Worship Service – August 14, 2022

Scriptures: Isaiah 5:1-7, Luke 12:49-53 and Hebrews 11:29- 12:2

Message; “Warnings”

Isaiah 5:1-7

The Song of the Vineyard

(1) I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.
(2) He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.
(3) “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.
(4) What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?
(5) Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled.
(6) I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it.”
(7) The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

Luke 12:49-56

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 how distressed I am 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.”

Hebrews 11:29 – 12:2

(29) By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
(30) By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.
(31) By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
(32) And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, (33) who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, (34) quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. (35) Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. (36) Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. (37) They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated– (38) the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
(39) These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. (40) God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
(12:1) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (2) Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

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

Have you ever noticed how many warning signs you pass by in the average day? Signs like “Do Not Enter,” “School Crossing,” “Caution: Wet Floor.” Warning labels on many things we use every day, from the prescription drugs we take, to the products we use to take care of ourselves, our homes, and the warnings we’re given in the media and social networks on how to live a healthy life.
There’s a hilarious warning circulating on the Internet, it’s author to me is unknown. But it involves the shampoo that runs down your body while you shower with it.

WARNING: Do Not Shampoo Your Hair In The Shower!

The author of this writes: “ I don’t know why I didn’t figure this out sooner! I use shampoo in the shower! When I wash my hair, the shampoo runs down my whole body, and printed very clearly on the shampoo label is this claim:
“FOR EXTRA BODY AND VOLUME.” No wonder I have been gaining weight! “For extra body and volume.” Well! I have gotten rid of that shampoo and I am going to start showering with Dawn dish soap instead. Its label reads like this: “DISSOLVES FAT THAT IS OTHERWISE DIFFICULT TO REMOVE.”
Problem solved! If I don’t answer the phone I’ll be in the shower.”
In our reading in Isaiah 5 “The Song of the Vineyard”, Isaiah was moving from the hope of the future time in Isaiah 4:2-6, to the painful reality of the moment.
He warns the house of Israel of what happens to those who don’t persevere in their faith to God.
The same is also true in our gospel reading from Luke 12: 49-53. These versus warn of one of the harsher truths of God’s kingdom. Jesus warns his disciples that not everyone will respond to the gospel message. Hearts full of prejudiced, hate and pride will resist Christ’s offer of peace. Because many will reject it, the message will divide, people, family and nations.
Then in our reading of Hebrews the writer warns us that, these old testament believers, these heroes of faith, look to the coming of the Messiah in faith, and that their faith was tested. He informs and warns of the consequences of persevering in faith.
So today let’s look at this passage in Hebrews like they are,“Warnings”. Warnings that give us the courage to be, persevering in our faith.
The writer of Hebrews understood the importance of both heroes and stories in the life of our faith. That’s what he warns us about in this passage of scripture. He warns us of the consequences of who we choose to be our hero. Those we choose to emulate.
Consider this. A father was sitting on the floor with his three boys getting ready for bedtime prayers. The two older boys were having an argument about their action figures. The issue was whether Superman was better than He-Man. One boy said that Superman could fly, the other countered that He-Man had bigger muscles. And so it went, back and forth, while the youngest boy, Nicholas age four, just watched.
Dad turned to Nick and asked: “So who’s your hero, Nick?” Without batting an eye, Nick tilted his head, gave Dad one of those “Well, Duh” looks. Grinned and said matter-of-factly, “You are, Daddy!”
That father said it was one of the happiest moments of his life. What a privilege to think that someone really wants to be just like you, but what an awesome responsibility!
We all have heroes, don’t we? Those people whose lives and stories have impacted us in such a way as to give us hope. Those people who have influenced us on a deeper level either with their lives or what they have done with their lives. There is a part of them that lives in us and drives who we are. Their story has become part of our story.
I’ll bet you can’t name the last five lottery winners but I’ll bet you can tell me the names of five teachers who influenced your life and your career choice. I’ll bet you can’t tell me much about the life of your favorite actor and actress, but I’ll bet you can tell me story after story about your favorite relatives. Why? Because those stories have become part of your story and an integral part of who you are.
The writer of Hebrews says “we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.”(Heb.12:1) referring to the heroes of the Bible. And that’s the whole purpose of his listing all those folks from the Bible and briefly telling their stories. By virtue of being in the Bible, they are part of our story. They are a part of who we are. We take them and their stories wherever we go.
And that’s the point the Hebrew’s writer is making to us. He tells us:”These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”(11:39-40)
The Bible is filled with heroes of faith who are our companions in life. We know their names and know their stories. And their stories shape who we are, what we think, how we act and react but most importantly, how we view and interact with God. The stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, of Ruth and Naomi, of Rahab, of David, of Peter, James and John; the stories of Jesus and Paul, these are our stories. These are the stories of our faith. The stories that have influenced our stories and made us who we are in the faith.Their stories of faith, of failure and forgiveness, of strength and valor, of tenacity, of passion and compassion are the fuel of our own stories. They remind us who we are, whose we are, and of God’s great love for us. They are our heroes of faith.
In Hebrews12:1, the Hebrew’s writer warns us about who we choose to be our heroes, saying: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.”
You see, while we carry these heroes of our lives and faith. We also carry all the garbage of life, too. Because just like in every well told or well written story, there are heroes and there are villains.
Most of the villains, in our lives didn’t mean to be villains. They were people we loved and respected. Some of them may have even been family and friends. So he warns us to : “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.”
Think about it this way. When we who believe, look into a mirror, we hope to see a reflection of our heroes. We want to see with the eyes of the prophets and have the wisdom of Solomon, the faith of Abraham, the passion of Peter, the love of John, the list goes on.
Unfortunately, what we see most of the time is the warning labels, the wounds of the villains in our lives. They might not even know that they have slapped a label on us. But at some point in our life, the people who were important to us, friends, family, coworkers, society, all of the above have slapped labels on us.
Labels like; You haven’t got enough sense to come in out of the rain. You’ll never amount to anything. You’re a coward. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. When they were passing out looks you thought they said books and asked for a scary one. The list goes on and on and on and with each of those wounds another label was slapped on and we to often see them when we look at ourselves in a mirror.
Then add to that all of those things we’ve done that we know we shouldn’t have done. The guilt we feel for each of those things. The labels we’ve slapped on ourselves and pretty soon you can’t even see the real you anymore.
The weight of our sin and the weight of the sins which have been committed against us drags us down and covers who we really are. That’s why we’re warned to: “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” And we do that through Christ, by faith.
The final warning we’re given is to tear off those labels that are discouraging to us. To:”run with perseverance the race marked out for us”(12:1).
We’re called to a life of perseverance. The hard work of faith. That race he is writing about is the race of faith. It’s a race only in the sense that we have to prepare for it, just like all the Olympic athletes prepare for their events.
Think about it. You don’t just decide one day that you’re going to be an Olympic athlete, go, try out, and make the team. There is not a single Olympian who has worked and trained hard, almost endlessly, to be able to compete with the other Olympians.
And think of the thousands and thousands who tried out but were only a fraction of a second slower than the top five or ten which were chosen. Did that stop them from training, No! Will that be the end of their career? Probably not. They will still work hard and persevere because they love the race. And because they have found fulfillment in it.
The hard part of our work of faith, is perseverance. Perseverance not just in the hard times, but also in the easy times when things are going good, when we are feeling blessed. That’s when we really gain strength. I’m not a runner but I know that you don’t start out running the marathon. You start out running short distances, then run the 5k and then the 10k and keep adding distance to your run until you are a marathon runner. And then you begin trying to shave time off of that run. You do what ever it takes, you persevere.
In the same way. You persevere in your faith by removing the warning labels of discouragement and put on, the labels of faith, of encouragement placed on us by our hero’s of faith. Remembering that they:”were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”
The heroes of our faith in God are counting on you and me. So that together we will all be made perfect. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
In His Service,
Pastor Joe
Listen To Audio: Sermon 20220814
Listen To Audio: Service 08142022
We gather this morning to praise God’s name.
Eagerly we tell of his mighty actions.  He made us strong, and we offer our thanks.  Let the love we’ve been given in Jesus, the Christ, shine through us so others may be drawn to Jesus. 
Come, let us worship God!
Call to Worship:
L:  With voices united, we call out;
P:  may God’s hand be upon us, bringing us strength.L:  With voices united, we ask;
P:  give us LIFE, and we will call on God’s name!
L:  With voices united, we plead;
P:  may God’s face shine on us and save us!
Prayer of Confession:  Merciful Father God, You created us in Your image with minds to know You, hearts to love You, and wills to serve You.  You call us to be Your holy people, but we rebel against Your plan. Our knowledge falters, our love wavers, and our obedience resists. Day by day, we fail to grow into Your likeness. Through Your gracious love, forgive us.  Renew us through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Enable us to live in the power of Your Spirit.  In His name we pray. Amen.
God be with you ‘til we meet again, By His counsels guide, up-hold you, With His sheep securely fold you: God be with you ‘til we meet again.



Pastor Joe will be available at the church on Thursday Mornings from 9:00 to 11:00.  If you need to speak to him, contact Pastor Joe at 570-267-4570 (cell) or Email: joe.s.travis@gmail.com

Loose change goes to General Fund.

Sunday School starts at 8:30am

Session will meet Wednesday, August 17, at 4:30

Men’s Breakfast Wednesday August 17th at 8:00

Newsletter deadline is Tuesday, August 30th.

Please mark your envelope if you are contributing to the snowblower fund.

We are looking for “Message in Music” for the summer months.

Ladies… You Are invited to our Advancing Watchwomen Retreat on September 16-18 at the Loft.  Cost $125.00.  Session has agreed to pay $60.00 toward fee for each lady.  Your Cost $65.00.  If someone doesn’t have the money, we have others who want to help out.  See Bonne.  Please Come and Be Blessed!  Fee includes 5 meals, 2 nights lodging (weather you stay overnight or not) 154 Rock Hill Road, Susquehanna, PA 18847 Bedding and towels not included.  Dress Casual.  Registration and Payment Due September 9th, 2022.

Choir members and those interested in joining, our first practice will be Thursday, September 1 at 1 o’clock at the church.  Please consider joining us in singing God’s praises!  We will begin singing during the church service on Sunday, October 2nd.

Please sign up to host one of the social hours on the Sunday after Communion Service on the first Sunday of the month.  Hosting only means setting out what is brought and cleaning up afterward.  It does not mean bringing everything to share.



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