Welcome & Opening Prayer
Welcome to First Church. Today is the 5th Sunday in the journey of Lent and next Sunday (Palm/Passion Sunday) we will begin Holy Week, during which we will offer virtual services on Maundy Thursday and then on Easter Sunday.
But, it’s Sunday morning and we are grateful to be together…so, let us pray:
Heavenly Father, Your Scriptures tell us of Your Covenant and how much we mean to You. Your Scriptures tell us of a new covenant, and that Your instructions will be placed deep within our hearts; that You will be our God and we will be Your people. Your Holy Word tells us that we will not need to teach our relatives, neighbors, or others about You, as they will know You already. And in all Your Holiness and Wonder, You will forgive our wickedness and never again remember our sins. O Gracious God, bless the ministry of First Church, and all faith communities, who confess Your infinite Grace, Mercy and Holy Spirit and revere Your might and majesty. Sit with us, O God, and hear us as we worship You and give thanks for Your many blessings. In Your Precious and Holy Name we will pray and live. Amen.
Call to Contemplation
Call to Worship (abbreviated Scriptures)
P: God says, “The day has come to affirm a new covenant.”
C: It is Lent and we are seeking a stronger relationship with our God.
P: God’s Word will be written on our hearts, and all will know Him!
C: It is Lent. We are seeking a deeper understanding of His Grace and Mercy.
P: Indeed, it is Lent… so sit with us, O God, and hear us celebrate You!
C: Lord, make me more holy, more faithful, more humble and righteous.
Amen and Amen.
Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 31: 31-34 & Psalm 119: 9-16 (Lector: JoEllen Graham)
A Musical Moment for Meditation
The Message – John 12: 20-33
“…I WILL STUDY, REFLECT, DELIGHT IN, AND NOT FORGET…” (Pastor Matt)
Prayers of the People
In this segment of our worship, we have been introducing the book 31 Days of Prayer by Ruth and Warren Myers. This is the 5th week of Lent and, as such, we have come to the “4th of 8” areas of our spiritual life that significantly impact our prayer life… the first area is “Cultivate our faith through pursuing God;” the second area is that of “Forgiveness;” the third is “Abide in Christ;” and the 4th area is “Walking humbly with our God.” The Myers propose that for God to work in and through us, humility is indispensable…we cannot pray effectively if we are insensitive or unaware of our own neediness… being more than aware of the relationship between us and God is imperative…” I would add the sidebar that walking humbly with God, and anyone else, would be likened to the old adage of “knowing Who is in charge!”
As such, we continue to hold in prayer: The Roberts family; Elaine; Rick and Jacqui; the Reardon family; The Evans and Trapp family, the Pulselli family, and several additional “special intentions” (we are up to 12!). On behalf of those who are named above, their family and friends, we again say, “Thank you for your thoughts & prayers!”
Please join me now in a time of prayer…
Holy Father, we are Your people and You are our God. We have heard Your Holy Words from Scripture; listened to magnificent music and sang lyrics to hymns written and composed by those of generations past; and now come to ask Your touch upon not only those we will name in our silent prayers, but upon each of us – as individuals and as a faith community as well. There are so many needs, but also gratitude among us, and You know every detail, our hearts and our intentions. So, as we sit with You, humbly and in the silence of this moment, hear our prayers…
Indeed, O God, thank You… and now let us pray together 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.
It has been said, “People act from the heart, not the head. Yes, nonprofits have to show that it is a good steward of donors money, and it needs to show where all that generosity is going, but any appeal must contain more than numbers and pie charts.”
The internet reports there are over 1.4 million charities in the USA which equals to there are 1 for every 300 people! Whew…
Indeed, it has been said that people give to an organization or entity which is making a difference in people’s lives. Here at First Church, we have a strong and very active Mission Team which is meticulous in their efforts to reach as many people as your donations and gifts accord. We also have a Thrift Shop located directly across from the church – where you can enjoy purchasing quality items and housewares at bargain prices. It is open every Thursday to receive your donations AND open to the public every Friday & Saturday for your patronage. We support the local food pantries, the Council on Aging, AA, outreach to local schools, military families, and children’s programs like scouting. We are also home of CNK Preschool which has been in operation for 60 years right here at First Church. These are just some of First Church’s efforts to serve a broader community.
So, thanks for supporting the ministry and outreach here at First Church!
Benediction – As we all head out on our separate ways, don’t forget to step outside, look up to the heavens, and give God thanks for the many blessings in which we all are surrounded…. And remember, we all go in the Name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Have a great week, be a blessing, and hopefully we’ll see you back here next Sunday at 10am. God bless….
Scriptures for Sunday, March 14, 2021
31 “The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord.
33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”
Psalm 119: 9-16
9 How can a young person stay pure? By obeying Your Word.
10 I have tried hard to find You— don’t let me wander from Your Commands.
11 I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
12 I praise You, O Lord; teach me Your decrees.
13 I have recited aloud all the regulations You have given us.
14 I have rejoiced in Your laws as much as in riches.
15 I will study Your Commandments and reflect on Your Ways.
16 I will delight in Your Decrees and not forget Your Word.
Jesus Predicts His Death
20 Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration 21 paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” 22 Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into His Glory. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. 26 Anyone who wants to serve Me must follow Me, because My servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves Me.
27 “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! 28 Father, bring glory to Your Name.”
Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to My Name, and I will do so again.” 29 When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to Him.
30 Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not Mine. 31 The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. 32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to Myself.” 33 He said this to indicate how He was going to die.
End of Scriptures for this Sunday….