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4023 VT Route 15
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posted on September 15
14th Sunday of Pentecost - September 15, 2019
Worship Leader: Robin Genetti
*Please stand as you are able
CALL TO WORSHIP:
L: We gather in this place to worship God.
P: In the beauty of holiness, we seek your face, Lord.
L: Help us to remember that we cannot receive all that you offer to us if our hearts are filled with thoughts and feelings that are not from you.
P: So, take away self-righteousness, remove criticism, scrape away every wrong thought, every resentment, and everything that separates us from one another because these things also separate us from you.
L: Give us clean hearts, so that we can be used by you.
P: Fix us, Jesus, we have come today to be made worthy of your goals for our lives.
*OPENING HYMN: “Thou Art Worthy” TFWS#2041
OPENING PRAYER (in unison):
Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment. Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image, through Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Amen. (John Knox)
OFFERTORY: “Spirit of the Living God” UMH#393
Offering Prayer (in unison):
Redeeming God, we know what it is like to be wandering in the wilderness like lost sheep. We remember your hand, like those of a caring shepherd, guiding us back to our home in you. We seek to help others experience this same spiritual nurture. So, we provide these financial gifts to be multiplied with other offerings. We are confident that these funds will inspire new ministries and reach the lost. We offer these gifts in name of the Lamb of God, Jesus the Living Christ. Amen. (Luke 15:1-10 David Bell)
WORD AND RESPONSE: Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28
Psalm 14 (responsively) UMH#746
1 Timothy 1:12-17
L: May God’s Word give light to our path and strength for our living.
P: Thanks be to God.
HYMN OF PREPARATION: “Amazing Grace” UMH#378
THE MESSAGE: “Firm Guidance”
Last week you heard the story of the potter and the clay. It is part of our creation story in that God is like the potter and we are like the clay. God created us with a plan in mind. He created us perfectly in His image but we are each specifically unique.
God has blessed us with gifts and talents. Not everyone has been given the same ones. Sometimes our gifts and talents change to fit the calling that God places on us at that moment. The plans God has for us far surpasses anything we could possibly imagine. You never know what God will ask of you until He does. You never know when He is going to ask you until He does. Hopefully you will answer the call. He will guide you through what it is he is asking of you. No matter how hard the task, with God, all things are possible.
However, God gave us a gift that is both a blessing and a curse. God gave us free will. Free will gives us the ability to choose. Why did He do that?
Well, God didn’t want a bunch of robotic followers. He wanted to have eternal fellowship with those who truly love Him. True love isn’t genuine if there is no other option. We must choose to be in a relationship with Him.
We have free will to either accept or reject the grace of God. If we accept the grace of God, which is salvation, then there needs to be some interplay between human freedom and divine grace. Justification establishes cooperation between God’s grace and man’s freedom.
Free will gives us the ability to choose good or evil, right or wrong, self or others. When we use our gifts or talents to help others this glorifies God. When we use those same gifts and talents for our own benefit only, we are trying to bring glory to ourselves.
God respects our free will but only when it lives within His laws. Having free will does not mean that we can do whatever we want without suffering the consequences. We are still responsible for the choices that we make. We can choose to sow whatever we want, but we cannot choose what we will reap.
In Galatians 6:7-8 it states “For whatever a mans sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life”.
We cannot control the free will of others. However, we can set a good example by how we live. We need to preach the gospel each and every day and sometimes we actually need to speak it out loud.
When we begin to look at success as our own doing we start down a slippery slope. When we look at profits as the goal instead of the best for mankind we become greedy, reckless, take risks and have hope in things that are not of God.
Greed, recklessness and selfishness drew the Judeans in Jeremiah’s time to leave God and God’s way and pursue false gods instead. They abandoned the covenant to love God and care for neighbors. They engaged in practices that broke down rather than built up the whole community.
The prior readings in Jeremiah have lead gradually toward chaos. The reading today illustrates a world in chaos. If you keep up with the news of the world you know it is full of chaos. Most of it is man made. The economy, the environment, our families, our church and on and on are in crisis. Greed and selfishness can be spotted in each and every one of the problems we are faced with.
Throughout history you can see a cycle of chaos to order to chaos to order over and over again. Power, profits, pride and selfish goals continue to create new issues. As individuals, as the church or as part of the entire world we have experienced this cycle.
As we learned from the story of the potter last week, this can be a cycle of creation. What do we gain from chaos? What do we lose? What might we learn to help establish a new and more loving world for all?
Earlier this week we remembered the events of 9/11. This was evidence of the free will of others creating chaos for so many. This was a massively tragic event that has forever impacted this country and people around the world. This is but one example of how creation can come from chaos.
I read a post on social media about someone missing the day after 9/11. It was such an odd statement that I had to read on. What could be so special about 9/12? What the person said is what mattered most to us that day was what united us more than what divided us. We wanted to fly our flags and embrace everyone no matter where they were on life’s journey. It was a time of reflection, unity, prayer and caring for our neighbors. It was about self sacrifice. It was about loving your neighbor even when you didn’t even know them. The outpouring of love, help and financial support was something I had never seen in my lifetime.
At the time, this event really gave me a sense of hope for humanity. I thought this was the beginning of some great changes to come. But, when the immediate need of 9/11 started to fade into a memory we slowly slipped back into our regular lives.
When a tragic event starts to return to normal, why do we stop supporting our neighbors? Why do we have to wait for tragedy and chaos to come along in order for us to act? God loves and cares for us at all times. His guidance is available any hour of the day. Yes, He is firm like a loving parent. That is because He wants us to live by His law. His way is the only way to live our lives.
There have been, and still are, so many trials, tribulations and tragedies in the world. Where is God in all of this? He never left our side. He is longing for us to reach out to Him. He is longing for us to feel his firm guidance. He is calling us to come back to Him.
Chaos quickly comes about when we stray from God’s loving and caring presence. When we exclude God from our lives and just think of Him as an afterthought how can He be in control. When our free will turns us away from what we can do for God and others to what can we do for ourselves, we fall.
We were created to worship God. So by design, it is impossible to feel complete or fulfilled without God at the center of our lives. No matter how busy or crazy things get, incorporating intentional time for God can unlock the door to abundant life. Matthew 6:33 tells us to seek God first and “all other things will be added.” When we welcome God into our day and acknowledge God as our power source, we are living our divine purpose. Don’t just think of worship as taking place in a building, in a small group or in an extravagant over-the-top event. Consider that worship can also be a personal and intimate offering of our time and our gifts, a commitment to allow God to use us for God’s glory wherever we are or whatever we do. We can be a living liturgy.
You may feel that you don’t have much time, and you may be scratching your head trying to figure out how to become a living liturgy. Remember, Jesus took everyday life situations and interactions and turned them into moments that transformed lives. We must look at our lives as followers of Christ and see the possibilities to transform and be transformed. Get creative! Think outside the box. As we move from place to place, from one activity to the next, let’s be willing to give some of that time to the Creator. It doesn't take but a moment to stop and pray, to sing a song of praise, to encourage someone, to read from the Bible, or to help a person in need. Find your own way in the midst of the craziness to walk a few blocks and take a few minutes to welcome God in. God is waiting on you. Amen.
CONCERNS AND CELEBRATIONS
The Lord’s Prayer
HYMN: “Something Beautiful, Something Good” UMH#394
THE SENDING FORTH
Response: “Bind Us Together” TFWS#2226
We are led this morning by Robin Genetti
If you have a pastoral care need
while Pastor Mike is away,
you may call Rev. Pat at 802-888-2185
Worship Leaders Today:
Worship Leaders: Robin Genetti
Musician: Pat Thompson
Usher: Vernon Thompson
Reader: Arlo Sterner
Reader Next Week: Linda Martin
"Prayer is not a substitute for action;
it is an action for which there is no substitute."
Mayerling Anderson Josh Ducharme Sabrena Ducharme Craig Lawson
Nikki Ducharme Louise Thorpe Arlo Sterner Alice Martin
Arthur Hooper Marilyn Blow Nathanial McElroy Judy Ward
Angel and Royce Dunn Mary Daniels & Family Family of Joe Clark
Judy's sister Marlene
Don’t forget to sign-up for cleaning the church and bringing communion bread, as well as closing out the service on the Sundays that Pastor Mike goes to Binghamville.
Please remember to bring your nickels and dimes for our fundraising jars for the United Methodist Economic Ministry in Salem, ME, as well as our Historic Restoration Project.
There is a sign-up sheet for the work schedule for our food sale at the Rocktobest on Saturday, September 28, as well as for food to bring to the sale.