In-building corporate worship set to return on Sunday, Feb 14, 2021 @ 10:50am.
First Christian Church, Grand Junction – Praising God, Changing Lives!

January 24, 2021 At-Home Worship Plan

At-Home Worship Plan
First Christian Church, Grand Junction
January 24, 2021
Third Sunday After The Epiphany

PREPARATION

  • 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.

ORDER OF WORSHIP

Praise Song

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

  • “To God Be the Glory” #72

Invocation

God of Epiphany, God who made Jesus’ identity known to the magi and all the world, prepare our hearts and minds to encounter you and your unfailing love in this service of worship.  Strengthen us by this encounter that we might endure anything the world places before us.  We pray these things in the name of Jesus, 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.

Anthem –  “Rescue” by Lauren Daigle

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYR0xP1j4PY

MorningPrayer

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

God Who Created All Things,

We learn from the scriptures that you made everything we know, everything we hear, see, and touch.  We learn from scripture that you called your creation – especially people – good.  And we learn from scripture that you love us who have been made in your image, that you love and care for us in a way that will never end, never fail.

So grant us an awareness of your love that goes beyond mere head understanding.  Grant us an experience of your love that will remind us and awaken us to be thankful every moment of our lives, thankful for all you’ve done for us…including making possible the joys of life 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 joys you make possible – even the joy of Jesus’ wonderful identity made known –  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 has created us, breathed life into us, and loves us eternally, strengthen us by your love to live into your great desires for us and all the world…now and always.

We pray, as we live, through Jesus, whose identity we celebrate this season of Epiphany, 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

These are difficult and troubling times in which we live.  I can’t say they’re more difficult or troubling than any time past in your life; that determination is up to you.

But as the person whose occupation and vocation is dedicated to directing your attention to God, I can remind you of the biblical witness regarding times of trouble: cry out to God.  And don’t just stop with a simple cry; make every detail of your complaint known to God, and then ask: “God, is THIS truly what you desire?” Really, this week, do this.  Make a list of your concerns about the COVID pandemic, political stuff, financial and economic stuff, other health stuff, personal issues with which you struggle, and anything else.  Take your complaints to God, ask if this is what God really wants, and then…listen.  Take all the time required to listen and wait for God’s response.

Hymn of Invitation“Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” #517

Offering

Invitation The author of Lamentations 2 wrote, “How the Lord in his anger has humiliated daughter Zion!  He has thrown down from heaven to earth the splendor of Israel.”  I am fascinated by this notion of earthly splendor being “thrown down from heaven to earth”.  I suppose it could mean many things.  One possibility certainly concerns Israel’s heavenly reputation being shattered.  But another has to do with Israel’s material splendor.  Might Israel have been boasting of its worldly stuff, worldly status, only to discover (too late?) that those kinds of things don’t really matter in the big picture?

I wonder sometimes if the same isn’t true for us?  We work so hard to acquire and accumulate; we work so hard to have enough, with some of us having more than could possibly be spent in a lifetime.  How much do these acquisitions – our splendor – matter in the big picture?

Just like complaining to God can help you re-orient yourself toward God’s desires, giving of your material resources/stuff can help you re-orient yourself toward God’s desires.  Giving to/for God’s purposes helps you remember God’s purposes and even helps make God’s desires become a reality here on earth.  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:  If there’s a single act in the history of God’s relationship with people that should help us answer the question, “What does God desire?”, it is the act we remember in this meal.  When we remember Jesus giving his life for us, we remember God loves us enough to make us right with God, no matter what we’ve done and even if the cost is the life of Jesus (God’s son.)

As you partake of the elements today, consider what those elements reveal to you about God’s desires for you, for us, for all the world…even in the midst of COVID.

Communion Hymn  “How Firm A Foundation” #618

Prayer:  

God who demonstrated your great love for us in giving 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 in a way that will lead us to follow Jesus more closely, a way that will lead to changes in us and all the world.  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

“Go, My Children with My Blessing” #431

Closing Prayer/Benediction

Go now as the people of God,
Taking the pains and tragedies of this life directly to God,
And finding God’s true desires for you and all the world in the process.
Go in the name of Jesus
And by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
Amen.