Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25 | Jesus Brings Near to Us the Promise and Power of the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven + January 27, 2018

"Baptized When the Levees Broke" by Brandan "Bmike" Odums

Jesus Calls Us from Brokenness into Healing, Messes into Miracles, Tragedy into Victory

At the close of Exhibit BE at Degaulle Manor, a 360 unit apartment complex abandoned since Hurricane Katrina, yet transformed by 35 street artists into a powerful display of beauty, justice, and transformation, 10,000+ people filled the parking lot. Erykah Badu addressed the growing crowd on a platform stage in front of a 5-story painting of murdered teen George Carter: I got love for my folks, baptized when the levees broke.

"That moment, something unreal happened," said Brandan "Bmike" Odums, artist of "Baptized When the Levees Broke" (see above). The place that should had evoked so many emotions of pain and frustration had been transformed into a story of resilience and power. The water did not destroy us, it only made us stronger."

Similar to how these artists stepped into the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Jesus moves into our tragic stories when the levees of life break. The times we were exploited and the times we exploit others. The times we were enslaved by others’ anger, fear, or pain, and the times we enslaved others with our anger, fear, and pain. The times we wandered and the times we repented.

Jesus steps into our stories where there is brokenness and mess and tragedy and bring healing and miracles and victory. He is the beauty of the grace of God. He is the Light that has dawned in the shadow of death. He is the Kingdom of heaven come near.

Welcome! Bienvenido! Akwaaba! Mirë se vjen! خوش آمدید Bem-vindos! 歡迎光臨! Céad míle fáilte! 

We invite you to hear and respond to the history-altering, world-restoring, life-transforming Good News that Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, come to save us. We invite you to wonder about Him and receive Him as your salvation. Join with us as we learn how to humbly follow Him in every area of life as His family of servants and ambassadors who graciously love our neighbors and generously serve our city in the joy and justice of God for the life of the world.

Old Testament Scripture Reading Isaiah 52:3, 6-7

For this is what the LORD says: “You were sold for nothing, and you will be redeemed without silver.” Therefore my people will know My name; therefore they will know on that day that I am He who says: Here I am.” How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the herald, who proclaims peace, who brings Good News, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

New Testament Sermon Text Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25

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

Eucharist | Thanking God for Communion with Christ and His Church

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

One: Jesus, thank You for pursuing us. Thank You for calling us to repent and revealing that the Good News of the Kingdom of heaven is for all who know their need of You.

Jesus, heal us. Jesus, make us holy. In this prayerful moment in Your presence and power, grant us faith and confidence that here today, broken lives are being made whole by You and Your Good News.

Silent Personal Reflection and Confession

One: Jesus, thank You that Your love is relentless. Thank You for bring the Kingdom of heaven near. Please continue to call us to come to You when we are weary from our selfishness, our proud ambitions, our hidden brokenness, and our secret sin. Call us and in coming to You, make us like You, fishers of women and men who seek out others to experience and receive Your abundant life and love.

All: Thank You Jesus that You are Emmanuel, God with us, and that in You, we are seen, forgiven, saved, and loved!

Come Thou Fount
By Robert Robinson
1758. A.D.

Come Thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace.
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, I'm fixed upon it;
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I come.
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God.
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee!
Prone to wander Lord I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love!
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above!

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!

Break Every Chain | Fill Me Up Medley
By Tasha Cobbs & Will Reagan
2013 & 2015 A.D.

There is power
In the name of Jesus;
There is power
In the name of Jesus;
There is power
In the name of Jesus
To break every chain,
Break every chain,
Break every chain!

All sufficient sacrifice,
So freely given,
Such a price
Bought My redemption,
Heaven's gates swing wide.

There's an army rising up!
There's an army rising up!
There's an army rising up
To break every chain,
Break every chain,
Break every chain!

I hear the chains falling!
You provide the fire,
I'll provide the sacrifice.
You provide the Spirit,
I will open up inside.
Fill me up, God,
Fill me up, God,
Fill me up, God,
Fill me up.

Love of God, overflow.
Permeate all my soul.

Fill me up
Until I overflow!
I want to run over,
I want to run over!

In Christ Alone
By Keith Getty and Stuart Townend
2001 A.D.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song.
This Cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
'Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied,
For every sin on Him was laid,
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then bursting forth in glorious Day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine,
Bought with the precious blood of Christ!

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands our destiny!
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand!
'Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand!

By Ike Ndolo
2012 A.D.

The dark is groaning,
The tomb is reaching out.
Oh, but they can't have me!
Oh, but they can't have me!

The crows are circling,
The jackal waits in the dark.
Oh, but they can't have me!
Oh, but they can't have me!

I belong to the
Land of the rising Son
Where the grave is no more,
The war has been won!
I belong to the
Land of the rising Son,
I belong to You, I belong!

The world is in my bones,
It makes me wrestle with You.
Oh, but You have claimed me!
Oh, but You have claimed me!

No matter how far I've gone,
Even to the devil's table.
Oh, my God, You've claimed me!
Oh, my God, You've claimed me!

Through my wandering,
And my failing,
And my doubting, I belong!
Through the fire,
And the darkness,
Through the sadness, I belong!
I'm just a rebel,
Who's tired of fighting,
So I'm laying down these arms.
The sun is rising, the sun is rising,
The sun is rising!

God I Look to You
By Bethel Music
2013 A.D.

God I look to You
And I won’t be overwhelmed.
Give me vision
To see things like You do.

God I look to You,
You’re where my help comes from.
Give me wisdom,
You know just what to do.

And I will love You, Lord, my Strength!
And I will love You, Lord, my Shield!
And I will love You, Lord, my Rock!
Forever all my days, I will love You, God!

Hallelujah! Our God reigns!
Hallelujah! Our God reigns!
Hallelujah! Our God reigns!
Forever all my days, Hallelujah!

The Immigrants Apostles’ Creed 
Adapted from Rev. Jose Luis Casal’s
update of The Apostles’ Creed, 390 A.D.

I believe in God the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,
who guided His people in exile and in exodus,
the God of Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, Esther in Persia.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,
immigrant of heaven and displaced Galilean on earth,
who was raised under occupation and fled as a refugee
with His parents when His life was in danger.
When He returned to His own people,
He suffered under the imperial power
and oppression of Pontius Pilate,
and was unjustly crucified by the empire, dead, and buried.
He descended to hell.
On the third day He rose again, not as a scorned foreigner,
but as the King victorious, ascended to heaven and
empowered to offer us citizenship in God’s eternal Kingdom.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the eternal immigrant from God's Kingdom among us,
who speaks all languages, lives in all countries,
and reunites all races.
I believe in the holy catholic Church that is the secure home for the
foreigner among believers across time and in every nationality.
I believe in the communion of the saints that is revealed
when we embrace all of God’s people in our diversity in unity.
I believe in the forgiveness of sins,
which makes us all equal before God at the cross,
and in His reconciliation, which heals our brokenness and
identifies us together more than race, language, or tribe.
I believe in the resurrection of the body when
God will unite us as one people in which all
are distinct and alike at the same time.
I believe in life everlasting in which no one will be a foreigner
but all of God’s people will be citizens of the Kingdom of heaven
when Jesus Christ reigns forever and ever. Amen.


Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—through the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip you with everything good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. + Hebrews 13:20-21
Christ is all,

Rev. Mike “Sully” Sullivan

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