November 15, 2020 - Home Worship Service

Nov 15th

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. Both have live musicians!

No Sunday School just yet.

 

Another alternative for worship is Sunday 9:00 am Zoom Worship & Prayer

Join Zoom Meeting

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Meeting ID: 854 4146 8430

Passcode: 279040

 

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Meeting ID: 854 4146 8430

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Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kQpxTe770

 

Worship:

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

L: The time for harvest is close at hand. What have you done with the gifts God has given you?
P: We have brought our gifts to the house of the Lord.
L: Praise God for the gifts and for opportunities for service that they represent.
P: We praise God for all the ways in which our lives have been blessed.
L: Generous God, accept our gifts and our lives this day.
P: Loving God, accept our praise and gratitude. AMEN.

 

Opening Song: Nearer My God to Thee by Donna Farver

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/nearer-my-god-to-ther-1

 

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

E'en though it be a cross that raiseth me.

Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee,

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

 

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,

Darkness be over me, my rest a stone,

Yet in my dreams I'd be, nearer, my God, to Thee,

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

 

Then, with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,

Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;

So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee;

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

 

Opening Prayer

Loving God be with us this day as we gather to worship. Clear our minds of all the distractions which would draw us away from you. Open our hearts and spirits and let Your healing and empowering love flow in. Prepare us to be witnesses to Your power and love as we use the gifts with which You have blessed us in Your service. For we offer this prayer in the name of Your Son our Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN.

 

Children’s Time

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!

 

Today I am going to be discussing a judge by the name of Deborah. Watch this video to get a better understanding of her story: https://youtu.be/oWxgzS5ck0U

 

God can use anyone that is willing to serve God and to help follow God’s will for us.

 

Let us pray: Thank You God, that You use women and men and all people to help others in Your Name. Amen.

 

Joys & Concerns

Prayer & Pastoral Prayer

Wise and Patient God, we know what You want us to do, but we are far too often hesitant to follow through for You. You give us multiple blessings and ask that we develop these gifts and use them to help others. In times of great crisis, we come through, we mobilize. But in the intermediate times, we hold back. We develop a "let someone else do it" attitude. We often think of our gifts, our talents as things that are less than worthy. In this country in which competition is the ruling code, we don’t want to compete with others, because we feel we just don’t have the right "stuff". But You, Lord, have given to each one of us, gifts which can be used to help others.

One of the greatest gifts is the gift of prayer. And we have brought before You, Lord, the concerns which have been weighing on our hearts. Touch the lives of all these people and situations with Your healing love. Give each one a sense of Your powerful presence. Flood their lives with hope and peace. Help each one of us to be workers for You. Help us to trust in Your abiding presence and love for us. Challenge us to use the gifts and to honor the giver, for we ask these things in Jesus’ Name, 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. [1]

 

Offering Invitation: With great joy we receive our morning offering today. This is a vital reminder of the many ways in which we can serve God through the ministries and mission of this church.

 

Offering Prayer:

There are no limits to the gifts You have given us, gracious Lord. Now we return thanks to You for these gifts and we bring these tokens to You, asking for Your blessing on givers and gifts. Help these gifts and givers to be Your witnesses throughout the world. AMEN.

 

Sermon:  Limitless with God

 

When I was a kid, one of my favorite tv shows to watch was Candid Camera. The show involved concealed cameras filming ordinary people being confronted with unusual situations, sometimes involving trick props, such as a desk with drawers that pop open when one is closed or a car with a hidden extra gas tank. When the joke was revealed, victims were told the show's catchphrase, “Smile! You're on Candid Camera."

            When I was looking up videos from that show, that first aired in the 1950’s, I came across this one filmed in 1963, about a woman being a pilot. https://youtu.be/iMuZI5kmpVU

Now today there are about 6,000 women pilots in commercial aviation. Back in 1963, when this joke was played, American Airlines had none.

            Women have come a long way, baby, especially in leadership. However, in the Old Testament we meet a female leader named Deborah who shines God’s light on the Israelites to help resolve a problem.

 

Scripture: Judges 4:1-10

4The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, after Ehud died. 2So the Lord sold them into the hand of King Jabin of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-ha-goiim. 3Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help; for he had nine hundred chariots of iron and had oppressed the Israelites cruelly for twenty years.

4 At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel. 5She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came up to her for judgement. 6She sent and summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you, “Go, take position at Mount Tabor, bringing ten thousand from the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun. 7I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the Wadi Kishon with his chariots and his troops; and I will give him into your hand.” ’ 8Barak said to her, ‘If you will go with me, I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.’ 9And she said, ‘I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.’ Then Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and ten thousand warriors went up behind him; and Deborah went up with him.

 

If you recall your Old Testament history, the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel, each inherit land to become the 12 tribes of Israel under Moses’ leadership. One of the northern tribes of Israel was given to the descendants of Naphtali, bordering the Sea of Galilee. However, when the people received it, they chose not to drive out the current people living there, which were the Canaanites. Which meant the Canaanites oppressed the Naphtali tribe. And eventually their oppression was unbearable, so the people called upon God for help, and God responded through Deborah.

This is what we know about Deborah:

  • Deborah was the wife of Lapidoth.
  • Deborah was a prophet of God.
  • She is the 4th judge mentioned in the book of Judges, and the only female judge mentioned in the Bible.
  • She was a leader of Israel.

Sadly, scripture does not go into a lot of Deborah’s story beyond that. We are not told how she rose to these positions or her triumphs and struggles along the way. We simply step into Deborah’s story in Judges 4 and find her holding “court” beneath a palm tree. This open setting to all was a symbol of her fairness, and refusal to show partiality in her rulings. Scripture says that the people sought out Deborah’s judgment.

And God sought out Deborah’s leadership in response to the cries of help from her people due to the oppression caused by Sisera and his army, verse 6, 6She sent and summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you, “Go, take position at Mount Tabor, bringing ten thousand from the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun. 7I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the Wadi Kishon with his chariots and his troops; and I will give him into your hand.”’

Barak, who was a Naphtalite, had been chosen by God to lead a military force of 10,000 of his tribe against their Canaanite oppressors. But notice how Barak responded to the judge of the land, Deborah, stating in verse 8, ‘If you will go with me, I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.’ Was he afraid, or did he want her to go for support? This has been an ongoing debate of Biblical scholars, however, Barak’s reaction to Deborah’s command does reveal that he does not question her authority, her ability, her wisdom, or her knowledge. He did not question any of that, he just asked her to go along, and I believe he did so because

Barak wanted this woman of faith to come with him, he wanted someone near that believed in the faithfulness of God so that when his faith wavered in fear, she was there to encourage that faith once more.

            It’s like when you are getting ready to get a treatment, or test results, or surgery, what do you do but you call on the people of this church family to pray for you, and often times you remark you feel and sense their prayers. Because in the dark moments of life, we need someone else to hold the light. And that’s who Deborah was for Barak.

            Now you may be sitting there, wondering who your Deborah is. And I get it. I did too. I thought of who I would call when I needed a person of faith by my side. But honestly, I don’t think that is only what this passage is about. It is to also inspire us that there will come a time when we are called to be a Deborah to others in their moments of darkness. Jesus certainly reiterated that when he states in Matthew 5:14-16, 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

            Deborah is an inspiration in that she offered the light, the goodness, the glory of God to others, in her judgements and in her actions. Jesus tells us we are to do the same. All of us. Because Jesus wants us to offer ourselves to God as a vessel, which means it does not matter what skills we have or do not have, with God, we can do all things when we trust God and God’s power to enlighten us and reflect upon those around us.

            So how does the story of Deborah end? As you saw in the children’s message, Deborah goes to battle, and in the end the Israelites win and Deborah leads the people to glorify God. This is known as Deborah’s Song of Victory. 2 “That the leaders took the lead in Israel, that the people offered themselves willingly, bless the Lord! 3 “Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes; to the Lord I will sing; I will make melody to the Lord, the God of Israel. 12 “Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, break out in a song! Arise, Barak, lead away your captives, O son of Abinoam.13 Then down marched the remnant of the noble; the people of the Lord marched down for me against the mighty. 31 “So may all your enemies perish, O Lord! But your friends be like the sun as he rises in his might.” The story then ends with: And the land had rest for forty years.

            Friends, there will be times that we find ourselves in a difficult situation, not because a camera is filming us for a tv show, but because that’s life. And we may feel ill-equipped to lead, or to participate, or even to support, even though we know God called us to assist. Doubt is a common companion to faith. However, when God calls you to something, when God lays something on your heart it doesn’t matter if you have the perfect skill or the right words to say, your authority comes from God. By yourself, you feel like you are not enough, but with God, you don’t have to be enough because God is. That’s what we see in Deborah, that’s what we see with Barak, that’s what we see in the apostles. Our victory is assured when we trust God, adjust our mindset to God’s will, and shine His light reflected on us.

            Let us pray: O God, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning, incline our hearts and lives that having done Your will with trust and obedience, we may rejoice to give You thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Closing Song: Climb Up the Mountain by the LUMC Praise Band

 

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/climb-up-the-mountain/s-QzMSQHW2ALs

 

I look into your eyes I can see your innocence

I want more for you than I, could ever hope too

 

Climb up the mountain and then touch the sky

Reach for your dreams don’t let life pass you by

There will be valleys and struggles for you

Just lean on Jesus, He’ll help you break through

 

I want you to take the chance

Step out onto the ledge

Look down on the world below

Take a chance and let it go

 

Climb up the mountain and then touch the sky

Reach for your dreams don’t let life pass you by

There will be valleys and struggles for you

Just lean on Jesus, He’ll help you break through

 

Oh, I hope you will be alright Cause I pray for you day and at night

That you’ll find your way to His light

 

Climb up the mountain and then touch the sky

Reach for your dreams don’t let life pass you by

There will be valleys and struggles for you

Just lean on Jesus, He’ll help you break through

(repeat)

 

Benediction:

As you have been blessed, now go to be a blessing to others. Go, bringing the news of peace and hope, of healing and love. Go and the light of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will be with you.  AMEN.

 

 
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