Worship Service – September 18, 2022

Sunday September 18,2022

Scriptures; Psalm 113, 1 Timothy 2:1-7 and Luke 16:1-15

Message; “Praise, Pray and Work”

Psalm 113
(1) Praise the Lord. Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord .
(2) Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore.
(3) From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.
(4) The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens.
(5) Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high,
(6) who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?
(7) He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
(8) he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people.
(9) He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord .

1 Timothy 2:1-7

Instructions on Worship

(1) I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– (2) for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (3) This is good, and pleases God our Savior, (4) who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (5) For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, (6) who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time. (7) And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle–I am telling the truth, I am not lying–and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.

Luke 16:1-15

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager

(1) Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. (2) So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’
(3) “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg– (4) I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’
(5) “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
(6) ” ‘Eight hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.’
(7) “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’ ” ‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. “He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’
(8) “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. (9) I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
(10) “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. (11) So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? (12) And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
(13) “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
(14) The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. (15) He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.

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

In our Psalm reading today, the psalmist reminds us that our first responsibility is to be in praise of our God. Because there’s none like Him!
And secondly that we should pray to Him because, He “stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth”. “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;”. God works so that we may know His love for us and find peace in the knowledge of truth. Praise the Lord !!!
In our reading from 1 Timothy, Paul tells Timothy that we are also to be intercessors for all. His stewarts, motivated to do his will. Because God wants all to be : “saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,”.
Then in our gospel reading today, Jesus tells His disciples, “The parable of the Shrewd Manager”. To be about God’s work by taking actions like the, “Shrewd Manager”.
Let me recap this parable for you, so that you might have a better understanding it.
There was a rich man who had a manager for his estate. The manager, unfortunately, was a bit lax in his oversight of his master’s affairs. The master finally decided he had had enough. He called this manager in, told him he was finished, and demanded he provide an accounting of his work.
The terrified manager was beside himself with fear. “What shall I do now?” he wondered to himself. “My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg.” Then he hatched a plan.
He called in each of his master’s debtors one at a time. He asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?”
“Eight hundred gallons of olive oil,” the first debtor replied.
The manager told him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred gallons.”
Then he asked the second, “And how much do you owe?”
“A thousand bushels of wheat,” he replied.
The desperate manager said, “Take your bill and make it eight hundred.”
This guy’s ethics were certainly out of whack, but his sense of survival was kicking in at full speed. He used his privileged position to buy himself some friends so that he would have somewhere to turn when he was out of a job. He was taking a risk, of course the risk that his boss would have him thrown in jail. That’s what should have happened, of course. But this is Jesus’ parable, and, let’s face it, Jesus sometimes thought outside the box. Listen to how Jesus ended this little tale:
“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:8-9).
Whoa! Did we hear right? The master commended the dishonest manager? In most of Jesus’ parables, the manager represents God. What does this mean? Does God like con men? That would be outrageous.
This parable sounds like a story told about, a young man in Montana who bought a horse from a farmer for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the horse the next day. However when the next day arrived, the farmer reneged on his promise.
“I’m afraid the horse has died,” he explained.
The young man said, “Well, then give me my money back.”
The farmer said, “Can’t do that. I spent it already.”
The young man thought for a moment and said, “Ok, then, just bring me the dead horse.”
The farmer asked, “What you going to do with a dead horse?”
The young man said, “I’m going to raffle it off.”
The farmer said, “You can’t raffle off a dead horse!”
The young man said, “Sure I can. Watch me. I just won’t tell anybody he’s dead.”
A month later, the farmer met up with the young man and asked, “What happened with that dead horse?”
The young man said, “I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars apiece and made a profit of $998 . . .”
The farmer said, “Didn’t anyone complain?”
The young man said, “Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back.”
Now there’s an enterprising young man. But the truth is shrewd people, they take advantage of weak and unsuspecting people. I’m sure God sees their actions as sin.
For more than 2,000 years conscientious people of faith have struggled with this parable which is exactly what I believe was what Christ intended. Jesus wants us to puzzle over his teachings. He wants us to stretch our minds and our spirits. That’s how we grow. Let’s face it, many people have a superficial faith to which they have never given more than a couple minutes of thought in their entire lives.
Most all of us are familiar with the parable of “The Good Samaritan”. In the parable of the Good Samaritan what made this Samaritan “good”? Did he keep all the commandments? Who knows? Did he subscribe to all the rules and regulations set in place for the Jews of the day? No. The fact that he was a Samaritan means that he was slightly outside the mainstream of faith. What made him good? He saw a person in need and he helped him.
Notice, a priest walked by. You don’t get any holier than that, but what did he do? That’s right he kept on walking. A teacher of the law came by, a pillar of respectability. What did he do? Absolutely nothing. But this despised Samaritan saw a man who needed help and he was moved to action.
Jesus likes people of action. People who go to work! Jesus has enough hand-wringers in the world. You know what I’m talking about people who look at the world’s problems and say, “Somebody ought to do something.” Well, yes they should. And we all know, there are times that call for immediate action. And most of the time we don’t take any action because of fear.
The truth of the matter is our lives are dominated by fear, fear of what other people will think of us, fear of rejection, fear of making a mistake. So, we move through life making ourselves as invisible as we can, doing as little as we can. Not because we are bad, but because we are simply afraid.
The dishonest steward was afraid, too. He was losing his job. By his own admission, he wasn’t strong enough to dig, and he was ashamed to beg. What was he going to do? He hatched himself a plan. He would call in his master’s debtors and discount their debts, thereby making friends for himself that might do him a favor in return when he was out on the streets. Jesus praised him for taking action.
We all know that there are some people who won’t even act in their own behalf! Have you noticed that? Somebody or something outside themselves has to motivate them to get them to go to work, to take action.
Let me give you an example.
A sailor sent a hilarious story to Reader’s Digest. He wrote that on his first day in the fire room of a Navy destroyer, it was his duty to open a particular valve. Unfortunately, the valve control, the size of a steering wheel, seemed to be stuck.
After his best efforts failed to budge it, he reported his difficulty to the chief. The chief told him to keep trying and that he would send “Tiny” to help him.
Soon what appeared to be the largest sailor in the Navy loomed over the young sailor. The sailor grinned, thinking that Tiny would solve his problem. But instead of taking the wheel in hand, Tiny merely pointed to it and said, “Open that valve right now!” The young sailor got the valve open.
Tiny motivated him to discover strength he did not know he had. Jesus liked people of action. Paul emphasized that to Timothy. When he wrote to him, Instructions on Worship. He started by saying: “I urge,”.. Was Timothy in need of someone or something to motivate him to action?
There are some people who will not go to work even to help themselves. They have to have someone else motivate them to urge them do what they know needs doing. There are some people who, for whatever reason, become defeated and refuse to act in their own behalf. Especially when it comes to spiritual things.
You realize, of course, that one reason people come to church, is that they are afraid. Religion helps them deal with a stressful world. So, when some people have a problem they pray . . . and they pray . . . and they pray some more. And they wait. And they wait. And they wait some more. And all the while they’re being very religious, praising God and praying. The problem is that at the same time they are praying and waiting, God is also waiting, waiting for them to do something about their own situation.
Please do not misunderstand. God wants us to pray when we are in a difficult situation, but God also wants us to go to work. Pick up the phone. Enlist the help of family or a friend. Learn some new skills. Don’t sit there passively and expect someone else to rescue you.
Jesus says something interesting at the end of this parable. “The people of this world,” said Jesus, “are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light . . .” Jesus understood how the real world operates. He knew that sometimes even scoundrels are successful, not because they are smarter or more talented, but because they are opportunistic. They’re not held back by their fears. They’re not held back by their doubts. They have learned to be self-reliant and self-motivated.
We have a phrase that’s not heard much anymore. Have you ever heard someone say, “He worked like the dickens”? The “dickens” is another name for Satan. In fact, you may hear someone say, “He worked like the devil to get it done.” The implication is that the devil is always busy seeking to achieve his wicked ends. He never misses an opportunity to tempt, to discourage.
The truth is that if you hit a rough patch in the road, and you sit around feeling sorry for yourself, the tempter will move in quickly and work like the dickens to cause you to quit trying.
Jesus praised the dishonest steward because he did not give in to his fears. He reached out and made friends who would help him when he was out on the street. Jesus obviously would not approve of his methods. Here his purpose is to spotlight the dishonest man’s resolve. He was in a predicament and he took action, and Jesus praised him. And that is what Jesus wants us to do as well. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself. Pray, yes, in all circumstances, but if there is something you can do for yourself, do it, and God will bless your effort.
There’s another story, much like the parable of the shrewd manager I’d like to share with you.
A man who was shipwrecked on a lonely unknown desert island. To his surprise he found that he was not alone. A large tribe of people shared the island. Amazingly they welcomed him warmly and treated him very well. In fact, they made him their king and catered to his every desire.
He was delighted but puzzled. Why were they treating him in such a royal fashion? As his ability to communicate increased, he learned that they had a tribal custom to choose a king for a year. But when the year was over, this king would be transported to a certain island and abandoned. The man’s delight instantaneously turned into distress. Things were great now, but soon he would be alone on the deserted isle.
But then he hit on a shrewd plan. He was the king! He could order people to do whatever he wanted. So, over the next several months he sent members of the tribe to clear this other island. He had them build a beautiful house, furnish it and plant crops. He then sent some chosen friends to live there and wait for him. Then when his time of reigning was over, he was put in a place carefully prepared, full of friends delighted to receive him.
It’s not in scripture that God helps those who help themselves. This saying is usually attributed to Ben Franklin. He quoted it in Poor Richard’s Almanac in 1757. The saying is only partially true at best. Because God helps all those who praise His name and pray, not just the highly motivated. But God will not do for us what we can do for ourselves. If God constantly worked to solve all our problems for us, we would remain forever emotionally and spiritually immature.
Got a problem? Here’s the answer. Praise Pray and work. God deserves our praise,and God likes us to pray, but he also likes people of action. “Praise, Pray and Work”. Don’t attempt one without the others. Be shrewd managers of God’s will. Amen.
In His Service,
Pastor Joe
Listen To Audio; Sermon 20220918
Listen To Audio: Service 09182022
Worship needs a vision that looks first to God and then to community within and then to the world beyond the walls.  We are driven by the question, “How do we share this gift of faith?”  We are constantly seeking ways to be a witness to the treasure we have found, to the joy we live.  Come, let us worship God!
Call to Worship:L:  Come, let us worship the one who calls us here.P:  We gather to worship with joy and in hope.

L:  Come, let us worship the one who desires our hearts.

P:  We bring our whole selves in worship to our God.

L:  Come, let us set aside all that distracts us from true worship.

P:  We come as we are and ask the Spirit to gather us in and direct our vision.


Prayer of Confession:   First of all, Everlasting God, we must confess how we have not lived as your people.  Forgive us, Compassion’s Heart, and heal us of our brokenness.   Make us well, so that by our healing, we might be the hope and love others need in their lives, even as Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, brought these gifts to us, calling us to be faithful with the grace, peace, and joy entrusted to us.  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 10:00 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 Kenya/Rev. Malaho

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.

Weather permitting, we will have our Worship Service September 25th with a picnic in the park.  Please bring a dish to pass.  If  Inclement weather we will eat 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 week.

Choir practice will be Thursday, at 9 to 10 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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