May 3, 2020 - Home Worship Service

Home Worship for Sunday May 3rd

Welcome & Announcements:

Good morning church!

 

Just a few announcements:

I will offer a ZOOM gathering at 9:00 am Sunday and 6pm Sunday evening. Zoom is a way to be connected via computer or telephone. You can call the phone number listed- it is toll free. This will be time of sharing joys and concerns and having prayer time. If there is a problem, call or text my cell at 570-317-0422 and I will try to assist.

9:00 am Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/757496754?pwd=ZUwyam5pYlI5L0tGSVJqRnNFWmlndz09

Or dial 1 929 436 2866 (toll free)

Meeting ID: 757 496 754

Password: 522345

 

6pm Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/186263314?pwd=UFk2MUhrVzJaSnVZTDAzYmQzRFh3dz09

Meeting ID: 186 263 314

Password: 525901

Or dial 1 929 436 2866 US (toll free)

 

I invite you to light a candle to welcome the Light of the World in your presence and prepare your heart for worship this day:

 

Prelude: Only Trust Him by Donna Farver

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

Call to Worship
L: The God of all shepherds has called us.

P: We come today, celebrating God’s love for us.

L: The Good Shepherd has given his life for us.

P: We come today, thanking Jesus for his witness and his teaching.

L: The Shepherding Spirit moves through us, bringing us new hope.

P: We come today ready to celebrate and to praise God. AMEN.

 

Opening Song: Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us

https://youtu.be/DrxxmObv2-s

 

1. Savior, like a shepherd lead us, much we need Thy tender care;

in Thy pleasant pastures feed us, for our use Thy folds prepare.

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast bought us,Tthine we are.

 

2. We are Thine, Thou dost befriend us, be the guardian of our way;

keep Thy flock, from sin defend us, seek us when we go astray.

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Hear, O hear us when we pray.

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Hear, O hear us when we pray.

 

 

3. Early let us seek Thy favor, early let us do Thy will;

blessed Lord and only Savior, with Thy love our bosoms fill.

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast loved us, love us still.

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast loved us, love us still.

 

Opening Prayer

Thank you, loving God, for bringing us to this time of worship. Refresh us and heal us again. Remind us of the many ways in which You have blessed our lives with Your abundant love and Your presence. Guide our hearts and our spirits that we may hear Your words and our souls may be stirred. In the name of the Good Shepherd, who leads us to life, we pray. AMEN.

 

First Scripture Lesson: Psalm 23 read by Morgan, Emma and Jackson Fairchid

https://youtu.be/mvJCOCDiYQc

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters;* He restores my soul.* He leads me in right paths* for His name’s sake.4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,* I fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.6 Surely* goodness and mercy* shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.*

 

Children’s Message

It's our children's time and I want to start with a question I ask you each 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!

 

One of my favorite go-to songs is I Just Want to be a Sheep. It talks about us wanting to follow Jesus, who is our good shepherd and will take care of us. In the lyrics you’ll hear the following terms:

-Goat- in Matthew 25 Jesus talks about the separation of the Sheep and the Goats. Goats tend to do their own thing, and the point Jesus gives is He wants to care for us, so He invites us to be a sheep.

-Hypocrite- that is a person who says one thing and does the opposite. For example: Maybe you tell someone not to be mean to their brother or sister, and you turn around and are mean to yours.

-Pharisee- is a Jewish religious leader who has strict laws they follow that are not necessarily what God wants, but they believe are what God wants. They got Jesus in trouble.

-Sadducees-were priests in Jesus’ day that did not believe in the resurrection. How sad!

 

I hope you enjoy this video to sing along with.

https://youtu.be/tpYgYoNGM38

 

Chorus: I just wanna be a sheep Baa, baa, baa, baa

I just wanna be a sheep Baa, baa, baa, baa

I pray the Lord my soul to keep I just wanna be a sheep Baa, baa, baa, baa,

 

Don't wanna be a goat…nope

Don't wanna be a goat…nope Haven't got any hope…nope

Don't wanna be a goat…nope

 

Don't wanna be a hypocrite

Don't wanna be a hypocrite 'Cause they're not hip to it

Don't wanna be a hypocrite

 

Don't wanna be a Pharisee

Don't wanna be a Pharisee 'Cause they're not fair you see

Don't wanna be a Pharisee

 

Don't wanna be a Sadducee

Don't wanna be a Sadducee 'Cause they're so sad you see

Don't wanna be a Sadducee

 

Just wanna be a child of God

Just wanna be a child of God Walkin' the same path He trod

Just wanna be a child of God

 

Prayer: Thank you God that you care for us like a shepherd cares for sheep. Amen.

Pastoral Prayer: Shepherding God, be with us in our need. Like sheep who have gone astray—we have not heeded Your voice, calling us to follow the right paths, beckoning us to lie down and be restored; we have acted as if our salvation lies in busyness and control. We do not want to be sheep—dependent on a shepherd for everything. We want to do it alone—to maintain our independence. Forgive us for rejecting Your shepherding care and Your love and guidance. Forgive us for our need to do it by ourselves, to be separate from the flock.
Forgive us for doubting Your presence in times of trouble. Forgive us our despair in the face of seemingly unrelenting sickness and death. Lead us back to the path of life through Your Son, the guardian of our souls who welcomes us with open arms and a glad heart. Help us to trust that the Shepherd of our lives never abandons us, but is always calling our name, and unfailingly loves and forgives us. Enliven this time of worship, that we may find true life as we join with others: praising Your name, celebrating Your great goodness, and sharing Your love for all people, as we join together in prayer saying, 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: We want to thank all of you for your continued gifts that are helping us do ministry in different ways during these times. Some of you are experiencing economic hardships related to the pandemic and your offering may be diminished. Our prayers are with you as you struggle to make ends meet. To the rest, if you can send in your offering, we invite you to do so as ministry continues. There are still needs to be met through the services we support such as local food banks, health care ministries, and of course the staff of this congregation who are still working around the clock to check in with members, disinfect buildings, and discern and provide worship possibilities. The option of electronic transfer of funds is available. Contact our church treasurer, Amy Dent (aedent@pa.metrocast.net; 570-458-4299). She will guide you through the process to authorize your bank to transfer funds into the church account.

 

Offering SongRise Up – Lindsay Pensyl & Sarah Wolfe

https://youtu.be/D4QhlrwrEE0

 

Offertory: He is Lord – Donna Farver on organ

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/he-is-lord/s-9k9iYPXDbXV

He is Lord, He is Lord!
He is risen from the dead and He is Lord!
Ev'ry knee shall bow, ev'ry tongue confess That Jesus Christ is Lord.

Offering Prayer: O Lord, You are the good Shepherd! Your Son Jesus laid down His life for all who belong to You. Thank You for nurturing our life and sustaining our faith. In gratitude, we want to help others to know Your love. Open our ears to listen to Your voice. Open our eyes to see our brothers and sisters in need as sheep of Your flock. May our tithes and offerings give voice to Christ's love for all people, especially those who have gone astray. Amen.

 

Gospel Lesson: John 10:11-17 Jesus is the Good Shepherd read by our youth group leader Alycia Fairchild

https://youtu.be/mvJCOCDiYQc

11 ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No one takes* it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.’

 

This is the Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

 

Sermon: A Call to Sheep

From the beginning of the Church, Christians were encouraged to know the psalms and use them as a corporate prayer, not just individual, because in doing so it is a way of fellowship. In Colossians 3:16 we read, Let the word of Christ* dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. *In other words when we pray or sing the psalms together, we pray seeking God and the will of God for us, as the Church. I tend to believe that the 23rd Psalm is the most popular psalm known by people of all ages. It is the scripture passage most requested to be read at funerals, and during the service I tend to notice that as I read it, many say the words with me. In fact, in those situations, many know the words to that psalm rather than the Lord’s Prayer, which we tend to say at the end of the service. Why is that? Why has this psalm become so popular? So familiar? And why should we as the church claim it as a body today? Honestly, our nation is not familiar with the concept of shepherding. In fact, some have called for the dismissal of all shepherding language in the Bible saying it’s not appropriate to our understanding today. But what a great loss that would be. Because if we truly understood what a shepherd does in the Middle East, we would have a better grasp of how wonderful it is to have Jesus in each of our lives.

Here is the background: Many attribute the author of this psalm to David, who was a shepherd before becoming Israel’s beloved king. And in reflection of his own work and life, David recognizes the work he was called to do previously as a shepherd can correlate to the work he knows God does for each of us, each and every single day. So, in this song he lists the various aspects of what a shepherd does. A shepherd dedicates his life to caring for creatures who cannot care for themselves. The relationship of the shepherd and sheep is one of love, protection, and guidance.

At the beginning David states, The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. As a child, I confess, I used to think what a harsh line, saying God is my shepherd, but I don’t want Him. It can be heard that way, but that’s not what it means. It means with Him we will need nothing, because He will provide all that we need. David starts this song out letting us know God will care for us, keep us safe, and provide for our needs. And with that line David then continues the Psalm proving that.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: Do you know sheep will walk continuously unless they are told to lay down by their shepherd? Usually their grazing time begins around 4am and in 6 hours they become hot, tired, and thirsty. But if they would drink when their stomachs are full, which it would be after 6 hours of grazing, they would get sick. So, to help the sheep keep what they have, the shepherd will make the sheep lie down in green pastures, that is cool, soft spots to digest. In this line, David is claiming that God will lead us to rest. Personally, I believe that is what the Sabbath is for, to rest our hearts, our minds, our bodies, our souls in God. Because God will take care of us when we won’t, to make certain we get the rest we need to continue in our journeys.

Next: He leadeth me beside the still waters, he restoreth my soul. Because of its heavy coat of wool, sheep are poor swimmers. Therefore, they will not drink from running water for fear of being pulled into the water and drowning. Sheep will only drink from still waters and if the shepherd cannot find still waters for the sheep, he creates it. The shepherd will seek out rocks and place them in an area close to the water to form still waters for the sheep to drink from. In this line David claims God won’t push us beyond our own fears, instead God will restore us with gentleness and compassion with a Living Water that restores our souls (John 4).

Moving on, He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Sheep have poor eyesight; they cannot see beyond 15 yards. And in Israel if you are not paying attention to where you are going, you could end up going over a cliff. Which is common for sheep, they don’t pay attention to what is before them, as they are limited on what they can see. Sheep follow their shepherd, trusting the shepherd knows the good and right way. In Proverbs 3:6 we read, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths. If we choose to follow the Lord our Shepherd, David claims we will be safe, we will be directed to the right path, the path God travels with us.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; In Palestine there is an actual valley known as the Shadow of Death. It leads from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea and it is very narrow and dangerous as it weaves its way through the mountain range. The path is rough - but the sheep will not fear so long as the shepherd is with them. Here David is reiterating the fact that whatever pathway we find ourselves on, through pain, through uncertainty, loneliness, even death, we do not fear because God is with us. And for us we know that even more so because of the Emmanuel, God with us, who is Jesus, sent to help us.

David then states: Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  There are 2 tools a shepherd carries with them: a rod and a staff. The rod provides protection as a weapon; it is a heavy hard club 2-3 feet long. The staff is about 8 feet long and its end was turned into a crook. If they are traveling and the sheep lose their footing and slip down a ledge, the shepherd will grab onto the sheep and pull it back to safety. Consider David’s story, how he witnessed the rod and staff of God protecting him. He survived lions attacking him, a giant trying to kill him, not to mention the various battles he went on to fight in the army for Israel. David knew it was God who gave him strength and protection through those difficult times. And David is saying God will meet our needs too with power, might, and strength. In our Gospel Lesson Jesus says, I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. And Jesus does with God’s power, might, and strength.

David continues, Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; In the Holy Lands, there are various plants that grow on the pastures that if eaten by the sheep, can be fatal. There are also thorns that could harm the sheep. Each spring the shepherds would dig out those enemies, those plants and thorns and pile them up and burn them so that the pastures were safe for the sheep. God knows our enemies, God knows what works to destroy us, and God is at work to save us. That’s why God gave us Jesus, to defend us, redeems us, save us. And He prepares a way for us that leads to healing.

Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. As the sheep travel, they still may get bumped, bruised, scratched, scraped. When they come into the gate of their fold, the shepherd will examine the sheep one by one and if there is a cut or scrape, the shepherd will place oil on the cut to heal the sheep. The shepherd will also provide water for the sheep to drink as they come in, usually using a big cup. God sees our cuts and scrapes, as does Jesus, and He is there to help us, heal us, refresh us.

Which all leads to: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Now do you see why it is so important to understand this Psalm to better understand the statement Jesus gives as being the Good Shepherd? Because it proves His great love for us. The promised Messiah was to be a loving shepherd as prophesized in Ezekiel 34 when God says, “15I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. 16I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak” Jesus is that Shepherd. Jesus is our Shepherd. He is our Lord and in Him we shall not want for anything.

In his ministry, the Rev. Charles Allen would assign various parishioners struggling with difficulties in their lives to read the 23rd Psalm for 5 times a day for a week. Rev. Allen claimed “The 23rd Psalm is a pattern of thinking, and when a mind becomes saturated with it, a new way of thinking and a new life are the result…Its power is not in memorizing the words, but rather in thinking the thoughts as it represents a positive, hopeful, faithful approach to life. The 23rd Psalm tells that above all the strife and fears, the hungers and the weaknesses of mankind, there is a Shepherd in whom we shall not want nor need a thing” (God’s Psychiatry by Charles L. Allen, pp13-15). In our Gospel, Jesus claims 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me. Jesus is the Shepherd that will provide all that we need, all that we want. And we know this to be true. He is our protector, defender, our healer, our savior, our friend. Don’t let the shepherd language lead you astray, folks, instead embrace it, welcome it, and accept your place in the fold.

Let us pray: Good and loving shepherd, feed us with Your love, tend to us with Your care, save us for life with You. Amen.

 

Closing Song: Stand in Your Love by LUMC Praise Band

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/stand-in-your-love/s-jIkIbW7MT0h

When darkness tries to roll over my bones When sorrow comes to steal the joy, I own
When brokenness and pain is all I know Oh, I won't be shaken, no, I won't be shaken

My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love!

Shame no longer has a place to hide I am not a captive to the lies
I'm not afraid to leave my past behind Oh, I won't be shaken, no, I won't be shaken!

'Cause my fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love!
Oh, I'm standing

There's power that can break off every chain There's power that can empty out a grave
There's resurrection power that can save There's power in Your name, power in Your name
There's power that can break off every chain There's power that can empty out a grave
There's resurrection power that can save There's power in Your name, power in Your name!

My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love
My fear doesn't stand a chance When I stand in Your love!

 

Benediction: Hebrews 13:20-2120 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 
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