WE HAVE PAUSED CORPORATE WORSHIP DUE TO COVID-19. RETURN DATE TBD.
First Christian Church, Grand Junction – Praising God, Changing Lives!

December 13, 2020 At-Home Worship Plan

3rd Sunday of Advent 2020
At-Home Worship Plan
First Christian Church, Grand Junction
December 13, 2020

PREPARATION

  • Communion Elements
  • Your At-Home Worship Space Advent Decorations (from the Hanging of the Greens Service) – Most importantly, have some kind of candle, so you can light a candle during the Advent Wreath Candle Lighting
  • 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.

ORDER OF WORSHIP

Advent & Christmas Carols

(You can look up the lyrics/music in a hymnal or on hymnary.org…or watch the playlist on our YouTube channel or website.)

  • “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” #119
  • “Once in Royal David’s City” #165

Invocation

God of Advent, as we continue our preparations for Christmas in worship, adorn our hearts and minds with your love and peace.  Help us to focus with joy on the true meaning of Christmas; help us to experience and accept Jesus as our deliverer.  May the hope, peace, and joy of this season clothe us in your bountiful grace and love as we witness to the world your gift of salvation through the birth of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, 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.

Advent Wreath Candle Lighting

(To watch a video of today’s Advent Candle Reading & Lighting, follow this link:   https://youtu.be/23t0_4l4WaU.  The video can be accessed from the First Christian Church Grand Junction YouTube Channel.)

Today’s ancestor of Jesus is David and our symbol is a Star of David.

Scripture: 1 Samuel 16:11-13a

Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.

Devotion: As we read the life of David, we realize he was a man after God’s own Heart. His sins are spelled out in letters as large as his virtues. The striking difference, however, is the attitude of David. When confronted with his sin, he repented. The forgiveness of David is a reminder to us that we can find forgiveness and mercy at the hands of God. David also established the royal family to which Jesus would be born. This fulfilled the prophecy that the Savior of Israel must be of royal blood.

Light the pink Candle (or a candle/third candle of your home Advent wreath set-up)

Prayer: God, our King, You gave David a heart of repentance. You helped him bring your people to great heights of national prosperity. Yet even this mighty king must bow before the cradle of King Jesus. Christ’s kingdom reaches to all nations and knows no end. We too, in our prosperity, bow before King Jesus, in hopeful expectation of the day when every knee shall bow to Him, declaring Him Lord of all. Teach us to live now in the reality of that hope, spreading Your good news to all people. Amen. 

Anthem – “This Gift” by Point of Grace

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXNvdWVLe2A

MorningPrayer

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

God of Advent,

We await the coming of your Son.

We anticipate our celebration of his first coming, and we anticipate his future coming.

As we wait, fill our hearts with the joy of Christmas.  Fill our hearts with the warm knowledge of your love.  Grant that we will come to know your love by each experience of joy we have this Advent season, experiences like those mentioned in this service of worship.  And grant that by each experience we will respond to you with hearts and voices and lives of thankful praise.

Even as we give thanks for the joys you make possible, we know there are people who struggle to find joys you make possible – even the joys of Advent and Christmas, 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;
  • All who struggle to experience the joy of this season;
  • 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 of Advent anticipation and Christmas joy, help us now, in this moment, help us always, to accept Jesus as our deliverer from the ways of sin…that we might live each moment anew in Christ and spend our lives following your way of love.

We pray, as we live, through Jesus whose birth we anticipate, and by the power of your Holy Spirit…Amen.

Scripture and Message (Sermon)

Read the scripture passages 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.

Invitation to Discipleship

Consider God’s invitation to you through the story of Josiah.  Somewhere in your life, you’ve got a metaphorical book or way of God that has been lost and can be found again in Christ.  During the Hymn of Invitation, consider how God is calling you to change something in your life to live more in accordance with the way of Christ.

Hymn of Invitation – “How Great Our Joy” #170

Offering

Invitation.  In the time of Josiah, before the finding of the book of the law, the king and the people of God supported the temple treasury with their offerings, but they did not support God and God’s ways with their offerings.

Take some time to consider the extent to which your decision to make an offering to God reflects a God-focus versus a focus on something else.  Seek God’s help in re-orienting your decision on God and God’s way.  Let’s be in the spirit of Christian giving.  

Response.  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.

Offering Prayer.  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.

Communion

Invitation to Communion:  

“When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes.” – 2 Kings 22:11

The ancient practice of tearing clothes is associated with mourning, grief, and loss.  I’ve even read that it’s associated with these things in the face of death.  I wonder: if Josiah was worried about death as a result of reading the book of the law, was he worried about his own death or some kind of “death” of the whole kingdom of God’s people?  The king, after all, was God’s representative to the people and the people’s representative to God.

I wonder sometimes if, when we approach the communion table, we shouldn’t be a little more focused on death with a sense of mourning, grief, and loss.  Shouldn’t we be mourning and grieving that Jesus had to die…because of our sins and our failure to change our sinful ways?  So often, we think of this table/meal as a celebration – “The Great Thanksgiving” it is called – but too often we forget the death that made it possible for us to celebrate.

I would suggest that on occasion, we should approach this meal the way Josiah approached his future after discovering the book of the law: out of a sense of mourning, grief, and loss.  Let’s prepare to partake of this holy meal.

Communion Hymn – “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” #124 

Prayer:  God who gave your Son that we might have life…bless this bread and cup, and help us by our partaking of these elements to remember and know your love for us.  Help us to know and remember out of a sense of grief and loss that will compel us to change everything…so that such a sacrifice will not be required again.  I pray these things in the name of Jesus and by the power of your Holy Spirit, Amen.

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.”

Partake of the bread and cup in your own time.

Closing Song

“Come, O Long Expected Jesus” #125

Closing Prayer/Benediction

Go now as the people of God,
Removing your focus from things of this world,
And renewing your focus on God, on Christ.
Go in the name of Jesus
And by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
Amen.