LEFC Guide to Worship – May 31, 2020 Pentecost Sunday
May 31, 2020
Dear Church Family,
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
Because of Jesus, we have so much to rejoice in as a congregation. This week, I got to share the good news of our plan to resume some in-person ministry on our church campus starting, Lord-willing, next Sunday, June 7th. To meet the diverse needs of our church body, we are launching 2 new shorter/smaller worship gatherings with different levels of health precautions.
To make this work, we are asking everyone to reserve a seating section for your household in advance. If you haven’t yet, please read the instructions to orient yourself to this strange new way of preparing for on-campus worship.
Even though things are going to remain weird for a while, I am eagerly looking forward to greeting the first wave of returnees!
Please continue to pray for wisdom for our church leaders as we make the necessary preparations for next Sunday.
Please also pray for those who it is not yet their time to return. Thankfully, we can all still stay connected through the use of our church directory and all of these Worship at Home resources that we will continue to provide.
We have prepared another ten-step guide for your family to use in worship at home this weekend, and I will be posting another recorded video message from the book of Philippians. You’ll notice that the theme of rejoicing continues to bubble to the surface.
This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday when we traditionally focus on the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. For the Worship in Unity portion this week, we are reciting a section of the Lausanne Covenant (1974), a statement of belief drawn up for a global conference on evangelism and world missions initially spearheaded by BillyGraham and John Stott. I love how the Lausanne Covenant ties together the work of missions with the power of the Holy Spirit.
On Sunday at 11am, many of us are going to connect again using Zoom for a Church Family Fellowship time (I’ll be there by 10:45 to welcome folks and help people get set-up). This week Jim & Kay Panaggio will be joining us from their home in Michigan. We have partnered with the Panaggios since 1997 to reach and teach the peoples of Latin America.
Zoom definitely has its limitations, but it also has given us some neat opportunities, too, which we might not ever have enjoyed without it. Parents, I would love to have your kids do some show-and-tell from your homes this week. Would they be willing to show us on Zoom something they love at their house, perhaps a favorite toy or stuffed animal?
Next Sunday (June 7th) will be “Grad Sunday” when we celebrate the accomplishments of our church family’s recent graduates, especially from area high schools. While we won’t be able to have a pizza party together, we will be doing some special things across all of our on-campus and at-home ministries to recognize these young people. Their names are listed in the church family news below in case you want to send them a note or card.
This Sunday night (May 31st) is the West Branch Area Baccalaureate which will be an online event. Two of our own young men have a part in leading it, and I have the privilege of giving the message. I asked to be speaker a few years ago because the Class of 2020 is special to me. I have known them for all of their school days, and one of them is my oldest son! We have much to rejoice in.
What time are you going to gather your household this weekend to worship the Lord Jesus Christ?
In His Grip,
– Pastor Matt
P.S. I will say it again: Rejoice! I hope your family is singing together to express your joy in the Lord. Ephesians 5:18-19 closely ties together being filled with the Holy Spirit and making music in your heart to the Lord through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. There are many good songs to sing about the Holy Spirit. I had a hard time settling on just a few for this guide. Some other favorites of our church family include,““Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart,” “Sweet, Sweet Spirit,” and “Breathe on Me, Breath of God.” Perhaps you could search the music out on YouTube or Spotify and sing along.
Home Worship Guide
Call to Worship
Read Psalm 96 with jubilation in your heart and voice as your family gathers to worship.
**Option: Families with young children may want to have the kids shout, “The LORD reigns!” after a parent reads each verse.
Have someone pray and ask God to bless your time of worship at home.
Worship in Singing
Remind your family that Pentecost Sunday is traditionally a day for Christians to focus on the Person and work of the Holy Spirit.
As a household sing “Holy Spirit” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend (2006).
**Option. Families with older adults might also or instead enjoy singing “The Comforter Has Come” by Frank Bottome (1890).
**Option. Families with younger children might want to repeat the song that has our Hide the Word verse in it: “Rejoice in the Lord Always.” Parents might plan to do this short song for several weeks because repetition helps us to learn something well. Don’t forget that it is also a canon your family can sing “in the round.”
Worship in Unity
As a household, recite together Article 14 of the Lausanne Covenant (1974):
“We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Father sent his Spirit to bear witness to his Son; without his witness ours is futile. Conviction of sin, faith in Christ, new birth and Christian growth are all his work.
Further, the Holy Spirit is a missionary spirit; thus evangelism should arise spontaneously from a Spirit-filled church. A church that is not a missionary church is contradicting itself and quenching the Spirit. Worldwide evangelization will become a realistic possibility only when the Spirit renews the Church in truth and wisdom, faith, holiness, love and power.
We therefore call upon all Christians to pray for such a visitation of the sovereign Spirit of God that all his fruit may appear in all his people and that all his gifts may enrich the body of Christ. Only then will the whole Church become a fit instrument in his hands, that the whole earth may hear his voice.”
Worship in Lament and Thanksgiving
Share with your family both the good and the bad that you all have experienced this week and express them both to the Lord in prayer.
For example, you might rejoice that some in our church family will be able to return to campus for corporate worship next weekend but lament that others will not get to be a part of the first wave of returnees.
You might also lament the more than 100,000 virus-related deaths in the United States in just four months and at the same time rejoice that the number of new cases appears to be trending downward in our whole our country and that COVID-19 has had as yet minimal invasion into Clearfield County.
Worship in Bible Memorization
Recite our current “Hide the Word” memory verses, Philippians 4:4-5.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
**Option: To improve your memory, try separating the two verses and say them out of order. Say verse 5 and then verse 4 and then verse 5 again.
Worship in Prayer
Take prayer requests and pray for each other.
Read the prayer guide together and pray for the rest of the church family and the requests listed.
Worship in the Word
Watch or read Pastor Matt’s message: “I Am Glad and Rejoice With All Of You.”
Read on Pastor Matt’s Blog
[The message will be available online by Sunday morning.]
Some families may want to watch/read the message on their own and then have a Bible study and discussion together during this time.
Application Questions for Personal Reflection and Family Discussion:
Do I tend to live as a Christian only when others are watching or all of the time? Why?
Is my life marked by complaining and arguing right now? To whom might I need to apologize?
To whom could I hold out the word of life this coming week?
If the Lord were to return or I were to die this week, could I rejoice that my life had been lived in worship of Christ? If not, what all needs to change?
Worship in Singing
Sing “Spirit of the Living God” by Daniel Iverson (1935).
**Option: Some families, especially those with young children who really enjoy repetition, may want to continue to sing “Jesus, Strong and Kind” by CityAlight (2019) each week.
Worship All Week
Have someone pray a prayer of commissioning for your family as you end this time of gathered worship and face a week of new opportunities and new challenges to serve the Lord, the church, and the world in His Name.
Participate in LEFC Family Fellowship Meeting on Zoom – 11am on Sunday.
Many of us are meeting through video-conference online this Sunday at 11:00am.
More Links to Helpful Resources
“Can the Pandemic Be an Answered Prayer?” by Rosaria Butterfield