Today's guest speaker is Rev. Renny Domske.
Gathering Around the Word
CALL TO WORSHIP from Psalm 40
I waited patiently for the Lord;
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit;
He lifted me out of the mud and mire.
He set my feet on a rock,
And gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth;
He gave me a hymn of praise to our God.
Blessed is the one who makes the Lord his trust.
Here I am! I desire to do Your will, O my God.
Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders You have done.
The things You have done for us are too many to declare.
*HYMN “When Morning Gilds the Skies” # 667
(intro & 4 verses)
*PRAYER OF CONFESSION:
Many are the ways I have failed You this week, O Lord.
I have done things my way rather than consulting You.
I have too often ignored others when I should be looking to their needs. I have not gone the extra mile for anyone but myself.
Forgive me. Restore me. Allow me to desire Your presence above all. Help me to reflect Your Love to my family.
Assist me in sharing Your forgiveness and hope with all whom
I touch and meet. Thank You for constantly forgiving me.
*Time of silent prayer:
*Assurance of Pardon
*Response – Gloria Patri
*The peace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
And also with you
*Passing of the peace
Prayer of illumination
James 1: 19 – 27 Mary Esselstyn
Matthew 14: 22 - 35
SERMON: “Asking Directions in Western PA”
HYMN “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” # 8
(intro & 4 verses)
Presentation of tithes and offering
*Prayer of dedication
Concerns and Celebrations
Prayers for the people
The Lord’s Prayer
* HYMN “Lead On, O King Eternal!’ # 269
(intro & 3 verses)
BIRTHDAYS Janet Brach, Carol Stough, Ron Westfall
Nelson & Marlene Huffman
Don & Lynn Herschell
Tom & Chris Miller
For the Keith McGill Family
For the Mary Allen Schmidt Family
Friend of Debbie Durila
For the Georgia Manypenny Family
Friend of Tim Knabenshue
For the Shelvie Coulter Family
For the Elaine Belcastro Family
We need prayers for Doris Ann Rowe who is under Hospice Care now.
Remember our food collection. And Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” Please let Betty Fisher know of anyone within the community that may be in need at this time.
We need to collect for the flower fund that Cheryl Bell oversees. We will be collecting on October 1st.
Continuing Prayer List
Chuck Dicks, Frank Huffman, Tom Westfall, Sandy Stone, Sarah Wilson, Carl Weber, Jimmy Svetz, Ricci Amos, Haley Diedier Bedillion, Fred Wilkinson, Tiffany Cipoletti, Diane Anderson, Suzy Smith, Helen Provenzano, Donna West, Judy Donaldson, Marlene McFeely, Chuck Harton, Jean Westfall, Billie Wilson, Sue Gregg, Wendy Willard, Marley Smith, Kirkland Cipoletti, Ellen Morris, Mike Durila, Dave Henderson, Ed Horne, Dorothy Caffrey, Doris Ann Rowe, Frank Baker
We're so glad you chose to join us today!
When we meet in person, we share our joys and concerns with each other. If you have prayer requests to share, you can add them to the comments on this post. When you are ready, use this prayer to get started.
Lord, we know that there have been times when we have turned away from people who were dirty or difficult, times when we wished they would have remained invisible to us. In our minds, we have assigned blame for people’s poverty or addiction, and we have even treated them as less than ourselves. On the other hand, we clamber after those who are like us. We enjoy and admire those who fit into our economic and social class, those who we believe will make good additions to our church, and so we treat them better and welcome them more warmly.
Help us, Father, to love as you love. Help us to take special care to love the poor, those who are difficult, those who are hurting and needy, those who different from us racially, politically and spiritually, because we know they are our neighbors, too, and we know that you love them just as you love us.
In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.
Today's lesson is on James 2:1-12.
When I was a child, there was a popular comedy team named “The Smothers Brothers.” They were real brothers, Tom and Dick Smothers, and part of their routine involved bickering back and forth until, in frustration, Tom would yell out, “Mom always liked you best!”
It wasn’t really a response to the argument at hand. It was really just a humorous expression of the tensions that were —supposedly — going on underneath it all. Jealousy based on favoritism.
Somehow I always think of that routine when I read these words from the second chapter of James.
The author of this book is believed to be the brother of Jesus. He was not one of the original disciples, but after Jesus’s death, James had become the leader of the Jerusalem church, which served as the mother church for congregations throughout the Roman world. In fact, it was James who led the meeting of the famous Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, where church leaders decided not to burden Gentile converts with following the Jewish law.
In this section of his letter, he addresses another problem that had come up in some of the churches. The problem was favoritism. And it is something that should not happen in the church, either in early Christian times or today.
Problem identified (verses 1-4)
James opens up this section with a sort of thesis statement: Believers must not show favoritism. Why? First of all, because God is our Father, and God does not show favoritism. Therefore we should emulate God in the way we treat each other, especially since through Christ we are also brothers and sisters.
We may not be “real brothers,” like Tom and Dick Smothers, but we are brothers and sisters in a spiritual sense through Christ. And with God as our Father, we are loved beyond measure.
Next James illustrates how partiality might play out in the church. An obviously wealthy man comes into the church, and a dirty, poor man wearing ragged clothes also comes in. The temptation is to treat the wealthy man with more deference because that is the way he is used to being treated outside the church. At the same time, the host might treat the poor man with less hospitality, possibly thinking that there is nothing wrong with treating him the way he is treated outside the church.
In Leviticus 19, God gives Moses a series of laws that define how holiness should be lived out in everyday life. One of those laws, in verses 15, states, “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.” In other words, people should not favor others because they are rich or poor, but they should judge them impartially.
When people of faith treat discriminate against others, James says, they become “judges with evil thoughts.” That is, they either miscarry justice simply because they value one class of people (usually the rich and powerful) over another, or they show favoritism toward the wealthy because they want to get something from them in return.
Problem evaluated (verses 5-7)
In the next section, James goes deeper into just why favoritism is wrong for those in the church.
First, James gives a positive reason. He points out how, in the kingdom of God, God reverses the world’s value structures. Oftentimes it is those who are poor in the estimation of the world whom God has endowed with more faith and more spiritual wealth.
In the Sermon on the Mount and elsewhere, Jesus spoke of how the kingdom of God differs from the kingdom of this world. The scriptures often remind us of God’s preference for the poor, and they often show how God has chosen poor and weak people to do extraordinary things for God’s kingdom. So God has seen fit to elevate the poor, and the church should try to reflect those kingdom values.
Not only that, but James goes on to point out that it was the rich who were dishonoring and exploiting those in the church. So, simply as a matter of common sense, why were people in the church treating them as though they deserved special honor?
We can see the same thing happening today. Why do so many people eagerly follow the lives of celebrities, even when they proudly display selfish and egotistical lifestyles and even spout hate-filled and racist words? Just because a person may be able to act or sing or play music or acquire a great deal of money, that is no reason to be captivated by their personas. Christians are to follow those whose lives offer a completely different example, an example of humility and love for others.
As an extension of that argument, James says that the rich and powerful were also “blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong.” The dictionary defines blasphemy as showing disrespect, by words or actions, to something that is considered holy or sacred. According to the Sunday school lesson, James may be referring to rich people who oppressed the poor but who pretend to be godly, but it also points out that not all wealthy people then or now fall into this category.
Problem’s solution (verses 8-12)
The way to avoid falling into a trap of favoritism is to follow “the royal law,” which is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. If you understand that everyone is your neighbor — as Jesus poignantly illustrated in the story of the Good Samaritan — you will treat everyone, regardless of their worldly status, equally with love and respect.
This rule did not start with Jesus. Jesus took this commandment from the book of Leviticus, and the law of Moses excluded showing favoritism. Therefore, to show favoritism is to be a lawbreaker and a sinner. “Discrimination,” the lesson says, “is a failure to love, and love is at the core of the law of Christ.”
At its heart, the law was not simply a set of rules to follow. It was a way to show people how to love each other in practical ways during that period of history. And that is why James concludes this section by telling his readers to speak and act as people who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.
When we think of laws, we naturally think of regulations and rules that restrict us from doing something or that require us to do something else under threat of punishment. But James says the laws of the Bible are meant to give us freedom.
That is because they free us from our sinful tendency to be selfish and self-destructive, and they free us to live the best lives we can live. Therefore, obeying them brings us true freedom. So as much as we can, we should attempt to live our lives according to Christ’s law of love.
Today’s text is justly famous for the specific sin that it identifies and condemns. Discrimination grows out of our fallen human nature — a nature that is drawn to wealth and status, or at least proximity to it. Everyone is subject to its allure, and we all can think of instances when the temptation has been present for us. James’s teachings are, therefore, for us as well as for his initial readers. May we take this lesson as an encouragement to examine the patterns of our lives and to root out prejudice, replacing it with love.
Father, may your Holy Spirit teach us to see those who walk the earth with us as you see them. As we do, deliver us from the sins of partiality, prejudice, and preference. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Questions for discussion:
This week's benediction is from the King James Version.
Next week's lesson will be on 1 Peter 2:1-10.
Today’s guest speaker is Don Herschell.
All of the information normally found in our bulletin is below the video. Simply click on "Read More" to load the rest of the bulletin. You can use this to follow the service, as well as to pray our unison prayers. All joys and concerns that we know, as well as our continuing prayer list is within the Joys and Concerns. Announcements can be found at the bottom of this service.
Gathering Around the Word
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Those who trust in God are like the mountains, immovable and abiding.
People: God shelters the people: today and for eternity.
Leader: Rich or poor, God creates us to pursue justice and to care for one another.
People: Be a blessing, O God, to those who are good and upright in heart.
Leader: God calls us to be rich in faith, to honor our heritage as heirs of the Kingdom.
People: We are blessed when we share our blessings, that peace may be upon the people.
The church remains closed this week. For this week's service, we are combining Sunday School with worship. Please follow along through today's service, reading the text and watching the videos.
We are so glad that you've decided to join us today!
Today is the first Sunday in Advent.
Long ago the prophet Isaiah spoke these words of promise about Jesus to God's people.
Long before Jesus was born, God promised it would be so. People joyfully celebrate Christmas because God gave the world His own Son, the very first Christmas gift. We make room for him in our hearts.
Today we light the Promise Candle.
Let us pray:
Dear heavenly Father, as we begin the Advent season, teach us the true meaning of Christmas. Each time we light the candle of promise, help us to think about Your promise to send Jesus Your Son. Amen.
For the fall quarter, our Sunday school lessons have revolved around the topic of love. Today's topic is Impartial Love. Today's scripture lesson is James 2:1-13.
Joys and Concerns
Nov. 29th Jim Gregg, Connor Diesel
30th Susan Paul
Dec. 1st Marilyn Hickman, Kathy Bell
2nd Andrew Lozano
SYMPATHY: The Family of Beverly Mounts
The Family of Esther Krajacic
The Family of Dale Taggart (Missionary/Flagstaff)
The Family of Dave Burt
This year, the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is posting an online Advent devotional. It will be available daily on our website as well. Just follow this link.
This is a year unlike any other. We won't be able to have our traditional Sunday School Christmas Program. However, we are looking at doing something virtually. At the bottom of today's service, there is a quick survey so we can see what everyone might be interested in doing.
We were able to remove Beverly Selvaggi and Megan Isley from our on going prayer list as they are both doing well. Pastor Gary remains on two weeks quarantine. Dana Wilson will not hear the results of the biopsy until Monday. He is in Jefferson Memorial Hospital due to an infection, please pray for healing. Betty Matthew’s cousin Carolyn Grimes is in the Washington Hospital and needs our prayers.
Continued prayers for Roma Grose, Ruth Hampe, Susan Schively, Jimmy Davis, Judy Donaldson, Margo Johnson, Melissa Pedigo, Aaron Blake, Lisa Phillips, Mickey Gubitti, Chip Rogers, Dixie Avoila, Virginia Coffield, Dennis McWreath, Chuck Warlow, Chuck Dicks, Randy Moore, Margaret Knabenshue, Janet Schively, Mary Ann Durila, Patty Nagey, Dr. Craig Fox, Karen Eisiminger, Kelley Gump, Mary Ann McFeeley, Ron Westfall, Ed Horne, DonnaWest, June and Keith McGill, Dianna Donaldson, Jessica Duke, Chuck Montecello, April Hincy, 3 yr. old Hayden Dijean, Glenn Miles, Dave Cummings, Ken Jackson, Doug Ward, Mark Knabenshue, Rick McFeeley, Dick McFeeley, Ricky Amos, Alex Kelley, Deron Wood, Susan Alberti, Bryan Dunn, Pastor Gary and John O’Hara.
We're so glad that you decided to join us today. If you need anything during this time, please contact a session member. If you have requests for our prayer list, please contact Linda Miller. If you need food from our food pantry, please contact Becky Phillips.
All of the information normally found in our bulletin is below the video. Simply click on "Read More" to load the rest of the bulletin. You can use this to follow the service, as well as to pray our unison prayers. All joys and concerns that we know, as well as our continuing prayer list is within the Joys and Concerns. Announcements can be found at the bottom of this service
Hymn: Love Devine, All Loves Excelling
Call to Worship
The grace of God was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. It has now been revealed through God's Son Jesus Christ. He has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. It is this grace and faith we proclaim and hold on to. It is this God and Savior that we worship. Let us praise and adore our living God that sent his Son Jesus to share a faith with us and share with others.
We're so glad you decided to join us for Sunday School today!
This week's hymn was a suggestion I received last week. If you have hymn requests please let me know.
Thanks to Don Hershell for the prayer and Sunday School lesson this week!
When we meet together in person, we share our joys and concerns. Take a few moments to consider what is on your mind right now. There is a lot of uncertainty with what lies ahead — especially with fall coming, the economy on less-than-ideal footing, and schools opening up in different ways. If you would like others to pray for these as well, you can add a comment at the bottom of this post.
Pray the following prayer as together we face the future, knowing that God goes with us.
O God of wisdom, as our children are headed back to school and college to learn anew, help us pass on to them the wisdom that has been given down to us from the generations before us. Help our children as they learn their daily lessons to listen and learn. Help their teachers have the patience and knowledge to teach well. Help them as they learn life’s lessons of dealing with other people around them. Help us as we guide them through those lessons.
We ask for your wisdom to discern your ways and path for our own lives. We ask for your wisdom to discern how to deal with others we meet, live with, work with, shop with, drive our roads with, wait in line with, eat with and be with daily. We ask for your wisdom in the difficult situations we may have to deal with as we go through life.
We ask for your wisdom when voting in the upcoming elections. We ask for your wisdom in dealing with injustices in our world. We ask for wisdom for our leaders in our world, our countries, our states, and our communities. We ask for wisdom for our church leaders, worldwide and local.
We ask for wisdom for our Pastors as they preach your word, inspire, lead and grow us as disciples. We ask for your wisdom as we reach out to those in need in our communities and in our world. We ask for wisdom as we minister to those who are homebound and in nursing homes. We ask for your wisdom as we minister to those in hospitals, in recovery and rehab.
We ask for your wisdom that not only enlightens us but transforms us and guides us in our daily walk with you. Amen
(written by Rev Abi, and posted on Rev Abi’s Long and Winding Road. http://vicarofwadley.blogspot.ca/)
Good morning! Welcome!
We're so glad you decided to join us today!
Every week, we use Psalm 19:14 as our benediction. This hymn came up as referencing that scripture.
When we meet together in person, we share our joys and concerns. Take a few moments to consider your past week, and the joys and worries it brought you. If you would like others to pray for these as well, you can add a comment at the bottom of this post.
This week's prayer is actually going to be two prayers put together. One is called A Prayer for Inner Strength, and the other is a morning prayer. We will start with a prayer together. Then, we will include our personal prayers. Finally, we will pray together again.
We're so glad you decided to join us!
If you have any hymn requests, or ideas for our morning prayer, please let me know! I've also found an online tool to find hymns to go with scripture. If you have a favorite scripture, I can look up a hymn to go with that, too! You can either email the church (firstname.lastname@example.org), or you can call or text.
This week, our hymn references a suggestion for Philippians 4:13:
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
When we meet together in person, we share our joys and concerns together. Take some time to think about your past week. What made you happy, thankful, or joyful? What made you feel worried or sad?
This week, we will use the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. We will pray the first part together. Then, in the middle, pray for your own joys and concerns. You may also want to pray for those people on our continuing prayer list. Then, we will pray the end of the Prayer together.
We're so glad that you've decided to join us for Sunday School!
When we meet on Sunday mornings, we always share joys and concerns from our lives. Take some time now to think back on your week, and consider what joys and concerns you have. These could be personal, for someone you know, or even for the world.
We have been doing guided prayers. If you see a guided prayer that we could use for Sunday School, something that could be adapted to a guided prayer for Sunday School, or if you would like to write the guided prayer for Sunday School, please let me know! I would love to get some suggestions! You can email the church: email@example.com, or give me a call.
Last week, we followed a suggestion in this article to pray the Psalms like a Christmas tree, by taking a psalm, and adding in our own prayer requests within the psalm... decorating it. I really enjoyed doing that, and thought we could do it again.
Would you believe that it has been twenty weeks since we have met in person?
On Sunday mornings, we take time to consider what blessings we may have had during the week, as well as our worries. Take some time to think about these joys and concerns. You may share your personal joys and concerns in a comment below, if you feel comfortable doing so. You may also want to look at the prayer list in last week's worship service for a list of people to pray for.
I have always liked the Psalms, and was reading this article (which is super short, and worth reading) about how to "Pray the Psalms." I particularly liked the option to, "pray the Psalm like an apple tree or a Christmas tree." For this week's guided prayer, I have picked a Psalm at random for us to pray like a Christmas tree. Guidance will be in a different color.
We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.