Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Ever Ancient Ever New | Psalm 4: The Midnight Prayer

Psalm 4 marks the transition from daylight world, where it’s easy to suppose that we’re in control, to the night world where we relinquish our grip on jobs, on other people, even on our own thoughts. People who live by faith have always welcomed the evening hour for prayer, disengaging themselves from the discordant, arrhythmic confusion of voices, and sinking into the quiet rhythms of God’s words. It’s there, in the night, that we experience a will greater than our own – the will of God, whose answers precede our prompting. Our God works while we sleep. Without our help. Without even our awareness that He’s working. And that should help us all rest a lot easier. + Eugene Peterson

Sermon Audio | The Midnight Prayer

Sermon Scriptures | Psalm 4

Sermon Quote

I think it’s during the wait in the dark, more than any other time, that Christ is being formed in us. In a sense then, waiting is the womb of the Kingdom in which we are formed. … Most of the time, we don’t exactly know how we are being formed. But while we wait and learn to pay attention to the details of life right in front of us, we discover that God’s grace is “always hidden under the strangest appearances,” as the 18th century Jesuit priest, Jean-Pierre de Caussade says. Life all around us is full of nooks and crannies, of delights and wonders – some of which have always been there but we’ve yet to see. The season of waiting slows us down so that we notice. … And we do not want to become so agitated that we leave the womb before it’s time. + Marlena Graves, A Beautiful Disaster

Call to Worship John 1:5, 3:16

1:5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it. ...

3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave
His one and only Son, that whoever believes
in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Hillsong, 2012 A.D.

Salvation sounds a new beginning
As distant hearts begin believing.
Redemption's bid is unrelenting,
Your love goes on, Your love goes on!

You carry us, carry us when the world gives way!
You cover us, cover us with Your endless grace!
Your love is relentless (x4)!

The time is up for chasing shadows,
You gave the world the Light to follow,
A hope that shines beyond tomorrow,
Your love goes on, Your love goes on! (Chorus)

Tearing through the veil of darkness,
Breaking every chain, You set us free!
Fighting for the furthest heart You gave
Your life for all to see!

You carry us, carry us (Your love is relentless)!
You cover us, cover us (Your love is relentless)!

Faithful to the End
Paul & Hannah McClure, 2016 A.D.

We're heaven-spun creations,
His pride and adoration,
Treasures woven by His love.
His careful hands, they hold us,
Safe within His promise
Of calling and of destiny.

I will sing of all You've done,
I'll remember how far You carried me.
From beginning until the end,
You are faithful, faithful to the end.

The Father's heart that's for me,
A never-ending story
Of love that's always chasing me.
His kindness overwhelming
And hope for me unending,
He's never given up on me. (Chorus)

There wasn't a day that You weren't by my side,
There wasn't a day that You let me fall!
All of my life Your love has been true,
All of my life I will worship You! ... (Chorus)

In Christ Alone
Keith Getty + 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!

Nothing I Hold Onto (Climb This Mountain)
United Pursuit, 2010 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,
I will climb this mountain
With my hands wide open!

There is nothing I hold on to,
There is nothing I hold on to,
There is nothing I hold on to,
There is nothing I hold on to!

Solid Rock (My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less)
Edward Mote, 1834 A.D.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name

When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil

On Christ the Solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne. (Chorus)

All my hope is in You! All my strength is in You!
All my peace is in You! All my life is in You!

Prayers of Confession and Assurance

One: King Jesus, today we confess that sometimes
we believe the darkness is too much and Your love
is not enough. We turn again from what we can do
to what only You can do to heal, redeem, and rescue ...

Congregational Prayers: ... We pray to the Lord, "Lord, hear our prayer."

One: And now we pray together, Jesus, as You taught us to pray ...
All: Our Father who is 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.

Pass the Peace | In the Story of God, Jesus declared, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you" (John 14:26) during humanity's darkest, most tragic weekend of His death. And then after Jesus was crucified and resurrected, defeating evil and death, He said, "Peace be with you ... Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20:21-22). Somehow, with Jesus, peace is possible even in our darkest moments. During this time, we desire to share with each other peace that passes understanding, empowered by the Spirit of Christ.

The peace of the Lord by always with you.
And also with you.

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.

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. 
Jesus, dying, You destroyed our death.
Rising, You restored our life.
Lord Jesus, come in glory! 

Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 1
1563 A.D.

Q. What is your only comfort and hope
in life and death?

A. That I am not my own, 1
but belong with body and soul,
both in life and in death, 2
to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. 3
He has fully paid for all my sins
with His precious blood, 4
and has set me free
from all the power of the devil. 5
He also preserves me in such a way 6
that without the will of my heavenly Father
not a hair can fall from my head; 7
indeed, all things must work together
for my salvation. 8
Therefore, by His Holy Spirit
He also assures me
of eternal life 9
and makes me heartily willing and ready
from now on to live for Him. 10

1. 1 Cor 6:19, 20.
2. Rom 14:7-9.
3. 1 Cor 3:23; Tit 2:14.
4. 1 Pet 1:18, 19; 1 Jn 1:7; 2:2.
5. Jn 8:34-36; Heb 2:14, 15; 1 Jn 3:8.
6. Jn 6:39, 40; 10:27-30; 2 Thess 3:3; 1 Pet 1:5.
7. Mt 10:29-31; Lk 21:16-18.
8. Rom 8:28.
9. Rom 8:15, 16; 2 Cor 1:21, 22; 5:5; Eph 1:13, 14.
10. Rom 8:14.

Benediction: 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely,
and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.

Next sermon audio + liturgy notes post: Psalm 127: The Master Builder

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

A Micro City Group (CG) is a growing group that begins with 3+ people – children, women, and men included – who are befriending, serving, and loving a community together in Jesus' name in Worcester. Micro CGs start small enough that people can know you and value you, but seek to grow large enough (10-30 people) 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 Micro City Groups: W.R.A.P. | Fellow Travelers | YMCA | Freedom City | Westside Welcome 

To connect with one of the City Groups above, please contact

Christ is all,

Rev. Mike "Sully" Sullivan

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