First Christian Church, Grand Junction – Praising God, Changing Lives!

August 23, 2020 At-Home Worship Plan

21st Sunday of Ordinary Time 2020
At-Home Worship Plan
First Christian Church, Grand Junction
August 23, 2020


  • Communion Elements
  • A computer/tablet/phone for looking up the worshipful songs.  You could also use a hymnal and an instrument.
  • YOUTUBE Sermon and Hymns – A video of Pastor Brad preaching will be on the First Christian Church Youtube site.  Visit the First Christian Church Grand Junction Colorado YouTube Channel to find the playlists for the sermon and the hymns for the day.  The playlists of the videos for each are also accessible from our website.


Song of Praise

(You can look up the lyrics/music in a hymnal or on hymnary.org)

  • “To God be the Glory” #72


God of Transformation, God of New Life,

Out of your love for people, you call us to change, to transform into something better, into something wonderful.  Strengthen us as we worship you to attune our hearts, minds, and wills to your own, that we might open ourselves in this encounter to all you offer us, to all you call us to become.   We pray this in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray…

Our Father, who 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 we forgive our debtors.
Lead us, not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
And the power, and the glory
Forever.  Amen.

Morning Prayer

(Share joys and concerns, then have someone pray the following prayer or one of your own.)

O God of vision, in gratitude and great joy we thank and praise you for your good desires for all people, for your desire the world to transform into a place of love, into your kingdom.  Help us to live each day out of a sense of your love for us and in response to your desires for us; help us to live each day as transformed beings who share your love with all people and who do all we can to participate in Jesus’ ministry of ushering your kingdom into this place.

As we celebrate your love that is the source of our love, help us each time we experience joy in life, to seek and discover how our joy is the result of your love and your ongoing transformation of this world into your kingdom.  Help us each time we experience joys like those mentioned in this service of worship.

Even as we give thanks for the joys you make possible, we know there are people who struggle to find joy, people who struggle to know your work and your love for us, and so we ask also for your strength to entrust the needs of this world and its inhabitants to you.  We entrust to your care this day:

  • All who are on our congregation’s prayer list, and all who have been mentioned by name in our worship;
  • All who suffer from abuse or oppression;
  • All who struggle with anxiety or distress;
  • All who suffer from lack of food, water, shelter, or loving relationships;
  • All who suffer from injury or illness;
  • All who mourn or grieve;
  • All who struggle with quarantines and lockdowns, as well as those whose bodies are being ravaged by COVID-19;
  • All who struggle in their efforts to follow Jesus;
  • All who fear the power of your outpoured Spirit;
  • All who refuse to seek you;
  • For all who have need but who go unnamed;

For all who have need of your intervention, O God, grant them what you know they need; respond to these prayers in the way you see as being best, the way that will turn shouts of pain and suffering into shouts of joy, the way that will bring glory to your name.

God who constantly calls to us to become something better, to participate in something better, strengthen us daily to share your transforming love with all the world.

We pray, as we live, through Jesus the risen one, and in the power of the Holy Spirit…Amen.

Scripture and Message (Sermon)

Read the scripture passage from pastor Brad’s sermon and then read, listen to, or watch (on YouTube) the sermon.  The text and audio of the sermon – as well as a video – can be found on our congregation’s website at gjdisciples.org under the “Sermons” tab.


    1. Invitation –  “I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love.”  Wouldn’t it be amazing to hear other people say this about us, FCCGJ?  Wouldn’t it be amazing!  Wouldn’t it be amazing to hear people who look nothing like us, act nothing like us, believe nothing like us, say these words about US?  Amazingly, making this so is within OUR power much more so than it is within the power of these other people.  I’m quite certain it won’t be EVERYONE who says these things about us – even if we get this following Jesus thing right – but I AM certain we could begin very soon to hear MOST people in our midst say such things…if only, if ONLY, we would begin to follow Jesus by truly loving our neighbors as ourselves.  And this loving our neighbor as ourselves thing – even loving our enemies as ourselves, it starts very simply; it starts very simply by our INTENTIONAL taking whatever we have and placing it in the hands of God, in service to God and God’s desires, instead of in service to ourselves.  Let’s be in the Spirit of Christian giving.
    1. If you feel called to respond by making a monetary gift to continue God’s work through FCCGJ, you can do so right now in one of three ways:
      1. Write a check to First Christian Church and mail it to FCCGJ, 1326 N. 1st Street, Grand Junction, CO 81501.
      2. On your cellphone, text GIVE2FCCGJ (plus the dollar amount you want to give) to 73256.  For example, if you want to offer $50, text GIVE2FCCGJ $50 to 73256.
      3. Via the internet on your computer, go to our congregation’s website at gjdisciples.org, click “online giving” on the top menu bar, and then click on the link under the second bullet point to make an online contribution.
    2. Say a prayer asking for God’s blessing upon whatever gift/commitment you made to God, as well as all the other commitments Jesus’ followers are making this morning.


    1. Invitation to Communion:  Paul COULD have commanded Philemon.  I sure know I’D be compelled to command Philemon.  But Paul chose to follow the example of love, the example of persuasion over coercion, the example of Christ.  Do you ever want to coerce someone instead of persuading?  When I feel like that, I get more than a little annoyed with this Christianity thing; sometimes Christianity compels me to act against my instincts and upbringing; and yet, there Paul was,  reminding us of what Jesus did for all of us – who were all sinners when Jesus gave his life for us.  Consider how God’s message through Paul calls you to live and love out of what you encounter at this table as we prepare to partake of this Communion meal. 
    2. Communion Hymn – “Let Us Break Bread Together” #425 
    3. Prayer – God who calls us to follow Paul’s example of loving even those who would commit so heinous a sin as practicing slavery, I ask you to remind us each time we partake of this bread and cup to remember and follow Jesus’ example of selflessly loving all, even those who still sin, even those who are as of now unrepentant.  Help us to remember, also, that Jesus’ love continues to extend to us now and strengthens us to love others.  I pray these things in the name of Jesus and by the power of your Holy Spirit, Amen.
    4.  Words of Institution:  We remember that on the night Jesus was to be betrayed, he sat around a table with his disciples and shared a meal.  While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and, after giving thanks, broke it and gave it to them, saying, “Take, eat.  This is my body, broken for you.”  In the same way, Jesus took a cup, and after blessing it, said, “This is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  Do this in remembrance of me.”
    5. Partake of the bread and cup in your own time.

Closing Song

“Let There Be Peace on Earth” #677

Closing Prayer/Benediction

Go now as the people of God,
Empowered by the Holy Spirit
And given peace by God’s risen Son,
That you may live out of gracious love
For all people, pursuing change with an attitude,
a posture, of love instead of a posture of hate or anger or anything else!