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Acts Challenge Day 4

Acts 4

Peter and John before the Council

While Peter and John[a] were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came to them, much annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming that in Jesus there is the resurrection of the dead. So they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who heard the word believed; and they numbered about five thousand.

The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John,[b] and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. When they had made the prisoners[c] stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,[d] whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11 This Jesus[e] is

‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders;
    it has become the cornerstone.’[f]

12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus. 14 When they saw the man who had been cured standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. 15 So they ordered them to leave the council while they discussed the matter with one another. 16 They said, “What will we do with them? For it is obvious to all who live in Jerusalem that a notable sign has been done through them; we cannot deny it. 17 But to keep it from spreading further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” 18 So they called them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; 20 for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21 After threatening them again, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because of the people, for all of them praised God for what had happened. 22 For the man on whom this sign of healing had been performed was more than forty years old.

The Believers Pray for Boldness

23 After they were released, they went to their friends[g] and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, 25 it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant:[h]

‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
    and the peoples imagine vain things?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
    and the rulers have gathered together
        against the Lord and against his Messiah.’[i]

27 For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant[j] Jesus, whom you anointed, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants[k] to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant[l] Jesus.” 31 When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.

The Believers Share Their Possessions

32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35 They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). 37 He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Questions to Consider:
1) Peter gets in trouble with the religious leaders for healing a man and proclaiming the name of Jesus.  Have you ever been put in uncomfortable situations because of the name of Jesus or the actions you have taken because of your faith?


2) Peter makes claims for Christ that are universal. He says “there is no other name given among mortals by which we must be saved.”  How do you understand the universal claims about Christ?  How have you spoken about that among others?


3) Acts 4 closes with a picture of “authentic community.”  What does that picture look like for the Reformed Church of St. Croix.  What are the things you pray for to happen here?

Acts Challenge Day 3

Acts 3

Peter Heals a Crippled Beggar

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,[a] stand up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Peter Speaks in Solomon’s Portico

11 While he clung to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s Portico, utterly astonished. 12 When Peter saw it, he addressed the people, “You Israelites,[b] why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk? 13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant[c] Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. 14 But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16 And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus[d] has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.

17 “And now, friends,[e] I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah[f] would suffer. 19 Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, 20 so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah[g] appointed for you, that is, Jesus, 21 who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets. 22 Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you from your own people[h] a prophet like me. You must listen to whatever he tells you. 23 And it will be that everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be utterly rooted out of the people.’ 24 And all the prophets, as many as have spoken, from Samuel and those after him, also predicted these days. 25 You are the descendants of the prophets and of the covenant that God gave to your ancestors, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your descendants all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26 When God raised up his servant,[i] he sent him first to you, to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

Questions to consider
1) Peter and John, through the power of God, see a blind man healed at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate.  How have you seen the power of God revealed in miraculous ways in your life?  How are you hoping for that power to be seen now?


2) In Peter’s message he proclaims: ” repent… so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.  That is an interesting way to describe salvation, times of refreshing.  Have you experienced repentance that way?  Do you look for that refreshment now?


3)  At the end of his message Peter speaks of the promise of God’s work through history.  I wonder how we would describe that in the way God has worked through the St. Croix Reformed Church and how do we trust that promise now in this time of transition?

Acts Challenge Day 2

Pastor Holbrook is guiding us as we read the Book of Acts, one chapter each day. Read the Chapter and his Questions, then reflect on the parallels between the early church and the St. Croix Reformed Church.

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Peter Addresses the Crowd

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
    and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
        and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show portents in the heaven above
    and signs on the earth below,
        blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20 The sun shall be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood,
        before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

22 “You that are Israelites,[a] listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth,[b] a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— 23 this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. 24 But God raised him up, having freed him from death,[c] because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. 25 For David says concerning him,

‘I saw the Lord always before me,
    for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
    moreover my flesh will live in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
    or let your Holy One experience corruption.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
    you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

29 “Fellow Israelites,[d] I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Foreseeing this, David[e] spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah,[f] saying,

‘He was not abandoned to Hades,
    nor did his flesh experience corruption.’

32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at[g] the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
35     until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

36 Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah,[h] this Jesus whom you crucified.”

The First Converts

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers,[i] what should we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” 40 And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Life among the Believers

43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds[j] to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home[k] and ate their food with glad and generous[l] hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.


Questions to consider
Acts 2 shares the story of Pentecost, Fifty Days after Easter.  The coming of the Holy Spirit.  The disciples were told to not do anything until the Spirit had come.  What do you think it means for a church to wait for the Holy Spirit?  How would you describe your understanding and experience with the Holy Spirit?


The picture of that first church is believers of every nation, tribe and tongue.  Have you ever been in a  church that has reflected this?  What do you believe are the things or thing that make this possible?  How can this be reflected in our church?


The disciples devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer.  This was a community that was united in essential focus.  How is that developed in our church today?  What place does prayer play for the St. Croix Reformed Church? 

Acts Challenge Day 1

Pastor Holbrook is guiding us as we read the Book of Acts, one chapter each day. Read the Chapter and his Questions, then reflect on the parallels between the early church and the St. Croix Reformed Church.

Acts 1

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

1 In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2 until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

The Ascension of Jesus

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, 16 “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17 for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms,

‘Let his homestead become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it’; and Let another take his position of overseer.’

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” 23 So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

Questions for consideration:

1)  Luke is writing to share the story of Jesus with Theophilus..  How would you share the story of Jesus with a friend?  What would you say to them about what that story means to you?  

Action- Write that story down and share it with somebody.

2)  The disciples ask Jesus if he will now restore the kingdom of Israel?  Jesus turns the question back to them, focusing not on what he will do, but what they will do as his witnesses.  What does it mean to you that God has trusted you and the St. Croix Reformed church with witnessing to the risen Christ.

Action-Consider some way you and this church may take action to witness to the living Christ.

3)  Matthias is chosen by casting lots and trusting God to make the choice clear.  As St. Croix calls a new pastor what are the ways you are trusting God to make that choice clear.

Action-Spend some intentional time in prayer today asking God to make clear who the next pastoral leader for St. Croix Reformed church should be.

Prism Vision and 30 day Acts Challenge with Pastor Taylor Holbrook

Good Morning.  It was great to be with you yesterday and, as promised in my message Prism Vision, I share the five challenges from the Wise Men’s walk, which I hope you will live into for the next thirty days. 

Read Matthew 2:1-12 

Seek

For the next thirty days I invite you through word and wonder to seek the vision of God for this congregation as well as your life.  Together we will read a chapter from the book of Acts that tells the story of that first church’s growth and life together.  Each day a devotional will come  guiding us through the journey together.  Secondly, as the Wise Men contemplated the stars, you are invited to spend some intentional time in the wonder of creation to let God speak to you about directions we  should move.

Act

The Wise Men had to take that first step toward a foreign land.  Our second challenge is to step into what you sense God is calling you to do in the church or in your life that reflects the light of Christ in our world.

Meet

The Wise Men did not go alone, neither should you.  Meet each week with someone you don’t know well from the church and meet each week with someone outside of the church.  Listen to their story of faith and life.  

Worship

The Wise Men brought the best they had to pay homage to the king.  Focus on worship the next thirty days.  Be present in worship on Sunday, but more than that be present in worship daily.  Lift up a song of praise and a word of gratitude for the wonder of what God has done and is doing in this world.  I also tied this to giving yesterday-our offerings are a part of our worship and I challenged the church to double our giving in this coming year.

Listen

This is the thumb of the five finger illustration because this ties everything together.  The Wise Men listened to God and changed their plans and perspective as God sent them home another way.  Be open to the way God may be changing you as you listen to people with different stories and perspectives. What are some of the different ways God is challenging you?

Thank you for letting me join you on this journey.  I look forward to the way we reflect the life of Christ together in this “Prism Vision.”

In Christ,

Taylor

Where are you going? (Worship Video) January 16, 2022

https://fb.watch/aCyrfPzDMs/

Our Worship Service for January 16, 2022 with Pastor Taylor Holbrook

Thank You (worship video) – 11/21/21

Words for Worship – 11/21/21

We gather for Pastor Peter’s last Sunday with us at St. Croix Reformed Church to remember that Christ is king. All the words that we’ll be using in worship are below. Or, you can download a copy to print here.

PRELUDE                          Romans 5:7-8   

CALL TO WORSHIP – from Psalm 145

I will extol you, my God and King,
   and bless your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will bless you,
   and praise your name for ever and ever.

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
   his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall laud your works to another,
   and shall declare your mighty acts.

On the glorious splendour of your majesty,
   and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed,
   and I will declare your greatness.

They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,
   and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and merciful,
   slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

The Lord is good to all,
   and his compassion is over all that he has made.

My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
   and all flesh will bless his holy name for ever and ever.

*HYMN #578     Forever

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Most High and holy God, you are merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. You have called us to be the same. But, we respond to offence with might rather than mercy. We seek glory rather than give grace. We long for power rather than turn to patience. We seek your salvation, but our love for others is not yet

steadfast. We fall short. Share your Spirit with us so that we might continue to be transformed. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers.

HYMN #360        You Are My King

please remain seated

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – from Psalm 103

The Lord works vindication
   and justice for all who are oppressed.
God made known his ways to Moses,
   his acts to the people of Israel.

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
   slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord will not always accuse,
   nor will he keep his anger for ever.

God does not deal with us according to our sins,
   nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
   so great is God’s steadfast love towards those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
   so far he removes our transgressions from us.

ANTHEM            I Thessalonians 5:18

SCRIPTURE                        Isaiah 9:1-7

But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
The people who walked in darkness
   have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
   on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation,
   you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
   as with joy at the harvest,
   as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden,
   and the bar across their shoulders,
   the rod of their oppressor,
   you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For all the boots of the tramping warriors
   and all the garments rolled in blood
   shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
For a child has been born for us,
   a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
   and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually,
   and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
   He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
   from this time onwards and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

SERMON             “Thank You”     

*HYMN #562                    We Will Extol You, God and King

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION & THE LORD’S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.

OFFERTORY                      Psalm 36:5        

*DOXOLOGY #965

Inclusive lyrics:  Praise God, from whom all blessings flow

              Praise God, all creatures here below

              Praise God, above ye heavenly host

              Creator, Christ, and Holy Ghost

*BENEDICTION

*SENDING SONG #950

Rest. Roar. Repeat. (worship video) – 11/14/21

Words for Worship – 11/14/21

This week in worship, we move from the history texts to the prophetic texts. We start with Amos who introduces us to God’s roar against the greedy injustice among God’s own people. All the words that we’ll be using in worship are below. Or, you can download a copy to print here.

PRELUDE                          Keep Your Lamps

CALL TO WORSHIP – from Psalm 146


For I am about to create new heavens
   and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
   or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice for ever
   in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
   and its people as a delight.

I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
   and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
   or the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it
   an infant that lives but a few days,
   or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
   and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed
.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
   they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit;
   they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
   and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labour in vain,
   or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
   and their descendants as well.
Before they call I will answer,
   while they are yet speaking I will hear.

*HYMN #302     Hear Our Praises

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Most High and holy God, sometimes we care too much about things that don’t matter to you. Sometimes we don’t care enough about the things that matter most to you. And, sometimes we just don’t care. We confess the fault and fickleness in our hearts and we recognize your willingness to sacrifice so that suffering can end. So, bless us with your Holy Spirit so that our minds can focus on justice and our hearts share your passion for the oppressed. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers.

ANTHEM            I Speak Jesus

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – from Isaiah 58

Is not this the fast that I choose:
   to loose the bonds of injustice,
   to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
   and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
   and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
   and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then our light shall break forth like the dawn,
   and our healing shall spring up quickly;
our vindicator shall go before us,
   the glory of the Lord shall be our rearguard.
Then we shall call, and the Lord will answer;
   we shall cry for help, and God will say, “Here I am.”

*HYMN #53        Song of the Prophets

SCRIPTURE                        Amos 1:1-2, 5:14-24

The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of King Uzziah of Judah and in the days of King Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel, two years before the earthquake.


And he said:
The Lord roars from Zion,
   and utters his voice from Jerusalem;
the pastures of the shepherds wither,
   and the top of Carmel dries up.

Seek good and not evil,
   that you may live;
and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you,
   just as you have said.
Hate evil and love good,
   and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts,
   will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.


Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord:
In all the squares there shall be wailing;
   and in all the streets they shall say, ‘Alas! alas!’
They shall call the farmers to mourning,
   and those skilled in lamentation, to wailing;
in all the vineyards there shall be wailing,
   for I will pass through the midst of you,

says the Lord.


Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord!
   Why do you want the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, not light;
   as if someone fled from a lion,
   and was met by a bear;
or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall,
   and was bitten by a snake.
Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light,
   and gloom with no brightness in it?


I hate, I despise your festivals,
   and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt-offerings and grain-offerings,
   I will not accept them;
and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals
   I will not look upon.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
   I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
But let justice roll down like waters,
   and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

SERMON             “Roar!”

*HYMN #295                    Let Justice Flow

(over)

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION & THE LORD’S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.

OFFERTORY                      All The Days

*DOXOLOGY #965

Inclusive lyrics:  Praise God, from whom all blessings flow

              Praise God, all creatures here below

              Praise God, above ye heavenly host

              Creator, Christ, and Holy Ghost

*BENEDICTION

*SENDING SONG #950