Worship Order for
Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
January 9, 2005
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am
understand that God shows no partiality, but in every
nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is
acceptable to him." (Acts
Morning Praise (9:45 am)
Call to Worship
"O worship the
Celebrating and Renewing Baptismal
Sharing a joy, a concern, a word of testimony or praise
"Fluye, Espiritu, Fluye"
(Pre-schoolers leave for playful worship)
Returning our Tithes and Offerings
Invitation to bring forward our
with gladness men of old"
Dios no hay favoritismos"
Prayer for those visiting our
"Lord, you have
come to the lakeshore"
#'s are from Hymnal:
A Worship Book
Worship leaders - see basic
and Renewing Baptismal Vows
voice of the Lord is powerful." Thatís what the
psalmist sings. Living by faith involves listening to Godís
voice. The word "obedience," in fact, means
"inclining the ear" toward the direction of this voice,
intently listening to for God to speak, such that our ear leads
the way. We lean into this voice, and the rest of our body canít
help but follow.
When we refer
to scripture as Godís Word, we are seeking to hear this voice,
and follow. The Bible is, indeed, a primary way we listen to God.
Do we also hear the voice of the Lord speak in the world around
us? Was Godís voice speaking in that tsunami of 2 weeks ago? It
certainly reminded us that this earth is much bigger than its
inhabitants. A very slight bump in continental plates wreaked
great havoc. Was God speaking?
I often return
to the story of Elijah who, in fleeing a death threat, escaped to
a cave at the top of a mountain. In the middle of a terrifying
storm, he heard God speak. However, it was in the sound of "sheer
silence," also translated as "a still small voice,"
not in the sound of wind, earthquake, or fire, that Elijah heard
the voice of the Lord. (1 Kings 19:11-13)
Did the "still,
small voice" of the Lord speak in the middle of a
terrifying tsunami, saying, "this is your brother, this is
your sister?" In response, are hearts around the globe
opening in compassion, past barriers of culture, language, and
religion? I wonder. As we reach out, we need to remember, as the
psalmist put it, that "the Lord sits enthroned over
the flood." God is sovereign over all the earth.
thoughts closer to home, it is this voice which draws us to
commitment. Over the years, during the month of January, there
have been those who have heard and responded to Godís call. In
joining their lives in Christ with ours, these persons have been a
blessing. At this time, I ask you who joined the church during
this wintry month to come forward. You received a letter, so you
know who you are. The list is not a long one, possibly the
shortest of any month. Do remember what Jesus said, however, about
the least being the greatest in the kingdom of God.
Thank you for
responding to Godís voice and joining this church. We value your
presence among us. You are very important to us, whether your own
voice is outspoken or soft in our midst. Every part of the body of
Christ has a gift to contribute and, in fact, is a gift. That
On a January
day not all that long ago, we asked you to respond (for the first
time, or in reaffirmation) with your own "I do" or
"I will" to some questions. On this January day, letís
revisit them, giving you an opportunity to renew your vows. Ready?
still believe that Jesus is Godís Son. Does your door remain
open to him that you may receive him every day, listening for
him to speak? Do you still trust him as your Savior and Lord?
If so, say, "I do."
turn away from all sin and endeavor by Godís grace - today!
- to live according to the example and teachings of Jesus? If
so, say, "I will."
continue to be loyal to the church, upholding it by your
prayers and your presence, your substance and your service? If
so, say, "I will."
Later in worship there will be an opportunity for you, along with
everyone else, to respond with some other concrete vows specific
to you. You are just as welcome today as when you first came.
written closer to the time (if not at the
our Tithes and Offerings
If you were to
turn in your hymnal to the
music Kay will play as the ushers receive our offerings, you
would find these new words to an old song (#204).
Listen to the third verse.
"Come, dearest child, into our hearts,
and leave your crib behind you!
Let this be where the new life starts
for all who seek and find you.
To you be honor, thanks, and praise,
for all your gifts this time of grace.
Come conquer and deliver
this world and us, forever."
Okay, are you
ready to "let this be where the new life starts?" Think
and pray about it as you respond to Godís goodness and grace.
to bring forward our Pledges
(Stewards Commission chairwoman)
One of the
purposes of the Stewards commission, of which Iím currently the
chair, is to help you grow as caretakers of what God has provided
to you. One of the ways we do this is by giving you the
opportunity to set a goal concerning what you intend to return to
the Lord financially this coming year. Without a plan, without a
goal, without a sense of direction, where would any of us be?
Believe it or not, setting aside a tithe, a percentage of our
income (tithe being the Biblical 10%), actually helps brings some
order out of the chaos which our finances can become. Thatís
what we are here to encourage. In so doing, God provides for the
financial needs of this congregation.
Now, in the
past we usually set aside a Sunday in November to be "Pledge
Sunday." Last year, however, we tried something different,
connecting this pledging with monthly Membership Celebrations.
While these every-month celebrations have been a success in other
ways, we discovered that most of you, for whatever reason, werenít
making the connection with the financial pledge. Therefore, we
decided to return to one "Pledge Sunday" for all. We
will, though, continue our monthly celebrations.
Doing so today
makes sense. After all, last Thursday was Epiphany, the
celebration of the Magi visiting the baby Jesus, bringing their
gold, frankincense, and myrrh. If you remember, those "wise
men" had a plan, a goal, a sense of direction. They were
following a star, having made their own celestial calculations.
Have you? The calendar year has just ended for us, and we begin a
brand new one. Today is an appropriate time for all of us to set
our own financial plan for the new year in motion, beginning it as
a journey of faith.
As we sing the
next familiar hymn, I invite you to journey forward and place your
pledge in the basket up front. May the Lord bless your intentions
as you honor Him.
Thank you, Lord, for what you have provided. Too easily, we take it
all for granted. Continue to guide us in the wise use of it. Just
now, we dedicate both todayís offerings, and tomorrowís goals,
to your glory and our neighborís good. May these ears continue to
listen for your voice, and this body to continue to follow where you
lead. In Jesus, we pray. Amen.
for those visiting our sister church
(Church Board chairman)
morning, six persons from our congregation will board a jet bound
for the Dominican Republic. They are not heading there to bring
the gospel, though the good news of Jesus will certainly surround
this visit. Christ is already alive and active in the town of San
Juan, among the people of the Luz y Verdad church.
Likewise, the primary purpose of this trip is not for these six
persons to get their hands into a service project, doing things for
others, though during the ten days on this Caribbean island they
will be doing a lot of things with our brothers and sisters
in Christ there. Service work, however, will be secondary to
learning from them what God is doing in their soil. The folks in
our sister church are on fire for the Lord. Our prayer will be
that some of this fire will inspire these representatives from our
congregation. When they return, we hope to hear the voice of the
Lord speak through what they will have to share. In the process,
we will be bound together with our sister church in the
"Light and Truth" ("Luz y Verdad") of
Christ. Letís pray.
bless Chris, Zermain, Jeanesse, Izzy, Caitlin, and Pete, as
they travel to the D.R. Like the wise men of long ago, they
are following the light to see Jesus in a distant land. Open
their eyes to behold your glory. May they see not just a third
world country, but a land rich in your goodness, full of
wonderful people. Open their ears that they may hear, beyond
barriers of language and culture, your good news sounding out
loud and clear. May the discover real communication in the
life and love in Jesus they have in common with our Dominican
friends. Open their arms to share, their mouths to taste,
their hearts to love.
travel mercies, that they may safely arrive and safely return.
Comfort those who remain behind, who may be a bit nervous
about loved ones being in the air to and on the road in a
distant country. Grant them peace. Prepare the rest of us,
even now, for the flip side of this trip. A part of us is
heading to San Juan. Create in us an expectancy, such that our
eyes, ears, arms, and hearts will be open when they return. It
only takes a spark to get a fire going.
This we pray in Jesusí name. Amen.
"Que la gracia del SeŮor Jesucristo sea
con su espŪritu. Amťn."
("The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be
with your spirit. Amen.")