We hope you are blessed worshiping with believers from all over the world.
This week's ToGather emphasizes the power and importance of loving affirmation.
To prepare to worship with us, you will want to have some wine (or grape juice) and bread to share in Communion.
In addition, you may want to download the lyrics of two songs to help you sing along to two of our songs, today.
Welcome to this week's ToGather!
Our current time of "social distancing" is turning into something more akin to social isolation for some people, leaving them incredibly lonely.
Many of us can't visit our parents because of rules now in place designed to protect the aged.
Some are staying away from crowds to honor the restrictions, but are needing the presence and touch of others.
Let's begin our time of worship with a blessing that we can share with others in the room with us or say out loud to ourselves to remind us of our hope!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).
May our loving Father give each of us an overflowing hope.
And, as we focus on today's message from Verse of the Day, let's find a way to pass on the powerful gift of loving affirmation!
Message from VerseoftheDay.com:
Luke's account of Jesus' baptism and the Father's response provides our focus for today (Luke 3:21-22).
Many of us are familiar with the words.
However, not all of us realize their power and importance.
Fewer still recognize that what the Father said to Jesus is what those we love desperately need to hear from us.
Verse of the Day devotional with Phil Ware
Beyond Bread and Wine:
We know that in the earliest days of the church, followers of Jesus gathered in their homes and
"broke bread" and also ate their common meal together (Acts 2:46-47).
Decades later, the followers of Jesus in other places were gathering on Sunday,
"the first day of the week," to share the Communion meal (Acts 20:7).
Paul told the Corinthian brothers and sisters, that as often as they shared in this meal — known by believers today as the Lord's Supper, Holy Communion, and the Eucharist — they were remembering the Lord's death in anticipation of his return (1 Corinthians 11:26).
We thank Doug Peters, a beloved brother and minister from Houston, for inviting us to share Communion with our Lord:
Communion devotional by Doug Peters
Songs for Us to Share:
This week, we have four very different types of songs.
Two are acapella and two instrumental.
Two focus on our theme of being God's children and two are reminders of the power of our faith in difficult times.
Lyrics are embedded in the videos.
(One or two of the videos may have an internal pop-up ad you can close to prevent distraction.)
Our first song a long-form version of "Breathe" and "What a Friend I've Found" by Hillsong Music.
You can download the lyrics to both songs to sing along.
This combo song is reminder of how close and precious God's presence — as Father, Son, and Spirit — actually is to us:
Our third song is an acapella multi-song mashup that includes old and new song pieces from and "Nothing but the Blood of Jesus" from Robert Lowry, "Oceans" from Hillsong Music, "Our God"from Chris Tomlin, and "Praise you in the storm" from Casting Crowns:
Our closing song, "Raise a Hallelujah," is an anthem of faith in the face of great challenge.
So in the face of our current world challenge, let's use a melody of faith to push back the fear and frustration and find a way to serve and bless!
Our closing blessing comes from two young women from China.
One has made a home with her precious family in Texas.
They have a second child "on the way" and are devoted followers of Jesus.
The other young woman is her sister, who is caught in the middle of the coronavirus travel mess.
May their smiles and love for Jesus encourage you and remind all of us that our spiritual family is bigger than any disease, country, language, or race (Galatians 3:26-29):
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).
If you would like to pray with someone in our VerseoftheDay.com family or discuss these verses with other believers, we point you to our Verse of the Day discussion of our verses for today.
If you would like to leave a message for the Heartlight or Verse of the Day team, feel free to post those below.
Also, you will find a couple of graphic images for you to download and share as well as a related online article in the links listed below.
Before you go, you might want to look at our Monday page of practical ways to minister and live on mission.
It is called "Living My MUSD" (pronounced "living my must") which stands for "living my mission under social distancing."