Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Ecclesiastes Series | Better the Gifts or the Giver? (Eccles. 1:12-2:26) + Saturday, February 9

We spent the gold and traded it and frittered it away for drink and food and pleasurable company. The more we gave away, the more we came to realize the drink would not satisfy, food turned to ash in our mouths, and all the pleasurable company in the world could not slake our lust. We are cursed men. Compelled by greed, we were, but now we are consumed by it. ... For too long I've been parched for thirst and unable to quench it. Too long I've been starving to death and haven't died. I feel nothing, not the wind on my face, not the spray of the sea, not the warmth of a woman's flesh. + Captain Barbossa

Welcome! Bienvenido! Akwaaba! Mirë se vjen! خوش آمدید Bem-vindos! 歡迎光臨! Céad míle fáilte! You are known and you are loved by Jesus. We invite you to join with us as we remember together the history-altering, world-restoring, personally-transforming Gospel: the Good News that Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, come to redeem and restore what we have broken; forgive us and heal us; and bring His Kingdom of justice, mercy, and whole-making peace to our world.

Sermon Audio | Ecclesiastes: Better the Gifts or the Giver?
Sermon Scriptures | Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26
Sermon Book Recommendation | 

The world cannot be leveraged to suit us. Life is meant to be enjoyed, not mastered. Life cannot be controlled. Life cannot be fixed. Not everything is a problem to be solved. Some things must be borne, must be suffered and endured. Wisdom does not teach us how to make life predictable according to our wishes. ... One of the striking features is how the language in Ecclesiastes 2:4-9 evokes the garden of Eden, as if the Preacher was trying to re-create God’s good and perfect world without Him. But we can’t without Him. 

+ David Gibson, Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End 

What are nine gifts we settle for as insufficient substitutes for the Giver of abundant life?

1) Laughter (2:2): We receive this gift – not in mocking or diminishing value (vulgar) – but in laughing at ourselves knowing our Master Jesus offers a joy we can enter into forever (Matt. 25:21) 
2) Wine (2:3): We receive this gift when we drink it with a merry heart, not to intoxicate or numb an empty heart.
3) Arts & Entertainment: great works, houses, vineyards (2:4): We craft beauty for the benefit of others, not our rep.
4) Nature: gardens, parks, pools (2:5-6): We behold the beauty all around us when still in the midst of creation.
5) Money: possessions, silver, gold (2:7-8): We invest in the Kingdom when we set free instead of exploit
6) Music: singers (2:8): We are set free when we praise the God who is full of worth and gives us eternal worth
7) Sex (2:8): We enjoy intimacy within friendship, family, and/or marriage, but not to meet our individual lusts
8) Affirmation (2:9): We can be honored as great, but for the benefit of all who are before us.
9) Wise Work (2:11-12): We can gain wisdom more than folly, but to become fools who share Jesus as wisdom. 

How do we counter receiving life as a gift from the Giver and instead pursue gifts as things to consume?

Seven Deadly Sins Practiced in a Digital World

Sermon Story | "The Lord is ... nothing I shall want." 
Sermon Movie Scene | Pirates of the Caribbean: " ... food turned to ash in our mouths ... "
Sermon Series Song | DUST by Kings Kaleidoscope

Come Thou Fount
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.
I'll 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!

Great Are You Lord
All Sons and Daughters, 2013 A.D.

You give life, You are love,
You bring light to the darkness.
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken.
Great are You, Lord.

It's Your breath in our lungs,
So we pour out our praise,
We pour out our praise.
It's Your breath in our lungs,
So we pour out our praise to You only.

All the earth will shout Your praise,
Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing,
“Great are You, Lord!”

What Mercy Did for Me
People & Songs, 2017 A.D.

I was hopeless, I knew I was lost.
Death and darkness were my only songs.
I needed someone to come rescue me
Then mercy heard my plea ...

Lord, You found me, You healed me,
You called me from the grave!
You gave me Your real love,
I thank You, Jesus,
You washed my sins away!
Oh, now I'm living like I'm forgiven,
You came and set me free!
That's what Your mercy did for me!

You gave me beauty for my guilty stains
And now I'm living today by His grace.
So excuse me if I can't contain my praise
'Cause I know that I've been changed!

Every morning mercy will restore me, I will proclaim!
And even if the world should fall before me, I will proclaim!

Jesus is Better
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! (Chorus)

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! (Chorus)

Death Was Arrested
NP InsideOut, 2017 A.D.

Alone in my sorrow and dead in my sin,
Lost without hope with no place to begin.
Your love made a way to let mercy come in
When death was arrested and my life began.

Ash was redeemed, only beauty remains.
My orphan heart was given a name.
My mourning grew quiet, my feet rose to dance
When death was arrested and my life began!

Oh, Your grace so free washes over me,
You have made me new, now life begins with You!
It's your endless love pouring down on us
You have made us new, now life begins with You!

Released from my chains, I'm a prisoner no more.
My shame was a ransom He faithfully bore.
He cancelled my debt and He called me His friend
When death was arrested and my life began! (Chorus)

Our Savior displayed on a criminal's cross.
Darkness rejoiced as though heaven had lost.
But then Jesus arose with our freedom in hand;
That's when death was arrested and my life began! (Chorus)

Oh, we're free, free, forever we're free!
Come join the song of all the redeemed!
Yes, we're free, free, forever, amen,
When death was arrested and my life began!
(Repeat Bridge)

Thomas Ken, 167 A.D.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Missional Encouragement and Prayers for Partners 

The Neighborhood Church, South Providence, RI
+ The Table Church, Groveland, MA
Restoration Community Church, South Bronx, NY

Corporate Prayer of Confession and Assurance
Is. 6:5-8Dan. 9:4-19Neh. 1:5-10Lk. 23:34

Congregational Prayer 

Call: Jesus, would You reveal the experiences and gifts we think will satisfy us more than You? Would you set us free to enjoy the Giver and the gifts rather than settling for what is vain. Help us, Holy Spirit, as You continue to teach us how to pray and live:

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.

Prayers of Preparation for Eucharist
Matthew 26:26-291 Corinthians 11:23-26

Prayer Asking for Jesus' Help
Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.
I want to see. Please reveal to me who You are.
Give me ears to hear You, and understanding for
the Good News You are saying to me today. Amen.

Prayer for Communion with Jesus and Each Other
Jesus, by Your Spirit, fill us with Yourself,
the true Bread and Vine. We turn to You now to
unite us, strengthen us, and empower us
to be Your Kingdom family of servants and witnesses
together until You return and make all things new. Amen. 

Eucharist | Thanking God for Communion with Christ and His Church

Benediction based on Psalm 130:5-7; Ecclesiastes 3:11a; Isaiah 33:17

Wait for the LORD and in His Word put your hope. God has made everything beautiful in its time. Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty; they will see a land that stretches afar. Go with the grace and peace of Jesus, the King of kings.

Next sermon audio and liturgy notes: Ecclesiastes Series | What Time Is It or What is Time For? (Eccles. 3)

Emmaus City Church is a local church made up of City Groups.

City Group (CG) is a group of 10-30 people – children, women, and men included – who are befriending, serving, and loving a community together in Jesus' name in Worcester. CGs are small enough that people can know you and value you, but large enough to make an impact in communities throughout Worcester. Each CG gets together throughout a month (i.e. dinners, times of prayer or learning from the Story of God in the Bible, acts of service, parties, etc.) to see Worcester become a city of neighbors and friends that showcase Jesus' love and compassion to all. Those who are cautious or curious to hear and see what it means to follow Jesus are just as welcome as those who believe Jesus is Lord and God and seek to follow Him in every area of life.

Current City Groups: Lincoln Street City Group | W.R.A.P. City Group

To connect with one of the City Groups above, please contact info@emmauscitychurch.com

Christ is all,

Rev. Mike "Sully" Sullivan

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