Understanding Our Liturgy
In our worship service, each thing that we do has a specific purpose. They serve to teach and remind us of who God is and what He has done, as well as to give us an opportunity to respond.
We believe that when we worship, we are in dialogue with God. We speak to Him and we listen to what He wants to teach us.
We speak in:
Praise – declaring who He is and what He has done.
Confession – admitting our sins & failures and our need of mercy & grace.
Thanksgiving – for Jesus, His sacrifice, and His blessings.
Prayer – for our earthly needs and the needs of others.
We listen in:
Assurance – that the love of Jesus is freely offered and, when accepted, can never be removed.
Teaching – from the bible on life, our struggles, and our joys; from the big picture to specific commands and instructions to general proverbs.
Benediction – his eternal promises to bless His people and that he will never forsake us.
"Worship has been misunderstood as something that arises from a feeling which ‘comes upon you,’ but it is vital that we understand that it is rooted in a conscious act of the will, to serve and obey the Lord Jesus Christ."
Why We Do What We Do
None of us are immune to the cares, worries, and busyness of life. After a welcome and a few announcements, we prepare for worship by taking a moment of quiet together. We use this time to still our racing minds and focus on our awesome God.
The beautiful thing is that God meets us wherever we are, and through worship we align our minds and hearts On Him, who equips us to deal with all of those things.
Because we believe God initiates with sinners, we begin worship by reading an invitation from God found in the Bible.
Christians have always been a singing people. Music elevates our words by highlighting the most important statements (through repetition) and by feeding our emotions (with the depth and truth of scripture).
In the Hymn of Praise, we declare that our Three-in-One God, Father, Son and Spirit, is awesome in who He is and what He does.
When we see who God is and what He does, the only right response is to realize how far short we fall of His perfection. We use scripture to expose our sin, and we confess that sin fully and freely, knowing that He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Psalm 103).
We pray as Jesus taught us to pray adding doxology (praise to God).
We read scripture that reminds us of the certainty of God’s mercy and grace, and in this we thank Him for the forgiveness of sin through faith in Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.
We rejoice in the promise of forgiveness! The bible says, “Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:4-5).
We boldly proclaim what we believe. Most often we recite the Apostle’s Creed. Sometimes we substitute another creed or include questions from the Catechisms.
We read from the bible, letting it set the agenda, and the pastor expounds and explains what is read. The sermon is not speculation about God, nor is it just motivational speaking. We believe the Holy Spirit uses this time to speak the truth of the Gospel into us, not by the power or effectiveness of the pastor, but by the Spirit’s almighty power alone. Only he can “open our ears” to hear and understand. The sermon is food for our souls; it strengthens us for resisting sin and equips us for all good works.
Every first Sunday of the month we take this sacrament. While the body and blood of Jesus are not physically present, it is more than a mere rememberance. It is “means of grace” by which we are sanctified.
Our bread is gluten-free and the cups are filled with grape juice.
Having been fed by God’s Word we sing, because God’s Word calls us to respond.
We give thanks to God and bring our needs to him.
As recipients of his grace, we give back to God a portion of what is already his.
The Benediction (literally “good word”) allows God to have the last word. It is a reminder of His promises. Jesus said, “I give [all who believe in Me] eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).