Worship at Home for June 25

Dear Friends,

We are now in that lovely time of long days and short nights. Sadly, we are also in a period of drought. Let us all pray that God will provide for us a nice soaking rain as God provided a well of water for Hagar and Ishmael in the wilderness which is one of our Bible lessons for this Sunday.

If you would like a home visit, conversation, or home communion, please call me at 573-437-2779 (church) or 573-832-2475 (cell).

  • All Church VBS Day at the Angell Farm on Sunday, June 25 4pm
  • Youth Trip July 5-7, talk to Carol Nowack
  • Pool Party Sunday, July 9, 6:15pm Invite your friends and family!


Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture: Genesis 21:8-21, Psalm 86:1-10,16-17, Romans 6:1b-11, Matthew 10:24-39

Sermon: Life in Christ

Let me be honest, the lectionary texts from Genesis and Matthew are not among my favorites in the whole Bible. Yes, I do love these verses from Matthew “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31) The rest of the texts are downright scary.

Genesis 21:8-21 tells the story of how Sarah in a moment of jealousy demands that Abraham cast Hagar and Ishmael out into the wilderness. Hagar the slave only had Ishmael because Sarah doubted God’s plan and commanded Hagar to sleep with Abraham so that Abraham could have a son. After God gave Sarah a son in her old age, Sarah wanted Hagar and her son Ishmael gone. Abraham was distressed about this. But after being assured by God that it is okay to send them away, Abraham does just that. Talk about serious family drama!

Poor scared Hagar received some bread and water from Abraham and departed with her son into wilderness of Beer-sheba. When the water ran out, Hagar placed her son under a bush and wept. My heart cries out for her, but all is not lost,

And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Come, lift up  the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.  (Genesis 21:17-19 NRSVUE)

At her worst moment, God heard the cry of her child and provided water and hope. It was only after hearing the angel’s words that Hagar was able to see the well. Sometimes we need God’s guidance to find what was in front of us all along.

Jesus warned his disciples that life will not be easy for them. There would be a lot of turmoil resulting from following God’s way rather than the world’s way. Hurtful accusations would be lobbed at the followers of Jesus. Families would break up. Fortunes would be lost. Communities torn apart. They were not to be afraid, because God loved them and loves us so much that each of the hairs on our heads are counted.

So, what about us? Hopefully, you have never been cast out of your home like Hagar or suffered persecution like members of the early church. But all of us have been in troubling situations. Sometimes these situations are a result of our mistakes. Sometimes they are a result of circumstances. Sometimes they happen because we choose to follow Jesus.

Eden Seminary students from China and Japan would talk about how choosing to follow Jesus resulted in real difficulties in their lives. In China only members of the communist party can hold positions of power. Christians are outsiders to power and questionable members of Chinese society. In Japan becoming Christian may cause strained relationships with one’s family. Yet God is with these followers of Jesus and watching over them as God watches over the sparrow.

We may not face such difficult choices when following Jesus. Still, most of us have experienced moments of fear and trouble. What did you do? Did you turn your problems over to God or did you seek to work them out for yourself? Did you try to rush God’s process as Sarah did only to regret it later? Did you give in to pressure to do things that you suspected were wrong?

Or did you trust that God was listening? That God would answer your prayers in unexpected ways. After praying and waiting did a solution to your problems appear before your eyes as it did for Hagar in the wilderness? Sometimes we are so focused on what we think should happen that we cannot see what God has planned for us. Life in Christ asks that we trust in God’s plan and follow in Jesus’ path. It will not always be easy, but in our lowest moments God will offer a well of hope.

Prayer: God of hope and love, when I am lost, and weeping remind me to be not afraid and to look for the well of hope. Amen.

Prayer list: Elizabeth, Cheryl, Dave, David, Evelyn, Jason, Paulette, Bobby, Kevin, Jim, Darryl (doing better!), Marilee, Beverly, Jim, Jenny, Jaqueline-Dixon’s daughter, Kirk, Barbara, Mitchell, Mahala, Mary, La Rae, Bud, Tyra, Marilyn, Tom, Jeff, Jesse, Kate, Kyle, Carmen, Sandy, Gary, Terry, Bob, Mark’s brother Billy and sister-in-law Jane, Delores W., Tyra, Freya, Vicki B., Barb Z. Jesse and for rain.  

Joy! A potential guide dog has been identified for Marcie.