Sunday, February 21, 2021

ORDER OF WORSHIP – The First Sunday in Lent

            [Scriptures for today:  Genesis 9: 8-17; Psalm 25: 1-10;  1 Peter 3: 18-22;  Mark 1: 9-15]


Welcome & Opening Prayer

            Good morning and once again, welcome to First Church.  Traditions have it that people have given up something for Lent- usually it’s something that is believed to be a challenge – like giving up fast food or ice cream or cake/candies or a favorite drink.  In the recent decades, people have begun to “add something” to their routines rather than “give up something” – like volunteering at hospital or social service agency, or being more intentional to read a devotional every day, etc.  There is a wide range of challenges – be it to give up or add to one’s daily routine.  Whatever may be your preference, may God bless it and may you enjoy the fruits of your choices.  

And, thought it would be helpful to know that in the “40-days” designated for the season of Lent, the “40-days” begin with and include Ash Wednesday.  However, Sundays are not included in the count of the “40-days”… So, today is the First Sunday in Lent, there are four previous days which included Ash Wednesday, and tomorrow (Monday, 2/22) will be the 5th day of Lent!  Ok, enough of the technical stuff.

It’s Sunday morning…. Let us pray:

Gracious God, this is the day You have made and You ask that we rejoice and be glad.  So, this morning, we gather once again to do just that – rejoice and celebrate Who You Are and even more so, Who You are Becoming in our lives.  Thank You, O God, for the gift of this day.  Amen and Amen.   

Call to Contemplation   

Call to Worship (abbreviated Scriptures and Baylor’s Led by Love)

P:   Guide me, O my great Redeemer, pilgrim through this barren land;

C:   I am weak, but You are mighty; hold me in Your powerful hand.

 P:   Open now Your crystal fountain, and let Your healing waters flow.

C:   Ever be my strength and shield, ever be my strength and shield.

 P:   Lord, make us more holy, more faithful, more humble and righteous.
C:   Lord, make me more holy, more faithful, more humble and righteous. Amen.


Scripture Reading:  Genesis 9: 8-17 “Never again…”

A Musical Moment for Meditation  

The Message –  Mark 1: 9-15       

          “THE TIME HAS COME…”   (Pastor Matt)


Prayers of the People

We received the following requests for prayer this week… we continue to pray for Elizabeth Roberts and the Roberts family; prayers for Elaine Spalding; Rick and Jacqui; Dick and Peggy Reardon and their family; and several more “special intentions.” And please add Ernie, his sister Joan, his daughter Kerry and son-in-law Michael and their children Evan and Brady.   As you have heard before, sometimes the best words to share are “Thank you” and so, on behalf of those who are named above and their family and friends, “Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers!”

Please join me now in a time of prayer…

Almighty God, we have so much going on in our lives, and it feels like there is so little time to sit in the quiet and calm of Your Presence.  But for now, we are doing just that… sitting in the quiet and calm and sharing with You our joys and our concerns.  We are so thankful for the gift of each and every day, thankful for all the little things that You extend to us and that many times go ignored or taken for granted.  And then there are those moments when the world seems to stop, our routines are interrupted, life is brought to a screeching halt and the first one we call upon is You.  We are all in different places in our journeys of faith and life, but in this moment, here and now, we are Your people, and we are asking once again for Your Grace, Mercy and yes, even some miracle healings.  But we also come to thank You for the many blessings – that new job or promotion; a long awaited pay raise; an acceptance to our chosen college or program; the birth of a child or adoption of a new family member.  Indeed, there is so much we are placing before You, so hear our individual prayers O God….

Let us join together as we pray the Lord’s Prayer…

Our Father, Who Art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name.  Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, forever and ever.  Amen.

Offertory Invitation

Each week we speak of our gratitude for all of you who support the ministry at First Church.  Even the smallest of gifts, when pooled together with the gifts of others, is such a blessing and creates potentials far beyond any one imagination or ability.  So, as we begin this season of Lent, we offer our humble appreciation for those who will receive, as well as those who go beyond themselves and give to help others.  Today, here and now, we just want to say those simple two words – “Thank you!”



Closing Hymn

Benediction – Well, thanks again for taking a seat in our virtual Sanctuary!  There is so much going on in our lives and it is nice to have this time together.  For some it is a time of celebration and for others a most trying time of sadness.  Whatever may be the challenge, we pray you have heard something in our worship service – the Scriptures, spoken words, music or even in the quiet –  that will linger and help you through whatever may come along… and remember, we all go in the Name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.   Have a great week and we’ll see you back here next Sunday at 10am.  God bless….


Scriptures for Sunday, February 21, 2021

Genesis 9:8-17

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”


Mark 1: 9-15  –  “The Baptism and Temptation of Jesus”

The Baptism and Testing of Jesus

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are My Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.”

12 At once the Spirit sent Him out into the wilderness, 13 and He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended Him.

Jesus Announces the Good News

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” He said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the Good News.”

Psalm 25:1-10

In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.   I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.   No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.   Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.   Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways;  according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good.

Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.  10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.


1 Peter 3:18-22

18 Christ suffered[a] for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.[b]

19 So he went and preached to the spirits in prison— 20 those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood.[c] 21 And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from[d] a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

22 Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.

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