Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal).
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). Divide the group into pairs or groups of three. Ask, “What are you thankful for?”
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes). Read Psalm 100.
What does “Make a joyful noise to the Lord” (Psalm 100:1a) mean to you? How might you make a joyful noise?
“We are called to worship the Lord with gladness. But the word translated as worship does not mean a worship service; it means a worship-centered life. Yes, what we do in the hour we gather with the body in the sanctuary of the church matters, and we ought to do it with as much gratitude and joy as we can muster. But to “worship the Lord with gladness” is what we do in our homes and places of work, in our neighborhoods, and on our playgrounds. We live out the worship of God by giving thanks anywhere and everywhere we can. As noisily as possible.” (November 12, Preaching Notes)
Every morning, Amy Kawahara, ninety-four years old, opens her eyes and thanks God for another day to live. She knows she belongs to God. She reads devotion, prays, and seeks ways to share joy. She sings in the choir to make a joyful noise to the Lord. She leads a prayer group and senior exercise ministry. In every way, she worships the Lord with gladness.
- How might you “worship the Lord with gladness” in your home, work, and neighborhood?
“Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:3). Hard things happen in our lives. Sometimes, we do not feel that we can make a joyful noise to the Lord because of our hardship. Have you felt it was hard to give thanks to God? How could you feel you belong to God no matter what is happening around you?
“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:5). How do you feel about knowing that generations after you will receive God’s steadfast love and faithfulness, even after you are gone? How could you express more joy and thanksgiving in your life?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End with the following prayer, a similar prayer, or the Lord’s Prayer:
Gracious and Loving God, we come before you with hearts full of gratitude and joy, just as Psalm 100 teaches us. We thank you for being our Creator and Shepherd, guiding and caring for us. Help us to enter your presence with thanksgiving and praise, recognizing your goodness, love, and faithfulness. May we live out the lessons of this psalm in our daily lives, sharing your love and joy with those around us. Amen.
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Rev. Motoe Yamada Foor, Director of Adult Discipleship, served in local churches for twenty years. She has a wealth of experience at various organizational levels of the United Methodist Church and in ecumenical organizations such as the World Council of Churches (WCC). She also enjoys serving as a coach to help people grow as disciples.