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

September 13, 2020 At-Home Worship Plan

24th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2020
At-Home Worship Plan
First Christian Church, Grand Junction
September 13, 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)

  • “Gather Us In” #683


God of Relationship, God of Steadfast Love

Out of your love for people, you continue to work with us, continue to relate with us, continue to persuade us, even when we turn away from you or against you.   Help us, O God, to experience your steadfast love during this worshipful encounter with you.  Grant that we might be transformed by your steadfast love and offer of continued engagement to extend a similar offer to others.   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 Gathering, in gratitude and great joy we thank and praise you for your continued work to pursue and gather into your kingdom all people, including the lost and forsaken, even those who seem to be working against your great desires for all people.  We thank and praise you for continuing to engage us, continuing to work with us, even when we turn away.  Help us, O God, to experience the transformation that results from your continued engagement with a sinful world, the transformation into a kingdom that is so much better than what people seek to make of the world. Strengthen us to follow your example and to offer out of steadfast love continued engagement to the people in our midst we feel are working to make this world worse instead of better.  Grant that we and the whole world might be changed through the transforming power of steadfast love. 

As we celebrate your offer of steadfast love, steadfast love that makes so many joys in life possible, help us each time we experience joy to seek and discover how our joy is the result of your love and your offer of continued engagement with us, with the world.  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 ceaselessly engages with a sinful world, grant us the strength to live by your example of steadfast love, that the world might transform into a place that more resembles your kingdom than it resembles a world so much in need.

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 –  “Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor’…”  I am in awe pretty much every time I read of the response of most people to Jesus, most people to encounters with God’s power in the scriptures.  So many times, the response of people was to stop doing whatever ELSE they were doing and to start continuing the work of Jesus’ ministry.  Somehow Jesus’ ministry and other encounters with God were THAT powerful.  I think that’s what’s supposed to happen every time we worship.  Every time we get to this moment in the service, I imagine God desiring that we stand up and shout something like, “Ok. I’m going to give half my possessions to help other people!!!”  Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do when we encounter God?  As we approach this time of Christian sharing, please take a few moments and chat with God and ask God how God desires that we – you – respond to this encounter with God.
  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:  “For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”  That’s why we’re here, right?  That’s why we gather around this table – to remember that the Son of Men came to seek out and save the lost.  I suppose seeking out, alone, would have been a good thing, but it certainly wouldn’t have been the same. Can you imagine if Jesus would have JUST had dinner with people like Zacchaeus but never offered them the opportunity to change, the opportunity to get back into right relationship with God?  Can you imagine if that’s what Jesus had done for you, for us?  But that’s not what happened…and it’s why we gather around THIS table every Sunday…to remember that God did MORE through Jesus.  God offered continued engagement, even salvation, to sinners like us.  Let’s prepare to celebrate around the communion table. 
  2. Communion Hymn – “All Who Hunger, Gather Gladly” #419
  3. Prayer – God who calls us to follow Jesus’ example of offering continued engagement with those who disagree with us, those who we believe seek to make the world a worse place, even those who disagree with you and your great desires for the world,  strengthen us each time we partake of this bread and cup to follow Jesus’ example of offering continuing engagement and relationship to all.  Strengthen us to follow Jesus’ example symbolized in these elements that represent Jesus’ body and blood, these elements through which Jesus continues His relationship with US each and every week…whether we’ve been living out of agreement with Jesus or not.  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

“When, in Awe of God’s Creation” #688

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 follow God’s example,
Of offering continued relational engagement with all,
Those with whom you agree AND those with whom you disagree.