Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
October 17, 2004
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am

      "And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them?" (Luke 18:7)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Call to Worship                                                                     (back of bulletin)

*Hymn                         "Where cross the crowded ways"                           405

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                                      Psalm 121

  Receiving those to be baptized

  Hymn                            "I believe in you, Lord Jesus"                               440

  Celebrating commitments past and present


*Song of praise           "Awake, arise, O sing a new song"                            56
                                             (Pre-schoolers leave for playful worship)

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings


*Doxology                                                                                              119A


  Scripture                                    Luke 18:1-8

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

  Pastoral Prayer

  Scripture                                Genesis 32:22-31

  Message                         "Wrestling a Blessing"

*Hymn                         "Christian, do you hear the Lord?"                         494


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

Pastor: How shall we remember God's word and God's way?
People: By loving God with all of our heart, all of our soul, all
            of our mind, and all of our strength, and loving our
            neighbor as we love ourselves.

Pastor: How shall we love?
People: By remembering to do justice, love kindness, and walk
             humbly with our God.

Pastor: Whom shall we serve?
People: We shall serve the poor, care for the widows, and bring
             justice to the oppressed.

Pastor: As God's people, we are called to serve with patience
           and forbearance.
People: For as we serve those who are most in need, we serve
             the One who is to come.

Jeff Carter, pastor
Manassas, VA Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Opening Prayer

         Gracious God, we give thanks for the opportunity to serve those in need. You offer us a deeper knowing of your way, a more vital way to live. Make us restless with the inequities of this world. Strip us of our arrogance. Take from us our petty and self-centered ways. Encourage us to carry greater responsibility for those in need. Empower us to persist in our demands for justice. Help us to see the importance of our prayers and our presence for all God's creation. As we open ourselves to your ways, may you find our faithfulness to be genuine as your kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

Jeff Carter, pastor
Manassas, VA Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Receiving those to be baptized

         Lift up your eyes, brothers and sisters, to the One who made heaven and earth, who - in Christ - delivers us from evil and saves us. Look up to the source of your help (point to cross), and follow Jesus. This morning we are blessed to witness the public confession of faith and baptism of two persons who have responded to the call of Christ, and desire to follow where he leads. Would _____ and _____, along with _____ and _____ (who will introduce them to us) come forward.

(After candidates are introduced to the congregation)

         Today you are being received into this community of faith and into the Church of the Brethren. As part of the whole church of Jesus Christ, we offer you our rich heritage and invite you to share fully in our life and mission.

         As you are received into the Long Green Valley Church, we intend to be a true family of faith to you. We commit ourselves to be for you a loving fellowship, to be a means of grace in your life, and to offer opportunities for worship, study, and service. One of the happiest times in our life as a church is when new people choose to become members. We welcome you with joy.

         Do you believe that Jesus is God's Son and do you receive and trust him as your Savior and Lord? (I do.)
         Will you turn away from all sin and will you endeavor by God's grace to live according to the example and teachings of Jesus? (I will.)
         Will you be loyal to the church, upholding it by your prayers and your presence, your substance and your service? (I will.)

from For All Who Minister, ©1993, Brethren Press, p.135-137.

(to congregation:)

         Will you receive these persons as part of this fellowship, and will you surround them with love and encouragement, helping them to release the gifts which God has given them, and walk with them in the way of Christ? (We will)

(head out to change for baptism)

from Pastor's Manual, ©1978, Brethren Press, p.22.

Celebrating commitments past and present
(led by Church Board Chairman)

         In a few minutes, two persons will step into the waters of baptism, having publicly committed their lives to Christ and his church. For many of us, this should bring back memories of our own baptisms. Can you feel the water? Perhaps it was a brisk day in a stream outdoors, or maybe it was warmer and inside. Do you recall what you were thinking or feeling at the time? The good news is that baptism is just a beginning. It isnít a conclusion. Faith grows. Godís Spirit blows. Look where you are now.

         Since he is getting ready to step into the water right now, Pete asked me if I would lead us in celebrating the past commitments of those of you who joined this congregation during the month of October down through the years. Since you know who you are, would come forward and join me just now - you folks with the red badges?

         Some of you were baptized in this very room. Remember that day? Others stepped forward elsewhere - over on Prigelís farm, or in some other church? Remember that day? A number of you stood in this spot confessing your faith and transferred your membership here. Remember that day? For two of you, we had the wrong date down. You were actually baptized in May (remember that day?), and we missed your celebration five months ago. Itís fitting to include you now.

         All of you, thank you for responding to Christís call and joining us in following him together - many years ago, or just a few. We value your presence among us. You are very important to us, whether you serve in some leadership capacity or are just one of the unspoken heroes in our midst. Every part of the body of Christ, as the apostle Paul once wrote, is important.

         This is a time to celebrate, and a time to recommit. Traditionally, there are three questions asked on the day of our baptism. Youíve already heard them this morning. Let me ask them this time, giving you the opportunity to renew these vows you once made for the first time. Here goes:

         Do you still believe that Jesus is Godís Son. Does your door remain open to him that you may receive him every day? 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! Each of you received a letter which included a pledge form, an opportunity to respond with some concrete vows specific to you, involving your time and talents, as well as your substance. If you have felt moved to pledge in this way, would you place it in the offering plates as they are passed later on? For now, letís move to the side so others can see and stand as witnesses as _____ and ____ are baptized.


         ___________, upon your confession of faith made before God and these people, you are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
         As each name of the Trinity is spoken, the minister shall immerse the candidate forward, pushing the head gently and fully into the water. Then, laying both hands upon the head of the kneeling person, the minister shall pray:
          O God, we are thankful for the commitment made today by (name) May (she/he) experience your forgiveness, acceptance, and peace. Send your Holy Spirit upon (her/him) to guide and to empower. Enable (her/him) to walk in newness of life, using (her/his) gifts in praise to you and in service to others. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
         Then the minister shall help the baptized person rise, extend the hand of Christian fellowship, speak a word of blessing, and assist the person in leaving the water.

from For All Who Minister, ©1993, Brethren Press, p.137-138.

(For more on this ordinance of the church see Baptism)

Returning our Tithes and Offerings

         Listen to what the apostle Paul wrote to his young colleague, Timothy - someone who had said "yes" not only to following Jesus as a disciple, but also to becoming a leader in the church. These words are appropriate for a time such as this for, as Brethren, we believe that baptism is ordination to a life of ministry - no matter what form that ministry may take. Listen.

         "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
         "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully." (2 Timothy 3:14-4:5)

Will the ushers now come forward to receive of tithes and offerings?


O God,
         our offerings proclaim that work
         and worship are one,
         that life is undivided.
Use these gifts for your church's ministries
         of reconciliation, service, and mercy. AMEN

Hymnal #749, by Anne Neufeld Rupp,
from Prayers for Corporate Worship,
© 1981 Faith & Life Press/Mennonite Publishing House.

Pastoral Prayer

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



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

International Lesson
Commentary by
Richard Hughes
(posted on Saturday)

International Lesson
Commentary by
Edwin Elliott


©2003 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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