Sunday, August 25, 2019

Worship Prayers August 17-18

CENTERING PRAYER

“God of Peace, your call, at times, appears to divide us from one another. Help us to overcome our fears and respond in courage. Give us faith to trust the unity that is beyond our sight. Give us your eyes to recognize the signs before us. We ask this in the confidence of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

CALL TO WORSHIP

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,   
let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,
Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.
Mindful of the gifts we receive and confident of the sustenance the Lord provides,
Let us worship God together.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

God of hope, we confess our disregard of your care, our doubt of your providence , and our blindness to signs of your love. We are afraid to risk our comforts to find new life; we separate ourselves from you and from others and foster divisions between those you love. Help us to amend our lives and make us your faithful people who bear the good fruit of your Word in the world.  We continue to pray through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.(Silent Confession)

For the sermon, click here

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Scripture for Worship Aug. 24-25

Jeremiah 1:4-10 New International Version (NIV)

The Call of Jeremiah

The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 1:5 Or chose
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Photo by Alex Hockett on Unsplash

Friday, August 23, 2019

Daily Prayer August 23

The sacrifice acceptable to God is a humble spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Eternal God, you draw near to us in Christ and make yourself our guest. Amid the cares of our daily lives, make us attentive to your voice and alert to your presence, that we may treasure your word above all else. O God, you are infinite, eternal and unchangeable, glorious in holiness, full of love and compassion, abundant in grace and truth. Your works everywhere praise you, and your glory is revealed in Jesus Christ our Savior.
Therefore we praise you, blessed and holy Trinity, one God, forever and ever. Eternal God, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts, to direct and rule us according to your will, to comfort us in all our afflictions, to defend us from all error, and to lead us into all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Add your prayers.) Amen.
Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God through him.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Worship Prayers for Aug. 11

CENTERING PRAYER “O God of promise, creator of the cosmos, you are the first light breaking through the void, and the final light we shall eternally enjoy. Keep our hearts ever vigilant as we wait to welcome you, that you would find us clothed in love, dressed for action, and eager to receive you. Amen.”

CALL TO WORSHIP (Psalm 50:1-2) The heavens declare the righteousness of God. The earth declares God’s beauty. From the rising of the sun to its setting God’s word shines forth in glory. Come! Let us worship God together

PRAYER OF CONFESSION Holy God, you call us to do good, seek justice, and care for those in need, yet how often we place our own comforts above compassion for others. Forgive us, we pray, and cleanse us from these and all our offenses through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Silent Confession)

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – The Apostles’ Creed I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

For the sermon "Everything I Own", click here.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Scripture August 17-18

Luke 12:49-56 New International Version (NIV)

Not Peace but Division

49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Interpreting the Times

54 He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55 And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. 56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

Friday, August 16, 2019

Daily Prayer August 16

FRIDAY
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.
Eternal God, Author of our life and End of our pilgrimage: Guide us by your Word and Spirit amid all perils and temptations, that we may not wander from your way, nor stumble in the darkness; but may finish our course in safety, and come to our eternal rest in you. Eternal God, your hand shaped our lives by grace and your hand rescued us from sin by love. May your hand guide us through this day, shielding us from all evil, strengthening us to do justice and love. Enable us, O God, to do all things as unto you; that small things may be filled with greatness, and great things may be crowned with humility. O God, whom we cannot love unless we love our neighbors, remove hate and prejudice from us and from all people, so that your children may be reconciled with those we fear, resent, or threaten; and live together in your peace. (Add your prayers.) Amen.
With God's help and love may your lives be blessed and your labors fruitful as you offer yourselves gladly in the service of our common Lord.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

GIVE-IT-A-TRY BELL CHOIR

Current and interested bell players are invited to learn to play an easy piece on Wed Aug.14 at 6:30 pm in the sanctuary. Basic music reading skills required (whole, half, quarter notes and rests). We will teach/review basic bell technique. Middle school through adults are welcome! We will plan to play in worship on Sunday Aug 18 at 10 am (with a warmup before).

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

School Begins with Love

Camouflaged against the asphalt, I was surprised I saw it. Maybe it was luck. Or maybe I was looking at the ground, feeling contemplative, as we were leaving church. The sermon today was on fear. How fear can grow & fester when kept inside, in the dark, and only in being honest with our fear can it be made lighter. 

To be honest, I was thinking about school starting this week. I was thinking about the dull drum of fear that pulses behind my excitement & enthusiasm. I was thinking, "I wonder if my mom had this weird background fear or is the world that much different now?" And if my mom did experience this uncomfortable limbo of emotions, I don't recall picking up on it.

 Instead, what I remember is she focused on the good and did what she could to remind my sisters & me that we are loved. Every day. So this little nudge that appeared after such contemplation, it was right on time. #notetoselftoday #chooselovetoday #iseeheartsallthetime


Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Dear God, Please be with the students, staff and parents on this first week of school.  Remind them all to have patience, be kind and begin the year with love. Amen

N. Douglas


Monday, August 12, 2019

Grief Share

GRIEFSHARE CLASS.
D. Hames

Stephen Ministry is facilitating Griefshare at St. Mark on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8:00 pm in rooms 17–19. Attend one, a few or all sessions. Classes began on September 3 and will continue to meet every Tuesday until November 26.

This is a support group for anyone experiencing grief over the loss of a loved one. If you are experiencing grief, we hope you will join us in a Christian support setting that will help you learn coping strategies to help make life easier. If you would like more information, please call D. Hames or B. Lienemann.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Worship Prayers Aug. 4

CENTERING PRAYER
Holy One, you see us for just who we are, and yet you love us with a parent’s love. In your enduring love for us, we see both our guilt and our acquittal. Gracious God, continue to guide us and teach us to walk in your ways. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

CALL TO WORSHIP
We are children of God, learning to walk. Day by day, we are learning to be the church. The Lord is a loving parent, teaching us to walk. God loves us, leads us, and feeds. Come! Let us worship the Lord together.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Nurturing God, you continue to lead us in upright ways on account of your love for us, yet we do not always follow your call; we turn away from you and go our own way. Forgive us, and return us to our rightful home in you, through Jesus Christ our Savior. (Silent Confession)

For the sermon, click here.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Scripture for Aug. 10-11

Luke 12:32-40 New International Version (NIV)

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Watchfulness

35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Friday, August 9, 2019

Daily Prayer August 9

FRIDAY
You, O Lord, are full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger, and rich in kindness.
God our creator, you made all things in your wisdom, and in your love you save us. We pray for the whole creation. Overthrow evil powers, right what is wrong, feed and satisfy those who thirst for justice, so that all your children may freely enjoy the earth you have made, and joyfully sing your praises. Take all our doubts and uncertainties, O God, and fill us with such faith that we may be confident of your love and loyal in the service of him who died and yet lives for us, Jesus Christ the Lord. Merciful God, you bear the pain of the world. Look with compassion on those who are sick; cheer them by your word, and bring healing as a sign of your grace. God of comfort, stand with those who sorrow; that they may be sure that neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come, shall separate them from your love. (Add your prayers,) Amen.
As God's own, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, and patience, forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven you, and crown all these things with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Blood on My Hands


I always look forward to the summer months and the promise of a slower schedule, time with family at the pool, and the ability to travel a little more. June is the quietist month in the church as we recharge our batteries after a long school year. There are still plenty of activities, but the heavy lifting of long-range planning can wait several weeks as we catch our breath. Summer vacation ends sometime in mid-July with the speed of a child racing from one end of the building to the other during Vacation Bible School. The ABC Sale follows close on its heels with a small army of faithful volunteers gathering, sorting, pricing, and selling secondhand treasures. The halls are empty in early August as the church exhales after a three-week sprint. Doing the good work of loving kids and raising money for mission partners is tiring, but the rewards are innumerable.

You might think the lectionary would give us a little breather after so much hard work, but we get no reprieve from the Minor Prophets. God sent Amos and Hosea to Israel to express God’s displeasure with the political leaders, the religious elite, and the wealthy in the land. The prophetic language makes us squeamish, but the message puts a pit squarely in the pit of our stomach. Israel’s well-to-do types might wonder what the problem is and why the prophets are upsetting the peace. The borders are secure, the unemployment is low, and the standard of living is at an all-time high (at least for those who are already wealthy.) The church pews are full, and everyone turns out for the religious festivities.

What’s the problem, God?

The powerful are oppressing the poor and pushing the weak further into the margins. God is tired of the show. There’s plenty of worship and prayer on the holy days, but the religious folk are harming the destitute the rest of the week. There is even bloodshed in the streets. Something has to give.

After two scorching weeks in both Amos and Hosea, we might think it’s time for a cool spell. Instead, the lectionary calendar turns to Isaiah, and this “major” prophet double downs on God’s displeasure.

“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand? Trample my courts no more; bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation-I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity. Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

Come now, let us argue it out, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Isaiah 1:11-20, NRSV.)

It is summertime, but the lectionary living is anything but easy. Isaiah announces God is not impressed with our worship, our offering, or our perfect attendance at Sunday school. All of it is a futile abomination in God’s sight if we are not working for good, seeking justice, rescuing the oppressed, defending the orphan, and pleading for the widow. Simply put, God is not interested in a show if we are not willing to do the hard work for justice.

We might wonder what this has to do with any of us. We do not openly oppress others, steal from the least of these, or physically harm our neighbors. Our hands are clean, right!?!

I’m sure there were plenty of everyday people in Israel who did not assault the poor or rip-off the disadvantaged. They kept their heads down, did their jobs, provided for their families, and unconsciously benefited from the systems of injustice. They didn’t harm anyone directly, but there was still blood on their hands. Individually, they might be fine, but collectively they were all guilty.
I am still struggling to comprehend the recent mass shootings in California, Texas, and Ohio. I did not manufacture the weapons or pull the triggers, but my hands are not clean. I am part of a society that allows these horrific events to continue. My hands are dirty.

It is time for all of us to examine what we can do individually and collectively to work for peace. Worship on Sunday will always be important, but Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah forcefully remind us that it is not enough. This is not someone else’s problem or somebody else’s sin. It belongs to all of us. The only question is what we will do next as Followers of Christ.

In Hope and Confidence,
Pastor Dave

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Worship Prayer July 28

CENTERING PRAYER Holy God, you love us faithfully as our generous parent, our patient teacher, our constant friend. We live by the hope of your promises, seek to follow your way, and rely on the gift of your Spirit, by whose power we breathe, and move, and pray. Amen. 

CALL TO WORSHIP Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation. The Lord will speak peace to the faithful, to those who turn to God in their hearts. Surely salvation is at hand for those who fear the Lord, and God’s glory will dwell in our land. Let us worship our God together!

PRAYER OF CONFESSION Ever-faithful God, how often we turn away from you, yet you remain constant to us. We run from you, but you call us back. In our words and our deeds we dishonor you, yet you still profess your love for us. We cut ourselves off from you and from others, but you will not let us go. Forgive our faithless and fickle ways and increase our gratitude, that we might grow in faithfulness to you, for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whose name we continue to pray. (Silent Confession)

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Scripture for Aug. 3 and 4


Hosea 11:1-11 New International Version (NIV)

God’s Love for Israel

11 “When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son.
But the more they were called,
    the more they went away from me.[a]
They sacrificed to the Baals
    and they burned incense to images.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
    taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
    it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
    with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
    a little child to the cheek,
    and I bent down to feed them.
“Will they not return to Egypt
    and will not Assyria rule over them
    because they refuse to repent?
A sword will flash in their cities;
    it will devour their false prophets
    and put an end to their plans.
My people are determined to turn from me.
    Even though they call me God Most High,
    I will by no means exalt them.
“How can I give you up, Ephraim?
    How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
    How can I make you like Zeboyim?
My heart is changed within me;
    all my compassion is aroused.
I will not carry out my fierce anger,
    nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man
    the Holy One among you.
    I will not come against their cities.
10 They will follow the Lord;
    he will roar like a lion.
When he roars,
    his children will come trembling from the west.
11 They will come from Egypt,
    trembling like sparrows,
    from Assyria, fluttering like doves.
I will settle them in their homes,”
    declares the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Hosea 11:2 Septuagint; Hebrew them
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Photo by David Straight on Unsplash