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Preparing For Corporate Worship - October 8, 2017

Written By Ryan Egan on 10/03/2017 | Posted in Congregational LifeCurrent EventsWorship

This Sunday is the second in a series of worship services focused on "God's Gifts To Us." The focus this Sunday is on the gift of Baptism. Lutherans have a very distinct view of Baptism and it will be good to unpack what it means through the lens of the Living Word of God.

Secondly, you'll notice a an emphasis on our mission and vision in these posts. In light of helping remind us of our mission and vision, we are going to be finding more ways to help you see how we live it out and apply it inside and outside of our church walls. Each Sunday we gather together corporately to continue what we've hopefully been doing at home. Worship of the Living God includes proclaiming His Living Word together as a family during the week as well as serving Him together in our homes and community. Sunday mornings give us the wonderful privilege and opportunity to come together and do these things as a gathered body of believers. We proclaim the Living Word and serve the Living God joyfully and willingly together.

Call to Worship

Each Sunday we make an effort to begin our service with a biblical call to worship. This is one way that we intentionally "proclaim the Living Word" right away within our worship service. I hope you realize how important this part of the service is and why we would love to see you early to church so you're on time to begin this with us right when our service starts. The call to worship focuses our hearts, reminds us why we're gathered, and sets the tone for the rest of the service. Please don't miss it.

Opening Songs

We aim to keep our songs biblical, full of sound doctrine, and saturated with references to God's Word if not allusions to it or poetical paraphrases of it. We hope as we joyfully proclaim the Living Word with our singing that you will join us in loud praise. This is one of the main reasons for these blog posts every week, to give you resources to learn and practice the songs if you don't know them as well as a way to continue worshiping as a family.

This week we will begin the service with the wonderful hymn, "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing." While Jesus is present with us without us needing to invite Him into our services, it's good for us to confess this prayer, to ask Him to "Come and remind me of these things. Come and remove the things in my heart that would distract me from You."

The line "tune my heart to sing Your praise" is a beautiful one. As David prayed in the Psalm 86:11:

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name."

When an instrument is out of tune it is distorted from the rest of the things that are in tune. Whether it be the remaining strings of the instrument itself or the rest of the ensemble it is playing with, being tuned up is important and creates the beautiful unity that allows for gorgeous music. The same is true for us. Our hearts are distorted from God's ways. We are at disunity with Him with the things that pull us to give them allegiance. We can pray with David that God would unite our hearts, and with the hymn-writer that He would tune our hearts in order to sing His praise - yet another way we joyfully proclaim the Living Word as we gather together.

Following this we will sing Matt Boswell's updated version of A Mighty Fortress, both to continue to declare this great hymn-text and to learn the newer bridge that reinforces the text. My apologies for the lyrics showing incorrectly last week. We will have that fixed for this Sunday's service.

Confession of Sin and Assurance of Pardon

Another way we "proclaim the Living Word" is by letting God's promises from it wash over us after agreeing with Him that we are sinful and have sinned. We come to Him in repentance and penitence, confessing our sins, and receive the promises of the Living Word to assure us that God has indeed forgiven us. I look forward to this moment with great anticipation every week.

Following the reception of God's promises as we proclaim them from His Word we try to reinforce these by singing a song together that speaks to what we just heard. The songs on God's love and forgiveness could probably never be exhausted but some are good to come back to again and again. This week, in light of thinking of the water and the Word together in baptism we will sing "There Is A Fountain."

Confession of Faith - Explanation of the Third Article of the Apostles' Creed

While our primary emphasis is on God's Word, it's good, sometimes, for us to use parts and pieces of Luther's catechism to help us understand and reinforce what we are doing. This week we will take a look at the meaning of the third article of the Apostles' Creed.

Baptism

This week we are blessed to have a little one be baptized and receive the promises of God during our worship service. We're also looking forward to hearing more about how this precious Sacrament works during the message.

Greeting and Announcements

Part of "serving the Living God" includes understanding the opportunities available to do so and encouraging others to do so. We serve willingly and we gladly share news of is happening in and around Living Word.

Tithes and Offerings

This moment is, as always, an act of worship as well as the rest of the service. When we offer back to God what is already His we honor and serve Him by furthering His kingdom through our generosity.

Scripture Readings

This is one of the very visible and obvious ways that we "proclaim the Living Word" each Sunday. We make sure that Scripture is read and proclaimed. And not only here, but in multiple other places in the service as well.

Message

And, of course, the preaching of God's Word (proclaimed and taught to us week in and week out by our pastor) is central to our service. Let God's Word "dwell in you richly" as the third chapter of Colossians says.

Sending

Following the message, we will sing the song "Hallowed Be Your Name" together. I love, first of all, the Trinitarian focus of this song. Secondly, the references to God being our fount of Living Water and an overflowing fountain for us fit perfectly as a follow-up to looking at Baptism. I also love how this song wraps up how the Trinity is working within the text that Pastor Kirk will be teaching on. The Father is an overflowing fountain of life and love through the Spirit and the Son. The Son Himself came in the flesh and was given for us because we could not settle our debt on our own. And the Holy Spirit provides the washing and regeneration, consistently drawing us back to the Savior.

Finally, don't tune out as the final "good word" is proclaimed as the benediction is spoken over us. Let this declaration of Scripture be something you can hold on to as you go out from the worship service.


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Ryan serves as Director of Worship & Creative Arts at Living Word. He is a follower of Jesus, husband, father of three, worshiper and creative.

On a side note, I think his new album encapsulates all that is so incredibly awful about divorce, but more so, about our sinful condition.

Posted on 10/04/2017
Sunday Worship at 9 am | Christian Education at 10:30 am