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

November 15, 2020 At-Home Worship Plan

33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time 2020
At-Home Worship Plan
First Christian Church, Grand Junction
November 15, 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)

  • “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing” #5


God of life,

Out of your great love for people, you sent us your Son, a Messiah, a Savior, to offer a better way than the ways we have chosen, the ways we choose.   You sent your Son to show us the way into your amazing kingdom, the way of life.  As we worship you this day, as we celebrate and revel in your goodness and grace, grant that we will become strengthened by our encounter with you to choose your way of life over any other way, that we will listen to and focus on your will and desires instead of allowing our focus on any earthly thing – even a thing so dear as our family – to inhibit our focus on you.  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.

Anthem – “Let the Wall Fall Down” by Praise Band 4


Morning Prayer

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

God whose Kingdom is better than anything and everything else, God whose kingdom – and whose way – is better than any other way, in gratitude and great joy we thank and praise you for your continued work to transform this world into your kingdom here on earth.  We thank you for offering us the opportunity to choose and experience life over death.  We thank and praise you for giving us a great big family of faith with whom we can share this experience and this journey of life.

As we celebrate the life you offer, the life you offer eternally and the life you offer here and now, help us to remember the joys made possible by your decision to offer us the way of life, the way of Spirit.  And help us, each time we experience joy to seek and discover how our joy is the result of your offer.  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 of grace, help us now, in this moment, help us always, to turn away from the trees that distract us from your purpose for us, help us to turn away from trees that feel so important that we cling to them instead of living into your will, that we might celebrate and be transformed by the way of life, the way of loving purpose, you offer through Jesus.  Help us to accept and enjoy all that you offer.

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 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.  Jesus didn’t command us to re-imagine family so that we would despair or find an increased burden during this journey of life.  No, Jesus commanded us to re-imagine family for our benefit, our benefit individually, our benefit communally as Church, and our benefit globally.

One of the things family does is pool resources together.  A family can do so much more together than the individual members of the family can do apart; that’s one of the amazing blessings of family.  The same thing that is true of our biological families is also true of the Family of God.  When we pool our resources, we can do more good for the world.  When we pool our resources, we can better usher in God’s kingdom here on earth and live into our purpose.

I encourage you now and always to consider how God is calling you to include your resources in the pool that will be used to continue Jesus’ earthly ministry.

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.


Invitation to Communion:  Did you notice how our scripture reading began?  Jesus’ biological family wanted to talk to Jesus, seemingly even sent a messenger to relay this reality to Jesus.  And what did Jesus do?  He used the opportunity as a teaching moment to the larger crowd of people that had assembled.

Jesus’ words weren’t the only way Jesus prioritized Church over his biological family; his actions did the same.  As far as we know, Jesus never went outside to talk to his mother and brothers.  Doesn’t sound like Jesus provided such a good example in that instance, does it?

I suppose it only doesn’t sound like Jesus provided such a good example when we think in terms of our worldly ways that prioritize biological family above the crowd.  But Jesus’ whole ministry was like this, doing things that don’t make much sense to our worldly ways.

This communion meal provides another example.  We likely wonder why Jesus didn’t prevent his death.  When faced with a similar opportunity to sacrifice ourselves for others, we would likely imagine all the ways God could use us if we found a way to stay alive.  But this meal reminds of of the same kind of thing Jesus’ words remind us of in today’s reading: God’s ways are different from our ways!

Every time you gather at this table to eat this meal, I encourage you to consider the ways God calls us through Jesus to live differently than you have come to imagine and expect is good or right.  Let God be your guide to goodness and rightness.

Communion Hymn – “Come, Share the Lord” #408 

Prayer:  God who calls us to choose you over all the things that distract us, God who calls us to live differently than those of the world live, God who even calls us to live by a definition of family that is very different from the one advocated for by the world around us:  bless this bread that is Jesus’ broken body, and bless the juice of the vine that is Jesus’ shed blood.  Through our encounter with the risen Christ in this meal, grant us the strength to eschew the ways of the world and live into your amazing ways.  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

“They’ll Know We Are Christians” #494

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 reimagine and redefine “family”
And enjoy all the blessings that result.