January 17, 2021 - Home Worship Service

Jan 17th  Welcome & Announcements: Good morning church! We continue to offer on-line worship through ZOOM and Facebook Live at 9am on Sundays.

 

For the month of January we offer ZOOM worship only at 9am.

Pastor Jenn and your church leaders invite you to ZOOM, Sunday morning, 9:00 am. 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85441468430?pwd=aEJmcnJ3SGdkbWphMnlRV3JwQ3dXQT09

  Meeting ID: 854 4146 8430        Password: 279040

One tap mobile:  +19294362866,,85441468430#,,,,0#,,279040# US (New York)

For audio only using a landline or non-smart phone:  1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

 

Sermon by Phone!  Each week Pastor Jenn will upload the audio recording of our ZOOM services and you, a member can call a number and hear the service recording. It's really cool! The number is:1-570-215-3814; you don't have to type in the 1 if you are in the 570 area code. There is no code or password. It takes you directly to the service. And that number never changes. So, check it out, and be sure to share with our older congregants who miss our voices. Blessings, PJenn

 

You Are Never Alone by Max Lucado Bible Study with Pastor Ron beginning February 16th.

When life feels depleted, does God care? I'm facing an onslaught of challenges; will God help? When life grows dark and stormy, does God notice? I'm facing the fear of death; will God help me? The answer in the life-giving miracles in the Gospel of John is a resounding yes. (See promo at: https://youtu.be/LuCR8n-J0rw )

            10am Tuesday mornings in person at the Lighthouse. (Please register with Pastor Ron, there is a limit of 10)

6:30pm Tuesday evenings with ZOOM and Facebook Live.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84464947805?pwd=ejRHZ3h3NlVKSGd3MFRoU2NwUTVSZz09

Meeting ID: 844 6494 7805               Passcode: 261088

One tap mobile:  +19294362866,,84464947805#,,,,*261088# US (New York)

For audio only using a landline or non-smart phone:  1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

            You can purchase the book through the church for $10 or you can find online with various prices.

 

Worship Service:

I invite you to prepare your hearts for worship by lighting a candle and welcoming the presence of the Divine at your home.

 

Call to Worship:

L: Gather this day in silence and hope.

P: We wait for God’s word for us.
L: Let your hearts and spirits be open.
P: God is our strength and salvation.
L: Wait patiently for the Lord.
P: With willing hearts and spirits we wait for the Lord. AMEN.

 

Opening Song:  Below My Feet by the LUMC Praise Band

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/below-my-feet

You were cold as the blood runs through your bones And the light which led us from our chosen homes

Well I was lost

And now I sleep. Sleep the hours that I don’t weep. When all I knew was steeped in blackened holes

I was lost

Chorus:           Keep the earth below my feet for all my sweat my blood runs weak

Let me learn from where I have been, keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn

Keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn

And I was still. I was under your spell when I was told by Jesus all was well. So, all must be well

Just give me time You know your desires and mine. So, wrap my flesh in ivy and in twine. For I must be well

Chorus(repeat)

Opening Prayer:

Awesome God, You knew us before we were born. You love us into life. Open our hearts and our spirits today to hear Your word for us. And, upon hearing the word, may we be convinced of our call to ministry and mission through the church. Bless us with Your presence and Your powerful love, for we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

 

Children’s Time: It's our children's time and I want to start with a question I ask you each and every week: Who are you? Children Respond: Special Gifts of God!

PJ: That's right, you are special gifts of God each and every day and I'm so lucky to spend time with you!

Today Pastor Ron is going to teach you about Samuel. Here’s a video that tells his story.

https://youtu.be/P13uIsFW7OA

Samuel could hear God’s voice. Some people can do that, some people cannot, however we can always know what is God’s way, that is being kind, good, and helpful. So the next time someone asks you for help, maybe consider how you are hearing God by helping others.

Let’s pray: Thank You God, that Samuel heard Your voice. Help us hear You, too. Amen.

 

Sharing of Joys & Concerns:

Prayer & Lord’s Prayer:

Patient and Wise God, You have called this church into being to serve You in this world by helping others. We rejoice in the many ways we are able to be of help. We offer our prayers for each other, for those near and dear to us, for the situations of difficulty and strife in community and world. You hear our voices cry out and with Your eternal compassion You respond in loving care to each of us. We gather here this day, meeting and greeting each other, celebrating fellowship and friendship, welcoming each other in Your name. You remind us that You are with us always. What have we to fear? But we fear far too often the unknown tasks that lie ahead of us. We always want to be assured of the happy outcome of our efforts. Help us to trust Your guidance and presence, Lord. Help us remember that there is no time in which we are out of Your care. Enable us to be in serving ministry and mission with joy and confidence. Heal our wounds, bind up our bruises and broken spirits. Put us on a pathway of peace. For we ask this in the name of Jesus who taught us to pray…[1]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:

Our hearts are open wide to the needs of others. Let us reach out and share what we’ve been given.

 

Offering Prayer

Holy God, Steadfast Rock of all Salvation, we marvel at the strength of Your compassion and Your ability to offer forgiveness. We come to You, open to be part of the good news You are bringing forth, for we would be part of the realm You are revealing. Amen.

 

Scripture Lesson:1 Samuel 3:1-10

Samuel’s Calling and Prophetic Activity

3Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.

2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; 3the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4Then the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ and he said, ‘Here I am!’ 5and ran to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call; lie down again.’ So he went and lay down. 6The Lord called again, ‘Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call, my son; lie down again.’ 7Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” ’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’

 

Sermon: Someone is Calling by Pastor Ron

January 17, 2021                       “SOMEONE IS CALLING”                          I Samuel 3:1-10

 

            One summer while Max Lucado was in high school he worked laying pipe in a west Texas oil field. At lunch time the workers in the oil fields would tell jokes and play cards. “For thirty minutes, in the heat of the day,” Max says, “the oil patch became Las Vegas, complete with foul language, dirty stories, blackjack, and barstools that doubled as lunch pails.” One day during lunch, a supervisor walked toward the workers. They wondered if he had a job for them that couldn’t wait. “Uh, fellows,” he stuttered. The workers turned and looked up at him. “I, uh, just wanted, uh, to invite…” the workers could tell he was uncomfortable with whatever he was trying to tell them. “I just wanted to tell you that,” he tried again, “our church is having a service tonight and…” “What?” Max thought to himself in disbelief. “He’s talking church. Out here. With us?” “I wanted to invite all of you to come along,” the supervisor said. There was silence among the workers. Several stared at the dirt. Others just looked at each other. No one said anything. “Well, that’s it,” he said, “if any of you want to go…just let me know.” After saying this he left. Max and the other workers began to laugh.

            Five years later Max was a college sophomore struggling with a decision. He admits he had drifted from the faith. He wanted to know Jesus again. But the price was too high. His friends might laugh. That’s when he thought of his supervisor in the oil field. The supervisor’s love for God had been greater than his concern for his reputation. “So I came home,” says Max.

            Throughout pages of the Bible we find a God who loves us and wants the very best for us. Sometimes God speaks directly to us. At other times He speaks to us through another person such as the oil field supervisor. In either case, we must respond one way or another to the voice of God.

            The first thing we must remember is that God does speak. Samuel was just a young boy when he went to live in the Temple with the old priest Eli. Samuel’s mother, Hannah, had dedicated her son to God’s service. Samuel had all the energy and enthusiasm of a child. Eli was old and his eyesight had grown dim. Eli’s sons were next in line to be priests but they were not Eli. In fact, they were outright frauds. “The word of the Lord was rare in those days…” the writer of Samuel tells us. (3:1b) Perhaps there was no one worthy to hear it.

            Samuel’s sleeping quarters were in the sanctuary, right next to the famed Ark of the Covenant. One night while Eli and his sons are sleeping, God calls to young Samuel. “Samuel! Samuel!” (4) And Samuel is afraid. The sanctuary is dark and it’s a large place for a young boy. Besides, his mother isn’t nearby to comfort him. He’s all alone and he hears a strange voice. And he’s startled. His first thought is that it must be Eli calling him. He must need something. Who else would be calling his name? Samuel gets out of bed, races to Eli and says: “Here I am, for you called me.” (5) Eli had been sleeping, he had not called Samuel. Eli must have wondered, has this happened before? Was the boy prone to nightmares or hearing voices in the night? Eli didn’t like being awakened like this. “I did not call; lie down again. So he went and lay down.” (6) As he falls asleep once more he hears the voice calling his name: “Samuel!” Again he races to Eli’s side. This time he is sure someone has called him. And again Eli sends him back to bed. Then it happens a third time. Again he rushes to Eli’s side. In verse 7 we read: “Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.” So who was calling him that night? Samuel had no idea.

            Bob Lessnau was raised in a Christian home, but by the time he was 16 Bob had given up trying to please God. As a typical adolescent, he figured he was always offending God with one sin or another. So he decided to put religion behind him. One day he was working in Michigan. He decided to eat lunch at the Big Boy Restaurant in town. He sat at the counter, no one he knew was in the restaurant. Strangers were sitting on either side of him. As Bob was eating his lunch he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned around to see a scholarly-looking man. He had no idea who the man was. The stranger looked at Bob and said, “I want to see you in church.” Bob was dumbfounded, even embarrassed. “Why me?” he thought to himself. He wasn’t attending any church at the time and he admitted that he was behaving in less than holy ways. At first he thought the man was soliciting for his own church so Bob informed the stranger that he didn’t live in that town. “I didn’t say what church,” the man replied. “I said I want to see you in church.” Bob swiveled away for just a few seconds, to mull over the strange comment and when he turned back the man was gone. He looked all over the restaurant, but couldn’t see him anywhere. Upon returning home, Bob told his wife what had happened. They decided that if God wanted them in so much that He would go to all this trouble, they ought to give it some thought. Soon Bob and his wife began attending church.

            Brothers and sisters, God does speak. Maybe we just aren’t listening. It took old Eli three times before he realized that it was God who was calling Samuel. You would think that a priest who had devoted most of his life to God’s service would realize sooner whose voice it was. To Eli’s credit, he finally tells young Samuel that if he hears the voice again to reply, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” (9)

            But why would God be calling Samuel? He was just a young boy, perhaps as young as seven or eight. We need to understand that God calls people of all ages; we are never too old or too young. Samuel returns to bed. If he hears the voice again, he will respond as Eli had instructed.

            God does speak. But what prevents us from hearing? Could it be that we never listen? Maybe we need to discipline ourselves to hear the voice of God. An Oklahoma woman named Ruth Andrews had a decision to make. She wasn’t making enough as a substitute teacher to stay in the apartment she had been in for years. But she was unsure what to do. She was considering taking a live-in job caring for an elderly lady. But the family had not yet decided what they were going to do. One thing Ruth was certain about was that she didn’t want to leave her apartment. But time was short and she was in a panic. One day Ruth was reading her Bible, when she found these words from the 46th Psalm: “Be still, and know that I am God!” (10) It was at that moment she realized she was trusting people and what they said more than she was trusting God. She was acting as if God had been taken by surprise by her situation and might not know what to do.

            Reading that verse of Scripture she realized how foolish she had been. She saw that it was time to calm down so she could hear God speak to her need. And that’s exactly what she did. She learned to wait on the Lord. I wish I could say that everything worked out as Ruth had hoped. But it didn’t. She had to give up her apartment and move in with a relative for a while. Although this is not what she wanted, she felt sure she was where God wanted her to be at that time. Ruth learned a lesson she would never forget. “By stopping to listen for God’s voice,” she says, “I was and am learning to be calmer in the storm.

            I have a plaque in my study which reads: “Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.”

            Perhaps you’ve missed God’s call because you’ve been too busy being in control of your own lives. But know, God speaks. It is just that some of us haven’t been listening. This brings me to my final insight from this ancient but well-loved story.

            “Here I am” is the ready response. After waking up Eli for the third time, Samuel goes back to bed. He would be called one more time that evening. This time when God calls: “Samuel! Samuel!” Samuel pops up saying just what Eli had instructed him to say, “Speak, for you servant is listening.” (10) And God spoke to Samuel.

            One of the reasons we might be reluctant to hear God’s call is the changes He might require of us. That night in the Temple God spoke to young Samuel and gave him some disturbing news, Samuel would become a prophet. Eli was on his way out. God told Samuel how he was about to punish this house forever. God had seen enough of Eli’s sons. Samuel would take Eli’s place. Samuel probably didn’t want to hear this, but God assured him he would not be alone. We need to understand that if God calls us and we respond “Here I am” there might be changes in store for us, too.

            Peggy Terry was living in Montgomery, Alabama during the bus boycott of the 1960s. Viewing the turmoil firsthand absolutely changed her life. “It didn’t leave you in the same comfortable spot you were in,” she says. “You had to be either for it or against it.” She remembers seeing white men picking up black women and throwing them onto the buses. She saw Martin Luther King, Jr. beaten up outside the city jail. He came out of jail in all white clothes, she remembers, and about five or six white men began beating him. Something clicked inside of Peggy Terry.

            She was there with some other people to watch the turmoil. “I’m so thankful I went down there that day,” she says, “because I might have gone all my life just the way I was.” At the jail she saw people beating up Dr. King who didn’t fight back. “He didn’t fight back, and didn’t cuss like I would have done and he didn’t say anything,” Peggy recalls. “I was just turned upside down.”

            As she watched what was taking place she felt something stirring inside of her. At that moment she realized that she had to do something. Before night came she too had been arrested and found herself in jail. From that day on she joined the protests for racial justice. “I felt I was doing something,” Peggy says. “I believe that you must act on your beliefs.” Many Christians would not agree with Peggy’s actions, but all of us would agree that when God speaks, decisions must be made.

            Samuel was unable to go back to sleep that night. He had been awakened four times in one night and now he had a heavy message to consider. Everything happened just as God told him it would. With news that Eli’s sons had been killed, Eli himself died. In the closing verses of chapter 3 we discover that “All Israel…knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the Lord.”

            Sisters and brothers, God speaks to us in many ways. We need to spend more time listening. And we need to be prepared to change, to become, by the grace of God, new people. The next time you hear someone calling you in the night, it just might be God. When you hear that call, respond as Samuel did, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Once you have encountered the divine in your life, you will never be the same again.

 

Responsive Reading:

Let us affirm our faith with responsive statements describing the ways God calls us. I will share a prayer statement and end it by stating “may we say…” and the congregational response is that of Samuel: "Speak, Lord, Your servant listens."

Let us pray: God, You reach out to us in so many ways. Keep us alert. Help us to pay attention.

When You spread Your beautiful world out for us to see; when we feel Your power in the power of the ocean waves; when we see tiny bugs and huge elephants and know You made them both; when we see Your rainbow, may we say . . . CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE: "Speak, Lord, Your servant listens."

When we are tempted to do what is wrong, but remember what You have told us through our leaders; when everyone else is doing it, but we hear Your voice deep inside us saying, "Don't!"; when we want something enough to steal it, but know Your rule against stealing, may we say . . . CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE: "Speak, Lord, Your servant listens."

When we see problems and feel You urging us to help solve them; when we see Your world littered with garbage and dirtied by pollution, and know there is even one thing we could do to help; when we see people ignored and teased by others and know they need our friendship, may we say . . . CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE: "Speak, Lord, Your servant listens."

When we are sad and lonely, and feel Your loving care surrounding us; when friends call to ask how we're doing; when people smile that they understand and say, "How can I help?" may we say… CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE: "Speak, Lord, Your servant listens."

When we open our Bibles to read stories, and psalms, and letters to the churches, may we say . . . CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE: "Speak, Lord, Your servant listens."

God, You reach out to us in so many ways. Keep us alert. Help us to pay attention. And may we say . . . CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE: "Speak, Lord, Your servant listens."[2]

 

Closing Song: Here I Am, Lord by Donna Farver & Linda Creasy

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/here-i-am-lord-3v

 

I, the Lord of sea and sky, I have heard my people cry. All who dwell in dark and sin, My hand will save.


I, who made the stars of night, I will make their darkness bright. Who will bear My light to them?

Who shall I send?

 

Chorus
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go, Lord. If You lead me. I will hold, Your people in my heart.

 

I, the Lord of snow and rain, I have borne My people's pain. I have wept for love of them, They run away.


I will break their hearts of stone, Give them hearts for love alone. I will speak My word to them.

Whom shall I send?


Chorus

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard You Calling in the night.
I will go, Lord. If You lead me. I will hold Your people in my heart.

 

 

I, the Lord of wind and flame, I will tend the poor and lame, I will set a feast for them, My hand will save.


Finest bread I will provide, Till their hearts be satisfied. I will give My life to them. Whom shall I send?


Chorus

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard You calling in the night
I will go, Lord. If You lead me. I will hold, Your people in my heart.

 

Words and Music by Dan Schutte, 1981

 

Benediction:

Go into God’s world, aware of God’s call in your life. Follow our Lord Jesus Christ who will lead you in paths of service and hope. Lean on the power of the Holy Spirit to give you courage and strength. May peace, joy and love flow through you to others, in God’s name. AMEN.

 

 

[1] https://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/2224/worship-elements-january-17-2021

 
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