The Lord is NearHe, Me, We / week 4
Thank you for joining us for our Digital Worship Gathering! You can use the worship guide below to follow along with songs, prayers and readings. This week is the fourth & final in our series He, Me, We: Community & Joy in Philippians.
Twice a year Discovery Church does Coffee & Conversations, a time of small group discussion before regular worship, and we’ve decided to base our new normal of digital worship on that format. So grab a cup of coffee or tea and join us in some thoughtful conversation led by Pastor Heather Stroobosscher.
Call to Worship
We gather together to worship,
knowing that God is already here among us;
knowing that there is nothing that separates us
from the presence of our Lord.
Wherever we are, wherever we go,
God is near.
So let us enter into this service of worship
with confidence and hope,
knowing that God is already with us,
and that He stands eager to meet us
and bless us with His love.
Now hear the word of the Lord from Hebrews 10:19-22:
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
We pray together now in Jesus’ name.
God, we come into Your presence
with praise and thanksgiving for Your faithful love.
Your love never fails—not even when we turn away from You:
when we ignore Your invitation,
or desert You for gods of our own making.
Even then You do not abandon us,
but reach out—again and again—
inviting us back into relationship once more.
As You welcome us, so You welcome our prayers.
We bring them to You with confidence,
knowing that You will hear and answer.
We pray for the world You created, and the people who share it with us:
- for all of the countries of the world caught up in disease, plague, war and violent conflict,
- for regions of the world recovering from hurricanes and flooding, fires, and the locusts in Africa contributing to starvation of many people,
For these and all the other areas in our world where there is sickness, need and despair,
Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for our country and for its people:
- for our government leaders, federal and local,
- for our judicial system, police forces and military,
- for our cities, towns, and rural communities,
- for employers and employees,
- for the unemployed and those working hard to keep their businesses open during these times
- for medical providers and first responders, who are weary and putting themselves at risk of disease,
Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for our local community—the people of Western Michigan:
- for those who are sick or injured,
- for those in prison,
- for those who are hungry,
- for those who are alone and afraid,
- for those that are thriving and those that have lost a sense of direction,
- for all our neighbors, both known and unknown to us,
- for all of the Church leaders having to make difficult decisions about re-opening,
Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for this congregation—our brothers and sisters in Christ,
- for those who are worried about their health and what the future might hold,
- for those who feel anxious, depressed or afraid,
- for those who have loved ones in the hospital,
- for those with burdens they find impossible to share,
- for those who still mourn the loss of someone dear to their heart,
- for those recovering from surgery and serious illness,
- for all Your people in Discovery Church,
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, pour out Your Spirit on us!
Oh how we need You,
that we might know the loving authority of Jesus
in all parts of our lives—
leading us, guiding us, encouraging and directing us,
now and always.
Fix our hearts and minds on what is true and honorable and right.
Give us the joy and peace that comes from knowing and doing Your will.
Keep us faithful to the call we have received in Christ Jesus, our Lord,
Freely extending Your loving invitation to the world around us.
In Jesus’ name.
Lord, hear our prayer.
We welcome Pastor Heather Stroobosscher for this series. Heather, her husband Chris, and children Zoe, Phoebe, and Nick were members of Discovery Church. Heather is one of the pastors at Calvary CRC in Wyoming.
Feel free to read along with Heather as she begins her talk with this scripture:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Questions for discussion:
2. What does Paul mean when he says, “do not be anxious about anything”? Is it possible to never be anxious?
3. In verse 7, Paul promises that the “peace of God” will “guard your hearts and minds.” Peace is a calming image, while “guard” references a sentinel, a military term, to prevent hostile invasion. How do these words work together to make his point? What comfort do you take from this concept?
4. What value does the truth “the Lord is near” have with regard to the entire passage?
5. What are your takeaways from the four-part series based on Paul’s letter to the Philippian Church? Why did we title it “He, Me, We”? Name one thing that the Lord guided you to do, be, or know as a result of our time together in the book of Philippians.
Scripture Prayers from Philippians
You may wish to use some of these to pray together as a small group. Find this in PDF form here if you’d like to download and use throughout the week.
“Gracious God, who began a good work in [name], we pray that you carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
“God of hope, we pray that [name]’s love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that [name] may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:9-10).
“Generous God, we pray that you fill [name] with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:11).
“Father God, we pray through your provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, that what has happened to [name] will turn out for his/her deliverance” (Philippians 1:19).
“Gracious God, we pray that in humility, [name] will value others above himself/herself, not looking to his/her own interests but to the interests of others. And we pray that in [name]’s relationships with others, he/she will have the mindset of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:3-5).
“Righteous God, do a work in [name] that he/she may do everything without grumbling or arguing. Cause [name] to shine like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2: 14-15).
“God of Strength, we pray that [name] will strain toward what is ahead and press on toward the goal to win the prize for which you have called him/her heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
“Heavenly Father, we pray that [name] will rejoice in the Lord always. And we pray that [name] will let his/her gentleness be evident to all” (Philippians 4:4-5).
“Lord who is near, we pray that [name] will not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, that [name] will present his/her requests to you, God. We pray that your peace, which transcends all understanding, will guard [name]’s heart and mind in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
This week, we see in our passages that Paul is urging us to rejoice in the Lord always! He also encourages us in different ways. The following activities will help us better understand the things he is encouraging us to do.
In verse 5 we read, “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” What does it mean to be gentle?
- Take a few minutes to think about ways that you can show gentleness this coming week.
- Draw a picture of ways that you show gentleness.
In verse 6, Paul encourages us to “not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
- Create a list of things that scare you or that you are worried about.
- Cut out each thing listed and put them in a bag or a bowl.
- During the week, take a moment each day to pick one thing. Then, spend time talking to God about that thing you picked out.
Print & color this page. While coloring, ask your parents about each word and have them help you ponder how you can live them out.
For financial gifts, use your bank’s online payment option to send a gift to Discovery, or have someone address an envelope (a good opportunity for digital natives) and place the stamp on it. Checks can be mailed to:
7245 Eastern Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508
Please specify “general fund” or “missions fund” on the memo line.
Or, use this form to give online via the Christian Reformed Church’s site (our denomination). Be sure to choose Michigan- Grand Rapids- Discovery CRC from the drop-down list. You can give via credit card or automatic bank withdrawal. A 3% fee will be charged to Discovery.
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, share a picture or video of your coloring page with us on Instagram (@discoverycrc) (parents permitting).
Go in love,
for love endures forever.
Go in peace,
for it is the gift of God.
Go in safety,
for we cannot go where God is not.
(Earle W. Fike, Jr., Book of Worship, 1964, alt.)
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.
Thank you for joining us today! And thanks to Pastor Heather Stroobosscher, Pastor Mary, Kristi Stulp, Ahna Ziegler, and Bill TerHaar for creating this week’s service. Watch our Facebook & Instagram feeds for ways to stay connected throughout this self-imposed quarantine, including tips for making delicious coffee at home (so you’re well prepared for Coffee & Conversations). Social distancing does not mean social isolation!