October 10, 2021 - Home Worship Service

October 10, 2021

Call to worship: Hebrews 4:12-16

L: Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow;

P: it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

L: And before Him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.

P: Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.

L: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.

P: Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hymn #399 Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrated

1 Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

Take my moments and my days; Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

2 Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.

Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.

Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

3 Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure-store.

Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

Morning prayer

We have had a hard week at home, school, work, and even in our communities, and we come this day looking for refuge. All week long, we have longed to be in your presence. In our time of worship together with You, O Lord, we seek the power of Your presence. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Children’s message: Scripture: Mark 10:28-31

Peter began to say to Him, “Look, we have left everything and followed You.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for My sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

A change of view

When I was in elementary school, the first Monday morning activity was assigning classroom jobs. There was a job for everyone. That is what made the classroom work. Some jobs were fun – like clapping erasers of their chalk dust, it would be fun to come back covered in white powder; cleaning the pencil sharpener – there is a trick to it. There was a messenger, who got to take notes to the office or anywhere in the building. There were some jobs which were no fun at all, like emptying trash cans or being a paper towel dispenser.

The one job everyone seemed to desire was to be the line leader. I understand why, you get to go first, you get the inside information of where we are going, again, first. But, is being first all that important? It isn’t the position Jesus wants us to be in. He prefers we trade our firstness and fall in last, not because we are less important, but because the view from the back is different. When you are in the back of the line, you get to see everyone else reach their destination. There is never a doubt that we won’t get where we are going, it’s the waiting until it’s our turn, but in the waiting, we get to marvel at all the ways in which God works all things to God’s good. We get reminded that all things are possible with God, and we can then bear witness to the mighty acts of salvation God works every day. The back of the line, in my opinion, has the best view.

Let us pray: Almighty God, shape our hearts in such a way that we rejoice in seeing others go first, to be the ones lifted up and encouraged. Allow us to understand there is no limit to what You can do in and through us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayers of Intercession: We come to You, dear Lord, with many people on our hearts and minds. Intercede for us, Lord Jesus. Answer our prayers, Father God. Thank You Jesus, for teaching us this prayer: 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 Spotlight: Missions designates money to the Clothes Closet, buying new coats for foster children and needy families in the local area. The Clothes Closet helps our area “Feel the Warmth of Jesus” when they come for free coats, winter clothing and lunch. The coat giveaway is Saturday, October 23, 10 am – 1 pm. Check the bulletin for ways you can reach out to your neighbors.

Offertory prayer: God of the cosmos and God of every heartbeat: Your work touches every corner of creation; yet, when times are hard, we wonder if You’ve deserted us, and we become tight-fisted and fearful that sharing with others will leave us empty handed. As we bring these gifts to Your altar, give us the eyes to see and the hearts to know that You never desert us and never send us away in need. In the name of Your Son who came to remind us of Your closeness and to give His life so that ours might be eternal. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Preparation Hymn: #415 Take Up Thy Cross

1 “Take up thy cross,” the Savor said, “if thou wouldst My disciple be;

Deny thyself, the world forsake, and humbly follow after me.”

2 Take up thy cross, let not its weight fill thy weak spirit with alarm;

His strength shall bear thy spirit up and brace thy heart and nerve thine arm.

3 Take up thy cross, nor heed the shame, nor let thy foolish pride rebel;

Thy Lord for thee the cross endured, to save thy soul from death and hell.

4 Take up thy cross and follow Christ, nor think till death to lay it down;

For only those who bear the cross may hope to wear the glorious crown.

Message scripture: Mark 10:17-31

As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” He said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

Peter began to say to Him, “Look, we have left everything and followed You.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for My sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

“HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?”

MARK 10:17-31

October 10, 2021

The late comedienne Joan Rivers once said something with which many people would agree. She said, “People say that money isn’t the key to happiness, but I figure if you have enough money, you can have a key made.” “I always figured if you had enough money…” said Joan Rivers. But I ask you: “HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?”

The late J. Paul Getty was reputed to be the richest man in the world during his day. He once complained to a newspaper reporter that inflation was hurting him and that a billion dollars was not what it used to be. Yes, sisters and brothers, that’s a “B” as in billion. And that was back when a billion dollars was a lot of money. Poor man.

Author and sociology professor Tony Campolo in his book, Everything You’ve Heard Is Wrong tells about a young idealistic student named Ralph he once had in one of his classes. During his undergraduate years, Ralph was committed to becoming an advocacy lawyer who would champion the rights of the oppressed and stand up against the exploitation of the poor. Ralph was full of passion for justice and radiated a compassion for the underdog that inspired all who knew him. By the time he graduated from law school, however, Ralph was deeply in debt. So he took a job with a large legal firm that specialized in corporate law and did as little pro bono as possible. The pay was mind boggling, and Ralph convinced himself that he would only stay with the firm for as long as it took to make enough money to pay off his student loans. He assured his former professor that the yuppie subculture into which he was jumping would not rub off on him. He was certain that who he was had been so firmly established that the surrounding culture couldn’t change him one little bit.

Well, you can imagine the rest of the story. When Tony Campolo met Ralph a few years later he was a transformed person. His idealism was gone. He was on the verge of becoming a partner in the law firm, he had a live-in relationship with one of his colleagues, and they had just moved into a “super place on the East Side of New York City.” What saddened Campolo the most was that the excitement that had once sparkled in Ralph’s eyes seemed gone. “Oh,” says Campolo, “Ralph still went to church regularly. He had found one of those churches that served, as they say, ‘a better class of people.’” I guess that Ralph discovered that once you get on the treadmill of material success, enough simply is never enough. When is enough…enough for you?

A wealthy man came to Jesus and asked what he needed to do “to obtain eternal life.” Evidently this man is where many people today are, his material needs were being met, but not his spiritual needs. His approach to Jesus, however, was a bit of unbecoming flattery. He addressed Jesus as “Good Teacher.” This was a violation of proper Jewish etiquette. Jesus answered, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God.” Jesus was probably cautioning this man not to put his ultimate confidence in teachers or powerful people, but only in God.

Jesus continued, “You know the commandments: Don’t commit murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. Don’t cheat. Honor your father and mother.” “Teacher,” he responded, “I’ve kept all of these things since I was a boy.” This man believed that if he kept the Mosaic Law, he would have it made spiritually.

So, here’s his situation: He thought money would make him happy. But it didn’t. All his life he had been taught that if he had enough money and if he was a good guy, that would be enough. But it wasn’t.

Mark tells us that Jesus looked at him and loved him. Jesus knew this man was trying to live as society was telling him he ought to live. Jesus understood that. But he wanted to give the young man what he really needed. So Jesus said to him, “’You are lacking one thing. Go sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have your treasure in heaven. And come follow me.’ But the man was dismayed at this statement and went away saddened, because he had many possessions.”

At least one Bible scholar says that this may be the saddest verse in the Bible. This young man was in the presence of the Master Himself. He could have made his life something magnificent. His name would have been called blessed by hundreds of people he might have helped. But he turned away because he couldn’t let go of the good in order to grasp the best. God gives us the freedom to do that, but we don’t have to accept what God has to give us. The young man went away saddened, says the Gospel of Mark, because he had many possessions.

Can you imagine that? Maybe we could better understand if we read, “He went away sad in spite of his great wealth.” Many people are sad in spite of their great wealth. But the Gospel tells us he went away sad BECAUSE of his great wealth.

Then looking around Jesus said to His disciples, “It will be very hard for the wealthy to enter God’s kingdom.” These words startled the disciples, so again Jesus told them, “Children, it’s difficult to enter God’s kingdom! It’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.” The disciples were shocked by this and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?”

That’s a good question. If accumulating toys won’t bring you happiness and if keeping the rules won’t bring you salvation, what’s it going to take? If we take everything we have and sell it, and give the proceeds to the poor like Jesus was telling this young man to do, will that do it? Well sisters and brothers, that depends. Is money or possessions what are important in your life? Is it your money or your possessions that are keeping you from giving your all to God? When Jesus told this young man to sell everything and give it to the poor, he went away sad, because he had many possessions. Jesus was simply telling this man the truth about what came first in his life – and that was his money and his possessions.

So what is it that comes first in your life? Okay, let me phrase that another way: What is it that keeps you from doing something great for God? Is it your job? Is it your family? Is it time playing computer games or watching sports or keeping in touch with friends on Facebook, is it buying more clothes or maybe the newest tool to hit the market? Have you looked at your credit card statements lately or your calendar or your computer use? You can look at any of these things to see what really matters to you. Where do you devote your time, your money, your dreams, and your energy? Is it the accumulation of even more wealth, even more toys?

Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.” And Jesus knew where this young man’s heart was. He was a nice guy and he kept all the commandments. That may be more than you or I do in our life. Jesus looked at the young man and loved him, but Jesus also knew that God did not come first in this young man’s heart. So again I ask you, what is it that comes first in your life?

Paul Tillich, one of the 20th Century’s most perceptive theologians, once said that whatever is our ultimate concern in life, that is our God. Among those concerns might be our personal success, or our allegiance to our country, or our quest for scientific truth, or a host of very important concerns. Or, our ultimate concern could be the God of the Bible. It’s a hard teaching, but all except the last are forms of idolatry.

You mean God has to come before my job? You mean God has to come before my family? You mean God has to come before my allegiance to my country? The answer is yes to all of them. Nothing in this world can come before God. But let me hasten to add brothers and sisters, God rarely asks us to choose, for example between our family and our faith in God – Rarely does he ask us to choose between our allegiance to our country and our allegiance to him – Rarely does he ask us to choose between our job and our faith in him. But it can happen. And when it does, we must choose God!

Pastor Ray Stedman puts it this way: “I have been privileged to travel extensively and to speak oftentimes to rather wealthy audiences. I was in Hollywood, Florida…on the so-called ‘gold coast’ of Florida. Every morning I taught the Scriptures to a crowd of five-hundred or more. These people, I was told, represented well over a billion dollars’ worth of accumulated wealth. I had the opportunity to talk with many of them individually. I found that most of these, by their own testimony, though they had all the money to buy anything they wanted, had arrived at the place where they were suffering from what someone has so aptly called ‘Destination Sickness’ – The malady of having everything you want, but not wanting anything you have, and being sick and empty and lonely and miserable.” The wealthy young man who came to Jesus probably suffered from this malady – Destination Sickness. He had arrived. He thought he had it made. But in truth he was a slave to his wealth. Jesus was offering him a lifeline, but he couldn’t see it. All he could see was what he would be giving up.

Sisters and brothers are you ready to put God first in your life? Are you tired of the emptiness of living life your way and not God’s way? Have you discovered that there’s not enough money, not enough work, not enough drugs or alcohol to ease the pain of an empty and unfilled heart? Happiness comes not from pleasure, but from purpose. The happiest people I know are those who have given their lives completely and unreservedly to God.

The disciples were amazed at Jesus’ words about the difficulty of the wealthy entering the kingdom. Jesus looked at the disciples and said, “It’s impossible with human beings, but not with God. All things are possible with God.” Peter said to Him, “Look we’ve left everything and followed You.” Jesus said “I assure you that anyone who has left house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or farms because of Me and because of the good news will receive one hundred times as much now in this life…But many who are first will be last. And many who are last will be first.”

We need to understand that Jesus did not say that it is impossible for people with money to enter the kingdom. He said all things are possible with God. The only people in danger are those who put their wealth before God. The only people in danger are those who enjoy their wealth while turning a blind eye to the needs of the poor. The only people in danger are those who have no greater purpose in life than the accumulation of more.

Could that happen to you? Could your craving for material success place you in danger of missing the kingdom? Could it endanger your health, your family, your relationship with God? The wealthy young man in our Scripture lesson turned sadly away from Jesus because he had great wealth. Is your craving for more taking you away from Jesus as well? Brothers and sisters, how much is enough?

Closing Hymn Go Now in Peace

Go now in peace. Never be afraid. God will go with you each hour of ev’ry day.

Go now in faith, steadfast strong and true. Know He will guide you in all you do.

Go now in love and show you believe. Reach out to others so all the world can see.

God will be there watching from above.

Go now in peace, in faith, and in love.

Benediction: Go into this week with the blessings of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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