July 17-23, 2022 Home Worship Service

07/17/2022 – 07/23/2022 – 6th week after Pentecost

Morning prayer: Creator God, Today, we think of Your creation. We think of the ground beneath us, the air surrounding us, the water that flows through us. We are in awe of the way a seed can grow into nourishment for our bodies, the way life comes forth from what seems so small. Draw our attention to Your creation, so that we might praise You for Your incredible gifts! Amen.  (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn: #102 Now Thank We All Our God

  1. Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
    who wondrous things has done, in whom this world rejoices;
    who from our mothers' arms has blessed us on our way
    with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.
  2. O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
    with ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
    and keep us still in grace, and guide us when perplexed;
    and free us from all ills, in this world and the next.
  3. All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
    the Son, and Him who reigns with them in highest heaven;
    the one eternal God, whom earth and heaven adore;
    for thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

Call to Worship (based on Amos 8)

Leader: Prophets, what do you see?
People: We see the many ways we distract ourselves.
Leader: What else do you see?
People: We see the good and the bad fruits we have produced.
Leader: What do you see today?
People: We witness and worship God today, grateful for love and forgiveness.

Children’s message Scripture:  Luke 10:38-42

Now as they went on their way, He entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what He was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to Him and asked, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

We need to learn about Jesus and we are actually taking a very quick quiz about Bible stories. What is your favorite Bible story or Bible character? Come on, quickly now, we don’t have all day; favorite Bible character- go! (Rush children through answers…) Well, here are some Bible stories I have (Hold up illustrated Bible or pictures of stories): what’s in this picture? Who is this one? Hurry, hurry, I hope you know these? What’s this one? (After flipping through several stories, slow down somewhat)

Well, it might have felt a little rushed and stressful to have all of those questions thrown at you so quickly, huh? I have another question…how do we get to Heaven? How do we get God’s love? (Take a few answers) Do you think we have to do special things to be better Christians? Well, sometimes we think that we have to do certain things or know certain things in order to be a “just right” Christian or have God love us more. We get caught up in hurrying through life and thing we look better if we go to church a lot or do a lot of important things.

But you know what? There is nothing we can do to earn God’s love. And there’s nothing we need to do to earn His love! He already loves us, and all we have to do is accept His love and know that Jesus died for us. He did all the work. And He wants us to just be ourselves and enjoy His presence.

There is a story in the Bible about two sisters who had Jesus over for dinner. One of them was named Martha. Martha was very busy, and she was rushing around preparing for Jesus. She was cooking and cleaning and working, and she got upset because her sister, Mary, was just hanging out with Jesus. She wasn’t helping do the work but just sat listening to Jesus talk. Martha got upset and asked Jesus to yell at her about it. But He told her Mary was the one doing the right thing. It was not as important to do things for Jesus as it was to spend time with Him. Jesus didn’t want a dusted floor or fresh loaf of bread. He wanted people. And that is how He feels about us, too! What’s important is not just what we know or say or do…it’s how we love God. We can breathe and pause and rest in His presence. He is always there for us! God made us, and He doesn’t require any special activities. He loves us just because we are His children! So remember, there’s nothing wrong with doing things for God. But that is not the most important thing. We can rest in Him and know we are part of His family, no matter what else we do. Isn’t that great news? Let’s thank God for that… Prayer: Dear God, Thank You for the words of the Bible. Thank you for making us part of your family. Help us to slow down and breathe and rest in Your presence. Amen.

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 spotlightLUMC worship services.  Pray for our worship participants, that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will always be the center of our worship.    

  1. prayer: Lord of all wisdom and patience, what would it mean if we asked You to dedicate not only the gifts we give to the church, but all the rest that we keep, that we hold back. What if we lived as those whose every dollar, every talent, every hour was dedicated to making kindness, mercy, and justice the norm and not the exception? What would it mean if we really saw the places where indifference causes pain, hardship, and harm to souls, bodies, and creation itself? Help us to make this more than a hypothetical, but the reality of an offering of our whole being. We pray in the name of the One who gave His whole self for our redemption. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn of Preparation: #454 Open My Eyes, That I May See

  1. Open my eyes, that I may see glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
    place in my hands the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free.
    Silently now I wait for Thee, ready, my God, Thy will to see.
    Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!
  2. Open my ears, that I may hear voices of truth thou sendest clear;
    and while the wavenotes fall on my ear, everything false will disappear.
    Silently now I wait for Thee, ready, my God, Thy will to see.
    Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine!
  3. Open my mouth, and let me bear gladly the warm truth everywhere;
    open my heart and let me prepare love with Thy children thus to share.
    Silently now I wait for Thee, ready, my God, Thy will to see.
    Open my heart, illumine me, Spirit divine!

Message scripture- Luke 10:38-42

Now as they went on their way, He entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what He was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to Him and asked, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

I rarely admit it, but I admire advertisers and their ability to sell us products we didn’t even know we needed. Some of these advertisers are geniuses at convincing us that if we just had their product, it would fill some hole in our lives and would bring us complete satisfaction. Take cell-phones for instance. Who ever knew we needed a phone that took pictures, kept your calendar, contained a calculator, gave you the weather forecast, news headlines and travel tips. There are a lot of other things we have today that we never knew we needed until advertisers told us we needed them: Apple Watches, Netflix, Uber Eats, to name just a few.

There is a term you will hear used today by advertisers and it refers to a recent phenomenon in our society. It’s called “FOMO” – the Fear of Missing Out. It’s the idea that someone somewhere is having a better time that we are, living a richer life than we are, attending a better party or taking a better vacation than we are. It tells us that we had better cram as many experiences into our life as possible so we don’t miss out on the good life. FOMO is popping up in other areas of our society as well.  When the stock market was soaring in early 2018, many experts attributed it in part to FOMO – people were afraid of missing out on great returns on their money.

Now many of them wished they had placed their money somewhere safer.

The origin of FOMO seems to have come from an article written by a young man named Patrick McGinnis at Harvard Business School around 2008. Patrick and his buddies were young, ambitious, and reasonably well-off. In their early 20s they had experienced 9/11 and the terrorist crashing planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a farm field in Pennsylvania. They experienced the collapse of the dotcom and tech stocks in 2008, which drastically affected the stock market. These experiences created a lot of anxiety in these young people. It gave them the desire to live life to the fullest, because you never know when it could all fall apart. Patrick started noticing that he and his friends were cramming their social schedules with as many parties, events, and adventures as possible. But they didn’t seem to be enjoying these experiences. Instead they had the nagging feeling that somebody somewhere was having a better time than they were. Patrick wrote an article about this experience and it became known as FOMO, the fear of missing out. Patrick describes it this way: “All you wanted to do was live life to the fullest at every second. You felt the need to do everything all the time because you’d seen your own mortality.”

Texting and the rise of social media made FOMO even worse. Suddenly, you could let friends know that you were at the coolest new restaurant in town, or you could post pictures of yourself at a much-desired vacation spot. Now everybody felt this instant pressure to do more, to search for some new and amazing experience or adventure that they could impress their friends with. And a new issue arose, one that counselors called “decision paralysis.” Suddenly, people were so overwhelmed by their options and so driven by the Fear of Missing Out that they literally couldn’t make a decision, couldn’t commit to anything, because if they committed to one party, or place or option, then they might miss out on other, better options. Can you relate to what he’s saying? Is the Fear of Missing Out really the essence of life? I can see the point of wanting to live life to the fullest. But is all the anxiety and chasing down better options what a full life is all about?

I believe Jesus is addressing this question in our Scripture passage this morning. But His definition of living life to its fullest is different than ours. Two sisters, Mary and Martha, open their home to Jesus. Martha wants to be the good host, so she rushes around fixing the meal, setting the table, taking care of all the details. Now, sisters and brothers, let me clear about this: Marthas are very important in our lives. Some of us would be in trouble if we didn’t have a Martha to make sure things get done. Still, the hard work and attention to detail of the Marthas of this world often get overlooked.

One mother was trying to explain the health benefits of a colorful meal to her family. “The more colors, the more variety of nutrients,” she said. Pointing to the food on their table, she asked, “How many different colors do you see?” “Six,” volunteered her daughter. “Seven if you count the burnt parts.” Another woman says she has her own system for labeling homemade freezer meals. “Forget calling them ‘Veal Parmigianino’ or “Turkey and filling’… If you look in my freeze you’ll see labels that say things like, ‘Whatever,’ “Anything,” “I don’t know,’ and, my favorite, “Food.” That way when I ask my husband what he wants for dinner, I’m certain to have what he wants.” It’s really tough to be a good host, to take care of others’ needs, especially if no one seems to appreciate your efforts.

Martha’s sister, Mary, wants to be a good host too, but she has a different way of approaching it. She sits at Jesus’ feet and listens to him teach. When Martha complains to Jesus that her sister isn’t helping, Jesus says: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” (10:41b-42) Jesus defends Mary’s neglect of hosting duties by saying, “Please excuse Mary, she is with me.” Please don’t misunderstand. He isn’t trying to pile more guilt on Martha’s shoulders. But He’s trying to teach both sisters about the essence of life. Life is short. You only get to go-around once.  Brothers and sisters why do we waste our time getting all bent out of shape about things that don’t really matter?

We can’t get lured into using up our energy on what doesn’t really matter. Remember, only one thing matters. And it is the better option.

And it can’t be taken away from you. I think it is the best cure for the fear of missing out that there is. Sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Jesus is telling us here, “Don’t miss out on the opportunity of knowing God.” Our society promotes backwards priorities. We promote achievement and consumption and cultivation of the self over our relationship with God. Yet God is our Creator. The Way, the Truth, the Life. So what good is our life if it is not reflecting God’s glory and conforming to God’s plan? Lewis Grant came up with the perfect term for what happens when we put temporary, selfish ambitions ahead of our love for God and others. He calls it “Sunset Fatigue.”

When we come home at the end of a day’s work, those who need our love the most, those to whom we are most committed, end up getting the leftovers. Sunset Fatigue is when we are just too exhausted, or too drained, or too pre-occupied to love the people to whom we have made the deepest promises. And brothers and sisters, that includes God. All of Martha’s rushing around to serve Jesus was draining her.

She was developing Sunset Fatigue. If she didn’t stop and just enjoy Jesus’ presence, then He would end up getting the leftovers of her love and attention.

Jesus is also telling us, “Don’t miss out on the opportunity to give love and to receive love.”

After all, this is the true essence of life. A pastor named Stuart Sacks tells of serving a church in Paraguay. One day, a native Maka Indian man named Rafael came to visit Sacks. When Sacks asked Rafael what he wanted, Rafael replied in his native language, “I don’t want anything; I have just come near.” Rafael just wanted to sit on Sacks’ porch and be near his new friend. He just wanted to enjoy his presence.

Many people were raised in legalistic churches. Worship was a weekly obligation. You showed up because it was expected, because you believed it would make you a better person, because it would help you get into heaven. But that is the wrong way to approach worship. Worship is about enjoying being in God’s presence. It’s about giving and receiving love. Did you know that’s the purpose of worship? Did you expect to be in God’s presence and to give and receive love when you walked in here today? How sad it would be if you missed out on that opportunity.

Finally, Jesus is telling us, “Don’t miss out on the joy of living in this moment.” Because God made you for joy. Erwin McManus in his book Seizing Your Divine Moment writes: “What if you knew somewhere in front of you was a moment that would change your life forever, a moment rich with potential, a moment filled with endless possibilities? What if you knew there was a moment coming, a divine moment, one where God would meet you in such a way that nothing would ever be the same again? What if there was a moment, a defining moment, where the choice you made determined the course and momentum of your future? How would you treat that moment? How would you prepare for it? Sisters and brothers, the only moment that you must take responsibility for right now is the one in front of you…the moment you are in right now waits to be seized.

Best-selling Christian musician, David Crowder had a moment like that – an experience that changed his views on God. He was in high school, he regularly attended church and he thought he had God all figured out. However, one particular day, he was feeling down. He wandered around his local mall, then bought a chicken sandwich and sat down to eat it. As he bit into this delicious sandwich, David suddenly realized that all good things come from God. He said tears filled his eyes as he realized how grateful he was to God.

This happened, not in a church, not at a youth group meeting, but in the middle of a mall food court. He described the experience as a moment of unexpected joy. He writes, “That’s when I realized that every second is an opportunity for us to experience God. There’s not a second He’s not there and available to us.

I need to tell you that every second is an opportunity for us to experience God. If you are afraid of missing out on something, this is the experience that you should be afraid of missing out on. If you are going to spend your life chasing something, this is what you should be chasing. God is in this moment. It’s God we don’t want to miss out on.

So what are you doing in this very moment? Are you thinking about last night’s game, or about how angry you are at someone, or about what tomorrow may being? Or are you seizing this very moment to pray, to focus on God, to look for the Creator of the Universe to speak to you and to fill you with His love? Brothers and sisters, you only get one go-around. And only one thing matters, it is the better – make that the best – option, and it can’t be taken away from you. So if you are suffering from the “Fear of Missing Out,” make sure you’re not missing out on the Kingdom of God. God’s presence and rule in your life, that’s the only moment that really counts. So, don’t miss out.

Closing Hymn: #349 Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

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

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