Order, Words, & Voices 12.04.22

Order, Words, & Voices

12.04.22  Luke 4:46-55 – (Un)expected Gratitude

Order

Pre Worship Music

Leave Screen Share On from Opening Songs through Passage Reading

Opening Songs: Lynn

Hark, The Herald Angels Sing

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Call to Worship Response and Lord’s Prayer Morrens

Reading Rick

Song & Lighting of 1st Advent Candle Music – Lynn

Holy Is His Name Candle – Andrea

Message Luke 1:46-55 Rick

Music Joy to the World Lynn

Community/Closing Peace Rick

Benediction Rick

Post Worship Music

(Leave Screen Share up through passage Reading)

Music (slides)

Hark the herald angels sing

Glory to the newborn King

Peace on earth and mercy mild

God and sinners reconciled

Joyful all ye nations rise

Join the triumph of the skies

With th’angelic hosts proclaim

Christ is born in Bethlehem

Hark the herald angels sing

Glory to the newborn King

Verse 2

Christ by highest heav’n adored

Christ the everlasting Lord

Late in time behold Him come

Offspring of the Virgin’s womb

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see

Hail th’incarnate Deity

Pleased as man with men to dwell

Jesus our Emmanuel

Hark the herald angels sing

Glory to the newborn King

Verse 3

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace

Hail the Sun of Righteousness

Light and life to all He brings

Ris’n with healing in His wings

Mild He lays His glory by

Born that man no more may die

Born to raise the sons of earth

Born to give them second birth

Hark the herald angels sing

Glory to the newborn King

O come O come Emmanuel

And ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appear

Chorus

Rejoice rejoice Emmanuel

Shall come to thee O Israel

Verse 2

O come Thou Dayspring come and cheer

Our spirits by Thine advent here

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night

And death’s dark shadows put to flight

Call to Worship/Lord’s Prayer (Slides)

Leader: Advent, is our season of great expectation when we travel back to witness the Israelites – many had forgotten God’s promise while others held onto a growing hope.

Response: May our faith be inspired by their hope.

Leader: A season immersed in the remembered and forgotten prayers. Prayers that voiced their recognition of God’s character and nature.

Response: May our prayers be of gratitude and remembrance.

Leader: Prayers are the voices of our hope. Voicing our efforts to seek to see the fulfillment of God’s promises in the daily ordinary of our lives.

Response: Prayers of our willingness to live out God’s mercy, compassion, and grace.

Leader: The season of love, peace, joy, and hope.

Response: The season of God’s love, peace, joy, and hope.

Leader: Hope, the element that permitted Mary and Elizabeth to recognize and receive God’s unexpected calling of each of them in the mundane and miseries of their daily lives.

Response: May hope focus us to seek and search for truth.

Leader: Peace, the element that accompanies Hope, the element that also requires our feet, our hands, and our lives, the element that allows us to trust and remember in all circumstances.

Response: Peace, the element that allows us to say yes to God’s calling.

Leader: Peace, our immersion into hope.

Response: Peace, the presence of our deliverer.

Join me in voicing the words of the prayer of Jesus.

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our trespasses, while we forgive those who trespass against us.

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

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Reading (Slides)

After the messenger from God told Mary that she would birth the Messiah,  Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

For He has had regard for the humble state of His bond-servant; For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed.

For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name. And His mercy is to generation after generation Toward those who fear Him.

He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 

He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things, And sent the rich away empty-handed.

He has given help to His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy,

Just as He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever.”

Luke 1:46-55

Music (Slides)

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord

And my spirit exalts in God my Savior

For He has looked with mercy on my lowliness

And my name will be forever exalted

For the mighty God has done great things for me

And His mercy will reach from age to age

Chorus

And holy holy

Holy is His name

Verse 2

He has mercy in ev’ry generation

He has revealed His power and His glory

He has cast down the mighty in their arrogance

And has lifted up the meek and the lowly

He has come to help His servant Israel

He remembers His promise to our fathers

Message – (Un)Expected – Gratitude

[Slide #1 – leave screen share up until after slide #3]

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.”

– Bishop Desmond Tutu

I got stuck on Hope this past week. Last Sunday, Hope Sunday, our first Sunday of Advent, I preached that the element guiding the responses of Elizabeth and Mary was hope, especially, their response to their own part. The question for me has been, ‘Is hope just a magical superpower that God gives to a very select group of people, is it limited to just a few?’

Beginning Sunday evening this question loomed over me as I read through a book Steve Petty introduced me to a couple of weeks ago. It took about forty-eight hours for it to hit me that the book is about Hope – specifically the Science of Hope…suddenly I began to read a bit more diligently attempting to apply this to Elizabeth and Mary. It is not really a religious book although the topic is Holy. The Author, Dr. Chan actually points out that religious leaders have largely relegated Hope to something of the future – to heaven and  the return of Jesus. This caught my attention because his perspective has long been my opinion as well. In reality, however, Jesus came to earth for our earthly existence as much as for our eternal existence. 

One of the illustrations shared in the book is about Emeka Nnaka, a young man paralyzed in an OKC semi-professional football game. Dr. Hellman presents the impact of hope on Emeka and how he intentionally strategized to nurture his hope. Emeka now says,

[Slide #2]

“Hope is not a step in life, it is a stance.”

  • Emeka Nnaka

[Slide #3]

“For Christians, hope is ultimately in Christ. This is the hope that our faith has proclaimed for centuries, the hope that we ourselves claim Jesus is. The hope that, despite the fact that sin and death still rule this world, Jesus has somehow conquered both. The hope that in Jesus, and through Jesus, all of us stand a chance of somehow surviving them as well.”

  • Theologian Fredrick Büchner

[Exit Screen Share]

We, modern privileged Christians, live in a fantasy that the Christian life is effortless once we accept Jesus. A fantasy where we close our eyes, sing our songs, quote specific stand alone verses, pray a prayer, and then our part in salvation is complete, then we can coast. We dismiss the intentional work and labor of God, we fail to grasp the earthly aspect of salvation, sadly, we then devalue the work of God in Jesus. Jesus, who walked the exhausting and sacrificial path of mercy and compassion. Jesus, who, even at a childhood age, was already searching for truth and understanding, engaging with religious leaders to better immerse himself into truth. The pursuit of Jesus wasn’t just about religious knowledge though, Jesus sought to know God through creation and mostly through engagements with God’s people. One of the initial discipleship immersion experiences Jesus provided for his disciples was to send them out among the people. To experience human frailties, sickness, oppression, misery – for them to grow in their walk with God.  To understand that Hope comes from a full knowledge that develops from personal effort.

This is our first advent of 2022 epiphany – Hope is actually a verb not just a passive noun. Mary and Elizabeth had hope, because they had spent their life paying attention, holding on to the hope of the promise of God to send a deliverer. Listening to the religious teachers, experiencing people, looking for God, paying attention to all that took place around them. 

God calls people who have hope because they have been building their hope muscle. They have been paying attention, they have lived with the constant expectation, and they are willing to be a part of God’s work. Look at the people who God calls. Noah, is not distracted by the sin of his community, even his neighbors have nothing bad to say about him, but, all the while, he is listening for God. Abraham, grew up in a religious family, a family that used false religions for their own gain, but still, the thoughts about God were all around him, he was listening, when God unexpectedly called him. The apostle Paul, a religious zealot, traveling to persecute believers, but, even he was listening and heard God. And, the young teen named Mary, listening without  speculation, nurturing an ever increating listening ear, and at the right time recognized and heard God.

[Slide #4 – leave screen share up until after slide #7]

“Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

  • Luke 1:28-33

[Slide #5]

Hope, a verb, is followed by another verb, Peace.

Mary, even in the midst of this mind blowing news, quickly recognized that her world had not just changed but that she was on a path with no navigable map. No human had ever taken this path before, and no human would ever travel this path again. She would face the unimaginable, her son would endure the unfathomable. And still, in this incredible moment, as a young teen, she stood in the place of an inner peace permitting her to sing a prayer encapsulating her hope, a hope centered on the God she already trusted.

The relationship of Hope and Peace in their times of oppression and fear was, and is, a persistent dichotomy for people of faith. The Israelites, most of whom had become weary and doubtful, lived in a religion that was tethered primarily to stories of the actions of their mighty God, which took place thousands of years prior, and the words of prophets spoken hundreds of years prior.  On the one hand they heard of a promised deliverer and then at the same time they experienced a daily life that commonly beat them down. A life that was inhospitable to hope and even less nurturing of peace.

[Slide #6]

This was the same world that Jesus spoke of when he told his followers to go in peace, that a life lived by the sword would lead to a death by the sword, while, also saying  “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to turn a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a person’s enemies will be the members of his household.”

  • Matthew 10:34-36

[Slide #7]

And yet, at Jesus’ birth, the angels announced to the shepherds who were sitting on the hillside, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased.” 

  • Luke 2:14

As Mary sung her prayer of praise she lived in the midst of a promise that did not match her reality. Words that would be spoken by Jesus much later, are words that described the existence of her people, and really of all humanity. Jesus, words of picking up a sword, was not a calling to a battle but to a stance of righteousness. A calling to confront and challenge evil by being living visible challenge to reality. The reality was that evil, oppression, hatred, and persecution would still exist, even in their own homes, however, Jesus sacrificial life and death would be a sword of truth. Our Hope plants us in the Peace of God and God’s unseen actions.

Jesus – the prince of peace…the prince of our peace.

This peace where Mary stood was not magical, it did not come in an isolated place far from the unholiness of humanity, she was smack in the middle of it, and the rest of her life would be a constant slap in the face, her face, of that truth. Even as a young teen, she chose to stand in peace. Hope along with Peace were intentional elements of life. Mary proclaims the impact of God’s actions on her own life, honestly accepting her future even in the midst of the pain ahead. 

Note – When Mary uses the word ‘blessed’, it is not the same as our use of the word in our first world self-centered interpretation, Mary understands that true blessing will mean rejection by others. Mary sings out what she knows about God, what she has learned about God, the acts and truths about God that she stands on. Then Mary acknowledges God’s mercy and compassion towards the downtrodden as well as God’s thoughts towards the prideful and arrogant.   It was in this unfelt peace that Mary sang her prayer…

“My soul exalts you Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in you, God my Savior. You have noticed me and have not dismissed me as everyone around me does. Whatever my life will look like from this point forward, I know that now that all generations will understand that this path was, indeed, a blessing. For you God, you are the Mighty One, and you have done great things for me; and holy is your name. Your mercy is to generations past, to my generation, and to generations yet to come…generation after generation, toward those who fear you.  You, God, have done mighty deeds with your arm, you have scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their hearts. You, God, have brought down rulers from their thrones, and exalted those who were humble. And God, you have filled the hungry with good things, and sent those whose hope is in their riches and privilege away empty-handed. God, you have given help to your people Israel. A help that has been a constant reminder to us of your mercy, just as you promised to our ancestors Abraham and his descendants forever. Amen.”

“Mary sings about the God who saves not just souls, but embodied people. The God she celebrates is not content merely to point people toward heaven, instead, God’s redemptive work begins here on earth. Rather than being satisfied with comforting the lowly, Mary’s Lord lifts them up, granting them dignity and honor, a seat at the table and a voice in the conversation. At the same time, God shows strength by disrupting the world’s power structures, dethroning rulers, and humbling the mighty.”

  • Judith Jones, Vicar

Mary held to the Hope of the coming Messiah, the Deliverer, the Redeemer – she had no idea of what it would look like, but, still, that hope was at her core. We, too, hold to that Hope, Hope of arrival of that same Messiah, Deliverer, and Redeemer. Hope that holds us together. Hope that allows us to exist in the midst of an unseen and unfelt Peace, Hope and Peace that bring us to prayer and praise, the voice of Hope and Peace.

May this Hope and Peace be at the forefront of our thoughts in this season, may we open our eyes to see and recognize the unseen mighty acts of God. May we too come before God anchored by our God centered hope and calmed by God’s peace. 

Music 

Joy to the world the Lord is come

Let earth receive her King

Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room

And heav’n and nature sing

And heav’n and nature sing

And heav’n and heav’n and nature sing

Verse 2

Joy to the earth the Savior reigns

Let men their songs employ

While fields and floods

Rocks hills and plains

Repeat the sounding joy

Repeat the sounding joy

Repeat repeat the sounding joy

Verse 3

No more let sins and sorrows grow

Nor thorns infest the ground

He comes to make His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found

Far as the curse is found

Far as far as the curse is found

Verse 4

He rules the world with truth and grace

And makes the nations prove

The glories of His righteousness

And wonders of His love

And wonders of His love

And wonders wonders of His love

Community

  • [Slide] Next Sunday, ‘Unexpected’ Advent 2, 12.04 Unexpected Gratitude, Luke 1:46-55
  • [Slide]  Advent Bible Study continues this Wednesday, December 7 at noon. 
  • Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship, December 24 @ 6pm
  • No Worship Gathering on Christmas Day or on New Years Day
  • Budget/Leadership Affirmation Gathering 10 minutes following worship today.

Closing Peace

May the Hope and the Peace of the Lord go with you. And also with you.

Benediction

May Hope and Peace be at the forefront of our thoughts this season. May we open our eyes to see and recognize the unseen daily mighty acts of God. May we come before God anchored by our God centered hope and calmed by God’s promised peace. May we see the unseen, may we seek the strength to do more than to just persevere. May we be satisfied only when we know God more today than yesterday and less today than tomorrow. May we look to experience God’s mercy, compassion, and grace, as acted out towards others through each of us. Go in Hope and Peace.

Order, Words, & Voices

Order, Words, & Voices

11.27.22  (Genesis 4 – (Un)expected (Im)possibilities

Order

Pre Worship Music

Leave Screen Share On from Opening Songs through Passage Reading

Opening Songs: Lynn

O Come, All Ye Faithful

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Call to Worship Response and Lord’s Prayer Cricklins

Reading Rick

Video- Advent Hope Video

Song & Lighting of 1st Advent Candle Music – Lynn

Magnificat Candle – Paul & Martha

Message Luke 1:1-345 Rick

Music: Here I Am To Worship Lynn

Community/Closing Peace Rick

Benediction Rick

Post Worship Music

Music

O Come, All Ye Faithful

O come all ye faithful

Joyful and triumphant

O come ye O come ye to Bethlehem

Come and behold Him

Born the King of angels

Chorus

O come let us adore Him

O come let us adore Him

O come let us adore Him

Christ the Lord

Verse 2

Sing choirs of angels

Sing in exultation

O sing all ye bright

Hosts of heav’n above

Glory to God all

Glory in the highest

Verse 3

Yea Lord we greet Thee

Born this happy morning

Jesus to Thee be all glory giv’n

Word of the Father

Now in flesh appearing

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Come Thou long expected Jesus

Born to set Thy people free

From our fears and sins release us

Let us find our rest in Thee

Israel’s strength and consolation

Hope of all the earth Thou art

Dear desire of every nation

Joy of every longing heart

Verse 2

Born Thy people to deliver

Born a child and yet a King

Born to reign in us forever

Now Thy gracious Kingdom bring

By Thine own eternal Spirit

Rule in all our hearts alone

By Thine all sufficient merit

Raise us to Thy glorious throne

Call to Worship/Lord’s Prayer (Slides)

Leader: Through the voice of the prophet Isaiah, God promised hope to the people, saying: “I will give you a sign, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son. 

Response: The Son will be called Immanuel, meaning ‘God is with us.’

Leader: Through the prophet Isaiah, God explained the mission of the Deliverer, “For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us.”

Response: “He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

Leader: Through the prophet Isaiah, God described the actions of the redeemer, “He will encourage the fainthearted, those tempted to despair.”

Response: “He will see full justice is given to all who have been wronged.”

Leader: “He will be despised and abandoned by men. He will understand our sicknesses and pain.”

Response:  “He will carry our struggle as if it was his own.”

Leader: “He will be pierced for our misdeeds. He will be crushed for our wrongdoings. He will take our offenses, they will be laid on his shoulders.”

Response:  “By His wounds we are healed.”

Leader: Through the prophet Isaiah, God reminded us of our need for the Messiah, “All of us, like sheep, have gone astray, we have all turned to our own way;

Response: “The wrongdoing of us all falls on him.”

Leader: Through the prophet Malachi, God proclaimed, “Look, I will send you a prophet much like Elijah. His preaching will bring fathers and children together again, leading his own to be of one mind and heart.”

Response:  And then God’s voice went silent..

Leader: For four hundred years the prophets said nothing. Then, God’s voice was once again heard through words directed at two women, Elizabeth and Mary. “Don’t be afraid. I bring good news.”

Response: An unexpected announcement of the impossible.

Leader: One birthed a son named John who prepared the world.

Response: One birthed a son named Jesus who would save the world. 

Leader: For unto us a child is born. Unto us a child is given.

Response: Immanuel, God is with us.

Leader: Let us rejoice, God is with us!

Response: God is with us.

Leader: 

Join me in voicing the words of the prayer of Jesus.

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our trespasses, while we forgive those who trespass against us.

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

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Reading (Slides)

The account of Jesus’ birth, life, and death, as told by those who were eyewitnesses and servants of truth, thoroughly investigated and written so that you may know the exact truth.

The story first introduces a priest named Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth. Both were righteous and walked blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements given by the Lord. They were elderly and had no children.

As Zechariah was performing his priestly service, an angel of the Lord appeared to him which, of course, startled and scared Zechariah. 

The angel quickly said to him, “Do not be afraid for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. 

You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice over his birth. He will be great in the sight of the Lord and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while he is still in the  womb. He will turn many of the sons of Israel back to God. 

God will use him to turn the hearts of fathers back to their children, the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, and, most importantly, to prepare the people for the Lord.”

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy,  the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin named Mary who was engaged to a man named Joseph. 

The angel said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” Mary was very perplexed, pondering what the angel meant. The angel said to Mary, “Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God. 

You will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 

He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” 

Mary said to the angel, “How is this is possible, I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for that reason also the holy Child will be called the Son of God. 

Even your elderly relative Elizabeth is pregnant with a son, she is now in her sixth month. Nothing is impossible with God.” Mary said, “I am the Lord’s bond-servant; may what you have said be done.” The angel departed from her.

Mary went in a hurry to the house of Zechariah to see Elizabeth. As soon as the two women were together, Elizabeth’s baby lept in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 

Elizabeth said to Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! I am blessed that the mother of the Lord has come to see me.”

(Luke 1:1-16, 26-44 abb)

Music

Magnificat

Soprano:
My soul magnifies the Lord

My spirit rejoices in God my Savior

My soul magnifies the Lord

My spirit rejoices in God

Bass:

Glory be to God the Father

And glory be to God the Son

Glory be to God the Spirit

Glory be to God

Alto:

He has been mindful of His servant

He has been mindful of me

I will be blessed forever forever

I will be blessed by the Lord

Tenor:

God alone is mighty mighty

Our God alone has done great things

God alone is worthy worthy

Holy is His name

Message – (Un)Expected – (Im)possible

[Slide 1] Advent is the season of great expectations, when we look forward to the fulfillment of all of God’s promises, in the same manner that the people awaited the coming of the Messiah over 2,000 years ago. During Advent we celebrate God’s character and very nature – love, peace, joy, and hope. 

[Slide 2] God, through the prophet Isaiah said, “A child is going to be born who will then become the prince of peace and will bring peace to a needy world.” 

[Slide 3] This message of peace and love is not a new story of the Bible, instead, the entire bible is one long story of God’s love for us and the gift of Jesus is at the center of the story. 

[Slide 4] We too, are the recipients of God’s favor and God’s joy now. 

[Slide 5] The question we have to ask, during this Advent season, is whether we are people of love, peace, joy, and hope and whether our message is a message of love, peace, joy, and hope. 

(Adapted from Great Expectations, Seminary Now)

[Slide 5] “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished; that will be the beginning.” – Louis L’Amour

Endings and beginnings ironically both call on hope that resides within us to hold us tightly. The frequent  problem with hope is – in what, or in who, our hope rests on. When our hope rests on anything, or anyone, that is an unstable source of hope, a hope that calls us to violence, hatred, brutality, insecurity, or reckless behavior – then our problem comes not in the question ‘do we have hope?’ rather the problem can be found in the question ‘is my hope grounded on a solid foundation?’

For us to see that an ending is just a new beginning, we must have a properly grounded hope.

Usually on this first day of Advent, we have four candles on a candle holder before you. Then, each Sunday of Advent we will light one more of those candles until, on Christmas Eve we light a new, fifth candle that represents the birth of Jesus. Today, however, you will probably notice that there is only one candle, the Hope Candle. Today, the hope candle stands alone, next week it will be joined by the other candles, but today we must confront the presence, or absence of a stable hope in each of our lives.

Near the end of the old testament, the prophets, re-emphasise the message of the former prophets, as they stress the hope in the coming Messiah. As the people then wait, new generations arise, elders pass, and still they do not see the fulfillment of God’s promise they began to lose hope, they begin to complain and many choose to give up. God, one more time, brings a messenger to them, and once again the promise of the coming deliverer is voiced.

 [Slide 6] “Behold, I am sending My messenger, and he will clear a way before Me. And the Lord, whom you are seeking, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,”

Then nothing else is hear from God or the prophets of Gods. Centuries, and generations, passed with no word from God. Most Isrealites had forgotten the words of the prophets that told of the coming Messiah. Even the religious leaders had settled into institutional life, guiding the people through acts of religiosity, without even the slightest hint of looking for fulfillment. No one really expected anything to change, no one expected God to ever speak or act again. This was life. No love, peace, joy, or hope.

Their hope had not held them because their hope was not grounded on God, but, instead on what they could see and on their own speculation of how fulfillment had to look.

And then the unexpected happened, a priest named Zechariah was interrupted while doing his job of religiosity. [Slide 7] “Do not be afraid for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. 

[Slide 8] You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice over his birth. He will be great in the sight of the Lord and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while he is still in the  womb. He will turn many of the sons of Israel back to God. 

[Slide 9] God will use him to turn the hearts of fathers back to their children, the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, and, most importantly, to prepare the people for the Lord.”

Then six months later, another unexpected interruption [Slide 10] , this time to a young woman, [Slide 10] “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God. You will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.”

[End Screen Share]

This past year we have spent every Sunday focusing on  the women of the Bible.  It has been interesting, and as a preacher, often times very difficult. While there have been some villainous women, most of the time there have been humans who were women, who held it all together with little to no credit, humans, who were women, who stood in the gap when the men failed to step us, women, who were looked down upon and ignored that continue to put one step in front of the other and move forward. 

Women, who even today, are denied a place in the church as leaders even when their presence is not only needed but is an essential element of moving the church into the future. Now, as we begin the story of the arrival of the Messiah, we also see the leadership of women.

For our two women today, neither Elizabeth or Mary argue with God based on the impossibilities, they don’t dispute the fact that neither of these two are prime candidates for their calling to birth the messenger and the Messiah. They ask how, but they never say ‘no’. 

Elizabeth’s husband was shocked, but Elizabeth was not. Mary’s fiance was very surprised, but Mary did not seem surprised. Why? How?

Hope. Both were living by Hope. Neither knew the ‘How’, and probably, neither speculated they would be a part of the ‘How’ but, they were. What seemed like an ending to all of society, these two women somehow were not caught off guard that it was actually a new beginning. 

And, their hope was built on a solid foundation, the God of promises fulfilled. 

This is our advent beginning, “Do we have Hope?” and “On what is our hope grounded?”

Music 

Here I Am To Worship

Light of the world

You stepped down into darkness

Opened my eyes let me see

Beauty that made

This heart adore You

Hope of a life spent with You

Chorus

So here I am to worship

Here I am to bow down

Here I am to say that You’re my God

And You’re altogether lovely

Altogether worthy

Altogether wonderful to me

Verse 2

King of all days

Oh so highly exalted

Glorious in heaven above

Humbly You came

To the earth You created

All for love’s sake became poor

Bridge

And I’ll never know how much it cost

To see my sin upon that cross

And I’ll never know how much it cost

To see my sin upon that cross

Community

  • [Slide] Next Sunday, ‘Unexpected’ Advent 2, 12.04 Unexpected Gratitude, Luke 1:46-55
  • [Slide]  Advent Bible Study begins Wednesday, November 30 at noon, three weeks. 
  • Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship, December 24 @ 6pm
  • No Worship Gathering on Christmas Day or on New Years Day

Closing Peace

May the Peace of the Lord go with you. And also with you.

Benediction

“May God give you the grace not to sell yourself short, grace to risk something big for something good, grace to remember that the world is now too dangerous for anything but truth, and too small for anything but Love.”  

(William Sloane Coffin)

Order, Words, & Voices

11.20.22  (Genesis 4 – Then They Began)

Order

Pre Worship Music

Leave Screen Share On from Opening Songs through Passage Reading

Opening Songs: Lynn

O Worship The King 

Thank you

Call to Worship Response and Lord’s Prayer Pettys

Reading Rick

Song: Lynn

10,000 Reasons

Message Genesis 4 Rick

Song: Lynn

There is a Redeemer

Community/Closing Peace Rick

Benediction Rick

Post Worship Music

Music

Oh Worship The King

Verse 1

O worship the King all glorious above

And gratefully sing His power and His love

Our Shield and Defender the Ancient of Days

Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise

Verse 2

O tell of His might O sing of His grace

Whose robe is the light whose canopy space

His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form

And dark is His path on the wings of the storm

Verse 4

Thy bountiful care what tongue can recite

It breathes in the air it shines in the light

It streams from the hills it descends to the plain

And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain

Thank you Lord

For all that you’ve done I will thank you,

For all that you’re going to do.

For all that you’ve promised and all that you are

Is all that will carry me through

Jesus, I thank you.

And I thank you, thank you, Lord.

And I thank you, thank you, Lord.

Thank you for loving and setting me free.

Thank you for giving your life just for me,

How I thank you,

Jesus, I thank you.

Gratefully thank you.

Thank you.

(repeat)

Call to Worship/Lord’s Prayer (Slides)

Leader: In the beginning, God…

Response: God was present.

Leader: God created.

Response: God is the creator.

Leader: God gave life to creation.

Response: God breathed life into creation.

Leader: In the beginning, God walked among creation and those God created.

Response: God’s created chose to not walk with God.

Leader: God’s created chose to walk on their own rejecting the creator.

Response: Our ancestors chose to walk apart from God.

Leader: What was holy was now unholy, peace turned back to chaos, hope disappeared into violence. Darkness shaded everything that God had created.

Response: In the beginning there was God. God is Love.

Leader: Still, God was present, God did not quit creation.

Response: Still, God is present.

Join me in voicing the words of the prayer of Jesus.

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our trespasses, while we forgive those who trespass against us.

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

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Reading (Slides)

Adam and Eve conceived and gave birth to Cain, and Eve said, “I have given birth to a boy with the help of the Lord.” Then Eve gave birth to Abel. Abel became a rancher and Cain became a farmer. 

Cain brought an offering to the Lord from his produce. Abel brought an offering, from the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. 

The Lord was pleased with Abel’s offering but not with Cain’s offering. Cain became very angry and he began to pout. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why are you pouting? 

You know that if you do well we will both be pleased. Remember if you do not work to do well, sin is lurking at the door; and its desire is for you – you must master it.” 

While Cain and Abel were in the field Cain killed his brother Abel.

The Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” Cain said, “I do not know. Is it my job to keep track of him?” The Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying out to Me from the ground. 

Now you are cursed from the ground, which has sucked up Abel’s  blood that was spilt by your violence. When you farm the ground, it will no longer yield its produce to you; you will be a wanderer and a drifter on the earth.” 

Cain cried to the Lord, “My punishment is too great! You’ve taken farming from me, you have hidden your face from me, I can now only be a wanderer and a drifter, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 

The Lord said to Cain, “Whoever kills you, I will take vengeance on them seven times as much.” And the Lord placed a mark on Cain, so that no one finding him would kill him.

Cain left the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden, and built a city there. Cain’s great great grandson took two wives, which is the beginning of polygamy.

The great, great, great, great, grandsons of Cain were Jabal whose descendants lived in tents and had livestock; Jubal whose descendants played the lyre and flute; Tubal-cain whose descendants forged implements of bronze and iron. 

Adam and Eve gave birth to another son, and named him Seth. Eve said, “God has given me another child in place of Abel who was killed by my son Cain.” It was during this time of Seth that people began to call upon the name of the Lord. Then Seth and his wife had a son & named him Enosh.  (Genesis 4)

Music

10,000 Reasons

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 1

The 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

Verse 2

You’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

Verse 3

And 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

 

Worship Your holy name

Lord I’ll worship Your holy name

Ending

Sing like never before O my soul

I’ll worship Your holy name

Worship Your holy name

Worship Your holy name

Message – Immersive Faith

Genesis 4

[slide #2] In the beginning… God.

[slide #3] Although there was not really any punctuation practiced when this was first written, an ellipsis does belong after the third word.

If you are not acquainted with the grammatical punctuation mark of an ellipsis, as I was until a short time ago, an ellipsis is a punctuation mark of three dots (. . .) that shows an omission of words, represents a pause, or suggests there’s something left unsaid.

[slide #4] In the beginning… God. The beginning was not a kick off for God’s actions. Instead, in the beginning, in our beginning, God was there, God was already present. God was God, God is God. Long before actions, long before creation, there was God. So, three simple dots miraculously convey the eternal past, present, and future.

In the beginning…God. It is really simple actually. God was present. It was the initial reality of the consistent reality…In the beginning, God. In the present, God. In the future, God. In eternity, God.

Simple but not simplistic. God is the first character of our story, God is the first presence of our creation, God. There is no introduction, no explanation, no background or motivation, only God.  Later Moses attempts to introduce God, asking for God’s resume, to which God explains – just say ‘God’.

[‘remove screen share’]

It is amazing, then, that a story with such a simple beginning can be so muddled up by us religious vocational religiousists. We take the God who was there in the beginning and attach all kinds of our own stipulations and interpretations. Sometimes, though, God calls us back to God. Back to God’s simplicity, back to God’s compassion and mercy, back to God’s grace, back to our God who, at the core, is love.

So, we come to Genesis chapter four, in which we witness our world get messy and complicated. It is our first observance outside of the garden and our first hint at the direction of humanity as seen in the first ancestral lineage is documented. 

As chapter three ends, as humans have chosen to walk apart and away from God – the tree of eternal life, the hope of the tree has now been replaced with imminent catastrophe. For humans, who were by choice, apart from God, the eternal life is not a hopeful state it is an oncoming brutal catastrophe. This is one of the reasons they had to be removed from the garden. They were not ready for eternal life, at this point they would do good to survive earthly life.

Chapter one of Genesis tells of creation, chapter two gives us another tale of creation, and then chapter three accounts for humans’ rejection of God. Today we are looking at chapter four which gives us the experience outside of the garden and God’s redemptive act on our part as evidence in a newborn birth.

[Slides/screen share through slide #13]

Population began to grow as we begin with the thread of Adam and Eve with two births. First Eve birthed a son named Cain, a feat made possible, as Eve proclaimed,  “I have obtained a male child with the help of the Lord.” This is the last proclamation of God by humans until centuries later when a much older Eve gives birth to her last son. After the birth of Cain, Eve gives birth to his brother Abel.

[slide #6] Next, we witness the first offering of thanksgiving to God as Cain and Abel make a praise offering to God. We do not really know what prompted this offering, or even their knowledge of God, but, both men separately gave an offering.

[slide #7] As God accepts Abel’s offering but rejects Cain, we see the first act of jealousy, violence, and murder, as Cain murders his brother Abel. Cain is exiled and his vocation of farming is taken away from him.

As Cain complains to God about the consequences of the murder, we see the first act of God’s grace outside of the garden. This is also the first the first moment outside of the garden that we witness the compassion and mercy of God. God places a mark on Cain that will protect him from the brutality of others who may seek to harm him. This is an interesting detail of the story, who are the others that Cain is fearful of? Is Cain afraid of the retribution of his own family tree? 

Cain scatters further east of the garden. His parents had left the garden by the east exit of the garden, now Cain goes even further east from the garden. Humanity is moving further from God and the place where God was present. Going east is a constant metaphor in the old testament for leaving the presence of God. Later, when Lot departs from Abraham he goes east, the children of Abraham’s concubines are sent east, the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Menashe choose to dwell outside and to the east of the promised land. Symbolically, east is usually considered unholy and away from the garden, west is holy and back towards the garden.

[slide #10] Cain builds a city and names it after his son Enoch. A city marks the first lasting human claim on earth. No longer will the forbidden garden be the reference point for humanity, now it is a human established place. Humans have now placed their stake in the ground created by God. However, this place has no reference to God, it is actually named after Cain’s son Enoch. Now humanity is not only not speaking of God, now they are exalting the name of a human.

[slide #11] The practice of Polygamy is established as Lamach, Cain’s great great grandson takes two wives. The practice of multiple wives becomes a constant throughout the old testament but the practice is never endorsed and seemingly violates God’s singular tense about marriage in Genesis 2:24.

[slide #12] Humans find Earthly Definition in work. Up to this point humans did what needed to be done for survival while finding a work that suited them. Cain was a farmer, Abel was a rancher. But now we begin to see humans, as groups, become identified by their work, their vocation.

[slide #13] Arrogance and Entitlement. Cain’s great, great, grandson, like Cain commits murder and his response is not remorse but Arrogance and Entitlement. Not only does he justify his actions but declares that he deserves even more mercy, compassion,and grace, from God than was given to his ancestor Cain.

[End slides/screen share]

This is what humanity has come to. Depicted in just twenty-four verses we go from Eve’s proclamation of God’s part in her birthing Cain, to murder, to the human collectives’ praise of a human, to complete arrogance and entitlement.

However, that is not the end of the story. Before chapter four is over, in just a mere two verses, we see a new branch sprout from the family tree of Adam and Eve.  This is the branch of God’s deliverance, the hope of all humans, the lineage of the Messiah begins.

[Slide #14 – Screen Share through Slide #20]

‘Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, Eve said, “God has given me another child in place of Abel, because Cain killed him.” 

[Slide #15] To Seth also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then people began to call upon the name of the Lord.’ (Genesis 4:25-26)

To Seth was born Enos, to Enos was born Kenan, to Kenan was born Mahaleel, to Mahaleel was born Jered, to Jaren was born Enoch, to Enoch was born Methusaleh, to Methusaleh was born Lamech, to Lamech was born Noah, to Noah was born…to Mary and Joseph was born Jesus. The end and fulfillment of the lineage of Seth, and his parents Adam and Eve.

[Slide #16] ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being. 

[Slide #17] In Him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind. And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not grasp it. This was the true Light that, coming into the world, enlightens every person. 

[Slide 18] He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, and yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own people did not accept Him. 

[Slide 19] But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God. 

[Slide #20] And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 

(John 1:1-5, 10-14)

A redemptive branch, a root of righteousness, a tree that shall weather the storms, a lineage that will not squander truth but seek and search for it. A call to an imperfect people, a lineage made up of imperfect people, but the God of grace, the God of deliverance, the God of redemption, the God of mercy, the God that is Love.

I think I say this every year, but for those of us who are blessed with freedom, we who are prone to selfishness, arrogance, and entitlement – for those of our nation, for us, it is no accident that our official time of remembering and giving thanks comes just a month before our official time to remember and give thanks for the arrival of God’s instrument of God’s grace – Jesus. In giving thanks, we remember God’s past present acts, which then clears our minds and our hearts so we can recognize God’s merciful redemptive provision of a lineage that gives us Jesus. Which reminds us of our God of grace, a reminder that we are to hold on to for the 365 days that follow.

May this too, be the time when we, and all, ‘people began to call upon the name of the Lord.’ (Genesis 4:26)

Music 

There is a Redeemer

There is a Redeemer Jesus God’s own Son

Precious Lamb of God Messiah Holy One

Chorus

Thank You O my Father

For giving us Your Son

And leaving Your Spirit

Till the work on earth is done

Verse 2

Jesus my Redeemer name above all names

Precious Lamb of God Messiah

O for sinners slain

Verse 3

When I stand in glory I will see His face

There I’ll serve my King forever

In that holy place

Community

  • [Slide] Next Sunday, ‘Unexpected’ Advent 1, 11.27 Unexpected Unexpected (Im)possibilities, Luke 1:1-38
  • [Slide]  Advent Bible Study begins Wednesday, November 30 at noon, three weeks. We will have an evening study if there is interest expressed (speak with Rick)
  • Thanksgiving Dinner, Today, Sunday, November 20, following worship at Not Your Average Joes
  • Christmas Season Dates – 

Advent Begins next Sunday, November 27

Advent Bible Study begins November 30

Brief business gathering December 4

Christmas Eve Worship Gathering at 6pm

No Worship Gathering on Christmas Day or on New Years Day

Closing Peace

May the Peace of the Lord go with you. And also with you.

Benediction

“May God give you the grace not to sell yourself short, grace to risk something big for something good, grace to remember that the world is now too dangerous for anything but truth, and too small for anything but Love.”  

(William Sloane Coffin)

Order, Words, & Voices 11.13.22

Order, Words, & Voices
11.13.22  (I Samuel 25:1-31)

Order

Pre Worship Music

Leave Screen Share On from Opening Songs through Lord’s Prayer

Opening Songs:                                 Lynn
Raise a Hallelujah
The Joy of the Lord

Call to Worship Response and Lord’s Prayer                in person – Ijahi
Reading                                    on line – Mitch

Song:                                     Lynn    
Give Thanks

Message    I Samuel 25:1-31                        Rick

Song:                                        Lynn
Ancient Words

Community/Closing Peace                        Rick

Benediction                                    Rick

Post Worship Music

Music
I raise a hallelujah in the presence of my enemies
I raise a hallelujah louder than the unbelief
I raise a hallelujah my weapon is a melody
I raise a hallelujah Heaven comes to fight for me
ChorusI’m gonna sing in the middle of the storm
Louder and louder you’re gonna hear my praises roar
Up from the ashes hope will arise
Death is defeated the King is alive
Verse 2I raise a hallelujah with everything inside of me
I raise a hallelujah I will watch the darkness flee
I raise a hallelujah in the middle of the mystery
I raise a hallelujah fear you lost your hold on me
BridgeSing a little louder in the presence of my enemies
Sing a little louder louder than the unbelief
Sing a little louder my weapon is a melody
Sing a little louder Heaven comes to fight for me
ChorusI’m gonna sing in the middle of the storm
Louder and louder you’re gonna hear my praises roar
Up from the ashes hope will arise
Death is defeated the King is alive

The joy of the Lord will be my strength
I will not falter I will not faint
He is my Shepherd I am not afraid
The joy of the Lord is my strength
ChorusThe joy of the Lord
The joy of the Lord
The joy of the Lord
Is my strength
Verse 2The joy of the Lord will be my strength
He will uphold me all of my days
I am surrounded by mercy and grace
And the joy of the Lord is my strength
ChorusThe joy of the Lord
The joy of the Lord
The joy of the Lord
Is my strength
Verse 3The joy of the Lord will be my strength
And I will not waver walking by faith
He will be strong to deliver me safe
The joy of the Lord is my strength
ChorusThe joy of the Lord, The joy of the Lord
The joy of the Lord Is my strength

Call to Worship/Lord’s Prayer (Slides)

Leader: Then Samuel died.
Response: All Israel assembled and mourned.

Leader: Many of the Israelites had never known God’s voice except as spoken from the mouth of Samuel.
Response: As a child Samuel had confronted the High Priest.

Leader: As a young man Samuel had anointed the first King of the Israelites.
Response: Samuel grieved as that King turned away from God.

Leader: While a middle aged man Samuel witnessed that first King, a man named Saul, increase in brutality as he descended into paranoia.
Response: God called Samuel to anoint a new King. 

Leader: But, the first King was still on the throne, anointing a new King was risky and dangerous.
Response: Samuel still obeyed God.

Leader: That second King was an unknown young man named David.
Response: Unknown to man but known to God.

Leader: With Samuel speaking God’s voice to David, a struggle rose up between the two Kings. Saul, the first King, who refused to listen to God’s voice, became increasingly defiant to God’s will.
Response: King David was learning what it meant to trust and obey God.

Leader: Now, while the struggle continued, Samuel died.
Response: All Israel mourned.

Join me in voicing the words of the prayer of Jesus.
Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our trespasses, while we forgive those who trespass against us.
And, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Reading (No Slides, spotlight Mitch)

A man named Nabal was very prosperous but he was also a brute as well as a fool. His wife Abigail, on the other hand, was wise and intelligent.

David, the anointed King to be, was nearby and heard that Nabal was feasting. David sent ten of his men to tell Nabal: “When your shepherds were camped near us we protected them, they lost nothing. Ask your own men, they will affirm this. Now, be generous to us and share your feast.”

Nabal refused David’s request, the men returned to tell David of Nabal’s response. David was furious and ordered four hundred of his men to accompany him to get revenge.

While all of this was going on, one of Nabal’s shepherds ran to Abigail and told her “Your husband tore into them with insults even though he knew they had treated us well, protecting us and Nabal’s sheep. You need to do something quick!”


Abigail flew into action. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep ready for cooking, a bushel of roasted grain, a hundred raisin cakes, and two hundred fig cakes from Nabal’s feast tables. Abigail said nothing to her husband who was already drunk by this time.

King David and his men met Abigail on the road. As she saw David, she fell to her knees at his feet with her face to the ground, saying, “My King, listen to what I have to say. Don’t dwell on what Nabal did. Foolishness oozes from him.”

Abigail continued,  “I wasn’t there when your men arrived. Forgive me for being presumptuous, but as God lives and as you live, God is now keeping you from this avenging murder! Take this gift that I, your servant girl, have brought to you my King, and give it to the your men.”

“God is at work in you. You are not fighting God’s battles on your own! As long as you live you must not allow evil such as killing the innocent stick to you. When  God completes all the goodness he has promised and as God sets you up over Israel, you must not carry the burden of guilt from this avenging murder.”

David said, “Thank God for sending you to meet me, and for your blessed good sense! You kept me from murder.” David accepted the gift Abigail brought him saying, “Return home in peace, I will do what you’ve asked.” I Samuel 25:1-31
Music

ChorusGive thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given
Jesus Christ His Son
VerseAnd now let the weak say I am strong
Let the poor say I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us
ChorusGive thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given
Jesus Christ His Son
VerseAnd now let the weak say I am strong
Let the poor say I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us EndingGive thanks

Message – Immersive Faith

I Samuel 25:1-31

The story of Abigail, the woman we are meeting today, is one of the most unique stories in the Bible. Honestly, she should probably be remembered as a superhero. She saved her husband, all the men employed by her husband, and possibly hundreds of the men who had battled alongside David. Even more heroic, she saved David from himself. As Abigail and David’s lives intersect, he was preparing to make a huge vengeance motivated mistake, a mistake that would have cursed his family, his coming reign as King, and would have harmed his relationship with God.  

As I have considered this woman, questions about her have flooded my mind. Was she an Enabler to her foolish and brutish husband? Was she a Peacekeeper in countless relationships attempting to keep everyone in harmony? Was she an Interventionist working to squelch conflict and avoid violence? Was she a Long Suffering wife? Was she a Therapist, an Abused wife, or was she an unsung hero choosing to run, not walk, on the path God set before her?

It is really a pretty simple story. Her husband was a fool, his name meant fool – this may actually be the meaning of the name his parents gave him, or it may be that he redefined what Nabal meant. Abigail, on the other hand, carried a name that meant Joy, specifically, ‘Joy of the Father.’ The question about Abigail’s name is the same, did her name define her or did she redefine the name?

The story begins with a feast, it was the annual feast that took place after all the sheep had been sheared. At this same time, David, who had been anointed King by the now deceased Samuel, was still in a struggle with the old, violent, and now paranoid, King Saul. David was camped out with his men when he learned of the feast at Nabal’s house which was not far. David’s men had recently protected Nabal’s men as they were tending to Nabal’s sheep. David’s men needed a feast, times had been a struggle, plus, they were hungry for real food. So, David, assuming that Nabal would be grateful, sent a small contingent of his men to Nabal to respectfully ask for some of the food from the feast.

Nabal’s response was not only to refuse the men, but he also added insult. David’s men returned and told David which caused this future King’s blood to boil, he gathered about two thirds of his army and headed to Nabal’s house for a full revenge that would strategically leave Nabal and his men dead.

While David and his warriors headed to Nabal’s house, one of Nabal’s men ran to tell Abigail what her husband had just done. The man, and Abigail, both knew that David would be upset. Abigail quickly gathered all the elements that would be needed to give David more than enough for a feast for 600 men, and enough to adequately honor this future King.

As soon as Abigail met David on the road she began pleading with David.  Her message to David was two fold

  • Don’t kill these men, they are innocent, the only guilty one is my husband who is always a fool and now he is a drunk fool, he is not worthy of your attention and energy. 
  • You are going to be the King, you have already been anointed by Samuel, and as soon as Saul is off the throne you will be in that position of power. You don’t need an unwarranted and impulsive slaughter on your shoulders as you seek to unite the Israelites.

King Saul that was not the primary problem, he was a problem but not the foundational problem. The problem was that Samuel had just passed. This was a time of absence, the true leader of the Isrealites had died, no one was yet in place to fill that void. The people were now without Samuel, many of the Israelites had never lived in a time without Samuel’s leadership and now he was gone. Samuel was the one who confronted a High Priest and an insecure King, he was the on who anointed Kings, he was the one who called the powerful back to the path of God.   This was a turning point moment for the Isrealites leaving them with many questions. 

  • Would they go back to an existence as they had before in the time of the Judges when everyone did what was right in their own minds, when everyone just did what was best for them? Or were they going to remember God’s voice which had been spoken through Samuel? 
  • Would David, their future King and God’s anointed, keep his sights on God rather than allowing his own pride and emotions turn him into a King much worse than Saul, and a fool much more brutish than Nabal?

In the end, a humble David recognized what the lowly Abigail had done, the catastrophe she had averted. Yes, Abigail brought a Joyful gift of Atonement for her husband’s actions, but, more powerful and long lasting, she had saved David from himself. The atonement was as much for David as it was for Nabal. Abigail kept David from doing something that would have been even more foolish than her husband Nabal had ever done. Abigail’s offering of atonement was for Nabal’s foolishness and for David’s heart of revenge.

This brings us to a theological building building block of the old testament, the concept of Atonement. Atonement, or another form of the word, appears 84 times in the old testament. The actions of Abigail were an atonement for the foolishness of her husband. She was intentionally making a repatriation for Nabal’s foolish actions and unintentionally atoning on the part of David. 

Atonement, a noun, is defined as ‘the satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury; amends.’

In the movie Coach Carter, we see a beautiful portrait of Atonement. Businessman Ken Carter (played by Samuel Jackson) is recruited to take over the ailing basketball team of Richmond High School in Richmond, California. The movie was based on the true story of the California basketball coach who, in 1999 took over an undisciplined and fractured high school team. Carter’s strict discipline towards basketball, and more so in regard to the players’ studies and grades, immediately alienated a young man named Cruz. Cruz was off the team before drills had even begun. Later, Cruz suffers a traumatic incident which leads him back to Coach Carter begging to be allowed to return to the team. The Coach allows him back on the team on the condition that he makes the appropriate atonement. He is to do all the drills he missed in his time away from the team, 2,500 push ups and 1,000 suicides (sprints up and down the court). At the end of his time alloted to finish the atonement, Cruz is remains 80 suicides and 500 pushups short. As Cruz is leaving the court, defeated and exhausted, his teammates begin doing the remaining acts of atonement for him. Soon he gathers the energy, and willpower, to join the team in their atoning sacrifice for him.

The word, Atonement, is a noun which gives purpose to the action – which is the verb Atoning. In Abigail’s case her action of atonement was to bring to David what he had requested, and deserved, while also sacrificing much more for her husband, Nabal’s, foolishness.  Instead of offering a portion of the feast, she basically brought the feast – much more than David had asked for. This was a revelation to David of Abigail’s heart. Oddly, this was not an atonement for herself, it was for her husband, I would speculate that this was not the first atonement she had made for Nabal. This one, however, seemed to hold an urgency that she had not experienced before.

Nabal never really recognized what his wife had done, nor would he ever agree that he did anything in need of atonement. He was hardened to his sin, and unable to appreciate his own need for repentance and atonement. He had no regrets. This was a revelation of his heart. 

David, however, responded differently. As Abigail pointed out his need for atonement, David humbled himself and accepted this atonement on his own behalf. He turned away from his planned act of vengeance and turned back to God’s path.

One person’s act of atonement can be another person’s rescue.

Abigail’s act of atoning for her husband calmed the agitated David, and opened his eyes to the truth about himself. Her prophetic words warned David that he could not carry the burden of this massacre and also stay on God’s path. 

Nabal continued to live and act like the fool that he was, David, on the other hand, strived to live like the man God led him to be instead of the fool that he was becoming. That was a choice both Nabal and David were given as Abigail atoned for them. 

Abigail’s actions paint a beautiful picture of what Christ did on the cross as he atoned for our sins. A sacrifice that was prompted by God’s love for us. 

Sin is a heart problem, not really an action problem. David already had the heart problem before he ran into Abigail on the road, possibly even before he sought the to share in Nabal’s feast. Our sinful actions come out of a heart problem. Both men share the same sin, both were proudful, both were entitled and arrogance, both were easily angered and quickly vengeful. Nabal, was intentionally unable to recognize this, he had turned from God and his heart was hardened as his mind was closed. David still had a tender humility that allowed him to hear God’s voice, he still had a heart and mind that willingly recognized and accepted truth, even when it was negative and about him.

In 1866, Preacher Charles Spurgeon called the atoning work of God on our behalf  “a union of a most mysterious and intimate kind between those who sinned and the Christ who suffered.”

Nabal chose to remain drunk in his foolishness, David chose to return to the path God laid before him. Nabal never accepted the gift his wife gave him, David recognized the salvation given by Abigail’s atoning act.  Nabal remained on his path of foolishness while David walked away from his own foolish, sinful, and tragic human impulses.

Only Jesus could do this, only Jesus could make the atonement for all the sins of all humanity. Only Jesus inhabited the father’s love for us, moving Christ to accept the cross and offer us a better path. We stand atonement for our sin already made, what we do with that atonement is our choice.

The apostle Paul spoke of this choice of path while speaking to the believers in Philippi, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross. So then, my beloved, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure.”
(Philippians 2:3-8, 12-13)

Music 

Verse 1Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world
They resound with God’s own heart
O let the ancient words impart
Verse 2Words of life words of hope
Give us strength help us cope
In this world where’er we roam
Ancient words will guide us home
ChorusAncient words ever true
Changing me changing you
We have come with open hearts
O let the ancient words impart
Verse 3Holy words of our faith
Handed down to this age
Came to us through sacrifice
O heed the faithful words of Christ
ChorusAncient words ever true
Changing me changing you
We have come with open hearts
O let the ancient words impart
We have come with open hearts
O let the ancient words impart
O let the ancient words impart

Community

  • [Slide] Next Sunday, ‘Then They Began’, Genesis 4:1-26
  • [Slide]  Advent Bible Study begins Wednesday, November 30 at noon, three weeks. We will have an evening study if there is interest expressed (speak with Rick)
  • Thanksgiving Dinner, Next Sunday, Sunday, November 20, following worship at Not Your Average Joes
  • Christmas Season Dates – 

Advent Begins next Sunday, November 27
Advent Bible Study begins November 30
Brief business gathering December 4
Christmas Eve Worship Gathering at 6pm
No Worship Gathering on Christmas Day or on New Years Day

Closing Peace
May the Peace of the Lord go with you. And also with you.

Benediction
“May God give you the grace not to sell yourself short, grace to risk something big for something good, grace to remember that the world is now too dangerous for anything but truth, and too small for anything but Love.”  
(William Sloane Coffin)

Order, Words, & Voices 11.06.22

Order, Words, & Voices

11.06.22.22  (I Samuel 2:1-10)

Order

Pre Worship Music

Leave Screen Share On from Opening Songs through Lord’s Prayer

Opening Songs: Lynn

Trading my sorrows

Bless the lord

Call to Worship and Lord’s Prayer Steve

Reading Grace & Lily

Song: Lynn

We Fall Down with Holy holy holy

Message I Samuel 2:1-10 Rick

Song: Lynn

Take Time To Be Holy

Community/Closing Peace Rick

Benediction Rick

Post Worship Music

Music

I’m trading my sorrows

I’m trading my shame

I’m laying them down

For the joy of the Lord

I’m trading my sickness

I’m trading my pain

I’m laying them down

For the joy of the Lord

Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord

Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord

Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord amen

I am pressed but not crushed

Persecuted not abandoned

Struck down but not destroyed

I am blessed beyond the curse

For His promise will endure

That His joy’s gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow 

may last for the night

His joy comes with the morning

I’m trading my sorrows

I’m trading my shame

I’m laying them down

For the joy of the Lord

I’m trading my sickness

I’m trading my pain

I’m laying them down

For the joy of the Lord

Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord

Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord

Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord amen

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

The 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

You’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

And 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

Worship Your holy name

Lord I’ll worship Your holy name

Call to Worship/Lord’s Prayer (Slides)

Leader: An Ephraimite named Elkanah had two wives and two sons.

Response: He was a descendent of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.

Leader: His wife Peninnah birthed the two sons.

Response: His wife Hannah birthed no children, no sons.

Leader: In their culture, not having children was considered a disgrace on the woman.

Response: To not have any sons was a curse on the woman’s future.

Leader: It was a time when women were consider ‘less than.’

Response: It was a time when women’s voices were not heard.

Leader: Elkanah’s wife Penninah bullied Hannah, taunting her about not having any children, not having any sons.

Response: She was probably jealous, she recognized that Hannah was the favored wife.

Leader: So, Hannah prayed, she prayed loud, showing her heart to God and man.

Response: The priest who heard Hannah’s prayers thought she was drunk.

Leader: All people had, and have, a voice that is heard by God – God heard Hannah’s prayers, God answered Hannah’s prayers.

Response: Hannah did not quit praying.

Join me in voicing the words of the prayer of Jesus.

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our trespasses, while we forgive those who trespass against us.

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

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Reading (No Slides)

Then Hannah prayed and said,

“My heart rejoices in you Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord, my mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, all because I rejoice in your salvation. There is no one holy like you Lord, indeed, there is no one besides You, nor is there any rock like you God. Mankind must not go on boasting so very proudly, mankind must not let arrogance come out of our mouth; for you Lord are the God of knowledge, and with you God, actions are weighed.

The bows of the mighty are broken to pieces, but those who have stumbled strap on strength. Those who were full hire themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry cease to be hungry. Even the infertile woman gives birth to seven, but she who has many children languishes.

The Lord puts to death and makes alive; God brings down to Sheol and brings up. The Lord makes poor and rich; Go humbles, He also exalts. God raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the garbage heap seating them with nobles and giving them a seat of honor as an inheritance;

The pillars of the earth are yours Lord, and you set the world on them. You watch over the feet of your godly ones, but the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; for a person shall not prevail by might. Those who contend with you Lord will be terrified; there will be thunder in the heavens against them, God will judge the ends of the earth; God will give strength to His king, God will exalt the horn of God’s anointed.”

I Samuel 2:1-10

Music

We fall down

We lay our crowns

At the feet of Jesus

The greatness of mercy and love

At the feet of Jesus

And we cry holy holy holy

And we cry holy holy holy

And we cry holy holy holy 

is the Lamb

Holy holy holy

Lord God Almighty

Early in the morning

Our song shall rise to Thee

Holy holy holy

Merciful and mighty

God in three persons

Blessed Trinity

Holy holy holy

All the saints adore Thee

Casting down their golden crowns

Around the glassy sea

Cherubim and seraphim

Falling down before Thee

Which wert and art

And evermore shalt be

Holy holy holy

Lord God Almighty

All Thy works shall praise Thy name

In earth and sky and sea

Holy holy holy

Merciful and mighty

God in three persons

Blessed Trinity

And we cry holy holy holy

And we cry holy holy holy

And we cry holy holy holy 

is the Lamb

And we cry holy holy holy

And we cry holy holy holy

And we cry holy holy holy is the Lamb

Message – Immersive Faith

I Samuel 2:1-10

[Screen Share slide 1 as Rick approaches podium – leave screen share up until after slide 9]

[Slide 1

[Slide 2] This morning we awoke to a miracle, a human-made miracle, nonetheless, this morning, those of us in states that have daylight savings time received an extra hour. We got more time!

Time is the proverbial dilemma that faces humans across the spectrum of different faiths and of those who claim no faith. Time is an element of our human reality that is unique to humans. 

[Slide 4] Time clashes as our faith intersects with our reality.  We ask “Why does God take so long?” or “Why is God absent during my difficult times?” 

[Slide 5] This question is the unspoken prayer of Hannah. Hannah who surely asked  ‘How many more prayers do I have to say, how many more times do I have to endure society and Peninnah’s taunts, how many more times will God be silent?’ 

Hannah, over a long period of time, said a lot of prayers. Finally, she uttered a prayer that she had not yet said yet, a prayer she had not been willing to say yet, a prayer that contained a promise to God, a prayer said at the right time for Hannah and for God 

[Slide 6] “Lord of armies, if You will indeed look on the affliction of me, Your bond-servant, and remember me, and not forget me, Your bond-servant, but will give me, Your bond-servant, a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.” (I Samuel 1:11)

[Slide 7] Only one time in this prayer Hannah mentions the injustice inflicted on her, and three times, Hannah reminds God, and probably herself, that she has made a decision to serve God regardless of her suffering. This significantly frames Hannah’s heart even in this moment of misery. – 

[Slide 9] ‘God, regardless of your answer, or your absence, I am your servant. My heart will still follow you, my mind will still belong to you, I will serve you.’

[End Screen share]

For Hannah, God had a divine and an earthly purpose in her time of waiting, the years of prayers that seemed to be unheard, there was the reason God had seemed absent. It was not a cruel test given by God to prove that Hannah was ready for this child, it was an essential moment for Hannah to be ready for this child, a child of great purpose. This child, while still a child, would be called by God to confront the powerful Priest Eli, he would, as a young adult, anoint the first King of the Isrealites, and then, while that first King was growing increasingly paranoid and violent while still in power, Samuel would be called by God to risk anointing the replacement King. Samuel would be a ruler in a time when there was no ruler. He would be a guide in a time when the Isrealites desperately needed a guide, a time when they did not yet realize they needed a guide, a time when everyone did what was best for them alone, they only did ‘what was right in their own eyes’. He arrived on the scene at the end of the times of the Judges and served as the first prophet in the time of the prophets. 

Samuel’s nature would have to be a man with a vulnerable tender heart towards God and Man, yet God’s calling would also require him to stand strong in the face of adversaries and threats. He would need his mother’s continued and consistent prayers even though she would have to pray from a distance. There was a reason God waited to reveal the answer to Hannah’s prayers. There would be alot on his shoulders, and there would need to be an ‘all in’ immersion of both of his parents.  

[Slide 10 Leave screen share up until after slide 11

So, after Hannah had come to a place where she was ready to make the promise to God that she would release her son to God’s calling, a time when she was truly ready to make that sacrifice, ‘The Lord remembered Hannah, and it came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him of the Lord.” (I Samuel 1:19b-20)

So, when the time came to release her son Samuel, Hannah, spoke to Eli the priest. She revealed her promise to God as well as God’s answer to her prayers, and then she stuck to her promise, she willingly fulfilled her pledge.

[Slide 11] “Pardon me,” she said to the priest on her yearly visit to the temple,  “As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the Lord. I prayed for this boy, and God, who I have prayed to for decades has granted me my request. Now I have dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.” (I Samuel 1:26-28)

[End Screen Share]

And then Hannah, once again, said a prayer, but this one was not a prayer of need, it was a prayer of praise and rejoicing, a song of praise, but a prayer in grief nonetheless. After this prayer, Hannah, along with “Elkanah, returned to their home at Ramah. But the boy stayed in order to attend to the service of the Lord before Eli the priest.” (I Samuel 1:11). Hannah would return once a year to see Samuel bringing him a new robe.

This praise of God was a prayer of immersion into her memories of who God was and what God had done, as well as his promised presence. In her new grief, as she left her young child, she needed, in order to survive, to remember that she could continue to trust God. It is important to understand, and it is necessary for us to be able to apply Hannah’s reality to our reality, that Hannah returned back to the same basic circumstances that caused her so much grief. There would still be taunts by Peninnah because Hannah would still be childless, she would still be looked down upon by society, because  it would still look like she had no future. The difference now, however, was that her faith had grown over those years of prayer, her faith had been affirmed and secured as she had this personal faith real life experience that God was present.

Dr. Chan Hellman refers to this as our memory muscles. A affirming moment or success which we hold to as a motivator and foundational strength treasure that assures us that we can, and are able to, move forward. We call it faith, faith that grows and with each knowledge of truth moment, with each real life personal moment of holy, with each answer from God we recognize, with each experience of God’s presence. Growing mental and cardio muscle mass that serves to get us through the future moments when we need muscle to survive.

In our lives, there are two layers of humanity, both were present in Hannah, at the same time. For Hannah, one layer was the reality of loss, she was, understandably, grieving that her son would not be returning home with her, the other layer is the reality of who God is, the ‘whats’ about God that she has learned in her struggle. This layer of evidence, arrived at in the midst of  those prayers, supports and upheld the layer of her painful reality that was waiting for her at home. Hannah was able to continue on, and did survive, in her new state of loss and grief, of taunting and injustice, all supported by the other layer that held that memory muscle, a recognition of who God is and and what she personally has witnessed God did and was doing. 

Hannah begins her praise prayer saying, “I’m bursting with God-news! I’m walking on air. I’m laughing at my rivals. I’m dancing my salvation.” (I Samuel 2:1 MSG) 

This is not a prayer of resentment and bitterness as one would expect, it is truly a prayer of sincere and authentic praise. Instead of grieving on the layer of life reality, now Hannah stands on this layer of muscle that reminds her that God can be trusted even when the passing of time tells her otherwise. Hannah’s prayer of rejoicing is not voiced from the layer of grief and loss, that layer will never be able to speak of rejoicing. However, it is possible to rejoice in the layer of her recognition of who God is. Standing on this layer of reality unseen, the layer that reminds her of her proven God, that she jumped fully in, she immersed herself in praise – praise of the God who is and the God who always will be.

She is rejoicing, not because God gave her a son or that her son is chosen by God for mighty acts, she does not actually mention that. Hannah is rejoicing in the God who has heard her prayers, the God who is present and the God who will be present even as things go back to her miserable normal reality. This layer of life has revealed to her that God hears the voices of the downtrodden, the dismissed, the marginalized. She has spent her entire life being looked down upon within and outside her home, considered ‘less than’ by society, she has been an object of pity and rejection to all that know her. She has also faced the reality that in her elderly years she will be dependent on that pity for her own survival. Now, she was free from that, now this voiceless marginalized person was heard and she recognizes that there is a layer of life she has failed to recognize. Those painful, seemingly unanswered prayers, have opened her eyes to the reality most never see.

In her prayer, Hannah is laughing at those who arrogantly think of themselves as better than others. Those that dismiss her, discriminate against her, that talk in hushed and harsh tones about her. She is talking about those in her household, those in her community, those in the religious community, those in the power of politics. Now, however, she is confident that her strength comes from the God of strength not the favor of others. She has also realized that she does not have to accept the lies they say or think about her. She knows better, she now has the muscle of the layer of truth. 

Hannah now as, and if, she chooses to remember, has muscle, the tools, of knowing that God hears her prayers. She no longer lives wondering if God even cares for a societal outcast like her, she no longer questions if God has abandoned her. Her tears and her pain are no longer mandated by others. She knows something they do not know, God is present. Even when her pain appears again, when the feelings of isolation present their ugliness again, Hannah knows a higher truth. Now she can laugh at the ignorance of society, now she can grieve over the fact that they have not seen this faith building layer supporting her life.

When Andrea and I, back in 2006, were looking for a house to fit our growing family, Andrea was looking at the practical elements, enough closet space, plenty of bathrooms, good schools, close to a grocery store – I was looking for trees. I find trees energizing and wonderful, at this point we had five kids so I wrongly assumed that they would rake leaves, so there was nothing not to love about trees. We found the perfect house with a yard full of trees, and once we moved in, I began planting more trees. One of those trees was a Redbud on the side of our house. Then, a couple of years ago, when that tree had grown along with the growth of my kids – I decided I wanted to move that tree.  Even though it had more than doubled in height, the trunk still seemed small so I figured it was doable. 

At the moment I voiced this plan to my very patient sons, they  attempted to educate me on what was going on under the surface that I clearly could not see – how the roots of that tree were at least the depth and width of the height of the tree. In the end, the tree remained on the side of our house.

You see, our lives are lived out above the surface. We can physically see, emotionally feel, and we can only experience one layer, the layer of what is going on in our lives above the surface. Hannah saw, and experienced, only the injustice above the surface, she felt only the pain. As she prayed and saw nothing going on above the surface that revealed the activity of God, she was restricted from seeing hope. It would have been easy to give up, to accept the labels placed on her by others, it would have been easy just to settle into the pain, to live life as a victim in bitterness and pain. However, she kept praying. With each prayer her roots grew a little stronger, she began to see a little better. Just as the roots of my tree grow in a way to support the visible life above, those prayers were growing her roots for what life, above the surface, had ahead for her. Those roots grew her to a place where she would be ready to bear this son, to release this son to God, to be an avenue of God’s will in the world. 

Hannah still went home devastated, she would still be an object of scorn and pity, still the focus of cruel comments by others, still a marginalized person that was forgotten by those who supposedly followed the same God as Hannah. However, in the midst of those prayers, her own roots had grown to support her, now her tears were not of the agony of following a God who was absent, now her tears were living proof that she had moved to the layer of life that reminded her that God was present, that she was strong, that she was not desolate, dismissed, regardless of what society thought they saw in and about her. She now could cry and laugh at the same time, reassured because she now stood on the layer of truth.

The story of Hannah is a story of God not being a God of time, but the God of the right time. It is a story of God’s mostly unheeded call to followers to love justice, kindness, and humility.  It is a story of a call to sacrifice God’s gift just after the gift has been received. It is a story of a society that sees and labels others in ways that are deceitful, hateful, and very unGodlike. It is a call for all believers to see what is unseen, to live, in the midst of reality, remembering truth, while, at the same time, to constantly seek to better know the God of truth.

OCC Banquet

Music 

Take time to be holy

Speak oft with thy Lord

Abide in Him always

And feed on His Word

Make friends with God’s children

Help those who are weak

Forgetting in nothing

His blessing to seek

Take time to be holy

The world rushes on

Spend much time in secret

With Jesus alone

By looking to Jesus

Like Him thou shalt be

Thy friends in thy conduct

His likeness shall see

Take time to be holy

Be calm in thy soul

Each tho’t and each motive

Beneath His control

Thus led by His Spirit

To fountains of love

Thou soon shall be fitted

For service above

Community

  • [Slide] Next Sunday, Atoning Joy, I Samuel 25:2-31
  • [Slide]  Advent Bible Study begins Wednesday, November 30 at noon Wednesday for three weeks. We will have an evening study if there is interest expressed (speak with Rick)
  • Thanksgiving Dinner, Sunday, November 20, details to come this week

Closing Peace

May the Peace of the Lord go with you. And also with you.

Benediction

“May God give you the grace not to sell yourself short, grace to risk something big for something good, grace to remember that the world is now too dangerous for anything but truth, and too small for anything but Love.”  

(William Sloane Coffin)

Order, Words, & Voices 10.30.22

10.30.22  (Ruth 1:1-22)

Order

Pre Worship Music

Leave Screen Share On from Opening Songs through Lord’s Prayer

Opening Songs: Christian

To God Be The Glory

Jesus Messiah

Call to Worship and Lord’s Prayer Rick

Reading On Line – Kelly

Song: Christian

Holy, Holy, Holy

Message Ruth 1:1-22 Rick

Song: Christian

Oceans

Closing Peace Rick

Benediction Rick

Post Worship Music

Music

To God Be the Glory

To God be the glory 

Great things He has done

So loved He the world 

That He gave us His Son

Who yielded His life 

An atonement for sin

And opened the life gate 

That all may go in

Praise the Lord  Praise the Lord

Let the earth hear His voice

Praise the Lord  Praise the Lord

Let the people rejoice

O come to the Father 

Through Jesus the Son

And give Him the glory 

Great things He has done

O perfect redemption 

The purchase of blood

To every believer 

The promise of God

The vilest offender 

Who truly believes

That moment from Jesus 

A pardon receives

Praise the Lord praise the Lord

Let the earth hear His voice

Praise the Lord praise the Lord

Let the people rejoice

O come to the Father 

Through Jesus the Son

And give Him the glory 

Great things He has done

Great things He has taught us

Great things He has done

And great our rejoicing 

Through Jesus the Son

But purer and higher 

And greater will be

Our wonder our transport 

When Jesus we see

Praise the Lord praise the Lord

Let the earth hear His voice

Praise the Lord praise the Lord

Let the people rejoice

O come to the Father 

Through Jesus the Son

And give Him the glory 

Great things He has done.

Jesus Messiah

He became sin 

who knew no sin

That we might become 

His righteousness

He humbled Himself 

and carried the cross

Love so amazing 

love so amazing

Jesus Messiah 

Name above all names

Blessed Redeemer Emmanuel

The Rescue for sinners 

The Ransom from heaven

Jesus Messiah Lord of all

His body the bread 

His blood the wine

Broken and poured 

Out all for love

The whole earth trembled 

And the veil was torn

Love so amazing 

Love so amazing

All our hope is in You

All our hope is in You

All the glory to You God

The Light of the world

Call to Worship/Lord’s Prayer (Slides)

Leader: Today, we see the story of two women

Response: Two women who shared nothing 

Leader: Actually, before their stories merged, they shared less than nothing. 

Response: Their Nationality, Faith, and even their God, all conflicted 

Leader: Their peoples were enemies, their peoples despised each other. 

Response: But the God of love brought them together 

Leader: That is what the God of love seeks to do

Leader: And then, they became family. 

Response: In crisis, in grief, and in sacrifice, their souls were connected. 

Leader: They shared those things that were most important in their lives, the things they held most dear. 

Response: They walked with each other bearing the burden of the other. 

Leader: Their lives exhibited the love of God

Response: The motivating force that led them through pain and loss, 

Leader: Through suffering, desperation, and hopelessness 

Leader: Their lives are a witness to us of a life of selflessness

Response: Their sacrifice gives us a picture of Jesus relentless selfless love

Join me in voicing the words of the prayer of Jesus.

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our trespasses, while we forgive those who trespass against us.

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

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Reading (On Line – Kelly – Spotlight – No Slides)

It was after Joshua led the Isrealites into the promised land and before David was named the first King of Israel – it was the time of the Judges. It was the time when there was not yet a king in Israel; and a time when ‘all the people did what was right in their own eyes.’ It was a brutal time made worse by a famine in the land of Israel. 

Because of an ongoing famine, a man from Bethlehem named Elimelech went to live outside of the promised land in the country of Moab with his wife Naomi and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion. They entered the land of Moab and remained there. 

After Elimelech died, the two sons married Moabite women, one was named Orpah and the other was Ruth. Ten years later, the sons, Mahlon and Chilion, also died – Naomi was left without her husband and without her sons while Ruth and Orpah were left without their husbands.

Naomi heard that there was food back home so she departed with her two daughters-in-law to return to her homeland. 

But, after a bit, Naomi said to her daughters-in-law, “Go, return to your mother. May the Lord deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the dead and with me. May the Lord grant you both a place of rest, and a life in the house of your future husbands.” Then she kissed them both, and all three women wept. 

However, they said to her, “No, we are going to go with you to your people.” Naomi replied, “Go back to your parents. What hope will you have if you go with me? It is ridiculous to think that I could have two more sons and that you would wait for them to grow up! No, my dear daughters; life now is much more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the Lord has come out against me.”

The three raised their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law and returned to her land and her people, but Ruth clung to Naomi.

Naomi said to Ruth, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; go with her.” Ruth said, “Do not plead with me to leave you; for where you go, I will go, and where you sleep, I will sleep. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do so to me, and worse, if anything but death separates me from you.” Naomi quit pressuring Ruth to go home when she saw that Ruth was determined to go with Naomi.

So Naomi and Ruth traveled on to Bethlehem. 

Ruth 1:1-19

Music

Holy Holy Holy

Holy holy holy 

Lord God Almighty

Early in the morning 

Our song shall rise to Thee

Holy holy holy 

Merciful and mighty

God in three persons 

Blessed Trinity

Holy holy holy 

all the saints adore Thee

Casting down their golden crowns 

around the glassy sea

Cherubim and seraphim 

falling down before Thee

Which wert and art 

and evermore shalt be

Holy holy holy 

though the darkness hide Thee

Though the eye of sinful man 

thy glory may not see

Only Thou art holy 

there is none beside Thee

Perfect in power in love and purity

Holy holy holy 

Lord God Almighty

All Thy works shall praise 

Thy name in earth and sky and sea

Holy holy holy 

merciful and mighty

God in three persons 

Blessed Trinity

Message – Relentless Selflessness

Ruth 1:1-22

Screen share left up through slide 11

[Slide 1] ‘Now it came about in the days when the judges governed…’ (Ruth 1:1)

[Slide 2]It is called an opening crawl, the first details of the story that give you the raw details you need to be ready for the action to begin. Probably the most memorable opening crawl was read by audiences on May 25, 1977, which said…

[Slide 3] “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away… It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, ….”

This, minus the John Williams’ soundtrack, works to do the same as this first words of the story of Ruth…

[Slide 4] ‘Now it came about in the days when the judges governed…’ (Ruth 1:1)

You may remember that the time of the Judges was a time summed up in the repeat line ‘everyone did what was right in their own eyes.’

[Slide 5] It is much like the opening crawl of the story of Noah, ‘the wickedness of mankind was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.’ (Genesis 6:5). In Ruth, as in Genesis, our opening description tells us that it was a difficult time to live. Those that governed were largely a selfish and brutal bunch who did evil, and with the exception of Judge Deborah, the judges did not end well. This was also true of the people, they too had become distant from God, seeking to only do what would be best for them – they only did what was right for them without concern for others. 

[Slide 6] It is an odd introduction for a story of two women who were relentlessly selfless in their lives. A story that hinges on two women who probably aren’t meant to be nice to each other let alone sacrifice their lives to lift each other up. It is a story of two individuals who in a time of very not niceless, these two were nice, they were kind, they were good.

[Slide 7] In the television show The Good Place, which takes place in the afterlife, the character Chidi, who was an moral ethics philosophy professor on earth, is once again tasked to train others in ethical living. He is basically given the job of challenging the others in the afterlife to consider the question, “What do we owe to each other?”

[Slide 8] He eventually answers his own question by saying, “So why do it, then, why choose to be good everyday if there is no guaranteed reward we can count on now? I argue that we choose to be good because of our bonds with other people and our innate desire to treat them with dignity. Simply put, we are not in this alone.” (Chidi, The Good Place)

[Slide 9] British economist, Minouche Shafik refers to our answer to this question of  “What do we owe to each other?’ as the social contracts that exist in all societies of the world. 

[Slide 10] “Everyone participates in the social contract every day, and we rarely stop to think about it. Yet social contracts shape every aspect of our lives, including how we raise our children and engage in education, what we expect from our employers, and how we experience sickness and old age. All of these activities require us to cooperate with others for mutual benefit, and the terms of that cooperation define the social contract in our society and the shape of our lives. 

[Slide 11] Laws and norms underpin these daily interactions. In some societies, the social contract relies more on families and communities for mutual support; in others, the market and the state play a greater role. But in all societies, people are expected to contribute to the common good when they are adults in exchange for being looked after when they are young, old, or unable to care for themselves.” (Minouche Shafik, 2021)

We often look at the story of Ruth as being a simple story of love, first between a woman and her daughter-in-law, then between the daughter-in-law and the man who rescues her. But this interpretation fails to see the many nuanced layers in this very heavy story. It is not a safe story, it is a story of a violent time and two women who have not only suffered great loss but choose to risk losing what little they have left. It is not really a love story as much as it is a story of risks, survival, and ultimately survival. 

To understand this story we must also understand the story of the story, we must understand the writing story of the story. While the story of Ruth took place during the time of the Judges, it was probably not written during the time of the Judges. It was also probably not written during the time of the Kings, rather, it was probably written after the exile, after the Persians conquered the Babylonians and where therefore the oppressors of the Israelites as they returned to Jerusalem and the promised land. 

A time when the Isrealites were concerned about how much control they would have over their own lives and how much of their own boundaries would be respected. Most notably though, was a concern about if they would still be a people. This concern of many Israelites was leading to a nationalism which sought to exclude those that were not ‘true Jews’, that were not of Jewish blood. It was a time when old romanticized tradition was coming into conflict with all the advances in their relationship with God during their time in exile, divisions were rising up. In this time enters the story of a women who passed many years before, a woman who was not only not a Jew but is a Moabite, an enemy of the Isrealites. A women would be one of only five women listed in the lineage of Jesus. A woman who reminded them of their call to a relentless selflessness.

So, during this time in history, four centuries before the birth of Jesus, as the Isrealites were turning inward, this story is written, a story that needed at this time to be written and heard. A story is told of another time when everyone was living selfishly, nevertheless, a time when two women chose another path. A time not unlike our own time.

“Ruth explores questions of life and faith highlighting themes- the untimely

death of people we love, food shortages, financial & political instability,

unemployment, community responses to those in need, as well as

immigration and racial differences. There are other layers of themes

such as empty and full; finding home and hope; of bread and belonging;

as well as repair, resilience, resistance and redemption!” 

(Mark Greene from the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity)

Geographically, Ruth’s homeland was right next to the homeland of Naomi. Israel and Moab shared a border. Both nations may have seen similar in many ways including culture and language but otherwise they were a world apart. The two nations and their citizens were in frequent conflict that went back before the Isrealites had fully occupied, or even arrived at, the promised land. The story of Ruth, in many ways, is an Old Testament version of Jesus’ story of the good Samaritan – a story that is told to define who is our neighbor we are called to love.

The story of Ruth, however, is not just a story of Ruth. It is also a story of Ruth’s mother-in-law was an Isrealite, an Isrealite who was a foreigner in a foreign land.  A family of foreigners who had lived out the call to love the foreigner. Although they themselves were foreigners in Ruth’s homeland, Naomi’s family had fully and unconditionally embraced Ruth and Orpha, giving both women an up close view of what it meant to follow the God of the Isrealites and the call of love lived out for them to see. They taught Naomi about God not through their voiced words but through the message of their lives. Their message was concrete, it was living proof.

Ruth is a message of evangelism, but an evangelism that is totally foreign to our own thoughts of sharing our faith. Our mode of evangelism uses the tools of judgment and condemnation, we focus on sin and hell – Ruth and Orpha had heard the message of God through the love, acceptance, and embrace of this Naomi and her family. 

Ruth selflessly gives up living with her own people, having a husband to

provide for her, and a family of her own, in order to provide for Naomi’s needs to of companionship and care. On Naomi’s part, we also see a reflection of her own selflessness as she relentlessly attempts to persuade Ruth to return to her home. Naomi tried to reinforce the futility of staying expressing the fact that she could in no way meet the needs of Ruth. Both women show us how to love the one who had been a stranger.

Ruth stops the loving argument with the words, “Do not plead with me to leave you; for where you go, I will go, and where you sleep, I will sleep. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do so to me, and worse, if anything but death separates me from you.” In the original text these words were not said with the future tense of the word ‘will’ but instead they were words of present tense. ‘Your people are my people, your God is my God.’

We usually look at the story of Ruth and Naomi and focus on the Kinsman Redeemer, Boaz. The one that rescues these two women, who brings them hope, who gives them back a future. We usually come away from this story focusing on our redeemer – Jesus Christ. However, there is another equally powerful and relevant story. A story that we would get even if we only had chapter one of the book of Ruth. A story that would start with hopeless and, in an earthly say, end with hopelessness. A story that would present us the harsh reality of being human and leave us there. However, limited with just this one chapter we are given a story of the hope that is present even when we see no hope. The story, even when we just have chapter one, shows us that there is still love in the worst of life.  

Chapter one alone teaches us God’s desire for us as humans, struggling to live in the realities of our human existence. A reality that is often hard and painful, a reality where there is not always enough and the struggles are often endless, a reality that brings pain, misery, and confusion. It is in this reality, and in the reality of Naomi and Ruth, that we see God’s desire for us to be his hands in the midst of this mess we call our reality. To be and do good, to let our lives be a conduit of God’s love, to be the essence of hope when our reality has no hope to share. 

This is why Jesus prayed, ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ Not a prayer about dominion or victory but a prayer of being and doing – being the reflection of God and doing the work of God. Ruth and Naomi, in this one chapter, which does not give us a happy earthly ending, in this chapter we see the how of being the good on this earth that God created for good.

Music 

Oceans

You call me out upon the waters

The great unknown 

Where feet may fail

And there I find You in the mystery

In oceans deep my faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves

When oceans rise

My soul will rest in Your embrace

For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in 

deepest waters

Your sovereign hand  

will be my guide

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me

You’ve never failed and 

You won’t start now

Spirit lead me where 

my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper 

than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Saviour

I will call upon Your name

Keep my eyes above the waves

My soul will rest in Your embrace

I am Yours and You are mine

Community

  • [Slide] Next Sunday, Immersive Thanks, I Samuel 2:1-10
  • [Slide]  Fall Bible Study – Concludes this Wed, November 2 (I Peter 5)
  • [Slide] Norman Cultural Connection invites you to an event today. COMING HOME: Re-membering, Reconnecting, Repatriate, Sunday, October 30, 2022 at 3:00 PM  1950 Beaumont Drive

Closing Peace

May the Peace of the Lord go with you. And also with you.

Benediction

“May God give you the grace not to sell yourself short, grace to risk something big for something good, grace to remember that the world is now too dangerous for anything but truth, and too small for anything but Love.”  

(William Sloane Coffin)

Order, Words, & Voices

Order, Words, & Voices
10.23.22 Guest Speaker Steven Reeves (Luke 18:9-14)

Order

Pre Worship Music

Opening Songs:                                 Christian
Great is thy Faithfulness
In Christ Alone

Call to Worship and Lord’s Prayer                    Segun & Linda

Reading                                    On Line – Isaiah

Song:                                     Christian    
Be Thou My Vision

Speaker Introduction                            Rick

Message            Luke 18:9-14                       Steven Reeves

Song:                                        Christian
How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

Closing Peace                                Rick

Benediction                                    Rick

Post Worship Music

Music
Great is thy Faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness, 
O God my Father
There is no shadow 
of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, 
Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, 
Thou forever will be

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning 
new mercies I see
All I have needed 
Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, 
Lord, unto me

Summer and winter 
and springtime and harvest
Sun, moon and stars 
in their courses above
Join with all nature 
in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, 
mercy and love

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning 
new mercies I see
All I have needed 
Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, 
Lord, unto me

Pardon for sin 
and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence 
to cheer and to guide
Strength for today 
and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine 
with 10, 000 beside

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning 
new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness, 
Lord, unto me

In Christ Alone

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

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

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

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

Call to Worship/Lord’s Prayer (Slides)

(Linda) Please join in response as Segun leads us in our call to worship responsive reading.

Leader (Segun): Give thanks to the Lord, for God is good; God’s love endures forever.
Response: Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.

Leader: Those God redeemed from the hand of the foe, those God gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.
Response: Some wandered in desert wastelands,

Leader: They found no way to a city, to a place where they could settle.
Response: They were hungry and thirsty.

Leader: Their lives seemed to fade away as they cried out to the Lord.
Response:  God delivered them from their distress.

Leader: God led them to a place where they could settle. 

(Segun) Please Join us in praying the prayer of Jesus.

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our trespasses, while we forgive those who trespass against us.
And God, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Reading (On Line – Isaiah/No Slides)

Jesus told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and began praying this in regard to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, crooked, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to raise his eyes toward heaven, but was beating his chest, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other one; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 18:9-14

Music

Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light

Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise
Thou mine inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only first in my heart

High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art
High King of heaven, my victory won
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s sun

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, O ruler of all
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, O ruler of all

Speaker Introduction (No Slides)

Stephen Reeves serves as executive director of the independent Fellowship Southwest and directs advocacy for the Cooprerative Baptist Fellowship. Reeves had also served as director of public policy for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission and as staff attorney for the Washington-based Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. Reeves is a national leader in the effort to reform predatory lending practices, and has led CBF to be more active in advocacy for immigrants and refugees. Stephen is co-author of The Mission of Advocacy: A toolkit for congregations.

Message – Stephen Reeves (No Slides)

Luke 18:9-14
No Manuscript Available

Music 

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar 
the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory
 Behold the Man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
 I will not boast in anything
No gifts no pow’r no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Community

  • [Slide] Next Sunday, Relentless Selflessness, Ruth 1:1-22
  • [Slide]  Fall Bible Study – Continues this Wed, October 26 (Luke 18:9-14)

​Closing Peace
May the Peace of the Lord go with you. And also with you.

Benediction
“Depart now in the fellowship of God the Father and as you go, remember: By the goodness of God you were born into this world. And by the grace of God you have been kept even until this very hour. And by the love of God, fully revealed in the face of Jesus, you have been redeemed even as you are being redeemed. So go in peace.”

Order, Words, & Voices 10.16.22

Order, Words, & Voices

10.16.22 A Messy Faith (Judges 11:29-40)

Order

Pre Worship Music

Opening Songs: Lynn

Blessed Be The Name of the Lord 

Standing on the Promises v 1, 3

Call to Worship and Lord’s Prayer Pettys

Reading Pettys

Song: Lynn

One thing remains

I Need Thee Every Hour vs 1, 3

Message Messy Faith Rick

(Leave the Messy Faith Slide on screen share for entirety of message)

Song: Lynn

I Surrender All vs 1,4

Closing Peace Rick

Benediction Rick

Post Worship Music

Words and Voice

Music

Blessed be Your name

In the land that is plentiful

Where Your streams of abundance flow

Blessed be Your name

Verse 2

Blessed be Your name

When I’m found in the desert place

Though I walk through the wilderness

Blessed be Your name

Pre-Chorus

Ev’ry blessing You pour out I’ll

Turn back to praise

When the darkness closes in Lord

Still I will say

Chorus

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your glorious name

Verse 3

Blessed be Your name

When the sun’s shining down on me

When the world’s all as it should be

Blessed be Your name

Verse 4

Blessed be Your name

On the road marked with suffering

Though there’s pain in the offering

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your glorious name

Bridge

You give and take away

You give and take away

My heart will choose to say

Lord blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your glorious name

Verse 1

Standing on the promises 

of Christ my King

Through eternal ages 

let His praises ring

Glory in the highest I will shout and sing

Standing on the promises of God

Chorus

Standing standing

Standing on the promises of God my Savior

Standing standing

I’m standing on the promises of God

Verse 2

Standing on the promises I now can see

Perfect present cleansing in the blood for me

Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free 

Standing on the promises of God

Chorus

Standing standing

Standing on the promises of God my Savior

Standing standing

I’m standing on the promises of God

Call to Worship/Lord’s Prayer

Welcome to those online and those in person with us this Sunday. God’s word reminds us continually of God’s character, the life of Jesus shows us, in real time, the love of the Father, God’s Spirit consistently challenges us to trust God’s power, might, love, and grace.  God uses flawed humans, humans such as us. God’s call promises us God’s presence even when we do not see the evidence. God calls us to lay down pride and arrogance and exchange them both for humility and holiness. Join me as we pray to God, the God of truth.

(Slides) Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our trespasses, while we forgive those who trespass against us.

And God, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Reading [No Slides]

Then the spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed through the promised land on to the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord and said, “If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then, when I return victorious from the Ammonites, whatever comes out of the doors of my house shall be the Lord’s, and will be offer it to God as a burnt offering.” 

So Jephthah crossed over to fight against the Ammonites and the Lord gave them into his hand. Jephthah inflicted a massive defeat against the Ammonites. So the Ammonites were subdued before the Israelites.

After the battle, as Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah, his daughter, his only child, was the first to come out to meet her father with timbrels and dancing. When Jephthah saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Oh no! My precious daughter! You have brought me very low; you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow.” 

The daughter said to him, “My father, now that the Lord has given you vengeance against your enemies, the Ammonites, if you have opened your mouth to the Lord, do to me according to the vow you made. Before you do fulfill the vow, first grant me two months, so that I may go and wander on the mountains while grieving my virginity with my companions.” 

Jephthah said, “Go,” and he sent her away for two months. So she departed with her companions. At the end of two months, she returned to her father, who sacrificed her according to the vow he had made. So there arose an Israelite custom that 40 for four days every year the daughters of Israel would go out to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

Judges 11:29-40

Music [Slides]

Your love never fails

It never gives up

Never runs out on me

(REPEAT)

Your love

Higher than the mountains that I face

Stronger than the power of the grave

Constant in the trial and the change

One thing remains

One thing remains

Chorus

Your love never fails

It never gives up

Never runs out on me

(REPEAT)

Your love

Verse 2

On and on and on and on it goes

It overwhelms and satisfies my soul

And I never ever have to be afraid

One thing remains

One thing remains

Your love never fails

It never gives up

Never runs out on me

(REPEAT)

Your love

In death in life I’m confident and

Cover’d by the power of Your great love

My debt is paid there’s nothing that

Can separate my heart from Your great love

Your love never fails

It never gives up

Never runs out on me

(REPEAT)

Your love

I need Thee every hour

Most gracious Lord

No tender voice like Thine

Can peace afford

I need Thee O I need Thee

Every hour I need Thee

O bless me now my Savior

I come to Thee

I need Thee every hour

In joy or pain

Come quickly and abide

Or life is vain

I need Thee O I need Thee

Every hour I need Thee

O bless me now my Savior

I come to Thee

Message – Messy Faith [Leave Messy Faith Slide on screen share for message]

A third grade Sunday School teacher asked her students to write a letter to God, a young student named Raphel asked God this.

Dear God, If you give me a Genie lamp like Aladdin, I will give you anything you want except for my money or my chess set.

Raphael, 3rd Grade

A response that is probably an assumed in many of our prayers.

In 312 AD, military leader Flavius Constantine I looked up and saw a cross in the sky emblazoned with the command, “By this sign, conquer!” He went on to become Caesar Constantine the Great leading armies into war under the banner of the cross of Christ. Once it became known that he now favored Chrisitanity those wanting to please and impress the emperor quickly made an expedient conversion to Christianity. Constantine outlawed crucifixion to honor the death of Jesus and made hanging the new official mode of execution. The empire could still dominate, victimize and terrorize, but it would do so in a way that “honored” Jesus. For many of the new converts influenced by Constantine, their faith became very messy, the mixing of their understanding of Christianity that came primarily  from Constantine’s action with the practices of their former pagan practices of faith. (Josh Way)

Faith can get messy fast. Take a bit of this and a full measure of that and soon you have unknowingly created your own unique faith. Albeit, all the elements are borrowed and mixed together, still it can easily become a faith that is not really dependent on a true God. Sometimes these self created faiths lead us to some great disappointments, frustrations, and moments of devastating defeat – while in the darkness, blinding us to our own messy faith.

Whether it be a third grader or a world leader, faith requires a constant openness and curiosity to the full truth of and about God.

A native American pastor friend speaks to his own broken heartedness due to the high suicide rates and drug and meth addictions and deaths in his tribal communities. He tells of the messiness he encounters in the faith of his people. A messiness that is less about their tribal religious customs and more about the impact of the hand of the white christians that have touched and harmed his people for centuries. Revelations upon revelations of actions, such as the Boarding School graves recently found, that do not match up with the God of Love he tells them about. It is messy and it is confusing, and the impact is devastating.

We all have this messiness in our faith. Truths that are missed because of wrong teachings mixed with our own life lessons learned by the lives of those we allow to influence us. 

Our story today is a story of a messy faith on the part of a father and his daughter. A messy faith that leads both into suffering and pain.

The father was named Jephthah, a man who would be a judge in the time between Joshua and the Kings. A descendant of Joseph, Jephthah’s father was a member of the tribe of Manasseh, yet Jephthah belonged nowhere. 

  • Jephthah was a product of childhood trauma, abused by his own siblings who banished and disinherited him because his mother was a prostitute. His faith was shaped by the stories of the victorious faith of his ancestors, stories of a God who rescued and led, stories that collided with his reality of rejection from his own family. His faith was blurry.
  • Jephthah, as a young teen, possibly even as an adolescent, he was left to life on his own. He gathered a group of men like himself, misfits and rejects. Together they shaped a life, a family, for themselves – they became self made warriors taking what they needed while becoming a military force to be reckoned with. His faith was in survival.
  • As Jephthah’s reputation began to rise, his own brothers and their tribe began to sink. The armies of the Ammorites were preparing for a strike on the Israelites, an attack that would bring calamity on the tribe of Manasseh. The brothers too had learned of Jephthah’s growing skill of fighting and for leading a group of warriors so they went to Jephthah begging for his help. Their heads hung low recognizing the shame of their past abuse in light of their current desperation. Jephthah’s faith was now vindication.
  • Jephthah does not bitterly reject them leaving them to defeat, instead he seeks revenge, not just against the enemies of his people but also against the arrogance of his own family. He agrees to lead their armies but only on the condition that he will be their leader even after his victory on the battle field. A condition that is accepted. Jephthah faith is now in earthly power.
  • Jephthah shows an amazing understanding of the facts of God’s working among his own people. He remembers the battles that God led the Isrealites to fight, he remembers the history of past battles for the promised land, and the full details of the new inhabitants along the way – who took the land from who long before the Isrealites even arrived. He knows of God’s might but he has failed to understand the heart of God. He does not know the compassionate God who despised the evil religious practices of abuse, human sacrifice, and brutality in the acts of worship of the former inhabitants of the promised land. Jephthah’s faith is one of dominion.
  • God’s Spirit moves Jephthah to war, filling him with the power to fight and the power to lead. God is present with Jephthah, a call from God to battle is an assurance of victory – yet Jephthah foolishly needs more. In his exuberance for the battle and a reliance still on his own strength, he make an ‘if/then’ vow, a promise to God. He promises God, the God who is leading him into a battle and a victory, Jephthah promises to sacrifice whatever, or whoever, comes from his house to greet him after the battle is complete. His faith is now messy.
  • After the war, as Jephthah can see his home, the first to run from the house is his daughter, his only child running to him rejoicing in his victory and return. Jephthah’s faith was flattened, lost.

Later, in the time of the prophets, the prophet Hosea would sum up Jephthah’s problem in one sentence from God, “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6)

This was a time of celebration, instead it became a moment of regret. It was an opportunity for humility and repentance, instead it became an unholy call for pride and arrogance. Instead of recognizing his own failings, his own lack of understanding of God and God’s leading, Jephthah responded to this devastating moment by casting blame onto his beloved daughter. 

“Why were you the first one out of the door?!” he screamed.

Jephthah’s daughter’s response is equally troubling, she seemingly accepts her unvoiced fate without questions. This may have been that she was accustomed to her dad’s impulsive statements always knowing that they eventually would harm her. It may be that she had fully accepted the messy faith of her father and therefore this made sense. It could have been that she now considered her own sacrifice made victory possible by her faith. Her response was not to investigate options, to search for truth and see if this was really expected by God – instead she chose to grieve for herself and the life she would not be permitted to live.

It is a horrendous event which surprisingly met with no resistance or doubt. It would make sense for the daughter to submissively accept her fate knowing the lack of personhood that women held. However, Jephthah could have known and done better instead of repeating his own heritage of being the victim of abuse. He could have gone to God instead of pridefully hanging onto his messy faith.

It is a tragic story but not an irrelevant story to us today. We too are still vulnerable to the risk of a messy faith. While we focus on other beliefs, other traditions, even other Christians and their practices, we fail to see and recognize the most powerful influence that mess up our faith. Social Scientists are now saying that credible research is showing that for the first time in our country politics and politicians have an inordinate influence on our faith. While, at past times faith influenced our politics, now we are in an unprecedented time when our politics hold greater influence over our faith. Pastors, and religious leaders, now report individuals seeking to know more about their church or ministry, the questions are now primarily political and only marginally theological. 

Politicians and their supportive pundits, slanted cable and internet news services, political agenda groups using religious language with limited credible scripture, false prophets dressed as religious leaders, and lazy believers that listen only to what they have been told to hear and to believe only that which they have been told to believe, all are allowed, by us, to keep us in the dark – to make an evil mess of our faith.

While a large portion of believers fall into this trap, an increasingly large number of believers are, instead, choosing to walk away from their faith. Walking away because they recognize the answers they receive offer no relief in their reality.  They are finding that efforts to answer their questions offer little condolence or hope.

Sometimes we have to realize that there is not always an answer but, instead, our question provides an avenue. In the story of Jephthah’s daughter we are left hanging, the question of ‘Why did God not stop this?” remains unanswered. Maybe it is not meant to be answered, maybe it is a call to look seriously at our faith, to critique our own investment, or lack thereof, in our knowledge of God, to weed out the false teachings that have been ingrained in our thinking – maybe an unanswered question is a platform pushing us to seek God with a greater veracity. To eliminate the wrong that we are believing and to replace it with the truth of our graceful, compassionate, merciful, grieving God.

Practicing Jews still lament the death of Jephthah’s daughter yearly. In one traditional means of lament they listen to and voice the following words –

‘She has no name, has neither face nor eyes for they were burnt by fire. She sought her beloved but found him not, no kisses, no child, she is the song of nothingness. She loved her father, a great mighty warrior. She ran after his love, she praised, she danced, but he responded with anger. He said she hurt him, she caused him grief. He raised the knife, she lay on stone.  Her father will die at a good old age – where was the angel to stop his hand. Where was the sacred messenger? Who is this God. why does he hide, can he hear her cries, does he see her tears?’

We face the same questions, we are uncomfortable with the unanswering voice – the daughter was a victim of her earthly father’s messy faith. The same messiness that still is allowed to exist in our faith today, permitted to enter in, to mix with the God of truth, and to hide the God of presence. The story of Jephthah is a story of believer’s failure to seek and know God beyond the pages of a man made tract, or an human created theory of end times, it is a failure to understand the God of correction and instead replace him with acts of earthly dominion and human strategized victory. It is a confrontation of the unholiness that exists and influences our own faith. And the question for us, as we recount this story, falls in the ending of the lament of the women’s death.

‘From the forest of our lives into the clearing, rain falls on the mountaintop

soaking the wordless stone on which she died, year after year, like the truth of her tears. Will the pain be acknowledge, will the cries be heard?’

We are confronted with the challenge to our faith see, will we see and hear as God sees and listens?’

Thousands of years later the question still hangs in this moment. Will we see the rain falling, seeking to wash away the unholy messiness, allowing us to see the painful impacts of our own messy faith. Will their moments, will those moments hidden from our sight, lead us to address our messy faith?

Music  [No Slides]

Verse 1

All to Jesus I surrender

All to Him I freely give

I will ever love and trust Him

In His presence daily live

Chorus

I surrender all

I surrender all

All to Thee my blessed Savior

I surrender all

Verse 4

All 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

Community [Slides]

  • [Slide] Next Sunday,Guest Speaker Stephen Reeves, Executive Director Fellowship Southwest
  • [Slide]  Fall Bible Study – Continues this Wed, October 19 (I Peter 3)
  • [Slide] Cleveland County Crop Walk, Today, Sunday October 16 @ 1:30pm, locally and globally , register at Crop walk at Andrews Park
  • CBF Celebrating Excellence Dinner next Sunday evening (Sam Noble Museum), We have table with 6 (free) seats available, speak with Rick if interested in attending. Speaker Paul Baxley Executive Coordinator for CBF

Closing Peace [Slide]

May the Peace of the Lord go with you. And also with you.

Benediction [Slide]

“Depart now in the fellowship of God the Father and as you go, remember: By the goodness of God you were born into this world. And by the grace of God you have been kept even until this very hour. And by the love of God, fully revealed in the face of Jesus, you have been redeemed even as you are being redeemed. So go in peace.”

Order, Words, & Voices 10.02.22

Order, Words, & Voices

10.02.22 Collaborative Faith

Order

Pre Worship Music

Opening Songs: How Great Thou Art Christian

Lord I Need You

Call to Worship Steve M.

Song: Breathe of Me Breath of God Christian

Reading Judges 4:1-7 On Line – Mitch & Duffy

Message Collaborative Faith Rick

Song: What A Friend We Have In Jesus Christian

Closing Peace Rick

Benediction Rick

Post Worship Music

Words and Voices

Music (11 Slides)

How Great Thou Art

O Lord my God

When I in awesome wonder

Consider all the worlds

Thy hands have made

I see the stars

I hear the rolling thunder

Thy pow’r thru’out

The universe displayed

Then sings my soul

My Savior God to Thee

How great Thou art

How great Thou art

Then sings my soul

My Savior God to Thee

How great Thou art

How great Thou art

And when I think

That God His Son not sparing

Sent Him to die

I scarce can take it in

That on the cross

My burden gladly bearing

He bled and died

To take away my sin

Then sings my soul

My Savior God to Thee

How great Thou art

How great Thou art

Then sings my soul

My Savior God to Thee

How great Thou art

How great Thou art

When Christ shall come

With shout of acclamation

And take me home

What joy shall fill my heart

Then I shall bow

In humble adoration

And there proclaim

My God how great Thou art

Then sings my soul

My Savior God to Thee

How great Thou art

How great Thou art

Then sings my soul

My Savior God to Thee

How great Thou art

How great Thou art

Lord I Need You

Lord I come I confess

Bowing here I find my rest

And without You I fall apart

You’re the one that guides my heart

Lord I need You oh I need You

Ev’ry hour I need You

My one defense my righteousness

Oh God how I need You

Where sin runs deep 

Your grace is more

Where grace is found is 

where You are

And where You are Lord I am free

Holiness is Christ in me

Where You are Lord I am free

Holiness is Christ in me

Lord I need You oh I need You

Ev’ry hour I need You

My one defense my righteousness

Oh God how I need You

Lord I need You oh I need You

Ev’ry hour I need You

My one defense my righteousness

Oh God how I need You

My one defense my righteousness

Oh God how I need You

Call To Worship/Lord’s Prayer [Slides at Prayer]

The first four of the ten commandments concentrate on our worship of the one true God.  ‘You shall have no gods before the one true God’. ‘You shall have no idols to the false gods’. ‘You shall not abuse the name of God’. And the fourth is, You shall “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God… The Lord has blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.”

Twentieth century German theologian Karl Barth calls the corporate observance of the Sabbath Law, and the Sabbath day itself, an ‘Interruption’. 

A call on us to limit our work, to not allow it to be our identity. A day of humble submission and respect directed to God. An opportunity to turn from thoughts of our work and achievements and instead to recognize the heart and meaning of God’s work. An intentional and deliberate day, a moment, for us to reflect individually as well as cooperatively on God and His work. A contemplative deliberation of our own salvation. The call challenges us to a consistent recurring interruption of our work with a Sabbath. A holy interruption giving us a holy day every week – allowing us to then see the holy in every day of the week. (Karl Barth, paraphrase)

Today, we gather for this interruption to the daily routines of life. This morning, we gather for this moment of interruption, we set aside those things that demand our attention, and instead, we consider the heart and meaning of God and God’s holy work. Today, we rest, we pause, we reflect. While every other moment of our lives may seem to be absorbed, in this moment, in this interruption, our attention is on God.

May we now fous ourselves in this interruption with the prayer of Jesus, please stand and join together with me.

[Slides Begin] Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our trespasses, while we forgive those who trespass against us.

And God, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

‘Please be seated.’

Music (3 Slides)

Breath on Me Breathe of God

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

Breathe on me breath of God

Until my heart is pure

Until with Thee I will one will

To do and to endure

Breathe on me breath of God

Till I am wholly Thine

Till all this earthly part of me

Glows with Thy fire divine

Reading [No Slides]

Once again, the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord gave them into the hand of King Jabin of Canaan, and Sisera, the commander of Jaban’s army. Soon, the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help, for Sisera had oppressed the Israelites cruelly for twenty years.

At that time Deborah was judging Israel. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah in the hill country of Ephraim, where the Israelites came up to her for judgment. 

Deborah summoned Barak, the leader of the Israelite’s army and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you, ‘Position yourself at Mount Tabor, taking ten thousand from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun. I will draw out Sisera to meet you with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand.’ ” 

Barak said to Deborah, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” Deborah said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah got up and went with Barak and his warriors.

When Sisera called out all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the troops who were with him. Deborah said to Barak, “Get Up! For this is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. The has Lord gone out before you.” 

So Barak went with ten thousand warriors following him. And the Lord threw Sisera and all his chariots and all his army into a panic before Barak; Sisera got down from his chariot and ran away. All the army of Sisera fell by the sword; not one was left.

Sisera fled to the tent of the woman Jael who came out to meet him saying, “Come in to me; have no fear.” So Sisera went into her tent, and she covered him with a rug. Sisera said to her, “Stand at the entrance of the tent, and if anybody comes and asks you if anyone is here say, ‘No.’ ”But Jael wife of Heber took a tent peg and a hammer and, going softly to Sisera who had fallen asleep from weariness, Jael drove the peg into Sisera’s temple, until it went down into the ground and he died.” 

Judges 4:1-21

Message – Collaborative Faith [6 Slides]

Judges 4:1-7

After the Babylonian exile, and the return to the promised land, the name ‘Jew’ became the accepted name for the people who had been set apart by God. A promised people who traced their ancestry back to Abraham and the promise given to him by God. 

A name is a significant label, it is usually given to us without our input – we grow into it or we spend our lives attempting to prove it wrong. Rapper Kanye West recently changed his name to Ye. Musician Prince, at one time, changed his name to a symbol which could not really be voiced, so people began referring to him as ‘The artist formerly known as Prince.’ 

The promised people began with the name ‘son of Abraham’, then they became the ‘sons of Isaac’, then, the ‘sons of Jacob.’ Then, they were welcomed to Egypt as the ‘Hebrews’ – a name most likely derived from the Hebrew words ‘eber’ or ‘ever’ meaning‘ ones who crossed over’. ‘Crossed over’ conceivably referring to Abraham’s journey across to Canaan and his descendents journey from Canaan crossing over the Euphrates River into Egypt. This name was just a name until it became a derogatory slam as the Hebrews transitioned from welcomed guests to despised and enslaved foreigners. These Hebrews, however, labeled themselves ‘Israelites’, named after their ancestor Jacob, who God had renamed Israel.

And so in today’s passage, the Isrealites, were living between their deliverance from slavery in Egypt and their eventual slavery in Babylon. During which time they learned about the God of whom they knew little about. They learned, they followed, they disobeyed, they rejected, they were corrected, they cried out to God, they were delivered, they experienced peace, then they did it all over again, and again. 

Moses, followed by Joshua, consistently instructed the people to Obey the Torah, the Law of God. The people did, but mostly they did not. They entered the promised land and soon failed to do what God told them to do which was to wipe out all the residents of Canaan, the promised land. This sounds harsh but the reason was – the Canaanites were evil and the Israelties were weak. God knew that if they were absorbed by the Cannaanites, or if the Isrealites aborbed the Canaanites, the Isrealites would eventually adopt and incorporate the practices of the Canaanites – life practices that were morally corrupt and religious practices that included child sacrifice. The Israelites did not remove the Canaanites and therefore, as God knew they would do, they became like the Canaanites – meaning – you usually could not tell the two peoples apart. 

So, after the death of their leader Josua, God gave the Isrealites the Judges. Not like a courtroom judge but more like a regional military mafia thug leader, leaders who were as evil, if not worse, than the Canaanites. It was a brutal time for the Canaanites and for the Isrealites – largely because of these Judges. These Judges were all ultimately horrible except for the one female of the bunch – a judge named Deborah.

This one bright spot in the book of Judges is Deborah who is full of faith in the God of the Isrealites and gifted with power from God of the Isrealites. As the Canaanites were unifying together to wipe the Isreaites from the land of Canaan Deborah called on the military leader Barak to give him God’s instruction for the battle against the invading Canaanite army. It was a simple plan that was enough, it detailed the pre-organization required of Balak as well as the work that God would do and the victory that God would give to Balak. Balak accepted the call on one condition, the condition that Deborah would join Balak on the battlefield. Deborah agrees but cautions Barak that, if she does go with him, he will not be the proclaimed hero. The hero would instead be a woman.

It is a story that puts a spotlight on the different perspectives as well as the different expectations that bring us to an understanding, or misunderstanding, of the story.  You have probably heard this story taught or preached in a way that sets Balak up to be a:

  • A coward
  • A misogynist
  • Basically,  self absorbed prideful arrogant wimp

Why else would Deborah have to bait him to accept God’s call? The only way to overcome his cowardice would be to appeal to his vanity. The only way to create in him a reason to go to battle would be to keep a woman from being glorified. Essentially, Deborah had to take this shell of a human being and convince him to trust God by appealing to his ego and his male arrogance.

What if that is not an accurate understanding of Barak and Deborah? What if this is more a story of two people who understand faith, and especially understand the value of the collaboration of their mutual faith? What if Barak understood that faith is holy when it is vested in the true God, and holyer when it is multiplied by a combined alliance of others of that shared faith.

What if Deborah’s motivation was not to goad Balak into accepting God’s call but to test it? What if she wanted to make sure this was not all about an egomaniac who would eventually use this victory to gain more power for himself? What if she wanted to see if he was willing to follow as well as to lead? What if she needed to know he understood that leading armies into battle would still require following the God of the Victory in the Battle?

What if both of these individuals understood Proverb 27:17 long before the writer of Proverbs was even born? What if they both grasped the idea of Iron Sharpening Iron? What if both knew that they were the iron that needed sharpening?

What if…?

Long before a team of experts engineered the iPhone, Steve Jobs had an idea of a phone unlike all other phones. He also recognized that he needed others to make his idea a reality.

Long before Christians had multiple Bibles scattered on shelves and in drawers throughout their house, a team of past and present collaborators worked with Johann Gutenberg to make God’s Word available to the average believer.

Long before we were able to sit in a dentist chair and have a quick Xray of our teeth, Pierre Curie shoveled back breaking mounds of earth to assist his wife Marie in discovering the radioactive element radium.

[Slide] “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other, but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. 

[Slide] Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecc. 4:9-12)

[Slide] “If, then, there is any comfort in Christ, any consolation from love, any partnership in the Spirit, any tender affection and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 

[Slide] Do nothing from selfish ambition or empty conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests but to the interests of others. 

[Slide] Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, assuming human likeness. 

[Slide] And being found in appearance as a human, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:1-8)

So let’s step back to that name, for Deborah and Barak and the ten thousand man army, the name was Israelite. This name was not just their bond, it was not just their nationality, rather, it was the defining mark of their faith, a faith now reinforced with ten thousand and two Isrealites. An army glued together by a shared faith, and a faith given by a name, a name based on their common ancestor Jacob, an army about to face the army of Sisera. That opposing army, led by Sisera, is estimated by ancient Jewish historian Josephus, to have amounted to 900 chariots, 40,000 generals, and possibly upwards of 4 billion soldiers, dwarfing the 10,002 Isrealites now ready for battle. They shared a common faith built on a common God, identified by a common name, strengthened by a common trust – a trust in and a trust on the God of their name – Jacob’s God. The God of promise. There was sheer power in the armies of Sisera, but there was more power in the army of the God of Balak, of Deborah, and of their much smaller armies. This power, a faith collaborated among this small gigantic group that would never need to use their swords because the God they trusted had gone before them. 

We boast in our armies until we face the full force of our battle

We trust in our house until we see the fortress of our foe

We hold to our knives until we feel the sting of their swords

We crouch securely in the cave until we hear the boots of our attacker

And yet, 

We know a strength when we stand together

We experience a peace when our trust is shared

We identify by the one who has gone before us

We hold to hope of the promise repeatedly assured

And so we commit,

To hold on tight to the one who is faithful

To affirm our faith in our mutual redeemer

To strengthen our stance in our collaborated trust

To grasp the reality even when it is invisible to our sight

For,

We do not go alone into darkness without the foreknowledge of light

We do not go together armed only with human might

We know that our hope rests in the creator almighty

We know in our very core lives the God who is power, justice, and love

Let’s Pray.

Music  [3 Slides]

What A Friend We Have In Jesus

What a friend we have in Jesus

All our sins and griefs to bear

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer

O what peace we often forfeit

O what needless pain we bear

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer

Blessed Savior Thou hast promised

Thou wilt all our burdens bear

May we ever Lord be bringing

All to Thee in earnest prayer

Soon in glory bright unclouded

There will be no need for prayer

Honor praise and endless worship

Will be our sweet portion there


Community [Slides]

  • [Slide] Next Sunday, Guest Speaker Randy Ridenour, Professor of Philosphy at Oklahoma Baptist University
  • [Slide]  Fall Bible Study – Beginning this Wednesday, October 5 (5 weeks)
  • [Slide] Cleveland County Crop Walk, Sunday October 16 @ 1:30pm, locally and globally, Food and Shelter has doubled it number of clients served by 100% since Covid hit (numbers have not gone down)

Closing Peace [Slide]

May the Peace of the Lord go with you. And also with you.

Benediction [Slide]

“Depart now in the fellowship of God the Father and as you go, remember: By the goodness of God you were born into this world. And by the grace of God you have been kept even until this very hour. And by the love of God, fully revealed in the face of Jesus, you have been redeemed even as you are being redeemed. So go in peace.”

Order, Words, & Voices 09.25.22

Order, Words, & Voices

09.25.22 When You Have No Voice

Order

Pre Worship Music

Opening Songs: To God Be the Glory Lynn

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Call to Worship Renee, Christian, Nikki, Emily,Linda

Song: My Deliverer is Coming Lynn

Reading Numbers 27:1-11 On Line – Randy

Song Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord Lynn

Message When You Have No Voice On Line – Rick

Song: Way Maker Lynn

Closing Peace Rick

Benediction Rick

Post Worship Music

Words and Voices

Music [Slides]

To God be the glory great things He has done
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin
And opened the life gate that all may go in

Chorus

Praise the Lord praise the Lord
Let the earth hear His voice
Praise the Lord praise the Lord
Let the people rejoice
O come to the Father through Jesus the Son
And give Him the glory great things He has done

Verse 2

O perfect redemption the purchase of blood
To every believer the promise of God
The vilest offender who truly believes
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives

Chorus

Praise the Lord praise the Lord
Let the earth hear His voice
Praise the Lord praise the Lord
Let the people rejoice
O come to the Father through Jesus the Son
And give Him the glory great things He has done

Verse 1

Great is Thy faithfulness
O God my Father
There is no shadow
Of turning with Thee
Thou changest not
Thy compassions they fail not
As Thou hast been
Thou forever wilt be

 

Chorus

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning
New mercies I see
All I have needed
Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me

Verse 3

Pardon for sin
And a peace that endureth
Thy own dear presence
To cheer and to guide
Strength for today
And bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine
With ten thousand beside

Chorus
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning
New mercies I see
All I have needed
Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me

Call To Worship/Lord’s Prayer [Slides at Prayer]

[Renee] Our Call To Worship today comes today from Psalm 40 verses 1-10 and 16-17. These are King David’s earnest words of thanks and gratitude for God’s deliverance combined with words that reveal David’s continually growing understanding of the God he seeks to worship and praise. 

[Nikki] Psalm 40 is a proclamation of our ever present voice, a reminder that we have a voice even in times when we are the most silenced.

[Christian] “I waited patiently for the Lord; God bent down to my level and heard my cry. God drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. 

[Linda] God put a new song in my mouth, a song immersed in praise sung back to our God. May we all see, fear and put our trust in the Lord.

[Emily] Happy are those who make the Lord their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods. God, you have multiplied, O Lord God, your wondrous deeds and even your thoughts toward us; there is none to compare with you. 

[Renee] Were I to attempt to proclaim all your wondrous deeds and try to tell of them, they would be more than can be counted.

[Nikki] You do not desire sacrifice and offering, instead you give me an open ear to hear. You do not require burnt offerings and sin offerings, instead you give me eyes to see.

[Linda] I search your Holy Words to find what it is that you desire of me, what I am to do, and as I discover your truth I respond with the words,  “Here I am; I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”

[Christian] I do not restrain my voice from telling the glad news of your deliverance to the great congregation. I have not hidden your redemptive words within my heart, instead I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.

[Emily] May all who seek you God rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation constantly say, “The Lord is great!” God, I am poor and needy, but you take notice of me. O my God, You are my help and my deliverer; I will trust your presence and your timing.

(Psalm 40:1-10, 16-17)

[Nikki] Please stand and join together as we use our voices to share in the prayer that we first hear from the voice of Jesus.

[All] [Slides Begin] Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done

On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our trespasses, while we forgive those who trespass against us.

And God, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.

Amen.

Music (Slides)

 

Chorus

My Deliverer is coming
My Deliverer is standing by (2X)

Verse 1

Joseph took his wife and her child
And they went to Africa
To escape the rage of a deadly king
There along the banks of the Nile
Jesus listened to the song
That the captive children used to sing
They were singing

Chorus

My Deliverer is coming
My Deliverer is standing by (2X)

Verse 2

Through a dry and thirsty land
Water from the Kenyon heights
Pours itself out
Of Lake Sangra’s broken heart
There in the Sahara winds
Jesus heard the whole world cry
For the healing that would flow
From His own scars
The world was singing

Chorus

My Deliverer is coming
My Deliverer is standing by (2X)

Bridge

He will never break His promise
He has written it upon the sky

Chorus

My Deliverer is coming
My Deliverer is standing by (2X)

Chorus

My Deliverer is coming
My Deliverer is standing by (2X)

Reading [No Slides]

Zelophehad, a man of the Tribe of Manasseh, a tribe whose land came within the promised land not east of Jordan (where the Reubenite and Gadite tribes chose to keep their land)

Then the daughters of Zelophehad, whose names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah, came forward. The four sisters stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders, and all the congregation, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, saying, “Our father died in the wilderness; he was not among the congregation of those who gathered themselves together against the Lord in the congregation of Korah but died for his own sin, and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he had no son? Give to us a possession among our father’s brothers.”

Moses brought their case before the Lord. The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “The daughters of Zelophehad are right in what they are saying; you shall indeed let them possess an inheritance among their father’s brothers and pass the inheritance of their father on to them. You shall also speak to the Israelites, saying: If a man dies and has no son, then you shall pass his inheritance on to his daughter. If he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers. If he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. And if his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to the nearest kinsman of his clan, and he shall possess it. It shall be for the Israelites a statute and ordinance, as the Lord commanded Moses.”

Numbers 27:1-11

Music [Slides]

Chorus

Open the eyes of my heart Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You
I want to see You

Verse

To see You high and lifted up
Shining in the light of Your glory
Pour out Your power and love
As we sing holy holy holy

Chorus

Open the eyes of my heart Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You
I want to see You

Verse

To see You high and lifted up
Shining in the light of Your glory
Pour out Your power and love
As we sing holy holy holy

Bridge

Holy holy holy
Holy holy holy
Holy holy holy
I want to see You

Message – When You Have No Voice [No Slides]

Numbers 27:1-11

In the summer of 1962, on a hot and humid Arkansas Sunday, two cars came to pick up Lela Mae and her nine youngest children—ages two to 14—and take them 150 miles to Little Rock’s bus terminal. Lela Mae had believed the promise of a local segregationist lawyer, a promise that she was going to have a better life for her children, better jobs and better housing if she got on a bus heading north. Southern segregationists, furious over civil rights advances that dominated the 1950s, were determined to prove that the northern states were hypocrites in their concern for anyone who did not share their skin color. Part of the false promise made to almost 200 Arkansans included a personal greeting from the President of the United States once they arrived in Hyannis Massachusetts. As the buses grew nearer to Hyannis, the passengers quickly changed into their nice interview clothes expecting job interviews would be the first thing to be done upon arrival, after meeting the president of course, and then they would proceed to their new homes and lives. Instead, they realized they were part of a political stunt as they were dumped near the Kennedy house, over a thousand miles from home. (‘Reverse Freedom Rides’, Gabrielle Emanuel, 02.29.22)

These people tricked into boarding the bus did so out of a human cry for dignity, a human cry for a voice. A cry to not be victims but to have a seat at the table just like other humans. 

The daughters of the passed Zelophehad – Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah, had recently become invisible. While gender assigned them a lesser place in society, the death of their father, and absence of other male family members, was about to make them totally undefined and non-existent. They were crying out for a human right to a voice and personhood.

So, the five women, in much the same stance that five women stood before you this morning, stood before Moses, the priest, the leaders, and all the congregation, at the entrance of the tent of meeting. For these five women it was surely an intimidating moment. Nevertheless, they stood for justice – they stood challenging a long unchallengeable way of thinking.

These women were third generation Isrealites out of slaverey. Their father was second generation. With no remaining male family members, the lineage of the women was about to end. No male to carry on the family name and no male to claim the promise of personhood for their family.

Old Testament land inheritance laws are a bit muddied, but what happens here with the women in Numbers 27 is a game changer in the understanding of the inheritance laws. Previously, the understood guidelines were basically that ‘a man’s principal heirs were the sons born to him by his wife/wives). In the absence of sons, the next in line were the deceased father’s brothers,paternal uncles, and finally the nearest kinsman of his clan.’ (Bruce Wells, Professor, Saint Joseph’s University)

Land was sustenance and land was existence. Society told these five women they had only one known option, become invisible until a man chose them to be his bride. As they thought about this ‘only’ option they realized that this option also made their father invisible and their ancestors invisible. The more they considered this ‘only’ option the more they realized that it was a truly unacceptable option. They came to a holy alternative, they decided to question the status quo, to challenge the standard way of thinking – it was a risky unprecedented move. This action, to question and challenge, could have ended with an official decision making them, and their lineage, permanently invisible.

However, they did it anyway, they stood before Moses, the priest, the leaders, and all the congregation, at the entrance of the tent of meeting bringing their call for justice. Through them, from this point forward, women were not invisible in regard to inheritance issues. These women, and all women, had made a successful call for personhood, and it reverberated for generations.

Moses and the leaders heard the plea from these women and, instead of falling back on the usual response, they chose to take the challenge to God. God agreed with the women. The way it had always been done was questioned and challenged and justice prevailed. The issue of  personhood was changing from being a cultural issue to being an issue of God’s creation, God’s created.

It is important to grasp that all of this took place before the Isrealites crossed over the Jordan into Canaan, the promised land. It was before Moses’s final teachings, it was before any battles were won to gain control of the land, it was before Moses said his final goodbyes and even before Joshua was anointed as the replacement for Moses. It was long before there was actually any land to acquire, any land to divide. 

This is what makes this entire story, and especially the gall of these five women, even more extraordinary. They were seeking justice for themselves, their family, and even for their ancestors based solely on a promise. The actual plea they made was still conceptual. There was no land, only a centuries old promise of the land. Yet, it was that promise that served as the foundation of their passion. It was their belief that ahead of them was their promised land, and that in that land they too would have a seat at the table as well as a voice. 

Look at the lessons of truth we see in this small story!

  • The women faced a lifetime of living as victims or, instead, taking the risk, they set their sights on personhood.
  • God affirmed his promise to the earthly powers that had control that these women were of equal standing among all of God’s creation. 
  • God was not bound by man’s misunderstood interpretations of the law and life.
  • Moses and mankind exhibited an amazing understanding of authority in asking God before falling back on their own way of understanding truth. 
  • Trust in God was the thread that weaved throughout this entire story. The women trust God enough to take a risk, the men trust God enough to lay down their pride and arrogance to ask God.
  • The women’s fight for personhood ended up not just being for them. In the end, they stood for all marginalized people whether due to gender or any other labels. Their cry went far beyond land and inheritance. Their risk gave them a voice, but, in doing so, opened the ears of the leaders so that they too would hear God’s voice.

Our lesson – Once we have risked letting God take us outside the box, we have no preparedness for where he will take us. Our only preparation is to listen to the voice and direction of God trusting God all the way.

Heber Brown III, former Pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, Md grew tired of visiting members of his church for diet-related illnesses. He was exhausted offering just prayers and scripture at their bedsides. He knew they were invisible, they lived in a produce desert. He wanted to put feet and hands to his prayers through God’s truth. The closest grocery store to the church, one that offered fresh produce, but it also was a high end business – he thought maybe there could be a partnership. As he went to look into the possibilities he wondered the aisles of the store landing in the fresh produce section. There he found an amazing array of produce. Then, as he looked at the prices it hit him that even in a partnership, any partnership would be another effort at charity, it too, would not give his people dignity or a place at the table. This would not bring the people to true personhood. He left frustrated without talking to the leadership of the store and headed back to Pleasant Hope Baptist Church. He knew the people needed a road to personhood not just another version of victimhood. Reverend Brown thought of the daughters of Zelophehad. He thought of their desperate out of the box thinking, their passion to be seen and heard. He wondered what risky act like standing in front of Moses and elders would look like. He was tired of the standard lie he told himself that the problem is just too big to solve. As he arrived across the street from the church he took a look – there, he says, he had an 

epiphany. If we couldn’t afford fresh food, why not use church land to grow our own? That’s just what we did. On about 1,500 square feet of our church’s front yard we now grow greens, broccoli, tomatoes, squash, and herbs. We sell the produce at rates that beat the pricing of local markets and the garden has deepened our ties to our local community as well. The vision grew to the point where now under the banner of the Black Church Food Security Network, I help other African American congregations establish gardens on their land and link the churches with historically marginalized Black farmers to provide a pipeline for fresh produce from “soil to sanctuary.” I realized rather quickly that what we were being led by God to do in our ministry context was not simply transactional, but rather transformational.”

This story is not about feeding the hungry, housing the unhoused, it is not about wars and injustice, it is not about gender inequality, it is not a call to action. It is a call to question and challenge. To search for the truth and decide if the interpretation of truth you are given is truly true.

Five women, sisters, chose to stand against the ingrained traditional way of thinking – the ‘Godly ways’ according to those before them. They stood against the thought that change cannot happen. They refused to believe that God stood with injustice instead for justoce. They chose to not sit as victims and, instead, stand for change. They joined a parade of the countless individuals and organizations that have challenged and questioned the long held translations and interpretations of God’s truth.

The Syrophoenician woman, knowing that she was considered unclean by the followers of Jesus, still challenged Jesus on his statement comparing her to the dogs. Jesus agreed and changed the view of the disciples forever.

Gentile Conelius was instructed by God to speak with the Jewish Christian Peter. Knowing that was unacceptable to Peter’s interpretation of God’s people he hesitated and soon Peter entered Cornelius house. Changing Christianity forever.

The bible is replete with stories of those who asked questions and voiced challenges. Stories of those sought personhood knowing that they were created for nothing less.

Are you ready to take the risk and do the work to follow the footsteps of five invisible women who just wanted a seat at the table?

Let’s Pray.

Music  [Slides]

Verse 1

You are here moving in our midst
I worship You I worship You
You are here working in this place
I worship You I worship You

Chorus

(You are) Way Maker Miracle Worker Promise Keeper
Light in the darkness my God that is who You are

Verse 2

You are here touching ev’ry heart
I worship You I worship You
You are here healing ev’ry heart
I worship You I worship You

Chorus

(You are) Way Maker Miracle Worker Promise Keeper
Light in the darkness my God that is who You are

Tag

That is who You are
That is who You are
That is who You are
That is who You are

Bridge

Even when I don’t see it You’re working
Even when I don’t feel it You’re working
You never stop You never stop working
You never stop You never stop working

Chorus

(You are) Way Maker Miracle Worker Promise Keeper
Light in the darkness my God that is who You are


Community [Slides]

  • [Slide] Next Sunday,  Collaborative Faith, Judges 4:1-7
  • [Slide]  Fall Bible Study – Beginning Wednesday, October 5m (new start date) at noon (5 weeks)
  • Cleveland County Crop Walk, Sunday October 16 @ 1:30pm, locally and globally, Food and Shelter has doubled it number of clients served by 100% since Covid hit (has not gone down)

Closing Peace [Slide]

May the Peace of the Lord go with you. And also with you.

Benediction [Slide]

“Depart now in the fellowship of God the Father and as you go, remember: By the goodness of God you were born into this world. And by the grace of God you have been kept even until this very hour. And by the love of God, fully revealed in the face of Jesus, you have been redeemed even as you are being redeemed. So go in peace.”