Order, Words, & Voices

July 3, 2022

Pre-Worship Audio (SLIDE 1)

Call to Worship (SLIDES 2-4)              Randy (online)

Sing to God a brand-new song.
He’s made a world of wonders!

He rolled up his sleeves,
He set things right.

God made history with salvation,
He showed the world what he could do.

He remembered to love us, a bonus
To his dear family, Israel—indefatigable love.

The whole earth comes to attention.
Look—God’s work of salvation!

Shout your praises to God, everybody!
Let loose and sing! Strike up the band!

Round up an orchestra to play for God,
Add on a hundred-voice choir.

Feature trumpets and big trombones,
Fill the air with praises to King God.

Let the sea and its fish give a round of applause,
With everything living on earth joining in.

Let ocean breakers call out, “Encore!”
And mountains harmonize the finale—

A tribute to God when he comes,
When he comes to set the earth right.

He’ll straighten out the whole world,
He’ll put the world right, and everyone in it.

Psalm 101 The Message (MSG)

Songs  (SLIDE 5)

Make a Joyful Noise (31)

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth!

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth!

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Make a loud noise and rejoice!

Sing praises!

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Make a loud noise and rejoice!

Sing praises!

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Psalm 101 (SLIDES 6-9)    – Kristin

My theme song is God’s love and justice,
    and I’m singing it right to you, God.
I’m finding my way down the road of right living,
    but how long before you show up?
I’m doing the very best I can,
    and I’m doing it at home, where it counts.
I refuse to take a second look
    at corrupting people and degrading things.
I reject made-in-Canaan gods,
    stay clear of contamination.
The crooked in heart keep their distance;
    I refuse to shake hands with those who plan evil.
I put a gag on the gossip
    who bad-mouths his neighbor;
I can’t stand
    arrogance.
But I have my eye on salt-of-the-earth people—
    they’re the ones I want working with me;
Men and women on the straight and narrow—
    these are the ones I want at my side.
But no one who traffics in lies
    gets a job with me; I have no patience with liars.
I’ve rounded up all the wicked like cattle
    and herded them right out of the country.
I purged God’s city
    of all who make a business of evil.

Psalm 101 (The Message)

Song of Praise

Bless His Holy Name (36)

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

And all that is within me,

Bless God’s holy name. (repeat)

God has done great things.

God has done great things.

God has done great things,

Bless God’s holy name.

Prayer             Kristin

Scripture  (SLIDE 11)   Segun

Acts 9:36-43

In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”

Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.

Spiritual Exercise  (SLIDE 12) Kristin

Songs  (SLIDE 13)

Lord, Be Glorified (537)

In my life, Lord, be glorified, be glorified.

In my life, Lord, be glorified today.

In my work, Lord, be glorified, be glorified.

In my work, Lord, be glorified today.

In our church, Lord, be glorified, be glorified.

In our church, Lord, be glorified today.

Message (SLIDE 14)   Kristin

I’m glad to join you for our final Sunday together, at least for now. This time has been a true blessing for me. I’ve enjoyed digging in further to the book of Acts, to looking at some passages that are often overlooked, and finding together some wisdom for today. Most of all, I am thankful to be in a congregation that is so welcoming and loving. Any time you ask, I will come back!

This past week I traveled to Dallas for the CBF General Assembly. I don’t want to assume that you all know what CBF is, so let me refresh your memory. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is the network that this church, my home church, and others take part in. General Assembly is our annual gathering for the people of CBF. People from around the world join for worship, renewal, learning, and a little bit of business. Mostly we come together to see old friends. I didn’t attend one breakout session this year. Instead I caught up with friends, made connections, talked to people about God, church, our world, our families, and life in general. It was the first time we had been together since the pandemic began, so it was especially meaningful.

For the first time this year, I found myself standing in the middle of the circle of life. I saw good friends who had mentored me: my favorite seminary professor and his wife, who supervised my internship; former colleagues and pastors; colleagues on committees, and others who taught me lessons of life and ministry. What made this year so different was rooming with a fellow minister whom I met when I taught her in first grade Sunday School. Yes, now I am the old mentor! She enjoyed telling people what I had taught her, much as I enjoy introducing those who have led me along. I met other young ministers from OKC and showed them the ropes of General Assembly. I met up with young people I mentor in their summer missions. It was one of those special moments in life when you see the baton passing and it was sweet for me.

This moment highlighted to me just how many Kristins there are. Not that I have multiple personalities, but that there is not just one story of me. For some I am still the young seminary student, or, as my professor told someone this week, “One of his most favoritest!” For others I am the children’s minister that showed them the joys of working with children. To others, I am the CBF long-timer who knows so many people. “How long have you been involved in CBF?” All of us wear many hats. Spouse. Child. Parent. Friend. Colleague. Neighbor. Our own identities have so many unique aspects, not seen by all people at all times. We are multi-faceted.

We have discovered this story in the book of Acts. During my first week here, three weeks ago, we spent some time revisiting the story of Pentecost. We uncovered the truth that many women disciples were present and blessed by the Spirit. Tradition and church history had hidden this story from our view, choosing instead to show a point of view in which the women were not present, or busy in the kitchen serving food. But the story God told was one of inclusion in which the women were present at the moment the Spirit was given, equally blessed in the moment the church was born.

And this is a recurring issue in Acts. To be fair, this is not necessarily done to be harmful. Any story must focus on the core of the story. We cannot know the full story of each person present or the story would last for hours as we detailed each facet of each person present. Key details are shared while others are left out, leaving room for the essential lesson to shine through. Some stories are shockingly lacking in details we wish were included. For example, I want to know how many women were at Pentecost. I want to hear how they were blessed. I want to know what they were doing as the disciples were out preaching, or assigning one another to help the widows to receive equal food in the distribution. Did the women lead in prayers in their gatherings? The Scriptures give us hints and glimpses of the women, enough to say with some certainty that they were doing plenty of these things. Their God story is there for us to see. But tradition, the human story of the church, leaves them out. It doesn’t think to include them. Again I say, this may not be done with bad intentions, it may simply be a product of a culture that held women in lower esteem. It was a story written by men: maybe they weren’t aware, or tuned in, to the presence of the women and their work. No matter the cause, we have to read closely a story such as the story of Tabitha to find the God story laying just behind the tradition.

Tabitha is someone we need to consider more closely. On its surface, this story is written to show us Peter, leader of the new church, raising someone from the dead. Peter’s actions give him authority as an apostle, they link him to Jesus’ power, and account for a miracle. Tabitha is a nice lady who does nice things and is rewarded with new life. What else can we say about Tabitha?

Tabitha is a woman who is able to build bridges across cultures and divides. It’s interesting to me that her name is given in its Aramaic form, Tabitha, and also in Greek, Dorcas. Luke has some reason for recording both her names. I suspect that she was well known in both the Jewish, or Aramaic speaking, community, and in the Greek community. She is a cultural hybrid, straddling the line between the two cultures. This isn’t easy. In Acts 6:1-11, we read of the first church conflict. It’s between the Jewish widows and the Greek widows living in Jerusalem. The Greek widows complain that the Jewish widows are receiving more food in the weekly distribution. The apostles respond by appointing seven men, some from each of the two cultures, to handle the situation. Here in the city of Joppa, one woman has single-handedly taken on the task of caring for the women of both cultures. That alone make her story important. She is exhibiting cross-cultural skills in ministry.

But more than that, her actions with the widows are the actions of a deacon. Those seven men in Jerusalem were named deacons, a term meaning “servant,” and an honorable title. Tabitha is named with the title “female disciple,” the only woman so named in Scripture. It’s a shame they couldn’t go ahead and call her a deacon, for surely her actions were the same as the deacons in Jerusalem, those seven men feeding and caring for the widows of two cultures. Take a moment to see her as a disciple, named such by tradition. But also take a moment to see her as a deacon, a God-appointed role, not recognized by the men of the church.

Perhaps that is not entirely true. When Tabitha dies, we find that it is the community who react. Tradition focuses on the widows who mourn Tabitha, who show Peter the clothes she made for them. But in verse 38, all the disciples react to her death, men and women. And they respond by sending two men for Peter. When Peter presents Tabitha, alive and well, back to the community it is all the disciples who receive her. Tabitha has built bridges between male and female, ministering to both.

We cannot say if Tabitha is married or widowed. Tradition tells us she is widowed, thus her particular care of widows. It is possible. She had money enough to make and give away clothes. She has some independence. We can’t help but notice that she is introduced on her own, not in relation to a husband or son, or any other man. She may be old, she may be young, she may be married, she may be widowed, but one thing we can say is that she is independent and celebrated. Don’t let yourself be fooled. God loves and celebrates all women, even independent ones. If you question that, reread Proverbs 31. That lady runs a business, runs her household, manages finances, everything. She is a modern-type women, doing it all and having it all. Tabitha is a Proverbs 31 woman.

We cannot leave our inspection of Tabitha without noticing the most important thing. Tabitha is full of the Spirit. Her actions are those of someone who is Spirit-filled. She is a disciple. She cares for the poor widows. She builds bridges between diverse people. Sadly, the Bible never names her as Spirit-filled. It never names one woman as full of the Spirit. Perhaps this is due to the fact that, in Acts, the natural outcome of being Spirit-filled is utterance of the Word. The refusal of the writer of Acts to call her Spirit-filled doesn’t take away this gift of God, clearly given at Pentecost through the prophecy of Amos, in which God’s Spirit is poured out on all flesh, male and female. Instead, this passage focuses on her good works. I invite you to see Tabitha as God sees her: Spirit-filled bridge builder, a disciple and a deacon, taking on tasks that even seven men find difficult. This hidden story of Tabitha is one we must hear.

In knowing the real Tabitha, we come full circle in another way. Let’s revisit for a moment the story of Ananias and Sapphira. Last week we read of their deception, their self-deception. Wanting to be like Barnabas, they offered a gift which they claimed to be as generous as his. They offered a portion of the sale of their field, a gift acceptable in itself, but they lied about it. They claimed they had given all. They hid behind a Barnabas mask, trying to deceive God about who they were. They put a lot of energy into an effort to be someone they were not rather than becoming all God called them to be.

Tabitha’s story is very different. Tabitha is living out her calling to God, despite our tendency to overlook her. She is doing the hard work of cultural bridge building. She is a seamstress, making more than enough to give away. She is a disciple, a deacon, a Spirit-filled woman. Tabitha is loved by the men and the women of her community. She isn’t trying to be someone different. If she were trying to model herself after the church in Jerusalem, she might not feel free to become a deacon to these widows. “Leave that task to the men,” someone might say. “That’s how they do it in Jerusalem!” Instead she does the task God puts in front of her. As a woman it might be easier for her to stay home, to care for her family. If she is a widow, she might in fact be eligible to receive aid. Instead she gives aid. Tabitha is a rule breaker, a bridge builder, and a Spirit filled child of God. She is unmasked before God and before us. She is everything she is called to be, everything she claims to be, and nothing more.

And what is the end result? Tabitha finds life. Ananias and Sapphira masked up, denied who they were, believed a story of themselves that wasn’t true, and they died. They died to a relationship with God and others that was honest and true. They broke community with their lies, while Tabitha built up her community with love and service. Tabitha lived into her story and found new life, both spiritual and physical, as Peter raised her from the dead. Denied the title of deacon, she lived into it. Unnamed as Spirit-filled, she lived out the Spirit placed within her by God. She lived her God story and found life.

This miracle is a demonstration of life over death, the power of Christ’s resurrection. This power gives us hope, compels us to create a more loving and just world, just like Tabitha did. As we do, we alert the world to the fact that God’s Spirit is still moving and shaking, still saving and reviving us. The God of love and justice is still willing to act on our behalf, to expose and glorify the hidden figures who serve Spirit purposes, to unmask those who deceive themselves and others, and to create a community full of new life. The Spirit places God desires in our hearts and gives us the means to fulfill that call. This is our hope. This is our strength. This is the gift of God, the power to be ourselves, fully and divinely inspired.

That same experience is available to us today. How many of us struggle to live into a story that isn’t ours? Are you seeking the career success someone told you to seek? Do you feel powerless because you don’t have the power our culture says you must? Are you hidden from view by your gender, your age, your shyness and introversion, your orientation, your culture, or any other thing? So what?! What we have seen together from Acts is a God who creates and celebrates all of your diversities. We see that God rewards those who live into who they are with life, and that those who live behind a mask find only death. Are you ready to be fully alive? Christ invites you to come into fellowship with God, to accept the gift offered to you. When you embrace the truth of who you are, flaws and all, and when you bring all of you to God, flaws and all, and claim the gift of new life Christ offers, you will be rewarded. You will find family and community. You will find honor and love, just as Tabitha did. Even if all you do remains hidden by the expectations of others, God sees and rewards you. You will be loved into the fullness of God. Come today.

Musical Response  (SLIDE 15)
This Little Light of Mine

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Let it shine til Jesus comes.

I’m gonna let it shine.

Let it shine til Jesus comes.

I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Let it shine over the whole wide world,

I’m gonna let it shine.

Let it shine over the whole wide world,

I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Community  (no slide)   Kristin

Passing the Peace  (1 slide)   Kristin

Peace before us,
Peace behind us,
Peace under our feet.

Peace within us,
Peace over us,
Let all around us be peace.

Order, Voices, Words

June 26, 2022

Pre-Worship Audio (SLIDE 1)

Call to Worship (SLIDE 2)                   Hannah (online)

“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking.”

George MacDonald

Songs  (23 Slides)

Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)

Praise is rising

Eyes are turning to You

We turn to You

Hope is stirring

Hearts are yearning for You

We long for You

‘Cause when we see You

We find strength to face the day

In Your presence

All our fears are washed away

Hosanna hosanna

You are the God who saves us

Worthy of all our praises

Hosanna hosanna

Come have Your way among us

We welcome You here Lord Jesus

Hear the sound of

Hearts returning to You

We turn to You

In Your Kingdom

Broken lives are made new

You make us new

‘Cause when we see You

We find strength to face the day

In Your presence

All our fears are washed away

Hosanna hosanna

You are the God who saves us

Worthy of all our praises

Hosanna hosanna

Come have Your way among us

We welcome You here Lord Jesus

Hosanna hosanna

You are the God who saves us

Worthy of all our praises

Hosanna hosanna

Come have Your way among us

We welcome You here Lord Jesus

Friend of God

Who am I that You are mindful of me

That You hear me when I call

Is it true that You are thinking of me

How You love me it’s amazing

I am a friend of God

I am a friend of God

I am a friend of God

He calls me friend

Who am I that You are mindful of me

That You hear me when I call

Is it true that You are thinking of me

How You love me it’s amazing

I am a friend of God

I am a friend of God

I am a friend of God

He calls me friend

God Almighty

Lord of Glory

You have called me friend

I am a friend of God

I am a friend of God

I am a friend of God

He calls me friend

I am a friend of God

I am a friend of God

I am a friend of God

He calls me friend

Prayer  (1 Slide)          Kristin

Scripture  (6 Slides)

Genesis 3:6-13, 21-22

 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 

Acts 4:32-5:11

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the salesand put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”

“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

Film Clip  (1 Slide)

Response  (1 Slide)     Kristin

Consider the file drawer of your life. Think of all the things it might contain. Your joys and highlights. A childhood of friends and school, lessons, and laughter. It also contains sadness and loss. Moments of pain. We access these as needed. We tell stories. We relate wisdom. We relive times with those who are gone. A file drawer exists in our minds and in God.

But what about those files we don’t like to consider. Our shortcomings. Words said in anger. Actions done in haste. Secret sins we don’t want anyone to know about. While we know in our minds that God is aware, do we ever consider what that means for us? If God knows all the hidden files, how can God still love you? If God has access to our petty ways, hidden even from our own selves, is it possible for us to be used by God?

I invite you to pause. Let’s take moment of silence together and as we finish I will step aside and ask Andrew to pray for us. In silence we are often confronted by our sins and we avoid those places. Today, let us linger and consider what it means that God has welcomed us and loved us, even knowing the files we keep hidden. This minute may feel like an hour, but I invite you into the space where God knows all about you and loves you still. Welcome into the still and silent space before God.

Prayer   Andrew  (online)

Songs  (31 Slides)

Build Your Kingdom Here

Come set Your rule and reign

In our hearts again
Increase in us we pray

Unveil why we’re made

Come set our hearts ablaze with hope

Like wildfire in our very souls

Holy Spirit come invade us now

We are Your church

We need Your pow’r in us

We seek Your kingdom first

We hunger and we thirst

Refuse to waste our lives

For You’re our joy and prize

To see the captives’ hearts released

The hurt the sick the poor at peace

We lay down our lives for heaven’s cause

We are Your church

We pray revive this earth

Build Your kingdom here

Let the darkness fear

Show Your mighty hand

Heal our streets and land

Set Your church on fire

Win this nation back

Change the atmosphere

Build Your kingdom here we pray

Unleash Your kingdom’s pow’r

Reaching the near and far

No force of hell can stop

Your beauty changing hearts

You made us for much more than this

Awake the kingdom seed in us

Fill us with the strength and love of Christ

We are Your church

We are the hope on earth

Build Your kingdom here

Let the darkness fear

Show Your mighty hand

Heal our streets and land

Set Your church on fire

Win this nation back

Change the atmosphere

Build Your kingdom here

Build Your kingdom here

Let the darkness fear

Show Your mighty hand

Heal our streets and land

Set Your church on fire

Win this nation back

Change the atmosphere

Build Your kingdom here we pray

You Are Good

Lord You are good

And Your mercy endureth forever

(Repeat)

People from every nation and tongue

From generation to generation

We worship You

Hallelujah hallelujah

We worship You for who You are

We worship You

Hallelujah hallelujah

We worship You for who You are

For You are good

Lord You are good

And Your mercy endureth forever

(Repeat)

People from every nation and tongue

From generation to generation

We worship You

Hallelujah hallelujah

We worship You for who You are

We worship You

Hallelujah hallelujah

We worship You for who You are

For You are good

Yes You are

Yes You are

Yes You are

So good so good

Yes You are

Yes You are

Yes You are

You are good all the time

All the time You are good

You are good all the time

All the time You are good

People from every nation and tongue

From generation to generation

We worship You

Hallelujah hallelujah

We worship You for who You are

We worship You

Hallelujah hallelujah

We worship You for who You are

For You are good

For who You are

For You are good

Message   (SLIDE Number 64)            “Let’s Get Real”                      Kristin

Welcome back to the early days of the church. Last week we were reminded of the coming of the Spirit, with its blessing of diversity and welcome of all people. God recognized and sent the message of good news to all people present in their own languages, thus blessing them right where they were. The very first sermon quoted those words from Amos,

“‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
1Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.

It’s a message that is sometimes lost to us, but it is essential that we remember the church was given, from the start to men and women, young and old, and people of all nations. It was given to people in whatever condition they were currently in: young or old; slave or free; male or female. No one had to change who they were to receive the Spirit; they merely had to change their heart to follow God rather than themselves. You may recall that the first act of the Spirit to invite people in was to speak to them in their own heart language. Come as you are! God welcomes you just as you are!

Since we last saw the early church it has begun to thrive. Peter preached a very long sermon on Pentecost, thus giving all preachers the authority to preach for far too long! Three thousand people heard the message and joined the Kingdom. (1 SLIDE) Acts 2:42-47 describes a community which cares for one another deeply and sacrificially. This community experiences the awe and wonder of miracles on a regular basis. These are miracles of healing, release from prison, and the unification of diverse people in the worship of one God. It surely is a miracle that all these people have managed, through the work of the Spirit, to live in this interwoven fashion. And more people are joining their ranks daily. (Slide 66 leave up for the rest of the sermon)

One of the people who joins the movement is Joseph. Joseph, who the disciples have renamed Barnabas, is the first non-disciple we meet in Acts. He is an important figure in the early church. It is Barnabas who first brings Paul to meet the disciples. They are, of course, fearful to meet this man who has been persecuting the church and they don’t trust his motives. Barnabas was the first to trust Paul’s conversion and bring him into the fold. The friendship of these two men was sealed and they traveled together extensively to share the good news. It was only a disagreement over another disciple, John Mark, that led them to travel separately. John Mark had not been as dedicated to the traveling and Paul was ready to leave him behind. Barnabas insisted that he be allowed to come back and so the friends split, Barnabas and John Mark going one way and Paul another. Barnabas had a quality that allowed him to see the possibilities in people, to believe that God could use anyone, even someone who once threatened the church. He could bring people together and work toward common goals. It was this quality that led to his name change. Barnabas, meaning “Son of Encouragement,” was a name given to express how the disciples felt about him.

We are introduced to Barnabas first as a person of generosity. Acts 4 tells us that he sold a field he owned and laid the money for that field at the apostles’ feet. It would be used to support those in need. As the scripture explains, people would do this from time to time. His actions are held up as an example to us and to these first believers. Barnabas is an encourager in his words and his actions.

Barnabas is such a good example that we are immediately introduced to a couple who imitate him. They too sell a field which they own, bringing the money to lay at the apostles’ feet. What they do differently from Barnabas is to keep back a portion of the funds from the sale, leaving only a portion to give to the church.

You may ask, what’s so wrong with that? Wasn’t the money theirs to share as they please? Apparently, it was. Peter says this very thing to Ananias. “What this field yours before it was sold? And wasn’t the money from the sale at your disposal?” When Peter later questions Sapphira about the matter, he questions her on the amount of the sale to see if she will corroborate this story that the offering they brought was the full proceeds from the sale. From our position 2000 years down the road, it’s a bit murky what the problem was. While it isn’t completely clear if the issue is lying about the sale price, or if it is keeping some for themselves, we can say for sure that the deception is the issue. Peter tells Ananias he has lied to both humans and to God. He tells Sapphira that she has tested the Spirit of the Lord. It is not the money, but the lie, which condemns them. It is a lie born from a desire to imitate the faith of Barnabas, to receive the same accolades as he by declaring they have acted as he did. They are wearing a Barnabas mask instead of coming to God just as they are.

Consider again that early church, where each one has been welcomed as they are. While God is working on them in their hearts and spirits, there is no requirement that the believers meet a set of guidelines dictating their every action. The church is still working out what it means to belong, but they are quite clear that the Spirit has invited in an amazing diversity of people. And so, the gifts of each person are celebrated. While Paul has not yet written 1 Corinthians 12, these words are born out of those early church years.

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

Ananias and Sapphira have compared their offering to what Barnabas offered. Knowing it was different, yet desiring to exhibit the same devotion as he, they have come with their gift under false pretenses. They have come in deception. And who have they tried to deceive? Not just humans, but God.

This couple we find at the creation of the church has a lot in common with another biblical couple. Adam and Eve, the husband and wife we find at the creation of the world, also attempt to deceive God. After eating from the tree at the center of the garden, they suddenly discovered their own shortcomings. They realized they were naked, that something was missing, and they hastened to find leaves and skins to cover up. This attempt at deceiving God worked about as well for them as it did for Ananias and Sapphira. God immediately calls them out on their lie.

These two couples have another common experience. These couples, given the chance to reply as individuals before God, choose instead to go along with each other, to continue in the lie as a couple. When God asks Adam if he has eaten the fruit of the forbidden tree, Adam exclaims that his wife made him do it. Eve blames the snake. Sapphira is given the opportunity to answer on her own for her actions. She sticks to the story her husband gave.

There is no way for us to determine from this brief passage if Sapphira was culturally obligated to agree with her husband. There were more restrictive expectations for women socially and politically at that time. It’s clear from Paul’s writings that the man was considered the head of the household, and of the wife. This structure was common to Roman households. But recent investigations show greater opportunities for independence with the Greco-Roman social system than we once believed. Even married women could inherit and run businesses and retain the money they earned in that business. Within the New Testament, we have plenty of evidence that women were free to lead churches, support disciples, and even serve as deacons. Joanna, from Luke 8:3, is the wife of Chuza, a property manager for Herod. Joanna opted to follow Jesus and help support his needs, leaving Chuza at home. It isn’t clear if Chuza approves or not, but Joanna is honored for her work. Phoebe and Lydia are both leaders of local churches and recognized by Paul as such. Priscilla and her husband, Aquilla, co-lead a church and when they are mentioned, she is mentioned first, indicating leadership. Euodia and Syntyche are named as church leaders in Philippi. Tabitha, whom we will discuss next week, is named as a deacon. It’s safe to assume that there are multiple ways that husbands and wives, men and women, can relate in the New Testament.

In the same way that no one can generalize how marital relationships work in our culture, we cannot generalize how Sapphira relates to Ananias.  No one can say for sure if she was forced to submit to him and back him up. As we have seen, there was opportunity for women in their culture to express their independence and perhaps she is doing just that by choosing to agree with her husband. What we do know for certain is that she had “full knowledge” of Ananias’ actions. Given the chance to independently tell the truth, to stand on her own before Peter, she opts instead to go along with her husband. Her loyalty to him takes precedence over her loyalty to God. And Peter, upon hearing her give the same response as her husband had done, cries out, asking how she could conspire with him in this deception. She is judged on her own actions, not on those of her husband. Adam couldn’t fall back on blaming Eve. Eve couldn’t fall back on the snake. Neither can we blame Ananias for Sapphira’s choice to join him in the deception.

The outcome for Ananias and Sapphira is the same as it was for Adam and Eve: death. While discussing this difficult passage with my own pastor, he suggested, tongue in cheek, that I title this sermon, “You lie, you die.” Obviously, I went another direction! But it is true that the consequence of their deception of God was death. For Adam and Eve, death wasn’t instant, but death entered into the human story from that moment. For Ananias and Sapphira, death is instant.

Let’s pause for just a moment and recognize that this passage is quite difficult. I firmly believe that Rick and Andrea left town during this time just so he could avoid preaching on this. Most everyone reads this passage and is immediately thinking, “What on earth? God killed them for something so small as a few bucks?” Read carefully with me. Nowhere does it say that God struck them down. Nor does it say that Peter killed them. The sentence reads, “When Ananias heard this, he fell down dead.” Sapphira hears that her husband died, and she will as well, and “At that moment she fell down at his feet and died.” I am hesitant to assign blame to God for their deaths because that’s not how this sentence reads. It’s not that Luke is afraid to assign divine blame for deaths. In Acts 12:23 we read that “Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.” Neither God, nor the angel of the Lord, is held responsible for the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira. It is, rather, a reaction to being caught out in their own deception.

There is a lesson for us here, perhaps symbolic, but still useful. Masking ourselves before God brought death to this couple, and to all of us through Adam and Eve. Jesus came to defeat death, opening the door for us to be fully present with God, as ourselves. Covering up, masking up, being someone whom we are not before God is a return to that state of sin and separation. Our attempts to deceive others and God result in our death. It may not be as dramatic or instant as Ananias and Sapphira, but we experience a separation between ourselves and God. That is the death of a relationship, a death of our self-worth. There is a division that comes between us and others when we weave in deception. Someone shared a quote with me this week, from an unknown source. It says, “We don’t suffer for our sins, but because of them.” The deaths of Ananias and Sapphira are a great example of this. Because of their deception, they suffered a death of communion with God and others.

And why did they choose to lie? Perhaps they felt that their acceptance wasn’t certain unless they could offer to the congregation what Barnabas did. Their deception may have come from shame, a shame that they couldn’t share as much as he did. The juxtaposition of these two stories may be more than simply a good and bad example. It may be a lesson to us tied back to the Pentecost story. God welcomes us as we are, in whatever condition we come. Our circumstances are well known to God. Our stories, our homes, our histories, our needs, our cultures, all the things that we come with are a part of the great diversity of the humanity which God created. Consider that at its core, the issue here is that they have broken the two greatest commandments. They were to love God with all of their heart, mind, and soul, yet they hid themselves from God, lying to God about their offering. And they neglected to love and value themselves as they loved others. They created a false image, covering their shame just as Adam and Eve covered theirs, creating a deadly break.

When we think we aren’t enough, when we start trying to be like others to please God, we lose ourselves. We die to all that God has made us to be. We die to the possibilities that God created for us within our own communities, cutting ourselves off from all God has for us. Consider Peter, the leader of this new movement, who never was one to hide behind a mask. He said whatever came to his mind, he betrayed Jesus before the crucifixion, he rushed fearlessly into all sorts of situations. He was an imperfect man. Peter was always just exactly who he appeared to be, and God was able to use him as he was, to mold Peter and help him become all God meant for him to be. His example to us is that we can love all of whom God made us to be, creating an opening for God to mold and shape us, making us better able to love and serve others.

It may be that we are not yet all we wish to be, that we are striving to be more like Barnabas or Paul or Lydia or Esther. What great examples they give us, with worthy goals to strive for in our lives! But for today, right now, let’s strive to love God and ourselves openly and fully. When we love ourselves with an honest love, we see all the great possibilities for God to work in us and through us. By loving ourselves honestly, we can agree with God on things that need to improve within us. This is what God asks, that we live fully into the people God has created us to be, striving to be more Christ-like each day, and living honestly together in the Kingdom.

Musical Response  (Four Slides)
Just As I Am

Just as I am without one plea

But that Thy Blood was shed for me

And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee

O Lamb of God I come I come

Just as I am Thou wilt receive

Wilt welcome pardon cleanse relieve

Because Thy Promise I believe

O Lamb of God I come I come

Community  (no slide)   Kristin

Passing the Peace  (1 slide)   Kristin

Peace before us,
Peace behind us,
Peace under our feet.

Peace within us,
Peace over us,
Let all around us be peace.

Order, Words, and Voices – June 19, 2022

Order

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am)

Call to Worship        Segun

Music 1 (10:30am)                        Worship Team
10,000 Reasons
This Is My Father’s World

Prayer                                   Kristin 

Scripture        Genesis 1:27-28                    Duffy and Mitch
                         Acts 1:12-14, 2: 1-21

Music 2                                     Worship Team
Good, Good Father
O Praise the Name

                
Message        Where’s Waldo? Empowering Hidden Figures                Kristin

Congregational Response       Segun

Music 3     Worship Team
All to Jesus I Surrender

Community (Gallery View)                        

Closing Peace Response                        Kristin

Closing Audio

Words and Voices

Call to Worship (1 slide)
“My prayer is that the Holy Spirit would sweep into our lives with holy disruption, upending our assumptions and privileges, our greed and selfishness, our pride and our stupor. To empower our work and our witness. Like Zechariah 4:6 tells us, not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.”
Sarah Bessey, “Out Of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith.”

“We must be careful…to let God’s Holy Spirit manage our lives; not to smooth down and explain away, but to stir up the gift and allow God’s Spirit to disturb us and disturb us and disturb us until we yield and yield and yield and the possibility in God’s mind for us becomes an established fact in our lives, with the rivers in evidence meeting the need of a dying world.”
Smith Wigglesworth

Music 1 (14 slides)

[Congregation Stand]

10,000 Reasons
CCLI Song # 28263

Bless the Lord O my soul O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

Verse 1The sun comes up it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes
Bless the Lord O my soul O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

Verse 2You’re rich in love and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find
Bless the Lord O my soul O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

Verse 3And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore
Bless the Lord O my soul O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
TagWorship Your holy name
Lord I’ll worship Your holy name

This Is My Father’s World
CCLI Song # 60867

This is My Fathers world
This is my Father’s world
And to my listening ears
All nature sings and round me rings
The music of the spheres
This is my Father’s world
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees of skies and seas
His hand the wonders wrought

Verse 2This is my Father’s world
The birds their carols raise
The morning light the lily white
Declare their Maker’s praise
This is my Father’s world
He shines in all that’s fair
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass
He speaks to me everywhere

Verse 3This is my Father’s world
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong
God is the Ruler yet
This is my Father’s world
The battle is not done
Jesus who died shall be satisfied
And earth and heaven be one

Prayer (1 Slides)

[Please join me in the Lord’s Prayer]
Our Father in heaven, may your name be holy,
May Your Kingdom be among us on earth, just as it is in heaven,
Give us our daily needs,
And forgive us our sins, as we in turn forgive others,
Lead us away from temptation, deliver us from evil,
For this is Your Kingdom, powered by You, all for Your glory
Amen!

[Please be seated]

Scripture (4 Slides)
Genesis 1:27-28, The Message
“God spoke: ‘Let us make human beings in our image, make them
    reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
    the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself,
    and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.’
God created human beings;
    he created them godlike,
Reflecting God’s nature.
    He created them male and female.
God blessed them:
    ‘Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
    for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.’”

Acts 1:12-14, 2:1-21
Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.  When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.  They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,  Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
“‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

Music 2  (21 slides)
Good Good Father
I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

Chorus
You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You areAnd I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

Verse 2I’ve seen many searching for answers
Far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers
Only You provide
Because You know just what we need
Before we say a word

You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You areAnd I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

Bridge
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us
Verse 3Love so undeniable I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love love love

You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You areAnd I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

O Praise The Name anastasis 
I cast my mind to Calvary
Where Jesus bled and died for me
I see His wounds His hands His feet
My Savior on that cursed tree

Verse 2His body bound and drenched in tears
They laid Him down in Joseph’s tomb
The entrance sealed by heavy stone
Messiah still and all alone
ChorusO praise the Name of the Lord our God
O praise His Name forevermore
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord oh Lord our God

Verse 3Then on the third at break of dawn
The Son of heaven rose again
O trampled death where is your sting
The angels roar for Christ the King

O praise the Name of the Lord our God
O praise His Name forevermore
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord oh Lord our God
Verse 4He shall return in robes of white
The blazing sun shall pierce the night
And I will rise among the saints
My gaze transfixed on Jesus’ face

O praise the Name of the Lord our God
O praise His Name forevermore
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord oh Lord our God

Message – Where’s Waldo? Empowering Hidden Figures (13 Slides)

Response – (1 slide)

Let me start today by acknowledging Father’s Day. I acknowledge the joy of having a father who fills your life with support, joy, and encouragement. I also acknowledge that, for many of us, “Father” has negative meanings and memories. For some here, you may long to be a father, but have not been so blessed. Perhaps you recently lost a father and this day feels particularly hard. Whatever your feelings may be, we recognize the power of having a Father, the life-giving impact of a loving man in our lives. We acknowledge that even if we do not have a positive experience of fatherhood, it is a relational gift. Ideally, a parent represents God to us. So we offer thanks to those who have fathered us, whether they came to us biologically, adoptively, or relationally. We offer prayers to those who have never known this relationship in a positive way. And we grieve with those who have lost a father, or the chance to be a father. We lift each one up to the Father of us all, the God of light, love, and comfort.

This morning we begin our series of messages from the book of Acts. When Rick first asked me about filling in for him, he enticed me by letting me know you are working through “The Women’s Lectionary.” I had just ordered another lectionary by and for women, and I was eager to participate. I am thankful to my home church, Spring Creek, for allowing me to be with you. I am also grateful for Rick and his European tour, so that I will have the pleasure of exploring these Scriptures with you.

“God, we ask that you grant your wisdom through the words that are spoken and the words that are heard. May you form our hearts, minds, and ears to resonate and radiate Your truth. Amen.”

Today we will be exploring Pentecost. This is the moment when the Spirit, the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, which Jesus promised to the disciples, arrives in a display of power and glory. We can mark the birth of the church from this moment, and so it is appropriate that the Church, the universal Church, celebrates this day annually. You may know that Pentecost Sunday was two weeks ago, and so I have had the advantage of hearing several lessons and sermons on the topic. It’s been educational for me to hear the story told again and again. Here is the general recap I heard:

The disciples had long awaited this moment. Jesus told them to wait for the Helper, one would come to guide them into all truth, to offer comfort, to be God’s presence among them. They sat praying together in an upper room, the twelve disciples, and suddenly the Spirit burst forth in a frenzy of life.  Flames of fire danced through the room and a sound like howling wind filled the space. It was so amazing that people on the street were stunned and stopped to see what had happened. It was then that Peter began preaching the message of God from on high and thousands were saved.

Does this sound familiar? I’m sure you too have heard this story many times, and you should. It’s a transitional moment. The Spirit and Power of God are suddenly available to live inside of us and to inspire us. It’s a moment when the world changes. As such, it has been portrayed in story, song, and art for centuries. Let’s look at a few images of Pentecost.

Slide 43 – Here we have a traditional Pentecost icon with Mary seated at the center as a teacher, surrounded by the twelve disciples. We will see Mary in nearly all these images, which I think is quite meaningful. She gave birth to Jesus and is present in Pentecost art, often as a teacher, at the birth of the church.

Slide 44-46 Let’s look through a few more images. What stands out to you?

Before we go any further, I want to revisit the scripture for a moment. Art has interpreted these passages for us, but it may not be the full story. Let’s look back at the Scripture. Slide 47 reminds us of Acts 2:1-2. As I said previously, this is where most Pentecost retellings begin. It’s where the action starts. But it doesn’t accurately identify the main characters. Who is “they” that are gathered all in one place?

Let’s take a look at the next slide (Slide 48). We need to go backward just a bit to figure out the “they” in this story. Now we see Acts 1:1215. How many disciples are there? Who are they? Look at a few of those images again (Slides 49-50). Do you see more than 13 people? Any more women? It’s like that book, “Where’s Waldo?” We are missing quite a few people from the story and we have to hunt pretty hard to find them! I spent some time trying to find images that more adequately reflect the story.

Slide 51 –Here is a representation of Pentecost coming to all of the disciples, or at least the males.

Slide 52 – In this modern image we see more people, both men and women.

Slide 53 – Imagery that allows all of us to imagine ourselves at Pentecost

I’m sure my search isn’t exhaustive, but I’m here to tell you that there are very few images of women at Pentecost. In fact, my search turned up an article entitled “The invisibility of women in our depiction of Pentecost.” Mary is almost always included, but the other women are seldom present. Silent in our stories, invisible in our art. I did find this one image by Canadian artist, Giesele Bauche, showing a Pentecost image of only women. (Slide 54) What does it tell us when half of the population is left out of the story of the birth of the church? These images and the people we don’t see tell us something important. When the only woman seen in our images of Pentecost is a mother, a statement is being made about acceptable womanhood. When the other women disappear from our stories and images, women who are single, working, or otherwise unlike Mary disappear as equals in the story of God.

The church has struggled with the issues of women in the church for centuries. Do women have the same access to the Spirit? To church leadership? Are they equal partners with men in the church, or subservient? We will talk of this more in the coming weeks as we see throughout Acts a struggle to define exactly what the gifts of the Spirit are, who has them, and how we define those people. We will see that there are women leaders, but their stories are often hidden away, just like the women present at Pentecost. Our work will be to seek them out as carefully as we look for Waldo in the crowds. We ask for wisdom to help us understand their place in the story of God.

Ultimately, Pentecost is a story of power. It’s a beautiful and amazing moment when the power of God is given freely to humankind. It’s a power that has a world changing, life altering, impact. This Spirit of God, identified with feminine pronouns, is the same Spirit that hovered over chaos at creation, bringing new life and sustenance. The early church understood the force of that Spirit, painting a word picture of flames and wind and multitudes affected by its coming. Isn’t it fascinating how we have shaped our telling of this event over time? In our stories and art, this power is born in a room of twelve homogenous men. Even the image of an upper room has powerful connotations. It is most likely that they were at the Temple courts to celebrate Pentecost. We know that at least 10 days had passed since Jesus’ ascension and that faithful Jews would be at the Temple for 9am prayers on a high holy day. How else could the multitudes hear the word of God in their own languages unless they were present? And yet our stories of Pentecost most always happen in the upper room. How do we feel when we imagine a room, high and lifted up, a room of twelve select men and a token woman, a room from which power descends to the masses? Who is the most blessed?  Who “controls” that power? Those who look and sound the most like the people in our art and stories can lay claim. Even if they acknowledge it is shared power, they are holding it just a little bit more closely than you or I. Art matters. Stories matter. How we represent our faith history matters. It’s important for us to tell our stories in ways that offer God to all people, equally.

And what is the power that is so carefully contained? The Spirit that blew across the people that day was doing some amazing things. In anticipation of the Spirit, at least 120 people gathered in prayer. The Spirit was already giving them community, purpose, and goals. The Spirit overcame barriers of language and knowledge. The Spirit gave the multitudes the ability to hear and to receive the word of God. This band of misfits, led by a criminal, full of bawdy fishermen, tax collectors, an unwed teenage mother, and ex-prostitutes, could suddenly command the attention of thousands of people attending a festival. They suddenly had a voice of power.

Do you see why it might be important for someone who needed to control others to restrict this power to twelve men in an upper room? If we were to acknowledge that this power was given freely by God to anyone who would receive it, there would be no way anyone could be in charge. There would be no room for any power but the power of God. The lovely radical truth is that we must embrace God’s power and let go of our own, so that we too can experience world-changing, Spirit-filled moments.

And yet we humans continue, most often building borders and creating tribes based on all sorts of things: color; gender; nationality; orientation; socioeconomic status. I’m convinced that for every group of “us”, there is a “them.” We seem determined to build walls, to put ourselves into that upper room where we can control the power and the God narrative. It’s time for us to release and share that power with all whom God calls.

Our first step is to consider more closely the things we just know. I confess that it wasn’t until I spent some time with this passage that I realized I had this narrow view of Pentecost. As I researched, I discovered that there are people who know this and have pointed it out in books, articles, blogs, and sermons. To quote Schoolhouse Rock, “Knowledge Is Power!” What can you do to learn what the Spirit is doing?

The best suggestion I can give you it to seek out other voices, especially those who are hidden. If they are hidden, how will you find them? Just start with the ones you hear crying out. African-Americans, First Americans, queer people, people living in poverty or homelessness. Read what their experiences of God have been. Study with them or under their leadership.

Read different history. The church started splitting into factions right from the start and the Eastern church broke away in the year 395. There is an amazing amount of history we never learn here in the West. Do any of us know the stories of the disciples who evangelized Georgia, Armenia, Syria, and Egypt? Our faith is weakened by ignorance of these stories.

Follow where the Spirit is at work and pay attention. Right now, the church is growing globally in the South and the East. What is God doing there? I must be careful saying this because our daughter always wants me to clarify that I appreciate our modern society. I do! I love having education and healthcare and available food and housing. But I will say that our scientific, fact-based, modern mindset has limited us from seeing the Spirit move. I remember listening to a podcast discussion with a Welsh woman who had served a missionary nurse in Africa for decades. She spoke of the miraculous healing from AIDS and that so many people were healed that the church had begun demanding a certificate from the doctor stating that a person had once had AIDS before they could testify at church. When asked why we didn’t see these healings in the Western world, so admitted she didn’t know. But she did put forth two thoughts. One was that God had given us access to medicine and so we didn’t need the miracles, but the other was that our Western mindset made us less believing, less able to ask for and accept the miracles of God. The stories that come from missionaries around the world give us all a lot to consider and will challenge and grow your faith.

Finally, we must find and display representative art. Look at Slide 55. Men and women of every culture have been included in this Pentecostal art. Of course, this isn’t accurate historically either as only 15 regions are mentioned in Acts 2, but wisdom invites us to understand that if Asians and Native Americans had been present that day, they too would have received the Spirit. We are responsible for portraying the stories of God in ways that represent God’s acceptance of all people.

When we begin to listen to these hidden figures, we discover that God’s Spirit is changing the world. And when we respect and embrace that fact, the walls we have built are blown away and the Spirit can move freely through our diverse communities. We are to be unified in our faith, not in our understanding of God. We are to be unified in our worship, not our worship styles. The Spirit came and met people as they were by speaking to them within their own cultures and languages. Our God celebrates diversity! The Spirit who breathed this complex and complicated world into being would surely do no less!

We have not yet fully begun to live into Pentecost. How many of our differences could be transcended if we allowed the power of the Spirit to reign in our lives? What miracles could the Holy Spirit perform in our churches and communities if we embraced these hidden figures and welcomed them as equals among us? How many hearts and minds could the Holy Spirit transform, if we acknowledged its power and presence among all people? What if we refused to laugh off differences among us as drunken ravings and instead celebrated this radically inclusive diversity of God? 

The Spirit and its power are ours to claim. We are called to disturb and disrupt this world until all people know the saving power of God. Let’s pray together.

Disturb us so that we see each person as a unique and valued individual
Lord, open our eyes.
Create an overwhelming desire within us to hear the stories of Your work among all peoples.
Lord, open our ears.
Fill our hearts with a passion to see in each person the spark of life You placed in them.
Lord, open our spirits.
We ask for the Holy Spirit to energize us to live into the radical inclusion into which the Church was born.
Lord, empower us with Your Spirit.

Response In Song

All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live
ChorusI surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all
Verse 4All to Jesus I surrender
Lord I give myself to Thee
Fill me with Thy love and power
Let Thy blessing fall on me
I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all
Verse 5All to Jesus I surrender
Now I feel the sacred flame
O the joy of full salvation
Glory glory to His name
I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all

Community (1 Slide)

  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com
  • Sunday, June 26, Acts 5:1-11, Guest Speaker – Kristin McAtee

Peace (1 Slides)Peace before us,
Peace behind us,
Peace under our feet.
Peace within us,
Peace over us,
Let all around us be peace.
Amen

Order, Words, & Voices

Order

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am)

Music 1 (10:30am) Worship Team

Just A Closer Walk With Thee

Mighty Is Our God

Prayer Grace/Lily

Scripture Luke 15:11-32 Linda

Music 2 Worship Team

Revelation Song

Trust and Obey

Message Passionate Persistence Rick

Congregational Response 

Benediction Grace/Lily

Music 3 You are my One Thing Worship Team

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace Response Rick

Closing Audio

Words and Voices

Music 1 (9 slides)

[Congregation Stand]

Just A Closer Walk With Thee

CCLI Song # 28263

Verse 1

I am weak but Thou art strong
Jesus keep me from all wrong
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk let me walk close to Thee

Chorus

Just a closer walk with thee
Grant it Jesus is my plea
Daily walking close to Thee
Let it be dear Lord let it be

Verse 2

Through this world of toil and snares
If I falter Lord who cares
Who with me my burden shares
None but Thee dear Lord 

none but Thee

Chorus

Just a closer walk with thee
Grant it Jesus is my plea
Daily walking close to Thee
Let it be dear Lord let it be

Verse 3

When my feeble life is o’er
Time for me will be no more
Guide me gently safely o’er
To Thy kingdom shore to Thy shore

Chorus

Just a closer walk with thee
Grant it Jesus is my plea
Daily walking close to Thee
Let it be dear Lord let it be

Mighty Is Our God

CCLI Song # 60867

Don Moen | Eugene Greco | Gerrit Gustafson

Chorus

Mighty is our God
Mighty is our King
Mighty is our Lord
Ruler of ev’rything

Glory to our God
Glory to our King
Glory to our Lord
Ruler of ev’rything

Verse

His name is higher
Higher than any other name
His pow’r is greater
For He has created ev’rything

Prayer (3 Slides)

[Please join me in the Lord’s Prayer]

Our Father which 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 debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: 

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. 

Amen.   

[Please be seated]

Scripture (11 Slides)

“There was a man who had two sons. The youngest son said to his father, ‘Give me the share of the wealth that will belong to me.’ So the father divided his assets between his two sons. A few days later the younger son left and went to a distant region where he squandered his wealth. 

When the youngest son had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that region and he was quickly in need. 

So he hired himself out to feed the pigs in the fields. By this time, the son would have been happy to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, yet no one, even the pigs, gave him anything to eat. 

When the son finally came to his senses he said to himself, ‘All of my father’s employees have enough food to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I’’m going home and will say, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I’m not worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your employees.” 

So he set off and went to his father’s house. While the son was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to his father, ‘ I have sinned against heaven and before you; 

I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 

And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate, for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.

“Now the older son was in the field, when he approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He asked one of the slaves what was going on. The slave replied replied, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf because he has got him back safe and sound.’ 

The older brother became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. But he answered his father, ‘Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command, yet you have never given me even anything so that I might celebrate with my friends. 

But when my brother came back, after wasting your money on prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!’ The father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 

But we have to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’ ”

Luke 15:11-32Music 2  (12 slides)

Revelation Song

CCLI Song # 4447960

Jennie Lee Riddle

Verse 1

Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain
Holy holy is He
Sing a new song to Him Who sits on
Heaven’s mercy seat

Chorus

Holy holy holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of kings
You are my ev’rything
And I will adore You

Verse 2

Clothed in rainbows of living color
Flashes of lightning rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor strength and glory
And power be to You 

the only wise King

Chorus

Holy holy holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of kings
You are my ev’rything
And I will adore You

Verse 3

Filled with wonder awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name
Jesus Your name is power 

breath and living water
Such a marv’lous mystery yeah

Chorus

Holy holy holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of kings
You are my ev’rything
And I will adore You

Trust And Obey

CCLI Song # 7056336

Chorus

Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey

Verse 1

When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word
What a glory He sheds on our way
While we do His good will
He abides with us still
And with all who will trust and obey

Chorus

Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey

Verse 2

Not a shadow can rise
Not a cloud in the skies
But His smile quickly drives it away
Not a doubt nor a fear
Not a sigh nor a tear
Can abide while we trust and obey

Chorus

Trust and obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey

Verse 3

Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at His feet
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way
What He says we will do
Where He sends we will go
Never fear only trust and obey

Ending

Trust and obey

Message – Moved (11 Slides)

In March of this year, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, presented its yearly “World Happiness Report”. This report documents Happiness rankings among the 156 countries around the globe. Each country is ranked using the following factors as a determinates – [Slide] 

Basically, these were used to determine an overall sense of confidence in, and stability of, the country. This year’s research took place as covid immunizations were on the rise, but covid new variants were also appearing – it also took place as the Taliban assumed power in Afghanistan and before Russia invaded Ukraine.  The top 10 happiest countries found to be, [Slide] 

Around this same time, Pew Research, researched countries of the world as to  what percentage of each country would say that they do not believe in the God of the Bible (this meant no belief in God as related in the Bible at all, as well as no belief in any ‘higher power’). Their findings found, [Slide] 

Why am I sharing this with you. I was interested in the overlap – I wondered, ‘Are those who believe in God happier?’ I found that

[Slide] Nine of the top fourteen countries that named as the Happiest, most content, stable, confident, fulfilled, and peaceful, are also among the top fourteen countries where there is the least belief in the God of the Bible. 

This is is not the answer believers like to hear. It is not a good marketing tool. We equate contentment, stability, confidence, fulfillment, and peace, as states of being that found when we live in a healthy relationship with God – however, these stats reveal just the opposite.

Now, our training, especially as trained Evangelical Christians, is to be prepared for these sceanarios that make us look bad. We think, ‘Surely someone is to blame for this disconnect, . We accuse the data of being manipulated to destroy our credibility. Bbut, there is enough truth here to call us to attention. We must permit the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to us in this moment, to show us truth instead of holding on to excusing ourselves.

The real questions we need to ask are, 

What version of the Biblical God is the world seeing?

What version of the Biblical God are we communicating?

How does our day to day life, combined with our worlds, depict God?

What do WE actually believe about God?

[Slide] Do WE actually have a true and healthy perspective of God?

[Slide] This is the question to which we must respond We must lay down our defenses and take an honest look at ourselves – not because we are guilty of something, but because we, in not seeing God, 

fail to enjoy God’s abundance.

Our world is not going to experience peace, our leaders are not going to be able to truly stand for life until we truly know God. We have had a shooting almost every day this past week including 2 in Oklahoma – but our leaders continue to say it is a time for grief not policy – (when will our grief permit a moment for rational policy?) 

Our prayers asking that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven do not have a chance in heaven, until we, all believers, all Christians, all Evangelicals, have a correct portrait of God in our heads and hearts.

In our laser focus on the after life, conversion and baptismal numbers, we have missed the focus that Jesus had – contentment, stability, confidence, fulfillment, and peace. The time when religion and the religious were being a ‘Social Benefit’ but over the past couple of decades, religion and the religious have shifted to being seen as a  ‘Social Cost.’ Christian Evangelicalism along with Chrisitanity, are all caught up in this shift.

This is not necessary a bad thing, it may actually be a good thing, a good thing for Christianity, a good thing for Christians – it may just be our moment of epiphany – our moment to genuinely recognize God as we stand in God’s presence.

This brings us back to the Gospel of Luke, where, for the first time in Luke, we not only have the religious officials at the proverbial table, but they are sitting next to ‘sinners and tax collectors’ (tax collectors are not only considered sinners but also collaborators with the oppressive Roman occupiers). Jesus is talking to them all, they are all at an equals, Being equals is not always acceptable, so there is grumbling, which is the catalyst for Jesus’ three parables.

[Slide] François Bovon refers to Luke 15 as ‘an invitation to all of us to not be too irritated by the conversion of others.’

(François Bovon, Swiss biblical scholar and historian of early Christianity)

[Slide] David Jacobsen, stresses what he calls the ‘metaphorical power’ of, these three parables in which “Jesus, from within the Jewish tradition tries to recast redemption of others, in a different vision of the divine purpose which is precisely how these parables conclude.”

Not to give away the ending, but in all three parables the ending is a joyous celebration of everyone involved, of those not involved but invited to the celebration, and even God and the angels! Everyone one except for one who is not joyous or celebrating, he is unable to join in because he is stuck in the old thought. He chooses to cast blame instead of letting himself find a way to celebrate the abundance in which he had been immersed in all along.

Three parables. Two about being lost, and one about intentional leaving.

The parable of the prodigal son, which Peyton read for us, tells the story of a son who make the choice to leave, rejecting his father. Leaving is a personal choice, but the father realizes that it is totally the son’s choice. The father knows that it is a journey the son must take and a choice he must face. ‘Will he continue to live a life of leaving and rejection?’ The father therefore waits, looking from the porch for any hint of the son’s return. The son, who made the choice to reject and leave, always know the way home, remembers the abundance there, and will have to lay aside his own pride and turn back to home.

The other two stories are of lostness.

Leaving is an intentional choice, purposeful and acted on in a purposeful manner, rejecting where we are, and to whom we belong. A deliberate choice followed by an even more deliberate action. Rejection and Departure.

Lostness, however, is different. Lostness is a series of small, minor, choices. Not the big moment but many small moments that bring us to a place where we suddenly don’t know how to get there.

I think this is where we are in society, much like many Old Testament societies, we have become lost. Our focus has become absorbed with this post earthly life, in our gradual acceptance of that thread of thought, we have forgotten Jesus’ teaching and examples of how to live abundantly here on earth. This is the main focus of the majority of Jesus’ actions and words. Instead, our focus has become a ‘means justifies the ends’ mentality, we have forgotten about shared undeservedness of grace, we have let go of Jesus’ mercy and compassion, we have allowed religious officials and politicians to repaint our picture of God.

A coin was lost in a crevice in which it was unable to get out – no blame is given. A sheep had unintentionally and somewhat intentionally left the herd to find better grass to eat. Small steps, each seemingly innocent movements, steps that the sheep would have know were bad choices, each step taking him further away until he could not find his way home. Each one further into the lostness, each one further from home and herd.

The real focus of these parables, however, is not the lostness, or even the why of the one who deliberately walked away – they are all stories of the one left behind. A Father, a coin owner, a shepherd. The stories are of the responses, the lessons all three. Much that has been forgotten and replaced in our image of God. The three reactions are not actions of shame or guilt, but of an agony of loss. The father sits and waits, knowing the choice of return belongs to the son. The woman cleans and turns the house upside down, the shepherd who leaves the 99 other sheep to find the one that is lost. All three were desperate, all three were passionately persistent, all three rejoiced when they finished.

Notice, in all three of these parables three is not a focus of shame. Their actions of leaving or getting lost are not really the point, the focus is on the rejoicing when they are back home. When they are in a place of contentment, stability, confidence, fulfillment, and peace. The emphasis is not on repentance but on the absolute aspect of being home and being found. A moment when, as Jesus explains, “there will be more joy in heaven, joy in the presence of the rejoicing angels of God.”

In our passage last week, as Jesus spoke to the Isrealites who had gradually become lost as they had taken small self seeking steps until they didn’t realize they were lost, unaware that their religion was worthless, and their view of God was incorrect – [No Slide] “How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34a). God looks the same way at us, ‘desire us to let him gather us, to see him anew, a correct perception that is no longer corrupted by our own self seeking, our own lostness.

Plain and simple, God is a God of Love. God does not seek us out of a bitterness or vengeful spirit, it is out of love. God does not judge or condemn, he searches to rescue and uplift. God does not seek to restrain or hold us down, but to free us so that we can live in his abundance.

When Mary recognized the her son Jesus was going to rescue a wedding party, she revealed to us all what it is to have a correct view of God. She didn’t try to take over the situation, she didn’t shame the servants for not being careful about the amount of wine served to the guests, instead, she just said, ‘do as my son tells you to do.’ She pointed the people behind the scenes to Jesus and she let go. She understood God, she trusted God, she didn’t need to direct. 

That is how we reach our world, not through holding on, keeping control. We show God to a world when we truly know and understand God. When we recognize what happens when we truly know God, the God of the Bible, not the God made up by man to control others or to meet a quota. We know God because we have seen him in Jesus.

Charles Spurgeon, preached about the compassion of God, “I suppose that when our Saviour looked upon certain sights, those who watched him closely perceived that his internal agitation was very great, his emotions were very deep, and then his face betrayed it, his eyes gushed like founts with tears, and you saw that his big heart was ready to burst with pity for the sorrow upon which his eyes were gazing. He was moved with compassion. His whole nature was agitated with commiseration for the sufferers before him.”

(Charles Spurgeon, Sermon No. 3438, 1914, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, UK)

We know God when we see him reflected in the actions of Jesus. When Jesus grabbed the hand of the sinking Peter saying ‘Let’s work on your faith.” When he lifted up the woman caught in the act of adultery saying ‘Maybe it’s time you step out of the darkness, when he said to Thomas in a moment of doubt, ‘Let me show you evidence,’ when he stood next to Martha and just listened, when he knelt down next to Mary and he joined her in her grief, or when Martha interrupted him as he yelled to Lazarus to come out of the grave, saying to Martha, ‘look, there he is.’

God is not out to get us, he is out to love us. His character and very nature demands this. God cannot help but be a God of compassion and grace.

While, it is true that God’s grace is not deserved by any of us, that none of us is worthy, however, God’s breath was breathed into all of us at creation, and that makes us a constant target of God’s grace and mercy because we are all loved by God.

For over 1700 years, religiosity has repainted the reality of God, turning him into a God of hatefulness, vengeance, and brutality. Remaking God into an unloving and unempathetic overlord who calls us to mimic this false narrative of God is. It is time that we all take a step back to take an unhindered look at Jesus to see the God that is love.

In the movie Don’t Look Up that arrived on streaming during Covid, a young man named Yule, calls himself an Evangelical Christian even though he has obviously walked away due to his inability to reconcile the portrait of Jesus that has been painted for him by his evangelical religion. He still believes however, believing in the portrait of Jesus painted for him as a child by his Sunday School teachers. A portrait of a loving God who does not allow politics to dictate his faith. As the movie ends, destruction is near, everyone is about to die. Yule sits with his newly chosen family around a table of those facing death just like him. Those at the table begin to wonder if they should pray, being non-religious, none know how to pray. Yule, who has been looking down at his dinner plate during the conversation, says, “I’ve got this.” He takes hold of the hands next to him, an act copied by those around the table, and begins to pray, praying to the God who he knows, not the image his religion has destroyed. 

[Slide] “Dearest Father and Almighty Creator, we ask for your grace tonight, despite our pride, we ask for your forgiveness, despite our doubt. Most of all, Lord, we ask for your love to soothe us through these dark times. May we face whatever is to come in your divine will with courage and open hearts of acceptance. Amen.”

It is time that we all speak to our God and begin to look at what God truly looks like. A conversation that allows us to let go of the false narrative that have been taught to us. An engagement that will allow us to have a deep understanding and trust that can change a world.

Response – Benediction (6 slides)

Leader: May we re-meet God, may we take a moment to release our false perceptions, our false narratives of who and what God is.

Response: God is Love.

Leader: May our corrected view of God move us to a holy life, one that shows the world God’s compassion and mercy.

Response: God is Love.

Leader: May our transformed faith lead us to let go of the weapons we have been given by religion. May the world see the true image of God in our lives.

Response: God is Love.

Leader: May we be receptors of God and communicators of that grace. A grace that we did not deserve any more than others deserve grace. 

Response: God is Love.

Leader: May our lives be walking demonstrations of God’s mercy and of God’s compassion.

Response: God is Love.

Leader: May we be a people of Love.

Response: God is Love.Response

You Are My One Thing (4 slides)

CCLI Song # 7030069

Hannah McClure | Paul McClure

Verse 1

Your voice ever close You called me
You never gave up pursuing
I fell in love You stole my heart
Your hand ever near I hold to
I long for Your heart to know You
Just to live in Your fellowship

Chorus

Just to be close to You
Just to walk next to You
This is my one thing
You are my one thing
(REPEAT)

Verse 2

My eyes ever fixed upon You
To live like a child to trust You
I’ll hold on to this treasured love
My life ever set at Your feet
I give You my heart completely
To live this life always by Your side

Bridge

I have to know You all that’s within me
Cries out for Your presence God
Nothing compares there’s no one else
Jesus You’re my one desire

Chorus

Just to be close to You
Just to walk next to You
This is my one thing
You are my one thing
(REPEAT)

Community (3 Slides)

  • Next Sunday, Take It Easy Sunday, NO Worship Gathering June 12
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com
  • Sunday, June 19, Acts 1:14; 2:1-8, 14-18, Guest Speaker – Kristen McAtee

Peace (3 Slides)

Leader: As you leave this place, may the peace of the Lord, go with you.

Response: And also with you.

Leader: We gather here because of God’s love for us.

Response: We go from here because of God’s love for everyone out there. 

Leader: Go in the peace of the Lord. Have a great week.

Order, Words, & Voices 05.29.22

Order

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am)

Music 1 (10:30am) Worship Team

Cornerstone 

What a Beautiful Name

Prayer Cricklin

Scripture Luke 13:31-35 On Line-Isaiah

Music 2 Worship Team

Spirit of the living God

It is Well

Message Hanging in There Rick

Congregational Response 

Benediction Cricklin

Music 3 Living Hope Worship Team

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace Response Rick

Closing Audio

Words and Voices

Music 1 (13 slides)

[Congregation Stand]

Cornerstone

CCLI Song # 6158927

Edward Mote | Eric Liljero | Jonas Myrin | Reuben Morgan | William Batchelder Bradbury

Verse 1

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name
(REPEAT)

Chorus

Christ alone cornerstone
Weak made strong in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm He is Lord
Lord of all

Verse 2

When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
My anchor holds within the veil

Interlude

He is Lord Lord of all

Verse 3

When He shall come with trumpet sound
Oh may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless stand before the throne

What A Beautiful Name

CCLI Song # 7068424

Ben Fielding | Brooke Ligertwood

Verse 1

You were the Word at the beginning
One with God the Lord Most High
Your hidden glory in creation
Now revealed in You our Christ

Chorus 1

What a beautiful Name it is
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a beautiful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

Verse 2

You didn’t want heaven without us
So Jesus You brought heaven down
My sin was great Your love was greater
What could separate us now

Chorus 2

What a wonderful Name it is
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a wonderful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

Bridge

Death could not hold You
The veil tore before You
You silence the boast of sin and grave
The heavens are roaring
The praise of Your glory
For You are raised to life again

Bridge

You have no rival
You have no equal
Now and forever God You reign
Yours is the kingdom
Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name above all names

Chorus 3

What a powerful Name it is
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a powerful Name it is
Nothing can stand against
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

Ending

What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

Prayer (3 Slides)

[Please join me in the Lord’s Prayer]

Our Father which 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 debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: 

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. 

Amen.   [Please be seated]

Scripture (3 Slides)

At that very hour same Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”

Luke 13:31-35Music 2  (9 slides)

Spirit Of The Living God

CCLI Song # 23488 Daniel Iverson

Chorus

Spirit of the Living God
Fall fresh on me
Spirit of the Living God
Fall fresh on me
Melt me mold me
Fill me use me
Spirit of the Living God
Fall fresh on me

It Is Well

CCLI Song # 7021972

Spafford | DiMarco | Bliss

VERSE 1

Grander earth has quaked before

Moved by the sound of His voice

And seas that are shaken and stirred

Can be calmed and broken for my regard

CHORUS

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

Through it all, through it all

It is well

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

And it is well, with me

VERSE 2

Far be it from me to not believe

Even when my eyes can’t see

And this mountain that’s in front of me

Oh will be thrown into the midst of the sea

BRIDGE 1

So let go my soul and trust in Him

The waves and wind still know His name

BRIDGE 2

It is well with my soul

It is well with my soul

It is well with my soul

It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul 

(it is well, it is well, it is well)

It is well with my soul 

(it is well, it is well, it is well)

It is well with my soul 

(it is well, it is well, it is well)

It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well, it is well with my soul

CHORUS 2

‘Cause through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

Through it all, through it all

It is well

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

It is well, it is well, it is well, With me

Message – Moved (6 Slides)

In 1997, we moved into a house that, although this was not disclosed in the purchase contract, it was a house with a Monster Problem. Not a problem that was huge like a monster, but a problem that was a monster. The monster lived in our daughter Grace’s room, under her bed. So, since we did not discover this problem until after we had moved in we were stuck with this monster in our lives. Every night, Andrea or I, would have to take a thorough look under the bed, often removing everything from under the bed to prove to Grace that we had made an extensive look. Eventually, the monster, probably tired of hiding from our prowling eyes each night, moved to her closet where the entire nightly process continued. Each night, we had to do the same thorough, only with more stuff to move around. Eventually, we realized that the best way to deal with our Monster Problem was to put a large lock on the outside of the closet door. While many security experts would possibly dispute the effectiveness of a locked closet, maybe even some would suggest the greater danger of an ornery older brother locking his younger sisters inside the closet, we felt strongly this was the best approach to our problem. And, to our credit, it worked. We rented the house after we moved out, with each renter wanting to know the purpose of the Monster Lock, most completely understood having dealt with closet monsters themselves.

Fear was a consistent life roadblock for the people Jesus ministered to as well for those who were opposed to the God’s path for Jesus.

(Slide – 1 of 3) Jesus said to a people who were stuck living a life of fear, “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body and after that can do nothing more.” (Luke 12:4)

Fear, then and now, keeps us from living the abundant life Jesus calls us to. An abundance that seeks to let Jesus change us from the inside, an abundance that frees us to care about others as much as we care about ourself, an abundance that releases us from fear and ushers us into the abundant hope that will not fail. 

(Slide – 2 of 3) “Do not fear those who can kill your body but cannot do anything else.” Jesus says.”

Jesus is challenging his followers, and us, to an inside change. A transformation that gives us discernment that carries us through an earthly fear, a trust that enables us to walk through problems and doubts, a determination to Love Others the way that God Loves Others.

(Slide – 3 of 3) Jesus does not call us to do God’s work, he calls us to be the hands and feet of God’s work that he is already doing.

Jesus was speaking to a people, much like us, who had a basket full of fears. A oppressive government, a religious institution, and a fear based on a failed version of God – seeing God as one that would abandon them taking away their hope yet still holding to the power to destroy them.

Jesus is really identifying a fear that is much greater than our fear of losing our earthly life, it is a fear of losing the everything we hold valuable.

Remember, Jesus went everywhere showing mercy, acting out of compassion, not with judgement or condemnation, while releasing people of fear and oppression – even though he was, along with the people, oppressed by a brutal government and a religious system in collusion with corrupt prophets and politicians. 

Jesus preached love to a people who could have been easily swayed into a violent uprising to protect himself, but, instead, Jesus risked and gave his own life, giving up his own rights and privileges, in order to heal and free a people from their hopelessness and misery. Jesus chose to speak truth even when no one wanted to hear truth – to speak truth even under the constant threat of retribution.

This was Jesus’ mission, this was Jesus’ calling.

In chapter 13 of the gospel of Luke, we find ourself traveling with Jesus to Jerusalem. A journey that is going to take awhile, not because of the distance, but, instead, because of all the mercy and compassion being being expressed by Jesus all along the way. Jesus, through his acts of love, did not work to achieve religious, personal or political agendas, or even a modicum of personal gain.

(Slide – 1 of 3) Jesus engagement with the Religious leaders begins with an interruption. Jesus was in the middle of being the hands and feet of God’s work. A work that Jesus defined as he echoed the words of the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 61)… “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. The Spirit has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)

The purpose of the interruption by the religious leaders was to suggest to Jesus that, maybe, he should stop what he was doing and just leave, for his own safety. We cannot genuinely speculate about the motives of the religious leaders, were they truly concerned or was this an act of manipulation to get rid of Jesus. We can, however, notice that the tactic of the leaders was the consistently effective tool of fear. “Herod is going to kill you if you continue to do what you are doing.”

Jesus’ reaction is not to judge the motives of the religious leaders but instead he ‘hung in there’ and continue to be the hands and feet work of God’s work. He is not going to be detoured, he is not going to quit loving others, even if one of those others is set on harming Jesus.

Jesus is not moved by the threat of death, or any threat. These attempts to sway him to walk away, to persuade him let go of his passion, have no impact on Jesus. He does not let the threats of another person, the threats to his life, the threats against his freedom, his path, even his life are powerless. Jesus does not put his own rights, privileges, or his entitlement ahead of God’s plan, God’s love, of even God himself.

(Slide – 2 of 3) “I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work.” (Luke 13:32)

Jesus is staring down death and personal safety, security, and privilege, and saying he will continue to do what he has been called, by God, to do, what we are all called to do. This use of of the words Today and Tomorrow is not an actual Today and Tomorrow – it is better understood that he is saying 

(Slide – 3 of 3) “I will continue to do this today knowing that I am also going to be doing it tomorrow. And, when tomorrow becomes another ‘today’ I will be knowing that I will be doing it again the next tomorrow….and so on, a continuous work. And, then, when the todays and the tomorrows are over for me, I will be done.”

Sound familiar? A statement of the third day when ‘It Would Be Finished.

Jesus was holding on, hanging onto, God’s call. A call, to be the hands and feet of the work God was doing, to personally sacrifice what must be sacrificed. He was not holding on to a politician or a religious leader, he was not holding onto a political agenda or a engrained philosophy, he was not hanging onto a person, a place, an institution, a nationality, a privilege entitled by income, social position, color, sexuality, gender, ancestry, education, he was not holding onto his followers or any others that needed to be pacified, nor was he fearful of any other person or thing. He was holding onto God – and he was hanging in there regardless until the work was done, until the 3rd. 

This has been a difficult week for preachers, especially those who have chosen to let go of everything in order to preach the truth given to them by the Holy Sprit. It has been a week where we have been confronted with our own Monster Problem. Preachers all over our area of the country have seen what happens to those who speak truth, who call out evil, who confront conspiracies, who don’t tow the party line, who seek to be the hands and feet of God’s workings. A recent documentary details just some of the churches in Arkansas who have attacked their own pastors, pastors are conservative, evangelical, often fundamentalist and far right – for speaking truth. I know many fearful preachers who are fully aware of the perils of preaching truth to their own congregations. 

They, we, hang on to keeping our jobs, reputations, ministries, calling, and often let go of truth, of God’s calling on us so we can hold onto the monster of fear.

Full disclosure, I do not worry about those same things, but I have to admit, this has been a tough passage to prepare especially on this horrifying week. Many of my contemporaries who follow the same preaching schedule I use, probably shared my struggle this week with this passage, this truth, this Monster.

This week has undoubtedly created a Holy struggle for many. This week has surely presented many monsters hiding in closets and under beds.

This week we were hit with another school shooting, this one killing 19 3rd and 4th graders along with 2 elementary school faulty in indirectly another as one of the teachers husbands experienced a fatal heart attack while trying to deal with the death of his wife. Soon, it became obvious that leaders were not holding on to God, even though most were using God and characatures of God to cover their crumbling grasp on things that were not God.  Fear took over, they did not revert to being the hands and feet of God’s work, instead they grabbed hold of fear, conducting unholy unifying unification rally, just blocks from the elementary school, while at the same time, unboundaried gun rights proponents, Christian/white nationalist, insurrectionists, and may others with a crumbling grasp, held fear based rallies to protect their rights in the face of possible actions. Later in the week found out that a second grader in another state had a pistol and ammunition in his desk. Insanity.

But before all of this, there was an internal report released Monday by the Southern Baptist Convention on the bungled handling of sex abuse within the denomination.  This internal SBC report made public only after a handful of insiders insisted, detailed a 3 year investigation showing top Southern Baptists stonewalled and denigrated almost 100 sex abuse victims over almost two decades. The report, documented that leaders of the largest Protestant denomination in the United States not only ignored sex abuse allegations against church leaders but actively worked to discredit accusers.

Russell Moore, a conservative evangelical and former SBC official, expected no surprises to come out of this document. He had been aware for decades of the abuses, lies, and secrets for decades – his own reputation had been attacked as he sought to have action taken by the leadership of the SBC. Finally he left the SBC.

“Having fought through this for so many years, I couldn’t believe the callous inhumanity evidenced in this report. To see it – to see the very words used by leaders behind closed doors, the tactics being used against survivors and against whistleblowers, it was incredible. I mean, there was too much to even take in. After being told for decades that it would be impossible for the SBC to document predatory preachers so they would not be rehired in other churches, It was shocking to find that this document already existed. The existence and maintenance of a document was kept a secret, not to protect abuse victims but to protect themselves, the leaders, against claims of liability. I honestly don’t know what to call this other than a criminal conspiracy. It’s revolting. Crisis is much too small a word for what happened here. There was a constant stonewalling and intimidation of anyone who was pointing these things out and speaking to these things.

(Russell Moore, Christianity Today)

But it was the justification voiced behind closed doors that brings us back to this Luke passage. All of this was done, and over 4 million was spent, to protect the image of the denomination and especially the evangelistic efforts of the convention. The efforts in the minds of these men, the practices of destroying lives in order to ‘win souls’ was lauded as reason enough to keep secrets perpetuated this evil. Instead of holding onto God, and willingly being the hands and feet of the work God was already doing,  they were holding onto their own agenda. They were holding onto a gross misunderstanding of their own mission, their calling. They were excusing this horror, justifying their own Satanic dark and shadowy evil, even as their grasp was slipping and their purpose was descending into fodder.

They were working out of fear, fear of what others would think of them, fear of hurting their man made efforts to increase salvations, baptisms, to have more people in the pews of a denomination that was already losing millions of members. They were hanging onto all kinds of fears, but they had lost grip of the call of God to be the hands and feet of the work God was doing – not the work they had devised.

They were hurting people instead of loving them.

The church has a monster problem, America has a monster problem, humankind has a monster problem. We have let go of being the hands and feet of the work he is doing, and, in doing so, we have let go of God. And, much like the Israelites during the days of Isaiah and Jeremiah’s prophecies, they have continued a false and deceitful presentation of holiness but one has only to look at what they are hanging onto, what we are hanging onto, to see that we have exchanged God for all types of other things.

Response – Benediction (6 slides)

Leader: As God spoke with the religious leaders, he made a very odd statement, a statement about hens and chicks.

Response: It was a statement about God and each of us.

Leader: “How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”

Response: It was a call to us and our descendants.

Leader: It is a statement of what we pass on, what we teach the next generation through our lives and through our words.

Response: I long to gather your children but you were not willing to let me.

Leader: It is a desire of God to gather those who come after us, to free us of our monsters, our fears, our oppression, our hopelessness.

Response: It is a call to us to check what we are holding onto.

Leader: It is God’s desire that those who come after us will know what not to hold onto. What is strong enough to support.

Response: It is a call to hold onto God.

Leader: It is a calling to be hands and feet today, tomorrow, the next today, and all the following tomorrows.

Response: It is a calling to hang on until God’s work is complete.Response – Music 3 (7  slides) 

Living Hope

CCLI Song # 7106807

Brian Johnson | Phil Wickham

Verse 1

How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb
In desperation I turned to heaven
And spoke Your name into the night

Then through the darkness Your loving-kindness
Tore through the shadows of my soul
The work is finished the end is written
Jesus Christ my living hope

Verse 2

Who could imagine so great a mercy
What heart could fathom such boundless grace
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame


The cross has spoken I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior I’m Yours forever
Jesus Christ my living hope

Chorus

Hallelujah praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ my living hope

Verse 3

Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
(REPEAT)

Jesus Yours is the victory

Jesus Christ my living hope
Oh God You are my living hope

Community (3 Slides)

  • Next Sunday, June 5, “Passionate Persistence’, Luke 15:1-10
  • Take It Easy Sunday, NO Worship Gathering June 12
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com

Peace (3 Slides)

Leader: As you leave this place, may the peace of the Lord, go with you.

Response: And also with you.

Leader: We gather here because of God’s love for us.

Response: We go from here because of God’s love for everyone out there. 

Leader: Go in the peace of the Lord. Have a great week.

Order, Words, & Voices 05.15.22

Order

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am)

Music 1/Call to Worship (10:30am) Worship Team

The Solid Rock

Shout To The Lord

Prayer Renee

Scripture Luke 7:11-17 Martha

Music 2 Desert Song

Breathe On Me Breath Of God (Trentham) Worship Team

Message Moved Rick

Congregational Response 

Benediction Peyton

Music 3 Trust In You Worship Team

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio Words and Voices

Welcome/Music 1

The Solid Rock

CCLI Song # 25417

Edward Mote | William Batchelder Bradbury

Verse 1

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name

Chorus

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

[The prophet Isaiah spoke God’s words of truth to a people who had yet to accept any words except for the words they wanted to hear. Words of hope, compassion, empathy, and even persistence even though the words were dismissed. Words such as…

The wilderness and dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice; the crocus shall blossom with joy and shouting. God Shall strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees. 

 “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come and save you.”]

Verse 2

When darkness veils His lovely face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In ev’ry high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil

Chorus

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

[The people saw no need for words of hope, compassion, empathy, and definitely no need for a persistent God. Although they refused to listen to the needed words, still they were a gift to these people. These were words for a people a century before their coming exile and enslavement. However, these were a people who had settled in to indifference – later, they were words for a people that witnessed the brutal cross and an empty tomb. Now, they are words for us…

The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be opened; the lame shall leap, and the tongue of the speechless shall sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool and the thirsty ground springs of water; the grass shall become reeds and rushes.]

Verse 3

His oath His covenant His blood
Support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay

Chorus

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

[Words unheeded, words thrown out with the garbage become words exchanged for lies and deceit. But, God continued, and continues, to give us these words of Hope, Compassion, Empathy, revealing God’s Persistence.

A highway called the Holy Way shall be there on which not even fools shall go astray. Nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; but the redeemed shall walk there. The ransomed of the Lord shall return with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.]

Shout To The Lord

CCLI Song # 1406918. Darlene Zschech

Verse 1

My Jesus my Saviour
Lord there is none like You
All of my days I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love

My comfort my shelter
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath all that I am
Never cease to worship You

Chorus

Shout to the Lord
All the earth let us sing
Power and majesty
Praise to the King


Mountains bow down
And the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name


I sing for joy
At the work of Your hands
Forever I’ll love You
Forever I’ll stand
Nothing compares to the promise
I have in You

Chorus

Shout to the Lord
All the earth let us sing
Power and majesty
Praise to the King


Mountains bow down
And the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name

I sing for joy
At the work of Your hands
Forever I’ll love You
Forever I’ll stand
Nothing compares to the promise
I have in You

Prayer

[Please join in the Lord’s prayer, words are on the screen] [7 slides begin] 

Our Father which 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 debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: 

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. 

Amen.

(Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)

Scripture

Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. 

He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow, and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her, he was moved with compassion for her and said to her, “Do not cry.” Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stopped. 

And Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 

Fear seized all of them, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” This word about him spread throughout the whole of Judea and all the surrounding region.

Luke 7:11-17

Music 2 

Desert Song

CCLI Song # 5060793  Brooke Ligertwood

Verse 1

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that’s within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my 

hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

Verse 2

This is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved 

of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame

Chorus

I will bring praise  I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me 

shall remain
I will rejoice  I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

Verse 3

This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am a conqueror 

and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I’ll stand

Chorus

I will bring praise  I will bring praise
No weapon formed 

against me shall remain
I will rejoice  I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

Bridge

All of my life in ev’ry season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

Verse 4

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favour and providence flow
I know I’m filled to be emptied again
The seed I’ve received I will sow

Breathe On Me Breath Of God

CCLI Song # 99481

Edwin Hatch | Robert Jackson

Verse 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

Verse 2

Breathe on me breath of God
Until my heart is pure
Until with Thee I will one will
To do and to endure

Verse 3

Breathe on me breath of God
Till I am wholly Thine
Till all this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine

Message – Moved

  • [slide] Close to 2,000 years before Jesus’ Resurrection, the unknown God gave a promise to an idol worshiper named Abraham – a promise that would change the relationship of the Mighty God and the People who would choose to accept God’s offer to be the God’s people.
  • [slide] It was a promise that would make this people ‘a people’ moving them from being afraid of the mighty scary God to a known merciful God – they would know God as Lord. A designation that was monumental, a new identifier that would put a metaphoric human face on God. 
  • [slide] Around twelve hundred years later, these words from God, the God of Abraham,  were echoed through the voice of God’s prophet Isaiah. 
  • [slide] About 700 years later, the essence of these same words would be heard visually as God spoke through the human birth, life, ministry, and death, of God’s son Jesus, meaning now, the chosen people knew God not only as mighty and Lord, but also as deliverer and Messiah, and now, the metaphoric human face was a reality living among them. 
  • [slide] Three decades later, those words would take on feet as a persistent and undeterred group of women witnessed the death of Jesus refusing to quit until they found the resurrected body of Jesus. Now God was known as Mighty, Lord, Deliverer, Messiah, Resurrected life, and Friend. 
  • [slide] For decades following, decades that turned into centuries, which turned into over 2 thousand years, these words were voiced, sung, written, and demonstrated, those same words were taught through the passion of the apostles, and eventually us, all who now knew God as Mighty, Lord, Deliverer, Messiah, Resurrected life, Friend, Helper, Encourager, Savior, and the very presence of Love.

[slide] God’s words, voiced from the mouth of the prophet, were intended as warning to a rebellious and wayward people. The intriguing thing about these words is that while God was calling out a people who were ignoring God, still God used words of encouragement and hope. [slide] Words like glad, [slide] rejoice, [slide] blossom, and [slide] joy; God used instructions such as [slide] strengthen weak knees and hands, [slide] be strong and do not fear; he gave promises that [slide] God will come and save you, [slide] the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf will open, [slide] the lame shall leap like a deer, and [slide] the tongue of the speechless will sing for joy; God predicted, before anyone realized that they were thirsty, that [slide] waters shall break forth in the wilderness and [slide] streams in the desert, [slide] burning sands shall become pools and the [slide] thirsty ground will be immersed by springs of the water; and most beautifully, God [slide] painted a picture of a Holy Highway on which no lion nor ravenous beast shall be present, a holy way on which the redeemed shall walk freely, the ransomed of the Lord shall return with singing and an everlasting joy and gladness shall be evident and all sorrow and sighing shall be gone.

[slide] Remember, these words were patiently given to a people who, not only refused to listen to the words, but repeatedly attempted to shut the words from God up.

[slide] God used words to move, but those words could only move a people who were listening and intentionally hearing. A people who were willing to be moved by compassion and mercy.

[Filler Slide]

God’s intentional words are words that come from the very nature and character of God. Words that call us to action, words that come from God’s compassion and hope. Words that reveal God. It is no surprise then, that Jesus would act, and react out of that same compassion, mercy,  and hope. Jesus heard the words crying out for compassion and the unspoken cries for hope. Jesus’ response to those words pointed to hope, they gave hope – words that became actions, actions that gave life.

Jesus moved by the words of humans, just as words and cries had been a catalyst for every move of God. Let’s take a moment to truly grasp this truth.

  1. [slide] Every action of God is out of compassion, beginning with exiling of Adam and Eve from the garden; banishing their murderous son, Cain; the flooding of the earth; the scattering of the arrogant from Babel; rescuing the wicked in Sodom from, and by, their own destruction; and so many acts that we do not automatically see as compassionate, plus we have those actions that are undeniably merciful. All to provide hope to those directly involved leaving ripples that bless all, even us thousands of years later. 
  2. [slide] God’s words to those who have dismissed, ignored, disobeyed, and sometimes have just wandered away, are always corrective, compassionate, and ultimately redemptive – not punitive. Even when they are words of human consequence. The coats for Adam and Eve, the protective shield for Cain, the the ark for God’s creation, the scattering to open eyes and hearts, the destruction of Sodom to protect from their own actions and hardened hearts.
  3. [slide] God hears our cries long before we recognize our need. God pursues those who call out to him and even more persistently those who have forgotten him. 
  4. [slide] God gives hope until we are no longer able to receive hope, til we can no longer see that we need hope. And, God persistently does not reflect our negativity, but, instead, responds with compassion and mercy even though we may be at our most unlovable state.

[Slide] Grasp This – God loves us even when we are at our most unlovable state of being.

Today’s Passage is a very simple one. Two different moments, found in the same chapter of the gospel of Luke. Moments that took place early on in the ministry of Jesus. Two very different people hopeless and in need of some compassion and mercy. 

A Roman centurion had a highly valued slave who was ill and close to death. The centurion heard about Jesus and sent some Jewish elders to ask Jesus to come and heal his slave. The elders appealed to Jesus earnestly, saying, “This man is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our people, and, even though he is not a Jew, he built our synagogue for us.” Jesus went with them, but the centurion sent friends to tell Jesus, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But please speak the word where you are so my servant will be healed. For, like you, I also am a man with authority over many, I say to one, ‘Do this, and they do what I have ordered.’ Jesus heard this and was amazed at him, he said to the crowd, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found another who understands who I am.” When the Jewish leaders arrived back at the home of the centurion, they found the slave in good health.

The other hopeless person in need of compassion and mercy was a widow left with only one son. Her culture held no respect for a widow, she had no worth, and for most was only a burden. No money, now home or land ownership, no servants, no where to go, no one to care for her. Ever since her husband had died her only hope had been her son, only he could assure she would be cared for and remembered.

As we meet this women, she is engulfed in mourners and spectators. Her only son, her only hope, had died she is now surrounded by those who respected and loved her son. Even though she immersed in the grief of the others, she is well aware that she will soon stand alone, dismissed, and hopeless. She is not a person of power, she is probably not even a person that is very known, even to this crowd. There is no one who is going to go to Jesus on her behalf,  there is no one concerned about her future. She stands in a crowd just waiting until she will be standing alone and hopeless. Ironically, Jesus is now in town, but no one has granted her the freedom to ask Jesus, no one has given her even the smallest amount of hope that Jesus could, through his mercy and compassion, be the giver of hope to her.

The story of this woman was not an uncommon sight, in most every community, there was a pocket of women standing alone in the same situation. Standing without hope. Knowing that no one is consumed by compassion, that no one will be prompted by mercy. They are left alone to face the misery of being left alive.

This is where the story of this woman meets the God of the compassionate and merciful words voiced thousands of years before. Words that convey love, words that give hope. Jesus does not need to be begged to go to the woman, nor does he need anyone to inform him of her pain and agony. He just needs to see her, to be in her presence, to recognize her hopelessness. Upon seeing her, he encourages her to not cry, to not be consumed by her hopelessness. Jesus then touched the frame on which the pall bearers carried the coffin, they stooped down so Jesus could speak the dead body. “Young man,” Jesus said, ‘arise.” The young man sat up and began to speak. Then, Jesus gave the son back to his mother.

Jesus gave the woman her son. Jesus gave the woman hope. Jesus, prompted by the same compassion and mercy that led God to say the original words thousands of years before, now again gives those words words of life. Words of Hope. Jesus was moved by the same compassion and mercy that moves God.

Now, let us understand that the woman went back to her same situation that she had before her son died and was risen. She still had a cloud of doom over her head, maybe now it was darker as she had experienced the death of her only hope, however, now she had met hope. Now she could go on living knowing that she was not unnoticed and she was not hopeless. She could now live knowing that it is God’s compassion and mercy that moves him to action rather than her position or power. Life would still be difficult but now she was holding onto something she had not held onto before. Even in the worst of times, hope was still there, even when she could not see or feel hope it was there. It never was the crowd, it never was what she held too tightly, it was the God who moves even when she forgets God is there.

This is God, this is what God is, this is what God does. For the woman, life would surely still be hard, times would obviously still be tough, but now she could remember to persevere because she had hope, hope forgotten that had been remembered. Hope that had been lost had now been found. Hope that is all around us as well, even in the worst of times – and it does not abandon us when we forget it or turn away from it.

In sermon development, sermons are an odd beast. They are meant to teach, to enlighten, and do inspire – God brings the sermon writer along a journey to each of those. Sometimes for me, even though I will have a full sermon written, it can still be Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and even sometimes Sunday morning, before we even fully know what God wants to take to the audience the preacher is preaching to. Often, a preacher will have success with a sermon and then think it it is an effective sermon – not realizing that it is successful because it was for a particular audience. Today’s message took that agonizing path, everything written up through Thursday night has been, at his moment, preached. That does not mean there has not been a struggle. 

Preaching that moments when God gives hope in hopeless times, honestly, has been a struggle for me. I am fully aware that many of you have faced, or are facing, the desperation of losing a loved one, to struggling with a loved one, to miserable situations at work or at home, to hopeless situations that just plain and simple are not going to easily go away. In fact, the original ending of this sermon, which I preached to you have seemed disingenuous in light of our reality. That is why I added the final two paragraphs, in my attempt to make this sermon not so conceptual that it is worthless. It was not until Friday night that God gave me an ‘ah ha’ moment, where it made sense, and fits with our reality of pain and struggle.

Here is the message for us today, this moment, in our lives. 

Reality – the woman still went home, even with her son, to a dismal reality. She was still dependent on him, and now, even worse, the had recognized that truth even more in his death. He would eventually die, had maybe she would still outlive him – her desperation was actually just postponed. 

However, Jesus’ compassionate and merciful gift of hope, for her, in that moment, was not actually for that moment.

When God approaches us in our time of known or unknown need, God’s actions are not necessarily for that moment- they are giving us a deeper hope to hang on to our next hopeless moment. God’s mercy and compassion are always much bigger that our now moment.

Truth – what you recognize God doing now, is probably not actually limited to now, it is probably for later. It is now preparing you for the next human reality that will need this hope. To understand we must travel back to the day following the Sabbath that followed the Cross. Mary Magadelene and the other women, went to the grave, but, they were not going to leave there hopeless, they were sure to need hope later, so they stuck around, they waiting on Jesus, or at least a word from Jesus. 

Is this your preparatory moment?

Let’s Pray

Response – Verbal Congregational Response

Leader: God’s mercy and compassion guide his reactions and responses. 

Response: May we be a people of mercy and compassion.

Leader: God’s patience and love form his words and actions.

Response: May our words and actions be a reflection of God’s patience and love.

Leader: God’s engagements, encounters, and confrontations are the unstoppable natural redemptive outflow of his mercy and compassion.

Response: May God’s redemptive nature be our core character that our world can see.

Leader: God does not give up on us, God does not act punitively towards us, God’s love is the light that shines even when we fail to look.

Response: May we stick around until we see God, may we stay until we hear God.

Leader: God takes notice of our times of hopelessness, God reaches out in our times of isolation, God seeks us out to remind us of hope.

Response: May we remember to turn to God’s hope when hope cannot be found.

Leader: God is Love.

Response: May we also be a people of love.

Response – Music 3 

Trust In You

CCLI Song # 7025522

Lauren Daigle | Michael Farren | Paul Mabury

Verse 1

Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wondering
Never changes what You see

Verse 2

I’ve tried to win this war I confess
My hands are weary I need Your rest
Mighty warrior King of the fight
No matter what I face 

You’re by my side

Chorus

When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You


I will trust I will trust
I will trust in You

Verse 3

Truth is You know what tomorrow brings
There’s not a day ahead 

You have not seen
So in all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord 

and nothing less

Chorus

When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You


I will trust I will trust
I will trust in You

Bridge

You are my strength and comfort
You are my steady hand
You are my firm foundation
The Rock on which I stand


Your ways are always higher
Your plans are always good
There’s not a place where I’ll go
You’ve not already stood

Chorus

When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You


I will trust I will trust
I will trust in You

Community

  • Next Sunday, May 22, Our Mission Together, Matthew 25:31-46 (Special Speaker Kyle Tubbs)
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com

Peace

As you leave this place, may the peace of the Lord, go with you.

And also with you.

We gather here because of God’s love for us, we go from here because of God’s love for everyone out there. Go in the peace of the Lord.

Handing Over 05.08.22

Order

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am)

Music 1/Call to Worship (10:30am)    Billy/Abbie/Rick

    Man Of Sorrows

    Empty Tomb

    Crown Him With Many Crowns

Prayer                                                                    Petty

Scripture            Luke 24:1-12                              On Line-Isaiah

Music 2 – SpecialRedeemerBilly & Abbie

Message        Handing Over                         Rick

Congregational Response

    Benediction                                                    Peyton

Music 3     It Is Well                                  Billy & Abbie

Community (Gallery View)                              Rick

Closing Peace                                                    Rick

Closing Audio

Words and Voices

Welcome/Music 1

Man Of Sorrows 

CCLI Song # 6476063, Brooke Ligertwood | Matt Crocker

Spoken Word adapted from Craig R. Koester, Professor and Asher O. and Carrie Nasby Chair of New Testament

[This is the fourth Sunday of Easter, we look to Luke’s Easter story which begins with the obvious: Jesus is dead, and his followers naturally assume that death is final. The women come to the tomb because that is where they last saw the body of Jesus. They desire to show proper respect so they bring the spices to anoint the body of Jesus. This is what you do to a body after death. While we are tempted to enshrine Jesus’ body, the best we can do is to treat it with respect and say goodbye. Relegating Jesus to a memory – an insightful teacher, a fiery prophet, and a compassionate healer are accurate memories but they seem insufficient. As with the other three, the resurrection story of Luke begins with an empty tomb, a missing body.]

Verse 1

Man of sorrows Lamb of God

By His own betrayed

The sin of man and wrath of God

Has been on Jesus laid

Verse 2

Silent as He stood accused

Beaten mocked and scorned

Bowing to the Father’s will

He took a crown of thorns

Chorus

Oh that rugged cross my salvation

Where Your love poured out over me

Now my soul cries out hallelujah

Praise and honour unto Thee

[Again, there is a mysterious message from mysterious messengers for the women, a message that runs counter to what they think they know to be true. “Why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is not here, he has been resurrected”. The women are told that Jesus is alive, however, Jesus is no where to be seen. All that they have is the word of these unknown messengers. The fact that Jesus body is unseen, neither dead or alive, creates an Easter experience that comes uncomfortably close to our own – we too do not see a body. It would have been so much easier if the women would have seen the resurrected Jesus, it would so much easier for us to see the resurrected Jesus.The empty tomb does not change our perspective, instead it just makes everything more confusing. Our situation is identical to situation of that first Easter: all were/are given a message of resurrection, a message that looks nothing like what is seen.]

Verse 3

Sent of heaven God’s own Son

To purchase and redeem

And reconcile the very ones

Who nailed Him to that tree

Bridge

Now my debt is paid

It is paid in full

By the precious blood

That my Jesus spilled

Now the curse of sin

Has no hold on me

Whom the Son sets free

Oh is free indeed

[Let’s be honest, the only logical response to such a message is unbelief. Experience teaches that death is permanent. But, the Easter message says that Jesus lives. When such contradictory claims collide, it only makes sense to continue affirming what we already know. This is what Luke reports next. The women bring the message of resurrection to the others, and they respond as thinking people regularly respond: they thought that the message was “an idle tale, and they did not believe them”. Now, unbelief does not mean that we believe nothing. Rather, it means that they believe something else. We say “I don’t believe it” because there is something else that we believe more strongly. Yet, the Easter message challenges our certainties. Our experience is that even the strongest succumb to death. Our experience teaches that life is what you make it, so get what you can while you can now. The Easter message asks each of us, “How can you be so sure?”]

Verse 4

See the stone is rolled away

Behold the empty tomb

Hallelujah God be praised

He’s risen from the grave

Chorus

Oh that rugged cross my salvation

Where Your love poured out over me

Now my soul cries out hallelujah

Praise and honour unto Thee

[The Easter message calls us from our old belief in death to our new belief in life. The tomb could not hold Jesus, Jesus has been resurrected. The apostles were convinced that the message of resurrection was nonsense, an “an idle tale”, aferall, death is death, death is final. Yet Peter had to go and take a look for himself, wondering “What if it is true?” Thousands of years later, we continue to take the footsteps of Peter. We have heard the rumor that Jesus is alive and have come to hear it for themselves: “What if it is true? What if death is not final? What if Jesus is actually present? What if Jesus meets me here? What difference would that make?” What if God, even today, is still asking us “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”]

The Empty Tomb 

CCLI Song # 5822058, Donna Norton | Phil Mehrens

Verse 1

Where is dark Where is death

Where is sadness grief fear

Where is doubt Where is loss

Where is deepest despair

Chorus

The empty tomb fills life with hope

My Savior lives Jesus my Lord

Resurrection pow’r

no grave could hold

The Son of God bursts forth

Behold the empty tomb

Verse 2

Here is light, Here is life

Here is truth to proclaim

Here is joy, Here is might

Here is love that overcame

Chorus

The empty tomb fills life with hope

My Savior lives Jesus my Lord

Resurrection pow’r

no grave could hold

The Son of God bursts forth

Behold the empty tomb

Crown Him With Many Crowns

CCLI Song # 23938, George Job Elvey | Godfrey Thring | Matthew Bridges

Verse 1

Crown Him with many crowns

The Lamb upon His throne

Hark how the heavenly anthem drowns

All music but its own

Awake my soul and sing

Of Him who died for thee

And hail Him as thy matchless King

Through all eternity

Verse 2

Crown Him the Lord of life

Who triumphed o’er the grave

And rose victorious in the strife

For those He came to save

His glories now we sing

Who died and rose on high

Who died eternal life to bring

And lives that death may die

Verse 3

Crown Him the Lord of love

Behold His hands and side

Rich wounds yet visible above

In beauty glorified

No angel in the sky

Can fully bear that sight

But downward bends

each burning eye

At mysteries so bright

Prayer

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.

Amen.

(Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)

Scripture 

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body.While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

Luke 24:1-12

Music 2/Special 

Redeemer

CCLI Song # 3149757

Nicole Mullen

Verse 1

Who taught the sun where

to stand in the morning

And who told the ocean

you can only come this far

And who showed the moon

Where to hide ’til evening

Whose words alone

can catch a falling star

Chorus 1

Well I know my Redeemer lives

I know my Redeemer lives

All of creation testifies

this life within me cries

I know my Redeemer lives

Verse 2

The very same God that

spins things in orbit

He runs to the weary

the worn and the weak

And the same gentle hands

That hold me when I’m broken

They conquered death

to bring me victory

Chorus 2

Now I know my Redeemer lives

I know my Redeemer lives

Let all creation testify let this life within me cry

I know my Redeemer

Bridge

He lives to take away my shame

And He lives forever I’ll proclaim

That the payment for my sin

Was the precious life He gave

But now He’s alive

And there’s an empty grave

Chorus 3

And I know my Redeemer He lives

I know my Redeemer lives

Let all creation testify

That this life within me cries

I know my Redeemer

Ending

I know my Redeemer lives

I know my Redeemer lives

I know my Redeemer lives

He lives He lives

Message – Handing Over 

Today, on this fourth Sunday of Easter, we look at our fourth gospel account of the resurrection. Over the course of these four weeks, we have accepted the invitation to stand outside the empty grave, to experience the hopelessness mixed with an equal amount of hopefulness. A moment of increased confusion overwhelmed by an inexplicable holy clarity. A moment experienced by, and largely because of, a group of women who had every reason to be afraid and confused. A group of oppressed, belittled, and dismissed humans who rationally needed to be hiding behind closed doors, but chose instead to venture out to the very place they very much did not need to be – the tomb.

A unique aspect of our Easter journey this year has been our realization of the significant part played a group of women. We have seen them in every one of the tomb accounts.  Throughout he narrative of Jesus’ life we see Jesus’ time spent speaking God’s truth to a group of men. However, we have possibly seen even more holy moments in holy lessons in his time with these women. We cannot deny his acts of acceptance, affirmation, welcoming, and embrace to this group of humans who were culturally relegated to the margins of society by those who bore the pronouns He and Him.

Theoretically, nothing in the resurrection accounts was, or is, a surprise. But when our theory collides with our reality, the reality of it cannot help but be surprising.  The truly intriguing question of the death and resurrection is, [Slide] ’Why did only the woman initially go to the tomb?’

For Luke, his story of the cross and the resurrection is not an ending or a beginning, nor is it a climax – Luke’s gospel, followed by his continuing narrative in Acts, is an account of, what is best encapsulated in the words of the apostle Paul, [Slide] “Whoever is in Christ is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul was in the business of telling of the new creation proclaimed in the moment of Jesus’ resurrection.  A new creation that brings the people of God, not to a place of isolated individuality but to the new creation of commonality, a collective community of individuals and their unique relationships with God centered on Jesus. Luke presents God’s work of bringing together a community based on the loving and redemptive nature of God – Luke is, in essence, articulating the journey of the Church – Our Journey.

So, we return to our question – [Slide] “Why did the woman go to the tomb?’

Before we can answer that question it is helpful if we first spotlight the major revelations of the cross/resurrection moment.

  1. [Slide] The crucifixion and the resurrection can only be understood when we replace our flawed perception of God as a Punitive God with the correct understanding that God is the Redemptive God.
  2. [Slide] Jesus’ death via the cross does not make us a cleaned up and corrected version of our selves, but, instead it makes us a new creation, the creation we were meant to be at creation.
  3. [Slide] These women had the story to tell because they were not satisfied at only seeing the empty tomb, they stuck around until they saw Jesus. They were the first believers, and in the course of following they became the ‘quae apostoli ad apostolos’ – the apostles to the apostles, paving the way for the male apostles to be culturally acceptable messengers to the world.
  4. [Slide] The accomplishment of the Cross, affirmed in the empty grave, is the our story to tell.

So, again, we return to our question, [Slide] “Why did the woman go to the tomb?’

The Answer – [Slide] The men were not ready to see the resurrected Jesus, because they were still stuck with a punitive God. They sat in fear of the world, but also of God. A God who knew of their failed faith, their acting out of fear, their forgetfulness of truth. Jesus knew of Peter’s denial, he could not help but see their absence at the cross, he remembered that they had argued over their own importance, he was fully aware of their abandonment of their rabbi when their theories met the harsh reality of the cross. It only made sense to now expect retribution of the punishing God because they knew that they deserved punishment.

The punitive God was who they had met at the arrest of Jesus, as well as what they had heard about at the cross. That would be the God awaiting them at the tomb, a mad God, who needed to kick some butt, their butt. A God who is out to get us is the God who can control and manipulate a humanity that sorely need a cosmic bully. Why do to the grave when the principal is waiting there with his paddle?

Modern Evangelical Christianity, something that came out of a holy desire to tell our story, morphed into formulaic manipulation of a flawed version of God, empowers itself on the words of the Apostle Paul,  [Slide] “The wages of sin are death.” This word wages has become that paddle in the principal’s hand, which is the flawed view of God that comes out of our erred understanding of God.

[Slide] The problem is that wages are not a punishment – wages are a previously agreed upon payment for actions. We do not accept a job without first agreeing on a salary, the wages for our efforts, our actions. Our wages are the goal of our work, not the punishment for our actions. [Slide] When we turn from God we choose to no longer let God be our God, we accept a new wage contract – death (because we are unable to sustain life.) [Slide] Wages as Punishment is a flawed understanding that brings us to a terribly mistaken view of God’s act on the cross, paralyzing us when it is time to go to the tomb.  [Slide] God’s actions at the cross are not punitive, because God never doles out punishment, even when He is angry. God is redemptive, His actions on the cross are redemptive, he buys out our contract where we are paid death, [Slide] God pays for our death with a death, and, in turn, gives us life. Eternal Redemption is an exchange that only God is cosmically able to pay the price.

[Slide] God’s redemptive act of Handing Jesus over for the payment of our death, recreates us as a new creation.

This past week I got mustard on my favorite blue shirts. I love this shirt as evidenced in the fact that there are three of them in my closet. So, when I became aware of the great mustard travesty, I was determined to save my shirt.

I quickly shouted it out using the spray kept over the washer. Later that evening, Andrea yelled out a question for the utility room “What did you do to your shirt?” I reminder her of her system of treating mustard stains to which she came out the room holding up my properly sprayed shirt. The problem was, I had someone sprayed Clorox Clean Up instead of the spot remover. I am unable, and actually no one is able, to fix the problem. I am considering just spraying the entire shirt giving me a dodgy white shirt, but the idea has been met with some skepticism. The truth is that I cannot make this shirt back to what it was, I cannot undo the Clorox consequences. The only thing I can do is to cover it up with another color or, just give in and go full hog on a cloroxed shirt.

Our human problem that can be fixed with a human solution. And, equally true, we cannot redeem ourselves. We are unable to reconcile our relationship with God. We cannot make ourselves anew. However, God can, God did, God does.

[Slide] The Israelites saw see the sin and guilt ritual offerings as a prerequisite to receiving God’s forgiveness. They thought that performance of these rituals assured God’s continued presence.

[Slide] Many of us still hold this perception of God. We allow flawed narratives to pervert our relationship with God. However, God invites us daily to forge our own understanding of him through our own learning and growing experiences with God.

[Slide] Jesus came to reframe how to be in relationship with God, others, and each ourselves. Jesus taught a consciousness that is a relational experience with the Lord that supersedes the law. 

[Slide] Many Christians perceive themselves to be in relationship with God, when really they are in relationship with a man made Biblical narrative. It is time for many of us to release our flawed thinking of this punitive God and get to know the Redemptive God.

[Slide] God’s act of handing over Jesus on the cross, his show of love invites us daily to forgive ourselves and each other, balanced with holding ourselves and each other accountable. Love aids us in healing through our traumas. It is time for us to liberate our punitive image of God.”

Rev. Kyndra D. Frazier, LMSW, M. Div. NYC Hope Center, FCBC Harlem

The women had come to a corrected view of God, not has a Punitive God, but instead, as a Redemptive God. They could not help but see God this way, because they saw that Jesus this way.

The women go to the tomb without expectations, they go because that is where Jesus is, or so they think. When they discover Jesus is absent, they refuse to leave, instead they wait. They are waiting for their Messiah just as they have done since they first chose to follow Jesus.

Here is where we are confronted with the irony of the cross and resurrection story – they have the story to tell not because of what they saw but what they did not see.

[Slide]  “Jesus’ absence unexpectedly points to his presence. Jesus’ absence empowers the women to speak boldly and faithfully on his behalf, and they do.

[Slide] Their proclamation that Jesus is present (even though all they actually first saw was an absent Jesus) — their message that Jesus is alive on earth is an act of redemptive remembering, a recalling of Jesus’ earlier teachings. They seek to draw together a community that has been dismembered and torn apart.

[Slide] The women’s experience reminds us that when we love God, our neighbor, and ourselves with our words and our actions, we render Christ visible in a world where the divine seems absent. We draw community together, instead of being pulled apart by fear, confusion, grief, and distress.

[Slide] When we draw attention to a deeper reality that is often hard to remember, believe, or see, —God is still present and working. Death does not, and will not, have the last word. That good news is what Christians proclaim when we say that Christ is resurrected. He is no longer in the tomb.

Michal Beth Dinkler, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Conn.

  1. God is the Redemptive God.
  2. In Jesus, we are a new creation creation.
  3. These women had the story to tell because they stuck around until they saw Jesus.
  4. This is our story to tell.

Let’s PrayResponse – Verbal Congregational Response 

Leader: Our God is the mighty God of mercy, the artist of the resurrection dawn, bringing the glory of our resurrected Lord who makes every day new.

Response: We exist in gratefulness for our mighty God.

Leader: We are grateful for our mighty God’s sustaining goodness of creation, for the new creation in Christ and all the gifts of healing and forgiveness . . . for the gifts of relationship with others . . . for the holy collective of faith in God’s church.

Response: May we never cease to be amazed at the moments of seen and unseen thanksgivings.

Leader: May our God of might renew this weary world, heal the hurts, bring peace through our Resurrected deliverer Jesus Christ.

Response: May our God who is truth and light renew our world weary of war and hatred.

Leader: May we recognize God’s calling to the church to be agents of peace, to address hunger, to provide shelter, to stand against racism, and to strive to give all people, and people groups, a voice. May we be disgusted by racism, may we be alarmed at nationalism, may we be disturbed by the church as it forgets Jesus’ love, mercy, compassion, and embrace.

Response: May we live in the present and resurrected Jesus, may we humbly love mercy and justice.

Leader: May we stand at the empty tomb, trusting that our resurrected Jesus is present even when everything looks like he is absent. May we live in the new day of the resurrection, the victorious proof of God’s love, the hope that carries us from every valley and over every mountaintop.

Response: May we allow Jesus to be present in, and through, us. Convicting us of the sins of hatred, racism, selfishness, dismissal, arrogance, judgment, and condemnation.

Leader: May we recognize that we live and walk in a world that God created, may we always remember that we live and walk amongst the humans that were created out of God’s love. May we remember that love is not just for us and those that are like us.

Response: God, may we be free flowing rivers of God’s mercy and compassion.

Response – Music 3

It Is Well With My Soul

CCLI Song # 3366183, Horatio Gates Spafford

Verse 1

When peace like a river

attendeth my way

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot

Thou hast taught me to say

It is well, It is well with my soul

Chorus

Leader: It is well

Response: It is well

Leader: With my soul

Response: With my soul

All: It is well, It is well with my soul

Verse 2

Tho’ Satan should buffet

Tho’ trials should come

Let this blest assurance control

That Christ hath regarded

My helpless estate

And hath shed His own blood

For my soul

Chorus

Leader: It is well

Response: It is well

Leader: With my soul

Response: With my soul

All: It is well, It is well with my soul

Verse 3

My sin O the bliss

Of this glorious tho’t

My sin not in part but the whole

Is nailed to the cross

And I bear it no more

Praise the Lord Praise the Lord

O my soul

Chorus

Leader: It is well

Response: It is well

Leader: With my soul

Response: With my soul

All: It is well, It is well with my soul

Verse 4

And Lord haste the day

When the faith shall be sight

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll

The trump shall resound

And the Lord shall descend

Even so it is well

With my soul

Chorus

Leader: It is well

Response: It is well

Leader: With my soul

Response: With my soul

All: It is well, It is well with my soul

Community

  • Next Sunday, May 15, Moved, Luke 7:11-17
  • Alternate Signer Affirmation, Larry Leighton
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com
  • Asking questions is the Easter thing to do!

Peace

As you leave this place, may the peace of the Lord, go with you.

And also with you.

We gather here because of God’s love for us, we go from here because of God’s love for everyone out there. Go in the peace of the Lord.

Order, Words, & Voices 05.01.22

Order

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am)

Welcome/Call to Worship (10:30)  Rick

Music 1 – Standing Billy & Abbie

Agnes Dei

Tell Me The Story Of Jesus

I Love To Tell the Story

Prayer Rick

Scripture Matthew 28:1-10 On Line-Duffy

Music 2 Billy & Abbie

I Love You Lord

Oh How I Love Jesus

Message Verbalizing Fear and Joy Rick

Congregational Response 

Benediction (signal ? when ready) InPerson-Segun

Music 3 Revelation Song Billy & Abbie

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio

Words and Voices

Welcome (No slides) (Abbie sings accapela parentheses)

Today we continue to focus on the four accounts of the resurrection, this morning we stop at the gospel of Matthew. Mark invited us to step into the story while John focuses on Mary Magdalene, who was ready and willing to be the preacher of the story of Jesus’ resurrection. 

Matthew’s resurrection account lets us see Mary, and the others,  processing life, death, and then life again. Digging deep into the pain and agony while, at the same time, parsing through the adrenaline rush of amazement and joy. Processing in preparation for the call to verbalize life, death, and life anew.

Life and death. Life and death and life. This is the story of Easter, the story of  the resurrection, the story in which we are allowed an upfront seat to watch the followers of Jesus process Jesus’ life, death, and life – at a bloodied cross and an empty grave and then into the new rhythms of their lives.

In our human thought process, death rarely is a moment of joy and joy is seldom an element of death. Death never arrives at an opportune time. Death is seldom about one death, it is usually accompanied by other deaths, a death of hope, a death of dreams, a death of so much that we hold dear. Our human thought process leads us to think of life and death as linear, life then death. Our eternal thought process thinks of life wrapped in death and death wrapped in life.

The story had begun days before as an enormous crowd lined the streets yelling the joy through two words of praise – Hallelujah and Hosannah. The week ended with with subtle utterances of a solemn word of praise – Alleluia. (Alleluia)

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary’s stood near the cross, able to look directly into the eyes of Jesus, making a visual connection with Jesus, a moment where they saw Jesus and Jesus noticed each one of them. Standing close enough to hear Jesus’ cries of physical pain, his plea to quench his thirst, to eavesdrop on the moment when the Father rejection the Son. (Alleluia)

Imagine standing almost close enough to touch Jesus yet too far to be of any help. Being able to feel the pain and to see the agony, but a world away to fully understand or process the meaning. Imagine, watching while this man of mercy, compassion, and love, was dying a brutal and undeserved death. (For the Lord God Almighty reigns)

This was the death of hope, the death of eternity, the death of righteousness, the death of justice, the death of peace. This was the death of the dreams of the women as they stood looking up at the cross. (Alleluia)

And then, before the processing journey could come to a conclusion, this same group stood at the empty tomb. A tomb where Jesus’ body should have been laid on the stone, but the tomb was empty. A mysterious messenger pronounced that Jesus had gone on ahead, sticking with the plan to move forward (Alleluia)

It is no wonder that the resurrection accounts hold to a climax of continuation and confusion, of terror and amazement, of fear and joy. (For the Lord God Almighty reigns)

This is the story of Easter, this is the experience of the Resurrection, this is the eternal moment of our realized completed hope.

(Alleluia, alleluia, For the Lord God Almighty reigns
Alleluia, alleluia, For the Lord God Almighty reigns
Alleluia)

(Billy joins in with accompaniment and voice as Abbie sings,

You are Holy holy
Are You Lord God Almighty
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb)

 Then move into Agnus Dei full song with words displayedMusic 1 (21 slides)

Agnus Dei 

CCLI Song # 626713 Michael W. Smith

Verse

Alleluia alleluia
For the Lord God Almighty reigns
Alleluia alleluia
For the Lord God Almighty reigns
Alleluia

Chorus

You are Holy holy
Are You Lord God Almighty
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb

You are holy holy
Are You Lord God Almighty
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb
Amen

Tell Me The Story Of Jesus

CCLI Song # 33399 Crosby | Sweney

Chorus

Tell me the story of Jesus
Write on my heart every word
Tell me the story most precious
Sweetest that ever was heard

Verse 1

Tell me the story of Jesus
Write on my heart every word
Tell me the story most precious
Sweetest that ever was heard

Tell how the angels in chorus
Sang as they welcomed His birth
Glory to God in the highest
Peace and good tidings to earth 

Chorus

Tell me the story of Jesus
Write on my heart every word
Tell me the story most precious
Sweetest that ever was heard

Verse 2

Fasting alone in the desert
Tell of the days that are past
How for our sins He was tempted
Yet was triumphant at last


Tell of the years of His labour
Tell of the sorrow He bore
He was despised and afflicted
Homeless rejected and poor

Chorus

Tell me the story of Jesus
Write on my heart every word
Tell me the story most precious
Sweetest that ever was heard

Verse 3

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him
Writhing in anguish and pain
Tell of the grave where they laid Him
Tell how He liveth again


Love in that story so tender
Clearer than ever I see
Stay let me weep while you whisper
Love paid the ransom for me

I Love To Tell The Story

CCLI Song # 29413

Arabella Katherine Hankey | William Gustavus Fischer

Verse 1

I love to tell the story
Of unseen things above
Of Jesus and His glory
Of Jesus and His love


I love to tell the story
Because I know ’tis true
It satisfies my longings
As nothing else can do

Chorus

I love to tell the story
‘Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old old story
Of Jesus and His love

Verse 2

I love to tell the story
More wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies
Of all our golden dreams


I love to tell the story
It did so much for me
And that is just the reason
I tell it now to thee

Chorus

I love to tell the story
‘Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old old story
Of Jesus and His love

Verse 4

I love to tell the story
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting
To hear it like the rest


And when in scenes of glory
I sing the new new song
‘Twill be the old old story
That I have loved so long

Chorus

I love to tell the story
‘Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old old story
Of Jesus and His love

Prayer (7 Slides total)

[Prayer title slide only until ‘Our Father] God, we come before you today as we process. Process Life, Death, and Life again. 

God open our eyes to see your compassion, mercy, 

and love in the story of Easter. 

Open our hearts to bathe in your love. 

Open our ears to hear your voice of hope. 

Open our minds to your plan.

[Please join in the Lord’s prayer, words are on the screen] [7 slides begin] 

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: 

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. 

Amen.

(Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)

Scripture (No Slides)

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Matthew 28:1-10

Music 2 (8 slides)

I Love You Lord

CCLI Song # 25266

Laurie Klein

Chorus

I love You Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
O my soul rejoice

Take joy my King
In what You hear
May it be a sweet sweet sound
In Your ear

(Repeat)

Oh How I Love Jesus

CCLI Song # 4596756

Bob Singleton

Chorus

Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Because He first loved me

Verse 1

There is a name I love to hear
I love to sing its worth
It sounds like music in my ear
The sweetest name on earth

Chorus

Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Because He first loved me

Verse 2

It tells me of a Savior’s love
Who died to set me free
It tells me of His precious blood
The sinner’s perfect plea

Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Oh how I love Jesus
Because He first loved me

Message – Verbalizing Fear and Joy (13 Slides)

It has occurred to me recently that the resurrection accounts, and actually all four gospels, share a common problem. A Mary Problem. A problem for Jesus, a problem for the disciples, a problem for the institutional religious leaders, a problem for the Roman occupiers. Just a problem. A problem that in itself will become the solution.

Jesus had a Mary problem throughout his ministry. His Mary insisted that he prevent a wine catastrophe even though it was too early for him to be so public. His Mary problem forced him to step into he human experience of deep grief even though he needed to preform a miracle. His Mary was too pushy in her advocacy for her sons, his Mary was too messy and sinful. This Mary collective was a constant wild card usually appearing in times unsuitable for a Mary problem.  Jesus’ Mary problem began to prepare him for burial in a very public manner at a moment when such a public display was deemed inappropriate inviting his foes to begin their assault. The religious leaders Mary problem continued to disrupt their plans even when following Jesus became unpopular, ridiculous, and dangerous. Surprisingly, especially for those who expected the followers to quit following after Jesus was crucified, the Mary problem only increased, the women passionately continued to search and listen for Jesus even though his dead body could not be found.

However, Jesus was fully aware that his Mary problem would ultimately be God’s solution to bring truth to the hurting and hiding followers of Jesus in their moment of hopelessness and doom. It was a time when the death of the Messiah came with much collateral death – the death of Jesus was accompanied by the death of hope, the death of Jesus was accompanied by the death of dreams, the death of Jesus was accompanied by the death of promise, the death of Jesus was accompanied by the death of eternity, the death of Jesus was accompanied by the death of life.

The religious leaders identified Jesus as the source of their problems – their solution was to get rid of Jesus which would get rid of Jesus’ followers and then,  this entire Jesus problem would just be a bad memory. They leaders failed to predict a Mary problem, their plan held no contingency for a Mary problem. The foes of Jesus never imagined a group of Jesus followers, particularly female followers, would refuse to give up on Jesus – the thought was unimaginable especially after Jesus had been so publicly and brutally crucified. Regardless, the Marys would become the paramount problem for the foes of Jesus. These established religious leaders had meticulously and strategically devised their plan to end their Jesus’ problem but they didn’t see what God had awaiting. It was easy enough to manipulate the Romans to arrest and nail Jesus to the cross, they had only to appeal to the politicians fear of losing political standing, to their egos that needed a a constant diet of power, affirmations , and acclaim. The crowds who had been the robust and public supporters of Jesus just days ago were also easy to redirect – just plant some ridiculous rumors in the right minds, or scare them with a fear of personal hardship and they would be easy to turn them into an angry mob seeking Jesus’ death. Sadly, just like today, few sought out truth, they continued to believe the false rumors and conspiracies, they continued to pass those lies and deceit on to others as if they were known and proven fact. But, the truth was, also much like today, truth had been become less and less valued – truth is  that truth in 2022 has also become as worthless as it was to the mobs that scrammed for the death of Jesus. Even more tragic is that Christians have taken a place at the front of the line in allowing truth to be ignored and devalued.

The religious leaders watched as the body of Jesus was taken down from the cross, they patted each other on the back. “Good job everyone,” they proclaimed to each other, “that was a bit messy but we did it, we got rid of Jesus.”

However, it at that very moment, one of their very own, one who had begun the risky search for truth, Joseph from Arimathea, a religious leader, could no longer affirm the deceit, he could no longer ignore the truth. God led Joseph to risk his position, passion, and livelihood in taking actions that were counter to his contemporaries. Actions that served to  empower the Marys to continue following Jesus. The body was taken to a grave donated by Joseph, and in turn, Joseph made it possible for the Marys to return to being Marys. 

Matthew’s resurrection account bring new elements to the resurrection story that are yet unseen – armed Romans guards watching over the tomb and a two earthquakes. The justifiable fear of the religious leaders was that the body might be taken, a dead body could be a concrete rallying cry to the followers of Jesus. Again, it was easy to convince the Roman politicians that guards were needed. 

So now, in addition to the huge stone blocking the entrance to the tomb, the women were going to face the powerful guards, whose sole job was to keep the women out. The Marys went to the tomb anyway, they were propelled by their faith, a faith that still led them to Jesus, to truth.

[Slide] In the Greek, we see the undeterred Marys journey  to the tomb for the purpose of ‘theoresai’: to see the tomb where Jesus laid, to look at the body and remember the life, to consider the impact of the absence in death, to contemplate this new stage of faith. They arrived at the grave in time to witness an angel and an earthquake solve their stone and guard dilemma. The stone was moved and the guards remained too terrified to prevent the women from approaching the tomb. Matthew’s messenger, who was  much more Hollywood than the messengers presented by Mark and John, explained to the women,

[Slide] “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been resurrected, just as he said he would be.” 

[Slide] “Come, see the place where he was laid. Then go quickly and tell his followers, He has been resurrected from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.”

[Slide] A message.

[Slide] A message from the resurrected Christ.

[Slide] A message of passion as Jesus continued his mission.

[Slide] A message of eternal hope and eternal peace.

[Slide] A message of the deliverance.

[Slide] A message calling the women to be the messengers of the truth.

[Slide] “So the women, and the Marys, left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to verbalize their fear and joy to Jesus’ followers.” 

[Slide] On the way, the Marys are surprised to encounter into Jesus. Why was he not on his way to Galilee? Had he delayed his journey because he intrinsically needed to embrace his followers? Did he need their affirmation? Did Jesus recognize these new messengers need for reassurance and presence as they went to verbalize their fear and their joy?

[Slide] They took hold of Jesus’ feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; now, go and tell my followers to go to Galilee.

[Slide] A calling that paired their fear with their personal experience, and their joy with their defined purpose.

Once again, the Marys ran to the other followers but now with an added ordination to preach the truth, an ordination from Jesus himself to testify of what they, and only they, had seen.

The religious leaders attempted to manage the backlash from the politicians – they used a technique that, sadly, religious leaders and religious groups, politicians, political parties, political pundits, and many others have found to be highly effective – lies, deceit, manipulating truth, swearing by credibly unfounded and outlandish rumors, invalidated conspiracies, along with false testimonies, unholy alliances. UnChristlike maneuvering that would easily achieve a wicked and unGodly goal.

“Do not be afraid;” Jesus said, “go and tell the others to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Theologian Scholar Elisabeth Johnson, leave us with the challenge, 

“What do we make of all these details that are unique to Matthew’s story? The earth-shaking news of the resurrection is unsettling, even frightening; it shatters all our human attempts at security and jolts us into the unfamiliar territory of God’s new creation. In Jesus, the reign of God breaks open everything that seemed fixed and immovable — even death and stone-cold tombs. Yet for all the impressive special effects of this resurrection story, the resurrection is not merely an exercise of power on God’s part. It is that, but more importantly, it is an act of love. It is an act of love on the part of God, who will not abandon Jesus to the grave, and will not abandon us to sin and death and despair. It is an act of love on the part of God, who took on the worst of our violence and brutality and refused to respond in kind. Instead God responded with an act that made all things new. No wall of stone is large enough to keep Jesus in the tomb. So it is with the life-giving power and love of God. No show of force, no contingent of guards or security police can stop it. No ungodly maneuvering of religious leaders can halt the resurrection. The resurrection is an earth-shaking, unsettling event. But as Jesus himself tells us, we need not be afraid. The One who shakes the earth with the resurrection is the One who holds our future, who promises to meet us and to be with us, even to the end of the age.”

Elisabeth Johnson, Professor, Lutheran Institute of Theology, Meiganga, Cameroon

Let’s PrayResponse – Verbal Congregational Response (6 slides)

Leader: Death is a part of life, a part of this life. Death was not the intention of God, but it was the chosen path of humans. Death is not the enemy, death is not the end, death is not darkness.

Response: May we not let our hearts be troubled. May we continue to believe in God, to believe in Jesus.

Leaders: When the foes of God thought they had stopped the ministry of Jesus, they still found themselves afraid and fearful. Something inside them revealed them that the followers of Jesus would not be dissuaded.

Response:  May we still bring spices to the tomb, may we seek to anoint the body of Jesus.

Leader: A huge stone and a contingent of guards were awaiting anyone trying to see Jesus.

Response: The stone was rolled away, the guards were standing in stunned silence, nothing could prevent the followers.

Leader: Death stifles God’s natural rhythms of love and life. Death attempts to distract us turning us into obstacles working against Jesus’ prayer ‘Thy Kingdom come.’ 

Response: God does not deliver me into the hand of the enemy; God has set my feet on a broad place.

Leader: We live in in the tension between death and life, between the cross and the empty tomb, between fear and joy.

Response: May we navigate fear and joy empowered by our trust in God.

Leader: May we wait even when we see nothing. May we be unhindered by nothingness. May hope prevail even when hope seems very far away.

Response: May we remain to seek, may we listen to hear, may we hold to the author of truth and love.

Response – Music 3 (7  slides) 

Revelation Song

CCLI Song # 4447960

Jennie Lee Riddle

Verse 1

Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain
Holy holy is He
Sing a new song to Him Who sits on
Heaven’s mercy seat

Chorus

Holy holy holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come

With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of kings
You are my ev’rything
And I will adore You

Verse 2

Clothed in rainbows of living color
Flashes of lightning rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor strength and glory
And power be to You the only wise King

Verse 3

Filled with wonder awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name
Jesus Your name is power breath and living water
Such a marv’lous mystery

Chorus

Holy holy holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come

With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of kings
You are my ev’rything
And I will adore You

Community (3 Slides)

  • Next Sunday, May 8 – Handed Over, Luke 24:1-12
  • Engagement drop by this afternoon
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com

Peace (3 Slides)

As you leave this place, may the peace of the Lord, go with you.

And also with you.

We gather here because of God’s love for us, we go from here because of God’s love for everyone out there. Go in the peace of the Lord.

Order, Words, & Voices 04.24.22

Order

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am)

Welcome/Call to Worship (10:30)                  Rick

Music 1 – Standing                         Lynn & Team

    This is the Day

    His Name is Wonderful

    In Christ Alone

Prayer  Rick

Scripture            John 20:11-18                 On Line-Grace

Music 2                                     Lynn & Team

He is Lord

                The Wonderful Cross

MessageFirst Called (John 20:11-18)        Rick

Congregational Response Benediction       Steve M

Music 4     Happy Day                 Lynn & Team

Community (Gallery View)                       Rick

Closing Peace                                               Rick

Closing Audio

Words and Voices

Welcome

Welcome, to our second Sunday of Easter. Last week we saw the resurrection account through the words of Mark. Today we venture to the tomb through the words of John. Jesus said ‘I am the resurrection and the life.’

Today, again, we see Mary Magdalene go to the grave at sunrise, looking for a dead body, seeking to grieve for the life of her beloved Jesus. Jesus said ‘Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live.’

The followers of Christ only knew of death being an end. Mary assumed that even though she would still be a follower of Jesus, following a dead Savior. Jesus said, ‘everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.’

At the tomb, Mary did not see Jesus, there was no sign of his body, and very little evidence that he had ever been there. However, she still stayed at the grave, she was staying until she found Jesus. Through the prophet Jeremiah God said, ‘When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart.’

Mary heard her name and she recognized Jesus, no longer absent but alive, Jesus was resurrected. Jesus said, “ I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Music 1

This Is The Day

CCLI Song # 32754

Les Garrett

Verse

This is the day

This is the day

That the Lord hath made

That the Lord hath made

We will rejoice

We will rejoice

And be glad in it

And be glad in it

This is the day

That the Lord hath made

We will rejoice and be glad in it

This is the day

This is the day

That the Lord hath made

His Name Is Wonderful

CCLI Song # 1122230

Audrey Mieir

Chorus

His name is Wonderful

His name is Wonderful

His name is Wonderful

Jesus my Lord

He is the mighty King

Master of ev’rything

His name is Wonderful

Jesus my Lord

He’s the Great Shepherd

The rock of all ages

Almighty God is He

Bow down before Him

Love and adore Him

His name is Wonderful

Jesus my Lord

In Christ Alone

CCLI Song # 3350395

Keith Getty | Stuart Townend

Verse 1

In Christ alone my hope is found

He is my light my strength my song

This Cornerstone this solid Ground

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love what depths of peace

When fears are stilled when strivings cease

My Comforter my All in All

Here in the love of Christ I stand

Verse 2

In Christ alone who took on flesh

Fullness of God in helpless babe

This gift of love and righteousness

Scorned by the ones He came to save

Till on that cross as Jesus died

The wrath of God was satisfied

For every sin on Him was laid

Here in the death of Christ I live

Verse 3

There in the ground His body lay

Light of the world by darkness slain

Then bursting forth in glorious Day

Up from the grave He rose again

And as He stands in victory

Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me

For I am His and He is mine

Bought with the precious blood of Christ

Verse 4

No guilt in life no fear in death

This is the power of Christ in me

From life’s first cry to final breath

Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell no scheme of man

Can ever pluck me from His hand

Till He returns or calls me home

Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

Prayer

Christ our life, You are alive – in the beauty of the earth, in the rhythm of the seasons, in the mystery of time and space. Alleluia

Christ our life, You are alive – in the tenderness of touch, in the heartbeat of intimacy, in the insights of solitude. Alleluia

Christ our life, You are alive – in the creative possibility of the dullest conversation, of the dreariest task, the most threatening event. Alleluia

Christ our life, You are alive – to offer re-creation to every unhealed hurt, to every deadened place, to every damaged heart. Alleluia.

You set before us a great choice. Therefore we choose life. We choose the dance of resurrection, the soars and surges through the whole creation, this is grace. This is the resurrection.

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.

Amen.

(Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)

Scripture

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

John 20:11-18

Music 2

He Is The Lord

CCLI Song # 1515225

Claire Cloninger | Linda Lee Johnson | Tom Fettke

Chorus

He is Lord He is Lord

He is risen from the dead

And He is Lord

Ev’ry knee shall bow

Ev’ry tongue confess

That Jesus Christ is Lord

The Wonderful Cross

CCLI Song # 3148435

Chris Tomlin | Isaac Watts | J. D. Walt | Jesse Reeves | Lowell Mason

Verse 1

When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of Glory died

My richest gain I count but loss

And pour contempt on all my pride

Verse 2

See from His head His hands His feet

Sorrow and love flow mingled down

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet

Or thorns compose so rich a crown

Chorus

O the wonderful cross

O the wonderful cross

Bids me come and die and find

That I may truly live

O the wonderful cross

O the wonderful cross

All who gather here by grace

Draw near and bless Your name

Verse 3

Were the whole realm of nature mine

That were an offering far too small

Love so amazing so divine

Demands my soul my life my all

Message – First Called

In the fall of 2005, a day that school pick up was my responsibility, I was driving away from the school, when all five kids in the van. The path home included a three way stop where I stopped waited my turn to proceed. I was driving like a model citizen. It was in that moment, as I sat, diligently obeying all of the instructions of the Oklahoma State Driver’s Manual. Then, there was a jolt, a bang, followed by tears and cries. We had been hit from behind.

Later, when I saw the police report and my thorough account of the facts of the incident I moved down on the paper to read the account of the person who had hit us. I was shocked at her misperception of everything that had taken place. Either the police officer had written it down wrong, or the lady had confused our collision with another of the other automobile wreck that this evil womanhad caused day…well, I assumed that last part, and the evil woman part (she actually turned out to be the mother of a high school friend).

She had accused me of multiple stops and starts, of seemingly being unsure about who was to turn next. The more outraged I was the more I began to wonder if she was right. I was confident, or fairly confident, – but, did I really know whose was to turn next, and, was I sure that I had made a definite stop.

Sometimes, stories told of the same story can end up sounding different, remembered through different lens, they sound as if they are in direct conflict with each other. However, ultimately, both stories ended with the Anthony van having a big dent in the rear bumper.

Mrs. Cook, the pre-K teacher all five of our kids were blessed to have, would always begin each year by telling the parents, “I will only believe half of the stories your children tell me about you, and ask that you only believe half of the stories they tell you about me.”

Stories often begin with a kernel, or more, of truth, are then influenced by the voice, mind, and heart of the story teller, and finally, are received through the filter of the listener.

For four Sundays we are looking at the resurrection of each of the gospels. Last Sunday we began with Mark’s account which ended surprisingly with an abrupt ending that included no actual sighting of Jesus only a message that he had gone ahead to Galilee as he and planned with the disciples before the crucifixion. The women who had arrived at the tomb at sunrise were told to go tell the disciples yet, in their fear and amazement, they ran home and told no one.

This week’s story in the gospel of John, tells the same story, yet Mary Magdalene is the only visitor to the tomb at sunrise. There, she also does not immediately see Jesus, but instead is told by the angelic messengers that Jesus has been resurrected from the dead and has gone ahead. Mary Magdalene, here also, is instructed to go and tell the others, which she did.

All four of the gospels share a common story detailing the resurrection of Jesus following the crucifixion.  All four contain a tomb with no dead body inside, a mysterious message and unknown messengers,  a mixture of fear with amazement, and a woman named Mary Magdalene who is ordained to be the first storyteller, the preacher, of Jesus’ resurrection.

With today’s story we have two stories of the same event, one told by Mark, who had heard the resurrection story third hand from his mentor the apostle Paul who had received the story second hand. Mark focuses on the human reaction, the reality of mixed emotions – fear and amazement and invites us into the resurrection experience to see for ourselves.

Today’s resurrection account, written by John who was the second to arrive at the tomb following Mary, and the first to hear Mary’s account of the story. John also had a first person experience with the living Jesus prior to the resurrection. John, writes the story focused primarily on Mary, along with Peter, and his own experience at the empty grave. What it means to him as a flawed follower of Jesus, as an apostle and leader of the followers, and what this means to the world.

The Gospel of John is very different that the other three gospels, featuring quite distinct vocabulary contrasting belief and unbelief, light and darkness, truth and falsehood.  John had read the other three gospels and their resurrection accounts, then, God led him to write an account from his own personal perspective.

John weaves a thread through his gospel of an intimate personal relationship between the believer and Jesus, a relationship in which the believer “abides” in Jesus and Jesus “abides’ in the believer.

John wrote to readers who had seen the second brick and mortar Temple destroyed. Since the temple represented the presence of God, no temple sent a message interpreted by Jews that ‘God is no longer present’, creating confusion, loss, and disillusionment among the Jewish believers.

For this reason, John possibly focused the resurrection largely on Mary Magdalene, a confident follower of Jesus who discovered that the absent Jesus was still very much present. John is writing a hopeful message to his Jewish contemporaries who are asking, “Where is God?”

Even with the differences in John’s resurrection account we cannot deny the revelations presented. Jesus is not in the tomb, he is alive and continuing on with the plans made with the disciples prior to the cross. We see that Mary Magdalene was the first commissioned to tell the story of Jesus’ resurrection, even before Jesus’ disciples were ready to tell.

The name Mary was a popular name in the time of Jesus, in fact, one of every four women at the time are thought to have been named Mary. In all three of the  synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mary, and Luke, the resurrection story contains two different Mary’s listed in the same sentence. And, if we are technical at least one of those passages Mark 16:1, which we looked at last week, “Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.”, has three women named Mary – Salome is actually the root word from which Mary is derived. So, the many women, at least six in the story of Jesus, named Mary, can get a bit confusing.

Mary the mother of Jesus

Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus

Mary the mother of James and Joseph

Mary of Bethany

Mary the mother of John Mark

Mary Magdalene

Pope Gregory 1, in the year 591, had a problem with the numerous Marys. Not that he disagreed with their presence, what they did, and who they were – he just couldn’t keep them straight. He especially mixed up Mary Magdalene with the other Marys, creating many incorrect views of Mary Magdalene.  Mary Magdalene was a women financially able, and willing, to be a financial supporter of Jesus’ ministry, and a faithful follower herself. She is the first named in the gospels of the woman at the cross and at the tomb. Jesus had delivered Mary Magdalene from demons on numerous occasions and her faith was a constant testimony of her transformation.

Mary Magdalene had experienced a life altering transformation with Jesus leading to a very real and deeply engrained trust in, and devotion to, Jesus. Mary was the first to be spoken to by Jesus following the resurrection accounts and she was the first to be called to be the evangelist of Jesus’ resurrection. Mary had a story to tell and Jesus’ was fully aware of, and confident in, her heart readiness to tell that story.

So, Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb first, before any others. She had seen the body of Jesus placed in the grave so her first action after the Sabbath was to go to the tomb to see the body of Jesus. She acted on what she knew, there was a body there, so there she would go. She knew this would be a difficult task, after all, the tomb was sealed by a boulder, much too big for her to move and that there would possibly be guards there to prevent her from seeing Jesus. Nevertheless, she went to the tomb. She went to where she knew Jesus to be. Yes, Jesus was dead, yes, she did not understand what this all meant, yes, she should have been safely hiding with the male disciples, however, the tomb was the only place she needed to be. Jesus was there, she had seen last him at the tomb, that was where she was going to be as soon as possible.

Mary’s mind was sending her to the tomb to see a dead and decaying body. That was the Jesus her eyes had last seen. She was going to see Jesus, her deliverer whose body had been beaten and abused by a fallen world, she was ready for the horror of seeing the brutality inflicted on Jesus’ body, she was going regardless. This was her Jesus, this was the Jesus she knew, bruises, holes in his hands and feet, lifeless. This was the Jesus she still followed. Whatever that now meant.

She was going to see the Jesus she had know, but awaiting her was the Jesus she had not yet met. Resurrected, victorious, and still compassionate, merciful, and loving, and full of renewed and refreshed life.

After the disciples came later and saw the empty tomb, they were ready to leave, to return to the safety of their hiding place. Mary chose to stay, she had come to see Jesus and she had not seen him yet, why would she leave? So there she stood, alone and distraught but looking for Jesus nonetheless, she took another look inside the tomb. Two men dressed in white were sitting where Jesus’ body had previously laid.

“Why are you crying,” the men asked.

“I came to see the body of my Lord Jesus, but, as you can see the body is not here.” As she continued looking seemingly unfazed by these previous unseen men, she turned away from the men and there she saw another man she assumed to be the gardener. “Did you move the body, did Joseph need the tomb cleared? If so, just tell me where you put the body and I will take care of it, you won’t have to worry about it.”

“Mary.” The man said.

Mary heard her named called, but it was not just someone saying the most popular name in the country. It was not just a series of letters phonetically voiced. It was not just the word Mary, but it was said in a personal way. This man knows me – this Mary is me. She looked at the man and recognized this was Jesus. This was not the lifeless body that she had been looking for but the living, life filled, Jesus she knew. It was also the Jesus she was seeing anew, a view that revealed so much more than had previously seen.

“Jesus!” Mary screamed, grabbing ahold of Jesus and not letting go. “Your alive, I expected you to be dead but now you are alive! I saw you dead and now you are not dead. You are alive!” Mary continued holding tightly holding on to Jesus, almost squeezing the breath our of him.

“Mary, you have to let go of me. I still have a lot to do, in fact, so do you.” Jesus looked Mary in the eyes as he struggled to free himself from her grasp. “You need to go tell that you have seen me. You are the only one who has seen me, you are the only one who stuck around until you did see me, you are the only one able to tell the others that I am alive.”

“You are the first, and right now the only one, qualified to go and preach to the others that I am alive,” Jesus emphasized the enormity of this truth. “Go, now, this is your calling. Mary, this is your moment.”

The disciples had received the title of Apostles but, before the men could step into those shoes, Mary received the calling to be the first evangelist, proclaiming the truth of Jesus. It had nothing to do with her gender or her skills and abilities, it had to do with the fact that she had stuck around until she saw Jesus, the Jesus she knew and now the Jesus that she knew more.

She was a believer who had a story to tell. A story that was now much bigger than the story she had only three days ago. Mary, while looking for the known, had seen the so much more, now she saw the Jesus and had to so much more to learn and to tell.

I think our question today is, are we sticking around long enough to let Jesus grown and expand our story of Him?

Let’s Pray

Response – Verbal Congregational Response

Leader: May we always remember the empty grave.

Response: May we always remember the evidence of life.

Leader: May we always wait and seek Jesus even when it appears that Jesus is absent.

Response: May we always remember that presence often goes unseen.

Leader: May we stand with Mary Magdalene alone at the tomb, not leaving until we hear Jesus call out our name.

Response: May we listen and hear the voice that knows us.

Leader: May our holy experiences guide and shape our lives.

Response: May our holy encounters write the stories of our life.

Leader: May we trust in Jesus even when we our senses and emotions deceive and distract us.

Response: May we follow Jesus even when following takes us to the tomb.

Leader: May we hold to truth even when our world has made lies paramount, persuasive, and popular.

Response: May we hold on to Jesus until he calls us to go and report truth.

Response – Music 3

Happy Day

CCLI Song # 4847027

Ben Cantelon | Tim Hughes

Verse 1

The greatest day in history

Death is beaten You have rescued me

Sing it out Jesus is alive

The empty cross the empty grave

Life eternal You have won the day

Shout it out Jesus is alive

He’s alive

Chorus

And oh happy day happy day

You washed my sin away

Oh happy day happy day

I’ll never be the same

Forever I am changed

(What a glorious glorious day)

(I’ll never be the same)

Verse 2

When I stand in that place

Free at last meeting face to face

I am Yours Jesus You are mine

Endless joy perfect peace

Earthly pain finally will cease

Celebrate Jesus is alive

He’s alive

Bridge

Oh what a glorious day

What a glorious way

That You have saved me

And oh what a glorious day

What a glorious name

Ending

What a glorious glorious day

I’ll never be the same

Community

  • Spring Bible Studies Final – Both groups will combine this week on Wednesday at noon, Exodus 17:8 – 19:25
  • Next Sunday, May 1 – Verbalizing Fear and Joy, Matthew 28:1-10
  • An Eggcellent Discussion – tomorrow, Monday at 11:30am, registration email link on web site
  • Engagement drop by this afternoon
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com

Peace (3 Slides)

  • As you leave this place, may the peace of the Lord, go with you.
  • And also with you.
  • We gather here because of God’s love for us, we go from here because of God’s love for everyone out there. Go in the peace of the Lord.

Order, Words, & Voices 04.17.22

Order

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am)

Welcome/Call to Worship (10:30) Rick

Music 1 – Standing Christian & Team
Christ the Lord has Risen Today
Crown Him with Many Crowns

Prayer (prepare for online reader during prayer) Rick

Scripture Mark 13:1-8, 32-37 On Line-Kristen Y

Music 2 Christian & Team
Glorious Day

Message   Not Here (Mark 16:1-8) Rick

Congregational Response
Benediction (signal Steve when slides ready) In Person-Steve

Music 4         Because He Lives             Christian & Team

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio

Words and Voices

Welcome (No slides)

Blest is the Lord Jesus who came to us a little child, one of us, flesh and blood to share in our humanity – For God so loved the world.

Blest is the Lord Jesus who came to us as carpenter and yet in whose creative hands a world was fashioned – For God so loved the world.

Blest is the Lord Jesus who came to us as fisherman and yet pointed to a harvest that was yet to come – For God so loved the world.

Blest is the Lord Jesus who came to us as teacher and opened eyes to truths that only the poor could understand – For God so loved the world.

Blest is the Lord Jesus who came to us as healer and opened hearts to the reality of wholeness – For God so loved the world.

Blest is the Lord Jesus who came to us as prophet, priest and king, and yet humbled himself to take our place upon the cross – For God so loved the world.

Blest is the Lord Jesus who came to us as servant and revealed to us the extent of his Father’s love for human kind – For God so loved the world.

Blest is the Lord Jesus, who rose from the ignominy of a sinner’s death
to the triumph of a Saviour’s resurrection – For God so loved the world.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son for the sake of me, you, and all sinners. Blest is the Lord Jesus, our Saviour and Redeemer.

Let us on this day remember and celebrate the resurrected Jesus!

[Please stand as we open with celebration and praise.]

Music 1 (14 slides)

Christ The Lord Is Risen Today (Easter Hymn)
CCLI Song # 27965
Charles Wesley | Samuel Arnold

Verse 1
Christ the Lord is risen today alleluia
Sons of men and angels say alleluia
Raise your joys and triumphs high alleluia
Sing ye heavens and earth reply alleluia

Verse 2
Lives again our glorious King alleluia
Where O death is now thy sting alleluia
Once he died our souls to save alleluia
Where’s thy victory boasting grave alleluia

Verse 3
Love’s redeeming work is done alleluia
Fought the fight the battle won alleluia
Death in vain forbids Him rise alleluia
Christ hath opened paradise alleluia

Verse 4
Soar we now where Christ has led alleluia
Following our exalted Head alleluia
Made like Him like Him we rise alleluia
Ours the cross the grave the skies alleluia

Crown Him With Many Crowns (Diademata)
CCLI Song # 23938
George Job Elvey | Godfrey Thring | Matthew Bridges

Verse 1
Crown Him with many crowns
The Lamb upon His throne
Hark how the heavenly anthem drowns
All music but its own

Awake my soul and sing
Of Him who died for thee
And hail Him as thy matchless King
Through all eternity

Verse 2
Crown Him the Lord of life
Who triumphed o’er the grave
And rose victorious in the strife
For those He came to save

His glories now we sing
Who died and rose on high
Who died eternal life to bring
And lives that death may die

Verse 3
Crown Him the Lord of love
Behold His hands and side
Rich wounds yet visible above
In beauty glorified

No angel in the sky
Can fully bear that sight
But downward bends each burning eye
At mysteries so bright

Verse 4
Crown Him the Lord of peace
Whose power a sceptre sways
From pole to pole
That wars may cease

And all be prayer and praise
His reign shall know no end
And round His pierced feet
Fair flowers of paradise extend
Their fragrance ever sweet

Verse 5
Crown Him the Lord of years
The Potentate of time
Creator of the rolling spheres
Ineffably sublime

All hail Redeemer hail
For Thou hast died for me
Thy praise shall never never fail
Throughout eternity

Prayer (3 slides beginning part way through)

God of resurrection of life and death, and God of rebirth
Renew our hearts and minds
God of promise of all beginnings and of all endings
Renew our hearts and minds
God of hope of new growth and harvest
Renew our hearts and minds
[Please join in the Lord’s prayer, words are on the screen]
[3 slides begin]
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.
Amen.

Scripture (No Slides)

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Mark 16:1-8
Music 2 (11 slides)

Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)

Verse 1
One day when heaven
was filled with His praises
One day when sin was
as black as could be
Jesus came forth to
be born of a virgin
Dwelt among men my example is He

The Word became flesh
And the light shined among us
His glory revealed

Chorus
Living He loved me
dying He saved me
Buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
O glorious day (glorious day)

Verse 2
One day they led Him up
Calv’ry’s mountain
One day they nailed Him
to die on a tree
Suffering anguish
despised and rejected
Bearing our sins my Redeemer is He

The hand that healed nations
Stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me

Chorus
Living He loved me
dying He saved me
Buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
O glorious day (glorious day)

Verse 3
One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose over death He had conquered
Now is ascended my Lord evermore

Death could not hold Him
The grave could not keep Him
From rising again

Chorus
Living He loved me dying
He saved me
Buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
O glorious day (glorious day)

Bridge
One day the trumpet
will sound for His coming
One day the skies with
His glories will shine
Wonderful day
my beloved one bringing
My Savior Jesus is mine

Ending
O glorious day glorious day
O glorious day
Message – Not Here (27 Slides)
Open with these12 slides/screen share, have ‘Holy’, first slide, up as Rick begins.
[13 Slides] Holy. Holy cow. Holy mackerel. Holy smoke. Holy roller. Holy @#$%&!. Holy Mary, mother of God. Holy land. Holy Week. Take off your shoes Moses, you are standing on Holy ground. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.

“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty. Early in the morning my song shall rise to thee.”
(Reginald Heber)

This a a holy time. Not just for us, followers of Christ, but for the followers of the three major religions, all which tie their ancestry back to Abrahan, all who are now also observing Holy.

1.8 billion people are, in this holy time, are, with restraint and repentance, remembering the times over 1,300 hundred years ago when their people we in the midst of suffering, brutality, and oppression, longing for deliverance, calling out to God.

15.2 million people, in this holy time, are remembering the times over 3,000 years ago when their people were in the midst of suffering, brutality, and oppression, longing for deliverance, calling out to God. In their observance they are asking 4 questions,
Why do we only eat matza at this time?
Why we eat bitter herbs at this time?
Why do we dip our food twice at this time?
Why do we al recline to eat at this time?

2.3 billion people, in this holy time, are remembering over 2,000 years ago, when their people were in the midst of suffering, brutality, and oppression, longing for deliverance, calling out to God. Remembering the brutal death of their Messiah, the time of fear and confusion, a time of hopelessness met by another moment, also a moment of fear and confusion, when they were confronted by an empty tomb.

Holiness is all around us. A time of remembrance and holiness. A time of deliverance, guidance, and community.

As Christians we focus on Jesus crucifixion and resurrection. When the standard of how to live, love, and relate was raised by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. A time of deliverance, guidance, and community.

This holy moment takes us all back to a time of brutality and hopelessness, a time of confusion and chaos, a time of doubt, fear, and despair.

Currently, w live in a time when brutal wars are taking place, when masses of people around the globe have become homeless refugees, a time when evil seems to have taken control. We have experienced, and are still in the midst of, a pandemic, unmatched gun violence, extreme effects of climate change, a visible resurgence of racism, trauma and distress, and wars… A time when God’s children of all faiths and cultures are crying out for deliverance, hope, and peace.

Easter, it is not just a remembrance of an event that took place over 2 thousand years ago, it is a reminder that people still exist who are crying out for deliverance, hope, and peace.

This is a time to not only remember but also to recognize the current realities of our world.
Screen share for duration of line
[Slide] “In these catastrophic times, we find ourselves coming back to our faith traditions to find those answers of how to translate all of the noise that we are hearing day in and day out, and how to turn that noise into action. Feelings lead to Hope which can motivate action and change.”
Imam Mohamed Herbert, Tulsa, OK Islamic Society

Sergey Nakul, pastor of Grace Reformed Church in Kyiv, Ukraine, who has decided to stay in Kyiv and minister in the midst of the Russian invasion says,
[Slide] “Friends ask me, what lessons have you learnt during these days of war? I express this with only one powerful and precious word, ‘Emmanuel – God is with us.’
Sergey Nakul, pastor of Grace Reformed Church in Kyiv, Ukraine,
Our remembrances and observances of a time that was, as well as our current
Screen share for duration of line time which still is, presents us with an opportunity to join the women standing at the foot of the cross, and then at the empty grave, to experience their confusion and fear. To understand their all consuming sense of abandonment.

[Slide] “Sometimes in dire circumstances when we ask ‘where is God?’ We are unaware that God is actually giving us his strength to carry through the circumstances. It is okay, and natural, to feel abandoned, even Christ on the said, ‘Father, why have you forsaken me?’ Jesus endorses that human feeling.

[Slide] Small acts of evil have real impact, and small acts of love send ripples of grace through the world.

[Slide] Jesus was a person who drew lines, and Jesus was a person who stood for right. He turned over the tables in the temple where the money changers were treating the people unfairly.

[Slide] Jesus stood up and would not tolerate injustice. And, yet when Jesus is crucified, he doesn’t attack those who are crucifying him, he instead prays for them, ‘God forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.’ Until forgiveness is mutual the cycle of war and bloodshed continues.”
Father Constantine Lazarakis (Priest of Orthodox Church of the Hamptons, south Hampton NY).

[Slide] “Our ancestors also lived in catastrophic times. They walked this path before us, and created ways to withstand the suffering around them which helps us in our day to day life withstand the suffering around us.

[Slide] Helping us on an individual level, step by step, not just to nourish our souls but to transform that into action. Coming out of a dark and narrow place into a place of freedom. It’s about hope, overcoming the obstacles that lead to human suffering.”
Rabbi Ruth Zlotnick, (Temple Beth Am in Seattle, WA)

So, today, in this time of remembering God’s work in the past, we also remember the suffering of great swaths of God’s children currently suffering times of brutality, uncertainty, displacement and doubt, times when the question of ‘Where is God?’ are justified and understandable – we reckon back to a woman named Mary, standing at an empty grave, asking the same question, “Where is God?’

This year, on this Easter morning, we go to the gospel of Mark. The final chapter of Mark, his account of Jesus’ resurrection, has been a mystery to many Bible scholars and experts. Many feel that the actual writings of Mark end with verse 8, and that later, someone, added the final verses. Some modern translations end with verse 8, while others continue with a notation. It is not that the extra verses are unBiblical, their accuracy is documented, they affirm truth. However, they are not consistent with Mark’s writing. It is possible that these verses were added to lessen the bluntness of Mark’s ending. However, when we stop at verse 8, we have Mark challenging us to think of the resurrection not as a moment of finality, but instead, as a moment where Jesus is moving forward – Enhancing our perspective on the divine as well as the human elements of the resurrection
Screen share for duration of line
Screen share for duration of line story.

[Slide] With this in mind, Mark’s Gospel gospel ends with fear and silence: “So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid” (16:8). There are no resurrection appearances, there is no final commissioning of the disciples; there is only confusion, fear, and silence, and the group of women do not return and tell the disciples.

[Slide] ‘Mark’s Gospel ends, shrouded in darkness and disillusionment. No wonder scribes and interpreters throughout the ages have felt compelled to finish Mark’s story for him. We want closure; we want an ending that ties up the loose ends of the story and brings it to a satisfying conclusion –

[Slide] we want a happy ending. We want to see Jesus alive! But the risen Jesus does not even appear in Mark. We are left, with the women, in their fear and confusion.’
Elisabeth Johnson, Professor, Lutheran Institute of Theology, Meiganga, Cameroon

As Judas showed up in the garden to betray Jesus, followed by Jesus arrest – the disciples deserted Jesus and fled. Peter show up for Jesus’ trial but emphatically denied knowing Jesus—not once, but three times.

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome stand as witnesses to the events of Jesus’ crucifixion and death. They see the tomb where Jesus’ body is laid. They return early on this first day of the week to anoint Jesus’ body for burial. Once there, there is no body. Instead, a young man dressed in a white robe greets them with the news that Jesus is not here, he has been resurrected, and then commissions the women to “go, tell his disciples, and especially Peter, that Jesus is going ahead to Galilee as they had planned”.

The women are now authorized to proclaim the good news that Jesus has been resurrected, yet, the young man’s words fail to dispel the women’s fear. Like the male disciples, the women flee, overcome by terror and amazement. “And they say nothing to anyone”. 
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[Slide] “Mark’s abrupt ending presents us with a tension between disappointment and anticipation. An unfinished story closer to our actual experience of the world. In the real world, tensions are often unresolved; loose ends are rarely all tied up. Our lives are full of unfinished stories—

[Slide] We try to find ways to find an ending that satisfies, but every ending we fashion inevitably disappoints. Despite Mark’s unsettled and unsatisfying ending, it leaves us with anticipation and a reason to hope. The tomb is empty, Death could not hold Jesus down.

[Slide] “Go, tell his disciples and Peter that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you”. We have every reason to believe that what Jesus promised will take place, because his word has already been consistently fulfilled. Our life of faith is lived between the resurrection and Jesus’ ultimate return.

[Slide] We walk by faith and not by sight, clinging to the promise that we will see the Lord, despite the fear and confusion we currently experience. God will bring to completion the redemptive, reconciling work already begun in Jesus Christ, as God has promised.“
Elisabeth Johnson, Professor, Lutheran Institute of Theology, Meiganga, Cameroon
“You missed Jesus because he has already moved on, there is much to do. Tell the disciples, and especially Peter who needs some encouragement now, to meet Jesus in Galilee as planned. We must continue what we have been doing!”

Mark’s presentation is not a different story of Jesus resurrection, it is just Jesus continuing what he had be doing all along, the women eventually did speak, and Jesus continued doing what he said he would do, doing what he had arranged with the disciples, doing what the Father sent him to do. Over 2,000 years later, we are left to act on the story. We are invited into the narrative, to meet Jesus who has gone ahead of us to our Galilee. This is just ‘the beginning of the good news’ – this, today, is, yet again, our renewed and refreshed faith beginning.

“But go, tell his disciples and Peter that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.”

Let’s PrayResponse – Congregational Response (9 slides)

Leader: May we remember the little child, flesh and blood like us, who shared in our humanity.
Response: We remember our resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.

Leader: May we remember the carpenter by whose creative hands our world was fashioned.
Response: We remember our resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.

Leader: May we remember the fisherman who pointed to a harvest yet to come Response: We remember our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.

Leader: May we remember the teacher who opened eyes to truths only the poor could understand.
Response: We remember our resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.

Leader: May we remember the healer who opened our hearts to wholeness.
Response: We remember our resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.

Leader: May we remember the prophet, priest and king, who humbled himself to take our place on the cross.
Response: We remember our resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.

Leader: May we remember the servant who revealed to us the Father’s love.
Response: We remember our resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.

Leader: May we remember the Son who revealed to us the Father.
Response: We remember our resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.

Leader: Let us on this day remember and celebrate the resurrected Jesus!
Response: We remember Jesus, the evidence of God’s Love.

Response – Music 3 (6 slides)

Because He Lives
CCLI Song # 16880
Gloria Gaither | William J. Gaither

Verse 1
God sent His Son they called Him Jesus
He came to love heal and forgive
He bled and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove
My Savior lives

Chorus
Because He lives I can face tomorrow
Because He lives all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives

Verse 2
How sweet to hold our newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain days
Because Christ lives

Chorus
Because He lives I can face tomorrow
Because He lives all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives

Verse 3
And then one day I’ll cross that river
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then as death gives way to vict’ry
I’ll see the lights of glory
And I’ll know He reigns

Chorus
Because He lives I can face tomorrow
Because He lives all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He livesCommunity (5 Slides)

Spring Bible Studies continue – Monday April 18 (w/dinner at 6) or Wednesday, April 10 (w/lunch at noon), Exodus 13:1 – 17:7 Please RSVP.
Next Sunday, April 17 – First Called, John 20:11-18
An Eggcellent Discussion, registration email link on web site
Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com
Thanks from San Francisco – Pictures

Peace (3 Slides)

As you leave this place, may the peace of the Lord, go with you.

And also with you.

We gather here because of God’s love for us, we go from here because of God’s love for everyone out there. Go in the peace of the Lord.

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