Order, Words, & Voices

Order

Sunday, January 23, 2022

  • Pre Worship Audio (10:15am) – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’
  • Music 1 (10:30am) Lynn

The Solid Rock (CCLI Song # 25417)

Standing On The Promises (CCLI Song # 31803)

  • Welcome/Prayer (Gallery View) Rick
  • Music 2                                                  Lynn

In Christ Alone (CCLI Song # 3350395)

  • Scripture Online – Randy
  • Music 3 Lynn

Good Good Father (CCLI Song # 7036612)

  • Message Rick
  • Music 4 Lynn

Special – Make Room (CCLI Song # 7122057) Lynn

  • Benediction Lily
  • Community. Rick
  • Closing Peace Rick
  • Closing Audio – ‘Calming Acoustic Guitar’

Words and Voices

Music 1

The Solid Rock

CCLI Song # 25417

Edward Mote | William Batchelder Bradbury

Verse 1

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name

Chorus

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

Verse 2

When darkness veils His lovely face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In ev’ry high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil

Chorus

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

Verse 3

His oath His covenant His blood
Support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay

Chorus

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

Verse 4

When He shall come with trumpet sound
O may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless to stand before the throne

Chorus

On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

Standing On The Promises

CCLI Song # 31803

Russell Kelso Carter

Verse 1

Standing on the promises of Christ my King
Through eternal ages let His praises ring
Glory in the highest I will shout and sing
Standing on the promises of God

Chorus

Standing standing
Standing on the promises of God my Savior
Standing standing
I’m standing on the promises of God

Verse 2

Standing on the promises that cannot fail
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail
By the living Word of God I shall prevail
Standing on the promises of God

Chorus

Standing standing
Standing on the promises of God my Savior
Standing standing
I’m standing on the promises of God

Verse 5

Standing on the promises I cannot fall
List’ning ev’ry moment to the Spirit’s call
Resting in my Savior as my All in All
Standing on the promises of God

Chorus

Standing standing
Standing on the promises of God my Savior
Standing standing
I’m standing on the promises of God

Welcome/Prayer

  • Welcome
  • Prayer

In you, oh God, we have life and community.
Wherever we are, may your voice be heard.

Unconditional, is the love that you place in our hearts.
Everlasting, is the promise of hope you make.

We gather as the church.
We gather as the disconnected.
We gather as the restless.

We gather in the unknown, the unimaginable, the unrevealed:
We gather to acknowledge our restlessness,
We pray for rest, to remember your sacrifice, and to celebrate a reconnection with you.

God, you see all time and space spread out before you
while we see only in part.
You know the paths set out for us while
we see only our journey to this present moment.

Thank you that we are here together now.
Reconnect us to our environment which we care for, to our community which we serve and to each other whom we love.

When our paths disperse again, we may move as one.

We ask this in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Music 2

In Christ Alone

CCLI Song # 3350395

Keith Getty | Stuart Townend

Verse 1

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light my strength my song
This Cornerstone this solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm


What heights of love what depths of peace
When fears are stilled when strivings cease
My Comforter my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

Verse 2

In Christ alone who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save


Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

Verse 3

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again


And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

Verse 4

No guilt in life no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny


No power of hell no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

Scripture

The prophet Jeremiah was not taken into exile by the Babylonians and therefore remained in Jerusalem. He sent a letter to the exiled elders, priests, prophets, as well as to all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 

This was after the King and queen, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the artisans, and smiths had all departed from Jerusalem.

The letter said: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 

Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let the prophets and the diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the Lord.

For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.

Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Matthew 12:46-50

Music 3

Good Good Father

CCLI Song # 7036612

Anthony Brown | Pat Barrett

Verse 1

I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

Chorus

You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are, It’s who You are
It’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, It’s who I am
It’s who I am

Verse 2

I’ve seen many searching for answers
Far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers
Only You provide
Because You know just what we need
Before we say a word

Chorus

You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

Bridge

You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

Verse 3

Love so undeniable I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love love love

Chorus

You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

Message – The End of the World As We Know It

Andrea and I often remember the days when our children were younger. All the business, the sports and clubs, the activities, the homework, the doctors appointments, the medicines, etc. Just remembering it is exhausting. As I look back it our lives consisted of 

  1. Making sure we got kids to activities on correct day and at correct times, and then not to forget they needed a ride home, which was provided by us.
  2. Homework, and then finding someone who could better help with homework.
  3. Brushing teeth, putting on shoes, wearing weather appropriate clothing, and all matters of personal hygiene.
  4. And the list goes on.


I remember moments when Andrea and I would remind ourselves that we just have to survive this phase, and then with each new phase we would say it again, and again.  Each phase would present new challenges, and, strangely enough, a romantic longing for a previous stage. The success of each stage usually depended on us letting go of past stages – releasing our selective memories of the past world as we knew it. 

Currently we are finding navigating parenthood of adult children as a new unexpected challenge. Keeping our mouths shut, accepting choices, ridding ourselves of disapproving and skeptical facial looks that we are unaware of, and instead supporting and affirming.  With each new phase, we mourn, we celebrate, and we move into an unknown future. This, of course, is life.

I think this is one of the reasons I enjoy watching the growth and accepting journey of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Holding an infant and being approached in the Temple by strangers who already knew Jesus, searching for her 12 year old and finding him engrossed in conversation with religious elite, Mary with Jesus at the wedding hosted by her dear friend, and then comes the comments of Jesus when his mother and siblings comes for a visit.

“Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Matthew 12:48-49

Tactless, inconsiderate, disrespectful, rude, are all words that can easily come to mind with Jesus’ response. This was all part of Mary’s journey, a journey of recognizing and accepting the fact that her son, Jesus, belonged to the world. With each of these moments there was an end to her world in many ways, as is often the case with all parents. Each path led her to another destination where she would endure and persevere, and then struggle to release, as parents do. With each arrival, there would be a new affirmation providing strength for the next phase of her journey. It was all being stuffed into her mental scrapbook, her inner treasure chest. 

Jesus belonged to the world. It was painful, frustrating, offensive, and even devastating. Mary’s journey was a path of prohetic fulfillment of sorrow and pain. With each end of the world moment, she would step up to a new beginning stronger for the next end of the world moment.

The end of the world as Mary knew it was never the end of her journey. A destination was an endings awaiting a new more challenging, beginning. With each ending, she was better equipped for the next beginning. 

An ending is a moment of release followed by a first step of the new beginning. It is always a moment when we recognize that what we view as an ending is actually just a change of normal.

In their 1989 song, The End Of The World As We Know It, musicians REM sing 7 rants about the possible elements of an actual end of the world. Listing everything from natural disasters, to politicians, to terrorism, to religion and nationalism, and more. There are, however, 8 repeats of the chorus which state “It’s the end of the world as we know it…And I feel fine.”

Mary’s journey is a path of an increasing awareness of “I’ll be fine’ with each “End of the World as She Knows it.” An increasing trust in the God of her path.

Let’s remember the perspectives we have seen so far this month. 

  1. We are never too old, too frail, too fragile, too hopeless or homeless, or too dismissed, to face God’s new journey.
  2. Before we can start something new, we must be willing to let go of something old.
  3. And, last week as Reverend Mercer revealed to us, we are always called to intercede for others through our actions and our prayers.

Today we add, ‘An ending of the World as we Know It’ is never really an ending. Thus, we are going to be fine – whatever that means.

I recently listened to an East Coast pastor say that Covid destroyed the business model of the church. The model called for packing pews and filling rooms, Covid was, for the church, The End of the World as We Know It. We all struggled, some refused to let go and fought for the old normal while the rest of us stepped into a new beginning. A beginning we would not have if we had not faced ‘The End’ and allowed God to lead us at the point of the new beginning. 


As Mary felt the sting of a son’s supposed rejection, she responded by reconciling the truth that world as she knew it, had indeed ended. The world now owned her son. However, Mary’s scrapbook held other treasures. Centuries before Mary gave birth to Jesus, her ancestors had also experienced an end. Following the conquering of their nation and destruction of their cities, land, and their Temple, the Israelites had to assume their world had come to an end, especially what they knew as their world. However, through the prophet Jeremiah, God promised them that this was not the end, but a new beginning, a new opportunity. 

Jeremiah didn’t sugarcoat God’s message. He honestly let the people know this new beginning was going to at times be painful and hopeless. This new phase of their journey would require greater sacrifice with an abundance of unseen & unfelt hope. It would be a new world, with a greater challenges than ever before. An unknown direction but still the same God leading, the same God of her ancestors, the same God of Mary’s  treasure chest, the same God that had been documented and proven in her internal scrapbook over and over since creation. 

Sure, it looked dark. The men were to continue to build houses while the women were to continue to build their lives. To not only birth and raise children but also, and more agonizing, to build it with a purpose and a hope. “This is our home, the fruitfulness of this (Babylonia) place and these people (Babylonians), is our fruitfulness.” Jeremiah finishes by enlightening the people of the decades ahead that they will live in this exile and slavery.

They were called to trust God’s plan, hope in the midst of the darkest hopelessness. Hope even when hope is elusive. Not realizing that this time was a time to fill the treasure chest that would turn them back to God, and ultimately, bring them back to an old home ready for a new normal, a new reality, a renewed hope.

Let’s go back to Mary, the mother of Jesus, standing with the siblings of Jesus outside the doorway of the building where Jesus was speaking. Earlier, I stated that Jesus’ words were Tactless, inconsiderate, disrespectful, and rude. Probably, I should add the word ‘Humiliating.’ I think possibly the crowd around Mary was embarrassed for her. In an human sense all those words seem true. However, as Mary was probably thinking this same thing, she paused and reached over in the corner where she kept that scrapbook, that treasure chest, and she opened it up. In it, she pulled out the story of the shepherds, the wise men, the inn keeper, she was reminded of the Anna and Simeon, and she rolled her eyes as she recollected Jesus as a twelve year old, and even Jesus at the wedding in Cana. With each reminder she remembered her son’s mission and her own purpose. With each memory she was strengthened and empowered to trust the God of the paths. Then, she grabbed the hands of her grown children to leave. I would imagine that they protested in defense of their mother, reminding her that their brother was tactless, inconsiderate, disrespectful, rude. I think, Mary had a slight grin, because she knew something bigger, a God given passion explained the words and annoying actions of this son and brother. She was able to head home realizing that it was not the end of the world, but, instead, it was the beginning of the next part of the journey. She let go, and left the crowd, trusting this untrustable swath of humanity to listen and accept the sacrifice of her son – whatever that sacrifice was going to mean. 

She stood at a new beginning, looking back for a moment she breathed and released, she took a look at the scrapbook remembering God’s faithfulness as she looked ahead, trusting God.

This is our path. A path of trusting God even when it seems to be the end of the world. A journey of letting go and stepping out on a new path, a new normal, a new beginning with each new turn and obstacle. A path that is eternal, never ending. A path put together by our God who loves us and willingly made the ultimate sacrifice for us. We stand at this place as we face the insurmountable challenge of caring for a loved one, we stand at a graveside mourning the loss of a spouse, we stand in the hospital halls begging for healing, we stand as we fearfully look at our finances, we tear up at the demise of relationship, we stand stand stunned at the loss of a job, we stand at the End of the World as we know it. But, we will be fine.

Even an end is never a signal to give up hope. Even when hope itself looks hopeless, hope is still present.

Our path does not stop, not even for the end of the world as we know it.

Let’s Pray

Music 4

Make Room

CCLI Song # 7122057

Evelyn Heideriqui | Josh Farro | Lucas Cortazio | Rebekah White

Verse

Here is where I lay it down
Every burden every crown
This is my surrender
This is my surrender
Here is where I lay it down
Every lie and every doubt
This is my surrender

Chorus

And I will make room for you
To do whatever you want to
To do whatever you want to
And I will make room for you
To do whatever you want to
To do whatever you want to

Bridge

Shake up the ground of all my tradition
Break down the walls of all my religion
Your way is better
Your way is better

Ending

Here is where I lay it down
You are all I’m chasing now
This is my surrender

Benediction

Reader: We now leave to live our lives, to grow old, to raise our families, we leave to love neighbor, stranger, and family.

Response: We will leave trusting God.

Reader: We will get on with living our lives, mindful of the dreams God has for humanity, whether we are in Jerusalem, Babylon, or wherever we may be, we will trust that God’s peace will come.  

Response: We now leave in hope even when hope seems absent.

Reader: We leave because that is where our path leads us.

Response: We leave because that is where God’s love takes us.

Community

  • Winter Bible Studies in February waiting on covid
  • Next Sunday –

Peace

As you leave this place may the peace of the Lord go with you.

And also with you.

Go in peace.

Published by rickanthony1993

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

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