Sunday, 30 September 2012


Prayer: Great God,  on this day of worship and celebration,   help us to know that You are guiding us and causing us to be drawn into places where we can worship You with others who also seek to do Your will.  As we worship today,  may our minds and hearts be open to the Good News.  May we hear Your call to be fisher of men and go forth with enthusiasm for sharing the Gospel.   Holy God,  be with new congregations that they may not get discouraged when the way looks impossible.  For Trinity Presbyterian Church as they call their Minister.  For the Francophone Ministry in Winnipeg and Rev Charles.   For  the Rwandian Ministry and Rev Shadrack.   For the Colombian Ministry and Pastor Pedro.  For the Filipino Ministry and Rev Mario and Rev Ed.   Be with each of us this day as we worship You throughout this Sabbath Day and remember to keep each day this week a day lived with You.  This we ask in Your Son's name.    Amen.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Saturday - prepare our hearts

Prayer:  Open our hearts dear Jesus, that we may prepare to worship You. For those who spend today reviewing for worship tomorrow we ask Your guidance, give them wisdom, and the words to speak that will lead others to Your presence. For those  who sit in the pews tomorrow,  prepare our hearts so that we can hear Your Word.   For those who teach Sunday School,  provide them with the enthusiasm to share the Good News of Jesus Christ so that the children and youth may learn all about You.  Be with those who are not able to attend worship tomorrow.  May Your Holy Spirit be with them so that they know of Your amazing grace and love.  This we ask in Jesus' name.   Amen.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Friday-- forgiving

Prayer: Jesus, we are often angry at the way we are treated in this world, help us to not sin but to seek for ways in which we can be Your servants, and share Your loving-kindness in all we do. Amen.

Read:  Ephesians 4: 25-32

Why is it important to ask God for forgiveness in our lives?  Why is it important to ask God for forgiveness for our Church?

The proof of God’s  amazing love is this:   Christ died for us so that we have eternal life.   Let us admit our sins before God and ask for forgiveness.   The more we ask for forgiveness,  the more we can live in God’s light and love.  
List all those who have caused you anger, or irritation, or disappointment.  Then read each name or incident and say, “In the love of God,  I forgive you…..”

End with this prayer:   Great God,  we thank You that we can come to You and ask for forgiveness of those things we have left undone or unsaid.  Thank You that we can come to You and lay before You those people that have angered or irritated or disappointed us.  In Your love  is Your wholeness.    This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Thursday-- the joy of worship

Prayer: You have given us Your love Lord Jesus, may we share that love with those who need Your love the most this day. Help us to remember the lost and the lonely, with whom are part of Your body. Amen.

Read:  Ephesians  4: 14 – 16

If we just attend Worship each week and don’t do anything else to further our Christian life,  is this enough to be mature Christians?   What else do we need to do to become mature Christians?
Why is it important in each church to have mature Christians?

And we elect these mature Christians to be our Elders... to provide leadership,  to live life as an example for us to follow,  to provide pastoral care to the congregation,  and most importantly to enjoy God forever.

Worship is a lot more than just sitting in a pew on Sunday isn't it.

Prayer:  O Lord our God,  You are always ready to bestow Your good gifts upon us than we are to seek them.  You are always willing to give than we desire or deserve.  Help us so to seek that we may truly find, so to ask that we may joyfully receive, so to knock that the door of Your mercy may be opened for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  (PCC-USA “The Service for the Lord’s  Day”.  Westminster Press, 1984.  Prayer #5). 

Many blessings!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Wednesday - encouragement for the journey

Prayer: What gift have You given to me O Lord, Jesus? Show me ways in which I can use that gift  to serve You more fully, and to give me that faith to serve You in all I do. Amen.

 Read:  Ephesians  4: 9 – 13

Are we all called to be  Ministers of Word and Sacrament?  Why or why not?   God calls only a few to become Ministers of Word and Sacrament.  But that does not mean that we can not help with worship.   The most important thing is preparing ourselves for worship.   Making time for daily prayer and scripture reading.  Worship is our celebration of God and our lifeline for weekly encouragement. 
What gifts has God given to you that you use to help others worship God?

Prayer:  God of grace, You have given us minds to know You, hearts to love You, and voices to sing Your praise.  Fill us with Your Spirit, that we may celebrate Your glory and truly worship You;  through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.    (PCC – USA  “The Service for the Lord’s  Day”.  Westminster Press, 1984,  Prayer #4).

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tuesday - Call to worship

Prayer: Lord of all, You have called us to be one in faith and baptism.  May we know You with the one eternal hope of which You have given us, as we live out this day to Your praise and glory. Amen.

Read:  Ephesians  4:  1-8

Why is worship important for us as Christians?   Do we need to attend Worship each week or does God ask just to attend two Sundays a month?

Frequently attending worship has been called a disciple.  And it is.   It does take discipline or effort to attending something every week.   But think of worship as a party.... the ultimate celebration of God.  Who wants to miss out on a party, especially the ultimate celebration of worshipping God? 

Prayer:  Everlasting God,  in whom we live and move and have our being.  You have made us for Yourself, so that our hearts are restless until they rest in You.  Give us purity of heart and strength of purpose, that no selfish passion may hinder us from knowing Your will, no weakness keep us from doing it; that in Your light we may see light clearly, and in Your service find perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  (PCC-USA  “The Service for the Lord’s Day”.  Westminster Press, 1984.  Prayer #2.)

Monday, 24 September 2012

Monday - blessings

Prayer:  Great God,  You call us to worship You this day.  We come before You this day in joy and praise.  We live in presence knowing that it is Your love that sustains us in our work and worship.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Read:  Exodus 14:  26- 31


The Dismissal….


Charge to the People



The “Word and Sacrament” study book of the Presbyterian Church in Canada (1987)   pg. 60 – 61,  states that God, who calls us together to worship now sends us forth in service.  The dismissal is brief and direct,  preparing the people of God to return to daily life in the world.  The direction is outward.  …. The Charge to the people is based on a sentence of Scripture… this is God’s  commission to the people to live as servants of Christ and faithful witnesses in the world.  The charge may be announced by the minister, an elder or other appointed member of the  congregation.”

The Benediction or blessing is said by the Minister facing the people.  Sometimes the Minister raises both hands or just one hand… this is in remembrance of Moses raising his hands to open the Red Sea, find water,  and ask for God’s  protection for God’s chosen people. The Minister raises his/her hands over the congregation.    Only a Minister can bless the congregation. A blessing is a sacred symbol of the Church.   If an Elder or Lay Preacher is leading worship,  then they can not bless the congregation but can say something like this, “Together let us go out into the world knowing that the love of God will follow us all the days of our life.” 

Everyone then sings “Amen”… so be it!

The congregation goes out of the Church after saying a prayer of thanks for worship today and listening to the organist/pianist/worship team play music which sends God’s people out in joy.


Prayer:   Almighty God,  grant that the words we have heard this day with our ears may be grafted onto our hearts through Your grace, that they may produce in us the fruit of a good life, to praise and honour of Your name,  through Jesus Christ our Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  Amen  (PCC-USA  “The Service for the Lord’s  Day”  Westminster Press, 1984.  Prayer #246). 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Sunday - Worship

Prayer:  God of all glory, on this first day You began creation,  bringing light out of darkness.  On this first day, You began Your new creation, raising Jesus Christ out of the darkness of death. On this Lord’s Day, grant that we, the people You create by water and the Spirit, may be joined with all Your works in praising you for Your great glory.  Through Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit, we praise You now and forever.  Amen.  (PCC – USA “The Service For the Lord’s Day”  Westminster Press, 1984.  Prayer #53).

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Saturday - a day of prayer

Prayer:  God,  source of all light,  by Your Word You give light to the soul.  Pour out upon us the spirit of wisdom and understanding so that being taught by You in Holy Scripture, our hearts and minds may be opened to know the things that pertain to life and holiness.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.   (PCC-USA “The Service For the Lord’s Day.  PCC-USA,  Westminster Press, 1984.  Prayer #108).

Today and everyday this coming week,  write down three things for which  you are thankful. 
It can be as simple as saying, "Thank You God that I could get out of bed this morning with minimual pain".  
As we grow in our thanks to God,  we also grow in our faith.   Gratitude.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Friday - What's a tithe?

Prayer:  Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.   Amen.  (Presbyterian Church, USA and Cumberland Presbyterian Church   “The Service for the Lord’s  Day”  Westminster Press, 1984)

Read:  St. Matthew 6: 19 - 21

An Offering of Thanksgiving…
Presentation of Gifts
Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord’s Prayer

When the Lord’s  Supper is not celebrated,  Worship continues with the presentation of our tithes and offerings.   We give financially to the Church to continue the work of Christ in the Church, Community, Denomination, and World.      We often think that a “tithe” means 10% of our earnings.  The idea of tithing comes from the Old Testament.  But in the Old Testament,  a tithe was a minimum of 10% of our earnings.   Remember that  our Presentation of Gifts also includes what we do in and for the Church.  Those who teach Bible Class,  or Sunday School,  or voluntarily clean the Church, or pray constantly for the Minister – Elders, or  type the bulletin… the list is endless of the offerings that we bring each Sunday.    Tithing is not just money but also the work of our hands that we give freely to the Church.

Once the Offerings are collected,  we stand and sing the Doxology.  This is a hymn of thanksgiving.  We praise God for all the blessings that God has given to us each and every day.   

A prayer is said over the gifts that have been presented.  This is a prayer of thanks for all of God’s people and the gifts that we bring in the name of Jesus.

Then a prayer of thanksgiving is prayed.  This prayer gives thanks for the gifts of God in creation and redemption… for our worship this day….   In Worship,  and in our daily lives,  it is extremely important to always say a prayer of thanks.  In order to mature as Christians,  we must say thank you to God.

The prayer of thanksgiving is concluded by everyone repeating the Lord’s  Prayer.   The Lord’s  Prayer is a prayer that Jesus gave to the disciples.  This is a prayer that after centuries of Christianity,  we still pray today.  How neat is that to know that Andrew and Peter, James and John and Paul all prayed this same prayer!

Prayer:  Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  Praise Him all creatures here below.  Praise Him above the Heavenly Host.  Praise Father, Son,  and Holy Ghost.   Amen.

Many blessings!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Thursday - living God-centred lives

Prayer:  Almighty God, in Jesus Christ You taught us to pray, and promised that what we ask in His name will be given us.  Guide us by Your Holy Spirit, that our prayers for others may serve Your will and show Your steadfast love,  through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. 

Read:  St. John 1: 1 - 18

The Word Proclaimed….
The Sermon
Prayer after the Sermon
Prayers of the People

The Sermon illumines the Word of God  by  providing biblical understanding so that we can live full God-centered  lives as Christians.   Sermons are preached to give the listener something to think about each week.   But most importantly,  the preaching of God’s Holy word must  fill each Christian with hope.
The writing of the Sermon takes time.  The Minister or Preacher must read the Scriptures over and over again,  must meditate upon the Scriptures,  must pray for guidance of the Holy Spirit to bring inspiration of God’s most Holy Word to the people.   Sermon preparation begins a week before the Sermon is preached.  Writing Sermons the day before Sunday does not allow the Holy Spirit time to guide the Minister to the words needed for the people of God.  

After the Sermon is preached,  the Preacher will pray a prayer that the Word of God has sunk into our hearts and minds and souls and that we do something with what we have heard in the Sermon each week.  

The Prayers of the People are  offered to God for people who need healing or  wholeness as well as being times of joy and enthusiasm.   These prayers are not just for the Church but we pray outwardly for those who need prayers in our community,  country, and world.  This is called interceding for the world and its peoples.  
Prayer:  Loving God,  in Jesus Christ You teach us to pray and to present our petitions to You in His name.  Guide us by Your Holy Spirit, that our prayers for others may serve Your will and show Your steadfast love for all.  Creator God,  you made all things and called them good.  May Your planet earth be held in reverence by all people.  Gracious God,  You have called us together to be Your Church and may we be one in faith and discipleship.  Eternal Ruler,  be with those who are in need of You this day.  Accept the prayers of Your people, and strengthen us to do Your will,  through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. (Word and Sacrament, PCC,  1987).

Many blessings!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Wednesday - Hear the Word of the Lord

Prayer:  Almighty God, in You are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  Open our eyes that we may see the wonders of Your word; and give us grace that we may clearly understand and freely choose the way of Your wisdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen (PCC-USA  “The Service for the Lord’s  Day”  Westminster Press, 1984.  Prayer #109).

Read:  1 Timothy 4: 9 - 16

When the four Scriptures are read in church,  they are each introduced with “This is a reading from the ….Old Testament…. Epistles… Gospel”   The reader also tells the congregation which Book of the Bible  is being read plus informing us of the Chapter and the verses.    Sometimes the Leader will tell a bit about the Scripture  before they begin reading.  
Then the Leader will say, “Hear the Word of the Lord”.   We,  as a congregation,  listen to the words being read.  But what happens if our minds drift?   That is when it is handy to read along with the Reader.  Pull out the Bible from the pew rack and read along.  
Today at the ending of each reading,  the Reader will say, “This is the Word of the Lord”. 
I am an old geezer in the Presbyterian Church and like the 1964 response which was, “The Lord bless to us the reading of His Holy Word”.    Why the different?  One response is stating that this IS the Word of the Lord.  The older response states that the reading of scripture is a blessing.  

The Psalm is usually said responsively… with the leader and congregation alternating verses.   Some Churches today use a sung refrain.  The refrain is sung to help illuminate the Psalm (remember that the Psalm are the prayers of God’s  chosen people!).

The Epistle is read next.  The Epistles are the books of the young Christian Church.  These are letters from Paul and Peter and John to the young Christian communities in cities across the World.  Each of these young Christian communities needed instruction on how to mature in their faith.     We too today also need to listen to the reading of the Epistles so that we can mature in our faith.

Then finally the Gospel is read.  The Gospel is always read last as it reminds us the Christ is the Good News.  This is the only portion of scripture in which the congregation may/will stand.    Some other denominations such as Orthodox Christians,  take the Bible around the Church and hold the Bible up high so that everyone can see the Good News of God.  This is called the Greater Entry.  Some denominations such as Anglicans and Lutherans stand up for the reading of the Gospel.  Why do they stand you ask?  Not because their backsides are sore from sitting but out of respect for the Good News of Christ.  
After the Gospel lesson is read,  the “new”  (1991) response to the reading of the Gospel is, “Praise to You, O Lord”.    The “old” (1964) response to the reading of the Gospel is, “The Lord bless to us the reading of His Holy Word, and to His name be glory and praise”.   Call me an old geezer,  but I still love hearing that the reading and hearing of God’s word is a blessing to us all.  J

Prayer:  Blessed Lord,  who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,  which You have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.  (PCC-USA,  “The  Service of the Lord’s Day”  Westminster Press, 1984, Prayer #111).

Many blessings!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Tuesday - the Bible is the life of each Christian

Prayer:   Lord, open our hearts and minds by the power of Your Spirit that we may hear Your living Word as the Scriptures are read and interpreted.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.  (Word and Sacrament,  PCC,  1987).

Read:  2 Timothy 3: 10-17

Paul says to Timothy in this reading that the Scriptures are the life of each Christian.  We are to read the Scriptures daily as well as focusing upon God’s Holy Word each Sunday.
By reading and meditating upon the Scriptures,  we become mature in the faith.

The Word Proclaimed….
Prayer for Illumination
Old Testament Lesson

This is the time of Worship when we listen to God’s  Word through the reading of the Scriptures.  The Word of God is life giving for all peoples.

Before the Scriptures are read,  there is a Prayer for Illumination.  This prayer asks God, through the blessing of the Holy Spirit,  that our hearts and minds may be open to hearing God’s  Word and that we may take what we hear and put it into action.  

Each Sunday,  four scriptures are read.  These four scriptures come from the Old Testament to remind us of  where we as Christians, have come from….  the Psalm is read responsively to remind us of the prayers of the Israelites…..the Epistle – a Letter from the Apostles, is read to remind us of the Early Church…..and finally the Gospel is read to remind us of the life and work of Jesus Christ.   The Gospel is always read last as this is the Good News of Jesus Christ.

The reading of these four scriptures each Sunday is called “the Lectionary”.  The Lectionary is used so that almost each book of the Bible is read once in three years.  The Presbyterian Church in Canada uses the “Revised Common Lectionary”.   While the use of the Lectionary is not mandatory,  it certainly helps Ministers and Lay Preachers know what Scriptures to use each Sunday.

Prayer:  May the words of our mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to You,  our Lord and Saviour.   Amen.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Monday -- All our joy and love

Prayer:  Holy Lord,  God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of Your glory. We praise You for Your love which is great enough to embrace the universe, yet close  enough to enter our hearts.  During our worship this Sunday,  surprise us with Your grace  that we, with the rest of the Church and the whole creation, may praise and adore you, O God, our Creator and Redeemer.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.  (Word and Sacrament,  PCC 1987).

                                       Old Church Door and Virginia Creeper Plant

Read:  1 Peter 2

Called to Worship…..
Prayer of Adoration
Confession of Sins
Assurance of Pardon

After the Call to Worship,  the congregation bows in prayer with the Prayer of Adoration.  This prayer expresses all our joy and love for God our Father, Protector, Creator and Healer.   The Prayer of Adoration can be said by all in unison or prayed just by the leader.   All prayers must reflect the scriptures of the day.
The Prayer of Adoration re-affirms the good news of God’s salvation amongst the peoples.   It is only through our continued prayers of gratitude that we continue to see the hope in any situation.
After the Prayer of Adoration then comes the Confession of Sins.  While God has already forgiven our sins,  we can only become whole people of God if we ask for the forgiveness of each of our sins.   We confess our sins because God has already assured us of forgiving through the sacrifice of Jesus.  After the Confession of Sins,  we pause for a moment for private prayer.  
The Minister then says the Assurance of Pardon.  These words are frequently from scripture and remind us that we are forgiven… and always forgiven. 
Then a Hymn is sung which reflects the Sunday Scripture.

Prayer:  Merciful God, in Your gracious presence we confess our sin and the sin of this world.  We are a people divided against ourselves as we cling to the values of a broken world.  We misuse your good gifts of imagination and freedom, intellect and reason, and have turned them into bonds of oppression.  Lord have mercy upon us. Heal us,  forgive us and set us free to serve You in the world as agents of Your reconciling love in Jesus Christ.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.  (Word and Sacrament, PCC 1987).

Many blessings!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Sunday -- Sabbath, Resting, Worship

Sunset looking across the street from our house at the setting sun and Riverheights
Elementary School.    

Prayer:  Great God,  in order that we may live and continue to grow in Christ,  open us to Your grace.  Renew in us the covenant we made at our baptism.  Help us to grow in knowledge and understanding of Your most Holy Word.  Help us to share in the Lord’s Supper and remember the amazing sacrifice that Christ gave for us.  May we always turn to You in prayer, each and every minute and second of our day.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Saturday -- Prayers of preparing our hearts


 Jesus,  You call us to be the Church which is Your body.  You formed us to be a congregation of brothers and sisters, sharing a common faith and hope.  Yet we are not always good people.  Sometimes we disagree with the Minister and Elders.  Sometimes we grow weary of yet another sermon that is preached without hope.  Jesus Christ, Son of God,  we come before You today to ask for forgiveness in our discouragement and disheartened souls.  We pray together and confess the faith of the Church…. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.  I believe in Jesus Christ,  His only Son,  our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,  suffered under Pontius Pilate,  was crucified, died, and was buried.  He descended to the dead.  On the third day he rose again.  He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.  I believe in the Holy Spirit,  the holy catholic church,  the communion of saints,  the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.  Amen.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Friday - instruments of God's grace

Prayer:  Your Word,  O LORD,  is a lamp unto my feet.  Your Word guides me and leads me to Your path of righteousness.    I will follow You all the days of my life.  Amen.

Read:  Psalm 119:  105 – 112

Called to Worship…
Prayers with the Worship Team, Choir, Ministers
The Gathering
Call to Worship

Worship begins the minute we sit down in the pew.  We say a prayer,  thanking God that we can be in Worship today and asking God to illumine the Scriptures to guide our lives.  As we sit in the pew,   we also pray for the Minister and Elders and Choir that they may be instruments of God this day.  
For Ministers and Elders,  worship begins before heading into the Sanctuary.  Before worship begins,  Ministers and Elders and the Choir must meet for prayer.   This time of prayer is to  ask God for guidance as they lead God’s people in Worship.  If your Elders are not meeting with the Minister and Choir for prayer,  you might want to ask them why they are not meeting for prayer.  Preparatory prayer is so important!
In some Churches today,  the Choir and Elders and Minister process into the sanctuary.  This is a visual  reminder that God’s people are gathering together for Worship.
Some congregations also will process the Bible.  This is called the Little Entry.   This is an ancient tradition where the Church only had one Bible.  The Bible was kept locked up during the week and brought into Church for the Minister to read.  The Bible was locked away for two reasons.  First reason the Bible was locked up was so that it would not be stolen.  Printing presses were not in existence,  so all the writing of the Bible was done by hand with pictures describing the Gospel for those who didn’t read.  The second reason the Bible was locked up was so that the mice  could not chew on the leather covers and binding. 
During the Processional,  the Beadle (Church Custodian) carries the Bible and puts the Bible on a stand as a sign that the Bible is the book for all people.
Today we all have Bibles and our Church Pulpit Bible isn’t locked up… but the symbolism remains.  The Bible is brought into the Church so that the congregation can visually see that the Word of God is present.    Next Sunday look around in the pews.  If there are no Bibles in the pews,  ask yourself why a Christian Church would not have Bibles in the pews.        In today’s scripture reading,  the Word of God is called a “lamp unto our feet”.  It is the Bible that illumines our understanding of God and guides us on the right path.   

The Call to Worship begins our worship as a congregation.   The responsive phrases are often from scripture,  usually the Psalms.   Why the Psalms you ask?  The Psalms are the prayers of the Israelites – God’s chosen people.   The Call to Worship calls us, as a  people of God,  to Worship.     The Call to Worship centers our thoughts and busyness of our lives to focus upon God.

Prayer:  May my cry come before You, O LORD.  Give me understanding according to Your Word.  May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to Your promise.  May my lips overflow with praise, for You teach me Your decrees.  May my tongue sing of Your Word.  May Your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen You.  Let me live that I may praise You and my Your Word sustain me.  This I ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.   (adapted from Psalm 119  169-175)

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Thursday - living in Christ

Prayer:  Blessed be God forever and ever.  By God’s  great mercy,  we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which nothing can destroy or wither.  Loving God,  keep us faithful and active in Christ’s  Church.  Send us out into the world to share Your love and justice.  May we continue to be Yours forever, daily growing in Your grace, ever increasing in Your Holy Spirit, until we come to Your glorious Kingdom.  Amen.  (Word and Sacrament study book,  PCC 1987).

Read  1 Peter 1:  3 – 9

This reading from 1 Peter mentions our joy of living in Christ,  yet also that there are tough times and times of trials.  God never said that being a Christian would be easy. Frequently we reflect upon our lives and can divide up our lives into times of joy,  times of sorrow, and times of peace.   Yet we know that in all things,  God is with us. 

Our Order of Worship is exactly like our lives.  There are certain times for everything.  In our worship today,  the Order of Worship is divided up into four sections.  First we are Called to Worship.  Second,  the Word is proclaimed. Third,  the Great Thanksgiving (and this is where the Lord’s Supper is celebrated).  And fourth,  the Dismissal.

Yet even before we attend Worship on Sunday,  we must prepare our hearts through prayer and study of God’s most Holy Word.    Preparing our hearts helps to hear what God is telling to us through Worship.   Preparing our hearts for Worship helps us to accept what God is telling us to do.  Preparing our hearts for Worship helps centre us into the life and work of God.   

On Sunday,  in some Churches,  the Organist or Worship team is softly playing music.  This music is a reminder that we need to come before God with love, joy, and gratitude.  
When you step into the pew before Worship begins,  remember to say a prayer to centre yourself before God.    If you are leading in Worship,  remember to say a prayer to centre yourself before God.    This is called the Gathering of God’s people.

Prayer:  We rejoice O Lord,  knowing that You have chosen us through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ.  We praise You that through Your great mercy,  You have given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Wednesday - Worship and Fellowship

Prayer:  No matter what we do,  O Lord,  You tell us that each day is a new day in Your sight.   Thank You O Lord for each new day.   May we remember that it was on the first day of the week that Jesus rose again.... a new day in Your sight.  Grant us Your healing so that with each new day,  we can share Your Gospel with all your people. This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Read:  Acts 2: 42 – 47

The early Christians devoted themselves to the apostles’  teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  They would meet in the temple courts and in homes of fellow believers.    The first day of the week became a time of remembering that it was on the first day of the week that Jesus rose from the dead.  On the first day of the week,  God created.  The first day of the week was a day of new beginning.  This day became known as the “Lord’s Day”. 
As Christians today,  we think that an hour sitting in Church is our Worship.  But here in the Scripture lesson for the day,  we discover that the Worship of God also involves fellowship.   Fellowship is the sharing of a meal together. 

Fellowship is a time of learning more about fellow believers.   In some Churches today,  the “time of Fellowship” is that awkward time after worship where one moves from the sanctuary to another place in the Church building to find juice or coffee and perhaps a cookie.    The time of fellowship  that the Apostles talk about is a meal.   Over a meal,  one shares one’s weekly experiences with others.   Together,  the community of believers learn more about each other and can sustain each other in Christian love.    Sitting down together over a meal provides hospitality for the People of God.

Think back to the last time your congregation sat down together to share a meal (a free meal!).   If it has been more than two months,  it is time to approach the Session and suggest a time of fellowship is needed.     Food for thought (pun intended) :)

Prayer:   Great God,  we come before You with glad and sincere hearts.  We praise You and enjoy living a life in Your presence.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Many blessings!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Tuesday - the Worship Decree

Prayer:  We thank You  Holy God,  that You guide and lead us in our lives.  Help us to remember each day that You are  present and always with us.   Be with us in our work and worship of You this day.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Read  Acts 18: 1 – 11

In the Scripture reading today,  we read that Paul is in Corinth and is attempting to tell those in the synagogue about Jesus.  But those in the synagogue oppose Paul and become abusive.   Did Paul get discouraged and stop preaching about the life and love of Jesus?  No,  not at all.  Paul then began to preach of Christ to the Gentiles.    God appeared to Paul in a dream and said, “Do not be afraid, keep on speaking, do not be silent.  For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”   And so those in Corinth began to believe in the life of the resurrected Christ.    The Christian community in Corinth began to grow and share the love of Jesus.

When do we worship?  From the beginning of the early Church,  we have gathered for worship each Sunday after work.   When Constantine became Emperor of Rome,  he decreed that Worship was to occur on Sundays.  In 321 AD,  Constantine closed the Courts of Law and placed restrictions upon working hours of slave labour.  Over time,  worship became Sundays at  11:00am.   Why 11am you ask?     Worship hour became 11:00am because it was between milking times for farmers. 

Prayer:   Holy God,  You ask us to keep on speaking about the love and life of Jesus Christ.   You tell us continually that You are with us.  Thank You for Your presence in our lives so that we can share this love with others.  Help us today to teach others of Your Word.   In Your Son’s glorious name.  Amen.

Many blessings!

Monday, 10 September 2012


Prayer: Blessed be God forever and ever. By God’s great mercy, we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which nothing can destroy or wither. Our inheritance is kept for us in heaven, and will be revealed at the end of time. We rejoice with a joy too great for words. Loving God, keep us faithful and active in Christ’s Church. send us out into the world to share Your love and justice. May we continue to be Yours forever, daily growing in Your grace and ever increasing in the knowledge and love of Your Holy Spirit until we come to Your Glorious kingdom. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.   (Presbyterian Book of Common Worship).

Read Psalm 47

Think of a time when you went “Wow, that was an amazing worship!” Where were you worshipping? What made it an amazing worship? Was it the number of people joining together praising God? Was it the magnificent music? Was it the meaningful sermon?

The writer of Psalm 47 is expressing this same amazing worship.

Many years ago at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, we would go to Piper’s Lagoon Park for Easter Morning Worship. In the early hours of Easter, as the sun was rising over the ocean, we would Worship together. Frequently as we would be singing praises to God, an Orca would break out of the waters. What a glorious sight. It made all of us realize that God is our Creator and together we would continue to worship in awe at the whales, the orcas, the seal lions, the eagles that would surround us during this time.

Out of our love for God, we worship. God does not require us to worship Him at all. We worship God because of our great love for God.

And worship always leads to joy and hope.

Yet, does God require us to worship in a golden building with marble floors? Nope. Does God say we must worship in a 500 seat building? Nope. We worship God and come together as a community of believers. But God does not say how our worship building is to be constructed. These days, we need to seriously look at our worship buildings. Do we need these buildings that are costing us more money in upkeep than proving mission projects in the community? Are our Churches only used one or two days a week and on Sunday? If so, three days a week to keep up a building is a lot of wasted funds that could be taken into the community to be the Worship/work in our community. If our worship is not joyful nor a time of hope, we need to seriously look at whether our buildings are becoming a stumbling block to the worship of God.

Throughout today, reflect upon Psalm 47 and how this Psalm describes our worship and love of God.

Prayer: Great God, we shout to You with cries of joy. For You are the King of all the earth, and we sing to You our psalms of praise. You reign over all the nations and are seated on Your Holy throne. For we belong to You and we come before You today to worship You with awe and majesty. Amen.

Many blessings!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Sunday Full of Sabbath

Sunday. A day to worship God together with all God's people.

But what about those people who are ill and can't travel to Church to worship? They stay home and do not have the opportunity to Worship. Or do those who are ill not have an opportunity to Worship? How do those who stay home worship God?

By reading the Scriptures, by reflecting upon the Scriptures, by saying prayers, by singing a few hymns that you love (yes, even off key :). Even if one is ill, one can still worship God. Yes, it isn't with a congregation but the most important thing is to worship God.... to set a time apart from the aches and pains of this world and to put ourselves into God's care. To read God's word, to listen to God's voice, to sustain our souls for the work of God. This is worship.

St. Mark's  Anglican Church, Minnedosa MB       Ascenssion of Jesus.  Dedicated by Brigadier General Dyer,  WW1.    Top of window:  New Jerusalem   Middle of Window:  Jesus   Bottom of window:  Four Regiments under Brig Gen Dyer's care during WW1.

Prayer: Bless to us O God, the earth beneath our feet. Bless to us, O God, the path whereon we trod. Bless to us, O God, the people whom we meet today in Worship. As we Worship You this day, may we remember all those who have come before us and called You, Father. May we remember all those who will come after us and call You Lord God of Hosts. If we are at home and ill, be with us and heal us as Your will be done. If we are disgusted with the Church and no longer worshipping You, O God, send Your Holy Spirit down upon us to make us whole in Your sight. Revive and bless our souls. In Your we live and move and have our being. Hallelujah! May the words of our mouths and the meditations of all our hearts no matter where we are or what we are doing, give You glory and praise. Amen.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Amazing Saturday

This Saturday prayer is from the Community of Iona... Scotland. It is so amazing that peoples of all times and spaces can pray together... and especially pray together to prepare our hearts for worship. How neat is that. We are never alone when we worship. While we might be alone in our own homes, worship is never alone. Prayer: O God, set Your blessing on us as we begin this day together. Confirm us in the truth by which we rightly live. Confront us with the truth from which we wrongly turn. We ask not for what we want, but for what You know we need as we offer this day and ourselves for You and to You. Prepare our hearts and minds and souls for Your Glorious Worship tomorrow. Be with those who lead in Worship, that they too may take many hours to prepare for bringing Your Word into our hearts. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen. (adapted from “Iona Abbey Worship Book”)

Friday, 7 September 2012

Friday - being still and listening... and quilting

Today at   .... my quilt block for the Modern Quilt Guild Quilt Con is the first one in the second row.  QuiltCon is the very first Quilt Conference for those quilters who create quilts in the "modern" style.   I was impressed when I read on the website that the Modern Quilt Guild wanted to  make quilts for kids at the Austin Children's Shelter.  They asked anyone to send in
a block.   These are the results.   Go over to their website and have a look-see.    Amazing the creativity!    Thank you Modern Quilt Guild Quilt Con for caring enough to care for others!

  Photo copied from

Friday Retreat....
Prayer: “Be still my soul” as we remember the mystery of Your love.  Help us to wait and rest in You this day, O Lord of all. Amen.

Read  Psalm 46

The Psalmist writes that God is our refuge and our strength.  God is an ever present help when we get into trouble.  Yet we need to be still in order to listen to God.    During Worship we sit and listen to prayers.  We sit and listen to the Scriptures being read.  We sit and listen to the Meditation upon God’s Word.  
In the Presbyterian Church in Canada,  worship is officially called “Worship of Word and Sacrament”.  This means in worship we hear  the scriptures being read,  we pray and sing in response to our love of God,  and together we remember God and the sacrifice of Jesus through Baptism and the Lord’s  Supper.    This is the work of Worship.  This is the Worship that sustains and nurtures us as Christians.
Be still and know that God is the Great I AM.  God is exalted among the nations, and God is exalted in all the earth.  The LORD Almighty is with us where ever we go.  God is our fortress.    
Worship is what we do to honour and glorify God. 
Today,  take 3 minutes out of your morning, afternoon, and evening to just sit and listen to the voice of God.  Be still and rest in God.

Prayer: Redeeming God,  remind us of the promises given in the sacraments.  The promise that we are loved by You and that You will provide for us.  Help us to share those promises with others in Jesus name and for his sake. Amen.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Thursday - healing broken souls

A couple of days ago our next wall neighbours were outside cleaning their car.  (Next wall neighbours because we live in a duplex).    They are expecting a baby.... on Friday.     As in tomorrow.   We trotted over to see how Mama-to-be was doing.     Imagine our surprise when Henry and Lily (Xinggui and Xia) said, "We want you to name our Canadian baby".  Wow!     In China,  Henry and Lily were told that they could not have children.    Upon arriving in Canada and three years later,  there is a baby on the way.   They consider this a great miracle.  And who better to ask to name a baby than a Minister. :)      They wanted a baby name that meant "Gift of God".         With a translator in tow,  we provided several names for boy baby names and girl baby names.  They chose Nathan (Gift of God)  and Sophia (Wisdom).   Mama and Papa- to-be are 100% sure that baby will be a boy.   For some reason I am thinking Sophia is a mighty wonderful name :)
We are indeed honoured to be chosen to name their baby!  Wow!  What an honour.    

Now,  does anyone have a baby quilt pattern that sews up in a weekend??  Seriously!  This baby will need a Canadian quilt!!! :)

Also,  I am still suffering the effects of a concussion so a really simple quilt pattern would be awesome.  My brain still is on frappe mode but better than it was on Saturday or Sunday or Monday or Tuesday.   Quilting is going to be very difficult to do but this one naming quilt will hold very special meaning for a very special baby.

Thursday Retreat.....
Prayer: Jesus, You are the carpenter who mends broken bodies, broken souls and broken relationships.   Help us to mend, restore, and repair bodies, souls and relationships, beginning with my relationship with You and following to those who need Your presence the most this day. Amen.

Read  St. Matthew 5: 13 - 16

St. Augustine warned Christians of the fourth century to remember that Jesus lived his life on earth as a human yet Jesus was also God’s son and was divine.  When we read the Gospels,  we read of the ministry that Jesus did on earth as well as the Divine.  This same way,  St. Augustine stated that we love Jesus and also love our brothers and sisters.  If we go to worship and then step outside and neglect the person sitting in need,  we are not living a full Christian life.  This is the “work” part of worship.
Worship is more than just sitting in Church for an hour each Sunday.    Through Worship,  we are sustained by the Holy Spirit and then we turn around and share the love of God with those who are in need.    Worship always leads to action.    
In the Gospel reading today,  Jesus calls us to be salt and to be light so that others can see the glory of God.  Leave aside your grumbling and your whining,   go forth in your work knowing that the glory of God is with you.

Prayer: Healer of all, heal my broken spirit, that I may more fully love as You have loved, even to the point of sacrificing Your Son so that we can have Your Eternal love and life.  Amen.

Many blessings!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Wednesday - Following Christ

Prayer: Creator God,  in the middle of the week we are reminded that You call us to be involved in the middle of everything that happens.  May we sense Your presence in our activities today, and remember to take You with us into our daily lives, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Read  St. Matthew 4: 18 – 22

Jesus calls the disciples and uses three words… “Come, follow me”.   And the men followed Jesus.   How simple is that?!  At once the men left their nets and followed Jesus. 

Andrew, Peter, James, and John did not stand by the shore and hum and haw about following Jesus.  They immediately dropped their nets and followed Jesus. 

Today,  the primary way of following Jesus is to worship together.  In the 2001 book by the Iona Community in Scotland,  “The Iona Abbey Worship Book”,  the community looks upon Worship as the existence of the central Gospel conviction that worship is all that we are and all that we do.  The Iona Community believes that all we do is an offering to God,  or nothing.  We can not pick or choose.  We either worship or we do not worship. Worship is the heart of the Church’s life and mission.  Worship is the heart of our life and mission.     Worship brings us wholeness of life and closer to God.    

The Iona Community says that Worship is everything we do both inside and outside of the Church.  When formal worship ends,  we go forth into the community… yet God is with us in all the we do and say, and we are with God.  Will you follow Christ today?

 Prayer: Jesus, You have called us by name, and we will follow You wherever You lead us today and always. Help us to be Your hands and Your feet in our community for those who can not ask for help…. for those who need help getting their lives back on track…. for those who need to see Your glory.   This we ask in Your name.  Amen.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Tuesdayv- work and worship

Tuesday retreat....
Prayer: What are You up to today O Lord?   Show us how we are to take part it Your work.  Amen.


Read Psalm 135.

In this Psalm,  the people give thanks and praise to God.  This is a beautiful example of our lives as Christians.  We are to worship and praise God all day long.  Yet,  even when our life becomes full of hardship and despair,  we remain in the presence and longing for God.  Praise be to the LORD who dwells in our hearts.

Worship of God is not dull and boring.  God speaks and we respond.  Worship is dynamic.  As read in the Psalms,  worship is a dialogue between God and God’s people. 

As we worship God,  the Holy Spirit moves and leads us into ever new forms of praise and mission.   We frequently think of worship as just sitting in the pew for an hour each Sunday.   Worship is much more than sitting in a pew.  Worship is also our very work.   This is called “liturgy”…. Worship is the work of the people.   You will note it is the work of the people,  not the work of Ministers and Elders J    Those of us who sit in the pew must  push up our sleeves and begin work for God through worship.

Prayer:  Almighty God,  give me the courage to boldly be Your love and care today in our community.  We ask that the Holy Spirit be by our sides as we do Your work.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.   Amen.