Tonight is the final Wednesday Lenten worship service of the season. And tonight we get to hear from my brother in Christ, from First Presbyterian, as he brings the Word from Jeremiah 31:31-34. We have been talking about covenant throughout Lent and tonight we end on the sweet note of the New Covenant.
And so, this is the opening prayer I wrote for worship tonight. Let’s pray…
Behold, the days are coming, oh Lord, the days are coming, when You will fulfill the New Covenant promised to us through Jesus. And how we look forward to that day; that when the trumpet sounds we will be made brand new; glorious new bodies that will shine with Your Glory.
In the mean time, sting us with reminder that death is our rightful punishment but through Your grace, New Life is the amazing gift we have through faith in Jesus. May the sting convict and humble us and may Your response bring us to our knees in worship.
Teach us Your ways
Lead us into all truth
Guide us in obedience,
that we may show our love for You, for all to see, that You and You alone may be glorified.
May this worship be pleasing to your ears and may Your word fill our hearts to overflowing. In Jesus awesome and amazing name I pray, Amen.
God bless you as you prepare yourself for Holy Week (which begins on Sunday).
Praise be to God!
The Pastor -|—
This is the prayer I wrote to be prayed before the sermon is preached. As I have said many times before, to approach God’s word is an awesome privilege and to proclaim God’s word is an awesome task. One should never enter God’s word without prayer; seeking the Spirit to guide you and open you ears to truly listen.
So may God bless your hearing of His word today.
Your holy word tells us that all Scripture is breathed out by You, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that we may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Your word has a holy purpose and therefore needs to be held in utmost respect.
And there is no where else to turn for words of life; for in the words of Peter to Jesus: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.
So may we take this to heart and not try to tinker with Your word, but listen to it and submit; trusting that You are righteous and true; no matter how hard it is to receive such a word.
And so may our hearts be right that we may receive Your word and therefore be transformed. In Jesus holy name I pray, Amen.
The Pastor -|—
The Pastor is going paperless tomorrow (except for my Bible and hymnal).
This will be a first for me; chucking the rock solid stability of paper for technology (but I draw the line at chucking my paper Bible). Sure, I have preached paperless for 1 1/2 years (except for that Sunday, recently, that I was thrust into the stone age through my tablet dying) but I’ve always had a paper bulletin and announcements (except for those
few many Sundays I lost misplaced my bulletin).
But tomorrow everything goes on the tablet.
Call it a big boy playing with his toy (this is what my wife calls it).
Call it an environmentally conscious person saving paper (I like that).
Or even call it a pastor trying to be more efficient (that works too).
Whatever you call it I am going all in. But I am going to be keenly aware, though, of the possibility that God may humble me through some technology mishap; calling out any technology god I may have. But if that happens I will submit to God’s will and go with the flow.
And if everything does go well, don’t worry, I’m not going to be one of those that invites his parishioners to Tweet comments and questions during the sermon (yes, I have heard of someone doing that). So I am drawing the line (in the sand) there ~ but you never know, I guess. A few years ago I never imagined I would be going paperless during worship. Kind of makes me wonder what I will be doing in five years (or next year, for that matter).
OK, enough babbling, time to get my techno-worship ready for tomorrow.
So wish me luck and may God be glorified, not my technology.
The Pastor -|—
For Lenten worship tonight, with our brothers and sisters from First Presbyterian Church, I get the privilege of preaching. The text is Numbers 21:4-9 and below is the prayer I wrote to be prayed before I preach.
This Numbers text continues our Lenten theme of Old Testament texts dealing with covenant (Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Moses). Tonight we get the fiery serpents and then next week my brother in Christ from First Presbyterian will be closing our Lenten worship series with the New Covenant from Jeremiah 31. It’s been a great series and one of my favorites.
And so I leave you with this prayer tonight…
Father God, You have made Your expectations clear but yet we have turned away from You. You have made salvation a reality through faith in Jesus but we get impatient on our way to the promised land. You have given us Your holy law but yet we go our own way; speaking against You through our rebellion. You provide for us yet we whine and complain about what we don’t have; detesting Your holy provision. And therefore Your fiery judgment is right and we are deserving of it.
Oh God, turn our hearts to You that we may follow faithfully; placing our trust in You and our faith in Your son, Jesus Christ. May the sting of death remind us of our sinfulness but also of Your faithfulness. It’s not a bronze serpent we look at to be healed but rather the cross of Christ. May that produce a fiery faith in us as we praise you for Your grace.
And so I humbly appeal to You to bless these words we hear tonight that we may be transformed. And as we turn away from the fiery consequences of sin in obedience to You, may we see the way to eternal life through Your Son and may we give You all praise and honor and glory, forever and ever. In Jesus’ holy name I pray, Amen.
Have a blessed night :-)
The Pastor -|—
Nothing deep and theological here tonight, just a cute worship story involving this pastor/daddy and his little girl.
This morning I was in the pulpit; in the zone and preaching on Mark 9:14-29. It was a serious text (as they all are) on living in the dark valley of life; being confronted by Satan. I was cruising along, when about half way through the sermon I noticed a disturbance in the force…
… my little girl (23 months old) working her way towards the pulpit.
I knew a problem was developing and my wife was otherwise occupied with our 4 1/2 month old son. So I continued and pretended not to notice; hoping there wouldn’t be a problem, but the force is strong in my little girl.
Mayah proceeded to walk in front of the pulpit before she realized she couldn’t reach daddy going that way. She promptly turned around and quickly solved her problem as she found the steps that lead to daddy. Mayah then crawled up the steps and proceeded to position herself in front of me; holding her arms up and waiting for me to pick her up. It took everything in me not to reach down and pick her up. It was even hard not to smile at all this cuteness.
I continue to preach and tried to stay in the zone as Mayah asserted herself ever so quietly (what a polite little girl). She eventually took a break and sat on the steps before trying again to convince me to chuck my sermon and give her the attention she desperately wanted.
Finally she relented and worked her way back down the couple steps and back to mommy. I continued preaching all the while keeping one eye on my little girl; and feeling a little guilty that I didn’t pick her up (and hoping no one noticed my mental distraction).
But I am not surprised by this. I knew this day would come eventually and I know there will be more. I guess this is just part of the joy of being a pastor and a daddy, and you know something, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
The Pastor -|—
This is a prayer I wrote to be prayed before the sermon today. I am intentional with these prayers because to preach God’s word is such an awesome task and opportunity. To listen to God’s word is also an awesome thing. Its something you don’t want to take for granted. So I invite you to receive this prayer and really think about this gift that we have in the Bible:
Wow! Amazing, isn’t it?
So let’s pray…
Oh Father God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; to listen to Your word is such an awesome thing as Your words are life and salvation. Your words provide comfort and peace in a dark world. Your words are hope and strength as Satan seeks to bring us down. And so it is with all humility that we seek Your Holy Spirit to break through the walls of our hardened hearts, that we may receive Your word. For it is only through your grace that we can hear this Good News and be transformed to Your will. So bless our hearing this morning that Your words may take up residence in our hearts. Bless our lives that we may serve others and therefore glorify You for You are an awesome God. All praise and worship and honor and glory be to You, oh God, our Rock and Redeemer; in Jesus name I pray, Amen.
May God bless your hearing of His holy Word today and always.
The Pastor -|—