Remembering our Future

Remembering our Future

Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22
So much of Israel’s identity is rooted in their shared experiences. A story about Joseph isn’t just something that happened long ago, but is an invitation to read yourself and situation into the story of Joseph. Psalm 105 is such an invitation that would shape our hopes for the future by remembering the past.
Peace, 
Chess
 

As you prepare for this Sunday’s worship 

Included here are the scriptures, reflection questions, and prayers that are thematically matched to our Sunday worship outline. 

Scriptures: Gen 37:1-4, 12-28; Ps 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b; Matt 14:22-33; Rom 10:5-15

Questions for Reflection:

Why did Jesus send the disciples ahead while he stayed to pray alone? How do times of turmoil and anxiety affect your trust in God?

Morning Prayer:

God of my destiny, thank you for a new day in which your purpose will unfold. Send me now as your servant to succor the suffering and as your disciple to declare the good news of your Son. Help me to remember during times of testing that your word goes ahead of me and upholds me. Amen.

Evening Prayer:

Son of God, this day has been crowded with work and service. This evening, bring me alone with you to the mountain to pray. Help me to know your reassuring presence with me through the night hours. May I come to you and rest in you. Amen.


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A Balanced Prayer

A Balanced Prayer

Psalm 17:1-7, 15
The author of psalm 17 finds himself in a situation that resonates with 2020. We don’t know the exact circumstances, but things seem dire. Like us, the psalmists prays for God to fix the world and set things right. But the psalmist also prays for God to stay close enough that he can see God’s face. There’s a balance to be found between these two prayer requests that I think would benefit us all this year.
Peace, 
Chess
 

As you prepare for this Sunday’s worship 

Included here are the scriptures, reflection questions, and prayers that are thematically matched to our Sunday worship outline. 

Scriptures: Gen 32:22-31; Ps 17:1-7, 15; Matt 14:13-21; Rom 9:1-5 

Questions for Reflection: 

“Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak” (Gen. 32:24). Why do you think God allows times of struggle in our lives? How have times of struggle affected your walk with God? How does your relationship with God affect your view of overwhelming problems in the world, such as hunger, poverty, violence, or injustice?  

Morning Prayer:  

God of daybreak, thank you for holding me through the night and awakening me to behold your likeness in this brand-new day. Go with me now as I walk with you.  Show me the world and its people through your eyes of compassion. Bless me, break me, and move through me to heal and feed those who hunger for you. Amen.   

Evening Prayer:  

O God, tonight I lay my failures, anxieties, struggles, and unfinished business at your feet. Hold me, bless me, and change me as I rest in you. Amen. 


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Faithfulness of God

Faithfulness of God

Psalm 105:1-11, 45b
Psalm 105 and 106 are a dynamic duo. One proclaims the faithfulness of God while the other confesses the unfaithfulness of God’s people. It is, perhaps, the summation of the whole of scripture. But what does it mean for God to be faithful to an unfaithful people? How can that relationship work? I think the answers lie in the dynamic of faith and faithfulness.
Peace, 
Chess
 

As you prepare for this Sunday’s worship

Included here are the scriptures, reflection questions, and prayers that are thematically matched to our Sunday worship outline.

         Scriptures: Gen 29:15-28; Ps 105:1-11, 45b; Matt 13:31-33, 44-52; Rom 8:26-39

Questions for Reflection:

Are there dilemmas or relationships in which you feel separated from the love of God? Can you imagine that God might be at work there, bringing life in unexpected ways? What would change if you were to claim the promise that nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord?

Morning Prayer:

God of ferment, God of life, as I recall the night’s unsettled dreams… as I foresee the day’s demands… come to me in the desires of my heart, in the anger of the excluded, in all I might discount— until I find you everywhere, until your holy love leavens every impulse, for I pray in the name of Jesus, whose surprising call continues. Amen.

Evening Prayer:

Joy of my heart, thank you for this day’s unexpected turns: for provision when I was stymied and laughter born of grace. As I rest in your mercy open my heart to your unruly love  and the neighbors you have put in my path. Amen.

 

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The Omnis

The Omnis

Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
For years we have called God omnipresent and omniscient, and for years those terms have been loaded and vague. Is it fair to reduce God’s omniscience and omnipresence to a guilt ridden sign on the side of the road that threatens, “God is watching you!”? Psalm 139 doesn’t think so, and has much more to offer.
 
Peace, Chess

Learn how to join us in a virtual House Church for Worship and Communion around the Lord’s Table

As you prepare for this Sunday’s worship 

Included here are the scriptures, reflection questions, and prayers that are thematically matched to our Sunday worship outline. 

Scriptures: Gen 28:10-19a; Ps 139:1-12, 23-24; Matt 13:24-30; Rom 8:12-25 

Questions for Reflection: 

How has your understanding of the relationship between suffering and faith (or vulnerability and trust) changed over time? What experiences of God’s grace do you need to acknowledge and anoint? 

Morning Prayer: 

In whatever shelter I wake this morningI know this place is holy because you meet me here. As I wash my body and prepare for the day, I remember baptismal waters and the claim upon my life. Wherever darkness looms, Sovereign God, traffic in mercy this day. Traffic in mercy this day. Amen. 

Evening Prayer:  

As darkness spreads over the land, I trust that you move in it. As I yield the night to sleep and dreams, I pray you would remake me into a servant bold, for the sake of Jesus. Amen. 

 


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A Light Burden

Light Burden

Psalm 119:105-112
God’s law is a loaded phrase that often makes us feel incapable, guilty, and burdened. We resonate with Paul in feeling an impossible load when we start to list out the things we should and shouldn’t do. But the psalmist has a very different view of God’s law that you will probably find more appealing – and possible.
Peace, 
Chess

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The Bridegroom

One of the most common biblical metaphors for God is one of the least common metaphors in churches: bridegroom. The Bible is full of references to God as groom and the people of God as bride, and these metaphors are rich in language of intimacy, closeness, and love. Psalm 45 is a royal psalm that offers much about our relationship with God.
 
Peace, 
Chess

Join us in a virtual House Church for Worship and Communion around the Lord’s Table  

Included here are the scriptures, reflection questions, and prayers that are thematically matched to our Sunday worship outline. 

Scriptures: Gen 24:34-67; Ps 45:10-17; Matt 11:16-19, 25-30; Rom 7:15-25a 

Questions for Reflection: 

What misplaced burdens are you carrying? Where might God be offering you a more well-fitted yoke? Where are your expectations of God and the church unmet?  Where do you sense God moving in hidden ways? 

Morning Prayer: 

As the darkness recedes, open my eyes to the gift of this day; help me to trust you with all that it will hold. In the hours to come, as my plans are interrupted, tune my ear to the sound of your voice, my eye to the movement of your Spirit, my heart to the strength of your desire, that I might glimpse your hidden graces and be strengthened in your service, for I would be your instrument. Amen. 

Evening Prayer:  

Merciful God, I come weary, grateful for the chance to meet you in the silence, eager to be washed again in your claim. Lift from me the burdens I do not easily yield. In your gracious provision, fit me with a better yoke that I might rest as a child secure and rise with a teachable spirit. Amen. 


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Remembering the Future

Remembering the Future

Psalm 13
Remembering the future might sound like some line from the Back to the Future movies, but it is also the way the psalmist handles lament in Psalm 13. When we find ourselves stuck in lament in the present, sometimes the best way forward is to remember the past.
 
Peace, 
Chess

Click here to find out how to join us in a virtual House Church for Worship and Communion around the Lord’s Table  

Scriptures: Gen 22:1-14; Ps 13; Matt 10:40-42, Rom 6:12-23

Questions for Reflection

What is God asking me to return? Why? What might be the outcome?

Morning Prayer:

I rise this day in the power of your Holy Spirit, O God. I lift up my hands, my heart, and my songs to praise you, O Christ. Be for me today, my Savior, the guardian in my weakness, a friend on my journey, and my aim for all I seek to do. May all who speak to me say, “Peace”; may all to whom I speak hear, “Love.” Give visions of Christ in pied beauty around tables of meeting, along paths of dappling shadows, and in the faces of loved ones and strangers. Whether the day is bright or gloomy, be my light. Then, when the night begins to fall, bid me home—be my home, that I may find my rest  in you, O Three in One. Amen.

Evening Prayer:

Be my light, O Creator of light, as evening comes to my home and to me. Let me see your name written in sparkling stars, glowing planets, dancing cosmic wind. Let me hear you pass gently in the cool of the night’s breeze, on the wings of the night-flying creatures. And if there are to be storms this night, so that I shall not see the sky, and a gale howls with fearful threats, let me still put my trust in you, rest in you. Or, because there is a need in the world, rise up as you give me strength to bear witness with heart and hands to the world’s true light, in whose name I pray. Amen.


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No One Like God

No One Like God

Psalm 86 paints a beautiful description of God as gracious, loving, forgiving, and attentive, but do we actually believe it? Is this really who we think God is, or does our treatment of God and others say otherwise? Perhaps Psalm 86 is easier said than done.
 
Peace, 
Chess

Scriptures: Gen 21:8-21; Ps 86:1-10, 16-17, Matt 10:24-39, Rom 6:1b-11

Questions for Reflection

What does the story of Sarah and Hagar (Gen. 21:8–21) say about God? What does the story suggest about how we might treat one another more justly?

Morning Prayer

O God, I praise you as I arise this morning. You are the giver of all life and you provide for what you have made. Be with my spirit this day and teach me to be thankful for all that you offer. Move me to be generous with others, sharing not only goods, but also time, patience, and kindness. You know what will happen today. Guide me so that I do what pleases you. Be near to me and help me to trust your love. I pray for all the world today, for what I do has effects far beyond what I can know or understand. By your Holy Spirit, let me speak peace, let me do peace, let me be peace, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Evening Prayer

Creator of heaven and earth, light and darkness, day and night, I thank you for the day just past that you have given me in your mercy. I pray for your forgiveness for those things I did that were displeasing to you and for those missed opportunities to show my love for you. Let me rest tonight, trusting in the grace of your Son, Jesus Christ. Restore my mind and body as I sleep so that when I awake I will have the strength to serve you and your children well. O beloved God, let me rise to a new day giving you thanks and praise, in the name of Jesus Christ the Savior. Amen.


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Thanksgiving even now

Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19

Thanksgiving is more than a holiday in November, and it is more than something we express when we get what we want, when things are going well, or while we count our blessings. There is still much to be thankful for, even now, especially now, and not in spite of our pain, suffering, and anxiety. There is room in our relationship with God for us to express both lament and thankfulness simultaneously, just as Psalm 116 demonstrates.
 
Peace, 
Chess

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Worship & Doubt

Worship and Doubt

Matthew 28:16-20

Doubt is so much bigger than unbelief. We cram a lot of emotions into the word doubt as well, such as hesitancy, indecision, and uncertainty, all of which the apostles brought with them as they met Jesus on the mountain in Matthew 28. And rather than dismissing and denying these doubts, Jesus addressed them and the apostles worshiped.

June 7, 2020 Order of Worship (includes links to songs)

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