August 16, 2020
Every Fall we take time to revisit and recenter around the mission of our church: we exist to make disciples of Jesus for the glory of God and the joy of all people. In step with our ongoing Matthew series, these next three weeks will address the tension and “waiting” of the wilderness.
Here’s how you can prepare for this Sunday and week one of Following Jesus in the Wilderness:
1. Read through our text for the week:
We find ourselves in a unique cultural moment that has shaken the fabric of our society. What does it look like to follow Jesus—to be a disciple—in this particular season? Throughout history, the people of God have used the metaphor of the “Wilderness” to describe the journey through the challenges and trials of life. The wilderness is a hard place to be. It is confusing. It is disorienting. It is exhausting. It is dangerous. And it is a place where God does deep, necessary, and transformative work in the lives of His people. This week we will look at this theme in Matthew and Exodus as we consider what it means to follow Jesus through the wilderness.
2. Read, pray, and sing through the service:
Don’t use Spotify? Click the song title below to see song on YouTube.
CALL TO WORSHIP: Psalm 63:1–4:
O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary, beholding Your power and glory. Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; in Your name I will lift up my hands.
CONFESSION OF SIN: From The Worship Sourcebook:
Almighty God, we confess how hard it is to be Your people.
You have called us to be the church,
to continue the mission of Jesus Christ to our lonely and confused world.
Yet we acknowledge we are more apathetic than active,
isolated than involved, callous than compassionate,
obstinate than obedient, legalistic than loving.
Gracious Lord, have mercy upon us and forgive our sins.
Remove the obstacles preventing us
from being Your representatives to a broken world.
Awaken our hearts to the promised gift of Your indwelling Spirit.
This we pray in Jesus’ powerful name. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON: Romans 5:1
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
PASSING THE PEACE
(Click to Read)
When we’ve met as a large group on Sundays, we’ve always had a time of greeting one another after singing. Many churches call this time “passing the peace.” In some church traditions, one person will say to another, “The peace of Christ be with you” to which the other person responds, “And also with you.”
While potentially unfamiliar for some, we felt that “passing the peace” during greeting times at home could be a powerful act in this age marked by very little external peace. In Isaiah 9, Jesus is described as the Prince of Peace. He wants His kingdom to be marked by this very peace! We want to “pass” to one another this peace that only Jesus can give, especially at a time like this.
It might feel a bit cheesy, but we encourage you to actually pray the peace of God over each other during our times. We encourage you to look into each other’s eyes as you say, “The peace of Christ be with you!” and have others respond with, “And also with you.” Be open-hearted to Jesus, asking Him to fill you with His peace.