Order, Words, & Voices

Order

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calm Jazz’

Music 1 (10:30)  Christian & Team

Come Thou Fount vs.1 and 3,

Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)

Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick

Music 2 Fairest Lord Jesus Christian & Team

Scripture John 4:5-15 Online – Hannah

Music 3 Be Thou My Vision Christian & Team

Message Giving Up On A Miracle (John 11) Rick

Music 4 Leaning on the Everlasting Arms – 1 & 3 Christian & Team

Benediction (signal to Dave when slides are ready) Dave

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio – ‘Calm Jazz’

Words and Voices

Music 1 (10 slides)

Come Thou Fount

CCLI Song # 108389

John Wyeth | Robert Robinson

Verse 1

Come Thou fount of ev’ry blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise


Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

Verse 3

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let Thy grace Lord like a fetter
Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee


Prone to wander Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart Lord take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)

CCLI Song # 4768151, Chris Tomlin | John Newton | Louie Giglio

Verse 1

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now I’m found
Was blind but now I see

Verse 2

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

Chorus

My chains are gone I’ve been set free
My God my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love amazing grace

Verse 3

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

Verse 4

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine
You are forever mine

Chorus

My chains are gone I’ve been set free, 

My God my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains, 

Unending love amazing grace

Welcome/Prayer (5th Sunday of Lent – No slides)

God, you said I Am to Moses in his spiral of fear and insecurity. You revealed that you are the I Am to a fearful Elijah as you unveiled his eyes to see your back. You shocked the women mourners as you revealed that you are I Am as you stood before them at your grave. Your I Am assurance comforted your disciples as you appeared to them in their hiding place. You are our I Am. You are on time, you are present, you are life. You are the giver and the lover of Life. You are the God who created us for life. Your life is eternal, your life is hope, your life is joy, your life is peace. God, may we always recognize that you are  life.

Amen

Music 2 (4 slides)

Fairest Lord Jesus

CCLI Song # 27800, August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben | Joseph August Seiss

Verse 1

Fairest Lord Jesus Ruler of all nature
O Thou of God and man the Son
Thee will I cherish Thee will I honor, Thou my soul’s glory joy and crown

Verse 2

Fair are the meadows fairer still the woodlands
Robed in the blooming garb of spring
Jesus is fairer Jesus is purer, Who makes the woeful heart to sing

Verse 3

Fair is the sunshine fairer still the moonlight
And all the twinkling starry host
Jesus shines brighter Jesus shines purer, Than all the angels heav’n can boast

Verse 4

Beautiful Saviour Lord of all the nations
Son of God and Son of Man
Glory and honor praise adoration, Now and forevermore be Thine

Scripture (No Slides)

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” Martha went back to tell her sister Mary that Jesus was here. Mary got up quickly and went to Jesus. The Jews who were consoling Mary, followed Mary thinking that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary got to Jesus, she knelt at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews with her also weeping, he was deeply moved and greatly disturbed in spirit. He said, “Where have you laid him?” Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to Jesus, “Lord, there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” 

John 11:17-44

Music 3 (4 Slides)

Be Thou My Vision

CCLI Song # 7056332

Eleanor Henrietta Hull | Mary Elizabeth Byrne | Russell Mauldin

Verse 1

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

Verse 2

Be Thou my Wisdom and Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me Lord
Thou my great Father I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one

Verse 3

High King of heaven my victory won
May I reach heaven’s joys bright heaven’s Sun
Heart of my own heart whatever befall
Still be my Vision O Ruler of all

Ending

Be Thou my Vision

Message – Giving Up On A Miracle (18 Slides)

The story of John 11 is a story of two women experiencing grief in the time of loss, both fighting their way through the death of a loved one. Big picture though, it is a story of life. 

This story takes place shortly before Jesus makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem at the beginning of a week that will conclude with death, grief, and loss. Today’s story picks up as these two women struggle through a journey of Giving up on a Miracle in order to arrive at a Miraculous act of God.

Jesus approaches the home of Mary and Martha four long days after their bother Lazarus had died. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, were soul mates to Jesus, they were chosen family. As Jesus grew nearer to his friend’s home, Martha rushed to meet him.    

[Slide] “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 

Although we often read anger and hostility in the voice of Martha, this was probably just a statement of perceived fact told to another grieving soul. Jesus had healed others, impossible miracles, but he had not been present to heal Lazarus, it was too late.

Later, when Mary was face to face with Jesus, her first words, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Echoed the sentiment of her sister. It was a sentiment that made sense to them and even to the other Jewish mourners. 

Jewish tradition held that the spirit remains with the body for three days after physical death, then, on the fourth day, as the spirit sees that the color of the dead one’s face has changed, death is finished. Lazarus completed process of dying was over, it was too late for a miracle of healing. If only Jesus had arrived one day earlier. Mary and Martha had given up on the hoped for miracle, Jesus didn’t get there in time.

[Same Slide] “Just one day earlier, Jesus, I just wish you could have made it one day earlier.”

Both women were knee deep in the first four stages of the Kubler-Ross non-linear model of grief.  

[Slide] Denial

[Slide] Anger

[Slide] Bargaining

[Slide] Depression

[Slide] Before walking away, Martha and Jesus’ conversation culminates in one of Jesus’ most supremely comforting statements “I am”.  It isn’t that her brother will rise again in the resurrection on the last day, but that Martha is, in fact, face to face with and beloved by the one who is in himself the embodiment of life. Martha responds with a confession of faith. 

[Slide] Being in relationship with Jesus means facing death and grief with him and learning that still, in spite of the death and the dryness and the finality of the door at the entrance to the tomb of our hopes, he can still be said to be life.  Nothing is ever so dead that it keeps Jesus from being life.  Life is not only a future hope.  Abundant life is always and now.

(Meda Stamper, Christian Writer, Leicestershire, England)

[Slide] In the women’s original statement to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died,” there was one other issue. In addition to the issue of Jesus’ timing, the women addressed Jesus’ absence, it was a question of presence. “Why, Jesus, were you not present?”

[Slide] To this question also came Jesus’ answer, “I am.”

[Slide] It was probably not an acceptable answer, it was probably not even a heard answer.  “Yes, you are here now, but what about yesterday, or three days ago? Where were you then? Why were you not here?”

[Slide] Jesus’ answer of “I am” says much, but it has to be heard by the suffering mourner. How is it possible to fully grasp the full definition and presence of Life standing in front of you when all you can think of is death?

[Slide] “I’m here,” Mary. I’m here, Martha.” Jesus says.

[Slide] “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. I am here.” Jesus says.  

Presence, especially full presence, is a tough sell when confined to words only. This is why Jesus does not limit his “I am’ identification to words. As always, Jesus put his presence into action.

The Jewish practice of grief involved mourning associates. Shiva, as it was called, was the practice of mourners joining in the grief process of another. This group of volunteer, and possibly professional, mourners, would come alongside a true mourner to accompany them through the process. Probably lasting a week, these helpers would mourn with the mourner, assuring they journey all the way through the initial process. The grief process was, and is, essential and these individuals participated to assist and guide the one who had suffered loss.

Martha, seems to have refused the help of the mourners, none seem to accompany her on the journey. Mary, however, did have the mourners on her side. As she cried, they cried. When she went to the tomb, they travel alongside of her. When she screamed out in pain and misery, they also screamed out, affirming her pain. 

As Jesus saw Mary crying, he joined her in her grief. Jesus felt the pain of loss of this brother, but even more difficult was watching his dear sister experience this loss. ‘Jesus cried.’ He understood Mary’s grief because he too felt that grief. The two authentic mourners helped each other through the necessary process. 

In our culture we mourn differently, more or less effectively. We send flowers, cards, make phone calls, we sit in the pews to cry with the mourners, – and, the best part, we bring food, and casseroles, and desserts – all as our assistance in the mourning journey. 

It could be said that, once again, Mary was making the better choice. While Martha was attempting to dissect their experience of the past four days,  Mary was choosing to lean in to her grief, she, along with the Shiva mourners, cried. Jesus joined her the journey of grief, he too was in pain. Jesus wept.

However, we see something different with Jesus, something that tells us about the very nature of God. 

“Remove the stone that is sealing the grave shut,” Jesus requested of those present.

“Bad idea Jesus,” Martha said, “my bother has been in the grave for four days now. He is going to look horrible and smell atrocious. Let’s just remember him as he was, it is best for everyone that we keep the tomb sealed.”

Jesus was undeterred, so the stone was moved. Jesus, in an intentionally loud voice, shouted, “Lazarus, come out!”  And, Lazarus slowly made his way out of the tomb.  His feet, hands, and face were all still bound and covered by his burial cloths. It was messy and smelly, just as Martha had warned.

Then, Jesus gave Lazarus back to the living, it was now their responsibility to help him breath in this refreshed life God had given to Lazarus. “Unbind him, and let him go,”

It was messy and smelly. Rising out of death always is.

[Slide] “Being raised from the dead entails a community dedicated to loving  one another in the liberating love of Jesus Christ.  Jesus does not do the easy thing (keep bad things from happening), Jesus does the hard thing, which is to reverse destruction. Jesus does not hurry to Lazarus’ bedside to nurse him to health. He waits. Takes his time. And then when death has occurred, Jesus appears at the tomb to weep with the mourners.” 

(Melinda Quivik, Liturgical and Homiletical Scholar, St. Paul, Minnesota)

[Slide] But, to fully understand the underlying truth of this story, we must grasp the underlying revelation of this story. “[Jesus] was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved.” As Jesus sees, and experiences, the anguish of Mary, the narration tells us that Jesus was deeply disturbed and troubled, Jesus was agitated. It was an inner disgust to an earthly reality. 

Have you ever experienced anxiety. Anxiety mild, extreme, or anyplace in between? It can grip your mind as well as you gut. You are bothered, distracted, aggravated, knowing something is just not right. Anxiety is not just a condition of the mind, it impacts you physically. Many think they may be having a heart attack, or that there is something else wrong within. This is much the same as the physical condition of Jesus at this moment.

Jesus is experiencing God’s disdain, or hatred, towards death. Mankind was not   created for death, it is unnatural, mankind was created for life. Jesus was, Jesus is, life. Death is what happens to our bodies and minds as life in a fallen world that infects and attempted to consumes us. Death is our natural reality but it was not our original created reality, nor is it our intended eternal reality. God, the creator, created us for life. Death is the blasphemy to life. 

Lazarus was not resurrected to this life, he was raised temporarily from the ravages of death. He would still experience a final death soon. Just as humans are not created for death, the body is also not designed to return after a death experience. The bruises and even brutal impacts on the body are still there. This is not resurrection, an eternal new breath of life. Earthly death is an attack on life. This is why we seldom see individuals raised from the dead, it is not necessarily a good thing for the person being raised, instead it is a sacrifice, and probably a disappointment, for them. When someone is raised from death there is a very important purpose for them being called back. Ultimately Lazarus would experience resurrection from the eventuality of death. 

As Jesus saw the periphery destruction of Lazarus’ death on Martha and Martha, the pain of death, the loss, the misery, that remained – Jesus was troubled, disturbed, angered, and agitated. That is what happens when death intrudes on life.

Ginger Barfield, about of 2015 shooting of 9 church goers in Charleston, wrote,

[Slide] “What are we to say in the midst of the suffering and reality and death? Is it enough to toll the bells and read the names? No. We are to proclaim the truth of the sting and stench of death. We are to acknowledge the grief and anger that may never totally depart those who are left in this life. We are to state the reality of the disturbing fact of the brutality of death. Anger, deep disturbing pain, agitation of spirit and body are palpable. 

[Slide] But the gospel truth does reign. We have our hope not on things on this earth but in the power of the cross of Christ and the resurrection of those who are his children. Jesus’ words of John 11:25 are the resounding gospel note that we proclaim this day: “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live.” 

Ginger Barfield, Professor Emerita of Biblical Studies & Theology Lutheran Theological Seminary)

Jesus is the ‘I Am’

We must never marginalize Jesus to the past

We must never narrowly assign Jesus to the future

We must always grasp the fact that Jesus is our now I Am

Jesus is life in the midst of death.

Jesus is hope in the pain of tragedy

Jesus is peace in the midst of chaos and confusion

Jesus sits with us in our tears

Jesus cries with us

Let’s PrayMusic 4 (8  slides) 

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

CCLI Song # 31779, Anthony Johnson Showalter | Elisha Albright Hoffman

Chorus

Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Leaning on the everlasting arms

Verse 1

What a fellowship what a joy divine
Leaning on the everlasting arms
What a blessedness what a peace is mine
Leaning on the everlasting arms

Chorus

Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Leaning on the everlasting arms

Verse 3

What have I to dread what have I to fear
Leaning on the everlasting arms
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near
Leaning on the everlasting arms

Chorus

Leaning (leaning on Jesus), 

Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning (leaning on Jesus), 

Leaning (leaning on Jesus)
Leaning on the everlasting arms

Benediction (6 slides)

Leader: When this world is in turmoil

Response: Jesus is the I Am.

Leader: When this world is in shambles 

Response: Jesus is the I Am

Leader: When this world is in peace

Response: Jesus is the I Am

Leader: When we cry pain filled tears

Response: Jesus, our I Am, cries with us

Leader: When our voices scream shouts of joy

Response: Jesus, our I Am, shouts with us

Leader: When our world is in need of love

Response: Jesus, our I Am, shares love from God’s abundance

Community

  • Spring Bible Studies continue – Monday April 4 (w/dinner at 6) or Wednesday, April 6 at noon (w/lunch), Exodus 7:14-10:29. Please RSVP.
  • Next Sunday – Out of the Shadows, Luke 23:50-56, Mark 14:1-9, John 19:23-30 (6th Sunday of lent) 
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com (over 50,000 helped)

Peace

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

And also with you.

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

Order, Words, & Voices 03.27.22

Order

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calm Jazz’

Music 1 (10:30)  Lynn/Abbie

O Worship The King

Come Thou Almighty King

Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick

Music 2 Just As I Am Lynn/Abbie

Scripture John 4:5-15 Online – Sherri

Music 3 Special – Love Can Build A Bridge Lynn/Abbie

Message Vulnerable People (John 4:7-15) Rick

Music 4 Living Hope Lynn/Abbie

Benediction (signal to Isaiah when slides are ready) Isaiah

Anniversary Video

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio – ‘Calm Jazz’

Words and Voices

Music 1 (8 slides)

O Worship The King (Lyons)

CCLI Song # 1486

Johann Michael Haydn | Robert Grant

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

Verse 5

Frail children of dust and feeble as frail
In Thee do we trust nor find Thee to fail
Thy mercies how tender how firm to the end
Our Maker Defender Redeemer and Friend

Come Thou Almighty King (Italian Hymn)

CCLI Song # 29073/Felice de Giardini

Verse 1

Come Thou Almighty King
Help us Thy name to sing
Help us to praise

Father all glorious
O’er all victorious
Come and reign over us
Ancient of Days

Verse 2

Come Thou Incarnate Word
Gird on Thy mighty sword
Our prayer attend
Come and Thy people bless

And give Thy Word success
Spirit of holiness
On us descend

Verse 3

Come Holy Comforter
Thy sacred witness bear
In this glad hour
Thou who almighty art

Now rule in ev’ry heart
And ne’er from us depart
Spirit of pow’r

Verse 4

To Thee great One in Three
Eternal praises be
Hence evermore

Thy sov’reign majesty
May we in glory see
And to eternity
Love and adore

Welcome/Prayer (4th Sunday of Lent – No slides)

God, we live in a world where there is continual war and turmoil. You came to give us peace. We survive in a world where those you created cry out for dignity and respect. You came to provide hope. We live in a world immersed in arrogance and insecurity. You came to show us humility and generosity. We survive in this world because you are our confidence and our stability. You came so that we can learn to trust you. Lord, when our patience wains and redirects us to trust in others or ourself, you use our disillusionment to turn us back to you. We are grateful for your overflowing patience. We often give up on you but you never give up on us. Thank you God for your unconditional love.

Amen

Music 2 (3 slides)

Just As I Am (Woodworth)

CCLI Song # 23206

Charlotte Elliott | William Batchelder Bradbury

Verse 1

Just as I am without one plea
But that Thy Blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee
O Lamb of God I come I come

Verse 2

Just as I am and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot
To Thee Whose Blood can cleanse each spot
O Lamb of God I come I come

Verse 4

Just as I am Thy Love unknown
Hath broken ev’ry barrier down
Now to be Thine yes Thine alone
O Lamb of God I come I come

Scripture (No Slides)

So Jesus came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. The water well which Jacob had built 2,000 years before was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well around noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (Jesus disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

John 4:5-15

Music 3 (Special – No Slides)

Love Can Build A Bridge

Paul Overstreet / John Jarvis / Naomi Judd

I’d gladly walk across the desert with no shoes upon my feet

To share with you the last bite of bread I had to eat

I would swim out to save you in your sea of broken dreams

When all your hopes are sinking, let me show you what love means

Love can build a bridge

Between your heart and mine

Love can build a bridge

Don’t you think it’s time?

Don’t you think it’s time?

I would whisper love so loudly, every heart could understand

That love and only love can join the trials of man

I would give my hearts’ desire so that you might see

The first step is to realize that it all begins with you and me

Love can build a bridge

Between your heart and mine

Love can build a bridge

Don’t you think it’s time?

Don’t you think it’s time?

When we stand together, it’s our finest hour

We can do anything (anything)

Anything (anything)

Keep believin’ in the power

Love can build a bridge

Between your heart and mine

Love can build a bridge

Don’t you think it’s time?

Don’t you think it’s time?

Message –  Vulnerable People (13 Slides)

Almost 2 thousand years before the birth of Christ, a man named Jacob dug a well. The digging of the well was totally utilitarian, it was dug to meet physical needs of his livestock and workers. It was dug to provide this life sustaining element of God’s creation, much like air, which ties man, animal, and vegetation, to God’s creation. Water.

It was a well dug into the ground of the land promised to Jacob’s grandfather Abraham, a promise that extended to Jacob. Jacob, at this moment, lived on the promised ground, but the promise was still just a promise, it would take a people to make it a home. Jacob’s sons, and 2 of his grandsons, would later be ancestry thread of the people that would make this land a home.

Jacob did not anticipate that this well would be a lifeline for own his descendants thousands of years later. Anticipated or not, roughly 2 thousand years later, Jesus sat at the well. Vulnerable, worn out, exhausted, and in need of, but unable to reach for, the life source of water.

Ironically, Jesus was in his physical state due to a water problem. Many of the religious leaders who had already begun seeking to ways to discredit Jesus, began sowing division between Jesus’ followers and the followers of John the Baptizer. They were pointing out that Jesus and his followers were baptizing more people than John and his disciples. The truth was, both leaders and their disciples, were baptizing people wherever they could find water.

Water. Cleansing, reenergizing, pure, life sustaining, refreshing, water.

Jesus was on a mission, he was exhausted by the efforts of his foes and their attempts to drag him into a ‘we-them’ fight. Jesus had work to do, he was there to proclaim truth, to fulfill the law, to bring peace, and to give back hope to a vulnerable people who were thirsty for truth, fulfillment, peace, and hope.

So, Jesus left the bickering and scheming and traveled back to his homeland. To get there, he and his disciples traveled through Samaria. Traveling through Samaria was the not the desire of most Jews, but the path was quicker, and Jesus was not concerned about the expectations of even his own people. As he, and his disciples approached the Samaritan city Sychar, Jesus stopped at Jacob’s well outside the city. Maybe he was too thirsty and too hungry to travel anymore, maybe he was fully aware of the crowds that gathered around him anywhere he went. Maybe his disciples saw that he was tired and insisted he remain behind. Whatever the reason, he remained at the well alone.

A vulnerable man in need of a drink of water.

As the disciples disappeared in the distant horizon, Jesus saw a woman coming toward the well. It is here we see Jesus’ refusal to let labels govern. We also see  the woman’s ingrained human assumptions based on labels. Jesus sees another vulnerable person, other human sees 2 powerful labels on this man. 

Jesus says, ‘Give me a drink of water.’

The woman can barely hear the actual words of Jesus due to the defining echo of her assumptions about Jesus. ‘He is a man, he is a Jew.’

In an effort to remind him of her labels and his labels, the woman says, “How in the world can you ask me for a drink of water? You are a Jew and you are a man. I am not a man, I am a woman, and I am not a Jew, I am a Samaritan. Men don’t speak to woman and even more importantly, Samaritans don’t speak or share our buckets and cups with your people!  And Your people don’t’ speak, and you definitely don’t share your buckets and cups with us!”

Jesus didn’t need to be reminded of this fact. He was well aware of the views that were held by his people towards the Samaritans and by the Samaritans towards his people. Basically, they held this disdain for each other because each group held to a religious practice of Judaism which conflicted with the other. Jesus had learned early on in life that his people did not like the Samaritans and that his people did not respect women, any women.

Jesus was on a mission, a mission to be the conduit of God’s love to those God had created. He was not on a crusade to establish or enlarge a religious institution, to overturn political governments, to engage in societal rebellions, or even to attack culture norms. Jesus was on a mission to teach all people that God loves them and then let the power of God’s love change religions, confront politicians and governments, reform culture norms. Jesus knew that once we truly understand how loved we are, it is impossible not to understand how loved others are as well.  If we do love God, it is God’s expectation that we will also follow God’s love response towards others.

Jesus did not lecture on the right and correct way to affirm and accept people – his message was not how and to be respectful, he just did it. Even when he was confronted by the Syrophoenician woman he listened and heard. Jesus raised the bar on what love is, he subtly used a parable about the compassion and mercy of a Samaritan traveler, he welcomed those considered too unclean or too sinful to be loved by God, he treated women as human beings. However, Jesus’ verbal message, his empowering passion, was about all people hearing the truth, it was about humanity grasping God’s love for them.

To say that Jesus did not know about the labels which are placed on others would be inaccurate. He had been trained in a culture, that masterfully labeled anyone who was different, powerless, or vulnerable – It was his internal denial of those labels that made the difference in his external actions. 

[Screen Share from here on]

  1. [Slide] Jesus did not give any credence to the culture norms that he had been taught since childhood. He was not bound to the external response to labels that were insisted on by others.  His bar of acceptance was not limited to those he understood, those who made him comfortable, those who were like him – Jesus’ bar of love and acceptance was reflective of God’s love. He saw all people as the loved people that they were and are.
  1. [Slide] Jesus recognized the labels placed on people, not as a sign of worth or worthlessness, but as an alert to their struggle and pain. You have probably heard someone say “I don’t see race.” This was not the case with Jesus, in seeing people and their struggles identified by their labels, he was able to affirm and love them even in the midst of their pain. Struggles that were often passed down ancestrally for generations. Jesus saw the pain of gender, he felt the pain of being an outsider, he experienced the pain of poverty, he understood the pain of being different or considered ‘not normal, he witnessed the pain carried within all of the labels of those he encountered. 

So, a thirsty and hungry man, who was exhausted by all the manipulation and maneuvering going on around him wherever he went, sat resting next to a well dug 2,000 years earlier by his ancestor.

Approaching the well was a woman from the nearby Samaritan city of Sychar – so it would have made sense to assume this was a Samaritan woman. A woman who was carrying a bucket and a cup to get water from the well dug 2,000 years before by her ancestor.

The man was thirsty and knew maybe this woman could assist him with getting a drink from the well. “Could you give me a drink from the well?” He said while squinting his eyes through his sweat.

[Slide] “How can you ask me for a drink? I’m a woman you are a man, I am a Samaritan, you are a Jew!” The woman responded revealing her adherence to the labels attached to her and those attached to this man. In doing so, she revealed her internal felt vulnerability.

[Slide] Jesus, probably with a reassuring grin on his face said to her, ‘This well was a gift from God through our ancestor Jacob to meet our physical needs. “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”’

[Slide] On an interesting side note, we never see Jesus actually get a drink of water. His vulnerable thirst is not quenched. One has to jump forward to another time when Jesus says these same words and only received dehydrating sour wine.

[Slide] Also interesting is the manner in which we see this story, which is to depend on this woman’s labels to interpret her words. We see that the woman has had five husbands and is now with a man that is not her husband. Our immediate interpretation, probably consistently backed up by preachers (including myself), is to say that the woman is of lax moral character, unfaithful to her husbands. We seldom think of the woman as a vulnerable victim, could these husbands have been abusive or something else. 

[Slide] Is it possible that this community placed different labels on this woman, labels like abused, mistreated, abandoned, vulnerable? Labels which led them to strive to protect her from further pain. This would explain why the people later listened to her.

[Slide] Our learned responses to cultural labels govern and define our assumptions and actions. Jesus did not do this. Jesus loved his neighbor as himself. Jesus died on the cross for all of those labeled neighbors. Jesus didn’t work to explain his actions, he allowed his actions to enhance and reinforce his teachings.

[Slide] As the woman turned to run home and tell everyone about her healing encounter with Jesus, his disciples returned. ‘They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman.’

[Slide] ‘Meanwhile, the woman was back in Sychar excitedly telling everyone who would listen, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” Her neighbors left the city and were on their way to Jesus. Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.

[Slide] Later, they affirmed the woman’s testimony by telling her, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that you were right, this is truly the Savior of the world.”

[Slide] How do we allow labels inhibit all people from seeing the God that truly loves us and truly loves them? 

[Slide] How does our own adherence to our labels blind us to a confidence in God’s love?

Let’s Pray

Music 4 (8  slides) 

Living Hope

CCLI Song # 7106807

Brian Johnson | Phil Wickham

Verse 1

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

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

Verse 2

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

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

Chorus

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

Verse 3 (x2)

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

Chorus (x2)

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


Ending

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

Benediction (6 slides)

Leader: We live in a world where there is continual war and turmoil.

Response: Jesus came to give us peace.

Leader: We survive in a world where those God created cry out for dignity and respect.

Response: Jesus came to provide hope.

Leader: We live in a world immersed in arrogance and insecurity.

Response: Jesus came to show us humility and generosity.

Leader: We survive in this world because God is our confidence and our stability.

Response: Jesus came so that we can learn to trust God.

Leader: When our patience wains and redirects us to trust in others or ourself, God uses our disillusionment to turn us back to God.

Response: We are grateful for God’s overflowing patience.

Leader: We often give up on God but God never gives up on us.

Response: We are grateful for God’s unconditional love.

25th Anniversary Congratulations video

Community

  • Spring Bible Studies continue – Monday March 28 (w/dinner at 6) or Wednesdays, March 30 at noon (w/lunch), Exodus 4:18-7:13. Please RSVP.
  • Next Sunday – Giving Up On A Miracle, John 11:17-35 (5th Sunday of lent) 
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com
  • Easter eggs for Afghanistan Refugees in San Francisco due today, if you forgot to bring your filled eggs, speak with Rick today.

Peace

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

And also with you.

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

Order, Words, & Voices 03.20.22

Order

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calm Jazz’

Music 1 (10:30)  Lynn/Abbie

A Mighty Fortress/Spirit of the Living God

Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick

Music 2 To God be the Glory Lynn/Abbie

Scripture Galatians 5:1, 13-18 Online – Randy

Music 3 Breathe on Me Lynn/Abbie

Message Truth – Then & Now Chuck

Music 4 Have Thine Own Way Lynn/Abbie

Benediction (signal to Beth when slides are ready) Beth

Anniversary Video

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio – ‘Calm Jazz’

Words and Voices

Music 1

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Verse 1

A mighty fortress is our God
A bulwark never failing
Our helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing


For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe
His craft and pow’r are great
And armed with cruel hate
On earth is not his equal

Verse 2

Did we in our own strength confide
Our striving would be losing
Were not the right Man on our side
The Man of God’s own choosing


Dost ask who that may be
Christ Jesus it is He
Lord Sabaoth His name
From age to age the same
And He must win the battle

Verse 3

And tho’ this world with devils filled
Should threaten to undo us
We will not fear for God hath willed
His truth to triumph thru us


The prince of darkness grim
We tremble not for him
His rage we can endure
For lo his doom is sure
One little word shall fell him

Verse 4

That word above all earthly pow’rs
No thanks to them abideth
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Thru Him who with us sideth


Let goods and kindred go
This mortal life also
The body they may kill
God’s truth abideth still
His kingdom is forever

Spirit Of The Living God

CCLI Song # 23488

Daniel Iverson

Chorus

Spirit of the Living God
Fall fresh on me
Spirit of the Living God
Fall fresh on me


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

Welcome/Prayer (3rd Sunday of Lent)

  • God, you have set us free through the life and sacrifice of your son Jesus Christ.
  • You call us to stand firm in that freedom, to not return our existence and choices wooing us back to our former state of slavery.
  • You challenge us to not use our freedom for indulgence but, instead, we are to bond ourselves to each other.
  • You call us to a slavery not of chains and shackles but of love, love for each other and to all of your created.
  • While our human nature prompts us to bite and devour one another, you empower us to love our neighbor as yourself.
  • You, God, given us the Spirit who is a better lead than our flesh.
  • Thank you God for setting us free.

Amen

Music 2

To God Be The Glory

Verse 1

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 3

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

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 doneScripture

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law.

Galatians 5:1, 13-18

Music 3

Breathe On Me

CCLI Song # 2449795

Lucy Fisher

Verse 1

Breathe on me breath of God
Love and life that makes me free
Breathe on me breath of God
Fan the flame within me

Chorus

Teach my heart heal my soul
Speak the mind that in Christ we know
Take me to Your sanctuary
(Breathe on me)

Verse 2

Speak to me voice of God
Soft and still inside my heart
Speak to me Word of God
Comfort heal restore with love

Chorus

Teach my heart heal my soul
Speak the mind that in Christ we know
Take me to Your sanctuary
(Breathe on me)

Message –  Truth – Then & Now

  • Grace Fellowship really started on a Thursday night February 13, 1997 when a group of believers met in Bob and Carolyn Waddle’s home and committed to starting a church with a strong belief that God was leading them to continue on in the journey of grace that He had been and was working in their lives. At that meeting they voted to call us to be the founding pastor and wife. A few days later we met at Bill & DeAnn Pollard’s home and came up with the name Grace Fellowship. Our Charter service was March 2, 1997 at the Ballet Studio. We will never forget the excitement and movement of God’s Spirit on that day. We were utterly shocked when 146 people showed up and over 70 people joined together as charter members. Some of you here today were there then.
  • We didn’t know it then but that was the beginning of the best 9 ½ years of our 27 years of pastoring. We learned together the rhythms of grace. We nurtured each other with a commitment to grow in the grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And by the grace of Christ, we experienced a healing from performance-based faith and a development of a healthy heart of grace-based relationships.
  • On our 2nd Sunday together I started a series through the Book of Galatians.* The theme of Galatians is Chapter 5 Verse 1. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” On Sunday evenings we studied through a book titled “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse.”

• Galatians laid the foundation for us. We agreed to be committed to Christ and Christ alone for our salvation and sanctification. We agreed that the only way we could know how to accomplish that was to “KEEP STANDING FIRM” in the belief that the Bible is the absolute Word of God and our only authority. With the Word as our guide we ACTIVELY, and with VIGILANCE, guarded ourselves from ever being “subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Here is how we did it:

[Slide] I. We seized the truth that we are set free from religious legalism. (2-12)

[Slide] II. We devoted ourselves to the truth that we are set free to choose love. (13-15)

[Slide] III. We accepted the boundaries of the truth that we are free from a license to sin. (16-21)

[Slide] IV. We individually accepted the responsibility that we are set free to live life by the Spirit. (22-26)

*(You can find that series on Galatians at http://therelationalrub.com/galatians/)

Music 4

Have Thine Own Way

Verse 1

Have Thine own way Lord have Thine own way
Thou art the Potter I am the clay
Mold me and make me after Thy will
While I am waiting yielded and still

Verse 2

Have Thine own way Lord have Thine own way
Search me and try me Master today
Whiter than snow Lord wash me just now
As in Thy presence humbly I bow

Verse 3

Have Thine own way Lord have Thine own way
Wounded and weary help me I pray
Power all power surely is Thine
Touch me and heal me Savior divine

Verse 4

Have Thine own way Lord have Thine own way
Hold o’er my being absolute sway
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only always living in me

Benediction

Leader: Christ has set us free to live a free life. We must take our stand! 

Response: We shall never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on us.

Leader: It is absolutely clear that God has called us to a free life. Let us not use our freedom to destroy our freedom.

Response: We shall not exchange our freedom for another form of slavery.

Leader: Let us use our freedom to serve one another.

Response: That is how true freedom grows.

Leader: All that we know about truth is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself.

Response: Loving others is an act of true freedom, without love our freedom is worthless.

Leader: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit, so you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness.

Response: A free spirit is incompatible with selfishness.

Leader: Love and Selfishness are contrary to each other. When we allow our emotions, agendas, judgement, or condemnation, to determine if we selfishness over love, we return to shackles and chains.

Response: We must not let anything take away our freedom.

Leader: Christ has set us free to live a free life.

Response: Christ has set us free of everything that prohibits love.25th

Community

  • March/April Bible Studies details – Mondays beg March 21 (w/dinner) at 6 (tent.) or Wednesdays beg March 23 at noon (w/lunch), Exodus, 6 weeks.
  • Anniversary month luncheon today at Joe’s following worship
  • Next Sunday – Vulnerable People, John 4:7-15 (4th Sunday of lent) 
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com
  • Easter eggs for Afghanistan Refugees in San Francisco available today

Peace

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

And also with you.

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

Order, Words, & Voices

Order

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’

Music 1 (10:30)  Victory In Jesus Makaela/Abbie

No Longer Slaves

Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick

Music 2   Blessed Assurance Makaela/Abbie

Scripture Online – Kelly

Testimony Andrew/Jaimie

Music 3 How He Loves Makaela/Abbie

Message Graced With Mistrial Segun

Music 4 Jesus You Alone Makaela/Abbie

Benediction (signal to Petty when slides are ready) Petty

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’

Words and Voices

Music 1 (19 Slides)

Victory In Jesus

CCLI Song # 1259

Eugene M. Bartlett

Verse 1

I heard an old old story
How a Savior came from glory
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me


I heard about His groaning
Of His precious blood’s atoning
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory

Chorus

O victory in Jesus
My Savior forever
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood


He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood

Verse 2

I heard about His healing
Of His cleansing pow’r revealing
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see


And then I cried dear Jesus
Come and heal my broken spirit
And somehow Jesus came and brought
To me the victory

Chorus

O victory in Jesus
My Savior forever
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood


He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood

Verse 3

I heard about a mansion
He has built for me in glory
And I heard about the streets of gold
Beyond the crystal sea


About the angels singing
And the old redemption story
And some sweet day I’ll sing up there
The song of victory

Chorus

O victory in Jesus
My Savior forever
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood


He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory
Beneath the cleansing flood

No Longer Slaves

CCLI Song # 7030123

Brian Johnson | Joel Case | Jonathan David Helser

Verse 1

You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone

Chorus

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

Verse 2

From my Mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again into Your family
Your blood flows through my veins

gone

Chorus

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

Bridge (x2)

You split the sea so I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me so I could stand and sing
I am a child of Godgone

Chorus (x2)

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

Welcome/Prayer (No Slides) (2nd Sunday of Lent)

  • God, on this second Sunday of Lent, we thank you for the witness of faith as seen in the risks of the suffering woman and the sacrifice of the oppressed widow.
  • We thank you for the empowerment of faith as we let go of our grasp on control and instead let go and lay it all down exchanging everything for a confidence in trusting you.
  • We understand your encouragement to your followers early in holy week and we respond to that same encouragement to us to trust you instead of others or ourselves.
  • Lord, today we see forgiveness, your mission of deliverance, your offering of reconciliation.
  • Most of all, we marvel that you made the sacrifice we were unable to make, you offer the hope that we cannot create, and you lift us up in a world that easily keeps us down.
  • Father, thank you for your love that endures, your love that affirms and accepts, for your love that is the very core of who you are.
  • May we allow your love flow through us to a world that needs your love as much as we do.

Amen

Music 2 (6 Slides)

Blessed Assurance

CCLI Song # 22324

Fanny Jane Crosby | Phoebe Palmer Knapp

Verse 1

Blessed assurance Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation purchase of God
Born of His Spirit washed in His blood

Chorus

This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Verse 2

Perfect submission perfect delight
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy whispers of love

Chorus

This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Verse 3

Perfect submission all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest
Watching and waiting looking above
Filled with His goodness lost in His love

Chorus

This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Scripture

While Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”

John 8:1-11

Music 3 (11 Slides)

How He Loves

CCLI Song # 5032549

John Mark McMillan

Verse 1

He is jealous for me loves like a hurricane
I am a tree bending beneath
The weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of


These afflictions eclipsed by glory
I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

Pre-Chorus

Oh how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us
How He loves us so

Verse 1

He is jealous for me loves like a hurricane
I am a tree bending beneath
The weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of


These afflictions eclipsed by glory
I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

Pre-Chorus

Oh how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us
How He loves us so

Chorus

(Yeah) He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves
(REPEAT)

Verse 2

We are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking
So Heaven meets earth


Like a sloppy wet (unforeseen) kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way that

Chorus

(Yeah) He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves
(REPEAT)

Pre-Chorus

Oh how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us
How He loves us so
(REPEAT)

Message –  Graced with a Mistrial (10 Slides) [Slide]

The Lord Jesus had just left a festival where as usual, controversy and arguments and all sorts of opinions about him were spoken by the attendees. Actually, he was almost arrested (John 7: 32-33, 45-47).

Today’s story is itself a controversy:

  • Bible scholars still argue if it belongs in the bible.
  • Putting all the argument aside, we can see that the story is consistent with what the Lord Jesus preached.

As I read through, I just thought to ask these questions of myself:

[Slide]

  • Have you ever been in a situation where the Loving thing to do could result in a violent response towards you?
  • What happens when someone’s strength is been taken advantage of?
  • In this text, two victims turn the tide on a situation that is known today by many as one of the many sweet descriptions of God’s Grace.

There are definitely many more questions the story of today will drop on our hearts but these few just stood out for me personally.

  • [Slide]

8 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came back into the temple [court], and all the people were coming to Him. He sat down and began teaching them. Now the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery. They made her stand in the center of the court, and they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the very act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women [to death]. So what do You say [to do with her—what is Your sentence]?

John 8: 1-5

[Slide Placekeeper]

  • Have you ever seen a situation where a judge receives a judgement without one been given?
  • The story begs many further questions:
  • Where was her partner?
  • Why did they find it easier to present a woman to the Lord Jesus as the criminal?
  • They even misquoted the book of Leviticus.

[Slide]

Investigating deeper, you might want to think and note some of the following:

  • Was this woman lured by a man known by the Pharisees so they could lure another man (The Lord Jesus) they knew very well to commit a NATIONAL offense???
  • It’s important to also notice that she was speechless as the whole conversation took place.
  • What amount of guilt and fear was she carrying at that moment?. 

[Slide]

If he should confirm the sentence of the law, and let it take its course, they would censure him as inconsistent with himself (he having received publicans and harlots) and with the character of the Messiah, who should be meek, and have salvation, and proclaim a year of release; and perhaps they would accuse him to the Roman governor, for countenancing the Jews in the exercise of a judicial power. But, [2.] If he should acquit her and give his opinion that the sentence should not be executed (as they expected he would), they would represent him, First, As an enemy to the law of Moses, and as one that usurped an authority to correct and control it, and would confirm that prejudice against him which his enemies were so industrious to propagate, that he came to destroy the law and the prophets. Secondly, As a friend to sinners, and, consequently, a favourer of sin; if he should seem to connive at such wickedness, and let it go unpunished, they would represent him as countenancing it, and being a patron of offences, if he was a protector of offenders, than which no reflection could be more invidious upon one that professed the strictness, purity, and business of a prophet.

Matthew Henry’s commentary

[Slide 7]

Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women [to death]. So what do You say [to do with her—what is Your sentence]?” They said this to test Him, hoping that they would have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and began writing on the ground with His finger. However, when they persisted in questioning Him, He straightened up and said, “He who is without [any] sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then He stooped down again and started writing on the ground. They listened [to His reply], and they began to go out one by one, starting with the oldest ones, until He was left alone, with the woman [standing there before Him] in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She answered, “No one, Lord!” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more.”]

John 8:5-11

[Slide 7]

“it’s the Holy Spirits job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to Love”

Billy Graham

Without a doubt, this was a clear case of favoritism, a clear case of humans playing judge by deciding who was to be charged and who was let go. These people had formed a Jury that already had a sentence before the trial even began. She practically stood no chance.

What was he writing when he stooped down? Was he trying to analyze the Law of Moses in his heart? 

[Slide 8]

“If Jesus said something more like, “Let he who has led a perfect, sinless life cast the first stone,” we would probably expect that they’d laugh in his face and ask him where the Law ever gives such a standard.  However, it changes completely when he calls out their status as witnesses.  They know they did not come with pure motives, and they know that’s against the Law and invites punishment itself.  They know that he knows it too, and therefore they cannot risk a trial of words with Jesus here.  Jesus was essentially saying, “If you’re confident in your motives as a witness, enough to risk punishment yourself, then come forward.”  That’s why they slowly leave.”

Daniel Wallace (Dallas Theological Seminary)

[Slide Placekeeper]

The Greek word for “without sin” used here is different from that used for sin.

It was actually only used once in the whole Greek new testament.

Deut 17, 19 and Exodus 23 all give us an in-depth understanding about witnessing in the LAW.

What was it about that phrase that made them disperse?

Those words were definitely inspired by the Holy Spirit.

[Slide 9]

I am not a law expert but according to USLegal, a mistrial is:

  • A mistrial is the termination of a trial before its natural conclusion because of a procedural error, statements by a witness, judge or attorney which prejudice a jury, a deadlock by a jury without reaching a verdict after lengthy deliberation (a “hung” jury), or the failure to complete a trial within the time set by the court..
  • This seemed more like a mistrial according to this definition
  • There prosecutors left the court before any judgement was delivered.

[Slide 10]

  • This story highlighted:
    • The beauty of God’s Grace.
    • The power of God’s forgiveness (John 8: 10-11).

She was strengthened to live above her sin by the words of the Lord Jesus which is a character of his forgiveness.

  • The need to always seek God’s wisdom in situations that may seem alright on the surface but with many layers of danger within.

In this story, the two victims walked out victorious of a dire situation by the utterance of just one statement. Just one!!!

May God always give us the wisdom to do and say the right thing, but not just the right thing, but to say and do the right thing the correct and WISE way as inspired by the Holy Spirit. 

Music 4 (14 Slides)

Jesus You Alone

CCLI Song # 7120418

Jesse Reeves | John Larson | Nicole McLean

Verse 1

Who is the great King of glory
Seated on high in the heavens
Oh Jesus You alone


You are the Lord God Almighty
Strong in compassion and mercy
Oh Jesus You alone

Pre-Chorus

I’ve searched the world
For a love that could fill my heart
Nothing compares
To the wonder of who You are

Chorus 1

Holy all the earth singing
Holy all the angels cry
Holy Jesus You alone
Jesus You alone

Verse 2

You set the stars in the heavens
You set the world into motion
Oh Jesus You alone


You breathed Your life in creation
You walked among Your created
Oh Jesus You alone

Pre-Chorus

I’ve searched the world
For a love that could fill my heart
Nothing compares
To the wonder of who You are

Chorus 2

Holy all the earth singing
Holy all the angels cry
Holy Jesus You alone
Jesus You alone


Worthy all creation sings
Worthy all the heavens
Exalt Thee Jesus You alone
Jesus You alone 

Jesus You alone

Verse 3

You shed Your blood for salvation
You broke the curse for our freedom
Oh Jesus You alone


You rose from death with the morning
You’ll come again in Your glory
Oh Jesus You alone
Oh Jesus You alone

Chorus 2

Holy all the earth singing
Holy all the angels cry
Holy Jesus You alone
Jesus You alone


Worthy all creation sings
Worthy all the heavens
Exalt Thee Jesus You alone
Jesus You alone 

Jesus You alone

Chorus 3

Holy
I can’t help but sing holy
How my heart cries out holy
Jesus You alone

Worthy
I lift my voice and sing worthy
I bow my life to exalt Thee
Jesus You alone
Jesus You alone

Benediction (6 Slides) (signal to Petty when slides are on screen)

Leader: We have experienced the hurled stones thrown by others.

Response: We have unjustifiably thrown stones.

Leader: We have knelt on the ground to be invisible, to lessen the impact of the pain inflicted.

Response: We have experienced Christ’s notice and deliverance.

Leader: We live amongst a people who cower as the stones are hurled, as the hate is given a voice.

Response: We know the other voice, the voice that lifts us up in love.

Leader: We have been given the task of letting that love flow through us.

Response: To love God and to love all.

Leader: We live a world that needs that love just as we need that love.

Response: We are called to live out that love to all.

Leader: We rejoice in the forgiveness that could only be given by God.

Response: We rejoice in that forgiveness accomplished for all.

Community (7 Slides)

  • March/April Bible Studies details – Mondays beg March 21 (w/dinner) at 6 (tent.) or Wednesdays beg March 23 at noon (w/lunch), Exodus, 6 weeks.
  • Best Next Update – Masks optional when seated
  • Anniversary month luncheon next Sunday, March 20 at Joe’s following worship
  • Next Sunday – Truth- Then and Now (Chuck Andrews) (3rd Sunday of lent) 
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com
  • Easter eggs for Afghanistan Refugees available next Sunday
  • QR codes/‘Order, Words, Voices’

Peace (3 Slides)

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

And also with you.

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

Order, Words, & Voices

Order

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’

Music 1 (10:30)  Grave Into Gardens/Come Thou Fount Makaela/Abbie

Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick

Music 2   How Deep the Father’s Love Makaela/Abbie

Scripture (Slides ready in case sound is bad) Online – Duffy

Music 3 I Surrender All Makaela/Abbie

Message Faith Regardless Rick

Music 4 Great is the Lord Makaela/Abbie

Benediction (signal to Nikki when slides are ready) Nikki

Community (Gallery View) Rick

Closing Peace                                         Rick

Closing Audio – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’

Words and Voices

Music 1

Graves Into Gardens

CCLI Song # 7138219

Brandon Lake | Chris Brown | Steven Furtick | Tiffany Hudson

Verse 1

I searched the world but it couldn’t fill me
Man’s empty praise and treasures that fade
Are never enough


Then You came along and put me back together
And every desire is now satisfied here in Your love

Chorus

Oh there’s nothing better than You
There’s nothing better than You

Lord there’s nothing
Nothing is better than You

Verse 2

I’m not afraid to show You my weakness
My failures and flaws
Lord You’ve seen them all
And You still call me friend


‘Cause the God of the mountain
Is the God of the valley
And there’s not a place
Your mercy and grace won’t find me again

Chorus (x2)

Oh there’s nothing better than You
There’s nothing better than You

Lord there’s nothing
Nothing is better than You

Bridge (x2)

You turn mourning to dancing
You give beauty for ashes
You turn shame into glory
You’re the only one who can

Bridge

You turn graves into gardens
You turn bones into armies
You turn seas into highways
You’re the only one who can

Tag (x2)

You’re the only one who can

Come Thou Fount Come Thou King

CCLI Song # 4775010

John Wyeth | Robert Robinson | Thomas Miller

Verse 1

Come Thou Fount of ev’ry blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise


Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

Verse 2

I was lost in utter darkness
‘Til You came and rescued me
I was bound by all my sin when
Your love came and set me free


Now my soul can sing a new song
Now my heart has found a home
Now Your grace is always with me
And I’ll never be alone

Chorus

Come Thou Fount come Thou King
Come Thou precious Prince of Peace
Hear Your bride to You we sing
Come Thou Fount of our blessing


Come Thou Fount come Thou King
Come Thou precious Prince of Peace
Hear Your bride to You we sing
Come Thou Fount of our blessing

Verse 3

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let Thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee


Prone to wander Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart Lord take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Chorus (x2)

Come Thou Fount come Thou King
Come Thou precious Prince of Peace
Hear Your bride to You we sing
Come Thou Fount of our blessing

Come Thou Fount come Thou King
Come Thou precious Prince of Peace
Hear Your bride to You we sing
Come Thou Fount of our blessing

Welcome/Prayer

  • God, you are the All of our faith, faith in anyone, or anything else, is worthless.
  • Sometimes, though, our faith is fragile, it is easily forgotten, easily discounted.
  • The things of our earthly reality often are allowed to distract and detour us from our faith.
  • The things of our earthly reality are sometimes permitted to commandeer our faith, to destroy our faith.
  • Father, we pray for the strength to grasp firmly and to hold on to our faith.
  • May we pause to remember the You of our faith and a moment to release the Self of our faith.
  • May we cease to affirm out faith through our strength but through your power.
  • May we be willing to, by faith, grounded firmly in you, willingly step our and step in – to face the risks, the unknown, the painful, as well as the glorious and holy.
  • God, may our faith be firmly set on your.

Amen

Music 2

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

CCLI Song # 1558110

Stuart Townend

Verse 1

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

Verse 2

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

Verse 3

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

Scripture

As Jesus taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, they like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! 

They steal the widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance the say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” 

Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 

A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 

Jesus called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 

For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she contributed out of her poverty – she has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Mark 12:38-44

Music 3

I Surrender All

CCLI Song # 23189

Judson Wheeler Van DeVenter | Winfield Scott Weeden

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 2

All to Jesus I surrender
Humbly at His feet I bow
Worldly pleasures all forsaken
Take me Jesus take me now

Chorus

I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all

Verse 3

All to Jesus I surrender
Make me Savior wholly Thine
Let me feel the Holy Spirit
Truly know that Thou art mine

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

Message –  Faith Regardless

‘Where is lent in the Bible?’ This is the question I am frequently asked this time of year. The answer is, ‘It is not.’ Nor is the Advent, Christmas, or Easter. Christian Holidays, and the manners in which we observe those holidays, are truly a human invention. Actually, in the history of the Church, there were no religious holiday observances until 325 after Jesus. No Christmas, No Easter.

While 325 years might seem like a long time to observe the resurrection, it is important to know that until this time, Christians were unacceptable and persecuted. Having a holiday was not even a consideration as it would draw attention to a people who strived to be unnoticed.  However, after 300 years of persecution for being Christian, now, politicians and governments were clamoring for the approval of Christians.  The new religion of choice, Christianity became a visible religious institution because the political powers recognized the rapid growth of Christians and therefore, politicians dropped Judaism as the the religion they courted and colluded with. While this surely seemed to be wonderful, it doesn’t take long for the pitfalls to soon be visible. However, easy in the 300s Christianity was flourishing and believers were thrilled. One of the first actions of the Christian institution was to officially make remembrance and observance of the resurrection an official holiday.

Long before we had an Easter Bunny, baskets, candies, and colorful dyed eggs, a preparation in the form of a 40-day fasting period prior to Easter Day became a legitimate thing. The practice became known as Lent, observed primarily through fasting. Lent was actually adapted from an already established practice aimed mainly at new converts as a period of repentance and reflection before their baptism. As Lent this began as a contemplative suggestion but it soon became a strictly observed yearly practice. Over time, as 40 days of fasting became unbearable and most everyone was already cheating, the official strictness lessened to a suggested 40 day denial of something beginning on Ash Wednesday.

Author, Eric Ferrris comments, “Lent is about Jesus and what Jesus did.  What really matters is our embrace of Christ crucified and the empty tomb.”

(Eric Ferris, The Lent Experience)

In the end, any faith tradition is only of value if it is remember in our hearts rather than controlled be the will of others.

This year, our Lent observance will not be limited to a chronological journey experiencing the events of Jesus during that final week in Jerusalem. Instead, we are going to seek to understand the deep truths of Holy Week through 7 moments along the overall path of Jesus to the empty grave.

Those truths will lead us through themes of forgiveness and deliverance, through inclusion and acceptance, resurrection and hope, participation and involvement, listening and choosing, service and surrender, and today, we will begin with a second Sunday of diving into the truth of Faith.

Faith. Jesus said, even faith as small as a mustard seed could move mountains out of our way. Faith enabled the weak, frail, and near hopeless woman into the mob. Faith put a hammer into the hands of Noah to build an ark to save his family. Faith enabled Abraham to take a path that had yet to been named by a God he did not know. Faith is what has met countless persons, who were at the end of their rope and, and at that point, were willing to trust and move forward.

Faith, it was what led Jesus to head towards Jerusalem even though everyone around him said to go somewhere else. Faith, led Jesus through a cheering crowd and then later, through that same crowd, who were now jeering. 

And Faith, was what led a poor penniless widow to quietly walk into the temple square each week to give her minuscule offering to God. 

It was also Faith, which at that same moment, turned Jesus gaze away from his followers to witness the faith of this frail woman who had every reason to abandon her faith and, instead, make sensible use of her penny to sustain herself for a few more days.

It was still early in the week for Jesus, he had entered the city against the will of all who knew him. Many of the religious leadership had already begun to attack him in very passive aggressive ways hoping to get Jesus to say or do something that would turn the crowds adoration of Jesus to hatred. The Sadducees had asked a back door question about resurrection, the Pharisees had attempted to back Jesus into a corner with questions to trick Jesus into offending the Romans or the Jews,  and the Scribes, the group that knew every minutia of the law, as well as how to manipulate the law and to twist and abuse it in order to control and oppress others – asked the pivotal question about God’s commands. Jesus basically answered the scribe’s question with one word, LOVE. As with the others, the scribes ceased to ask anymore questions when their trick question was answered with LOVE.

All of this had taken place in the temple square where Jesus was still allowed to teach, but this would be the last time. Jesus was moments from a final exit, but first, there was a final essential holy moment in this holy place that had become so unholy. Jesus had just given his last teaching to his followers, a teaching that had described much of the core of the unholiness. Jesus revealed to his the unholy hearts of the Scribes. Their expertise had become a tool of greed and selfish gain. Instead of leading the people to see God in the Law, they had searched and dug to find loopholes in, and manipulations of, the law. This abuse especially targeted the defenseless widows, stealing what little they had, crushing any hopes they held onto.

It was one of those widows that captured Jesus’ attention, he watched as she walked over to the treasury to give her offering. She uncomfortably stood in line behind those who had much and from which gave staggering and overwhelming amounts of money. She tightly grasped her few coins, worth about a penny in full, this was all that she had. The widow could have snuck out of the line in humiliation, disgraced by her small gift surrounded by the huge gifts given before her, but she stayed. As she approached the front of the line, the man accepting her offerings scoffed at this worthless embarrassment, but still she gave. This woman, possibly one of those widows victimized by the scribes still gave her gift – it was not a gift to the treasury officials even though they would possibly still pocket her measly offering. None of this mattered because she was making an offering out of her poverty to God. It was not a gift to the worst of humanity.

Jesus points this woman out, not because of her the significance of her offering, but because she alone gave from a heart of total sacrifice. While the other gifts given were insignificant as a percentage of the givers wealth, this woman gave more that she rationally should have given.

This was Jesus’ final temple square teaching moment. This was the final lesson he taught in this place, it was the most essential teaching he needed to share. Here, in this place, the ‘House of God’ from which God was about to leave, in this moment, Jesus points out the one person that has come to give a sacrifice in the true spirit of sacrifice – entrusting her offering to God. 

It was an insignificant act by an even less significant person, but it was the holy moment that Jesus not only noticed but then used as he first step to empower his followers for the week to come. 

This was not a lesson about money, nor was Jesus raising the bar on acceptable gifts to God – this was a concrete visual of Faith. This woman, who knew of the evil corruption that had consumed the leaders in this place. She possibly had experienced it first hand as the scribes had tricked her out of any resources she still had. She knew that her gift in the hands of this evil would be undervalued and tossed aside – but she was not giving her gift to these people, nor was she giving it to this institution. She was giving all she had to God – in the only way she knew how to give. She had separated the just and holy God from these unholy and failed religious leaders. She did not allow them to take away from her the opportunity to fully trust God.

That is what faith is, it enables us to keep on going when our resentments, bitterness, and even fear, call on us to run away. 

Jesus, ultimately was going to give an unappreciated gift to this people. A gift that would be met with ugliness, hatred, and venomous screams – a gift given to a people who were in need of that very gift. A death for a life, even when recipients of the gift  did not want or deserve the sacrifice.

Let the same mind [the same faith] be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 

Instead [of walking away from trust in God and saving himself] he emptied himself, he took the form of a slave, born in human likeness.

And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:5-8

Children’s author, Maurice Sendek, writer of Where the Wild Things Are, grew up in the home of Jewish Polish immigrants, who, at every meal, made sure that the children understood how blessed they were to not have experienced the horrors of the Holocaust like many of their ancestors. Later, as an adult, the reality would really set in at Sendek better understood that all of his father’s family had been brutally murdered by the Nazis. It was during this time of revelation that resentment and hatred took over, his faith was challenged by a supposedly loving God who seemed to turn his head during the genocide that had taken so many of his ancestors. The more he held onto the resentment and hatred, and as it began to grow, he found himself unable to also hold onto and a decimal of faith. So he let go of the faith – he could not separate a just and loving God with the brutal beasts of his town history. He let go of and ran from his faith.

I’ve seen people go through unimaginable pain and heartache and find that, they too, are unable to hold onto their faith. They stand in line to give their trust to God and cannot reconcile the reality of this world. I’ve also seen people who abandoned their faith because of a disagreement at church, or even an ugly acting church softball team. 

Reality is tough, it is often even more difficult to hang onto our faith in the midst of an awareness of reality. Sadly, it is the faith that carries us through the pain, that prepares us for the next pain. It is faith that keeps our focus on the God who understands pain, and is heartbroken by our pain. A God who graces us with the faith to survive when we fully hand over our trust to God.

What are you carrying that is straining your hold on faith?

Music 4

Great Is The Lord

CCLI Song # 1149

Deborah D. Smith | Michael W. Smith

Verse

Great is the Lord
He is holy and just
By His power we trust in His love


Great is the Lord
He is faithful and true
By His mercy He proves He is love

Chorus 1

Great is the Lord
And worthy of glory
Great is the Lord
And worthy of praise


Great is the Lord
Now lift up your voice
Now lift up your voice
Great is the Lord

Verse

Great is the Lord
He is holy and just
By His power we trust in His love


Great is the Lord
He is faithful and true
By His mercy He proves He is love

Chorus 2

Great are You Lord
And worthy of glory
Great are You Lord
And worthy of praise


Great are You Lord
I lift up my voice
I lift up my voice
Great are You Lord

Ending (x2)

Great are You Lord
Great are You Lord
Great are You Lord
Great are You Lord

Benediction

Leader: Faith moves us from standing on the side watching hope and peace pass by on its path to healing and release.

Response: We stand on the side because stepping in is scary.

Leader: Faith calls on trust, trust is a response, it is an action, it moves us form the sideline, it empowers us to step in.

Response: We stand on the side because trusting is scary.

Leader: Unfailing trust requires an unceasing and never ending knowing of the one in who are trust resides.

Response: Faith is powerless without trust, trust is unstable without faith.

Leader: Misplaced trust disappoints, Maligned trust leaves us empty and confused, Mistaken trust leaves us faithless.

Response: But righteous and holy trust sees our feet on a rock and our faith secure.

Leader: May our trust be in the God of victory, our God of presence, our God of Deliverance, our God of Mercy, our God of Hope, Our God of Love.

Response: May our trust be in God.

Leader: Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Faith gives us understanding that the worlds were prepared by the word of God.

Response: Faith reminds us that there is much unseen behind what we can see.

Community

  • March/April Bible Studies details – Mondays beg March 21 (w/dinner) at 6 (tent.) or Wednesdays beg March 23 at noon (w/lunch), Exodus, 6 weeks.
  • Best Next Update – Masks optional when seated
  • Anniversary month luncheon March 20 at Joe’s following worship
  • Next Sunday – ‘Graced with a mistrial’, speaker Segun Bongundui, John 8:1-11 (2nd Sunday of lent) 
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com
  • QR codes/‘Order, Words, Voices’

Peace

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

And also with you.

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

Order, Words, & Voices

Order

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’

Music 1 (10:30am)                                        Lynn/Abbie

        How Majestic is Your Name

        All Hail the Power

Welcome/Prayer                                         Rick

Music 2                                                          Lynn/Abbie

        El Shaddai

Scripture                                                       Online – Zach

Music 3Lynn/Abbie

        What the Lord Has Done

MessageMortal Concerns                 Rick

Music 4     Way MakerLynn/Abbie

Benediction                                                    Dave

Community (Gallery View)                           Rick

Closing Peace                                                 Rick

Closing Audio – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’

Words and Voices

Music 1

How Majestic Is Your Name

CCLI Song # 26007

Michael W. Smith

Oh Lord our Lord how majestic is

Your name in all the earth

Oh Lord our Lord how majestic is

Your name in all the earth

Oh Lord we praise Your name

Oh Lord we magnify Your name

Prince of Peace Mighty God

Oh Lord God Almighty

Oh Lord our Lord how majestic is

Your name in all the earth

Oh Lord our Lord how majestic is

Your name in all the earth

Oh Lord we praise Your name

Oh Lord we magnify Your name

Prince of Peace Mighty God

Oh Lord God Almighty

All Hail The Power Of Jesus’ Name (Coronation)

CCLI Song # 25400

Edward Perronet | John Rippon | Oliver Holden

Verse 1

All hail the pow’r of Jesus’ name

Let angels prostrate fall

Bring forth the royal diadem

And crown Him Lord of all

Bring forth the royal diadem

And crown Him Lord of all

Verse 2

Ye chosen seed of Israel’s race

Ye ransomed from the fall

Hail Him who saves you by His grace

And crown Him Lord of all

Hail Him who saves you by His grace

And crown Him Lord of all

Verse 4

Let ev’ry kindred ev’ry tribe

On this terrestrial ball

To Him all majesty ascribe

And crown Him Lord of all

To Him all majesty ascribe

And crown Him Lord of all

Verse 5

O that with yonder sacred throng

We at His feet may fall

We’ll join the everlasting song

And crown Him Lord of all

We’ll join the everlasting song

And crown Him Lord of all

Welcome/Prayer

Father, we stand on the sidelines in what seems to be a world gone mad.

We wonder, ‘What next?”, “Why this”, and “Why now?”

Eventually we ask, “Where are you God?”

However, we trust that you are present.

You are present in the midst of the overwhelming crowd, you are present in the midst of the fighting, you are present in the midst of our pain, our fear, and our fading hope.

We seek to simply touch your garment for a stolen moment of assurance, of affirmation, of peace, and of healing.

God, today, may your Spirit give us the courage to step out and into the flow of the crowd, to risk the vulnerability of laying our baggage down so that we can, instead, reach for you.

May we remember our hope is you as we hesitantly move towards you.

Amen

Music 2 

El Shaddai

CCLI Song # 26856

John W. Thompson | Michael Card

Chorus

El Shaddai El Shaddai

El Elyonna Adonai

Age to age You’re still the same

By the power of the name

El Shaddai El Shaddai

Erkamkana Adonai

We will praise and lift You high

El Shaddai

Verse 1

Through Your love and through the ram

You saved the son of Abraham

Through the power of Your hand

You turned the sea into dry land

To the outcast on her knees

You were the God who really sees

And by Your might

You set Your children free

Chorus

El Shaddai El Shaddai

El Elyonna Adonai

Age to age You’re still the same

By the power of the name

El Shaddai El Shaddai

Erkamkana Adonai

We will praise and lift You high

El Shaddai

Verse 2

Through the years You made it clear

That the time of Christ was near

Though the people couldn’t see

What Messiah ought to be

Though Your Word contained the plan

They just could not understand

Your most awesome work was done

In the frailty of Your Son

Chorus

El Shaddai El Shaddai

El Elyonna Adonai

Age to age You’re still the same

By the power of the name

El Shaddai El Shaddai

Erkamkana Adonai

We will praise and lift You high

El Shaddai

Chorus

El Shaddai El Shaddai

El Elyonna Adonai

Age to age You’re still the same

By the power of the name

El Shaddai El Shaddai

Erkamkana Adonai

We will praise and lift You high

El Shaddai

Scripture

Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 

The woman had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she thought, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 

As soon she reached Jesus and discreetly touched his cloak her hemorrhage stopped; she instantly felt the healing in her body. She was healed of her disease that had plagued her for 12 years! 

She tired to subtly sneak away after this healing but Jesus was immediately aware that healing power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 

And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’”  Jesus looked all around to see who had done it. 

Finally, the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 

Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

Mark 5:25-34

Music 3 

What The Lord Has Done In Me

CCLI Song # 2582803

Reuben Morgan

Verse 1

Let the weak say I am strong

Let the poor say I am rich

Let the blind say I can see

It’s what the Lord has done in me

Chorus

Hosanna hosanna

To the Lamb that was slain

Hosanna hosanna

Jesus died and rose again

Chorus

Hosanna hosanna

To the Lamb that was slain

Hosanna hosanna

Jesus died and rose again

Verse 2

Into the river I will wade

There my sins are washed away

From the heaven’s mercy stream

Of the Saviour’s love for me

Chorus

Hosanna hosanna

To the Lamb that was slain

Hosanna hosanna

Jesus died and rose again

Chorus

Hosanna hosanna

To the Lamb that was slain

Hosanna hosanna

Jesus died and rose again

Verse 3

I will rise from waters deep

Into the saving arms of God

I will sing salvation songs

Jesus Christ has set me free

Chorus

Hosanna hosanna

To the Lamb that was slain

Hosanna hosanna

Jesus died and rose again

Chorus

Hosanna hosanna

To the Lamb that was slain

Hosanna hosanna

Jesus died and rose again

Message –  Mortal Concerns

Chapter 5 of the gospel of Mark details of 3 different moments of  God’s divine interjection into the lives of 3 very different individuals. One was a man of importance, 2 were of persons of little to no importance living in fear. A person of power, and 2 with absolutely no power. One was known and respected, 2 dismissed and despised.

All 3 shared a common state of struggle, at the end of their ropes, able do nothing to remedy their pain – Jesus was their only hope.

The first was a man who lived among the countryside of the Gerasenes, ‘among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; for this man had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him.’ (Mark 5:3-4).

An unnamed man whose identity was of no importance. The only identification of this man is his struggle, the reason he is undesirable and despised to the community.

The second is a woman, also unnamed also known by her struggle, also undesirable and despised. A 12 year never ending menstruation period was her struggle. The very cycle created to give life, is the very thing that has became an encumbrance to living life. Constantly striving to be invisible to put off her community from calling her unclean and disgusting. Always fatigued and even more, always rejected. ‘She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse.’ (Mark 5:26)

The third person is a prominent and important community and community and religious institution leader. One of the few religious officials who had not rejected Jesus. Most importantly, this man had a name – Jairus. His struggle is not a long term affliction as the other 2, but it is nonetheless has him at the end of his rope and, he too, see Jesus as his holy hope. An daughter moments from death. ‘Jairus came and, when he saw Jesus, fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” So Jesus went with Jairus.’ (Mark 5:22-24)

Three near hopeless mortals recognizing that their only hope was the God of the living.

Our focus today is the named woman. A mortal settled into an intentional unnoticed life, hoping to be the unseen, invisible, not because this made life bearable, but because it had made what little life she still had possible. Unclean, humiliated, rejected, dismissed, ignored, hated, and even worse, pitied. So, like so many other unnamed mortals, she went about living in the shadows where people like her belonged.

Actually, the unnamed woman is a side story, it is an unplanned ‘along the way’ moment, unexpected, and unwanted. Jesus was on his way to heal the daughter of Jairus, the named religious official. On Jesus’ way, the crowds were clamoring for his attention. The disciples were doing their job navigating the path. As the woman overheard that Jesus was approaching she prepared to jump into the flow, hoping to blend in and go unnoticed. It was a struggle to enter the flow, and then an impossibility to keep up with the speed of the mob, all the time risking being outed as unclean or trampled.

This is what you do when you have only this one hope, you hold on with all your might risking the little you have left to risk. Finally, she was close enough and she reached out and touched the cloak of Jesus, she sought to steal a bit of his healing power without being noticed, without being seen, and then to disappear back into the crowd, back into oblivion.

‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well,’ she thought, ‘Jesus will not even know, no one will be aware of my presence, or that a healing has take place.’ (Mark 5:28)

Indeed, she was healed. She was so healed that she had to stop for just a moment to process the miracle. For just for a moment she forgot to flee, for just for a moment she forgot to hide. And in that moment, Jesus noticed her.

‘Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?”’ (Mark 5:30)

Both, the woman and Jesus, recognized something holy had just taken place. For both it was a mortal moment, a physical, earthly, healing but still it was holy.

“Who touched my clothes?”

HIs disciples were incensed at such a ridiculous question. ‘Everyone is touching him, it is a crowd for goodness sake,’ they muttered to each other.

 Jesus continued to look at the crowd, scanning it for the person who had stolen a healing. Perieblepeto is the greek word translated ‘looked’ in verse 31, is actually better translated as ‘Glared’. A fearful look that must have put even more fear into the now healed woman.

‘Jesus glared at the crowd looking for the one who had thought they could go unnoticed intentionally touching him.’ (Mark 5:32) But, the woman knew she could no longer hide, she had been healed, she was no longer bleeding, everyone was going to noticed. Such a moment cannot be long hidden.  Instead of returning to her solace of hiding, she confessed.

The woman ‘came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told Jesus the whole truth.’ (Mark 5:33)

Was she afraid because being invisible had become her modus operandi? Was she fearful of even more humiliation than she had suffered through for the past 12 years? Was she concerned that Jesus would take the healing away?

Whatever the reason, she chose the truth instead of her fear. Jesus’ response was not a retribution, it was a recognition of faith, life, and living.

“Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” (Mark 5:34)

Your faith, Go in peace, Be healed.

Faith – the healing was not the touching but the trust placed in Jesus. The giving over her misery, the recognition of ‘I cannot’, the final hope, surrender to Jesus.

Peace – a choice, from here on she could live free of the fear that had consumed her life, the misery that had stolen her full attention, the resentment from her community – or she can lay all the baggage down and let it all go. She could now chose to live life, to choose the peace that she had in this moment.

Healed – a determination to not allow the things of the earth, nor the things of the body, define her. To live for a consistent and constant healing – a resolution only possible through faith and peace.

In 2012, Sharletta Evans, of Denver Colorado, reached the end of her rope.  12 years without even a glimmer of hope had her ready to risk stepping into the crowd, subjecting herself to rejection and humiliation. Worse than the condemnation of others, Sharletta had lived 12 years suffering continual devastating loss. In 1995, Evans had lost her 3 year old son, Casson, in a spray of 21 bullets as part of a drive by shooting. Raymond Johnson, 15 year old boy, who, with his other gang members, had unintentionally shot and killed her son. 12 years of pain, not from a physical condition she carried but her emotional loss was as bad as any medical affliction could have been. After 12 years, she recognized there was no more hope of having any hope ever again. She recognized it in her other son, Calvin, for who she had been less than present for since the shooting. Calvin had been 6 years old, and sitting next to his brother at the moment of the shooting. His unprocessed pain, combined with her unprocessed pain, had created a darkness in which the 2 could only live to survive. Finally, an uncrushable faith led her, and her now young adult son Calvin, to travel to the High Security prison in Limon, Colorado to meet the killer of their beloved Casson. Not knowing what she, and her son, were going to face when the killer came into the room, both sat in the prison visitor room, hesitantlly, fearfully, and uncomfortably waiting. What followed was an 8 hour visit ending with Evans becoming a mother to the man who, as a teen, had ruthlessly killed her 3 year old son. Evans, empowered by her remaining glimmer of faith had seen Jesus in the midst of the judgmental and condemning crowd. Knowing the risks, she nevertheless snuck into the flow and aggressively (an effort only possible through a determined faith) pushed her way to Jesus. She carried with her a shred of hope given to her by God and her hand grasping her hurting son as they sought to touch the garment of Jesus. She owned her actions and vulnerably admitted that it was her that had intruded on Christ, Christ turned and said – you and your son are not only healed, you are now a healer of others. Jesus called her to let go of her resentment and hate and be the hope for her son’s killer. It was in that extension of her healing that her life, her son’s life, and the life of Raymond Johnson were healed. It was a moment in which true life began.

Empowered by a desperate faith, Evans made the choice to always return to peace, and to always seek the healing path rather than the path of resentment, hatred, and hopelessness. She decided that it was time to step out of her pain and into the risky crowd. She stepped out and in by faith.

What risky healing is God leading you to step into?

Let’s Pray

Music 4 

Way Maker

CCLI Song # 7115744

Osinachi Kalu Okoro Egbu

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

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

(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

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

(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

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

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

(You are) Way Maker Miracle Worker Promise Keeper

Light in the darkness my God that is who You are

Benediction

Leader: This week, we awoke to the crowds clamoring for Jesus, seeking to touch is garment.

Response: They may not know that Jesus is the destination of all seeking hope.

Leader: We all stand on the sidelines fearing the risk of reaching for you.

Response: We fear the vulnerability of laying down our baggage.

Leader: Our faith reminds us that God, and God alone, is our hope, our refuge, even in the times of trouble.

Response: God gave us live so that we may life.

Leader: It is when we reach the end of our rope, accepting the fact that there is very little left for us to do.

Response: We turn to the Father, we remember the Son, and we listen for the Spirit.

Leader: There we find hope.

Response: There we find peace.

Leader: May our destination be hope.

Response: May our arrival give us peace.

Community 

  • March/April Bible Studies survey now up, deadline today February 27
  • Contribution Statements with changes available this week
  • Best Next Update
  • March Anniversary month, luncheon March 20
  • Next Sunday – Faith Regardless, Mark 12:38-44 (1st Sunday of lent)
  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine

Peace 

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

And also with you.

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

Order, Words, & Voices

Order

Sunday, February 20, 2022

  • Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’
  • Music 1 (10:30am) Billy/Abbie

The Solid Rock

Rock of Ages

  • Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick
  • Music 2                                                      Billy/Abbie

Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

  • Scripture (No slides just reader) Online – Musgroves
  • Music 3 Billy/Abbie

I Know Whom I Have Believed

Message The Effectiveness of Absurdity Rick

  • Music 4 The Truth Billy/Abbie
  • Benediction (signal to Linda when slides are ready) Linda
  • Community (Gallery View) Rick
  • Closing Peace                                         Rick
  • Closing Audio – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’

Words and Voices

Music 1 (9 Slides)

The Solid Rock

CCLI Song # 25417

Edward Mote | William Batchelder Bradbury

Verse 1

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

Chorus

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

Verse 2

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

Chorus

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

Verse 4

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

Chorus

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

Rock Of Ages

CCLI Song # 40588

Augustus Montague Toplady | Thomas Hastings

Verse 1

Rock of Ages cleft for me
Let me hide myself in thee
Let the water and the blood
From thy wounded side which flowed
Be of sin the double cure
Save from wrath and make me pure

Verse 2

Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill thy law’s demands
Could my zeal no respite know
Could my tears forever flow
All for sin could not atone
Thou must save and thou alone

Verse 3

Nothing in my hand I bring
Simply to the cross I cling
Naked come to thee for dress
Helpless look to thee for grace
Foul I to the fountain fly
Wash me Savior or I die

Welcome/Prayer (No Slides)

God, in this moment we come before you

We come with painful baggage and minds full of things that distract us from you and from truth

We come with shaky foundations and falling walls

Lord, we come asking for clear minds and focused hearts

We hope for a genuine heart seeking truth, real truth

We long to be able to see you God, to see truth Lord, amongst the false prophets, the persuasive half truths, and the deceit that calls for our attention

Father, may we, this morning, let go of those things that blind us to you, may we lay down our baggage so we can fully listen, fully look, and fully trust you

Amen

Music 2 (6 Slides)

Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

CCLI Song # 22609

Louisa M. R. Stead | William James Kirkpatrick

Verse 1

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to take Him at His word
Just to rest upon His promise
Just to know thus saith the Lord

Chorus

Jesus Jesus how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus Jesus precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more

Verse 3

Yes ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus
Just from sin and self to cease
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest and joy and peace

Chorus

Jesus Jesus how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus Jesus precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more

Verse 4

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee
Precious Jesus Savior Friend
And I know that Thou art with me
Wilt be with me to the end

Chorus

Jesus Jesus how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus Jesus precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more

Scripture (No Slides)

Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.” Jesus said to them, “Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.” Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they no longer dared to ask him another question.

Luke 20:27-40

Music 3 (6 Slides)

I Know Whom I Have Believed

CCLI Song # 31762

Daniel Webster Whittle | James McGranahan

Verse 1

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known
Nor why unworthy Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own

Chorus

But I know whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day

Verse 2

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart
Nor how believing in His word
Wrought peace within my heart

Chorus

But I know whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day

Verse 5

I know not when my Lord may come
At night or noonday fair
Nor if I’ll walk the vale with Him
Or meet Him in the air

Chorus

But I know whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day

Message –  Absurdity (13 Slides)

I listened as a young couple, who had been together about 3 years, tell me a story of their latest argument.  For the husband, the entire argument began when his wife walked in the door from work and immediately noticed a small pile of dirt on the kitchen floor. For the wife, the argument began shortly after they began dating. As she calmly questioned why the dirt had not been cleaned up on the floor she had just cleaned the day before, the husband, apologetically jumped up and cleaned up the mess. While he thought this would solve the problem, in truth, this was just the beginning. She continued to remind him of her work cleaning the entire house the entire weekend before, a process during which he had not helped with at all. As her focus of discontent continued, he finally asked, ‘Are we still talking about the dirt on the floor?’ To which she cried out, ‘No, it is not about the dirt, and you should know this!’ Remarkably, shortly after this, the 2 sat down and talked about his lack of attention and concern, and her constant attention and concern.

Communication can be a challenge in the best of times, bring in baggage that is unknown to one of the parties and you can have an explosive and destructive lack of communication.

Our passage today is about a moment of communication that was designed to be absurd, full of baggage, weighted down by an unholy agenda,. It is also one of the few times when Jesus does not answer the question with more questions. Here, Jesus answers with a very clear and definitive answer. Those trying a use of absurdity, an approach that was surely successful in the past, did not prove effective. In the end, those seeking to trick Jesus with absurdity were silenced, asking no more questions of Jesus ever again.

Chapter 20 of the gospel of Luke falls within a series of discussions in which various religious groups question Jesus’s activity and his religious thinking. Opening in verse 3 the key question that serves as the theme for all the questions: “by what authority are you doing these things?” (Luke 20:3).

This all takes place as Jesus’ public ministry is drawing to a conclusion as he is approaching the crucifixion. Jesus has entered Jerusalem and by the end of the week he will have been crucified and buried. The climax of the story, of course, will be the empty grave.  It is during this week, however, we see Jesus’ moments with crowds wind to a close, moments after the resurrection will be spent with, and preparing, the followers. This week began with the crowds shouting in support, the next crowd that will shouting ‘Crucify Him!’. During this week, there will be a rapid intensification of the opposition as the religious authorities who will seek every opportunity to bring about the death of Jesus.

The Jewish religious institution had 2 primary groups of men overseeing the practices, theology,  and finances of Judaism. Much like our political parties, these two groups both played major roles in religion, and , much like our political parties, they also had unshakable agendas. This is the Sadducees and the Pharisees. The Sadducees, who questions Jesus in our passage today, were largely the aristocrats, they were the experts on law.They were not believers in the mystical stuff (angels, heaven, hell, resurrection, life after death, etc.), and, in general were not as spiritual as they were legalistic. They held authority over the temple which is primarily why they cease to exist after the destruction of the temple 70 years after Jesus birth.

Also, the Sadducees only believed the Pentateuch, the Torah, the first five books of ur Old Testament, they rejected the books of the prophets and the Psalms. 

All of this baggage was brought to their discussion with Jesus especially that they did not believe in resurrection and therefore they did not believe in any life after earthly death. This was their line in the sand, it was the core of their very existence. But in this encounter with Jesus they attempt to make the idea of an after life an absurd way to disprove that Jesus is from God.

The Sadducees thought they would make Jesus, and the belief in the resurrection, look foolish. So they used the levirate marriage laws from Deuteronomy 25:5-10 as the basis for their argument.

The Levirate law was designed to look after widows who were left not only without the support of a husband but also of her husband’s children – due to the damage humans had already made with a patriarchal culture. The law states that is a man dies without children, then the man’s brother must take the widow as a wife in order to provide for her through the birth of his children through her. The Sadducees then carry this absurdity out through several brothers none of which produced children and all ended in the husbands death. Leaving the question, ‘In the afterlife, who is her husband, or, who does she belong to?’

[2 Slides] Jesus avoids the Sadducees trap through 2 means. First, he demonstrates their failure to understand the resurrection — resurrection life, contrary to the assumption betrayed by their question, is qualitatively different from life here and now. Second, he demonstrates their failure to understand Scriptures by using a passage from their own Pentateuch, their own Torah, a passage they accept as being holy, a passage they have either missed or ignored — the Exodus 3 story of Moses’ encounter with God in the burning bush,

[Slide] God said to Moses, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” God further said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

Exodus 3:5-6

As God is introducing himself to Moses he begins with a definite statement, ‘I Am’. It is a present tense saying, ‘I Am Being.’ Not only this, but God adds to this, ‘I Am Being the God of your Father, I Am Being the God of your ancestor Abraham, I Am Being the God of your ancestor Isaac, and I Am Being the God of your ancestor Jacob.’ God does not say ‘I Was their God’ but instead, God says the very present and active tense ‘I Am Being their God.’

In Mark’s account of this story Jesus begins his response to the Sadducees with, 

“This is the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?

Mark 12:24

The Sadducees, as with the other questioners of Jesus during holy week, had an agenda, to make Jesus say or do something that was heretical, unholy, offensive. They did this through an absurd question about resurrection even though they did not believe in the resurrection. It was an attempt to attack the Jesus and the Pharisees. Their attempt was a dismal failure because it revealed their lack of understanding of the law of God, something they believed was their turf, and therefore that they did not know or understand the God of their law.

[Slide] First, they failed to notice their adherence to the societal acceptance of a patriarchal culture – men were supreme and all others were less than human. Women were property. Instead of correcting the wrong perception of women, they maintain their sinful patriarchtical status.

[Slide] Second, they believed that women, as property, could only survive with the help of a husband and the children that God would give to the husband.

[Slide] Messiah College Professor of Biblical Studies, Emerson Powery, writes, “the female body often becomes the place of theological regulation. For this unnamed woman, Torah would determine her earthly relations but could not resolve her future life.”

[Slide] Third, they were ignorant about afterlife, heaven, where all of God’s children will live, truly live, as God’s beloved, not as possessions of any other child of God.

[Slide] Here is our truth from this interaction of Jesus with the Sadducees – God is a God of the living.

[Slide] Jesus himself said that, ‘I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’ (John 10:10). Remember that this word life is not just life now but also eternally, but it is Now as well.

The question is ‘What theological beliefs do we still have in place that displace and disregard the lives and bodies of people? What beliefs hold a greater sway on us than God’s call to love and respect? What theological debates cause us to circle our wagons in an inclusive faith club ignoring those who don’t fit?

David Lose, Senior Pastor, Mount Olivet Church in Minneapolis wraps it up this way, 

[Slide] Resurrection (empowered by the God of the living) insists that the whole person will in some way be united with God  (see I Corinthians 15, especially 35-49). 

[Slide] It is the whole person, not some wispy essence, that God promises to redeem. We do, in fact, die — there is no escaping that. 

[Slide] But because of the One who died on the cross and was raised again from death, we live and die with the promise that God will similarly raise us from death to new life where, in the words of Jesus today we “cannot die, because [we] are like angels and are children of God, being children of resurrection” (20:36).”

[Slide] Our hope is the God of the living.

Let’s Pray

Music 4 (5 Slides)

The Truth

CCLI Song # 7172904

Andrew Holt | Austin Davis | Lauren Strahm

Verse 1

What could take away the sting of death
Only a love I hadn’t met
What could cause this restless heart to rest
Only the promise that You kept

Pre-Chorus

For so long I was searching for truth
When all along I was searching for You
Then You opened my eyes

Chorus

You opened my eyes to see You Lord
Oh I was blind to love before
You opened my heart to know the truth
Now all I see is You
All I need is You

Verse 2

What can cause the broken things to heal
Only a power that is real
What can cause the prideful heart to kneel
Only a grace that none can steal

Bridge

There is only one Name who conquered the grave
Only one way my soul can be saved
Only one truth only one life
Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ

Benediction (6 Slides) (signal to Linda when slides are ready)

Reader: God, you are the God of our peace

Response: God, you are the God of the living

Reader: God, you are the God I our misery and our calm

God, you are the God of the living

God, you are the God of our hope

God, you are the God of the living

God, you are the God that calls for us, that woos us to you

God, you are t he God of the living

God, you gave us life in the beginning and raise us to new life

God, you are the God of the living

God, you are compassionate, you are merciful, you are passionate, and you are love

God, you are the God of the living

Community (4 Slides)

  • March/April Bible Studies survey now up, deadline February 27
  • Afghan info come and go today, noon to 3pm
  • Contribution Statements rechecking (confusion w/quarantines)
  • Next Sunday – Mortal Concerns

Peace (3 Slides)

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

And also with you.

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

Order, Words, & Voices 02.13.22

Order

Sunday, February 13, 2022

  • Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’
  • Music 1 (10:30am) Lynn/Abbie

Open the Eyes of my Heart Lord

Come, Now is the Time to Worship

  • Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick
  • Music 2                                                      Lynn/Abbie

Take My Life and Let it Be

  • Scripture (No slides just reader) Online – Jake Musgrove
  • Music 3 Lynn/Abbie

Take Time to Be Holy

  • Message Rick
  • Music 4 That’s Why We Praise Him Lynn/Abbie
  • Benediction (signal to Segun when slides are ready) Segun 
  • Community (Gallery View) Rick
  • Closing Peace                                         Rick
  • Closing Audio – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’

Words and Voices

Music 1 (13 Slides)

Open The Eyes Of My Heart

CCLI Song # 2298355

Paul Baloche

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

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

Chorus

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

Come Now Is The Time To Worship

CCLI Song # 2430948

Brian Doerksen

Chorus

Come now is the time to worship
Come now is the time to give your heart
Come just as you are to worship
Come just as you are before your God
Come

Verse 1

One day every tongue
Will confess You are God
One day every knee will bow
Still the greatest treasure remains
For those who gladly choose You now

Chorus

Come now is the time to worship
Come now is the time to give your heart
Come just as you are to worship
Come just as you are before your God
Come

Verse 2

Willingly we choose to surrender our lives
Willingly our knees will bow
With all our heart soul mind and strength
We gladly choose You now

Chorus

Come now is the time to worship
Come now is the time to give your heart
Come just as you are to worship
Come just as you are before your God
Come

Ending

Come come just as you are come come

Welcome/Prayer (No Slides)

Lord, you call us to abide in you.

To walk blamelessly, to do what is right, and to speak truth in love.

God, you warn us to not slander, to not do evil, and to not condemn others.

Father, this is how we abide in your, this is how we honor you, this is how we fear you.

As we gather on this day, may we choose to recommit to a life of abide, may we strive to live in your tent on your holy hill.

Amen.

(Psalm 15)

Music 2 (4 Slides)

Take My Life And Let It Be (Hendon)

CCLI Song # 1390

Frances Ridley Havergal | Henri Abraham Cesar Malan

Verse 1

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated Lord to Thee
Take my moments and my days
Let them flow in ceaseless praise

Verse 2

Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee

Verse 3

Take my voice and let me sing
Always only for my King
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee

Verse 6

Take my love my Lord I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be
Ever only all for Thee

Scripture (No Slides)

Now as Jesus went on his way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Martha had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42

Music 3 (6 Slides)

Take Time To Be Holy

CCLI Song # 93748

George Coles Stebbins | William Dunn Longstaff

Verse 1

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

Verse 2

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

Verse 4

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

Message –  Taking Care of God (? Slides)

Mom grew up on a farm where everyone played a part – especially around harvest time when everyone work before the sun rose and long after the sun set. Time was always of the essence as heavy rains were a frequent destroyer of the crops, and therefore any possibility for financial security for the coming 12 months. Everyone old enough to be put to work participated. The women would be up, usually before the men, as a hearty breakfast was prepared and then served. As the men ate the women would begin work on a huge lunch. The men were working to pay the bills and keep the farm, the women were working to keep the men nourished and encouraged as they would face an exhausting 15 plus hour day. When the work was completed for the day, there would be a light dinner followed by a short time to relax and then to bed for a quick night of sleep. Then, the next morning everything would resume their work of supporting and taking care of each other. Nothing anyone was doing was busy work, it was all essential work and every person working was at the best place for them in that moment.

This is a story I have had on my mind this week as I spent time with the story of Mary and Martha. A story where Martha was in the kitchen alone preparing the meal and her sister Mary was assumedly sitting in the living room with the men listening to Jesus. A story where Mary is consumed with the words of Jesus, while Martha, with each peak from the kitchen is becoming progressively more angry that she was doing all the work and Mary was just sitting in the living room like a queen. In Martha’s mind, fixing the meal, being in the kitchen, is alway the most important place to be (as well as for the other females), Jesus is their guest and they need to take care of him, Mary should be in there working and not making Martha do everything!

Martha’s thinking eventually did what that type of thinking usually does, it led her to do something that, in her right mind, she would have never done. She marched into the living room and tersely confronted Jesus.

[Slide] “Do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me?”

It was a confrontation of Jesus, a complaint about Jesus to Jesus, it was an accusation against Jesus, an assumption about Jesus, an intense moment of anger towards Jesus. And then Jesus calmly responds, 

[Slide] “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. – Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Jesus is saying that he is not going to take this moment from Mary, nor will the Spirit ever allow this to be taken away from Mary.

Passionately working on the meal, desiring to take good care of Jesus and to give him the best meal ever, was not a bad thing. Like all of us, Jesus liked to eat, and I am sure, also like all of us, Jesus loved to eat a great meal. On top of that, hospitality was a cultural expectation. Jesus himself had told his own disciples to ‘shake the dust off their feet’ when not shown hospitality in the places they went to minister. Yet, here, hospitality was not the best thing..

[Slide] The word “distracted”, periespato, means to be pulled or dragged in different directions, it is an active force operating against us. Jesus is sitting in their living room and will not be sitting there later – this is the moment when he is there. He will survive with a lesser meal, and there will be other times when a feast is needed, but now, it is a time to soak up Jesus, to let him take care of those present.

[Slide] “Both listening and doing, receiving God’s Word and serving others, are vital to the Christian life, just as inhaling and exhaling are to breathing. Yet how often do we forget to breathe in deeply? Trying to serve God without being nourished by God’s word is like expecting good fruit to grow from a tree that has been uprooted.” (Elisabeth Johnson, Theology Professor)

[Slide] Psalms 37 calls us to ‘Rest’ in the Lord, to cease from anger and to abandon wrath; to not get upset with another because such inner distractions lead only to evildoing. Martha reaches that point, she plows into the living room with utter disregard for the holiness of Jesus’ presence and expresses her frustration – a frustration which was originally targeted at her sister but now, Jesus has become the target.

Oddly, it is in this surreal moment when Martha let go and freely expressed herself. Now, Martha was free to reconsider what was really a priority in this moment. Jesus didn’t rebuke or correct her, he didn’t say she was doing the wrong thing, but, that she was not doing the best thing. Jesus didn’t even correct her attitude or her outrage – Jesus knew that this was Martha at the end of her rope. Arriving at the end or rope is a very common place that lands us in the living room at Jesus’ feet. She was realizing that her choice to take care of Jesus, had been in conflict with her desire to be nurtured by Jesus.

In high school I worked as a life guard. In our training we learned that when trying to save person who was drowning, you had to be very careful to not be caught up in their efforts to save themself. If the person was not at the end of their rope, willing to trust another to save them, there would be a danger of the taking the lifeguard down as well.

[Slide] “A drowning man cannot be saved until he is utterly exhausted and ceases to make the slightest effort to save himself.”

― Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Life

It is often the end of our rope when we finally quit trying, we quit fighting, we quit doing, we quit arguing, we quit being distracted and, instead, we are silent, we listen, we allow Jesus to immerse us. To allow the Spirit to give us a moment of rest and focus. We may not feel anything but still we recenter, we pause, we get an objective moment to reprioritize, to see clearly, to let ourself BE in the midst of Jesus.

The prophet Amos spoke for God when he told the people to be silent. They were consumed with busyness all week, and then, when the day of rest came, they would pace and fret until they could get back to work. In not taking the moment of rest, when they returned to their busyness they returned even more disconnected from God, leading to even more actions in unlike God’s call, they were oppressive to the poor and needy. God’s message through Amos was to be silent, take the moment to let God renew you. They missed the moment and were then unable to abide with God.


This was Martha’s moment, the longer she was distracted with good busyness, the more she stepped further from the message of Christ. She needed to be in the living room instead of the kitchen.

In Psalm 15, the Psalmist calls on each of us to choose to fully dwell in God’s presence, to take up residence, to be fully there/fully present at the feet of Jesus.

Selah. Breath. Soak Jesus in.

[Slide] As was the case with Martha,  ‘To take being in God’s presence seriously is both comforting and unsettling.’ 

(Craig A. Satterlee, Bishop)

[Slide] Those who dwell with God abandon trusting their ability to shape and control their lives and the world and instead put their full trust in God. They are ready and looking for the extraordinary holy ‘best choice’ moments found in the most unextraordinary moments.

Your moment may be when you realize that you, for the first time, desire to fully trust Jesus with your life. It may be a moment when you realize that you have been hiding in the kitchen and missing Jesus in the living room. Or, it may be you, at the end of your rope with nothing else you can do, recognizing just how far you are from God.

Let’s turn our thinking around for a moment.

What if the story is not about Martha versus Mary, what if it is not about Hospitality versus sitting at Jesus feet? What if it is a story about Mary and Martha and an opportunity to do something much greater than what they, or anyone else, would think was culturally possible? What if this moment was an invitation for both women to break barriers and to be disciples of Jesus? What if Jesus is inviting Mary and Martha to violate the gender expectations of their day and to sit at Jesus feet? What if Jesus is proposing that both of these women imagine themself as part of God’s Kingdom, called to bring about its presence here and now?

[Slide] What if this is an ‘invitation to Martha to be the impossible, a disciple? What if the better thing is the invitation to believe that you are who God sees you to be.’

 (Karoline Lewis, Professor of Biblical Preaching)

[Slide] ’This is the sort of thing that Jesus does, breaking the cultural constraints and setting people free for the kingdom. That’s necessary if we are actually going to love our neighbors and love God. It has happened (and must continue to happen) in the face of slavery, and racism, and sexism, and homophobia. The church needs to be set free for such faithful listening and discipled violation of cultural assumptions so that we can love the strangers and sojourners among us, so that we can love our Muslim and Hindu and atheist neighbors, so that we can sit at the feet of Jesus and hear what he has to say to us.’

(Brian Peterson, Professor of New Testament)

What if…..

What if God’s desire is that we are in the place where we need to be? It may be in the living room or it may be in kitchen. It may be the exact place where we are most needed, or the place we most need to be. Finding that place is not a paralyzing experience, it is not a process of quiting life until we are sure. What if, like Martha, we usually know that we are supposed to be in the kitchen until everything inside of us screams that we need to be in the living room, until we walk into and ask, ‘why am I not in the living room!?’  Maybe the question is ‘What is keeping me from being where I am supposed to be at this moment?’ Maybe it is not even a questions of where but a question of What – ‘At this moment, Jesus is in the living room encouraging me to join him, what is the best use of my time, now?’

[Slide] “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

Let’s Pray

Music 4 (6 Slides)

That’s Why We Praise Him

CCLI Song # 2668576

Tommy Walker

Verse 1

He came to live live a perfect life
He came to be the living word our light
He came to die so we’d be reconciled
He came to rise to show His pow’r and might

Chorus

That’s why we praise Him that’s why we sing
That’s why we offer Him our ev’rything
That’s why we bow down and worship this King
‘Cause He gave His ev’rything

Verse 2

He came to live live again in us
He came to be our conquering King and friend
He came to heal and show the lost ones His love
He came to go prepare a place for us

Chorus

That’s why we praise Him that’s why we sing
That’s why we offer Him our ev’rything
That’s why we bow down and worship this King
‘Cause He gave His ev’rything

Bridge

Halle hallelujah
Halle hallelujah

Chorus

That’s why we praise Him that’s why we sing
That’s why we offer Him our ev’rything
That’s why we bow down and worship this King
‘Cause He gave His ev’rything

Benediction (6 Slides) (signal to Segun when slides are ready)

Leader: We welcome God into our lives, into our home, into our heart.

Response: Sometimes we are so busy we forget God is there.

Leader: We ask God for hope, peace, perseverance, and strength.

Response: Often times we forget that God is enough.

Leader: We seek God in our struggles, and in the struggles of others.

Response: Most of the time we fail to sit at God’s feet and to wait for God’s response.

Leader: We beg God for moments of joy.

Response: May we look for the joy in all our moments.

Leader: We cry out for moments of light.

Response: May we seek out the light in our darkness.

Leader: May we all, this week, take a break from our busyness and sit at Jesus’ feet.

Response: May we all, take a breath and recognize God in our moments.

Community (No Slides)

  • March/April Bible Studies survey now up, deadline February 27
  • Afghan info come and go February 20, noon to 3pm
  • Contribution Statements rechecking (confusion w/quarantines)
  • Next Sunday – Unnoticed Absurdity, Luke 20:27-38

Peace (3 Slides)

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

And also with you.

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

Order, Words, & Voices 02.06.22

Order

Sunday, February 6, 2022

  • Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’
  • Music 1 (10:30am) Abbie

I Love To Tell The Story

Love Lifted Me

  • Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick
  • Music 2                                                      Abbie

Grace Greater Than Our Sin

  • Scripture (No slides just reader) Online – Kristen Young
  • Music 3 Abbie

Amazing Grace

  • Message Rick
  • Music 4 (special/no slides) Goodness of God Abbie
  • Benediction Peyton 
  • Community (Gallery View) Rick
  • Closing Peace                                         Rick
  • Closing Audio – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’

Words & Voices

Music 1 (12 Slides)

I Love To Tell The Story

CCLI Song # 29413

Arabella Katherine Hankey | William Gustavus Fischer

Verse 1

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

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

Chorus

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

Verse 4

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

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

Chorus

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

Love Lifted Me

CCLI Song # 66926

Howard E. Smith | James Rowe

Verse 1

I was sinking deep in sin
Far from the peaceful shore
Very deeply stained within
Sinking to rise no more


But the Master of the sea
Heard my despairing cry
From the waters lifted me
Now safe am I

Chorus

Love lifted me
Love lifted me
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me


Verse 2

All my heart to Him I give
Ever to Him I’ll cling
In His blessed presence live
Ever His praises sing


Love so mighty and so true
Merits my soul’s best songs
Faithful loving service too
To Him belongs

Chorus

Love lifted me
Love lifted me
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me

Welcome/Prayer (No Slides)

God you are the Father of all
Father of the poor, the unkept, the weak, the marginalized
Father of those we may not like, and don’t want to like
Father of those who don’t know you and those who love you
Forgive us when we exclude and dismiss others
Help us to understand your full heart and your generous table
To remember that your table has room for the unloveable, such as ourselves
May we learn to love all our brothers and sisters with the unimaginable love that you drenched us with before we ever knew you

Amen

Music 2 (8 Slides)

Grace Greater Than Our Sin

CCLI Song #31690

Daniel Brink Towner | Julia Harriette Johnston

Verse 1

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt

Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt

Chorus

Grace grace God’s grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within


Grace grace God’s grace
Grace that is greater than all our sin

Verse 4

Marvelous infinite matchless grace
Freely bestowed on all who believe


You that are longing to see His face
Will you this moment His grace receive

Chorus

Grace grace God’s grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within


Grace grace God’s grace
Grace that is greater than all our sin

Scripture (No Slides)

Jesus set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet Jesus could not escape notice, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Mark 7:24-30

Music 3 (8 Slides)

Amazing Grace

CCLI Song # 4755360

John Newton

Verse 1

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me


I once was lost but now am found
Was blind but now I see

Verse 2

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved


How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

Verse 3

Through many dangers toils and snares
I have already come


‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home

Verse 4

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun


We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun

Message –  Aggressive Advocate (19 Slides)

When our children were young, the mother of one of their peers was a loud, woman who often created an uncomfortably awkward environment just by appearing at an event. She often used words that did not need to used, and even more often used means to express herself that most people would deem inappropriate. She was quick to express her negative thoughts about her own children to those children and even about her own children to others, at the same time was an aggressive advocate for her children. While her actions and words were sometimes difficult to watch, Andrea and I loved to watch her in action. Even more, we often admitted to each other that we wished we felt the freedom to be her. Such is an aggressive advocate.

Our passage today takes place after Jesus fed 5,000 people, he walked on water, he performed multiple healings, he sent his disciples to be his hands and feet among the oppressed communities, and then, later, he fed 4,000 people, again with leftovers just before he made a very deliberate turn towards Jerusalem and the cross. In the middle of all of that, Jesus makes a very intentional trip to the city of Tyre, a city with a very shady past and as well as a very dismal prophetic future.

Maybe he went there because immediately before he had engaged with the religious leaders with the shocking news that no food that enters the body is actually holy or unholy, but, instead, it is what comes from us, out of our heart, our core. Maybe it was to reveal that God’s grace is for all people, not just the Jews. Probably, however, it was because he was exhausted by the crowds and thought he could get a bit of privacy in this gentile city.

We actually looked at this passage back on October 3 during which we examined the story from the perspective of Jesus. From Jesus’ perspective we not only are confronted with the question of ‘why did Jesus go to Tyre’, but also, ‘why does he use words that are so rude, and even possibly racist’. If you are interested you can view that video on our web site.

Today, however, we are going to view the story from another perspective, the perspective of a gentile mother who was a very, very, aggressive advocate for her daughter.

[slide] New Testament scholar, Matt Skinner, calls the gentile woman a ‘tenacious Syrophoenician theologian’ and he asks [slide] “Who says things like desperation and tenacity aren’t the same thing as faith, when that desperation and tenacity are brought to Jesus? [slide] Don’t lose track of the simplicity of her achievement. Her theology doesn’t originate in books and study; it’s an expression of painfully experienced need and fierce motherly love. [slide] The woman does exemplify faith. In doing so, she makes us consider what “faith” even means. Notice, especially, her persistent efforts (refusing to go away until she gets what she came for), [slide] her hopeful insight (refusing to believe even a tiny speck of grace isn’t out of reach and knowing just a scrap can make the difference for her), [slide] and — in the end — her trusting acceptance (her willingness to take Jesus at his word and journey home alone to confirm her daughter’s healing).”

Matt Skinner, New Testament professor

She is a bulldog for her daughter. Her advocacy is without limits. Her determination has feet. Her faith is aggressive, vulnerable, and desperate. The condition of her daughter has consumed this mother’s life, she was exhausted, there was nothing left that could be done. She was powerless, but not hopeless. She wasn’t giving up until giving up was the only remaining option- until she found the the right person to whom she could give up to – Jesus.

Without any religious practices this outsider woman, with one simple yet profound sentence, moves Jesus to action. Without any grand theatrics or voices from heaven Jesus credits her words 

Genuine authentic words from our hearts are the words that God hears. These are the words that Jesus, as our aggressive advocate, takes to the Father. We see this in the sincere words, words that demonstrate the reality of the heart, polished words from a Roman Centurion and we see this here in the simple, yet profound, words from a mother at the end of her possibilities, these are the words that Jesus draw Jesus’ attention. Words that come from deep within without pretense. These are holy words.

She answered Jesus without offense, humbly without pride, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” The woman does not beg for an exception, does not argue her worth, or even the substance of Jesus words. She didn’t even attempt to argue against a God that excludes. She pointed out what the Spirit had revealed to her – children at a table are messy, there will be crumbs.

She went home without proof, she walked away from Jesus without any concrete evidence, she just accepted him at his words. There, at her home, she found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. She believed before she saw. ‘Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.’

‘She begged Jesus.’ Begging is humiliating, begging can be heard by anyone standing close by. What brought her to Jesus? Had she heard of the healings and acts of deliverance? Had she heard about the feeding of the 5,000 that ended with an overflow abundance of food? Had the overflow of food sparked a recognition within her that God is a God of abundance? Had she put 2 and 2 together and calculated that even those on the outskirts of the Jewish crowd were possibly given the leftovers? Had the Spirit been working in her mind and heart, revealing God’s abundance. Was Jesus looking for words that would indicate that her request was before the one true God, not a celebrity in the flesh?

[slide] Faith is revealed in humble sacrifice.

[slide] Faith is strengthen in our willingness to let the Spirit lead.

[slide] Faith is proven in our unsubstantiated trust in God’s actions

[slide] Faith is evidenced in,

[slide] Humility

[slide] Obedience

[slide] Trust

Faith is ‘desperation and tenacity brought to Jesus.’ Faith is seen in her insistence that the table cannot hold the abundance that God gives.

We know Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, as an instrumental figure of our faith, however in Genesis 32 we see a frightened man heading home to face the consequences of his younger days. He is returning home to a probable vengeance seeking brother, so fear is justifiable. His return is risky, he could lose everything, including his life. Much like the gentile woman, he is desperate, he has done everything he can to survive but doubts that even his groveling will lessen the blow.

[slide] Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. [slide]  Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with the man. [slide]  Then the man said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So the man said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” [slide]  Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” [slide]  Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But the man said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. [slide]  So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.

Genesis 32:22-31

Sometimes faith leaves us broken, battered, and bruised.  Sometimes it leaves us walking with a limp. Sometimes even death. Faith leads us to trust. To trust the generous God of abundance. That leads us to return home even before there is any assurance of health, deliverance, safety, knowing that we have already trusted whatever we will find when we open that door, and that we will survive whatever limp we may be left with.

Lets pray –

Lord, remind us that advocacy, justice, and transformation is not always agitated uprisings and nonstop activity, instead, it is usually through the calm and persistence commitment of small groups and individuals. May we be your tool of  the advocacy, justice, and transformation you desire in our world. May your peace go with us, wherever you may send us. May your Spirit guide us through the wilderness, protect us in the storm, and bring us home rejoicing at the wonders you have shown us. Amen.

Music 4 (No Slides)

Goodness of God

CCLI Song # 7117726

Ben Fielding | Brian Johnson | Ed Cash | Jason Ingram | Jenn Johnson

Verse 1

I love You Lord
Oh Your mercy never fails me
All my days
I’ve been held in Your hands
From the moment that I wake up
Until I lay my head
I will sing of the goodness of God

Chorus

All my life You have been faithful
All my life You have been so so good
With every breath that I am able
I will sing of the goodness of God

Verse 2

I love Your voice
You have led me through the fire
In darkest night
You are close like no other
I’ve known You as a father
I’ve known You as a friend
I have lived in the goodness of God

Chorus

All my life You have been faithful
All my life You have been so so good
With every breath that I am able
I will sing of the goodness of God

Benediction (5 Slides) (Lily – give Peyton a nod when slides are ready)

Leader: We stand at God’s table as outsiders by birth but family through Jesus

Response: We stand at the table because of God’s grace

Leader: At the table we fully belong and are fully invited to partake

Response: At the table none are left begging for crumbs

Leader: We look around the table and see a multitude of labels, practices, and  expressions of faith

Response: We see familiar and unfamiliar faces, all are family

Leader: We partake with the Father who responds with empathy, mercy, and compassion

Response: We partake with Jesus, our advocate and the Spirit, our voice

Leader: The table is a place of hope

Response: The table is a place of love

Community (No Slides)

  • Winter Bible Studies late February waiting on covid numbers
  • Afghan info luncheon February 20
  • Next Sunday – Taking Care of God, Luke 10:38-42

Peace (3 Slides)

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

And also with you.

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

Order, Words, & Voices

Order

Sunday, January 30, 2022

  • Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’
  • Music 1 (10:30am) Lynn/Abbie

Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

  • Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick
  • Music 2                                                      Lynn/Abbie

Trust and Obey

  • Scripture (No slides just reader) Online – Grace
  • Beyond Our Marketplace Interview. (rick &online) Rick & Lita Sample
  • Music 3 Lynn/Abbie

Heart of Worship

  • Message Rick
  • Music 4 Lynn/Abbie

Special – (No Slides) Cornerstone

  • Benediction Dave 
  • Community (Gallery View) Rick
  • Closing Peace                                         Rick
  • Closing Audio – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’

Order

Sunday, January 30, 2022

  • Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’
  • Music 1 (10:30am) Lynn/Abbie

Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

  • Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick
  • Music 2                                                      Lynn/Abbie

Trust and Obey

  • Scripture (No slides just reader) Online – Grace
  • Beyond Our Marketplace Interview. (rick &online) Rick & Lita Sample
  • Music 3 Lynn/Abbie

Heart of Worship

  • Message Rick
  • Music 4 Lynn/Abbie

Special – (No Slides) Cornerstone

  • Benediction Dave 
  • Community (Gallery View) Rick
  • Closing Peace                                         Rick
  • Closing Audio – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’

Words and Voices

Music 1 (7 Slides)

‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus (Trust In Jesus)

CCLI Song # 22609

Louisa M. R. Stead | William James Kirkpatrick

Verse 1

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to take Him at His word
Just to rest upon His promise
Just to know thus saith the Lord

Chorus

Jesus Jesus how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus Jesus precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more

Verse 2

O how sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to trust His cleansing blood
Just in simple faith to plunge me
‘Neath the healing cleansing flood

Chorus

Jesus Jesus how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus Jesus precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more

Verse 4

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee
Precious Jesus Savior Friend
And I know that Thou art with me
Wilt be with me to the end

Chorus

Jesus Jesus how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus Jesus precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

CCLI Song # 7067212

Aaron Shust | Paul Baloche

Chorus

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Welcome/Prayer (No Slides)

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for Your unconditional love; Your goodness and Your loving-kindness to us and to all that are called by Your name. Great is Your faithfulness and we praise You – for You alone are worthy. Keep us low at the cross and help us to patiently wait for You in humble submission to Your Holy Spirit by trusting Your word of grace, even when we don’t understand – for You are good to those who wait for You. Help us to seek You with all our heart, in Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Music 2 (8 Slides)

Trust And Obey

CCLI Song # 22094

Daniel Brink Towner | John Henry Sammis

Verse 1

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

Chorus

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

Verse 2

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

Chorus

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

Verse 3

Not a burden we bear
Not a sorrow we share
But our toil He doth richly repay
Not a grief nor a loss
Not a frown nor a cross
But is blessed if we trust and obey

Chorus

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

Verse 5

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

Chorus

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

Scripture (No Slides)

Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us; look, and see our disgrace! Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to aliens. 

We have become orphans, fatherless; our mothers are like widows. 

We must pay for the water we drink; the wood we get must be bought. With a yoke on our necks we are hard driven; we are weary, we are given no rest. 

We have made a pact with Egypt and Assyria, to get enough bread. 

Our ancestors sinned; they are no more, and we bear their iniquities.

Lamentations 5:1-7

Beyond Our Marketplace w/Rick and Lita Sample (1 intro slide)

We last spoke with Rick and Lita Samples about 5 months ago as they prepared to welcome the refugees from Afghan arriving over the holiday season. This morning we welcome them back as we seek to go beyond our marketplace.

Questions:

  1. Share with us what you did over Christmas to minister to the Afghans?
  2. On our last visit you shared of the disillusionment of some of the Afghans with their faith and faith practices. Have some come to a recognition of Jesus?
  3. What are your Afghan ministry plans for 2022?
  4. Could you share a bit of the pain the Afghans have experienced?

Music 3 (6 Slides)

The Heart Of Worship

CCLI Song # 2296522

Matt Redman

Verse 1

When the music fades all is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring something that’s of worth
That will bless Your heart

Pre-Chorus

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

Chorus

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You all about You Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You all about You Jesus

Verse 2

King of endless worth no one could express
How much You deserve
Though I’m weak and poor all I have is Yours
Ev’ry single breath

Pre-Chorus

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

Chorus

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You all about You Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You all about You Jesus

Message – Response Time (13 Slides)

Understanding the journey of another is usually an impossible feat. We are told that to understand the pain of another person’s misery we must walk a mile in their shoes. Usually a mile is insufficient to truly grasp the depths of hopelessness and pain of another. That is a challenge that Rick and Lita face in their ministry with the Afghan and other immigrants and refugees. To probe the stories of the fear and desperation of lives markedly different than your own, to gain an empathy of their never-ending struggles.

In the classic To Kill A Mockingbird, Father Atticus Finch attempts to enlighten his daughter Scout as he tells her,

[Slide]“If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” 
– Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Marcus Aurelius, considered to be the last ‘Good’ Roman Emperor wrote,

[Slide]“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” 
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
 

Poet Maya Angelou stated,

[Slide]“I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.” 
– Maya Angelou

This was the journey of Jesus, crawling into human skin, walking around in it for an entire human lifetime. We have seen Jesus come to grasp the suffering as he traveled to the oppressed communities, as he confronted the unbearable deep loss of the death of a friend, as he looked into the eyes of a woman facing a brutal death due to her gender, and on multiple times as he experienced very real and deep seated rejection. 

Tomorrow, our son Isaiah will begin a series of tests to determine what is going on with his heart. These tests will look at his heart and cardio system as he is put through a series of environments such as stress, work, and rest. 

While the focus for Isaiah will be on his physical heart, the experiences of the Israelites throughout the old testament, especially before, during, and after the Babylonian exile acts as a test for their metaphorical heart. The core of their being. We get to see the prophetic warnings for over a century before the exile, we see the gradual awakening among the Israelites during the exile, and we see the struggles following the exile. What is even more significant however, is that this heart testing reveals our own hearts to us.

One perspective we seldom have about the exile is the situation back in Jerusalem for those not forced into exile. These individuals were the unwanted, these that were deemed useless or counter productive. Jeremiah was left behind, the Babylonians didn’t want to hear his messages anymore than the Isrealites – and in the description given in the book of Lamentations we see the others that remained were basically the priests and the young girls. These were left to a fruitless and unproductive land, a defenseless city, and temple in crumbles. For them, life in slavery looked better than their hopelessness and despair.

The five depressing poetic chapters of Lamentations was probably written by Jeremiah, one of the prophets who attempted to warn the people of the coming exile. His is a first hand account of the suffering and pain of himself and those that remained.  

The Hebrew title for Lamentations, sepher and ‘êkâ   – meaning readings ‘The Book of How.” Laments, in general, just explain the on going suffering and usually, the reason for the suffering. They provide no promise of hope or deliverance only an understanding of the pain. 

These are not just an opportunity for moaning and complaining. Lamentations comes from the ailing heart of a narrator (probably Jeremiah) and the young girls. There is a back and forth of these first hand voices expressing the pain. While there is not a solution, Lamentations gives us the heart journey of these, and, at the same time, the heart journey of those in exile. Basically, Lamentations is a journey with a destination of repentance. The basic narrative is to explain the agonizing situation but scattered throughout are voices of evolving recognition of personal responsibility for at least a portion of their situation.

Jerusalem, who is described as a disregarded woman, comes to a personal guilt but also a selfish blame and vengeance.

[Slide]The Lord is in the right, for I have rebelled against his word; but hear, all you peoples, and behold my suffering; my young women and young men have gone into captivity. I called to my lovers but they deceived me; my priests and elders perished in the city while seeking food to revive their strength.

[Slide]See, O Lord, how distressed I am; my stomach churns, my heart is wrung within me, because I have been very rebellious. In the street the sword bereaves; in the house it is like death. They heard how I was groaning, with no one to comfort me. 

[Slide]All my enemies heard of my trouble; they are glad that you have done it. Bring on the day you have announced, and let them be as I am. Let all their evil doing come before you; and deal with them as you have dealt with me because of all my transgressions: for my groans are many and my heart is faint.

Lamentations 1:18-22

Can you see that, a recognition of personal responsibility that is still intertwined with a hesitancy, not a full unconditional recognition of guilt – not an immersion that leads to full repentance. Then let’s look at the final words in chapter 5.

[Slide]But you, O Lord, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations. Why have you forgotten us completely? Why have you forsaken us these many days Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored; renew our days as of old—unless you have utterly rejected us, and are angry with us beyond measure.

Lamentations 5:19-22

It took awhile but eventually Lamentations gets to a point where responsibility is not encumbered with conditions or even blame – instead there is a recognition of ‘my part’ as well as an understanding that God is just.

Owning up to our roll even in our suffering, or the suffering of others, requires a release of pride and arrogance. This is not easy for us humans, especially when our primary goal is to hide in the garden so no one can see our nakedness, our faults, our failures. Right now we see this playing out across our own country, a refusal to take an honest look at, not only our ancestors part in oppression but also a genuine unchartered dive into our continued role. The largest Christian denomination in the US has been unable over the past years to even come up with a condemnation of White Christian Nationalism.


We don’t like to feel guilty. We don’t want our status quo challenged. We don’t like admitting our mistakes. 

The truth is, however, that we still life in a world full of credible laments and God calls on us to listen and consider, to let the Holy Spirit move revealing the truth of our own responsibility.

We can deny, we resist accepting our own part. We can defend ourselves, we can fight, we can blame, we can argue against the validity of the Lament process while denying all personal responsibility. Or, we can let down our guard and own our responsibility, we can listen, we can learn, we challenge ourself, we let Jesus’ embrace of all people become our heart.

Biblical scholar Walter Bouzard writes, 

[Slide]“It is likely true that these Laments are not immediately applicable in every North American context. Oh, there have been moments in our collective history where our national self-understanding was shaken by violence and war, where some among us were left wondering about God’s agency in the world’s catastrophes. 

[Slide]The tragic events of 9/11 serve as one stark example another is the Sandy Hook Elementary school slaughter late in 2012.  Communities whose lack of means and political power has left them devastated and with a real sense of having been forsaken by God. 

[Slide]Such people, such communities, are given Laments, words, to bring before God in the poetry of Lamentations. The lament of Jerusalem reminds us that such pain is actually experienced on a daily basis around the globe and down the street. By hearing their pain and by seeking deep empathy with them, we can join our prayers to theirs. 

[Slide]We can implore the LORD on their behalf, offering lamentations for those who cannot hear their own voices in the din of explosions and the over the cries of their anguish. 

[Slide]Who knows? By empathetically weeping with those who hurt far away and with those who suffer in our own contexts, we may come to love them. And if we come authentically to love them, our eyes might even be opened to see that the Lord to whom we cry out together is already there — wherever they are — among the broken and suffering in our world. 

[Slide]Jesus is there, wounded, pierced, weeping, but speaking a quite promise of a reign of God that will yet come. Oh, maranatha! (1 Corinthians 16:22).”

In listening to the laments of others we ask God for an empathy, we ask for God’s love. It is then that we are ready for our own epiphany, our own realization of even our own part in the Laments, maybe our own responsibility. 

In Boston this past week, Isaiah and I walked past the oldest continuously maintained Victory garden since WW2. You have probably heard of these, it was all part of American’s taking their responsibility in the Lament of the war. Shared sacrifice. The simple act of growing vegetable in a public manner or in your own yard, a way of accepting responsibility for the war. They also rationed resources, paid war taxes, went to work to fill manpower needs, and much more, just to do their part.

We all have a part in the world. How we treat others, how we encourage and support the downtrodden, hearing and considering our part in the Laments of the world, sacrificing our comfort when we do not have to do so. We are all called to avail ourself to God’s empathy.

We are all called to transformation in the midst of our own Laments as well as the Laments of others.

Let’s Pray

Music 4 (7 Slides)

Cornerstone

CCLI Song # 6158927

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

Verse 1

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

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

Chorus

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

Verse 2

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

Chorus

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

Verse 3

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

Chorus

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

Benediction (4 Slides)

Reader: As we leave from here, we go into a world of pain and suffering.

Response: As we leave from here we go into a world of Laments.

Reader: May we choose to listen and not turn away from their stories.

Response: May we choose to remember that Jesus embraced everyone.

Reader: We go from here remembering that God created everyone.

Response: We go from here choosing love for everyone.

Reader: May we choose to hear, may we choose to accept, may we embrace.

Response: May we seek empathy as we pray for all.

Community (No Slides)

  • Winter Bible Studies in February waiting on covid
  • Next Sunday – 

Peace (3 Slides)

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

And also with you.

Go in peace.

Music 1 (7 Slides)

‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus (Trust In Jesus)

CCLI Song # 22609

Louisa M. R. Stead | William James Kirkpatrick

Verse 1

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to take Him at His word
Just to rest upon His promise
Just to know thus saith the Lord

Chorus

Jesus Jesus how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus Jesus precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more

Verse 2

O how sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to trust His cleansing blood
Just in simple faith to plunge me
‘Neath the healing cleansing flood

Chorus

Jesus Jesus how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus Jesus precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more

Verse 4

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee
Precious Jesus Savior Friend
And I know that Thou art with me
Wilt be with me to the end

Chorus

Jesus Jesus how I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus Jesus precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

CCLI Song # 7067212

Aaron Shust | Paul Baloche

Chorus

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Welcome/Prayer (No Slides)

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for Your unconditional love; Your goodness and Your loving-kindness to us and to all that are called by Your name. Great is Your faithfulness and we praise You – for You alone are worthy. Keep us low at the cross and help us to patiently wait for You in humble submission to Your Holy Spirit by trusting Your word of grace, even when we don’t understand – for You are good to those who wait for You. Help us to seek You with all our heart, in Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Music 2 (8 Slides)

Trust And Obey

CCLI Song # 22094

Daniel Brink Towner | John Henry Sammis

Verse 1

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

Chorus

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

Verse 2

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

Chorus

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

Verse 3

Not a burden we bear
Not a sorrow we share
But our toil He doth richly repay
Not a grief nor a loss
Not a frown nor a cross
But is blessed if we trust and obey

Chorus

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

Verse 5

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

Chorus

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

Scripture (No Slides)

Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us; look, and see our disgrace! Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to aliens. 

We have become orphans, fatherless; our mothers are like widows. 

We must pay for the water we drink; the wood we get must be bought. With a yoke on our necks we are hard driven; we are weary, we are given no rest. 

We have made a pact with Egypt and Assyria, to get enough bread. 

Our ancestors sinned; they are no more, and we bear their iniquities.

Lamentations 5:1-7

Beyond Our Marketplace w/Rick and Lita Sample (1 intro slide)

We last spoke with Rick and Lita Samples about 5 months ago as they prepared to welcome the refugees from Afghan arriving over the holiday season. This morning we welcome them back as we seek to go beyond our marketplace.

Questions:

  1. Share with us what you did over Christmas to minister to the Afghans?
  2. On our last visit you shared of the disillusionment of some of the Afghans with their faith and faith practices. Have some come to a recognition of Jesus?
  3. What are your Afghan ministry plans for 2022?
  4. Could you share a bit of the pain the Afghans have experienced?

Music 3 (6 Slides)

The Heart Of Worship

CCLI Song # 2296522

Matt Redman

Verse 1

When the music fades all is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring something that’s of worth
That will bless Your heart

Pre-Chorus

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

Chorus

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You all about You Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You all about You Jesus

Verse 2

King of endless worth no one could express
How much You deserve
Though I’m weak and poor all I have is Yours
Ev’ry single breath

Pre-Chorus

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

Chorus

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You all about You Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You all about You Jesus

Message – Response Time (13 Slides)

Understanding the journey of another is usually an impossible feat. We are told that to understand the pain of another person’s misery we must walk a mile in their shoes. Usually a mile is insufficient to truly grasp the depths of hopelessness and pain of another. That is a challenge that Rick and Lita face in their ministry with the Afghan and other immigrants and refugees. To probe the stories of the fear and desperation of lives markedly different than your own, to gain an empathy of their never-ending struggles.

In the classic To Kill A Mockingbird, Father Atticus Finch attempts to enlighten his daughter Scout as he tells her,

[Slide]“If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” 
– Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Marcus Aurelius, considered to be the last ‘Good’ Roman Emperor wrote,

[Slide]“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” 
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
 

Poet Maya Angelou stated,

[Slide]“I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.” 
– Maya Angelou

This was the journey of Jesus, crawling into human skin, walking around in it for an entire human lifetime. We have seen Jesus come to grasp the suffering as he traveled to the oppressed communities, as he confronted the unbearable deep loss of the death of a friend, as he looked into the eyes of a woman facing a brutal death due to her gender, and on multiple times as he experienced very real and deep seated rejection. 

Tomorrow, our son Isaiah will begin a series of tests to determine what is going on with his heart. These tests will look at his heart and cardio system as he is put through a series of environments such as stress, work, and rest. 

While the focus for Isaiah will be on his physical heart, the experiences of the Israelites throughout the old testament, especially before, during, and after the Babylonian exile acts as a test for their metaphorical heart. The core of their being. We get to see the prophetic warnings for over a century before the exile, we see the gradual awakening among the Israelites during the exile, and we see the struggles following the exile. What is even more significant however, is that this heart testing reveals our own hearts to us.

One perspective we seldom have about the exile is the situation back in Jerusalem for those not forced into exile. These individuals were the unwanted, these that were deemed useless or counter productive. Jeremiah was left behind, the Babylonians didn’t want to hear his messages anymore than the Isrealites – and in the description given in the book of Lamentations we see the others that remained were basically the priests and the young girls. These were left to a fruitless and unproductive land, a defenseless city, and temple in crumbles. For them, life in slavery looked better than their hopelessness and despair.

The five depressing poetic chapters of Lamentations was probably written by Jeremiah, one of the prophets who attempted to warn the people of the coming exile. His is a first hand account of the suffering and pain of himself and those that remained.  

The Hebrew title for Lamentations, sepher and ‘êkâ   – meaning readings ‘The Book of How.” Laments, in general, just explain the on going suffering and usually, the reason for the suffering. They provide no promise of hope or deliverance only an understanding of the pain. 

These are not just an opportunity for moaning and complaining. Lamentations comes from the ailing heart of a narrator (probably Jeremiah) and the young girls. There is a back and forth of these first hand voices expressing the pain. While there is not a solution, Lamentations gives us the heart journey of these, and, at the same time, the heart journey of those in exile. Basically, Lamentations is a journey with a destination of repentance. The basic narrative is to explain the agonizing situation but scattered throughout are voices of evolving recognition of personal responsibility for at least a portion of their situation.

Jerusalem, who is described as a disregarded woman, comes to a personal guilt but also a selfish blame and vengeance.

[Slide]The Lord is in the right, for I have rebelled against his word; but hear, all you peoples, and behold my suffering; my young women and young men have gone into captivity. I called to my lovers but they deceived me; my priests and elders perished in the city while seeking food to revive their strength.

[Slide]See, O Lord, how distressed I am; my stomach churns, my heart is wrung within me, because I have been very rebellious. In the street the sword bereaves; in the house it is like death. They heard how I was groaning, with no one to comfort me. 

[Slide]All my enemies heard of my trouble; they are glad that you have done it. Bring on the day you have announced, and let them be as I am. Let all their evil doing come before you; and deal with them as you have dealt with me because of all my transgressions: for my groans are many and my heart is faint.

Lamentations 1:18-22

Can you see that, a recognition of personal responsibility that is still intertwined with a hesitancy, not a full unconditional recognition of guilt – not an immersion that leads to full repentance. Then let’s look at the final words in chapter 5.

[Slide]But you, O Lord, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations. Why have you forgotten us completely? Why have you forsaken us these many days Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored; renew our days as of old—unless you have utterly rejected us, and are angry with us beyond measure.

Lamentations 5:19-22

It took awhile but eventually Lamentations gets to a point where responsibility is not encumbered with conditions or even blame – instead there is a recognition of ‘my part’ as well as an understanding that God is just.

Owning up to our roll even in our suffering, or the suffering of others, requires a release of pride and arrogance. This is not easy for us humans, especially when our primary goal is to hide in the garden so no one can see our nakedness, our faults, our failures. Right now we see this playing out across our own country, a refusal to take an honest look at, not only our ancestors part in oppression but also a genuine unchartered dive into our continued role. The largest Christian denomination in the US has been unable over the past years to even come up with a condemnation of White Christian Nationalism.


We don’t like to feel guilty. We don’t want our status quo challenged. We don’t like admitting our mistakes. 

The truth is, however, that we still life in a world full of credible laments and God calls on us to listen and consider, to let the Holy Spirit move revealing the truth of our own responsibility.

We can deny, we resist accepting our own part. We can defend ourselves, we can fight, we can blame, we can argue against the validity of the Lament process while denying all personal responsibility. Or, we can let down our guard and own our responsibility, we can listen, we can learn, we challenge ourself, we let Jesus’ embrace of all people become our heart.

Biblical scholar Walter Bouzard writes, 

[Slide]“It is likely true that these Laments are not immediately applicable in every North American context. Oh, there have been moments in our collective history where our national self-understanding was shaken by violence and war, where some among us were left wondering about God’s agency in the world’s catastrophes. 

[Slide]The tragic events of 9/11 serve as one stark example another is the Sandy Hook Elementary school slaughter late in 2012.  Communities whose lack of means and political power has left them devastated and with a real sense of having been forsaken by God. 

[Slide]Such people, such communities, are given Laments, words, to bring before God in the poetry of Lamentations. The lament of Jerusalem reminds us that such pain is actually experienced on a daily basis around the globe and down the street. By hearing their pain and by seeking deep empathy with them, we can join our prayers to theirs. 

[Slide]We can implore the LORD on their behalf, offering lamentations for those who cannot hear their own voices in the din of explosions and the over the cries of their anguish. 

[Slide]Who knows? By empathetically weeping with those who hurt far away and with those who suffer in our own contexts, we may come to love them. And if we come authentically to love them, our eyes might even be opened to see that the Lord to whom we cry out together is already there — wherever they are — among the broken and suffering in our world. 

[Slide]Jesus is there, wounded, pierced, weeping, but speaking a quite promise of a reign of God that will yet come. Oh, maranatha! (1 Corinthians 16:22).”

In listening to the laments of others we ask God for an empathy, we ask for God’s love. It is then that we are ready for our own epiphany, our own realization of even our own part in the Laments, maybe our own responsibility. 

In Boston this past week, Isaiah and I walked past the oldest continuously maintained Victory garden since WW2. You have probably heard of these, it was all part of American’s taking their responsibility in the Lament of the war. Shared sacrifice. The simple act of growing vegetable in a public manner or in your own yard, a way of accepting responsibility for the war. They also rationed resources, paid war taxes, went to work to fill manpower needs, and much more, just to do their part.

We all have a part in the world. How we treat others, how we encourage and support the downtrodden, hearing and considering our part in the Laments of the world, sacrificing our comfort when we do not have to do so. We are all called to avail ourself to God’s empathy.

We are all called to transformation in the midst of our own Laments as well as the Laments of others.

Let’s Pray

Music 4 (7 Slides)

Cornerstone

CCLI Song # 6158927

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

Verse 1

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

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

Chorus

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

Verse 2

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

Chorus

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

Verse 3

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

Chorus

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

Benediction (4 Slides)

Reader: As we leave from here, we go into a world of pain and suffering.

Response: As we leave from here we go into a world of Laments.

Reader: May we choose to listen and not turn away from their stories.

Response: May we choose to remember that Jesus embraced everyone.

Reader: We go from here remembering that God created everyone.

Response: We go from here choosing love for everyone.

Reader: May we choose to hear, may we choose to accept, may we embrace.

Response: May we seek empathy as we pray for all.

Community (No Slides)

  • Winter Bible Studies in February waiting on covid
  • Next Sunday – 

Peace (3 Slides)

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

And also with you.

Go in peace.

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