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Reflections
“Rebirth means something more than an improvement in man; it means that man receives a new origin, and this is manifestly something which he cannot give himself.” 

—Rudolph Bultmann

“God became human so that humans could become again, in reality, human.”

—St. Augustine of Hippo



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Gathering Before God
September 23, 2018
18th Sunday after Pentecost
Center City Campus

Opening Sentences

Leader:     Our help is in the name of the Lord,
                 who made heaven and earth.

—Psalm 124:8

A Mighty Fortress is Our God

A mighty Fortress is our God,
A Bulwark never failing;
Our Helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabbaoth His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His Kingdom is forever.


by Martin Luther


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Greeting & Preparation

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


Call to Worship

Leader: Come, let us bow down in worship, 
People: let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; 

Leader: for he is our God 
People: and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. 

Leader: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; 
People: let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

 —based on Psalm 95:6-7

Prayer of Invocation


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And Can It Be

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me who caused His pain!
For me who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be That
Thou, my God, should die for me?

Chorus:
Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me!
Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me!


He left His Father’s throne above,
So free, so Infinite His grace!
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race.
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Chorus

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray;
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
 I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Chorus

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own

Chorus


© 1994 Scott Roley Music
CCLI Song # 5021581 -- CCLI License # 3040322


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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
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior

(2x)

Chorus 2:
For I am the Lord (Do not fear)
I am the Lord  (Do not fear)  
I am the Lord
(2x)

When you walk, through the fire, I will be with you.
And the Flames, they shall not, not consume you
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you
I have called you by name, you are mine



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Call to Confession

Leader:     If we say that we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins,
he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins
and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
In humility and faith let us confess our sin to God. 

—based on 1 John 1:8-9, NRSV

Prayer of Confession

People:       God of wisdom, forgive our foolishness.
We desire what we do not need and corrupt our relationships with envy.
You urge us to gentleness, but we stir up conflict.
Give us your grace,
that we may harvest righteousness and peace,
for the sake of Jesus Christ,
our Teacher and Redeemer,
in whose name we pray- Amen.

Silent Confession & Words of Pardon

Leader:      Jesus Christ the righteous is the atoning sacrifice for our sin,
and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world! 

—1 John 2:2

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


Passing the Peace & Announcements


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The Word of God

Prayer for Illumination & Scripture Reading
John 3:1-16, NRSV

2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? 11“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

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

Sermon
Sermon Series:        Encountering Jesus
Sermon Title:           Jesus and a Religious Insider
Speaker:                  Jim Angehr


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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.

                 (1that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places).


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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:     Holy and right it is, and our joyful duty to give thanks to you at all times and in all
                   places, O Lord our Creator… we worship and adore your glorious name, saying:                                         

Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
The whole earth is full of Your glory,
hosanna in the highest

(2x)

Minister:   Most righteous God…  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

(2x)                                                          

Minister:   Send your Holy Spirit upon us… Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Praise to the Father,
praise to the Son, 
praise to the Spirit, 

Our God the Three in One.

 


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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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We Will Feast in the House of Zion

Chorus:
We will feast in the house of Zion
We will sing with our hearts restored
He has done great things, we will say together
We will feast and weep no more

We will not be burned by the fire
He is the LORD our God
We are not consumed, by the flood
Upheld, protected, gathered up 

Chorus

In the dark of night, before the dawn
My soul, be not afraid
For the promised morning, oh how long?
Oh God of Jacob, be my strength


Chorus

Every vow we’ve broken and betrayed
You are the Faithful one
And from the garden to the grave
Bind us together, bring shalom.


Chorus


© 2015 Drink Your Tea Music (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.) and joshmooreownsthismusic (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.) 


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Prayers of the People 

Minister:     Lord, in your mercy,
People:     hear our prayer.

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


How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I  know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom


© 1995 Thankyou Music
CCLI Song # 1558110 -- CCLI License # 3040322


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Benediction

Minister:      To God be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity.
People:      Amen.

Dismissal

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

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