Plans for Hope and A Future

 For the Week beginning June 28th, 2020:  "HOPE!"

FAMILY ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • 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

 

 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):

We rejoice and praise Your holy name today, O Lord, because you have saved us from destruction. We give thanks because Your word gives us hope and guidance at all times. You are the source of stability and deep seated faith, and our spirits are refreshed in your presence! Amen!

 

We Sing a Song of Praise: "O God, Our Help in Ages Past"  UMH #117 (Westminster Abbey, Nov. 20, 2011)

You can sing along with a music video (or just listen) by clicking on the image below. 

1. O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home!

2. Before the hills in order stood,
or earth received her frame,
from everlasting, thou art God,
to endless years the same.

3. A thousand ages, in thy sight,
are like an evening gone;
short as the watch that ends the night,
before the rising sun.

4. O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come;
be thou our guide while life shall last,
and our eternal home.

 

We Call Each Other to Worship

(If possible, read out loud.  If you are not alone, take turns reading the lines)

Hope nonetheless! Hope despite! Hope regardless! Hope still!

If you have stopped hoping, hope again! If hope is threatened, keep hoping! Hope with others who hope! Hope beyond what others have hoped for!

Hope that draws us past our limits. Hope defies our limitations and human expectations. Hope questions what we have known. Hope that makes a way for us where there is none.

Hope takes us through fear. Hope calls us into life. Hope holds us even beyond death. Hope blesses us forever, and blesses those to come.  Amen!

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: Jeremiah 29:4-14 (NIV)
New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.

(If possible, read all scriptures out loud)

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.

10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

++This is the word of God for the children of God:  Thanks be to God!

 

We  Sing a Song of Devotion: "Living Hope" (Phil Wickham, (c) 2018 [Merlin] Absolute Label Services, SME; Bethel Music, Adorando)  
Just experience this song or sing along by clicking the image below.

How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb
In desperation, I turned to heaven
And spoke Your name into the night

Then through the darkness, Your loving-kindness
Tore through the shadows of my soul
The work is finished, the end is written
Jesus Christ, my living hope

Who could imagine so great a mercy?
What heart could fathom such boundless grace?
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame

The cross has spoken, I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior, I'm Yours forever
Jesus Christ, my living hope

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There's salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There's salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope

Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Then came the morning that sealed the promise

Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Jesus, Yours is the victory, whoa!

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There's salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope

Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There's salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope...

Jesus Christ, my living hope
Oh God, You are my living hope

We Testify to God's Grace

"Make Your First Place Your Last Place"   --Webb Smith, Georgia

"[The Lord] refreshes my soul." - Psalm 23:3 (NIV)

When I was eight years old, I remember helping my father search for his lost keys. As his frustration mounted, he asked, “Why is it that whenever you lose something, it’s always in the last place you look?” With a sly grin, he added, “Because once you find it, you stop looking.” I thought this was a hilarious observation. From that moment forward, finding lost items became a game for me. My goal was to have the first place I looked be the last.

This approach is fine for trivial items such as shoes, sunglasses, or the remote control. But where do we look when we lose courage, hope, or direction? Where do we look when we lose ourselves? In times of need, it’s far too common to look for answers in all the wrong places. Seeking relief, we may turn to alcohol, drugs, or other unhealthy behaviors, which never help us find anything good.

Scripture reminds us that in our most trying times, we can look to God first for help and solace. As our provider, God can restore, renew, and replenish us. Prayer allows us to seek God’s counsel, and scripture allows us to rediscover God’s endless love which can rebuild our broken spirits. At some point in life, we all experience significant loss. It’s comforting to know exactly where to look to regain our strength and stability.

(Do you have a testimonial you'd like to share here during future services?  Send your story to thomas@hopefortulsa.com)

 

We Hear the Sermon from Pastor Thomas
"Plans for Hope and a Future"
We Reflect in Silence

Take several minutes to consider today’s scripture and message.  Here are some questions to help: 

  • Have you ever felt exiled or like a prisoner of some kind?  What was the worse thing about that experience?
  • How have the COVID-19 restrictions impacted you?  many persons are feeling isolated, anxious, and depressed.  What about you?
  • Is it easy or hard for you to believe that God is in control of circumstances?  Of your life?  How might you trust God more?
  • Who do you consider to be your enemies?  What do you think about this command from the Old and New Testaments to pray blessings on them?
  • Do you believe that God has a great plan for your life?  Are you willing to keep hoping for those in spite of your present troubles?
We Pray to the Lord

(The Lord's Prayer is from Matthew ch. 6, THE VOICE translation)

(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 healing@hopefortulsa.com
      • We especially pray for our members and friends who are in nursing homes and rehab centers.
    • 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,
let Your name remain holy.
Bring about Your kingdom.
Manifest Your will here on earth,
as it is manifest in heaven.
Give us each day that day’s bread—no more, no less—
And forgive us our debts
as we forgive those who owe us something.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
But let Your kingdom be,
and let it be powerful
and glorious forever.

Amen.

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:  The Korean Creed, UMH # 884

(If possible, read this out loud):

We believe in the one God, creator and sustainer of all things, Father of Nations, the source of all goodness and beauty, all truth and love.

We believe in Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, our teacher, example, and Redeemer, the Savior of the world.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, God present with us for guidance, for comfort, and for strength.

We believe in the forgiveness of sins, in the life of love and prayer, and in grace equal to every need.

We believe in the Word of God contained in the Old and New Testaments as the sufficient rule both of faith and of practice.

We believe in the Church, those who are united in the living Lord for the purpose of worship and service.

We believe in the reign of God as the divine will realized in human society, and in the family of God, where we are all brothers and sisters.

We believe in the final triumph of righteousness, and in the life everlasting. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn  "Lord of All Hopefulness" (TUNE: "Be Thou My Vision"; British Christian Music Programme, May 20, 2014)

1 Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy:
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.

2 Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe:
Be there at our labors, and give us, we pray,
your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.

3 Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace:
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.

4 Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm:
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.

Benediction (Jeremiah 29:11) (please read together, out loud)

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Amen.

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Enjoy this LOOP Show Worship-at-Home-for-Kids Video from LifeChurch!

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