At-Home Worship Plan
First Christian Church, Grand Junction
March 21, 2021
5th Sunday of Lent
- 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
(You can look up the lyrics/music in a hymnal or on hymnary.org…or watch the playlist on our YouTube channel or website.)
- “The God of Abraham Praise” #24
God of Lent, God who calls us to return from the wilderness of sin to your kingdom. Attune us to your heart and your desires as we worship, that this time in your presence will set the pattern for our living throughout the rest of the week. 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
Anthem – “Flawless” by MercyMe
(Share joys and concerns, then have someone pray the following prayer or one of your own.
- Josh Barton passed all the tests he needs to pass to move to the next phase of his training, which should take him to California.
- It looks like we will be able to have a Maundy Thursday worship service and an Easter Sunday worship service in the sanctuary…which did not happen last year due to COVID!
Concern: (from Suzanne Andrew) Our grand daughter, Peyton Andrew, is two years old. She has hip dysplasia in her left hip and will be having surgery the 22nd at Shriner’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. Peyton will be in a body cast for 8-12 weeks, during which they will have to put her under a second time to re-do the cast to allow for growth and continued healing. Peyton has a new brother just born in January, so this is going to be extremely hard for her and both of her parents. Please keep them all in your prayers.)
God Who Calls us Into a Closer Walk with You,
We learn from the scriptures of your great and steadfast love for us. We learn from the scriptures how much you desire the absolute best for us, in this lifetime and always. We remember during the season of Lent how you call us to turn away from all that separates us from you so that we might live into what you know is best.
So grant us an awareness of your love and your great desires. Grant us a renewed remembrance of the goodness that has resulted from each time we – and our spiritual ancestors – have lived into your desires instead of the desires of people. Grant each time we experience a joy in life – joys like those mentioned in this service of worship – that we might consider how you made each joy possible…so that we might choose in our joy to continue to turn away from the ways of the world and toward your ways.
Even as we give thanks for the joys you make possible, we know there are people who struggle to find joys you make possible 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 struggle or refuse to turn to you this Lenten 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 who calls us to return to you and to turn away from the ways of the world, the way of wrath, from acting out of anger and vengeance, grant us the strength we need to resist temptation and return from the wilderness of sin into your loving arms and loving ways this season of Lent and always.
We pray, as we live, through Jesus, who calls us out of the wilderness and back toward you, 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
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Can you imagine what would happen if we, Christians, lived out these words with every action and word of our lives? Can you imagine the amazing place this world would be if we responded to evil acts committed against us with acts of love…on behalf of those who have worked to hurt us? Can you imagine a world in which more than half the population does everything they can to build people up instead of tear people down, even to build up the people who we might think deserve to be torn down?
Y’all, this amazing place that might be difficult to imagine, it is what Jesus called “the kingdom of God”, and it’s a place Jesus calls us to live in every moment of our lives and usher in with every action of our lives. Will you live in and usher in this amazing place?
Hymn of Invitation – “If You Will Trust in God to Guide You” #565
Invitation. “…if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink.”
One of the greatest challenges of living in accordance with God’s will instead of our own will is giving so that our perceived ENEMIES might benefit. Actually, more than “might” benefit, so that they WILL benefit.
That’s part of what you do when you give each week. And remember, the benefit conveys not just to your enemies…but to you…and everyone else. When you participate in building up the common good by your giving, you are part of the common good that gets uplifted. In other words, this giving thing, while it’s not supposed to be about you, it DOES benefit you; it is the better way for you. It does usher in the amazing kingdom of God all around you. Let’s be in the spirit of Christian sharing.
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:
- Write a check to First Christian Church and mail it to FCCGJ, 1326 N. 1st Street, Grand Junction, CO 81501.
- 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.
- 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. God of Lent, help us to return to you, to turn away from wrathful living and toward your way of love – even for our enemies, this Lenten season. Bless these gifts we offer, and help us to experience the goodness that results from turning toward you with the material possessions we think of as “ours”. We pray this in the name of Jesus and by the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Invitation to Communion: “…you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies”.
How exactly is it that God protects us from the wrath of our enemies? Is it by preventing us from ever being harmed by the wrath of another person? I can’t imagine this is the case…because it doesn’t align with my experience. I most certainly have been harmed by the wrath of people who were angry with me; I imagine you have, as well.
What then, did the psalmist mean? Let me propose the possibility that the psalmist was seeking protection from the response within HIMSELF (within us) that often results when we experience the wrath of others directed against us. Doesn’t it lead us to respond out of anger? Doesn’t it lead us to respond out of a desire for vengeance? Doesn’t it lead us to destructive wrath?
Which is exactly how Jesus COULD have responded to the wrathful actions of His enemies that he knew were coming on that night in the upper room so long ago. (And Jesus’ wrath would have been something to behold!) When we gather around the table for this meal, we encounter the One who most definitely did not allow the wrath of His enemies to turn Him to the destructive way of wrath; no, we encounter the One who gave his life for all the world, including those enemies. Let’s prepare to encounter the way of Jesus that opposes the way of wrath.
Communion Hymn – “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me” #214
God of saving activity, as you bless these elements and as we partake of them, strengthen us by this bread and cup to find the strength and power of Jesus that prevented him from responding out of wrath so long ago. 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.
“All Who Hunger, Gather Gladly” #419
Go now as the people of God,
Leaving wrath to the realm of God alone,
And living instead into the way of loving peace.
Go in the name of Jesus
And by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.