I’ve been surprised at how much people are enjoying these little summaries of our worship services at Grace Fellowship Church. I probably shouldn’t be, though, because I rather enjoy experiencing worship in other churches and learning how different communities of Christians worship the same God in different contexts. So here is another explanation of how we worshipped, this one drawn from one week ago.
The service’s cast of characters included Paul as the preacher, Josh as the lead worshipper, and Peter as the Scripture-reader. Our band consisted of guitar, viola, and piano accompanying a male and female vocalist. 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. A few people have asked for time markers, but, unfortunately, I don’t have them for this service. In general, though, the first part of the service takes about 35 minutes, the sermon 45 minutes, and the closing part about 10 minutes.
Response to Singing (Josh)
“We just sang, ‘All ye who hear, now to his temple draw near!’ I hope you intend to do that this morning because we draw near to the greater Temple, the greater meeting place between God and men, the Lord Jesus Christ! One day, all the redeemed will see Him and worship Him. Read aloud with me these words from Revelation 5 as they are printed in your bulletin…”
And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’
“We will praise God together… forever. Until then, we gather every week to remind us of what is to come. Please take a moment now to greet and encourage the folks standing around you and welcome them as a brief preview of eternity.”
This time of greeting one another ended by singing again the first verse of “Praise to the Lord the Almighty.”
Opposite Text Reading (Peter)
“In today’s sermon we will hear of God’s discipline of Moses for his disobedience. Listen as I read to you the Word of God from the book of Hebrews as it speaks of God’s discipline of those he loves.”
[Peter read Hebrews 12:1-6]
“This reading was from Hebrews 12.”
Confession of Sin (Peter)
“Has God been disciplining you for your sins? Now is the time for all of us to confess our sins and renounce them before the Lord. Take a moment to do that privately in prayer before we sing.”
After a moment Peter prayed, “Lord, make Yourself known to us so that we feel our great need to be clean with You. Let no hidden sin remain, no hypocrisy, no insincerity. We stand before you God and say, ‘Search us. Know us. Forgive us.’ Amen.”
Pastoral Prayer (Paul)
This pastoral prayer was perhaps 4-5 minutes long. Paul particularly prayed for our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and for the church’s Annual Business Meeting which was later that day. He also thanked God for the safe delivery of a child to one of the couples and prayed for a few other items of relevance to the church members.
Scripture Reading (Paul)
“Please take your Bible and turn to Exodus 4 verse 18. You will find that on page 47 if you are using one of our church Bibles. Just look for page 47, then for the big number 4, then the small number 18. That’s verse 18. We will read from that verse until the end of the chapter.”
“This is what Holy Scripture says…”
[Paul read Exodus 4:18-31]
“This is the world of the Lord,” to which the congregation replied, “Thanks be to God.”
“We are happy to provide our Early Years Ministry. We have a nursery for kids 0 to 24 months and a pre-school for 2 and 3 year olds. Both of those programs are already underway. We also have a kindergarten program for 4 and 5 years old that begins right now. If you would like your children to be part of it, just send them down to their teachers now as we stand to sing.”
The sermon title was, “God Loves His Children” and was part of the series, “The God Who Saves, Speaks, and Stays: A Series on the Book of Exodus.” (Listen here)
- God opens a way forward (18)
- God commands (19-23)
- God disciplines (24-26)
- God provides (27-28)
- God works (29-31)
Silent Reflection (Josh)
“Take a moment to silently reflect on the Word of God and how you should respond to it.”
Paul built from one of the themes in the sermon to call people to live in light of the truth of God’s Word. This was the bridge to provide a few announcements about the week ahead.
“Receive this blessing of the Lord from His Word: ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.’ Amen.”