Liturgy of Repentance ~ Fishing

The following is the Liturgy of Repentance for our final Lenten midweek worship tonight. The scripture focus is Matthew 4:18-22; Jesus calling Andrew, Peter, James and John. We are called to radical discipleship; to leave all and become a fisher of people. This is scary and impossible on our own, but Jesus has promised to show us the best fishing holes 🙂

Redeeming God,
through Jesus Christ You have called me to follow.
You have called me to submit.
You have called me to trust.
You have called me to obey.
Oh God, I am blown away.
I have no credentials that would make me worthy to speak for You.
I have often messed up.
I have fallen short of Your glory.
I have sinned.
And You have called me?
Me?
A sinner?
You have called me to radically follow you.?
And to be a fisher of people?
But I don’t know how to fish for people.
I don’t know the right spots or the right methods.
But there is someone who does know.
As Jesus showed his disciples where and when to cast their nets,
show me.
You know where the fishing is good.
You know the best methods.
You know the best timing.
Forgive me, oh God, for when I take these matters into my own hands.
Forgive me, for when I fail to trust You.
Forgive me for trying to be my own fishing guide.
Forgive me for doubting my call.
Forgive me.
Oh Lord, my God, hear my cry: I repent…

The Cornerstone

The following is the Great Thanksgiving preface that I wrote for the Holy Communion liturgy for today. I was inspired by the Gospel text from Luke 20:9-18; the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. A church not built on Jesus will surely fall…

It is indeed right and salutary
that we should at all times and in all places
give thanks and praise to you,
oh God,
holy, mighty and awesome.
You built the Church on the foundation of Jesus,
Your anointed and only Son.
Through faith in him our sins have been forgiven
and thus we have been clothed in righteousness
and are justified in Your sight.
Oh God,
what an awesome thing to be at peace with You
and in You
for all eternity.
And so we shout out Alleluias each and every day
as we recall your amazing grace.
And so we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…

Liturgy of Repentance ~ Use Me

The following is the Liturgy of Repentance for Lenten worship tonight. The text is Acts 9:1-19; the call and conversion of Saul/Paul. May God use you to bring glory to His most holy name…

Father, You are holy, and thus Your Church is holy.
It is precious to You, for Jesus, Your Son, is the bridegroom.
So precious is his bride, Jesus died for her salvation.
As the Church, we are forever connected to You through Jesus.

We are one with him.
But Your precious Church is under persecution.
Attacked by Satan.
Denounced by the world.
Threatened by governments.
Assaulted by those who hate You.
And even ambushed…by those from within?
Yes! Within!
Oh God, how can this be?
How can members from within be culpable?
Is it I, Lord?
Holy Father, as You shine Your light on me, it is clear.
It IS I.
I have sinned.
Granted, I haven’t dragged people to jail because of the Name,
but I haven’t always spoken well of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Show me my faults.
Convict me.

Forgive me.
Transform me.
Save me.
Use me to bring glory to Your holy name, but first…
Oh Lord, my God, hear my cry: I repent…

Sugar-Coated Garbage

My dad’s birthday is coming up and there is a very good chance I will get a card in the mail soon so he can actually get it before or on his birthday. It would no doubt shock him if I were to accomplish that amazing feat. More than likely my wife will pick it out, but I will actually sign, address and mail it. When I address it, I will write out his name (legibly), put the address below his name and then below that, his city, state and zip code. Why…because I want it to actually get to him.

[Why in the world are you writing about this?]
Great question. I’m glad you asked. Hang on, I promise you that I have a point.

Now, if I were to simply write on the envelop, “Dad”, with a stamp and return address, what would happen?

[Well duh, the post office would return it to you.]

That is correct, because it is not clear who I am talking about. It could be anyone’s dad. The note inside would probably only work for my dad, but I am sure someone could twist it to make it work for their dad too.

[Okay, I’m ready for your point now.]
Well, here you go.

Recently I came across a prayer that was used in a Christian church that started in this way…

Mother of all Wisdom, and Father of Surprise

[Umm, I thought you said a “Christian church”]
That’s what I said. Shocking, I know.

You see, this has bothered me ever since I came across that prayer and far be it from me to leave it alone. What is wrong with that address? Simply this – it is not clear to whom it is being addressed. The prayer could have been used with any religion; mystic, naturistic, cult, etc. There was nothing Christian about the prayer. And worse yet, this type of language is being peddled in many mainline denominations as trendy and progressive, but it is anything but Christian. It is sugar-coated garbage, and it is killing people. And the antidote/defense? Actually, read the Bible and listen.

It saddens me and sickens me that people I know and care about are taking this in, thinking it is biblical because their pastor endorses it. God is God; Father, holy, mighty and powerful. God is Creator, Healer and Sovereign. God needs to be addressed appropriately. There is no need to get creative, progressive or trendy. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. We don’t need to grow with the times and/or the culture.

To use titles and terms like I shared above is misleading and paints a picture of a god that does not save. Stick to the Bible and address your prayers in such a way that the recipient (God) is honored, glorified and revered, not using terms like…

Mother of all Wisdom, and Father of Surprise
Mother God
Our Mother who art in heaven

Allow me to call it what it is: sugar-coated garbage.

Holy God, Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, may Your name be held in honor and esteem. Teach us to use Your name in such a way that You are glorified. You are worthy and thus may we never take liberties with Your name in order to be trendy and “with the times”. Father God, You are awesome. All praise be to You through Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.

Found

It is indeed right and salutary
that we should at all times and in all places
give thanks and praise to you,
oh God,
Father almighty.
You sent Jesus Christ to seek and save the lost.
He stopped at nothing to reach lost sinners.
He defied the authorities.
He defied the world.
He defied death.
We were lost, but now we are found.
We were without hope but now we celebrate.
We were without meaning, but now we are in Your family; defined by You. We were dead, but now we are alive.
Oh God,
You settled for nothing short of finding lost sinners.
And so we worship You;
joining with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…

Parable of the Lost Coffee Thermos

The following is dangerously close to being sacrilegious so please read with tongue in cheek (based on true events that actually happened to me recently)…

“Or what man, having a rockstar coffee thermos, if he loses it, does not search diligently his home and office, and even the Starbucks across the street until he finds it? And when he has found it, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coffee thermos that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents…and definitely over the found coffee thermos.”
[Luke 15:8-10…or something close to it]

The lost has been found!

Undone

The following is the liturgy of repentance for tonight’s Lenten worship service. The scripture focus is Isaiah 6:1-8 — The Call of Isaiah. God is holy and we are not. In God;s presence; when compared to His moral perfection and purity, we have no standing. In the words of Isaiah, we are undone.

Holy, holy, holy, are You, oh God.
The whole world; all of creation, is filled with Your glory.
YOU are holy and…
I am not. I am but a worm. I am a sinner.
Unworthy
Unclean
In the words of the Prophet Isaiah, Woe is me! For I am lost.
I am undone.
I am undone.
Woe is me, oh Lord, for I have unclean lips.
Woe is me, oh Lord, for I live among those who are unclean.
Woe is me, oh Lord, for I am ruined.
I am undone.
Woe is me.
I am the epitome of uncleanliness.
I have no standing in Your presence, for…
YOU are holy, holy, holy.
But You have made me clean through Jesus.
You have made me worthy.
You have completed me.
You have forgiven me? WOW!
Oh God, I rejoice. Send me. Send…ME.
But first,
Oh Lord, my God, hear my cry: I repent…