October 30 - November 5, 2022

For the week of October 30 – November 5, 2022 – 21st week after Pentecost

Morning prayer: O Lord, how good and righteous are Your judgements. Your testimonies are sure, and Your promises are always kept. Receive now our worship of Your glory. Delight in the songs of praise which we offer to Your holy name. In Your mercy, You have chosen to bring the good news to sinners. We know that we have sinned against You, and we seek to hide in places where You will not find us. Yet You are so loving that You will not let us remove ourselves from Your care. We are sinful people, for our desire is to keep for ourselves the riches of this life and we do not show due regard for the poor. Pardon our iniquity; let Your salvation come to us, even though we are lost. Restore us as Your sons and daughters once more. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn: #61 Come, Thou Almighty King

  1. Come, Thou almighty King, help us Thy name to sing, help us to praise!
    Father all glorious, o'er all victorious, come and reign over us, Ancient of Days!
  2. Come, Thou incarnate Word, gird on Thy mighty sword, our prayer attend!
    Come, and Thy people bless, and give Thy word success, Spirit of holiness, on us descend!
  3. Come, holy Comforter, Thy sacred witness bear in this glad hour.
    Thou who almighty art, now rule in every heart, and ne'er from us depart, Spirit of power!
  4. To Thee, great One in Three, eternal praises be, hence, evermore.
    Thy sovereign majesty may we in glory see, and to eternity love and adore!

Psalm 119:137-144

You are righteous, O Lord, and Your judgments are right.

You have appointed Your decrees in righteousness and in all faithfulness.

My zeal consumes me because my foes forget Your words.

Your promise is well tried, and Your servant loves it.

I am small and despised, yet I do not forget Your precepts.

Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your law is the truth.

Trouble and anguish have come upon me, but Your commandments are my delight.

Your decrees are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live.

Children’s message Psalm 32:6-7

Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to You; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them.

You are a hiding place for me; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah

Children’s Message

Are you good at hide and go seek? I would play that for hours with my sisters. That isn’t entirely true. My youngest sister would play for hours, my other two sisters and I would quit and leave her hidden for hours. She still claims today to be the best hider.


God is calling out to us to hide in Him. God tells us that there is no mountain too high or valley too low for us to hide from Him – there is literally no where we can go to be unfindable, so we may as well just hide in God. God wants us to come to Him in our good times and bad, and that there is nothing God won’t forgive, so there is no need to hide from God. It is one of God’s truths, God will never leave us or forget us. God is our safe place.

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 spotlightThanks to your financial gifts, sometimes we can open our doors to the neighborhood.  Tonight is one such night.  If you are participating in Trunk ‘n’ Treat tonight by having a station or table of treats, great!  If not, come to take a peak and watch the delighted children. 

Offering prayer: Compassionate God, as Jesus did for Zacchaeus, You reach across the chasms that we’ve created, the ones where we’ve isolated ourselves from the redemptive power of Your love. As with Zacchaeus, bridges have been built, and people who believed they were beyond Your embrace have been welcomed to the table with open arms! As we give to You this day, may we also follow the example of Zacchaeus – with an explosion of gratitude and generosity – and may we also know his joy! We pray this in the name of Jesus, who invites Himself to our table! Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn #420 Breathe on Me, Breath of God

  1. Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew,
    that I may love what Thou dost love, and do what Thou wouldst do.
  2. Breathe on me, Breath of God, until my heart is pure,
    until with Thee I will one will, to do and to endure.
  3. Breathe on me, Breath of God, till I am wholly Thine,
    till all this earthly part of me glows with Thy fire divine.
  4. Breathe on me, Breath of God, so shall I never die,
    but live with Thee the perfect life of Thine eternity.

Scripture Lesson Luke 19:1-10

He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see Him, because He was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome Him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”

Message:                       Pastor Becky Cuddeback

I know once you read that scripture, there was a song that popped into your head. GO ahead and sing it to yourself… Zacchaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he. He climbed in the sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see. And as the Savior placed his way, He looked up in the tree and He said, “Zacchaeus, you come down! For I’m going to your house today”!

Good? Good, now let’s get to work because for the most part, we are far past elementary Sunday School and this is bigger than just a short guy meeting Jesus and getting saved. It is about assumptions and judgments.

Zacchaeus is the chief tax collector; he is an agent of Rome. He actively sought out this position. In order to be the chief tax collector, he leased from Rome the area of Jericho for 5 years as his territory. He paid Rome for the right to collect the taxes.

As the chief, he collected:

  1. poll taxes: this was the tax per head on every person in Jericho. It began at the age of 12 for females and 14 for males. The research says the aged were exempt, but no age could be found. My guess is you got to die before you got exempted.
  2. land taxes: a yearly assessment on your home, fields, orchards, groves, vineyards and if you were in the sea regions that would include your boats and nets.
  3. commerce taxes: anything coming into Jericho and anything going out on any product even if that product was human.
  4. transportation tax: every road and every bridge was taxed

Now, of course Zacchaeus couldn’t collect all these taxes alone, so he had collectors that worked for him. Zacchaeus made all of his money by collecting taxes for Rome, but his payment didn’t come from Rome. He added a fee to all the taxes to make his money, but so did his employees. Let’s say Rome wanted $100 per person. Zacchaeus would charge $150 to his collectors, who in turn charged each person $175. Every tax collector, from the bottom to the top, made their money by charging the inhabitants of Jericho.

I’m sure by now, I’ve explained why he wasn’t liked or popular in Jericho. He is the embodiment of the villain in the story of Rome versus the Jews. And the stinging part for the Jews of Jericho was that Zacchaeus was a Jew.

Nothing he was doing was illegal. Rome wasn’t going to send troops down to put him to trial and jail him. The taxes were paid and that was Rome’s only concern.

Yet, what he is doing could be immoral based on the assumption he is grossly over collecting and on that assumption he is relegated to the outside of the community. His only companions are his wealth and other tax collectors and even they are only hanging around with him to stay close in hopes of moving up in the organization or to outwit him and take over.

To the community, the judgment upon Zacchaeus is that he is a sinner. But even that isn’t a condemnation, to the community it is fact. What is worse for the community is that Jesus would go to Zacchaeus’ house knowing that he was a sinner.

Then Zacchaeus says this: Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back 4x as much. What Zacchaeus is doing is citing the Laws of Restitution found in Exodus 22. Verse 1 reads, “When someone steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, the thief shall pay 5 oxen for an ox, and 4 sheep for a sheep.” Zacchaeus isn’t making a statement of generosity to the community, but reminding them that he is one of them.

This is the hinge point: Is Zacchaeus defending his righteousness or is he pledging what he will do in the future? Is it possible Zacchaeus has been living a righteous life all along or is he repenting? This is an important question. If he has been righteous , then it is the community that has cut him off. If he is repenting, then he has cut himself off from the community and now hopes for reconciliation.

Both scenarios have repercussions for the community.

If it is repentance from Zacchaeus, then the community has to accept him and welcome him back. Jesus reminds the community that Zacchaeus is one of them, Zacchaeus is a son of Abraham. There will be stages of community forgiveness, but he has to be brought back in. But, if it is Zacchaeus defending his righteousness and what he is saying is true – that he has been giving half to the poor and repaying 4x for mistakes, the work of repentance is on the community. Because again, Zacchaeus is a son of Abraham.

Either way, the community must stand with Zacchaeus, because Jesus stands with Zacchaeus.

How often does community make assumptions and judgments (which by the way, judgments on anyone’s salvation is not your job, only God gets to make those judgments and we are NOT God) that put others on the outside and effectively cut them off to the access to salvation found in community? It is in community we see the face of God, encounter the Word of God. WE should be pained to our inner core by the length Zacchaeus goes just to see Jesus. He climbed a tree to see because the community obscured his view. We also need to examine the possible ways we keep folks from seeing Jesus – both in our individual lives and as a church. What barriers do we purposely and accidently put up that keep folks from seeing Jesus.

For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost. Zacchaeus, his community, and we are sought and lost and Jesus came for all.

Closing Hymn: #347 Spirit Song

  1. O let the Son of God enfold you with His Spirit and His love.

Let Him fill your heart and satisfy your soul.

O let Him have the things that hold you, and His Spirit like a dove

will descend upon your life and make you whole.

Refrain: Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill Your lambs.

Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill Your lambs.

  1. O come and sing this song with gladness as your hearts are filled with joy.

Lift your hands in sweet surrender to His name.

O give Him all your tears and sadness; give Him all your years of pain,

And you’ll enter into life in Jesus’ name. Refrain.

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