Listening for the Promise

Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost - November 19, 2017

What’s Your Number?

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” - Psalm 90:12


You may have heard in recent years about a certain bed that allows its owner to select their preferred “sleep number.” Apparently each person has a “sleep number,” and with this bed you can discover what that number is.


Allow your mind to jump now to a slightly weightier “sleep number.” One of our more common euphemisms for death is “falling asleep.” The fact is we all have to take a dirt-nap eventually, and when we do, we will not awake in this life. None of us knows when that day will be. It could be today. It could be years and years from now. I suppose you could say that the date that will eventually appear on your tombstone is your “big sleep number.”


Christians stay honest about this death business. We don’t live in denial, pretending that we’ll never “fall asleep.” We are honest about death, but we are not morbid. We do not “grieve as those who have no hope” as Saint Paul put it. Rather, we trust in; yes, even eagerly anticipate, our promotion to life eternal through the victory of Jesus. Now that we are not afraid to die, we can really live. We take no days for granted. We are fully aware that our days are numbered, and as such they are precious and passing. We are prepping for paradise.


Psalm 90 tells us to “number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Use each day as the unique occasion that it is: a chance to thank and praise, a chance to serve and obey your good Lord. When we think about each day as a precious gift from God, we see each day, each moment even, as something extraordinary. It is wise for us to appreciate each day we have and not take one for granted. We are not promised anything more than today and that’s a reality of life.


Consider your favorite animal. They don’t think twice about tomorrow, and they don’t know or care about “sleep numbers” of any kind. We humans are different. We are meant for far more than mere physical existence. Use this day well, knowing that Jesus has a place reserved for you when you wake up in paradise.


Service Supplement

(Congregational responses are in bold print)


Prelude                                                            Mark Hurley, Organist


Call to Worship                                               WP # 59


Welcome and Announcements


*Gathering Song                                             ELW # 408


*Confession & Forgiveness    (Pastor)           ELW pg. 94-96

Blessed be the holy Trinity, one God, who forgives all our sin, whose mercy endures forever. Amen.


If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


Most merciful God, we confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.


Almighty God, in his mercy, has given his Son to die for us and, for his sake, forgives us all our sins. As a called and ordained minister of the Church of Christ, and by His authority, I therefore declare to you the entire forgiveness of all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


*Greeting                    (Pastor)                       ELW pg. 147

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And also with you.


*Canticle of Praise      (WA) “Glory to God…” ELW pg. 148-149

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.


*Prayer of the Day                  (Pastor)

Let us pray…Lord God, rule and govern our hearts and minds by your Holy Spirit, that while keeping the end of all things in mind, we may be stirred up to holiness in this life and come to be with you forever in that life to come. Grant this, we pray, through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.



Anthem Hymn       11AM Adult Choir           ELW # 820


First Reading:             (Worship Assistant)    Zephaniah 1:7-16

God’s Word came to the prophet Zephaniah, and it was a judgment on the house of Judah. The Lord threatened to sweep away the entire tribe, to wipe them off the face of the earth. Their idolatry of Baal incensed the Lord God, who commanded them to be silent in his presence. The Great Day of the Lord was near, and it would be a day of wrath, ruin, and utter devastation.


7Be silent before the Lord God! For the day of the Lord is near; the Lord has prepared a sacrifice and consecrated his guests. 8And on the day of the Lord’s sacrifice; “I will punish the officials and the king’s sons and all who array themselves in foreign attire. 9On that day I will punish everyone who leaps over the threshold, and those who fill their master’s house with violence and fraud. 10“On that day,” declares the Lord, “a cry will be heard from the Fish Gate, a wail from the Second Quarter, a loud crash from the hills. 11Wail, O inhabitants of the Mortar! For all the traders are no more; all who weigh out silver are cut off. 12At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good, nor will he do ill.’ 13Their goods shall be plundered, and their houses laid waste. Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them; though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink wine from them.” 14The great day of the Lord is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter; the mighty man cries aloud there. 15A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, 16a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements. The word of the Lord, thanks be to God.

Psalm: Psalm # 90                  (Worship Assistant – read responsively)

The psalmist sang of the everlasting nature of God for whom a thousand years is like one day. Secret sins are brought to light in the sight of the God of the ages.


Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to another.

Before the mountains were brought forth, or the land and the earth were born, from age to age you are God.

You turn us back to the dust and say, “Go back, O child of earth.”

For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past and like a watch in the night.

You sweep us away like a dream; we fade away suddenly like the grass.

In the morning it is green and flourishes; in the evening it is dried up and withered.

For we consume away in your displeasure; we are afraid because of your wrathful indignation.

Our iniquities you have set before you, and our secret sins in the light of your countenance.

When you are angry, all our days are gone; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.

The span of our life is seventy years, perhaps in strength even eighty; yet the sum of them is but labor and sorrow, for they pass away quickly and we are gone.

Who regards the power of your wrath? who rightly fears your indignation?

So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.


Second Reading: (Worship Assistant)            1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

The day of the Lord will come suddenly like a thief in the night. It will be like the sudden onset of labor pains of a mother ready to give birth. Paul urged the Christians at Thessalonica to keep awake, be sober, do not sleep or fail to be ready, for the coming of the Lord is near. Those who believe bear the marks of faith and are not destined for wrath, but for salvation through Christ.


1Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. Word of God, word of life, thanks be to God.


(WA: “Please rise for the reading of the Gospel.”)


*Gospel Acclamation (sung)                          ELW pg. 151

Alleluia. Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Alleluia.  


*Holy Gospel: (Pastor) The Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew, the 25th Chapter. Glory to you, O Lord. Matthew 25:14-30: Jesus taught about stewardship by using a story about a master who entrusted his property to his servants’ care while he was away. Two invested what they had been given, realizing a profit before the master’s return. One, however, buried his portion in the ground. The master returned to judge the “worthless servant.”


14Jesus said, “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” The gospel of the Lord, praise to you, O Christ.


Sermon                                                            Pastor John


*Hymn of the Day                                          ELW # 856


*Holy Baptism    8:30AM Service Only        ELW pg. 227

(Traditional service will resume at the “Peace”)


*Apostles' Creed                                                        

(P): God has made us his people through our Baptism into Christ. Living together in trust and hope, we confess our faith.


I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.


I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord.

He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary.

He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. 

He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again.

   He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the


   He will come again to judge the living and the dead.


I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,

  the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,

  the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.


*Prayers of Intercession                     (Worship Assistant & Pastor)

(P): Let us pray for the faithfulness of the Church, the life of the world, and all those in need. A brief silence.

(W): Holy Father, through water and the Word, you have washed away our sins and given us a promise in which we can trust. We thank you for laying claim to us in our baptism and adopting us as your own. Help us to live lives of trust and repentance. Give us new life by the work of your Spirit. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

(W): Blessed are you, O Lord our God, the giver of all good gifts. Thank you for giving us a place within your family and for lavishing your blessings upon us. Grant us the gift of truly thankful hearts, and a willingness to express our thanks with joyful songs of praise. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

(W): Be with all those who are traveling to distant places this week. Grant them safety on the roads and in the air. Be with all who operate or work on airlines, railroads, taxis, or busses. Give people patience and consideration as they make their way to and from family gatherings.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

(W): Lord of all creation, you have filled the earth with wondrous natural resources. Grant that they would be used with care and that all would benefit from their usage. Protect against those who would hoard resources or gain from taking them away from others. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

(P): Into your hands, almighty God, we commend all for whom we pray; trusting in your abundant mercy, through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.


*Peace:            (Pastor)                                   ELW pg. 152

The peace of Christ be with you always. And also with you.



Offering                                                          ELW pg. 152


Offering Anthem                                            Organist or Choir


*Assembly Song: (Create in Me…)                ELW # 188

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with your free Spirit.


*Offering Prayer:        (Worship Assistant)     ELW pg. 107

Let us pray…God of all creation, all you have made is good, and your love endures forever. You bring forth bread from the earth and fruit from the vine. Nourish us with these gifts, that we might be for the world signs of your gracious presence in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.


*The Great Thanksgiving       (Pastor)           ELW pg. 152

The Lord be with you. And also with you. Lift up your hearts.  We lift them to the Lord.  Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give our thanks and praise.


*Preface                                                          Pastor John


*Response to Preface (sung)                          ELW pg. 153

Holy, holy, holy Lord, Lord God of pow’r and might, heav’n and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.


*Words of Institution:             (Pastor)                                              

Holy, mighty, and merciful Lord, heaven and earth are full of your glory. In great love you sent to us Jesus, your Son, who reached out to heal the sick and suffering, who preached good news to the poor, and who, on the cross, opened his arms to all.


In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.


Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.


*The Lord’s Prayer:                                        ELW pg. 154

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 and ever. Amen.


Communion (distribution & song)     (sung)  ELW pg. 154

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; grant us peace, grant us peace.


Communion Hymn                                         WP # 33, 37


*Table Blessing          (Pastor)

The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and keep you in his grace. Amen.


*Post Communion Canticle: (sung)                ELW # 209

Blessed be God, the source of all life, the word of salvation, the spirit of mercy. Blessed be God, the source of all life, the word of salvation, the spirit of mercy. 


*Prayer after Communion: (WA)                    ELW pg. 114

Let us pray…O God, we give you thanks that you have set before us this feast, the body and blood of your Spirit and strengthen us to serve all in need and to give ourselves away as bread for the hungry, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



*Blessing:        (Pastor)                                   ELW pg. 114

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord’s face shine on you with grace and mercy. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. Amen.


*Dismissal:      (Worship Assistant)                 ELW pg. 115

Go in peace. Christ is with you. Thanks be to God.


*Sending Song                                                ELW # 733


Postlude                                                          Mark Hurley, Organist



Flowers are given in memory of Ray Fullem by his Family.


Bulletins are given in memory of Fred Habicht, Jr. by Yetive Habicht.  


For gals who are desiring to read & learn God’s word together… “Journey Sisters” bible study has resumed. We are meeting on 1st & 3rd Thursdays of every month…See you there!


WNALC Group will meet on Tuesday, November 21st at 7PM in the fellowship hall. All women are invite and encouraged to attend!


“Meet, Greet & Eat”  Fellowship * Sundays 9:30 -10:45 am * a time to gather, get acquainted, talk about church events & have a bite too!…open to everyone!... your food & beverage donations support this weekly mission, thank you for your generosity… for volunteer training & commitment schedules or donation coordination, please contact Irene (443-465-9087)..Peace!


FROM OUR ORGANIST: The keyboard is back but still under repair. We are in need of donations to meet our additional service calls and adjustments from the repairs. Please give! A special envelope is in the Narthex. Thank you for your donations to our music ministry!


WNALC Group is collecting old, unwanted and broken cellphones. Every cellphone that we turn in to be recycled will send 2 calling cards to active service men and women in the field. There is a basket in the Narthex for your donations. Thank you for your support!


Birthday Dinner will be held at Zestos Pizza & Grille @ 750 Concourse Cir just off RT43 across from the Farm Store on Thursday, December 21st at 6:30pm. If you plan to attend in December, please contact Pam Keller at 410-335-7226 by Wednesday, 12/20. Come join the fun! Get to know fellow parishioners on a different level! It does not have to be your birthday to attend.


Hurricane Harvey and Irma: We are continuing to collect items for Disaster Relief. Please see both lists posted in the Narthex! Thank you for your continued support of our disaster relief!


Hershey Bears Annual Hockey Game has been scheduled for Saturday, February 3rd at 7pm. The Bears will play the Charlotte Checkers. It is Faith & Family night and our tickets are in section 110 (yes, we are back to the lower level). The tickets are $20.50 per person and the first 5,000 in attendance will receive a free Bears baseball cap. Please contact Joe Hauer at to reserve your tickets or for additional information.


Thanksgiving Eve service will be held on November 22nd at 7:30pm. The office will be closed on November 23rd and 24th in observance of the holiday.


Annual Congregational Meeting is today after late service. All congregational members are invited and encouraged to attend. We will serve a pot luck lunch.


Thankoffering Sunday will be held next Sunday, November 26th. All proceeds will go to the St. Matthew WNALC group. A special envelope will be provided in next Sunday’s bulletin or please feel free to take one from the Narthex today.


Raffle Tickets on sale now! We will raffle off a Luther’s Rose blanket and The Case for Christianity book at our Christmas Concert. Tickets are available between services in the fellowship hall or during the annual congregational meeting. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5.


Christmas Organ Concert & Pot Luck Dinner will be held on Sunday, December 3rd at 3pm. Mark Hurley will showcase our favorite Christmas music is a “Pops and classic” program. A pot luck dinner will be served immediately following the concert. A free will offering will be collected. Everyone is invited!!


Thanksgiving Baskets are due in today! A list and box has been provided to fill a basket for Thanksgiving! For more details, please see Maria Dobry. Thank you for your gracious giving during the holidays!


Christmas gifts for Hurricane Harvey and Irma victims. This year we are collecting gifts for the victims of the hurricanes that hit our south. Please pick up a star from the tree. There is no spending minimum or maximum. All gifts will go to the families of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma through our Disaster Relief Center. For more details, please see Maria Dobry.


Christmas Eve Service Schedule

Morning Traditional services will be held at 8:30am and 11am with Sunday School, Confirmation and Adult Bible Study at 9:45am.


Children’s Christmas Eve service will be held at 6:30pm.


Christmas Eve Candlelight services will be held at 8:30pm and 11pm.


All services will have fellowship in between. All are welcome to attend!