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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
April 5, 2015
Easter Sunday

PRELUDE  

GREETING AND PREPARATION

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

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: Alleluia! Christ is risen.
People: He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Leader: Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
People: He has given us new life and hope. He has raised Jesus from the dead.
Leader: God has claimed us as his own. He has brought us out of darkness.
People: He has made us light to the world.
Leader: Alleluia! Christ is risen.
People: He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

— Based on 1 Peter 1:3-5

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.

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 in the precious blood of Christ.

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


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MIGHTY TO SAVE
 
Everyone needs compassion
Love that's never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations

CHORUS
Savior, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave


So take me as You find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender

BRIDGE
Shine your light and let the whole world see
We're singing for the glory of the risen King.

CHORUS


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CALL TO CONFESSION 

Leader: In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

—Isaiah 30:15, 18, NIV

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

People: Almighty God, in raising Jesus from the grave, you shattered the power of sin and death. We confess that we remain captive to doubt and fear, bound by the ways that lead to death. We overlook the poor and the hungry and pass by those who mourn; we are deaf to the cries of the oppressed and indifferent to calls for peace; we despise the weak and abuse the earth you made. Forgive us, God of mercy. Help us to trust your power to change our lives and make us new, that we may know the joy of life abundant given in Jesus Christ, the risen Lord. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION 

WORDS OF PARDON

Leader: God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

— Ephesians 2:4-7, 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 28:1-10, NRSV

1After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” 8So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

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

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

SERMON
Sermon Title: The Resurrection
Speaker: Jared Ayers


REFLECTIONS

It was the worst news I could get as an atheist: my agnostic wife had decided to become a Christian. Two words shot through my mind. The first was an expletive; the second was “divorce.”…For nearly two years, I explored the minutia of the historical data on whether Easter was myth or reality. I didn’t merely accept the New Testament at face value; I was determined only to consider facts that were well-supported historically. As my investigation unfolded, my atheism began to buckle...One by one, my objections evaporated. I read books by skeptics, but their counter-arguments crumbled under the weight of the historical data...In the end, after I had thoroughly investigated the matter, I reached an unexpected conclusion: it would actually take more faith to maintain my atheism than to become a follower of Jesus.

— Lee Strobel, from “How Easter Killed My Faith In Atheism,”
in The Wall Street Journal, Apr. 16, 2011

The proclamation of Easter Day is that all is well. And as a Christian, I say this not with the easy optimism of one who has never known a time when all was not well but as one who has faced the cross in all its obscenity as well as in all its glory, who has known one way or another what it is like to live separated from God. In the end, his will, not ours, is done. Love is the victor. Death is not the end. The end is life. His life and our lives through him, in him. Existence has greater depths of beauty, mystery, and benediction than the wildest visionary has ever dared to dream. Christ our Lord is risen.

— Frederick Buechner


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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 catholic1 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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AMAZING GRACE (MY CHAINS ARE GONE)

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.

CHORUS
My chains are gone I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

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

CHORUS (x2)

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 first begun.
Than when we first begun.
Than when we first begun.


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COMMUNION PRAYER
    
People: God our Father, you have invited us to share in the supper which your Son gave to his Church to proclaim his death until he comes: may he nourish us by his presence, and unite us in his love; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. 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

CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!  

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!


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BENEDICTION

Minister: God the Father, by whose glory Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, strengthen you to walk with him in his risen life; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon 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

EASTER OUTREACH 2015 - THANKS!
Thanks to all of you who prayed, gave, and served as a part of this year’s Easter Outreach! Together with over 30 other churches and organizations, we were able to provide Easter dinners for thousands of families in the greater Philadelphia region, and dig three clean water wells over in South Sudan! We’re hopeful that through these tangible efforts, many people will come to know Christ’s love.  

WOMEN'S RETREAT 2015
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 May 15 - 17, where Julie Van Til will be speaking to us on the topic of "Rhythms of Life - Rhythms of the Sabbath." If you plan on attending, please register by April 22, and consider giving toward the scholarship fund. To learn more and sign up, visit libertichurch.org/womensretreat.
 
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 You 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. Registration is $35, or $10 for grad students. For more information, and to register, please visit http://bit.ly/curtthompson.

PRAYER REQUESTS
This week, please pray alongside us for…
 
Our Church — For many to receive the hope of the Resurrection of Christ and new life this Easter Sunday!
Our City — For the ministry of the Alpha Pregnancy Center that they would have the resources and volunteers they need to continue their ministry to families in the city.
Our World — For the religious groups who are oppressed despite official freedom of religion in Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore.

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