Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
July 17, 2005
Worship 10:00 am

      "And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it." (Genesis 28:12)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Call to Worship                       Psalm 86:11-17

*Hymn                      "Praise, my soul, the God of heaven!"                          63

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                               Matthew 13:24-30

  For Children                     "The Inside Counts"
                                          (Pre-schoolers then leave for Sunday School)

  Responsive Scripture Reading                                                                  823

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

  Hymn                                "Spirit of the living God"                                  349
                                                  (words - words/chords - music/midi)

  Pastoral Prayer

  Annual Conference Moment

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings


  Scripture                               Genesis 28:10-19a

  Song                          "We are climbing Jacob’s Ladder"                (see insert)

  Message                     "From ordinary to awesome"

*Hymn                                    "Be thou my vision"                                      545


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Opening Prayer

         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.

For Children
"The Inside Counts"

         Prepare two boxes of identical shape and size with identical wrapping as well, so that they cannot be told apart in any way.
         Also prepare drawings of two stick figures, identical in every way also.

         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.

         That's good 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,
Good News from Matthew, p. 87.

Responsive Scripture Reading
Psalm 139:1-18

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.

Hymnal #823
New International Version

Pastoral Prayer


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


Annual Conference Moment

         The worship 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.

Returning 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)


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International Lesson thoughts
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commentary on the
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©2005 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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