“Embracing Our Community with C.A.R.E”
Christlike Actions that Restore and Encourage
Jer 29:7 “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city …. Pray to the Lord for it.
A worship service For Sunday March 22, 2020 the 4thSunday of Lent
During the season of LENT (40 days before Easter) we focus on the work of Christ – the atonement – what Jesus’ death on the cross did for us and how it brought about our salvation.
Isn’t is amazing the great lengths our nation is doing to halt the spread of COVID-19? Similarly, it is amazing to realize the tremendous lengths that God did to stop the spread of sin? It is called “reckless love” that sent Jesus to the cross so that we might escape the virus of sin and the sentence of eternal death.
This is a worship service that celebrates the atonement. It can be used for your personal worship as well as for a family group worship.
Come let us worship the Lord. Let us praise him in all situations, as the scriptures call us to do. For he is our God and we are his – the people who belong to him. He has a plan in the midst of our situation. He is preparing us for that which is ahead. We are to look to him and trust. This is an exercise in the development of our faith which, in God’s eyes, is more precious than gold.
During Lent we read the Psalms of Lament – psalms of sorrow, loss and longing tht call on God for deliverance. Psalm 80: a reoccurring theme in verse 3,7,19 “Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.
Gospel Reading: Mark 2:17
Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Reading from the NT Hebrews 7:25:
“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.(NKJV)
- Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to – intercede for them. (NIV)
- Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (NASB
We sing songs that remind of his blood that he shed which brought about our redemption
- Saved, Saved, Saved to the Uttermost
- Love Lifted Me
- He took My Sins Away
- He brought Me Out of the miry clay
- Saved Saved
- He Took My sins away
- What a Beautiful Name (Hillsong) “My sin was great your love was greater”
- Break Every Chain
- You know my name (Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir)
Hebrews 12:1-3 New International Version (NIV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
1. There is a race to be run. It is a long race. It is a difficult and hard course with many obstacles. There is a struggle. Even at the core of our relationship with God there is a struggle against sin, flesh, world, Satan, and even God. Jacob wrestling with the angel (God) in Genesis 32:22–32 includes the renaming of Jacob as Israel (meaning: "contends-with-God").
God (or the angel) changing Jacob’s name to "Israel" (Gen. 32:28) literally means, "He who struggles with God." Jacob demanded a blessing, and God declared in Genesis 32:28 that, from then on, Jacob would be called Israel (meaning "one that struggled with the divine angel", "one who has prevailed with God" …
At the core of our relationship with God there is a struggle … We struggle against
– our sin nature (carnal nature, bent to sin, waywardness, flesh, desires)
– Satan and his temptations and the lure of the world
– God’s will (wanting to obey God and his way yet fearful)
We struggle to believe, to understand, to follow amid the many distractions.
There is a long race to be run. And God wants to help us to win.
- The race is marked out – there is a set course or pathway for us to follow. We need not wander through the wilderness trying to find our way. And as Gandalf told the dwarves in The Hobbit, “do not wander from the path”
– There is a way that seems right but in the end it leads to death (Prov 14:12).
– Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14 )
- There is a cloud of witnesses or coaches that are watching and encouraging. They sometimes call a time out. This is a moment of “Time Out”
– A coach calls a time out to get the team to re-group, a brief rest, to halt the momentum by the opposition, call for a plan of action, etc
– A Parent calls for a time out to allow a child to think about his actions and to bring about change of behavior, to calm upset and out of control emotions, to help a child develop self-control
– And God can call a time out to help his people to regain the focus on him and to prepare his people for what is ahead.
God has a plan during this time …. Listen to the coaching of Scripture, pastors, friends and Holy Spirit. He calls us to be still and to know that he is God in the midst of a storm (Psalms 46)
- Fix your eyes on Jesus and how he ran – he endured:
– The cross – shame, humiliation, pain, extreme suffering, torture, death
– Opposition from sinful men, Satan, from the religious leaders, and even from his family and followers
So do not be surprised at the painful trials. We must endure many things to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
- Hebrews 12:1 calls us to “Throw off everything that hinders you from running well”
The NIV says: The sin that so easily entangles
The Message: “Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.”
Complete Jewish Bible: “put aside every impediment — that is, the sin which easily hampers our forward movement”
Amplified Bible: “stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us”
To effectively run this race marked out for us our coach calls us to put aside all distractions of sin that hinder us. Some of these sins are not easily put aside when we have practiced them for a long time and rehearsed them well. A sin is anything that causes us to lose our trust and confidence in God.
– Voices of condemnation that we tell ourselves, or that have come from others – God says we belong, he knows my name, he says we are loved and valued and cherished
– ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) can be piled up against us making us think we are losers and we will never win: abuse, neglect, abandonment, sickness or death of parent(s), divorce
– Extreme traumatic experience where we develop PTSD
– Friends that lead us away from God
– Drugs that promise temporary relief from pain but leave us empty and in poverty
– Pornography that spoils and pollutes the sacred gift of God intended for marriage and fulfillment of a loving trusting lifelong partner
– Sexual abuse that robs steals and ensnares the soul
– Fear, self-pity, victimization, pride, envy, anger, hatred, rage, violence, …. Etc.
Some of these sins are sins done to us and some sins are sins that we engage in willingly and have rehearsed over and over again and again.
But whatever the start, the sin has become part of us and seems to define our life and character and behavior where we lose heart and turn away from trusting God’s voice and the many was he gives grace to us (scripture, songs, friends, providential care, presence of the Holy Spirit, beauty of nature, etc.)
These sins cause us to be alienated from family, spouse, friends
These sins can make us feel alienated from God and cause much self-condemnation
The good news is that the atonement – the work of Christ on the cross – has power to not only forgive us from the sin but also has the power to cleanse us and deliver us and to bring us victory over the sin that so easily has tripped us up so many times. Christ is our atoning sacrifice! Christ is MY atoning sacrifice!
“There is power power wonder working power in the precious blood of the lamb”
Would you be free from your burden of sin?
Would you be free from your anger and pride ?
Would you over evil a victory win ?
Would you be whiter much whiter than snow ?
… there’s power in the blood
- There is a process of overcoming the sin that so easily entangles just as there is a process of preparing for a race and the running of the race. The process of gaining freedom for a besetting sin or a sin that has become part of us can be long and is such that cannot be accomplished on our own – we need help that God provides in the family of faith as we
– confess our sins one to another and be prayed for (James 5:16)
– find acceptance and love of believers rather that shock, embarrassment or rejection
“for those caught in a sin restore them gently” (Gal 6:1)
– and gain accountability to help us turn from the sin (repent) and develop new patterns of thinking and coping and behaviors that a healthy and life giving rather than defeating
Thank you, O God our Father, for your love and plan of atonement. Thank you, O Christ, for the race you ran and the example of endurance that you gave to us. Thank you, O Holy Spirit, that the same help you gave to Jesus you give to us so that we might be empowered to run the race.
Song: He took My sins away
1 I came to Jesus, weary, worn, and sad, He took my sins away, He took my sins away.
And now His love has made my heart so glad, He took my sins away.
Chorus: He took my sins away, He took my sins away, And keeps me singing every day!
I’m so glad He took my sins away. He took my sins away.
2 The load of sin was more than I could bear. He took them all away, He took them all away.
And now on Him I roll my every care, He took my sins away. (Chorus)
3 No condemnation have I in my heart, He took my sins away, He took my sins away.
His perfect peace He did to me impart, He took my sins away. (Chorus)
4 If you will come to Jesus Christ today, He’ll take your sins away, He’ll take your sins away,
And keep you happy in His love each day, He’ll take your sins away. (Chorus)
Song: Break Every Chain
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
To break every chain, break every chain, break every chain
Fellowship – call some of the church family and share with them a praise and pray one for another.
Giving: Thank you for those who are faithful in giving through the mail, or on-line giving. There is good news from Janice that for now, we have funds to cover the bills. Praise God!
Redeem All This Extra Time A Crash-Course In Culture and Worldview
from JOHN STONESTREET Breakpoint 3/19/2020
We now find ourselves in a whole new world. While it’s not clear how long these new arrangements will last, it does make Paul’s admonition in Ephesians 5 quite relevant: “Make the most of time, because the days are evil.”
I’ve got plenty of things to do working from home, but I also have unexpected family time. How can we redeem it? According to one report, streaming video game platforms are setting new records for users and sessions. Makes sense, but we’ll find it far easier to squander our time than actually redeem it. With all the news about the coronavirus, it’s essential to talk together with kids about what it means to have faith and to deal with fears, and to pray together as families about both.
There’s also a great opportunity in the days ahead to talk through the critical big issues of our culture. With that opportunity in mind, the Colson Center is offering a free 5-day online live short course for students and their parents called “A Crash Course in Worldview and Culture,” featuring worldview and apologetics guru Sean McDowell, youth and family expert Brett Kunkle, and me.
The course will be held Monday to Friday next week, at 1:00 PM Eastern time. Each session will be an hour and fifteen minutes and will be hosted live with interaction and Q&A time. This short course next week is absolutely free. Everyone who signs up will receive the videos and the PowerPoints of each session afterwards, so don’t worry if you cannot make a live session or you want to review the content again later.
This is a resource that can be used by families, youth groups, Christian school classes that have gone online, college students at home, and even grandparents who want to learn a bit more about the world their grandkids face.
It will be a great way we can redeem the time—together.
24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace. (NIV)
Let’s keep in touch …
- I have established a blog on our website to keep people up to date with announcements and devotionals. Church web site is: maryvalechurch.org
- Also, from our website you can take a look at Facebook and make your comments to one another
- Pastors Carla, Deb, and I are making sure each member of the church family is being contacted on a regular basis by phone, text or emails and we encourage you do contact each other as well.
- Use these days at home to call each other in the church directory – those that you do know and also even if you do not know someone in the directory, give them a call and introduce yourself – pray one for another.