Monday, May 09, 2011

The Way We Worship Together: May 8, 2011

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

Happy Mother's Day!
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, the 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 Joshua greeted us as those gathered by God with the Easter greeting, He is Risen!  We responded, He Is Risen Indeed!  He then greeted Mothers for Mother's Day.  As is tradition at Union Center, we love to recognize all levels of motherhood, starting with Great-Great Grandmothers.  In first service, there were two women with this title!

My friend Dorothy is a great Great-Great Grandma!
We appreciate this chance each year to not only celebrate the high value of motherhood, but also to bless and affirm the imago dei in all women.  In addition to praying a blessing over women, Pastor Joshua prayed for God's comfort on those women who find Mother's Day to be a time of grief. 

We are so grateful for the women at Union Center!

After a time of greeting each other in the peace of Christ, Pastor Joshua led us in a call to worship:

As we continue worshipping in this Easter season, we remember that it’s because of Jesus’ death – his ultimate act of humility – that God raises him up as King of Kings. Stand with me and hear these words from Philippians -

Pastor Joshua:  Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
All:  Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. - Philippians 2:6-11

Let’s worship together our King of Kings….

Song: King of Glory, written by Jesse Reeves and Chris TomlinA new song for our congregation, we echo the prophecy in Psalm 24, Who is this King of Glory? Listen to the song on YouTube.

Song: Let God Arise, written by Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves and Chris Tomlin

Words and Prayers of Confession and Assurance
Scott encouraged us to enter into a time of confession by listening and agreeing together with Dave's prayer.
Jesus, we praise you for your majesty and holiness.  You are the perfect Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  Have mercy on us as we take a moment in silent prayer to confess where we have fallen short of your glory.
(Pause for silent confession.  Dave led this well, giving us a significant amount of time to stand in silence together.  It's amazing how long a minute of quiet can feel, but how meaningful that time!) 

Jesus, you tell us in your word, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lays down his life for his friends.”  Thank you for pouring yourself out completely on the cross.  You have ransomed us by your own blood. 

Song: Jesus Paid It All, original words written in 1865 by Elvina M. Hall with an additional chorus and new arrangement from Kristian Stanfill.  We enjoy this old hymn so much; in part because of the dynamics that range from large, rousing sound to quiet a cappella, allowing us to hear each other's voices only.

Song: Lead On, O King Eternal, In 1888 Ernest Shurtleff wrote this hymn for his seminary graduating class, in 2005 a student at Belmont University wrote a new tune.  Thanks to both gentlemen,  we've been re-learning this great song of response to the leadership of our King. Read the lyrics here.  Listen the song here.
Lead on, O King eternal, till sin's fierce war shall cease.
And holiness shall whisper, the sweet amen of peace..
For not with swords' loud clashing, nor roll of stirring drums;
With deeds of love and mercy, the heavenly kingdom comes.

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.

 Pastor John had the challenge of covering almost half the New Testament in one week's sermon.  This week's text covered Acts 13 - 14, 16-20; Romans 1, 3-6, 8, 12, 15; 1 Corinthians 1, 3, 5-6, 10, 12-13, 15-16; Galatians 1, 3, 5-6; 1 Thessalonians 1-5. He took the challenge head on and framed the message in the statement: The goal of the Church is missions and the goal of missions is the Church.

Along the way, we stopped by one of Pastor John's oft-quoted film clips.  Wondering what Paul's missionary journies have to do with the Princess Bride, check out the audio version of the message here.

There are three 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 read together from Romans12: 1-5: 
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Song: Salvation Belongs to Our God, written by Adrian Howard and Pat Turner.  This Scripture song, from Revelation 7 provided a fitting song of response to Paul's repeated emphasis on the power of grace over the law.  We participate in God's purposes for peoples from all over the earth to be redeemed, but in the end it is God's work to save.

Words of Sending and Benediction
Pastor Joshua invited the prayer team forward and encouraged us to respond to the Word we'd heard together today.  He then invited us as an entire congregation to raise our right hands during the sung benediction as a physical gesture of both adoration toward the God who keeps us and of blessing each other as the Church being sent out, blessed to be a blessing.  

Song: To Him Who Is Able  Thank you to our songwriter friend Brian Moss for sharing with us this tune to the biblical text Jude 24-25.    Listen to a sample on iTunes.

          To Him who is able, to keep you from falling
          and to present you before His glorious presence,
          without fault, and with great joy
          To the only God, our Savior
          be glory, majesty, power and authority
          through Jesus Christ our Lord,
          before all ages, now and forevermore.
          Amen.  Amen.  Amen.

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