April 19, 2020 - Home Worship Service

April 19, 2020


Jennifer Parks-Snyder is inviting you to Zoom meetings for Joys, Concerns and Prayers.  

9:00 am or 6:00 pm Sundays:  Use just a regular phone.  Dial 1-929-436-2866 (toll free).  Or you can use a computer or tablet or smart phone.  For the foreseeable future there will be no in-person meetings.  These ZOOM gatherings are scheduled April 19 - May 17.

9:00 AM information:
Meeting ID: 757 496 754
Password: 522345
Call in: 1 929 436 2866 US

6:00 PM information:

Meeting ID: 186 263 314
Password: 525901
Call in: +1 929 436 2866 US


Prelude:  Christ the Lord Is Risen Today


Gathering Words:

            The tomb that was sealed is flung wide!

            Christ who was dead is alive!


Opening Hymn: He Lives (video, Alan Jackson)



1] I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today;

    I know that He is living, whatever foes may say.

    I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,

    and just the time I need Him, He’s always near.



He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!

He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.

He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!

You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.


2] In all the world around me I see His loving care,

    and though my heart grows weary, I never will despair.

    I know that He is leading through all the stormy blast;

    the day of His appearing will come at last.




3] Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing

    eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!

    The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find;

    none other is so loving, so good and kind.




Children’s Time:

Message from Ben Dodge:  https://youtu.be/CKHyxixXwUQ

Praise Ye the Lord Hallelujah (video)



Prayer for the Day:

Ever-present God, we want to know You; we want to see You; we want to believe and to trust You. Help our unbelief. Reveal Your presence in our lives and in our world. Guide us to live as children of hope and faith, that we may truly experience the gift of resurrection. And now as Your Son taught us to pray… Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.


Invitation to the Offering;

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Let everyone who has gifts praise the Lord! Let all who are blessed praise the Lord! May we offer our praise and our gratitude as we share our gifts and our blessings with a world in need.


Some of you are experiencing economic hardships related to the pandemic and your offering may be diminished. Our prayers are with you as you struggle to make ends meet. To the rest, if you can send in your offering, we invite you to do so as our ministry continues. There are still needs to be met through the services we support such as local food banks, health care ministries, and of course the staff of this congregation who are still working around the clock to check in with members, disinfect buildings, and discern and provide worship possibilities. Lightstreet United Methodist Church, 1640 Main Street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815. The option of electric transfer of funds is also available. Contact our church treasurer, Amy Dent (aedent@pa.metrocast.net or 570-458-4299). She will guide you through the process to authorize your bank to transfer funds into the church account.


Offering Prayer:

Risen Christ, You proclaim us blessed when we believe even where we have not seen. Bless these gifts, given in faith and hope, that they may be visible reminders of Your presence in our world. May those who cannot believe without seeing, see in these gifts Your loving grace – a grace present and available to all. Amen.


Offering Meditation by the Praise Band:  Raise a Hallelujah



Offering Thanksgiving by our organist, Donna Farver:  He Is Lord!



Scripture Lesson: John 20:19-31 Beth Snyder


Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The Purpose of John’s Gospel

30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe[b] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Message: Doubting our Doubts


JOHN 20:19-31

APRIL 19, 2020 – Rev. Ron French



I have come to believe that certainty is difficult to attain in this world. There always seems to be room for doubt in any situation. But we have to be careful, doubt can be disheartening. So some wise people have taken doubt to its logical conclusion and have begun to doubt their doubts. And through this they have found their way to a most satisfying life.

            Such a man was Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island and the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Like many young people, Stevenson rebelled against his upbringing. He had been raised in Scotland in a very strict Calvinist home. As a college student he quickly shed his rigid upbringing, which he called “the deadliest gag and wet blanket that can be laid on a man,” and adopted a thoroughly bohemian lifestyle. He called himself a “youthful atheist.”

            As he became older, however, Robert Louis Stevenson began to have “doubts about his doubts.” He came to see that for all its claim to wisdom, the world had no satisfying answers to the deepest questions of life. Later Stevenson would write, “There is a God who is manifest for those who care to look for Him.” In the later years of his life Stevenson was a man of deep and profound faith. Just before he died at the age of 44, he described his religious outlook as a “cast iron faith.”

            Our Scripture from John’s Gospel is about the world’s most famous doubter. His name was Thomas. The news of Jesus’ resurrection spread quickly among His disciples. We can only imagine the quickened pulse and the rapid, excited speech of those who had encountered the risen Christ as they shared their experience with others. We can also imagine the difficulty that those who heard their story had in believing them.

            The first recipients of the good news of Easter were Jesus’ disciples. And as more and more of His followers encountered the risen Christ the stories gained credibility.

            The most famous of the holdouts was the disciple named Thomas, also called the twin. He said to the other disciples, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands, put my fingers in the wounds left by nails, and I put my hand into His side, I won’t believe.” (25b) Many of us have had times in our lives when we could identify with Thomas. We too have rebelled. We too have doubted. So here is something we need to understand.

            Doubt is one of the most important tools that God uses to produce mighty women and men of faith. I worry when someone says, “I have never doubted for one moment my faith in God.” Brothers and sisters, I am convinced that God has placed many obstacles to faith in our world. If God had meant for us to walk in utter certainty, why doesn’t He reveal Himself more clearly? Why doesn’t He give us understandable answers to questions such as, “Why do things like the Covid-19 virus have to happen?” It would be so much easier to believe if we had answers to such questions. Why doesn’t God just speak to us in a clear voice and reveal Himself so that, like those early disciples, we could go out into the world and tell our friends, “I have seen the Lord!” God uses obstacles to train us – to make us strong. And doubt is one of those obstacles.

However, in order to experience the true joy that God intends for each of His children, and that’s you and me, there must come a time when we begin to doubt our doubts. Doubting our faith is easy, but doubting our doubts is far more profitable.

            There is something within the human heart that is ever reaching outward and upward. There is something within our very nature that senses incompleteness to life. We see through the glass darkly, but somehow we sense that the room into which we are peering is not empty. The world is far too wonderful to have occurred by chance. There is within us a hunger that only a relationship with the Divine can satisfy. It is very difficult for most of us not to “doubt our doubts.” But there is one more thing to be said.

            Christian faith can only be analyzed from the inside. Here is where those who have made a god of the secular way of life are going to have a problem. You cannot find God with the most powerful telescope ever built. You cannot find God with a slide rule, a test tube, or a computer. Sisters and brothers there is only one way to find God and that is to take a step of faith, entrust your life to Him, and enter into a daily walk with Him. I cannot prove to you beyond a shadow of a doubt the existence of God, but you can prove Him to yourself.

            There are two ways that the existence of a loving God can be proved. The first is by the testimony of others. We can say with utter certainty that there have been millions of persons who have experienced God as a reality in their lives. That is one proof – though it may not satisfy the skeptic. The most conclusive evidence of the existence of God is to experience God yourself. As our opening hymn says, “Ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart.”

            The Christian faith must be experienced from the inside. Faith grows as you walk daily with Jesus. It is unlikely that Thomas the doubter would ever have experienced the faith if he had not remained among the other believers. Had he not, his loss would have been profound. He would never have experienced the joy and relief he experienced when he fell to his knees at the feet of Jesus and exclaimed, “My Lord and my God.”(28) Thomas dropped his doubts at the pierced feet of Jesus and became one of those by whose testimony we have the faith today.

            Thomas was a doubter. He had to see for himself. Jesus did not condemn him for that either. However, Jesus did say to Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (29b) Doubt is an obstacle that, when overcome, can cause us to have a deeper, richer, more meaningful faith. In the struggle for meaning the wise person learns to doubt their doubts. The only way to prove faith is to surrender yourself to the Lordship of the Risen Christ, walk in His way and experience His love for yourself. Isn’t it time you started doubting your doubts?


Closing Song: I Will Call Upon the Lord (sing through 2x)


I will call upon the Lord (I will call upon the Lord)

Who is worthy to be praised (Who is worthy to be praised)

So shall I be saved from my enemies (So shall I be saved from my enemies)

I will call upon the Lord


Chorus (2x)

The Lord liveth

And blessed be the Rock

And let the God of my salvation be exalted



Sending Forth:

Believe! Christ has risen!

Go! Share the good news!



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