Turning Yourself Inside-Out
For the Week beginning July 5th, 2020: "FREEDOM!"
- An EXCITING video service just for children (and kids at heart) is found at the end of this service. Just scroll down! (Thanks, LifeChurch!)
The Prelude: We Prepare Ourselves to Worship God
- Before you start your home worship service, please download and read "How to Prepare for Worshipping at Home."
We Gather Together
- If you have family worshipping with you, give everyone a hug.
- If you are alone, take a moment and imagine the arms of the Loving Lord wrapped around you. Send thoughts of love to those most important to you.
- Then, find a spot at your chosen place of worship. Light your candle(s).
- Be silent for a moment, asking God to open your hearts to every good gift that God has for you today.
We Open with Prayer
(If possible, please pray out loud):
Come, O Holy Spirit, and fill us once again as your people gathered here. Pray within us and for us during this time of worship. And especially grow in us the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, as we accept the freedom that only Christ can bring. In his name, Amen!
We Sing a Song of Praise: "For Freedom, Christ Has Set Us Free"
(Lyrics by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, (c) 2000; Tune: AZMON, UMH #57"O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing")
Please press the play button for a familiar musical accompaniment. The music begins with a brief introduction. The words for signing along are below.
"For Freedom, Christ Has Set us Free"
1. "For freedom, Christ has set us free!"
What joy is ours to claim!
No more enslaved, humanity
Finds life in Jesus' name.
2. We try, Lord, to be justified
Through all the works we do.
Yet you adopt us, saying, "Child,
It's Christ who makes you new."
3. We're clothed in Christ and we belong;
Now no one waits outside.
In him we find our common song;
Old ways no more divide.
4. "It is no longer I who live,
But Christ who lives in me."
He died for us, new life to give —
And new identity.
5. Now, Spirit-filled, may we be led
From ways that would destroy.
May we your people turn instead
To lives of love and joy.
6. May we find peace that makes us whole
And patience everywhere.
God, give us kindness, self-control,
And hearts and hands that share.
We Call Each Other to Worship (based on Galatians 5: 1, 13-25)
(If possible, read out loud. If you are not alone, take turns reading the lines)
Leader: Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay that way. Don’t get bound up again in slavery to rules and regulations.
People: We plant our feet firmly within the freedom that Christ has won for us!
Leader: But remember, brothers and sisters, freedom doesn't mean giving in to your worst impulses. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.
People: We'll watch carefully so that our freedom isn't used to excuse our sin, or to cause others to stumble in their faith.
Leader: The greatest freedom you have is to selflessly serve one another. All the laws of God can be boiled down to one simple command:
People: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
We Pass the Peace of God to Others
If you are with others in your home, give each other a hug, and pray for those who will not have any human touch today.
If you are alone, ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind at least one person who needs a call or email or card. Commit to following through on this as soon as this worship service ends. (If you have others in your household, they can do this, too).
We Read the Bible: John 8:36 (NIV); Galatians 5:1a (NIV)
New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.
(If possible, read all scriptures out loud)
[Jesus said,] "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
[Paul said], "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."
++This is the word of God for the children of God: Thanks be to God!
We Sing a Song of Devotion: "Freedom" (Richie Havens, (c) 2009, Voice of America)
Just experience this song or sing along by clicking the image below.
Freedom! Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!
Clap your hands! Clap your hands! Clap your hands! Clap your hands!
Father! Brother! Sister! Mother!
Sometimes I feel just like a motherless child, a long way from my home.
Sometimes I feel just like I'm almost gone a long way from my home.
I've got a telephone in my bosom, and I can call them from my heart (when I need my . . ., I say . . . )
We Testify to God's Grace
"True Freedom" --Raymond Johnson, Oklahoma
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." - Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
When I was young, I had a dog named Ollie. He was tiny but intelligent. When I rattled keys in my hand, he would spring to his feet and grab his leash with his mouth. Once we were outside, he would stay close to me as long as his leash remained in his mouth. When I took the leash from him, he knew he was free to run to his heart’s content.
Some people are physically free, yet remain imprisoned by guilt, self-hatred, or financial obligations. I am currently imprisoned on death row because of mistakes I made when I was a prisoner to gangs, money, and drugs. But the apostle Paul tells us that “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Christ offers me a freedom that releases me spiritually from my cold, damp prison cell to live as a follower of his way.
When those in a prison are released, they receive “discharge papers” to let everyone know they are now free. Christ offers us all discharge papers. If we ask Jesus into our hearts, we receive the spiritual and mental freedom that comes only through him. I may never know physical freedom, but I have found joy, peace, love, and a strong faith community. Christ can rattle the keys that signal real freedom for those who walk with him.
(Do you have a testimonial you'd like to share here during future services? Send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org)
We Hear the Sermon from Pastor Thomas
"Turning Ourselves Inside-Out"
We Reflect in Silence
Take several minutes to consider today’s scripture and message. Here are some questions to help:
- Have you ever felt like Paul when he said that he had a hard time doing what he should be doing, and not doing what he shouldn't? What kind of progress have you made here, if any? What would help? What answer did Paul find? (HINT: Romans 7:25)
- How have the COVID-19 restrictions made you feel less "free?" What do you think Paul or Jesus might say about our current situation with COVID?
- In America, most of our talk of freedom is historical or political in nature--and nothing wrong with that! So how do the scriptures compare? Where in scripture is "freedom" similar to our discussions of civil liberty? Where in the scripture is freedom described as something very different from our American culture?
- Do you recall a time when you experienced God's grace? What were you doing when that happened? How did it impact you?
- Have you ever curtailed an activity only because it was not beneficial to you? Have you ever stopped doing something because you knew your actions would give others the wrong idea about your Christian life? Have you ever experienced someone else imposing restrictions on themselves for these reasons? What did you think about this at the time?
We Pray to the Lord
(The Lord's Prayer is from Matthew ch. 6, Contemporary English Version [CEV])
(If possible, please pray out loud)
God, today I (we) pray . . .
- for the people of Hope United Methodist Church, and especially ...
- See Barbara’s email prayer list for congregational requests. To receive the email list, please reach out to email@example.com.
- Richard, Virgie and Mark Bachelder, for health, mercy, and grace, and for their relocation this next week to Arizona
- Suzanne Pfeifer, for healing and wholeness, and grace for Lindsey and others caring for her in the hospital.
- We pray for our members and friends who are in nursing homes and rehab centers.
- for the people of Hope United Methodist Church, and especially ...
- for those who suffer and those in trouble, and especially...
- for the concerns of this local community, and especially...
- for the world, its peoples, and its civic leaders, and for the earth that you have given to our care.
- for the battle we are facing with COVID-19, and especially those who are suffering and those who are responding, and for ...
- for the Church universal—its leaders, its members, and its mission. We especially pray for Bishop Nunn, for our retiring District Superintendent Cindy Havlik, and for our new Superintendent, Connie Gibson. We also pray for those churches that are now opening up and ask that those who gather would be wise and caring for each other. We ask that you would protect all your congregations from harm and disease, and give us a mighty dose of your Spirit. We pray for these and for other Christian leaders, including...
- in communion with the saints, remembering all those who have gone on before us, and now form part of the Great Hall of Faith which encourages those of us who remain on earth. Today we especially remember . . .
- For fathers of all kinds that provide nurture and care to those around them, we give thanks today; for the grace of forgiveness to extend to our own earthly fathers where have failed us; for reconciliation between parent and child where relationships are distant or strained; for gratefulness that our Heavenly Father, our Divine Parent, loves us much more than even the nest human being is able to; and especially ...
- For my (our) needs today, which include...
Help us remember, Lord, that you are merciful and good, and quick to act in times of need. We thank you for all of your many blessings that you graciously give to us and to the world you love.
Therefore, as your children on earth, we pray the prayer that our Brother Jesus taught us to pray:
Our Father in heaven,
help us to honor
10 Come and set up
so that everyone on earth
will obey you,
as you are obeyed
Give us our food for today.
Forgive us for doing wrong,
as we forgive others.
Keep us from being tempted
and protect us from evil.
The kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours forever.
We Give Gifts to the Lord
Even during COVID-19, the work of Hope United Methodist Church continues! Please take a moment to remember all the many blessings God has given you, and then go to www.hopefortulsa.com/give to make an online donation. It's simple to sign up--just have your checkbook, debit card, or credit card ready to provide the requested information. You just have to do this one time. You can continue to use this online portal in the weeks ahead to bless your church and your Lord.
If you'd like to mail a check instead, please make it out to "Hope UMC" and send it to: Hope UMC, 12424 E. 31st St., Tulsa, OK 74146. All donations are tax-deductible. And thank you in advance!
We Say What We Believe: A Modern Affirmation, UMH # 885
(If possible, read this out loud):
Leader: Where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is the one true church, apostolic and universal,
whose holy faith let us now declare:
People: We believe in God the Father,
infinite in wisdom, power, and love,
whose mercy is over all his works,
and whose will is ever directed to his children’s good.
We believe in Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of man,
the gift of the Father’s unfailing grace,
the ground of our hope,
and the promise of our deliverance from sin and death.
We believe in the Holy Spirit
as the divine presence in our lives,
whereby we are kept in perpetual remembrance of the truth of Christ,
and find strength and help in time of need.
We believe that this faith should manifest itself in the service of love
as set forth in the example of our blessed Lord,
to the end that the kingdom of God may come upon the earth.
Closing Hymn "Freely, Freely" (UMH #389, First United Methodist, Houston)
God forgave my sin in Jesus' name
I've been born again in Jesus' name
And in Jesus' name I come to you
To share His love as He told me to
He said freely freely You have received
Freely freely give
Go in My name And because you believe
Others will know that I live
All pow'r is giv'n in Jesus' name
In earth and heav'n in Jesus' name
And in Jesus' name I come to you
To share His pow'r as He told me to [Chorus]
Benediction (please read together, out loud)
And now we commit ourselves to the Truth of Christ, for only Christ's Truth will set this world free. Amen.