Order, Voices, & Words 12.12.21

Order

Sunday, December 12  (Advent 3), 2021

  • Opening Audio (10:15am) Spotify – ‘Calm Christmas Music’
  • Prayer (10:30am) Rick
  • Video #1 (2:46) 

Call to WorshipMary’s Song of Praise

  • Today’s Story Online – Peyton

In Person-Nikki

  • Music 1                                                        Abbie & Billy

   Go Tell It On The Mountain (John W. Work Jr.)

  • Beyond our Marketplace

Online interview with Neal and Mary Foster (Peace Catalyst)

  • Music 2 Abbie & Billy

  Holy Is His Name (John Michael Talbot)

  • Scripture (Luke1:26-55) Dave Cricklin
  • Music 3/Advent Candle Lighter – D. Nielsen

  Oh Come All Ye Faithful (Oakeley & Wade) Music -Abbie & Billy

  • Message    ‘Advent 3 – A Righteous Might” Rick
  • Benediction Online – Peyton

In Person – Nikki

  • Community Rick
  • Closing Peace                                         Rick
  • Prayer/Joy to the World (Handel & Watts) Rick
  • Closing Audio

Voices and Words 

Prayer

Father God,

There is no miracle as grand as birth. 

As we prepare for the coming of your son, Jesus, create in us new life. 

Transform us so that we may reflect the light of your son.

So that we may become beacons of goodness, kindness, compassion, generosity, honesty, patience, and peace.

For the sake of the one whose name brings deliverance and life to all the world, Jesus Christ, infant king. 

Amen. 

Video

Today’s Story

Nikki: The Lord himself will choose the sign—a child shall be born to a virgin! And she shall call him Immanuel (meaning, “God is with us”). By the time this child is weaned and knows right from wrong, the two kings you fear so much—the kings of Israel and Syria—will both be dead.

Grace: These are the facts concerning the birth of Jesus Christ: His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But while she was still a virgin she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her fiancé, being a man of stern principle, decided to break the engagement but to do it quietly, as he didn’t want to publicly disgrace her.

Nikki: As Joseph lay awake considering this, he fell into a dream, and saw an angel standing beside him. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “don’t hesitate to take Mary as your wife! For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a Son, and you shall name him Jesus (meaning ‘Savior’), for he will save his people from their sins.

Grace: This will fulfill God’s message through his prophets— “Listen! The virgin shall conceive a child! She shall give birth to a Son, and he shall be known as the “Emmanuel” (meaning “God is with us”).”

Nikki: When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel commanded and brought Mary home to be his wife, but she remained a virgin until her Son was born; and Joseph named him “Jesus.”

Grace: Before anything else existed Jesus was present, Jesus with God. Jesus has always been alive and Jesus is himself. Jesus, present with God, created everything there is—nothing exists that Jesus didn’t make. Eternal life is in Jesus, and this life gives light to all humanity. Jesus life is the light that shines through the darkness—and the darkness can never extinguish it.

Nikki: And Jesus became a human being and lived here on earth among us and was full of loving forgiveness and truth. And those who saw his glory— saw the glory of the only Son of the heavenly Father!

Grace: The Gabriel appeared to Mary and said, “Congratulations, favored lady! The Lord is with you!” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.

Nikki: “Don’t be frightened, Mary,” the angel told her, “for God has decided to wonderfully bless you! Very soon now, you will become pregnant and have a baby boy, and you are to name him ‘Jesus.’ Your son shall be very great and shall be called the Son of God.”

Grace: Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to do whatever God wants. May everything you said come true.” And then the angel disappeared.

Nikki: You shall have a son, we will be the Emmanuel which means God is with us.

Music 1

Go Tell It On The Mountain

CCLI Song # 29080

John W. Work Jr.

Chorus

Go tell it on the mountain
Over the hills and ev’rywhere
Go tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is born

Verse 1

While shepherds kept their watching
O’er silent flocks by night
Behold throughout the heavens
There shone a holy light 

Chorus

Go tell it on the mountain
Over the hills and ev’rywhere
Go tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is born

Verse 2

The shepherds feared and trembled
When lo above the earth
Rang out the angel chorus
That hailed the Savior’s birth

Chorus

Go tell it on the mountain
Over the hills and ev’rywhere
Go tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is born

Verse 3

Down in a lowly manger
The humble Christ was born
And God sent us salvation
That blessed Christmas morn

Chorus

Go tell it on the mountain
Over the hills and ev’rywhere
Go tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is born 

Beyond our Marketplace

Online interview with Neal Foster (Peace Catalyst)

Introduction: Today we go beyond our own Marketplace in our visit with former Grace Fellowship member, Neal Foster. Neal is a South East Region coordinator, stationed in North Carolina with Peace Catalyst. The organization refer to itself as ‘Jesus-followers on a mission to help Christians be better peacebuilders and to partner with our neighbors for more thriving communities. Believing that Jesus is the Prince of Peace and that God’s mission is to establish holistic, just peace that brings flourishing in all dimensions of life. Guided by the biblical concept of “shalom,” and the belief that the Church’s job is to embody and live out that shalom now. Peace Catalyst’s goal is to model peacebuilding in their local contexts and to help Christians understand their neighbors, connect with them across lines of difference, and ultimately collaborate with them to create communities where everyone can thrive. Building a movement of Christian peacebuilders for the good of our communities, through working with diverse partners and collaborating with people of all belief systems and backgrounds. 

Question 1: Welcome Neal. Could you start us off by giving us a quick update on your family?

Question 2: Please share with us what barriers and pathways you are currently seeing in your community and in our world in regard to peace building?

Question 3: What, to you and your calling, are the greatest challenges in this season?

Question 4: What are the 3 prayers we could remember for you and your family?

Music 2

Holy Is His Name

CCLI Song # 14497

John Michael Talbot

Verse 1

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
And my spirit exalts in God my Savior
For He has looked with mercy on my lowliness


And His name will be forever exalted
For the mighty God has done great things for me
And His mercy will reach from age to age

Chorus

And holy holy
Holy is His name

Verse 2

He has mercy in ev’ry generation
He has revealed His power and His glory
He has cast down the mighty in their arrogance


And has lifted up the meek and the lowly
He has come to help His servant Israel
He remembers His promise to our fathers

Chorus

And holy holy
Holy is His name 

Scripture

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to Nazareth, to a virgin named Mary who was engaged to a man named Joseph. Gabriel said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was very perplexed and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Gabriel angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever his kingdom there will have no end.” 

Mary asked “How?”

Gabriel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 

Your relative Elizabeth in her old age is now pregnant in the sixth month even though she was said to be barren. For nothing is impossible with God.” 

Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Mary quickly went to the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting she was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, 

“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why am I so honored that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 

Blessed are you who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to you by the Lord.”

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.”

Luke 1:26-55

Music 3/Lighting of Advent Candle

O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)

CCLI Song # 31054

Oakeley & Wade

Verse 1

O come all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant
O come ye O come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold Him
Born the King of angels

O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

Verse 2

Sing choirs of angels
Sing in exultation
O sing all ye bright
Hosts of heav’n above
Glory to God all
Glory in the highest

O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

Verse 3

Yea Lord we greet Thee
Born this happy morning
Jesus to Thee be all glory giv’n
Word of the Father
Now in flesh appearing

O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

Message ‘A Righteous Might – Power’

John the Baptizer was asked, “Who are you? Are you a prophet? Are you Elijah? Are you the Messiah?” To each of these options John’s answer was a confident ‘No.’ 

In the gospel of John’s account, John the Baptizer says something very revelatory that is completely missed by those asking the questions.

“Among you stands one whom you do not know” (John 1:26b). 

The comment solicits no noted response, no looking around for this ‘one we do not know’ nor, on that day, is there any mention of Jesus’ actual presence. John’s statement was a small thing, only nine words in our English, most are actually small words, only a small handful of letters. But still, it is a statement you would not expect to go unquestioned.

For me, it would have been something that nagged me as I walked away and for days thereafter. ‘Was Jesus actually standing there next to me? 

Perhaps John was  speaking about the fact that Jesus had already been around among them, unnoticed, for the past 3 decades? In the temple, in the marketplace, and in the public square. Jesus had been among them throughout his religious training, just standing there unnoticed. For three decades had Jesus been present?

And he shall be called Emmanuel, God is with us.

Over 500 years earlier, a guy named Zerubbabel led the first wave of Israelites out of the Babylonian slavery. The devastation of seeing the once fertile and productive lands, the sight of Jerusalem and the temple now in rubbles left the the 40,000 plus people broken and feeling abandoned by God.  As Zerubbabel attempted to rally them to rebuild, their hopelessness became insurmountable. Zerubbabel felt alone and powerless. God strangely responded to Zerubbabel affirming that he was right, he WAS powerless, but that was okay, because it was not about Zerubbabel’s “might, nor his power, it was by God’s power and might”(Zechariah 4:6).

God is with you, God is your power and might.

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, a young engaged virgin in the city of Nazareth, telling her that she would bear the Messiah, her question was not dismay but a simple “How?”

God’s persistently answered, “I have always been with you, I remain present with you now, I will be with you always”.

The gospel writer described Mary as blessed because “she believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1:45). She didn’t understand but she believed.

There was one final affirmation that Mary needed and received – John the Baptizer, still in his mother’s womb, stood up in the cramped belly yelling “Make straight the paths of the Lord”. (Luke 1:41) 

This final affirmation was all that Mary needed, My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 

His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 

He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” (Luke 1:46-55)

Emmanuel, God is with us.

As far as we know, this young teenager needed nothing until she needed everything. Her faith did not exhibit the presence of fear and hesitation, only one simple question, “How?” She was not questioning God’ call, just asking a legitimate question, ’How’. 

Somehow, Mary, understood that God’s call would not be achievable in her power or might, but in God’s power and might all things are possible. This young teenage girl, with every reason to fear and run away, somehow remained present. Maybe that is why God chose her, maybe that is what qualified her to be the mother of the infant Jesus. Maybe, her faith before all of this craziness, was strong enough to sustain through this craziness.

The Price of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, warned his parishioners of the dangers of not depending on God’s power. 

“O churches! take heed lest ye trust in yourselves; take heed lest ye say, ‘We are a respectable body,’ ‘We are a mighty number,’ ‘We are a potent people;’ 

take heed lest ye begin to glory in your own strength; for when that is done, ‘Ichabod’ shall be written on your walls and your glory shall depart from you. 

Remember, that he who was with us when we were but few, must be with us now we are many, or else we must fail; and he who strengthened us when we were but as ‘little in Israel,’ 

must be with us, now that we are like ‘the thousands of Manasseh,’ or else it is all over with us and our day is past.” (Spurgeon)

Reading Mary’s story between the lines we recognize the enormity of the small things. It is easy to trust God in the gigantic things, things like a virgin birth. However, it is the small things are the greatest challenge to our trust in God’s power and might. In the small things we must still show up, the small things require us to act instead of just watching, However, even in the small things, our actions are unattainable by our power and might. The small things require us to continue to be present in the impossible – when we see no chance in hell of our survival, completion, or victory.

For Mary, the small things, the nausea, the gossip, the shameful looks, the unbearable heat of the summer sun in the ninth month, the backaches, the exhaustion, every moment filled with one huge question, “Will this child every be born?!”

Everytime the baby jolted her with a strong kick against the inside of her rib cage, every morning when she attempted to rise from her pallet and every evening as she struggled to sleep – all of these were literal reminders that “God is Here”.

“The Angel did not warn me about the small things,” Mary must have thought. “There was no warning that the small things would be the most daunting. It is in the midst of our human exhaustion, the accompanying pain, tired muscles, the extended isolation and aloneness – those times when showing up in God’s power and strength becomes the greatest challenge to trusting in God’s power and might. 

Centuries before, Zerubbabel too found that the small things were the greatest challenge. The day to day exhaustion of building the temple, clearing out rubble yet piles that never seemed to shrink, knowing the same piles awaited the next morning.  Keeping watch for invasions from the enemies who wanted to stop God’s work. Small things like a missed meal, a thirst that could not be quenched, desert winds and pelting sand slapping you in the face. Small things, which, when piled up, made it impossible to see anything else, blinding you to the HUGE things already accomplished in God’s power and might. Huge things like surviving seven decades of slavery, a miraculous deliverance and return to home. But those piles of rubble, unending tasks, constant needs and emergencies, anxiety and frustration, are blinding. Trusting in God’s power and might is easily abandoned while all you see are the enormous piles of small things. Small things lead us to feel like God is absent. Carrying on when you are sure you can no longer carry on is the greatest challenge to trusting in God’s power and might. To get up every morning, to push through every day, leaves us on the edge of hopeless.

Abraham and Sarah could testify to this truth. God’s promise seemed a distant fantasy becoming more and more irrelevant with each passing day. Soon they replaced God’s power and might with their own lacking power and might.

Small things cloud our view of God’s power, they confuse our reliance on God’s might. God has given us a great metaphor in the Christmas season, a season when the small things can easily, and quickly, bring anxiety in place of God’s power, a time when joy becomes a constant struggle, a time when trust becomes a burden, a time when we fail to notice God’s hand in the huge things, we miss the truth that, even in the redundant small things, Emmanuel, God is with us. 

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? Christmas came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. 

And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Emmanuel, God is with us.

Let’s pray. 

Benediction

Nikki: A child was born and his name was Jesus, he was Emmanuel, the evidence that God is with us.

Grace: God is present, God is with us. God accompanies us even in the small things, the mundane, the monotonous, the never-ending, the ‘get through it’ things.

Nikki: Don’t be afraid, for God is with you, God is present.

Grace: Don’t be afraid, for God is with us, God is here, and God will be present with us away from here. God is out there.

Nikki: Now we go, we go from here, we go out there. We go to our marketplace, we go to our public square. We go with God’s presence to all the places where God is present.

Grace: It may be scary, it may be isolating, it may be frightening, it may be lonely. 

Nikki: But, we have reason to not be scared to not be frightened because we are not isolated we are not alone.

Grace: Emmanuel, God is with us.

Community 

Community

Next Sunday – ‘3rd Sunday of Advent – A Righteous Man’ (Matthew 1:1-25)

Christmas Eve @ 6pm (online – lord’s supper ready)

No Worship December 26

2022 – 52 weeks of a totally Different perspective of the Bible.’

Covid Best Next 

Closing Peace

May God’s grace, peace, joy, love, and hope go with you.

And also with you.

Go in hope, in anticipation, in peace, and in joy. 

Music 4

Joy To The World (Antioch)

CCLI Song # 24016

George Frideric Handel & Isaac Watts

Verse 1

Joy to the world the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room
And heav’n and nature sing
And heav’n and nature sing
And heav’n and heav’n and nature sing

Verse 2

Joy to the earth the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat repeat the sounding joy

Verse 3

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders wonders of His love

Published by rickanthony1993

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: