Worship Pentecost 20
October 18, 2020
Service of the Word
 
We open our worship in the name of God the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Amen.
 
Prayer of the Day 
 
Sovereign God raise your throne in our hearts. Created by you, let us live in your image. Created for you, let us act for your glory. Redeemed by you, let us give you what is yours. Through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
 
Psalm 96:1-9
 
O sing to the Lord a new song;
  sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
  tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
  his marvellous works among all the peoples.
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
  he is to be revered above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
  but the Lord made the heavens.
Honour and majesty are before him;
  strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
 
Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
  ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
  bring an offering, and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in holy splendour;
  tremble before him, all the earth.
 
Epistle: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
 
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
 
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
 
Grace to you and peace.
 
We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of people we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became  imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you  became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place where your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the  wrath that is coming.
 
Gospel: Matthew 22:15-20
 
But Peter said to him, ‘Explain this parable to us.’ Then he said, ‘Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.’
 
Temple Talk on Stewardship
Tandy Whitaker
 
Good morning, friends! 
 
It’s that time of year again: Stewardship Season. The time of year when this “family” — the members and friends of Cross and Crown Lutheran Church and School — need to have a family discussion about finances. I wish we were having this conversation face-to-face, but … this has been a strange year.
 
For months now we have been unable to congregate in person. Our pastor and staff have worked valiantly to prepare and record services so that we can all attend church on-line, and also meet up on Zoom for discussion groups or just to chat. 
 
No, it’s not the same as being “in” church. We have missed handshakes and hugging and long conversations in the Welcome Center. We’ve missed singing together, saying liturgy together, praying aloud together, and so many other activities that we normally do together, in our beautiful building.
 
Nonetheless, we are still the Cross and Crown family. And it appears hopeful that we will be meeting in person again very soon. Therefore, we need to plan, budget and give to support a “regular year” of service, ministry, and outreach in 2021.
 
Over the next few Sundays, you will hear short talks on this topic from several members of our congregation. Then, on November 8th, we will all have the opportunity to make our financial pledge to the church for 2021.
 
Cross and Crown has been my church home for 20 years and I love it here. But … I was not always a faithful giver. I’d like to tell you a little bit about my growth in this area.
 
I didn’t grow up Lutheran, and pledging was an unfamiliar concept to me before joining Cross and Crown. The first few years, I never turned in a pledge card. I gave randomly, whatever amount was “left over” that month … usually.
 
Also, I had a lot of credit card debt — something that needed to be dealt before I could retire. I prayed for help to change my ways. And God impressed on my heart that, if I wanted God to help me get out of debt, I needed to do MY part: tithing on every dollar that came my way. I started a little spreadsheet. The first column showed every dollar I received, however much or however little, from any source. Next to that was a column that calculated 10%, and totaled it up at the end of the month. I began to give accordingly.
 
I set up another spreadsheet to keep track of paying off all the different credit cards — how much I paid each month on each card, how much interest got added onto the balances each month (that’s a real motivator for getting out of debt!), and how much the debt went down each month.
 
Now, if I had not been able to get out of debt while utilizing all my income, how was I going to do it while giving 10% back to God?  Sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? All I can tell you is, once you begin to give faithfully, with an open heart, all sorts of unexpected things happen to help you along the path. Unexpected money comes in from here or there, or unexpected opportunities to earn more income occur. And as time goes by, you realize you really can trust God with your finances.
 
So, I’d been slogging along, tithing every month and slowly paying off my debt. Then one evening I was browsing the books at Walmart, and picked up The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. It’s easy reading … I finished it the same night. Now, at this point in time, it had taken me four years to pay off 55% of the debt I’d started with. After reading Dave’s book, it took only nine months to pay off the remaining 45%!
 
And after the debt was gone, I became able to give beyond 10%, and to give to worthy causes outside our church, as well.
 
I’d like to read you one of my favorite quotes from Dave:
“Tithing is a way to show that we trust God with our lives
and our finances. But the tithe wasn’t put into place for
God’s benefit — he already owns everything. He doesn’t
need our money. Instead, tithing is meant for our benefit,
because sacrificing a portion of our income helps us look
outside our selfishness and makes us more aware of the
needs of others. Tithing is an act of faith that helps us keep
our priorities straight.”
 
One of the wonderful things about listing giving on the top line of your budget, is that it helps us pay more attention to whether our spending reflects our real priorities. What is truly important to us? And is our spending in line with our values?
 
I realize that everyone’s situation is different. If 10% seems way too daunting right now, start by choosing a percentage that doesn’t sound so scary and work your way up! God is patient with us. The important thing is to start, to make a commitment, and to be consistent.
 
If you have never pledged before, let this be the year that you start! If you are already giving regularly, please prayerfully consider giving more. If you’ve had a tendency to turn in your pledge late, let this be the year you start turning it in on time! The sooner the church council knows what our resources are going to be, the more accurately they can create a realistic budget for 2021.
 
It truly is a joy and a privilege to contribute to the life of this congregation and the worldwide mission of the church. So please, prayerfully consider what you are able to do, put “giving” at the top of your budget, and join me in supporting the ministry of Cross and Crown in 2021! Thank you.
 
Prayers of Intercession
 
We come to you O God of resurrection with feet stuck in the world of the cross. Around us and among us people are dying by the tens of thousands, victims of the rampant Covid 19 disease. Like a horse from the Apocalypse, the plague marches through our  community without regard to whom it brings grief. As you brought refuge and strength to the Psalmist, bring us a portion of that strength here and now.
 
O God, you are our sword and our shield: in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
 
God of grace and generosity, bless the stewardship drive of Cross and Crown Lutheran Church and School. Keep us committed to your divine mission, and help us to support that mission. 
 
O God, you are our rainbow of promise: in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
 
We pray, O God, for peace and justice in the world: for a full embrace of racial equality and compassion; for concord during this time of political rivalry and unrest; for the heads of state, legislators, and local civic leaders, that they enact wise procedures to lead us into a wholesome and prosperous future.
 
O God, you are our Mighty Fortress: in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
 
We pray, O God for all who are facing the coronavirus: for all who mourn their dead; all who have contracted the virus; those who are quarantined or stranded away from home; those who have lost their employment; those who fear the present and the future. We pray for physicians, nurses, and home health aides; medical researchers; and the World Health Organization. Fill the aching in our hearts with your merciful power.
 
O God, you provide our everlasting home: in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
 
We pray, O God, for all in need:  for those suffering for the faith;for those who are poor, hungry, and homeless;for those who are sick and those awaiting death;and for those in the Cross and Crown family...
 
·Healing
·Bob S. (board of NOAH)
·Pam and Bob R.
·Dutch A.
·Paul (father of Becky C’s co-worker)
·Paula’s (Fred A.'s sister)
·Richard, Ayden and Kaylee Y
·Johnita (Deborah Mc’s friend)
·Deborah Mc.
·Richard (Sue’s friend)  
·Steven (Carol C.’s cousin)    
·Lynne C’s family
·Linda (Joanne B’s friend)  
     
·Long-Term Healing
·Joanne (Kim B.’ friend)
·Carole B.
·Chris (Mandy’s BIL)
·Chris (Diane C’s son)            
·Sawyer (Michelle S’ friend)
·Ed F. (Vicki B’s father)  
·Gabe B.
·Mark (Curtis S’s friend)
·Kendra (Deborah M’s niece)
 
·Homebound Members
·Robert and Leona A.            
·Dick and Dorothy N.            
·Ruth M.
·Pastor Leon H.              
·Beverly L.                
               
O God, you are the Healer of our every ill: in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
 
Receive our thanks for all who died in the faith and bring us at the final resurrection into your everlasting life, where sorrows will be no more. Into your gracious and mighty hands, O God, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy, through your Son Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
Amen
 
Lord’s Prayer
 
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil,
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever.
Amen.
 
Benediction
 
Almighty God, Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit, bless us now and forever.
Amen.