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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
September 21, 2014
Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost  

PRELUDE

GREETING AND PREPARATION

Leader: The Lord be with you. 
People: And also with you!

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: Come, let us all worship and bow down together, 
People: let us kneel together before the LORD, our maker. 

Leader: For he is our God,
People: and we are the people of his pasture, 
and the sheep of his hand.    

 — From Psalm 95:6-7 NRSV

PRAYER OF INVOCATION


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THIS IS MY FATHER’S WORLD

This is my Father’s world,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings and round me rings
The music of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world,
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas,
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world
The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
Declare their Maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world
He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass, I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world,
O let me ne’er forget:
That though the wrong seems oft’ so strong,
God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world,
The battle is not done
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and heaven be one.


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YOU ALONE CAN RESCUE

Who, oh Lord, could save themselves,
Their own soul could heal?
Our shame was deeper than the sea
Your grace is deeper still

CHORUS
You alone can rescue, You alone can save
You alone can lift us from the grave
You came down to find us, led us out of death
To You alone belongs the highest praise

You, oh Lord, have made a way
The great divide You heal
For when our hearts were far away
Your love went further still
Yes, your love goes further still

CHORUS 

We lift up our eyes, lift up our eyes 
You're the giver of life. 
We lift up our eyes, lift up our eyes 
You're the giver of life. 

CHORUS


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CALL TO CONFESSION

Leader: Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name’s sake. 

 —Psalm 79:9, NRSV

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

People: Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, judge of all people: We acknowledge and confess that no day passes that does not prove our lives have been disfigured by sin. Prayers too often come from prayerless hearts, our praise is too often a hollow sound. All the distortions sin brings to our lives declare us guilty.

However, all things in Christ plead for our acceptance. Grant that by resting in your righteousness we may hereafter walk in newness of life. Through Jesus Christ our risen Lord, we pray. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION

WORDS OF PARDON

Leader: There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  

 —Romans 8:1, NIV

 SONG OF RESPONSE - TRISAGION  

Holy God. Holy and mighty.
Holy immortal One, have mercy, have mercy on us. 
(Repeat)

Holy God. Holy and mighty.
Holy immortal One, have mercy, have mercy
Have mercy, have mercy on us.

 PASSING THE PEACE


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THE WORD OF GOD

SCRIPTURE READING

Psalm 148  

1Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!

2Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his host!

3Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars!
4Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

5Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he commanded and they were created.

6He established them forever and ever;
he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

7Praise the Lord from the earth,
you sea monsters and all deeps,

8fire and hail, snow and frost,
stormy wind fulfilling his command!

9Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!

10Wild animals and all cattle,
creeping things and flying birds!

11Kings of the earth and all peoples,
    princes and all rulers of the earth!

12Young men and women alike,
old and young together!

13Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;     
his glory is above earth and heaven.

14He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his faithful,
for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!

Minister: This is the word of the Lord. 
People: Thanks be to God!

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

SERMON
Sermon series: The Story of Everything (Apostles' Creed)
Sermon title: The Maker of Heaven and Earth
Speaker: Jared Ayers


REFLECTIONS

Confronted with cancer or a slum the Pantheist can say, “If you could only see it from the divine point of view, you would realize that this also is God.”  The Christian replies, “Don’t talk damned nonsense.”  For Christianity is a fighting religion.  It thinks God made the world- that space and time, heat and cold, and all the colors and tastes, and all the animals and vegetables, are things that God “made up out of his head” as a man makes up a story.  But it also thinks that a great many things have gone wrong with the world that God made and that God insists, and insists very loudly, on our putting them right again.

 — C.S. Lewis, from Mere Christianity

The universe is before our eyes like a beautiful book in which all creatures, great and small, are as letters to make us ponder the invisible things of God.  

 — Belgic Confession, Article 2

 

Glory be to God for dappled things —
For skies of couple-color as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim:
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced — fold, fallow, and plough; 

    And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.  

— Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Pied Beauty”


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THE APOSTLES' CREED

Minister: Let us say what we believe.
People: We believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. We 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 to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to 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. We 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.


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 THE LORD’S TABLE

THE GREAT THANKSGIVING  

The Lord be with you. 
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts now!  
We lift them to the Lord. 

Let us give thanks to the Lord our saving God.
It is right and good, always and everywhere.
To give thanks, to the Lord. 

Minister: Holy and right it is, and our joyful duty to give thanks to you at all times and in all places, O Lord our Creator, almighty and everlasting God! You created heaven with all its hosts and the earth with all its plenty. You have given us life and being, and preserve us by your providence. But you have shown us the fullness of your love in sending into the world your Son, Jesus Christ, the eternal Word, made flesh for us and for our salvation. For the precious gift of this mighty Savior who has reconciled us to you we praise and bless you, O God. With your whole Church on earth and with all the company of heaven we worship and adore your glorious name, saying: 

Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
The whole earth is full of Your glory,
hosanna in the highest! 
Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
The whole earth is full of Your glory,
hosanna in the highest! 

Minister: Most righteous God, we remember in this Supper the perfect sacrifice offered once on the cross by our Lord Jesus Christ for the sin of the whole world. In the joy of his resurrection and in expectation of his coming again, we offer ourselves to you as holy and living sacrifices. Together we proclaim the mystery of the faith.


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Your death, O Christ, we proclaim.
        Your rising celebrate!
Your coming Lord we await, to make all things new.
(REPEAT)

Minister: Send your Holy Spirit upon us, we pray, that the bread which we break and the cup which we bless may be to us the communion of the body and blood of Christ. Grant that, being joined together in him, we may attain to the unity of the faith and grow up in all things into Christ our Lord. And as this grain has been gathered from many fields into one loaf, and these grapes from many hills into one cup, grant, O Lord, that your whole Church may soon be gathered from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 

 Praise to the Father,
praise to the Son, 
praise to the Spirit, 
Our God the Three in One.  

WORDS OF INSTITUTION

Minister: Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.         
People: Therefore, let us keep the feast. 

HOLY COMMUNION        

Minister: The gifts of God for the people of God.     

Gluten-free communion wafers are available at the welcome table in the front lobby of the church. Please pick one up prior to coming forward to take communion. 

Holy Communion, also called the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist, is the family meal of Christians. We invite all committed followers of Jesus Christ to partake of this sacrament: those who are baptized members of a congregation that proclaims the Gospel, who are at peace with God and their neighbor, and who seek strength to live more faithfully for Christ.


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PRAYERS FOR REFLECTION

If you are not a Christian, or if you are not prepared to share in this meal, we encourage you to spend this time in prayer. We hope that this time is helpful to you as you consider your relationship with Jesus Christ and with his people, the church. If you are unable to receive Communion, we invite you to meditate on one of the following prayers: 

PRAYER FOR THOSE SEARCHING FOR TRUTH: Lord Jesus, you claim to be the way, the truth, and the life. Grant that I might be undaunted by the cost of following you as I consider the reasons for doing so. If what you claim is true, please guide me, teach me, and open to me the reality of who you are. Give me an understanding of you that is coherent, convincing, and that leads to the life that you promise. Amen.

PRAYER OF BELIEF: Lord Jesus, I admit that I am weaker and more sinful than I ever before believed, but through you I am more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I thank you for paying my debt, bearing my punishment on the cross, and offering forgiveness and new life. Knowing that you have been raised from the dead, I turn from my sins and receive you as Savior and Lord. Amen.

PRAYER OF COMMITMENT: Lord Jesus, you have called us to follow you in baptism and in a life of committed discipleship in your church. Grant that I may take the necessary steps to be one with your people, and live in the fullness of your Spirit. Amen.


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THIS I BELIEVE

Our Father everlasting, the all creating One
God Almighty, through Your Holy Spirit
Conceiving Christ the Son, Jesus our Savior

CHORUS
I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in one
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the name of Jesus

Our Judge and our Defender, suffered and crucified
Forgiveness is in You, descended into darkness
You rose in glorious life, forever seated high

CHORUS

I believe in You
I believe You rose again
I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord

CHORUS

I believe in life eternal
I believe in the virgin birth
I believe in the saints' communion
And in Your holy Church
I believe in the resurrection
When Jesus comes again
For I believe, in the name of Jesus

CHORUS


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COMMUNION PRAYER
    
People: O God our creator, by whose gift the tree of life was set at the heart of the earthly paradise, and the bread of life at the heart of your Church: may we who have been nourished at your table on earth be transformed by the glory of the Savior’s cross and enjoy the delights of eternity; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Minister: Let us pray as our Lord Jesus has taught us:     
People: Our Father in heaven,
              hallowed be your name,
              your kingdom come,
              your will be done,
              on earth as it is in heaven.         
              Give us today our daily bread.
              Forgive us our sins
              as we forgive those who sin
              against us.
              Save us from the time of trial,
              and deliver us from evil.
              For the kingdom, the power,
              and the glory are yours, now
              and forever. Amen.


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SENDING INTO GOD’S WORLD

OFFERING   

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow
Praise Him, All creatures here below
Praise Him Above, Ye Heavenly Host
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Amen, Amen.
Amen, Amen.
(Repeat)


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BENEDICTION

Minister: May the love of the cross, 
the power of the resurrection, 
and the presence of the living Lord 
be with you always. 
And the blessing of the eternal God, 
creator and sustainer, 
risen and ascended Lord and Savior, 
giver of holiness and love, 
be upon you now and evermore.

People: Amen.

DISMISSAL

Minister: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord! 
People: Thanks be to God!


ANNOUNCEMENTS

FIRST BAPTIST BUILDING UPDATE
Earlier this week, Liberti Church officially closed on the purchase of the historic First Baptist Building at 17th & Sansom! We’re humbled and grateful to God, for the opportunity to secure this location as a permanent home for the Center City campus of our church, to be able to do so debt-free, and for the ministry opportunities to serve the city that having a permanent home for our church will open up.   

IN-COVENANT CLASS 
Join us after church today for an in-covenant class and lunch! If you have been coming to Liberti for a little while and would like to learn more about our church and our beliefs, and begin our membership process, we invite you to attend an in-covenant class.

LIBERTI BLOCK PARTY
Mark your calendars for the afternoon of Sunday, September 28 from 4:00 - 7:00 PM! We’re throwing a block party in Center City to celebrate the purchase and renovation of the First Baptist Building. You won’t want to miss it! Click here to learn more.

FINANCIAL PEACE UNIVERSITY
Beginning on Sunday, October 5, Liberti will be hosting Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, a nine week course which aims to help people learn to handle their money well, using biblical principles and practical advice. Each class will be held after church on Sundays. Course materials cost $93. For more information, and to register, please visit libertichurch.org/fall.

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