Bradenton-Sarasota Congregation Online Service
January 31, 2021
Our theme today is Recognize the Holy One, drawn from a story in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus heals a man thought of as an unclean spirit in Jesus’ day. Many different illnesses during this time were attributed to possession by an evil or unclean spirit. May we this day Recognize the Holy One and be freed of stigma, welcomed in God’s love, lifted up in grace, and transformed in the care of the Holy Spirit.
Call to Worship – Psalm 111
Praise the LORD.
I will extol the LORD with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
Great are the works of the LORD;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the LORD is gracious and compassionate.
He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
They are established for ever and ever,
enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant forever—
holy and awesome is his name.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.
Hymn of Recognition – Be Thou My Vision by Nathan Pacheco
Prayer for Peace:
Holy Counselor and Beloved Source of Therapy,
Each of us, even in our weakness and separation from God, still have those moments when we recognize the Holy One of God. Help us find the strength in those moments to cast out ignorance and overcome darkness. Guide us in the way of peace.
When inner calm seems to elude us, help us to reach out to you, Oh God, for the peace that passes all understanding. When sadness surrounds us, help us to imagine our best possible future and find hope in the possibility of healing and wholeness. When the pain seems too great, help us reach out for help. For we know we are loved.
We know that your peace can be found in the smile of a friend, the hug of a family member, the memories of an old photograph, the gift of a community that surrounds us with love. Grant peace for each one present. Grant peace for each one known. Grant peace for the whole world. Amen.
Message by Elder Larry Bell
Let us first introduce you to the Holy Spirit, (H. S.). The H. S. is very gentle, loving, compassionate, and will not be subjected to the sinful ways of mankind.
To understand the H. S. one must come to terms with salvation. After Jesus’ resurrection, He took the eleven disciples to a desolate place and spent forty days with them. He taught them that he was the Messiah – not a king or a ruler of men. What does this mean? It means that Jesus came to suffer and die on the cross of Calvary, so all mankind could return back to God the creator. And the only way to return to God is through your faith in Jesus, asking for forgiveness of sins.
“Even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believed in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his Only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:14-16
May I paraphrase Genesis chapter 3: Let us go back to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. We see Jesus (God) and Adam and Eve walking through the Garden of Eden, and Jesus said to Adam and Eve you can eat of all fruits except the tree of knowledge (good and evil) for if you do eat of it you will surely die. And this is what happened – Adam & Eve used their agency of choice, ate of the tree of knowledge and died, and were removed from the Garden of Eden. The human race became contaminated with sin from that day. That is in our DNA.
Let us review for a moment, the choice that Adam and Eve made. It Has caused mankind to have the Sin nature. This sin is the DNA in all mankind from Adam up to today and future Humans of the flesh.
If you believe (John 3:16) and you ask for the forgiveness of sin with a sincere heart, you have just moved your spiritual body from Bad to Good (You are now in the Body of Christ). This is called grace or saved by Grace.
Now remember what happened to the disciples after the crucifixion. Jesus returned after spending forty days with them. Jesus said unto them (disciples) that He would send another comforter, being the Holy Spirit. The disciples were sent to Jerusalem after the forty days to wait for the comforter.
Acts Chapter 2: (please read): When the comforter came the disciples ran into the streets praising God. People thought they were drunk. And Peter said to the people “It is only 9am in the morning, they are not drunk.”
The disciple spent three and a half years with Jesus and in their minds, Jesus was to be King or Ruler over mankind. That is why Jesus after his resurrection had to spend forty days with his disciples to make sure they understood. That He was not to be a King or Ruler over mankind but to be the Messiah of all humans who accept him (Jesus as the son of God.) This is the Grace of God.
We often think that salvation is about eternal life. which is true. It is also about this life. When you accept Jesus, you are now in the body of Christ. You are no longer under law. The Christians must be careful at this time do not try to resolve your problems. You must work with the Holy Spirit for answers. When you try to resolve your problems yourself, you just inform God that Jesus didn’t do enough on the cross to resolve your problems. Again, let the Holy Spirit resolve the problems. We must learn in saying our prayers GOD IS IN CHARGE not us.
The H.S. is always ready to give direction in your journey with God. But you must ask for help. Why, because, the H.S. will not force Himself on you! The H.S. is gentle, loving and compassionate.
We must always remember that we are sinners and pray for forgiveness. And always remember that Jesus died on the cross of Calvary and spilled his blood for our sins. In the communion prayer it says “Do this in remembrances of Me”.
Why would God require us to follow Christ in his footprints?
- For salvation, that also releases the H.S. to you.
- It gives us freedom to minister and share our testimony.
- We are all called to share the Gospel of Christ to all.
- That you will always be a witness for Christ
If you are sincere about your salvation and receiving the H.S., that means you have given God permission to use you in Kingdom building. What does build the Kingdom mean? That is being a witness for Christ and preparing people for the coming of Christ. When you come to this point in the message, I recommend a prayer reciting the Mission Prayer:
God, where will your spirit lead me today? Help me to be
Fully awake and ready to respond. Grant me the courage
To risk something new and become a blessing of your
Love and peace. AMEN
This prayer is a great prayer for guidance. And you can use it verbatim. My recommendation is to have your own prayer, using this prayer as a guide.
Let us pray: Dear God I come to you as a sinner, asking forgiveness for my sins. I accept your son the Lord Jesus who suffer and die on the cross. It is though His spilt blood on the cross. That paved the way for me to receive salvation, and be forgiven for my sins. And let thy Holy Spirit come and fill me so I can be a witness of your Son Jesus to all people. I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.
Disciples Generous Response
During the Disciple’s Generous Response, we focus on aligning our heart with God’s heart. Our offerings are more than meeting budgets or funding mission. Through our offerings, we are able to tangibly express our gratitude to God who is the giver of all.
As we share our mission tithes either through our envelopes or through eTithing, use this time to thank God for the many gifts received in life. Our hearts grow aligned with God’s when we gratefully receive and faithfully respond by living Christ’s mission.
Closing Hymn – “On the Wings Of A Dove” by Nanci Griffith, Emmylou Harris and Lucinda WIlliams
This service was prepared by Rick Lindgren and Larry Bell.