Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, February 8, 2015

The Christian is often compared to a sheep in the Bible. In our day it is sometimes seen as an adorable comparison. Sheep are fluffy and cute and a stuffed animal version hangs in a baby’s nursery. However, when we are referred to as sheep it is not because they are cute and cuddly. Sheep are some of the dumbest animals. They do not know what is best for them. Above all they wander from the fold. That is why they need a shepherd. A Shepherd guides them and protects them and most importantly goes after them when they stray. 

Like sheep Christians often stray from their Savior. Our straying happens on the heart level. We were made to worship God and we stray when we worship anything other than God. God has made a world that is full of good things and Satan uses these good things to lure us away. We are tempted in our hearts and often give in to those temptations. The scary thing is that the good things that we idolize can be easily masked as respectable. We live in a world that despises Jesus and condones idolatry so even though our heart may be drifting from God we will find the world around us encouraging us to sin. 

When we stray like sheep we need a Shepherd. The gospel of John tells us that Jesus is the good shepherd. Like a shepherd He has gone after His sheep. He has sought us in the most magnificent way in that He humbled Himself and entered in to His creation so that He could save us from ourselves and our sin. A human shepherd may cross hills and plains in search of his sheep, but our Lord has crossed time and space seeking us out and He will not let us go. This weekend as you prepare for worship think of the ways in which you have strayed from God. In repentance confess to God your sin. Turn to Him in dependance that He would heal you and renew your heart. In the hymn ‘Come Thou Fount’ we sing that we are prone to wander from the God we love, but let us also sing “Here’s my heart, O Take and Seal it, Seal it for thy courts above.” 

THE WORD

Scripture: Return to Live
Sermon: 1 Samuel 7:1-17

SONGS

Father Long Before Creation (arr. Andrew Osenga)
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Your Grace Is Enough
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Prepare Ye The Way  (arr. John Michael Talbot)
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Give Us Clean Hands
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Song of Preparation: Lead Us Back
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Song of Response: Jesus I Come  (arr. Indelible Grace)
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RESPONSIVE READINGS

Confession of Sin

L: O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart.

P: But we have not walked before you with all our heart. We have turned aside to the right and to the left, paying homage to the idols of our culture and our hearts.

L: If we sin against you— for there is no one who does not sin—and you are angry with us and give us defeat, but we turn and repent with all our mind and with all our heart and plead with you, saying, ‘We have sinned,’ then hear in heaven your dwelling place our prayer and our plea and forgive us and all our transgressions.

P: For we are your people and your heritage which you delivered from the nations. Let your eyes be open to the plea of your servant and to the plea of your people Israel, giving ear to us whenever we call to you.

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