A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Online Worship (May 24/Ascension Sunday) Athens First UMC

Welcome to our (May 24/Ascension Sunday) online worship @ Athens First UMC!
2 S. College St., Athens, OH 45701

Greeting From Pastor Robert

Call to Worship (Based on Psalm 47)

L: Clap your hands, all you peoples;

P: Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

L: For the lord, the Most High is awesome,

P: A great king over all the earth.

L: Sing praises to God, sing praises;

P: Sing praises to our King, sing praises!

Hymn       Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

  1. Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!
    Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
    Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
    Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!
  2. Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
    Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
    Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
    Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!
  3. Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
    Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
    Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
    Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!
  4. Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
    Foll’wing our exalted Head, Alleluia!
    Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
    Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Welcome & Passing the Peace
[Today, May 24th is the anniversary of when John Wesley had his heart-warming experience on Aldersgate Street in London England in 1738. Jack and Cathy Bigger’s dog, Stan is sitting in front of their fire place to remind us that we are a people of warm hearts. Stan invites us to greet one another, not by rubbing noses, but by barking out, “May God’s peace warm our hearts today.]

Prayer of Confession & Words of Assurance

Heavenly Christ, come down from on high to be with us, even in our darkest hours. As you share in our suffering, share your love in the midst of our shortcoming and our failings. Raise us to new heights with your forgiveness and mercy, that we may glorify you in all that we say and in all that we do. Enter into our sorrows with grace and hope, that we might be overwhelmed with joy. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.

L: In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

P: In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

All: Thanks be to God!

Children’s Moments - Kathy Mangen

New Testament Lesson -  Acts 1:1-11         
Jan Miller-Fox  
[Luke, who wrote the book of Acts describes Jesus’ ascension into heaven with Jesus telling the disciples that they will continue to be his witnesses once the Holy Spirit comes upon them.]

Gospel Lesson - Luke 24:44-53 
Jan Miller-Fox
[Our Gospel reading not only offers us the account of Jesus’ ascension, it also tells us that the disciples worshipped him. This is the first time we are told they did this. After Jesus ascended, the disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy. What a wonderful way for Luke to conclude his Gospel!]

Special Music        Jesus Loves Me      Jeff Daubenmire

Sermon        Need a Lift?     Rev. Robert McDowell

Testimony of Being Lifted in Faith - Michelle Shively

Sermon Discussion Questions

When have you felt lifted in your faith?
How have other people helped you to have a warm heart and be lifted in your faith? How does your small group help you to have an assurance in your faith like Wesley experienced in his “heart warming” experience?
In our Ephesians scripture reading for Ascension Sunday, the Apostle Paul refers to, “the hope to which God has called you and what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints.”
How does this thought give you a lift in your faith?
One of our church members, Michele Shively shared her testimony of how she has been lifted up in her faith. Below is the video of her testimony.
What part of Michele’s testimony speaks to you the most?

Hymn                 Pass It On

Pastoral Prayer & The Lord’s Prayer

Church News
[The following announcement slides below are to help us stay connected as a church especially since we are unable to gather in our church building for weekly worship. Please scroll down through the announcements, and our online service will continue with another video.]

Offering Our Gifts

Thank you for your gifts!!!
“Riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler of everything. Power and might are in Your hand, and it is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all.”  1 Chronicles 29:12

Closing Hymn    Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

[In addition to our beautiful benediction that we say each week that lifts our faith, we also offer this sung benediction performed by several different churches in the UK. May God’s favor be upon you this day and lift you up!]

Join us back here next Sunday (May 31/Pentecost) for our online worship service.

[For previous online worship services, click here.]

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