March 14, 2021 - Home Worship Service

March 14th Welcome & Announcements: Good morning church! We continue to offer on-line worship through ZOOM and Facebook Live at 9am on Sundays.

 

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85441468430?pwd=aEJmcnJ3SGdkbWphMnlRV3JwQ3dXQT09

  Meeting ID: 854 4146 8430        Password: 279040

One tap mobile:  +19294362866,,85441468430#,,,,0#,,279040# US (New York)

For audio only using a landline or non-smart phone:  1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

 

Sermon by PhoneEach week, following the live worship service, Pastor Jenn will upload the service to an account that when you call a local number, you will hear the service.

The number is:1-570-215-3814

You don't have to type in the 1 if you are in the 570 area code. There is no code or password. It takes you directly to the service.

 

You Are Never Alone by Max Lucado Bible Study with Pastor Ron.

When life feels depleted, does God care? I'm facing an onslaught of challenges; will God help? When life grows dark and stormy, does God notice? I'm facing the fear of death; will God help me? The answer in the life-giving miracles in the Gospel of John is a resounding yes. (see promo at: https://youtu.be/LuCR8n-J0rw )

10am Tuesday mornings in person at the Lighthouse. (Please register with Pastor Ron, there is a limit of 10.) 6:30pm Tuesday evenings with ZOOM and Facebook Live.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84464947805?pwd=ejRHZ3h3NlVKSGd3MFRoU2NwUTVSZz09

Meeting ID: 844 6494 7805               Passcode: 261088

One tap mobile:  +19294362866,,84464947805#,,,,*261088# US (New York)

For audio only using a landline or non-smart phone:  1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

 

Worship Service: I invite you to prepare your hearts for worship by lighting a candle and welcoming the presence of the Divine at your home.

Call to Worship

O come, let us sing to our God and make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
We lift our hearts and voices in joy and thanksgiving for being here together in the presence of our beloved God.

Come, let us worship this amazing God, for we belong to God.
We will listen for God’s word and live in the hope it inspires.

 

Opening Song: Only Trust Him by Donna Farver

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/only-trust-him/s-Nw7jZFUEfKR

Come, every soul by sin oppressed; There’s mercy with the Lord,
And He will surely give you rest by trusting in His Word.

Refrain:
Only trust Him, only trust Him, only trust Him now;
He will save you; He will save you; He will save you now.

For Jesus shed His precious blood Rich blessings to bestow;
Plunge now into the crimson flood That washes white as snow.    Refrain

Yes, Jesus is the truth, the way, that leads you into rest;
Believe in Him without delay and you are fully blessed.      Refrain

 

Opening Prayer

Loving and caring God, we come this morning in hope that will sustain us in our trying times,
our lonely times, our doubting times. Refresh us this morning with Your presence and love.
Open us to the possibilities of encountering You in unexpected ways, the possibilities of seeing the miraculous in everyday life. Amen.

 

First Lesson: Matthew 5:1-10

5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and He began to teach them.

He said:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Children’s message It's our children's time and I want to start with a question I ask you each and every week: Who are you? Children Respond: Special Gifts of God!

 

PJ: That's right, you are special gifts of God each and every day and I'm so lucky to spend time with you!

 

This week we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Many people are not aware that St. Patrick wasn’t Irish! He was Italian! He was born into a noble Roman family in England around the year 385 A.D. during the time England was part of the Roman Empire. Patrick was captured as a young man by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland where he was a slave. After six years, he escaped to his native country where he became a priest. Wanting to share Christianity with the Irish people, he returned to Ireland where he spread word of Christ.

 

Even though he was treated poorly, in Ireland, he felt the strength and power of God’s love that he went back – to turn something bad, into something good. St. Patrick encourages us to use God’s goodness to overcome any troubles. Jesus will be teaching us that too with the beatitudes today. My hope is that like St. Patrick, you will know that you can always count on God to help make something good out of something difficult.

 

Let us pray: Thank You God, for St. Patrick. And thank You God, for Jesus who teaches us Your goodness and love is always there for us. Amen.

 

Pastoral & Lord’s Prayer

Lord, You called us to this journey. And we confess we have a difficult time letting go of the things that harm our spirits and diminish our souls. We cling to our problems as though they provide some degree of comfort and stability. On this day, may You help us to let go of the pain, the problems, the worries and open our hearts to hear Your word. Give us confidence and assurance of Your presence. As we have offered the names and situations of those near and dear to us in our prayers this morning, help us to remember that we, too, are always in Your loving care. When we have fallen, lift us up, Lord. When we think we can’t go any further, pick us up and carry us until we can walk again. When we wonder if You made the right choice in calling us to our ministry and mission, ease our fears, confirm our hopes, bless our hearts with Your loving presence; that in all things You may be glorified. We ask this as we praise Your name and honor You for our salvation, through Jesus Christ who taught us to pray…. 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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass 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. 

 

Invitation to the Offering:

We are invited to give an accounting of the hope that sustains us, the love and presence of God that upholds all. Out of this sustaining hope, let us give our gifts today for those who also need this hope.

 

Offering Prayer

Life-giving God, we offer You ourselves and our resources.
Use us and our gifts to a world searching for love, meaning, justice, and hope.
May all Your people encounter fullness of life through the love of Christ, which lives within us. Amen.

 

Second lesson: Daniel 6:1-16,  17-23, 25-28 The Message (MSG)

Daniel in the Lions’ Den

6 1-3 Darius reorganized his kingdom. He appointed one hundred twenty governors to administer all the parts of his realm. Over them were three vice-regents, one of whom was Daniel. The governors reported to the vice-regents, who made sure that everything was in order for the king. But Daniel, brimming with spirit and intelligence, so completely outclassed the other vice-regents and governors that the king decided to put him in charge of the whole kingdom.

4-5 The vice-regents and governors got together to find some old scandal or skeleton in Daniel’s life that they could use against him, but they couldn’t dig up anything. He was totally exemplary and trustworthy. They could find no evidence of negligence or misconduct. So they finally gave up and said, “We’re never going to find anything against this Daniel unless we can cook up something religious.”

6-7 The vice-regents and governors conspired together and then went to the king and said, “King Darius, live forever! We’ve convened your vice-regents, governors, and all your leading officials, and have agreed that the king should issue the following decree: For the next thirty days no one is to pray to any god or mortal except you, O king. Anyone who disobeys will be thrown into the lions’ den.

8 “Issue this decree, O king, and make it unconditional, as if written in stone like all the laws of the Medes and the Persians.” 9 King Darius signed the decree.

10 When Daniel learned that the decree had been signed and posted, he continued to pray just as he had always done. His house had windows in the upstairs that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he knelt there in prayer, thanking and praising his God.

11-12 The conspirators came and found him praying, asking God for help. They went straight to the king and reminded him of the royal decree that he had signed. “Did you not,” they said, “sign a decree forbidding anyone to pray to any god or man except you for the next thirty days? And anyone caught doing it would be thrown into the lions’ den?” “Absolutely,” said the king. “Written in stone, like all the laws of the Medes and Persians.” 13 Then they said, “Daniel, one of the Jewish exiles, ignores you, O king, and defies your decree. Three times a day he prays.”

14 At this, the king was very upset and tried his best to get Daniel out of the fix he’d put him in. He worked at it the whole day long. 15 But then the conspirators were back: “Remember, O king, it’s the law of the Medes and Persians that the king’s decree can never be changed.” 16 The king caved in and ordered Daniel brought and thrown into the lions’ den. But he said to Daniel, “Your God, to whom you are so loyal, is going to get you out of this.”

17 A stone slab was placed over the opening of the den. The king sealed the cover with his signet ring and the signet rings of all his nobles, fixing Daniel’s fate. 18 The king then went back to his palace. He refused supper. He couldn’t sleep. He spent the night fasting.

19-20 At daybreak the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. As he approached the den, he called out anxiously, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve so loyally, saved you from the lions?” 21-22 “O king, live forever!” said Daniel. “My God sent his angel, who closed the mouths of the lions so that they would not hurt me. I’ve been found innocent before God and also before you, O king. I’ve done nothing to harm you.”

23 When the king heard these words, he was happy. He ordered Daniel taken up out of the den. When he was hauled up, there wasn’t a scratch on him. He had trusted his God.

25-27 King Darius published this proclamation to every race, color, and creed on earth: Peace to you! Abundant peace!
I decree that Daniel’s God shall be worshiped and feared in all parts of my kingdom.
He is the living God, world without end. His kingdom never falls.
His rule continues eternally.
He is a savior and rescuer.
He performs astonishing miracles in heaven and on earth.
He saved Daniel from the power of the lions.

28 From then on, Daniel was treated well during the reign of Darius, and also in the following reign of Cyrus the Persian.

 

Sermon: Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 

Here’s the background to this text: Daniel is living during the time of exile, that is when the Babylonians came into Israel and sent the people to live in their land. So this story does not take place in Judea, it’s in Babylon. But at this point Babylon is now ruled by Persia. And the king, King Darius, is not an Israelite obviously; he has different beliefs and religion. Yet he respects Daniel and he respects Daniel’s faith in God.

 

Unfortunately, others do not, those who were jealous of Daniel and his rise to power over the entire kingdom, because he was of a different nation. In this version of Scripture passage these men are known as the conspirators. And you heard the text said, 4-5 The vice-regents and governors got together to find some old scandal or skeleton in Daniel’s life that they could use against him, but they couldn’t dig up anything. He was totally exemplary and trustworthy. They could find no evidence of negligence or misconduct. So they finally gave up and said, “We’re never going to find anything against this Daniel unless we can cook up something religious.” Which they did- they developed a law that no one could pray to anyone or anything else other than the king.

 

So now we come to an ethical issue, is it right to break the law in order to be faithful to God?

Well the Bible gives us some guidance with that. Especially in the New Testament.

 

When Jesus shares his eighth and final beatitude, 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, Jesus makes it known that there will be times we

are forced to make a choice, a decision, to either follow our faith, following God’s will, or to contradict it. 

 

We know that Jesus Himself was arrested, tried, and crucified for His faithfulness to the ways of God.

 

There were also the apostles, and early Christians, who were considered enemies of the state for various reasons:

-They worshipped and honored God, not Caesar.

-They did not make offerings to false idols. Instead, they gave offerings of food and money to those in need.

-They shared the good news of Jesus Christ.

 

Turn to Acts 4 we read how John and Peter healed a man and when asked how they could do that, they preached what they knew, what they saw, they preached about Jesus.  So the authorities call them in and in verse 18 we read how the leaders “commanded them not to speak or teach at all in Jesus’ name. This was the response of Peter and John: “Judge for yourselves. Which is right from God’s point of view? Should we obey you? Or God? 20 There’s nothing else we can do. We have to speak about the things we’ve seen and heard.”

 

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, is about people who follow God’s ways that are good and right for all, even if it is not in accordance to civil laws around them. John Wesley puts it like this: Do no harm, do all the good you can to all the people you can, and stay in love with God.  When the laws of society go against those rules, that’s when we as Christians must stand our ground. This led Wesley to help abolish slavery, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr to help protest for equal rights, and Daniel to keep on praying.

 

Going back to Daniel, he continues in his prayers, and so is arrested and thrown into the lion’s den. No one expects Daniel to survive. However interestingly enough, the king grasps onto Daniel’s faith. He says to Daniel as he is lowered into the lion’s den: “Your God, to whom you are so loyal, is going to get you out of this.”

And then he takes it one step further, the king actually fasts for Daniel. 18 The king then went back to his palace. He refused supper. He couldn’t sleep. He spent the night fasting. The king was willing to intercede with what he considered to be fate on behalf of Daniel- but he didn’t have to because God already had.

 

The next day the king sees Daniel is alive.

 

Lesson learned: It was a righteous choice that Daniel made. He could have walked away from God and his faith. He could have bowed to the pressures surrounding him and abandoned his beliefs. But Daniel chose to remain faithful to God, because Daniel knew God was faithful to him, and to all people.

 

And that is what Jesus means by this beatitude. Jesus is not implying that it is good for His disciples to seek out persecution to gain His blessing, rather He is being realistic in helping us understand that those who follow God’s will face trials because in general, people have a difficult time accepting a righteous life as it exposes their own unrighteousness. And yet if we do not strive to follow God’s will, the kingdom of heaven will not be made known. The kingdom of forgiveness, the kingdom of reconciliation, the kingdom of resurrection and new life.

 

A kingdom that King Darius welcomed as well. The passage ends with this decree published by the king:

Peace to you! Abundant peace! I decree that Daniel’s God shall be worshiped and feared in all parts of my kingdom. He is the living God, world without end. His kingdom never falls. His rule continues eternally. He is a savior and rescuer. He performs astonishing miracles in heaven and on earth. The righteous kingdom of God was made known.

 

Friends, being a disciple of Christ will not always be easy. We will face options and decisions that may oppose our society and its ways.  And when those times occur, we will be forced to make a choice. But as Daniel shows us and Jesus teaches us, may you choose to do no harm, but do all the good you can, for all the people you can, so that you and those around you, may come out of the lion’s den with trust in the living God.

 

Let us pray: God sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in the beliefs of the world and to leave behind our faith in You. Help us know that You do no harm, help us trust You to do good, help us stay in love with You as You lift us up every day. Amen.

 

Closing Song: Come as You Are by LUMC Praise Band

Come As You Are by LUMC | Free Listening on SoundCloud

Come out of sadness from wherever you've been
Come broken hearted Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy Oh sinner come kneel

Earth has no sorrow That heaven can't heal
Earth has no sorrow That heaven can't heal

 

Refrain:

So lay down your burdens Lay down your shame
All who are broken Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home You're not too far
So lay down your hurt Lay down your heart
Come as you are

 

There's hope for the hopeless and all those who've strayed
Come sit at the table Come taste the grace
There's rest for the weary Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow That heaven can't cure    Refrain

 

Fall in His arms Come as you are
There's joy for the morning Oh sinner be still
Earth has no sorrow That heaven can't heal
Earth has no sorrow That heaven can't heal   Refrain

 

Benediction

Wherever we are, we are in God.
Wherever we are, we are in Christ,
and Christ is in us.
Wherever we are, the Spirit abides with us and in us.
We go forth in peace and hope,
upheld by God in every way.
Let us go forth in faithfulness and trust.
May all see the Divine in and through us.

 

 
  April 2021  
SMTWTFS
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930 
     
Bible Search
Contents © 2021 Lightstreet United Methodist Church • Church Website Builder by mychurchwebsite.netPrivacy Policy