24th Sunday after Pentecost: 19 Nov – Matthew 25:14-30 – “Well done!”

24th Sunday after Pentecost

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Opening Prayer

Gracious God, from whose own abundance all gifts and abilities are lavishly bestowed, encourage us to use our resources as generously as You have allotted them, so that, being faithful to Your purpose, we may become sharers in Your glory. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.
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“What the Lord Has Done in Me” – The Acappella Company

Let the weak say, “I am strong” Let the poor say, “I am rich” Let the blind say, “I can see”
It’s what the lord has done in me

Hosanna, hosanna to the Lamb that was slain
Hosanna, hosanna Jesus died and rose again

Into the river I will wade, there my sins are washed away
From the heavens mercy streams of the Savior’s love for me

I will rise from waters deep into the saving arms of God
I will sing salvation songs, Jesus Christ has set me free
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Reading: Matthew 25:14-30 (NLT)

Parable of the Three Servants

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.

“The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

“After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’

“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

“The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’

“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

“But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

“Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver.  To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
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Intercessory Prayer

Gracious God, You have given us gifts, abilities, and resources to advance Your Kingdom. Give us a spirit of wisdom and generosity as we attend to the needs of the least among us during this holiday season –

+ For the poor – that we may give as generously as we have received…. Lord, hear us.
+ For the hungry – that we may feed them, body and soul…. Lord, hear us.
+ For the suffering in war zones – that You may protect them…. Lord, hear us.
+ For the homeless – that we may remember their vulnerability during the winter…. Lord, hear us.
+ For the needy around us – that we may willingly serve them…. Lord, hear us.
+ For those mourning the death of loved ones in Christ – that we may be comforted by the certain hope of our resurrection in eternity…. Lord, hear us.

Gracious God, You bless those who trust You: hear our prayers and bless Your people, we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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“”We Give You Thanks”” – All Sons & Daughters


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Blessing – Revelation 7:12 (NLT)

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
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+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

23rd Sunday after Pentecost: 12 Nov – Matthew 25:1-13 ~ keep watch

23rd Sunday after Pentecost

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Opening Prayer

Brighten your Church, O God, with the promise of your kingdom and waken our hearts to its light. Bid us hasten with faith undimmed to greet the bridegroom’s return and to enter the wedding feast. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.
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“You’re The One” – Praise and Worship


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Reading: Matthew 25:1-13 (NLT)

Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids

“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’

“All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’

“But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’

“But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’

“But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’

“So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
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Intercessory Prayer

Gracious God: Your loving-kindness is better than life itself. Hear our prayers –

  • For all believers – that they may receive the gift of wisdom and live accordingly….
  • For believers preparing for marriage – that they may grow in love, kindness, and grace….
  • For believers imprisoned for their faith – that they may be sustained by Your Spirit….
  • For believers suffering persecution and oppression – that they may be protected by the Heavenly Host….
  • For believers who grieve the loss of a loved ones – that they may experience Your comfort….
  • For all our loved ones who have died in Christ – that their hope in God may be rewarded in eternity….

God of endless love, in the shadow of Your wings we find refuge: hear our prayers through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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“Psalm 62” – Aaron Keyes


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Blessing – Revelation 22:20-21 (NLT)

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
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+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

1st Sunday of Advent, 27 Nov: Is 2:1-5; Ps 122: 1-9; Rom 13:11-14; Mt 24:37-44 ~ live watchful, decent lives

First Sunday of Advent

The season of Advent begins today. During the next 27 days we will look forward in hope. We will watch for the end times, when Christ will come in glory, Christ whose birthday we will celebrate very soon.

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening Prayer:

God of majesty and power, amid the clamour of our violence Your Word of truth resounds; upon a world made dark by sin the Sun of Justice casts His dawning rays.

Keep Your household watchful and aware of the hour in which we live. Hasten the advent of that day when the sounds of war will be for ever stilled, the darkness of evil scattered, and all Your children gathered into one.

We ask this through Him whose coming is certain, whose day draws near: Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.
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“Come, Now is the Time to Worship” – Hillsong


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A Reading from the Old Testament: Isaiah 2:1-5 (NLT)
[Isaiah gives a prophecy of a time of peace when all people will worship the one God.]

This is a vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be the highest of all—the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.

People from many nations will come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.”

For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem.

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The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.

Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord!
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A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 122 (NLT)

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” And now here we are, standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is a well-built city; its seamless walls cannot be breached. All the tribes of Israel—the Lord’s people—make their pilgrimage here. They come to give thanks to the name of the Lord, as the law requires of Israel. Here stand the thrones where judgment is given, the thrones of the dynasty of David.

Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper.

O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces. For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “May you have peace.”

For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.
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“Psalm 122”

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A Reading from the Letters: Romans 13:11-14 (NLT)
[Paul advises the Romans to live decent lives.]

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This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
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A Reading from the Gospels: Luke 23:35-43 (NLT)
[We’re told to stay alert, because we don’t know when the Master is coming.]

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“When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.

“Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.

“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.
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“Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” – Fernando Ortega


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Intercessory Prayer:

God of Mercy and Grace: You alone hold our chaotic world together through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Hasten His return to us in glory; and, as we wait expectantly, listen to the cries of Your people around the world:

+ That Christians around the world who are undergoing unimaginable persecution may be delivered from evil…. Lord, hear us.
+ That world-wide human trafficking and the resulting debasement of people made in Your image may be eliminated…. Lord, hear us.
+ That the people of Aleppo and Syria, and throughout the Middle East, may have peace…. Lord, hear us.
+ That the poor and unprotected people of the world may receive justice, both now and in the age to come…. Lord, hear us.
+ That Christians everywhere may be prepared to meet Christ when He comes…. Lord, hear us.
+ That people who are anxious at this time of year may find peace in the indefatigable love of the Prince of Peace…. Lord, hear us.
+ That those who are sick in mind or body may be healed…. Lord, hear us.
+ That our friends and family members who have died in Christ may fully experience Your promised eternal rest… may be theirs. Lord, hear us.

Loving God, You want what is best for Your people, hear our prayers and help us in our needs through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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“The King is Coming” – Newsboys


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Benediction:

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation — the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ — for this will bring much glory and praise to God. – Philippians 1:9-11
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+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen