Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
November 14, 2004
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am

      "Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love."
                             (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Call to Worship

*Hymn                                  "O worship the King"                                       66

*Opening Prayer

  Scripture                                       Psalm 98

  Celebrating and Renewing Baptismal Vows

  Congregation Anthem                                      (a 2-part poem by Anna Barbauld)

"Praise to God, immortal praise"   91
vs. 1&2 - all       
vs. 3 - left side   
vs. 4 - right side
vs. 5 - all             
"Lord, should rising whirlwinds"    92
vs. 6 - all           
vs. 7 - men        
vs. 8 - women  
vs. 9 - all            

                                         (Pre-schoolers then leave for playful worship)

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

  Pastoral Prayer

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings


  Scripture                                   Luke 21:5-19

  Message                              "Faith under fire"

*Hymn                                "How firm a foundation"                                   567


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship
Malachi 4:1-2

One: "Behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all
               the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble

 All: "the day that comes shall burn them up, says the LORD of
               hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.

One: "But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness
               shall rise, with healing in its wings.

 All: "You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall."

One: Come to the Lord this day, not with arrogance, but Awe, that
               we may rise with the Son, by whose stripes we are healed.

 All: We come, O Lord. Help us to worship with anticipation,
               eager to go forth with you.

Opening Prayer

         We praise you, our sovereign "king," greater than any earthly ruler, and our "shield and defender" in times of trouble. As we have just sung, you are our "maker," our "redeemer," and even our "friend" in Christ Jesus. We may not fully grasp what it means for you to be "pavilioned in splendor," or what your "chariots of wrath" are all about. We just trust in your "tender" and "firm" "mercy," your tough love which helps those who are addicted to sin (namely us) to admit weíve got problems, to take responsibility for our own actions, and to reach out to our higher power (namely you). So, bless this time of worship with your Spiritís presence. In your name, Amen.

Celebrating and Renewing Baptismal Vows

         "Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things" (Psalm 98:10). Not all that long ago you, who stand here with me this morning, sang a new song to the Lord by joining your life with ours as we followed Jesus in our common walk. Your song may not have been accompanied by stringed instruments, trumpets, or horns (though at least one of you made our church organ come close). Likewise, your melody may not always have been in tune - depending upon your singing ability. Even so, your new song among us, ringing out through the years since you said "I do" and "I will," has been "a joyful noise to the Lord." And we have heard, and sung along. We are very thankful that God brought each of you to our fellowship.

         As we celebrate your presence among us, our focus is upon what the Lord has done, and continues to do in you. Itís a marvel to behold, really. Think over what has happened since you came here. 1960 is the furthest back any of you go in this church. Well, that was two years before this sanctuary was built. Aside from buildings, however, many of you have raised children here, and watched them grow. You have taken your turn in teaching, leading, following. Your hand is evident in this body of Christ, in ways large or small. And it is a marvel, but not because you are folks who never make a mistake. No, itís a marvel because God has been involved in it all.

         There have been glorious days here (havenít there?) when the Lordís presence has been unmistakable, "pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise," as we sang earlier. There have also been days when, as we also sang, Godís "path" has been "dark ... on the wings of the storm." Yes, "frail children of dust" could be our best description at times. Even so, our trust in "Godís mercies" which are "firm to the end" is why we really are here (quotes "O worship the King," #66). It is the Lord, you see, who makes a joyful noise through us.

         Now is a time to once again sing our new song to the Lord, to speak once again our "Yes!" to God. Let me ask the following questions that you may repeat your sounding joy.

         Do you still believe that Jesus is Godís Son. 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 freely live according to the example and teachings of Jesus? If so, say, "I will."

         Will you continue to be loyal to the church, upholding these people through your prayers and your presence, your substance and your service? If so, say, "I will."

         Praise God! If you are also responding with a pledge involving your time and talents, please place it in the offering when it is passed later on. As you return to your seats, lets turn to hymns # 91-92, and sing together a poem of praise. Weíve asked Ron Webb to lead us in making this joyful noise.


         _______ has been coming to church since last February, a young man befriended by the ______ and ______ families. This week he will begin a 6-week sentence in the Harford county jail, taking responsibility for something which happened last January under the influence of drugs - an addiction which began when he was a teenager. He has been in recovery since then, trying to pull his life together, which we want to support.

         At his sentencing, the judge recognized how far he has come, making allowances for him to be released during the day to continue working, and to attend his rehab program. "Nothing can take away what you have gained," the judge said. Hopefully, with good behavior, ___ will be released before Christmas, an appropriate time for a new beginning.

         His steps ahead after that are, first of all, to marry ______ in March. Then, in late April, he wants to be beside her when she gives birth to their child, whom we - I pray - will welcome as a blessed gift from God, as we also encourage these new parents-to-be. A big step ______ intends to make is then to be baptized. He is hungry for God.

         And the Lord is doing wonderful things in him. There is a "softness" within that ______ does not wish to lose as he "hardens" up to face his time in jail. You have to be hard behind bars or you get taken advantage of. That "soft" place within is the Lordís doing, something this young man wants to grow in him, as he learns more of God. He has asked for our prayers as he heads to jail, that God will protect him, helping him to be "hard" enough to survive, but not to lose what he has gained from the Lord. Do you understand what he is asking? Are you willing to support him (and ______, his fiancť) with your prayers and encouragement? If you feel so moved, come forward and join us as we anoint him with oil and prayer.

         _____, I/we anoint you for the forgiveness of your sin - that you may know, deep in your heart, the redeeming mercy of God and live out of that forgiveness with gratitude instead of guilt.

         I/we anoint you for the strengthening of your faith through this time in jail, that the good thing that God has been doing in you will not be taken away, that you will be tough enough to make it through, but tender enough to remain like clay in the hands of the potter who is your higher power.

         I/we anoint you for the healing process of recovery, that day by day you will step out by faith, according to Godís abundant grace and wisdom.

Letís pray:

         Lord God, thank you for the healing you have already wrought in this man. I recall his tears after worship which you made holy by your touch, moving him from sorrow over his situation toward that inner strength you provide through your Spirit. Thank you for his ability to take responsibility for his actions, without bitterness; as well as for the open door within him to his higher power - you - which will help him continue, day by day, to stay drug and alcohol free. We thank you for an employer who is willing to work with him through this, seeing in him potential, and for a judge who recognized the same.

         Like the first apostles, who were themselves no strangers to the inside of a jail, help our brother to - in his own way - be a blessing to those around him. Protect him from abuse. Help him to become tough yet remain tender, and prepare him for the day of his release, his exodus, his new beginning. Thank you for the relationship between _____ and ______. Continue preparing them for marriage, a decision they made before the news of pregnancy. Thank you for sisters and brothers who reached out and helped make this good news of great joy. Anoint this steps ahead, that they may hear and freely respond to your call upon their lives.

         May this oil also flow to others we know who also struggle with addiction.

         Now, receive the prayers of others, silent or spoken, who are gathered here in your presence....

         (once all have had opportunity who wish to pray aloud:) We pray together, now, the prayer Jesus taught us, saying, "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever. AMEN"

Pastoral Prayer


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


Returning our Tithes and Offerings

         The apostle Paul had some tough-love words to share with the believers in Thessalonika. Let me read them from an Australian translation of the Bible. Listen:

         "My dear friends, let me stand on the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and spell out what you should do: sever ties with any members of the church who are bludging off the rest of you, and not pulling their weight the way we taught you. We set the pace when we were with you, as you well know, so keep it up. We did not slack off and we didnít sponge off anyoneís hospitality. We worked our guts out and paid our own way so that we would not be a drain on you at all. This was not because we he had no fair claim on your support; we clearly did. But it was more important to us to set an example for you to follow. You remember the rule we all operated by when we were with you: If you donít work you donít eat. But now we are hearing reports that some of you have become bludgers who donít lift a finger unless itís to pry into someone elseís business. Well, since we all share in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, let me lay down the law to these people ó and you know who you are. Pull your finger out and put your shoulder to the wheel. Take your fair share of the workload without making a big deal of it and youíll have earned your keep. Brothers and sisters, donít ever run out of steam for doing what is right.
                               (2 Thessalonians 3: 6-13,
                                      ©2001 Nathan Nettleton,

         I guess weíve been told! Okay, letís do it. Ushers?


Go now and tell the world what God does.
Do not chase after self-proclaimed messiahs,
but draw deeply from Godís saving well
and speak the words the Spirit gives you.
Do not be weary in doing what is right.

And may God delight in you and give you strength;
May Christ Jesus lead you in the ways of new life;
And may the Holy Spirit give you the words and wisdom
to withstand all that would tear you down.

(©2001 Nathan Nettleton, www.laughingbird.net)


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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