Psalm 107 / John Newton (Amazing Grace) Experience


A Responsive Reading

Based on Palms 107:23 – 32

Background Information:

John Newton, the writer of the hymn “Amazing Grace”, had received some early religious instruction from his mother, who had died when he was a child, but he had long since given up any religious convictions.  However, on a homeward voyage, while he was attempting to steer the ship through a violent storm, he experienced what he was to refer to later as his “great deliverance.”  He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, he exclaimed, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” Later in his cabin he reflected on what he had said and began to believe that God had addressed him through the storm and that grace had begun to work for him.

Pastor:              Others went out on the sea in ships;
Congr:              they were merchants on the mighty waters.

Pastor:              They saw the works of the LORD,
Congr:              his wonderful deeds in the deep.

Pastor:              For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
Congr:              that lifted high the waves.

Words of John Newton:

I went to bed that night in my usual security and indifference: but was awaked from a sound sleep by the force of a violent sea, which broke on board us.  So much of it came down below as filled the cabin I lay in with water.  This alarm was followed by a cry from the deck, that the ship was going down, or sinking.  The sea had torn away the upper timbers on one side, and made the ship a mere wreck in a few minutes.

 Pastor:              They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
Congr:              in their peril their courage melted away.

Pastor:              They reeled and staggered like drunken men;
Congr:              they were at their wits’ end.

Words of John Newton:

I was obliged to return to the pump, and there I continued till noon, almost every passing wave breaking over my head; but we made ourselves fast with ropes, that we might not be washed away.  Indeed I expected that every time the vessel descended in the sea, she would rise no more.  About nine o’clock, being almost spent with cold and labour, I went to speak with the captain.

 Pastor:              Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
Congr:              and he brought them out of their distress.

Pastor:              He stilled the storm to a whisper;
Congr:              the waves of the sea were hushed.

Words of John Newton:

Just as I was returning from him, I said, almost without any meaning, “If this will not do, the Lord have mercy on us!”  I was instantly struck with my own words, and as Jehu said once, What hast thou to do with peace, so it directly occurred, What mercy can there be for me?   I concluded at first; that my sins were too great to be forgiven.  

When I saw beyond all probability, there was still hope of respite, and heard about six in the evening that the ship was freed from water, there arose a gleam of hope; I thought I saw the hand of God displayed in our favour: I began to pray.  I could not utter the prayer of faith: I could not draw near to a reconciled God, and call him Father.  My prayer was like the cry of the ravens, which yet the Lord does not disdain to hear.  I now began to think of that Jesus whom I had so often derided: I recollected the particulars of his life, and of his death:- a death for sins not his own, but, as I remembered, for the sake of those who in their distress should put their trust in Him. 

Pastor:              They were glad when it grew calm,
Congr:              and he guided them to their desired haven.

Pastor:              Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
Congr:              and his wonderful deeds for men.

Pastor:              Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
Congr:              and praise him in the council of the elders.

Words of John Newton:

When we came into port, our very last victuals were boiling in the pot; and before we had been there two hours, the wind, which seemed to have been providentially restrained till we were in a place of safety, began to blow with great violence; so that, if we had continued at sea that night in our shattered enfeebled condition, we must, in all human appearance, have gone to the bottom.

 About this time I began to know that there is a God that hears and answers prayer.

 

While Amazing Grace has a reference to 1Chronicles 17:16-17 in the Onley hymnal, it is more likely to be based on Ephesians 2:4-9, Paul’s great treatise on Grace, which says:

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. [NIV]

 Sources:

1. Scripture text is from the NIV (Zondervan Publishing)

2.  http://www.johnnewton.org/Mobile/default.aspx?article_id=72948 – modifed and adapted by S. Brown.

What does a worship leader do?


An effective corporate worship leader,
aided and led by the Holy Spirit,
skillfully combines biblical truth with music
to magnify the worth of God and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ,
thereby motivating the gathered church
to join him in proclaiming and cherishing the truth about God
and seeking to live all of life for the glory of God.

-Bob Kauflin

Shout to the Lord


During the song “Shout to the Lord” use your choir members to really bring the congregation into the story by discussing the last line of the chorus while the band continues to play the song softly in the background.  Here’s a script that we followed:

 

 

CHORUS: Shout to the Lord.  All the earth let us sing.

Power and majesty, Praise to the King.

Mountains bow down, And the seas will roar; at the sound, of Your name,

I sing for joy, At the work of Your hands,

Forever I’ll love You, Forever I’ll stand.

Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.

 

Here’s where the choir members, one-by-one recite biblical passages that describe some of the promises that God has told us in His word.

 

Reader 1:  Oh Lord you tell us to Come to you, all who are weary and burdened, and you promise to give us rest.   (Matthew 11:28 )

Reader 2:  Lord you promise to give strength to your people; and you bless us with peace.   (Psalm 29:11)

Reader 3: God, you tell us that you so loved the world that you gave your one and only son and that whoever believes in you will not perish but have eternal life.  (John 3:16)

Reader 1: God, you are our refuge and our strength, an ever present help in times of trouble.  (Ps 46:1)

Reader 2:  Lord, as far as the east is from the west, you promise to remove our transgressions form us.  (Ps 103:12)

Reader 3: Lord, you promise to give strength to the weary and to increase the power of the weak.  (Isaiah 40:29)

Reader 1: Lord, you promise to take hold of our right hand and you say to us: “Do not fear; I will help you.”  (Isaiah 41:13)

Reader 2: Lord, you promise to love us, and to those that seek you; will find you.  (Proverbs 8:17)

Reader 3: Lord, you promise to respond to the prayers of the destitute and that you will not despise their plea.  (Psalm 102:17)

Reader 1: Lord, you promise to keep us from all harm, you promise to watch over our life, you promise to watch over our coming and going, now and forevermore.  (Psalm 121:7, 8 )

Reader 2: Lord, you promise to be our God, forever and ever and to guide us, even to the end.  (Psalm 48;14)

Reader 3:  Lord you promise to be our stronghold in times of trouble.  (Psalm 37:39)

Reader 1:  Lord, You are my hiding place; you promise to protect us from trouble and to surround us with songs of deliverance.  (Psalm 32:7)

 

Notes:

 

1.  Scripture test is NIV (Zondervan Publishing); in some cases adapted by S. Brown.

2.  “Shout to the Lord”, CCLI Song No. 1406918, © 1993 Hillsong Publishing (Admin. in U.S. & Canada by Integrity’s Hosanna! Music), Darlene Zschech

 

 

 

 

Acts 2: 1-21: a Dramatic Reading for Pentecost


Here’s a narrative interpritation of Acts 2:1-21 to be used at a Pentecost service.

NOTES FOR OUR READERS:

 

  1. Each reader should seek Pastor before hand for help with pronunciations if needed.
  2. Animation is absolutely necessary.  Remember this is an excited crowd.  This does not necessarily mean that the rate of speech is increased, but that the emotional overtones of this dynamic event are relayed.
  3. For those of you reading the different regions, do not end your reading with a “period” because this needs to come off as one continuous flow of thoughts.
  4. Pastor will be the only one standing in the front of the church.
  5. Readers who have “lines” should rise while speaking.  Everyone else who is reciting a region should do so while seated.

Pastor:

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

 

Reader 1:

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked:

 

Reader 2:

Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?

 

Reader 3:

Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?

 

Reader 4:

Parthians,

 

Reader 5.:

Medes,

 

Reader 6:

Elamites;

 

Reader 7:

residents of Mesopotamia,

 

Reader 8:

Judea,

 

Reader 9:

and Cappadocia;

 

Reader 10:

Pontus

 

Reader 11:

and Asia,

 

Reader 12.:

Phrygia

 

Reader 13:

and Pamphylia,

 

Reader 14:

Egypt

 

Reader 15:

and the parts of Libya near Cyrene;

 

Reader 16:

visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism);

 

Reader 17:

Cretans

 

Reader 18:

and Arabs—

 

Reader 19:

we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!

 

Reader 1:

Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another,

 

All:

What does this mean?

 

Pastor:

Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

 

Reader 1:

Then Peter stood up with the eleven, raised his voice, and addressed the crowd:

 

Peter (Reader 20):

Fellow Jews and all of you who are in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.  These men are not drunk, as you suppose.  It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by God through the prophet Joel:

 

Joel (Reader 21):

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.  I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.  The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.  And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

 

Notes:

1.  Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of International Bible Society

2.  Arranged by “author unknown” – adapted by S. Brown

Penetecost Idea – Reading in Different Languages


The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

A Dramatic Reading  based on Acts 2:1-27

 

Instruction:

All Lay readers rise from their seat and read their line from that position; then sit back down. 

 

Pastor:    When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

 

A “wind” sound effect is played over the church sound system.

 

Pastor:           They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

 

Instructions:

Readers 1-8 all rise and recite their passage in unison.  When it’s complete; we all sit down.  Then one-by-one we rise again in the sequence shown below to read our lines once again followed by you saying what language was used.

 

English: (read by: Reader 1)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 

Greek: (read by: Reader 2)

ουτως γαρ ηγαπησεν ο θεος τον κοσμον ωστε τον υιον τον μονογενη εδωκεν ινα πας ο πιστευων εις αυτον μη αποληται αλλ εχη ζωην αιωνιον

 

Portugese: (read by: Reader 3)

Porque Deus amou o mundo de tal maneira que deu o seu Filho unigênito, para que todo aquele que nele crê não pereça, mas tenha a vida eterna.

 

Spanish: (read by: Reader 4)

Porque tanto amó Dios al mundo, que dio a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo el que cree en él no se pierda, sino que tenga vida eterna.

 

Swedish: (read by: Reader 5)

Gud älskade ju människorna så mycket att han gav dem sin enda Son, för att de som tror på honom inte ska gå förlorade utan ha evigt liv.

 

German: (read by: Reader 6)

Denn Gott hat die Menschen so sehr geliebt, dass er seinen einzigen Sohn für sie hergab. Jeder, der an ihn glaubt, wird nicht zugrunde gehen, sondern das ewige Leben haben.

 

Latin: (read by:  Reader 7)

Sic enim dilexit Deus mundum, ut Filium suum unigenitum daret, ut omnis, qui credit in eum, non pereat, sed habeat vitam aeternam.

 

 

Pastor: Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked:

  

Readers 1: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?

 

Pastor: Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome ,  Cretans and Arabs-we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another,

 

Readers 9 & 10: “What does this mean?”

 

Pastor:Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”  Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd:

 

Reader 11:

“Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose.  It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

 

” ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.  I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.   The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.  And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

 

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of International Bible Society

 

Mother’s Day Litany


English: Mother's Day card
English: Mother’s Day card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not much of a fan of dedicating an entire worship service to a Mother’s Day theme, but here’s a short reading if you are thinking about acknowledging the Mother’s in your congregation.

Mother’s Day Litany (based on Proverbs 31)

 

Leader: A woman is a blessing to her husband and children.

Men:     She brings her husband good, not harm; all the days of her life.

 

Leader: She welcomes all children, for they are gifts from God.

All:       She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family.

 

Leader: Her words are wise; her compassion knows no boundaries.

All:       She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

 

Leader: She manages her household and nurtures her family.

All:       She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.

 

Leader: Her husband rejoices in her diligence and faithfulness.

All:       She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

 

Leader: She teaches her children through daily example.

All:       She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

 

Leader: Her hands work to serve the Lord our God.

All:       a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised

 

Leader: She remains ever vigilant; she protects her family.

All:       She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.

 

Leader: She welcomes the future, for her faith is unyielding.

All:       She is worth far more than rubies.

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of International Bible Society

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