August 2, 2020

Outdoors at 9:00 AM

 

Words of Welcome: The Lord invites all people, “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters” (Isaiah 55:1, NRSV). So we gather to quench our spiritual thirst with the Living Water. Welcome.

 

Focus Statement: What is your first memory of money?  What was your first major purchase?  How was money talked about in your home growing up?  Did your parents tend to be savers, spenders, or givers? When and how did you learn about money management? 

 

Hymns to hum along with (please do not sing)

Be Thou My Vision

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CMclLT_Hjg

 

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,

Naught be all else to me save that Thou art.

Thou my best thought by day or by night,

Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my wisdom, Thou my true word.

I ever with Thee, Thou with me, Lord.

Thou my great Father, and I thou true son

Thou in me dwelling and I with thee one.

Be thou my battle-shield, sword for the fight.

Be thou my dignity, Thou my delight

Thou my soul’s shelter.  Thou my high tower

Raise thou me heavenward, O power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise

Thou my inheritance, now and always

Thou and thou only first in my heart

High king of heaven, my treasure Thou art.

High king of heaven after victory won

May I reach heaven’s joys, oh bright heaven’s Son

Heart of my own heart whatever be fall

Still be my vision, oh Ruler of all.

 

 

 

Announcements:

IN OUR CHURCH THIS WEEK

TODAY, Aug 2—Education Committee meets after worship

Mon, Aug 3—8:00 pm--Trustees meet at church

Tues., Aug 4—4:00 pm--Worship Committee meets at church

 

Due to the Hillsboro Schools waiting to start school after Labor Day, Summer Food 4 Kids will be serving a hot noon meal through Sept. 4.  So keep your donations and cookies coming!  We are not done yet!

 

Congratulations to the grandson of Eldon Funk, Devin Funk, who married Stephanie Rangel last week!

 

Upcoming Schedule:

Aug 10—Deacons meet

Aug 11—Thomas Riesen’s and Phoebe Janzen’s birthdays

Aug 16—Leonard Hein’s birthday

Aug 17—Council meets

Aug 22—Larry Funk’s birthday

Aug 24—Lloyd and Evalina Klassen’s anniversary

Aug 29—Mary Gill’s birthday

 

 

Everence will host a Social Security and retirement income planning webinar, on Tues., Aug. 11 at 6:30 p.m. Attendees will learn about Social Security strategies, risks that can impact retirement savings and strategies to help income last throughout retirement. The workshop is free. Register soon by contacting our office at 316-283-3800, 877-467-7294 or central.kansas@everence.com.  

 

Bethel College is needing masks for students to provide a safer campus.  If you can sew, there are instructions at cdc.gov or use any simple mask pattern you already have.  Drop masks off at Thresher Shop in the Student Center.  If sewing isn’t your think, you can donate to the Masks for Threshers Fund at Bethel College Advancement Office, 300 E. 27th St., North Newton, KS  67117.

 

 

Support MCC and celebrate MCC’s centennial with a new shirt, hoodie, tea towel, bag or hat! Check out this online store set up by the Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale to place your order today (pssst, it’s never too early to start Christmas shopping!). Visit wearatomic.com/product-category/mcc/ and start shopping to support MCC!

 

Any other announcements? 

 

GATHERING

Call To Worship: 

      Leader: The word of God comes into our lives in many ways.

      People: God’s word comes to us, calling us to action and to new

                        life.

      Leader: God’s word calls us now, here in our worship.

      People: God’s calling word invites us to service and ministry,

                        to praise and thanksgiving.

      All: We worship the living God and offer our praises to the

                        eternal One.

 

Prayer:  

Reconciling Savior,

In a world where many feel friendless, thank you for your constant companionship.

In situations of violence and hatred, thank you for your commandment to love one another.

In times where many know death and destruction, thank you for this season of resurrection.

As you love us, make us faithful friends who love one another by proclaiming the good news of the resurrection to all.

We ask this in your name.

Amen.

HEARING THE WORD

 

Scripture:  Matthew 13:44-46

 

Message:  “Money is not a Four-Letter Word!”

When NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others perished in a helicopter crash last January, chances are that most people heard about it when a “breaking news” ticker scrolled across the bottom of their laptops or TV screens. 

 

I found out while visiting my aunt at the care center and it appeared as an alert on my cousin’s cell phone.  She read it aloud to us.

 

Some programming might have been interrupted with a “breaking news” bulletin — the words “Breaking News” always in red.

 

When we see these words, we know that something amazing, terrible, interesting, incredible, troubling or heart-breaking has occurred. We also know that we’re about to learn more.

 

Think back to the events of the morning of September 11, 2001. Where were you at the time? What were you doing when the news broke about the airplanes that flew into the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan and the one that crashed into the Pentagon?

 

This news, like all “breaking news,” broke into our consciousness. It broke into history. It ripped through our communities, shredding conventional ideas, traditional assumptions and long-held beliefs. It was news that altered, modified, shattered and forever changed — something.

 

This is the meaning conveyed by our gospel reading for today, although certainly not in the negative sense of 9/11. Rather, the news that Jesus breaks is astonishing and incredibly good news. In fact, this is the way the announcement is framed in the gospels. Breaking news: Good news! The kingdom of God is upon us! The kingdom of God is within you! Or, as John the Baptist would thunder, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (3:2).

 

Jesus himself, after his baptism and temptation in the wilderness, began his ministry by announcing the same exciting, incredible and utterly novel news: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1:15, emphasis added).

 

It’s fair to say that most people — after hearing breaking news — want details. Many have an insatiable thirst for more details, more information, more background or more understanding. If we’re like this, we will stay tuned to our TV, or consult online sites regularly. We want to know more.


This is what Jesus does in our text. He provides context. He tries to give the disciples understanding and insight. The kingdom of God has broken into history. It shatters everything! What does this incredible, amazing and daring action mean?

 

Jesus explains with parables and metaphors.

  • Okay, he says, the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.

  • Or, try this: It’s like yeast.

  • Or, here’s another way of looking at it: It like treasure in a field.

  • It’s also like an expensive pearl.

  • Finally, it’s like a fishing net.

 

The treasure in a field and an expensive pearl. It was not uncommon in the first century A.D. for someone who had something quite valuable to bury the precious item in his backyard or field. The object was thereby protected from marauders and thieves.

 

Jesus’ parable in our text supposes that someone has found a treasure in a field accidentally. What is he going to do? He buys the field so he can legally claim the treasure in the field.

The purchase of a priceless pearl is a different matter. In this case, the pearl is not discovered accidentally. The pearl is discovered by someone who is shopping for precious gems, or something similar. He finds this incredible pearl, and knowing its value, sells off everything he owns to purchase it.

 

Breaking news! The kingdom of God is more precious than anything in this world. Give up everything to possess the kingdom!

 

This, in fact, is Jesus’ message time and again. Here, you might refer to the story of the rich young ruler (see Mark 10:17-27), or recall that when the followers of Jesus joined him, they left everything behind, and those who could not do so were left behind. Remember Jesus’ comments about self-denial and picking up one’s cross.

 

Jesus also seems to imply a sort of “hidden” quality to the kingdom of God. The treasure is buried; the pearl is sequestered within the shell. Still, some people stumble upon the kingdom of God anyway, albeit accidentally. Some are searching for it and find it. But in any case, once discovered, you divest yourself of anything that would deny complete possession of this incredible “pearl of great price.”

****

I wonder if Jesus would love eBay. You know, the online garage sale where you can bid on and buy virtually anything you can think of?  Jesus might love eBay because Jesus loves a good deal. He's all about the joy that comes from discovering something valuable - possibly priceless - while perusing piles of seemingly ordinary items.

It's the joy that Morace Park, a British antiques dealer, felt after paying $5 for an old film container. Inside he found a never-released seven-minute movie featuring Charlie Chaplin. It was later valued at $60,000.

How do we know that Jesus loves such surprises? Well, Matthew chapter 13, with its parables about hidden treasures and pearls of great price, tells us so. A man stumbles across a pile of treasure buried in a field. He's so taken with his discovery, so overwhelmed at its value, that he sells off every other item in his possession to purchase the land and make the treasure his own. You might call it overkill, but Jesus says, "Nope. Quite a deal."

A merchant who makes his living pushing pearls spends his days scouring the markets for the best of the best. Upon finally finding it, the man mortgages his home and sells his cars all to purchase a single, sparkling pearl. You might think it a waste, but not at all in the eyes of Jesus. For him, such sacrifice, for such treasure, is well worth the investment.

Jesus is all about the joy that comes from discovering something priceless while perusing the ordinary. In fact, for Jesus, the greatest of such joys, the most magnificent of flea market finds, and unexpected eBay treasures, is none other than the kingdom of heaven. In the parables of Matthew 13, Jesus tells us that the very reign and rule of God, the loving and life-changing activity of God in heaven, has broken into our world and is available now. It's here to be discovered and embraced. Yet, like a Honus Wagner baseball card sitting in a shoebox at some grandmother's garage sale, the kingdom of heaven is found in unassuming places and encountered in unlikely ways. And whatever it costs you to "get" it is well worth it.

***

In these two very short parables, each beginning with the words “the kingdom of heaven is like.”  It’s like someone who finds a treasure in a field, then sells all he owns to purchase that field, or like a merchant who finds pearl of great value and sells all he owns to purchase it.  In each case, the person who finds the item of value sells everything to possess the thing most valuable of all, the kingdom of heaven.

 

Are we to sell all we own for the kingdom of heaven?  Probably not.  So what is Jesus trying to tell us?  Here, as in many other teachings, Jesus is using a figure of speech to make an important point.  The purpose of many forms of figurative language is to suggest a resemblance or link between two otherwise distinct objects and thus convey a larger and more complex idea.

 

Some figures of speech are so overused they become clichés, but we still understand their meaning.  For example, we say things such as “I’m as hungry as a bear” or “Better late than never.”  These figures of speech have been used and reused, but at some point, they were brand new.

 

In these verses, Jesus created new figures of speech to teach the concept of the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus explains to the disciples that he speaks to the crowds in parables or stories because “seeing they do not perceive and hearing they do not listen nor do they understand.”  Jesus was indeed a master storyteller.

 

What are some phrases or stories about faith and money that you heard growing up?

I can remember phrases like:  “Money doesn’t grow on trees” “A penny saved is a penny earned.” “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

 What are some phrases or stories about faith and money that you heard growing up?

 

We are shaped by our past, and consciously or unconsciously, we bring these recordings from the past into the present.  Some of these messages are good, and others would benefit from revising.  Maybe you remember the line from Fiddler on the Roof, when the milkman, Tevye, says to God, “If money is a curse, may I be smitten with it…and may I never recover.”

 

Studies show that many parents today are more prepared to talk to their kids about drugs, alcohol, sex, and dating than they are in to bring up an even more sensitive topic:  money.  A study of parent across the United States found that 32% of parents were prepared to talk about drugs and alcohol, 28% were able to talk about sex and dating, but only 26% were ready for the “money talk”.  Nearly all the parents surveyed believed they were primarily accountable for their kids’ financial education, yet only 29% described themselves as “excellent financial role models.

 

This may be your story as well.  Maybe your parents never brought up the subject of money with you, and maybe that in part is why you haven’t had these conversations with your children.  Money is such a common tool.  Yet for many parents it’s a very difficult topic to address.  Yet money is not a four-letter word.  Why do we shy away from talking about it?  We don’t share how much we earn.  We don’t discuss why we chose the car we bought.  We don’t discuss how much it cost to remodel the house. 

 

And yet, the prophets of old and Jesus himself spent so much time talking about it.  Jesus brought up the subject in story and in everyday conversation.  Jesus didn’t seem to be at all uncomfortable talking about money.  What can we learn from Jesus’ use of storytelling that can help us talk about this difficult subject?

 

For the month of August we will be looking at these stories of money:  stories of wealth, stories of greed and stories of generosity.

 

Sharing our own stories is one way we can unpack life experiences and convictions.  In hearing other’s stories—whether about successes or disappointments—we can also better understand our own stories and struggles. 

 

Think about it this week.  Answer the questions that are listed in the Worship Focus at the top of the bulletin. What is your first memory of money?  What was your first major purchase?  How was money talked about in your home growing up?  Did your parents tend to be savers, spenders, or givers? When and how did you learn about money management?

 

We call the answers to these questions your stewardship autobiography.  Thinking through these questions is designed to help us see the ways that our views around faith and finances emerge from our formative years and continue right through our current life experiences.

 

Our views around faith and finances help us to understand that “The kingdom of God is like… finding something special and then in joy selling all that you have and buying it.  Our Lord loves a steal of a deal and the joy that comes from discovering something valuable - possibly priceless - while perusing piles of ordinary items. Why? Because he's offering the most incredible item around: himself. Free of charge.

May this be a place where the treasure of a Christ is easily encountered. May the treasure of Christ be accessible for the world, in you. May you, wanderer and seeker, find this treasure. Use what you've learned. It's not to be found in expected places; and no matter what the price tag seems to be, it is definitely, undeniably worth the cost. Amen.

 

  RESPONDING

Offering:

Please place your donations in the offering plate on this podium near the front.  When doing so remember to allow the next person 6 feet of distance.

 

Don’t forget the food bank. During the month August we are bringing peanut butter and jelly. 

 

Let us pray:

Gracious God, Jesus promised his disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit, a gift that remains as powerful and transformative today as it was on the first Pentecost. With generous and thankful hearts, we offer our gifts to you — our time, treasure and talent, but most of all, our hearts. Use us and these offerings for your purposes and glory. Amen.

 

COMMUNITY BUILDING

Time of sharing joys and concerns

   Where did you see God this week?  In every moment there is the

            potential for the divine to show up.

 

Prayer

Please help…

      Those in care centers—mothers, wives, aunts, church members

      Marlin & Sharolyn Funk

      Pam Riesen’s brother Les

      Sue Funk—stroke

      Garbers in Spain—work permits

      Philips in Thailand--visas

      Phoebe Janzen—hip

      Phil Duerksen’s cataract surgery on other eye on Monday

      Velma Funk is having cataract surgery on Monday

     

Michael J. Sherrill begins his ministry as Mennonite Mission Network’s executive director this month. Pray for him as he relates to partners and workers, conferences, and congregations “to equip and empower the church to engage their culture and world with the whole gospel."

           

Thank you for…

            Rain

            Health

            Protection

 

Gracious God, we confess our greed to you. We spend our days striving and working toward wealth that is temporal, wealth that does not bring eternal joy. We are more concerned with the condition of our bank accounts than the condition of the souls who do not know you. We confess that we forget just how good the Good News of the gospel really is. Give us hearts for the kingdom. Let us seek only the treasure that comes from knowing you. Thank you for your forgiveness. We are not worthy, but you are merciful and we are so grateful.

We are also grateful for…

Help those in distress…

Amen.

 

SENDING

Benediction:

May the God of heaven and Earth fill you richly with his love and power. May you walk from this place with the understanding that you have received a priceless gift -- the gift of salvation. You are the children of God, and your wealth is eternal. This is not wealth that the world can give, but wealth that comes from being sons and daughters of the King. May this truth permeate all of your being. Go in peace.

 

* * * * *

Seek Ye First

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7spyhVBrA4

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness

and all these things shall be added unto you.  Allelu, Alleluia!

Ask and it shall be given unto you.  Seek and ye shall find. 

Knock and it shall be opened up to you.  Allelu, Alleluia!

You shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word

that proceeds from the mouth of God.  Allelu, Alleluia!

And if the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed

You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. 

Allelu, Alleluia!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and he shall direct your path

In all your ways acknowledge him.  Allelu, Alleluia!

 

NUMBERS FROM LAST WEEK

Worship:   33 on Zoom                                            Budget: $1,160.00

Sunday School:  22 on Zoom                          Food 4 Kids:  $1,413.86

 

* * * * *

 

 

Trinity Mennonite Church

211 S. Elm, Hillsboro, KS  67063

620-947-3824

Office hours:  10:00 am-5:00 p.m.  M-F

web page:  www.TrinityMennoniteHillsboroKs.com

Email:  trinit67063@embarqmail.com

Norma Duerksen, Pastor:  620-381-0949

Email:  pnduerksen@aol.com

Deacons: Kenton Kaufman 620-877-7263

Randy Wiens 620-947-1707; Roxann Ewert 620-877-0175 

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