I wish to share a word of explanation to those visiting this morning. For four weeks we have prepared for a special period of worship by prayer. I have challenged us to develop the kind of faith that depends on God. These are the lessons I used to challenge our focus for the past four weeks:
Looking at Life as God Does
Our Attempt For a Faithless Salvation
In Salvation's Recipe, There Is No Substitute for Faith
God's Purposes, Not Ours

This morning, our worship will be centered in scripture readings and in prayers. The readings will be shared without comment. The prayers will be focused on specific concerns as we seek to honor God. Your can follow the readings by reading with me from the projections on the screen.

  1. Reading and prayer:
    1. 2 Timothy 1:3-7
      I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
    2. Daniel Word will lead in prayer as we ask God's guidance for parents.

  2. Reading and prayer:
    1. Proverbs 16:1-4
      The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the Lord weighs the motives. Commit your works to the Lord And your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil.
      Jeremiah 10:23,24
      I know, O Lord, that a man's way is not in himself, Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O Lord, but with justice; Not with Your anger, or You will bring me to nothing.
    2. Tom Benincosa will lead us in prayer for God's guidance.

  3. Reading and prayer:
    1. 1 Peter 1:13-19
      Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
    2. Jim Wilson will lead us in prayer as we consider God's holiness.

  4. Reading and prayer:
    1. Romans 11:33-36
      Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
    2. Bob Fisher will lead us in prayer as we consider God's purposes.

The most difficult lesson for Christians to learn in physical existence is to "live for God, not for self." Even in spiritual matters, even in worship Christian's too often are deeply concerned about their personal preferences and consider those preferences God's priority concerns.

To the extent any Christian lives for selfish, self-centered, or self-focused considerations, he or she distances himself or herself from God. The essence of faith and humility is the surrender that allows the person to abandon self in devotion to God.

In every age, this is an extremely difficult understanding to accept: I serve God by serving people. I cannot honor my God who I cannot see by holding in contempt people. Jesus demonstrated his service to God by compassionately helping people. The genuineness of our faith in God is evidenced by the way we treat people.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 12 May 2002

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