Our ToGather.church family comes together to join our hearts in worship and be filled by the Holy Spirit as we begin this New Year. We will sing, open the Scriptures, pray, and share the Lord's Supper. If you would like to connect to a larger community to share prayer, fellowship, and discussion, please check out our comments section at the bottom of the Verse of the Day web page!
We begin today's ToGather with a song that invites God to send a new anointing on each of us and on the world as we sing "A New Anointing," led by the Zoe Group:
Let's prayerfully confess our dependence on God and request his blessings on us as Jesus' disciples.
for your compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness to us, O God!
We confess that you, O LORD, are our portion;
therefore, we will wait in expectation for you to act with grace and power.
O LORD, you are good to those whose hope is in you,
good to all who seek you;
it is good for us to wait quietly in prayer,
trusting in your saving power, O LORD.
We ask for your blessings on us as we begin this New Year. We pray that you will use us, the disciples of Jesus, to bring your grace to our broken world. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
(Adapted from Lamentations 3:22-26)
Opening the Scriptures:
The New Year usually brings with it fresh hope. Hope can be hard to find after the hard year we have had in a world with racial and ethnic division, a rampaging pandemic, mounting unemployment, growing hunger, and divisive differences in political and national interests. Unfortunately, a new year doesn't mean an end to these problems, so we choose to place our greatest hope for the future in the LORD.
We pray for the Holy Spirit to come on the Lord's people with a fresh anointing. We want Jesus' name to be exalted as Savior and Lord. We long for our world to find healing and health in God's grace. We yearn to be united in love and prayer as Jesus' followers so the world can know Jesus. We join together in Hillsong Worship's song, "New Wine," as we pray for the Lord to bring something sweet and precious out of the mess, pain, and hardship of this past year:
Our Verse of the Day calls us to be made new from the inside out:
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24).
Phil challenges us to live into the principles of the song we have just sung and the verses we have just read. For true, spiritual, inside-out transformation to occur in us, we must offer ourselves to Jesus. As we do, we invite the Holy Spirit to do his work of transformation. We trust God's promise that as we pursue Jesus, we will be transformed, made new, and empowered to become more and more like Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18):
Sharing the Supper:
The song we are about to sing, "Restore My Soul" by Vertical Church Band, is a powerful plea for God to restore our hearts as the Father leads us to the cross of Christ. Only at the cross will find God's way to live life to its fullest. This song powerfully reminds us that we can be made new from the inside out:
Byron Ware shares a beautiful insight into the gift we have received from Jesus in his death, burial, and resurrection. This gift is more than our initial salvation and our future home with him in glory; it is also the power to be renewed and restored as we share in the Lord's Supper each week. As we prepare for the Supper, Byron will read the following verses from Romans 5:
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person, someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! (Romans 5:6-8, 15)
This biblical promise and our praise blessing to God come from 1 Peter 5:10-11:
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Our final song for ToGather.church is a rousing prayer-song, "Restore My Soul":
May God continue to bless us as we seek to live for Jesus! We also want to send out a special "Thank you!" to all of you who joined us in our shared hour of prayer, New Year with New Hope. Let's keep the following three areas of emphasis in our prayers:
- Exalting Jesus as Savior and Lord.
- Healing and health for our broken world.
- United in love and prayer as followers of Jesus.
May God bless us all as we live for Jesus in 2021!
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