Every few weeks I like to share an example of one of our worship services from Grace Fellowship Church. I hope it serves as simply one model of how we can worship the Lord in a distinctly biblical way. It’s been a joy to hear from people around the world as they tell how they’ve enjoyed seeing these services show up here.
This service’s cast of characters included Steve as our service leader, Josh as our lead worshipper, and Chris as the [guest] preacher. Paul also led a couple of elements. Our band consisted of two guitars, cajon, and piano accompanying two female vocalists. The various elements of the service are in bold with the name of the person who led the element in parentheses. Items in quotes or blockquotes represent roughly what the person said to the congregation. Items not in quotes are explanatory. The entire service takes approximately 90 minutes.
Welcome & Call to Worship (Josh)
Josh began the service with a welcome and call to worship.
Psalm 145:18 says, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Here is a sweet promise to bank today on. If you call on God in truth right now- he will draw near. As James wrote: (James 4:8) Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” Only, don’t be double minded! Decide now to look for Him. Whether you have never met Him before or known Him for many years. Draw near to God in truth!
“O God, won’t you please give us the courage and the faith to draw near to you now? Amen.”
Prayer of Confession (Paul)
Paul prayed a prayer adapted from Nehemiah’s prayer of confession in Nehemiah 9:6–38.
You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.
You are YHWH, the God who chose Abraham. You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to bless all of his descendants. And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous. You redeemed Israel out of Egypt. You made a name for yourself, as it is to this day. You divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on dry land.
However, like them, we have acted presumptuously and stiffened our necks and not obeyed your commandments.
We praise you that you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. We praise you for not forsaking us.
For you gave us your good Spirit to instruct us and lead us and you have not withheld your Word from us. You have sustained us in our wildernesses and we have lacked nothing.
Yet in our spiritual prosperity, we were filled and became fat and delighted ourselves in all our blessings…
Then we quickly turned and became disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind our backs.
Our sins increased our sorrows, so, in the time of our suffering we cried out to you and. thanks be to God, you heard us from heaven, and according to your great mercies you gave us a way out.
But after this, we only turned to do evil again.
Every time we turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven, and many times delivered us according to your mercies. And, you warned us from your Word in order to turn us back to your law.
Yet here we are again. We have acted presumptuously again and we have not obeyed your commandments nor your rules.
You have borne with some of us for many years and warned us by your Spirit through your Word.
Yet so often we have not listened.
Nevertheless, because of your great mercies in Jesus Christ our Lord, you do not make an end of us nor forsake us, for you are a gracious and merciful God. Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, please forgive us for all our sins.
You have dealt faithfully… and we have acted wickedly.
We have not kept your law or paid attention to your commandments and your warnings that you gave us. Even with all the blessings that are ours in Christ Jesus, we have not served you with our whole heart, nor turned fully from our wicked ways.
So we plead again for your forgiveness. Amen.
Word of Assurance (Paul)
Christian, take comfort in these true words of promise to you ( from Psalm 103:10–12), as you have confessed your sins and repented from them…
[GOD] does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
If you are in Christ, you are forgiven.
- “Approach My Soul the Mercy Seat”
Pastoral Prayer (Steve)
Steve led our pastoral prayer.
Scripture Reading (Steve)
“Please take your Bible and turn to Psalm 103. That will be page 502 if you are using one of our church Bibles.” Steven began the reading with “This is what Holy Scripture says…” and ended it with “This is the word of the Lord” to which the congregation replied, “Thanks be to God.”
Chris Powell, pastor of Covenant Baptist Church in Toronto, preached on Psalm 103. The title was “A Christian Psychology: Preaching the Gospel to Yourself.”
Opposite Testament Reading (Steve)
Steve read Matthew 9:1-8
Steve commissioned the church to live out the truths we heard in the service and especially in the sermon. This served as a bridge to tell about some of the events and opportunities coming up in the week(s) ahead.
Steve said, “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.”