Welcome & Announcements: Good morning church!
We continue to offer in person worship at Lightstreet.
8am contemporary service in the Lighthouse and 10:30am is our traditional service in the church sanctuary. You will need a mask and will be asked to be spaced apart from others unless you are sitting with those in your household. 8am offers live musicians. 10:30am will be sung to recordings this week.
Another alternative for worship is Sunday 9:00 am Zoom Worship & Prayer
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 854 4146 8430
One tap mobile
+13126266799,85441468430#,,,,,,0#,279040# US (Chicago)
+19294362866,85441468430#,,,,,,0#,279040# US (New York)
Dial by your location
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 929 436 2866 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
Meeting ID: 854 4146 8430
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kQpxTe770
This week communion will be offered during the 9am ZOOM worship that Pastor Jenn leads. Have on hand bread/crackers and some form of juice. If you cannot connect, the communion elements will be blessed by 10am Sunday morning, including your own. You may read the blessing after the message below and know by 10 am you can take the elements for communion.
Next Sunday, Nov 29th, following the 8am worship service: We will be decorating the Lighthouse and the church sanctuary for the Advent Season. If you can come join us around 9am, we would appreciate your assistance to prepare our sanctuaries for the glorious season.
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.
Call to Worship:
Now is the time of harvest; the time when we gather in the bounty
We bring before God our bountiful lives.
Come, offer your praise and thanksgiving to the Lord of the Harvest.
We offer our praise to God who blesses our lives with goodness.
Gather us in, Lord. Gather us in.
Let our praise and worship be a tribute to your greatness, O God. AMEN.
Opening Song: We Gather Together by Donna Farver & Linda Creasy
1. We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His name; He forgets not His own.
2. Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
so from the beginning the fight we were winning;
thou, Lord, wast at our side, all glory be Thine!
3. We all do extol Thee, Thou leader triumphant,
and pray that Thou still our defender wilt be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord make us free!
Opening Prayer: God of rapidly moving times, of holidays and gatherings, be with us this day as we gather to offer You praise in thanksgiving for the many ways You have touched our lives. We open our hearts to Your stirring, healing words of love, poured out for us throughout all creation. We praise You for the bounty which surrounds us and for our time together. AMEN.
Children’s time: (Have a bag of M&M’s handy)
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!
Colossians 4:2: "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful."
Philippians 4:6-7: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Psalm 28:7: "The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him."
What do these verses have in common? Scripture that reminds us to give thanks. Here’s your challenge, grab a handful of M&Ms and for each one you eat, you have to name something you are thankful for.
Prayer: Thank You God, for everything! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Joys & Concerns:
Psalm 107:1 O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever.
Wondrous God, as the nation prepares to take time to celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving, may You accept this prayer that celebrates all that You give and all that we receive.
Lord we thank You for the gift of life and for the promise of tomorrow. Thank You for the satisfaction of our work and harvest as well as the grace of our leisure and rest. Thank You for the security of Your peace, and for the blessing of fellowship in this church and in our home.
With our gratitude we open our hearts and our lives so that Your gifts of love and compassion may flow through us, blessing others in Your name, in particular those we have lifted up before You this day, both out loud and silently. Too often we receive Your kindness and abundance, only to bottle it up inside, keeping it to ourselves. Today make us channels of Your goodness, guide us, and teach us to share, so that all people may know and experience a grateful and thankful season in Your name.
We ask all this through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who taught us to pray 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: Your offerings go to support the families we have helped through the local food banks, schools, and Agape. You give families and persons in need, something to be grateful for.
Offering Prayer: Patient and loving God, as we give our gifts to You, lead us to that place where our prayers and our giving are not focused on ourselves, but more on how we can make Your love real to others. Use our gifts, use our prayers, as a force for compassion and peace in our hurting world. In the name of Christ, our rock and redeemer. Amen.
Scripture Lesson: Genesis 2:15-17 and Genesis 3:1-13
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; 5 for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
8 They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”
Sermon: Gratitude vs Entitlement
If I were to say the word “gratitude” what comes to your mind? Thankfulness? Appreciation? According to Webster’s dictionary, “Gratitude is the state of being thankful”. Gratitude is a state that can make a huge difference if chosen to live into.
I once read this quote, “The struggle ends when gratitude begins.” (Neale Donald Walsch) What struggle is the author referring to? Actually, any struggle. Any struggle we find ourselves in, be it financial, emotional, spiritual, relational, the writer suggests that how to cope with any battle is found in gratitude, being thankful for what we do have.
In our scripture lesson today, we are taken back to the beginning, our beginning as humans, as males and females created in God’s image. And there was only one rule we were given to live by, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” Everything else was ours. But we couldn’t be satisfied with that, could we? We wanted more. I call this the original sin, it was what led to the fall, wanting more than what we have, it was what led Adam and Eve to give in and to take what was not theirs.
Now I know we can all say well the devil made them do it, that is if we believe that the devil was the serpent, but interestingly enough as I was reading up on this text, most scholars point out how the text does not come out and say this was the devil. What they get at is we must not forget that the serpent was part of God’s creation, a creation God blessed “good”. The text says this in verse 1 of chapter 3, Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. Crafty means he could look at something and challenge you to consider various aspects of what is presented to you. I know crafty people like that. You do, too. People who get us to think about or consider various aspects of a conversation or topic. That’s what the serpent does, the serpent represents anything in God’s good creation that can present options, choices, from which we decide how to perceive.
The serpent offered the question to Eve, why would God, who created you, say that by eating this fruit, it would kill you? He says to Eve, “You will not die; 5 for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” The serpent knew there was more to this story, and he got Adam and Eve to consider the same. But why didn’t God want them to eat this fruit?
Consider what tree the fruit was from? the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree was basically the tree that requires wisdom. Wisdom being the ability to discern what is good and what is evil compared to the interest of all. That is not something easy to obtain. Many times, decisions we have on what is good and what is evil ends up being chosen by self-interest, rather than what is right and best for all. Only God has a perspective that can view the created order as a whole, only God has the wisdom, the knowledge of good and evil.
So, God was trying to protect Adam and Eve. God was trying to protect us. And instead of trusting God, instead of being grateful for God the creator, the sustainer, Adam, and Eve wanted more, we want more.
They believed they were entitled to have it all. Many times, we believe that too.
Let’s talk about that word for a moment, entitlement- the state of believing that one deserves privileges.
It’s a tricky word, a word that can cause a lot of problems. And I tend to think entitlement comes down to what we worship, what we center and focus on. If we worship money, or power, or things then that is our focus, our goal, and we believe we are entitled to that goal. However if we worship a God who creates us and sustains us, who commands us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, a God who gives us money, power, and things for us to use for ourselves and others, then our lives center on that, recognizing we are entitled to a blessed life with the creating, sustaining God.
So, one of the issues of gratitude vs entitlement comes down to this: Can humans trust that God has their best interests at heart, even when we do not get, nor know everything? Do we trust God to be the One we worship and honor with our time, our gifts, our lives? Are we grateful for our God?
Let’s go back to the story, what happens after they eat the fruit? The text says their eyes were opened and they see the world differently. They realize the world is now viewed through their eyes, not God’s, and so they end up operating out of their own resources, not relying on God’s. Which means they separated themselves from God and what God gave them.
But what about God? What does God do? The text says God comes to them, knowing what they did and in verse 11 God says, “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” And then what happens was the first blame game of history occurred. Adam blames God for the woman God created for him. Eve blames the serpent. Both pointing the finger back to God. And so, God states what will be, now that they ate this fruit, their lives will no longer be as they were before, instead their lives will be limited, filled with anxiety, suffering, pain. All because they were not grateful for what they had, because they did not trust God’s care for them. Their ingratitude lead to thoughts of entitlement that only brought great struggles, struggles we continue to face.
Today, we will be celebrating communion. It’s a great act that reminds us of how gracious our God is, and how grateful we should be for Jesus Christ. And the communion service I will be using was given to me recently with these added thoughts to ponder before receiving the elements: “For whom am I most thankful (beyond family and Jesus)” “For what am I most thankful?” “Who will I contact today to thank?” and “For what challenge am I most thankful”. It’s that last one that gets you, right? However, it’s like Adam and Eve, if they would have viewed their limitations not as something to overcome, but as something to help them grow, we all would be better off. Because when we grow through our challenges, we always come out stronger and thankful.
That’s what the first Thanksgiving was about with the Pilgrims and Native Americans. That’s the reason President Lincoln named this holiday because the nation was torn, divided by the Civil War. But Oct 3, 1863 he made this statement, proclaiming the national holiday. “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.” And so he declared the 4th Thursday of November as a national holiday of Thanksgiving.
Which brings us back to this quote, “The struggle ends when gratitude begins.” (Neale Donald Walsch) If only Adam and Eve had just been grateful, if only we would learn to be more grateful, to have gratitude as our attitude, thankful for the God who loves us, thankful for the God who gives us what we need, when we need it. Accepting that we are never entitled to any more than that.
Prayer of Confession & Pardon:
Holy God You give and take away. You give us all that we need, all that is needed to help us. And You take; You take away problems, worries, pain, and fear. God help us this day realize we are not entitled to any more than that. Because we do not need any more than that, so long as we trust You, honor You, worship You, serve you, thankful for who You are for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The Great Thanksgiving:
We come to this table with thankful hearts.
Why do we give thanks at this table?
We give thanks because God has invited us here!
All God’s children are invited to the Lord’s supper.
We come humbly to the table, knowing that we have not earned our way here,
but are invited, guests at this feast of love.
Why do we eat at this table?
We eat at this table to remember that on the night before Jesus died, He ate with His friends.
Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it, He broke it and gave it to them saying,
“Take, eat. This is my body given for you. Each time you do this, remember Me.”
We take the cup with thankful hearts.
Why do we take the cup at this table?
We drink because that same night Jesus also took a cup, and after giving thanks, passed it to His friends saying, “Drink this cup. This cup, poured out for you, is the promise of God. Whenever you drink it, remember Me.”
Thanks be to You Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Your life freely for our salvation.
Our presence at this communion table is a sign. Here we remember the gift that is Jesus, the gift of His birth, His life, and His death on the cross. At this table we celebrate Christ’s resurrection. We remember that we are waiting in hope to see Jesus again.
Let's pray: God of grace, give us repentant hearts, forgiving hearts, clean hearts.
With thanksgiving we come to Your table. Send Your Spirit upon us so that we know that all who eat and drink in this room and around the world are one body, one holy people, giving thanks to You in an endless song of praise.
Thanks be to You Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Your life freely for our salvation. Amen.
Enjoying the Bread and Cup
Let us pray together:
Thank You for inviting us to this banquet! Help us to remember the gift we have received and to live as brothers and sisters, members of one grateful family. All praise to You Lord Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen.
Closing Song: Come Ye Thankful People, Come by Donna Farver & Linda Creasy
1. Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
come to God's own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.
2. All the world is God's own field, fruit as praise to God we yield;
wheat and tares together sown are to joy or sorrow grown;
first the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.
3. For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take the harvest home;
from the field shall in that day all offenses purge away,
giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
but the fruitful ears to store in the garner evermore.
4. Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring thy final harvest home;
gather thou thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
there, forever purified, in thy presence to abide;
come, with all thine angels, come, raise the glorious harvest home.
May we go forth with gratitude. Grateful for the love of God, the grace of Jesus Christ, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. Amen.