Monday, May 19, 2014

Emmaus City Liturgy | Sunday, May 18, 2014 – Covenant & Kingdom VI: God Overcomes Evil with Good

Emmaus City Church Liturgy Covenant and Kingdom First Sermon Series Part 6 Worcester MA Acts 29 Soma Missional Communities

Emmaus City Liturgy – Celebrating Jesus and Being Part of His Story

For previous Covenant & Kingdom liturgies, click on the links below:

These posts will feature the themes, verses, hymns and songs (audio and lyrics), and prayers we enjoy together each Sabbath gathering. Key notes from the sermons will also be included.

Curious to know more? Want to spend some time with us? Don't hesitate. Contact us and come join us. In the meantime, enjoy the readings and listening to the songs below.


Psalm 66:8-12, 16-20; 67:1-3
8 Bless our God, O peoples; 
let the sound of His praise be heard, 
9 who has kept our soul among the living 
and has not let our feet slip. 
10 For You, O God, have tested us;
 You have tried us as silver is tried.

11 You brought us into the net; You laid a crushing burden on our backs;

12 You let men ride over our heads;
 we went through fire and through water;
 yet You have brought us out to a place of abundance.

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what He has done for my soul.
17 I cried to Him with my mouth, 
and high praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
19 But truly God has listened; 
He has attended to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God,
 because He has not rejected my prayer
 or removed His steadfast love from me!

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
 and make His face to shine upon us,
2 that Your way may be known on earth,
 Your saving power among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You!

 Celebration Moment

  Welcome and The Lord’s Prayer
From Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father in heaven, may Your name be kept holy.
May Your Kingdom come, may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need, and 
Forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from evil.
(For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever. Amen.)
By Page CXVI (original by Katherin von Schlegel)
1752 A.D.

Be still, my soul, the Lord is on your side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to your God to order and provide.
In every change He will remain.

Be still, my soul, your God will undertake.
To guide the future as in ages past.
Your hope, your mind, your will let nothing shake.
All now mysterious shall be bright.

Be still, my soul, the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone
Sorrow forgot, love’s joy restored.

Be still my soul
And praise Him.


 God with Us // Covenant and Kingdom VI
  God Overcomes Evil with Good
Scripture Reading
Excerpts from

Covenant and Kingdom Overview

Abraham received the Covenant, understood his identity and surrendered in obedience to God the Father, his Covenant partner.

Joseph submitted to the King and received great authority and the power to represent God, the King of the Universe, to the greatest nation in the world at the time.

Three themes connect the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and lead into the story of Joseph:

1.    God’s promises to Abraham are reaffirmed to Isaac, his son, and Jacob, his grandson, as well as to Joseph, Abraham's great grandson, so that God becomes the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” We see this to Isaac in Genesis 26 and to Jacob in Genesis 28 and to Joseph in Genesis 48.

2.    The breakdown and the need for reconciliation for the human family continues. These stories do not condone Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob's deceptive behavior, but they do confront us with the stark truth concerning the character of those whom God chooses. God works His truth through deceptive people to bring blessing to the world. But first He works in them and with them, to bring reconciliation and maturity from the inside of their family out into the world.

3.     God’s providential care of his people in the face of the many obstacles: 1) wives are barren or taken into other men’s harems; 2) famine threatens to die them off; 3) their own sinfulness. But despite this all, God remains faithful to his promise to Abraham. He is El Shaddai, God Almighty, as his name is repeated in 17:1; 28:3; 35:11 and 48:3. He makes the barren fertile and fulfills His promises to provide for His family and bless the world.

COVENANT: In Abraham we saw how the Lord made a sovereign decision to win back humanity. He would remake a relationship with us, using a Covenant agreement to secure His promise to us. As God and Abraham each walked through the bloody pathway of new birth "between the pieces" of the animals who were sacrificed, they made a life-and-death commitment to one another and brought forth the possibility of new life for blessing many nations. 
KINGDOM: In the life of Joseph, we see something of what the "rule" of God would be like when working through His chosen representative. In the same way that we see God refashioning a relationship with humankind through Abraham, so in Joseph we see God relaunching his plan for human representation in the world. Being the ‘ruler’ over Egypt was the calling of Joseph’s life God prepared him for through humility and suffering. Joseph’s relationship to Pharaoh is symbolic of his (and our) relationship with God. There was, of course, only one King, but he chose to rule ‘through’ Joseph. He was to become the governor of the greatest nation on earth, and in this, he was likewise the empowered emissary of God in the world to save many and bless many nations during a time of famine.

We see that the path to God's exalted place is not an easy one. It is a path marked by humility and weakness born out of suffering and difficulty. Joseph’s story introduces the idea of how we represent God in this world. But how did Joseph get to the point where he recognized God's providence for him, his family, and the nations through it all?

1) God Overcomes Evil with Good Humility (Visions)

Genesis 37:6, 9: He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed … Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
Genesis 40:8: They said to him, “We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.” 
Genesis 41:15-16: And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”

Joseph would govern the life of his brothers, but first he needed to learn the wisdom of humility. Just like us. God has to deal with our pride if he is to repair the damage of the past and use us as his representatives again.

From the first interpretation of dreams to his brothers to the next time, Joseph had been in slavery more than 10 years. In this time God began to grow his humility. At the beginning of his story, Joseph saw himself at the center of the universe, interpreting his own dreams without reference to God. Now, with all that he has been through, he allows God to be the center of his world.  What Joseph says to Pharaoh is the most important statement of Joseph’s life: ‘I cannot do it … but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires’ (Genesis 41:16). His dreams had begun at the age of seventeen, but now, at the age of thirty, God was fulfilling Joseph’s destiny. Joseph is completely surrendered to God and God is at the center of his world.

“Joseph had a God-given vision (‘to rule’), but at the beginning, his own self-centeredness was mingled in the revelation. … That’s why we pray again and again ‘Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ (Matthew 6:10). … Joseph received clear visions from God – but his humanity betrayed him in his understanding of them. … For God’s Kingdom to be revealed, we need to move beyond our merely human aspirations. So if the distinction is to be made, what is required? The answer is expressed in the life of Joseph and more perfectly portrayed in the life of Jesus. There needs to be both death and resurrection. Our feelings of self-importance, and our belief that we are at ‘center of the universe’ have to die, so that God can be enthroned as the King of our circumstances and his vision for our life can live.” – Mike Breen

  • Where do you find the most pride in your talents or abilities? 
  • How do those talents and abilities shape how you see your life and your future?
  • How would you respond if God took that away and gave you a different life's story? 
  • What or who sits at the center of your universe (i.e. where you put your most hope and find your feelings of value and peace)?
  • What would it look like for God to take their place?

2) God Overcomes Evil with Good Suffering (Slavery and Prison)

Genesis 39:2-5:The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field.
Genesis 39:21: “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
Genesis 39:23: “The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph's charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.”

Here is the Kingdom paradox: victory comes only when we surrender to the One who brings true victory. It took Joseph nearly 13 years of slavery and imprisonment to be in a position where God would graciously work through him. ... By finally submitting to God (‘I cannot do it’), Joseph discovered how the Lord would prepare him to be entrusted with real authority. Joseph became a conduit of God’s authority, power, and grace to save many despite the famine.”

God works in you what He plans to work through you. Just when we are at the point of desperation, God is at the point of intervention. … We may not see the complete fulfillment of all our hopes in the here and now. But if we walk in submission and weakness, we will come to know his authority and power. In time, this will lead to a greater confidence in the present and greater courage for the future.

  • Where are you broken today? Where are you suffering?
  • Do you feel you should be further along in your self-realization today?
  • What have you given up on instead of giving it over to God? 
  • Do your circumstances say to you that your life isn't as good as you think it should be?  
  • How are you looking to God for the real story?

"To live in our Father's story, remember these three things:
  • Don't demand that the story go your way. (In other words, surrender completely.)
  • Look for the Storyteller. Look for his hand, then pray in light of what you are seeing. (In other words, develop an eye for Jesus.)
  • Stay in the story. Don't shut down when it goes the wrong way.This last one, staying in the story, can be particularly difficult. When the story isn't going your way, ask yourself, What is God doing? Be on the lookout for strange gifts. God loves to surprise us with babies in swaddling clothes lying in mangers. ... To see the Storyteller we need to slow down our interior life and watch. We need to be imbedded in the Word to experience the Storyteller's mind and pick up the cadence of his voice. We need to be alert for the story, for the Storyteller's voice speaking into the details of our lives. The story God weaves is neither weird nor floaty. It always involves bowing before his majesty with the pieces of our lives."Paul E. Miller

3) God Overcomes Evil with Good Reconciliation (Family Story)

Genesis 45:5-7: "And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors."
Genesis 50:20: "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." 

Joseph recognizes that all that has happened to him has been ordained by God to ‘preserve for (his father’s offspring) a remnant on earth and to save (their) lives by a great deliverance.’ Joseph will only accomplish this through forgiving his brothers. He has to reconcile to them, bring them into his house and reassure them agan even after their father’s death: ‘What you intended for evil, God intended for good ... to save many lives.’

"Through a series of strategic conversations and events, Joseph works out in his brothers’ lives the same hard lesson he had himself learned from God – namely, that it is the adversity of life that softens us sufficiently to make us open to the Lord’s grace. Joseph’s own softening before God is clear from the numerous times he breaks down and weeps in the presence of his brothers (42:24; 43:30; 45:2, 14, 15: 46:29). And in the emerging new gentleness among his brothers, the discerning reader perceives God’s transforming grace reaching their hearts through their once-hated younger brother." Willem VanGemeren
“When we think of ourselves in relation to this story, we may ask what are the obstacles that block us from fulfilling our God-given destiny? The answer is anything that takes us from a position of surrender and submission before God. ... What about unforgiveness? Bitterness and a desire for revenge lead us into a position where we assume God’s rule in judgment. If we choose to judge others and withhold forgiveness, we are asserting our own authority instead of surrendering to God’s.  ... Jospeh is given the choice to exact justice or to grant mercy to the very people who caused his years of hardship – his brothers. He has been given the power to extract maximum retribution from his family, but he knows he’s called to take another path. ... If we are to take Joseph’s example and follow Jesus’ lead, we will take a harder path. We will have to empty ourselves. But in doing so, we will see God’s purpose. Joseph says it once, Jesus says it many times. God intends ‘the saving of many lives.’ ‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives’ (Genesis 50:20).” – Mike Breen

Propaganda's Redeem off his new album, "Crimson Cord"

 " ... It's pieces of perfect symphony, a Mozart of irony,

The Vincent Van Gogh that only paints with serendipity.

He be dippin' His brushes into messy blotches of coincidences

And attacking that canvas like every splatter had a destiny.

Broaden your eyes' lenses a little wider, you'll see that perfect symmetry.

Redeemed, boy, it's all on purpose.

I'm still off on purpose, my Papi takes the worthless

And brandishes a stamp of one-of-a-kind and priceless ..."

  • Do you feel disconnected with God working forgiveness in your heart?
  • Who do you distance yourself from and for what reasons?
  • What would it take for you to trust God with not only your healing, but with empowering you to join His gospel ministry of reconciliation with those in your family, in your neighborhood and your city?
  • How does Jesus show us this is all possible?

" ... There is a true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void to create a new people of God. ... 
There is a true and better Joseph, who at the right hand of the King, forgives those who betrayed and sold him, and uses his new power to save them. ... " – Tim Keller

Illustrations by Dan Stevers

By Indelible Grace (original by Martin Luther)
1524 A.D. 

From the depths of woe I raise to Thee
The voice of lamentation;
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me
And hear my supplication;
If Thou iniquities dost mark,
Our secret sins and misdeeds dark,

O who shall stand before Thee? (2x)

Therefore my trust is in the Lord, 
And not in mine own merit; 
On Him my soul shall rest, His word
Upholds my fainting spirit;
His promised mercy is my fort,
My comfort and my sweet support;
I wait for it with patience. (2x)

What though I wait the live-long night, 
Until the dawn appeareth,
My heart still trusteth in His might;
It doubteth not nor feareth;
Do thus, O ye of Israel
’s seed,
Ye of the Spirit born indeed;
And wait ’til God appeareth. (2x)

Though great our sins and sore our woes
His grace much more aboundeth;
His helping love no limit knows,
Our upmost need it soundeth.
Our Shepherd good and true is He,
Who will at last His Israel free.
From all their sin and sorrow! (2x)

Nothing I Hold Onto
By Will Reagan and United Pursuit
2011 A.D.

I lean not on my own understanding,
My life is in the hands of the Maker of heaven.

I give it all to You, God,
Trusting that You'll make something beautiful out of me.

I will climb this mountain
With my hands wide open.
There is nothing I hold on to!

Lord, You are Good

And Your mercy endureth forever.
People from every nation and tongue

From generation to generation.

We worship You!
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!
We worship You for who You are.

You are good all the time,

All the time, You are good.


Apostles' Creed
390 A.D.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. 
And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord. who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.
Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, died and buried. He descended to the dead.

The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty

And He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
The resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.
Prayer of Mission


Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. …  And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 
1 Peter 5:6-7, 10
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