Nov 6th Prophecy Truth & Healing: Healing Truths

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Nov 6th Healing Truths

Praying for Truth

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2 Kings 5:1-15a Elisha heals Naaman, a foreigner and leper
Matt 8:2-3 Jesus heals a leper
Psalm 41

Call to Worship (based on Psalm 41)
Bless is the Lord, the God of Israel
God is from everlasting to everlasting
God we love to be in your presence
Come let us worship God

Call to Confession: We come to God to confess those things that still hurt and need healing

Confession: God be gracious to me and heal me for I have sinned against you. I know you consider the poor and the sick and care for them. God, I know there is all kinds of healing in the world, and that you are a healing God. Help us to heal and to continue whatever healing you are doing in the world. We pray this in the name of your son Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Assurance of Pardon: God you are gracious and promise to raise us up and to heal all sins, so we know the good news In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen. 

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God you empower us, like Naaman to pursue healing. We pray this in the name of your son Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Hymns: There is a Balm in Gilead, I’ve Got Peace Like a River, O Christ the Healer, Lord I Want to Be a Christian, Today We All Are Called to Be Disciples, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing 

Children: Talk about Baptism and how it cleans sin permanently with the help of confession—its kind of like a bath. Talk about Naaman and how he wants to be special but he just needs a bath. The Pigeon Needs a Bath by mo willems or Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day 

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Truth: A Prayer

Guns don’t spell peace

Just like White Supremacy can’t define Jesus

And Transphobia doesn’t protect families–but breaks them

And making abortion illegal, never, ever prevents abortions

God,

How can we humans be so confused

as to take the truth and completely

misconstrue it

so that somehow we make Christianity about power

and Church about politics?

Sometimes I think about this and I think,

only us humans are silly enough to mess up

messages as simple and easy as:

Love and serve one another

or the last shall be first.

Yet here we are God,

Tangling Truths around our Tongues,

Tricking ourselves, with comforting lies.

Ignoring the whisper of the Holy Spirit that says:

Fear Not.

Nothing can separate you from the Love of God

You can never be replaced.*

I hope you have some truth for us today, God.

Some clear, cool and collected truth,

gathered into the waters of baptism–

spilling into our hearts and souls.

Because we need your truth.

Help us to tell ourselves the truth

I pray.

We pray.

Amen. Feel Free to share/adapt/use with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

*replacement theory is a dangerous white supremacist theory that white Americans are being replaced usually by Jewish and Black People and it promotes violence and terrorism against said “replacement” races and religions. It is dehumanizing, bigoted, wrong and as stated a terrorist training ground. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/15/us/replacement-theory-shooting-tucker-carlson.html

May 1st Paul Conversion

Teaching the Good News and Praying the Gospel

Acts 9:1-19a

Matthew 6:24

Call to Worship

God we are called to your gospel

To preach and pray in unusual ways

Jesus help us to give others the eyes to see,

Invitation to Confess: Come let us confess ourselves to the Risen Christ.

Call to Worship: Jesus, we confess that we don’t always do baptism right. We push people into church, or we wait too long to invite them. We have trouble figuring it all out. Forgive us. Help us to know when to teach and when to pray. Remove the scales from our eyes. Help us to know the good news of the gospel, and how to share it we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Jesus is here, loving us even now. So let us proclaim the good news. In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God, guide us where we need to go, help us to grow in faith and trust in the Lord, whether we are feeling more like Ananias or Paul at the moment, walk with us we pray. Amen.

Hymns: Here I am Lord, Create in Me a Clean Heart, Amazing Grace, Lift High the Cross,

With Children: Changing Names–talk about how people in the Bible change names when they feel like different people and how this makes sense because we call different people by different names: mother/father, teacher, boss, son/daughter, brother/sister, If it’s appropriate talk about why people might change their names in your congregation (getting married, changing genders) and how that is like Paul/Saul, Jacob/Israel, Naomi/Mara, Abram/Abraham

Gathering & Gospelling: Worship V

Worship V

Chapter 6: Keep Your Best Self Out of My Gathering: Confession & Authenticity &

Baptism

Hebrews 4:14-16

14 Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested* as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Ephesians 4:1-6, 11-13

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

1The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.

Call to Worship (1 Cor. 12:12-13, 17)

Just as the body is one and has many members

All the members of the body, though many, are one with Christ

For there is One Spirit

We are all baptized in to one body

There is neither Male nor Female, Jew nor Greek, Slave nor Free

We have one faith, one Lord, one baptism

Come let us worship our God

Come let us worship our God

Confession: Reflective Questions

What is your baptismal Name (what name do you think God calls you, your full name, your nickname? Beloved Child? Something else?) ?
What are your gifts?

Where do you feel most at home with yourself? Where are you most fully you? (what place, people, circumstance makes that happen with little to no effort)

What is God calling you to do today? next week? next year?

Creative Activity: Remember your baptism worship based on your liturgy. Or Take a moment have everyone reflect upon their baptism. Then grab a branch. Invite them to rededicate themselves to the Lord as you use the branch to sprint the congregation with water. 

Homework: Make a list of those you know who aren’t connected with the church, (you don’t need to know them well) Don’t say anything to them, just make a list. Pray for them. Pray for a chance to be with them. Pray and keep your eyes open. (Unbinding the Gospel, p. 186)

.

Study Verse: There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism Ephesians 4:4

Prayer of Dedication/the Day: Prayer: O God, please give me a list of people. Help me to pray for them. Let me feel your love for the people on ours lists to know you. I’m open to the nudges of your Spirit, well help me to be open to nudges of your Spirit!! Amen. (Unbinding the Gospel p. 186)

Hymn Suggestions: I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me, Just As I Am Without One Plea, Lord I Want to Be a Christian, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Gathering & Gospelling Worship Series

If you want doc versions, sample bulletins, and the handouts as a separate materials page, email me at Katyandtheword at Gmail

If you use this material, please consider donating to my GoFundMe for my Doctorate in Ministry for Creative Writing as a working Theologian. Any Contribution from $5-100 is appreciated and I am happy to provide receipts as needed.  

Gathering & Gospelling: Worship III

Worship III

Chapter 3: Don’t be a Chill Host: Active Welcoming & The Invisible Church

1 Corinthians 10:1-4

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3and all ate the same spiritual food, 4and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,* and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of* the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Call to Worship: (based on the words of Mother Teresa)

Christ grant us the joy of our baptism

Joy is prayer

Help our joy in small things to continue

Joy is strength

Let us take joy in one another

Joy is love

Teach us how to share Joy with one another

Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. Let us rejoice together today!

Confession: Reflective Questions

Do you make a better host or a better guest? 

Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street: How did you get to this church family?

—Take a moment to Pray for all the church, the past members, current members, the children, the new members.—

Creative Activity: Plant Seeds, Pray for those names that are brought in

Homework: Find someone who doesn’t go to church, say you and some of your friends at church are trying to figure out how to make our church even more open to new people so you are conducting interviews. Tell them you’ve been a Christian so long, you don’t have a good perspective on it anymore. Over (safe) lunch or coffee as questions. Listen without interrupting. Don’t give advice or answers, just ask clarifying questions. Take notes.

(Unbinding the gospel p. 83 and 84)

  1. What pops in your mind when you hear the word church
  2. Has anyone invited you to their church? What did you think when they asked you? Did you go? If you went how did that feel? If you didn’t go why not?
  3. Have you ever had a sense of God or Jesus communicating with you?
  4. If you could ask God any question what would it be?
  5. Would you like prayer for anything (pray there if it’s not awkward. If not pray throughout the week/bring that prayer to church.)

Get back to the person if they asked for prayer a week later and ask how that situation his going. 

Study Verse: Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,* and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us—Hebrews 12:1

Prayer of Dedication/the Day: Soul of Christ, sanctify me, Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, refresh me. Water from Christ’s side, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. Be with me as I go, assured of myself as a beloved and baptized child of God. Amen. (184 UTG)

Suggested Hymns: Called as Partners in Christ’s Service, Guide My Feet, Jesu Jesu Fill Us with Your Love, In Christ There is No East or West, It is Well with My Soul

Gathering & Gospelling Worship Series

If you want doc versions, sample bulletins, and the handouts as a separate materials page, email me at Katyandtheword at Gmail

If you use this material, please consider donating to my GoFundMe for my Doctorate in Ministry for Creative Writing as a working Theologian. Any Contribution from $5-100 is appreciated and I am happy to provide receipts as needed.  

Baptisms and Miracles

To modern day readers, this encounter with the Eunuch may be one of the wackiest texts we encounter. All the reasons that stick out to us as being weird or miraculous were fairly typical of ministry of the day. 

Philip is awoken by an angel and told to hit the road and travel on a specific road from Jerusalem to Gaza. Then the Spirit tells Philip to join the chariot, so Philip runs to catch up to a chariot! Then upon baptism the Spirit whisks Philip away, poof, and the Eunuch goes on rejoicing. In the era that this was written, none of these encounters with angels ro the Holy Spirit would be remarked upon as strange.

The parts that are not as strange to us, are the real miracles of the time:

Philip being converted by his mission experience

A Eunuch who can read ancient Hebrew text and is studying it

A river appears in, what is likely to be, the desert road between two cities. It is unusual for water to be in a place that is not a city, and yet it appears at the exact time that the Eunuch seeks baptism. We do not think hard about water in the desert, but we can be sure the ancient Hebrews and Greeks and Ethiopians did as they traveled. 

In modern times, we have learned a lot. We know that those who go on missions go to convert themselves not others, and think hard about the nature of toxic charity and heroism. We think that reading the texts is normal, or should be and encourage as many people as we can to study them. And we absolutely hope that all people are accepted into the faith. 

So what we consider miracles were considered normal and vice versa. Except for the fact that the Eunuch is queer individual, and we still aren’t sure what the answer to their question “what should prevent me from being baptized?”

Whether swept up in the suddenness of the moment or not having a good answer, Philip does not answer the question, and that itself becomes the answer. 

There is no objection to the baptism, so the moment passes. 

The Ethiopian is so excited to be baptized, that Philip cannot in any circumstances say no. 

No doubt the flashing neon signs fo the angel and Spirit served to help too. Yes that EXACT chariot, that’s the place we mean. No need to wonder if this is the right person, and the fact that they are reading Ancient Hebrew on a scroll is incredible. Here is this person, probably not even allowed in the temple, who takes their faith seriously enough to journey to Jerusalem and is educated enough to read, and not only to read, but to read a different language then that which is spoken in Ethiopia. 

How? Is this Eunuch a descendent of the Hebrews who journeyed and stayed in Egypt? The borders of such countries are unclear, but this individual is clearly a different gender, country and culture than Philip. They even garner such great power as to be the treasurer for the queen. They are riding rich, in a chariot. Did Philip feel overwhelmed by all of these differentials? Did he wonder if he was the right person for the job? Did he rejoice that God gave him such a challenge? 

It is important, as anti-trans legislation rips through the US and the UK, as anti-queer policy rips apart the Methodist and Reformed traditions, as the Pope proclaims that gays cannot get married in the Catholic church, it is important to look at this precedent. 

“What is to prevent me from becoming baptized”

In John, Jesus says: I am the vine and you are branches, abide in my and I in you, so that we might bear fruit. We are once again, reminded that our fates, our health, our prosperity, our faith is intertwined with one another. We must acknowledge one another, work with one another and grow with one another, so that we might all bear fruit. When we put barriers up, when we say we cannot welcome one another, we die on the vine. This is so very true in churches, where people want only people like them to attend. 

This is also true in our economies, where Citi Bank says we have lost $16 Trillion in GDP in the US alone due to our racism https://www.npr.org/sections/live-updates-protests-for-racial-justice/2020/09/23/916022472/cost-of-racism-u-s-economy-lost-16-trillion-because-of-discrimination-bank-says

Philip knows what it is to be an outcast and is by no means the least of the disciples, no doubt some part of him sympathized with the Eunuch. After all Philip was almost stoned to death. Philip knows what he is doing. 

So imagine after this incredible journey, after he is swept back to the disciples, after he has baptized this individual, the story he tells–the precedent he sets, is the a eunuch: A queer gender non conforming individual is part of who should be baptized! 

“Go and baptize all people” in Matthew 28:17-20 could be glossed as “I really mean it.” 

I am the vine and your are the branches could be glossed as: we are not meant to discriminate

And Psalm 22 definitely emphasizes that God is for all people and that God promises to be for all generations, even those “Dang Kids” future generations who no doubt will do things differently in the future. 

Hopefully this passage can inspire us to pursue baptism more inclusively and more joyfully. 

And if not, hopefully God sends an angel, the Holy Spirit and a river to help us along the way.

Narrative Lectionary: Baptizing the Eunuch

Luke 24:44-47

Acts 8:26-39

Consider pairing with

Psalm 63

Matthew 28:18-20

Call to Worship (Psalm 63:5-8)

God, I think about you when I go to bed, I meditate on your presence

My Soul clings to you, God. 

My soul is satisfied for your love, for it is a rich feast for my heart.  

For You have been my help, in the shadow of your wings, I sing for joy.

Prayer of Confession(unison): God, I confess that sometimes I am thirsty for you, and forget to seek you out. Sometimes I am unaware of your grace. I confess that I feel overwhelmed by the violence and sickness that exists in the world, and I am lost and weary in a dry land. Provide me, provide us, provide the world with your sanctuary of grace, I pray, Amen.  (Silent Confession) 

Assurance of Pardon: Know the Truth God’s love is from everlasting to everlasting, whenever we need grace and forgiveness it is there. So it is with the confidence of the baptized we are able to say the good news: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of Dedication: (unison). God, help us to peek into your power and glory, and let it be shared freely. Help me to know that when the question is “What is to prevent me from being baptized?” the answer is always, “nothing.” Let us go forth into the world and baptizing people in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen. 

Hymns: Fount of Ever Blessing, Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine, God Bless Your Church with Strength, Christ is Made the Sure Foundation, Today we are Called to Be Disciples, Live into Hope,

Ideas with Children: Renew baptism with sprinkling of water with leaves

Narrative Lectionary: Baptism of Jesus

Call to Worship (based on Psalm 51:15, 10)
O Lord, Open my lips
and my mouth will declare your praise
For you have not delight in sacrifice, it does not please you
Create in my a clean heart, O God, that I might worship you today and everyday.

Prayer of Confession: (unison): God, I confess my transgressions. Against you, you alone I have sinned. I confess that I have done what is evil in your sight. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love. Blot out my transgressions according to your abundant mercy. Wash me, and cleanse me from my sin. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me.

Assurance of Pardon: God restores us, creating clean hearts and new spirits within us, and God’s salvation is restored to us through Jesus Christ. Friends hear the good news; In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

HEARING THE WORD
Children’s Time : Telling God’s Story
(All children are invited to the front)

Prayer for Illumination
1st Scripture Reading Psalm 51:6-17
2nd Scripture Reading Luke 3:1-22

“Pre-Disciples” Pastor Katy Stenta

Reflection Roger Held

Joys & Concerns & The Lord’s Prayer (p. 16 in the blue hymnal)

RESPONDING TO THE WORD
Offering
*Doxology (#592 in Blue Hymnal) Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise God all creatures here below. Praise God above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost! Amen.

SENDING THE WORD
Prayer of Dedication: God, remind us to share everything: food, blessings, baptisms. Send us forth into the world being the hands and feet of Christ. Help us to be your disciples we pray. Amen.

Hymn #443 “O Christ, the Great Foundation”


*Charge & Benediction

The peace of Christ be with you.
And also with you. (Invitation to share Peace)

Renunciation of Evil

Do you renounce evil?

Pastor Sally asked my parents, as they held my 2 year old hand, at the church where I balance beamed on the walls and callout “my bells, my bells” before I was baptized.

Do you renounce evil?

My church in Arkansas asked, just after lightening burned it to the ground and the other kids and I made cross drawings out of ash on the front lawn. This church—which now had 30 kids and was bursting at the seams and found a way to expand with the rebuild—graciously confirmed me as an adult member before we had to move.

Do you renounce evil?

My home church asked—where I found relief from Jr High bullying, where I was supported and included despite my penchant for far too fancy dress up for Sunday, and my extroverted ways–as they confirmed me as a teenage member of the governing board, and eventually joyfully sponsored my call to ministry.

Do you renounce evil?

My first pastorate asked, ordaining me on bended knees, as a young and very, very enthusiastic pastor, trying to raise the excitement I felt for the church of tomorrow with anyone and everyone I could. They asked me that 10 years ago 10/2/2010.

I renounce evil. It is my call to hold fast onto what is good, but also to declaim all things that pollute faith.

Empires, Liars, and Caesars, Violent Authorities, Racism, Bigotry, Ableism, Homophobia, Transphobia and Sexism, White Supremacy, Hypocrisy and Virtue Signaling are all idolatry. Claiming that I am better than you is a sin against God.

Please, teach me to recognize evil when it happens. Help me to name it in all of its forms. And help be brave enough to renounce it whenever I see it–and to listen closely when others find it and point it out to me.

Craft my words: So my declamations are loud, craft my honor: so my apologies are brief and sincere. Open my eyes and guide my tongue: so I can help others do the work they need to do, and to find a way to education one another when mistakes are made.

Help me to denounce evil, I pray.

Amen.

Feel free to read/use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

#Rain #reLENTless #slatespeak

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Love is not exclusive. Everyone can love. Even this who do not believe in God, even those who are evil, the “bad guys” that my 5 year old likes to name. Even they can love the people who love them.

Look at the dictators of the world, many of them love. But then they also hate. They hate their enemies, they burn with the need to destroy.

God says to love our enemies. Love the neighbor, love the stranger, love the enemy.

The good news is there is NO gaps in the love of God.

The bad news is, there is NO gaps in the love of God.

When we go out in the storm that is God, we all get soaked in God’s love. The righteous and the righteousness all dripping with Goddroplets.

storm_goddess_by_thoughtsthunk-d5nra7o

Image: Storm Goddess

Its a funny thing, that God is the storm, and the love is the water.

And yet, maybe that’s why we get baptized in water.

To remind us, when you go out in the storm, everyone gets soaked.

 

 

Shannon A Thompson

Author. Speaker. Librarian.

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