Week 41: September 3 - September 9, 2017

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Sunday, September 3rd, 2017: Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

  • 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
  • Faith-filled: Sarah

    Genesis 17.15-21, 18.1-15 (Hebrews 11.11-12)

    The Lord covenanted with Abraham and Sarah that through them, the heir of worlds would come. In fact, he changed both of their names in light of his covenant promise, Abram to Abraham (father of many nations), and Sarai (princess) to Sarah (mother of many nations). Though only a minor change, God assured them that their seed would produce kings (v. 16; cf. v. 6), and both Abraham and Sarah laughed at the prospect that a ninety-nine-year-old man and a barren ninety-year-old woman would give birth to a child of promise who would save his people, and bless the families of the earth (Gen. 12.1-3).

    After angelic visitors came to Abraham and assured him that one year from their visit Sarah would bear a son, Sarah laughed in her heart. The Angel of the Lord, which the text declares to be a theophany (appearing) of the Lord himself (cf. 16.7), rebuked her reply, suggesting rhetorically, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” This personal visit to Abraham and Sarah announces the fulfillment of his promise, that the time had come, and that he was capable of doing the impossible. Not aged parents, not a dead womb, not even disbelieving laughter can interfere with the covenant promise of God for those to whom he has granted his promise.

    The book of Hebrews summarizes the actions of Sarah as a faithful response to God’s promise. By faith she received power to conceive, even though she was well past the age of childbearing, for “she considered him faithful who had promised.” And, the account concludes, “Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore” (Heb. 11.11-12). Sarah, through it all, considered the Lord faithful, and trusted him, even in light of the impossibility of her giving birth. She trusted in the God that can do the impossible among the absolutely unlikely.

  • Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation

    Eternal God our Father, Abraham and Sarah clung to your covenant promise for a son even though they were long past the age of bearing children together. They trusted in you, and you fulfilled your promise to them, enabling them to give birth to Isaac, the child of the promise. Sarah counted you faithful in spite of the condition of her body, so help us to do the same as you continue to lead us into your will. In Christ’s name, amen.

    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. 

  • 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  
    Lord Jesus, you are the descendant of Sarah’s son, who was born because she counted you faithful to fulfill your word. You are remarkable, the God of the impossible, the Lord who can do any and every thing beyond our wildest imagination and thought. Give us Sarah’s heart, to count you faithful no matter what we see or encounter. In your name we pray, amen.

    Affirmation from the Psalms
    Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, [6] O offspring of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones! [7] He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. [8] He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, [9] the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, [10] which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an ever­lasting covenant, [11] saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance.”

    ~ Psalm 105.5-11

    Pray without Ceasing - Flash Prayer for the Day
    Lord Jesus Christ, teach us to trust in your promise like Sarah, who counted you faithful to fulfill your word, no matter what.

  • Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus

    Pondering the Deep Things of God

    Luke 1.46-56, 26-38



    Book Reading

    Sanders, Ministry at the Margins

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