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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
January 11, 2015
Epiphany

PRELUDE

GREETING AND PREPARATION

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

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: Arise, shine, for your light has come! The glory of the Lord has risen upon us.
People: Let us praise the Lord together.

Leader: The sun shall no longer be our light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on us,
People: for the Lord will be our light, and our God will be our glory.

Leader: The Lord will be our everlasting light, and our days of sorrow will end.
People: Come, let us sing to our light and salvation!  

 — Based on Isaiah 60

PRAYER OF INVOCATION


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GRACE THAT IS GREATER

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary's mount outpoured -
there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt

CHORUS
Grace, grace, God's grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace, grace, God's grace
Grace that is greater than all our sin


Sin and despair like the sea-waves cold
Threaten the soul with infinite loss
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold 
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

CHORUS

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

CHORUS


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BE THOU MY VISION

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.


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BEAUTIFUL

I see Your face in every sunrise
The colors of the morning are inside Your eyes
The world awakens in the light of the day
I look up to the sky and say, You're beautiful.

I see Your power in the moonlit night
Where planets are in motion and galaxies are bright
We are amazed in the light of the stars
It's all proclaiming who you are, You're beautiful.

I see you there hanging on a tree
You bled and then you died and then you rose again for me
Now you are sitting on Your heavenly throne
Soon we will be coming home, You're beautiful.

When we arrive at eternity's shore
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We'll enter in as the wedding bells ring
Your bride will come together and we'll sing, You're beautiful.


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CALL TO CONFESSION

Leader: 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.  

— Based on John 3:19, NRSV

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

People: Holy God, you sent a star to guide the Magi to the child Jesus. We confess that we have not followed the light of your Word. We have not searched for signs of your love in the world or trusted your good news to be good. We have failed to praise your Son’s birth and refused his peace on earth. We have expected little and hoped for less. Forgive our doubt and renew in us all fine desires, that we may watch and wait and once more hear the glad story of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Lord. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION

WORDS OF PARDON

Leader: If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  

— 1 John 1:6-7, NRSV

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 3:13-17 NRSV  

13Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

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 Baptism
Speaker: Jared Ayers


REFLECTIONS

O sinners let's go down,
Let's go down, come on down,
O sinners let's go down,
Down in the river to pray.

— From “Down In The River to Pray”  

Christianity is about water: “Everyone who thirsteth, come ye to the waters.” It's about baptism, for God's sake. It's about full immersion, about falling into something elemental and wet. Most of what we do in worldly life is geared toward our staying dry, looking good, not going under. But in baptism, in lakes and rain and tanks and fonts, you agree to do something that's a little sloppy because at the same time it's also holy, and absurd. It's about surrender, giving in to all those things we can't control; it's a willingness to let go of balance and decorum and get drenched.
 

— Anne Lamott, from Traveling Mercies


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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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AMAZING GRACE

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail
And mortal life shall cease
I shall possess within the veil
A life of joy and peace

When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.


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COMMUNION PRAYER
    
People: O God, as you once claimed us in the Spirit’s waters
              and number us among your own beloved,
              give us power to do your work,
              to show your love,
              and to live holy and joyful lives.
              Keep us faithful in your service
              until Christ comes in final victory
              and we shall feast with all your saints
              in the joy of your eternal realm.
              Through Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
              all glory and honor are yours, almighty God,
              now and forever. 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   

ON JORDAN’S STORMY BANKS

On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan’s fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie.

All o’er those wide extended plains,
Shines one eternal day;
There God the Son forever reigns,
And scatters night away.

CHORUS
I am bound (I am bound)
I am bound (I am bound)
I am bound for promised land,
I am bound (I am bound)
I am bound (I am bound)
I am bound for promised land.

No chilling winds nor poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore;
Sickness, sorrow, pain and death,
Are felt and feared no more.

CHORUS

When shall I reach that happy place,
And be forever blessed?
When shall I see my Father’s face,
And in His bosom rest?

CHORUS


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BENEDICTION

Minister: Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way; The Lord be with you all; And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you and remain with you now and always.

People: Amen.

DISMISSAL

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


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COMING UP AT LIBERTI 

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 at our next in-covenant class, which will be held after church on January 18, 2015. For more information, and to sign up, email administrator@liberti.org.

WELCOME JOE & KRISTY MARLIN!
We’re excited to have the Marlin family, who serve as missionaries in Rwanda, here with us today. The Marlins serve with Africa Inland Mission International, an organization that plants churches throughout Africa. Joe teaches and mentors rural pastors through the diploma level Pastoral Training School in the local language, and Kristy works with a local cooperative of women, many of who struggle with HIV. You can find our more about their ministries at sendthemarlins.com.

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 missionaries Joe Marlin (and his family) in Rwanda and Melanie Musselman in Uganda as they use their gifts and share the Gospel with the wonderful people in these developing countries.

Our City — The lonely.

Our World — Give thanks for Christians in Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, who practice their faith in countries where they are a small minority. Pray for those who work for democracy and human rights in these countries.

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