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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
January 18, 2015
Second Sunday of Epiphany

PRELUDE

GREETING AND PREPARATION

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

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: Be strong, and do not fear! Your God will come to save you.
People: Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf be unstopped.          Leader: Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.
People: Then will the wilderness rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;       it will rejoice and shout for joy.
Leader: And we, the ransomed of the Lord, will enter with singing. Everlasting joy will crown our heads.
People: Open your eyes and see now the glory of the Lord, and the splendor of our God.  

— From Isaiah 35

 

PRAYER OF INVOCATION


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COME THOU FOUNT

Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing Thy grace.
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise His mount! I'm fixed upon it,
mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by Thy help I'm come;
and I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor,
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for Thy courts above.


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FOREVER REIGN
 
You are good, You are good, When there's nothing good in me
You are love, You are love, On display for all to see
You are light, You are light, When the darkness closes in
You are hope, You are hope, You have covered all my sin  

 You are peace, You are peace, When my fear is crippling
You are true, You are true, Even in my wandering
You are joy, You are joy, You're the reason that I sing
You are life, You are life, In You death has lost its sting
 
CHORUS
Oh, I'm running to Your arms, I'm running to Your arms.
The riches of Your love Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

 
You are more, You are more, Than my words will ever say
You are Lord, You are Lord, All creation will proclaim
You are here, You are here, In Your presence I'm made whole
You are God, You are God, Of all else I'm letting go

CHORUS

BRIDGE
My heart will sing no other Name Jesus, Jesus

CHORUS


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HOLY (JESUS YOU ARE)
 
What heart could hold the weight of Your love
And know the heights of Your great worth
What eyes could look on Your glorious face
Shining like the sun
(x2)

CHORUS
You are holy, holy, holy
God most high and God most worthy
You are holy, holy, holy
Jesus, You are
Jesus, You are

Your name alone has power to raise us
Your light will shine when all else fades
Our eyes will look on Your glorious face
Shining like the sun
Who is like You, God?

CHORUS

BRIDGE
Who shall we say You are
You're the living God
Who shall we say You are
You're the Great I AM
The highest name of all
You're all You say You are

And You shall come again in glory
To judge the living and the dead
All eyes will look on Your glorious face
Shining like the sun
Who is like You, God?

CHORUS (x2)


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CALL TO CONFESSION

Leader: If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered.

— Psalm 130:3-4 (NRSV)

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

People: Heavenly Father, we come before you confessing our sins: thoughts that are not like your thoughts, selfish desires and evil passions, and their wicked fruit – cruel words and unjust acts. Lord, you know our own temptations and struggles. Show mercy on us, that we may seek the righteousness of faith, that we may be forgiven, and that we may be strengthened each day by your Holy Spirit, to serve you in the joy of liberty.

SILENT CONFESSION

WORDS OF PARDON

Leader: But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

— Titus 3:4-7

SONG OF RESPONSE - GLORIA PATRI  

Glory be to the Father, Glory be to the Son
Glory be to the Spirit Three in One
As it was in the beginning it will be forever. Amen. 
Amen. Amen.
(REPEAT)

PASSING THE PEACE


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THE WORD OF GOD

SCRIPTURE READING    

Matthew 4:1-11, NRSV  
 
1Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” 7Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” 11Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

Minister: This is the gospel of the Lord. 
People: Praise to you O Christ!  

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION  

SERMON 

Sermon series: The One: The Story of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew
Sermon title: The Wilderness
Speaker: Jared Ayers


REFLECTIONS

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted.  But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out?  Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose?  How much can you win?

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space.  
— Dr. Seuss, from Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Our spiritual journey must lead through the desert or else our healing will be the product of our own will and wisdom. It is in the silence of the desert that we hear our dependence on noise. It is in the poverty of the desert that we see clearly our attachments to the trinkets and baubles we cling to for security and pleasure. The desert shatters the soul’s arrogance and leaves body and soul crying out in thirst and hunger. In the desert we trust God or die.

 — Dan Allender


Over and over again, God meets us in the wilderness. He meets us in the desert. When we think our life is on a detour, it’s really spiritual main street. When we think everything is going wrong, it’s going wrong because it forces us to think in ways we wouldn’t have thought otherwise. It forces us to seek in ways we wouldn’t have sought otherwise. When things aren’t going according to your plan, when you think you’re on a back road, it’s main street spiritually.

— Tim Keller


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NICENE CREED 

Minister: Let us say what we believe.

People: We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. 

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son], who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. 

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. 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: With joy we praise you, gracious God, for you have created heaven and earth, made us in your image, and kept covenant with us — even when we fell into sin. We give you thanks for Jesus Christ, our Lord, who came among us as the Word made flesh to show us your glory, full of grace and truth. Therefore we join our voices with all the saints and angels and the whole creation to proclaim the glory of your 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: You are holy, O God of majesty, and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Born in humility, he came to rule over all. Helpless as an infant, he showed the power of your love. Poor in things of the world, he brought the wealth of your grace. Rejected by many, he welcomed all who sought him. In his dying and rising, you gave birth to your church, delivered us from slavery  to sin and death, and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit. 


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Minister: Remembering your gracious acts in Jesus Christ, we take from your creation this bread  and wine and joyfully celebrate his dying and rising as we await the day of his coming. With thanksgiving we offer our very selves to you to be a living and holy sacrifice, dedicated to your service. Together we proclaim the mystery of the faith. 

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

Minister: Lord, our God, send your Holy Spirit so that this bread and cup may be for us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. May we and all your saints be united with Christ and remain faithful in hope and love. Gather your whole church, O Lord, into the glory of your kingdom.

 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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HOW MARVELOUS

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.

CHORUS
How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be,
How marvelous! How wonderful!
Is my Saviors love for me!

He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calvary,
And suffered and died alone.

CHORUS

BRIDGE
When with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see,
Twill be my joy through the ages
To sing of His love for me.

CHORUS

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.

CHORUS

BRIDGE


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COMMUNION PRAYER
    
People: Father in heaven, we do not come to this table alone. We come accompanied by everyone else who is coming forward to receive this meal. And this meal is what defines us as a people. We are not a people united by race, class, age or gender. Rather, we are a people whose common bond is that we need the broken body and shed blood of your son. Christ is the one who unites us. Father, grant that you would shape us into a community of people defined by this meal. Make us a community of courage, knowing that the restoration accomplished through your Son is being offered to our entire city, nation and world. Do this by your Spirit, for Christ’s sake, Amen.

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   

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

Amen, Amen,
Amen, Amen.


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BENEDICTION

Minister: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.  

— Based on Numbers 6:24-26, NIV

People: Amen.

DISMISSAL

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


ANNOUNCEMENTS 


HOME GROUPS HAVE RESUMED!
Liberti’s home groups have resumed for the semester! If you aren't connected to a group yet, now is a great time to check one out! For a full list of groups and their schedules, head to libertichurch.org/homegroups.

IN COVENANT CLASS
The first step in becoming a member at Liberti Church is to attend an in-covenant class, an informal time to meet with church leaders to discuss Liberti's mission and vision. If you attend Liberti and are considering becoming a member, we'd love to have you join us after church today, in room 215.

LIBERTI NETWORK COMBINED SERVICE
Each year, we gather with the other churches in the Liberti Network to worship, pray, and celebrate together. Join us on Sunday, January 25 at 6:00 PM, here at the First Baptist Church Building for our annual combined service. Please note that we will still have our normal service at 9:30 AM that morning as well. 

COLLEGE STUDENT GATHERING
Immediately following the Liberti Network combined service on January 25, there will be a meeting for all Liberti college students in the downstairs boardroom. Mingle and get to know students and campus ministers from all the Liberti churches, and hear about upcoming mission opportunities.

Please visit libertichurch.org/news for more information on these and other upcoming opportunities at Liberti Church!

PRAYER REQUESTS

This week, please pray alongside us for...

Our Church — For our counseling partners at 2200 Arch Counseling Services as they offer therapy and hope to their clients.

Our City — For the widows, orphans, and other marginalized people throughout the region.

Our World — Give thanks for the Christian church in Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey, and its continued presence in these lands associated with the early churches of the apostles. Pray for peace and the healing of entrenched hatred between Greeks and Turks, and an end to the division of Cyprus.

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