30 August 2020

Topic: War

"The Peaceable Kingdom:" What I Believe About War

Speaker: Pastor Thomas

Bible Passage: Luke 6:27-38

Theme For the Week beginning August 30th, 2020:  “The Christian and War (Violence, Part 1)”

  • 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

(inspired by Matthew 5: 43-48, Luke 6: 27-38)

(If possible, please pray out loud):

O God of all,

whose Son commanded us to love our enemies:

This day lead us who gather to the truth:
Deliver those of us who are enemies and those who are friends from hatred, cruelty, and revenge;

and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We Sing a Song of Praise: “I Am”

(by the David Crowder Band;  video by Pastor Madeline, First United Methodist Church, Luling, TX ; 2014)

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

There’s no space that His love can’t reach

There’s no place where we can’t find peace

There’s no end to amazing grace

 

Take me in with Your arms spread wide

Take me in like an orphan child

Never let go never leave my side

 

(Chorus)

I am holding onto You

I am holding onto You

In the middle of the storm

I am holding on (I am)

 

Love like this O my God to find

I am overwhelmed with a joy divine

Love like this sets our hearts on fire

(Chorus)

 

This is my resurrection song

This is my hallelujah come

This is why it’s to You I run

There’s no space that His love can’t reach

There’s no place where we can’t find peace

There’s no end to amazing grace

(Chorus)

 

 

We Call Each Other to Worship (inspired by Matthew 11:29 and Revelation 21:5)

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

Come all who are weary

of wealth, of poverty, of power, of fighting, of division

Come all who are heavy-laden

with too much, with too little, with anxiety, with fear, with anger

Come all who have hope

for liberation, for peace, for freedom, for the kingdom

Come all, and hear these words of the One who is seated on the Throne of Heaven:

“Behold! I am making all things new.”

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:  Luke 6:27-38 (NIV)

(If possible, read all scriptures out loud)

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

 

We Testify to God’s Grace:    “Becoming Persons of Peace”

(by Sara Hague, Oregon, USA; The Upper Room, Aug 8, 2020)

Last fall, my autistic son was struggling in school with an impatient, inexperienced teacher. After daily unpleasant encounters, he became anxious and began to lose his love for learning. As his main advocate, I attempted to communicate with the teacher for several months, only to be ignored.

Later, as I was reading 2 Corinthians 5, God reminded me that I had been called to be a person of peace. I had become more focused on injustice than love, more intent on being right than seeking resolution. After I repented, God showed me that underneath the teacher’s prickly, defensive reactions was a person leading a challenging classroom and having to constantly prove herself to keep her job. My heart was moved from irritation and outrage to compassion and understanding. I began to pray for this teacher daily, and God empowered me to respond to her with words of encouragement and peace. Over time, the teacher changed her approach, treating my son with greater patience, gentleness, and consideration for his challenges.

God asks us to be Christ’s representatives to those around us. When others are angry, defensive, or hurt, we are called to respond as God does to us: with compassion, love, and peace. Through our prayers and Christlike responses, God’s transforming love can heal the hearts of those around us and bring peace to all of us.

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

 

We  Sing a Song of Devotion: “It Is Well with My Soul”

(UMH #377; Sanctuary Choir, First-UMC, Houston, Aug 25, 2019)

Please play the music video and use the verses below to sing along or just reflect.

1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well with my soul,
it is well, it is well with my soul.

2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed his own blood for my soul.
(Refrain)

3. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
(Refrain)

4. And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
even so, it is well with my soul.
(Refrain)

We Hear the Sermon from Pastor Thomas
“The Peaceable Kingdom”
“Confessions of a Church Pastor:  What I Believe about War (Violence, Part 1)”

(NOTE:  The statement on war from the Book of Discipline’s Social Principles can be found attached to the end of my sermon. You can download this document at the bottom of this webpage)

 

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 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 Suzanne Pfeifer and Elinor Bartleson.
      • 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.
    • 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 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 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!

 

Closing Hymn: “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love” (Youtube version posted by Sheri Butler)

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord;
We are one int he Spirit, we are one in the Lord;
And we pray that all unity will one day be restored.

Chorus: And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

We will work with each other, we will work side by side;
We will work with each other, we will work side by side;
And we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride.

(Chorus)

Additional verses to sing:

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand;
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand;
And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land.

All praise to the Father, from whom all things come;
And all praise to Christ Jesus, His only Son.
And all praise to the Spirit who makes us one.

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.