Worship Service begins at 10:30 AM
Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

God's Got A Hold On You - August 6, 2017

Psalm 139:1-16
The psalmist starts with a powerful proclamation...God has searched me and known me. It's both awesome and humbling. It's incredible that God cares so much to know each of us intimately—and it's humbling...God knows all of us...has searched us....each corner and closet...and God knows us. Some of us might shrug and say "ok", while others of us look like a deer in headlights suddenly thinking "are you kidding? I thought God only got to see what I showed God....God

knows it...all?!"
God knows our fears and insecurities. God knows our bravado and pride. God knows our guilt and our shame. God knows our greed, our lust, our infidelity. God knows our lies, our deep dark secrets. God knows our biggest hopes and unspoken dreams. God knows it all.
It might even be debatable whether or not this is good news or bad. Do we want God with us in each of those moments...knowing our habits, our patterns and our rituals? At certain points in our life, this psalm can give great comfort. In other's terrifying...we'd much rather abscond from God's watchful eye...yet, it seems, there God is.

Here's the thing....for better or worse...God has a hold on us...knows us....cares about us....from our very beginning....until our earthly life collides with heavenly victory. That may be scary or feel shameful....we may rather run or hide. But the truth is, it's good means God cares. God is connected. God is each and every turn. God knows us and no matter what choices we make, God stays right there with us. God never gives up on us.
No matter what baggage you came in with this morning....God already knew it and is here for you. Period.
That's grace. That's love we haven't earned and don't deserve....but God is on our side throughout our lives. As Methodists, we believe we are never outside of God's reach. No one is beyond God's love or God's gifts.
As we grow up and get to begin making choices of free will....God is there...seeing and knowing and caring. And God is there loving us. From the depths of our transgressions to the peaks of our successes, God is there in all of it. Sometimes when we're in the muck and mire, we think God isn't there. God doesn't care. God has given up on us. But the psalmist says God is even in the pits of Sheol...that's code for hell. God is even there in the pit of darkness. God is there when all hope is lost. God is there. There is nowhere where God is not. And that is good news.
God shows up in the bar, at the casino, in the hotel room, online, in the hospital, at the prison....everywhere. And yes, some of those places we wish God would would make our sin a little easier if God weren't there to spy us. But the fact of the matter is, a lot of us cry out for help...for something different, for rescue when we're in those very places, knowing we shouldn't be. So if God weren't there, God might not hear our cries.
I remember a time in college, I was doing things I knew I shouldn't do. I don't need to get into details, suffice it to say, I knew it was sinful and I knew I shouldn't be there. One day I felt a bit guilty, and somewhere in there I prayed that God would give me a sign if God didn't want me to stay in that place and do those things. I asked for a sign I knew God would never give....because what was God going to do....send me a text? Drop a note under the door? "Hey Debbie, knock it off!" It was implausible. But I prayed it anyway. And then the next time I drew close to that sin, the phone rang, interrupting everything. And when I 6:00 in the morning, no one was there. God gave me a sign. "Debbie, knock it off!"
I didn't want God witnessing my sin. That felt awful. But what felt more awful was the shame from the sin itself. And when I wanted out...knew I needed out....God showed up to tell me it was time. That was grace.
And the beauty of it was, God didn't come in to shame me. God came in to help me out and forgive give me a new beginning....because that's who God is. A God of grace. I didn't deserve forgiveness. I certainly hadn't earned it. But when I confessed my sin, and asked for forgiveness, God gave it wholly and fully.
So if you're in one of those places...wooed by the scent of temptation, knowing you shouldn't be there, sickened by the shame and ready to get out....God will give you grace. You can ask for a sign...but know this....God will show up. Now, I could have easily dismissed that phone call....after all God didn't speak....maybe it was a misdial....but a one is making calls. And it spoke to me. Even if it was a fluke, God used it to scare the heck out of me. I asked for a sign, and for me there it was. I already knew what I was doing was wrong. I really just needed to find some courage to walk away.
Maybe you've already asked for a's service may be God speaking to you. Tell you, "Knock it off." "It's time to stop." "Don't go back."
Now, grace takes on a lot of other forms besides convicting us of our sins and offering us forgiveness. Though that one is certainly important. Grace also looks like kindness, support, thoughtfulness....generosity of a stranger. Grace is something you don't always see for what it is in the moment....but may only make sense in retrospect where you look and say..."That was God."
John Wesley explained grace in 3 ways...ways that help us understand how God is at work with this awesome gift. There's prevenient grace, justifying grace, and sanctifying grace. Prevenient grace is the type that most fits today's text. It's the grace that goes before. It's the grace that God shows before we ask for it, before we even know God. It's the grace that blesses a little baby....who threatened to come early and then waited an extra week like baby Landon. It's also the grace of a woman who wasn't raised in the church, but who found faith as she attended church with her's the grace that has touched Brittany's life throughout the years

Current Church News

  • Christmas Eve Services - Dec 24, 2018

    4:00 PM Family Christmas Eve. This service is especially designed for wiggly, giggly children and is intentionally kept shorter. It will include music by Children's bell choir and leadership from children.

    7:00 PM Traditional Christmas Eve. This service includes music from Choir and Bell Choirs, plus Holy Communion and the Candlelight Ceremony. Child care is provided.

Get Directions

Sunday morning parking at the church is available in the high school parking lot on Third Street across from the church and in the city lots west of the church. These lots are available only on Sunday mornings. A small lot for handicapped parking is available just off of Adams Street on the north side of the church, with an accessible entrance directly into the sanctuary. A lift operates between the Fellowship Hall (3rd Street level) and the Sanctuary . William Sound System Receivers and Headsets are available to assist with hearing problems.

Church Mission

The First United Methodist Church of Moscow, Idaho takes as our mission to be the body of Jesus Christ, ministering to a community which draws strength from its diversity. Our mission centers on the worship of God, expressed through varied forms of prayer, preaching, music, and ritual.  See more...