The St. Giles Mission Awareness Sunday Service, April 17, 2005

Announcements:

The purpose of Mission Awareness Sunday is to increase our awareness of mission and to inform congregations about the Women’s Missionary Society and the Atlantic Mission Society. Please note your bulletin insert of the day. Evangel Hall is a particular thrust in mission of the Presbyterian Church at this time. I can’t help but think how much a place like that is needed here in the St. Catharines region. Please put it in your hearts and prayers that we be facilitators of just such a thrust in the community. St. Catharines has the RAFT, a Resource Allocation for Teens which is cramped, underfunded, and needs volunteer teams to make it truly mission. Bethlehem Place is a specialized housing help. Out of the Cold is a band aid help but a very important band aid. Perhaps we can learn from Evangel Hall. There are hundreds more who need help that are slipping through the cracks. Let us consider the ways we can work together to truly give a comprehensive voice and helping hand to others of our community.
The Lord’s Prayer shall be sung at the end of the Prayers of the People.
(pause)
Here I am to Worship Words and Music by Tim Hughes

Call to Worship:

Leader: The Father calls, that we might worship: “O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!”
People: We will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
Leader: The Son sends, that we may serve: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
People: “Here I am, Lord. Send me.”
Leader: The Spirit speaks, that we may hear: “Hear, O my people, that you may live.”
People: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
All: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.

Bible Entry

Hymn of Praise: #290 “Immortal, invisible, God only wise”

Prayers of Adoration and Confession: (in unison)

O God, our God, creator of all things,
Your name is great in all the earth!
You are the God who causes light to shine out of darkness,
Who sees the little sparrow fall,
Who wipes the tears from the eyes of those in grief and pain.
You love us beyond our ability to comprehend;
You welcome us home with open arms after our futile efforts
To find peace in the shallow attractions of the world.
We lift up our hearts to praise and adore Your glorious name,
O God most high!

Gracious God, when we catch a glimpse of your greatness,
When we sense just a little of the depth of your love for us in Jesus Christ,
We cannot help but confess to you our failures and sins.
We have not lived as you have called us to live.
We have not been careful stewards of your creation.
We have not loved and cared for others as you have taught us.
We have hurt others by our words and actions.
We have stood by in mute acceptance of a society in which the rich grow
Richer and the poor grow poorer.

Forgive us, O God, for these and all our sins,
and renew a right spirit within us.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon:
Friends, hear this good news! The Lord says, “I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25 NRSV). So let us forget them as well, for we are a forgiven people. Thanks be to God!

Children’s Time:

The children come up and lead in “I will make you fishers of men.”

1. I will make you fishers of men,
fishers of men, fishers of men.
I will make you fishers of men, if you follow me.
If you follow me, if you follow me.
I will make you fishers of men,
If you follow me.

2. Hear Christ calling, come unto Me,
Come unto Me, come unto Me;
Hear Christ calling,
Come unto Me, I will give you rest,
I will give you rest, I will give you rest.
Hear Christ calling, come unto Me, I will give you rest.

3. I will make you builders of love,
Builders of love, builders of love,
I will make you builders of love,
If you follow Me, if you follow Me, if you follow Me.
I will make you builders of love, if you follow Me.

Story: What does the word “missionary” mean?

There was a little boy who couldn’t remember very well the things his mother told him. His brother tried to teach him how to count but he got the numbers all mixed up. He could only learn things if he went over it and over it and over it many times.

On Jason’s first day of grade one he still couldn’t say his ABC’s and all the children laughed at him—all except one child. When he tried to count to ten at recess for everyone to run and hide, everyone laughed at him—all except one child. At lunch time, when he couldn’t explain very well what was in his lunch box, all the children laughed at him—all except one child.

That one child had a name and it was Kelly. Kelly would help Jason in class by leaning over and help him to find the right page. When others laughed at Jason, Kelly said, “Don’t laugh at him. How would you like it if everyone laughed at you?” In the playground, Kelly played with Jason while all the others ignored him.

One day as they climbed on to the swings, Jason said to Kelly, “I like you. You’re my friend. Nobody else is my friend.”
Kelly replied, “Oh, yes! You have another very, very good friend. Jesus is your friend.”
“Jesus?” said Jason. “I don’t know any Jesus. Who is he?”
So while they were sitting on the swings, Kelly told Jason about her friend, Jesus. “You can’t see him,” she said, “but he’s always with you. He never laughs at you when you make a mistake. He makes you feel good when you’re sad. He’s the best friend ever.”

That day, when his mom came to pick Jason up from school, he ran up to her with a big smile and shouted, “Hey, Mom! I got two friends now—Kelly and Jesus!”

What would you call Kelly?… I would call her a missionary! Does that sound funny? Missionaries are people who show the love of Jesus by what they do and by what they say. Can you say that after me?—“Missionaries are people—who show the love of Jesus—by what they do—and by what they say–.”

Let us pray:

Dear heavenly Father– help us to show Your love to others –as You showed Your love through Jesus Christ,– our best friend. Make the words that come out of our mouths– and the things that we do– show the love of Jesus– by the power of the Holy Spirit –who helps us to feel good about ourselves.—Amen.

Hymn: #570 (vs 1) “I have decided to follow Jesus”
Children leave sanctuary.

Prayer for Illumination: (unison)
Lord, take our minds and think through them.
Take our lips and speak through them.
Take our hands and work through them.
Take our hearts and set them on fire with love for you. Amen.

Scripture Reading:
Exodus 3: 7-12 (the Hebrew Scriptures)
Psalm 100
Matthew 28: 16-20 (the New Testament Scriptures)

Response: Hymn: #252 “He is Lord”

Sermon: What are we here for?

Adapted from Rev. Dr. H. Glen Davis, former missionary to Japan.

Creed: Living Faith

Hymn: 374: “Oh for a thousand tongues to sing”

Prayers of the People:

Thank you heavenly Father for every good and perfect gift. You are ever creating, loving and compassionate. We thank you for food, shelter and for those who love and care for us. We thank you for raindrops and new growth. We thank you for your church, the body of Christ, both here and around the world. We thank you that Christ’s victory over death ushers us into victory over darkness and death as well. We thank you for people of faith who first helped us to find our way to Jesus. Give to us, we pray, the faith and imagination and the will to do the same for others.

O God, help us to imagine a new world, a world filled with your love and peace, a world in which “justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.” We pray for the world; for just peace in the Middle East; for_____________; for people facing war and death and starvation every day; for children who go to bed hungry every night. We pray that we, and your people everywhere, will have the will and commitment to do everything that we can to bring an end their suffering and to share the good news of your love.

We pray for everyone here today who struggles with pain in body, heart or mind. Deliver them. Take their burden upon yourself, ease their pain and heal their wounded spirits. Be with those who cannot be here with us. There are family and friends who weigh heavily upon our hearts. We lift them up to you in the silence of this moment….(period of silence).

Hear these prayers, O God, and all the unspoken cries of our hearts, for we bring them to you in the strong name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, who taught us to pray, singing: The Lord’s Prayer, music by Albert Hay Malotte.
Special Music: Shout to the North Words and music by Martin Smith

Minute for Mission:

The regional minister of the Presbytery of Temiskaming preaches once a month in each of the four congregations of Knox, Cochrane; St. John’s; Kapuskasing; St. Andrew’s, Kirkland Lake; and MacKay, Timmins where lay missionaries lead the services in the other three churches for the remaining Sundays. Since the regional minister is not available to each community throughout the week, much of the pastoral work is looked after by the lay missionaries. Pray for the four congregations in this Regional Ministry and their ministry team and for our giving to Presbyterian Sharing to help support this ministry.

Offertory:

Offering: In response to the good news of the gospel let us present to the Lord our tithes and offerings.

Prayer of Dedication:

Gracious God, you have blessed us beyond our deserving. You have called us to proclaim Your good news and to serve Your people. We present our gifts to You. As we dedicate them to the work of your kingdom, we dedicate ourselves to the mission of your church. Receive us and our gifts, we pray, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Hymn: #592 “I the Lord of Sea and Sky” Verses solos. Congregation: chorus

Commissioning and Benediction:

People of God, let us go into the world seeking the face of Jesus in everyone we meet. And may everyone we meet see the face of Jesus in us. May the grace of God, the Father, the love of God, the Son, and the power of God, the Holy Spirit, go with us all, now and forever more. Amen.

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