October 4, 2020

Make Responsible Choices
Bradenton-Sarasota Congregation Online Worship
October 4, 2020

Call to Worship: Psalm 19:1

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

Opening meditation: Redeemer of Israel by Paul Cardall

Prayer of Confession:

Loving God, our lives are full of mistakes and wrong choices. More than once our integrity has been lost-embarrassing choices made, things said, and things done. But we cannot give up on live, goodness, and you, O Lord. We will work to do better and live honorable lives. The choices we make might not seem too terrible. Occasionally we talk about someone behind their back or try to manipulate those around us, to make things how we want them to be.

But no matter what our choices and actions, we want to do better, Lord. And we want to be better than we currently are. We want to leave this Earth knowing the wonderful effect we had on those around us and on your planet.

There will be times we make mistakes, but enter our hearts, Lord, and help us to strive to do better in the next action we take. We may not be able to change what we just did, but we can change what we’re about to do. When we seek your guidance in our lives, the choices are clearer. Grant us obedient hearts and minds, sincerely choosing to follow your precepts. Amen.

Scripture: Exodus 20:1-17

Visualize Moses, standing before you, reading from a scroll:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord, your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work.

Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord, your God is giving you.

You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Ministry of Music: The Perfect Ten by Kyle Jorris

Focus Moment:

In Community of Christ, we gain additional guidance from the Enduring Principles. When reflected on, these principles also help with choices and actions in life. Choosing to do the right thing, instead of the thing that you desire, can be a difficult process. Often, we can come up with reasons to back something we desire. But there are times that if we truly took time to think about our neighbor and checked our choices through the eyes of God, we would realize we are being asked to choose a different and maybe even more difficult path or decision.

Message by High Priest Rick Jones

As we enter the last quarter of 2020, it hardly seems possible that Fall is almost over and Winter is just around the corner. Winter here in Florida is like a homecoming of sorts as many of our friends and family return from their migration to the North. Leah and I used to so look forward to packing up our motorhome heading to Sarasota for what started as just a week or two break from the cold, but soon expanded to several months of escape from the cold.

It just doesn’t seem possible that we were blessed with 12 years of doing just that until Leah got it in her head she wanted to be a permanent resident of Florida. Escaping the cold weather of Missouri winters was and is wonderful. Also, we had many of our RV friends doing the same thing. In addition, we had church family here. All of which made Florida seem more and more like home.

Community of Christ as a church does many things well, but being a loving community is top of the list. That’s not to say we don’t have things to improve on, we do! But, we have our Heavenly Father to thank for our Brothers and Sisters in Christ, that make up this wonderful community.

Together as a community we face many challenges. Financial challenges, political challenges, and of course we can’t forget good old Covid-19, the plague that has changed our lives forever.

While all of these challenges at this time may seem very daunting (and indeed they are!), we would do well to remember that in the overall scheme of things, they are just another bump in the road. As Christians, we know that while our problems cannot be ignored, we have a very powerful friend who stands beside us as we move forward.

It is said that problems never last, but our Heavenly Father is eternal. He loves us. He opens his arms to embrace us. He sent his son to teach us. He gave us prayer so he can guide us. He wants our life to be joyous, and he knows that if we make good choices in addressing all our problems it will be.

Mother Teresa was asked how she maintained her joyous attitude amidst the daily strife she faced. Her reply was “Everyday I see Jesus Christ in all his distressing disguises.”
We can choose to see the face of Christ in all we do. Problems cannot last but the love of our master will.

Invitation to worship with online streaming communion

We have been invited to share communion with the Orlando congregation and with guest minister Steve Kellogg at 10:30 am on Sunday, Oct. 4. For information on accessing this Zoom call, click here.

Disciples Generous Response:

“All of giving begins and ends with God. If we will notice that and imitate it within our own lives, we’ll experience freedom from that kind of culture that drives us to always be afraid of whether we’ll have enough. It will free us to be generous disciples who give enthusiastically – and give joyfully for the sake of giving. That joy is multiplied when we see it transformed into ministries that bless people with the gospel. . .”
– Steve Veazey, Presidential Q & A, Part II, July 2015 Herald

As you share your mission tithes or if you give regularly through eTithing, use this time to express gratitude for God’s many gifts in your life and to reflect on how we respond faithfully to those blessings. When we understand God’s love and grace are given freely to us, we respond out of gratitude and are liberated to share freely in return.

Closing music: Grant Us Peace by Ken Candeo

Prayer for Peace and Sending Forth:

If we could light a candle at this point, we would light it to symbolize our unrelenting pursuit of peace for a bruised and divided world.

Today – Make every breath one of thanksgiving. Make every deed a channel of justice. Make every thought a peaceful one. Go in peace.

This service was prepared by Rick and Leah Jones.