Preparing for Worship – Apr 5

From Mark Hoffman

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16

We are excited about many things this week… first, we want to highlight our AWANA ministry this Sunday! You’ll see some of our AWANA clubbers and leaders present and helping out in various ways, and we will have an opportunity to hear about and pray for this fantastic ministry to kids as our service progresses.    
 

 This week we are also very much excited to begin a new sermon series in the Gospel of John. Beginning now and continuing through the end of the summer, we will examine one chapter each week from this rich, biblical narrative of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Our first song, Grace On Top Of Grace, echoes the opening verses of John and leads us into worship of Christ. We will read and reflect on the foundational truths from John 1 and continue in worshipful response with Here for You and How Great Thou Art. Children’s Church will have a distinctly AWANA flavor this week, and all kids 5 years old through 4th grade are invited to attend.   Then, Pastor Andrew will begin our new sermon series with a message from John 1 entitled “The Word Became Flesh.”  We will remember Christ as we take Communion together, and respond in song with What a Beautiful Name. Concluding our worship will be a time of Giving, some brief announcements, and a Benediction.

 
 

You will also notice a slightly new approach to the way we do our time of Giving, though it’s not really “new” at all, just something that hasn’t been part of our worship flow in recent years. In an effort to fully embrace our giving as an act of worship, we will share in a responsive prayer before the offering, and then have one of our elders pray over our gifts afterwards. I really like these thoughts about the purpose of offering in worship from The Worship Sourcebook:     The offering is a vital part of our response to God and God’s Word. It helps us connect our adoration for God with our life of discipleship. The money given at the offering is a token and symbol of our desire to devote our whole selves to God’s service in response to God’s loving faithfulness to us. It is symbolic of the many other gifts we should return to the Lord: time, possessions, talents, insights, and concern for others. The word offering implies something freely given, something presented as a token of dedication or devotion. Everything we have is a gift from God, and our offerings are a way of acknowledging God as the giver. Take care not to refer to this act of worship as the “collection,” which can imply that it is gathering money to defray expenses. Quite the contrary—the purpose of the offering is to offer our first fruits to God, to render to God a sacrifice of praise.*

 
 

Our gathered worship is a time of receiving and responding. Will you come prepared to do both? Take some time to reflect on the Scripture and songs above. Prepare your heart and mind to receive God’s Word and to respond to it through prayers, praises, giving, serving, and caring for one another. From Christ’s fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. In response, let’s live out the fullness of the gospel together.

 
 

See you on Sunday,

Mark
 
 
*Reprinted by permission from The Worship Sourcebook, Second Edition, © 2013, Faith Alive Christian Resources.