June 25, 2023 - Home Worship

For the week of June 25 to July 1 – 4th Sunday after Pentecost

Morning Prayer God of strength and courage, in Jesus Christ You set us free from sin and death, and call us to the risk of faith and service. Give us grace to follow Him who gave Himself for others, that, by our service, we may find the life He came to bring. Amen. (Lectionary prayers)

Hymn #397 I Need Thee Every Hour

  1. I need Thee every Hour, most gracious Lord; no tender voice like Thine can peace afford.

Refrain: I need Thee, O I need Thee; every hour I need Thee; O bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee.

  1. I need Thee every hour; stay Thou nearby; temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.
  2. I need Thee every hour; in joy or pain; come quickly and abide, or life is vain.
  3. I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will; and Thy rich promises in me fulfill.
  4. I need Thee every hour; most Holy One; O make me Thine indeed, Thou blessed Son.

Psalm 86:1-10

Incline Your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.

Preserve my life, for I am devoted to You; save Your servant who trusts in You. You are my God;

be gracious to me, O Lord, for to You do I cry all day long.

Gladden the soul of Your servant, for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

For You, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call on You.

Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my cry of supplication.

In the day of my trouble I call on You, for You will answer me.

There is none like You among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like Yours.

All the nations You have made shall come and bow down before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.

For You are great and do wondrous things; You alone are God.

Children’s Message

"What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows." Matthew 10:29, 31 (NLT)

Are you ever afraid? Do you ever worry? Are you ever discouraged? What are some things that discourage you? (Give the children an opportunity to answer.) Here are some things that might cause worry, fear or discouragement:

  • Loneliness
  • Feeling neglected
  • Feeling that you don't have any friends
  • Failure in school or other activities
  • Illness or injury
  • Criticism from others

Today I want to tell you a story about a woman named Civilla Martin who wrote a song about overcoming fear, worry, and discouragement. Mrs. Martin and her husband were visiting a couple named Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle who lived in Elmira, New York. Mr. Doolittle was crippled and had to move about a wheelchair. Mrs. Doolittle had been confined to bed for over twenty years. Despite the problems they faced in life, they always seemed to have a cheerful outlook on life. Mr. Martin asked Mrs. Doolittle, "How do you manage to remain so joyful when you face so many problems?" Mrs. Doolittle's reply was simple. "If God has His eye on the sparrow, then I know He is watching over me."

Mrs. Martin was so touched by Mrs. Doolittle's reply that she wrote a poem that was to become the basis for a song that has brought peace and comfort to people for over a hundred years.

"Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come? Why should my heart feel lonely, and long for heaven and home? When Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is He. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches over me. His eye is on the sparrow; and I know He watches me. I sing because I’m happy. I sing because I’m free! His eye is on the sparrow; and I know He watches me. His eye is on the sparrow; and I know He watches me."

The next day Civilla Martin mailed the poem to Charles Gabriel, a gospel songwriter, who wrote a tune for it. "The rest," as they say, "is history."

The truth of the message of the song, "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" is found in our Bible lesson for today. In Matthew chapter 10, Jesus was teaching His disciples that even though they were going to be facing some difficult times as His followers, they should not be afraid. He said to them, "Two sparrows are sold for one copper coin, but not one single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. So don't be afraid, you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows."

Isn't that amazing? God knows everything that we go through. There is nothing that happens to us that He doesn't know about. When we feel lonely and totally abandoned, when it seems that our prayers are unanswered, when everything seems hopeless, God knows and God cares.

Pray together: Father, we know that Your eye is on the sparrow, and we know that You are watching over us. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen. (www.sermons4kids.com)

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: A portion of your offering supports Woody Wolfe and Heart to Hand Ministry. Woody ministers to children weekly in four PA hospitals and various hospitals around the world.  He encourages the children with music.

Offering prayer: Generous, giving God: the gifts we present this day are supposed to represent the best of our discipleship. Why then do we hide what we give, and why do we worry about who might know? Grant us the boldness we need to move out of the dark and proclaim our decision to be Christ’s disciples to all, to shout it from the rooftops. May we speak to those we know and even to strangers of the love of Jesus without fear. May the way we live our lives be a proclamation of our decision to follow Christ! In His holy name, we pray. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn: #133 Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

  1. What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms;
    what a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Refrain: Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

  1. O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way, leaning on the everlasting arms;
    O how bright the path grows from day to day, leaning on the everlasting arms.
  2. What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms?
    I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Scripture:  Matthew 10:24-39

“A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. “Everyone therefore who acknowledges Me before others, I also will acknowledge before My Father in heaven; but whoever denies Me before others, I also will deny before My Father in heaven. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for My sake will find it.

Message:              Pastor Becky Cuddeback

I will tell you that Jesus’s words from last week are influencing my waking thoughts. “Go and learn what this means, I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” (Matthew 9:13) It is becoming a lens for me to view Jesus’s teachings and it is how I come to today's scripture, with the call to learn.

Jesus knows the way of the world as it was and how it now is. It is a world more inclined to sacrifice over mercy. This is Jesus' call to us, choose mercy. For us, the ones who have responded and continue to respond to Jesus’s teaching, we should be on the side of Jesus, behaving and responding to the world leaning and embracing the side of mercy because we see creation differently. We measure worth differently and strive for equity and solidarity, as seeking the best interest of the other over ourselves. This mindset will put you up against, possibly, your family, spouse, friends, co-workers and yourself. There are a myriad of ways that what we have espoused and internalized or what we have been taught and behaved, are by no means in line with the teachings of Jesus and deny who God says God is. Thus we find ourselves pitted against ourselves.

Jesus is telling His disciples to be bold in the way they lead their lives and Jesus is speaking entirely about the mission, the way they act, not about the words they use. Their actions define who they entrust and what they believe about Jesus and by extension, us as well.

Discipleship is about what we believe as believers in the Good News of Jesus Christ. But, what is the Good News? What is the gospel message? Is it: Jesus died for our sins?, we have forgiveness, new life, a family of believers, resurrection on the last day, freedom from sin and death, a place in the ushering in of the Kingdom of God, eternal life, or healing? Some of that, or all of that, is it good news in all places? Over our life times the emphasis may change on which aspect we rely on more or find the most comforting. Jesus is multifaceted and always moving toward us – maybe that is the good news.

What drew you to Jesus and keeps you drawn to Jesus? What has He whispered in your ear that changed you, encouraged you, or empowered you? How do we live that love out and share it with others, to shout it from the housetops as Jesus directed. This is foundational work, to be able to speak what is marked on our hearts by Jesus that has transformed us from who we were to who we have become.

It is active participation with Jesus that changes hearts and minds and this will not go unnoticed by God. Why? Because God knows us intimately, the hairs on your heads are numbered, God knows every little detail of you and you are valued, and your neighbor is valued and your neighbor’s neighbor is valued.

Hymn #174 His Name Is Wonderful

His name is wonderful, His name is wonderful, His name is wonderful, Jesus my Lord.

He is the mighty King, Master of everything; His name is wonderful, Jesus, my Lord.

He’s the great Shepherd, the Rock of all ages, almighty God is He;

Bow down before Him, love and adore Him, His name is wonderful, Jesus my Lord.

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