Service: March 29, 2020

March 29, 2020 • Fifth Sunday of Lent

Godly Play

Alys Wilman

Welcome

Pastor Elaine Puckett

Invocation

The Calkin Family

The journey to Good Friday is fraught with danger; 
The road to Jerusalem is difficult indeed. 
Be among us, as we enter this story together 
Help us to faithfully follow the rugged path that takes us home.

Opening Hymn: “How Firm a Foundation”

Psalter: Psalm 130

The Calkin Family

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD.
Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications!
If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 43: 16-21

Pastor Elaine Puckett

Sermon

Pastor Elaine Puckett

Anthem: “Come Away to the Skies”

Houston Chamber Choir

Come away to the skies, 
my beloved, arise
and rejoice in the day thou wast born.
On this festival day,
come exulting away,
and with singing to Zion return.
We have laid up our love and our treasure above,
Though our bodies continue below.
The redeemed of the Lord will remember His Word,
And with singing to paradise go.

Hallelujah we sing,
to the heaven’s high King,
and his rapturous praises repeat:
to the Lamb that was slain,
hallelujah again,
sing, all heaven, and fall at his feet. 

Prayer:

Pastor Elaine Puckett

Hymn: “Standing on the Promises”

Standing on the promises of Christ my king,
through eternal ages let his praises ring;
glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
standing on the promises of God.

Refrain:
Standing, standing, 
standing on the promises of God my Savior;
standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
by the living Word of God I shall prevail,
standing on the promises of God. [Refrain]

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
bound to him eternally by love’s strong cord,
overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
standing on the promises of God. [Refrain]

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
listening every moment to the Spirit’s call,
resting in my Savior as my all in all,
standing on the promises of God. [Refrain]

Please consider making an online offering by clicking here.

Service: March 22, 2020

March 22, 2020 • Fourth Sunday of Lent

Godly Play:

Welcome:

Pastor Elaine Puckett

Invocation:

Read by Joe Dennis

The journey to Good Friday is fraught with danger;
The road to Jerusalem is difficult indeed. 
Be among us, as we enter this story together
Help us to faithfully follow the rugged path that takes us home.

Opening Hymn: “Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart”

Psalter: Psalm 32

Read by Joe Dennis

1 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. 
3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”– and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.
7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. 
11 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;
Sing, all you who are upright in heart!

Presentation of the Gospel: Luke 15: 1-3; 11b-32

Sermon: “Dangerously Angry”

Pastor Elaine Puckett

Anthem: “Jesus, Friend of Sinners”

The Lord’s Prayer:

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,
    for ever and ever. Amen.

Closing Hymn: “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”

Performed by The Choral Arts Society of Washington Chamber Singers

Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heav’n to earth come down:
fix in us thy humble dwelling,
all thy faithful mercies crown:
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation,
enter ev’ry trembling heart.

Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
into ev’ry troubled breast;
let us all in thee inherit,
let us find the promised rest:
take away the love of sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
End of faith, as its Beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.

Come, Almighty to deliver,
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return, and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.

Finish, then, thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be:
let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee;
changed from glory into glory,
’til in heav’n we take our place,
’til we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Benediction / Homework:

Pastor Elaine Puckett

Please consider making an online offering by clicking here.

Service: March 15, 2020

March 15, 2020 • Third Sunday of Lent

Invocation:
The journey to Good Friday is fraught with danger;
The road to Jerusalem is difficult indeed.
Be among us, as we enter this story together
Help us to faithfully follow the rugged path that takes us home.

Opening Hymn: Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy

Performed by Fernando Ortego featuring Amy Grant

Psalter: Psalm 68: 1-8

May God arise, may his enemies be scattered;
    may his foes flee before him.
May you blow them away like smoke—
    as wax melts before the fire,
    may the wicked perish before God.
But may the righteous be glad
    and rejoice before God;
    may they be happy and joyful.

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
    extol him who rides on the clouds[b];
    rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,[c]
    he leads out the prisoners with singing;
    but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

When you, God, went out before your people,
    when you marched through the wilderness,[d]
the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain,
    before God, the One of Sinai,
    before God, the God of Israel.

Presentation of the Gospel: Luke 13: 1-9

Presentation of the Gospel: Luke 13: 1-9

Sermon: “Dangerous Decision”

The Rev. Elaine Puckett

Choral Response: “Just as I Am”

Performed by Alan Jackson

Just as I am without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidst me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
to rid my soul of one dark blot.
To thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many conflicts, many doubts,
Fighting fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am, poor wretched, blind,
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea all I need in thee I find,
O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come!

The Lord’s Prayer:

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,
    for ever and ever. Amen.

Closing Hymn: “They’ll Know We are Christians by Our Love”

Performed by Carolyn Arends

Benediction (and homework):

Pastor Elaine Puckett

Please consider making an online offering by clicking here.

Sermon: Dangerously Tempting

When Jesus was tempted by the devil, he could’ve easily given into the temptation. After fasting for 40 days, Jesus was famished. The devil offered him everything, from food to power to glory, and even used words from the Bible to reinforce his point. In the end, Jesus did not give into the temptation.

We are tempted by “the devil” many times in our life. Our belief in the literal interpretation of “the devil” does not matter. We are all faced with key decisions in which we can ignore God’s call for us and focus on the tempting forces of selfishness, greed and power. Are we going to give into the temptation? Or are we going to walk the path of Jesus and make decisions based on what is good for all God’s people?

Sermon: “Dangerously Tempting” by The Rev. Elaine Puckett

“Dangerously Tempting”
Sermon by The Rev. Elaine Puckett
Luke 4:1-13
March 1, 2020 • First Sunday of Lent

Sermon: The Servant Church

“Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough.” On Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, we need to ask ourselves, “What kind of church are we going to be?”

“The Servant Church” • Sermon by Dr. Robert Foster
”Ain’t Got Time to Die” • Chancel Choir
Words and Music by Hall Johnson

“The Servant Church”
Sermon by Dr. Robert Foster
Isaiah 49:1-7
January 19, 2020

”Ain’t Got Time to Die”
Words and music by Hall Johnson
Performed by the Chancel Choir, directed by JD Burnett
Soloist: Amanda Martin

Sermon: Water Washed and Spirit Born

Photo by Joel Mott on Unsplash

Water plays a major role in God’s relationship with us.

Through baptismal waters, we are reborn into God. We are also born into connection with all people of God. We are no longer alone — we are all connected through water — the lifeblood of all beings on earth. Our connection with each other and God requires us to think about others.

Our baptism connects us with all humanity.

Sermon: “Water Washed and Spirit Born” (Matthew 3:13-17) by The Rev. Elaine Puckett
Choir Anthem, “Down to the Water to Pray” (arrangement by Pepper Choplin)

“Water Washed and Spirit Born”
Sermon by The Rev. Elaine Puckett
Matthew 3:13-17
January 12, 2020

Sermon: “Mary’s Song”

Mary had everything going against her. She was carrying a child, walking hundreds of miles while pregnant, forced to give birth in a manger … but despite all these difficulties, Mary believed. And Her song echoes down the corridors of time to challenge us to pay attention to what God is really up to in the world.

Who is Mary’s song for? It’s for the mothers in Honduras torn by extreme poverty, the mothers in Syria and Afghanistan where war has token its toil, the mothers in the United States among the immigrants who are so far away from home who find themselves detained and separated from the children that they love. These are the ones for whom Mary’s song are good news.

The ones who are seated in the high places have too much at stake to want to sing along — their world is collapsing in the justice of God’s mercy. The ones at the bottom can hardly wait for Mary’s song to begin. Mary’s song defines for us what it means to be a faithful follower of God.

“Mary’s Song” • Sermon by The Rev. Elaine Puckett

“Mary’s Song”
Sermon by The Rev. Elaine Puckett
Luke 1: 47-55
Dec. 15, 2019 • Third Sunday of Advent

Sermon: Holding on and Letting Go

The parable of the rich man is perhaps the most difficult story in the Bible for Christians to accept. Jesus tells a rich man that in order to truly get into heaven, he should give all his possessions to the poor and follow Jesus.

Several interpretations of this verse try to avoid the fact that this is about money, or that it doesn’t apply to us. But if we are seeking to follow Jesus, we can be thrown off too easily by money and material things.

Our money should not get in between us and God, but should be used as a vehicle to do God’s work. The ultimate question for all God’s followers is “What are you willing to give in order to pass through to the kingdom of heaven?”

“Holding On and Letting Go • The Rev. Elaine Puckett”

“Holding On and Letting Go”
Sermon by The Rev. Elaine Puckett
Mark 10: 17-27
Nov. 10, 2019

Sermon: Tears of Sorrow

Through Jeremiah, God was trying to reconnect with his people, who lost touch with God. Through tears of sorrow, God was showing his sincere sadness that people were forgetting about God. They were not heeding God’s call to serve others, to take care of our planet, to put God at the center of all our actions.

Is God crying tears of sorrow today?

“Tears of Sorrow” • Sermon by The Rev. Elaine Puckett

“Tears of Sorrow”
Sermon by The Rev. Elaine Puckett
Jeremiah 8:18-9:1
Oct. 6, 2019

Sermon: Take a Seat

PHOTO / @chuttersnap, unsplash.com

When Jesus is invited to a banquet by a prominent Pharisee, he is critical of the seating chart and who was invited to the party. Jesus notes the seating is specially designated so prominent guests sit towards the head of the table, and that only the elite — those who could return the favor — were invited.

If the church invites the world to a banquet, who would Jesus expect to see there? And where would they be sitting?

“Take a Seat” • Luke 14: 7-14 • Sermon by The Rev. Elaine Puckett

“Take a Seat”
Sermon by The Rev. Elaine Puckett
Luke 14: 7-14
Sept. 22, 2019