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REFLECTIONS

[Hazel Motes] got up and walked off the porch as if she had reminded him of some urgent business. He walked as if his feet hurt him but he had to go on. Some time later she discovered why he limped. She was cleaning his room and happened to knock over his extra pair of shoes. She picked them up and looked into them as if she thought she might find something hidden there. The bottoms of them were lined with gravel and broken glass and pieces of small stone… She stood for some time, holding the shoes, and finally she put them back under the cot. In a few days she examined them again and they were lined with fresh rocks. Who’s he doing this for? she asked herself. What’s he getting out of doing it? Every now and then she would have an intimation of something hidden near her but out of her reach. 
“Mr. Motes,” she said that day, when he was in her kitchen eating his dinner, “what do you walk on rocks for?” 
“To pay,” he said in a harsh voice. 
“Pay for what?” 
“It don’t make any difference for what,” he said. “I’m paying.”
                      -Flannery O’Connor, from Wise Blood


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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
March 13, 2016
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Center City Campus

Leader: Bless the Lord who forgives all of our sins; His mercy endures forever. Amen.
 

O LOVE THAT WILL NOT LET ME GO

O Love that will not let me go, 
I rest my weary soul in thee; 
I give thee back the life I owe, 
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be. 

O light that followest all my way, 
I yield my flickering torch to thee; 
My heart restores its borrowed ray, 
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be. 

O Joy that seekest me through pain, 
I cannot close my heart to thee; 
I trace the rainbow through the rain, 
And feel the promise is not vain, 
That morn shall tearless be. 

O Cross that liftest up my head, 
I dare not ask to fly from thee; 
I lay in dust life’s glory dead, 
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be. 

Words and Music by George Matheson, 2010. 


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GREETING AND PREPARATION: 
Leader: The Lord be with you. 
People: And also with you.

CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth.
People: Let all the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
Leader: The earth has brought forth its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.
People: Let all the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

PRAYER OF INVOCATION


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OUR GREAT GOD

Eternal God, unchanging, mysterious and unknown
Your boundless love unfailing, in grace and mercy shown.
Bright seraphim in endless flight around your glorious throne
They raise their voices day and night in praise to you alone.

CHORUS
Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God!
Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God!
Lord, we are weak and frail, helpless in the storm.
Surround us with your angels, hold us in your arms.
Our cold and ruthless enemy, his pleasure is our harm.
Rise up, oh Lord, and he will flee before our Sovereign God.

CHORUS

Let every creature in the sea and every flying bird;
Let every mountain, every field and valley of the earth;
Let all the moons and all the stars in all the universe
Sing praises to the living God, who rules them by His word.

CHORUS

 

Music and lyrics by Fernando Ortega and Mac Powell, 1997.


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DEAR REFUGE OF MY WEARY SOUL

Dear refuge of my weary soul,
On Thee, when sorrows rise
On Thee, when waves of trouble roll,
My fainting hope relies
To Thee I tell each rising grief,
For Thou alone canst heal
Thy Word can bring a sweet relief,
For every pain I feel

But oh! When gloomy doubts prevail,
I fear to call Thee mine
The springs of comfort seem to fail,
And all my hopes decline
Yet gracious God, where shall I flee?
Thou art my only trust
And still my soul would cleave to Thee
Though prostrate in the dust

Hast Thou not bid me seek
Thy face, And shall I seek in vain?
And can the ear of sovereign grace,
Be deaf when I complain?
No still the ear of sovereign grace,
Attends the mourner’s prayer
Oh may I ever find access,
To breathe my sorrows there

Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet,
Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet

Words and Music by Anne Steele and Kevin Twit, 1998.


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IN COVENANT MEMBERSHIP
STORIES OF GOD’S WORK & VOWS

CANDIDATES
Minister: Do you renounce sin and the power of evil in your life and in the world?

Candidate: I renounce them.

Minister: Who is your Lord and Savior?

Candidate: Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.

Minister: Will you be a faithful covenant member of Liberti Church, and through a life of worship, community, and mercy seek to advance God’s purposes here and throughout the world.

Candidate: I will, and I ask God to help me.

Minister: Do you promise to accept the spiritual guidance of the church and its leaders, to walk in a spirit of Christian love with this congregation, and to seek those things that make for unity, purity, and peace?

Candidate: I do.

LIBERTI CHURCH
Minister: Do you promise to love, encourage, and support these brothers and sisters by teaching them the gospel, by being an example of Christian faith and character, and by giving the strong support of God’s family in fellowship, prayer, and service?                                                              

People: We do.


CONFESSION OF FAITH — THE APOSTLES’ CREED

Minister: Let us affirm our faith together in the words of the Apostles’ creed: Do you believe in God the Father?

People: We believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

Minister: Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?

People: We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and is seated on the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.

Minister: Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?

People: We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic1 church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
(1that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places)

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

Minister: Almighty God, by the love of Jesus Christ you draw people to faith, and welcome them into the church family. May we show your joy by embracing new brothers and sisters, who with us believe and with us will work to serve you. Keep us close together in your Spirit, breaking bread in faith and l love, one with Jesus Christ our Lord and Master. Amen.

PASSING THE PEACE & ANNOUNCEMENTS
 


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THE WORD OF GOD

SCRIPTURE READING
Luke 18:9-14, NRSV 
 9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: 10‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. 11The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.” 13But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” 14I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.’

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

SILENT REFLECTION
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION & SERMON


Sermon Series: What Lies Beneath: Recovering the Lost Language of Sin
Sermon Title: Self-Righteousness
Speaker: Jared Ayers


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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, by whose grace we may triumph over temptation, be more fervent in prayer, and be more generous in love. 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. He took upon himself the weight of our sin and carried the burden of our guilt. He shared our life in every way, and, though tempted, was sinless to the end. Baptized as your own,
he went willingly to his death and by your power was raised to new life. 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: 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: God of all power, send your Holy Spirit upon us, that in sharing the bread we may share in the body of Christ, that in sharing the cup we may share in his blood. Grant that, being joined together in Christ Jesus, we may become united in faith and in all things become mature in the one who is our head. 

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. 


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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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WHAT WONDROUS LOVE IS THIS

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb Who is the great “I Am”;
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.

American Folk Hymn, 1811. Music by Fernando Ortega, 1994.


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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 especialLord, you have put gladness in our hearts; you have satisfied our hunger with good things. In giving all, you have not withheld from us your own dear Son. How can we withhold anything from you, our Lord and our God? Renew us day by day with the gift of your Spirit, that we may give ourselves completely to your service and walk with joy in the footsteps of 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

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.

Music by Stuart Townsend, 2001. Lyrics by Keith Getty, 2001.


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BENEDICTION
Minister: God the Father, who loved the world
so much that he sent his only Son,
give you grace to prepare for eternal life.
God the Son, who comes to us as Redeemer and Judge,                                                                  reveal to you the path from darkness to light. God the Holy Spirit, by whose working
the virgin Mary conceived the Christ,
help you bear the fruits of holiness.
People: Amen. 

DISMISSAL

Minister: Let us go forth in the name of Christ. 
People: Thanks be to God! 


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ANNOUNCEMENTS

WOMEN'S RETREAT 2016
The women's retreat is a fun and relaxing weekend away where we connect more intimately with God and each other - you don't want to miss it! We'll be heading to Ocean City, NJ again from April 8 - 10, where Ruth Ann Batstone will be speaking to us on the topic of Forgiveness. The deadline to register for the retreat is March 16! If you are unable to attend, please consider donating to our scholarship fund! To register and for more details, please visit libertichurch.org/womensretreat! We hope to see you there!

NEW TO LIBERTI BRUNCH
Are you new to Liberti and interested in learning more about the church? Then we'd love for you to join us after church today for brunch! This will be a great chance to meet other people that are relatively new to the church, meet a few of our staff members, and learn more about Liberti! Brunch will be held immediately following service from 11AM-12PM in the lower level boardroom. We hope to see you there!

EASTER OUTREACH 2016: MEAL PACKING & MATCHING GRANT WEEK
Easter Outreach is a partnership of churches working together to give out 3,500 dinners to families in celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. We will need volunteers to pack boxes at the Aquinas Center on 3/22 from 5:30-8:00PM, and on Maundy Thursday(3/24), 6:30PM, at First Christian Assembly where we’ll also partake of Communion. For delivery, we will need drivers and helpers on Saturday, 3/26 at the Aquinas Center! To learn more about serving with Easter Outreach, please visit easteroutreach.org/volunteer. This week is a matching grant week, which means that every dollar donated will be matched, up to $5,000. To donate, please visit easteroutreach.org/give.

THE SOUL OF SHAME SEMINAR
2200 Arch Counseling Services presents The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves with Dr. Curt Thompson, psychiatrist, author, and founder of Being Known, LLC. Examine how the role of shame plays in keeping us from being fully engaged in relationships, community, and vocational calling. When: April 22 from 10AM - 5PM, and April 23 from 9AM - 4PM. General admission $175, graduate student $75, pay at the door $195. With a group of 10, the 11th person comes free! For information, email counseling@2200archcs.org at or call 267.322.6797.

OFFICER NOMINATIONS
Over the next month, members at Liberti have the opportunity to nominate others to serve as elders and deacons at Liberti, so if you’re a member, think and pray about who God’s calling to serve as an elder or deacon at our church! To learn more and make a nomination,visit libertichurch.org/elders. Deadline for nominations is March 20!

 

 

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