July 3, 2022 - Home Worship Service

07/03/2022 – 4th Sunday after Pentecost

Morning prayer: God of Liberation, We are gathered to meet with You this morning. Open our hearts to the many ways You will speak to us. As You did with the prophets, You call us out of our everyday lives to share Your message of love and grace. Challenge us today to look within ourselves so that we may be Your disciples. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn: #696 America the Beautiful

  1. O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain;
    for purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain!
    America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
    and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.
  2. O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife,
    who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life!
    America! America! May God thy gold refine,
    till all success be nobleness, and every gain divine.
  3. O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years
    thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears!
    America! America! God mend thine every flaw,
    confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.

Psalm 66:1-9

Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;

sing the glory of His name; give to Him glorious praise.

Say to God, "How awesome are Your deeds! Because of Your great power, Your enemies cringe before You. All the earth worships You; they sing praises to You, sing praises to Your name."

Come and see what God has done: He is awesome in His deeds among mortals.

He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There we rejoiced in Him,

who rules by His might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations-- let the rebellious not exalt themselves.

Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of His praise be heard,

who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.

Children’s message Scripture Galatians 6:2

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

One day last week I went to the gym to work out. There were a lot of other people down there working out, too. Some of them were lifting weights. As I watched the weight lifters, I noticed that they always worked in pairs. One of them would lie down on the bench to lift the weights while the other would stand up near the lifter's head.

The person standing near the head is called a spotter. The spotter stands near the lifter's head just in case the lifter needs some help. Sometimes, the spotter didn't need to do anything at all. Just being there gave the lifter the confidence needed to lift the weights.

Other times, the spotter would call out words of encouragement to the lifter, saying, "You can do it! You can do it!" That encouragement was just what the lifter needed to lift the weights.

As more and more weight was added and the bar became really heavy, the lifter became very tired. When that happened, the spotter had to help the lifter by lifting the weight for him. Then, the two traded places and the spotter became the lifter and the lifter became the spotter.

I think that is a pretty good picture of what the Bible teaches us that we are to do for one another. The Bible tells us to "bear one another's burdens." Sometimes we may have a friend who is going through some difficult times and needs someone to help carry their burden. Maybe our friend is sick, sad, or lonely.

Many times, we don't even have to say anything or do anything. We just need to be there and let them know that we care. Just knowing that we are there may be all they need to give them the courage to carry on.

Other times, our friend may need some words of encouragement. They may need for us to say, "You can do it! I believe in you! You can do it!" Those words of encouragement may be all they need.

Sometimes a person has a burden so heavy that they may need for us to lift that burden for them. Perhaps they have no money and need food or clothing. We can lift their burden by giving them what they need.

Do you remember what the weight lifters did? After one of them helped the other, then they traded places. The really beautiful part of what the Bible teaches about bearing one another's burdens is that sometimes we are the lifter and sometimes we are the spotter. We must be willing to give help to others as well as to receive it.

Dear Lord, just as Jesus loved us, help us to love one another and to bear one another's burdens.

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 Blessings Box is full of blessings for us and for our neighbors, Blessings of giving and receiving.  This Eagle Scout project of Thomas Huckans is full of books and non-perishable food.  Our blessing is to give; the neighborhood is blessed to receive.  We have noticed that some of our neighbors share some of their blessings.  Thomas will be heading to Massachusetts for his college education soon.  Angie Klock has assumed responsibility for stocking these Blessings.  Thank you Thomas for spearheading the Blessings.  Thank you Angie for receiving the baton.  Thank you congregation for continuing to replenish the supplies.  Please do not put perishable produce inside the box. 

Offering prayer: Mighty God, we have read of the prophets of old, and how Your power was often made known to them in small gestures or in a still small voice. We bring our gifts to You this day confessing that we have often missed (or dismissed) Your miracles because they did not present themselves in dramatic, startling events or grand transformations. Give us eyes that are constantly on the lookout for the small and subtle ways You make Your power and presence, love and mercy known to us! In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn of Preparation: #327 Crown Him With Many Crowns

  1. Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne,

Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.

Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,

and hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.

  1. Crown Him the Lord of life, who triumphed o'er the grave,

and rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save.

His glories now we sing, who died, and rose on high,

who died, eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die.

  1. Crown Him the Lord of peace, whose power a scepter sways

from pole to pole, that wars may cease, and all be prayer and praise.

His reign shall know no end, and round His pierced feet

fair flowers of paradise extend their fragrance ever sweet.

  1. Crown Him the Lord of love; behold His hands and side,

those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.

All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou hast died for me;

Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.

Message scripture- Luke 9:51-62

When the days drew near for Him to be taken up, He set His face to go to Jerusalem. And He sent messengers ahead of Him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for Him; but they did not receive Him, because His face was set toward Jerusalem. When His disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But He turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.

As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to Him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” To another He said, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow You, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Message: In the Strictest Sense Possible                    Pastor Becky Cuddeback

We are beginning our summer lectionary in the gospel of Luke and our focus will be on discipleship. This is the way we are called to live our lives as followers of Jesus; we are to be disciples in the most sincere sense of the word.

We can name scriptural disciples: Peter, Andrew, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, the other James, Thaddaeus, Simon and Judas Iscariot. There were others, maybe not tight in the inner circle, but Stephen must have been close as he was the first martyr and Mattias replaced Judas after he betrayed Jesus.

We know that Jesus sent out 70-72, depending on the gospel, before the feeding of the 5000 in preparation for Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. We know they tried to report to Jesus just before they were overtaken by the crowd at the seashore.

It is easy to point to historic disciples and I’m sure we could easily fill pages of names together of those who followed Jesus’ call faithfully and have inspired us in our walk with Jesus. Mother Teresa, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Henry Nouwen, Dietrich Bonhoffer, and John Wesley. Please note: I said disciples, not saints. If we are looking to follow perfection, we can only look to Jesus.

YET, you realize we are called to be disciples … do you think of yourself as a disciple of Jesus Christ?

That is what makes today’s passage a difficult one. Here we find no wiggle room, it is the tightest definition Jesus is going to give us as to what being a disciple entails. He isn’t going to mince words. His face is set to Jerusalem, to the end of His earthly ministry. Time is now short and He doesn’t have the luxury of being soothing or expend pleasantries. He can only be direct: this is what it means to be one of My disciples.

  1. You must see everyone’s humanity. As Jesus sets off for Jerusalem, Jesus travels through Samaria but His welcome wasn’t exactly as warm as the visit with the woman at the well. James and John want to call down heavenly fire upon them because of the less than welcoming welcome. Jesus says no and keeps traveling. Jesus’ mission for all humanity isn’t to destroy it, but that through Him it would be saved (John 3:17).
  2. You aren’t going to have a home, a place to lay your head. As a disciple of Jesus, if we are pursuing the vision of the Kingdom, we should always be or have some sense of discomfort with the world, in our lives and in our relationships. Because as this world is, it is not our home. If we are comfortable, we are no longer following Jesus. Our very souls should be pressed on, our hearts broken at the condition of our community, our nation, and our world. The fact, there is a need in Lightstreet for a Blessing Box should be alarming to us. How out of touch have we become from our neighbors to not know their needs or see they suffering?
  3. This is a new day, the old has passed away, we need to shed what needs to be shed to follow Jesus. I know that hearing Jesus say, let the dead bury their dead is harsh, but it wasn’t the dead that got in the way and He didn’t mean don’t be present when a loved one dies; but He was talking about the traditions and the loyalty we have to them that hold us back from fully following Jesus into this new day.
  4. No buts. There is nothing that should be done before we follow, but let me first do a, b, c, d, e, f, and g and only after I have taken care of all I believe is my responsibility, I will follow without reservation Jesus! Can we be honest with each other for a minute? How much of what you take on as your responsibility, actually your responsibility? See, we can follow the One all creation was made for, if we think we control it or are responsible to control it. We, you and I, lose precious time, resources and well being in thinking we are responsible to change things (for example other people’s behavior or thinking). Let me take you off the hook – it is not your job or mine. That is the work of the Holy Spirit to correct and convict. And because we take on work that isn’t ours, we begin to want to see, actually more accurately demand, transformation or worthiness or repentance – none of which are owed to us. These are only owed to God.

Our work is pretty straight forward:

Love your neighbor as yourself

Love your enemy

Welcome the stranger

Visit the sick and imprisoned

Feed the hungry

Clothe the naked

Give drink to the thirsty

Turn the other cheek

Forgive – being ever mindful we are forgiven by the same measure we forgive

All of this, without questioning or gauging whether or not it is deserved. Whether or not another is worthy or not. As a disciple of Jesus Christ your guiding principles are Jesus’ teachings and God’s commands, always, always tempered with mercy and grace.

Let us pray: Holy God, we stand before you wanting to say yes, maybe having already said yes, but unready to really live into a life of discipleship. Have your way with us. Open, remove, instill, imbue all that is needed to have us move in Your way of discipleship. The harvest is plenty, but the workers are few and so are our days. Let us make them count. Amen.

Closing Hymn: #717 The Battle Hymn of the Republic

  1. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
    He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
    He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
    His truth is marching on.

Refrain: Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah! His truth is marching on.

  1. I have seen Him in the watchfires of a hundred circling camps,
    they have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
    I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
    His day is marching on.
  2. He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
    He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
    O be swift, my soul, to answer Him; be jubilant, my feet!
    Our God is marching on.
  3. In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
    with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
    as He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
    while God is marching on.
  4. He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
    He is wisdom to the mighty, He is honor to the brave;
    so the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong His slave.
    Our God is marching on.

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

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