10.19.14 Worship Confessional

moreless Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:3-6)

This morning we continued our series, More and Less by exploring the sacrament of baptism. While the Apostle Paul wrote to the early church that there is “one Lord, one faith and one baptism,” the sad reality is that throughout church history, rather than unifying the Body of Christ, the sacrament of baptism might instead be called, “the waters that divide.”

Allow me to make mention of two elements of our worship gathering. The first is a new song from Chris Tomlin, Rebuen Morgan and Ben Glover called “Jesus Loves Me.” This is a potent and highly personal song of affirmation and you can learn more about the backstory of the song and enjoy an acoustic performance at New Song Cafe.

The second element was a brief liturgy designed to help our community remember their baptisms and be thankful. In crafting this liturgy, I drew from a number of sources and our goal was to help our community experience afresh in a tangible way, the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

What do the words, “remember your baptism and be thankful” stir within you?

Here is the liturgy:

Remembering Our Baptism
Leader: We are taught that in baptism we are welcomed into the family and household of God, raised to new life in Christ and nurtured in the Holy Spirit.  In response to the call of Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit, many of you have given yourself to God through profession of faith and baptism. We share in the story of God’s mighty acts of salvation, and we receive new birth through water and the Spirit. These are the gifts of God, offered freely to all. Let us renew the covenant declared at our baptism, acknowledging what God is doing in, through, and for us, and affirming our commitment to Christ’s holy Church.

All: Holy God, we thank you for the gift of water. Over it your Spirit hovered at the creation of the world. Through it you led the children of Israel out of bondage and into the Promised Land. In the fullness of time you sent Jesus, who was nurtured in the water of Mary’s womb. And in it, Jesus was baptized and recognized as your beloved child.

Leader: We thank you for the water of Baptism. In it we are buried, sharing in Christ’s death. By it we share also in Christ’s resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the power of the Holy Spirit as your sons and daughters. Now bless this water, we pray, by the power of your Holy Spirit. May it remind us that we have been cleansed from sin and born again into new life, that we may remain faithful until we are united with you in the life to come. Amen.

I invite you join in the renewal of your baptismal vows.

Do you in the presence of God and this community of faith desire to renew the promises, which you made or were made for you at your baptism? (I do).

Do you renounce evil and seek to walk in the life of faith as a person who trusts in God alone for life, strength and salvation? (I do).

Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Savior of the world; and do you declare him Lord of your life? (I do).

Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ? (I will, with God’s help).

Will you see and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? (I will, with God’s help).

All: We come out of many traditions. We have confessed many understandings of baptism: sacrament, symbol, sign. Some of us were baptized before we remembe r.Others only later when we said, “I believe.” Whether immersed, poured upon or sprinkled, it is your action, gracious God, which defines our baptism. Having put off the old nature, we have been clothed with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female. For we all are one in Christ Jesus – your sons and daughters through faith, heirs to the promise. Old things have passed away. Behold, you make all things new.

Leader: This rite is an ancient way to recall for us of the gracious act of God by which we enter into Christ, are raised to walk in newness of life, and become a part of God’s family.  During this song, you are invited to come to one of the stations at each side of the church to touch the water, remember your baptism and be thankful.

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • Our Great God (Fernado Ortega)
  • Psalm 62
  • Salvation IS Here (Hillsong)
  • You Alone Can Rescue (Matt Redman)
  • Unison Prayer of Thanksgiving
  • Announcements and Offering
  • Message (More and Less: Baptism)
  • Remembering our Baptism
  • Jesus Loves Me (Chris Tomlin)
  • Benediction

You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this weekend in worship at The Worship Community.

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10.12.14 Worshp Confessional

morelessGrace received that is not recognized as such, is not grace at all. And grace received that does not recognize the need to be gracious to others misses the point of the truth completely. (Gordon Fee)

Yesterday we continued our series, “More and Less” by exploring the teaching of Paul around communion in 1 Corinthians 11. This is a challenging text especially these verses:

Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 11:28-30)

What does it mean to rightly discern the body of Christ and avoid eating and drinking judgement upon oneself?

I suggested two meanings. One, we need to rightly understanding the depth of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. Coming to the table of the Lord is no casual matter. And two, we must rightly understand the body of Christ, the new community of men and women, boys and girls that the Spirit has formed. There is no place for prideful and self-centered attitudes that can separate that which God has brought together.

Regarding your liturgy and worship flow: always be ready to make the right change. Moments before sound check, as I was scrolling through Facebook I found a beautiful and fitting benediction that was posted by Diana Butler Bass. Her words brought our gathering to a strong conclusion and sent us out into God’s world challenged and empowered.

Go therefore into the streets.
Invite everyone to the Feast.
Prepare yourself as well
to sit with those who shock and surprise you.
You many find yourself rendered speechless by who shows up.
Do not exclude yourself from God’s table, and
Remember that you are both herald of an invitation and a welcome guest.

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • Hallelujah: Your Love Is Amazing (Brenton Brown)
  • Our God Is Mercy (Brenton Brown)
  • Your Grace Is Enough (Matt Maher)
  • Reading from 1 John 1:5-2:2
  • He Is Given (Bifrost Arts)
  • Prayer for the Lantz Family
  • Announcements and Offering
  • Message (Discerning the Body of Christ)
  • Remembrance (Maher and Redman)
  • Communion
  • Reprise: Our God Is Mercy

You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this past weekend in worship at The Worship Community.

Stay connected…

10.05.14 Worship Confessional

morelessHave you ever wondered what really happens when we eat the break and drink the cup? Have you ever wondered what really happens when we sprinkle, pour or immerse someone in the water of baptism?

This morning we began a new teaching series exploring the sacramental life called, “More and Less.” We lifted the series theme from a statement made by author and priest Ian Morgan Cron, who said that “the sacraments are more than symbol and less than magic.”

During my message I reviewed the various understandings of the sacrament of communion, based upon different readings of  Jesus’s words, “This is my body, this is my blood.” I briefly walked our community through transubstantiation, consubstantiation, mysterious change, real presence, spiritual presence, spiritual receptionism and memorialism.

What do you believe happens when you eat the bread and drink the cup?

As well, today was World Communion Sunday. This is one of my favorite liturgies of the year and we try to incorporate some global themes into our gathering. This morning we used the following call to worship, build around Ephesians 4 and we had two people, speaking in Spanish and Italian.

Leader: Today is World Communion Sunday, a day marked by churches across the globe to celebrate our unity in Christ. The people of God around the world will take their place at the table, feasting on the body and blood of Christ, declaring our oneness. In light of this celebration, listen afresh to the words of the Apostle Paul to the church in Ephesus:

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:3-6)

Readings of Ephesians 4 in Spanish and Italian

Leader: We are all one family.
All: We are all one family, made in the image of God, redeemed by Christ Jesus and united in the Spirit.
Leader: Somos todos una familia , hecha a imagen de Dios, redimido por Cristo Jesús y unidos en el Espíritu .
Leader: Siamo tutti una sola famiglia , fatto a immagine di Dio , redento da Cristo Gesù e uniti nello Spirito .
All: We are all one family, united in faith, united in hope, united in love through Jesus Christ our Lord; Amen.
Song – Our Great God

Did your faith community celebrate World Communion Sunday? How did you integrate a global theme into your gathering?

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • Hear the Sound (All Sons and Daughters)
  • Salvation Is Here (Hillsongs)
  • World Communion Call to Worship
  • Our Great God (Fernando Ortega)
  • Announcements and Offering
  • Message (More and Less)
  • The Sacrament of Communion
  • He Is Given (Bifrost Arts)
  • Instruments of Peace (Stefan Von Voorst)

You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this weekend in worship at The Worship Community.

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09.28.14 Worship Confessional

image001Where there is no guidance the people fail, but in an abundance of counselors, there is safety.” (Proverbs 14:11)

Yesterday as we concluded our series, “Partners in the Gospel,” I shared some of the wisdom that I have gleaned from our ministry partnerships. During the summer I asked our partners what makes for a faithful and fruitful partnership. The Wordle (to the left) contains some of the key words and ideas that they shared with me.

What do you think are the key characteristics of a faithful and fruitful partnership? How do you live out these characteristics in the places you live, learn, work, serve and play?

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • God of Brilliant Lights (Aaron Shust)
  • Build Your Kingdom Here (Rend Collective)
  • Breath Prayers
  • Broken Vessels/Amazing Grace (Hillsong)
  • How He Loves (John Mark McMillian)
  • Announcements and Offering
  • Message (The Wisdom of Partnerships)
  • Yahweh (U2)

You can learn what other communities of faith experienced in worship this past weekend at The Worship Community.

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09.21.14 Worship Confessional

javanyar.blogfa.com(45)“It is not good.” Those words were spoken for the very first time, in the beginning of the story when God deemed that it not good for Adam to be alone.  And with the creation of Eve, human community was birthed and since that moment, humanity has been invited by God to join together with God and one another in the work of building for the kingdom as well as witnessing to God’s glory and goodness.

Where in the world is God inviting you to partner with others in the work of the kingdom?
Who are you coming alongside to witness to God’s goodness and glory?

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • God of Brilliant Lights (Aaron Shust)
  • This Is Amazing Grace (Wickham and Riddle)
  • Your Love Never Fails (Jesus Culture)
  • Lamentations 3:22-23
  • Responsive Prayers of Confession
  • Broken Vessels/Amazing Grace (Hillsong)
  • Announcements and Offering
  • Message (Partnership in Real Time)
  • Broken Vessels/Amazing Grace

You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this past weekend in worship at The Worship Community.

Stay connected…