One Word: Pray

Worship Service for January 3, 2021

WELCOME

Good morning and welcome to CrossPointe Community Church’s online video presentation. I thank God for all of you and for the opportunity to spend these moments with you. If you’d like to reach out to me, I’d love to hear from you. You can e-mail me at randykmeyer@hotmail.com.

By the way, Happy New Year! Welcome to 2021.

They say an optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in, while a pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.

In that regard, I think it’s safe to say that all of us are pessimists! 2020 started out with so much promise, but ended up being the year everyone wants to forget. People will still be talking about 2020 twenty years from now.

To lighten the mood a little:

They say New York City has the best New Year’s celebration, but I say it’s overrated. Every year they drop the ball.

Q: What do farmers give their wives at midnight on New Year’s Eve?
A: Hogs and kisses!

At the beginning of the year, I made a resolution to lose 15 pounds. Only 20 more to go!

Q: What were snowmen doing on New Year’s Eve?
A: Chilling out.

Some astronauts wanted to have a New Year’s party on the moon, but they didn’t planet in time.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

I am so excited, pleased, and thankful to announce to you that the final tally for the Special Christmas Offering was $12,025! Once again, these contributions will enable CrossPointe to remain current with our financial obligations. I thank You for your response to the challenge. I thank God for stirring your hearts to give. In the midst of a somewhat muted by COVID Christmas season, you have given all of us at CrossPointe a reason to rejoice in that that the Giver of every good and perfect gift is alive and well in our midst.

To remind us of that reality, we will, on this first Sunday of the New Year, as indeed, on the first Sunday of every month, be celebrating the Sacrament of Holy Communion. So, if you haven’t, let me encourage you to pause so that you can prepare whatever you are going to use as symbols of Christ’s body and blood.

CALL TO WORSHIP

The background of Isaiah is the Exile; that period of time when the Israelites were suffering Babylonian captivity. God knows what they do not: that He is about to free them and let them return to their homeland.

I chose this call to worship for two reasons. First, it ends by reminding us that God excels at making all things new.

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, ‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God. There is no other God — there never has been, and there never will be. I, yes I, am the Lord, and there is no other Savior.

I am the Lord, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator, and King. I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea. I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses. I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned, their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick.

But forget all that — it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?

Isaiah 43:1-3a, 10b-11, 15-17, 18-19a

The other reason I chose this passage is it reminds us that regardless of what befalls us in this life, whether we are experiencing good or bad, God is with us and will bring us to bless us with His presence. With that in mind, let us worship God as we sing.

OPENING WORSHIP SONGS

Blessed Be Your Name

Redman, Matt & Beth

Blessed be Your name…in the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow…
Blessed be Your name.

Blessed be Your name…
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness…
Blessed be Your name.

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll… turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord…
Still I will say:

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

Blessed be Your name…
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s all as it should be…
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name…
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering…
Blessed be Your name.

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll… turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord…
Still I will say:

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.
 
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

You give and take away…
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say…
Lord, blessed be Your name.

You give and take away…
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say…
Lord, blessed be Your name.

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord…
Blessed be Your glorious name.

©2002 Thankyou Music/PRS, admin by EMI Christian Music Publishing
CCLI License No. 1843349

Breathe

Barnett, Marie

This is the air I breathe,
This is the air I breathe,
Your holy presence, living in me.
This is my daily bread,
This is my daily bread,
Your very Word, spoken to me.
And I, I’m desp’rate for You.
And I, I’m lost without You.

This is the air I breathe,
This is the air I breathe,
Your holy presence, living in me.
This is my daily bread,
This is my daily bread,
Your very Word, spoken to me.
And I, I’m desp’rate for You.
And I, I’m lost without You.
I’m lost without You.
I’m lost without You.

©1995 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing (admin. by Music Services)
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

O Lord, our God. We have just turned the corner on another year. For many reasons we would say it was not a good year. But when we stop to think about it, we realize that You were with us every step of the way, offering Your presence. When we turned to You in faith, we were strengthened, we were comforted. Blessed be Your name. As we begin this New Year, we offer ourselves to You in this worship service. Please use Your creativity to mold us and make after Your will, for the sake of Your Son. Amen.

THE GIVING OF THE LORD’S OFFERING

I will be at the church today until 12 noon if you would like to bring your offering. Or you may send it in to:

CrossPointe Community Church
PO Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215

As we think through how we respond to the invitation to give, here are some words from the lips of Jesus:

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Luke 6:38

PRAYER SONG

God is Good

Chapman, Morris

God is good (God is good)
All the time (all the time)
God is good (God is good)
All the time (all the time)

Well, He’s filled with compassion,
And His mercies are everlasting;
God is good,
God is good,
All the time.

God is good (God is good)
All the time (all the time)
God is good (God is good)
All the time (all the time)
Well, He’s filled with compassion,
And His mercies are everlasting;
God is good,
God is good,
All the time.

O give thanks unto the Lord
His mercies endure forever.
O give thanks unto the Lord
His mercies endure forever.
O give thanks unto the Lord
His mercies endure forever.

God is good,
God is good
All the time.

© CCLI License No. 1843349

MORNING PRAYER

The Topola Family

Dear Lord,

As we take a moment to reflect on 2020, one of my favorite bible verses comes to mind. Proverbs 3: 5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.”

2020 was tough on many of us, but it also taught us so many valuable lessons that we want to thank you for, God.

Thank you for showing us to never take the small things for granted such as hugs and smiles and the gift of togetherness. Thank you for reminding us that each and every day is a gift to be unwrapped and cherished. Thank you for your promise to never leave us or forsake us. Because of Your promise, we feel stronger, we are always loved and forever blessed.

Oh Lord, as we come into 2021, help remind us that the past is the past. Our sins are in the past and forgotten because of your grace. Help us to take a moment and not think about what kind of goal we want to achieve this year, but instead think of how we may serve and let you guide us.

Jeremiah 29:11 reads, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” As we look into 2021, we know you will be with us when we are laughing and through the darkest night, you will be the one to shine the light. Please put a song in our hearts so we may sing praises to you in the new year!

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

SCRIPTURE

Before reading from I Chronicles 16, here’s the back story:

The book of I Chronicles chronicles (get it) the reign of King David, from his anointing to his death recorded at the end of the book. King Saul, who had preceded David and whose story is told in the book of I Samuel never took God seriously. He even allowed the Ark of the covenant to be “neglected” (I Chronicles 13:3) for “20 years” (I Samuel 7:2) while it sat abandoned in the house of a man named Abinidab. Who was Abinidab and why was the Ark kept there? No one knows for sure. However; right from the beginning, David’s set out to restore the proper worship of God. So David sees that the Ark of the Covenant, is brought to Jerusalem. That brings us to today’s reading.

They brought the Ark of God and placed it inside the special tent David had prepared for it. And they presented burnt offerings and peace offerings to God. When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the Lord. Then he gave to every man and woman in all Israel a loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins.

David appointed the following Levites to lead the people in worship before the Ark of the Lord—to invoke his blessings, to give thanks, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel. Asaph, the leader of this group, sounded the cymbals. Second to him was Zechariah, followed by Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel. They played the harps and lyres. The priests, Benaiah and Jahaziel, played the trumpets regularly before the Ark of God’s Covenant.

On that day David gave to Asaph and his fellow Levites this song of thanksgiving to the Lord:

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness.
    Let the whole world know what He has done.
Sing to Him; yes, sing His praises.
    Tell everyone about His wonderful deeds.
Exult in His holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
Search for the Lord and for His strength; continually seek Him.

I Chronicles 16:1-11

And what precedes our reading in Acts 2? I’m glad you asked. The gospels tell us how Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead. Luke opens Acts with Jesus reaffirming His commission to His disciples to reach people and then He ascends. At the beginning of Chapter 2, the Holy Spirit comes upon the disciples while they are praying in the Upper Room. Peter, now filled with the Spirit, preaches his first sermon. Verse 41 says, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” This day is recognized as the genesis of the church. And the paragraph that I am about to read tells us what the early church was up to.

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity — all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

Acts 2:42-47

Our gospel reading today needs no introduction:

Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As He finished, one of His disciples came to Him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.

Jesus said, this is how you should pray:

Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.

Luke 11:1-4

THE MESSAGE

Randy K’Meyer

One Word: Pray

Do you have room in your hearts for a couple more New Year’s zingers?

Q: What is a New Year’s resolution?
A: Something that goes in one year and out the other.

My New Year’s resolution is to procrastinate. I’ll start tomorrow.

I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage all of us to make at least one New Year’s Resolution, not to procrastinate, but to PRAY. As we begin our journey into 2021, I have one word for us: PRAY.

In today’s texts, we have a picture of God’s people at important, if not critical, junctures in their history with God. In each case, God is about to do something new.

In I Chronicles 16, God is leading David to restore the rightful worship of God, and David implores his people to “Search for the Lord and for His strength; continually seek Him” (I Chronicles 16:11); in other words, pray.

In Luke, Jesus is delegating His ministry to His newly chosen disciples, and teaches them to pray.

And in Acts 2, as the newly formed church begins to minister, we are told that they, “continually devoted themselves to” four things, one of which was “prayer” (42).

In all three cases, God was up to something new in the lives of His people. All three cases were important junctures in the history of the people of God. And in all three cases, prayer would play a vital role.

As we begin a New Year with God, as individuals and as the Church, as we embark on a New Year in ministry at CrossPointe, prayer will play an indispensable role in our future; especially at this somewhat uncertain and; therefore, important juncture in our history. Uncertain, of course, because of the coronavirus. Uncertainty about the future almost always yields fear and worry. And the antidote to worry and fear is prayer.

As we stand upon the precipice of a New Year, we confess that we do not know what the future holds, but we can be confident about who holds our future. And because that is true, it is vital that you and I pray.

Therefore, I am asking you to commit yourselves to a life of prayer in 2021.

First, I am asking you to pray for one another.

The Bible counsels us to pray for one another. James 5:16, “Pray for one another.” Ephesians 6:18, “Pray for all the saints (where the word saint refers to anyone who is a Christian).” It is our high calling and privilege to pray for one another.

In a general way, all of us can and we should pray:

  1. That we will all remain faithful to Jesus and His Church, that not one us sheep will wander away from the fold.
  2. Pray that we will, all of us, avail ourselves of the opportunity to worship each week through the online means available to us.
  3. Pray that we will, all of us, remain faithful to or in some cases renew ourselves to daily scripture reading, and prayer.
  4. Pray that we will, all of us, continue to become more like Jesus, and that our spiritual growth in Christ will result in acts of love.

More specifically, I am asking you to pray and ask God to prompt you with the names of five of your friends at CrossPointe that you will begin to pray for on a regular basis. Pray for the four things I just suggested.

Out of love for one another, we pray for one another.

Second, I am also asking that we, all of us, pray for our leaders.

Paul instructs us to pray for our leaders in I Timothy 2. In addition, to those four things above, pray that God will grant our leaders the wisdom to make the right decisions for CrossPointe’s future.

Thirdly, I am also asking that we pray for our various ministries at CrossPointe.

Chuck Lemmon continues with his Recovery Ministry using Zoom. He was telling Gail and I this past Tuesday that he has seen an increase in the number of people participating in that ministry.

Annie Dean is preparing to launch the Grief Ministry using Zoom.

I am so grateful that the Community Meal continues unabated; in a different form, but we still feed folks on the last Friday of the month.

On January 14th, I will be starting the 13 week NT portion of Disciple Bible Study. There is plenty of room for more. Even if you have taken this with me in the past, if you’d like to brush up, I’d love to have you.

Fourth, in addition to praying for one another, for our church and our leaders, I am asking you to also pray for me.

I have an important role to play in your continued spiritual development. I really need God’s wisdom to do that for your growth in Christ. I have a number of topics in what I call my sermon hopper and I really need God’s help to both confirm that I am on the right track and to help me put it all together the way He wants. Please pray for me in that regard.

As we begin 2021, let us commit ourselves to praying for all facets of our church.

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus instructed His disciples to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” It is important to remember that the New Testament teaches that God’s Kingdom comes to the earth through the ministry of His Church. His Kingdom will continue to come to the community in which we live through the ministry of His Church at CrossPointe.

And because it does, it is vital that we pray for Christ’s Church known as CrossPointe.

Robert Benson, author of In Constant Prayer, is writing about the vital role of prayer, especially the Lord’s Prayer, in the church:

I am increasingly convinced that if the Church is to live, and actually be alive, one of the reasons, maybe the most important and maybe the only reason, will be because we have taken up our place in the line of the generations of the faithful who came before us who prayed. It will be because we pray the prayer that Christ himself prayed when he walked among us and now longs to pray through us. It will be because we choose to no longer be among the ones who silence the prayer that Christ, through his body, prays to the Father. It will be because we make sure that the wave of prayer that sustained the Church for all time does not stop when it is our turn to pray it each day. It will be because we answer the ancient call to pray without ceasing. 1

I am also reminding you to pray for yourselves.

Pray that God would open your eyes to the joy of new possibilities with Him in 2021. I repeat, pray that God would keep you faithful to Him and His Church at CrossPointe.

Pray for yourselves as Paul prayed for the Ephesians, “asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God”. (Ephesians 1:17). 

And thirdly, pray that God would strengthen you to face whatever comes along in 2021. None of us know what 2021 has in store for us. Like I said before, we don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds our future. And because that is true, it in our best interest to connect with God.

Our prayers will have a direct impact on how close we are to God. When we pray, we draw closer to God. When we pray, we draw strength and comfort from God. When we pray, we are better able to resist sin. When we pray, we become more like Jesus. When we pray, we become more effective disciples in a world that needs us tremendously.

Peter Kreeft, in his book, Prayer for Beginners, writes:

Some say that prayer, and the spiritual life, or the inner life, or the soul’s private love affair with God, is an unaffordable luxury today, or an irresponsible withdrawal from the pressing public problems of our poor, hurting world. I say just the opposite: that nothing, nothing is more relevant and responsible; that nothing else can ever cure our sick world except saints, and saints are never made except by prayer. Nothing but saints can save our world because the deepest root of all the world’s diseases is sin, and saints are the antibodies that fight sin. Nothing but prayer can make saints because nothing but God can make saints, and we meet God in prayer. Prayer is the hospital for souls where we meet Doctor God. 2

So we must take David’s advice and “Search for the Lord and for His strength; continually seek Him” (I Chronicles 16:11).

We must follow in the footsteps of our brothers and sisters in the early church who devoted themselves to prayer.

And we must both emulate and inculcate Jesus’ words to His disciples, to pray, “May Your Kingdom come may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

As I close, allow me to tell a story that I hope will encourage those of you who sometimes wonder if your prayers really have any impact in your lives, or the lives of others, or even the world.

After an American B-17 dropped its load on Berlin during WWII and then turned back toward England a group of German fighters appeared on the horizon. American P-51 fighter pilots tried to keep the Germans from attacking the bombers, but they were unable to stop every enemy plane.

The crew of this particular bomber stared in horror as five bullets penetrated the fuselage, where their gas tanks were located. Seeing the damage he had inflicted on that bomber, the German fighter pilot turned and headed for home, assuming victory. The crew of the bomber waited for the inevitable explosion, but nothing happened.

After the crew managed to land safely, they carefully removed the shells from the fuselage and found they hadn’t exploded; they had merely crumpled. When they started opening the shells, they found there was no gunpowder inside. And when they opened the fifth bullet, they found a tiny wad of paper inside that read:

We are Polish POWs—forced to make bullets. When guards do not look, we do not fill with powder. Not much, but is best we can do.

“Not much!” they wrote.

Just as one small gesture by a few Polish prisoners saved the life of that crew, so even one small prayer on our part can have a huge impact in God’s Kingdom.

I wonder if those Polish POW’s were aware of Paul’s resounding words: “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

But we are . . . and since we are, we must never underestimate the power of “not much” when we are asking God to get involved.

No matter who I am addressing right at this moment, may I most solemnly assure you that your prayers, yes, your prayers for one another, for our leaders, for our ministries, for your pastor and for yourself are capable of producing remarkable results on behalf of God and His Kingdom.
 
So, what’s the watchword for 2021? PRAY! Please ask God to help all of us at CrossPointe to make 2021 a year of prayer; determined, faithful, persistent prayer.

PRAYER

(Please pray as you are led by God’s Spirit.)

THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION

God has something new in mind for CrossPointe in 2021. And we can count on the fact that whatever it is, it’s going to be good! Can you affirm that with me? It’s going to be good. It’s going to be good because God is good, all the time.

That was especially true when He gathered His disciples together for one last time in that Upper Room to teach them, to comfort them, and to share with them what we call The Lord’s Supper.

To prepare ourselves to participate in the same, let us first sing Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God:

Create In Me a Clean Heart O God

Green, Keith

Create in me a clean heart, O God
That I might serve You.
Create in me a clean heart, O God
That I might be renewed.
So fill me, and heal me,
And bring me back to You.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
That I might serve You.

©1989 Big Steps 4 U (admin. by Music Services)/Maranatha! Music
(admin. By The Copyright Company) CCLI License No. 1843349

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (II Corinthians 5:17).

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Merciful God and Father in heaven, You are faithful and just; You are willing to forgive our sins and to purify us from all unrighteousness. Before You we confess that we have spoken many empty words and have at times broken even our most sacred vows. Our sins are an affront to You; and they have caused us grief and pain.

Through our Lord Jesus may we begin this New Year with the joy of knowing we belong to You, with the freedom of being purified by Your blood, and with the healing which Your grace alone can bring. In the name of our blessed Savior we pray. Amen.

RECEIVE THE SACRAMENT

FROM MARK 14:22-24

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body.’

(Receive the sacrament).

Then He took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,’ He said to them.

(Receive the sacrament).

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

CLOSING SONG

Blessed

Zschech, Darlene/Morgan, Reuben

Blessed are those who dwell in Your house
They are ever praising You
Blessed are those whose strength is in You
Whose hearts are set on our God

Blessed are those who dwell in Your house
They are ever praising You
Blessed are those whose strength is in You
Whose hearts are set on our God

We will go from strength to strength
Till we see You face to Face
Hear our prayer, O Lord, God Almighty
Come bless our church as we seek You
Worship You.

Blessed are those who dwell in Your house
They are ever praising You
Blessed are those whose strength is in You
Whose hearts are set on our God

We will go from strength to strength
Till we see You face to Face
Hear our prayer, O Lord, God Almighty
Come bless our church, as we seek You
Worship You

Hear our prayer, O Lord, God Almighty
Come bless our church as we seek You
Worship You.

For You are holy, for You are holy
For You are holy, Lord

For You are holy, for You are holy
For You are holy, Lord

For You are holy, for You are holy
For You are holy, Lord

For You are holy, for You are holy
For You are holy, Lord

Hear our prayer, O Lord, God Almighty
Come bless our church as we seek You
Worship You

Hear our prayer, O Lord, God Almighty
Come bless our church as we seek You
Worship You.

©2002 Darlene Zschech/Reuben Morgan/Hillsong Publishing
CCLI License No. 1843349

BENEDICTION

The Lord bless you and keep you;the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

1 Robert Benson. In Constant Prayer. [Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson
Publishing, © 2008] Pages 72-73

2 Peter Kreeft, Prayer for Beginners, [San Francisco, California: Ignatius Press, © 2000), page 14.

Randy K'Meyer

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