Is anything greater than God's love for us in the world? This fourth Sunday in Advent we look at this question. Here at DisciplesNet we've worked through the seasons of the year to help us think about our advent Sundays--and this Sunday we move from the fresh new life born in the Springtime, to a sense of the work needed throughout the summer to help this new life grow to full potential. But..just what is that full potential?
For worship today we use two Gospel readings sharing a part of the narrative of Jesus' birth. We hope you will be blessed by our lighting of the Advent candle, for which we are honored to have guest readers help us from England and Germany--and joining our other team members in the United States and Belgium.
This worship is just over 34 minutes long, with sing-along hymns, prayers, and a special word from Pastor Deb. As we do every week, our time together includes a time of communion (breaking of the bread) where you may choose to participate, or simply meditate as we tell of Jesus' invitation to "do this in remembrance of me." If you would like to share with us at the table that goes beyond earthly boundaries of time, place, and structure, we ask that you prepare a piece of bread of some type and a drink such as grape juice, wine, or water. As we pray, our prayers are given to extend to where you are. If you are unable to eat or drink, you may want to use a symbolic gesture or mental symbol as you come together at this table of remembrance with us. (Scroll down for an Order of Worship)
We hope that as you join us for worship you will feel a blessing from being part. Please tell friends, family, and others you know about our online church that is here with doors that are always open, walls as wide as the world, and always room at the table.
ORDER OF WORSHIP:
1. Opening background music: “Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella, Good Christian Men Rejoice.
2. Introduction, Bob Shaw
3. Opening Hymn: “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” Twana Harris, Dean Phelps
4. Lighting of Advent Candle: Pastor Ann, Guests
5. Chorus: “Holy Baby, Holy Child”
6. Pastor's Prayer with Lord's Prayer: Pastor Russ
7. Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25 (NRSV)
8. Message: Deb Phelps: The Greatest Love
9. Hymn: “I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry”
10. Communion: Pastor Amy
11. Hymn: “In Remembrance of Me”
12. Sending out, with “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”
If you would like to chat with one of our pastors, including talking more about belief in God, becoming a Christian or following Christ, or living as a disciple of Christ, please email us at email@example.com, or contact us using the contact information on our website, disciplesnet.org, or our Facebook page, DisciplesNet Church.
ABOUT OUR DISCIPLES SHEEP:
You may notice in our videos that we have various stuffed sheep with us in worship. To us, these are not toys, but important parts of our church.
It happened this way: When we began producing worship as DisciplesNet in November 2010, one of the first problems we recognized was that when we are speaking to the people on the other end of a camera and internet, we cannot actually see the people to whom we were speaking. It was easy to speak to the other pastors in the room, but as we prayed and preached and spoke, we instead wanted to be reminded of the people for whom we were serving—including people whose best way to attend worship might be online. We wanted to be speaking to them---and as best we could hearing and telling their stories.
So, on a whim, we set some sheep that we’d used for a children’s sermon in front of our speakers, and found that helped! Before we knew it, their number was growing. They spilled over onto the table as we spoke. They have become dear to us and no longer children’s toys— but representations of all of the sheep of God’s pasture, all of God’s children—the real people like you, whom we may not be able to see in real life, but wish never to forget are there, and are each and everyone loved by God more than we can ever comprehend. Those sheep are why we are here.
INVITATION TO GIVING:
DisciplesNet Church is a not-for-profit church that exists to cross barriers and boundaries to share the Good News of God's redeeming love. We rely on the gifts of our online viewers as we continue to grow and extend our nets around the world.
We also extend the invitation for you to be part of the DisciplesNet ministry by giving a one-time gift, or ongoing, including a tithe. Even the smallest of gifts, like the mustard seed, has a way of growing in amazing ways to share God's word and the love of Jesus Christ. We have a giving page on our website, disciplesnet.org, and email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
God bless you, and thank you for joining us!