March 7, 2021

Hear God's Guidance
Bradenton-Sarasota Congregation Online Service
March 7, 2021

Meditation Moment – “Interview With God”

Welcome and Statement on Lent

We welcome you on this third Sunday of Lent. The themes for today are Hear God’s Guidance and World Hunger Emphasis.

Lent is a time of preparation. A time when we move toward the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. A time to move intently toward God, ridding ourselves of the distance and distractions we have built into our relationships. Lent is when we are called to respond with radical generosity and spiritual discipline to God’s covenants that we may draw near to the One we seek.

Call to Worship

Come away from rush and hurry to the stillness of God’s peace;
from our vain ambition’s worry, come to Christ to find release.
Come then, children, with your burdens—life’s confusions, fears and pain;
leave them at the cross of Jesus, take instead His kingdom’s reign.
At the table of God’s presence all the saints are richly fed;
with the oil of God’s anointing into service we are led.

Prayer for Peace

God of All Creation,

As we pray for peace this day, we pray for those who are hungry. One in nine people go hungry each day and we are often blinded to the reality of this problem. Would our response be different if that one was our grandfather, mother or child? Open our eyes. There are many factors that contribute to world hunger. Poverty, food shortages, war, climate change, and poor distribution of resources are just a few of the factors. Help us stop the intergenerational life cycles of poverty and injustice that place disproportionate hardships on the vulnerable of the world.

May we be quick to respond to the many opportunities you put before each of us. In the name of the Prince of Peace. Amen.

Today’s Scripture: Exodus 20:1-17 “The Ten Commandments”

Ministry of Music“Where He Leads Me” by Twila Paris

Morning Message – Elder Jim Deering

The word of God comes to us in so many ways. Maybe it is why we have five senses. It is reflected in this week’s theme and the widely varied scriptures it is based on. Old Testament,
New Testament and modern day scripture, all speak to God’s guidance.

Prophets, disciples, and apostles also bring us guidance from God. And let us not forget His son, Jesus. For he came not only to edify the teachings of the Old Testament, but he used his parables and especially the beatitudes to give us context and understanding. Jesus gave light to our lives and meaning to our existence.

We cannot, nor should we try to escape the guiding hand of God and yet we often do. Only man could receive the Ten Commandments and consider them merely guidance. It is easy to try to water down the commandments as given, by using language as a crutch. In fact that might be OK as long as we do not try to water down the “spirit” of those laws.

As for me, when confronted with new direction concerning a task that I have not attempted before, I usually ask many questions. I am often worried that I may come off as a “wise guy.” I am fond of saying at those times that, “I just want to know the rules!” And I really mean it. I just want to know what is expected of me. In fact I am often guilty of obeying the “letter” of the law in spite of evidence that I shouldn’t. I have to sometimes work at giving myself permission to bend a bit and adhere to the spirit of the law.

Our legal system is inherently taken from the guidance of the Judeo/Christian ethic. And that is where the term, “the spirit of the law” comes from. As we look at the human experience we quickly see that the laws (guidance) God gave us must be considered AND interpreted in each circumstance. The most important thing to bear in mind as we do this is to remember that God gave us this guidance to ENHANCE our lives…..ALL of our lives. He wants the best for us so that when we wind up in the next life with Him, we are the best version of ourselves.

Let us consider on this Communion Sunday how we are communing with Him everyday. Let us engage in practices each day that bring us closer to what He wants us to understand. And let us remember that most often those understandings are very simple, SO simple that they are summed up in those Ten Commandments.

For all our sophistication, for all of the books ever written, they all bring us back to a loving, caring God who wants only the best for us in every circumstance life finds us. After all, He gave His only begotten son that we may have life and have it more abundantly. Can it be any plainer than that?

Invitation to Worship with Online Communion

The Clearwater congregation has invited us to join them in their Zoom communion service at 10:30 am, with Karen Palko giving the message. You should have your own emblems ready to participate if you wish. Click here for the Zoom connection information.

Disciples’ Generous Response

Scripture Reading: “And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst.” (Alma 16:119)

Statement of Challenge:

Two Sundays each year specifically focus on World Hunger. When we have a World Hunger focus we can be intentional in directing our offerings to abolish poverty, end suffering. This helps all people to have enough to eat. “Oblation was established to help the church be faithful to its commission to care for the poor and needy.” (Doctrine and Covenants 42:8).

During the Disciples’ 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 express our gratitude to God who is the giver of all.

When you share your mission tithes or if you give regularly 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 Prayer – Mission Prayer

God, where will your spirit lead today?
Help me be fully awake and ready to respond,
Grant me courage to try something new
And become a blessing of your love and peace. Amen

Closing Song“Speak to Me” by Dave Lubben

Listen for the call of God, steady through our nights and days, sanctifying work and prayer, shaping all our life to praise. Heed the Spirit’s guiding voice, singing through our deepest joys. Saints and stewards, one and all, hush and listen: HEAR THE CALL!

This service was prepared by Carolyn and Jim Deering.