08.24.14 Worship Confessional

schoolhgouseThis morning we took time in our gathering to pray for all those who are involved in vocations in the field of education: students, teachers, along with administrative and supportive staff. Many in our faith community spent significant amounts of time and energy in this space and we believe that God is active in this realm and members of our community are promoting the common good and bringing the kingdom near through their endeavors.

This is the liturgy we used today:

It’s time to go back to school. Some of our students are a few days in already. A few of our students moved out to college this week. A lot of you will start classes tomorrow. And some in our community are teachers, administrators, and support staff at schools and colleges in our area. We wanted to take some time this morning to cover you all in prayer as you begin the new academic year.

God gave us the ability to learn, to study, and to grow. Education is a holy enterprise, an incredible opportunity to love the Lord our God with all our minds. As we learn about the world God created, by studying physics, spelling, biology, math, psychology, dance, softball, we are learning to delight in the God who made it all. We’re going to take some time now to pray for all our students, teachers, and administrators, and send you to school with blessing.

How many kids do we have here this morning? Stand up if you’re going to preschool or elementary school this year.

And how many middle schoolers? Stand up, please.
If you’re in high school, stand up.
If you’re in college, stand up.
If you’re pursuing a post-graduate degree, stand up.

These are our students. Let’s pray for them.

God, we thank you for the gift of curiosity, and the opportunity and ability to learn. Thank you for the chance to attend school to learn about the world you have made. We know that so many people around the world are never given the chance. Help us to be grateful. Help us to pay attention, to study hard, and to learn to love the things that you love. Go with us into the classrooms, onto the playground, and into the laboratories. Be with us as we learn multiplication tables, take spelling tests, solve equations, and do research. Enlighten us, and help us to take what we’ve learned and use it to help build your Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. We dedicate our learning to you. Amen.

Will all our teachers, administrators, and support staff, please stand up?

Let’s pray for them.

God, thank you for each of these men and women, and for the gifts you have given each of them to teach and equip our students. As they plan lessons, manage budgets, and prepare classrooms this year, guide and protect them. Give them wisdom, give them courage, and give them patience. Sometimes they don’t get to see the fruit of their labors, so I ask that you show them that they are making a difference. Give them passion and love for their students, for their subjects, and for you. In your name we pray, Amen.

Finally, please join me in praying this prayer for all the schools.

O Eternal God, bless all schools, colleges, and universities, that they may be lively centers for sound learning, new discovery, and the pursuit of wisdom; and grant that those who teach and those who learn may find you to be the source of all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

How do you affirm and pray for people in their various vocations? 

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • Your Grace Is Enough (Matt Maher)
  • As It Is in Heaven (Matt Maher)
  • The Lord’s Prayer
  • A Liturgy for the Educational Dimension
  • Christ Be All Around Me (Leeland)
  • Announcements and Offering
  • The Apostles Creed
  • This We Believe (Hillsong)
  • Message (The Forgiveness of Sins)
  • The Sacrament of Communion
  • You Alone Can Rescue (Matt Redman)

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

My book, “A Movable Feast: Worship for the Other Six Days” is now available at Amazon and from Hearts and Minds Bookstores.

Stay connected…

08.17.14 Worship Confessional

comm_of_saints1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Yesterday we continued our series, “We Believe” by exploring the phrase, “the communion of saints.” These important words remind us that we are connected with all of God’s people from the past, present and future and that our participation in the santorum communio comes through the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ.

Here are some reflection questions from our worship gathering:

  • What comes to your mind when you hear the word “saint?” Do you consider yourself to be a “saint?” Why or why not?
  • Hebrews 12:1-3 mentions a great cloud of witnesses: who makes up the cloud of witnesses that surrounds your life of faith? What faithful people from the past have made an impact upon your faith? Who are the current saints that are walking alongside you in your spiritual journey? And how might your current relationships influence the future shape of the “communion of saints?”

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • O This God (Matt Redman)
  • Mighty Fortress (Aaron Shust)
  • Rock of Ages (Paul Baloche)
  • The Prayer of St Patrick
  • Christ be All Around Me (Leeland/All Sons and Daughters)
  • Announcements and Offering
  • Message (The Communion of Saints)
  • Reprise: Christ Be All Around Me

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

08.10.14 Worship Confessional

636x460design_01Yesterday in worship was an inter-generational WE event called “Through the Waters.” During our gathering we explored the Exodus story of God rescuing the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Through a mini Seder meal, a creative retelling of the Exodus story, a time of conversation and reflection and a trust building experience, we learned that God is a God who is faithful to His promises.

What is your favorite promise from God?

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • Your Grace Is Enough (Matt Maher)
  • O This God (Matt Redman)
  • How Great Is Our God (Chris Tomlin)
  • WE Experience
  • Whom Shall I Fear (Chris Tomlin)
  • Closing Prayer

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

Stay connected…

07.27.14 Worship Confessional

SpiritThis morning as we continued our series, “We Believe,” we explored the person and work of the Holy Spirit, focusing on these three dimensions:

  • The Personality of the Spirit
  • The Presence of the Spirit
  • The Power of the Spirit

I appreciate Dale Bruner’s work on the Holy Spirit and in his book, The Holy Spirit: The Shy Member of the Trinity, Bruner writes: “One of the most surprising discoveries in my own study of the doctrine and the experience of the Spirit in the New Testament is what I can only call “the shyness of the Holy Spirit.” What I mean here is not the shyness of timidity (Paul, in II Timothy 1:7 calls it “the spirit of power”), but the spirit of deference…the spirit of a concentrated attention on another. It is not the shyness which we often experience of self-centeredness, but the shyness of other-centeredness. In a word, the shyness of love.”

Speaking of the presence of the Spirit, Jesus said this to his disciples:

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:15-18)

And regarding the power of the Spirit, NT Wright declares:

“The point of the Holy Spirit is to enable those who follow Jesus to take into all the world the news that he is Lord, that he has won the victory over the forces of evil, that a new world has opened up and that we are to help make it happen.”

In light of these dynamics here are two questions to consider:

  1. How does knowing you are not alone (divine and human partners) change your mission to share the Kingdom in word and deed?
  2. What are some areas where you need to be encouraged to speak or act?

Here is our complete worship flow:

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

Stay connected…

07.20.14 Worship Confessional

Apostles-Creed-Banner1For Jesus fought and conquered and through obedience doing away with disobedience completely: for he bound the strong man, and set free the weak, and endowed his own handiwork with salvation, by destroying sin. (Irenaeus)

Yesterday, we continued our series, “We Believe,” by looking at the work of Jesus. The creed, capturing the spirit of Ephesians 4: 9-10, gives witness first to the descent of Jesus:

  • He suffered under Pontius Pilate
  • Was crucified, died and was buried
  • He descended into hell

And then boldly proclaims the ascent of Christ:

  • On the third day He rose again from the dead
  • He ascended into heaven
  • Sits at the right hand of God the Father
  • And judges the Living and the Dead

As you consider the work of Jesus, here are two questions to reflect upon:

  1. In what ways and places do you long to see the powers of evil overcome, both personally and globally?
  2. What are the comforts and challenges from realizing that our judge is also our redeemer’?

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • Beautiful Jesus (Kristian Stanfill)
  • Mighty to Save (Hillsong)
  • The Apostles Creed
  • This We Believe (Hillsong)
  • Interview with Audrey
  • Announcements and Offering
  • Message (We Believe in Jesus)
  • Jesus, Messiah (Chris Tomlin)
  • Benediction

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

Stay connected.