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Second Sunday After The Epiphany

Lectionary Worship Workbook
Series IV, Cycle B
Call To Worship
This morning's Psalm lends itself nicely to calling people to worship.

Leader: Lord, you have searched me and known me!
People: You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
Leader: You discern my thoughts from afar, and are acquainted with all my ways.
People: Even before a word is on my tongue, you know it.
Leader: Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
People: Where can I go to flee from your presence?
Leader: If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
People: If I make my bed in the depths, you are there!
Leader: If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
People: Even there your hand will lead me, and hold me.
Leader: If I say, "Let darkness cover me,"
People: Even the darkness is not dark to you.
Leader: For you formed my inward parts,
People: You knit me together in my mother's womb.
Leader: I praise you, for you are fearful and wonderful.
People: Wonderful are your works!
Leader: You know me well;
People: My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.
Leader: How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
People: How vast is the sum of them!
Leader: If counted, they would be more than the sand.
People: But one thing I know, you are always with me.
Leader: Let us worship God.
People: Amen.

One theme running through our passages for this morning is the call to come and follow. This Call To Worship reminds us that God continues calling us through every stage in our lives.

Leader: God is alive in every stage of life.
People: Our God calls and guides every step of the way;
Leader: From the joyful innocence of childhood,
People: To the wishful dreaming of young people.
Leader: From the persistent hopes of the middle-aged,
People: To the prophetic visions of the old.
Leader: So, let us each be open to God in these moments,
People: Let us truly worship.

Our God calls us to follow because we belong to God. This is the "jealousy" of God. This jealousy is to be celebrated because it reminds us that God pursues us for a relationship that leads to glory for us.

Leader: Our God says:
People: I, the Lord your God
Leader: Am a consuming fire,
People: A jealous God.
Leader: I desire you for myself,
People: That you may know
Leader: That I alone am God.
People: Who made you,
Leader: Who loves you,
People: Who assures your salvation.
Leader: Come, let us worship God.
People: Amen.

Lastly, a Call To Worship that partners nicely with the first Prayer Of Confession below, and the Assurance Of Pardon. They are related to the theme that God made us and now inhabits us as our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.

Leader: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,
People: The sun,
Leader: The moon,
People: The stars.
Leader: And then God filled this creation with beauty.
People: Things that fly;
Leader: From the gnat to the hummingbird to the hawk.
People: Things that swim;
Leader: From minnow to whale.
People: Things that crawl;
Leader: Snakes and salamanders,
People: Geckos and gators.
Leader: And things that walk;
People: From regal horses
Leader: To awesome elephants.
People: And then,
Leader: Finally, when everything else was in place
People: The crown of creation,
Leader: Then God made you.
People: Me?
Leader: Yes, you. Fearfully and wonderfully made. Made by God, through God, and for God.
People: Wow.
Leader: So, let us offer up praise,
People: And thanks,
Leader: To our Maker.
People: Amen.

Prayer Of Confession
This one goes with the Call To Worship above.
Leader: Made by God, and yet
People: We think of ourselves
Leader: And others
People: As if we were junk.
Leader: Made for God, and yet
People: We live as if we had no purpose.
Leader: Made for eternity, and yet
People: We think only in terms of this life.
Leader: Creator who crafted us,
People: Forgive us,
Leader: For seeing useless junk
People: Where you made beautiful beings.
Leader: Transform our minds,
People: That our vision
Leader: Would be as yours.
People: Amen.

This one has a similar theme.

Leader: Finely crafted by the creator of the universe.
People: Fearfully and wonderfully made.
Leader: Loved with a love that died for us.
People: Forgiven for every sin.
Leader: Watched over in every moment
People: Of every day.
Leader: Graciously given the gift
People: Of eternal and abundant life.
Leader: All of this, and yet we live as if in darkness,
People: As if we were lost and alone,
Leader: As if there was no love,
People: Without joy.
Leader: O God of the resurrection,
People: Forgive us,
Leader: For living lives that are so much less
People: Than they could be.
Leader: Forgive us,
People: And lift us into fullness of life. Amen.

Assurance Of Pardon
Speak this boldly to the congregation.
This is one of those cases that requires that we stand on truth rather than on appearances or emotions.

These are the facts -- and they are indisputable:

We were made by the most powerful and awesome being in the universe, Yahweh.

We were made fearfully and wonderfully, in the image of the one who made us.

We were lavishly provided with gifts and talents.

We were made for fellowship with God who takes great pleasure in us.

And we were made with a purpose; to extend the Creator's delight to all creation.

Those are the facts. That's gospel! Praise the Lord!

Prayer Of Dedication

Weekly we pray over our offerings to dedicate them to God's use, but God asks more of us that the giving of a small percentage of our income. In Christ we are asked to give ourselves to God. The passages for today speak of the glorious nature of the bodies we have been given, and of how we ought to use these bodies; they call us to give our all to the service of God. A dedication prayer that asks the congregation the same might be in order.

You might pray for purity in the use of our bodies based on the passage from 1 Corinthians 6. Or, if you are really bold you might use this time of dedication to call people forward to the altar and ask them to commit to taking whatever step in their faith journey that God is currently calling them to take. The first prayer below is for purity of body, the second is an altar call of sorts. Each will require a short introduction.
Introduction to the prayer:

In 1 Corinthians 6 the Apostle Paul speaks to us about the ways in which we use our bodies. We are uncomfortable in the church talking about our bodies. Paul, and the scriptures in general, have no such squeamishness. Listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 (the text here is from the NIV translation but you may want to use the marvelously modern translation of The Message):

"Everything is permissible for me" -- but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me" -- but I will not be mastered by anything. "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food" -- but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh." But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Will you pray with me? This morning, Lord, we come not to pray over the financial offerings we make each week, but to dedicate and rededicate our bodies to your service. Teach us the power of purity, and strengthen us to deal with the degrading temptations of a world that too often lives for sexual experience rather than to live in godly intimacy.

Teach us the wisdom of watching what we eat and how we take care of the fearfully and wonderfully made gift of the human body. And strengthen us in this area, too, for we live in a culture of indulgence and are daily bombarded with temptations to abuse rather than respect this gift.

Insight and wisdom be ours! Passion and power be ours! Victory and righteousness be ours! And glory and honor be yours, O God of all creation. Amen and Amen.

The altar call might go something like this: (You might also use this after the sermon if you preach on following Christ. Also note that in our church when we do these altar calls we do it as described, but the logistics can be adjusted in many ways to suit your congregation.)

When God called for him, Samuel cried out, "Here am I, Lord." He was offering himself to serve God, which he did faithfully for the rest of his life. Have you cried out to the Lord in the same way? Have you said, "Here am I, Lord"? If you have not, know this: God is calling out to you. God wishes for you to acknowledge yourself as his child and to live in his joy as one of his children.

He made you, he loves you. Meaning, purpose, peace, and joy await you in ever-growing quantities as you give yourself more and more to him and his ways. Won't you do it today? Won't you say, "Here am I, Lord"?

If you would like to give yourself to your God today, in a moment, when we bow our heads to pray, I will ask you to raise your hand. We will pray for you, we will note that you raised your hand, and a pastor or elder will talk to you after worship this morning about the commitment you have made.

Let us all pray. Glorious and loving God, our hearts long to find themselves in you. There is a part of us that has yearned for you from the moment we were born into this world and will continue its yearning to the very end. There are some here this morning who have not yet satisfied that yearning by surrendering themselves to you and dedicating their lives to you. As they raise their hands now in acknowledgment that they wish now to do so, we lift them to you on the wings of prayer. Use the men and women of this family of faith to introduce them to you and assist them as they begin the wonderful journey of discovering who you are, and as they learn of you, discovering who they truly are.

Please lower your hands now and silently agree with me in this short dedication prayer; Lord, I thank you for your love for me, and I give myself now to you. I acknowledge my need for your forgiveness, and I commit myself to following you wherever you will lead, knowing that you are the only one who knows how life can be lived abundantly. This I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Pastoral Prayer
If you do not use the above dedication prayers you might adapt the first one, dealing with physical purity, to be used as a Pastoral Prayer. Begin the prayer as follows and simply finish it as written above.
Will you pray with me? This morning, Lord, we come not to pray over the financial offerings we make each week, but to dedicate and rededicate our bodies to your service ...

Let us go forth and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, that the world may know that God is in their midst. Amen.


Charge To Keep I Have

Choose Ye Today

Come All Christians Be Committed


Earth, O Lord, Is One Wide Field, The

Footsteps Of Jesus

Gladly We Will Go

I Gave My Life For Thee

I Have Decided To Follow Jesus

Jesus Calls Us

Jesus Paid It All

Let Zion's Watchmen All Awake

O Jesus, I Have Promised

Once To Every Man And Nation

Our Best

Shall I, For Fear Of Feeble Man

Take My Life And Let It Be

There Will I Follow Thee

Where He Leads

Wherever He Leads I'll Go

Contemporary Choruses

Breathe, Marie Barnett

Every Day, Joel Houston

Forever, Chris Tomlin

I Give You My Heart, Reuben Morgan

We Bow Down, Twila Paris

Other Music

Everything, Watermark
The song is a challenge to give everything in our lives to God.

I Found Myself In You, Clay Crosse

Jesus Freak, DC Talk
This one is for teens. Being a Christian means being different.
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