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Archive for October, 2009

New Song for Sunday

We will sing the following song this Sunday. You can listen to the Mp3 here as you read the lyrics below.

Let All Who Have Breath

Let all who have breath
All who can sing lift your voices
And praise the God of all life
Who was and evermore shall be.

From the oceans depth to the distant stars
Are the wonders You have made
All creation cries with every glance
The power of Your name

God You are my God
You are my Rock and Savior
I will stand in all of the earth
And shout Your awesome wonders.

You are Glorious the Brilliant One
The Sculptor of the earth
You are God of grace and God of love
You are God of infinite worth

© STONE TABLE PUBLISHING 2004 WORDS AND MUSIC BY LIANNA KLASSEN

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Call to Worship………………………………… Deuteronomy 4:10

“Assemble the people to Me that I may let them hear My words, so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.”

GOD CALLS US

Opening Hymn of Praise:

“All Things Praise Thee, Lord Most High”
(Melody: “For the Beauty of the Earth”)

Teach us to fear Thee, living God, With most deep and tender fear;
And worship Thee with trembling hope, And with penitential tears!
Lord of all to Thee we raise This our hymn of reverent praise

Father, how wonderful Thou art, In Thy majesty, so bright;
How beautiful Thy mercy seat In the depths of burning light!
Lord of all to Thee we raise This our hymn of radiant praise

How dread are Thy eternal years, Everlasting Thou art Lord,
By prostrate spirits day and night Thou Incessantly adored!
Lord of all to Thee we raise This our hymn of humble praise

Only to sit and think of God, Oh, what wondrous joy it is!
To think the thought, to breathe Thy Name, Earth ne’er brings a higher bliss. Lord of all to Thee we raise This our hymn of joyful praise

Father of Jesus, love’s Reward! What a rapture it will be
Prostrate before Thy throne to lie, And to gaze, and gaze on Thee!
Lord of all to Thee we raise This our hymn of grateful praise.

Prayer of Praise and Adoration………………………………… (Family Member)

GOD CLEANSES US

Confession of Sins

Leader: “God is light and in him is no darkness. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth. Let us therefore confess our sins before almighty God.”

All: “O most Glorious God, we acknowledge and confess our guilt in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. We have heard Your holy word, but with such deadness of spirit that we have been unprofitable and forgetful hearers. O God, rich in mercy mark not, we ask, what we have done amiss; remember that we are but dust, and remit our transgressions, and cover them all with the absolute obedience of Your dear Son, that those sacrifices which we offer today may be accepted by You, in and for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ offered upon the cross for us; for His sake, ease us of the burden of our sins, and give us grace that by the call of the Gospel we may rise from the slumber of sin into the newness of life.”

Assurance of God’s Pardon…………………………………1 Peter 2:24

Leader: “And He Himself bore our sins in His Body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”

(A Cappella)
Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Proclamation of the Gospel……… 1Peter 1:17-2:5……… (Family Member)

“And Can it Be That I Should Gain?”

And can it be that I should gain An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain— For me, who Him to death pursued?

Amazing love! How can it be, That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be, That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

Long my imprisoned spirit lay, Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;

My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear, That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near, That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.

I feel the life His wounds impart; I feel the Savior in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart; I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head, And clothed in righteousness divine,

Bold I approach th’eternal throne, And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne, And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Prayer of Thanksgiving……………..……….….…….…… (Family Member)

Giving and Receiving of Offerings

“Just as we abound in everything; in all faith and knowledge and love, let us so give, of our own accord, beyond our ability in thanks to God who puts this same earnestness in our hearts.”

GOD CONSECRATES US

Prayer for Illumination…….………………………….…….. (Family Member)

Old Testament Reading….. Numbers 19:1-13…. (Family Member)

New Testament Reading….. 1 Corinthians 15:1-19….. (Family Member)

Pastoral Prayer/Sermon……….….Pastor Chris Taylor

Responsive Hymn:

Wonderful Merciful Savior”

Wonderful, merciful Savior
Precious Redeemer and Friend
Who would have thought that a Lamb
Could rescue the souls of men
Oh you rescue the souls of men

Counselor, Comforter, Keeper
Spirit we long to embrace
You offer hope when our hearts have
Hopelessly lost the way
Oh, we hopelessly lost the way

(Chorus)

You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for
Oh, our hearts always hunger for

Almighty, infinite Father
Faithfully loving Your own
Here in our weakness You find us
Falling before Your throne
Oh, we’re falling before Your throne (Chorus)

GOD COMMISSIONS US

Benediction

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For those who were present and heard the message, and for those who read or listened later, here is an answer to the inevitable question, “What does dying to self look like?”. The following is a quote from John MacArthur.

What does it mean to live a life of self‑denial, dying to self? What does that really mean? Have you ever thought about that? Think of it this way. When you are neglected, unforgiven, or when you are purposely set at naught and you sting and you hurt with the insult of that oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ, that is dying to self. When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed and your advice is disregarded and your opinions are ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart or even defend yourself, you take it all patiently in loving silence, you’re dying to self.

And when you lovingly and patiently bear any disgrace, any regularity, any annoyance, when you can stand face to face with folly and extravagance and spiritual insensitivity, and endure it as Jesus did, that is dying to self. When you are content with any food, any money, any clothing, any climate, any society, any solitude, any interruption by the will of God, that is dying to self. And when you never care to refer to yourself in conversation or record your own good works, or itch after commendation from others, and when you truly love to be unknown, that is dying to self. When you see your brother prosper and have his needs wondrously met, and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy and never question God, though your needs are greater and still unmet, that is dying to self. And when you can receive correction, and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and humbly admit inwardly as well as outwardly that he’s right and find no resentment and no rebellion in your heart, that is dying to self.

Are you dead yet?

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ARE062Well, most churches this morning may resemble this picture. So, I’ve posted our order of worship and manuscript of the sermon for this week. I will post the audio as early this afternoon as I can. Enjoy your family worship in the comfort of your own home.

The Worship of God – October 18, 2009

(Silent Preparation)

Invocation

GOD CLEANSES US

Confession of Sins and Assurance of God’s Pardon

God is light and in him is no darkness. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Let us therefore confess our sins before almighty God.

(Silent Confession of Sin)

Assurance of God’s Pardon

To all who confess themselves to be sinners, humbling themselves before God and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation, I declare this sure promise: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Amen

GOD CALLS US

Opening Hymn of Praise:

“O Worship the King”

O worship the King, all glorious above, O gratefully sing His power and His love; Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days, Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace, whose robe is the light, whose canopy space, His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form, and dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite? It breathes in the air, it shines in the light; It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain, and sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail, in Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail; Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end, Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

O measureless might! Ineffable love! While angels delight to worship Thee above, the humbler creation, though feeble their lays, with true adoration shall all sing Thy praise.

Prayer of Praise and Adoration……………………………….. (Family Member)

Proclamation of the Gospel………. (John 11:21-43)………. (Family Member)

“Loose Him, and Let Him Go”
(Sung to “How Sweet and Awful is the Place”)

Till God the sinner’s mind illume ‘tis dark as night within
Like Lazarus in the dreary tomb bound hand and foot by sin.

Yet though in weighty fetters bound yo God’s free grace a foe
The Gospel has a joyful sound: “Loose him and let him go!”

Sinners shall hear this joyful sound, as God designs it so
Grace shall beyond their sins abound: “Loose him, and let him go!”

Justice beholding his attire, no more appears his foe
He says, “I’ve all that I require; Loose hi and let him go!”

He stands accepted in His name whose blood for him did flow
The holy Law proclaims the same: “Loose him and let him go!”

Prayer of Thanksgiving……………………………..….…… (Family Member)

“Just as we abound in everything; in all faith and knowledge and love, let us so give, of our own accord, beyond our ability in thanks to God who puts this same earnestness in our hearts.”

Giving and Receiving of Offerings

GOD CONSECRATES US

Prayer for Illumination…….…………………..…..….…….. (Family Member)

Old Testament Reading………. (Numbers 18:8-32)…..…. (Family Member)

New Testament Reading……… (I Cor. 14:20-40)………. (Family Member)

Pastoral Prayer/Sermon (Read or Listen)……….Pastor Chris Taylor

Responsive Hymn:

“Take My Life and Let it Be”

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my will, and make it Thine; It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own; It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee,
Ever, only, all for Thee.

GOD COMMISSIONS US

“Before departing, we unite our voices in praise and adoration one final time; and renew our hearts to the Lordship of Jesus Christ; fully surrendering our lives to the ministry of reconciliation.”

Closing Hymn:

“Lord Dismiss Us With Thy Blessing”
(“Christ is made a Sure Foundation”)

Lord dismiss us with Thy blessing fill our hearts with joy and peace
Let us each Thy love possessing triumph in redeeming grace

O refresh us, O refresh us travelers on this lowly ground
May the fruits of Thy salvation in our hearts and lives abound!

Benediction

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simon_cowell1_300_400Does the name Simon Cowell ring a bell? Yes, he’s a judge on the popular TV show, American Idol. He’s become well-known for his severe criticism of the young contestants vying to become the next musical pop-star. But listen to what Simon has said.

“My attitude has always been, ‘Don’t lie to people’. Kids show up unrehearsed, wearing the wrong clothes, singing out of tune, and you can either say, ‘Good job,’ and patronize them or tell them the truth, and sometimes the truth is perceived as mean.”

And is he ever perceived as mean! He’s booed. Insults are hurled at him. But while his delivery could stand an adjustment or two, I don’t think Simon bears the responsibility of hurting these kids. I’ve watched the show a couple of times and the truth is, most of the young people who show up can’t sing, not even a little, and Simon simply tells them what the rest of us are thinking and saying to one another as we watch.

Yet, for some reason, those poor kids believe with all their heart that they can sing. How does that happen? Very simply, someone has lied to them. In an attempt to encourage, or in the name of love, or out of a desire to protect the singer-want-to-be or themselves, someone has lied. You see, the problem isn’t Simon. The problem is, most people have lost the ability to tell the truth. Think about it. As hard as it may be to hear the truth, as difficult as it may be to accept it, wouldn’t it be more loving and kind if someone said, gently and firmly, “Don’t do this. It’s not good. I like you. I love you. But you are not a pop star. You can’t sing.” Sure it would. But we’ve lost the ability to do it. Despite the importance, very few are able to be honest.

Colossians chapter 3 verse 9 says, “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices.” The word “lie” means “to speak deliberate falsehoods, to beguile or delude by charm.” Exodus 20:16 says, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” The literal command is “to not answer or confirm either orally or in writing anything in a false way.” We’ve come to summarize it this way, “You shall not lie.” It’s straightforward, to the point and yet I don’t think there is another command that’s ignored or broken more than this one.

In the book, “The Day America Told the Truth”, James Patterson and Peter Kim write that 91% of those they surveyed lie routinely about matters they consider trivial. 36% of them lie about important matters. 86% lie regularly to their parents. 75% to lie to their friends, 73% to siblings and 69% to spouses.

But if we’re honest with ourselves (get it?), then don’t we have to admit that these numbers are low? Because the truth of the matter is (get it?) we all lie. No one is immune. Now, just in case some of you don’t believe me, I’m going to prove it to you.

How do you answer these questions when they are posed to you? How are you? How do I look? Is something bothering you? How does everything taste? Are you mad at me?

Have you ever made these statements? “I’ll call you right back” (when you really don’t want to talk). “Sure, I’d love to help” (when you don’t want to help). “Call me if you need anything” (when there are conditions or limits on what you are willing to give). “You haven’t changed a bit” (when someone has). “I’ll pray for you” (and you don’t).

We all lie. The question is, “Why?” Well, I think there are several reasons of course but only one is legitimate. Sometimes we lie because there is a more morally weighty reason not to be straightforward. But usually we lie to protect ourselves, to be successful, to save our reputations, to avoid rejection by others, to avoid punishment, to avoid embarrassment, or to look intelligent. The bottom line is, we lie because we’re more concerned with ourselves than we are with others. Each excuse for lying, other than the first, is a self-centered one.

So here’s my question. If lying is self-centered, could telling the truth be others-centered? Could it be that if lying protects my own selfish interests, telling the truth could be what’s in the best interest of others? Could Simon actually be doing the unselfish thing? I think the answer is yes. That’s why Paul says in I Corinthians 13 that “love rejoices in the truth”. Maybe we ought to get off Simon’s back and follow his lead. But somehow, I don’t think we can take it.

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Church Signs

brick-church-signDrive down most streets in the country and you’ll see them. Northwest Arkansas is no exception. Some are so catchy you’ll see them more than once within a block or two. Others are unique and justifiably so. A few are famous enough to graduate to newspaper ads and billboards. More times than not, they are simply laughed at, particularly on the internet. One in a thousand may cause someone to think. The other nine hundred and ninety-nine are nothing more than head-shakers. Some are anonymous. Most should be. A few come signed, but I think God would testify that they’re forgeries.

Have you figured it out yet? Yes, they are church signs. To be more accurate, I’m referring to the awkward, sometimes embarrassing, quotes or phrases on the signs. If you’re not quite sure what I’m talking about, here are a few examples, some of which are actually from our area.

“We’re not Braums but you’ll love our Sundays”. “Prayer – wireless access to God with no roaming fee.” “Free ticket to heaven. See inside.” “Lost? Try GPS – God’s Plan of Salvation.” “WalMart is not the only Saving Place.” “Church Parking. Trespassers will be baptized.” “Now taking reservations. Smoking or non-Smoking?” “God is like Coca-Cola – He’s the Real Thing.” “Git-R-Done for God.” “Sign broke. Message inside.” “Tsunami, AIDS, War. Do you hear me now – God.” “If you think its hot here. . .” “We use duct tape to fix everything. God used nails.” “Life ain’t no dress rehearsal.”

Now, while I’m sure those who maintain the signs are well-meaning, I do have a few questions. One, who are these signs and their messages targeting? Two, what purpose do they serve? And three, do they actually succeed or attain their goal?

The best I can tell, some are obviously designed to be evangelistic tools with messages that attempt to draw in the non-Christians and unchurched. Others seem to be admonishments for Christians. But in both cases, I think the answer to the third question is a resounding “NO!”, and here are three reasons why.

First of all, while the statements on the signs are intended to be pithy (I say “intended to be” because they lack the force and wit of a truly pithy statement), there is nothing pithy about the message that is to be proclaimed by the churches that utilize them. The message of the Gospel contains a natural force, and it can be brief in that it can be accurately articulated in less than 60 seconds. Here’s what I mean:

God is a holy Creator and a righteous Judge and all of us have sinned against Him. We’ve offended His character and we’ve alienated ourselves from Him. As His enemies, we are exposed to His holy and justifiable wrath. But God. . .expressed His love, grace and mercy toward us by sending Jesus Christ to pay the debt that we owed and it is only through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we can be saved. If we want to be reconciled to God and saved from His wrath we must respond by repenting of our sin and accept the forgiveness that has been offered through the cross and the cross alone. Everyone who is born again will persevere in a lifestyle of belief and repentance and will increasingly display a holy and loving lifestyle that proves that they are in fact disciples of Christ. This isn’t a clever or humorous message. It also doesn’t need to be introduced with a joke or amusing anecdote to be heard. It stands alone and has the power to save.

Secondly, these signs unfortunately do more to reveal a come and see attitude rather than a go and tell mandate. We pat ourselves on the back and say we’re being evangelistic when in fact we’re doing nothing more than hiding in the shadow of a sign that we add to our t-shirts, bracelets, necklaces, key chains, magnets, bumper stickers, and decals, none of which address the difference, the grace, the forgiveness, or the life that’s to show a change of heart?

Finally, and on a more humorous note, 9 times out of 10 a word is spelled wrong, a letter falls off, or no one realizes an awkward play on words until it’s too late and the next thing you know, the sign and the church are infamous due to their not-so-glamorous appearance on Jay Leno. For example: one church in S.C. posted this sign: “Sunday Worship 11:00 – Happy Hour Here Every Sunday”. Another sign in our own backyard (Bentonville) read: “The Infallible Word of God Taught Hear”.

Our battle is hard enough with foes like Satan and the world. Do we really need to add to it ourselves?

Soli Deo Gloria

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