Think on These Things

Pressing On

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

Does it seem that there are simply too many things to think about these days? It’s overwhelming, to say the least. And many in your worshiping congregation may seem overwhelmed. It just might be time for a reset. The Rev. Junius Dotson, General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries, has written "Soul Reset," a book about finding space to breathe, about reorienting one’s life with gospel priorities. It might be a good resource for planning the service this week, which is a week of getting our thinking straight.

6Don’t worry about anything. No matter what happens, tell God about everything. Ask and pray, and give thanks to him. 7Then God’s peace will watch over your hearts and your minds. He will do this because you belong to Christ Jesus. God’s peace can never be completely understood.

8Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things. 9Do what you have learned or received or heard from me. Follow my example. The God who gives peace will be with you.

Children’s message

What are some things you worry about? (Allow children to respond).

This passage tells us that God doesn’t want us to worry. God wants us to pray about things that worry us. God will give us peace, even if we don’t know what will happen.

What do people look like when they are worried? Show me your worried face.

What do people look like when they are peaceful? Show me your peaceful face.

Have you ever been terribly afraid? Maybe you felt lost when you were in a store and didn’t see your mom or dad right away. Make a face to show me how your mom or dad would look as they worry. Maybe someone you love is very sick. That makes us feel afraid. Then it is hard to think straight because we can’t get worry out of our mind.

When Paul wrote these words from Philippians, his friends that he loved very much were worried about him. He was teaching people about Jesus and was arrested and put in jail. Show me your worried face again. Paul knew that God would take care of him, and he wanted his friends to feel the same hope and joy that he felt. So, Paul tells his friends in the letter he wrote to them to tell God all their worries, to ask God for help, and to thank God for all the good things God has done.

Notice, Paul didn’t promise his friends that God would immediately get him out of jail or take away all the difficult things he was going through. Paul did promise that God would answer their prayers by giving them peace and reminding us that God is with us even when we are going through hard times. When you are afraid or worried, remember Paul’s advice to think on the promise from God: that God is always with us, God will never leave us, and God will give us the strength to carry on even when life gets hard.

Let’s pray about our worries. I will begin the prayer, and I’d like to ask you all to silently follow my directions.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for inviting us to pray about the things that worry us. We want to tell you right now about some things we’re worried about. Now, silently tell God some things you worry about, such as problems you might be having at school or home. (Pause for silent prayer.) God, just as the Bible verse said, we want to bring our prayers to you. Here are some things that we need. Now, silently tell God about things you need—nutritious food to eat or being a good friend to someone. (Pause for children to pray silently.) God, we want to tell you some things that other people need. Now, silently tell God about things you know other people need, such as healing from sickness or a safe place to live. (Pause for silent prayer.) Thank you, God, for listening to our prayers and for replacing our worry with peace. In Jesus’ precious and strong name. Amen.

Now show me again what it looks like to feel God’s peace.

New International Reader's Version (NIRV) Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

In This Series...

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Reformation Sunday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes