Order, Words, & Voices 08.08.21

Order

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Opening Audio (10:15am)

#1 ONE Video #1 (4:16)

  • Call to Worship 

I Choose to Worship  (Rend Collective)

Live/OnLine

  • Prayer
  • Music

Wherever He Leads I’ll Go (B. B. McKinney)

  • Story  (No Slides except title)
  • Music

You’re Worthy Of My Praise (David Ruis)

Message ‘Appointed to Tell’  

  • Music

All The Way My Savior Leads Me (Fanny Jane Crosby | Robert Lowry)

#2 TWO Video Community (1:45)

  • Song – Tenderness (Bensound)

Community

Live

  • Benediction        
  • Sharing the Peace      

Closing Audio

Words & Voices

#1 ONE Video #1

Song – I Choose To Worship (Rend Collective)

Live/OnLine

  • Prayer

God, 

Today we thank you for the story you have given us.

A story that explains how you have guided and protected.

A story that describes the manner in which you use even our poor judgements to move us on our path.

A story that reveals your victory even in the darkness of evil.

A story that reminds us of your faithfulness.

A story that points our trust towards you.

God, may be see your story of our life when we look back.

May we trust you as the author of our story even when we cannot see.

May we know you hold our story even before it takes place.

God, thank you for the life, thank you for the story, you give to us all.

Amen.

Music 1

Wherever He Leads I’ll Go (after prayer) (8 slides)

CCLI Song # 25194

B. B. McKinney

Verse 1

Take up thy cross and follow Me
I heard my Master say
I gave My life to ransom thee
Surrender your all today

Chorus

Wherever He leads I’ll go
Wherever He leads I’ll go
I’ll follow my Christ who loves me so
Wherever He leads I’ll go

Verse 2

He drew me closer to His side
I sought His will to know
And in that will I now abide
Wherever He leads I’ll go

Chorus

Wherever He leads I’ll go
Wherever He leads I’ll go
I’ll follow my Christ who loves me so
Wherever He leads I’ll go

Verse 3

It may be through the shadows dim
Or o’er the stormy sea
I take my cross and follow Him
Wherever He leadeth me

Chorus

Wherever He leads I’ll go
Wherever He leads I’ll go
I’ll follow my Christ who loves me so
Wherever He leads I’ll go

Verse 4

My heart my life my all I bring
To Christ who loves me so
He is my Master Lord and King
Wherever He leads I’ll go

Chorus

Wherever He leads I’ll go
Wherever He leads I’ll go
I’ll follow my Christ who loves me so
Wherever He leads I’ll go

Our Story

Paul continues to be held prisoner by governor Festus, who heard the accusations by the Tertullius and the defense by the apostle. Festus has been backed into a corner and clueless about what to do. The accusations are not really valid and Paul’s defense was very valid. He would love to rid himself of this ‘Paul’ problem but punishing Paul would violate his authority, releasing Paul would enrage the High Priest.

On top of all of that, Paul has now requested to be sent to Rome, he has requested that his case be heard before the emperor. You don’t want to send someone, or something, to the emperor that is petty and a waste of the powerful ruler’s time. It was never good to waste a powerful person’s time.

Festus asks a contemporary, King Agrippa, to help him figure out the exactly what the charges against Paul are. They need to be valid but also worthy of the Emporer’s time and attention.

King Agrippa wanted to hear Paul’s story from Paul himself before he made a recommendation to Festus.  Paul’s first words, when he began to speak before the King, were in the form of a question. “Why to you, and my fellow Jews, think that it is so outrageous that I believe God raises from the dead?”

The King surely thought this was a rhetorical question, which is probably why he did not answer.

Kristen Y: Or, he did not respond because he did not know the answer.

That is true.

Then Paul proceeded to introduce himself to Agrippa, especially focusing on his own passion and dedication in his role as a Pharisee. He told of his own faithfulness, a fact that could not be denied by the High Priest.

Next, Paul told of his story about his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, “I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my companions. When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Why are you persecuting me?’ I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The Lord answered, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. Now, get up and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you to appoint you to serve and testify to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you. I will rescue you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

That’s not all, then Paul said, “After that I was not disobedient,  I declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout the countryside of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and do deeds consistent with repentance. To this day I have said nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would take place: that the Messiah must suffer, and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”

Then the governor proclaimed that Paul was out of his mind.

And Paul said that he was not out of his mind.

And the King asked if Paul was trying to convince him to become a Christian.

Kristen Y: And, finally the King told Festus that there was nothing he could charge Paul with, there was no crime that had been committed.

The King said to Festus, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment. He could have been set free if he had not appealed to the emperor.”

So Paul would soon set sail for an interesting trip to Rome.

Another opened door which God placed on Paul’s path.

Music 2

You’re Worthy Of My Praise (5 Slides)

CCLI Song # 487976

David Ruis

Verse 1

I will worship (I will worship)
With all of my heart (with all of my heart)
I will praise You (I will praise You)
With all of my strength (all my strength)

I will seek You (I will seek You)
All of my days (all of my days)
I will follow (I will follow)
All of Your ways (all Your ways)

Chorus

I will give You all my worship
I will give You all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise

Verse 2

I will bow down (I will bow down)
And hail You as King (and hail You as King)
I will serve You (I will serve You)
Give You everything (everything)

I will lift up (I will lift up)
My eyes to Your throne (my eyes to Your throne)
I will trust You (I will trust You)
Trust You alone (You alone)

Message ‘Appointed to Tell’

The past couple of weeks we have had two, very different and unique stories. The first is one that should outrage all of us. A prominent governor. I the United States had a 165 page document released that details investigated accusations actions of sexual harassment and abuse. He is already following the standard line of denial, slander, & justification. I am sure he will soon use the latest defense, one that is fairly new but pretty successful, that is to convince the American public that what he did is really not that bad. He will attempt to rewrite his story, while erasing the story of the abused. He will attempt to remain untouchable and clean. 

The other story has been about a U.S. gymnast who has been hearalded the Gymnast of all Time, and expectations on her were high for this olympic games. Leading up to the games the pressure mounted, the emotional and mental stress built up, and she realized that she had to take a step back. She had to step away from the applause and medals to, instead, be honest, to be real, to be vulnerable. For her, this was part of her story that she was not going to cover up or ignore. She refused to edit her story in order to keep her reputation and image of success.

Rewrite your story or Embrace your story. Attempt to Erase the negative or  Accept that is just another essential element of your story. To be vulnerable.

Brene Brown, author of several books including ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’, and also known for her top 10 TED talk ‘The Power of Vulnerability,’  speaking about herself says, 

“My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few. Learning how to be vulnerable has been a street fight for me, but it’s been worth it…When you shut down vulnerability, you shut down opportunity…”

Brene Brown

Schawbel, Dan. “Brene Brown: How Vulnerability Can Make Our Lives Better.” Forbes, April 21, 2013, https://www.forbes.com › danschawbel › 2013/04/21. 

Perfectionism is the enemy of Vulnerability, the two fight against each other. When Perfectionism wins we carry the baggage of having to be perfect, or at least to become master of editing our imperfections out of our story. When Vulnerabily wins, our story becomes our proof, we can see what God has done, how he has forgiven, the faithfulness of his trustworthiness, and his constant love. 

This was what Paul recognized as he sat the in prison cell the week between God’s instruction to ‘Cheer Up,’ and his moment before the then governor Felix when Paul himself proclaimed, ‘I Cheerfully give my defense.” Paul recognized as he looked back at God through out his story he recognized that it wasn’t about his successes, it was all about God’s hand all along the way.

King Saul. I have an odd affinity for the story of King Saul. Annointed King for a people who had never been King, a people who’s God did not want them to have a King. He was a man who fit the ideal of the Israelites for the King, good looking, tall and great stature, everything that would look good on a coin. He was also a very humble man. When it came time for him to be presented to the people, he was found hiding. Once in office he didn’t even quit his day job, demand fancy housing, or even an office with a desk. On top of this God, which is why this is such an interesting story, God, who chose this perfect person, also gave him the mind, emotions, skills, everything he needed to be a great and awesome first King. In the beginning he carried his own willingness to be vulnerable with him, soon, however, he succumbed to the temptation of perfection, he watched the polls and wanted the people to love and worship him. Soon, instead of being willing to be vulnerable before the people and God, he became paranoid, vengeful, and had a multitude of story edits to keep himself ‘perfect and without flaw.”

So, as Paul now stands before the new governor, Festus, along with King Agrippa and the Queen Bernice, he stands as a man telling his story in a surprisingly vulnerable way – because vulnerability was at the very core of his story.

Possibly because he knows that Agrippa and Bernice have Jewish blood in them, or he just knew that his story, in this moment, had to be real in order to be heard, , he vulnerably said, 

 “So I thought that I had to act in strong opposition to the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. In Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, by the power given to me by the chief priests, but I also voted for them to be put to death. And as I punished them, often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and since I was extremely enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities.

Acts 26:9-11

Paul, as a part of his story, a part that he did not edit out, detailed his own mistakes and horrible failures. 

  1. He admits that he allowed his position and power to take over. This was unheard of for a person of his reputation and intellect,  nevertheless, it was true.
  2. He shamefully admits that he permitted himself to become possessed with this agenda of wiping out and punishing Christians. He allowed himself to be overtaken by this obsession, he failed to stop and permit truth to rule.

And then, his story continues, detailing his obsession that led him to travel to Damascus in order to weed out the followers of Jesus. It was on that road that Paul met Jesus. It was on that road he returned to the vulnerability of a seeker of truth. This vulnerability was not a choice, it was a gift given to him by God. It was a course correction for his story.

‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” Jesus said to Paul. “Get up and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and testify to the things in which you have seen me and to  those in which I will appear to you. I will rescue you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Acts 26:15b-18 (NRSV)

Notice Paul was not asked to follow Jesus, he was not led to say a certain prayer, instead, Paul was given his purpose. He was appointed to tell his story. The story of his life in all the vulnerable glory. Admitting to his failures so he could grow from them, move on because of them.

Next we hear the place of Jesus in the Story of Paul. To rescue Paul from his own people as well as the gentiles – rejection will be a part of his story as he tells his story, vulnerability will be a constant element of his story.  

His story will be his avenue of sharing light to those still in the darkness.  His unedited, un-enhanced, unperfected, his will be the un-story. A story of truth, even when the truth is messy. A story of glory even when the glory is uncomfortable. A story of sacrifice of pride, self promotion, unholy agendas, a story of comfort. A story that demands vulnerability.

In the history of Christianity, especially evangelistic Christianity, we hold firmly to the internal and external act of repentance. For some, this turns into an obsession – leading us, in our relationships with others, to forget the greatest commandment to love. That firm grip often becomes our primary focus, which leads us to become judgemental, condemning, and hateful – subtly, that leads us to reject others that do not meet our standard of perfection. A false standard that even we often have problems meeting. It is time in Christianity that we meet Jesus on our road to Damascus. It is our moment to realize that repentance, that turning to God, is actually much deeper than the mere decision to quit doing or even thinking something.  Repentance is about Vulnerability, turning from our thoughts of perfection, or a perfect presentation. Vulnerabily allows to see Jesus honestly, it leads us to move our focus from editing and rewriting our story to letting Jesus come into our story, inviting Jesus to become the core of our story. 

Paul’s story involves blindness, physical blindness. It was the only way he could then see. It was the only way he could cease deepening on what he could see. His vulnerability in that moment allowed him to hear Jesus’ calling on Paul  – that he was ‘Appointed to tell His story.’

What injection of blindness does your story need for you to, once again, see Jesus?

Let’s Pray

Music 3

All The Way My Saviour Leads Me (after Message) (7 Slides)

CCLI Song # 85093

Fanny Jane Crosby | Robert Lowry

Verse 1

All the way my Savior leads me
What have I to ask beside
Can I doubt His tender mercy
Who through life has been my Guide

Heav’nly peace divinest comfort
Here by faith in Him to dwell

For I know whate’er befall me
Jesus doeth all things well
For I know whate’er befall me
Jesus doeth all things well

Verse 2 

All the way my Savior leads me
O the fullness of His love
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above


When my spirit clothed immortal
Wings its flight to realms of day


This my song through endless ages
Jesus led me all the way
This my song through endless ages
Jesus led me all the way 

Chorus

Wherever You lead I’ll go
Wherever You lead I’ll go
I’ll follow you Christ who love me so
Wherever You lead I’ll go

#2 TWO Video Community

Song – Tenderness (Bensound)

Community 

Live & Online

Benediction

It was time again for the apostle Paul to go.

It is time again for us to go.

Time to go to Rome, time to go to the emperor, time to tell his tale, time to tell of the encounter on his path.

Time for us to go, time for us to go on our path, to look for those moments, those times of seeing God.

As always, Paul will go alone but he will not be separated, he will travel away but he will never be isolated.

We may also leave yet stay together, we will leave this place but not this people.

We leave with Peace.

We leave with Joy.

We take different paths.

We always go together.

It is time to go.

Closing Peace

May the grace, peace, joy, love, and hope of the Father go with you.

And also with you.

Let’s go into the marketplace among all the other loved descendants of God. Let’s go as loved children of God in the midst of the public square. Let’s go, not amongst enemies with whom we battle, but in the midst of our created brothers and sisters as light that shines in the darkness. Let’s go held by the embrace of grace, the comfort of peace, the grounding of joy, the proof of love, and confidence of hope. Let’s go!

Closing Audio

Published by rickanthony1993

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

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