Good Morning New Journey!
Thank you for joining us for another Sunday.
I’d like to remind you that where you sit is a Sanctuary.
Just as God told Moses the place in which he stood is holy ground and Jesus taught the Woman at the Well that the true worshipers do not worship at a particular location, but in spirit and in truth, it is by our faith and focus we transform our living rooms into places of worship.
This morning we will be partaking of communion together. I know this is strange, and it grates a bit against my preferences, as I am a bit traditional about these things. Yet, the grace of God knows no bounds and I don’t want to rob the Church of a blessing. And so, please provide some bread and juice for yourself or your family this morning, to be used in communion at the end of service. If you don’t have bread and juice, utilize whichever elements you feel best reflect the Body and Blood of Christ.
Lately, as we begin service, we have been participating in a responsive reading together. This morning, I’d like to change it up a bit and ask that you join me in the Lord’s Prayer. This is a great opportunity for your children to begin learning to pray as Jesus taught us to pray in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
The Lord’s Prayer
There are a couple of versions, and we will use the version which uses the word “debts” and “debtors” If you look up the Greek word Jesus uses, it is the word ὀφείλημα (ah-FAY-lay-muh) and it literally means “debts”, but it has a metaphorical sense of sin. Through this prayer, we honor God, pray for His transforming power to come to Earth, ask for our daily needs, confess our sins, commit to forgiving others, and ask for protection against evil. Let us join with Christians throughout the world today in praying this prayer.
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
On earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil:
For Thine is the kingdom,
And the power,
And the glory,
Forever and ever. Amen.
I’d like to invite you now to worship through song. I think it would be appropriate for you to look around the room and remind everybody, “it’s okay to sing bad here” Really, go ahead and say that to each person. If you don’t feel that singing is right for you, at least lift these songs as prayers and praises in your heart to God.
Thank you, band. At this time, I’d like to invite you to prayer. Now, I know it would be easier if I would just lead us in prayer. But, I have a vision of families coming to a bonfire, lighting a torch and bringing it back to their family fireplaces. I can see in my mind’s eye, something we should have been focusing on already—training up parents to lead their families in the Faith, and not just relying on the church.
Right now, we are asking that you would please go around the room and share prayer requests. And, after everyone has shared, pray for the person on your left. Last week we prayed for the person on our right, and this morning we’ll pray for the person on our left. If you’ve never prayed out loud before, simple say “Lord Jesus, please be with _______” If you feel led to pray more, great. If not, that’s okay. But, it will get you started. For larger groups, split into smaller groups. Here’s a five-minute count-down.
And now, I’d like to invite Pastor Noelle to share with the children today.
Thank you Pastor Noelle. It’s up to you at this point if you’d like your children to stay through the adult message, or transition out. But, at this time we are going to jump into today’s teaching. And, it begins with a couple of discussion questions.
- Name some times and places you have to wait.
- What is the longest you’ve waited for something?
Today’s Message is about what to do when we are waiting.
- Hope in Jesus’ Return
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13-16 NIV
- The “therefore” here is connecting back to what Peter said in verse 12, that the Old Testament prophets foretold Jesus’ first coming.
- Peter says, “you aren’t ignorant of how Jesus fulfilled the Scriptures in the past” And so now, set your hope on the grace TO BE brought to you. In other words, Jesus came once, He is going to come again!
- Then, Peter commends us to consider that since Jesus will return, how shall we then live? Though it is hard to wait for His coming, difficult to endure our hardships on this broken Earth, ought we give in to our old ways of living? No. We should hope in Jesus’ Return, hope in Heaven, and live forward, not backward.
- Application Questions: Are you hoping in Jesus’ Return? In Heaven? Or, is all of your hope tied up in the temporary?
- Do you remember King Tut? Well, his full name is King too-ton-komin, and did you know, he started ruling Egypt when he was 9? Sadly, he died at only 19. His tomb was sealed for over 3,200 years until 1922 when it was found again. Inside was one of the most massive treasure caches of the Ancient Near East. I find it interesting to think about the reason for all the treasure. Apparently, Egyptians believed it would be helpful in the afterlife. Unfortunately, we can vouch for the fact that its still three millennia later. You and I don’t have to rely on treasure for our future. We can rely on Jesus Christ, who Peter earlier called our “Living Hope” because He isn’t just a good idea, He appeared in His resurrected form and by His Living Name, healing and miracles still take place. Instead of worrying about the temporary, let’s hope in the eternal.
- Honor God
Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 1 Peter 1:17-19 NIV
- Jewish people have a rich history of what it means to be foreigners. They were foreigners in Egypt and it was hard on them. Then, they were taken from the Promised Land, exiled, and scattered throughout the Near East. They were foreigners again. Peter knows this imagery will help his brothers and sisters in waiting.
- His encouragement is not to give up and blend in with the world. Instead, he encourages them and us to live our time with reverent respect of God. Instead of bowing down to fear and sacrificing to the gods of anxiety, we ought to be thinking how to best serve God.
- Think about the difference it makes when you wake up in the morning either worrying about COVID-19, or asking God “how do you want to use me today?” Because Christians have work to do whether we’re in a war, a recession, or a pandemic.
- Look at the intensity in which Peter makes this point. He reminds us that we weren’t purchased with silver or gold, that we should go on living just like everyone else. God spent the blood of the all-holy Begotten Son, that we would live a different kind of life.
- Remember, this pain and fear you are experiencing is not your native land anymore. Of course it is hard. Yes, it is frightening. But, we are just passing through. We have a country ahead of us. Until we get there, how should we live our lives?
- Application Questions: Am I focused on honoring God? Or, am I more focused on worry and anxiety?
- I’ve driven through the mountains several times. Whether it was heading East to Boston or South to Florida, there’s a point in which you’ve got to go up, through, and around some intense inclines. Now, how about when it is raining? Been there? And, at night? Of course, throw some heavy traffic in the mix and we are all good to go. Have you been in moments like that—When construction has you down to two cars in only one lane and there’s a semi-truck pressing in on you? For hours?
- But then, the open road comes. The construction stops. The hills fade away. The sun comes out. Do you know the feeling I’m talking about? Church this is the feeling we can have about Heaven. But, we can’t give up as we go through this land on our way to a better one. We must remain faithful!
- Be Thankful
He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. 1 Peter 1:20-21 NIV
- Church, never forget that you and I are the ones who sinned in the garden. It wasn’t God who broke our trust and He needs to earn it back, it is we who turned our backs on Him. Yet, even then, He sent His one and only Son, why? As Peter says, “for your sake”
- It is through Jesus that you now have faith in God. It is because Jesus has been raised from the dead and has been glorified, sitting on the throne of Heaven, that we now have hope.
- Ought we not to be thankful? Now I understand. We want our comfort back. We want our time back. We want our freedom back. Yet, take a moment to remember and understand that our “little world” — Wabash, the United States, and even North America, are not “the world” It’s a big world and there are Christians who somehow live in hope and joy every day despite their government, economy, or social status. In the face of racial, age, gender, or caste- discrimination, Christians all throughout history and the world have found that their inner peace and joy do not come from outer, temporary circumstances. No, for the true Believer, our peace and joy comes from inner, eternal truths. We have been saved, set free from sin, redeemed in Christ, and given, hope, purpose, and a seat at God’s table.
- Can I ask you this morning—Application Questions: Are you uplifted due to your riches in Christ? Or, are you downcast due to your circumstances?
- Jess and I watched the movie Ford vs Ferrari recently. And, in the movie you get to know Ken Miles, a hot-headed race-car driver. You can tell that he truly loves to race. That operating these never-before-created, barely-tested, record-breaking speedsters was where he found his sweet spot. And that’s why, when he finally made it to the world-famous Le Mans, 24-hour race in Europe, winning wasn’t the ultimate goal, though he liked to win. Having been passed over the year before, Ken Miles, who is now inducted into the racing hall of fame, was just happy to be there.
- I don’t know about you, but I’m just happy to be here. I’ve got Jesus. Life isn’t perfect. It’s pretty hard. But, I know whose I am and I know where I’m going in the end. I know He’ll give me the strength I need, when I need it.
- At this time we’d like to invite you to join us in Holy Communion. If you have prepared some bread and juice. Or, if you don’t have those exact elements available, we invite you to utilize what you would understand to be able to represent Christ’s Body and Blood shed for you. We invite all who have a vital relationship with Jesus Christ to join together. If you’re not in that place, perhaps in the act of communion today you would put your faith in Christ. If you still don’t feel this is right for you, it’s okay to pass.
- [Consecration Story]
- Take a moment now in self-reflection. Allow God to remind you of your sins, that you might feel His washing through the sacrament.
- [Partake of the Elements]
- The band is going to lead us in a closing song now, called “Man of Sorrows” And I hope that as you reflect on the words, you’ll become a little less focused on self, and a little more focused on Jesus…
while you wait.
Amen. Thank you band.
Receive this benediction from Paul in Romans:
Rom. 8:38-39 – For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Don’t forget to fill out your online connection card and share answers to discussion questions at lunch today. Go with God.