Worship Order for
Lord of heaven and earth, "merciful and
gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and
faithfulness" (Psalm 86:15), teach us
your way. We have come to this place and time to encounter you. Open
the imagination of our minds and hearts, just now, to your glory. Fill this
space with the awesome presence of your Holy Spirit, that we may
worship you with joy-filled wonder, unhindered by our fears and
doubts. For we are gathered in the name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
"The Inside Counts"
two boxes of identical shape and size with identical
wrapping as well, so that they cannot be told apart in any
prepare drawings of two stick figures, identical in every
I have two boxes to show you this morning (show them), and
I also have a problem about them. Maybe some of you can help me
solve it. You see, these boxes are exactly alike, aren't they.
They are the same size, the same shape, the same weight, and
they're even wrapped in the same way. But they are really
different. One of them has a very valuable piece of jewelry in it;
the other just has some garbage from breakfast this morning. Why
it's all wrapped up, I don t know; but anyway, that's what we have
in these boxes. Now, how could we tell them apart without opening
them? We can't open them, since the package with jewelry is really
for someone else. What do you think? (Permit some suggestions
from the children, answering each one with a reason for its
impossibility. Gradually lead the children to see that there
really is no way to look inside the packages.)
That's right; there is no way for us to look inside these
packages, is there? And we certainly don't want to throw either
one away, since we might throw the wrong one out, They're alike on
the outside, but on the inside they are very much different. I
wish there were some way to see inside.
(Pretend to have a sudden idea.) I've just thought of
something. We can't see inside these packages, but I know someone
who could. At the hospital there is an x-ray room. An x-ray
machine could take pictures through the wrapping, and then we
would know which package was valuable, and the one we'd send. Our
eyes can't look inside, but an x-ray could. We've solved the
problem. We know that what is inside is really important, and
that's a way to find out.
But now, let's look at these. (Show the slick figurer.) We
have two people who are just alike, too. They're the same height,
the same weight, the same appearance, even with the same clothes.
But there's a difference in them, too. We're talking about our
faith in God and our love for him. That's inside us, and we can't
tell what it's like in each other. Just like this package looks
like this one (indicate the two) so we look alike on the
outside. But the inside might be different. I wonder how we can
tell in each other. (Pretend to think about it.)
But maybe that's the wrong question to ask. Maybe we should
understand something else. We can't even tell these packages
apart; we have to go to someone whose job is to run an x-ray
machine to do that for us. And we certainly can t tell people
apart; we can't tell what's inside them, ever. And really, we don
t have to.
news for us, really. It means that we don't have to even try to
look inside others to see about their faith. Instead of judging
others, we can simply love them.
by Lavern G. Franzen,
News from Matthew, p. 87.
O Lord, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O Lord.
You hem me in - behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
for the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.
New International Version
written closer to the time (if not at the
leader was also our congregation's delegate to our denomination's
Annual Conference, July 2-6 in Peoria, IL. He will share about
this experience and of some of the business that transpired, in
what may be the first of several Annual Conference moments
over the next month.
our Tithes and Offerings
The theme for
Annual Conference this year, "Fixing our eyes on Jesus,"
was taken from the 12th chapter of the book of Hebrews,
where it says: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so
great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and
the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the
race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and
perfecter of our faith..."
Turning just now
to the offering time in our worship, we face a dilemma. It is very
easy, my friends, to take our eyes off of Jesus as we open our
wallets and focus on our earthly possessions. We know what this
money can buy. We know the power of the checkbook, the cash, the
credit card. When we hold it in our hands, we take on a bit of its
power. It can be one of the weights we need to lay aside, the sin
that clings so closely ....... if we let it.
As you return
your offering in the coming minute or so, make it an act of worship.
Don’t take your eyes off of Jesus. Instead, make him the Lord of
your wallet or purse. Pray your own prayer as you give, saying
something like, "My possessions, as well as my very life belong
to you, Jesus. Help me to follow where you lead. Amen."
(para traducir a español, presione la bandera de España)