Worship Service – September 11, 2022

Scripture; 1Timothy 1:12-17 and Luke 15:1-10

Message; “ Searching and Finding.”

1Timothy 1:12-17

The Lord’s Grace to Paul

(12) I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. (13) Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. (14) The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
(15) Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. (16) But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. (17) Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Luke 15:1-10

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

(1) Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. (2) But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
(3) Then Jesus told them this parable: (4) “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? (5) And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders (6) and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ (7) I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

The Parable of the Lost Coin

(8) “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? (9) And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ (10) In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

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

How many of you have use the phrase, ‘Finder’s Keepers Loser’s Weeper’s”?
That came to my mind the other day when a woman approached me after attending one of our services, with a question: “Where is the lost and found department in your church? I’ve lost my glasses and I just can’t see well.”
I replied, “We don’t actually have a lost and found department. You might check the desk in the vestibule. Maybe you’ll find your glasses there.” We looked and unfortunately we didn’t find them there or anywhere else. Until, to her embarrassment, I notice them on the top of her head.
I started thinking about that encounter while preparing the message for today and the remark I gave to her that “We don’t actually have a lost and found department”. Because actually, the whole church is a lost and found department. The business of the church is to be “Searching and Finding”, and returning them to the Keeper.”
Paul understood that, and shared that knowledge with Timothy and with us, in his writings to Timothy. If you were to read, 1Timothy 1:3-11 Paul warns Timothy about, False Teachers of the law, who thought they had the right to say; “Finder’s Keepers Loser’s Weeper’s”.
Paul knew of their misguided attitude, because he at one time he was one of them. In verses 12-14 in our text today, Paul thanks Christ for searching for him and finding him and revealing to him the truth about, “Searching and Finding.”
Today’s passage of Scripture in Luke 15:1-10 is also about searching and finding. Jesus’ parables illustrate the frantic nature of people who have lost something and are in search of it.
The parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin were told to help the pharisees and teachers of law see that the attitude of “finders keepers losers weepers” was not the will of God. It was God’s will that they were to be,” Searching and Finding” the lost .
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law grumbled when they saw tax collectors and sinners being welcomed by Jesus.
Because, Jesus didn’t approve of the behavior of tax collectors and sinners, but he demonstrated God’s welcome to all people who repent. The religious leaders regarded tax collectors as the least worthy members of society. After all, in Jesus’ time, tax collectors were Jews who were traitors. They collected money from fellow Jews to give to the Romans. In the process they lined their own pockets by taking extra for themselves. Tax collectors were the scum of society, the least important people around. The religious leaders saw common people as sinners. The religious leaders considered themselves better than the common folk spiritually, morally, and economically. Sinners were regarded as hopeless, lost souls.
Like the woman who lost her glasses, these religious leaders didn’t see very well. They were shortsighted. Jesus told them parables about the lost sheep and the lost coin to correct their lack of vision.
In Jesus’ search for the lost, Jesus welcomed tax collectors and other bad people who had broken the commandments of God and the laws of the land. He didn’t welcome them because he approved of their behavior. He welcomed them because he saw what the religious leaders of his day didn’t see; their need to be “Searching and Finding” the lost.
There’s an old, old story, that I think is still funny. The phone rings and a little boy answers in a whisper: “Hello?” The caller says: “Hi, is your Mommy there?
“Can I talk to her?”
“Why not?”
“She’s busy.”
“What about your Daddy, can I talk to him?”
“No! He’s busy.”
“Well, is there anyone else there?”
“My little sister.”
“Is there anyone else there? Another adult?”
“Uh, huh. The police.”
“Can I talk to one of them?” “No, they’re busy.”
“Is there anyone else there?” “Yes, the firemen.”
“Can I talk to one of them?” “No, they’re busy, too.”
Caller: “Good heavens, your whole family’s busy, the police and fire departments are there and they’re busy! What’s everybody doing?”
The little boy giggled and whispered: “They’re looking for me.”
Today’s message is about searching and finding. And the frantic nature of people who have lost something and are in search of it. Jesus not only illustrates the frantic nature of those doing the searching; He also shows how much rejoicing there is for the one who is found.
One of the things the Scripture tells us is that there will be rejoicing over the lost which is found.
Think about it this way. When you find that which was lost, you want to tell everyone. Isn’t that true. Don’t you start hollering when you’ve found the glasses you lost, the phone you’ve left somewhere or car keys you’ve misplaced?
Put yourself in place of the lost sheep or of losing an important relationship or something of value like the lost coin.
Have you ever been lost? Get turned around and not know where you are? That’s happened to me more times than I like to remember. Especially in hotels while traveling. Or in hospitals when I’m trying to find my way out or looking for my car in a parking garage.
Or have you ever been with a group and you turn your head to look at something interesting and when you look back their gone, they moved on? And you feel lost because you were depending on them to show you the way home.
That’s what being lost feels like.
I’m not sure the Lost Sheep really knew it was lost until the Shepherd started calling for it. It truly may have thought that the flock was right behind it. They were the last time the sheep looked.
And while the Sheep may have made a conscious effort to wander away, the coin is an inanimate object. Someone had to have jiggled the stack or bumped it. Maybe it slipped through a hole in the money purse. Who knows. The woman in the parable went looking for it and couldn’t find it. And then the frantic searching began.
Maybe Jesus was in a frantic search looking to find the lost. Maybe that’s the message he was teaching. Leaving the 99 to find one that was lost.
Trying to reassure them that if they have the mindset of Searching and Finding those in need of God’s grace. He is also searching for them to help them find the right words to say the right attitude hold in there search for the lost.
I remember the story of a man who approached an attractive woman in a very large supermarket and asked, “You know, I’ve lost my wife here in the supermarket. Can you talk to me for a couple of minutes?
“Why?” she asks.
“Because every time I talk to a beautiful woman, my wife appears out of nowhere.”
God will find us, will come to us because he is searching and will find us in our time of need.
What’s important is that like both the sheep and the coin that were lost, someone else could holler “Finder’s Keepers Losers weepers” if the shepherd and woman didn’t search.
The Good News is that we have a God who doesn’t forget about the lost. God doesn’t write them off as sinners unworthy of redemption. God’s love is too big for that. We may be unworthy but that’s beside the point because God offers us redemption anyway. Through the love of God and the Sacrifice of Christ we are offered both Forgiveness and Redemption. That’s called Grace. That’s the only thing that commends us to God.
Not only does God offer Redemption but the Good News is that we have a Savior who searches for the lost. He is the Shepherd who leaves the 99 and searches for the one lost sheep. He is the woman with 10 silver coins and lost one. He sweeps and cleans high and low until we’re found. And then all heaven rejoices because we’ve been brought home. Because the Lost has been restored. Or when any one comes to Christ for the very first time. There is rejoicing. God throws a party in our honor. And we should rejoice with God.
We become much like the Pharisees when we sit in judgment of others, in essence, we’ve moved God out of His rightful throne and taken over. That’s not our job. We too often have the attitude of finders keepers losers weepers.
We’re called to be Searchers and finders. Because, in actuality, there are only two kinds of people in the world. Those who know and have the experienced the forgiveness of God and those who haven’t. We’re not called to judge. Instead, we’re called to Seek out to find and Rejoice because someone else has found the love and grace and forgiveness that we’ve experienced.
Tony Campolo, in his book The Kingdom of God Is a Party, tells one of my favorite stories.
On one of his trips from the East Coast to Hawaii, he tells of the time when he found himself awake long before dawn because of the time difference. Rather than trying to force himself to go back to sleep, he got dressed and wandered up and down the streets of Honolulu looking for a place to eat breakfast.
He found a little place on a side street, walked in, and sat down on one of the stools at the counter. Everything he touched, including the menu, felt sticky with grease. When the guy behind the counter came over and asked, “What do you want?” Tony Campolo ordered a cup of coffee and a doughnut.
As he sat there munching on his doughnut and sipping his coffee at 3:30 in the morning, the door of the diner swung open. Much to his dismay and discomfort, in marched eight or nine provocative and loud prostitutes. It was a small diner so they sat on both sides of him. Their talk was loud and crude. Of course, Tony felt completely out of place and was just about to make a quick getaway when he overheard one of the women say, “Tomorrow’s my birthday. I’m going to be thirty-nine.”
One of her friends snapped back, “So what! What do you want me to do? Throw you a birthday party?” The woman replied, “Come on, why do you have to be so mean? I was just telling you it was my birthday. I don’t want anything from you. Why should you give me a birthday party? I’ve never had a birthday party in my whole life.”
As soon as he heard that, Tony made his decision. He waited until the women had left then he called over the guy behind the counter and asked, “Do they come in here every night?” “Yeah,” he answered.
Tony went on to say, “I overheard the one named Agnes say that tomorrow is her birthday. What do you think about us throwing her a birthday party for her, right here, tomorrow night?”
A smiled cross over the man’s chubby cheeks. He called out to his wife and told her about the plan.
At 2:30 the next morning, Tony Campolo was back at the diner. They decorated the diner from one end to the other with crepe paper and made a big sign out of cardboard that read “Happy Birthday, Agnes!” Evidently word had gotten out, and by 3:15 A.M. the place was packed.
Promptly at 3:30 A.M., the door of the diner swung open and in walked Agnes and her friend. Everybody was ready and screamed, “Happy Birthday!” Agnes was stunned and shaken. Her mouth fell open. Her legs seemed to buckle a bit. One of her friends grabbed her arm to steady her and led her to one of the stools at the counter as the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to her.
Her eyes moistened, then, when the birthday cake with thirty-nine lit candles was carried out, Agnes totally lost it and sobbed like a child.
When the party finally came to a close and Agnes walked out the door, there was a stunned silence in the diner. Not knowing what else to do, Tony Campolo broke the silence by saying,
“What do you say we pray for Agnes?” He prayed that night for Agnes. He prayed for her salvation. He prayed that her life would be changed and that God would be good to her. When he finished, the guy leaned over the counter and said, “Hey! You never told me you were a preacher. What kind of church do you belong to?”
In one of those rare moments when just the right words came, Tony Campolo answered, “I belong to a church that throws birthday parties for prostitutes at 3:30 in the morning.” The guy waited a moment and then he almost sneered as he replied, “No you don’t. There’s no church like that. If there was, I’d join it. I’d join a church like that!”
 That’s what every church should be like. Because that’s what God’s love is like. And that’s what we’re called to be like. We’re called to look beyond the outer person and see a child of God, loved by God just like we’re love by God. And we are called to offer them spontaneous, authentic, unconditional, grace filled love. Love without any strings attached.
 There are millions Who are lost. And we are the Lost and found department. We are to be searching and finding the lost so that they might hear the words that Paul wrote to Timothy.
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.”
“ Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
We’ve been found!!!
In His Service,
Pastor Joe
Listen To Audio: Sermon 20220911
Listen To Audio: Service 09112022
Worship is not only about receiving marching orders or getting our weekly assignments. But it can be a reminder that we are a people with a mission and that we cannot be content with the status quo.  Come, let us worship God!
Call to Worship:L:  God calls to the lost, the least, and all who long for home;P:  God calls when we wander from the path chosen for us

and waste the gifts we have been given.

L:  God calls and welcomes us back to worship this day;

P:  let us celebrate and rejoice in God’s presence forever;  let us worship God together.



Prayer of Confession:    Lord, we would follow you wherever you might lead.  Lord, we would follow you.  Forgive us when we stumble and when we stray.  Forgive us when, distracted  we lose our way.  Be the one to whom we turn, whose hand we hold, the Shepherd who leads us safely to the fold.  In Jesus’ 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 11:00 to 12:00.  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

Men’s Breakfast, Wednesday September 21 at 8:00 A.M.

Session meeting Saturday, September 24, at 9am in the community building.

Newsletter deadline is Tuesday, September 27.

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

We are looking for “Message in Music” for the next two weeks.

Choir practice will be Thursday, at 9 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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