Worship Service – March 14, 2021

Sunday March 14,2021.

Welcome, to this 4th Sunday of Lent. I invite you to open your bible and read our scriptures this week, which are; Isaiah 35:1-10 and Matthew 10:37-42. Our ”Moving Forward “ focus this week is ,”BLOSSOMING “. Our Message this week is based on, Ephesians 5:15-20.

Ephesians 5:15-20

(15) Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise,
(16) making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (17)Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
(18) Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
(19) Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,
(20) always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.

Our message this week, ”BLOSSOMING”.

Blossoming. (def.)
(noun) Promising or healthy development.
(verb) Maturing or developing in a promising or healthy way.
The Coast Guard’s motto is “Semper Paratus” – Always Ready. The main focus of the Coast Guard is search and rescue. Their primary purpose is to save lives.
No matter how horrible the storm, no matter how high the waves, the Coast Guard was called to go out. As a matter of fact, the saying was: “You have to go out, but you don’t have to come back.” That’s how dedicated the crews were.
No matter how boring it got, the Coast Guard drilled for every possible event, so that they could live up to their motto of “Always Ready.”
In our Daily Walk with Christ, we’re called to be just as ready. We’re called to be, ”Always Ready” to be, ”Blossoming”. Why? Because we never know when our faith will be tested or when we’ll have the opportunity to share the Good News with others, which, as Paul says, is “making the most of every opportunity.”
In our reading of Isaiah 35, verse 2, speaks of a desert being transformed. ”Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.” It’s “Blossoming”. As the result of this, verse 10 states; ”Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” Of course Isaiah is not really writing about a desert, but as the NIV title states; the “Joy of the Redeemed”.
Consider this. There are two birds that fly over our nation’s deserts: One is the hummingbird and the other is the vulture. The vultures find the rotting meat of the desert, because that is what they look for. They thrive on that diet. But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh of dead animals. Instead, they look for the colorful blossoms of desert plants. The vultures live on what was. They live on the past. They fill themselves with what is dead and gone. But hummingbirds live on what is. They seek blossoms, new life. They fill themselves with freshness and life. Each bird finds what it is looking for.
In our gospel reading of Matthew 10:37-42, Isn’t that what Jesus told his disciples, before sending them out. If you want to follow me, be my disciples you need to develop a, ”Blossoming” attitude. So you can find what you’re looking for.
That’s also the same essence of Paul’s teaching: In life, there are two birds. The one bird looks for foolishness and stupidity, the other looks for wisdom. The vultures seek to fill themselves with the rotting flesh of intemperance and self indulgence, the hummingbird temperance, freshness, and the Spirit. In the desert of this world you have your scavengers who are angry and ungrateful, but you also have those who hum a grateful hymn of thanksgiving. The irony is that both find what they are looking for.
Charles Swindoll wrote a wonderful paragraph about the effect of a positive attitude in his book, Strengthening Your Grip. He said: “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company . . . a church . . . a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”
Are you seeking the blossoms of new life? Are you a vulture who lives on what was or a hummingbird who searches for blossoms of new life? Are you, ”Blossoming”, in your walk of new life with Christ?
In the 4th and 5th chapters of Ephesians Paul outlines proper behavior for good living. In our short passage he encourages his readers to be careful how they live. He is brief and to the point. Three things we must do: Be wise, Be sober, and Be Thankful. It’s a short list but if we can orient our daily lives around these three, I’ll call them, ”Blossoming Attitudes” are lives will blossom. We will transform not only our lives but also the lives of our family, friends, church, and neighbors.
Let’s take some time to consider how by using these, ”Blossoming Attitudes”, and how they will aid us in becoming, ”Blossoming Christians”, “Always Ready”.
The first “Blossoming Attitude”. Be wise. Paul says, “Be careful how you live not as unwise but wise, making the most of every opportunity.” Wisdom. It is a virtue that has gone out of our vocabulary. Wisdom, to acquire it, takes too much time, too many failures, too many hard knocks, too much listening, too much being still and watching. You can’t download a wisdom app from the internet directly to our brains, so we prefer to do without. But Paul warns that if we are careless we will miss opportunities. Every day we are bombarded with choices and wisdom is required to make the most of them.
In order to have a, “Blossoming Attitude”. You must be wise and make the most of every opportunity. Why? Paul tells us why. He says we must make the most of each opportunity because the days are evil. Evil. That sounds a bit heavy handed doesn’t it? Most of us spend our days, working at our jobs, preparing meals, taking care of daily needs for ourselves and the family. What could possibly be evil in that? Indeed on the surface the world seems quite routine. But let me ask you. What is your attitude while doing these things? Paul gives us a long list in chapters four and five of do’s and don’ts for, “Blossoming Christians”.

Here is an abbreviated version:

Put off your old self.
Put off falsehood.
Do not let the sun go down in your anger.
He who is stealing must steal no longer.
No unwholesome talk.
Get rid of bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, and malice.
There should be no hint of sexual immorality, impurity, or greed.
No obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse jesting.
Those are the don’ts.
Here’s a list of the do’s.
Speak truthfully to your neighbor
Share with those who are in need.
Do something useful with your own hands.
Build others up.
Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving.
Be imitators of God.
Do you know what wisdom is? It’s not the accumulation of facts or even experience. That’s simply growing in knowledge. Many people, especially older people, make the mistake of thinking they are wiser simply because they have been around longer and have acquired more knowledge. But listen to Webster’s definition: Wisdom is the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting. Paul is right then when he tells the Ephesians in verse 17: ”do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Wisdom discerns between what is right and what is wrong. Wisdom insists there is good and there is evil. The wise are careful. They make the most of every opportunity. They understand there is evil in the world. And they seek the will of God.
That is wisdom.
Second, we must “Be Sober”. Paul says, “be careful how you live…Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery, instead, be filled with the Spirit.” Why do you think Paul follows his advice to “Be Wise” with, “Be Sober?” In fact, as soon as he concludes with “understand what the will of the Lord is” he makes this statement: Do not get drunk on wine. He seems to be saying: The will of the Lord is sobriety. Why does he so closely tie wisdom with sobriety and foolishness with drunkenness?
I believe there are two reasons. First, drunks have been causing problems for a long time. 3000 years ago the book of Proverbs, associated drunkenness with poverty, violence, and injustice, the three basic ills of any society. On poverty it warns: “be wise, do not join those who drink too much wine, for drunkards and gluttons become poor and drowsiness clothes them in rags.” (Proverbs 23 :19-21). On violence Proverbs has the drunkard saying, “They hit me but I am not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can have another drink?” (Proverbs 23:35). And on injustice the book warns that alcohol is not for kings to drink lest they forget what the law decrees. (Proverbs 31:4,5).
Wisdom and sobriety go hand in hand. A drunk will find it difficult to grow in knowledge and wisdom, but the sober take advantage of each day’s opportunities. The sober mind is an alert mind.
Fill a people with alcohol and you will fill the world with fools. Fill a people with the Spirit and you will fill the world with, “Blossoming Christians”. That’s the second reason Paul talks about wisdom and sobriety together.
Let me ask you something. What does a man do when he over indulges and becomes drunk? He submits himself to the power of the beverage. It actually takes over his personality and he does things he wouldn’t normally do.
Let me ask you a second question. What does a man do when he invites the Spirit into his life? He submits himself to the power of God!
Paul does a crafty thing here. These two are profound powers: Drink and Spirit. Both have the power to control you. Both will change who you are: One for the better the other for the worse. Is it any wonder that alcohol is called spirits? It promises you that you will be on top of the world but let me tell you friends it can bury you six feet under ground.
Paul asks a man who desires to be wise, Which spirit will you allow to control your life?” Both promise life but only one will fill you with it. But you might ask me, pastor do you believe drinking alcohol is a sin. No, I do not. Let me say right now something I think most pastors are afraid to admit. The bible is not against drinking alcohol. Many have tried to get around such stories as the wedding in Cana of Galilee, saying that when Jesus performed the miracle and turned the water into wine he created grape juice. This is simply silly biblical scholarship. The truth is the guests are practically giddy because the best wine, that is, the most fermented had been saved till the end. I know that Jesus made alcohol or drank alcohol. Even at one of the most holy events in the life of our Lord, the Last Supper, wine was served and it was Jesus who served it. A little alcohol is not a harmful thing; it is people who do harm with it. If you fill your life with it; you will drown in its power. But if you fill your life with the Spirit you will have life and have it in abundance.
So then we must be careful how we live. First, Be Wise. Second, Be Sober.
Third, “Be Thankful”. Paul says, “be careful how you live…sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Let’s see. We are to be wise seeking the most of every opportunity. We are to be sober otherwise we will miss many opportunities. And wherever we are, whether making or missing those opportunities, we are to be thankful. As Paul says in Philippians, whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, therein we should be content. (Philippians  4:10-13).
It’s like the story of the man who goes to his rabbi and complains, “Life is unbearable. There are nine of us living in one room. What can I do?”
The rabbi answers, “Take your goat into the room with you.” The man was in disbelief and wary, but the rabbi insists. “Do as I say and come back in a week.” A week later the man comes back looking more distraught than before. “We can’t stand it,” he tells the rabbi. “The goat is filthy.”
The rabbi then tells him, “Go home and let the goat out. And come back in a week.” A radiant man returns to the rabbi a week later, exclaiming, “Life is beautiful. We enjoy every minute of it now that there’s no goat. Only the nine of us.”
It’s all a matter of having a “Blossoming Attitude” isn’t it? We can be grateful or we can be bitter. We can seek wisdom or we can live as fools. We can be sober learning what the Lord’s will is or we can fill ourselves with wine. What are you looking for in life? Whatever it is I am sure you will find it.
Two birds that fly over our nation’s deserts: One is the hummingbird and the other is the vulture. The vultures roam the desert and they find the rotting meat because that is what they look for. But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh of dead animals. They look for the colorful blossoms of desert plants. The vultures live on what was. They live on the past. They fill themselves with what is dead and gone. But hummingbirds live on what is. They seek new life. They fill themselves with freshness and life.

Are you a vulture or a hummingbird?

Take some time to consider how by using these, ”Blossoming Attitudes” ,they will transform you into a ,”Blossoming Christian”, “Always Ready”.
In His Service,
Pastor Joe
Listen To Audio: Sermon 20200314
Listen To Audio: Sermon 03142021


Pastor Joe will be available at the church on Thursday afternoon from 2 to 4.  If you need to speak to him, contact Pastor Joe at 570-267-4570 (cell) or E-Mail:  joe.s.travis@gmail.com

Loose change goes to General Fund.

One Great Hour of Sharing is now until Easter.

Sunday School starts at 8:30am and we have just begun a study of the book of Galatians.  A good time to join us.

PW is putting gathering recipes for a church/community cookbook.   If you have a favorite recipe and would like to share it, it can be emailed to Bonne, or give it to her handwritten.

Ladies… Please join us for our Easter Bible Study on Saturday from 10-11. We will be discussing Week 4 HE IS RISEN! See Bonne if you have any questions.

If you are in the parking lot, PLEASE TUNE YOUR RADIO TO 89.5 FM TO HEAR THE CHURCH SERVICE.

PLEASE NOTE: We ask that you wear a mask as you ENTER the church. Winter Months – Session discussed the procedures the congregation will follow during the winter months. People will enter and leave the Church by the front door. Mask must be worn as they enter and go to a pew. Mask must be worn when they leave the Church. Pastor Joe will stand near the pulpit when the service is finished to speak to people before they leave. He will not stand by the front door. Session is asking that people do not congregate in the vestibule or loiter for a long time in the sanctuary when they leave. Hand sanitizer is located by the front door for your use.

Men’s Action Group will meet Wednesday, March 17 AT 8:00 FOR BREAKFAST and discussion.

Session meets Tuesday, March 23rd at 10:00am.

Newsletter Deadline Tuesday, March 30, please get any articles to Carolyn White.

Easter Sunrise Service, April 4 at 7:30am at Bill & Carolyn White’s Property.

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