LEFC Guide to Worship – June 7, 2020 Graduation Sunday

LEFC Guide to Worship

Graduation Sunday

Sunday, June 7, 2020
Lanse Evangelical Free Church

From the Pastor

Dear Church Family,

Eleven Sundays.

The last time we gathered together in-person for worship on our church campus was March 15, 2020. Because of COVID-19, eleven Sundays have passed where we have all worshipped the Lord from our homes and utilized creative technological means of encouraging Christian fellowship and spiritual growth. For the last eleven Sundays, the church has not stopped being the church. In fact, the scope of our outreach may have even grown some as many people have accessed our online resources.

But it’s been too long. We all have missed being together for the last three months. There is nothing quite like what I call, “Church at church.” So as your pastor, I’m overjoyed that the Lord is leading us back. Thank you for praying for this day to come!

I’m extremely grateful for the leaders that the Lord has given to our church family. Over the last three months, the Elders have put in many hours of unified prayer, hard thinking, and diligent shepherding. The Facilities Team has kept the building in good maintenance and improved the internet service. The Deaconesses have compassionately cared for hurting people. The Finance Team has kept the bills current, the staff paid, and the missionaries supported. Cindy has done a deep clean of the whole building. And Marilynn has kept all of the numerous plates spinning away, including many new plates that we’ve never had to deal with before.

Please keep praying for wisdom for these leaders as there are many things to think through in the days to come including when and how to restart other in-person ministries (On-Campus Prayer Meeting begins again, Lord-willing, on June 17th!) or envision creative alternatives. There is still much work to be done, but we know the Lord’s firm and tender mercies are new every day (Lamentations 3:23).

Eleven Sundays have passed since we were all together, but now some of us get to be back together again. If you are a first-wave returnee, welcome home! I’m glad you’re here on campus for the 8am or 9:30am worship gathering, and I hope you experience the grace of our Lord Jesus as we sing, pray, and hear God’s Word together. It won’t be the same as it was, especially with all of the extra health precautions, but I’m sure that it will be good because our Lord is good.

One thing that I’m certain will be difficult is that a lot of us will still be missing one another. Some will be worshipping at a different service than others, and many are not yet free to return to worship on campus. Church will probably feel a lot “smaller” this week, and we’re still going to yearn for the people we don’t see (Philippians 1:8). As your pastor, I suggest everybody pull out your church directory on Sunday afternoon and drop a line to somebody you are missing. We are all one church family regardless of whether or not we are all together at the same time and place. I’m hoping we see more and more of each other each week as new waves of returnees come in.

Another great place to see everyone is the Family Fellowship Meeting on Zoom (Sundays at 11:00am). This week our missionaries at Miracle Mountain Ranch, Donnie and Tonya Rosie, will be joining us to share about the challenges and opportunities before MMR this summer. If all goes well, they will connect with us from the ranch barns, and we’ll get to see some horses and/or other farm animals in the Critter Corral. The LEFC Kids should especially enjoy that! We’re also going to recognize our graduates and pray for one another other. I hope you can join us.

For those at home this weekend, we have prepared another ten-step guide for your family worship time and produced another recorded video message from the book of Philippians. You’ll notice that the strong theme of rejoicing in the Lord continues to surge throughout both the book and our worship plan because unstoppable joy is exactly what we all need during these difficult days.

Over the last eleven Sundays we have added a Worship in Unity element to our worship times. Christians throughout church history have declared their faith together in essential Christian doctrine through beautiful summaries of biblical teaching often called “creeds” and “confessions.” This week we will return to the Apostles’ Creed which we regularly sing together in songs on Sunday mornings. This short overview of the Christian faith is one of the earliest statements of unified Christian belief. Reciting an ancient creed or a portion of a confession in worship may still feel a bit foreign to you, or it may remind you of experiences you’ve had in other churches. The point is not to just recite it lifelessly but to proclaim from the heart our unity in the faith with the whole church throughout the world and throughout the ages.

The Elders have been praying about how and when to resume celebrating the Lord’s Supper as a church family. At this time, we have chosen to wait until the whole church can safely partake together. The biblical teaching on Communion emphasizes church unity and waiting for each other in love (see 1 Corinthians 11:17-34). While different churches will choose to handle these things in different ways, we believe that we should postpone our celebration until the “all clear” is sounded and the full church can gather around the Lord’s Table together once again.

Starting Sunday afternoon, we will be asking everyone who is ready to reserve a household seating section for for next Sunday, June 14th. This helps us to ensure that we have enough of everything ready for both services, especially spaced seating. Please pray for us as we prepare this week to gather once again in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope we don’t have to forego eleven Sundays ever again.

It’s a joy to be your pastor. Whether at home or on campus this weekend, let’s make sure that every single one of us in this precious church family worships the Lord Jesus Christ.

In His Grip,

– Pastor Matt

P.S. Keep singing as you go! “There’s within my heart a melody–Jesus whispers sweet and low, ‘Fear not, I am with thee–peace, be still,’ in all of life’s ebb and flow. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus–sweetest name I know, fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go.”

Home Worship Guide

1. Welcome to Worship

Read Psalm 117 with gratefulness for God’s faithfulness as your family gathers to worship.

**Option: Parents might want to tell their children more about Psalm 117. It is the shortest in the Psalter (Book of Psalms). It has only 16 words in the Hebrew in just 2 brief verses. At the same time, Psalm 117 says a great deal, singing to all of the nations of the world about the greatness of the LORD.

Families with young children may want to have the kids shout, “Hallelujah!” after a parent reads Psalm 117 as that is the Hebrew translated “Praise the LORD” in verse 2.

Have someone pray and ask God to bless your time of worship at home.

2. Worship in Singing

As a household sing “’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” by Louisa Stead (1882).

**Option. Families with older adults might also or instead enjoy singing “He Keeps Me Singing” by Luther Bridgers (1910).

**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.”

3. Worship in Unity

As a household, recite together the Apostles’ Creed:

“We believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Christian Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.”

4. Worship in Lament and Thanksgiving

When the people of Israel returned from the exile and built the foundation of a new temple, they praised God with a loud shout. At the same time many of the older leaders who remembered the older grander temple wept aloud. Both responses were good and right for that moment.

As some of our church family worship on campus while others remain at home, we both rejoice and lament. As a family, give thanks for those who were ready to return and pray for all of the families who still needed to stay home.

Discuss other things your family has experienced this week, both joyful and sorrowful.

**Option. Have someone pray a prayer of lament that we are not all partaking of the Lord’s Supper together again today.

5. Worship in Bible Memory

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.”  – Philippians 4:4-5

**Option: Look ahead at verse 6. Is your family ready to add it in?

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: “With Great Joy.”

Facebook Video

YouTube Video

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:

  1. Am I like Timothy?
  2. Am I like Epaphroditus?
  3. Do I welcome and honor leaders like Timothy and Epaphroditus?

8. Worship in Singing

Sing “Amazing Grace” by John Newton (1779).

**Option: Some families, especially those with young children may want to sing, “Jesus Christ is the Same” from Hebrews 13:8. No matter what else changes in our world, we can count on Jesus to be unchanging.

**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.

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 – 11am on Sunday June 7.

Many of us are meeting through video-conference online this Sunday at 11:00am:

  • See one another’s faces and hear each other’s voices.
  • Listen to announcements of church family news.
  • Interact with our missionaries at Miracle Mountain Ranch, Donnie & Tonya Rosie.
  • Kids, the Rosies are goign to join us from the barns at MMR. We might get to see horses and other farm animals!
  • 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

Zoom This Week

Join us at 11:00am as we meet for Church Family Fellowship on Zoom. Donnie & Tonya Rosie will be joining us to share the Summer plans for Miracle Mountain Ranch. As a reminder, If Zoom ever has connectivity issues, check your email for a new link, and we will try again at 1:00pm.

 EFCA United in Prayer

You are invited to join President Kompelien and members of the EFCA Board of Directors on Wednesday at 8pm for an online prayer gathering. United in Prayer is a 30 minute live-streaming event designed to unite as “one EFCA” with our hearts centered in Christ. Plan now to join them.

 On-Campus Worship Gatherings

Be sure to let us know if you will be joining us next week. We will once again have two gatherings at 8:00 & 9:30. Call the office to reserve your family section. We will send out links for online registration on Sunday afternoon. We look forward to seeing many of you again next week.

 On-Campus Prayer Meeting to Resume June 17th

Join us at 7pm on Wednesday night June 17th for an in-person on-campus prayer meeting in the Fellowship Hall (or outside if the weather is nice). More details about expected health precautions will be announced soon, but mark your calendars now to participate. For those who will not be able to attend, we will continue to send out “Prayer Meeting at Home” resources online. If you would like to start receiving those resources via email, please contact Pastor Matt.

Challenge 2020

This year’s Challenge Conference theme is “Restless: Longing and Belonging” and has been transformed into a free livestream event.  Now is your chance to get a taste of what Challenge has to offer. Mark your calendars for July 15, 2020 for an interactive evening with speakers Vašek Andrš, Stephen Love, Kempton Turner, and Justin Wevers. Seventh Hour will lead worship and some other surprises are also planned. Registration is now open for this event.

 MOPS Ministry Concluding

After a two-year process of prayerful evaluation, the leaders of our MOPS ministry have concluded that it is time to discontinue the program. On behalf of the leadership team Holly Crumrine writes, “We are so thankful for the church’s faithfulness to our community families through this ministry for the past 9 years! We have seen the impact of your support and prayers and thank our God for your partnership. We would like to especially thank our MOPS Kids volunteers for the loving care they have shown to both moms and children, especially Bonnie Dobash for her faithful leadership of that team.”

Pregnancy Resource Clinic Update

The virtual banquet for PRC is now available to watch online. Take some time to watch this informative video and pray for the PRC as they wait to see how God will bless them through this fundraiser.  Currently they are at 64% of their goal.

Help for Haiti

This past week, Haiti has seen COVID-19 infections grow rapidly and every part of Haiti is now affected. VOHM has helped many families with basic nutrition needs. A designated giving fund remains open to assist VOHM and the three churches help to meet the basic need for nutrition in their church families and community. If you would like to give to this through the church, please mark your gift “Haiti” or you can donate online here.

 Need Prayer?

Our church and our pastor love to pray for you. If you have a need for prayer, you can email us at prayer@lansefree.org. 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.

Helping One Another

We have developed an online form to identify those from our church family and community who may need some assistance and those who are willing to help others during this pandemic. If you need help, know of someone who needs help, or can help, please contact the church office.

 Our Daily Bread

Our Daily Bread for June, July, and August has been delayed due to shipping. We will let you know when it arrives and is available to pick up here at the church.

 Safe Pastoral Visits

Pastor Matt would love to see many of you in person to pray with you, share concerns, ideas, or just have a conversation. If you are open to a porch visit, driveway visit, or a visit in another setting that would allow for safe and appropriate distances, please get in touch with him to schedule a time. You can reach him at the church (345.6500), call on his mobile phone, send him an email (pastormatt@lansefree.org), or connect with him on social media.

 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 – P2P (CNB), PayPal, and Venmo are all e-giving options. Our account address is our email: churchoffice@lansefree.org. Contact Marilynn if you need any help navigating this way of giving.

Celebrating Our Graduates

This weekend we celebrate the graduation of Thomas Kovalick, Dalton Kristofits, Tyler Matthews, Andrew Mitchell, and Benjamin Schiefer. These young men completed their high school programs last week.  We also celebrate the accomplishments of Meili Finney, Sheila Hutchinson, and Haylee Shimmel.  These young ladies completed their post-secondary education.  Congratulations to all of our graduates!

Prayer Items

Contact the Office to be sent these items.

More Links to Helpful Resources:

Grief, Interrupted by COVID-19 by Marjean Brooks

AUDIO: How Do I Find Peace in the Midst of Fear? with Ed Welch

A Time for Lament by EFCA President Kevin Kompelien

Lanse Free Church

255 Cotohisc Road
Lanse, PA 16849
Phone: 814.345.6500

Worship Service: Sunday, 10:00am

Prayer Meeting: Wednesday, 7:00pm