May 14, 2017
Preparing for the Lord’s Day Worship
We see it on bumper stickers. Well-meaning friends share on Facebook. “Prayer works.” This is the one thing that Christians are never supposed to doubt. Prayer works. Just keep at it. God will answer. In the mean time so many of us go on with aching hearts, too ashamed and too afraid to say out loud, because God never came through.
Psalm 77 expresses the shock of a man who patiently waited for God’s answer that never came. “You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak…Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” This is a brutal honesty. We want to be carried to heaven on a bed of roses. But our pathway to heaven is full of groaning and tears. Our pilgrimage is not a pleasant stroll through a park with the scent of spring in the air. Instead, the cross weighs heavy on our backs. Our knees knock with fear. We can hardly breathe in the stifling air of the wilderness that is our life. Alec Motyer summarizes the shock of Ps 77 well. “There can be a trouble so dire that even prolonged, earnest prayer, even the assurance of prayer being heard, even thoughts centered on ‘God’ bring no relief.”
What, then, are we to do in our pilgrimage? What do we do when we feel forgotten by God? Asaph tries two things. First, he tries to remember all the times God was good to him. “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.” However, our subjective experience of God is too unstable a foundation for us to stand tall. We know only too well that a good day is followed by a bad day, that we can be encouraged one moment, only to be shot down the next moment.
That is why Asaph goes beyond his subjective experience of God to the objective work of God in history. “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” Asaph recalls how God brought Israel out of Egypt, how he ruled over the deep waters with power. “Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” Perhaps we feel forsaken because we do not see his footsteps through the sea. But he is there and we are called to have faith in him.
Psalm 77 tells us that faith that endures looks to the God who redeemed Israel with power. That is a historical fact, and unlike our feelings, do not change from day to day. And that is where we take our stand.
Call to Worship
Psalm 77 (reading responsively from TH p. 812)
“Psalm 103 (O My Soul With All Thy Powers)” (Bulletin p. 4)
Trinity Hymnal 731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
James 1:26–27 (p. 1011)
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4–5 ESV)
“Upon a Life I Have Not Lived” (Bulletin p. 10)
Confession of Faith - The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Presentation of Gifts and Offering
The Proclamation of God’s Word
Exodus 20:8–11 (p. 61)
The Fourth Commandment: Free to Rest (Part 2)
Rev. Ken Han
The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper
We participate in the Lord’s Supper weekly. We welcome to the Lord’s Table all baptized believers who have sincere faith in Jesus Christ, and regularly worship in a Reformed or evangelical church.
The Lord’s Supper is a sign and a seal of the new covenant blessings. When we participate in the Lord’s Supper with faith, it strengthens our bond with our covenant Lord, Jesus Christ. Thus we participate properly when we come to our Savior with faith and repentance as we renew our resolve to forsake sin and live for his glory.
The Lord’s Supper also renews our bonds with God’s covenant community, the body of believers in the local church. As we receive the Lord’s Supper, we renew our pledge to give ourselves away in loving service.
During the distribution of the bread we will sing Trinity Hymnal #371 “O Lord of Hosts, How Lovely” stanzas 1–2, and stanzas 3–4 during the distribution of the cup.
Trinity Hymnal #391 “Safely through Another Week”
Family Devotion for the Week
**The Shorter Catechism lesson of the week is posted here: Q. 8. How doth God execute his decrees?.
We have some new resources for you at the information table, including several new CCEF mini books, as well as other edifying books. Be sure to check them out!
Upcoming Events and Notices
Every Lord’s Day 10:15 AM: Please join us for Hymnsing, a time of preparing our hearts for worship in praise, and for learning new hymns for worship.
May 14 (Lord’s Day): Please note there will be no potluck lunch or catechism lessons due to Mother’s Day.
May 21 (Lord’s Day): Please join us for the monthly fellowship potluck lunch.
May 21 (Lord’s Day): The Children’s Bible lesson (First Catechism Qs. 32–34). and adult Shorter Catechism (Q. 9) lessons will meet after the worship service.
May 14: Liza Beede
May 21: Michelle Kay