There is no video for today’s worship service as the service. Below is a transcript of the message.


God, open us to hear and receive your scriptures today as you would have us hear them, understand them as you would have us understand them, and to act upon them as you would have us act upon them.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

*Scriptures this morning are from the NIV.

Psalm 130:2-4

Lord, hear my voice, let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so we can, with reverence, serve you.

Phillipians 3:13-14

Brothers and Sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do; forgetting what’s behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God ha called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 51:10-13

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast Spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing Spirit to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come, the old is gone, the new has come. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.

L:  The scriptures of God for the people of God.

A: Thanks be to God.       

Message – Repentance or Repent: You Decide

Guest Lay Speaker, Sue Schmadebeck, UGUMC

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer, and may you see fit to use me as a vessel from which you pour out your Divine Word.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I’d like to begin by sharing a post I recently read by the person who writes as “Lovely Rites.” It is titled, “SIN.”

“We’ve given this word such ugly meaning. We connect it with inherent badness, with specific failures, with fear, with immorality. But it is not those things at all. To sin is simply ‘to miss the mark.’ It means to go astray. And to repent is to ‘rethink or change the mind.’ It means to ‘turn around.’ Jesus is often quoted in ways that shows our misunderstanding of His heart. He didn’t rebuke the good-hearted people who sought him. He didn’t wait for them to ask for forgiveness. He never made them feel guilty or ashamed. Jesus looked in their eyes and smiled. His tenderness said, ‘It’s okay, my friend, it’s okay. You’ve just gone a bit off course. But I’m here to help you. I want you to look at things differently; to see me through my light and love.’ It’s a whole new way to live. Jesus met their humanity with compassion and that’s why they left him changed.”

This coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. It s the beginning of Lent. Lent is a time of confession, reflecton, renewal, and repentance. It is also a reminder that “from dust we came and to dust we shall return.” During this time, we ask for forgiveness for our own transgressions. We tend to look for ways to repent. I know I ask for forgiveness on a daily basis but often think it’s not enoough, and when Lent comes, it’s a special time for forgiveness.

Do you know – God has already forgiven us! Repentance is not only about being sorry for past indiscretions and regrets, but it signals a need for change. Repentance means to change one’s mind which results in a change of will which in turn results in a change of attitude and actions. Repentance without change can be a struggle. It means turning away from the moral and ethical ineqquities we inflict on others. It’s a way of turing away from self-centeredness and turning to God. It’s also a time of reflection and prayers and to acknowledge our short-comings and seek forgiveness. During Lent, repentance allows us to clear our hearts and minds for the coming of the Crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ.

We might say to ourselves, “That sounds like a lot. How will I do all that?”  There is help for the asking. Jesus is there. Just open your hearts and hear Him.

Now that we know what repentance means, let’s delve into Repent. The word, Repent, comes from the Greek word, Metanoia, which means “to change one’s mind” or “turn around.” It means to acknowledge our infringement on others’ rights and our failures toward them. We ask for forgiveness and make an effort to change our ways. It is a time of spiritual renewal and regrowth. Confession is admitting we have wronged God and others. Repentance involves turning away from wrongful acts, words, and deeds, and embracing the ways Christ taught us in order to follow in his footsteps. We follow Christ in the way of love, truth, and justice. The Bible calls our failure to live as Jesus called us … SIN.

This is my personal opiion and it will be very unpopular with many, but I don’t believe anyone is born with sin. I believe sin annot exist until one possesses the morality to have that knowledge. It may take years to develop that morality. I still can’t call it sin. I choose to call it a lack of morality, unethical behavior, or simply actions that are harmful to others or society. Whatever you choose to call it, sins, transgressions, trespasses, or cruel behavior, these acts require us to turn around and change. We have not learned how to walk with Christ. Lent is a time of second beginnings, a time to reflect on harm we have caused others. New beginnings are significant. They represent a chance to start anew and turn away from past mistakes.

God is often described as a God of fresh starts. He provides encouragement to those who have strayed. New beginnings can happen anytime, not just during Lent. It can also be a time to enter a new phase of spiritual growth. We should ask ourselves, “How can we start anew in the coming season of Lent?” Lent is a time of focus on our actions that will continue our whole lives. Call it a friendly reminder if you need to.

Instead of giving something material up for Lent, consider what you can do for others to show your love and acceptance. As we acknowledge our mistakes, seek forgiveness and commit to change, we come closer to following in Christ’s footsteps. Trust in God’s grace, trust in his love and forgiveness, seek his guidance and support as we move worward.

The word repentance forces us to look back at our transgressions, but metanoia forces us to look at the future, what we can do to change, and the promises God has for us. Repentance or repent … you decide.

I leave you with this: He must become greater and I must become less. John 3:30 NIV



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