Sunday Worship 3-19-17

If on a quiet sea,

Toward heaven we calmly sail,

With grateful hearts, O God, to Thee,

We’ll own the favoring gale,

With grateful hearts, O God, to Thee,

We’ll own the the favoring gale.

 

But should the surges rise,

And rest delay to come,

Blest be the tempest, kind the storm,

Which drives us nearer home,

Blest be the tempest, kind the storm,

Which leads us nearer home.

 

Soon shall our fears and doubts

All yield to Thy control;

Thy tender mercies shall illume

The midnight of the soul,

Thy tender mercies shall illume

The midnight of the soul.

 

Teach us, in every state,

To make Thy will our own;

And when the joys of sense depart,

To live by faith alone,

To live by faith alone.

 

Augustus M. Toplady

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christmas: Meeting the Accessible God

by Cindy Bleuler Tucker

Accessible is a word that meant little to me until I began living life in a wheelchair.  Suddenly my life revolved around accessibility.  The ability to use, approach or enter a facility determines what I do or where I can go.

Before I go anywhere, I need to know if there is a ramp and how steep it is.  Even one step is an obstacle.  I need to know if a doorway is wide enough to get my wheelchair through.  I need to know if I can get in a bathroom stall.  If I am alone, I need a handicap parking place with room to get my wheelchair in and out of the car.  If I am not able to have accessibility that accommodates my wheelchair, I need to know if it is possible with the help of others and then find someone to help.

Sometimes I feel as though I am on the outside looking in on a world in which I can’t fully take part.  I watch others walk hand-in-hand on the beach and jump in the waves.  I go to a park and roll on the accessible trail but I can’t actually hike to the waterfall and stick my feet in the stream.  I watch others enjoy physical activities that are impossible for me.  Reaching for objects on high shelves and moving easily in a cramped space is not doable for me.  There is a world that I am so near to but I can’t reach it.  It is inaccessible.

So it was with God.  He was there.  He sometimes spoke to chosen men and women, but He was not readily available to everyone.  Sin had caused a wall of separation.

God called Moses to free his chosen people and form the Jewish nation, a people who would be a light to all the nations.  God met with Moses on Mt. Sinai to receive God’s law for the nation Israel.  This law would begin to reveal God’s heart to His people.  However, even the man chosen by God could not see God’s face.

When Moses asked God if He could look upon His glory, God replied, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim My name, the Lord in your presence.  I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” But He said, “There is a place near Me where you may stand on a rock.  When My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in a rock and cover you, with My hand until I have passed by.  Then I will remove My hand until I have passed by.  Then I will remove My hand and you will see my back, but My face must not be seen.” Exodus 33: 19-23

God led His people to the promised land.  His chosen people could only see a manifestation of His glory from afar.  “The Lord went ahead of them.  He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and He provided light at night with a pillar of fire.  This allowed them to travel by day or night.” Exodus 13:21

It was a physical sign of the living God, but they could only see Him from a distance.  They could not approach Him.

Hundreds of years later, Israel became a mighty nation.  King David longed to build a temple in which God Almighty could dwell and meet with His people.  The honor of building the temple fell to David’s Son, King Solomon.  At last, God had a permanent location in Jerusalem in which His people could worship Him.  The people of God had a specific place to come and be within God’s presence.  It was here that God’s people could praise God and have access to Him.

However, their access was limited.  God dwelt in the Holy of Holies, a special sacred room in the very center of the temple.  Only the high priest could enter once a year to offer a sacrifice to God for all the nation of Israel.  If the priest did not purify himself and confess His sin properly, he would be struck dead.  There was a rope tied to his waist in order to pull his body out in case this happened.

And then everything changed.

Then came Christmas.

“But when the fullness of time was come, God sent His Son, made of a woman…”

God had a plan to get even closer to His people.  No longer would He be unapproachable.  No longer would men and women have to look for a glimpse of the shadow of God.  They would be able to see God face-to-face.  They would be able to touch Him and hear His audible voice.  They could have fellowship with Him, share a meal with Him, and listen to His sermons.  They could look right into His compassionate eyes.  For God became man, became flesh in Jesus Christ.  At last, God was accessible.

However, Jesus, though fully God, was fully man.  He could only be in one place in space and time.  For those who lived within that 33-year time span and that limited geographical area there was the opportunity to see him in person, but what about those who didn’t live close enough or weren’t alive at that time?

As Jesus approached the time of His sacrificial death, His disciples lamented that there master would be leaving them.  But Jesus promised that He would rise after 3 days, and after He ascended to the Father, He would send a Helper, a Comforter- the Holy Spirit.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth…You will know Him, for he dwells in you and will be in you.” John 14:16a, 17

I may not have accessibility to many places, but I can have full accessibility at any time, any place, to Almighty God!  His Spirit dwells within me all the time.  All I have to do to take advantage to this great access is to call upon His name in belief and listen.

So this is what we celebrate at Christmas.  The inaccessible God became God in the flesh through the man Jesus Christ.  The inaccessible God became God in the flesh through the man Jesus Christ.  God the baby in the manger grew up to be the sacrificial God who granted us access to Him and the great gift of forever accessibility through the Holy Spirit who lives within us.

If God is still inaccessible and far off to you, please listen to the Holy Spirit and in faith call upon the name of Jesus.  “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

Merry Christmas!

 

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Advent Praise 12-11-16

 It Will Soon be Dark

It will soon be dark, it will soon be night,
That’s why I come to You, my Saviour keeping watch.
I’d like to sing a little song to the darling child, the little one.
You don’t feel like sleeping, I hear You only cry.
Hey, hey, hey, hey!
Sleep sweetly, dearest child.

Forget now, oh child, Your troubles, Your sorrow,
That You must suffer there in the stable in the strange land.
The angels adorn Your bed,
A king in his house could not look better,
Hey, hey, hey, hey!
Sleep sweetly, dearest child.

Oh little child, You’re just so beautiful in the little crib;
It seems to me, I might never go away from You there.
I wish You from the heart the sweetest rest,
The angels of heaven, they tuck You in.
Hey, hey, hey, hey!
Sleep sweetly, dearest child.

⎡Close Your eyes in rest and peace
And just give me Your blessing as I depart.
Then also my sleep will be without worry,
Then I can look forward to lying down.
Hey, hey, hey, hey!
Sleep sweetly, dearest child.⎦

 

 

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Sunday Worship 10-23-16

A thousand times I’ve failed
Still Your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
I’m caught in Your grace

Everlasting
Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame

Your will above all else
My purpose remains
The art of losing myself
In bringing You praise

Everlasting
Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame

In my heart and my soul
Lord I give You control
Consume me from the inside out,
Lord, let justice and praise
Become my embrace
To love you from the inside out

Your will above all else
My purpose remains
The art of losing myself
In bringing You praise

Everlasting
Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame

In my heart and my soul
I give You control
Consume me from the inside out,
Lord, let justice and praise
Become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

Everlasting
Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame

And the cry of my heart
Is to bring You praise
From the inside out
Lord my soul cries out

In my heart and my soul
Lord I give you control
Consume me from the inside out,
Lord, let justice and praise
Become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

Everlasting
Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame

And the cry of my heart
Is to bring You praise
From the inside out
Lord my soul cries out

Everlasting
Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame

And the cry of my heart
Is to bring You praise
From the inside out
Lord my soul cries out

From the inside out
Lord my soul cries out

Written by Joel Houston • Copyright © Capitol Christian Music Group

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Sunday Worship 10-9-16

Hark, the voice of Jesus calling,
“Who will go and work today?
Fields are white and harvests waiting,
Who will bear the sheaves away?”
Loud and long the master calls you;
Rich reward he offers free.
Who will answer, gladly saying,
“Here am I. Send me, send me”?

If you cannot speak like angels,
If you cannot preach like Paul,
You can tell the love of Jesus;
You can say he died for all.
If you cannot rouse the wicked
With the judgment’s dread alarms,
You can lead the little children
To the Savior’s waiting arms.

If you cannot be a watchman,
Standing high on Zion’s wall,
Pointing out the path to heaven,
Offering life and peace to all,
With your prayers and with your bounties
You can do what God demands;
You can be like faithful Aaron,
Holding up the prophet’s hands.

Let none hear you idly saying,
“There is nothing I can do,”
While the multitudes are dying
And the master calls for you.
Take the task he gives you gladly;
Let his work your pleasure be.
Answer quickly when he calls you,
“Here am I. Send me, send me!”

Daniel March

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Sunday Worship 9-18-16

Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
and all the world go free?
No, there’s a cross for everyone,
and there’s a cross for me.

How happy are the saints above,
who once went sorrowing here!
But now they taste unmingled love
and joy without a tear.

The consecrated cross I’ll bear
till death shall set me free;
and then go home my crown to wear,
for there’s a crown for me.

Upon the crystal pavement down,
at Jesus’ pierced feet,
joyful I’ll cast my golden crown
and His dear name repeat.

O precious cross! O glorious crown!
O resurrection day!
When Christ the Lord from heaven comes down
and bears my soul away.

Thomas Shepherd and others

http://www.hymnary.org/text/must_jesus_bear_the_cross_alone

 

 

 

 

 

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9-4-16 Sunday Worship at Cloudland Canyon

Psalm 111

1 Praise the Lord.
I will extol the Lord with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the Lord;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established for ever and ever,
enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant forever—
holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.

 

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9-4-16 Sunday Worship at Cloudland Canyon

Psalm 111
1 Praise the Lord.
I will extol the Lord with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the Lord;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established for ever and ever,
enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant forever—
holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.

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Sunday Worship 8-21-16

This is absolutely beautiful! Oh, to have faith like this!

O, for a faith that will not shrink,
Though pressed by every foe,
That will not tremble on the brink
Of any earthly woe!

That will not murmur nor complain
Beneath the chastening rod,
But, in the hour of grief or pain,
Will lean upon its God.

A faith that shines more bright and clear
When tempests rage without;
That when in danger knows no fear,
In darkness feels no doubt.

That bears, unmoved, the world’s dread frown
Nor heeds its scornful smile;
That seas of trouble cannot drown,
Nor Satan’s arts beguile.

A faith that keeps the narrow way
Till life’s last hour is fled,
And with a pure and heavenly ray
Lights up a dying bed.

Lord, give me such a faith as this,
And then, whate’er may come,
I’ll taste, e’en here, the hallowed bliss
Of an eternal home.

William H. Bathurst

http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/o/f/o4afaith.htm

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday Worship 8-14-16

O Master, let me walk with thee
in lowly paths of service free;
tell me thy secret; help me bear
the strain of toil, the fret of care.
Help me the slow of heart to move
by some clear, winning word of love;
teach me the wayward feet to stay,
and guide them in the homeward way.
Teach me thy patience, still with thee
in closer, dearer company,
in work that keeps faith sweet and strong,
in trust that triumphs over wrong.
In hope that sends a shining ray
far down the future’s broadening way,
in peace that only thou canst give,
with thee, O Master, let me live.

Washington Gladden

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