Sunday Messages & Special Services
Worship Service November 29, 2020 for the video click on the following (2) Facebook
ANNOUNCEMENTS – We are so blessed with the videos that Larissa has made for us, and if you want to watch others that she has done, and listen, she has them on her Facebook page. We also have them shared on our church Facebook page, as well as on our website. She has many there, and we will be sharing others in worship over the next several weeks at least. So enjoy. She is sharing her wonderful talent with us. – I will be out of the office this week beginning Tuesday thru next Monday. Joyce Williams will be giving the message next Sunday. I can be called for emergencies and with prayer chain needs during this time. We will be having Holy Communion in 2 weeks rather than next Sunday due to this change in schedule. – This Advent season and Christmas Eve will be somewhat different this year. To keep everyone as safe as possible we will have limited movement in the sanctuary. I will be lighting the Advent Wreath during the services, and next week it will either be Joyce or Lydia. If you have any questions about that, please ask me.
Let’s open worship as we pray, calling on the Light of Christ. “Light of Christ, shine on our path. Chase away all darkness. Illumine us. Lead us to the heart of God.” Amen
Advent Reading: THIS PLACE IS A MESS! Sound familiar?…The Scripture lesson for today comes earlier than usual in the service as it introduces the Advent Reading. In Isaiah 64:1-9, Isaiah calls out to God, “If only you would tear open the heavens and come down! Mountains would quake before you 2 like fire igniting brushwood or making water boil. If you would make your name known to your enemies, the nations would tremble in your presence. 3 When you accomplished wonders beyond all our expectations; when you came down, mountains quaked before you. 4 From ancient times, no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any god but you who acts on behalf of those who wait for him! 5 You look after those who gladly do right; they will praise you for your ways. But you were angry when we sinned; you hid yourself when we did wrong. 6 We have all become like the unclean; all our righteous deeds are like a dirty rag. All of us wither like a leaf; our sins, like the wind, carry us away. 7 No one calls on your name; no one bothers to hold on to you, for you have hidden yourself from us, and have handed us over to our sin. 8 But now, Lord, you are our father. We are the clay, and you are our potter. All of us are the work of your hand. 9 Don’t rage so fiercely, Lord; don’t hold our sins against us forever, but gaze now on your people, all of us:” & in Mark 13:24-37, Jesus is speaking from the Mount of Olives saying, “In those days, after the suffering of that time, the sun will become dark, and the moon won’t give its light. 25 The stars will fall from the sky, and the planets and other heavenly bodies will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Human One (the Son of Man) coming in the clouds with great power and splendor. 27 Then he will send the angels and gather together his chosen people from the four corners of the earth, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven.” 28 “Learn this parable from the fig tree. After its branch becomes tender and it sprouts new leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 In the same way, when you see these things happening, you know that he’s near, at the door. 30 I assure you that this generation won’t pass away until all these things happen. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will certainly not pass away.” 32 “But nobody knows when that day or hour will come, not the angels in heaven and not the Son. Only the Father knows. 33 Watch out! Stay alert! You don’t know when the time is coming. 34 It is as if someone took a trip, left the household behind, and put the servants in charge, giving each one a job to do, and told the doorkeeper to stay alert. 35 Therefore, stay alert! You don’t know when the head of the household will come, whether in the evening or at midnight, or when the rooster crows in the early morning or at daybreak. 36 Don’t let him show up when you weren’t expecting and find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to all: Stay alert!” The Word of God for the people of God! Praise be to God!
If ever there was a year we needed Advent, this is the year. We hardly know how to describe the year we have lived through. We hesitate to reflect on all the mess around us in 2020. All we know is that nothing seems right, nothing seems like it used to be, nothing. We need Advent! The prophet Isaiah cried out for us, “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down … To make your name known … so that nations might tremble at your presence.” So, let’s cry out to Christ now, “So tear through the mess, O Lord, and come down to us again. We long to be your people, a people of hope. We light this first candle as a sign, a sign of our hope. Hope that you can meet us, even in the mess of our world. Hope that you still see us, though we feel we are lost in the rubble. Let this light be the guide that brings us to Emmanuel once more. O Come, O Come Emmanuel!” Amen
Children’s Message: ADVENT This is the beginning of the time in the Christian year called Advent. It’s a time of preparation for the Lord’s coming again. We have decorated for Christmas, and we prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. We also spend this time looking at the warnings of Jesus about the end of time as we know it and of hope, peace, joy, and love that involve Christ’s coming again. Today is about the hope that we have from His promise to return to us once again, and that when He does, He will take care of all that is wrong in our world. As we learn more about what God and Jesus have said in the Bible about Jesus’ birth and about His coming again, we have Advent Packets for the children. They have coloring sheets, one is an Advent wreath; and many conversation starters, and prayer starters, which are kind of a game that you can cut apart and put in a few bowls, pulling out one each day); a cookie recipe; and a link to sing-along with Christmas songs. These packets are in the Narthex, just outside the center sanctuary doors to the left. If you have grandchildren or other children, who you would like to take these to, please take them today. If they run out, let me know and we can run more. I can email a copy if you are hearing this online, just message me with your email address, and I’ll send it to you, or call if you want to pick some up here at the church office. Let’s spend these next 4 weeks preparing for Jesus. Let’s Pray…Dear God, Thank you for sending us Jesus, and for our celebrations every year for His birthday. Help us to learn more about His coming again, and help us prepare for that time. Bless the children and help them learn about His coming as a baby, and also about His coming again. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
At this time we remember our tithes and offerings to honor God. They can be sent or brought into the church office, sent to Joanna, or brought in on Sundays and placed in the offering plates at the back of the sanctuary. Thank you to all who have given to support our ministries. As we come to the Doxology, we praise God for His blessings. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heav’nly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! Amen” Let’s pray as we dedicate our gifts to the Lord through prayer… Dear Generous Lord, Thank You for Your many blessings given to each of us. Help us to use them as You would have us do. Bless each offering that has been given, and bless those who have given them. Also, bless those who are unable to give at this time. In Jesus Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
As we come to the time for sharing our joys & concerns, are there those who would like to share special blessings that you have seen this week? Joys & Praises: Joyce got her new scans back and the lesions have either stayed the same or have diminished in size. Praise the Lord! – We are thankful for this past holiday. Some are thankful for being able to spend time with family for Thanksgiving, and others have been able to spend time alone and have used that time to center on the Lord. It has been a rough year, and some haven’t felt able to get together. But God has a plan in all of this. We can be thankful for each other, as well, that we are able to communicate together; some face-to-face, and other through phone calls, cards, emails, and messages online. It can become a little bit much, but especially this week we have been able to deal with things through all of the prayer chains throughout this time. The prayer chains have increased the amount of prayer that has gone out to the Lord for so many different situations. It brings the Lord to mind much better and has also brought us closer to God. It has been a good thing to me and that is why I’m not taking a break from the prayer chain, even though I am taking some time off of work. – Heather shared that Brett had a birthday this week. He and Brad turned 1 year older. Happy Birthday to both of them! As we come to our Concerns:
We have many families among our church family who are grieving loss of loved ones. Wednesday was not a good day for this church family. – The Richards & Hennie families and the rest of their family need our prayers due to the passing away of Heather’s & Dawn’s stepmom Janet. – Chad’s family needs prayer due to the passing away of his cousin Craig. – And also the family of Aaron Parker due to his passing away. Visitation time with the family is tomorrow from 11 to noon at Roberts Funeral Home on Rt. 3. The service is private for the family. – We also need to keep the family of Ricky Horton in our prayers. He passed away on Monday. There are many who had friendships with him and he worked for the city for many years. – We have several who are recovering from illnesses and surgeries: Lee, Betty, Niles, Mary’s son Fred and his family, Sherri’s granddaughter Hannah, Dick & Dorothy, Harry & Nancy, & Pam. – Harry’s brother Sam’s grandson Jacob came home for Thanksgiving and has tested positive for Covid. – Others with Covid, and those who have been exposed to Covid. Even when symptoms don’t develop there is still concern there. – Our country and our world. – Many Unspoken requests. Let’s be in an attitude of prayer. Lord, We Praise You and Thank You for all Your answers to our many prayers! We thank You for Your presence with us and for the ways You speak to us!… Lord, we bring to You our concerns, both spoken and unspoken. You know them all, and You know the needs. We know that Your answers will come in Your timing, even though we become impatient so many times, and we ask for each one of our concerns to be answered according to Your will, even though we would rather they be answered according to ours. We ask for peace that can only come from You, Lord. We ask for our country and our world and all that is happening right now; may this virus be wiped out, may the unrest be brought to a peaceful conclusion, and may attitudes be changed to the way that You want them to be. We ask for a change of heart for all who don’t know You and for those who don’t serve You. We ask for healing of all health issues, and we ask for Your touch on all medical personnel, give them rest and good health, as they use their skills to care for so many who are ill. For those who are traveling, we ask for safety. We give You all that is on our hearts, as we pray in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and we continue to pray as He taught us, Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen.
Advent, a season of excitement! At least for most it is. We have traditions and expectations of this time of year. We already begin with decorating, and we have already decorated the sanctuary for Christmas. This is a time of hope! A celebration is coming! But what is that celebration all about?…This year it could be much different than we are used to.
We hear the passage from Isaiah. It’s a prayer of longing. Isaiah has seen the bad that is happening to Israel, and he is calling out to God to come and fix everything. He speaks about how things had been in the past when God had shown His presence. People took notice. Things got shaken up, literally, on the earth and in the people. The mountains quaked. God took care of the people, and they were doing right; at least most of them. He became angry with those who were sinning. But Isaiah also realized that when God got angry that He got silent and hid from the people who were doing wrong. God hid, and they quit calling out for God. And God then turned them over to their sins, and evil began to take over. This sounds pretty familiar with the world today, doesn’t it! But Isaiah called out for God, and he had hope that God would come. He knew that God is our Father, and He made us, and He molds us. He asked God to not keep raging against the people or to not hold their sin against them forever. He wasn’t saying for God to come back right then. And he knew that it was within God’s time. As we remember that Isaiah was God’s prophet. He pretty much knew what was coming, as we know that he many times foretold of Christ’s coming.
Isaiah had hope! And God sent Jesus to be born as our Savior. He sent Emmanuel! In Christ’s coming, God was with us!
Isaiah called out to God, saying “If only you would tear open the heavens and come down!” And God did come down, in the form of Jesus. He came as a baby; fully human, but also fully divine.
Just like Isaiah, our anticipation of Christ’s return strengthens our faith and gives us hope, especially during these difficult days! We see the evil all around. Things aren’t easy. We have to call on God for help. There are ways that we can make a difference through our actions and words. We can ask God for strength and guidance to be able to do what we can. Do you work at trying to make a difference?… Have you called on the Lord to give you what you need to be a help?… Or have you even called on God to come and take care of things?… Sometimes we go through our days complaining about how bad things are, but we don’t call on the One who can do something about it. And sometimes we don’t call out to God because we don’t want things to change… We want them to be the way we want them to be…. We’re afraid that we might lose the things in life that aren’t that important anyway?… Life isn’t really about us at all, is it?
It about getting ready for Christ’s coming! Jesus told all about when He would return in the Mark passage that we heard today. He gave many signs to watch for. There are some very specific signs dealing with the sun, moon, stars, and planets; signs that we haven’t seen, yet. He also gave other signs through the parable of the fig tree. Sometimes these messages aren’t as easy to understand, and we have to sit and pnder them for a while. And sometimes still then, they are not quite clear, but we can trust and we can hope that God has the answers. We do know that no one except God the Father knows the time for Christ’s return, not even Christ Himself. He said so! But He says to be ready. Stay alert! We need to live our lives as we have been taught to live them through scripture, so that when He returns, we are ready!
It’s all about the Second coming, the Second Coming of Christ! He came once just like it was promised! He promised to come again. Do we have faith that He is going to keep that promise?… It seems that we often either forget that we need to be ready, or we figure that if He comes back, it won’t be in our lifetime, because there were so many people in the past, who thought that it would be in there lifetime, and it didn’t happen. But we need to be ready! It’s time to live as if it could be in our time. And right now the signs are great! It’s time to live the way God wants us to live. We sometimes think that it’s ok to live the way we want to live, at least for a while, because we still have time. That may not be true! But we have hope!
Emmanuel, God with us! We call on Him in our songs. We call on Him in our prayers to come and change the way things are happening in the world today! What if we anticipated Christ’s return with the same expectancy as the believers of old? They wanted God and Christ to come. They wanted it to happen, and they were calling on God to make a difference. They trusted, didn’t they? They knew that the day would come. Although, they didn’t always behave the way they were supposed to either. They thought often that Christ would return in their day, and they looked for those signs on a regular basis. They even had people watching the stars. But what are we doing?… Are we ready?… Are we calling on Him to come?…
Advent reminds us to watch for Him! Are we truly watching? Or are we sure that it won’t happen in our lifetime, because it didn’t happen. As we said before, it didn’t happen the way they thought it would happen. They still had time!
We are waiting, but are we waiting with expectancy and longing, or are we so tied into this world that we don’t really want Christ to return now; because it could change the way we want to live?…
We are anticipating Christmas! That’s always a good thing, right?… But why are you anticipating Christmas?… Are you waiting for the presents that you want?… Are you excited because you are going to see and spend time with family?… Or are we excited for the coming of Christmas to celebrate Jesus?… It’s definitely something to think about, because this year could be a whole lot different than what we’ve been expecting.
Max Lucado said in his book, Because of Bethlehem, “When Christ was born, so was our hope.” The world was taking a downward spiral before Jesus arrived. He came because God decided to send Him to save the world. He brought Hope! Hope for a revival of life! Hope for a reconciliation with God! Hope for eternal life! We have hope!
Christmas is coming! What are you going to do differently this year?… Many us may be celebrating much differently than we’ve expected to because of the Covid virus; maybe celebrating this Advent season in a different way. This Advent could be a good time to take a step back from the normal hustle and bustle, and concentrate more on Christ and the true meaning of Christmas. Have you forgotten what it’s all about?…
What are youWatching & waiting for this year?… I think God has shaken us up a little bit, or maybe more than a little bit this year, to pay attention to what is really important. I’ve heard from many how this time of being alone has caused them to sit and pray more. It has caused them to sit and read scripture more. It has caused them to reconnect in different ways with family and friends. It has caused them to re-center more on Christ!… Have you noticed?… Have you seen a difference?… Where is your hope today?… Who is your hope in?… What is it that you are watching and waiting for?… Advent is a time to remind us to get out of our ruts. When things are difficult, which they definitely are right now, we have the perfect opportunity to re-center our focus. We have a promise that we have something to hope for. Jesus is coming! We don’t know when, but when He does everything will be set right again! We are not alone in this crazy world! And right now it’s a crazy, mixed up, upside down world! It’s time to refocus on Christ! Let’s be ready for His coming!
Let’s pray… Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You! Thank You for the hope of the coming of Jesus! Thank You for all that He brought for us when He came the first time. Help us to continue to remember His purpose… And thank You for the promise of Him coming again. Help us to be ready! Help us to refocus our lives on Him and not on the things of this world. Help us to watching and waiting and preparing the way for His coming again! In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen.
Take the time to reflect on the meaning and the hope of Advent. Think about what you need to work on to be ready for Christ’s return?… It’s a lot of things to think about, but that’s what Advent is all about. Think about it!
Our Closing song is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” UMH #211 verses 1,2,&4. Let’s call the Lord to come among us in His Mercy.
May we re-center our lives this Advent season as we prepare for the coming of Christ! Go in the hope of His returning! Amen
Worship Service November 22, 2020 for the video click on the following (20+) Facebook
Worship Service November 15, 2020 for the video click on the following https://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/392012151923556
Worship Service November 8, 2020 for the video click on the following https://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/1056755774771321
Worship Service November 1, 2020 All Saints’ Day for the video click on the following https://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos
Worship Service October 25, 2020 for the video click on the following https://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/384413489414687
Worship Service October 18, 2020 for the video click on the following https://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/655975298614391
Worship Service October 11, 2020 for the video click on the following https://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/737164843503547
Worship Service October 4, 2020 for the video click on the following https://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/4483127265095564
East Ohio Annual Conference Worship Service for the video click on the following https://www.eocumc.com/eoac20/livestream.html
Worship Service September 20, 2020 for the video click on the following https://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/799654314179684
Worship Service September 13, 2020 for the video click on the following
Worship Service September 6, 2020 for the video click on the following https://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/1010899306026847
Worship Service August 30, 2020 for the video click on the following linkhttps://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/632384647409148
Worship Service August 23, 2020 for the video click on the following link https://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/343091053549350
Worship Service August 9, 2020 for the video click on the following link https://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/663311347607148
Our Call to Worship is “Revelation Song” recorded by Larissa Richards. https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+larissa+richards+revelation+song&docid=608037119934073127&mid=BB845D1132C1DEA7B258BB845D1132C1DEA7B258&view=detail&FORM=VIRE
Worship Service August 2, 2020 for the video click on the following link https://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/711119986130801
Our Call to Worship is a song recorded by Larissa Richards. It is “Sing to the King” by Billy Foote & Charles Silvester Horne…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t48czG9URaQ