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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
March 15, 2015
Fourth Sunday of Lent 

PRELUDE  

GREETING AND PREPARATION

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


CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
People: Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

Leader: For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hands are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
People: Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.  

— From Psalm 95

PRAYER OF INVOCATION


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NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD 

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow,
no other fount I know - nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my cleansing this I see - nothing but the blood of Jesus.
For my pardon, this my plea! Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow,
no other fount I know - nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone, nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Naught of good that I have done, nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow,
no other fount I know - nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace - nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all my righteousness - nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow,
no other fount I know - nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Now by this I'll overcome! Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Now by this I'll reach my home! Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow,
no other fount I know - nothing but the blood of Jesus.


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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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COME YE SINNERS

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
full of pity, love and power.

REFRAIN
I will arise and go to Jesus.
He will embrace me in His arms!
In the arms of my dear Savior,
oh, there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome!
God’s free bounty glorify:
True belief and true repentance—
every grace that brings you nigh.

REFRAIN

Let not conscience make you linger,
nor of fitness fondly dream.
All the fitness He requireth
is to feel your need of Him.

REFRAIN

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
lost and ruined by the fall!
If you tarry till you’re better,
you will never come at all.

REFRAIN


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CALL TO CONFESSION 

Leader: The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

—Psalm 51:17, NRSV

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

People: God of Grace, you placed my sin on my substitute, You placed his righteousness over me. You gave me the bridegroom’s robe, You placed on me the jewels of his holiness.

But in my life I am still in rags, My best prayers are stained with sin; even my tears are filled with impurity; My confessions often mask my true sin.

I need to repent of my repentance; I need my tears to be wept over; I have no robe to cover my sins, no righteousness of my own; I am always standing clothed in filthy garments. Yet by grace am always receiving Christ’s robe of righteousness. For you are a God who justifies the ungodly. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION 

WORDS OF PARDON

Leader: All the prophets testify about Christ that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.  

— From Acts 10:43, 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 24:29-44, NRSV

29“Immediately after the suffering of those days

the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from heaven,
    and the powers of heaven will be shaken.

30Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. 31And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

32“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

36“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

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

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

SERMON
Sermon Series: The One: Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew
Sermon Title: Like A Thief in the Night
Speaker: Jared Ayers 


REFLECTIONS

I think if you were Satan and you were settin’ around tryin’ to think up somethin’ that would just bring the human race to its knees what you would probably come up with is narcotics. I wake up sometimes way in the night and I know as certain as death that there ain’t nothin’ short of the second comin’ of Christ that can slow this train.

— Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, in Cormac McCarthy’s  No Country For Old Men


[Jesus] sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

— Apostles Creed, traditional version


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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, in whom you have revealed yourself, our light and our salvation. Baptized in Jordan’s waters, Jesus took his place with sinners, and your voice proclaimed him your Beloved. Your Spirit anointed him to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to captives, to restore sight to the blind, to free the oppressed.


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Minister: He lived among us in power and grace, touching broken lives with your healing peace. By the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection, you gave birth to your church and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit. 

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

Minister: Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these your gifts of bread and wine, that the bread we break and the cup we bless may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ. By your Spirit make us one with Christ, that we may be one with all who share this feast, united in ministry in every place. As this bread is Christ’s body for us, send us out to be the body of Christ in the world.

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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JESUS PAID IT ALL

I hear the Savior say,
Thy strength indeed is small
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in me thine all in all

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power, and Thine alone
Can change the lepers spots,
and melt the heart of stone

CHORUS
Jesus paid it all,
All to him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow


And when before the throne,
I stand in him complete
Jesus died my soul to save,
my lips shall still repeat

CHORUS

O praise the One who paid my debt,
and raised this life up from the dead.
O praise the One who paid my debt,
and raised this life up from the dead.

CHORUS


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COMMUNION PRAYER
    
People: Father, as we thank you for the promise that you will make all things new, we thank you especially for the anticipation of this renewal which we enjoy as we share the banquet of your Son. Grant us understanding of this mystery, but above all the knowledge of your presence and love which passes understanding: through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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: May God the Father strengthen you with power out of his glorious riches so that Christ would dwell in your hearts through faith. May you have power, together with all God’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.

 — From Ephesians 3:16-18

People: Amen.

DISMISSAL

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


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ANNOUNCEMENTS

NEW HERE?
We'd love to connect with you, to let you know about all that's happening at Liberti and how you can be a part of it. Just fill this out and we'll be in touch!

LENT AT LIBERTI CHURCH
This Lent, our community is walking together through Christ’s journey to the cross with a prayerbook of scripture, prayers, and meditations. We’ll also be observing Holy Week with a couple of special services. For the prayerbook, and more info on Holy Week, please visit libertichurch.org/lent-and-easter.

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 today’s in-covenant class, which will be held here right after church today. Lunch will be provided.

EASTER OUTREACH 2015
This year, we’re partnering with 30 other churches throughout the region to distribute 3,000 Easter dinners to neighbors and build three wells in South Sudan. To do this, we need to raise $75,000 and recruit hundreds of volunteers. This week is a matching grant week - every dollar donated will be matched, up to $5,000. For more information on serving, giving, and more, please visit easteroutreach.org.

CURT THOMPSON SEMINAR
2200 Arch Counseling Services, one of Liberti's ministry partners, is hosting psychiatrist Dr. Curt Thompson for a day-long seminar on April 24 at the First Baptist Building. The topic for the day will be "Anatomy of the Soul: Renew Your Mind, Change Your Brain." This is an educational opportunity for clinicians, social workers, lay-leaders, and anyone interested in the relationship between neurobiology and the biblical narrative. Early registration is $25, or $10 for grad students. For more information and to register, go to http://bit.ly/curtthompson.

PRAYER REQUESTS
This week, please pray alongside us for…
 
Our Church — For our kids to know the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the power of his resurrection this Lenton season.
 
Our City — For the homeless who are suffering through the harsh cold of winter that they may be placed in physical homes and comfort in Jesus Christ.
 
Our World — For women and girls and their protection from rape and forced labor in Myanmar and Thailand.

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