CALL & RESPONSE:
ONE: Come let us join our hearts in a chorus of praise
ALL: And lift up our voices with the saints of every age!
ONE: Let this place be filled with a spirit of joy
ALL: For God is in this place with gifts of life and love
PRAYER OF INTERCESSION & LORD'S PRAYER:
Creator God, lend us Your strength to do Your will. Give us hearts for justice and peace. Grant us loving hearts of compassion. Walk with us as we seek to care for Your creation, Your children, Your heart. We come before You today knowing what it is that You require of us, but wondering how to achieve the things You ask of us. As we continue to ask ourselves how to better serve You and one another, guide us, support us and encourage us. Guide us in making the right choice. Support us as we work to follow those decisions. Encourage us so that we might • always be asking the questions and striving to find the answers.
Like, Elijah, 0 God, we turn and face You in the midst of the storms of life. Help us this hour to hear You speak to us — not in the wind, or the thunder, nor even in the upheaval of the ground beneath us. Help us to hear You speak to us, in our hearts, as that still, small voice amidst the chaos and turmoil, which gives us direction, peace and hope. In Your name we pray together:
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. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen
A short video tid bit from the Drama Moment (Click on the blue link **writing** to get to it)
ELIJAH GETS AN INVOICE
(Both enter, stand opposite sides of stage with phones to ear)
DAVE: (holds clipboard) Hi. Can I talk to the prophet Elijah, please?
ELIJAH: This is Elijah. Who's calling please?
DAVE: This is Dave down at the chemical supply house.
ELIJAH: Oh, yes, Dave. Is there a problem?
DAVE: A problem. Yes, there's a problem. You're way over your credit limit. That's a problem.
ELIJAH: I'm sorry, it couldn't be helped.
DAVE: Oh, then it WAS you who ordered all that fire and brimstone?
ELIJAH: Why, yes, of course.
DAVE: Oh, rats!
ELIJAH: What's the matter?
DAVE: I had a bet with Morty, here, that it wasn't you who ordered all the fire and brimstone. I bet him that someone stole you credit card and maxed out your account without your knowledge.
ELIJAH: No. I was the one who made the order.
DAVE: Wow. That's a lot of fire and brimstone. Let's see, I figure that at 12,000 BTU's per person, you had to wipe out, what, 100 guys with all that stuff?
ELIJAH: 102 to be precise.
DAVE: Wow! What did they do to you?
ELIJAH: Well, it's a long story. I...
DAVE: (flips pages on clipboard) Hey, we're still on page one of the script. If you keep your explanation under two minutes, nobody's going to complain.
ELIJAH: Well, it has to do with King Ahaziah.
DAVE: Oh, yes, one of those obscure kings in the Bible at the end of the book of First Kings.
ELIJAH: Ahaziah was the son of King Ahab and Jezebel, and he became king of Israel. But he worshipped Baal, which ticked off the Lord. So, when Ahaziah injured himself in a fall, I prophecied that he would not recover from his injuries and die in his bed.
DAVE: So, when you left the palace, he sent some troops out to bring you back and take back your prophecy.
ELIJAH: How did you know?
DAVE: It's right here in the script. Page two.
DAVE: Well, listen, I don't want to steal your thunder. Tell me about the fire and brimstone.
ELIJAH: Well, like you said, King Ahaziah sent a captain and his company of 50 soldiers to bring me back to the palace.
DAVE: Then, WOOM! You let them have it with 850 shekels worth of fire and brimstone.
ELIJAH: Burned up the captain and all 50 of his soldiers, (snaps fingers), just like that.
DAVE: That's because of the secret ingredient in the brimstone. Works every time. (giggles)
ELIJAH: So, King Ahaziah sent another captain and another company of 50 soldiers. The captain insisted that I go back to the palace with him. He said that the king's injuries had not healed at all, and that I'd be in big trouble if I didn't take back the prophecy.
DAVE: Then WOOM! You let them have it with another 850 shekels worth of fire and brimstone.
ELIJAH: I didn't realize the stuff was that expensive.
DAVE: It's the foreign oil. The price of crude is way up. But please, continue with your story. It says here in my script that King Ahaziah sent ANOTHER 50 soldiers to bring you back.
ELIJAH: That's right.
DAVE: (flips pages) But I don't have an invoice for another 850 shekels. So, how did you zap them? With lightning?
ELIJAH: No, the captain demonstrated a fear of the Lord, so I went back to the palace with him.
DAVE: That's taking a big chance, isn't it Elijah?
ELIJAH: Not at all. I knew what was going to happen.
DAVE: Because you looked ahead to page three of the script?
ELIJAH: No. I'm a prophet of God. I know the future. I went back to the palace, but instead of taking back my prophecy, I repeated the prophecy that King Ahaziah would die in his bed.
DAVE: What happened?
ELIJAH: He died instantly.
DAVE: No!. Well, I guess he had it coming.
ELIJAH: That's right.
DAVE: So, Elijah, baby. Are you going to look into the future and tell me when you're going to pay this bill for 1700 shekels?
ELIJAH: Well, I'm looking into the future and the only thing I see is I get taken up to heaven by a fiery chariot in Second Kings 2.
DAVE: Hey, wait a minute. You mean you're skipping town? Who's gonna pay for all that fire and brimstone?
ELIJAH: Read ahead in the script. Maybe you'll find the answer there. (lowers phone & exits)
DAVE: (flips pages) Hey, wait a minute. The script ends as soon as you hang up the... Hello? Hello? Oh, man! (shrugs & exits)
The Offertory Prayer:
We dedicate this offering, Lord, for the work of the church, and we ask You to use all that we have and all that we are in Your service. Amen
New International Version (NIV)
1 Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights above.
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
3 Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
1 Thessalonians 3:6-13
New International Version (NIV)
Timothy’s Encouraging Report
6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
The Last Prophet
There are many prophets listed in the Bible, both major and minor, from Samuel to Elijah, Job to Amos, Isaiah to Jeremiah and Daniel and Ezekiel. The last prophet in the Old Testament is Malachi, which is also the last Old Testament book. The very first verse in Malachi reads, "An oracle: The word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi." It is believed that the time was around 450 B.C. The book was written to correct the lax religious and social behaviour of the Israelites, especially the priests.
In Hebrew, the name Malachi means 'messenger,' which points to Malachi's role as a prophet of the Lord, delivering God's message to God's people. We know nothing of the prophet's parentage, ancestral or tribal roots, geographical origins or other vocation. Malachi offered no identifying information about himself, leaving out markers typical of other prophets, such as his father's name, or the current leader of Israel. All we know is that he received and communicated the love of God to the Jews.
Malachi's message comes to the people in a time of great spiritual decline. It is estimated to be approximately 80 years after the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem and the promises of the coming Messiah have not yet been realized. As a result, the people had become lazy and developed an increasingly casual attitude toward the worship of God. Malachi states that their sacrifices were unacceptable to God, husbands were unfaithful, and the priests had neglected God's covenant. Malachi's notable prophecy deals with the coming of the Messiah.
The heart of Malachi's prophecy was to drive home the point that God loves them, but they needed to remember the commandments if they were ever going to prosper. They needed to understand that if they would repent, God would surely bless them. Then Malachi once again reminds them of the coming day of the Lord.
The book of Malachi closes the ministry of the prophets. Malachi's famous words, "Behold, He is coming," is the prophetic cry that began in the first book of the Bible, and the message continued all the way through to the end. God is faithful to His promises and this is what the prophets declared.
The prophets had continually hammered into the minds of the Jews that their worship of false gods and their not doing things that worship commanded had been the reason they lost their homes, their city, their temple and were carried into captivity. The second commandment which God gave Israel from Mount Sinai forbids the making and worshipping of images. After a thousand years of sinning against this commandment, the Jews at last came to obey it. But before the second commandment is the first, which says, "I am the Lord thy God. You shall have no other gods before Me." Breaking the first commandment leads to breaking the second and all the rest. Obeying the first commandment leads to obeying all the commandments. If we keep God in our hearts, we have love in our hearts, for God is love. And love keeps us from sinning against God.
The great Jews, the true Jews, like Daniel and Zerubbabel, and Ezra and Nehemiah, kept the love of God in their hearts. But most of the Jews wore their religion outside. Because they didn't worship graven images, they said, "We are the people of God." But yet they broke other commandments, and so they were guilty of breaking the whole law. It was against the idolatry of the heart that Malachi prophesized. His prophecy is largely an answering of the questions the Jews asked, questions about the worship of the Lord.
"I have loved you," said the Lord through his faithful prophet Malachi. "How have you loved us?" asked the Jews. "I have loved you like a father. But you have despised My name." And the Jews continued their questioning. "How have we despised Your Name?" And God replied, "Your offerings at My altar have been polluted." Again the Jews questioned, "How have we polluted them?" And God once again answered, "You have said, 0 what a weariness it is! And you offer it as a duty, not from love. Return to me," said the Lord, "and I will return to you."
But still the Jews questioned. "What do You mean, return? What have we done that is wrong?" "You have robbed Me," said the Lord. "Will a man rob God?" And the people asked, "How have we robbed You?" "In your tithes and offerings. Bring now the whole tribe into the storehouse and prove Me," said the Lord, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing until there is no more need."
And finally Malachi prophesized that the day of the Lord's judgement was coming, in which all the proud and all that do wickedly shall be as stubble which shall be burned up. But for those who love the Lord, the Son of Righteousness shall arise, with healing in His wings. And moreover; "Behold, I will send you Elijah, the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, but I come and smite the earth with a curse." With these words close the prophecies of Malachi and the messenger of the Old Testament.
Why is Malachi so important? His unique position as the final book of the Old Testament offers a glimpse into the hearts of the Israelite men and women, members of a nation that had been especially chosen by God, descendants of Abraham, and inheritors of the rich tradition of the Jewish people. Their history told of glories like the exodus from Egypt and the faithfulness of God to King David. But they had also experienced the judgement of wandering in the desert and the shame of exile from the Promised Land.
The book of Malachi teaches us that the Jews still strayed from the Lord's path. They need God's intervention as much as ever, so this book, as a final statement of judgement in the Old Testament, anticipates God's saving work through the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Malachi prophesizes that the day of the Lord is coming and it will be a day filled with a burning away of all that is evil and corrupt in the world. This day will be filled with joy for the ones who serve the name of the Lord. But there will also be a time judgement for those who have arrogantly rejected the Lord. The Day of the Lord is a time when God intervenes and brings either blessing or judgement.
Malachi informs us about the day of the Lord and the coming of Jesus, and we here today have the benefit to see how that all came about. We have been blessed because we are on the other side of the resurrection of Jesus. The book of Malachi ends on a note of hope. The day of the Lord lies in the future. The call to repentance has been given and the promise for the faithful has been declared.
God wants us to know Him intimately. He wants us to have a full and interactive relationship with Him. The message of Malachi has been to explain how that relationship can be maintained.
Let us pray: 0 god, we pray that You will forgive us for having eyes that grow large toward the world and small toward service to You. And in Your forgiveness, we pray for empowerment. We seek to once again be energized and electrified as we pour our lives into preparation for the second coming of Christ. Amen.
Now, go forth from this place with renewed
inspiration to the work of God. Seek good, not evil, love goodness and establish justice. This, the greatest offering we can make, letting justice roll down like water, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream. Go in peace, with love for our neighbours.