Saturday, May 23, 2020

LEFC Guide to Worship at Home - May 24, 2020

LEFC Guide to Worship at Home
May 24, 2020

$          Introduction
$          Home Worship Guide
$          Church Family News
$          Prayer Items
$          More Links to Helpful Resources

Dear Church Family,

Soon! We are definitely getting close to being ready to re-start some in-person ministry on our church campus. The church elder team is very encouraged by (1) your many, kind, and helpful responses to the survey we sent out last week, (2) President Trump’s recent affirmation of the important and essential nature of the church’s work, and (3) Governor Wolf’s announced plan to move our county into the “Green Phase of Reopening” next weekend. These are some clear signs that things are coming together for some of us to come together. Praise the Lord!

The church elder team will be meeting again early next week to continue working on our plan for restarting in-person ministry on our church campus. Please continue to pray for wisdom for us as we prayerfully consider all of the relevant factors and make all of the necessary preparations. We are excited about the possibilities and will communicate more soon.

At the same time, we know that many of our church family will and should stay home and not gather in-person for some time. Please know that we are committed to caring for the spiritual needs of every single person during this transition whether “at church” or at home. If that’s you, please know that you will not be forgotten or left behind. We are still in this together even when we can’t all be together (Philippians 1:3-8).
We have prepared another ten-step guide for your family to use in worship at home this weekend, and I will be posting another recorded video message from Philippians 2. For the Worship in Unity portion this week, we are reciting the Nicene Creed which was originally affirmed in 325AD with a fuller version completed in Constantinople in 381.

The Nicene Creed builds on the Apostles’ Creed (which we used back in March) and is alluded to in Article 4 of our EFCA Statement of Faith. The Nicene Creed is a beautiful summary of Christian teaching especially on the full deity and saving work of Jesus Christ. It fits perfectly with what we are going to see in Philippians 2 about Jesus’ humility and exaltation.

{Note: I have translated the Greek word “katholikayn” as “whole” to avoid confusion because the Creed isn’t referring there to a particular denomination but to the universal Body of Christ of which every genuine Christian is a part. Also note that when we say that “we acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins,” we mean that it stands for and illustrates that forgiveness. Water baptism is an outward picture of an inward and spiritual reality (Titus 3:3-7).}

Two other neat things are planned for Sunday May 24th:

At 11am, many of us are going to connect again using Zoom for a Church Family Fellowship time (I’ll be there by 10:45 to welcome folks and help people get set-up). If her internet service cooperates, our missionary Tobi Magill is planning to join us from Papua New Guinea! It will be 1:00am her time, so we will want to begin with interacting with Tobi so that she can get some sleep before her next shift as a nurse. I’m hoping that some of the kids in our church family will have specific questions for Tobi about what life is like on the other side of the world.

And from 2-5pm, Lord-willing, I will be sitting in the drive-thru at the church building for pastoral visitation. I’ll be wearing a mask and keeping my distance, but I would love to see some of you and pray for you. I haven’t seen many of you for three months, and I miss you all very much. If you are out for a Sunday drive, consider pulling through. Hopefully, the next time that I see some of you, it will be actually be inside of our church building!

What time are you going to gather your household this weekend to worship the Lord Jesus Christ?

In His Grip,

- Pastor Matt

P.S.  Few people have known as much suffering or been as joyful as Joni Eareckson Tada. She says that one of the secrets to this paradox has been to sing her way through suffering including during COVID-19. I hope you and your family are following her example.

Home Worship Guide
1. Call to Worship

Read Psalm 47 with joyful anticipation as your family gathers to worship. The kingship of God over all of the nations is great news and worthy of our songs of praise!

**Option: Families with young children may want to have the kids shout, “Sing praises, sing praises!” after a parent reads each verse.

Have someone pray and ask God to bless your time of worship at home.

2. Worship in Singing

As a household sing “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” by Joachim Neander (1680) translated into English by Catherine Winkworth (1863).

**Option. Families with younger children might want to repeat the song that has our Hide the Word verse in it: “Rejoice in the Lord Always.” Parents might plan to do this short song for several weeks because repetition helps us to learn something well. Don’t forget that it is also a canon your family can sing “in the round.”

3. Worship in Unity

As a household, recite together the Nicene Creed (381):
WE BELIEVE in one God,
the Father, the Almighty
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

WE BELIEVE in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

WE BELIEVE in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.

WE BELIEVE in one holy whole and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

4. Worship in Lament and Thanksgiving

Share with your family both the good and the bad that you all have experienced this week and express them both to the Lord in prayer.

**Option: Monday is Memorial Day. Your household could take some time to share memories of family members who have died. Lament their loss and give thanks for what they have meant to you. We are especially grateful for those who have given their lives in the defense of our nation.

5. Worship in Bible Memorization

Recite our current “Hide the Word” memory verses, Philippians 4:4-5.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”

**Option: Over the summer months we are going to memorize Philippians 4:4-9. Don’t wait until the verses get long and difficult to memorize. Have each family member close their eyes and say what they can remember out loud. Write it on a whiteboard or big piece of paper and hide key words.

6. Worship in Prayer

Take prayer requests and pray for each other. Read the prayer guide together and pray for the rest of the church family and the requests listed.

7. Worship in the Word

Watch or read Pastor Matt’s message: “Your Attitude.”

Some families may want to watch/read the message on their own and then have a Bible study and discussion together during this time.

Application Questions for Personal Reflection and Family Discussion:

1. Taking an inventory of all of my various relationships right now, what is my current attitude towards others? What needs to change in my mindset?

2. How does Jesus' awesome example of humility and exaltation inspire me to live this week? What specific actions should I plan to take?

3. Have I personally confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord? If not, what am I waiting for?

8. Worship in Singing

Sing “He Is Lord” by Linda Lee Johnson, Claire Cloninger, and Tom Fettke (1986).

**Option: Some families may want to sing “Praise the Saviour” by CityAlight which celebrates the same amazing truth of Jesus’ humble sacrifice on our behalf.

**Option: Some families, especially those with young children who really enjoy repetition, may want to continue to sing “Jesus, Strong and Kind” by CityAlight (2019) each week.

9. Worship All Week

Have someone pray a prayer of commissioning for your family as you end this time of gathered worship and face a week of new opportunities and new challenges to serve the Lord, the church, and the world in His Name.

10. Participate in LEFC Family Fellowship Meeting on Zoom - 11am on Sunday.

Many of us are meeting through video-conference online this Sunday at 11:00am:

More Links to Helpful Resources