October 18 - Home Worship Service

Worship for Oct 18th

Welcome & Announcements: Good morning church!

We continue to offer in person worship at Lightstreet. No reservations needed.

 8am contemporary service in the Lighthouse and 10:30am is our traditional service in the church sanctuary. You will need a mask and will be asked to be spaced apart from others unless you are sitting with those in your household. Both will have live musicians!

No Sunday School just yet.

Another alternative for worship is Sunday 9:00 am Zoom Worship & Prayer

Join Zoom Meeting

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Meeting ID: 854 4146 8430

Passcode: 279040

 

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Worship:

I invite you to light a candle to welcome the Light of the World in your presence and prepare your heart for worship this day

 

Call to Worship:

L: Give thanks to God, for God is good.

P: God’s love endures forever!

L: God has come to God’s people with blessings and hope.

P: Praise God for the many ways God touches our lives.

 

Opening Song: Only Trust Him by Donna Farver

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/only-trust-him/s-Nw7jZFUEfKR

 

Come, every soul by sin oppressed; There’s mercy with the Lord,
And He will surely give you rest by trusting in His Word.

Refrain:
Only trust Him, only trust Him, only trust Him now;
He will save you; He will save you; He will save you now.

 

For Jesus shed His precious blood Rich blessings to bestow;
Plunge now into the crimson flood That washes white as snow.    Refrain

 

Yes, Jesus is the truth, the way, that leads you into rest;
Believe in Him without delay and you are fully blessed.      Refrain

 

Invocation/Opening Prayer:

God of gentle, loving guidance, be with us today, opening our hearts and spirits to an awareness of Your abiding love and presence with us. Help us to place our trust solely in You; 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!

 

In our lesson today we are going to hear of a time when the disciples were in a boat with Jesus, but He was asleep. And all of a sudden a storm comes and it’s rocking the boat to the point the disciples were scared.

 

Have you ever been scared in a storm before? I have – one there was a time the storm seemed so strong we all went into our basement to wait it out. And do you know what we did to calm our fears? We prayed. We asked God to protect us, and all the people around dealing with that storm.

 

In the boat, the disciples wake Jesus up and He helps them by calming the storm.

 

There will be time you will be in the middle of a storm and you will be scared, that is a good time to pray to Jesus and ask Him to help you and help others. To ask Him to calm the storm. And it may continue to storm around you after that, but the point is, we call on Jesus and He calms our hearts, because we know He is working to help us.

 

Prayer: Thank You God for Jesus, who calms our storms. Amen.

 

Prayer & Lord’s Prayer:

Lord, we come in this time of worship to be opened to You and Your ways for our lives because we know Your ways are the better ways, the ways that lead to comfort and blessings.

 

So today we pray that You will open us to courage for our fears.
 

We pray that You will open us to light for our darkness; peace for our turmoil; hope for our despairs.

 

We pray that You will open us to joys for our sorrows, health for our illnesses, strength for our weaknesses, wisdom for our confusion, forgiveness of our sins.

 

We pray that You will open us to love for our hate, praise for our doubt, insight for our troubles, and Your cross for our lives.
 

Lord, open us to the life You call us to through the power of your Son Jesus Christ our Savior who is the way, the truth, and life, and who taught us how to pray saying… 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. 

 

Offering Invitation: Let us give generously as we too remember that our very selves belong to God.

 

Offering Prayer:

Loving God, we humbly dedicate these tithes and offerings to Your use. As believers, we are comforted by the knowledge that You will multiply these gifts. Allow this money to become a resource that lifts the shadows of despair from the recesses of people's lives. We recognize that only You can restore faith to the faithless, hope to the hopeless, and love to the loveless. May Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven! Amen.

 

Scripture Lesson: Matthew 8:18-27

Would-Be Followers of Jesus

18 Now when Jesus saw great crowds around Him, He gave orders to go over to the other side. 19A scribe then approached and said, ‘Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.’ 20And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’ 21Another of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ 22But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’

Jesus Stills the Storm

23 And when He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. 24A gale arose on the lake, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but He was asleep. 25And they went and woke Him up, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ 26And He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, you of little faith?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. 27They were amazed, saying, ‘What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’

 

Sermon: What We Believe Shapes Our Reality

 

We are coming up on Halloween and I know it’s Halloween not because of the candy aisles in all the stores, or the decorations my neighbors have had hanging up since September, but because on TV we can watch It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.

 

Some of you may have heard of it. It’s a story about a young boy named Linus who believes in the Great Pumpkin. To gain an understanding of who the Great Pumpkin is, you have to hear from Linus, to get the full effect.

 

-Video- https://youtu.be/H2H0TfvNU3w

 

Linus thinks the Great Pumpkin watches you, to see if you are good or bad, and brings presents to you in a pumpkin patch.

 

Snoopy finds it funny, Linus’ sister Lucy finds it embarrassing, and Charlie Brown says Linus is confusing him with Santa Claus, but Linus says that’s a matter of beliefs.

 

So, the story will be- Do the beliefs of Linus reveal themselves to be true? And will they help him overcome some scary experiences as he sits and waits in the pumpkin patch?

 

Do our beliefs help us overcome some scary experiences we find ourselves in?

 

Like battling through a storm as our lesson speaks of.

 

Here’s the context to this passage- Chapter 8 of Matthew begins with focusing on the authority of Jesus, His divine power. So, we read how He cleaned a leper, cured a servant of a Roman official, made Peter’s mother-in-law well, freed the demon possessed and healed the ill.

 

But now the focus of this chapter turns to discipleship. So that whoever wants to follow Jesus must recognize it will lead to change.

 

Thus, the text begins: 18 Now when Jesus saw great crowds around Him, He gave orders to go over to the other side.

 

Jesus commands them where to go, the other side, to change their way, their focus.

 

And we find out one of the possible candidates for discipleship responds to that order by stating, ‘Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.’

 

Now you should know that in Jesus’ day it was common for rabbis to have disciples. People wanted to learn from them, so they would petition the rabbi, the teacher, to be their follower. However, Jesus has made it clear from the beginning, He makes the initiative, He seeks His followers by welcoming them, but warning them such learning, such following, will not be the usual rabbi student relationship. That is why Jesus responds to this scribe stating, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’

 

Another person claims they want to follow Jesus, stating, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’

He wanted to get his affairs in order before he followed Jesus. But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’ Meaning, nothing should get in the way of following Jesus.

 

You see, time and time again, a disciple of Jesus will be forced to make decisions: follow Jesus to the new horizon, new way, or remain as is in the comfort of stability. Which, let’s face it, doesn’t sound too bad, right?

 

However, what happens when the storms of life come at you? When the boat carrying you is swamped by the waves and you cry out for help. Will your desire for comfort and stability keep you safe and sound? Or will the one you put your faith in save you? Calm your storm?

 

That’s what this story gets at. When the disciples wake Jesus up saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing” Jesus replies, ‘Why are you afraid, you of little faith’

 

Jesus is calling the disciples to reveal their faith, their beliefs because what we believe shapes our reality.

 

Take for instance if you believe that Halloween is a day that invites ghosts and evil into your life, then you are going to be more sensitive to strange noises and sights that will disarm you.

 

But if you believe Halloween is actually a day that Christians established to be celebrated on the eve of All Saint’s day, which is also known as All Hallow’s Eve, Hallow meaning holy, on that Hallow’een Christians remembered their loved ones who have died and gone on into the afterlife, and on that Hallow’s Eve, they would dress up as ghosts in the cemeteries, bringing food and welcoming the ghosts to visit with them, if you believe that is what Halloween is for, then you welcome the day as a day of thanksgiving and celebration of loved ones and new life.

 

What we believe shapes our reality, so regarding this text, do the followers of Jesus believe who He is? God with us?

 

Do we believe that Jesus is God with us through the storms of life? Because if we do than what do we have to be scared of?

 

Let’s be honest, we are often times scared, nervous, sometimes afraid of change, of failure, of rejection, of being harmed.

 

And sadly, fear makes a lot of noise and takes up a lot of room in our lives sometimes to the point it controls our lives.  That’s why time and time again in the Bible, God tells people not to be afraid.

 

Many of the Psalms were written during a time of great struggle for Israel as their little kingdom was constantly being invaded. Yet, the Psalmists proclaim the trust in God’s help.

 

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall, I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

 

And Psalm 34:4–6

I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.

 

And when that nation was working its way through and from captivity, God speaks through the prophet Isaiah stating, Isaiah 43:1–2

But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”

 

Jesus, as He prepared His disciples for His departure, assured them with these words, John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

 

Time and time again we read in the Bible that we are not to be afraid. Why is it God shares those words so often? One is obviously, we are creatures easily scared. But two, God wants us not to be afraid so we can experience something better, to a new horizon, a new way of life, where the Divine is with us. And that’s  

not something to be scared of. That’s something to trust and to follow.

 

As Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:7 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-control.   God is at work in and through us to work towards and live into the power of love, that casts out fear.  Or as 1 John 4:18 “Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear”

 

So, what happens at the end of the Great Pumpkin? Linus falls asleep and does not find any clue of such a character’s visit. But does that deter his faith? No, he announces next year he promises to find a better pumpkin patch, next year he vows to meet and greet the Great Pumpkin.

 

Again: What we believe shapes our reality, so when we believe the Great Pumpkin is coming soon, we sit and wait and we shiver in a cold, dark pumpkin patch, without complaining.

 

And when we believe that Jesus is God with us, we know we can turn to Him for anything we need, recognizing the divine presence given to help you and me.

 

Friends, may our beliefs acknowledge God to be worthy of our devotion. May our faith trust that God is our strong hand, our shield, our deliverer, so that we become less scared of life, especially life lived with the power and perfect love of Jesus Christ.

 

Let us pray: Lord, through the storms, through the trials, may we hear Your voice telling us of Your presence, reminding us how nothing can separate us from You and Your love. Promising to deliver us into hope and peace, a way of life, without fear. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Closing Song: The Way by LUMC Praise Band

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/the-way

 

Through every battle Through every heartbreak Through every circumstance
I believe that You are my fortress Oh, You are my portion And You are my hiding place, oh

Chorus: I believe You are the way, the truth, the life
I believe You are the way, the truth, the life

I believe Through every blessing Through every promise Through every breath I take
I believe that You are Provider Oh, You are Protector You are the One I love, oh Chorus

And it's a new horizon and I'm set on You
And You meet me here today with mercies that are new
All my fears and doubts, they can all come too
Because they can't stay long when I'm here with You
It's a new horizon and I'm set on You
And You meet me here today with mercies that are new
All my fears and doubts They can all come too
Because they can't stay long when  Chorus

Benediction:  May we go forth to be fearless for God, thankful there is more with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen. 

 
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