October 25, 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

Pastor Jenn and your church leaders invite you to ZOOM, Sunday morning, 9:00 am. 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85441468430?pwd=aEJmcnJ3SGdkbWphMnlRV3JwQ3dXQT09

  Meeting ID: 854 4146 8430        Password: 279040

One tap mobile:  +19294362866,,85441468430#,,,,0#,,279040# US (New York)

For audio only using a landline or non-smart phone:  1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

 

 

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

We do not gather in vain, for God is working in our hearts.
The love of Jesus Christ calls us together.
Our worship strengthens and empowers us to share the gospel.
The love of Jesus Christ shines in our lives.
Proclaim the good news with boldness.
The love of Jesus Christ is at work in the world!

 

Opening Song Just Be Held with the Praise Band

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/just-be-held

Just Be Held  Casting Crowns

Hold it all together. Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere And barely leaves you holding on

And when you're tired of fighting; Chained by your control
There's freedom in surrender.  Lay it down and let it go

 

So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place. I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held.  Just be held, just be held

 

If your eyes are on the storm You'll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross You'll know I always have and I always will

And not a tear is wasted. In time, you'll understand
I'm painting beauty with the ashes. Your life is in My hands

 

So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place. I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held.  Just be held, just be held

 

Lift your hands, lift your eyes. In the storm is where you'll find Me
And where you are, I'll hold your heart. I'll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest In the arms of the God who won't let go

 

So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place. I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held.  Just be held, just be held

 

Opening Prayer:

Everlasting God, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.  Teach us to love You more fully. For in loving You, our lives will show love to all others, even as Your love encompasses all Your creation, in all generations. We pray in the name of Your greatest gift of love, 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!

 

Let’s pray:  Thank You, God, for each of these children in the households that are reading this message.  Show them Your love in a special way.  Amen.  

 

Prayer & Lord’s Prayer

Loving and merciful Lord, by Your word we are nourished, by Your hand we are fed.  Praise Christ, who came as a servant. Praise Christ, who was glorified by God. Praise Christ, who reigns as Lord.  Turn our hearts to You now, as we lift our prayers to 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.
 

Invitation to the Offering

Your thoughts may be distracted by cares and concerns.  Focus on the ministries of Jesus Christ as He is working through Lightstreet United Methodist Church.  Focus what you can give and how you should give:  Your time, talents, service, money; giving with joy and thankfulness. 

 

Offering Prayer

As you have poured your healing love into our lives, O God, we now offer these gifts to you. Let them be used in ministries of peace and justice through the work of this church in your world. AMEN.

 

 

I THESSALONIANS 2:1-8

2You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, 2but though we had already suffered and been shamefully mistreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. 3For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, 4but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; 6nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others,

7though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. 8So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.

 

 

“WHEN TIMES ARE TOUGH”  Rev. Ron French

 

            I want to begin by telling you a simple, but moving story about a man named Bill. When Bill was born in the 1930s he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The doctors predicted that he would be underdeveloped and urged Bill’s parents to have him institutionalized. Fortunately, they ignored the doctors’ advice. At first, Bill attended a school for children with disabilities. Later he gained admittance to a mainstream high school. This was an unusual accomplishment for a physically and mentally challenged person in that era. Then with the help of a counselor, Bill began looking for a career.

            The effort resulted in little more than a series of humiliations. A job as a drug store clerk lasted less than a day because Bill’s trembling hands would not allow him to stock shelves neatly. A job as a Goodwill Industries cashier lasted three days because Bill’s palsied fingers kept hitting the wrong keys. His physical limitations also brought a job at the Salvation Army docks to a prompt end. His slurred speech cost him a job answering phones at the Veterans Rehabilitation Center. After five months of one humiliation after another, the counselor told Bill he was unemployable. He suggested Bill stay at home and collect disability.

            Another person in Bill’s position may have taken this advice to heart, but Bill knew deep down inside that he could be a productive member of society – even if he couldn’t tie his own shoes without difficulty or button his own shirt. Having exhausted his patience with state counselors, Bill began combing the want ads himself. Naturally he met with more rejection. Most times he didn’t even get past the initial phone call.

            But then one day, Bill landed an interview with a company, Watkins Products, which sold their products door-to-door. “I know I can do this job,” Bill confidently told the interviewer. Don’t forget we’re talking about an event that happened in 1961, decades before disability laws, when tolerance for people who were "different" ebbed very low. Bill got his break, but prejudice being what it is, the sales manager assigned Bill to the worst, most hopeless territory in Portland, where people lived in dire poverty and the houses were falling down. The poor man was working on commission, but he had a job. He packed his briefcase with brochures, hit the street at 9 a.m., and never looked back. Eventually Bill Porter went on to become one of the top salesman in the history of Watkins Products – their top salesperson ever in the Northwest.

            On Christmas Eve of 1995, ABC’s 20/20 told Bill’s story to the nation, and it was later dramatized in a movie starring William Macy. Bill Porter’s perseverance and positive thinking have had an impact on many people. As one of his many fans wrote, “I once read that the quality of one’s life is not measured by the things one acquires, but by the lives one touches.” Bill Porter touched many lives before his death in December of 2013.

            Bill Porter’s story inspires us, but it also reminds us that life is tough. And for some people like Bill Porter, it is unbelievably tough. Sooner or later, however, you and I will have our challenges. Frailty, sickness, the loss of someone we love, failure in business or marriage. Did you know that the ratio of Christians who have been divorced is higher than for non-Christians according to Christian researcher George Barna.

            Life is tough. There are challenges with our health, with our jobs, within our homes. The Apostle Paul knew life could be challenging. He was no religious guru holed up in a cave away from the problems of the world. He was out there facing opposition ever day of his adult life. You think you have a hard job? Has it ever left you physically beaten up by mobs, thrown in to flea-infested prisons, shipwrecked far from home? In Acts 16:22-24 we read that Paul and Silas were beaten, flogged, dragged through a public humiliation, locked in stocks and put in prison for preaching the gospel in Philippi. (He mentions this in verse 2 of today’s lesson.) In Thessalonica an angry mob forced them to make an early exit from the city. There is also evidence that Paul may have had a physical condition, as well, which caused him pain. He refers to it simply as his “thorn in the flesh.” Paul knew about everyday frustrations and heartaches.

            The Apostle Paul begins our lesson for today with these words: “You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain…” (2:1). Now what’s your immediate conclusion when you read a sentence like that? You know that our visit was not in vain. Someone must have actually thought that Paul’s visit to Thessalonica was a failure. Obviously that bothered Paul. Even worse, after he left them, it is clear that someone had started rumors questioning his motives in preaching the Gospel in the first place, that he was just in it for the money. This may have actually hurt Paul more than the floggings. To have given his all for the Gospel, to have taken nothing in return in order to be able to preach without being a burden to any of the young churches that he was starting – to have given so much of himself and then to have someone start a malicious rumor that he was in it for his own gain – that surely must have hurt. But Paul was an amazing man, he had a faith of great maturity and depth.

            We also need to understand that the Apostle Paul never gave up on God. I have a feeling that few of us today would be able to handle the kind of adversity Paul dealt with. There are some people who feel very blessed they have a nice house, in a nice development, with two nice cars in the garage and they interpret these things to mean that God is blessing them. Well, my question to you is, where does that leave someone like Paul who is suffering simply and solely because he is doing God’s work? Brothers and sisters don’t misinterpret life’s ups and downs. Just because things are going your way does not mean you are in God’s favor, or because your life happens to be difficult does not mean that God has forgotten you. Paul never gave up on God even though he suffered many hardships, and neither should we. Listen to these words of Scripture. They were intended to bring comfort when life gets tough. And they were written by Paul.

In Philippians 4:19 we read: “And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Don’t let these current circumstances we find ourselves in color your perception of God’s favor upon your life. God sometimes works in mysterious ways.

            In 1995, a couple named Chet and Andrea were serving as missionaries in Liberia. They got caught in the middle of a civil war. Andrea and the boys were in Monrovia when rebel soldiers seized the capital city. Chet was working in Ghana, and was not allowed to cross the border back into Liberia because of the unrest. There was a complete ban on civilians entering Liberia by plane, train or automobile. So Chet had no way of knowing if his wife and sons were still alive. The only way Chet could get back to his family was by water. So he chartered a canoe and set out for a four-day journey along the coast of Liberia. Chet had been warned that his life would be in danger if he were caught by rebel soldiers. On the third night of the journey a ferocious storm engulfed the canoe. Chet prayed fervently, but he feared that God was deaf to his prayers. The storm continued for hours. The crew members were cursing Chet and blaming him for the danger he had put them in. He felt hopeless, abandoned by God.

            The next day, he and the crew landed safely in Liberia. They were met by a woman who kept repeating the words, “You are blessed! You are blessed!” The woman explained that on the previous night, a boat full of rebel soldiers had set out to capture Chet and his crew. They planned to kill them. But a sudden storm had driven them back to land. When Chet was feeling most abandoned by God, that was when he was most protected by God. Chet was soon reunited with Andrea and the boys, and all of them returned safely to the United States. Sisters and brothers don’t give up on God. Don’t presume to figure God out. God’s ways are not our ways, but God’s love for us is eternal. The Apostle Paul never gave upon God.

            One more thing: The Apostle Paul never quit serving people. Every time I hear about how many of our members are involved each month in distributing items at the food bank it makes me feel good inside that we are a part of that ministry. Even during these difficult times we are living in right now the needs of others are being met.

            Now hear Paul’s words to the church at Thessalonica: “…though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us” (2:7-8). No matter how much opposition Paul encountered, how much criticism, how many beatings or shipwrecks, or insults, he never took his eyes off of his calling, to bring people to Jesus Christ. And the reason he was successful was not just his love for God, but also his love for the people God had called him to serve.

            Brothers and sisters here is the secret to dealing with life when it gets tough. Take the focus off your problems and place it on Christ and on those around you. If you keep your eyes focused on the problems, all you are going to do is wallow in self-pity. You will be a burden to yourself and everyone around you. But if you focus on Christ and the people around you, then there is hope that you will find the real meaning of life.

            Alice Gray tells about a man who was in a terrible accident. In a matter of seconds this man’s world was turned upside down. The accident resulted in the loss of both his legs and one arm. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, the man resolved to look for ways to encourage other hurting people. He began writing letters to the local prison. Each letter was full of all the hope and faith this man could muster. Yet he never knew if anyone was even reading the letters; prison policy did not allow inmates to write back. Occasionally, he was tempted to stop writing; what good was it really doing? But one day, this man received a letter from the guard who censored the inmates’ mail. Here is what the guard wrote: “Please write on the best paper you can afford. Your letters are passed from cell to cell till they literally fall to pieces.” This man’s letters were appreciated by the inmates he was helping. But the person he ended up helping most of all was himself.

            You’ve heard it said that tough times can make us bitter or they can make us better. You and I have a choice to make. We are going to hit rough spots in our life. Like the one we are going through right now. They do not have to defeat us. Don't give up on God. Don’t give up on helping others. Ask what the Apostle Paul would do. Even better – WWJD – what would Jesus do. And if you can’t bring yourself to that level, at least ask what Bill Porter would do, a man with cerebral palsy who never allowed himself a pity party, never gave up believing that he could make a difference. Just remember that in tough times, you can make a difference.

 

Closing Hymn God Will Take Care of You by Donna Farver

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/god-will-take-care-of-you

1. Be not dismayed whate'er betide, God will take care of you. 

beneath His wings of love abide, God will take care of you.

 

Refrain:

God will take care of you, through every day, o'er all the way. 

He will take care of you; God will take care of you.

 

2. Through days of toil when heart doth fail, God will take care of you.

when dangers fierce your path assail, God will take care of you. (Refrain)

 

3. All you may need He will provide; God will take care of you.

nothing you ask will be denied, God will take care of you. (Refrain)

 

4. No matter what the test may be, God will take care of you.

lean, weary one, upon His breast, God will take care of you. (Refrain)

 

Benediction

As you worship in your home, may God’s love surround you, uphold you, and empower you to be agents of love in this world. Amen.

 

 
  March 2021  
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