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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
March 8, 2015
Third Sunday of Lent 

PRELUDE  

GREETING AND PREPARATION

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


CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: Our help is in the name of our God,
People: who made heaven and earth. Amen.

Leader: Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving.
People: Make music upon the harp.

Leader: How good it is to celebrate God’s presence and sing praise throughout each day!
People: How good it is to sing praise and give honor to our God!

— Based on Psalm 147

PRAYER OF INVOCATION 


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IN CHRIST ALONE

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.


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ISAIAH 43

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you
And the waves, they shall not, overcome you.
Do not fear for I have redeemed you
I have called you by name you are mine.

CHORUS
For I am the Lord your God (I am the Lord your God),
I am the Lord your God (I am)
The Holy One of Israel your Savior
For I am the Lord your God (I am the Lord your God),
I am the Lord your God (I am)
The Holy One of Israel your Savior
I am the Lord (do not fear)
I am the Lord (do not fear)
I am the Lord (do not fear)
I am the Lord (do not fear)


When you walk through the fire you’ll not be burned,
And the flames will not consume you.
Do not fear for I have redeemed you.
I have called you by name you are Mine.

CHORUS


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BE UNTO YOUR NAME

We are a moment, You are forever
Lord of the Ages, God before time
We are a vapor, You are eternal
Love everlasting, reigning on high

Holy, holy, Lord God Almighty
Worthy is the lamb who was slain
Highest praises, honor and glory
Be unto Your name, be unto Your name

We are the broken, You are the healer
Jesus, Redeemer, mighty to save
You are the love song we'll sing forever
Bowing before You, blessing Your name

Holy, holy, Lord God Almighty
Worthy is the lamb who was slain
Highest praises, honor and glory


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CALL TO CONFESSION 

Leader: No one who conceals transgressions will prosper, but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.  

— Proverbs 28:13 (NRSV)

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

People: Almighty Father, you have called us to be your people and have made us one body, yet we do not live as such. We do not love each other as we should. Jealousy grips us and we fail to look out for others interests above our own. Conceit grips us and we fail to associate and care for those different from ourselves. Forgive us our offenses, Father, and subdue everything in us that is contrary to your purpose. By the power of your Spirit make us a community that reveals the acceptance, kindness and love found only in you. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION 

WORDS OF PARDON

Leader: If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

— I John 1:9

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)


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THE WORD OF GOD

SCRIPTURE READING

Matthew 21:33-46, NRSV

33”Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ 39So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.”

42Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:   
‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’?

43Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.44The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.” 45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

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: The Tenants
Speaker: Jared Ayers 


REFLECTIONS

I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old… 

— From Psalm 78

All I can say is this: it looks as if we are all we have. Given what we know about ourselves, and each other, this is an extraordinarily unappetizing prospect...Neither reason, nor love, nor even terror, seems to have worked to make us “good,” and worse than that, there is no reason why anything should. Only if ethics were something unspeakable by us could law be unnatural, and therefore unchallengeable. As things stand now, everything is up for grabs.
 
 Nevertheless: Napalming babies is bad. Starving the poor is wicked. Buying and selling each other is depraved. Those who stood up to Hitler, Stalin, Amin, are to be praised. Those who acquiesced deserve to be damned. There is in the world such a thing as evil.{All together now:} Sez who? God help us. We can’t really live with the premise that there is no absolute. That there is no way to live, no life that can be lived, that is morally superior or inferior. If the premise leads you to a conclusion that you cannot abide, then you must change the premise.”

— Yale Law professor Arthur Leff, from a lecture at Duke University


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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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THERE IS A FOUNTAIN

There is a fountain filled with blood
drawn from Emmanuel's veins;
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains,
lose all their guilty stains;
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
that fountain in his day;
and there may I, though vile as he,
wash all my sins away.
Wash all my sins away,
wash all my sins away;
and there may I, though vile as he,
wash all my sins away.

E'er since, by faith, I saw the stream
thy flowing wounds supply,
redeeming love has been my theme,
and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die,
and shall be till I die;
redeeming love has been my theme,
and shall be till I die.

Lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains,
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains.


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COMMUNION PRAYER
    
People: Almighty God, we thank you that in your great love you have fed us with the spiritual food and drink of the body and blood of Christ, and have given us a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. Grant that this sacrament may be to us a comfort in affliction, and a pledge of our         inheritance in that kingdom where there is no death, neither sorrow nor crying, but the fullness of joy with all your saints; through Jesus Christ our Savior. 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: May Christ, the Son of God, be manifest in you, that your lives may be a light to the world; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.

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. For your free copy, and for more information on Lent at Liberti, 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 our next in-covenant class, which will be held after church on March 15, 2015. For more information, and to sign up, email administrator@liberti.org.

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. 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 many Liberti community leaders and partners to participate in the financing, facilitation, packing and delivery of Easter meals in celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
 
Our City — For the hungry to be fed tangibly, and that they might also taste of the Bread of Life.
 
Our World — Pray for the Christian communities in Andorra, Austria, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland, that their witness may remain vital and their faith communities strong amidst materialism and secularization.

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