"Original Blessing:" What I Believe About Sin

Speaker: Pastor Thomas

Bible Passage: Psalm 139

Theme for the Week beginning Nov. 8, 2020:  “What I Believe About Sin”

  • 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):

Jesus, you are the door: let us enter God’s presence in your name. You are the good shepherd: let us rest in your provision. You are the resurrection: let us find true life and victory in you. You are the way, the truth and the life: let us love you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Amen.

We Sing a Song of Praise: “Nothing But The Blood”

(UMH #711; First UMC, Houston)

(Please sing along or just listen to this inspirational song)

 

We Call Each Other to Worship

(If possible, read out loud.  If you are not alone, take turns reading the light and the bold lines.  Based on Psalm 139)

Leader:  Lord, as we gather together, your Spirit is with us.

People:  Your Spirit is always with us!  Where could we go where you are not?

Leader:  If we stand on earth’s highest mountain, you would find us there.

People:  If we make our homes in Hell, you come looking for us. 

Leader:  If we fly to Mars on spaceships, even there we cannot escape your presence and your help.

People:  If we cover ourselves in the darkness of guilt and shame, we still cannot hide from you.

Leader:  The darkness cannot blind you to us.  You see everything!  You see US, inside and out.

People:  You turn our nighttimes into morning light, and you lead us in the way everlasting.

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
Psalm 139 (from Praying the Psalms, by Nan C. Merrill)

(If possible, read all scriptures out loud)

O my Beloved, You have searched me and known me!

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You discern my innermost thoughts.
You find me on the journey and guide my steps; You know my strengths and my weaknesses.
Even before words rise up in prayer, You have already heard my heart call.
You encompass me with love where’er I go, and your strength is my shield.
Such sensitivity is too wonderful for me; it is high; boundless gratitude is my soul’s response.

Where could I go from your Spirit? Or where could I run from your Presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there!
If I make my bed in darkness, You are there!
If I soar on the wings of the morning or dwell in the deepest parts of the sea, even there your hand will lead me, and your love will embrace me.
If I say, “Let only darkness cover me, and the light about me be night,”  even the darkness is not dark to you, the night dazzles as with the sun; the darkness is as light with You.

For You formed my inward being, You put me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise You, for You are to be reverenced and adored.
Your mysteries fill me with wonder!
More than I know myself do You know me; my essence was not hidden from You,
when it was being formed in secret, intricately fashioned from the elements of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance; in your records were written every one of them, the days that were numbered for me, when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your creations, O Blessed One! How vast is the sum of them! Who could count your innumerable gifts and blessings?
At all times, You are with me.

O that You would vanquish my fears, Beloved;
O that ignorance and suffering would depart from me—all that separates me from true abandonment, to surrendering myself into your Hands!
Yet are these not the very thorns that focus my thoughts upon You?

Will I always need reminders to turn my face to You?
I yearn to come to You in love, to learn of your mercy and wisdom!

Search me, O my Beloved, and know my heart!
Try me and discern my thoughts!
Help me to face the darkness within me;
enlighten me, that I might radiate your love and light!

 

Leader:  The word of God for the Children of God:

People:  Thanks be to God!

We Testify to God’s Grace:    “Sin is a Spider

Tyler Myers (Ohio); The Upper Room, October 2, 2020

Late one evening, I saw a large spider crawling in my bathroom. Thankfully, this didn’t send me into a horrified yelling fit. The spider’s presence did, however, motivate me to remove it — fast.

Soon after getting rid of the spider, I thought of my reaction to my sin. God spoke clearly to my heart: If you were that quick and serious about overcoming sin, think how many fewer problems you would have and how much better off your life would be.

As we see in the scripture quoted above, God’s word gives us firm counsel about the importance of addressing actions that keep us from having a deeper relationship with God. If we are determined and disciplined, we can overcome our sin through confession, repentance, and the power of the Holy Spirit, trusting that God is always ready to forgive us.

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

 

We  Hear a Song of Devotion: “And Can It Be That I Should Gain”

(UMH #363; Charles Wesley & Thomas Campbell)

Please play the music video and reflect.

 

We Hear the Sermon from Pastor Thomas

“Original Blessing:” What I Believe About Sin

Series:  Confessions of a Church Pastor

(Note:  my PDF sermon manuscript can be downloaded from the link at the top of this page.  It is located right below the recorded sermon above and labeled “Notes.”)

We Pray to the Lord

To receive the prayer email, please reach out to healing@hopefortulsa.com

(If possible, please pray out loud)

 God, today I (we) pray . . .

    • for the people of Hope United Methodist Church, and especially …
      • We pray for Jan Colvin in her hospitalization. 
      • We remember with thankfulness the life of Ron Maggard and we pray for her family and friends.
      • We remember with thankfulness the life of Elinor Bartleson and we pray for her family and friends.
      • We remember with thankfulness the life of Gail Arnold and we pray for her family and friends.
      • We remember with thankfulness the life of Brenda Stage and we pray for her family and friends.
      • We remember with thankfulness the life of Barbara Roderick and we pray for her family and friends.
      • We remember with thankfulness the life of Richard Bachelder and we pray for his family and friends.
      • We remember with thankfulness the life of Jerry Robison and we pray for his family and friends.
      • We pray for the continued recovery of Skip Hurt following surgery.
      • We 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.
      • We especially pray for President Donald Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence, President-elect Joe Biden, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and their families.  We pray for a smooth and peaceful transition of government.  We pray for all those newly elected into public offices, locally and nationally.
    • for the battle we are facing with COVID-19, and especially those who are suffering and those who are responding, and for … 
      • . . . God to stem the uprise in the number of COVID cases and hospitalizations.              
    • for the Church universal—its leaders, its members, and its mission. We especially pray for Bishop Nunn and for our 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…
      • . . . the new pastor soon to be appointed to Hope UMC.
    • 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 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, 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. 

And lead us not into temptation, 
but deliver us from evil. 

For thine is the kingdom, 
and the power, and the glory, 
for ever and ever. 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 Confess Our Sin to the Lord and Receive God’s Grace
(based on the Psalms)
Leader:  Search us, O God, and know our hearts.
Test us and know our anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in us that offends You,
and guide us on the road to life. (Ps. 139:23-24)
(Time of silence)
ALL:  O Lord, You have examined our hearts
and know everything about us.
You know when we sit down or stand up.
You know our thoughts from afar.
You see when we walk or lie down,
You know every detail of our conduct.
You even know what we are going to say before we say it.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for us,
too great for us to understand. (Ps. 139:1-3, 6)
Cleanse us from hidden faults.
Keep us from deliberate sins.
Don’t let them control us.
Then we will be free of guilt,
and innocent of serious wrong-doing. (Ps. 19:12-14)
Leader:  Listen to the promise of God:
Those who love Me, I will deliver.
I will protect those who know My name.
When they call to Me, I will answer them;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue them and honor them,
and show them my saving power. (Ps. 91:14-15)
People:  Lord, we trust in Your unfailing love!
We rejoice, because You have rescued us!
Leader:  Therefore, let us sing praise to God,
because God has been so good to us! (Ps. 13:5-6)
Closing Hymn: “Grace Greater Than Our Sin”

(UMH #365, Foothill Church)

Benediction (adapted from a 1698 hymn)

(Please read together aloud):

Through all the changing scenes of life,
in trouble and in joy,
may the praises of our Lord and God
our heart and tongue employ.  Amen.

 

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