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Refuge / 03.22.20

Welcome, Discovery family & friends, to digital church.

We meet again here online as we gather in our homes to worship God, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.
See last week’s service here | Listen to previously recorded talks here
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:

Call to Worship

God is with his people. 
He dwells in their midst.
Listen and hear him speak.

Our hearts long for his word.
We wait upon the Lord
so that we may renew our strength.

God is our help and our support. 
His spirit moves among us
to lead us in holiness and righteousness all our days.

With joyful hearts we sing God’s praise. 
With rejoicing we call upon Him. 
The Lord is our hope and our salvation.

Let’s lift up our voices to our Lord!

Hear these words from 2 Samuel 22:1-4 & 31-33 (The Living Bible):

David sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul.

    He sang:
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
      my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.

He is my shield, the power that saves me,
    and my place of safety.
He is my refuge, my savior,
    the one who saves me from violence.
  I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and he saved me from my enemies. . . .

  God’s way is perfect.
    All the Lord’s promises prove true.
    He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
  For who is God except the Lord?
    Who but our God is a solid rock?
  God is my strong fortress,
    and he makes my way perfect.”

God of unfailing love, with confidence we gather to worship you; to praise your holy name; to express to you our trust and confidence in your promise of security and refuge within your loving presence.

Within the safety of your love, we honor you for the commitment you have made to your people, and pray that your people will respond to that love with trust and an acceptance of God’s merciful forgiveness.

If only all your people showed the same commitment to you, O God, as you show towards them – they would know that a life lived within God’s presence is one that is rich beyond our understanding, and with a depth of inner peace that can only be hoped for and dreamed about.

O God, our Rock and our Redeemer, you are our stronghold against the forces within human life that confront us each day; and which try to shake our faith and resolve; so we look to you in confidence and trust. We pour out our hearts to you O God, because our God is there waiting to lovingly respond to our needs, and quietly waits to offer us love and acceptance, and a secure road to travel that will lead us to our home in God. Thanks be to God our Rock, our Redeemer and our Refuge – always. Amen.

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.

Christians have practiced this ancient method of praying the Scriptures called Lectio Divina for over 1500 years. It uses both the head and heart to integrate God’s Word in us. The intention of Lectio Divina is to “let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col. 3:16).

Let us quiet ourselves so that we can hear God.  

(Prepare yourself by centering yourself in God’s presence. Sit in silence for a moment. Breathe deeply. Young children may wish to color this picture while listening to the following readings.)

During the first reading, listen for a word or phrase that invites your attention. Simply listen for something that speaks more loudly than the other words.

Hear the word of the Lord from Psalm 46:1-3, 8-11.

First reading:

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging. . . .

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

/// pause ///

Second reading:

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging. . . .

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

/// pause ///

After the second reading, begin to chew on the word or phrase that caught your attention. What connection does it have with your life right now? Pay attention to any particular emotions that arise with that word or phrase.

Third reading:

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging. . . .

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

/// pause ///

After the third reading, speak with God about what you’re noticing, hearing, or feeling. What might God want to say to you in response?

Fourth reading:

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging. . . .

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

/// pause ///

After the fourth reading, simply rest in the presence of God. Respond in some way to your image, feeling, phrase, or word. How is God present in and through this? 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 of all ages: get creative!

1. Draw or paint a picture of what God has spoken to you in the meditation time.

2. Print this coloring page and color it this afternoon.

3. Maybe you would like to build a fortress this afternoon out of blocks, LEGO, or cushions. Remember that God is our fortress and He protects us from harm.

4. Do you remember the hand signs for the song “Be Still and Know that I Am God” that you learned in Children’s Worship? Now would be a great time to teach it to your parents. If you don’t remember them, make up your own motions for any part of today’s verse and do them as you recite the passage.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still. // Exodus 14:14

Let us pray.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We pause: We thank you for this time out of the busyness of life that we may pause, and be still, and know that You are God. We did not expect this, God, but we find ourselves in the midst of a global deep breath. We are in an agreement between humans around this planet to be still. Use this time, Oh God, for Your purposes. Cleanse us of all those things that do not please You or bring You glory. Draw us to Yourself. We choose to turn our eyes upon You Jesus.

Father God, we refuse fear and anxiety in the Name of Jesus. We praise You, God, and we agree with Your Word that You are exalted among the nations. You are exalted in all the earth.

We Praise: Spontaneously lift your praises to God Almighty who is sovereign, all knowing, eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, unchangeable, infinite, almighty, completely wise, just, and good, and the overflowing source of all good (Belgic Confession Article 1). 

We Remember: May those who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.

May those who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.

May those who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health and making their rent.

May those who have the flexibility to care for their children when schools are closed remember those who have no options.

May those who have to cancel their trips remember those who have no safe place to go.

May those who are losing their margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.  

May those who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.

As fear grips our country, may we choose love and may we choose peace.

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.

We Confess: Silently or with the person(s) you are with confess your sins to God. 

We Give Thanks: Speak out loud things in the midst of this pandemic that you are grateful for. 

We Lament: Speak out loud things you lament, grieve, regret, or are sad about.

We Hope: Speak out loud what you hope for and the things you are hopeful about.

God of all hope, our strength and refuge, we lift up these prayers. In Jesus’ all powerful name, Amen.

Gift Offering

Mailing an envelope just isn’t the same as bringing your tithe to the front of the sanctuary, but it’s what we can do right now. Take a few moments to offer your gifts to God.

For financial gifts, have someone address the envelope (a good opportunity for digital natives) and place the stamp on it. Checks can be mailed to:

Discovery Church
7245 Eastern Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508

Please specify “general fund” or “missions fund” on the memo line.

For gifts of encouragement, write a note or draw a picture for someone who may need encouragement at this time. Have someone address the envelope and place a stamp on it. Or deliver it in person (keep that six foot social distance) to a neighbor or loved one.

For gifts of art, take a picture or video of your drawing, coloring page, “fortress,” or motions and share it with us on Instagram (@discoverycrc) (parents permitting).

Benediction

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. // Romans 15:13 

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.

7 + 10 =

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 sing the Doxology! Copy the lyrics onto an index card and place it by your bathroom sink. Sing it as you wash your hands.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow! Praise Him, all creatures here below. Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! Amen.

Thank you for joining us today! And thanks to Pastor Mary, Kristi, and Bill 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!

Contact

Phone

(616) 554-1440

Email

discoverycrc@gmail.com

Address

7245 Eastern Avenue
Grand Rapids, MI 49508

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