November 8, 2020 - Home Worship Service

Welcome & Announcements: Good morning church!

We continue to offer in person worship at Lightstreet. No reservations needed.

 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 will have live musicians!

No Sunday School just yet.

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

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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

 

Opening: Recognition of Veterans & Special Prayer

Take a few moments to recognize our Veterans – If you or someone in your family served in the armed forces- please raise your hands.

If you were that someone who served in the armed forces- please keep your hand up, the rest of you put your hand down.

Look around and recognize your veterans and give them thanks. (applause)

Veteran’s Day Prayer:

Dear Lord,
Today we honor our veterans, worthy men and women who gave their best when they were called upon to serve and protect their country. We pray that You will bless them, Lord, for their unselfish service in the continual struggle to preserve our freedoms, our safety, and our country’s heritage, for all of us. Bless them abundantly for the hardships they faced, for the sacrifices they made for their many different contributions to America’s victories over tyranny and oppression. We respect them, we thank them, we honor them, we are proud of them, and we pray that You will watch over these special people and bless them with peace and happiness. In Jesus’ name we pray; Amen.

 

Opening Song: Let There be Peace on Earth

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/let-there-be-peace

 

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me

 Let there be peace on earth the peace that was meant to be.

 

With God our creator, family all are we.

Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony.

 

 Let peace begin with me let this be the moment now

 With every step I take let this be my solemn vow.

 

 To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally

 Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

 

Opening Prayer: Almighty God, who judges us not by our righteousness but in Your mercy: In Your compassion grant us an increase of faith, for we know that You will not deny Your loving kindness to those who believe in You; We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with You and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Children’s Message:

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!

 

What do you think is a great age? Why? What is a great age to change the world?

 

No matter what limits we have- age, size, physical abilities, we can always do something to help others. No matter what, each one of us can do something to bless others. Consider how you can bring blessings to others. Maybe it’s raking a neighbor’s leaves. Or sending a card to someone or a drawing you made. Whatever you can do, and whatever you share, I know you will bring a smile to someone else’s face. And that smile can help change the world.  

 

Prayer: Thank You God that we all have a part in helping this world. Amen.

 

Prayer & Lord’s Prayer:

Gracious God, You have created all that is in this world and You have called it good. From nature to animals to people, we are blessed in Your name. And in that blessing, there is joy.

 

Today we thank You for the other joys we have witnessed…Thank You Lord for Your gifts. And thank You for Your presence.

 

Lord we know that many times we are quick to share with You our concerns, our troubles. But we do that because in every problem, we know that there is comfort in You. Comfort from Your forgiveness, comfort from Your strength in the Spirit, comfort in Your love.

 

Today we lift up to You the names of loved ones who are struggling in this life. And we seek Your healing for them. We pray for…

 

Lord in Your mercy and in Your wisdom, may Your will be done, may Your guidance be known, may these prayers be received, for we pray them in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ who taught us to say these simple and yet powerful words to praise You, 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 thank you for your ongoing support of the ministries of the United Methodist Church, both local and abroad. We thank you for sharing your gifts.  

 

Offering Prayer: O God, most merciful and gracious, of whose bounty we have all received, accept this offering of Your people. Remember in Your love those who have brought it and those for whom it is given, and so follow it with Your blessing that it may promote peace and goodwill among all peoples, and advance the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Scripture Lesson: Psalm 92

A psalm. A song. For the Sabbath day.

1 It is good to praise the Lord and make music to Your name, O Most High,
2 proclaiming Your love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night,
3 to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.

4 For You make me glad by Your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what Your hands have done.
5 How great are Your works, Lord, how profound Your thoughts!
6 Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand,
7 that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.

8 But You, Lord, are forever exalted.

9 For surely Your enemies, Lord, surely Your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered.
10 You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured on me.
11 My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes.

12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; He is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in Him.”

 

Sermon: A Little More Time

 

There’s a story in the book of Isaiah about a king named Hezekiah who had witnessed the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel while he ruled over the southern kingdom of Judah. Yet he was a faithful to God and God’s people as he ruled over them.

 

But one day, King Hezekiah became sick, in fact he was to the point of death. And Isaiah was sent by God to prophesize to Hezekiah saying, “Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.” Isaiah 38:1

 

However Hezekiah did not like this news, so he prayed to God, 3 “Remember now, O Lord, I implore You, how I have walked before You in faithfulness with a whole heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.”

 

Then God says verse 5, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life.”

 

And so, God did. And in that time Hezekiah introduced religious reform and reinstated religious traditions.

He abolished idolatry from his kingdom and centralized the worship of God at the Jerusalem Temple.

Hezekiah also resumed the Passover pilgrimage and the tradition of inviting the scattered tribes of Israel to take part in a Passover festival in Jerusalem. Hezekiah was a good king and a faithful servant to God. Hezekiah received the gift of a little more time, and in so doing, brought blessings to others.

 

What would you do with the gift of a little more time? It seems to me we have been given that gift.

Did you know that America's population of persons aged 90-and-older has almost tripled since 1980, reaching 1.9 million in 2010 and will continue to increase to more than 7.6 million over the next 40 years?[1] Now there are many reasons as to why we are living longer. Our lifestyles have changed, the work we do, and of course medical advancements. But the fact that each year we are living longer says this to me- we have all been given the gift of a little more time. And how we choose to use and receive that gift can be an act of faith.

 

In our Scripture lesson, the Psalm we read today has an interesting history. We don’t know who wrote it, but we do know that it was sung by the Levites, the keeper of the law of the Jewish faith, they sang this psalm on the Sabbath, at the temple. And as you heard this is a song that gives praise to God, thanking God for His redemption against one’s enemies, thanking God for His trustworthiness and reliability. This text says, no matter what may come one’s way, God is there to save. And therefore, to be praised.

 

And in describing God’s faithfulness, in this psalm, there is also a description of those who are righteous, those who follow and trust in God’s goodness and mercy. Verse 12 “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. The psalmist describes the righteous person as similar to a palm tree. Now I did not know much about palm trees before I studied this passage. I have seen them, but I did not understand why this particular tree was used in this text other than it is a popular tree in Israel. But I have since discovered that palm trees grow slowly, live for centuries, and they produce their best fruit, after they are considered old. This is why the Psalmist continues, They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; He is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in Him.”

 

We don’t know who wrote this passage, but I am beginning to think it was written by a person with experience and time in regard to their faith in God. A faith that leads them to celebrate and praise God, inspiring others to do the same. Remember it was the text used every Sabbath by the Levites. And as this Scripture spoke to that religious group, we need to listen to it today.  We need to be like the palm tree…to keep growing so that we can produce our best fruits with time.

 

Because you and I, we all have a little more time. And I am not just talking age, but let’s face it, the pandemic has limited what we can and cannot do. Which means you probably find a little more time on your hands, regardless of your age.

 

And 9 months into this pandemic, you have probably cleaned your house thoroughly at least 3 times, reorganized your closets, filled your pantry with canned goods or your freezer with meals. But what if you decided to take a tithe of your time, and give it back to God? More time to be inspired and inspire, more time to be encouraged and encourage, more time to be loved and to love, as God would want us to.

 

According to a recent study conducted by Harvard, those who volunteer for about two hours per week have higher levels of physical activity and an improved sense of well-being.[2]"Volunteering might help enrich our own lives by strengthening our bonds to others, helping us feel a sense of purpose and optimism, and protecting us from feelings of loneliness, depressive symptoms, and hopelessness," said study author Eric Kim.

 

And with the pandemic, studies are showing those who volunteer during the time are able to better adjust emotionally than those who are not volunteering. Examples of such volunteering are checking in on your neighbor, getting groceries for a friend, making masks for others, working at a food pantry, or even virtual volunteering through websites like Idealist or Points of Light, where you can find suggestions and needs throughout the world to tutor, write grants, proof read, etc. "I encourage people to think about their values and the causes they care most about," Kim said. "Whatever the cause, now is a moment in history when society needs your service the most. If you are able to do so while abiding by public health guidelines, you not only help heal the world, but you might help yourself as well."

 

Going back to Hezekiah. According to the work of archaeologists and historical scholars, the continuous reign of Hezekiah saw a notable increase in the power of the Judean state. During his reign, Judah was the strongest nation on the Assyrian–Egyptian frontier. There were increases in literacy and in the production of literary works. The massive construction of the Broad Wall was made during his reign to fortify Jerusalem. It was 7 meters thick. Here is a picture of its remains today.

 The Broad Wall

 

The Siloam Tunnel was created because knowing that Jerusalem would eventually be subject to siege, Hezekiah constructed this tunnel to bring fresh water to the city from a spring outside its walls.

 

 The Siloam Tunnel        

 

With these advancements, the population increased in Jerusalem up to 25,000, "five times the population under Solomon." [3]

 

With a little more time, Hezekiah encouraged, strengthened, and protected God’s people. In fact he is one of the few kings praised so highly as to have “trusted in the Lord the God of Israel; so that there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah after him, or among those who were before him”  2 Kings 18:5

 

Friends, right now, we have been given the gift of a little more time, we live longer, and we are limited on what we can do due to COVID, but on this day may we be grateful for that gift of time, so that like the palm tree, we can keep growing to produce our best fruits yet, and bring blessings to others, as we serve our God.

 

Let us pray:

Then the Lord said, “My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years”. (Genesis 6:3)

Dear Lord, we do need time to grow.

The glory of youths is their strength, but the beauty of the aged is their gray hair. (Proverbs 20:29)

Give us strength and experience.

Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life. (Proverbs 16:31)

Day by day may we strive to be more holy. Amen.

 

Closing Song: Prince of Peace

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/prince-of-peace

 

You are holy
You are mighty
You are worthy, worthy of praise
I will follow
I will listen
I will love you, all of my days

 

I will sing to and worship the King who is worthy
I will love and adore Him, I will bow down before Him
And I will sing to and worship the King who is worthy
And I will love and adore,  and I will bow down before Him
You're my Prince of Peace, and I will live my life for You 

 

Repeat

 

Benediction: Numbers 6:24-26

“‘“The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’ Amen.

 

 

 

 

 
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