LEFC Guide to Worship At Home – 20 December 2020
LEFC Guide to Worship
Sunday, December 20, 2020
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
From the Pastor
Dear Church Family,
Often the worst part of waiting is not knowing how long the wait will be. Anticipation dies down and despair sets in. And the last bit is often the hardest. It’s darkest right before dawn, especially when you don’t have a device telling you exactly when dawn will come.
Think about the “400 years of silence” between Malachi and Matthew in your Bible. To us, it’s just the turn of a page, but for Israel, it was as long a stretch of time as the Mayflower pilgrims setting out from Plymouth is far from us Americans now. Those who lived in the time between promise and fulfillment must have been tempted to lose hope.
It’s really hard to not meet in person on the Sunday right before Christmas. I know that staying home is the right thing to do right now, but I miss being with you all, listening to the Celebration Choir sing their anthems, witnessing the children put on a Christmas program, and belting out “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” together in the worship auditorium. I pray that this is the last time we need to forgo those festivities as a gathered church family.
Of course, the truth is that until Jesus returns, we will experience much darkness. The tyranny of COVID-19 may end through widespread vaccination, but the curse will remain until Christ’s Kingdom blessings flow. It’s important that we not lose hope.
Let’s continue to pray for persevering hope for each other during these darkest days of the pandemic so far. On Sunday evenings in December, we are hearing from and praying for the medical professionals in our church family. This Sunday, we have 4 different health care workers with different experiences to share at our Family Fellowship Meeting on Zoom (6:30pm). And we have people weathering COVID-19, cancer, grief, and all kinds of other darkness in our church family right now. Keep praying.
The key to not losing hope is to remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness and wonder at the Lord’s love for us. We need to remember what happened when the page was turned into Matthew chapter 1 and we read, “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about…”
That’s what Christmas is for. “The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Matthew 4:16). “Blessed are all who take refuge in Him” (Psalm 2:12). Don’t lose hope!
What time are you going to gather your household this weekend to worship our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ?
In His Grip,
– Pastor Matt
P.S. I love how Christmas music (much of which is worship-of-Jesus music!) is everywhere this time of year. You never know where you might hear “Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see, Hail the Incarnate Deity.” I hope worship-focused Christmas music is playing in your home, your car, and your earbuds, and, even more, that it’s coming out of your heart and mouth.
Home Worship Guide
1. Welcome to Worship
Read Psalm 2 with awe and wonder as your family gathers to worship.
Have someone pray and ask God to bless your time of worship at home.
**Option. Families with children at home could prepare them by asking, “What is Psalm 2 about?” “What do you think Pastor Matt will say about Psalm 2 today?” “What did Psalm 2 make you think or feel when we read it?” “What does Psalm 2 teach us about God?” “What does Psalm 2 teach us about ourselves?” “What does Psalm 2 teach us about Jesus?”
**Option. Christmas is this week. Some families may want to also read about the birth of Jesus Christ from Matthew 1 or Luke 2.
2.Worship in Singing
As a household sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” by Charles Wesley (1739).
**Option. You might want to study the history and theology of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” Pastor Matt taught on this in a message in 2011 entitled, “Glory to the Newborn King.”
3. Worship in Unity
As a household, recite together “The Word Made Flesh,” the Ligonier Statement on Christology (2016):
We confess the mystery and wonder
of God made flesh
and rejoice in our great salvation
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
With the Father and the Holy Spirit,
the Son created all things,
sustains all things,
and makes all things new.
He became truly man,
two natures in one person.
He was born of the Virgin Mary
and lived among us.
Crucified, dead, and buried,
He rose on the third day,
ascended to heaven,
and will come again
in glory and judgment.
He kept the Law,
atoned for sin,
and satisfied God’s wrath.
He took our filthy rags
and gave us
His righteous robe.
He is our Prophet, Priest, and King,
building His church,
interceding for us,
and reigning over all things.
Jesus Christ is Lord;
we praise His holy Name forever.
**Option. This would be an appropriate time to light Advent Candle #4 and read “Wonder at His Love” in the 2020 LEFC Advent Readings. Watch the Quick Family light Advent Candle #4 (video available Sunday at 7:15am).
4. Worship in Lament and Thanksgiving
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15).
Share with your family those things you are thankful for and those things you are lamenting this week.
5. Worship in Bible Memory
Recite our current “Hide the Word” memory verses, Philippians 4:4-8.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
**Option: Continue to work on the order of adjectives of verse 8: “True, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable.” Say it 5 times or until you can do it from memory.
6. 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.
7. Worship in the Word
Watch or read Pastor Matt’s message, “My Son.”
[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.
8. Worship in Singing
Sing “What Child Is This?” by William C. Dix (1865).
9. 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.
10. Participate in LEFC Family Fellowship Meeting on Zoom – 6:30pm on Sunday.
Many of us are meeting through video-conference online this Sunday at 6:30pm:
- See one another’s faces and hear each other’s voices.
- Listen to announcements of church family news.
- Interact with medical professionals from our own church family who work in various roles in health care. Learn how COVID-19 has affected their work and how we can prayerfully support them during this difficult time.
- LEFC Zoom Kids, we want to see your art! Can you draw a picture of Psalm 2? How do you envision the kings of the earth who are mad at the Lord (vv.1-3)? How do you see the Lord’s laugh and speech to them (vv.4-12)? What is your picture of the Son on His throne? How could you draw the kings kissing the Son in homage (v.12)? Remember, the Anointed One of Psalm 2 is the Christ of Christmas. Can you draw us a picture of Mary and Joseph and Jesus as a little baby?
- Pray for one another live and online.
If you have any questions about how to do this, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Church Family News
We have been working on a surprise to bless others at Christmastime. We are looking for a few folks to help with socially distant delivery of some packages. The packages will be ready to go Tuesday morning and instructions will be provided. Contact Marilynn or Pastor Matt to help out. Thanks.
Return Your Ballots
All members are reminded to fill out and return your written ballot with your votes for the officers, budget, and constitutional amendment. Ballots need to be postmarked by Monday, December 21st. Thank you!
Our church and our pastor love to pray for you. If you have a need for prayer, you can email us at [email protected] All emails being sent to this address will be seen by Pastor Matt. Please indicate if this is a private request (for Pastor Matt and the Elder Board) or public request for the prayer chain.
The theme this year of our Advent Readings is “Let Earth Receive Her King!” centering on Psalm 98. We are posting videos of families in the congregation doing the Advent Readings online and encourage each family in the church to do a wreath at home as well! If you have missed these videos, be sure to visit our YouTube channel and watch Matt & Amy Modzel, Rob & Bev O’Connor, and Cody, Holly, Copper, Simon, & Whittaker Crumrine light our first three advent candles.
Carols on Christmas Eve
Just because we are not meeting in person does not mean that Christmas is cancelled. Let’s be creative as we think through our personal plans for this year. Maybe a few families can coordinate and go caroling at the homes of some of our older folks in the church? Pull out your directory, drive over to someone’s front yard, ring the doorbell, and sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “Joy to the World.” That would be very safe and might mean the world to someone who needs the encouragement this Christmas season.
Christmas Eve Offering
Each year we set aside an offering for Christmas Eve to help those in our church family who may be going through a difficult time. This year’s offering will be added to the Deaconess Relief fund to be used to help people from our community and church who have been economically impacted through this pandemic. Mark your gift Deaconess Fund and send it into the church office.
Anita Allen, Amy Jo Belko, Cindy Green, Marilynn Kristofits, and Misty Michaels would like to thank the church family for the generous Christmas gifts.
Sunday School at Home
The Explore the Bible winter personal study guides start this week and are available for pick up at the church. We have five copies in large print available too. Our Daily Bread for this quarter is also available for pick up. Call the church if you would like these resources mailed to you.
A designated giving fund for a picnic pavilion here at church remains open. You can donate to this by marking your gift “pavilion” and placing it in the offering.
Adopt A Student – Heart for Haiti
We would like to help the kids from our 2019 Family Bible Week project find yearly sponsors for College Susan Schuenke this year. $375 will keep one of our six remaining kids in school for the current academic year. You can choose to support a student with a one-time gift here at church, or monthly payments directly to VOHM.
Continuing to Give
Thank you for continuing to support our ministries and missionaries. Ways to give:
- Mail your offering check to us at PO BOX 114, Lanse, PA 16849.
- Cash or Check in person. Drop off your offering at the church during office hours (9:30-2:30 Tuesday – Friday) in the offering plate right inside the door.
- Online Payments – PayPal and Venmo are our current e-giving options. Our account address is our email: [email protected] Note: We are unable to utilize CNB’s new e-banking platform at this time.
Contact the church office for this week’s prayer requests from the bulletin.