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: Psalm 1:
1 Blessed are the ones who walk not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers; 2 but their delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law they meditate day and night. 3 They are like trees planted by streams of water, that yield their fruit in its season, and their leaf does not wither. In all that they do, they prosper. 4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
HYMN 467 Trust and Obey
Trust and Obey (A Cappella) by David Wesley
A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)
Congregational Prayer − The WESLEY COVENANT PRAYER
I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. 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 405 Seek Ye First The Kingdom Of The God
Seek ye first the kingdom of God // Christian Hymn // Emily Ham
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: Rule #3: By attending upon all the ordinances of God
Text: Psalm 1, Galatians 6:7-10, 2 Corinthians 9:6-11
Series: Organizing For The New Year
Psalms 1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
2 Corinthians 9:6 The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever.” 10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God;
Thirdly: By attending upon all the ordinances of God; such are:
The public worship of God.
The ministry of the Word, either read or expounded.
The Supper of the Lord.
Family and private prayer.
Searching the Scriptures.
Fasting or abstinence.
HYMN 714 I Know Whom I Have Believed
Marshall Hall – I know whom I have believed
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!
The season of epiphany, which comes right after the season of Christmas in the Christian church year, is a season that begins with the Wise Men coming. And what we hope is that what we do during this season lends wisdom to what will come throughout the rest of the year. And so I’ve been wanting to share with you ways that we can organize for this new year and to use wisdom to do that.
Here is a word from Brian Tracy that has meant a lot to me during this season of Epiphany. Tracy writes, “Clarity is everything.” To perform at your very best and to double your productivity – that’s his goal, but I would like to think of it as let’s double the good that happens. Tracy writes, “You must be absolutely clear about what you want to accomplish. And then you must then identify and pursue the best way to achieve it. You must be open to new information …” And you must be ready to make changes so that what’s better can take the place of what’s not as good. So that the new year can be filled with God’s blessing.
And there’s an image there of a Methodist cookbook. I should have asked about this before. Has our church ever made their own cookbook?
Because I know if you have one of those, it’s a treasure. There are all kinds of cookbooks. And some of them are full of ingredients that I’ve never heard of. And some I’m never going to hear of – because I don’t want to make something that’s full of whatever that is. But every now and then, I get curious: What is it that makes French dressing French dressing? What is it that’s in Russian dressing that makes it taste in a way that I like it so much? And this is a cookbook I go to to try to find that out. Because I get curious.
And I want to tell you something that you already know about cookbooks. It’s a good cookbook if all the ingredients are included on the list. It’s a bad cookbook if they leave any ingredients out. It’s a good cookbook if it tells you how much paprika to put in. It’s a bad cookbook if it says, “Put in as much as your mother did.” It’s a good cookbook if it lists every step in order that you do very clearly so that you can follow those steps. It’s a bad cookbook if it says, “Do your best.” My mother was the daughter of a woman who loved to cook, and she was one of these people that never measured anything. And she was also one of these people that never explained anything to my mother. My grandmother just assumed that my mother just knew, somehow, exactly how much to add to anything that was on the stove, and she would get criticized for not knowing – how was she to know? As a result, as an adult, my mother never made anything without a good recipe. And you know what that meant? Everything tasted wonderful.
Now, we are Methodist people. We believe in being organized. We believe in following the recipe. John Wesley was someone who gave clear instructions, and told everybody: “This is what you do. This is what you need.” And he was possibly the most organized person on the face of the earth! There’s a lot we can learn from that, particularly when we think about our church and what is needed, when we think about people around us and what is needed.
There are recipes that, if we follow them faithfully, we will get the very best result. And that’s what we started talking about last week. Last week, I talked about the third rule of John Wesley. And I focused on just the first word, attend. There are specific things we need to attend to. There are specific things that we need to pay attention to and to do them at the appropriate time and in the right way, because John Wesley, with these three rules, wanted to give us recipes to follow.
And I want to say to you that everything we do is like an investment. It will produce a profit or a loss. It will produce a benefit or it will prove to not be worthwhile. Investors call that the return on investment. It’s either good and getting better or it’s worse and getting lower. It never stays the same. But here’s the principle for us as we use wisdom to think about the future: Good choices lead to good consequences.
Our Call to Worship talks about that. Psalm 1:2, “But his delight, this wise person, is in the law of the Lord, the cookbook of the Lord, the recipes of the Lord, the very clear instructions of the Lord, his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law, this wise person meditates day and night.”
It takes time to get absolutely clear, “Let me gather what I need.”
It takes time to follow the instructions clearly.
When you do that, it’s an investment in the future that pays a result.
Let me give you an example of a bad investment. Again, Psalm 1, “Blessed is the man, women also, blessed is a man who walks not in the council of the wicked,” that’s bad advice. “Nor stands in the way of sinners,” that’s bad advice. Standing in the way of sinners, it’s like if there’s a road that leaves from bad to worse, you’re standing on that road looking for some party bus you can get on. That’s bad advice. It is not wise nor– and this is a big one, sits in the seat of scoffers. If there’s something that’s different this year than 5 years ago, 10 years ago, or my childhood – it is that the level of scoffing, the level of disrespect, the level of foolish criticism has grown to be epic flood proportions in our media, places like Facebook, and the gossip that people tell each other as they go through their day. This is not a good investment.
Let’s turn away from it and notice the good investment. If you delight in the way God wants things to be done, there are going to be good consequences. And here they are, “The person who pays attention to God’s instructions is like a tree that’s planted by streams of water. At the right time, it yields its fruit. In a time of drought, its leaf does not wither,” and then look at that promise, “In all that he does, he prospers.” Friends, if you take time in the morning to think about the day ahead, if you take time in the evening to think back what you learned, especially what you learned the hard way, your life will be blessed. In all that you do, you will prosper. Because good choices lead to good consequences.
The wicked are not so but are like chaff, which the wind drives away. The picture on the screen is of a woman in a third-world country. She has taken the products of threshing. They have animals walk over them to separate the hulls from the seed. And it’s a big mess. How do they purify that? It’s very simple. They just throw it up in the air and the wind blows the chaff away. Because it has no weight. It has no substance. It has no value, and so the least bit of wind can take it away. And friends, it’s the same in our lives. If we let God’s wind blow among us, what is of low value will go off to the side and what is of God will remain. And consequently, the wicked will not stand in the judgment. Because there will always be wind. Everything that’s shallow, everything that’s foolish, everything that’s a waste of time, it amounts to nothing because there will always be wind.
And so Paul writes – these are some of my favorite words – do not be deceived, for God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. What a terrible world it would be if you planted soybeans in the spring and corn came up in the fall. What a problem it would be if you planted corn and the wrong crop came up. But the way God created the world, what you sow, you’re going to grow, and you’re going to reap.
And then here’s the point, for he who sows to his own flesh, to the unspiritual things of your nature– he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. There is a consistency here, good choices and good actions are like seeds that yield good consequences. So we need to pay attention to what we’re sowing.
Paul goes right on to describe other seeds: Let us not grow weary in well-doing because if you sow well-doing, you’re going to reap good results. Paul says for in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. That’s sowing.
Paul talks about sowing and reaping also in 2nd Corinthians 9:6 to where he makes this point; the point is this, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. And he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. But Paul says verse 7, each one must do as he is made up his mind. Not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver. God loves a cheerful sower! And then here comes an interesting promise: And God is able to provide you with every blessing and abundance so that you may always have enough of everything, and you may provide an abundance for every good work. Now, let that sink in for just a moment. You know what we think of when we think of abundance? The harvest in the fall – but what this verse is actually speaking of is that God is able to provide you with the seeds, which when given time and care, will provide that great abundance. Everything worthwhile starts as a seed. And the same is true for our church and our spiritual life.
So here is John Wesley’s recipe. You remember, there are Three Rules:
First one, do no harm. There are things that you should stop doing or do less of.
Second, do all the good you can. There are things you should start doing or do more of if you’re already doing them.
Thirdly, John Wesley says, by attending upon all the ordinances of God …
Well, what are the ordinances of God? An ordinance is an authoritative decree or direction. This is the right way to do something, when a city government passes an ordinance. It’s like, this is how it must be done. But an ordinance is also a prescribed usage of practice, or a ritual or a ceremony … or you could say, a recipe.
There’s a certain way to make Russian dressing. There’s a certain way to do church. There’s a certain way to say your prayers. And if you have the best instructions, they will lead to the very best results because what you’re doing in this Third Rule is investing in spiritual disciplines.
So here are the ones that Wesley listed.
The public worship of God. I want to thank all of you that are here. I don’t want to make anybody feel bad. I don’t think I’ll make anybody feel bad who’s here right now, but it makes a difference if you come to worship. It makes a difference. And now that the pandemic is easing up, friends, we need to come back together. We need to come back together.
In addition to that, the next spiritual discipline is the ministry of the word, either read or expounded. “Pastor Dave, what does it mean to expound?” It means that I stand up here and expound a sermon all over you. To attend worship and listen to a sermon. But you know something? Back in Wesley’s day, they printed out their sermons. You can read John Wesley’s standard 44 sermons. He had sermons as examples of what his preacher should preach. You can read a sermon … and in fact, these words that I say today, on Monday afternoon, they’ll be posted on the internet, and you can read them again, if there was something that you thought was really good, that was really helpful. Not only that, you can read years of these. They are on our church blog. The ministry of the word, either read or expounded.
The Supper of the Lord, holy communion. We have holy communion on the first Sunday of the month, but holy communion is a little bit like vitamin C. You can’t live without it spiritually. It’s important to come together and take communion. If you’re not here, by the way, on the first Sunday, you can come to me. You come to my office. You come in on Monday morning or Wednesday morning, and you and I, we will have communion because it’s good for you.
Family and private prayer. You and your family should say prayers together, maybe not just for what you’re about to eat, but for the other concerns that you have. And I really hope that you don’t only pray when someone is watching or listening, but that you turn to God throughout the day as you need to. There are benefits that come from that spiritual practice.
Searching the scriptures. What does that mean? Searching the scriptures means that when I have a decision to make, when I have a choice that’s important, I take time to turn to the scripture to try to understand what God wants me to understand, or as Psalm 1 says, in the morning, in the evening, I meditate on God’s word.
The last one might not occur to you: fasting or abstinence. A few of you have noticed that I have lost some weight – the reason I’ve lost weight is I’ve developed a practice of fasting. But I’ll be honest with you, it’s for health, more than for prayer, but fasting makes a difference in prayer as well. This whole idea of fasting or abstinence is typically talked about in Lent because people look at each other and they say, “What have you given up for Lent?” In other words, you’re going to fast throughout those six weeks of Lent and try to give up this thing that’s holding you back. Do you remember Wesley’s first rule? Do no harm, either stop or do less. Maybe it’s not something you’re giving up, maybe it’s something you’re going to start up to do more good, but that’s the idea of fastening or abstinence. By changing your behavior, you will change your results.
These are six things that John Wesley gave as recipes for his people; they will help you. But here’s a problem with John Wesley’s General Rules. People, especially we pastors, tend to try to change them and fix them and one of the reasons– I’m sorry, one of the ways that we do that is to water them down.
One of the famous examples of this, there is a wonderful bishop, Bishop Reuben Job, who wrote a book about John Wesley’s rules. He called it Three Simple Rules. And he took this very specific recipe, this Third Rule where John Wesley said to his people, “You need to do these six things …”
Bishop Reuben Job changed that very specific recipe to one thing. Do you know what he wrote? Here it is. Stay in love with God. There’s nothing wrong with that. And in fact, that’s the end result we’re all looking for, but remember … we’re talking about seeds that lead to the end result. I would feel very disappointed if I opened up a cookbook and I saw a picture of a brownie, as if you and I are supposed to figure out how much chocolate goes into a brownie by looking at the picture of the end result. How much flour? How much sugar? Now, you can eventually get there, but how many batches of inedible brownies are you going to make on the way? That is a very hard way to make a brownie. It is a very hard way to live your life to learn by trial and error. failing on your mistakes, falling on your face, as a way to learn what not to do. That’s a very hard way to live your life. But because we’re Methodist, John Wesley gives you specific recipes to follow.
So let’s not water down the rules. Let’s look at them, and do what we can to keep them, because the results we get this year will depend upon how we get organized for spiritual growth. Simply because what we plant in the spring, we will reap in the fall.
So consequently, here’s the reality: whether it’s your church, whether it’s your field or your garden, whether it’s your job or your house, whether it’s your family or your coworkers, if you don’t like what you’re reaping, understand where that comes from. If you don’t like what you’re reaping, consider changing what you’re sowing. And then give God time to work, give God time to change your world, because good choices will lead to good consequences in every part of our lives.
So as we move toward Lent, it’s a good time to ask,: Is it time for us to make a change in the investments we’re making in our spiritual life?
Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, thank you for the Bible. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for the ways that he spoke clearly to us of what we needed to do. Thank you, Lord, for preachers like John Wesley, who took those instructions and wrote them out even more clearly, so that we could follow them. Help us, Lord, to learn from the truth that’s been presented to us so that we can make good choices and then reap what we sow and enjoy good consequences. 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