Drawing Near to God:
We are delighted that you joined us for ToGather.church. (Find out more.) What follows is our home worship guide for you to use on your own or to share with your friends, family, home group, or house church.
We have assembled online from all over the world to proclaim that our God is worthy! He is worthy of every praise we could offer to him. Let's sing from hearts filled with love, admiration, and appreciation for who Jesus is and for what he has done for us. Let's proclaim that we are building our lives on Jesus and his words as our firm foundation as we sing with Pat Barrett the powerful song, "Build My Life":
Our theme today comes from John 8:30-32. You are encouraged to read these words out loud, whether you are alone or with others. Let them sink into your heart without resistance and ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to what Jesus is saying to you:
Even as [Jesus] spoke, many put their faith in him (John 8:30 NIV 84).
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32 ESV).
Let's use this time to put our "faith in him." Let's commit to "abide in [his] words," immersing our lives in obediently living Jesus' teaching and following Jesus' example. Let's commit to lift Jesus' high in our lives as we sing with the Zoe Group, "Be Lifted High":
Will I Offer Myself as Canvas and Clay?
Let's have our Bibles open to John 8:30-32 as Phil leads us into a deeper understanding of our Verse of the Day. As we open these words of Jesus together, let's each ask: What would it look like if I were to put my faith fully in Jesus and his words?
God is so good to us. He sent Jesus to us, and for us, when we could not save ourselves and were undeserving of his grace (Romans 5:6-11). When we respond to that grace by putting our faith in Jesus and his saving death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-14), God promised that he would always be at work in our lives and never forsake us (Romans 8:28-31). Let's willingly offer ourselves to God to be his canvas and clay so that he can make each of us into his masterpiece of heavenly artistry (Ephesians 2:10), and let's sing of that commitment with Pat Barrett:.
Welcome to the Table of the Lord:
In a world so wounded and marred by the pain of racial injustice and ethnic hatred, let's come together as one family, a family of more than 170 nations where people read Verse of the Day. We celebrate our different shades of skin color, variety of languages, and diversity of cultures. We recognize that we are part of God's variegated palette of grace. We are the canvas to which he adds color. We are the clay to which he adds beauty and shape. We are the tapestry he weaves together into something beautiful.
As we seek to live out God's life for us in our broken world, we ask the LORD to surround us with his love and awaken us with his grace so that we can be light to this world so captured by darkness. Let's sing "When the Night Is Falling" with the Hallal Singers:
At the Lord's Last Supper with his disciples, there was more drama in the air than most of us can imagine. Jesus cut through all the drama to remind us that his table, the Lord's Table, is more than just remembering his sacrifice. It is also a time to commit to living by the same values as our Savior: to love each other sacrificially with redemptive grace and tenderness. Open your heart to Fred Spain's Communion reflection about the bread and wine we share:
[Jesus said to his closest disciples,] "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:34-35).
Our closing blessing is from Ephesians 1:16-19 NRSV. Fitia, one of our French VerseoftheDay.com translators from Madagascar, shares this important blessing with us:
I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power (Ephesians 1:16—19 NRSV).
As we finish our time together, we realize that more than a few in our world-wide spiritual family face challenging times. Whether it is prejudice or injustice or persecution because of faith in the Lord Jesus, let's remember our greatest weapon is not hate or might: Our greatest weapon is to graciously show Jesus' love to all people and in all that we do, and then we can "Raise A Hallelujah," as in this song. Let's sing it together with Bethel Music:
Let's leave our time of worship with the grace of restlessness that should call us to love all people in the name of Jesus. It should challenge us to make our fellowship of believers a reflection of God's desire for all humankind to become part of "a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language" (Revelation 7:9-12), people who have placed their faith in Jesus and are being formed into a family shaped by the love of God.
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