If you prefer to worship at home at this time or simply wish to listen to the service or sermon again, please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:
Link to Video:
If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)
CALL TO WORSHIP:
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!
HYMN 256 We Would See Jesus
We Would See Jesus
A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)
Congregational Prayer − The Centering Prayer:
Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help.
I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life.
Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not.
Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature.
Help me to serve you as I am gifted.
Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood.
I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.
Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
HYMN 140 Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Carrie Underwood – Great Is Thy Faithfulness ft. CeCe Winans (Official Performance Video)
MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!
GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.
MESSAGE: Midnight, Christian: Jesus Is Here (Anything Is Possible)
Text: Isaiah 9:1-7, Matthew 4:12-17
Series: People Get Ready
Isaiah 9:1-7 1 But there will be no gloom for her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zeb’ulun and the land of Naph’tali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. 3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased its joy; they rejoice before thee as with joy at the harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, thou hast broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
Matthew 4:12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee; 13 and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Caper’na-um by the sea, in the territory of Zeb’ulun and Naph’tali, 14 that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
15 “The land of Zeb’ulun and the land of Naph’tali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles– 16 the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
BENEDICTION The Prayer of St Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!
Well, friends, it became Christmas Day at midnight. It became Christmas Day at midnight, and we remember how Jesus is here. All year long would come around to this day so that we can remind ourselves that Jesus is here. And because Jesus is here, anything is possible.
A number of years ago, before the pandemic, we had advent services. Do you remember those? And there came a time that Kinmundy was to host. And the tradition was that each church would bring special music. And that was the night we were here in Kinmundy and each church brought special music. And we heard O Holy Night five times. Friends, I don’t think you could listen to O Holy Night enough … because it reminds us of the truth of this night. But there are some things about O Holy Night that you may not realize.
Let me tell you a little bit of the history of the song. In 1843, a church in France wanted to celebrate the renovation of their church organ. And they reached out to someone in their town who wrote poetry. And they said, “We’d like to commission you, to pay you, to write a hymn to celebrate our organ renovation.” That man’s name was Placide Cappeau. And he became very excited about the meaning of this hymn although he himself was an atheist.
When I do a funeral, I always remind people that (1) you have things to say to the person who’s gone. They, through their life, (2) have things to say to you. But God (3) also has something to say to us. And at the close of the funeral message, I say to them, “Please let your faith speak to your heart today.” And I always say something like, “There are all kinds of faith here in the midst of us. I have a Methodist-flavored faith. And there are other kinds of faith, and there may even be people here who would claim to have no faith at all. But I always say if you have hope– if you have hope, you have some kind of faith. And whatever faith you might have, you need to let it speak to your heart when you grieve.
And so this man who was an atheist wrote a song of hope. In particular, the third verse– oh, I forgot to tell you, the music, you know who they hired to write the music? A Jewish man. Now, these people in France, they were smart, because they asked the best people to do each part. But you know the hymn they wrote became very famous in France and very popular, and the church authorities were just a little bit scandalized that the very best hymn, the words were written by an atheist and the music was written by a Jewish man, but it still became overwhelmingly popular. The poet named it “Midnight, Christians,” with the reality that at midnight, Christians, your savior has come.
And what does that mean about the world in which we live? And by the time we get to the third verse, we sense that the poet is looking at the needs of the world beyond the needs of the church. Here’s the third verse:
Truly, he taught us to love one another.
His law is love and his gospel is peace.
Chains, he shall break, for the slave is our brother,
and in his name, all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy and grateful chorus, raise, we.
With all our hearts, we praise his holy name!
Christ is the Lord – Then ever, ever praise we
His power and glory evermore proclaim!
His power and glory evermore proclaim!
These words in English were originally written in French. Do you know how they came to the United States? 12 years later. The hymn was written in 1843. And in 1855, five years before the Civil War began, while the United States was gripped in the reality of slavery in our country, a Unitarian pastor by the name of John Sullivan Dwight took the song in French and translated it to English, and changed the title from Midnight, Christians to O Holy Night, and it became a favorite of Christian abolitionists.
Chains, he shall break, For the slave is our brother.
And in his name, all oppression shall cease.
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is in the work and in the business of setting people free. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is in the work of setting people free!
And here’s another poem that’s been very deeply meaningful to me. This poem was a part of a sermon in 1926. You’ve probably heard it before.
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in another obscure village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was 30.
He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never went to college.
He never visited a big city.
He never traveled more than 200 miles from the place where he was born.
He did none of the things usually associated with greatness.
He had no credentials but himself.
He was only 33 … His friends ran away, one of them denied him.
He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth.
When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Now, let’s think for a moment, what does this mean? Nineteen centuries have come and gone, the preacher said, in 1926.
Nineteen centuries have come and gone and today,
Jesus is the central figure of the human race and the leader of mankind’s progress.
All of the armies that have ever marched,
All the navies that have ever sailed,
All the parliaments that have ever sat,
All the kings that ever reigned, put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth as powerfully as that one, solitary life.
Friends, let it sink in.
In a week, if you’re like most of the world, you will begin to formulate your New Year’s resolutions. And your mind will be fixed on what’s really important to you.
“I need to lose a few pounds so I can fit in those fancy jeans that I can’t even afford.”
“I need to drive a fancier car and live in a fancier house and get a promotion at work and work even more hours than I’m working now.”
It’s interesting. Watch the resolutions. Watch the resolutions that people make. And in their hopes, in their wishes, in their dreams, you will discover what is truly their greatest hope, their greatest values.
And what you will rarely hear, what you will rarely see, but I heartily recommend to you, is that your resolution would be that in this year to come, that you would be more like Jesus Christ.
Because when people want to be more like Jesus Christ and they pray and they live and they read the Bible and they try to put it into practice, when people work to be more like Jesus Christ, this sort of thing happens: the whole world changes. Now, we can pray and we’re fearful of the things that are happening in our world today, but I guarantee you it’s not anything like it was 2,000 years ago, when in an effort to kill a rival for his throne, King Herod sent soldiers to Bethlehem to kill every child under two years of age. We live in a better place.
We live in better times, but we need to understand, and I think here in the church more than anywhere else, we do understand it is Jesus Christ that has changed our world and is still working to change it.
This was prophesied. Isaiah 9:1, “But there will be no gloom for her that was an anguish in the former time. He, God, brought into contempt, the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time, he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land between the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in a land of deep, darkness, on them has light shined. And the prophet goes on to say, “Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased its joy. They rejoice before thee as with joy at the harvest.” (If you’ve ever farmed, you know what it’s like. You work all year round until the harvest. And boy, is it joyful to bring in the harvest!) They rejoice before thee as with joy at the harvest as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. (Do you know when you divide the spoil? After a great victory.)
The coming of Jesus Christ is the culmination, a great harvest. A great victory. Why? For the yoke of his burden, the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, thou hast broken, as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior and battle tumult. And every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. Why? There will be war no more!
For to us a child is born. To us, a son is given and the government will be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, prince of peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace, there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom to establish it and uphold it with justice, and with righteousness. From this time forth and forevermore, the zeal of the lord of hosts will do this.
What you’re looking at in the picture is a picture of the sun coming up over the Sea of Galilee. And if you pay attention as the sun comes up, first, there’s the silvery grayness, there is some light, but you can’t make out details. But as the light gets brighter, eventually, you can see the world around you. And Jesus coming into the world is just like that. It’s like the light has begun to shine. At midnight, it’s all dark. But Christians, the light is coming because Jesus is here. Anything is possible.
Now, Matthew quotes, this same verse, Matthew 4, now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth, he went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali – now these are two of the sons of Jacob, two of the regions of the land of Israel – And that which was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled. The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, beside the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the, wait for it, Gentiles. The Gentiles. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who sat in the region and shadow of death, light has dawned. From that time, Jesus began to preach saying, repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
You see, the light is coming into the world. Jesus is here. Anything is possible. And Jesus begins to preach saying, Repent, it’s time for something new. It’s time for something different because the kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven, is at hand.
It’s midnight, Christians. But only one thing has changed. Yet, everything has changed. And because of this one thing now, anything is possible. Anything is possible.
Let me remind you: Nineteen, now twenty centuries have come and gone and Jesus is the central figure of human history. The central leader of all human progress. And all the armies and all the navies and all the political governments, in all that they have ever done … All the kings and rulers that ever reigned all put together, none of them have changed the world, the life of mankind on earth, as powerfully as the life of Jesus Christ.
Friends, I encourage you to let Jesus be your role model.
It’s midnight, everything is possible now! What shall we pray?
Let’s pray that we follow the teachings of Jesus to love one another; his law is love; his gospel is peace. Let us pray for the chains he will break … for the slave as our brother, and in his name, all oppression shall cease.
There’s a song I love to listen to, and I listen to it particularly when I feel down and sad and somewhat hopeless. The chorus is very simple, and it just repeats again and again and again:
“There’s power in the name of Jesus … to break every chain, to break every chain, to break every chain.” When you look in the mirror in the morning, when you look across the breakfast table at your family, when you look out among the neighborhoods where you have relationships with people – because God did ask you to love your neighbors – you can whisper as I sometimes do: “Lord, break every chain; break every chain; break every chain and set people free.”
Because what the world needs most today is a savior.
Now whether you listen to the news or read the newspaper or however information comes to you, you will hear that what we need is a different politician running the show, you will hear that the armies and navies need new weapons, you will hear that what we need is cars that run on electricity … and in 20 years from now, no doubt, it will be that you need a car with a fusion, nuclear reaction engine. The world has never changed in what it thinks it needs, but we know better.
What the world needs is a savior, and all the good in the 2,000 years since then has come because humankind had a savior. Not everybody listened, not everybody obeyed, but enough, enough of God’s people prayed, “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done,” that it began to be done on earth. And if this earth has ever been a little bit like heaven over those 2,000 years, friends, that’s why.
So Lord Jesus, we look to you and we pray this prayer: “Oh, holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray. Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels, the great, glad tidings tell. Oh come to us, abide with us, our Lord, Emmanuel. Today, Lord Jesus, with a stroke of a moment as a clock moves past midnight, we who are midnight Christians rejoice in that you are bringing light into the darkness of this world. And so Lord Jesus, keep bringing light to all of us. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?
What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Road, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
(If you wish, you can listen to the Prayer of St. Francis being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis