CALL TO WORSHIP:
ONE: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
ALL: The earth was barren, with no form of life. It was under a deep ocean and covered with darkness.
ONE: But the Spirit of God was moving over the waters — and God
spoke, saying, "Let there be light." And there was light.
ALL: God saw the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day" and the darkness He called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning
the first day!
PRAYER OF INVOCATION & THE LORD'S PRAYER: Eternal God, when we pause and really consider this wonderful universe in which we live, we cannot help but be filled with great awe. We can feel the force, the Spirit, gather around us and reach out to us. And in the great silence, 0 Lord, Your voice becomes clear to us. Today, in this day that You have made, we pray that we might sense the wonder of who You are and all that You do. We pray that we may bless Your holy name and be united with You in holy love. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray, saying; Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever, Amen.
One of our own has left us, he will be greatly missed.
PRAYER: I would like us this morning, as a congregation, to pray together for Harley. He
served as our minister for several years, and to me he was first a teacher, then a colleague; he was a counsellor, and he was a friend. Let us pray together: Loving and merciful God, we entrust our brother Harley to Your mercy. You have loved him greatly in this life; now he is freed from all its cares, give him happiness and peace forever. The old order has passed away; welcome Harley now into paradise where there will be no more sorrow, no more weeping or pain, but only peace and joy with Jesus, Your Son, and the Holy Spirit. God, grant us to share in the inheritance of His saints in glory; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with us, now and always. Amen.
Holy Spirit, You have honoured us with unique spiritual gifts.
We acknowledge that these gifts are to be ised for Your glory alone. Help us to offer our talents so that others may be encouraged to share abundantly. We are honoured and humbled by the responsibility of using these gifts as stewards of Your kingdom. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
God's library by Nancy Campbell
Let us pray: 0 God, who created all things and who makes all things new, speak to us, Your people, today. Let us open our hearts and the pages of our inner selves to You. May Your truth touch not just our intellects, but also our deeper yearnings for knowledge, and the desires of our heart and soul. May Your new creation in us shed light upon our everyday walk down the aisles of life.
When we think of God's library, we immediately think of the Bible: The most read book in the world, the first printed book. The Bible is a book of laws, proverbs, songs, prophecies, parables — the word of God. It is a book of guidance, hope and strength which helps us grow spiritually. Books are important to most of us and for every Christmas and birthday I make sure my grand-children receive at least one book.
Many of us here are grandparents. We remember the birth of each grandchild with excitement. We see the little one nurtured and loved. We swell with pride as the child gets cuter and cuter with each passing day. Then the baby begins to crawl, quite wobbly and unsure at first, but gradually beginning to crawl with greater and greater dexterity. We watch closely as our grandchild's life unfolds.
And then it happens. The child has learned to walk, but what's this he would rather crawl. We tell our children not to worry the baby is crawling because it's what he knows best, it's easier, he's just as happy crawling. He gets where he wants to without the struggle of walking and falling down. At Christmas, my daughter shared her concern with me because her 20 month old son is still not talking. She assured me that he understood everything but will not say anything but his own unique language. I told her that because he was in a French daycare during the day and in an English household at night and on the weekends, that he was still sorting out his vocabulary in his head. One of these days he will start talking and probably won't stop. It's normal for new parents to think that their child is stuck in the infant stage.
While the apostle Paul was in Corinth for the first time, he found the people were spiritually immature, and he felt it necessary to talk to them as if they were infants. Paul had to show the people of Corinth that they needed to discard the elementary teachings of Christ and move on to maturity. He told them that God's plan was birth, growth and maturity.
We can all see this plan clearly in the world around us. We see the order of God's creation and His will that all things grow, develop and mature into what God had planned and to give these things purpose. Plants grow and mature and provide oxygen and food. Animals grow and mature and provide food and clothing. These things have purpose, as do people, who also grow, develop and mature.
In this sense of birth and development, the spiritual world is no different from the physical world. We need to be born spiritually just as we are born physically. We can see the importance of being born spiritually and we know the significance of regeneration. But the Corinthians had a problem. It's true, they were born again, but they weren't growing the people were stuck in their ways.
By reading our Bibles and other books of interest, we continue to grow spiritually. The simple act of reading helps us grow in many ways. We've all been to a library at least once in our life. Books, books, books — story books, histories, poetry, travel, mythology, biographies —books everywhere! Books for us to read and to learn and to grow. We walk up and down the aisles, looking for a section that interests us, checking tiles, and finally spying the book we like, we take it down off the shelf.
Have you ever noticed how we read a book? It's usually like this: we leaf through the pages, looking at any pictures. Then if we like the pictures, we look at the print to see if we can read it easily. Then, if all these things suit us, we just might read the book. Funny, isn't it?
God's library is much more than the 66 books of the Bible. As a matter of fact, God has a lot of libraries. We call them churches, but they are libraries, and we, the members of the church, are the books. And we are all first editions. As a smatter of fact, some of us might even be considered as rare books! That's right, you and I. Peciple come in and look around until they see some of us with the title "Christian." They take our life down and look through it for pictures yes, the scenes that portray us; it may be our tempers, or our selfishness, our snobbishness or our coarseness, or it may be our cheer, our friendliness, our trustworthiness or our caring. If they don't like these scenes, they put us to one side just as we do a book whose pictures we don't like. But if they do like them, they begin to look at other things, such as habits, speech, manners and ideals. If these are clear-cult, they may take time to really know us, because when we read books we attain information, and the more information and knowledge we have, the more we grow and mature.
What are your outstanding traits and habits? Would they draw others to you or would they make them shun you and push you away? Do people know what you stand for? We don't like blurred pages in a book, therefore we don't like smeared principles in people. When you grow in spirituality, we become full grown, mature, Christians.
So now, think about how Paul uses the word infant to emphasize the level of spiritual maturity to which the Corinthians had attained. Corinth was a very wealthy city. It was situated only 50 miles from Rome. It was a center of art, athletics, business and religion. The temple of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, sex and fertility was located there. One thousand Priestesses, who were prostitutes, carried on their immoral trade. Corinth had such a bad reputation as an evil, immoral city that it had become an insult to refer to someone as a Corinthian.
The church at Corinth was in trouble. Women had abused their freedom in Christ by refusing to show submission to men. The Lord's Supper had been turned into a common meal. There was a dispute about miracles. Some even denied the Resurrection. Paul decided to try to
correct these problems. He told the Corinthians he was coming to visit them. Whether he came with strength or gentleness depended on them. He expressed his hope that they would repent.
Babies cry when they want to be held or when they're hungry or when their routine is threatened. Some Christians are like that. Their feelings are easily hurt. Spiritual infants are like bombs, always ready to explode. We all know people like that and we've heard these phrases:
At church they are extra nice, out at home they are explosive; At church she's ideal but at home, impossible; At church he’s always praising, out at home he’s always pouting. And you have probably heard many such phrases.
Paul told the Corinthians that Christ had written upon their hearts and this served as a powerful letter for commendation for Paul. A church is an epistle of Christ, open for all to read. Christ is the living One, He is always writing new epistles, in harmony with those which were written from the beginning, and at the same time, new and fresh and suited to today's lifestyle. it is our job to minister the epistle so that Christ is conveyed to and impressed upon all you believe.
The Ten Commandments were written on tablets of stone by God's own hand, but the Spirit is inscribed on the convictions and affections of you and I. The Word is written on the heart. If you go to the Lord justifying yourself and accusing others, He will only write on the ground. 131,1t it you go to Him with a penitent neart, he will write on you HIS grace and truth.
We need to remember 5 things to gain spiritual maturity and be the good books that people want to read and know. We must always look to Christ. We must remember the cross of Christ. We must continue to build our spirituality. We must pray to be more concerned with others than with ourselves. And we must ask God to teach us patience, kindness and maturity. Ask yourseit it tnese areas in your me nave aevelopea properly.
We read this morning: "You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts. known and read by everybody." Whether a letter or a book, the all-important thing is this: it must have in it what the title says it has. What do you expect to find in a geography book? In a story book? In a history book? Or in a song book?
Paul said that Christians are books in God's library. "known and read of all men " Therefore, if our title says "Christian," people have a right to expect our lives to teach and explain Christ. They'll be disappointed to find other things there, just as we would be disappointed to find a history book full of math or a song book full of maps. Are your pages easy to open and nip through, or are they brand new, stuck together, with a sun spine — never Peen used? Clod wants to know, what kind of book are you
Come In, Come In And Sit Down
Come in, come in and sit down, you are part of the family,
We are lost and we are found, and we are part of the family.
You know the reason why you came, yet no reason can explain,
So share in the laughter and cry in the pain, for we are part of the family.
God is with us in this place, like a mother’s warm embrace, We’re all forgiven by God’s grace, for we are part of the family.
There’s life to be shared in the bread and the wine,
We are the branches, Christ is the vine.
This is God’s temple, it’s not yours or mine, but we are part of the family.
There’s rest for the weary and health for us all, There’s a yoke that is easy, and a burden that’s small.
So come in and worship and answer the call, for we are part of the family.
“The health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how we support our libraries.”
- Carl Sagan
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