“Love Comes From God…”

We begin the month of May with two lessons on love.  This Sunday’s message from 1 John 4:7-21 is the starting point, and the children’s message will explore not only what love is and where it comes from, but also what love looks like, how we know we are loved, and how we learn to love. 

As this week’s passage tells us, “love comes from God.” (v. 7) But even more than that, John says “God is Love” (v.8)—a “startling claim,” according to Presbyterian pastor Amy Fiet, at least for first-century Jews who (as we can see from Scripture) seemed to be “far more comfortable talking about what God is like”—in metaphor (e.g., a shepherd, a strong tower, a mother-hen, etc.)—than trying to “say with certainty who God is.”

Yet, in some ways, I suppose this statement may seem profound to us as well.  After all, we live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with weak concepts of love: where we talk about loving certain kinds of food, or sports, or books or movies, and where we equate love with something that makes us feel a certain way—like happy or sappy.

The truth, however, is that these three words are so much more.  They are unexpected hope and the beginning point of salvation.  God loves us with “A Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love*” that is part of who we are.  Made in the image of God, we are made in the image of love—created to be loved and not only to love God but also to love others—participating in God’s love as we follow his command to love one another.

“We love because God first loved us” (v.19) and in so doing “God lives in us and his love is made complete.” (v. 12)

*Don’t you just love this description of God’s love taken from The Jesus Storybook Bible?  It’s so over-the-top—which is exactly how I imagine God’s love to be!  “Reckless”—much like Cory Asbury’s song, “Reckless Love,” which I encourage you to check out: https://video.link/w/Vbhqc.  Hear the story behind the song here: https://video.link/w/7Ygqc

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Here are some resources to help your family in worshipping today:

Printable Together at Home Activity Sheets for May 2, 2021

The Children’s Message for May 2nd, 2021 will be livestreamed as part of Hope Valley Baptist’s Worship Service for May 2, 2021 on the HVBC YouTube Channel and the HVBC website.  The livestream will begin at 10:50am.  You will also be able to view a recording of the livestream after the conclusion of the service on the church’s YouTube Channel or website.

An additional activity entitled “Sending Love” for you to fill out and share (via mail or perhaps hand-delivery) with someone this week.

First

From You comes my praise in the great congregation;
My vows I will pay before those who fear Him.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek Him shall praise the Lord.
May your hearts live forever!
All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord;
And all the families of the nations shall worship before Him.
For dominion belongs to the Lord,
And He rules over the nations.
To Him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down;
Before Him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for Him.
Posterity will serve Him;
Future generations will be told about the Lord,
And proclaim His deliverance to a people yet unborn,
Saying that He has done it.

Please join us for Worship starting at 10:50AM. (The service will also be archived so that you can view it at any time afterwards.) We will be reading from 1 John 4-21, and our Call to Worship comes from Psalm 22:25-31.

Today’s quartet is Brenda Doyle, Leigh Bigger, Mike Bunch & John Myers. A big thank you to all of the above for sharing their gifts of music with us this morning.

Good Shepherd Sunday

Happy 4th Sunday of Easter!

Did you know that Psalm 23 and a gospel text about the Good Shepherd are read on the fourth Sunday of Easter every year of the lectionary cycle?  That’s why this Sunday is sometimes called “Good Shepherd Sunday.”

Before digging into the details, it is important to recognize that the Good Shepherd is a metaphor—something that we can tell children about, even though it will take time before they can cognitively understand it.  That’s because children are mostly literal thinkers until they develop the brain skill of transference which primarily happens in adolescence (age 11+).  That being said, the “Good Shepherd” is a key metaphor in the Bible and for Christian life.  Therefore, today’s children’s message is aimed at helping children to become familiar with the concrete parts of this metaphor (what shepherds actually do to care for sheep), while suggesting some of the spiritual realities it embodies—trusting that as children grow, their understanding of the connection will also deepen.  One encouraging story that indicates that stories of the Good Shepherd make “sense to [children] in some way,” comes from Maria Montessori (author of the Montessori theory of education) who once noted “that while working in a children’s hospital she found that when she told sick children stories about the Good Shepherd using small wooden figures, they almost all grabbed the figure and held onto it ‘for keeps.’”

Below you will find one of the oldest known paintings of Jesus (mid-3rd century) which was painted on the ceiling of a Roman catacomb where early Christians often hid to worship.  In the painting, the artist depicts Jesus as a strong young shepherd.  This week, I encourage you to talk with your children about what situations you (and people around the world) may have encountered—especially lately—in which we need a strong (Good and Great) Shepherd.

Here are some resources to help your child in worshipping today:

The Children’s Message for April 25th, 2021: “The Good and Great Shepherd

The Children’s Message for April 25th, 2021 will be livestreamed as part of Hope Valley Baptist’s Worship Service for April 25, 2021 on the HVBC YouTube Channel and the HVBC website.  The livestream will begin at 10:50am.  You will also be able to view a recording of the livestream after the conclusion of the service on the church’s YouTube Channel or website.

A picture of today’s Bible story  (The Good Shepherd—Catacomb of Callixtus)

Can You Hear Me Now?

“Can You Hear Me Now?’ – Dr. Bill Pyle

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – from Psalm 23

Please join us for Worship starting at 10:50AM. (The service will also be archived so that you can view it at any time afterwards.) We will be reading from John 10:1-18, and our Call to Worship comes from Psalm 23.

Today’s duets are presented by Brenda Doyle and Mary Summerlin. Jan Mangum is today’s pianist.

Doubting Thomas?

The case of Thomas, who was absent at the onset of the appearance of the Risen Christ to His disciples, is typical. How many times we have we said in light of a seemingly unlikely situation, “I’ve got to see it to believe it”?  How many times have we questioned or doubted God?

Thomas simply asked for evidence—evidence that the other disciples had already received.

Despite the fact that we often refer to him as “Doubting Thomas,” Thomas was not a skeptic who was isolated and disadvantaged.  In other moments he was well known for his enthusiasm—a person who dared, searched, investigated, and inquired. Thus, while it is true that Thomas didn’t believe easily, he was also not of bad faith, but was someone who was careful, outspoken, genuine, solid, honest, and true.

This is why when Thomas questions, God delivers him fully. You see, Jesus knew what Thomas wanted, but even more importantly, He also knew what Thomas needed. Jesus knew that if Thomas would actually see Him and touch His wounds, Thomas would believe.

Thomas’s good unbelief made Christ come to him.  Christ offered Himself to Thomas for his sincerity—not in rebuke.

In asking for the truth, Thomas had direct contact with it.  Jesus came back to meet him, just as He will meet every one of us.

God will give us what we need to believe, too.  Not by showing up in His resurrected body, but by lifting us from spiritual death to spiritual life.  That is what the unbelieving heart needs and that is what God can deliver.  We encounter Jesus not only in the testimonies of others (whether recorded in the Bible or shared elsewhere), but also in our own lives as we seek to worship and serve God in our world. 

Perhaps what is most amazing about this passage, though, is that it reveals Jesus isn’t simply thinking about Thomas at this moment. Jesus is thinking of you and me:  “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

The Children’s Message for April 18th, 2021 will be livestreamed as part of Hope Valley Baptist’s Worship Service for April 18, 2021 on the HVBC YouTube Channel and the HVBC website.  The livestream will begin at 10:50am.  You will also be able to view a recording of the livestream after the conclusion of the service on the church’s YouTube Channel or website.

You Just Had to be There

“You Just Had to be There” – Dr. Bill Pyle

Pastor: How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
People: It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard,
Pastor: running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe.
People: It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.
Pastor: For there the LORD bestows his blessing,
People: even life forevermore. – From Psalm 133

Please join us for Worship at 11:00AM. (The service will also be archived so that you can view it at any time afterwards.) We will be reading from John 20:19-31, and our Call to Worship comes from Psalm 133.
Today’s music is brought to us by Brenda Doyle, Mary Summerlin, Mike Bunch, and John Myers.

To Emmaus!

Today, we will be exploring together the story of Jesus appearing on the Emmaus Road! You can find it in your Bible in Luke 24:13-35. Read the story together- choose a Bible translation which best suits your family.

A question for adults to ask children:
Why do you think Jesus did not reveal who He was at first?

When Jesus met with Thomas after he had risen he said “Those who believe without seeing me will be truly blessed,”and in 2 Corinthians 5:7 we are encouraged to “live by what we believe, not by what we see.” Jesus wanted the two followers to know he was alive not just because they had seen it, but because they knew it in their hearts. In Luke 24:32 they say that hearing Jesus explain the Bible was like having a fire burning in their hearts. Even though we cannot see Jesus we can still believe that He is alive and read the Bible – why not ask God to help you experience God’s word like a fire today!

A question for children to ask adults:
What is your favorite verse of the Bible? Why is it special to you?

The Way Back

“The Way Back” – Rev. Benjamin Wines

Leader: What shall I return to the Lord for all His bounty to me?
People: I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord,
Leader: I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people.
People: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful ones.
Leader: O Lord, I am Your servant;
People: I am Your servant, the child of Your serving girl.
Leader: You have loosed my bonds.
People: I will offer to You a thanksgiving sacrifice
Leader: And call on the Name of the Lord.
People: I will pay my vows to the Lord
Leader: In the presence of all His people,
People: In the courts of the house of the Lord,
Leader: In your midst, O Jerusalem.
People: Praise the Lord! – From Psalm 116:12-19

Please join us for worship by clicking the above link. We will be reading from Luke 24:13-35, with our Call to Worship coming from Psalm 116:12-19.
Today’s music is brought to us by Leigh Bigger, Mike Bunch, Brenda Doyle, and John Myers.

He is Alive! – Easter Sunday, 2021

“He Arose!” -Dr. Bill Pyle

Gathering Music

Prelude Christ the Lord Is Risen Today (EASTER HYMN)

Welcome

Chiming of the Trinity

Call to Worship

Lift up your hearts, and rejoice in God’s victory over death!
God has done a mighty work in Jesus, whom He raised from the grave! Praise His glorious Name!
We are a redeemed people because God has demonstrated His love and power in Jesus’ resurrection.
We rejoice because God has rescued us from the death of sin! Our faith is in Jesus our Risen Lord!
Let us join in an ancient confession of faith, spoken by fellow Christians since the First Century.
Christ was crucified, Christ was buried, Christ was raised from the dead! Hallelujah! Christ is risen!

Moment of Silence and Invocation

Today, we will read from John 20:1-18.

Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer
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 trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen.

The Scripture in Music Christ Arose (CHRIST AROSE)

Message He Arose!

Benediction
Response to Benediction Christ Arose (CHRIST AROSE)
Postlude Hail the Day That Sees Him Rise (LLANFAIR)

HVBC Handbell Ringers:
Kathryn Bunch, Mike Bunch, Mike Dossett , Michelle Hunt, Jan Mangum, Anne Pokorney,
Barbara Sanders, Frances Smith, Emma Stoops , Julie Stoops, Mary Summerlin, and Brenda Doyle, Director

The Quartet today is Brenda Doyle, Mary Summerlin, Mike Dossett and John Myers.
A big thank you to all of the above for sharing their gifts of music with us on Easter morning.

It is Finished!

It is Finished! – Good Friday Service, 2021

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?

My God, I cry out by day, but You do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; You are the One Israel praises.

In You our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them.

To You they cried out and were saved; in You they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.

All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads.

“He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him. Let Him deliver him, since He delights in him.”

Yet You brought me out of the womb; You made me trust in You, even at my mother’s breast.

From birth I was cast on You; from my mother’s womb You have been my God.

Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.

Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.

Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me.

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me.

My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; You lay me in the dust of death.

Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet.

All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me.

They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.

But You, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. – From Psalm 22

Tonight, we will read from John 18:1-40, John 19:1-30, and John 19:31-42.

The Quartet tonight is Leigh Bigger, Brenda Doyle, Mike Bunch & John Myers.