Today, Living Word Lutheran Church is excited. We are excited that we are redeemed by God our Father through Christ Jesus our Lord. We are excited that through faith in Jesus, our sins are forgiven and thus everlasting life is ours. We are excited to be serving an awesome God. We are excited that we live in a kingdom that cannot be shaken. We are excited that Satan has been defeated. We are excited that we are children of God. We are excited and drenched in joy.
…and oh by the way…we are excited that we are worshiping (for the first time) in our new building 🙂
To God be the glory!!!
The following is a little something I wrote for Holy Communion on this 3rd Sunday of Advent — JOY.
Yes! Oh Yes! It is right and our pleasure to worship you, to give You thanks and to make much of You, oh God. It is our joy to sing of Your mighty deeds. Through Jesus Christ Your son – the Messiah – You redeemed a lost and broken people through his death and resurrection. You reconciled us back to You and gave us Life. You healed that which the serpent broke and restored that which was lost. Holy Father, Your power is great. Your mercy is wide. You grace is abundant. Fill us again and again with your Spirit to overflowing that Joy may exude from us without end. May the world be drenched in love and be swept away in Your never-ending life. And so, it is our pleasure to join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise.
It is the second Sunday of Advent and thus our focus word is Peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace for he is the manifestation of the kingdom of God. Jesus is our hope. Jesus is our life. Jesus is our salvation. Feeling peaceful? That is an understatement 🙂
Oh God, there is no question in our hearts or minds that it is right and salutary to give You and You alone praise and worship at all times and in all places. It is right because Your kingdom has happened. It has happened through the birth of Jesus Christ and was solidified through the cross and empty tomb. You destroyed hopelessness. You calmed the chaos. You crushed the head of the deceiver. You banished the darkness. You have bound the forces of evil. Though we are sinners, You are faithful. Though we are weak, You are strong. Though we wander like sheep, You retrieve us for You are the Good Shepherd. Holy Father, we are so joyful because of the Prince of Peace and for this reason we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise.
Merry Advent everyone! That’s right, Advent is here but better yet, Jesus is coming. No, not some earthly birthday party where presents are exchanged in celebration, but rather our King is coming – here – soon – to bring his Church home.
That’s the joy in my heart.
That’s the excitement in my soul.
That’s the longing of my heart – my hope.
So join me in worship as we sing praises to God our Father through Christ Jesus the Lord.
Father in heaven, it is fitting and natural to sing Your praises at all times and in all places as joy overflows from our hearts. You sent Jesus to be born in our likeness – to take on our frail form and then to suffer and die, only to shatter the fetters of death that we may be free. And now we anxiously await Jesus – this time to gather his church for an all-out banquet feast as we engage in uninhibited worship of You, oh God, with all the saints. And so, we prepare our hearts to receive our King as we join with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing our joy-filled refrains of praise to You.
Here we are – Sunday morning – preparing to travel to a location to engage in corporate worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Why? Because God is so freak’in awesome that if you are not worshiping then something is seriously wrong. Jesus died on a cross for the forgiveness of your sins and rose from the grave that you may live forever in eternal joy with him. How can one not worship this God? How can one be ambivalent? Our Creator God is not distant but close, loving and intimate as a father to a child. Our Creator God is not too busy for you but knows every hair on your head – He’s given them each a unique name. Our Creator God reigns on high but lives in your heart.
Worship? Of course.
And so, what are you waiting for?
[The following is part of the Holy Communion liturgy I wrote for worship this morning. To God be the glory, always and forever.]
Yes, God, it is right and our joy to give thanks and praise to You, at all times and in all places. It is our joy for through Jesus Christ You gave us Your Spirit that we may know the truth of the Gospel – the forgiveness of our sins and the salvation of our souls through faith in Jesus Christ. You redeemed us though we are sinful. You saved us because we cannot save ourselves. You love us because, well, You are love. Oh God, our praise and worship is so inadequate in compassion to what You deserve. Our self-conceived works fall oh so short. May we just let go and let the works you have prepared beforehand manifest themselves through us that You are rightly glorified. And so, with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven we join in singing Your unending praise…
On this Reformation Sunday, I give thanks to God for raising up Martin Luther and the other Reformers to show us the truth of the Gospel – that we are not saved by/through works of the Law, but apart from the Law through the grace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. We are saved by Faith alone in Christ alone by God’s grace alone as revealed in the Word alone all to the glory of God alone. And so let pray together and sign God’s unending praise.
It is indeed right and our pleasure to give thanks and praise to You, oh God, our Creator and Redeemer. We are sinful creatures who only want to glorify ourselves – looking out for number one – but through the Law You have convicted us and showed us how we fall short. But through Jesus, You saved us through his death and resurrection. And now, through faith in him, You have given us hope. How can one not be excited about this? How can one not rise up and praise You? How can one not live out loud, proclaiming Your glory through word and deed? And so we do just that by joining with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…
WOW, this one just flew through my fingers and onto the keyboard. No other words of introduction. So i’m just going to leave this right here. To God be the glory!
Oh yes, yes, YES! it is right and it is our joy to give You thanks and praise, oh God. You are our mighty Rock and Foundation, our Strong Fortress and Shelter, our Father who has redeemed us through Jesus Christ. You are our Life. Enliven us with Your Spirit that joy may spill forth from our beings and soak all those around us with Your love. May no one be missed. May we not show partiality but run to the lost and outcast. May we embrace our enemies and those difficult to love. May we beam with delight, so much so, that people are blinded and see nothing but Your glory. We love You and worship You, oh God, and thus we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise.
The preaching series in James takes us into chapter 2 where James admonishes his beloved brothers (in Christ) about showing partiality. This is a message that hit my heart and one that I hope resonates with others.
So below is a prayer that I wrote for today’s Holy Communion liturgy, with James in mind (and in heart). To God be the Glory!
It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God, Creator of all we can see and not see. In Love You created us.
In love You saved us through Jesus Christ.
In love You sustain us with Your Holy Spirit.
In love, may we go and serve one another, regardless of what they look like or come from or believe or think.
May we go with You and receive people without partiality.
May we receive them for the sake of the Gospel – proclaiming the life-saving Good News of Jesus Christ.
May we not be distracted by anything that Satan would throw at us to divide us. We are Yours, oh God, and we glorify You and You alone. And so, with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven we join in singing Your unending praise.