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, March 29, 2020

March 29 Online Worship - Athens First UMC

Welcome to our March 29 online worship @ Athens First UMC!
2 S. College St., Athens, OH 45701

Greeting From Pastor Robert

Call to Worship (Based on Psalm 130)

L: Let our souls wait for the Lord, more than those who wait for the morning.

P: more than those who wait for the morning.

L: Put your hope in the Lord!

P: We put our hopes in God’s steadfast love.

L: God has great power to redeem our lives.

P: We turn to God, who redeems us from all our iniquities.

L: Come, God invites us to the gospel feast!

Hymn           Come, Sinners to the Gospel Feast            

Welcome & Passing the Peace
[The Eckelberry’s family dog, Ruby did her part in last Sunday’s online worship service by serving as a pillow.  Ruby invites you to greet one another, not by rubbing noses, but by simply barking out, “The peace of Christ be with you.”]

Prayer of Confession & Words of Assurance

Lord Jesus, we confess that we have not been your faithful disciples. We do not always understand your ways. Instead of following you to the cross, we often choose a different path. Forgive us for when we have betrayed and denied you. As we continue to grow as your disciples, help us to stay on your path that leads to the cross and to the empty tomb. 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 (Noisy Bucket Sunday) Mike Bila                             

New Testament Lesson - Acts 1:15-26
[Our Acts scripture reading recounts how the apostles went about selecting a replacement for Judas Iscariot who was one of the twelve disciples. They ended up selecting Matthias to take his place.]

Gospel Lesson - John 13:21-30
[This is the story of when Jesus told the disciples that one of them would betray him. That person ended up being Judas Iscariot, the disciple we are focusing on today.]

Special Music  Ain’t No Mountain High Enough   
                                                                   The Company of Praise

[Our special music is from this same week a year ago when “The Company of Praise,”a youth choir, sang during a school assembly at Morrison-Gordon Elementary here in Athens. They are from Pastor Robert’s home church, Stewartstown UMC located in south-central, PA. The keyboard player and director is his brother. During that week last March, they served at various mission sites in the area and sang for different events including our Sunday morning worship service. This song reminds us that with God, there “ain’t no mountain high enough” to help us overcome this challenging time of social distancing.]

Sermon The Twelve Disciples of Jesus: Judas Iscariot & Matthias              
                                                           Rev. Robert McDowell

Sermon Discussion Questions
Share a time when you felt like you were getting a fresh start in your faith. What circumstances or who helped you to get back on your feet again?

What are some reasons why we might be tempted to betray or give up on God? 

Share a “Thin Place moment” (a holy moment) of where you have experienced God at work through you/the church in building God’s kingdom here on earth. 

In what ways is God inviting you to share your faith with others?

The story of Judas Iscariot reminds us of how tempting it can be to fall away in our faith. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, knowing that following Jesus is not always easy was known to tell those early Methodists to “Watch over one another in love.”

Think of all the ways that we can “watch over one another in love.”

Hymn             A Charge to Keep I Have                   

Pastoral Prayer & The Lord’s Prayer

Church News

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                     Grace Greater Than Our Sin       


Join us back here next Sunday (April 5/Palm Sunday) for our online worship!

For previous Sunday sermons, click here.

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