We are sorry to say there will be no church services until further notice. There will not be an Easter Sunrise Service.  Please stay well and take care of yourself and your family.

Palm Sunday Message

One Body   One Spirit   One Lord

 

April 5, 2020

Fifth Sunday in Lent

Scripture Readings:

Matthew 21:1-11   Philippians 2:5-11   Matthew 27:11-54

A Prayer for Our Worry

Father, 

Worry and fear are not of Your heart. 1 John 4, reminds us perfect love casts out all fear, and we pray Your perfect love upon the hearts of all those who are burdened with the fear of this virus. Lord, we know with no doubt You are bigger than the threat of anything, especially illnesses. Please comfort those who are living in fear, please free them from the bondage anxiety creates within. Remind them that You are still on the Throne and that You are still in control. Fully rain down the serenity that comes only from the Prince of Peace. Help those who are living in unease to trust You in this time so, in times to come we may rest assured You will be faithful to be with us until the end of the age. We rest at the Throne of the Almighty such fears and cast them upon You (1 Peter 5:7), for Your burden is Light and Your Yoke is easy (Matthew 11:30). We know You cover us with Your wings (Psalm 91:4). 

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

MESSAGE: Casual or Committed?

A little boy was sick on Palm Sunday and stayed home from church with his mother. His father returned from church holding a palm branch. The little boy was curious and asked, “Why do you have that palm branch dad?” “You see, when Jesus came into town, everyone waved Palm Branches to honor him, so we got Palm Branches today. “The little boy replied, “Aw Shucks! The one Sunday I miss is the Sunday that Jesus shows up!”

Palm Sunday is the day taken from the Gospels, where a whole city threw a parade for Jesus. As He rode into the city, the people threw Palm branches in anticipation of His coming. This day marked a time of celebration where Jesus was worshipped and praised. Today is Bittersweet for us because even as we read of the celebration, we know Friday is coming. The cross is coming. We know many in this same crowd will, within a few short days, exchange words of praise to words of death. Shouting Hosanna, Hosanna and then later shouting Crucify Him, Crucify Him.

The great evangelist, Billy Graham, has been quoted many times as saying the greatest mission field in our country today is in our local church. The people sitting already in our churches. You and me. I know many people know what to say, how to say it, even how to act on it, but when the rubber truly meets that road, there is no personal relationship with Jesus Christ. No salvation, just empty words.

On Sunday Jesus rode into the city with the people shouting praises and praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen. On Friday they are shouting give us Barabbas. We want Barabbas. Crucify Jesus. Crucify Him. Why the change? They possessed a casual not a committed faith. They had religion but they missed the person, Jesus. So how can we have a committed faith? How can we be real and sincere? Consistent in all that we do?

First, we can have a committed faith. Not self-centered but Christ-Centered. This sounds obvious, but we often miss it. In America, we tend to say to God, “Okay God, here is my calendar with my agenda. Now I can squeeze you in here or there. Pulling God out or turning to God only when it is convenient or useful.

The people praised Jesus as He passed by, but the praise for Him was for two reasons. First, because of His miracles. He had healed the sick, raised the dead. They praised Him because He was serving them. Second, because they saw in Jesus a way to be politically delivered from the Romans. To be set free from Rome as Israel was set free from Egypt. Their praise was tempered with the attitude of Jesus what can you do for me.

A few days later at the trial they saw a beaten and disfigured Jesus. A man who no longer looked like a deliverer or a conqueror. As words were said about him, many bought into all the lies and quickly changed their position. For them it was all about Me, Me, Me.

There is a legend about an ancient village in Spain. The villagers learned that the king would pay a visit! In a thousand years, a king had never come to that village. Excitement grew! “We must throw a big celebration,” The villagers all agreed. But it was a poor village, and there weren’t many resources. Someone came up with a classic idea. Since many of the villagers made their own wines, the idea was for everyone in the village bring a large cup of their choice wine to the town square, “We’ll pour it into a large vat and offer it to the king for his pleasure! When the king draws wine to drink, it will be the very best he’s ever tasted!”

 

The day before the king’s arrival, hundreds of people lined up to make their offering to the honored guest. They climbed a small stairway and poured their gift through a small opening at the top. Finally, the vat was full! The King arrived and was escorted to the square. He was given a silver cup and asked to draw some wine.

He placed the cup under the spigot, turned the handle, and then drank the wine. After a silent pause, the king said, “It’s nothing more than water!” You see every villager reasoned, “I’ll withhold my best wine and substitute water. With so many cups of wine in the vat, the king will never know the difference!” The problem was, everyone thought the same thing, and the king was greatly dishonored.

Perhaps we should choose to honor our great King, Jesus Christ, by giving him our very best. Withholding nothing. Giving him our all. Let’s have a committed faith which is relationship driven. Many of those who gathered to throw their coats and palm branches onto the street, who shouted praises did so because it was the popular thing to do at the time. In that one moment it became trendy. We know some began doing it with sincere motives, but others soon did it because, “Well, everyone else is doing it.” Later at the trial, shouting crucify Him was the thing to do. In fact, for a moment, it was the trendy thing to do to make a mass murderer and criminal their hero when they shouted, “We want Barabbas!” In our own lives a committed faith comes only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. One where every day is fresh and new as he personally directs our steps. We must develop and maintain a personal relationship with Jesus.

Last thing to having a committed faith. Well, the last thing I’ll bring up today, is not to be swayed or blocked by our personal trials and crises. Many of us come to Jesus expecting everything to go well. Maybe some slight bad but not too much of it. So, when the bottom drops out for us, we often ask God, “Why?” Thinking, “It’s not supposed to happen this way to me.”

A committed faith takes the good with the bad. Knowing all we are ever promised is, in the midst of both our good and bad; Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us. He will stand with us.

A story is told of A little girl who while walking in a garden noticed a particularly beautiful flower. She admired its beauty and enjoyed its fragrance. “It’s so pretty!” she exclaimed. As she gazed on it, her eyes followed the stem down to the soil in which it grew. “This flower is too pretty to be planted in such dirt!” she cried. So, she pulled it up by its roots and ran to the water faucet to wash away the soil. It wasn’t long until the flower wilted and died. When the gardener saw what the little girl had done, he exclaimed, “You have destroyed my finest plant!” “I’m sorry, but I didn’t like it in that dirt,” she said. The gardener replied, “I chose that spot and mixed the soil because I knew that only there could it grow to be a beautiful flower.”

God has placed us exactly where we are. We must trust him. In the trusting we eventually see He is using our pressures, trials, and difficulties to bring us to a new degree of spiritual beauty. True Contentment comes when we accept what God is doing and thank Him for it.

So, let’s think on our faith. Is it casual or committed? In A week where our sins, past, present, and future were the nails that hung him on the cross, doesn’t he deserve a personal relationship with us? Always remember God loves you!

 

That’s the message!

Rev. Ellis W. Pelham Jr.

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Normally, church service is at 10 AM Sundays.

January to May we worship in the New Braintree Church in the center of town, corner of Hardwick Rd. and Oakham Rd. May thru August we worship at the Trinitarian, commonly known as the Stone Church, on rte 32, in Gilbertville. From September thru December,we worship at the Hardwick Universalist Church on the upper common in Hardwick Ctre on Rte 32A. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have questions about anything. The office is closed but the phone messages are frequently retrieved.

Worship: Communion Service is typically on the first Sunday of the month.  All are invited to the table to abide in our personal relationship with God and with each other gathered as one.   Guest speakers and Lay Leaders are encouraged to share their relationship with the Divine throughout the year.  If you have a ‘story of faith’ to share and would like to be a Guest Speaker or lead a ‘Time with Children’ or share your musical talents, please contact church office 508-867-3306 or Marguerite Crevier 413-477-6942

(Fellowship with light refreshments immediately following Worship.)

Upcoming LayLed Services will be:

  • April 12, Easter, Rev. Ellis Pelham
  • We are in the process of listing Lay Services.

We are now able to take online offerings, tithes and donations! For more information check out our Donations page or just click the online giving box below! We need your support to continue our ministry!

Sunday School The Sunday School participates in a Christmas Service during Advent and a Children’s Day Service(May/June) and at other times throughout the year they are given opportunities to share their gifts during Worship.

Bible Study with Shawna Andrews are on  Wednesdays  4:30 pm at the New Braintree Church. We just completed a study on Grace and a presently studying Deuteronomy.

The Mustard Seed Ministry:  every third Monday of a month a group of folks gather at the New Braintree Town Hall Kitchen to prepare a meal for the Mustard Seed Ministry in Worcester and Jeremiah’s Inn.  Folks take the meal to Worcester and help serve the meal at The Mustard Seed and drop off prepared food for Jeremiah’s Inn.  If you would like to learn more about this ministry, want to assist in preparing or would like to serve the meal, please leave a message at the church office

Check out our Missions & Ministry page for more information. If you are interested in joining any of the groups please leave a message at the church office 508-867-3306.