Order, Words, & Voices

Order

Sunday, June 13, 2021

#1 ONE Video #1 (2:13)

  • Call to Worship

Child of God (Phil Wickham)

Live/OnLine

  • Prayer                    Rick (In Person) (Slides)
  • Music                     Abbie (In Person) (Slides)

    Tell Me The Story Of (Fanny Crosby and John Sweney)

    Blessed Assurance (Fanny Crosby, Phoebe Knapp)

    I Love To Tell The Story (Arabella Hankey, William Fischer)

  • That Story = My Story Intro        Rick (Slide)
  • That Story = My Story            Sherri, Beth, Linda (No Slides)
  • Music                    Abbie (Slides)

    Blessed Assurance (Fanny Crosby, Phoebe Knapp)

  • Message    ‘Descendants in the Marketplace’         Rick (slides)

#2 TWO Video (4:39)

  • Song – Belong to You (Dustin Smith, Jaye Thomas & Stephen Mcwhirter)

    Community – Next Sunday – The Power of Me, My, & Mine (Acts 19:21-41)

Live

  • Benediction (inperson/online)  Sherri, Beth, Linda (Spotlight) (no slides)
  • Sharing the Peace           Rick

# 3 Three Audio (3:32)

Song – Love Anyway (Drew & Elli Holcomb)

Voices & Words

Call to Worship

‘We too are his offspring.’ Acts 17:28b

See what great love the Father has lavished upon us that we should be called the children of God. I John 3:1

for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. Galatians 3:26

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. I John 3:1a

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. I John 5:2

Prayer

God, you are my creator and my sustainer

You are our ruler and our savior

You are the father and the king

You alone are the judge of this world

You alone are my redeemer

God, it is in you that I live

It is in you that I move

It is in you that I have my being

God, I am your offspring

We are your offspring

We walk in the midst of your offspring

We exist among your offspring

We live with your offspring

God, I know that you are always present

I have glimpses of you in Christ

I feel close to you in holy moments

I know you are light even in the darkness

I know that there is hope even in desolation

I desire to see you even when you are unseen

I search to constantly know you more

God, may we see you

Not in gold or silver or stone

Not in objects made by our devising

Nor in the false perceptions that come from our human minds

God, may we witness you in your gifts

In your grace

In your promise

In your sacrifice

In your mercy

In your compassion

In your love

Amen

Music

Tell Me The Story Of (Fanny Jane Crosby & John Robson Sweney)

Jesus CCLI Song # 33399

Tell me the story of Jesus
Write on my heart every word
Tell me the story most precious
Sweetest that ever was heard
Tell how the angels in chorus
Sang as they welcomed His birth
Glory to God in the highest
Peace and good tidings to earth

Blessed Assurance (Fanny Jane Crosby, Phoebe Palmer Knapp)

CCLI Song # 22324

Blessed assurance Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation purchase of God
Born of His Spirit washed in His blood

This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Perfect submission perfect delight
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy whispers of love

This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Tell Me The Story Of Jesus (Fanny Jane Crosby | John Robson Sweney)

CCLI Song # 33399

Fasting alone in the desert
Tell of the days that are past
How for our sins He was tempted
Yet was triumphant at last
Tell of the years of His labour
Tell of the sorrow He bore
He was despised and afflicted
Homeless rejected and poor

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him
Writhing in anguish and pain
Tell of the grave where they laid Him
Tell how He liveth again
Love in that story so tender
Clearer than ever I see
Stay let me weep while you whisper
Love paid the ransom for me

I Love To Tell The Story (Arabella Catherine Hankey William Gustavus Fischer)

CCLI Song # 29413

I love to tell the story
Of unseen things above
Of Jesus and His glory
Of Jesus and His love

I love to tell the story
‘Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old old story
Of Jesus and His love

I love to tell the story
More wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies
Of all our golden dreams

I love to tell the story
‘Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old old story
Of Jesus and His love

Blessed Assurance (Fanny Jane Crosby, Phoebe Palmer Knapp)

CCLI Song # 22324

Perfect submission all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest
Watching and waiting looking above
Filled with His goodness lost in His love

Filled with His goodness lost in His love

That Story = My Story

We have seen so much as we as we have traveled alongside the new testament church.

We have seen so much because they have seen so much. We seen people become A People.

It must have felt similar to what the Israelites experienced coming out of slavery in Egypt and also becoming A People.

We have primarily seen it through the work of the Apostle Peter, it has been a mighty work.

Accepting previously unacceptable people.

Letting go of obligatory expectations.

It had to be a lot to take in, sometimes it must have seemed overwhelmingly impossible to take in, process, and apply.

As we continue today, we will be seeing these next phases of the journey through the Apostle Paul.

Talk about accepting previously unacceptable people and letting go of obligatory expectations. As we meet begin to follow Paul we see a man who has had a distinctly unique path to Jesus.

God placed amazing co-laborers along Paul’s path who have provided sacrificial support and assistance.

Co-laborers with names such as Silas, Timothy, Lydia, Jason, Aquila and Priscilla,

Dionysius, Damaris, Titius, Crispus, Apollos,

Amphipolis, Apollonia, Thessalonica, Beroea, and in Acts 17 we find Paul waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens.

In Athens, Paul was extremely bothered that the city was full of idols. He argued with the Jews and the devout persons in the synagogue then he argued with everyone in the marketplace.

They  brought Paul to the Areopagus and asked him, “What this new teaching is that you are presenting? It sounds rather strange to us, so we would like to know what it means.” 

Remember, these are the philosophers who spent their time in endless discussions.

I’ve been in some of those

Me too

So, Paul excitedly said, “I see how extremely religious you are in every way. I walked through your city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship I even found an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’

This God you worship but do not know – this is the God who I am about. This is the God who made the world and everything in it, the God who is Lord of heaven and earth.”

Paul also said, “From one ancestor God made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and God allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search, seek, and even find God.

Here’s the truth, God is not far from each ant of us. For ‘In God we live and move and have our being’; even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are God’s offspring.’

God has overlooked our times of human ignorance, but now, God commands all people everywhere to repent. God has fixed a day on which the the world judged in righteousness by a man whom God has appointed, and of this, God has given assurance to us all by raising that man from the dead.”

When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some scoffed; but others said, “We will hear you again about this.”

Music

Blessed Assurance (Fanny Jane Crosby, Phoebe Palmer Knapp)

CCLI Song # 22324

This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Blessed assurance Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation purchase of God
Born of His Spirit washed in His blood

This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Praising my Savior all the day long

Message        Descendants in the Marketplace

Standing on stage awaiting the entry of my bride was the opposite of the emotional stories I often hear. In the moments leading up to our wedding ceremony my anxiety increased with every second and I worried that sweat would forfeit my tux deposit.  Then my bride, Andrea, entered the auditorium on the arm of her father.  My response was not gooey emotion but frustration and outrage.  Here, in this most significant moment  Andrea entered cool and calm as was humanly possible.  She walked down the aisle greeting the guests like she was calmly working the room at a fundraiser.  I was incensed that she was having such a different moment than me.

With this in mind, it was surprising this week as I witnessed her visibly nervous on our way to a book signing with one of her favorite contemporary authors. It was a bit annoying that this woman who could gracefully and calmly navigate our marriage ceremony was now anxious about a 1 minute signature and selfie.

There are major moments in life, moments like marriage, the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, a new job, a new home, and apparently a selfie – moments that are a pivotal point in our path. Eventually these moments land us at a new normal, but in the midst of the moment, it is enthralling, intimidating, joyful, and terrifying.

Today’s passage brings us to a pivotal moment for the apostle Paul and the church.  A moment greater than addressing a U.S. subcommittee, an appearance before the Supreme Court, a pressured visit to the Oval Office, a joint interview on Fox CNN & MSNBC, and a note to go see the principal – all at the same time. It was Christianity’s first real validation from the Gentile world. It was huge for all Christians – a moment when Christians crossed over from ‘just a radical fringe wing of Judaism’ to a people of interest with a message of significance.

This moment began as the Apostle Paul waited for Silas and Timothy in Athens. While waiting, he ventured into the marketplace, into the public square, places where everyday life naturally brought people together.  There, among largely Gentile crowds, Paul shared, discussed, argued, debated, and even explained to those he encountered.  Among these crowds were the intelligent, respected, and undoubtedly annoying, Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. While this group loved to discuss and debate, they seldom found any topic or information interesting enough to go beyond endless debate. But these moments listening and debating with Paul were different.  Eventually these scholars ‘took Paul and brought him to the Areopagus’ (Acts 7:19).

These words ‘Took’ and ‘Brought’ are probably better interpreted as ‘enthusiastically seized’, and ‘excitedly escorted Paul as a mob’. Not an angry mob – they excitedly wanted everyone to hear what Paul had to say, everyone including the governing authorities. In their enthusiastic state, they gave Paul no choice but to go with them to the Areopagus.

The Areopagus in Athens is a geographical location, a people, and structure that, in the minds of the Greeks, stood as a testimony to the superiority of Geek intelligence and accomplishments.

New Testament scholar, Matt Skinner, describes the significance of this place and this moment:

‘When the local intellectuals made it possible for Paul to present his teachings to the Areopagus, the council of the city’s governing authorities, Paul give them a speech tailored made for people familiar with certain Greek philosophical traditions. His audience is probably entirely Gentile, so he does not discuss Jewish scriptures. Rather, he speaks about humanity’s search for the Divine and about shared conviction that deities are not contained within temples, statues, or altars. The God Paul proclaims is close by. Nothing Paul says in his speech would have been terribly controversial to his Greek peers until he gets to the end and declares that this nearby God has made a statement to the world by raising a man from the dead. That claim about Jesus’ resurrection is too much for some in the audience; they ridicule him. Others want to hear more, and still others embrace the good news.” Skinner continues, “I don’t think anyone can prove that Jesus was raised from the dead, That piece of Christian faith depends … on the witness of the entire church. That testimony began in the experiences of people like Mary Magdalene, Peter, and Paul, and it is affirmed in our own encounters with the resurrected Christ through sacraments, personal experiences, serving others, and the word of God that we encounter in congregational life and out in the [marketplace]….Yet, [the Resurrection] is Paul’s message for the Athenians. As we know all too well, death is very good at its job. A huge leap of faith is required for a person to declare that death is not the end…Paul insists that by resurrecting Jesus, God has done more than merely reverse death.  God has opened up a whole new future. God has promised to change us. God has vowed to judge the world so the result will be righteousness, which is a restored relationship between humanity and God – the Divine Being that humanity expends so much effort to find.  According to Paul, God has said through Jesus, ‘I’M HERE!’”

Matt Skinner, ACTS Catching Up With the Spirit

The most significant aspect of this moment was how and where it all started – in the Marketplace. For is was there that Paul walked among, rubbed elbows with, and engaged with his fellow descendants. He didn’t see them as labels, they were not ‘greeks’ ‘gentiles’ ‘unclean’ or ‘unacceptable’ – they were the created offspring, the co-descendants of God. They were those that Jesus called to be Children of God. There, in the marketplace Paul found a people, much like himself, who were seeking and searching for God. Paul could identify with this, he had spent his life seeking and searching, ultimately finding that he had to step aside from the institution of his own faith in order to see the God that very institution had proclaimed. Paul did not enter the Marketplace as a judge but instead as a fellow descendant, he did not walk among the Gentiles to condemn but to point to the God they searched for, he did not engage to belittle but to point them forward, he did not stand before their leaders to commandeer power but to serve. He did not enter the marketplace with an agenda but but he entered propelled by God’s love.

In March of this year, Gallup Polling reported on the continuing eight decade decline of Americans’ affiliation with houses of worship.  Not only has the decline continued but this year it reached an all time high since records began being tracked in 1937. Now, less than half of American citizens attend a house of worship. In less than 22 years, since 1999,  religious participation has sunk from over 70% to under 50%.

Rev. Kelli Taylor and Dr. Stacye Bount have been considering the drop in young adult participations in houses of worship in the Fayetteville, Ark area.  They identify that the generations are moving toward spirituality rather than religiosity.

Rev. Taylor, chaplain and vice president of religious life and community at Methodist University, says, “The move is from being religious to being spiritual, when religion is defined as adhering to a specific set of organized beliefs and practices, while spirituality suggests a more individual approach to faith and practice.”

Stacye Blount, associate professor of sociology at Fayetteville State University, identifies the difference between religiosity and spirituality. 

“When we talk about religiosity, or what may also be termed religiousness, we are talking about how the measurement of one’s religiousness or religiosity connects to beliefs, practices, rituals in which people participate. With spirituality, people are searching for the sacred to try to find meaning in life and they are trusting in some higher power.” 

Both of these, and the Gallup findings, bring us back to the Marketplace where Paul ventured. There he also found a people searching for a higher, divine power.  A search that had been stalled in the religious practices of their society and culture – a search that led them on a search of the God they did not know. Interestingly, Paul had been on this same search, an endeavor to find the next step of faith that had stalled at the judgement and condemnation in his own faith institutions. Paul, was bringing the next season of God’s leading to a people, like him, who had been searching for God’s Presence.

Again we hear the words of the prophet Isaiah,

I’m going to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Don’t you see it?

Isaiah 43:19a (TLB)

We who have the answer, we who know of God’s new thing, are now tasked, not with convincing a people, but with showing a people.

God called the Apostle Paul to the Marketplace and then took him to the Areopagus to be a living eye witness of his story – what is your Marketplace? What is your Areopagus? What is your living eye witness story?

Let’s pray.

Benediction

As you go, you go as descendants. Brothers and Sisters.  You go as God’s offspring.

As we go out together we go as family.

As we go to together we enter the marketplace, the public square, apart, separate.

However, as we go separately, apart, we do not go without family.

For in the Marketplace, and in the Public Square, there we also join with descendants. Brothers and Sisters.  There we continue to mingle and engage with God’s offspring.

As we leave here we leave the offspring joined as the faith community recall the Church.

As we enter the marketplace and public square we enter into the others that God has created, the others that Jesus sacrificially loved, the others that are the offspring of God.

So we leave here only momentarily, we will return to each other for renewal and refreshment.

We will return to seek, to search, to find, to support, and to embrace.

But now we go.  We go to be the church.  In the Marketplace, in the Public square.

We go to embrace those created by God.

We go to love as God loves.

Closing Peace

As we leave this place, may you go remembering that we first came together in the reality that we are descendants of The God. Now, as we leave, we leave knowing that an even tighter bond holds us together, the bond of being Children of God.

As we go out into the world, the public square, the marketplace, we go as Children of God through Jesus’ sacrifice walking among, rubbing elbows with, fellow descendants by our physical creation.

As we go, may you go in the love that first made us descendants of God and the love that now makes us children of God. As you go may that Love go with you.

And also with you.

Go as Children of God into the marketplace where you live with your fellow descendants. May God’s Love  be ever evident in your presence

Published by rickanthony1993

Husband of Andrea, Father of five, pastor of Grace Fellowship Norman OK.

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