Worship Order for
Worship and Opening Prayer
1 - If we want to worship the Living God, we need to be
"on our toes," prepared to move.
2 - Our first song is really a medly of hymns.
1 - So be prepared to shift quickly from one to the next.
2 - Weíll sing the first and last verses of the first two
hymns, and both verses of the third.
1 - Again, be "on your toes,"
2 - ready,
1 - willing,
2 - able
1 - to praise the Lord.
2 - But first, letís open our minds and hearts in prayer.
1 - May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face
shine upon us,
2 - that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation
among all nations. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the
peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for
you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth.
1 - May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples
praise you. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our
God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the
earth will fear him.
2 - Amen.
1 - Please stand, ready to sing for joy our medly of praise,
moving quickly from one hymn to the next,
2 - starting with #98, "Sing to the Lord of harvest."
Winter Coat "
object: a heavy winter coat
Let me tell
you a story about a boy named Fred. Have you ever known somebody
who did just enough to get by, but no more? That was Fred. In
school, when a teacher assigned homework with some bonus questions
for extra credit, Fred never wanted to do any more than he had to.
If his parents ever asked him to do a chore around the house, he
did the minimum amount of work to get it done, and would not even
think of doing anything extra to help out. If his room needed
cleaning, he waited until his parents told him to do it. And even
then, he wouldnít start until theyíd nagged him several times,
threatening to take away some privilege. Whatís more, he would
just stuff the mess out of sight. Do you think heíd actually put
anything away where it belonged? Not Fred! Are you getting a
picture of Fred in your head? Maybe you know somebody like him.
Maybe you are a bit like Fred yourself. No, Iím sure none of you
would be like that!
Anyway, it was
about this time of year, maybe a little earlier in the Fall, when
he was invited to go on a hay ride with other children from his
church. He was really excited about this cause he liked hayrides.
Have any of you ever been on a hayride? This one was going to
happen at night. As he was getting ready to go that afternoon, his
mother told him, "Fred, it could get cold tonight. I want you
to take your winter jacket just in case."
Mom," he replied. "Itís not going to be that cold. Itís
only Autumn. I donít want to. Itís so heavy!" But you
know how Moms can be. She insisted, and he ending up taking it. As
he was riding in the car with the other children, though, that
coat just seemed so big and bulky and unnecessary. He decided
that, as she wasnít along, what his Mom didnít know wouldnít
hurt him. So, when they arrived at the farm, he conveniently left
his winter coat in the car.
The hay ride didnít
happen at first. There were other fun things to do on the farm
where it was to take place. An hour or so later, the sun was
starting to go down when they got to where the wagon and tractor
were. But it wasnít quite time for the ride. They had to wait
for the farmer to finish milking the cows or something. You know
what? The longer they waited, the colder it got. The sun was going
down, after all. Fred started to shiver. He looked around and
noticed for the first time that the other children had brought
their winter coats. He leaned over to his best buddy, Ralph, and
asked if he could borrow some of his coat. "Now, how are we
going to do that?" Ralph said. (Drape coat over one of the
children and wonder with them).
It got so cold,
that Fred decided heíd better run back to the car and get his
coat, and so he did. The car was much further away than he
thought. All the way there he wished he had brought his coat, just
like his mother had asked him to. Finally, he got to the car
opened the door, grabbed his coat, and put it on. It was cold at
first, but then it started to warm him up. "Ah!" he
said, and then he heard the tractor start.
It sounded like
they were leaving without him. He started running and crying at
the same time. Why hadnít he brought his coat? Now he was going
to miss the fun. They were just going to leave without him. All
because he hadnít thought ahead enough to bring his coat.
Sometimes when you do just enough to get by, you miss out on
special stuff. He stopped running, and just walking, the tears
pouring down his cheeks.
Then he round the
corner of the barn, and there was the tractor and the wagon, and
everybody yelling, "Come on, Fred, weíve been
waiting." He rubbed his eyes and ran and jumped on board, and
he had a wonderful time. But, you know, he almost didnít.
What God has in
store for us in heaven is a bit like a hayride, you know. Itís
gonna be fun. You wonít want to miss it. Get ready for it now by
growing as a disciple of Jesus. Faith is like a winter coat from
Jesus. Take it with you, wonít you? - even when you think you
donít need it. Just remember Fred. You know, I wonder what would
have happened if he had left his coat at home.
three Sundays of November, as we look forward to Pledge Sunday on
November 24, three members will share about stewardship from a
personal perspective. Last week's moment share some of the basics
of giving - the value of using offering envelopes, tithing, etc.
Along the way, she gave testimony to how God proved faithful after
a decision was made to move to one income in preparation for the
birth of their first child. This week lifts up other ways in which
people give financially (i.e. some give on a monthy or
every-other-week basis, while others give after tabulating profits
on a bi-yearly or yearly basis. Some arrange for their offering to
be deducted from their pay and sent to the church. Still others
give stocks or return their blessings in other non-cash ways)...
The final Sunday's moment will be about the stewardship of other
things - like time and talents.
with our Tithes and Offerings
Listen to what
the prophet Amos had to say about "Stewardship."
"Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your
grain offerings, I will not accept them, Nor will I regard
your fattened peace offerings. Take away from Me the noise
of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your
stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water,
And righteousness like a mighty stream."
words, what we give to God in worship needs to be a reflection of
what is happening in our lives. Are justice and righteousness part
of our daily walk, or are we merely making a show of our faith?
Ponder that as you return to the Lord what God has entrusted into
your hands. Donít just think about it, pray it... Will the
ushers come forward to serve.