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Invitation to Worship
Today’s worship was put together by David Fulford
So, we remind ourselves of what we know about God, using the words of verses from Psalm 33. Please join in with the words in bold:
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him.
For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.
The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart
through all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. (Psalm 33:6-12)
Song of Worship
The heavens are singing about how great God is; and the skies are shouting it out, ‘See what God has made!’ Day after day….. Night after night… they are speaking to us. (Ps 19:1-2 paraphase TheJesusStorybookBible)
All creation sings God’s praise, lets join together to fill the earth with songs of worship to tell the wonders of creation’s king.
Bible Reading – Acts 17: 16-34
Paul Preaches in Athens
16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city. 17 He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there.
18 He also had a debate with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. When he told them about Jesus and his resurrection, they said, “What’s this babbler trying to say with these strange ideas he’s picked up?” Others said, “He seems to be preaching about some foreign gods.”
19 Then they took him to the high council of the city. “Come and tell us about this new teaching,” they said. 20 “You are saying some rather strange things, and we want to know what it’s all about.” 21 (It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.)
22 So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, 23 for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.
24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. 26 From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.
30 “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. 31 For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”
32 When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” 33 That ended Paul’s discussion with them, 34 but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the council, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
Song of Worship
Paul took the opportunity to share what he believed… ‘This God whom you worship without knowing is the one I’m telling you about’ . (Acts 17:23) We have an amazing story to share of God’s wonderful, never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.
In Athens, Paul was able to explain the Gospel to the Athenian Council, as he knew what he believed very clearly. We will remind ourselves of what we believe in a simple creed. Please join in with the words in bold:
We say together in faith
Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.
We believe in God the Father,
who created all things:
for by his will they were created
and have their being.
We believe in God the Son,
who was slain:
for with his blood,
he purchased us for God,
from every tribe and language,
from every people and nation.
We believe in God the Holy Spirit:
the Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!’
Even so come, Lord Jesus!
Prepared by Bob Hansford
We come now to our time of prayer, for the Church, the world, ourselves and the community we live in:
Thanksgiving, Forgiveness, Courage. Father God, thank-you for the life and work of your servant Paul, in a world so different to ours, but with a message just as relevant today. Forgive us as a nation for chasing after other gods and losing our focus on you. Give us, your people, the boldness of your apostle and the ability to relate the Gospel to the beliefs & needs of those around us. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
World Environment Day was celebrated last week. This prayer comes from the Bishop of Manchester:
Heavenly Father, You have taught us, through your precious Word, that all creation is your handiwork. Grant us your grace that we may exercise wise stewardship of this Earth, tread lightly upon it, and cherish its resources; That our children may enjoy its riches, throughout all generations, and your name be glorified through all that you have made. Amen.
Coronavirus. As we travel through a 4th month of the Coronavirus, we pray for all who are affected by the virus, through illness or isolation or anxiety; through bereavement or loss of work; that they may find relief and recovery, and hope for the days ahead. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
For those who are guiding our nation at this time,
and shaping national policies,
that they may make wise decisions – for families, for schools, for businesses.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
For doctors, nurses and medical researchers, that through their skill and insights, many will be restored to health; And that cures or vaccines against the disease will soon be found. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
The Church, local and worldwide. Father God, we ask your blessing upon the worship and witness of our church and look forward to when we can meet together again. We thank-you for encouraging signs of new life and emergence from lock-down. We pray for Pre-School, re-started last week, and other local schools as they plan to re-open. Please help staff, children and parents as they adapt to new ways of doing things.
We pray for churches around the world, that they will be the hands and feet of Jesus during this pandemic, in both prayer and practical service for those in need. Please help Christian agencies – especially Tearfund and Christian Aid – as they adapt their projects and respond to the vast new needs around them. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Ourselves and Local Community. Finally, Lord we bring to you our own needs and those of family and friends in Woodley and further afield. We pray for the sick, the lonely, those who are grieving or struggling financially – and in a moment of silence, for those particularly known to us.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Merciful Father, accept these and all our prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Song of Worship
Every giant will fall, the mountains will move Every chain of the past, You’ve broken in two
Over fear, over lies, we’re singing the truth
That nothing is impossible with You
Jesus comes to break down barriers between cultures and people groups. He comes to shake things up and he invites us to join in with Him….
We say a blessing together to finish:
May the love of the Father enfold us,
the wisdom of the Son enlighten us,
the fire of the Spirit inflame us;
and may the blessing of the triune God rest on us,
and abide with us,
now and evermore.