Friday, March 13, 2020

Desert Spaces Lenten Series | The Deliverer Who Sees You, Hears You, and Is with You

" ... I will never doubt His promise though I doubt my heart, I doubt my eyes. My Deliverer is coming, my Deliverer is standing by. ... " + Rich Mullins, "My Deliverer"

Sermon Scriptures | Genesis 16:7-13, 21:8-21

Sermon Quote | 

"Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way … They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress" (Psalm 107:4-7). God uses the desert of the soul — our suffering and difficulties, our pain, our dark nights to form us, to make us beautiful souls. He redeems what we might deem our living hells, if we allow Him. … As I grew up in the desert, God grew my soul ... + Marlena Graves, A Beautiful Disaster

Sermon Articles Referenced | 

+ MA: God Is Not Neutral by Alexis Waggoner 
+ TGC: When You Feel Abandoned, Forgotten, Unloved by Jared C. Wilson

Call to Worship Psalm 107:9

(In desert wastelands ... ) The LORD God satisfies
the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

Lord, I Need You
Chris Tomlin, 2011 A.D.

Lord, I come, I confess,
Bowing here I find my rest.
Without You I fall apart.
You're the One that guides my heart.

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You,
Every hour I need You;
My one defense, my righteousness,
Oh God, how I need You!

Where sin runs deep, Your grace is more.
Where grace is found is where You are.
And where You are, Lord, I am free,
Holiness is Christ in me! (Chorus)

Teach my song to rise to You.
When temptation comes my way,
And when I cannot stand, I'll fall on You.
Jesus, You're my hope and stay. (Chorus)

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
There wasn’t a day that You
All of my lifeYour love has been true, 
All of my life I will worship You! ... (Chorus)

He Will Hold Me Fast
Ada Habershonnew + Matt Merker, 2013 A.D.

When I fear my faith will fail,
Christ will hold me fast;
When the tempter would prevail,
He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold
Through life's fearful path;
For my love is often cold;
He must hold me fast.

He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast!
For my Savior loves me so,
He will hold me fast!

Those He saves are His delight,
Christ will hold me fast;
Precious in His holy sight,
He will hold me fast.
He'll not let my soul be lost;
His promises shall last;
Bought by Him at such a cost,
He will hold me fast. (Chorus)

For my life He bled and died,
Christ will hold me fast;
Justice has been satisfied;
He will hold me fast.
Raised with Him to endless life,
He will hold me fast
'Till our faith is turned to sight,
When He comes at last! (Chorus)

Psalm 23 (I Am Not Alone)
People & Songs, 2018 A.D.

The Lord is my Shepherd.
He goes before me,
Defender behind me, I won't fear.
I'm filled with anointing,
My cup's overflowing.
No weapon can harm me, I won't fear.

Hallelujah, I am not alone!
He's my comfort, always holds me close!

He always guides me
Through mountains and valleys.
His joy is refreshing, restores my soul.
Mercy and goodness
Give me assurance
That I'll see His glory face to face! (Chorus)

Your Spirit lives within me
So I will walk in Your peace!
Your Spirit lives within me,
My victory, my victory! (Repeat 3x)

Just a Closer Walk with Thee
African American Spiritual, 1800s A.D.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

I am weak, but Thou art strong,
Jesus, keep me from all wrong,
I’ll be satisfied as long as I walk,
Let me walk close to Thee. (Chorus)

Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

Prayers of Confession and Assurance

One: King Jesus, today we confess we need you ...
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! 

Lenten Creed
By Patmos Abbey, Order of St. Columba

We believe that our lives are held within
the all encompassing love of God our Father,
who knows our names and recognizes
our deepest needs.

We believe that Christ is the only
begotten Son of the living God,
and that His grace is like living waters
that can never be exhausted.

We believe in the birthing, renewing,
enabling Spirit of God who yearns over
our welfare as a mother yearns for her child.

We believe that God is in the arid desert
as well as in green pastures, and that
hard times and disciplines are also loving gifts.

We believe that our journey has a purpose
and a destination, and that our path leads to a
glory we cannot yet imagine.

We believe that in Jesus' Church we are fellow
pilgrims on the road, and that we are called
to love one another as God loves us.

This is our faith and we are humbled to profess
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!

Benediction adapted from Psalm 107:1-2, 4, 9, 43

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His faithful love endures forever! Let the redeemed
of the Lord tell the story of God to the many you encounter
during this season of Lent, especially those in desert wastelands.
He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
May many see in our story King Jesus, our Emmanuel,
God with us, and the faithful love of the Lord. You are sent out
by His Spirit to share His Good News in the grace and peace of Christ!

Special sermon video + liturgy notes post: Christ & the Coronavirus Lenten Special | Matt. 9:18-25: Journeying with Jesus to Welcome Unexpected Interruptions

Next sermon + liturgy notes post: Lenten Series: The Deliverer Who Does a New Thing

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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