Worship Order for Sunday

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

      "I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him." (Acts 10:34-35)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)
  Announcements
  Prelude

  Call to Worship                         Psalm 29:1-2

*Hymn                                  "O worship the Lord"                                     124

*Opening Prayer (d-9)

  Scripture                                  Psalm 29:3-11

  Celebrating and Renewing Baptismal Vows

  Sharing a joy, a concern, a word of testimony or praise

  Hymn                                 "Fluye, Espiritu, Fluye"                          (see insert)
                                              (Pre-schoolers leave for playful worship)

  Pastoral Prayer

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory

  Invitation to bring forward our Pledges

*Hymn                            "As with gladness men of old"                              218

*Dedication

  Scripture                                   Acts 10:34-43

  Message                  "para Dios no hay favoritismos"

  Prayer for those visiting our sister church

*Hymn                     "Lord, you have come to the lakeshore"                       229

*Benediction


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Celebrating and Renewing Baptismal Vows

         "The 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.

         Turning our 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 includes you!

         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?

         Do you 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."

         Will you 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."

         Will you 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."

         Praise God! 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.
    

Pastoral Prayer

 

written closer to the time (if not at the moment)

 

Returning 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. Ushers?
    

Invitation 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.
    

Dedication

         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.
   

Prayer for those visiting our sister church
(Church Board chairman)

         Early Friday 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.

         Lord, 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.

         Give them 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.
   

Benediction

"Que la gracia del SeŮor Jesucristo sea con su espŪritu. Amťn."

("The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.")
Philippians 4:23

 

Interested in Sunday School?
Below is a growing list of possible sites to visit. As you discover others, please let us know.

International Lesson thoughts
from the
Mennonite Publishing House

"Jesus is all"
commentary on the
International Lesson

Living Web Sunday School Project

 

©2005 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)

 

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