Nearly every adult person on the planet is tired of the negative impacts of COVID-19. Some are tired of social distancing. Some are tired and fearful because of the loss of their income and their ability to get food to feed their families. Others are SICK and tired of the health impacts of our current pandemic. Some are tired and GRIEVING as they mourn the deaths of those close to them. Many in the transition times of their lives — like graduation from high school, college, or graduate school — are tired and disappointed because our current situation has stolen the celebration from their once-in-a-lifetime moment.
We invite you to join us in worship to move past our current weariness, grief, anger, frustration, disappointment, and fear. Let's awaken our hearts to the greatness of God, the assured hope we have in our future with Jesus, and our mission to take Jesus' grace to the world.
Welcome to ToGather.church! (What is ToGather?) Below, you will find a guide for a time of worship for you, for your friends and family, and for your home group or house church. We invite you to open your hearts to God. As we do, the Spirit will fill us as we speak to and with each other in worship!
Let's begin with a reminder: We need to be in the presence of God, surrounded by his presence, as we live in our broken and fallen world. Let's sing "Surround Us, O Lord" with the Westover Singers:
In Times of Trouble We Choose to Trust in God:
As Habakkuk's beloved land lay devastated, he shared his commitment of faith to rejoice in God and in his salvation regardless of his circumstances. We encourage you to share these words out loud and call your heart to rejoice despite our circumstances!
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign LORD is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights (Habakkuk 3:17-19 NLT).
Some of those most disappointed with the impact of social distancing on their lives are our graduating university and high school students. We appreciate the students who are part of the Westover Hills Church in Austin, Texas — where Demetrius serves on mission and Phil once preached — turning their disappointment into a statement of faith. Join them as they lead us in the song "Trust in You" made famous by Lauren Daigle. The words to this song echo the sentiments of Hababbuk's words we have just read!
Overwhelmed at God's Beauty, Majesty, Love, and Grace:
We can trust in God because he has proven himself faithful over the centuries. When we pause and remind ourselves of his power, majesty, and beauty, we can be overwhelmed at his greatness and our smallness. Nevertheless, God also has overwhelmed us with his grace, love, and mercy, assuring us that we can draw near to him and find a warm welcome with our Father.
Let's have Psalm 145 remind us of our God, who is our Father, and then sing how his majesty, power, and might, along with his grace, love, and mercy, overwhelm us.
I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty —
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of your awesome works —
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
The Lord is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
All your works praise you, Lord;
your faithful people extol you.
They tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,
so that all people may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
and faithful in all he does.
The Lord upholds all who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down (Psalm 145:1-14).
Big Daddy Weave's song, "Overwhelmed," is based on Psalm 145. Let's prepare for the Lord's Supper by singing this song about our great and loving God!
Today, Phil, along with his wife, Donna, share some events from Jesus' ministry that touch their hearts and reveal God's overwhelming grace, love, and mercy for us. We invite you to the table of our Lord:
Sharing the Grace We Have Received:
Our response to what God did for us in Jesus calls us to a joyous response of praise — "God of glory. Majesty. Praise forever to the King of Kings" — from the song, "King of Kings" by Hillsong worship:
Commitment to Be Used by God:
Shortly after Jesus' party with sinners at Levi's house, the Lord used the image of new wineskins being needed for the new wine that he brings (Luke 5:27-39). However, there is no wine without grapes surrendering to the process of crushing to extract the juice and then there is fermenting their precious liquid. The following song, "New Wine" by Hillsong Worship, picks up that imagery and challenges us, as we sing it, to offer ourselves up to God as the grapes of Jesus' harvest to be made into his new wine.
As we close, our prayer is that you go with God:
May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace (Titus 1:4 NLT).
Until next week, God bless you as you seek to extend the ministry of Jesus into our world!