Monday, May 02, 2011

The Way We Worship Together: May 1, 2011

Thank you to the wonderful Hope Spicer for this week's photos! This is also posted at

Pre-service song: Carry My Cross,
 written by Tai Anderson, Brad Avery, David Carr, Mark Lee and Mac Powell
Welcome to a weekly overview of Union Center Christian Church's Sunday  morning service.  You’ll not only read a list of the songs we led following the Call To Worship, but also the readings and prayers from our pattern of worship (aka, liturgy).

You can find links to the set lists of this church and many other churches each week in the Worship Blog Carnival at You can learn about some of the songs we sing at Union Center each week in advance of the Sunday service by reading the “Getting Ready For Sunday”  post each Thursday.

Call To Worship
Pastor Sal greeted us as those gathered by God with the Easter greeting, He is Risen!  We responded He Is Risen Indeed!  After reminding us that the importance of the season of Easter in the Church leads us to extend its celebration far longer than one Sunday alone.  We celebrate the season of Easter during the fifty days leading to Pentecost Sunday.  He then led us in this call and response:

Pastor Sal:  
This is the good news –
the grave is empty;
Christ is risen.
All:  Hallelujah!

Pastor Sal:

This is the good news –

the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never put it out
All:  Hallelujah!

Pastor Sal:

This is the good news –

once we were no people;
now we are God’s people
All:   Hallelujah!

Pastor Sal:

Christ is our peace,

the indestructible peace

we now share with each other.
All:  Hallelujah!
--The Worship Sourcebook - Pg 628 #7

We then greeted each other in that indestructible peace of Christ.

Song: The Church's One Foundation, words by Samuel Stone, music by Brian Moss. Since our text for this week's message covers the birth of the Church in Acts 2, we felt there was no more appropriate hymn! At Union Center, we enjoy this retuning from our friend Brian Moss. Click below to listen to the song or click through to see lyrics and support Brian and other indpendent church musicians.

Words and Prayers of Confession and Assurance
Margaret invited us to sit and agree with her in this prayer:

Lord, bring new life where we are worn and tired;

new love where we have turned hard-hearted;

forgiveness where we feel hurt and where we have wounded;

and joy and freedom of your Holy Spirit where

we are prisoners of ourselves.

We then sat together in silence asking the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts and make us aware of anything between us and Him needing our confession and His repentance.  After the silent prayer, Margaret encouraged us with these assuring words of our pardon in Christ:

To all and to each,

on his community and on his friends,

where regret is real,

Jesus pronounces his pardon

and grants us the right to begin again.

Thanks be to God!


--The Worship Sourcebook - Pg 637, #3

Song: The Power of Your Love written by Geoff Bullock.  This is an older favorite chorus for Union Center.  We experimented with a Lincoln Brewster arrangement that you can listen to at this YouTube link.

Song: Light the Fire Again, written by Brian Doerksen. Another little trip down memory lane with this well-loved chorus from Union Center's history. An appropriate prayer as we read the stories of the Church's birth, no? We experimented again with a slightly different arrangement vocally led -- maybe for the first time ever -- by the drummer!  Listen to the song on YouTube.  
Don't let our love grow cold,
I'm calling out, light the fire again.
Don't let our vision die,
I'm calling out, light the fire again.

Song: Spirit of the Living Godwritten by Daniel Iverson.  We used this mid-twentieth century chorus as a prayer that the same Spirit who came upon the new Church in Acts 2 would make us like the Christ we follow.  

Prayer of Thanksgiving and Giving
The appropriate response to our Creator and Redeemer is to give from all we have - heart, soul, mind, strength, gifts and resources.

Life at the Center (ministry updates)
Before the offering plates were passed, Pastor Sal reminded us that the annual Spring Work Day coming up on May 14 would be an additional way we could give in addition to our tithes.

To make the point even more memorable, the drama team helped our facilities director, Steve Carter, create a hilarious video (picture Charlie Chaplin in dungarees and a tractor cap moving to the speed of this song)

 Pastor John taught us from the text in Acts 1-10, the incredible story of the birth of the Church.  The miracle of the Spirit's new activity in the world in addition to the moral acts of the apostles and new believers brought favor among men and God.  Later, it brought death to martyrs like Stephen.  You can hear the audio recording of his message here.

There are four weeks left In our Story sermon series with lots of good stuff still to come; we'd love for you to join us. Don't forget, we'd love to hear how you've been impacted by this study through The Story.  You can share with us how God's using the study in your life by emailing us at

At the conclusion of his message, Pastor John invited us to rehearse together the Apostle's Creed:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
    the Maker of heaven and earth,
    and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
    born of the virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell. 
The third day He arose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
    and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
    from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
    the holy catholic church;
    the communion of saints;
    the forgiveness of sins;
    the resurrection of the body;
    and the life everlasting.

Song: Lo! He Comes With Clouds Descending, Words: John Cennick, 1752; alt. Charles Wesley, 1758 & Martin Madan, 1760; Music: Zac Hicks, 2008. A new-to-us hymn recently re-set by worship leader Zac Hicks.  We live in the age of the Church, in the second waiting for the returning Christ. Click below to listen to the song or go here to read the lyrics and support Zac.

Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain, once for favored sinners slain,
Thousand, thousand saints attending,Swell the triumph of His train, swell the triumph of His train.
Hallelujah!  Hallelujah! God appears on earth to reign!

Words of Sending and Benediction
Pastor Sal encouraged us to consider what acts we needed to take as individuals in this Church -- to forgive someone in the room, to help those devastated by floods this past week, to bless and pray for the college students graduating and moving on, to be Christ to our families and neighborhoods?  He then prayed God's favor on us and sent us out as those blessed to be a blessing.
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