Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Matthew 19:30 - 20:16 | An Economy of Grace with Pastor Brice Williams + October 28, 2017

Is it not significant that the biblical prophets and psalmists were all poets? 

The poet forces you to slow down. You can’t speed read a poem. You need to shift out of your normal asphalt-driving-to-work-being-productive mentality. You need to be submissive to a reality you didn’t make. You have to read the poem three times before you start getting the hang of it. It means you aren’t in control of it. There is somebody who perceives some truth that you don’t. + Eugene Peterson, Answering God

Bible Passages | Matthew 19:20-20:16

Scripture Reading | Psalm 118:19-29

Jesus' favorite speech form, the parable, was subversive. Parables sound absolutely ordinary: casual stories about soil and seeds, meals and coins and sheep, bandits and victims, farmers and merchants. And they are wholly secular: of his forty or so parables recorded in the Gospels, only one has its setting in church, and only a couple mention the name God. As people heard Jesus tell these stories, they saw at once that they weren't about God, so there was nothing in them threatening their own sovereignty. They relaxed their defenses. They walked away perplexed, wondering what they meant, the stories lodged in their imagination. And then, like a time bomb, they would explode in their unprotected hearts. An abyss opened up at their very feet. He was talking about God; they had been invaded!” + Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor

The Holy Scriptures are story-shaped. Reality is story-shaped. The world is story-shaped. Our lives are story-shaped. 'I had always,' wrote G.K. Chesterton in accounting for his Christian belief, 'felt life first as a story, and if there is a story, there is a story-teller.' We enter this story, following the story-making, storytelling Jesus, and spend the rest of our lives exploring the amazing and exquisite details, the words and sentences that go into the making of the story of our creation, salvation, and life of blessing. It is a story chock full of invisibles and intricate with connections. Imagination is required. + Eugene Peterson, Eat This Book

Lord's Prayer | Praying for Jesus' Kingdom Impact in Us and in Worcester

Prayer of Confession and Assurance
Isaiah 6:5-8; Daniel 9:4-19; Nehemiah 1:5-10; Luke 23:34

Leader: Merciful Lord Jesus Christ, forgive us when little of Your Good News of grace and truth is heard by others through us.

All: We are guilty of keeping silent when Your Word is needed. We treat Your call to be fishers of people as a nice suggestion to be considered or a nice story to be kept at a distance. Forgive us, bless us, encourage us, empower us, Holy Spirit, to be like Jesus in proclaiming the Good News! Make us bold disciples who graciously and authentically share Your Gospel of the Kingdom with others in our words and our actions.

Silent Personal Reflection and Confession

Leader: Jesus, You are with us. By Your grace, enable us to speak Your story of grace and truth and Your promises of mercy and justice to our neighbors and friends with gentleness, humility, confidence, honor, and love for You and them. Thanks be to God for Your Good News: 

All: In You, Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!

Prayers of Vocation: Faith & Work Q&A

This Is the Day
By Bob Fitts
2014 A.D.

This is the day
That the Lord has made!
I will rejoice and celebrate!
This is the day
That the Lord has made!
I will rejoice,
I will rejoice and celebrate!

He goes before me,
He walks beside me,
He lives within me,
He's the lover of my soul!
He's my Defender,
He's my Provider,
His overflowing mercies
Are brand new every day!

By Urban Doxology, Liz Vice, and Latifah Alattas (Page CXVI) 
2017 A.D.  

Hallelu! Hallelujah! 
Father, let Your Kingdom come! (x4)

May the works of my hands 
Bring You joy. (x4 + Chorus

May the words of my mouth
Speak Your peace. (x4 + Chorus

You make all things new,
You make all things new
In places we don't choose,
You make all things new! (Chorus)

In Tenderness He Sought Me
By W. Spencer Walton
1894 A.D.

In tenderness He sought me 
Weary and sick with sin.
And on His shoulders brought me
Back to His fold again.
While angels in His presence sang,
Until the courts of heaven rang!

Oh, the love that sought me!
Oh, the blood that bought me!
Oh the grace that brought me
To the fold of God!
Grace that brought me
To the fold of God!

He died for me while I was sinning,
Needy and poor and blind.
He whispered to assure me,
"I've found thee; thou art Mine."
I never heard a sweeter voice,
It made my aching heart rejoice!

Upon His grace I'll daily ponder
And sing anew His praise.
With all adoring wonder,
His blessings I retrace.
It seems as if eternal days,
Are far too short to sing His praise!

By Kim Walker Smith
2012 A.D.

I need you moremore than yesterday.
I need you moremore than words can say.
I need you more than ever before.
I need You, LORD, I need You, LORD.

More than the air I breathe,
More than the song I sing,
More than the next heartbeat,
More than anything!
And Lord, as time goes by,
I’ll be by Your side
‘Cause I never want to go back to my old life!

Reckless Love
Bethel Music
2017 A.D.

Before I spoke a word,
You were singing over me.
You have been so, so good to me.
Before I took a breath,
You breathed Your life in me.
You have been so, so kind to me.
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending
Reckless love of God!
It chases me down,
Fights 'til I'm found,
Leaves the ninety-nine!
I couldn't earn it, and
I don't deserve it,
Still You give Yourself away!
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending
Reckless love of God!
When I was your foe,
Still Your love fought for me.
You have been so, so good to me.
When I felt no worth,
You paid it all for me.
You have been so, so kind to me.
There's no shadow You won't light up,
Mountain You won't climb up,
Coming after me!
There's no wall You won't kick down,
Lie You won't tear down,
Coming after me!

So Will I (100 Billion X)
By Hillsong United
2017 A.D.

God of creation,
There at the start
Before the beginning of time.
With no point of reference,
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light.

And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born.
In the vapour of Your breath the planets form.
If the stars were made to worship so will I.
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made,
Every burning star a signal fire of grace.
If creation sings Your praises so will I.

God of Your promise,
You don’t speak in vain,
No syllable empty or void.
For once You have spoken,
All nature and science
Follow the sound of Your voice.

And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath,
Evolving in pursuit of what You said.
If it all reveals Your nature so will I.
I can see Your heart in everything You say,
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace.
If creation still obeys You so will I.

If the stars were made to worship so will I!
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I!
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I!
For if everything exists to lift You high so will I!
If the wind goes where You send it so will I!
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I!
If the sum of all our praises still falls shy
Then we’ll sing again a hundred billion times!

God of salvation,
You chased down my heart
Through all of my failure and pride.
On a hill You created,
The light of the world
Abandoned in darkness to die.

And as You speak,
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here.
If You left the grave behind You so will I!
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done,
Every part designed in a work of art called love!
If You gladly chose surrender so will I!
I can see Your heart
Eight billion different ways.
Every precious one,
A child You died to save.
If You gave Your life to love them so will I!

New City Catechism Q & A 1
Q. What is our only hope
in life and in death?

That we are not our own,1

but belong, body and soul,
both in life and death2
to God and to our faithful
Savior Jesus Christ.3

 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

2 Romans 14:7-9
3 1 Corinthians 3:23; Titus 2:14  


May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. + 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

+ Sully

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