Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
August 24, 2008
Worship 10:00 am

Handle with Care - Camp Sunday 

          "Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."          (Romans 12:2 from The Message)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

Through Prayer

*Call to Worship

*Unison Opening Prayer

*Hymn                                 "Praise him, praise him!"                                  100

  Praying Psalm 138

  Response                           "Spirit of the living God"                                   349

Through Thinking on Scripture

  Scripture                                  Romans 12:1-8

  Message                   "Getting out in order to get in"

  Hymn                           "Heart with loving heart united"                              420

Through Talking with other Believers

  Annual Conference Minute

  Sharing a joy, a concern, a word of testimony or praise
                                                    (response to each shared item is:)
"For this we pray"

Through Deep, Soulful Listening

  Responding with our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory              (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

*Hymn                               "This is my Father's world"                                154



#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

Finding God's Will

A Younger One:     What is God's will for us?

An Older One:        That's a very good question: How can we find God's will?

Congregation:          We find God's will through prayer, through thinking on scripture, through talking with other believers, and through deep, soulful listening.

An Older One:         How do we find God's will?

A Younger One:      That's a very good question:
What does God say?

Congregation:          Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).

by Mike Benner, pastor
Koontz and Waterside Churches of the Brethren Middle Pennsylvania District
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Opening Prayer

            Speak, Lord, and help us to listen. Help us to seek, to know, and to live your will in love and unity with one another and Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

by Mike Benner, pastor
Koontz and Waterside Churches of the Brethren Middle Pennsylvania District
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Praying Psalm 138

Please be seated… Today is "Camp Sunday," a time to recognize and celebrate the ministry of our outdoor ministry centers and denominational work camps. This summer, several of our people, young and not-so-young, stepped away from the ordinary, living in a different setting for a week of discovery. They may have done this at Shepherd's Spring or Camp Mardela, our district's two outdoor ministry centers, or at some other church-related camp. Others traveled to a distant place, perhaps even another country, and put their hands and hearts into action on some special project. After our worship this morning, let's move to the fellowship hall for a more informal time of sharing, when these persons will tell us a bit about their experience, followed by a pot luck meal.

            The theme at our district summer camps this summer was "Handle with Care." Our young people spent time exploring the creation story in Genesis (Genesis 2:4-23 & 1:1-25) as they explored nature all around them. They paid attention to Noah and the flood in the Bible (Genesis 6:11-9:17) and learned the importance of handling with care the world God has given. From Jesus they heard about how life with God is a matter of simple trust and not building ever-bigger barns (Luke 12:13-32), how we are to handle with care the talents God gives us (Matthew 25:14-30), and how we are called to share the good news we have received (Mark 16:9-20).

            This morning, we will "handle with care" the scriptures we have been given for this hour. In the spirit of "Camp Sunday," however, we will do so in a different way. Before the sermon, we will listen to a passage from Paul’s letter to the Romans from 2 different translations, one after the other, hopefully hearing – each one of us – something we may never have caught before, simply because we usually approach the Bible in the ways we always do. We'll "get out" of our usual practice that we might better "get in" to what God might have to say.

            Just now, instead of merely reading the 138th Psalm, let's pray it. This collection of Psalms, by the way, is the "Prayer Book" of the Bible, found at its very center. "I struggle knowing how to pray, what to say," we may confess. Well, the psalms offer us a way. Instead of opening up your Bible and reading, allow us to speak the words, verse by verse. Open up your mind, soul, body, and heart and listen. Allow yourself to be directed in prayer. Don't be looking at others or wondering if they are looking at you. Instead, close your eyes and listen. Let's pray Psalm 138.

1 – "I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise."

2 – Take a deep breath, then let it out… Once again… Become aware of your breathing… Breathe in God's goodness, breathe out your stress… Breathe in God's peace, breathe out your fear… Breathe in God's love, breathe out your apathy… Breathe in God's hope, breathe out your pessimism… Breathe in gratitude, breathe out self-centeredness… Breathe in carefulness, breathe out carelessness… Breathe in what you need from God, breathe out what you need to let go… Breathe in…, breathe out … Breathe in…, breathe out … Take an especially deep breath - until your lungs are really full, then whisper 'Hallelujah" as you breathe out... Do so again… Keep doing so quietly as we continue.

1 – "I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything."

2 – As you continue quietly breathing out your "Hallelujah," place your hands on your knees with your palms face down. Relax… Gradually turn them over, so they are open and facing up… Keep breathing your "Hallelujah"… Gradually raise them up a few inches… With open hands you give… With open hands you receive… Gradually raise them higher, until they are level with your chest… Keep breathing your "Hallelujah" quietly as we continue…

1 – "On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul."

2 – Gradually, as you continue breathing your "Hallelujah," turn your palms so that they face each other…, then slowly bring them together… Interlace your fingers and make them into praying hands… Tighten the grip on your clenched hands and feel the strength, then release… Keep your praying hands together. As you breathe out, whisper to yourself, "the Lord is my strength"… Do so again: "the Lord is my strength"…

1 – "All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth."

2 – As you continue quietly breathing out, "the Lord is my strength," release the grip of your praying hands and return them to the facing up position at chest level… Keep whispering, "the Lord is my strength"… Slowly raise your hands, if you are able, until they are level with your shoulders. Keep whispering, "the Lord is my strength" as we continue…

1 – "They shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord."

2 – Now, as you breathe out, with hands raised, whisper to yourself, "Great is the Lord"… Do so again… Again… Now, with hands raise, stop whispering and listen…

1 – "For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he perceives from far away."

2 – Be still, quietly breathing… Listen… Sounds are not a distraction… God speaks through the antsy child, the cough of an elder, the sound of a whirling fan, the (add anything here last minute)… Listen… Listen…

1 – "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me."

2 – If you are able, slowly raise your open hands higher until they can go no further. Stretch those muscles as you reach… Extend your hands up to the source of your strength, to your deliverer, to your Savior… Grasp that invisible hand of God, who will not let you go… Quietly whisper, "Hallelujah"… Breathe out again your "Hallelujah"… and listen.

1 – "The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands."

2 – Slowly return your hands back to your knees… Keep breathing in and out your whispered "Hallelujah"… Again… and again… The organ will begin playing and you are invited to sing. If you know the words, then sing by heart. If need be open your eyes and read the words…

Response: (Hymnal #349)
Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me. (repeat)
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me.

Psalm 138 here is from the New Revised Standard Version,
copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of
the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Romans 12:1-8

            Read by two persons, one after the other, who step up to the lectern and preface their reading by saying:

“Romans 12:1-8 from the New Revised Standard Version
“... the Message.”      

Annual Conference Minute

            This is my third and final "snippet" about Annual Conference (AC) this year. I thought we all might enjoy a little bit of humor and inspiration. Let me share a few excerpts from some sermons we heard at AC that left an impression on me. The first is from Mary Jo Flory-Steury:

            Remember the television comedy, “All in the family?” Younger generations might have caught it on the TV Land channel. Archie Bunker was the man who typified all the prejudices that are so destructive. He and “meathead,” his young Polish son-in-law, always seemed to be in conflict about something or other, but they still accepted each other and managed to live under the same roof. The remarkably reconciling person in the family was Archie’s wife, Edith, whom he called, “Ding-bat.” It’s Edith, the “Ding-bat” who loved them all in spite of their unlovely ways, and her wise, affirming love was continually killing their feuds. Now, I don’t want to push the metaphor too far…the Bunker family and our church family, but…. all too often, like Archie and “Meathead” we find ourselves in the midst of conflict. Like the Bunker family we could surely use more Edith’s among us who willingly, graciously, compassionately share their wise affirming love to continually kill the feuds that are all too frequent among us.

from “It’s All About You” delivered July 14, 2008

            Two other excerpts I've take from Chris Bowman's sermon, who preached Sunday morning:

            The year our family moved to Oakton VA we planted a bed of asparagus in the church garden. You’re familiar with asparagus? It takes three or four years of growth before you can harvest your first crop; but once those roots get strong enough, you can harvest asparagus year after year for 30 or even 40 years.

            Pastors who plant asparagus beds are sending messages. First, it’s a message to the congregation that the pastor is gonna’ stick around --- at least until he recoups his investment in asparagus seed. Second, it’s a message to the world about food and faith: patiently sowing seeds and carefully cultivating soil yields a harvest that blesses us generation after generation.

            Every spring Marvin brings a load of manure from the country and dumps it all over our bed of asparagus. It is a minor miracle that we can dump all that manure on those poor little asparagus plants and they still push through. In fact, they do better when covered by manure than they do without it. Covered with manure they get bigger, grow stronger, spread further, and taste better.

            We Brethren could learn something here. When we are “dumped on” by the world we could remember that we were not buried; we were planted. And the one who planted us has promised us that when we’re “fed up to here” with life, we are, in fact, being fed, up to here, with life.


            We have been given another way of living: peacefully, simply, together. This DNA sequence has been carried from generation to generation and it has been planted in our churches today --- the word of the kingdom already taking root in the next generation (even if the ground is not quite ready). Before we know it, before we understand it, before we’re ready, it’s here.

There’s an Anna Mow playing with tinker-toys in your church nursery.
There’s a Christopher Sauer drawing on the walls of your fellowship hall.
There’s a Ted Studebaker messin’ with the sound system in the church balcony.
There’s C.F. Yoder and Joseph Shultz singin’ “Jesus Love’s Me” in the cherub choir.
We may not recognize them, but the harvest we’re waiting for is already here.

from "Well Grounded Grain Brings Phenomenal Fruit" delivered July 13, 2008

            Thank you.

shared by our delegate, Mel Horst

Here is his summary of AC business on a bulletin insert:

Annual Conference Minutes

The 220th Recorded Annual Conference celebrating the 300th Anniversary of the beginning of the Brethren was held in Richmond, Virginia, July 12 - 16, 2008.  The theme as stated was "Surrendered to God, Transformed in Christ, Empowered by the Spirit."  In addition to the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, the Brethren Church held its General Conference, concurrently, resulting in joint celebration of 300 years of Brethren existence.

Moderator James Beckwith and Moderator-elect David Shumate presided over the Business Sessions held Monday and Tuesday, July 14th and 15th in the Richmond Coliseum

Items of business included the following:

 "Resolution Urging Forbearance" (approved as amended).  What it means (WIM) is that we respect differences of opinion; that we see them as the blessing that is available with openness; and that we allow the Holy Spirit to draw us together to be of one heart.

"Query: Conference Witness to Host City" was adopted and is to be referred to the Program Arrangements Committee to coordinate with the host district (city) of Annual Conference each year.   WIM is that while there we can assist the locality with activities such as blood drives, food contributions, and other caring and nurturing activities.

"Resolution on Slavery in the 21st Century" (approved as amended).  WIM is that this resolution is a call to be aware that many forms of slavery continue to exist today, to care for those who have been victimized, and to change our personal lifestyle habits that support it.

"Update to Ministerial Ethics" (approved with three amendments after much discussion).  WIM is that this update replaces the "1996 Ethics in Ministry Relations" and all other ethics papers.

"Resolution of Ministers'Medical Insurance Crisis" (approved).  WIM is that congregations should provide medical insurance for pastors and their families.

"Revision to Unfunded Mandates" (approved)  WIM is that the costs of new programming, etc. may not be included in current budgets.  If this is so, Standing Committee may recommend to delay a decision by Annual Conference for one year.  Also, the Program Feasibility Committee may have to conduct a study and cost analysis of the proposed program.

The 2009 Annual Conference to be held in San Diego, California, will utilize David Shumate as Moderator, and Shawn Flory Replogle as Moderator-elect, to preside over the Business Sessions.

Here's a Wrap-up of Annual Conference from the denomination office
(mailed in our Sept. 2008 newsletter


Returning our Tithes and Offerings

This section of our worship service is entitled, "Through Deep, Soulful Listening." Hopefully we have been doing this all along. Putting it this way makes it sound very serious. Real listening is serious business, but it's also enjoyable – especially when you care about the person to whom you listen. Soon our time of worship will be over and you're invited to the air-conditioned fellowship hall to hear from our young people about their camp experiences. Life-changing things happen amid the fun there. Deep things that have touched their soul. We need to listen deeply, to laugh at what has really tickled them, to be grabbed by what has grabbed them, to rejoice with them, and wonder with them. Think of it as "soul food."

For now, however, we need to respond to what God has been doing in us this hour and week. As the organ plays, you have the opportunity to do some "deep, soulful listening" to yourself. No doubt, your monetary offering has already been decided ahead of time. So be ready to put that in the plate as it is passed. As you do so, listen to God by thinking ahead through this coming week. What might God be calling you to be or to do in the next 7 days? If the truth be told, worship is a special time set aside for God to get us out of rat-race of life, away into something different, in order that he might put us back into our lives transformed, to be his agents in this world. Use these offertory moments to prepare yourself to "Handle with Care" this coming week.

Ushers? Please help us by receiving our tithes and offerings.


Brothers and sisters, handle with care this life you have received.
         Don't be conformed to this world,
                             treating everything and everyone as a commodity.
      Instead, be transformed with a whole new way of thinking and living,
                                                  led by the Spirit.
               After all, "this is," as we just sang, our "Father's world,"
                       and God handles us with care.
                                        Remember that, and be blessed.

(para traducir a español, presione la bandera de España)


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

International Lesson:
Faith and Life Resources
Mennonite Publishing House

International Lesson:
Mennonite Weekly Review

(scroll down on left to "Sunday School lessons)

International Lesson:
Christian Standard
(one week ahead)

International Lesson:
Living Web Sunday School Project

International Lesson:
Adult Bible Studies
from The United Methodist Publishing House
(click "supplemental resources" and "current events supplement" under both the "Student" and "Teacher" sections in the left hand column)

While one of our adult classes follows the International lesson above (see also), using
A Guide for Biblical Studies,
published quarterly by our denomination,
another class often uses one of the
Good Ground series,
also published by Brethren Press.

For children and youth, we use the new
Gather Round curriculum
(developed jointly by the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church)


©2008 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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