Fourth Sunday in the Season of Prayer & Fasting
22 March 2020
Read everything aloud and sing along with the music, even if no one else is physically gathered with you. If others are gathered with you, take turns reading everything. Have fun with the liturgy. The point is to do our part to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ while He does His part to shape us by His Spirit. May He be exalted!
Welcome to the Grace Mid City worship gathering! It is the first day of a new week. Be assured my dear friend, there is nothing you’ve done this week – even if it’s criminal – that can separate you from the love of the Creator in Christ Jesus. There may be consequences to foolish decisions, but there is no condemnation in Christ. Jesus Christ came into the world to save us. Jesus is powerful enough to change you. Jesus is powerful enough to heal you. Jesus is powerful enough to love you.
United In Truth
We are united in the truth that Christ has come, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again. Say aloud the truths of “the faith handed down once and for all” (Jude 3) as taught by Jesus to the Apostles. Be reminded and proclaim with joy what you, what we, believe:
I believe in God the Father Almighty,— Apostles’ Creed
Creator of Heaven and Earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ His only Son, Our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
The third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Call to Worship – May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us as we are scattered and awaiting to be gathered.
The Lord’s Prayer
This is a powerful moment. You might be the only one in your room, but your voice will join an untold number of heavenly host and other worshippers of Jesus scattered around Baton Rouge who are in this exact moment pouring up praise to the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. Let us pray as our Lord instructed…
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.Matthew 6
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory forever. Amen.
Pray-Sing Psalm 23
Read this popular psalm aloud
Expressing the Love of Christ to the Children
Pray for the children and youth of Grace:
“Father, fill the children and youth of Grace with the Spirit of Your Son, Jesus.” Say their names aloud: Lois, Micah, Naomi, Emma, Nora, David, Sophia, Noelle, Jace, Sophia, Beckett, Easton, Iva James, Colton, Rose, Paul, Amaya, Miles, Lizzie Mae, Nezzie, Simone, Samuel, Virginia, Evie, Thomas, Karli, Grant, Cailyn, Rayana, Jack, Greyson, Caroline, Travis, Ethan, Arin, Liam, Rachel, Sami, Thomas, Grant, Whernska, Levi, Judah, Natalie, Benjamin. What a group!
Recognizing Our Dependence Upon Christ
When we make an offering, we give what already belongs to Christ; Of Your own, O Lord, do we give. Money is not the only offering, we offer our talents, abilities and gifts to the exclusive use of King Jesus and His Kingdom. We offer every bit of ourselves in service to Christ and His Creation. We don’t want to be tone-deaf about economic crisis facing some in our church, nor do we want to presume financial instability of everyone in our church. If you are facing an economic crisis today, please let us know so your church can support you in some way; offer yourself to Christ, recognizing utter dependence upon His gracious provision, both spiritually and physically. If you want to make a financial offering/tithe, here’s our online giving site. Also offer yourself to Christ, recognizing that your ability to provide for others is strictly because of His gracious provision to you, both spiritually and physically.
Offertory song – https://gracemidcity.com/he-hideth-my-soul/
You may remember we were being guided in prayer based on the book, Spirit Walk. The premise of the guided prayer was SWAP:
Surrender to God
Wait on God
Pursue the promptings of the Spirit
Below are some questions asked during the first two weeks of our guided prayer time. Ask and answer each question aloud. If you’re with other people, ask each person these questions. Answer as much as you are comfortable answering. Parents, give your children freedom to answer without fear that you’ll start lecturing them. While God may have entrusted a child(ren) to you, He is the ultimate Parent.
1. What am I asking Jesus to do in my life?
2. How am I seeking His guidance and His timing?
3. Is there something I’m trying to force to happen, when I should be waiting on God’s timing?
4. Am I willing to trust that the Spirit’s timing for my life is perfect?
Offer these things to the Father through the Son by the Spirit.
Shaping the Church by the Scripture and Spirit of Christ – Byron will record a short video in the auditorium on Sunday morning and email the link.
The Scripture passages for today are 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41 These cover the story of Samuel anointing a young shepherd named David; a call to live as Children of the Light; and the story of Jesus healing the man born blind. The theme is the Creator sees what we do not; and, until we acknowledge we can’t see anything unless Jesus opens our eyes, we’ll never be able to see things clearly.
*David’s family did not consider him to be “king material” but Jesus did.
*The blind man lived his whole life unable to see…until he met Jesus. The religious people thought they could see without Jesus’s help, but they remained blind.
*We used to live in darkness and didn’t even know it. When we met Jesus, He showed us a better way and made us Children of Light.
Read the passages. If you’ve got children with you, be sensible with how long they can sit and listen. This is a lot of Scripture today. Act out one of the stories. The point is to hear the Word of Christ, give Him glory for His work in our lives and the church, and be shaped into His image by His Spirit. He is preparing us today for tomorrow’s work.
Nourishing the Church with the Body and Blood of Christ
I plan to celebrate communion / Lord’s supper / eucharist (the New Testament word for “thanksgiving”) when we are gathered again in one room. It is one more reminder that life together with Jesus Christ is a communal way of life. During this season of Prayer and Fasting we are reminded that although we don’t need bread to make it through the day, we do need Christ, the Bread of Heaven.
We are scattered this morning. Physically, we are not together. Spiritually, however, we are as close as we’ll ever be. In the prayer of Jesus as recorded in John 17.26, He says I’ve made Your name known to them and will continue to make it known so that Your love for Me will be in them, and I Myself will be in them.
Please pray: Lord Jesus, You have made known to us the name of the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. By Your Holy Spirit, You continue to make God’s great name known. Father, increase our love for Your Son, Our Redeemer and King, Jesus. Make us aware of the work You are doing in us and through us. Truly You are working in our waiting. Continue to give us imagination and creativity with our lives and our church. Grant us courage to join You in Your work. Protect us from reacting to anything in haste. Protect us from desperate thinking. We want to walk by faith. We are fully dependent upon You for any success in our lives and ministry. We are reminded today that though we are separated, by the power of Your Holy Spirit we are fully united with You and one another now and forever. Amen.
But you have drawn near to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, to countless angels in a festival gathering, to the assembly of God’s firstborn children who are registered in heaven, to God the judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous who have been made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks better than Abel’s blood.Hebrews 12.22-24
The word Zion refers to the place God dwells. When Jesus returns on the Day of Resurrection to make all things new, we will feast in the House of Zion!
Facing the Cross in your room or on your table, cast your cares upon Him Who cares for you. Send your worries to Jesus and leave it all with Him.
Lord Jesus, You are our Refuge and Fortress.
All our problems –
we SEND to the Cross of Christ!
All our difficulties –
we SEND to the Cross of Christ!
All the devil’s works –
we SEND to the Cross of Christ!
All our hope –
we SET on the Risen Christ!
Calling All Creatures To Praise Our Triune God
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all Creatures here below,
Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. A-men.
Sending The Church To Witness
May the God of peace,
who brought back the Great Shepherd of the sheep,
our Lord Jesus,
from the dead by the blood of the eternal covenant,
equip you with every good thing to do His will,
by developing in us what pleases Him through Jesus Christ.
To Him be the glory forever and always. Amen.
The Lord be with you!
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