Welcome! We're glad you joined us for ToGather! We pray that today's time of worship in song, prayer, Communion, and Scripture blesses you. Whether you are alone or with friends, family, home group, or house church, please know that God's people from all around the world are joining you.
Find out more about ToGather. The Scripture references are links. A few lines of the Scriptures are displayed by hovering over or lightly tapping the links. A click or firm tap brings up all of the verses.
This week, our focus for ToGather is on the power of sharing note-prayers of thanksgiving with those we love. A note-prayer is a simple prayer of thanksgiving for a person or a group. This prayer is shared with the people for whom we have prayed, preferably in a hand-written note. In addition to praying a prayer of thanksgiving for someone, we also share with that person what we prayed and why we prayed it. As we honor God and intercede for others, we also affirm and bless the person for whom we prayed and add a special personal touch through the hand-written note-prayer. The apostle Paul was especially good at modeling this use of note-prayers of thanksgiving in most of his letters to churches and individuals.[NOTE]
God has richly blessed us and calls us to be his conduits of blessing. As we begin our special time of worship, let's use the song, "Instruments of Your Peace" (led by the Zoe Group), to ask the Lord to empower us to be people who bring his blessing and love to others:
As we serve others and bring glory to God, we can also empower each other to be blessings. Let's pray using the words of Paul's prayer for the Thessalonians — the personal pronoun, "we," has been changed to "I" to make the prayer our own:
With this in mind, [I] constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. [I] pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. [Amen.] (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)
Opening the Scriptures:
God is faithful. He will not leave us or abandon us (Hebrews 13:5-6; Romans 8:32-39). Let's remind each other of God's faithfulness and loving care for us by singing the song, "Faithful to the End," led by Paul and Hannah McClure of Bethel Music:
God is full of goodness and mercy. He has faithfully poured his love upon us and now asks us to share this blessing with others. We bless others in many ways. Phil's message focuses on a simple but powerful way to be a blessing: sharing note-prayers of thanks.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy...
God is glorious and has done great things. He is worthy of every song of praise we could sing and every prayer of praise we could ever pray. Let's join Pat Barrett and Cory Asbury and sing, "Build My Life," as we commit to living for Jesus and being a blessing to others:
Sharing the Supper:
To prepare our hearts for our Communion reflection and our sharing in the Lord's Supper, let's sing "The Bread Has Been Broken" led by the Zoe Group:
Fred Spain reminds us of the drama and emotion in the upper room when Jesus shared the Last Supper with his disciples. The Lord's actions revealed that he knew what was about to happen, yet he chose to demonstrate his love for them by serving them. He then called them to love each other as he had loved them:
Concluding with Joy and Blessing:
Today, we conclude with a Scripture of blessing as well as a song of blessing. Let's first read our Scripture of blessing out loud as we place the LORD's blessing on each other:
The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.
We finish our special time of worship with the song, "The Blessing," led by Bethel Music featuring Kari Jobe:
Here are references for some of Paul's note-prayers of thanksgiving, along with some of his associated comments, if you want to look at more of them than Philippians 1:3-4 that Phil covered today:
- Romans 1:8-12
- 1 Corinthians 1:4-9
- Ephesians 1:15-19
- Colossians 1:3-14
- 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
- 2 Thessalonians 1:3-5
- Philemon 1:4
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