November 12, 2023 - Home Worship

For the week of November 12-18 – 24th Sunday after Pentecost

Morning Prayer Creator God, who claims us as Your own, we bring our full selves to worship today. Our happiness and our sorrow, our singing and our crying, our strengths, and our failures—we carry it all. Teach us to trust that Your faithfulness endures in all the seasons and circumstances of our lives. Help us to know that all that we are is bound to You and teach us to rest on Your steadfast love as the source of our gratitude and joy as we, Your sheep, follow You wherever You lead. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn: #696 America the Beautiful

  1. O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain;
    for purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain!
    America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
    and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.
  2. O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife,
    who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life!
    America! America! May God thy gold refine,
    till all success be nobleness, and every gain divine.
  3. O beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years
    thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears!
    America! America! God mend thine every flaw,
    confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.

Psalm 78:1-7

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,

things that we have heard and known, that our ancestors have told us.

We will not hide them from their children; we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done.

He established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our ancestors to teach to their children;

that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and rise up and tell them to their children,

so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments;

Children’s Time Joshua 24:14-16

“Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.

Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods;

Children’s Message

Who can tell me what a hero is? A hero is someone who is courageous and brave. There are heroes and heroines in the Bible. All of them are brave, courageous, and more, but not always in the way you would expect. The hero in our Bible story today is Joshua. What makes him a hero? He served God with his whole heart. Serving God with your whole heart may not sound very heroic, but let’s look at the facts and see what you think when you have heard the whole story!

God had chosen Moses to lead the Israelites into the promised land. Unfortunately, Moses did not always obey what God told him to do. Because of this, God told Moses, "Because you did not trust me enough to do what I told you to do, you will not be the one to bring my people into the land I have given them." So, when it was time for the people of Israel to go into the land God had promised, God took Moses up to a mountain to see the Promised Land. He did this because He knew that Moses was about to die. Moses knew this too, so he asked God to give the people of Israel a leader. God already had someone in mind.

God knew that Joshua had the ability to be a wise leader, so God told Moses to put Joshua in charge while everyone was watching. "Have him stand before the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him." (Numbers 27:19-20) Moses did what God told him to do. He presented Joshua to all of the people of Israel. Then Eleazar the priest laid his hands on Joshua and commissioned him to lead the people.

After Moses died, God began to speak to Joshua. God’s first words to Joshua were a reminder of what Joshua already believed about God. He said, "My servant Moses is dead. Now then, I want you and all of these people to get ready to go across the Jordan River. I want you to go into the land I am about to give the people of Israel." God told Joshua that all of the land was theirs—just as He had promised. It was finally time! And Joshua would lead the people into the land he trusted God was giving them forty years before! As God talked with Joshua, He told him, "This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9) So, just as God gave the orders to Joshua, Joshua gave the orders to the people. Joshua even encouraged the people as God had encouraged him, "Just be strong and brave."

After Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan River into the land that God had promised them, they came to the city of Jericho. Jericho had high walls around it and the gates were shut tight because the people were afraid of the Israelites. But the Lord said to Joshua, "I have given you the city of Jericho. You and your fighting men are to walk around the town once a day for six days. On the seventh day, you are to march around the town seven times with the priests blowing their ram's horns. When you hear the priests give one long blast on their horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse and you can take the town." Joshua did as the Lord told him and the Israelites captured the town of Jericho.

All the people heard that the Israelites had captured Jericho and they were afraid. They knew God was helping Joshua and the Israelites. Joshua led the Israelites from city to city. They captured all the promised land.

Joshua stood firm in his belief in God. He told the people, "But suppose you don't want to serve God. Then choose for yourselves right now whom you will serve. You can choose the gods your people served or you can choose the gods the Amorites serve. After all, you are living in their land. But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.

Because they saw Joshua's strong faith in God, the people replied, "We would never abandon the Lord and serve other gods. For the Lord our God is the one who rescued us from slavery in the land of Egypt. He performed mighty miracles before our very eyes. As we traveled through the wilderness among our enemies, He preserved us. So we, too, will serve the Lord, for He alone is our God."

Father, help us, like Joshua, to be strong in our faith and to obey what Your Word commands. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. (

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: KidsPeace wish lists for the children who are in their care are posted at the rear.  Choose a child to shop for, either individually or share a child’s list among friends.  Gifts should be wrapped with the angel tag attached and the child’s number on every gift.  Please have gifts here no later than December 3.  

Offering prayer: Holy Shepherd of all generations, we bring our gifts this morning with thanksgiving and praise! We present these tithes and offerings not from hearts of obligation or debt, but with the confidence and joy that through Your love made incarnate in Your son Jesus, You’ve forever removed our debt. Our joy and gratitude are hard to contain. Use our gifts and our lives to do Your work of compassion, mercy, and redemption. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn of Preparation #381 Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us

  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, Thine 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. Thou hast promised to receive us, poor and sinful though we be;
    Thou hast mercy to relieve us, grace to cleanse and power to free.
    Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! We will early turn to Thee.
    Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! We will early turn to Thee.
  4. 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.

Message Scripture:  Matthew 25:1-13

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Message:                       Pastor Becky

As Pennsylvanians, what should we expect in the winter months? SNOW, ICE, and COLD!

Because we expect this, we have snow shovels, snow blowers, ice scrapers, ice melt, and warm clothes. We install alternative heating and generators (or at the very least, we possess extra blankets.) We have all the big stuff we think we will need.

But do you have a full winter storm kit? The stuff we will need if we were to have deep, heavy snow or thick ice. The kind of storm that contains the possibility or high probability of keeping us stuck in our homes for 3-4 days or more? According to, the federal disaster website, there is a list of the bare essentials for our homes for sticking out one of these storms.

We should have in our homes:

  1. At least one gallon of water per person
  2. Flashlight with extra batteries
  3. First aid kit
  4. Baby wipes, hand sanitizer, and garbage bags
  5. Hand crank can opener
  6. Canned food
  7. Prescriptions
  8. cash

Our cars should also be ready:

  1. Full tank of gas
  2. Blanket
  3. Extra cell phone charger
  4. Jumper cables
  5. Cat litter or sand for traction

We know all of this and at one time or another, we have gathered all these things. I’m certain, we can find all these things in our homes, if we needed to – but I am also certain, they aren’t all in one place, neatly marked – WINTER STORM KIT.

The other obstacle we have is the last few years, winter hasn’t really been winter. We have gotten some snow, some ice but really it’s been more of a nuisance than anything resembling winter. Unfortunately, our short memory will be our downfall. One storm will catch us unprepared. We know what to do to prepare, but will we or will we rely on our own confidence, thumbing our noses at the weather reporters? The appearance of winter, winter with its feet of snow, will come again. It has only been delayed, the weather patterns may have changed, but it will come.

The delay is the problem the bridesmaids faced. They were chosen to be part of the wedding party. Being chosen implies the bride and groom had confidence in their abilities to perform their duties. They were up to the task to attend to the needs of both the bride and groom. There was an assumption of readiness, but the delay caught half of them unaware.

We don’t know how long the delay was. Usually, weddings happen about one year after the betrothal. The bridesmaids must have heard rumblings and rumors that the time was soon, after all, they have their lamps. The lamps were vital in lighting the way for the groom to get his bride, because weddings happened at night. Now half had extra oil and the other half did not. Those that didn’t have extra oil may have just thought, ok. If we get through tonight, tomorrow we will get more. But the bridegroom shows up that night, the night they weren’t ready for.

Well, you may think, they should have been ready! They were chosen and this is important for the bride and groom. It is a testament to their commitment to the relationship they have with the bride and the groom. The bride and groom are counting on them. Delay or no delay, they should have been ready. Before we get too self-righteous, do you have your winter kit ready?

Because, let’s be honest, after a while, we all get sleepy about what we are to be doing to stay ready for Jesus’ return. We may not completely neglect our duty; we may not give our duties the attention we once did. We let opportunities pass us by and think, we will attend to it tomorrow. Like, when was the last time you invited someone to church? Checked up on a shut-in? Prayed with another? Engaged in acts of charity or mercy?

I think we can gauge the level of commitment by this question I frequently get asked: What is the least I have to do to be considered a Christian? The question gets asked as a reflection of what seekers or new believers see in the community they find themselves in. The other question I think can determine the health or well being of a community is the obsession with the end times. The focus turns to looking for signs and following predictions, which so far haven’t been accurate, because we are still here. But the change of focus moves us away from following Jesus and looking to our own safety.

Jesus admonishes us to keep awake, for you know neither the day or time and we don’t. This isn’t knowledge for us to have, Jesus knows what we can be trusted with and knowing when is the end, it’s one of those things. What He is entrusting us with, is what to be found doing upon His return: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, freeing the oppressed and embracing the marginalized. We have been given the words of the prophets and the teachings of Jesus; this should keep us awake. And for good measure, build your winter disaster kit. Amen.

Closing Hymn #577 God of Grace and God of Glory

  1. God of grace and God of glory, on Thy people pour Thy power;
    Crown Thine ancient church’s story; bring her bud to glorious flower.

Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the facing of this hour, (of this hour)

For the facing of this hour.

  1. Lo! the hosts of evil round us scorn Thy Christ, assail His ways!
    Fears and doubts too long have bound us; free our hearts to work and praise.

Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the living of these days, (of these days)

For the living of these days.

  1. Cure Thy children’s warring madness, bend our pride to Thy control;
    Shame our wanton, selfish gladness, rich in things and poor in soul.

Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal,

(kingdom’s goal) lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal.

  1. Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore;
    Let the search for Thy salvation be our glory evermore.

Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, serving Thee who we adore, (we adore)

Serving Thee whom we adore.

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