June 19, 2022 - Father's Day Worship

06/19/2022 – Father’s Day – 2nd Sunday after Pentecost

Morning prayer: O still, small voice, speak to us this hour that we might become makers of Your peace in our homes, in our communities, in our world. O God who is greater than the most powerful forces in this world, enable us to be still and know that You are God. Amen.  (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn #144 This Is My Father’s World

  1. This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears
    all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
    This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought
    of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wrought.
  2. This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise,
    the morning light, the lily white, declare their maker's praise.
    This is my Father's world: He shines in all that's fair;
    in the rustling grass I hear Him pass; He speaks to me everywhere.
  3. This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget
    that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
    This is my Father's world: why should my heart be sad?
    The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!

Psalm 43

Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people; from those who are deceitful and unjust deliver me!

For You are the God in whom I take refuge; why have You cast me off? Why must I walk about mournfully because of the oppression of the enemy?

O send out Your light and Your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling.

Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and I will praise You with the harp, O God, my God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my help and my God.

Children’s message Scripture

The Lord Appears to Elijah

A message came to Elijah from the Lord. He said, “Elijah, what are you doing here?”

He replied, “Lord God who rules over all, I’ve been very committed to you. The Israelites have turned their backs on your covenant. They have torn down your altars. They’ve put your prophets to death with their swords. I’m the only one left. And they are trying to kill me.”

The Lord said, “Go out. Stand on the mountain in front of me. I am going to pass by.”

As the Lord approached, a very powerful wind tore the mountains apart. It broke up the rocks. But the Lord wasn’t in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake. But the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire came. But the Lord wasn’t in the fire. And after the fire there was only a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his coat over his face. He went out and stood at the entrance to the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “Elijah, what are you doing here?”

He replied, “Lord God who rules over all, I’ve been very committed to you. The Israelites have turned their backs on your covenant. They have torn down your altars. They’ve put your prophets to death with their swords. I’m the only one left. And they are trying to kill me.”

The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came. Go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael as king over Aram.

New International Reader's Version (NIRV) Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Children’s MESSAGE:

Is it easier to hear someone’s voice when they speak loudly or whisper? (Allow children to answer and offer reasons.) Sometimes when we want someone to hear us, we must raise our voice or say our words very carefully, isn’t that correct? (Allow children to answer.)

Today’s scripture is about the voice of God and a man named Elijah. Do you think the voice of God would be loud or soft? (Allow children to answer.)

I am going to read from the Bible from 1 Kings. (Read the passage directly from the Bible. You may want to have the children help you find the chapter by asking questions, such as, ‘Old or New Testament?’)

What words did you hear that suggest loudness or softness? (Allow children to answer and expand on their answers. Reinforce words such as “committed,” “earthquake,” “powerful winds,” “mountain top,” and, of course, “whisper.”)

Let me ask you the same question again now that I have read this passage. Do you think the voice of God is loud or soft? (Allow children to respond. Note if any changed their answer from the first time you asked.)

What can we do to hear an important message? (Allow children to respond.) Sometimes we must be still and be quiet to hear something very important. Many times, in that stillness and quiet, our ears pick up every little sound. Our senses work even better! God had something very important to tell Elijah. God didn’t become loud and drown out all the other noises around Elijah. Instead, God was soft like a whisper, and God’s voice was loud and clear to Elijah.

Today, as I read the next part of our poem, let’s bow our heads and sit very quietly, because I will read it with a whisper. Help me with some rhyming words. Remember, at the end, we will all say “Amen” together.

Elijah, O’ Elijah, what do you do?
God O’ God, I’m devoted to you.
Go up on the mount way up tall
I will pass, and you will hear my call
Powerful winds blew and trees did shake
To the ground rocks fell, and the earth did _____. Ask the children if they can suggest a word that fits here and rhymes with “shake.” The word is “quake.”)
Then the flames flew aloft,
But Elijah heard through a whisper soft
Only then did Elijah hear
The whispered voice that God is near.

(collectively) 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 spotlightMissions funds are given each year to support the ministries of AGAPE, who partners with organizations and volunteers to transform communities in Columbia and Montour Counties.  They give food, clothing and furniture; plus spiritual and financial counseling and assistance.  AGAPE distributes food, gives financial assistance, feeds pets, and is a major component in flood relief efforts.  If you want to find out about the ministries of AGAPE, go to see their new facility and talk to the staff on Saturday. 

Offering prayer: God of power and might, as we offer our gifts to You this morning, we remember how dependent we are on Your love and mercy for every good and helpful thing in our lives. We affirm in our giving that all the money and possessions in the world cannot rescue us from the demons that torment and tug at us every day. When we’ve tried to fix things on our own, we have failed; when we put our trust in Your loving power made known to us in Christ, we have found our lifeline. Dedicate these gifts and our lives, that we might not only find our way but lead others toward Jesus, our rock and our redeemer. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn of Preparation #548 In Christ There Is No East and West

  1. In Christ there is no east or west, in Him no south or north;
    but one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth.
  2. In Christ shall true hearts everywhere their high communion find;
    His service is the golden cord close binding humankind.
  3. In Christ is neither Jew nor Greek, and neither slave nor free;

Both make and female heirs are made, and all are kin to me.

  1. In Christ now meet both east and west, in Him meet south and north;
    all Christly souls are one in Him throughout the whole wide earth.

Message scripture- Galatians 3:26-29

for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

Message: We Are God’s Children           Rev. Ron French

          Dan Jarrell was speaking at a Family Life Marriage Conference with a man came up and handed him a letter. The letter told of this man’s lifelong desire to hear his father say, “I love you.” His father had died in World War II, when the man was only three years old. His mother had assured him of his father’s love as he was growing up, but it didn’t fill the void he felt. One day, this man, now 40 years old, was helping his mother move. She handed him an old army picture of his father. The picture suddenly slipped from the man’s grip and the frame and glass shattered all over the floor. As he picked up the mess, the man noticed a piece of paper wedged behind the photo. It was a letter from his father. He had known that he might not come home from the war, so he had written a letter to his three-year-old son. Now at the age of 40, this man finally found what he had spent his life searching for, his father’s love.

          Imagine that you were going through a difficult time in your life, and you opened your Bible to find encouragement. Imagine then that a letter fell out and on it was this passage from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians:

“…for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to his promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29)

If you know nothing else about our faith, there is enough encouragement and love in this one passage to keep you going for a long time.

          Sisters and brothers, the first thing you would be reminded of by this passage is that you are a child of God. Dr. Ned Hallowell, author of The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness believes there are five elements we need in our childhood to allow us to experience joy as an adult. The first element is unconditional love from at least one adult in our lives. This unconditional love gives us self-esteem and encourages us to see the world as a friendly place. The second element is “discovering our passions through play.” Most of us in our unstructured play time discovered where our true talents and passions lay. Some children take joy in telling stories, or building backyard forts, or taking the toaster apart. These early times are a great indicator of that child’s later interests. The third and fourth necessary childhood elements, according to Dr. Hallowell, are practicing and mastering your passions. This mastery over a particular skill increases a child’s self-confidence and makes them less afraid to try new things. And finally, Dr. Hallowell says a child needs to experience positive recognition from others. When a child experiences these five things, he or she is more likely to experience joy later in life. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every child could experience those five elements of Joy? It’s probably not going to happen because not every parent is a perfect parent.

          Let me tell you about a woman named Karen. Karen’s alcoholic and abusive father abandoned his family when she was two years old. Every Father’s Day Karen’s mother made her write a card to the father she never knew. He never responded. Although he never accepted her, she found a different way to fill the void. She learned at church that God could be her father. Whenever she went out to play on her roller skates, she yelled, “Hey, God! Look at me!” She felt a special awareness of God’s presence, as if He were smiling at her from heaven. Rather than focusing her attention on the man who abandoned her, she directed her affection toward God, who is a father to the fatherless. Psalm 68:5 tells us, “Father of orphans and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation.” Although Karen never received approval from her earthly father, she found security through her heavenly father. “…for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” (26) God loves us more than our earthly mothers and fathers. God loves us without reservations, conditions or restraints.

          It doesn’t matter who we are. Paul writes, “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (27-28) Brothers and sisters it doesn’t matter who we are! God loves us!

          Christian psychologist James Michaelson once counseled a woman who felt lonely and abandoned. As she explained how she felt, Michaelson couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying, because a Scripture kept running through his mind. “It is he who has made us, and not ourselves.” (Psalm 100:3b) This verse had no apparent connection with her problem, but he couldn’t stop thinking about it. After the woman finished talking, she sat in silence waiting for a response. Michaelson didn’t know what to say other than to quote the verse from Psalm 100. He realized it might sound foolish since it seemed unrelated to her dilemma, but he quoted it anyway. “I think God wants you to know something,” he said. “’It is he who has made us, and not we ourselves.’ Does that mean anything to you?” The woman immediately broke down and cried. After composing herself, she explained what it meant. “I didn’t tell you this, but my mother got pregnant with me before she was married. All my life I have believed that I was a mistake – an unplanned accident – and that God didn’t create me. But when you quoted that verse, I pictured in my mind’s eye God forming me in my mother’s womb. Now that I know that God created me and that I’m not a mistake. I’ll never be the same again. Thank you, Dr. Michaelson. I’ll never forget this day as long as I live!” God knew this woman needed to know that she was His creation and not an accident. Her perspective changed dramatically once she understood that God had created her. This passage from the Letter to the Galatians reminds us that we are all God’s children.

          Here’s another thing we need to see. Unconditional love can change our lives. It gives us a sense of self-worth that is critical for us to live an abundant life. I am, of course, no psychologist. But this is so important. Many people who try to follow Jesus Christ have never opened their lives to God’s unconditional love. And because of this they can never receive the abundant joy that Christ brings because they have never felt worthy of that joy. Let me give you an example of how important a sense of self-esteem can be.

          This comes from the book, Take This Job and Love It, and I believe it will hit home with some people this morning. Ethan is one of the best-liked managers in his company, unfailingly supportive of his people and always willing to listen to them. However, this caring does not extend to himself. He does not treat himself the way he treats the other people in his office. He never takes time for himself, he never lets himself off the hook. When he is sick, he is still at work. He never stops, or praises, or rewards himself. Clearly, Ethan has a double standard that leaves him with less than anyone else. Why, you might ask. Well, it turns out that he believes that he will not be noticed or liked unless he is doing things for others, and he himself does not merit very much. That is how he felt in his family, where his mother was always sick, his father was never at home, and he was the oldest of four children. Ethan acts in his office just like he did in his family.

          Can anyone see yourself in this picture? Now here’s the dangerous thing. It is tempting to say, “What a wonderful Christian Ethan is -- always thinking of others more than he thinks of himself.” Well, yes – but do you see that’s he doing it for the wrong reasons? Ethan doesn’t think he’s worthy of acceptance by other people. He doesn’t approach them as an equal. He’s not acting like a Christian, he’s acting like a doormat.

          And the sad thing is that Ethan is not an isolated example. There are Ethans everywhere. Good, kind people – who are miserable people because they have never experienced unconditional love. Brothers and sisters, you are so valuable to Jesus that He died on your behalf. And He has not called you to be a doormat. Jesus has called you to be an honest, kind, generous person – not because you are afraid others won’t like you – but out of the overflow of a heart filled with the love of God. That is what authentic faith does for us – it builds us up.

          There are some people who have a destructive faith. They have a petty God who is always looking over their shoulder, always trying to catch them doing something wrong, always telling them that are not good enough. Where did they find this god??? For some of them it is a case of bad theology. They belong to a church that actually gives them this picture of God. But in many other cases it is bad parenting. They had parents who did not give them unconditional love, parents who would not take the time to help them develop their passions, parents who were always critical even of their best efforts.

          Some of you know exactly what I am talking about. This was your experience. That is why Father’s Day is such an appropriate time to deal with these words of the Apostle Paul. “…for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” (26) What God needs are good Christian fathers and mothers who will seek both to be good parents and good theologians – transmitting to their children what unconditional love is by their actions as well as teaching them about the unconditional love of God through their words. We are all children of God. We are all loved without limits or reservations. Think about that for a while and it will change your life.

Closing Hymn #361 Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me

  1. Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee;
    let the water and the blood, from Thy wounded side which flowed,
    be of sin the double cure; save from wrath and make me pure.
  2. Not the labors of my hands can fulfill Thy law's commands;
    could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow,
    all for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone.
  3. Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling;
    naked, come to Thee for dress; helpless, look to Thee for grace;
    foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Savior, or I die.
  4. While I draw this fleeting breath, when mine eyes shall close in death,
    when I soar to worlds unknown, see Thee on Thy judgment throne,
    Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.

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