Good Friday 2019 Service Script – Full Outline

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Here’s a copy of our 2019 Good Friday Service Script. You may find this helpful for Good Friday services, Communion Services, or any service that focuses on the cross.

Opening Worship Set

Suggested Song – Grateful

Suggested Song – Death Was Arrested

Suggested Song – Living Hope

Transition

Turn and Greet/Bumper

Welcome/Explanation of Service/Communication Cards

  • Thank you for coming this evening. Tonight’s service is totally focused on the cross of Jesus and all He did for us. We’re going to look back in time and then reflect on our own lives before we share in communion together at the end of the service. Before we begin our journey, we’re asking everyone to complete their communication cards. We’ll collect them at the end of tonight’s service. But first, before we begin, we’re going to receive our offering. Some people here have already given online and some are preparing to give right now. However you are giving, thanks so much. Let’s pray and then we’ll continue on with tonight’s service.

Offering Prayer

Transition Video (adapted from Andy Stanley’s book “Irresistible.)

 

Construction on the Roman Colosseum began in AD 72 during the reign of Emperor Vespasian and was completed in AD 80 by his son Titus. It held over 50,000 people. That’s roughly 79% of of the New Orleans Mercedes Benz Superdome. That’s a pretty big arena for first century technology.

Nearby is the site where Nero’s circus once stood. This was the place where the first state-sponsored persecution of Christians took place. In the summer of AD 64, the city of Rome burned for six days and seven nights, consuming almost 75% of the city. Many Roman citizens blamed Emperor Nero, claiming he set fire to the city for his own amusement. Nero denied this accusation and claimed the fire had been started by the Christians who did not worship the Roman gods yet instead followed a King named Jesus. He set out to persecute the Christians and torture them in Nero’s Circus. It was there that the Christians were first dressed as animals and fed to the lions.

But the larger site, where the persecution of Christians continued, was the Colosseum, which soon became the symbol of the strength of the Roman Empire and its king. Spectators entered and exited the Colosseum through 80 arched entrances. 76 of these gates were numbered and allowed the general public to exit within 10 minutes. The remaining four unnumbered entrances were the emperor’s gate, two VIP gates, and the gladiator gate. Guests today are ushered in through the emperor’s gate.

And every single person who enters the Colosseum walks directly toward an enormous wooden structure that Pope Benedict XIV had placed there in the eighteenth century. By that time, the Colosseum had fallen into disrepair. Everything of value had been stolen and vagrants lived in the lower levels. Town planners, for safety, decided to tear down the entire structure. But to keep this from happening, Pope Benedict declared the Colosseum as a sacred monument dedicated to the suffering of Christ. As a part of his declaration, he commissioned the construction of an enormous cross to be hung over the emperor’s gate to commemorate the Christian martyrs who had died in the Colosseum and in Nero’s Circus.

When you see the Cross of Jesus in the Roman Colosseum, you are faced with the reality that the gospel is the power of God. The contrast is staggering. Here are two symbols representing two kingdoms – the Roman kingdom and the kingdom of God. In the end, the kingdom of the Lord prevailed.

The Roman Empire is no more. The Colosseum, once marveled at by man as a sign of Roman strength is now a tourist destination where the central attraction is the Cross of Jesus. The symbol that once represented the most horrible kind of death represents eternal life. The cross, the symbol of our King’s plan for our salvation and His own victory over death, hell, and the grave.

Praise be to our King.

Sermon – THE KING

We are here today to celebrate our King.

King Jesus lived like no other king because He was a King like no other.

Before Jesus was born, wise men from Eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem asking:

“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2)

Expound on scripture:

  • “Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” – C.S. Lewis
  • Jesus was born in a place reserved for animals and was wrapped not in fine linen but in cheap strips of material. He was placed not in a prince’s cradle, but instead was lain in a manger, the feeding trough for the livestock. This wasn’t the typical birthplace for a king, but Jesus is no typical king.

Jesus Was Born Like No Other King

When Jesus entered the City of Jerusalem, He fulfilled prophecy by telling His disciples: “Tell the people of Jerusalem, ‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.’” (Matthew 21:4-5)

Expound on scripture:

  • “I am persuaded that love and humility are the highest attainments in the school of Christ and the brightest evidences that He is indeed our Master.” – John Newton
  • Jesus didn’t enter Jerusalem on a white horse, showing himself off to the world. Instead, He purposefully rode on a young donkey, showing how humble He truly was. Kings aren’t typically known for their humility, but for their pride. Jesus personified humility in everything He did.
  • Jesus was God and deserved to stay in Heaven. Yet out of His great love for us, He chose to come to earth as a human. He even chose to obey God to the point of dying an embarrassing and painful death on the cross for our sins. Jesus is the perfect example of humility.

Jesus Was Humble Like No Other King

Jesus was arrested and brought before Pilate, the Roman Governor. “Are you the king of the Jews?” the governor asked Him. Jesus replied, “You have said it.” But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against Him, Jesus remained silent. “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.”  (Matthew 27:11-14)

Even when Pilate tried to make a way to release Jesus, it didn’t go well. He had a custom where he would release one prisoner a year at Passover. He asked the people to choose between Jesus and a thief named Barabbas. They chose the thief.

Pilate asked them, “Then what should I do with this man you call the king of the Jews?” (Mark 15:12)

They shouted back, “Crucify Him!”

Expound on scripture:

  • Jesus is God. He is the Ultimate Judge. He lowered Himself to be judged by Pilate in order to carry out the will of His Father.

Jesus Had A Trial Like No Other King

Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified. Matthew 27:27-31

After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”  The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” (Matthew 27:32-44)

Expound on scripture:

  • In their mocking of Jesus, the Roman soldiers placed a crown of thorns on His head and a reed stick in His hand as a scepter. The crown and the reed certainly caused Jesus pain, but even more, it caused intense humiliation before the people. The scarlet robe drove the point home even more.
  • The jeering crowd caused even more humiliation for Jesus. They were jabbing at him, hoping to elicit some response that would ruin His claims about Himself. They received none.

Jesus Was Humiliated Like No Other King

At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”… Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:45-46, 50-54)

Expound on scripture:

  • “It was not nails that held Jesus to that wretched cross; it was His unqualified resolution, out of love for His Father, to do His Father’s will-and it was His love for sinners like me.” – D.A. Carson
  • “God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’”

Jesus Died Like No Other King Because He Was, And Is, A King Like No Other

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)

Video – No Other King by Dan Stevers –  https://www.danstevers.com/store/no_other_king

Decision Time – This King Gave His Life For You On the Cross

Communion

  • Spoken Intro – You heard the story of King Jesus. This is who we are remembering tonight…
  • Communion Song – Mighty Cross  

Closing Announcements

Closing Song

Self-Centered, Self Reliant, and Just Plain Selfish

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The night I gave my life to Jesus, I joined with hundreds of young people at a camp singing:

Take my life, Lead Me Lord,

Take my life, Lead me Lord,

Make my life useful to Thee*

I meant those selfless lyrics with all of my heart. I went home determined that my life would be focused on and useful to the Lord, so I dug into prayer and Bible study. One of the stories I read was Jesus’ story of the Lost Son in Luke 15. In the story, the younger of two sons was totally self-centered. He had the audacity to go to his father and ask him for his inheritance early. He basically said, “I’m tired of waiting for you to die so I can get my shot at what’s coming to me.”

As I read about how self-centered the young man was, I vowed, “That will never happen to me! I’m going to do great things for God no matter who I have to run over. I’m going to make the best of my life for the Lord. I’m going to go to a Christian college, I’m going to major in some kind of ministry degree, I’m going to achieve great things, I, I, I, I….

The story of the Lost Son continues with his father miraculously giving his younger son his inheritance early. The young man is filled with a spirit of self reliance and is determined that he can manage his inheritance better than his father or older brother. He leaves his father’s house and goes to a far off land where he squanders his inheritance in riotous living.

As a young man, I read that part of the story and said to myself, “That will never happen to me! I will never be as self reliant as that young man. I’m going into the ministry. I’m going to take the gifts the Lord has given me and make something of them. He’s going to be amazed when He sees what I have done!

Jesus’ story continues with the Lost Son, a young Jewish boy, having to take a job feeding pigs, an animal detestable to Jewish people, for a farmer in the distant land. He had lost his fortune and with it all of his friends. He was hungry and no one gave him anything. As he looked down at the slop in his bucket that was meant for the pigs, even that looked good to him.

As I read that part of the story, I vowed, “That will never happen to me!” I will never be so selfish that I find myself without anything. I’m going to live a holy life! I’m going to seminary and to the mission field and I’ll use the brain God gave me to get out of tough situations.

In the story, the young man came to his senses, and remembered that even his father’s servants had food enough to spare. He made a plan to go to his father, fall at his feet, confess his sin, and ask to become a servant in his household. And the young man began his journey. As he neared his father’s house, his father sees him, runs to him and embraces him. The young man tries to get his speech out, but his father commands his servants to kill the fattened calf and prepare a feast, for his son was lost and now is found. So the party began.

The older brother, who had remained faithful to his father, came home while the party for his younger brother was taking place. He learns what has happened and becomes angry. His father tries to lure him inside to celebrate, but the older son, responds, “I don’t believe this. You give my brother his inheritance, he goes out and wastes it, doing God knows what with God knows who, and when he’s broke, he comes back here and we’re celebrating! I’ve served you faithfully for all of these years, working hard before the sun comes up and continuing after it goes down, and you’ve never even considered giving me anything for a party like this!”

For many years, I vowed that I would never become the older brother, but I’ve seen myself morph into him time and time again. I’ve seen that my life, which I thought was self denial, has often been self-centered, self reliant, and just plain selfish. And wow, as I read that story again after so many years, I’m not making any vows. Have I been the Lost Son or have I been the Older Brother?

The answer is yes. I’ve been both.

The way I feel can be summarized in the lyrics of the late Rich Mullins.

I’ve gone so far from my home,

I’ve seen the world and I have known so many secrets I wish now I did not know.

For they have crept into my heart, they have left it cold and dark, and bleeding,

bleeding and falling apart.

I’ve seen silver turn to dross.

I’ve seen the very best there ever was,

and I tell you, it ain’t worth what it cost.

And I remember my Father’s house,

what I wouldn’t give right now just to see Him

and hear Him tell me that He loves me so much.

And when I thought that I was all alone, it was Your voice I heard calling me back home,

and I wonder now, what was it that made me wait so long?

And what kept You waiting for me all that time?

Is Your love stronger than my foolish pride?

Will you take me back, take me back and let me be Your child?

Cause I’ve been broken now,

I’ve been saved.

I’ve learned how to cry and I’ve learned how to pray.

And I’m learning, I’m learning even I can be changed.

And everybody used to tell me big boys don’t cry,

but I’ve been around enough to know that that was the lie

that held back the tears in the eyes of a thousand prodigal sons.

We are children no more, we’ve sinned and grown old,

but our Father still waits, and He watches down the road,

to see the crying boys come running back to His arms.

And be growing young.**

 

Photo courtesy to Ant Rozetsky of Unsplash

*Take My Life, Lead Me Lord by P. Mains Rawls

**Growing Young by Rich Mullins

 

Broken Zipper, Hidden Fly

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There’s nothing quite so humbling, or humiliating, than to be in church with a broken zipper in your fly.

I had just finished my business in the bathroom and I must have gripped the pull tab of my zipper a little too hard. I zipped up but nothing came together. The glorious unity displayed in the joining together of the metal tangs in my zipper did not take place. My pants were undivided permanently, despite my begging and pleading in the moment.

So, I fastened the top of my pants, praising God there was a button that worked, untucked my shirt and pulled it down as far as possible in the front.

My wife was coming to pick me up on the other side of the church building from where I was, so I had to walk through the crowded common area. I tried my best to be inconspicuous, which is hard to do when you’re the campus pastor walking through a crowd in the church building. I noticed a couple of people looking at me strange and wondered if I was not sufficiently covered. That’s when I realized I was walking all hunched over, trying to give the front of my shirt the slack it needed. So I pulled on my jacket, even though it had turned warm, and zipped up the front to help my situation.

I had just made it to our meeting point when my wife sent me a text telling me she was going to be late.

Sigh.

I quickly found an out of the way chair to sit and wait for her to arrive. I placed my backpack in my lap as if it were a shield. I pulled out a book, and pretended to read, hoping people would catch the understanding that I wasn’t interested in conversation. Suddenly, I was surrounded by friends and church members who desperately needed to talk. One of them even needed prayer. I tried to act casual and asked them to sit across from me so we could informally talk.

Finally, everyone left, and my wife finally arrived.

“Hi,” she said. “Would you like to go out to eat?”

“Ah, no,” I replied.

We read in Proverbs 11:2 that Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

I can say that in the moments of my humility (or humiliation) I was very much aware of my every appearance and interaction with others. I considered every step I took and every word I said with precision and accuracy. I thought more about what the other person heard (and saw) and kept direct eye contact with them as much as possible.

I learned two valuable lessons that day.

  1. Wisdom does come from humility.
  2. I’m keeping an extra pair of pants in my office from now on.

Second-Hand Smoke at the Dollar Store

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I wasn’t planning on talking to anyone, but he made himself impossible to avoid. He laid on the sidewalk near the Dollar store entrance, his lighter and pack of Marlboros next to him. As I began to gag on second-hand smoke, he shot me a piece sign.

“Hey, man,” he asked, “Can you spare some money? Anything would help. I’m hungry.”

Living in New Orleans, my wife and I encounter the hungry and the homeless on an almost daily basis. We do try to help when we are able. However, something about the audacity of this man to beg for money as he blew smoke produced from his $5.44 pack of cigarettes pushed me across the line.

“Why don’t you trade your cigarettes for some food?” I asked.

“What?” he replied. “You want one?”

“Nevermind,” I said as I pushed past him and entered the store, shaking my head.

As I walked through the store in my self-righteousness, I prayed, “Can you believe that guy, Lord? He’s begging for food when he obviously has money for cigarettes.”

In that moment, I sensed the Lord speaking to me. “Do you mean you’ve never wasted the resources I’ve given you and then begged Me for help?”

Ouch. Gut punch. Game over. End of discussion.

I didn’t have much money, but I bought the guy a Snicker’s bar on my way out.

“The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” Matthew 7:2

 

*photo courtesy of Unsplash and Quinten-de-Graaf

Early On: A Response In Story Form

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“Well,” he said, “You’re here early, aren’t you?”

“Yeah,” I replied. “I am. I’m not really sure what happened, but here I am.”

The man smiled pleasantly.

“Is that ok?” I asked. “Can I still join you?”

He swallowed hard and looked into my eyes.

“Absolutely!” he stated. “We’re glad you’re here. Don’t ever doubt that.”

I stretched out my hand to shake his. He grabbed it tightly and pulled me in for a big bear hug. It took me by surprise, but in a good way. Something told me I could trust him.

“Thanks for having me,” I said, still caught in his embrace.

When he finally released me, I awkwardly said, “Again, I’m sorry I’m here so early.”

“You shouldn’t worry about it,” he replied. “We all know it wasn’t your fault.”

“Thanks for understanding,” I said. “I just hope it won’t ruin anything.”

He paused, then said, “Things here will be just fine. Now, let’s get you settled in, Michael. I think you’re going to like where we’ve put you.”

“Michael?” I asked. “Why are you calling me Michael?”

He patted my back and said, “Because that’s your name.”

“I’ve never heard it before.”

“What did your parents call you?”

“Well, they never really called me by name. They usually just referred to me as the kid. You know how parents are. They say things like ‘I don’t know what to do with this kid,’ ‘I wish that kid was coming at a different time,’ ‘That kid’s just not going to be worth the effort.’”

“You heard your parents say all of that?”

“Yeah.”

“I’m saddened that you heard that. I’m sure it really hurt your feelings.”

“It did, but I turned out ok, I guess.”

“You look fine to me now, Michael.”

“So I’m really Michael, huh?”

“Yeah, you are. You know, your grandma wanted to call you Michael if…”

“I know,” I said. “If I had been born.”

“Yeah,” he said.

“You know,” I said. “I thought I was being born. I saw a light and then, darkness again, and then I was here…”

He put his hands on my shoulders and said, “Michael. I wish you could have lived the life I planned for you. You would have loved it.”

Tears streamed down my face and I hugged him once again. I could feel his heart beating in rhythm with mine.

“I love you, Michael,” he said. “I want you to live with me here forever.”

I smiled and said, “Thank you, Jesus. I love you, too.”

 

*photo courtesy of Drew Patrick Miller and Unsplash

20th Century Classic Book Impacts 21st Century Ministry

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On August 29, 2005, the flood waters of Katrina destroyed my copy of Robert Coleman’s book, The Master Plan of Evangelism. Recently, I overheard a few of my younger ministry colleagues talking about how much the book had meant to them, so I found a copy and devoured it within a days. I had read it decades earlier, but don’t remember it having the same impact on me as a younger man.

Robert Coleman uses the life and ministry of Jesus as his example, demonstrating to the reader that the master plan of evangelism is really discipleship. The author, in the preface, states: “This is one of the marvels of his (Jesus’) strategy. It is so unassuming and silent that it is unnoticed by the hurried churchman. But when the realization of his controlling method finally dawns on the open mind of the disciple, he will be amazed at its simplicity and will wonder how he could have ever failed to see it before.”

I’ve heard it said that many methods of evangelism focus on people rather than on Jesus. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but I do know that when we focus on making disciples, we keep Jesus as the center. One person even remarked to me that Robert Coleman should have titled his book The Master Plan of Discipleship. I beg to differ. I think he should have titled it The Master’s Plan of Evangelism.

Robert Coleman breaks down Jesus’ plan for world evangelization into eight parts:

  • Selection – Jesus planned to use His disciples as His method of reaching the world.
  • Association – The disciples learned from Jesus by doing life and ministry with Him.
  • Consecration – The greatest understanding of truth is learned through a life of obedience.
  • Impartation – Disciples of Jesus must have the Holy Spirit within them to follow Jesus completely.
  • Demonstration – Jesus demonstrated to His disciples His method of evangelism. He was the method and He wanted them to be as well.
  • Delegation – Disciples of Jesus must be given practical work assignments with the expectation that they be carried out.
  • Supervision – When discipling people, the leader or mentor must supervise and guide the disciple to minister as Jesus did.
  • Reproduction – Jesus expects His disciples to produce other disciples.

Sounds pretty simple, yet brilliant at the same time. Where else but from Jesus Himself can you find a plan for one on one mentoring, personal ministry and leadership development, and lifelong friendship resulting in a changed world. Simply amazing.

However, for this to work for most people, things have to change.

First, Christian leaders must be willing to invest in people rather than in programs. Jesus called people to serve Him and emulate Him. Programming is important but secondary to this investment.

Second, Christian leaders must be patient as new disciples develop into new creatures of Christ. There is no instant Christian maturity pill people can take. True Christian growth that lasts often takes years of trusting and following Jesus with guidance from other Christians.

Finally, Christian leaders must be willing to invest in others for the long haul, even if ministry positions change. It doesn’t matter if your job (or ministry calling) leads you across the country, to follow this example, you must continue to disciple your mentee as he grows into the image of Christ.

I don’t know about you, but this challenges me, a lot.

In the foreword to The Master Plan of Evangelism, Billy Graham states that “Few books have had as great an impact on the cause of world evangelization in our generation as The Master Plan of Evangelism.” Even though that statement was referring to those doing ministry in the 20th century, the book has the potential to impact us in the 21st century as well.

I highly recommend this book.

master plan of evangelism

The above is a review of: 

The Master Plan of Evangelism

Copyright 1963, 1964, 1993 by Robert E. Coleman

Revell Books, A Division of Baker Publishing

Grand Rapids, Michigan

*Opening photo courtesy of Raghu Nayyar and Unsplash

 

An Unlikely Christmas Carol

Joy to the World

For years, Joy to the World has been a favorite Christmas carol of millions. Ironically, it was originally written as a poem (not a song) about the second (not the first) coming of Christ.

Here’s how it happened:

In 1719, Isaac Watts published a book of poetry based on the psalms. In the collection, he adjusted each psalm to reflect the work of Jesus in the New Testament. Joy to the World was his adaptation of Psalm 98. Isaac Watts interpreted the psalm as a celebration of Jesus’ role as King of both His church and the entire world.

Isaac Watts, however, did not write the melody of Joy to the World as we sing it today, but instead, instructed the reader/singer to present it in common meter to the common tunes of the Old Psalm Book of his day. Over the next 130 years, various melodies were written by several composers. Finally, in 1848, Lowell Mason published his version of Joy To The World with its current melody in The National Psalmist. It was his 4th revision of the song, sampling the opening melody from the chorus Lift Up Your Heads from Handel’s Messiah. Ironically, many today, when listening to The Messiah, believe that Handel utilized snippets of Joy to the World in His work to make it more recognizable and Christmasy.

So now we have a Christmas Carol which is written about the second coming of Jesus and was never even meant to be a song that is now a Christmas favorite for many around the world.

Merry Christmas

Related Posts: New Verses to Away In A Manger

Why I Don’t Shop On Black Friday

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As a general rule, I don’t shop on Black Friday.

I know lots of people who do and that’s fine with me (for the most part), but I just can’t bring myself to participate. 

Let me explain. Years ago, I spent an extremely satisfying Thanksgiving with my wife. The weather was beautiful, we spent time talking with family members and friends, we walked in the park, and we ate an enormous amount of food.

Then came Black Friday.

We awoke to the news that we had lost someone very close to us. We took it pretty hard in a way that you never really get over but simply learn to live over time.

As I’ve gotten older, I realize that this is more common than I once knew. Holidays are meant to be spent with those we love the most. So what do we do when they’re no longer with us? How can we be expected to go on as normal? This day has become a remembrance day of sorts for me, and I’m certainly not going to spend it fighting crowds and spending money for things I don’t even want with money I don’t even have.

Holidays magnify our losses in life. Sadness feels sadder, anger grows stronger, regret gets bigger, and loneliness goes deeper.

So how do we deal with it? How do we continue? I’ve learned that I can’t avoid the feelings associated with grief. The only way I can avoid the pain is to walk through it intentionally.

In Matthew 5:4, Jesus said, “God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” 

If you’re dealing with grief today, as I am, let me encourage you to dedicate some time to walking through it. Write them a letter. Look through old photos and laugh. Allow yourself to cry. Show honor to the one you miss by sharing your thoughts and feelings with the Lord. He is always there waiting to hear what you have to say ready to extend mercy and grace to help in your time of need.

The Anthropians: A Fun Missions/Community Interaction Learning Experience

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Several years ago, I was a participant at the Missionary Learning Center in Rockville, Virginia. While there, we participated in a large group experience where some of us were missionaries and others were members of an unreached people group. I don’t remember the details of the experience, but I do remember that I left feeling like I had a better understanding of relating cross-culturally.

Earlier this week, I was tasked with training the Celebration Church staff on community interaction. I put together a short learning experience based on what I remembered from my time at the Missionary Learning Center. It turned out good for us. I hope it blesses you as well.

The Anthropians 

STEP ONE:

Select six people from the group and send them into another room where they cannot hear what is happening in the large room.

STEP TWO:

Explain to both groups of people that they now have a new identity.

  • Those in the large group are members of the Anthropian Tribe.
    • The Anthropian tribe members only wear one shoe.
    • The Anthropians speak English but only in whispers.
    • The Anthropians applaud whenever anyone says “thank you” or “good-bye.”
    • It is considered polite in the Anthropian culture to hiss and look repulsed whenever someone greets them. ONLY if someone responds in a similar fashion, will they smile and whisper to them.
    • The Anthropian leaders wear funny hats. They only speak to non Anthropians when they are introduced to them by other Anthropians. If someone is introduced to a leader by an Anthropian, the leader hisses and looks repulsed. If the new person responds in kind, the Anthropian leader smiles and speaks to them in a whisper. Every so often the leader says “thank you” for no reason, causing those Anthropians around him to applaud.
    • There is an Anthropian Ruler who sits on the raised level who never speaks or acknowledges anyone, ever, no matter who they are or what the reason. 
  • Those now in the “small sent out group” are the missionaries.
    • They wear matching shirts
    • They speak English in a normal speaking volume
    • Their mission is to learn how to interact with the Anthropian Tribe so they can impact their community for the better.
    • The mission team consists of:
      • A leader who directs the team
      • Four team members who carry-out the directions of the leader
      • One scribe who takes notes on the what he sees and reports his findings to the group.

STEP THREE:

  • In the large group, have the Anthrops gather into circles of 10 with a leader for each group. Give each leader and hat then lead them to practice being Anthrops.
  • In the small group, have the missionary leader and team develop a strategy for interacting with the Anthropians.

 

STEP FOUR:

  • Bring the missionaries into the presence of the Anthropians and have them begin their missionary journey. The leader directs, the missionaries engage, and the scribe takes notes.

STEP FIVE:

  • The action ends. The missionaries de-brief for 2 minutes while the Anthropians return to their seats. Then, the scribe takes the stand and reports to the whole group the findings of the team.

Large Group Questions:

  • Do the Anthropians Need Jesus?
  • Why is doing a little anthropology on the Anthropians important to understand their culture if we’re trying to impact their community? 
  • How can understanding the culture of the communities surrounding our campus help us in impacting them?

*Photo courtesy of Re.zin of Unsplash

Simple Psalm 27 Worship Service Outline

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Here’s an outline we used at Celebration for our October Night of Worship. If you’re hoping to plan a similar service, I hope it helps you.

Psalm 27 Worship Service Outline

Opening Worship Song Set

Greeting and Prayer

SECTION ONE – LIVING UNDER THE PROTECTION OF THE LORD

Scripture Reading: Psalm 27:1-3 – “The Lord is my light and my salvation, so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.”

Sharing – Expounding on Psalm 27:1-3 and what it means to live under the protection of the Lord.

Prayer – Acknowledging our Dependence on the Lord. Mention His greatness and how we can be confident that He will take care of us no matter what is happening.

Suggested Song –

  • I Need You – 

SECTION TWO – LIVING IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD

Scripture Reading: Psalm 27:4-6 – “The one thing I ask of the Lord-the thing I seek most-is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in His temple. For He will conceal me there when troubles come; He will hide me in His sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At His sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.”

Sharing – Expounding on Psalm 27:4-6 and what it means to live in the presence of the Lord.

Prayer – Thanking God for His presence and for the confidence we can have in the midst of diversity because of His daily presence in our lives

Suggested Song

  • Here As In Heaven – 

SECTION THREE – LIVING WITH THE PLEDGE OF THE LORD’S FAITHFULNESS

Scripture Reading: Psalm 27:7-10 – “Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” Do not turn your back on me. Do not reject your servant in anger. Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me, O God of my salvation! Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.”

Sharing – Expounding on Psalm 27:7-10 and what the faithfulness of the Lord means to each of us.

Prayer – Thanking God for His faithfulness in our lives and for the assurance that He will always be faithful to us.

Suggested Song

 

  • Do It Again – 

 

SECTION FOUR – LIVING WITH THE PROMISE OF A FUTURE WITH THE LORD

Scripture Reading: Psalm 27:13-14 – “Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”

Sharing – Expounding on Psalm 27:13-14 and what it means to live with the promise of a great future with the Lord, both in this life and in the next.

Prayer – Thanking God for the promise of a great future with Him.

Suggested Song

 

  • Yes and Amen – 

 

ConclusionExpound upon the faithfulness and protection of the Lord in these uncertain times. Share about how we can always trust in the Lord because we can be certain of His love for us.

Closing Song

 

  • Upbeat Closing Song 

*Photo courtesy of Unsplash