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By Tim Challies — 1 year ago
Every now and again I like to share an example of one of our worship services from Grace Fellowship Church. I do this simply to provide an example of how one church structures our time of worship, hoping it will prove a helpful resource to others.
This service’s cast of characters included Paul as the preacher, service leader, and lead worshipper. Tristan served as the elder who led the pastoral prayer and Scripture reading and John, an intern, handled some opening and closing elements. We sang only acapella, which constrained us to hymns. The various elements of the service are in bold with the name of the person who led the element in parentheses. Items in quotes represent roughly what the person said to the congregation. Items not in quotes are explanatory. The entire service lasted approximately 75 minutes.
John, one of our interns, welcomed people to the service and provided some basic instructions for during and after the service. He then prayed briefly.
Call To Worship (Paul)
Paul provided a call to worship from Deuteronomy 7:9: “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.” He then said, “What an interesting command: Know your God is God, and that He is faithful. This is a call to worship the faithful God by knowing Him.” He invited us to respond to that call to worship with a word of affirmation from Psalm 135:5: “For we know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.”
“Great Is Thy Faithfulness” (acapella)
Confession of Sin (Paul)
Paul led a confession of sin that went something like this: “The writer to the Hebrews said, ‘Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” We sing, Great is THY faithfulness, but we have to admit, Great is MY unfaithfulness. Take a moment in private prayer to confess your unfaithfulness to God.”
Assurance of Pardon (Paul)
After a short time of silent prayer, he read 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Then he said, “Brothers and Sisters, since you have repented of your sins and put all your trust in Faithful Jesus, be assured that God looks upon you as righteous in His sight.”
“Before the Throne of God Above” (acapella)
Scripture Reading (Tristan)
“Please take your Bible and turn to Ephesians 5. We will be reading verses 15 to 33.” The reading began with “This is what Holy Scripture says…” Upon completion I said “This is the word of the Lord” to which the congregation replied “Thanks be to God.”
Pastoral Prayer (Tristan)
Tristan prayed for a number of concerns related to our church family.
“There is a Fountain” (acapella)
Paul preached a sermon in his series on Ephesians, “Let’s Just Act Like Christians.”
“My Jesus I Love Thee” (acapella)
John tied the message of the sermon into a “commission” that challenged the church to live out its truths throughout the week. This included mentioning some of the events coming up in the life of the church.
“Receive this blessing of the Lord from His Word: ‘The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.’ Amen.”
By Tim Challies — 7 months ago
May you know the Lord’s blessings this weekend!
(Yesterday on the blog: From Everlasting to Everlasting)
After the fire
“Our family was driving through the Var region of southern France recently, and we passed through an area that had been burned in a forest fire just last summer. The scars of that destruction were still clearly visible, but what was astonishing was the amount of green already bursting forth, the unstoppable life pushing through and undoing all the hard work of the forces of darkness.” There’s a lesson to be learned here.
Isn’t one enough?
This is encouraging. “Sometimes you just know the Lord is at work. That’s not to say he’s not at work when you don’t sense it. He’s always at work, after all. But sometimes, while he’s at work, he is at work in ways that are particularly noticeable.”
Desperate and Dependent
You may appreciate these pointers for prayer. “I can’t go to the store and purchase wisdom, character, integrity, honesty, diligence, perseverance, or salvation for my children or grandchildren, but I can ask God to give it. And so I ask.”
How Do You Know If You Love Jesus?
This article draws upon a good source to consider how you can be confident that you truly love the Lord.
What is the beatific vision?
You’ve probably heard the term “the beatific vision.” In this short video, Sinclair Ferguson explains what it is.
The Light of the World: How Jesus is Reaching International Students
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Flashback: Behavior Both Odd and Ugly
I see the world through my own sin and project my sin upon others. I see my sin in them, even where it doesn’t exist. I unfairly and sinfully accuse them of my sin.
What then is holiness? Holiness is nothing but the implanting, writing and living out of the gospel in our souls. —John Owen
By Tim Challies — 1 year ago
Good morning, my friends. Grace and peace to you today.
(Yesterday on the blog: Lost Is Her Treasure But Where Is Her Trust?)
The Letter of the Law?
In this one, Chris Hutchinson means to show that “the spirit” and “the letter” of the law are not two competing ways of reading the Bible.
When You’re Weary of Doing Good Work
Lauren Washer says, “Sometimes I grow weary of doing good, and I wonder if maybe you can relate. But here’s the thing: we’re not supposed to give up on the good work in front of us. God’s people aren’t allowed to be quitters. If we are in Christ, we are in it for the long-haul. And guess what? We’re not actually very good at this. (Well, maybe you are, and if you are, praise the Lord. But me? It doesn’t come naturally).”
Can Christians Be Under A Curse?
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Engaging CT’s Piece on “Side B Christians”
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We Don’t Waste Our Trials When We Pray to God
Women may be the primary audience for this one, but it applies to us all. “Sisters, let’s strive to become women who pray, women who know how to pray on our knees with thanksgiving not only when the trials come, but even before the ‘big’ trials come. Being in the Word and persevering in fervent in prayer are necessary to prepare us for the next trial, the next temptation we´ll face, and the next deliverance we’ll see. Let us strive to become women who pray at all times.”
Flashback: Do Not Admit a Charge Against an Elder, Except…
It is clear: the testimony of a single witness cannot be the determining factor in charging a pastor with wrongdoing.
The weakest faith gets the same strong Christ as does the strongest faith. —Sinclair Ferguson