Sunday (Zoom from the sanctuary) message: The Power of God’s love

Worship on the Lord’s Day

 

We gather to worship God

 

Music prelude

Greeting:

L: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
be with you
P: and also with you

Lighting of the Christ candle

Welcome and announcements

Introduction – Nesta

Video Presentation – Stephen Ministry

Silent preparation for worship

Opening words:

L: Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth
P: God’s steadfast love endures forever
L:  Lift up your hearts!
P: We lift them up to the Lord!

Opening praise: This is amazing grace

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness
Whose love is mighty and so much stronger
The King of Glory, the King above all kings
Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder
Who leaves us breathless in awe and wonder
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

This is amazing grace This is unfailing love
That You would take my place That You would bear my cross You lay down Your life
That I would be set free Jesus, I sing for
All that You’ve done for me

Who brings our chaos back into order
Who makes the orphan a son and daughter
The King of Glory, the King of Glory
Who rules the nations with truth and justice
Shines like the sun in all of its brilliance
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Music: Josh Farror, Phil Wickham, Jeremy Riddle
Words © WB Music Corp, FBR Music, Josh’s Music.
Reprinted with permission under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI

Call to worship:

L: God gathers his people from the east,
west, north and south.
P: Let us thank the Lord
    for his great love for humanity.
L: God is faithful and just,
keeping to his words
from generation to generation
P: He has never for once
    failed his people.
L: O come, let us worship and bow down
P: Let us kneel before the Lord
    our Maker.

Prayers of approach and for God’s help and guidance:

Gracious God, we come before your presence in worship this day, acknowledging the greatness and the beauty of your creation. All of creation tell of your steadfast love which is unending and without discrimination. That is why you did not give any preference as for who is to be saved through the loving act of redemption in Christ Jesus who came to save us from the condemnation of sin and judgement. In our darkest hour, we have known nothing but the light of your presence, in our sadness, you have reassured us with words of hope. You have made every impossibility possible for us, most especially through the forgiveness of our sins and restoration. Be with us O God, and as we worship you this morning, may our worship be in spirit and in truth. May our songs, silence, prayers and praises, bring honour unto you O Lord. This and many more we ask in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

May we continue to pray for God’s help and guidance:

Dear God, we thank you for your words of assurance which reminds us that where two or three are gathered together in your name, you will always be in their midst. Thank you, Lord, for your loving presence with us this morning as we worship and for your willingness to hear us as we come to you in prayers.

We pray for the concerns on our hearts this day. Many of us are crowded with some fears and worries related to our personal lives, community of worshippers and the world at large. Because you love us so dearly and understand our fears better than we do, we pray that our fears will be replaced by a constant faith in you as you meet us at our point of need.

We continue to pray for those in any need of healing and support most especially as the pandemic continue to pose a threat even to our very own existence. Help us that as your children, we will continue to know your grace and mercy and never to lean on our own understanding.

In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen

 

We listen for the voice of God

 

Children’s time                    

Song: O love, how deep    205   

O love, how deep, how broad, how high, how passing thought and fantasy, that God, the Son of God, should take our mortal form for mortals’ sake.

For us baptized, for us he bore his holy fast and hungered sore; for us temptations sharp he knew, for us the tempter overthrew.

For us he prayed; for us he taught; for us his daily works he wrought: by words and signs and actions, thus still seeking not himself, but us.

For us to wicked hands betrayed, scourged, mocked, in purple robe arrayed, he bore the shameful cross and death, for us gave up his dying breath.

For us he rose from death again; for us he went on high to reign; for us he sent his Spirit here
to guide, to strengthen and to cheer.

All glory to our Lord and God for love so deep, so high, so broad, the Trinity whom we adore
forever and forevermore.

Words: Latin and English translation; public domain
Music: 15th Century Carolmelody, Pie  Cantiones 1582; adaptation Michael Praetorius; harmony George Woodward © Harmony A.R. Mowbray and Co Ltd from the C. Carol book          
License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

Scripture readings:                  

Psalm 139:1-18 – Old Testament (New Revised Standard Version)

The Inescapable God

To the leader. Of David. A Psalm.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
15     My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
I come to the end—I am still with you.

John 3:14-21 – New Testament (New Revised Standard Version)

14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”

Response: Thy word is a lamp

Message: “The Power of God’s love”

As Christians, one of the things that hold us together as a community and that relates back to God is love. Sincerely speaking, if I am asked to summarise the Bible in one word, both the Old and New Testament alike, I don’t know about you, but I will use the word LOVE. Without LOVE, we wouldn’t have known God or be able to relate to His Word. Without LOVE, God would not have reached out to humanity in the person of Jesus Christ and without LOVE there would have been no need coming together as a Christian community.

In 1 John 4:8, the writer states that “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Dear friends, this morning we are talking about “the Power of God’s love.” If we are talking about the power of God’s love today, it means that there are situations where we talk of love that it is not so strong as it manifests some forms of weaknesses in the way it is expressed. For example, we have witnessed situations where best friends became enemies, parents disowning their own biological children, married couples going through a divorce, and all this because their love for each other failed at some point.

The love of God for humanity is unquestionable and this morning from the Psalm we just read, David does not only express what the love of God is to us but also demonstrates how intimately God knows us, each and every one of us. He makes a similar statement to what God told the prophet, Jeremiah, when he said, “even before you were formed in the womb, I knew you.” This tells us that God knows us from our past, present life and through into our future. It takes true love for someone to know us to this extent.

Nothing but love prompts God to examine our hearts as the Psalmist puts it, just so he can know us better. Yes, in life, people may want to know us for various reasons, be it for our good or their good. There are some who go to the extent of trying to know us just to exploit us for their own personal benefits not really because they care for our wellbeing.

As human beings, one of the things we often do is to impress others about ourselves most especially when we desire to have some services rendered to us. When we apply for jobs for example, we write out beautiful resumes and cover letters about us just to draw the attention of the potential employer. Hardly do we ever make public that dark side of our lives which remains known only to us. Unfortunately, there are things about us we can’t hide from God.

We also have situations where people have demonstrated hate towards others just for no reason. Few days ago, on social media, I saw this post where someone commented and asked the author of that post if they were a human being just from their looks. This person never created themselves but has been exposed to cyberbullying not for what they did, but for the way God created them. As the days go by, we notice a lot of people committing suicide because they don’t feel loved or because they feel betrayed by the people, they loved and trusted.

Yes, God knows us more than we can ever imagine and unlike humanity that may reject and even look down at us for the good, the bad and the ugly people as the case may be, God has decided to love us for who we are, regardless of our faults and limitations. We see this echoed in our text as David says God goes before and ahead of him to place his hand on his head. Yes, God covers his loved ones from all directions as he blesses them and has remained a blessing to all of humanity.

God’s love for us makes the Psalmist exclaim; “how precious oh Lord are your thoughts towards us!” Despite the people that we are, God has embarked on a mission to ensure that we are well taken care of both in our earthly lives and future encounter in his glory. That is why his love for us draws his attention towards our needs, reasons why Christ said, “the devil comes not but to kill, steal and destroy, but I have come that you may have life and have it in all its fullness.” Indeed, God did not only love the world, but “he SO LOVED the world” and gave us his only begotten Son.

One thing about love is that when we love someone, we always love to have their company with us. In the same light, no matter how far we feel we can move away from God, he comes closer than we can ever imagine as he is always there to cover us with the shadow of his wings. Check out Adam and Eve in the Garden. When they felt they had failed God and thought of hiding from his presence, God drew closer to them and provided them with clothes to cover up their nakedness. What love, dear Christians friends! God had every reason never to give man a second look, but he decided to put love first before discipline. And yes, the Bible tells us that God disciplines those he loves. (Hebrews 12:6).

When we consider how dedicated God was in creating us and making sure he made the world conducive for us, then we are assured that we are treasures in his hands. Carefully, like the Psalmist puts it, we were knitted together and ended being the most treasured creation made in his own very image.

After the fall of humanity, we were condemned already, but at advent, we celebrated the coming of his love at Christmas for our redemption. This lent, we celebrate and remember the manifestation of this love and we commemorate the passion of Christ this season. God cares so much so that he will not want to see any one of his children perish which is the reason why Christ came to die for us.

What love dear people of God! What an opportunity to embrace this love that God offers to us as we bring this love to one another and to the rest of the world through our words, thoughts and deeds. Scriptures defines true love as laying down one’s life for the ones they love (John 15:13). Yes, God set that status quo for us as he gave up his Son Jesus Christ to die for us all. This is how strong the love of God is. Indeed, love is as strong as death (Song of Solomon 8:6).

I am happy that I am talking to a people who live this love through worship, community life and the missional activities the church as a whole and individuals. That is what self-giving is all about, giving out what we cherish for the good of others and above all, celebrating the joy of giving. This season of lent is time we encourage ourselves as Christian brothers and sisters to keep up with this wonderful commitment of being there for one another in honour of Christ’s self-giving sacrifice for the whole of humanity.

Dear congregation of the Lord, the only way we can reciprocate God’s love is by showing it to others. Loving our neighbours as ourselves is another way of saying a ‘thank you’ to God for loving us and taking us for who we are. We have received that love and are challenged this day to give it out to others. This may be done through maybe just a simple call to find out how someone is faring this day. Who knows? That call may just be a lifesaver for someone who is feeling so lonely and thinking otherwise. What about helping those we are able to reach out to? There are so many ways we can show love to humanity, all we need to do is choose best we can put a smile on someone’s face.

Dear friends in the Lord, God did not count the cost but his love for us became a priority. He knows our names, thoughts, and deeds, the happy and the sad moments. May we continue to commit our lives for his service as may his love continue to lead us faithfully to an assured life and future in his eternal glory. Always remember that “now and always, only these three remain, faith, hope and love; but the greatest is love.”  (1 Cor. 13:13)
Amen.

Song: God is love: come heaven          314 

**(We will now listen as Binu plays to us the hymn 314, God is Love. And as we listen and sing along always remember like the 3rd verse says that God is love, and though with blindness sin afflicts all human life, God’s eternal loving-kindness guides us through all earthly strife till we triumph in his eternal glory.)**    

God is love: come heaven adoring, God is love, come earth rejoice; come creation voices soaring, sing exalting with one voice. God who laid the earth’s foundation, God who spread the heavens above, God who breathes through all creation, God is love, eternal love.

God is love whose arms enfolding all the world in one embrace; with unfailing grasp are holding
every child of every race. And when human hearts are breaking under sorrow’s iron rod, all the sorrow, all the aching wrings with pain the heart of God.

God is love, and though with blindness sin afflicts all human life, God’s eternal loving-kindness guides us through all earthly strife. Sin and death and hell shall never o’er us final triumph gain; God is love, so love for ever o’er the universe must reign.        

Words: Timothy Rees alt © The Presbyterian Church in Canada, 1997
Music: Cyril Taylor © Hope Publishing Company 1942, 1970
License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission
to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE       

 

We respond to serve God

 

Prayer of gratitude:

Generous and gracious God, with your great mercy, you have made us alive together with Christ. By your grace we are saved from sin and despair and promised hope for everlasting life with you. You have shown us immeasurable riches through your grace and mercy, and we offer you our deepest gratitude, now and always. Thank you for the fullness of your gifts in us and for always supplying our deepest needs according to your riches in glory. To you be the glory and honour, forever and ever. Amen.

Response: Now thank we all our God

Reflection on giving

Song: All the way my saviour leads me 699

All the way my Savior leads me; What have I to ask beside? Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who through life has been my Guide? Heavenly peace, divinest comfort, Here by faith in Him to dwell! For I know, whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well,

All the way my Savior leads me, Cheers each winding path I tread, Gives me grace for every trial, Feeds me with the living bread. Though my weary steps may falter, And my soul athirst may be, Gushing from the Rock before me, Lo! a spring of joy I see,

All the way my Savior leads me; Oh, the fullness of his love! Perfect rest to me is promised In my Father’s house above. When my spirit, clothed immortal, Wings its flight to realms of day, This my song through endless ages: Jesus led me all the way,

Words Fanny Crosby, Music: Robert Lowery; both public domain

“As a way of fostering community and care for each other, we encourage you all to accept the random Breakout Room assignment as part of our fellowship this morning.”    

Sending out with God’s blessing:

Go in peace and continue to serve the Lord. Unto God’s gracious mercy and protection, we commit you. May Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Bless, preserve and keep you this day and forevermore.  Amen.

Response: God to enfold you

(Zoom breakout rooms)


Fourth Sunday in Lent

10:00 am March 14, 2021

led by Rev. Theresia Ndofor

Elder: Jan Ray Moncada

children’s time: Vivian Houg


Copyright 2021 – Rev. Theresia Ndofor, In-Ministry student at Dayspring Presbyterian Church, and student at Montreal School of Theology
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