Thursday, April 19, 2018

Sermon on the Mount Series | Matthew 5:1-12: An Invitation to Flourish Even in Dark Times + Saturday, April 14, 2018

None of this is wasted, still becoming who we are. Ordinary people, extraordinary scars from a million places like a million shooting stars. We belong to hope now, Heaven isn't all that far. + Kings Kaleidoscope, "Safe Retreat"

You know that feeling when God is right there, this close, and you can just feel His loving arms around you, and you can literally hear His voice whispering in your ear, telling you how much He loves you? I don’t. I never have. … Having lived with this (an absence of feeling God’s presence) for my entire life, I’d like to tell you something: our feelings have nothing to do with whether God loves us or is still involved in our lives. There is no basis in Scripture for the idea that if God is still involved with you, you’ll have good feelings. Unless, that is, your god is your good feelings. Jesus talked about the way things worked in the realer reality, called the Kingdom of heaven. According to Jesus, those who flourish are the unfeeling faithful, the wounded, the ones without amazing spiritual stories, the introverts, the perpetual strugglers, the melancholy, the unnoticed, the people who do church anyway, the misfit royalty. 
+ Brant Hansen, Blessed Are the Misfits 

The Beatitudes clarify the Gospel message of Jesus that God's Kingdom rule and righteousness are freely available to all of humanity through reliance upon Jesus Himself. Those who are often regarded as most hopeless, most seemingly beyond all possibility of God's blessing or even interest, enjoy God's touch and abundant provision. ... This is God-based inversion for the hopelessly blessables. + Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy

We can compare the work of the Beatitudes to that of a plow in the fields. Drawn along with determination, it drives the sharp edge of the plowshare into the earth and carves out, as the poets say, a deep wound, a deep furrow … the Beatitudes penetrates us with the power of the Holy Spirit in order to break up our interior soil. It cuts through us with the sharp edge of trials and with the struggles it provokes. It overturns our ideas and projects, reverses the obvious, thwarts our desires, and bewilders us, leaving us poor and naked before God. All this, in order to prepare a place within us for the seed of new life. + Servais Pinckaers, The Pursuit of Happiness

Old Testament Scriptures | Isaiah 61:1-9
New Testament Scriptures | Matthew 5:1-12

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

We humbly invite you to hear and respond to the history-altering, world-restoring, life-transforming Gospel that Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, come to save us by the power of His death and resurrection.

Spirituality Questions

Are you curious? Consider asking someone a question or two about Jesus and Christian spirituality even if you don't believe.

Are you open? Consider your emotional and spiritual needs, and step into asking if Jesus can meet them and help you.

Are you searching? Consider exploring more about Jesus even if you are not sure who He is; example: "If I could ask Jesus one honest question that would help me trust Him, what would I ask?"

Are you beginning to believe? Consider how your life would be transformed if you followed Jesus. Ask God to help you understand the Good News that through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, He is restoring everything sin has ruined in your life and in the world. 

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

Eucharist | Thanking God for Communion with Christ and His Church

Christ Is Risen
By Matt Maher
2009 A.D.

Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame,
But fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to Him who showed great love
And bled for us.
Freely, You've bled for us.

Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling over death by death!
Come awake, come awake,
Come and rise up from the grave!
Christ is risen from the dead,
We are one with Him again!
Come awake, come awake,
Come and rise up from the grave!

Beneath the weight of all our sin,
You bowed to none but heaven's will.
No scheme of hell, no scoffer's crown,
No burden great can hold You down.
In strength You reign,
Forever let Your Church proclaim!

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O Church, come stand in the light,
The glory of God has defeated the night!

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O Church, come stand in the light,
Our God is not dead!
He's alive! He's alive!

This Glorious Grace
By Austin Stone Worship
2013 A.D.

God, I need You,
I need You, I need You,
With every breath,
Every pulse of my heart.
Christ have mercy, have mercy,
Let mercy abound,
I need You, I need You now.

God, pour out Your grace,
Glorious grace
That we would be held by
Your perfect embrace!
We are undeserving,
You are high and worthy,
All of our praise
For this glorious grace!

God we're longing,
We're longing to see You,
In Your presence
All darkness will fade.
Shine Your glory, Your glory,
Let glory surround,
We're longing to see You now.

God, Your grace
Like rising seas
Has swallowed death
And sin in me!
Glory to our God who saves,
Jesus Christ, our glorious grace!

God we worship, we worship, 
We worship You
For Your glory, our all in all.
You are worthy, You’re worthy, 
You’re worthy,
We worship, we worship You.
God we need You,
We need You now.

Humble Thyself | Amazing Grace Medley

By Bob Hudson and John Newton
1978 A.D., 1779 A.D.

Humble thyself
In the sight of the LORD
And He will lift you up.
Amazing grace,
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost
But now I'm found.
I was blind but now I see.

When we've been
There ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun.

We've no less days
To sing God's praise
Then when we've first begun.

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

Call: Jesus, we are blessed by You, our God and King,
to experience joy in suffering, happiness in mourning.

Response: Help us to trust Your words, Jesus.
May You rule our lives today more than
our good feelings about You. We confess that
we often trust our feelings more than You.
Set us free to follow You and seek first
Your Kingdom with justice, mercy, and humility.

Silent Personal Reflection and Confession

Call: King Jesus, graciously continue to bless us.
Help us to receive Your Spirit's fullness in our poverty
of spirit and pray as You taught us to pray:

Response: Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your Kingdom come, Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from evil for Thine is the
Kingdom and the power and the glory

now and forever. Amen.

Jesus is Better
By Austin Stone Music
2013 A.D.

There is no other
So sure and steady.
My hope is held
In Your hand.
When castles crumble
And breath is fleeting,
Upon this Rock I will stand.
Upon this Rock I will stand!

Glory, glory,
We have no other king
But Jesus Lord of all!
Raise the anthem,
Our loudest praises ring –
We crown Him Lord of all!

Your kindly rule has
Shattered and broken
The curse of sin's tyranny.
My life is hidden
'Neath Heaven's shadow,
Your crimson flood
Covers me!
Your crimson flood
Covers me!

In all my sorrows,
Jesus is better
– Make my heart believe!
In all my victories,
Jesus is better
– Make my heart believe!
More than any comfort,
Jesus is better
– Make my heart believe!
More than all riches,
Jesus is better
– Make my heart believe!
Our souls declaring,
Jesus is better
– Make my heart believe!
Our song eternal,
Jesus is better
– Make my heart believe!

May Your Power Rest on Me
By Isaac Watts; Sojourn Music
Early 1700s A.D.; 2009 A.D.

Let me hear my Savior say
“Your strength shall return.”
Then I’ll rejoice in my weakness
As I lean on Your grace,
As I lean on Your grace.

May Your power rest on me.
You are strong when I am weak.
I can bear all things
When temptation springs
For You sustain me all my days.

Let me know my Savior’s face.
Let my hope be secure.
Then I’ll rejoice in my weakness
As I lean on Your grace,
As I lean on Your grace.

Once from the Lord withdrawn
I thought that I could live my life alone.
Leaving the solid ground,
I sank beneath His wisdom.
The harder I tried to climb,
The closer I was to find
How great is my weakness.

Though the trial still goes on,
Your grace will be my song!
For I can bear all things
When temptation springs
For You sustain me all my days.

By The Village Church
2012 A.D.

To Him be the glory 
For all He has done!
Praise to the Father 
Who gave us His Son!
A ransom for many, 
He bled and died
Then rose in victory 
Enthroned on high!

To Him be the glory 
In heaven and earth,
All of creation 
Is shouting His worth.
The saints and the angels, 
All live to proclaim
The wonderful story, 
The glorious name.

Oh look and see 
Our God and celebrate
The power of the cross 
And the empty grave!
And now we're free, 
Let the redeemed 
Lift up your heads,
Oh look and see our God!

To Him be the glory, 
He's coming again
And all of the sadness 
Will come to an end!
Oh what a reunion, 
The Bride and her King!
Forever we'll praise Him, 
Forever we'll sing!

Glory, glory to our God! 

Our World Belongs to God 5&6
2008 A.D.

Q. How has God blessed us and the world today?
A. God holds this world with fierce love.
Keeping His promise, He sends Jesus 
into the world, pours out the Holy Spirit,
and announces the Good News of the Kingdom:
sinners who repent and believe in Jesus
live anew as members of the family of God—
the firstfruits of a new creation. 
We rejoice in the goodness of God,
renounce the works of darkness,
and dedicate ourselves to holy living.
As covenant partners,
set free for joyful obedience,
we offer our hearts and lives
to do God’s work in the world.
With tempered impatience,
eager to see injustice ended,
we expect the Day of the Lord.
We are confident that the light
which shines in the present darkness
will fill the earth when Christ appears.
Come, Lord Jesus. Our world belongs to You.

Hosea 11:10-11; John 3:1-21;
Acts 2:36-39: Romans 10:7-11:
Ephesians 2:1-10; Leviticus 23:9-14:
James 1:18

Sermon on the Mount Benediction 
Based on Matthew 5-7

King Jesus, please bless us to embrace the joy
You give us in our brokenness and mourning,
eternal blessing that humbles the might,
intellect, and comforts of this current world.
Transform us into Your Kingdom community
through the crucible of Your way of the cross.
Write Your Kingdom rule and reign on our hearts
making us pure by Your perfect love, mercy, and justice.
May a watching world see Your light, taste Your salt,
and be welcomed into Your city on a hill through us.
Embolden us to be Your Kingdom ambassadors,
change agents who display the Good News You offer.
Make us decrease so that You might increase.
Stir in us Your grace, compassion, and sacrifice
for those who would seek to marginalize
and silence us because of You.
Everything we need is Yours to give us.
You are the treasure that we desperately seek.
You invite us home as prodigals
returning to our Father’s embrace;
Your prayer for the Kingdom coming
provides the answer to all our longings.
Free us of any fear, distraction, craving, or anxiety
that would keep us from fully following You
and building our lives on the Rock that is Your Word.
By Your Holy Spirit, keep us on
Your path of justice and righteousness.
It is with You, King Jesus, that hope is secure,
for us and all of creation, now and forever.

Now go in the blessing and name of King Jesus
by the power of His personally-transforming
grace and world-restoring peace. Amen.

Next sermon and liturgy: Sermon on the Mount | Matthew 5:13-16: Change Agents w/ Pastor Tra'Vorus Weaver 

Christ is all,

Rev. Mike "Sully" Sullivan

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