March 6, 2022 - 1st Sunday in Lent

March 6, 2022 – 1st Sunday in Lent

Call to worship

L: Jesus began His ministry to the world, led by the Spirit into the wilderness.

P: As we begin our Lenten journey, let us be led by the Spirit, even into the uncomfortable places.

L: In those forty days, and in that place, Jesus was faced with hunger, doubt and temptation.

P: As we seek to follow Jesus, we would be led, even into the uncomfortable choices.

L: Jesus left the wilderness, faithful and obedient to God, rejoicing in the One in whom He trusted.

P: As we continue on our path to faithfulness, we will be led by our Christ, rejoicing in the Lord our God.

Hymn #61 Come, Thou Almighty King

  1. Come, Thou almighty King, help us Thy name to sing, help us to praise!

Father all glorious, o'er all victorious, come and reign over us, Ancient of Days!

  1. Come, Thou incarnate Word, gird on Thy mighty sword, our prayer attend!
    Come, and Thy people bless, and give Thy word success, Spirit of holiness, on us descend!
  2. Come, holy Comforter, Thy sacred witness bear in this glad hour.
    Thou who almighty art, now rule in every heart, and ne'er from us depart, Spirit of power!
  3. To Thee, great One in Three, eternal praises be, hence, evermore.
    Thy sovereign majesty may we in glory see, and to eternity love and adore!

Children’s message: Resisting temptation (www.sermons4kids)

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. Luke 4:1-2 (NIV)

There was a bowl of candy sitting on the coffee table in the living room of Mary's house. Mary's mother noticed that she was looking at the candy and said, "Now, don't you eat any candy until after dinner or you will spoil your appetite." The candy looked so good and the temptation was so great. "Surely just one little piece won't hurt — and mother will never know the difference," Mary thought to herself.

Have any of you ever had an experience like that? Here is another story which might sound familiar.

"Put away your books and take out one sheet of paper and a pencil," the teacher said. "We are going to take our weekly spelling test." Johnny had an empty feeling in the pit of his stomach. He knew that they were going to have a spelling test today, but he watched TV last night instead of studying for the spelling test and he wasn't ready for the test. As the test began, Johnny looked around the room and realized that he had a clear view of Sally's paper. "It won't hurt if I look at Sally's paper just this once," Johnny thought to himself. "I promise — I'll never do it again and nobody will ever know."

All of us have faced temptations such as these, haven't we? Did you know that Jesus was tempted just as we are? The Bible tells us that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert where He was tempted by the devil for forty days. Do you know what Jesus did when the devil tempted Him? He answered Him with Scripture!

Jesus had not had anything to eat for forty days. He was hungry, and Satan knew He was hungry, so he said to Him, "If you are really the Son of God, turn these stones into bread."

Jesus could have easily done what Satan suggested, but He didn't. Instead, He answered, "It is written, 'Man does not live by bread alone.'"

Then the devil took Jesus up to a high place and showed Him the worldly kingdoms below. "All of this belongs to me," he said. "If you will bow down and worship me, I will give it to You."

Jesus answered, "It is written, 'Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'"

Next, the devil took Jesus to Jerusalem and led Him up to the highest point on the temple. He said to Jesus, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. God will send His angels to rescue You."

Again, Jesus quoted the Scripture, "'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

Do you know what the devil did? He gave up! He said, "I'll come back and try another day."

Satan tempted Jesus just as he tempts you and me. Jesus resisted Satan's temptation, and we can too, by answering him with Scripture.

Dear Father, help us to learn what the Bible teaches us to do so that when the devil tempts us, we can do what Jesus did—answer him with Scripture. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Prayers of Intercession:  Thank You most gracious and forgiving Father for hearing the cries of 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 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. 

Offering spotlight:  Do you want to learn for yourself what the Bible has to say?  But when you try to read it by yourself, do you have more questions than answers?  Your tithes and offering permit us to have seasonal Bible studies and regular Sunday School classes.  Sunday School lessons are free of charge.  Bible study participants do not pay more than $10, regardless of the actual cost of the books.  Thanks!  And please think about joining a class if you are not already involved.    

Offertory prayer: Mighty God, as we remember the strength of Jesus facing the temptation offered by the devil, we remember too clearly how the temptations of food, of authority, and power have overcome us. We’ve been tricked to believe our wants were needs and more is always better. May we offer our gifts to You this day with generosity and gratitude; strengthen us to resist temptation that would present security or power in anyone but You. In Christ, we pray. Amen.

Hymn of Preparation #301 Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross

  1. Jesus, keep me near the cross; there a precious fountain,
    free to all, a healing stream, flows from Calvary's mountain.

Refrain:
In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever,
till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.

  1. Near the cross, a trembling soul, love and mercy found me;
    there the bright and morning star sheds its beams around me.
    (Refrain)
  2. Near the cross! O Lamb of God, bring its scenes before me;
    help me walk from day to day with its shadow o'er me.
    (Refrain)
  3. Near the cross I'll watch and wait, hoping, trusting ever,
    till I reach the golden strand just beyond the river.
    (Refrain)

Message scripture: Luke 4:1-13

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, He was famished. The devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’” Then the devil led Him up and showed Him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to Him, “To You I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If You, then, will worship me, it will all be Yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.’” Then the devil took Him to Jerusalem, and placed Him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You, to protect You,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear You up, so that You will not dash Your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from Him until an opportune time.

Message:  Beginning a Good Lent                    Pastor Becky Cuddeback

Let’s start here:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

The early Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church that before the Easter celebration there should be a forty–day season of spiritual preparation.

During this season converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when persons who had committed serious sins and had separated themselves from the community of faith were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to participation in the life of the Church.

In this way the whole congregation was reminded of the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the need we all have to renew our faith.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to observe a holy Lent:

by self–examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self–denial; and by reading and meditating on God's Holy Word. To make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before our Creator and Redeemer. (UM Book of Worship)

This is our invitation, the invitation offered to all Christians to enter into this season of Lent. It is intended for us to journey with Jesus with our faces set on the cross. The cross that puts an end to our separation from God because of our sinfulness, the cross of Jesus Christ.

Jesus begins His journey to Jerusalem, in the desert. He is stripped of all comfort, isolated, and completely alone with God. He is drawing strength from shedding all that would keep Him from facing the cross and is becoming attuned to what keeps us from being made whole and holy. He is coming face to face with sin with the temptations put before Him by Satan.

First, the temptation to satisfy His hunger, to break His appointed fast – the very thing driving Him deeper and deeper into God’s presence. We know that we don’t behave the same way or respond the same way based on our hunger. I think we can argue for both conditions – if I’m full, the couch may be more comfortable than going for a walk, and sometimes I can accomplish certain tasks hungry better than fed. It becomes an exercise in balance and knowing myself, some days I master it and other days the bag of M&Ms wins.

Second is power and control. This offer of all the world that Satan makes has always befuddled me. It already belongs to Jesus, God gave it to Him – the beginning chapter of John tells us that nothing was made without Jesus, it was all made through Jesus. Jesus doesn’t have a problem with power and control, we do. I think the events of history, particularly recent history, bear witness to this being an “us” problem.

Third is the temptation of not believing in the assurance of God’s love and care. Satan is asking Jesus to prove who He is, “if you are the Son of God.” Satan is saying, hey, throw Yourself off and see if God will catch You. Jesus doesn’t need that assurance. He knows who He is. And I want you to know who you are, beloved children of God. The God who spared nothing to be in relationship with you and desires the best for you. The God who ordered the world to bring forth and sustain your life, and made possible for that life to continue eternally.

Beloved, so many things can take control of our lives and we miss the life God desires for us and for our world. Lent invites us back into rhythm with God. The church year mirrors God’s grace, calling us back and asking us to look at what we continue to do, continue to carry, continue to hold on to – that keeps us from living abundantly.

Let us pray:  Father God, Your blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan. Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations. And as You know the weakness of each of us, let each one find You mighty to save; through Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord. Amen.

Closing Hymn Go Now in Peace

Go now in peace...never be afraid. God will go with you each hour of every day.

Go now in faith, steadfast, strong and true.  Know He will guide you in all you do.

Go now in love, and show you believe.  Reach out to others so all the world can see. 

God will be there, watching from above.  Go now in peace, in faith, and in love.

Benediction:  Go into this week with the blessings of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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