"Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad."
OPENING PRAYER & THE LORD'S PRAYER: Loving God, we come together on this Father's Day, reminded not just of our earthly fathers, but of You. You tell us that all who believe in You shall be called Your children, and You invite us to address You simply as "Our Father." For the wonder of Your love, we praise You. Prepare our hearts to receive Your Word and our spirits to respond in eagerness to serve You, as together we pray:
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 debts as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Offertory Prayer: Each of us is a fragile miracle, evidence of God's creative hands and amazing grace. We are each unique, unrepeatable gifts to the world. We are proof of God's love. And so we who are the gifts of creation now give gifts to our Creator. Gifts brought in love. Amen.
TRIBUTE TO FATHERS: STRENGTH OF A MOUNTAIN:
God took the strength of a mountain, the majesty of a tree, the warmth of the summer sun, the calm of a quiet sea, the generous soul of nature, the comforting arm of might, the wisdom of the ages, the power of the eagle's flight, the joy of a morning in spring, the faith of a mustard seed, the patience of eternity, and the depth of a family. Then God combined these qualities. When there was nothing more to add, He knew His masterpiece was complete. And so, He called it................................ Dad!
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Proverbs 2:1-5
Luke 18: 18-30
Father's Day Litany
Blessed are You Lord, our God, Creator and Redeemer of all. You father
us from all eternity, giving life to creation and pouring Your love into all You have made.
From the beginning we have known You as "Father" and all our families have their origin in You. Through the love of earthly fathers You give us a glimpse of Your everlasting love.
We give thanks for those fathers who strive to balance the demands of work, marriage and children with an honest awareness of both joy and sacrifice. And we pray for those fathers who, lacking a good model for a father, have worked to become good fathers themselves.
We thank You for those fathers who by their own account were not
always there for their children, but who continue to offer those children, now grown, their love and support.
We also give thanks for those fathers who, despite divorce, have
remained in their children's lives and for those fathers whose children are adopted, and whose love and support has offered healing. We thank You for those fathers who, as stepfathers, freely choose the obligation of fatherhood and earn their step-children's love and respect.
And we ask Your special blessing on those fathers who have lost a child to death, and who continue to hold those children in their hearts.
We also give thanks for those men who have no children, but cherish the next generation as if they were their own. We pray for those men who have "fathered" us in their role as mentors and guides. We ask Your blessings on those men who are about to become fathers; may they openly delight in their children.
And we continue to pray for those fathers who have died, but live on in
our memories and whose love continues to nurture us.
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. One day a man found the treasure, and he hid it again in the field. The man was very happy to find the treasure. He went and sold everything that he owned to buy that field.
Also, the kingdom of heaven is like a man looking for fine pearls. One day he found a very valuable pearl. The man went and sold everything he had to buy that pearl. (Matthew 13:44-46)
Jesus taught many parables about the kingdom of heaven. He taught that the kingdom of God is a treasure more precious than anything in this world. Our little church is precious and valuable because Jesus paid for the Christian church with His life.
Children, and even adults, like to hear stories about treasure, and I'm sure Jesus caught the attention of His audience when He began talking about a man finding buried treasure. The man in the parable somehow stumbled upon a treasure. He didn't own the field where he found it, so it's possible to assume that he was working in the field for someone. He might have been planting or building something. Whatever he was doing, it must have been a huge surprise to find a buried treasure.
We don't know what the treasure was, but it might have been a pottery jar full of money or jewels. The people of the time often did this to keep their valuables safe from thieves. Perhaps the person who hid it had died without telling anyone where the money was buried.
We know that the man who found the treasure thought it was worth
everything he possessed, and, as the scripture tells us, he joyfully sold everything he owned in order to buy the field.
When we truly realize the worth of our salvation, we will joyfully give up everything to serve God. Anything that we give up will be nothing in comparison to the treasure of God. The kingdom of God is the reign of God. The parable teaches us that the kingdom of God is so valuable that losing everything we possess on earth in exchange for getting into the kingdom of heaven, is nothing less than a joyful sacrifice.
Anyone who receives the kingdom of God treasures it more than anything else. You don't have to buy it. You get it freely. Earlier in the book of Matthew he says: "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." It's not easy to think of doing this sort of thing in our society today. We can be tempted to ignore the parable and treat it as just a story, but as Christians we can't.
Let's recap this mini parable. A man finds a jar or box in a field filled with coins, jewels, gold silver — we can only speculate. He covers it up again and he joyfully goes out and sells everything he owns in order to buy the field where the treasure is hidden. Why does he do this? Because the treasure is worth 10, 20 or maybe 100 times more than what he possesses. He sold, or exchanged what he had for something that was so much more valuable.
We're going to pause for a moment and present this parable in a modern day format. This little skit is called Present Day Parables: Hidden Treasure and was written by Rob Courtney and Ryan Shirck.
Just like the man in the parable, Ron stumbled upon a treasure of some
kind. And when you stop to think about it, there are some people who stumble upon God. Perhaps they accept a friend's invitation to come to church. Or maybe there's an illness, or even the death of a loved one that might suddenly lead them to God.
There are other people who search for God, knowing that there's something missing in their life but not knowing how to fill the void. Some might try reading the Bible. Others may go to different churches, trying to find the right fit. Hopefully, these people will finally find the truth a find the love of God. And it's this kind of searching that happened to the merchant in the second mini parable.
A merchant is someone who is experienced. He's always looking for things to buy and sell. The merchant in the Parable of the Pearl of Great Value probably already had great wealth, and when he found the precious pearl he immediately recognized it's value. He was ready to sell everything he owned to buy it.
Jesus told His disciples that the kingdom of heaven was like the merchant, and he was trying to find pearls of good quality. Finally, he found a beautiful pearl, a perfect pearl, but it was very expensive. So he went and sold everything he had and then went and bought the pearl.
That precious pearl is like the kingdom of God. The merchant gave up
everything he had to own it. The kingdom of God is so valuable that we'll want to give up everything to be in it.
How many of you like to go shopping? Sometimes, when shopping for
necessities like groceries, it can be a bit of a chore. But shopping for something special, a new outfit, a baby shower gift, new furniture, or maybe a new pair of shoes can be fun and exciting. However, there's a down side to shopping — you need money. You can buy just about anything if you're willing to spend enough money. Suppose you're not willing to spend your money. Or maybe you don't have the money to spend. What then? Well, you'll just have to do without. You know, I heard the other day of some gold nuggets which anyone can have if they want to pick them up. May be you won't have all you want of them, but you'll have some, and then you can spend them just as you do money.
They'll buy about almost everything money can buy. Doesn't it sound interesting? Would you like some of these gold nuggets?
I can tell you where the map is that will help you find them. All you need to do is look at your watch or clock. Don't tell me you're disappointed. But let's see if seconds and minutes and hours aren't really gold nuggets.
People talk about spending time. If they spend it, then they must get something — that's common sense. When we spend money we get something for it too. Well, when you spend time we get something for it too. The value of the thing we get, either for money or for our time, shows how much of a businessman we are.
I can think of a lot of things we can get if we are willing to spend the time. We can get health, we can get knowledge, we can get music, we can get friends, we can get happiness, just to name a few. Unfortunately, some people spend time for other things, like lying, stealing, cheating and being selfish or a bully, or things too awful to think about. These people are poor businessmen because they let themselves be cheated.
Would you throw away sixty dollars a day, just throw it away like you often throw away sixty seconds? I certainly hope not. God's minute is worth as much as 3600 dollars and more, much more. We think that because we have "X" number of years to live, it doesn't matter if we waste a few. Well friends — it does matter. Hours are God's gold nuggets and they buy our way into the kingdom of heaven if we spend them wisely.
There are many wonderful things we buy and treasure here on earth, but the greatest treasure that we could ever obtain is the kingdom of God. As Christians, we should be content to give up our earthly treasures so that we can store up our treasures in God's kingdom.
Let us pray: Dear Lord, You challenge us to set ourselves high goals. We are seeking Your salvation, living in obedience to You and sharing the Good News of the Kingdom with others. God, help us to keep our eyes fixed on You. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
BENEDICTION & CHORAL AMEN: The amazing grace of Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
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