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March 15, 2020

Welcome to digital church

Discovery Church is not canceled. Discovery Church is choosing to continue to meet, but we are using a different forum for meeting in order to protect the vulnerable from the spread of disease, and to be obedient to our authorities who have called for social distancing as much as possible.

Family, the Church is not a building, it is a people – the people of God. We gather today online, in many homes in many locations, but our hearts and spirits are united as one.

The early church met similarly in small groups in homes, although they did not have the advantage of the internet. We have the Word of God and we have Prayer.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. // Acts 2:42 New International Version (NIV)

So put on the coffee pot, light a fire in the fireplace, get out your Bibles and a candle, and gather your family around if possible. Discovery Worship is beginning.

Call to Worship

If you are able to gather with others in your home or connect with your small group over the phone or video chat, you may wish to take turns reading aloud each section of the following:

Welcome Discovery Church! Today we invite you to worship wherever you are. To listen and sing, to read the Word, and spend time in the presence of our God and King.

The Word has come to us from God:
who promises to shelter us under the wings of hope and grace.
The Word has come to us from Jesus:
who encourages us to remember the good news we have received.
The Word flows to us from the Spirit:
who reminds us to place our hope and trust in God.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. // Colossians 3:16 New International Version (NIV)

Let’s lift up our voices to our Lord!

Let us pray:

Lord of life and love, help us to worship you in the holiness of beauty, that some beauty of holiness may appear in us. Quiet our souls in your presence with the stillness of wise trust. Lift us above dark moods, and the shadow of sin, that we may find your will for our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Psalm 91 (The Living Bible)

We live within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods.

This I declare, that he alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting
him. For he rescues you from every trap and protects you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with his wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor. Now you don’t need to be afraid of the dark anymore, nor fear the dangers of the day; nor dread the plagues of darkness, nor disasters in the morning.

Though a thousand fall at my side, though ten thousand are dying around me, the evil will not
touch me. I will see how the wicked are punished, but I will not share it. For Jehovah is my refuge! I choose the God above all gods to shelter me. How then can evil overtake me or any plague come near? For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will steady
you with their hands to keep you from stumbling against the rocks on the trail. You can safely meet a lion or step on poisonous snakes, yes, even trample them beneath your feet!

For the Lord says, “Because he loves me, I will rescue him; I will make him great because he
trusts in my name. When he calls on me, I will answer; I will be with him in trouble and rescue
him and honor him. I will satisfy him with a full life and give him my salvation.”

This morning we will practice the ancient spiritual practice of Lectio Divina with a shortened text from Psalm 91 to comfort us in this time of uncertainty and fear. We the people of God have an opportunity to be a light in this world. God has not given us a spirit of fear!

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. // 2 Timothy 1:7 English Standard Version (ESV) 

The antidote for fear is God’s Love and God’s Power, self control, or a “sound mind” as some Bible versions state. God’s Word has much to say about “Do Not Fear.” There are 91 instances in the NKJV.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you
and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
// Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

If you have a candle, please light it now while reading:

I light this Christ candle this morning to remember Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”

We pray,
Jesus Christ, Light of the World, come and light the dark corners of our lives. Where we are blind, grant us sight. Where we stumble in darkness, illumine our path. Quiet us with your love, and enable us to hear your still, small voice. For you are our dear friend, Lord, and we long to be fully present to you.

The goal of Lectio Divina is to grow in companionship with God, to be a personal participant in the story of God, lovingly listening for God’s Word, allowing the text to get into us and transform our lives. Let us quiet ourselves so that we can hear God.

During the first reading, listen for a word or phrase that catches your attention and invites you to ponder it. Don’t analyze it. Simply listen for something that speaks more loudly than the other words. Hear the word of the Lord from Psalm 91:

First reading:

We live within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods.
This I declare, that he alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. For he rescues you from every trap and protects you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with his wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor. Now you don’t need to be afraid of the dark anymore, nor fear the dangers of the day; nor dread the plagues of darkness, nor disasters in the morning.
For Jehovah is my refuge! I choose the God above all gods to shelter me. How then can evil
overtake me or any plague come near? For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you
go.

/// pause ///

Second reading:

We live within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods.
This I declare, that he alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. For he rescues you from every trap and protects you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with his wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor. Now you don’t need to be afraid of the dark anymore, nor fear the dangers of the day; nor dread the plagues of darkness, nor disasters in the morning.
For Jehovah is my refuge! I choose the God above all gods to shelter me. How then can evil
overtake me or any plague come near? For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you
go.

/// pause ///

Third reading:

We live within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods.
This I declare, that he alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. For he rescues you from every trap and protects you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with his wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor. Now you don’t need to be afraid of the dark anymore, nor fear the dangers of the day; nor dread the plagues of darkness, nor disasters in the morning.
For Jehovah is my refuge! I choose the God above all gods to shelter me. How then can evil
overtake me or any plague come near? For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you
go.

/// pause ///

Speak with God about what you’re noticing, hearing, or feeling. What might God want to say to you in response?

Fourth reading:

We live within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods.
This I declare, that he alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. For he rescues you from every trap and protects you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with his wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor. Now you don’t need to be afraid of the dark anymore, nor fear the dangers of the day; nor dread the plagues of darkness, nor disasters in the morning.
For Jehovah is my refuge! I choose the God above all gods to shelter me. How then can evil
overtake me or any plague come near? For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you
go.

/// pause ///

Give yourselves some silence to just rest in the presence of God. It may be helpful to journal, or write down what you are hearing from God. What might God be asking you to do in response to His Word?

You may want to share with someone else what the Holy Spirit is stirring in you. How did you hear Him speak to you in the meditation time? Children especially may like to draw a picture of what God has spoken to them in the meditation time. Get creative!

Let us pray:

Glory and honor are offered to you,
O Lord Most High, Almighty King of creation.

In you, O Lord my God, do we trust!
You have been our refuge, our shelter from the storms of life,
and we rest securely in you,
for you are our dwelling place.

You protect us from the evils of the day and night.
You guard and guide our footsteps,
and even when we trip and fall—you are there,
to hold us fast in your strong hands of love.

We rest in you, O Lord our God;
we trust in your holy Name;
we cling to your side,
trusting in your saving and redeeming power.

Whenever we call, you are always there for us.
You give us a deep sense of satisfaction,
because we know our lives are in your hands. Amen.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and
find grace to help us in our time of need.
// Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

Prayers of the People

You may wish to call another Discovery member to pray together for any of these suggestions:

  • Praise God for His love and protection for you and your family
  • Praise God that you can be together to praise His name and worship Him
  • Pray for health care workers who are working selflessly to care for those who are sick
  • Ask the God of all wisdom to give the scientists a treatment and a vaccine for the virus and for
    containment of the virus
  • Pray for the God of all peace to envelope all people who are fearful and anxious
  • Pray for God’s wisdom for the leaders who are making difficult decisions that affect many
  • Lift up the President and the Coronavirus task force to be strengthened and courageous in these times of trouble.
  • Thank God for all of the many blessings in your lives and list them specifically.

Benediction

Hear again the promises of God:

Because you cling to me, I will deliver you;
I will protect you because you acknowledge my name.
You shall call upon me and I will answer you.
I will be with you in times of trouble;
I will deliver you and glorify you
and will show you my salvation.
With confidence and peace, know the God is with you wherever you go.

And all God’s people say together: Amen!

Digital Prayer Pad

Prayer requests will be sent to Sara, our administrator, who will compile and distribute them to the congregation via email throughout the week as usual.

13 + 13 =

Just for Fun

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. // James 4:8

We have been told to wash our hands frequently for at least 20 seconds to slow the spread of this pandemic. It will take about that long to recite Lords Day 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism! Copy this onto an index card and place it by your bathroom sink. Recite it as you wash your hands.

Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A. That I am not my own, but belong body and soul, in life and in death to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him. Christ by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

Thank you for joining us today! And thanks to Pastor Mary & Kristi for putting together this service. Watch our Facebook & Instagram feeds for ways to stay connected throughout this self-imposed quarantine. Social distancing does not mean social isolation! 

If you wish to watch a streaming church service, we recommend Max Lucado’s service on Facebook or this list from the CRCNA.

MOD Squad & High School Youth Group: keep an eye on your email this afternoon for an invitation to digital group.

Contact

Phone

(616) 554-1440

Email

discoverycrc@gmail.com

Address

7245 Eastern Avenue
Grand Rapids, MI 49508

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