Worship at Home for August 14, 2022

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost. This Sunday we will focus on Hebrews 12:1-2,

So then, with endurance, let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne. (Common English Bible).

The life of faith is not a sprint, but an endurance race which requires perseverance in the face of many obstacles. The life of faith is not always easy, but if we keep our eyes on Jesus at the finish line it will be run with the joy and love of God in our hearts.

If you would like a home visit, conversation, or home communion, please call me at 573-437-2779 (church) or 57 3-832-2475 (cell).

Announcements:

  • Thank you to everyone who packed backpacks for the Back-to-School Fair!
  • We are still collecting items for the “Christmas in July” for the Advent Tea in November. If you need an ornament and/or help shopping, give me a call.
  • Items for the Dental Kits for the Festival of Sharing are being collected. Look for the box in the back of the sanctuary.
  • There are still ornaments on the Christmas in July Tree for purchasing items to be used to prepare the Advent Tea.
  • Muny Trip on Thursday, August 18 beginning with a backstage tour at 6:15. This is for those who preordered tickets.
  • The Mission and Stewardship Committee will meet on Monday, August 22 at 1pm.
  • Choir Practice resumes on August 31 at 6:30pm.
  • Fun Church Picnic on Sunday, September11 at 4pm in Luster Park
  • We need to pick a date for Apple Butter Making. Would Saturday, September 17 or 24 work best for you? Let Rodney, Pastor Stephanie or the Church Office know.

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture Lessons: Isaiah 5:1-7, Psalm 80:1-2,8-19, Hebrews 11:29-12:2,                                                                       Luke 12:49-56

Sermon: The Life of Faith Easy Isn’t Always

There is a tendency to believe that once we give our lives to Jesus that we will automatically be blessed with worldly riches, and our lives will be easy. The new believer often is filled with great expectations about how life in the church will be and then reality hits. Life is not always easy even for the faithful. Maybe life is even harder for the faithful as they are running a long race.

Hebrews 11 lists the names and circumstances of the faithful. Some faced warfare, starvation, and persecution for running the race of faith, yet they kept on pounding their feet toward the goal. Think of these people as a great cloud of witnesses cheering us toward the finish line which God has assigned to us. We will get there, but it will take a lot of stick-to-itness and stamina.

Runner’s World magazine has a training guide for those who would like to run a marathon. The program may be adapted to fit a runner’s experience and fitness level No matter what your ability, the program requires sticking to the training plan. The training plan has rest days built into the schedule. Proper nutrition is important and so is caring for injuries. When racing it is helpful to wear light weight clothing and shoes.

Preparing for running the life of faith course entails making changes in our lives. As Hebrews 12:1 advises, “Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter.” Living lives of faith means that we pray, read scriptures, and share the love of God daily.

  1. We need to get rid of the extra baggage that keep us from running the race of faith: false notions of productivity that might distract us, angers and resentments that might build up in our hearts, negative thoughts about ourselves and others, fears about what the journey might hold.
  2. Runners need to make sure that their path is clear. Sins can trip us up. A runner who cheats is disqualified, but that is for the tournament officials to decide. It is not for us to point out the sins of other runners in faith, but to investigate our own lives to determine where we might be failing. Then we need to pray for God’s grace to take these from our lives and to keep moving forward.
  3. Runners set their eyes on what it is they are racing towards. For the faithful it is on Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith.

The faithful life is not a quick sprint to victory, but an ultramarathon that must be run every day. This race must be run even when the weather is bad, when we do not feel like it, when obstacles block the path, when we fight with our teammates, when we feel lost or forgotten, when our demands are not met, when someone is making unreasonable demands of us, when our certainties are broken, when our bodies are tested, when they serve us strawberry milk at the water stop.

Okay that last one happened to me when I ran a 10K in Fiji. Normally, I like strawberry milk, but what I really needed at that moment of overheated sweat and strain was a cup of water to drink and to pour over my head. So, I guess that I could add to the list when the well-meaning give you something that they think is good, but really does not help in that situation. Life is full of moments like this. But we the faithful need to keep running.

So let us hear the shouts of encouragement from the great cloud of witnesses who have run the race before us. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus who ran to the cross so that we might have the joy and promise of his victory over death. The life of faith is not always easy, but it is worth it.

Prayer: God help us to run the race that is set before us. May we be inspired by that great cloud of witnesses who surround us. Forgive us we stumble. Heal us when we hurt. Rejoice with us as we cross the finish line. Amen.

 

Prayer list: All who have been on our list in the past and Elizabeth, Cheryl, Dave, David, Ken and Evelyn, Jason, Paulette, Jaqueline, Friends of Shelby, Bobby, Kevin, Jim, Darryl, Marilee, Beverly, Jim, Jenny, Dixon’s daughter, Barbara, Melvin, Mitchell, victims of recent flooding and for peace in the world troubled and war-torn places.

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