Welcome! We're glad you joined us for ToGather. We trust that today's time of worship in song, prayer, Communion, and Scripture will bless 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 virtually in worship. (Find out more.)
Our focus today for ToGather is the solid foundation on which our faith rests: the resurrection of Jesus. Eyewitnesses, who knew Jesus well, attested to his resurrection. The Holy Spirit whom Jesus poured out upon them also empowered their testimony (Acts 2:32-36). Their change from fearful followers who were hiding behind locked doors and broken by despair and grief (John 20:19) into bold proclaimers of Jesus' resurrection is further testimony to what they had seen and heard (Acts 4:20, 31, 22:15).
Let's begin our special time of worship with "All Your People Sing," a rousing song of faith by Tim Neufeld:
Our opening prayer of praise is an adaption of part of Psalm 46 into the form of a declaration of trust in God:
We thank you, dear Father, for being our God who is our refuge and strength,
our ever-present help in times of trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
For you, the LORD Almighty, is with us;
for you, the God of Jacob is our fortress.
We thank you and worship you this day, in Jesus' name. Amen.
(Adapted from Psalm 46:1-3, 7.)
Searching the Scriptures:
To prepare to hear Phil's message this week, let's join Crossroads Music in singing "Oh, The Power":
Today's message is rooted in our Verse of the Day:
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead — [the Messiah] whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him" (Acts 5:30-32).
Faith during any time can be hard. A passionate faith during difficult times is even more challenging. Satan wants to do anything and everything he can to destroy our trust in the Scriptures and in Jesus. Many of us live in cultures that mock faith in Jesus, and some of our ToGather family live in places facing persecution for their faith. Today, the Holy Spirit wants to speak to our hearts and fortify our faith. Phil will focus today on two rock-solid truths on which our faith rests:
- The eyewitnesses to the resurrected Jesus, disciples who knew Jesus well, had been devastated when he was crucified but were boldly passionate about declaring their faith after seeing him raised from the dead!
- Jesus poured the Holy Spirit into our hearts when we became followers of Jesus and were born of God.
Sharing the Supper:
One of the most poignant events in Jesus' resurrection appearances was Thomas's reluctance to believe. He was emphatic: He would not believe until he could see and touch the scars in his Lord's body. His doubt is reassuring for us because it reminds us that believing in the seemingly impossible is sometimes hard, even when we know anything is possible with God! "Thomas' Song," led by Hallal Music, is about Thomas' encounter with the resurrected Jesus. At the conclusion of this song, we get to confess, along with Thomas, that Jesus is our Lord and God:
Concluding with Joy and a Blessing:
Because we believe in God the Father, in the resurrection of Jesus the Son, and in the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we commit to letting nothing move us from our faith in Jesus as Christ and Lord. As we declared at the beginning of our time together, we will not fear even if the mountains quake and fall into the heart of the sea, for the LORD, YHWH, is with us. Let's proclaim in a song that our faith rests on solid testimony as we join Nashville Life in singing "Firm Foundation":
Until Jesus returns, let's walk in the confidence that Jesus defeated death and now lives to bring us life! We conclude by declaring our faith and future:
Though we have not seen [Jesus Christ], we love him; and even though we do not see him now, we believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for we are receiving the end result of our faith, the salvation of our souls. Amen.
(Adaptation for praise from 1 Peter 1:8-9.)