, He (Jesus) entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have You to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” At once His fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

Message:                                 Pastor Becky

If you are sick, where do you go? You head to the doctor, maybe depending on the urgency, you head to the hospital. You go because this is where you would expect to receive treatment to be made well or your physical brokenness mended.

If you are hungry, where do you go? Maybe you head to a restaurant, the grocery store, when I was a kid, it was also home. Why? Because you know that is where there is food to cure your hunger.

I could put any number of problems before you and you could tell me where to solve them, after all you are resourceful folks. For some problems there are a myriad of solutions and depending on differing qualifiers, you know the best solutions for most people. Because you desire to be in the Father’s business of healing, making sure people are made whole.

In today’s account in Mark, we have a nameless man in the synagogue. The synagogue is where the scriptures are studied. It is where the Jews of the area would congregate. They would have fellowship and build relationships. Not all the synagogues of the 1st century would be free standing buildings, some would be personal homes designated as the area’s synagogue. The place to encounter God.

This man was drawn to this synagogue because Jesus was there. He knew he could find Jesus there; he knew who Jesus was. He came to be healed. He asked, “Have you come to destroy us? Jesus only replies: Be silent and come out of him. And the unclean spirit did.

I refer to the man as nameless. Very, very few of those Jesus healed were named. We may know the healed by their relationship to another, we know Peter’s mother in law, the centurion’s daughter and the woman at the well. But the names of the healed, that list is short. Mary Magdalene, Lazarus, and Bartimaeus (thanks, Roger!). But make no mistake, the namelessness doesn’t equal non importance or that each person healed wasn’t relevant. It is so the healings continue and we fill in the names because we have witnessed their healing.

People come to our gathering for many reasons. They come to worship God. They come to be in fellowship. They desire a cloud of witnesses for their prayers and they come to be in connection. Do we ever think they come because they and we hope for healing? That by being in this assembly they would be made whole? That they believe they will encounter Jesus here at Lightstreet UMC?

The people of the synagogue on that day didn’t impede Jesus from coming in nor did they keep the nameless man out of their gathering. They were invited and welcomed, both of them. And in that welcome and invitation the two encounter each other, so the healing could happen.

We, too, can either invite and welcome or we can exclude and turn away both the Healer and the one in need of healing. Our attitudes and beliefs about who Jesus is and what Jesus does defines who we are. The community around us knows whether or not Jesus can be found here in our midst on a Sunday morning. They can detect it in our Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday living and witness.

And if, a dear soul would come looking to find Jesus here, would they be met with Jesus or met with suspicion? Are we in the Father’s business of healing, representing the manifest love of Jesus who came that we would be healed and saved?

Our answers will be found in the testimonies of our past, our present, and of our future, all of them grounded in whether or not we long and live to see the broken made whole in the love and grace of God.

Closing Hymn: #428 For the Healing of the Nations

  1. For the healing of the nations, Lord, we pray with one accord;

For a just and equal sharing of the things that earth affords;

To a life of love in action help us rise and pledge our word, Help us rise and pledge our word.

  1. Lead us forward into freedom; from despair Your world release,

That, redeemed from war and hatred, all may come and go in peace.

Show us how through care and goodness fear will die and hope increase,

Fear will die and hope increase.

  1. All that kills abundant living, let it from the earth be banned;
    pride of status, race, or schooling, dogmas that obscure Your plan.

In our common quest for justice may we hallow life’s brief span,

May we hallow life’s brief span.

  1. You, Creator God, have written Your great name on humankind;

For our growing in Your likeness bring the life of Christ to mind,

That by our response and service earth its destiny may find, Earth its destiny may find.

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