June 18, 2023 - Home Worship

For the week of June 18-24 – 3rd Sunday after Pentecost

Morning Prayer Ever faithful Lord, ever giving Son, ever present Spirit, for the many gifts You grant us … thank You.  May our thanks move beyond words to transform us into thankful and attentive folk; folk who notice need and notice the need to act, folk who love to live and live to love, folk who serve You by serving others. 

          Help us to be those who include the excluded and bring in those who are marginalized. When the opportunities come our way to be healers of division and hurt, to be peacemakers and restorers, we won’t be found wanting but will be equipped by You.  In the name of our Healer and Redeemer, Jesus the Christ.  Amen.  (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn #57 O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

  1. O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise,
    the glories of my God and King, the triumphs of His grace!
  2. My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim,
    to spread through all the earth abroad the honors of Thy name.
  3. Jesus! the name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease;
    'tis music in the sinner's ears, 'tis life, and health, and peace.
  4. He breaks the power of canceled sin, He sets the prisoner free;
    His blood can make the foulest clean; His blood availed for me.
  5. He speaks, and listening to His voice, new life the dead receive;
    the mournful, broken hearts rejoice, the humble poor believe.
  6. Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb, your loosened tongues employ;
    ye blind, behold your Savior come, and leap, ye lame, for joy.
  7. In Christ, your head, you then shall know, shall feel your sins forgiven;
    anticipate your heaven below, and own that love is heaven.

Psalm 116 selected verses

I love the Lord because He hears my requests for mercy.
2 I’ll call out to Him as long as I live, because He listens closely to me.

12 What can I give back to the Lord for all the good things He has done for me?
13 I’ll lift up the cup of salvation. I’ll call on the Lord’s name.
14 I’ll keep the promises I made to the Lord in the presence of all God’s people.

17I’ll offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to You, and I’ll call on the Lord’s name.
Praise the Lord!

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: Some of the missions funds are designated to be given to the Salvation Army in Bloomsburg. This ministry is motivated by the love of God.  Its mission is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

Offering prayer: Mighty God, with Your powerful arms, hold up Your church! We are struggling through tough times in our churches; we need to be renewed again and filled with Your power. Reach inside us and open hearts wide that we might give the full measure of our devotion. As You revived the saints who came before us, revive us to go out and welcome the forgotten, heal the sick, speak the words of comfort and hope to the discouraged. In the holy name of Christ, we pray. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn: #378 Amazing Grace

  1. Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.

  1. ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;

How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.

  1. Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;

‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

  1. The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures;

He will my shield and portion be, and long as life endures.

  1. Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease,

I shall possess, within the veil, a life of joy and peace.

  1. When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.

Scripture:  Matthew 9:35 – 10:8

35 Jesus traveled among all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, announcing the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. 36 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, He had compassion for them because they were troubled and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The size of the harvest is bigger than you can imagine, but there are few workers. 38 Therefore, plead with the Lord of the harvest to send out workers for His harvest.”

10 He called His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to throw them out and to heal every disease and every sickness. 2 Here are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, who is called Peter; and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee; and John his brother; 3 Philip; and Bartholomew; Thomas; and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus; and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Cananaean;[a] and Judas, who betrayed Jesus.

5 Jesus sent these twelve out and commanded them, “Don’t go among the Gentiles or into a Samaritan city. 6 Go instead to the lost sheep, the people of Israel. 7 As you go, make this announcement: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, and throw out demons.  Freely you have received, freely give."

Message:  Freely You Have Received              Rev. Ron French

Before I begin this morning, I want to wish all the Dads in the room a “Happy Father’s Day.” It has been noted that boys grow up spending hours and hours throwing footballs and going to games with their Dads. And when they make it big on the college scene, before the big bowl game they get interviewed, and the first thing they say is, “Hi Mom!”

But the news on this Father’s Day isn’t all bad. The National Center for Fathering conducts Father of the Year Essay Contests in partnership with local schools. Recently, over 100,000 school children submitted essays on the topic: “What My Father Means to Me.” Let me share with you a sampling of some of the essays from a few years back.

A first grader wrote, “My dad is the best dad ever. I would kiss a pig for him.” A third grader wrote: “The dad in my life isn’t really my dad. He’s my Grandpa. But he’s been like a dad to me since I was born. I hope that as I get older Grandpa will teach me all the stuff he knows about wood, and first-aid, and everything else he knows about. My Grandpa isn’t my father, but I wouldn’t trade him for all the dads in the world.” A fourth grader writes, “Sometimes as a joke I put my stinky socks in his briefcase, so at work the next day he will think of me.” A fifth grader writes, “…you know what else my dad does? He braids my hair. I am the only girl I know whose dad braids her hair. I think that’s a perfect dad. He’s already the world’s greatest dad to me. I just wanted everyone to know that.” A sixth grader wrote, “One time I had an assembly and I was a soloist and my dad was in the first row and after my song I smiled at my dad and he smiled back and started to cry. That was the best thing I ever saw.”

Any of you who get a present this Father’s Day, I hope it is something you can really use. If you think about it in monetary terms, what can our children give us that we cannot purchase for ourselves? In a society as affluent as ours it is a real challenge to give anyone anything they truly need. What do you give to someone who has everything? Now, you and I may not feel like we have everything, but think about it. Don’t we basically have everything we need? Most of the things we want are simply bigger and better variations of what we already have. So, what do you give to people who have everything? That’s what I want to talk about this morning.

Jesus called His twelve disciples to Him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness… Then He sent them out with these instructions: “Don’t go among the Gentiles or into a Samaritan city. Go instead to the lost sheep, the people of Israel. As you go, make this announcement: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases and throw out demons.” (10:5-8a) Then He adds some powerful words: “Freely you have received, freely give.” (8b)

Sisters and brothers we have so much. That’s the first thing we need to see. A visitor from a Third World country was visiting the United States.  As he traveled through a subdivision, he noticed a car backing out of a garage. With amazement he said to his guide, “You even have houses for your cars!” It reminds me of something humorist Will Rogers once said in the midst of the Great Depression. Rogers – who had seen grinding poverty in other parts of the world – said of America, “We’ll hold the distinction of being the only nation that ever went to the poor house in an automobile.”

Dr. Samuel Zumwalt tells about one of his friends whose whole world view shifted while she was on a mission trip to Honduras. She told Dr. Zumwalt, “I’ve always felt poor since I lost my big four bedroom house in a divorce. Then I came to Honduras and saw how the victims of Hurricane Mitch were thrilled to have these two-room houses that we were building there.” She concluded by saying, “I came back to my 600 square foot condo and saw that I live in a palace compared to them. I am rich, and I never knew it until I went to Honduras.”

Brothers and sisters we are rich, if only we knew it. That is why we need to listen closely to the words of Jesus, “Freely you have received, freely give.”

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins tells about something life changing that occurred on Thanksgiving Day many years ago. A young boy awoke with a sense of foreboding. His family was in severe financial straits. They didn’t have much to look forward to on that Thanksgiving Day – just a meager meal. Then suddenly there was a loud and totally unexpected knock on the door. Standing there was a tall man in rumpled clothing, grinning broadly, and carrying a huge basket. In the basket was a multitude of good foods: turkey, stuffing, pies, sweet potatoes, canned goods! The man said this is from someone who knows you are in need and wants you to know that you are loved and cared for. The father tried to protest, but the man holding the basket said, “I’m just the delivery person. Have a great Thanksgiving.”

In that brief encounter, says Tony Robbins, this young man’s life was changed forever. The kindness of this stranger would never be forgotten. The young man vowed that someday he would repay that grand gesture. By the time this young man was nineteen years old he had begun to fulfill that promise. That Thanksgiving, with his own earnings, he set out to purchase groceries not for himself, but for two families he knew were in need. When he arrived at the first house, he was greeted by a woman with six children. Her husband had abandoned the family only two days before. They had no food. You can only imagine the pandemonium when this young man went to his car and started bringing in turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, pies and all the other things he had bought. The children shrieked, and the woman exclaimed, “You are a gift from God! You are a gift from God!” “No,” said the young man, “I’m just the delivery boy. This is a gift from a friend.” The young man was sharing with others because someone first shared with him.

Actually, that is the personal story of Tony Robbins himself. He was the boy whose stressed-out family received the Thanksgiving basket and who turned around and began giving out similar baskets at nineteen years of age. And because, as a motivational speaker, he has achieved astounding success, Robbins also started a foundation that had given Thanksgiving baskets to hundreds of thousands of people over the years. We are rich, if only we knew it. That is why we need to listen closely to the words of Jesus: “Freely you have received, freely give.” That in itself should be enough motivation for all good works.

Of course, when Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, He wasn’t talking about financial blessings. He was talking about the spiritual blessings the disciples had received through Him. His love, His grace, His peace. He was asking them to go out into the world to share the faith that He had nurtured in them. You and I are loved by God and that makes us spiritually rich, if only we believe it. We have treasures that are not dependent on the stock market or the size of our bank accounts or the resale value of our house. We are rich because we are loved. We are loved by other people and we are loved by God.

We are particularly mindful of our family relationships on a special occasion such as Father’s Day. To know that we are loved is the greatest gift we can receive from a parent. But to know that we have a heavenly Father who loves us is the most wonderful gift of all.

In 1997 a soldier in Jordan went on a rampage and shot and killed seven Israeli schoolgirls who were on a field trip to the “Island of Peace.” The “Island of Peace” is a piece of land in the Jordan River located between Israel and Jordan. “In the midst of anguish and anger and alienation, without warning, King Hussein, the king of the country where the gunman lived, left his throne, left his palace, left his very country without notifying the media and entered the homes of the families of the slain girls. The King, in all his majesty and grandeur, entered each of the modest homes of these grieving families and fell on his knees. He bowed down before them and he looked into the eyes of the mother, the father, the sisters and brothers, all the people who were grieving the loss of each young girl and said: ‘I beg you, forgive me. Your daughter is like my daughter; your loss is my loss. May God help you to bear your pain.’ And the king, humbled before them, bowed and walked out to go back to his country.” This king, this Muslim king, gave us an image of our relationship with Jesus. The God of all the universe humbled Himself and came into our world to show us how much we are loved. And now it is our job to take that love to others. “Freely you have received, freely give.”

Do you remember when Cal Ripkin, Jr. broke what many believed was baseball’s unbreakable record – Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played (2,130)? Known as baseball’s all-time Iron Man, Ripkin retired after spending 21 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles. His name appears in the record books repeatedly, but most notably as one of only seven players in history to amass 400 homeruns and 3,000 hits. Ripkin regularly gives credit for all his accomplishments to the example and teaching of his father, Cal Ripkin, Sr. Ripkin, Sr. was a former baseball player, coach, and scout for the Orioles. In 1987 and 88 Cal Ripkin, Sr. managed the Orioles, and both Cal Jr. and his brother Billy played for the team during those years. This was a first in baseball history.

In 1996 Cal Ripkin, Sr. was inducted into the Oriole’s Hall of Fame. Cal Ripkin, Jr. was asked to say a few words about his father. It was an emotional moment, and the younger man struggled to find just the right words. Finally he decided to tell a story about his own two children – Rachel, who was six at the time and her little brother, Ryan who was three. The children had been bickering for weeks and one day Ripkin heard Rachel taunt Ryan. She said, “You’re just trying to be like Daddy!” After a few moments, Cal ask Rachel, “What’s wrong with trying to be like Dad?” When he had finished telling this story, Cal Ripkin, Jr. looked at his father and said, “That’s what I’ve always tried to do.”

And that is what Jesus expects out of His followers, His disciples. He expects us to try and be like Dad. To be like our heavenly Father who gave Himself so completely for the world. That’s our challenge. We have so much given to us without price. Freely we have received, freely we must give.

Hymn #389 Freely, Freely

  1. God forgave my sin in Jesus’ name, I’ve been born again in Jesus’ name,
    and in Jesus’s name I come to you, to share His love as He told me to.

Refrain:  He said, “Freely, freely you have received, freely, freely give.

Go in My name and because you believe, others will know that I live.

  1. All power is given in Jesus’ name, in earth and heaven in Jesus’ name,
    and in Jesus’ name I come to you, to share His power as He told me to.

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