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: (St. Teresa of Avila:)
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which He looks
Compassion on this world…
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which He blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are His body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which He looks
Compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
HYMN We’ve A Story to Tell to the Nations
We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations by Antipolo United Methodist Church, Philippines
A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)
Congregational Prayer − Almighty God, through Jesus Christ you overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life. Grant that we, who celebrate the day of our Lord’s resurrection, may, by the renewing of your Spirit arise from the death of sin to the life of righteousness; through Jesus Christ our 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 Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know
Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know (hymn), Sanctuary Choir, First UMC Houston Tx
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: Open Your Minds … Wait … Share What You Learn
Text: Luke 24:36
Series: Instructions for Resurrection
Luke 24:36 As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them. 37 But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
41 And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them. 44 Then he said to them, “These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.”
50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.
HYMN Pass It On
Pass It On – EMC Vesper Choir
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!
Last week we talked about the two men who were walking on the way to Emmaus and who were feeling so sad and down. And Jesus came and walked with them and gave them an explanation that gave them hope. You and I are also in need from time to time of an explanation.
Because, after Easter, what now? Think what it was like to be the disciples. Everything that was normal for three years, all of a sudden, it was gone, but now Jesus is alive. But what does that mean? What is Jesus going to do next? What are we going to do next? What are we supposed to do? What’s the plan? Is there a plan?
And every now and then in life, you just come to this place where you feel like you’re starting over from scratch. But something I’d like to remind you, I don’t want to suggest that starting over from scratch is like a blank piece of paper. I think it’s a little bit more like this: You have all the pieces. They’re just not put together the way they used to be. But you can take all the scattered pieces and begin to put them back together.
And this is what Jesus, on the road to Emmaus, begins to do. He says to them, “Was it not necessary?” Or in other words, there is a plan. I’m sorry you didn’t understand it. I’m sorry you weren’t listening when I tried to explain it. But there is a plan, there is a purpose, there is a reason, and you can put the pieces back together if you understand that. “Was it not necessary,” Jesus said, “that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?”And Jesus begins to explain the plan, piece by piece. And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them and all the scriptures, the things concerning himself, each verse a piece of the plan.
What happened to Jesus? Why was this necessary? What happens to you and I? Why was this necessary? What happens if some disaster on the other side of the world, why was this necessary? The whole world is changing, and quite often I find myself just wishing that things would stay the same for at least a week. And so we find ourselves wondering in the midst of this world that is so often not what we want … Asking ourselves a question, what is true? And I want to affirm for us today at the beginning of the Easter season, that one of the most valuable questions that we can ask ourselves is “What did Jesus say about this?” May 1st is coming up this week. It was in the announcements. I’d like to encourage you, read a chapter in the gospel of Mark and let what Jesus said begin to sort things out.
But let’s go back to the disciples on Easter Sunday. This is the very next part of the verses after the two men who went to Emmaus returned to Jerusalem and explained what had happened to them. In verse 36, as they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them. But they were startled and frightened and supposed they saw a spirit, a ghost, an entity without any physical body. Verse 38, and he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questionings rise in your hearts? See my hands …” Jesus says to Thomas, “See the hole in my hand where the nails went in. Put your hand on my hand. Put your fingers in the nail prints. “See my hands and my feet that it is I, myself. Handle me. Touch me and see. For a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see that I have.”
You see, the very first Christian heresy was called Gnosticism. And it was an idea that came into the early Christian church from the Greek world, which was the idea that nothing physical was good, and so consequently, the gnostics said, “Of course, when Jesus rose from the dead, he had no physical body. He was just a ghost. Just a spirit floating in the air. And those stupid disciples, they misunderstood what must be true.”
And of course, when the scriptures were written, when the New Testament was compiled, the disciples remembered things that Jesus did and said, intentionally including these. Verse 41, and while they still disbelieved for joy and wondered, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” So you can find yourself wondering, why is Jesus hungry? Well, obviously, he isn’t hungry if he’s a ghost. Verse 42, they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it before them. You see when you understand the context, you understand why the disciples wanted everybody to remember Jesus ate a piece of fish. He was genuinely, physically resurrected in a body – which might not have been important at the moment. They might not have understood it right then, but later it became very important.
Verse 44, then he said to them, “These are my words, which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” All those verses. But then, in verse 45, something beautiful happens: Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
Lord Jesus, as we listen to the Scriptures this morning. I pray that you will open our minds to understand. Lord, as we open up the Bible, as we open up the Upper Room and other devotional resources this week, I pray that you will open our minds to understand the Scriptures. Lord, as we go through our life and are suddenly reminded, perhaps on a Tuesday or a Thursday, of a particular Bible verse … We’re not sure why it comes to mind. But Lord, we ask that you would open up our minds to understand the Scriptures.
Jesus said, “Thus it is written that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead.” You see there is a reason for everything that has happened, because what’s happened in the past is now leading verse 47 to this: “That repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Remember the call to worship? Christ has no body now, but yours. Christ has no preacher now, but you. What God brings into our minds is meant to grow and live within us and at the right time, it will come out. And these disciples will begin to be preachers of God’s word.
But the question still remains, what will Jesus do next? What will we do next? What are we supposed to do? What is the plan? What is my role and how will I do what Jesus wants me to do? And Jesus points out to them something that I think we need to keep in mind too. Between Easter Sunday and the day of Pentecost, there are 49 days. And he gives them 49 days of waiting, but you don’t have to look at it as waiting. He gives them 49 days to get ready. 49 days where what Jesus wants them to understand is loading, is beginning to fill in their minds so that they understand what God wants them to do. Jesus says it this way, “You are witnesses of these things. But you are not ready to make a witness, but you have this time and God is going to make you ready.”
Look at verse 49, “And behold, I send the promise of my father upon you.” The Holy Spirit is coming. The Holy Spirit is going to act through you. The Holy Spirit is going to give you words to speak by reminding you of everything Jesus said. You’ll find that in the last few chapters of John. This is what is happening in these 49 days of getting ready. “Wait in the city, stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” And if God is going to give them 49 days to get ready.
Friends, when you are in the middle of something, please understand God will give you some time to get ready. You know, honesty, the devil always tries to rush you. The devil always tries to make you afraid and stir up your anxiety. God gives you time to pray and think and get ready. Maybe not always, but quite often, you and I can take those moments to let our hearts focus on what God wants and we’ll find that God will help us to be ready for what we need to be ready for.
And then in the book of Luke, verse 50, “He, Jesus, led them out as far as Bethany and lifting up his hands he blessed them. And while he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they returned to Jerusalem with great joy were continually in the temple blessing God. And the 49 days began to flow toward the day of Pentecost.
Friends, in the time of waiting, in the time between the times, you need God’s word. Because God’s word will tell you the truth. Jesus said that very specifically in John chapter 8, God’s word, the words of Jesus Christ, will help you to understand the truth.
And it is worth waiting for a complete understanding of it before we go off half-cocked with a misunderstanding. We need to wait for the Holy Spirit to prepare us to do God’s will. And just like with a jigsaw puzzle, all the pieces of the Bible are spread out. And you pick up each verse, and you say to yourself, where does this one fit? Where does this one fit? And you know what happens sometimes? You put that piece down and you say, I have no idea. But you keep picking up each piece, and you ask the question, where does this one fit? And things begin to fit together and God gives you an understanding.
I want to show you a quote that is a part of the worship service in the largest church in the United States. Happens to be a church in Houston. On average, 45,000 people come to worship every single week. 45,000 people. And at the beginning of the sermon, the pastor holds up the Bible. And he asks everyone in the church to make this statement. So if they understand who they are, and they understand where they’re going, and here’s the statement:
This is my Bible.
I am what it says I am.
I can do what it says I can do.
Today, I will be taught the word of God.
I boldly confess: my mind is alert. My heart is receptive. I will never be the same.
I’m about to receive the incorruptible, indestructible, ever-living seed of the word of God.
(And what they mean there is that each verse will be like a seed that will take root and live in each of us.)
I will never be the same. Never, never, never. I will never be the same. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Now this largest church in the United States started out Southern Baptist, with a great reverence for God’s word. Later they became Pentecostal with a great reverence for the reality that the Holy Spirit can work through us according to God’s word. Those two things work very well together in a church.
Friends, when you and I understand what the Bible is telling us, it turns God loose to work in our lives. The cure for a dull church– I don’t know if you’ve ever heard people say that church is boring. The cure for a dull church is for the people of God to open themselves up spiritually to prepare themselves, spiritually. For prayer and Bible reading to give new life to each person.
There is a phrase from computer programming, GIGO. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it. It means garbage in, garbage out. And you see, here’s the problem with our world, friends. In this world, what goes into your mind is quite often garbage. You let the media share their words with you. You let Facebook fall into your brain. You listen to people arguing and fighting about one stupid thing after another. And all that garbage, like a flood, floods into our minds.
But if you put the Bible into your mind, you’ll have less room for garbage. And if you fill your mind with God’s word, there won’t be room for things that will stir you up and break your heart and turn you against other people. You see, what we really want is the Word in, and that will lead to the Word out: WIWO.
You probably can’t tell from that picture – that’s actually a jigsaw puzzle, put together. Because when you take each one of those verses, and you say, “Now, where does this fit in God’s plan? Does it go with this? Does it go with that?” And you work your way through putting the pieces into place, what God wants to do begins to be clear.
And let me tell you what the biggest problem with that is, and that’s us preachers. There’s a missionary movement. It began with the Southern Baptist 20 years ago. It’s called CPM or Church Planting Movements. They started evangelistic churches in red China, in Vietnam and Cambodia, missionaries starting churches made up of people in that culture. And the missionaries were trained to teach the Bible in a very specific way.
Now you see, here’s the problem. When you come to me and you say, “Pastor Dave, why did Jesus want to eat fish on Easter Sunday? Why didn’t he want to eat ham like the rest of us?” Pastor Dave wants to go straight to the answer, his opinion, and tell you what he thinks. And what these missionaries say is that that’s the wrong way to do it.
Here’s how they do it. Somebody, a Chinese person, comes up to the missionary and says, “Would you please explain this to me?” And what the missionary is trained to do is to say to the person, “You know, I’m not sure I can explain that. I’m not sure I have a good answer for you. I don’t think I’m that smart. Tell you what,” the missionary says. “Let’s sit down over here and let’s open up the Bible to Matthew chapter one. And let’s read it together until we get to the place to where Jesus explains it.”
So let’s start with Matthew chapter one and they go verse by verse. And of course, you know what that does. It raises all kinds of additional questions. And the missionary says the same thing, “You know, I’m not sure that I have an answer to that– let’s keep reading until we find the answer together.” And what they found is that when people read the Bible verse by verse, all of a sudden, everything in it begins to make sense. The Word in, the Word out.
THINK OF EACH VERSE LIKE A JIGSAW PUZZLE PIECE. “This verse here, what do I do with that? Do I know where it goes? Does it go with this verse?” And I think this is what the disciples are doing as they wait for Pentecost. There they are in the Upper Room for 49 days. “What did Jesus say? You remember when we were over there? What did Jesus say? And what did he say next? And what did he do?” And they’re going over everything that Jesus said. And as they pick up each piece, it begins to make sense to them what Jesus wants them to do.
Friends, if you and I will let the word of God flow into our lives, even if we don’t quite understand it, piece by piece, we’ll begin to see how things fit together. So I want to encourage you during these 49 days between Easter Sunday and Pentecost, let’s let the pieces of God’s word begin to fit together, and let’s think about what sort of church we need to be in our town, in our place, in our day, in this year. Let’s let Jesus tell us what should lie ahead and what is God’s plan for our lives as a church, but also for our own personal life. And also for every challenge or difficulty or hurt that any one of us experiences or touches our heart because somebody else is hurting, let’s let God’s word speak to that.
Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, help us not to assume that we already know everything You want. Help us, Lord, not to think that we are so smart that we have the answers to every question. Instead, Lord, just like a person exploring, help us to look at all the pieces so that we can see what you want to do because, certainly, Lord, Your answers are more helpful and important than our understandings, which quite often are just imperfect. And so, Lord Jesus, we pray that You would guide us as we remember Your word. And we ask this in Jesus’ name. 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