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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
April 26, 2015
Fourth Sunday of Easter

PRELUDE  

GREETING AND PREPARATION

Leader: Alleluia! Christ is risen.
People: The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: We will praise you, O Lord.
People: Though you were angry with us, you have turned your anger away.

Leader: You have comforted us. Surely you are our salvation.
People: We will trust and not be afraid.

Leader: The Lord is our strength. He has become our salvation.
People: With joy we will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Leader: Let us sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things.
People: Great among us is the Holy One of Israel.

— From Isaiah 12

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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PSALM 126

Our mouths, they were filled, filled with laughter.
Our tongues, they were loosed, loosed with joy.
Restore us, O Lord! Restore us, O Lord!

CHORUS
Although we are weeping,
Lord, help us keep sowing
The seeds of Your Kingdom
For the day You will reap them!
Your sheaves we will carry;
Lord, please do not tarry!
All those who sow weeping
Will go out with songs of joy!


The nations will say “He has done great things!”
The nations will sing songs of joy.
Restore us, O Lord! Restore us, O Lord!

CHORUS x2


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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: 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: Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer. We confess that it is still all too easy for us to sacrifice our convictions for convenience, your standards for status, your principles for promotion, your absolutes for our ambition, our souls for shallow and unsatisfying success. How easily we are seduced by power, prestige, pleasure, or possessions — seduced into violating our integrity or harming our fellowship with you. From earth’s fullest bliss we turn to you again, unfulfilled.  
 
Forgive us our half-hearted devotion and our double-minded spirit. In the name of him who refused to save himself we pray. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION 

WORDS OF PARDON

Leader: Through Jesus Christ forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.

 — from Acts 13:38; Ephesians 1:7, NRSV

SONG OF RESPONSE - KYRIE ELEISON

Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy on us. 
Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy on us. 
REPEAT


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THE WORD OF GOD

SCRIPTURE READING
Acts 4:5-12, NRSV
 
5The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ 12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”

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

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Sermon Series: Practice Resurrection
Sermon Title:
Salvation and Service
Speaker: Jared Ayers


REFLECTIONS

Traveling in Malawi refreshed…a belief…I've been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I've been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God. Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.  

— Matthew Parris, from “As An Atheist, I Truly Believe Africa Needs God,”
in The Times, January 7, 2009

For at least the last 200 years in the Western world people have laughed at “resurrection," whether that of Jesus or that of anyone else. Those who have stuck out against this mockery, and declared that they do believe in resurrection anyway, have been thought of as “conservatives” rather than the modern “liberals.” But resurrection always was a radical, dangerous doctrine, an attack on the status quo and a threat to existing power structures. Resurrection, you see, is the belief which declares that the living God is going to put everything right once and for all, is going to restore all things, to turn the world the right way up at last.

— N.T. Wright, from Acts for Everyone


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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: 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 by his glorious resurrection overcame the power of sin and gave us new life. 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: By your power you raised Jesus from death to life. Through his victory over the grave we are set free from the bonds of sin and the fear of death to share the glorious freedom of the children of God. In his rising to life you promise eternal life to all who believe in him. We praise you that as we break bread in faith, we shall know the risen Christ among us.


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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: Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us, 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 I COME  

Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,
Jesus, I come; Jesus I come.
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of my sickness into Thy health,
Out of my wanting and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress into jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into Thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward forever on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into the joy and light of Thy home,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.


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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

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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BENEDICTION

Minister: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come. God be your comfort, your strength; God be your hope and support; God be your light and your way; and the blessing of God, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life, remain with you now and forever.

People: Amen.

DISMISSAL

Minister: Go out now, in the hope of the resurrected Lord Jesus, to love and serve the world.
People: Thanks be to God!


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ANNOUNCEMENTS

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 in-covenant class after church today. Lunch will be provided. We hope to see you there!

BETHESDA PROJECT GARDEN CLEAN UP
One of our mercy partners, the Bethesda Project, serves the city by providing permanent housing for men in recovery at their Sanctuary House (20th & Christian). On Saturday, May 2, we’ll be there from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM working in their garden. Join us as we pull weeds, prune, plant, lay mulch, and more. Lunch will be served. Please email Krista Dedrick Lai (kristadedrick@gmail.com) for more info at to sign up.

SERVICE TIME CHANGE
Next Sunday, May 3, our 9:30AM service will shift to 4:00 PM, in order to accommodate the Broad Street Run through Center City. Parking will still be available as usual, and we will still have coffee hour following the service.

FINANCE UPDATE

*These figures represent Liberti’s operating budget, and exclude For The City donations and expenses.

*These figures represent Liberti’s operating budget, and exclude For The City donations and expenses.

 

PRAYER REQUESTS
This week, please pray alongside us for…
 
Our Church — For all of our students to know the peace of Christ as they finish classes, take exams and transition to summer plans!
Our City — For the ministry of the Aquinas Center in South Philly that they would continue to have the relationships and resources needed to serve their neighborhood well.
Our World — For those still rebuilding their lives after powerful earthquakes and nuclear devastation in Japan, North Korea, South Korea and Taiwan.


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