Week 4: December 18 - December 23, 2016

An Advent Message from President Efrem Smithtop right advent 2016 17


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

  • 1 This Week's Theme
  • 2 Preparing Our Hearts
  • 3 Praising Our God
  • 4 Listening to His Voice
  • 5 Responding in Faith
  • 6 Departing to Serve
  • 7 For Your Weekly Journey
  • They Shall Call His Name Emmanuel

    Matthew 1.18-25

    When Joseph was troubled regarding Mary’s pregnancy, his betrothed wife, he determined to break his engagement with her secretly, that she might avoid scandal and punishment. As he pondered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, reassuring him that Mary’s pregnancy was caused by the Holy Spirit, and she would bear a son, and they would call him Jesus, because he would save his people from their sins. All this would take place in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy that a virgin would bear a son and they would call his name Immanuel, meaning God with us. Asa result of the dream, Joseph did as the angel commanded, took Mary as his wife, and when the baby was born, hecalled his name Jesus.

  • Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation

    O Son of God, who once camest in weakness to restore us: free us from all remaining bonds of our error and unbelief that we may await thy mighty Advent without fear. And when thou comest seeking thy kingdom within us, constrain us, O Christ, to open wide the gates and to yield up the keys of our life unto thee; that thy power may be our power, and our wills be thine, and thy will be done, O Jesus Christ, Son of God our Saviour. Amen.

    ~ The Priest’s Prayer Book (Ferguson, p. 20)

    Call to Worship  

    Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.

  • Te Deum Laudamus

    You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.

    The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

    You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.

    Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)

    Gloria Patri

    Glory be to the Father, And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, Is now, and ever shall be, World without end. Amen, amen. 

  • Chronological Reading for the Day

    Wednesday: Job 22-25

    Lectionary Readings

    Psalm: Psalm 80.1-7, 17-19
    OT: Isa. 7.10-16
    Gospel: Matt. 1.18-25
    NT: Rom. 1.1-7

    (Click here for all readings)

  • The Apostles' Creed

    I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, 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 sits 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 Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

    *In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).

    Prayers of Confession
    Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.

    Assurance of Pardon
    Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.

    Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord's Prayer
    Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

    --Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)

    Doxology (and/or closing song)
    Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
    Praise Him all creatures here below;
    Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
    Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

  • Benediction  
    O LORD, raise up, we pray thee, thy power, and come among us, and with great might succour us; that, whereas through our sins and wickedness we are sore let and hindered in running the race that is set before us, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be honour and glory world without end. Amen.

    ~ Scottish Prayer Book (Suter, p. 5)

    Affirmation from the Psalms
    I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. [2] He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. [3] He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.

    ~ Psalm 40.1-3(ESV)

    Pray without Ceasing - Flash Prayer for the Day
    We glorify you, O God, for the Virgin-born child of Mary, he who will save his people from their sins. His name is Jesus, and he is our Savior.

  • Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus

    They Shall Call His Name Emmanuel

    Matthew 1.18-25

    Book Reading

    Bilezikian, Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible Says about a Woman's Place in Church and Family

What is the SIAFU Network?

What is the SIAFU Network?

The SIAFU Network is a national association of chapters anchored in local urban churches and ministries dedicated to the city. SIAFU chapters are designed to help identify, equip and release spiritually qualified servant leaders to reach and transform our neediest, unreached communities in urban America.

The name for this new and exciting collaboration of urban Christians is taken from the example of the African Siafu ant community, hailed by the Discovery Channel as the world's fiercest and mightiest social community. A powerful example of community builders, their nests can hold up to 22 million members, making them the world's largest social community and easily one of the most productive, inventive, and remarkable groups ever. Siafu are small, vulnerable, and pesky, easily overcome if you attack or seek to destroy one of them isolated and alone, as a mere individual.

However, when banded together in common unity for the single purpose of the survival and strengthening of the community, they are virtually invincible, taking down all kinds of different animals, even from goats to buffalo, and (as has sometimes been reported) even elephants in their wake. Their ingenuity and industry (and absolute fierceness) are well known among those who study all the creatures of the insect kingdoms.

They are a fitting symbol of the potential that urban Christian men and women possess if they only can unite for the sake of mutual inspiration, edification, equipping, and empowerment. The advancement of the Kingdom of God in America's inner cities lies with urban Christians--identified, inspired, trained, and released for Christ!