Worship Service – March 21, 2021

Sunday March 21,2021
Welcome to this 5th Sunday of Lent. Our scriptures this week are Mark 5:21-43, Romans 3:21-26 and our message reading is from the book of Jonah 3:1-10. In keeping in our Lenten theme of, ”Moving Forward”, the topic this week is: ”Revival”.
Mark 5:21-43.
A Dead Girl and A Sick Woman
(21) When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. (22)Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet (23) and pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” (24) So, Jesus went with him. (25) A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. (26) She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. (27) When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, (28) because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” (29) Immediately her bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
(30) At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
(31) “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ “
(32) But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. (33) Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. (34) He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
(35) While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”
(36) Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
(37) He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. (38) When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. (39) He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” (40) But they laughed at him. (41) After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” ). (42) Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. (43) He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this and told them to give her something to eat.
Romans 3:21-26
Righteousness Through Faith
(21) But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. (22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, (23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (24) and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (25) God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished– (26) he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Jonah 3:1-10
Jonah Goes to Nineveh
(1)Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: (2)”Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
(3) Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city-a visit required three days. (4) On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” (5) The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
(6) When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. (7) Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. (8) But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. (9)Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”
(10) When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
This is the word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
In our gospel reading in Mark, we read of the possibility of “revival” of not only, a sick woman and a little girl, but also of those who witnessed the miracles. But in verse 43 Jesus “gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this,” because Easter was yet on the horizon. But He also told those who witnessed the healings, “to give her something to eat.”
In Paul’s writing to the Romans, Easter had pasted, and it was a time for “Revival”. Time to tell the world what God has done through the “Revival” of Jesus. Time to tell the world what Easter was all about. “Righteousness Through Faith”! Like what Jesus told the little girl to do. “Talitha koum!”(which means),”Little girl, I say to you, get up!” In other words, wake up and smell the roses!
Our Message this week I’ve titled; “Wake up and smell the Roses!”
There’s an old story that has any number of versions, but it seems while reading her Bible on a public bus, a belligerent man confronted a rather bashful Christian girl. With disdain he asked if she believed everything in the Bible. She said she did.
The guy rolled his eyes and said, “If you believe everything in the Bible, then explain to me how Jonah lived for three days in the belly of a whale!”
The young woman answered, “I don’t really know, but I believe he did.”
The guy became even more agitated. “Look, Kid, you should be able to explain what you believe!”
She respectfully and quietly repeated her inability to know exactly how Jonah survived. She talked about it all being a matter of faith but that wasn’t enough. This guy just kept pushing until finally she said, “Well, I guess I’ll just ask him when I get to heaven.”
Sarcastically, the guy said, “And what if Jonah didn’t make it to heaven?”
She paused for a second and said, “Well, then you can ask him.” And then she went back to reading her Bible.
Jonah is one of the most famous fish stories of all time. Granted most people don’t really know how it ends or how it begins. They know the Pinocchio version of the story about Jonah getting swallowed by the big fish or the whale if you will. But there’s no Jiminy Cricket as a conscience. There’s no Geppetto or there’s certainly no Blue Fairy. But this story has all the humor and drama of any Disney movie.
So, let’s look at the story. It’s only 4 chapters long and only contains 48 verses. So if I were to tell it in my own words it would go something like this.
The Story
So, here he is, one of the most unlikely prophets of them all.
One day Jonah is minding his own business and suddenly God’s there and says, “I want you to go to Nineveh and hold a “Revival”. Tell them they better get their act together and straighten up. I’m watching.”
Jonah gives God a big smile and says, “Sure thing Lord.” And the minute God turns His back, Jonah spins around and does a perfect Jesse Owens imitation and runs as fast as he can, in the other direction.
Jonah heads the opposite direction God wants. He jumps onto a ship headed to Tarshish and hopes God won’t notice. Well, God does notice and brews up a storm to trouble the boat.
Now here’s the odd thing. The sailors turn out to be praying men. You know I was in the Navy. I’ve heard lots of people say, “That guy can cuss like a sailor.” But I’ve never heard anybody say, “That guy can pray like a Sailor.” This was a God-fearing crew. While the storm was raging, Jonah was down below and asleep. The crew was down on their knees praying. They woke him up and told him he better get praying to his God or they’re all going to drown.
Jonah says, “Fine, this is all my fault anyway. I’m a Hebrew and I’m running away from God. The only way to save yourselves is to throw me overboard.”
Now according to one commentary on the Old Testament, the sailors were such God-fearing men that they were reluctant to toss Jonah overboard. First, they tried rowing toward shore to dump him off but the storm was too strong. So, they picked Jonah up and dangled him over the side of the boat with his feet in the water. And the storm started to quiet down. When they pulled him back into the boat, the storm picked back up. So, they hung in water up to his waist and the storm got even quieter. When they pulled him out of the water, the storm pick up again. They dangled him in the water up to his neck and the storm nearly quit. But when they pulled him out, it sprang right back into action.
When they saw that they finally had no choice, if they were going to survive, they even prayed to God asking God to save them and to forgive them for tossing Jonah overboard. Then they tossed him like a salad. As soon as he hit the water, the storm stopped.
At the end of chapter 1, along comes this big fish or a whale. Who knows. But rather than letting Jonah drown, which Jonah obviously thought was better than holding a revival in Nineveh. God sent the whale to act as Jonah’s very own private Yellow Submarine Taxicab to haul him off to where he was supposed to go in the first place.
Chapter 2 starts with Jonah praying from inside the big fish. Pleading for forgiveness and vowing as verse 9 tells us with a song of thanksgiving,” to do what God called him to do in the first place.
I’m almost certain it was a miserable trip for Jonah and even worse for the whale. After a while, even the whale couldn’t stomach Jonah. It’s a good thing Jonah had spent time praying because the whale or big fish could see the benefit of going back to being ,a non-prophet entity. Apparently, the prayer worked.
So, to oblige God and relieve himself, the whale “spewed Jonah out,” that’s the Biblical way of saying the whale was sick of Jonah and barfed him up! The whale vomited and hurled Jonah onto the beach. The whale tossed it’s cookies and tossed Jonah out of its life.
I can almost imagine that big old tail coming down and slapping the water enough to wash Jonah and the bits of kelp on to the beach. Not a pretty sight.
The whale dove into the water and that was the last we saw of him. But I wonder what the whale’s story was from that moment on. He really did have a fish story I can hear him telling all the other whales: “Man, you should have seen the one that got away.”
Well, that brings us and Jonah up to the doorstep of Nineveh, in chapter 3 and the ”Revival”. Reluctantly Jonah walks to the center of the city and delivers this message: (vs.4) “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” He might have even been wearing one the sandwich board signs with the words “The World Will End in Forty Days.”
It was the lamest revival and revival sermon anyone had ever heard. There was no tent. No music. No stage. No testimonies. The sermon was brief. There was no plan of salvation given or explained. There was no invitation to discipleship. Jonah didn’t even offer a closing prayer. He just told them they didn’t have a prayer. “Nineveh is going to be destroyed in 40 days.” And then as we read in verse 10;”When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threaten.” Jonah left. He didn’t even stick around to see what happened.
Chapter 4 tells us. Instead, he went out to wait hoping he was going to get to watch a really good fireworks show. He was already to see Nineveh destroyed like Sodom and Gomorra.
But you know what happened? It was the biggest revival of all time. 120,000 people got right with God. They all repented, the whole nation even the animals fasted and wound up in sack cloth and ashes. Nobody wanted to be left out.
Now you’d think Jonah would be happy, wouldn’t you? But he wasn’t. Instead, he got right in God’s face and said, “I knew you were going to do this. I knew from the get-go, that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. That’s why I ran away.”
That day Jonah sat there in the sun in a stew of his own anger. God on the other hand, took pity on Jonah and made a gourd plant grow up in one day so Jonah could sit in the shade of its leaves. The next day though, God sent a worm to destroy the plant. And that made Jonah even madder.
And that’s when God said, “OK, enough is enough. You’ve had your say. Now here’s mine. You’re angry about the bush and the loss of shade and yet you did nothing to grow it. I did.
You’re more concerned about the trivial insignificant things than you are about the people of Nineveh who are my children, too. Shouldn’t I be concerned for these 120,000 people and their animals, who don’t know their right hand from their left?”
God reminds Jonah that He is the God of everyone, everywhere and there’s no getting away from it or from God. In other words;
“Wake up and smell the Roses!”
There’s lots of little things to be learned from this story and from Jonah.
First, you can’t outrun God. I tried when God first called me to preach. You see who won that race. I didn’t want to do it because I couldn’t see how God could use someone like me for something as life changing, not only for myself , but also those He called me to preach to. But no matter where I turned, God was there, reinforcing that Call.
Second, we are not the only God-fearing people in the world. I believe that all of the people of the world are God’s children. I believe that all expressions of faith are windows into the love God has for us. But because of sin, some of those windows don’t let us see the full picture of God. God revealed Himself fully and completely in Jesus who was both the perfect likeness of God but also the perfect human being. What and who we would be, if sin had never entered into our lives.
Does that mean I believe all expressions of faith are equal? No, what it means is that God reaches into all our lives in some way. How God deals with them at the end is God’s business, not ours. Our job is to love them and treat them as one of God’s children. I think that’s one of the things Jonah learned.
The Third little thing we learn is God is in charge. Like Jonah we have trouble with that sometimes. But there it is, God is in charge. God has always been and always will be in charge.
And fourth, little things do matter. Jonah gave a little sermon, but God used it in a powerful way. The sailors had a little humility, enough to allow them to pray to God even though He wasn’t their God. That little bit of humility and faith was enough to save them. And God used a little thing like a worm to teach Jonah about how much God loves the world and how much God wants to save the entire world.
Our message today leads directly to the little things we need to embrace ,so that “REVIVAL” will happen in this world. It’s time to, “Wake up and smell the Roses!”
You can’t outrun God!
We are not the only God-fearing people in the world!
God is in charge!
Little things do matter!
Romans 3:23,24;”for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Great is the mystery of faith.
Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again.
Keep, “Moving Forward “.
“Wake up and smell the Roses!”
In His Service,
Pastor Joe.
Listen To Audio: Sermon 20210321
Listen To Audio: Service 03212021


Pastor Joe is available at the church every Thursday from 2 to 4pm   If you wish to speak with him, his contact numbers are:  570-465-7303 or his cell 570-267-4570 or E-Mail joe.s.travis@gmail.com.

Sunday School starts at 8:30am with a study of the book of Galatians.  A good time to join us.

Loose change offering, (coins & bills),  goes to Rev. Malaho/Kenya.

Session meets Tuesday the 23rd at 10:00.

One Great Hour of Sharing is now until Easter. If you wish to donate please indicate on your envelope and make check payable to FHPC

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. 

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.

Newsletter deadline is Tuesday March 30.  Please get articles to Carolyn White. 

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.

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