As we approach another Lord’s Day separated in flesh but united in spirit, I (Pastor Michael) wanted to send greetings and to let you know that you are all in my prayers. I know many of you are getting more and more anxious to meet again. On the other hand, some are getting more and more used to not meeting. The longer this goes on, the harder it will be on us, either way. Nevertheless, let me encourage you to stay the course and seek to draw near to God and learn the value of stillness. The Session has no formal announcement as to when we will meet. We are waiting on the Governor to give us the green light. When will that be? We are looking forward to opening the church as soon as we can, even if it is somewhat modified.
So, be in prayer about it, and look forward to a message from the Session that should be coming out sometime later this week.
If you have any needs or concerns, feel free to contact any one of the elders or the diaconate. Such contact is kept discreet.
You can contact Pastor by phone 623-255-9917 (text or phone), or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can contact the Session via our Clerk, Tom Sharp (602) 577-5735 email@example.com
You can contact the Deacons firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you have all received the Directory, even if it is a rough draft (do make sure the information in it concerning you is correct).
Please feel free to use that to phone, text, or email one another to stay connected.
If you see a mistake in the Directory, please contact our Administrator at David.Schexnayder@calvinopc.org
The elders are still sending out daily devotions as a way of keeping us fixed on God’s word and keeping us somewhat connected.
Several are asking about sending in tithes and offerings. The Session looked into online giving and tried to set up a service but that didn’t seem to work well. There are several other options concerning that, and I know our Administrator had looked into those. If and when such a service is set up, we will let you know. In the meanwhile, you can either do one of two things:
You could simply hold on to your money until we meet again when you can drop in a check that would have covered your offering for the past weeks we haven’t met (this does require you to be disciplined in not spending that money elsewhere).
Or, you could write a check and send it to our mailing address: Calvin Presbyterian, 3218 E. Bell Road, Box 221, Phoenix, AZ 85032 The mail is picked up regularly, so those checks will be deposited fairly quickly.
The suggested liturgy for this week follows:
I have attached a Word document with all the prayers, etc., for those who want to print it out.
Bible and Catechism Readings
Sun April 26 1 Sam 7-8; John 4:1-30 WLC 67; WSC 31
Mon April 27 1 Sam 9-10; John 4:31-54 WLC 68
Tues April 28 1 Sam 11-12; John 5:1-24 WCF 10.2
Wed April 29 1 Sam 13-14; John 5:25-47 WCF 10.3
Thurs April 30 1 Sam 15-16; John 6:1-21 WCF 10.4
Fri May 1 1 Sam 17-18; John 6:22-51 WLC 60
Sat May 2 1 Sam 19-20; John 6:52-71 WSC 32
Pastor Babcock’s message from Colossians 3:1-7 can be watched:
However, there are other resources that are available to you. Some suggestions are:
Sinclair Ferguson has a good sermon, The Blessings of Our Adoption
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones has a good sermon, A Kingdom that Cannot Be Removed
R. Scott Clark has a lecture on The Gospel-Driven Life and Union with Christ
Derek Thomas has a series of 12 lectures on Romans 8 that are useful.
W. Robert Godfrey has a lecture on Be Strong in the Lord: Confession and Commitment
Call to Family Worship
Psalm 100:1-3, “Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”
O Lord our God, to You alone belong all praise and adoration, for by Your Word You have created all things. By You and for You do all things exist. We give thanks to You, O Father, through Your Son Jesus Christ, who willingly bore our sufferings on His shoulders, and stretched out His hands on the cross to release us from the slavery of sin and remove us from the condemnation of the world. Indeed, we thank You for separating us from the world and for making us to be Your holy and covenant people. So, please now, comfort us and strengthen us with the promises of Your Word. Purify us, for You are a consuming fire, and conform us into the image of Your Son, Jesus Christ. It is our hope that when we see Him, we will be like Him. And in this time where our patience is wearing thin, and where devotion to holy things is beginning to waver, open the eyes of our understanding that we might know what the greatness of Your love towards us is that we might endure to the end. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ to whom be glory and honour and power together with You, our Father, and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
Sing the Gloria Patri
Reading of the Law
God has given us His Word to instruct us how to live. It is filled with great promises that we might be filled with hope. But it is also filled with commandments that we might see our sin and be led to Christ so that we might be justified by faith in Him. It is filled with exhortations that we might know how our faith should be formed in obedience to God’s will.
One such exhortation is from Hebrews 13:16-17,
“And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”
This is God’s perfect and holy will. We are sinners, and fall short of God’s glory, and as sinners we ought to humbly confess our sins to Almighty God, therefore let us pray:
O Lord God, eternal and Almighty Father, we acknowledge and confess before Your holy Majesty that we are poor sinners, conceived and born in guilt and in corruption, prone to do evil, unable of ourselves to do any good, and by reason of our depravity we transgress Your holy commandments. We deserve Your just sentence of death and condemnation. But O Lord, You are also a God of grace and filled with compassion and mercy to those who would turn away from their sin. You even gave us a great Savior whose blood paid for our sins as He underwent the judgment for us. Therefore, we have confidence to we pray that You would have compassion on us for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ. And in removing our guilt and pollution, grant us the daily increase of the grace of Your Holy Spirit. Mortify all sin in us and cause us to produce the fruits of holiness and righteousness through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Word of Assurance and Comfort
Romans 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”
Sing the Doxology
As we come now to God in prayer, let us remember the words of our Saviour when He said, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened” (Luke 11:9).
O Father in heaven, since Your Word promises us that when we ask anything of You in the name of Your Son, we come now in faith and hope that You will grant us these things that are on our hearts. We first lift up our voice of thanksgiving to You, for we are very rich with such wonderful and comforting promises as Your Word gives us. How great and powerful You are, full of wisdom, goodness, mercy, and truth. In the middle of our sorrows and woes, in the midst of trials and hardships, in the thick of persecutions and temptations, we look unto You for You are our Rock, our Tower, our Fortress and Deliverer. Able to save, ready to save, and willing to save to the uttermost! How our hearts love You! Indeed, we are even more struck with awe in that we love You because You first loved us – we who were lost in sin and enslaved in passions. We grieve that we do not love You as supremely as we ought, but we are also grateful that one day we will love you fully in perfection. What a wonderful hope You gave us. Build us up more and more that we might truly seek after You and Your kingdom with all our hearts and minds and strength. We are so grateful that though we slip and fall and fail to do as we should, You never let us go, You never throw us aside, but that You continue to work in us. We bless You, therefore, for saving us and for taking us into Your family. Truly, “You are the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin.”
Your love is such that You have commanded us to pray for those who are in authority and for all men. So we heartily beseech You through Jesus Christ, to enlighten the hearts of all the magistrates in our land, that they might acknowledge You as their sovereign and true Lord, that they would fulfill their calling with fear and trembling, and that justice would prevail in our country. Grant them wisdom to know how best to lead this country during this time of great upheavals and unprecedented dangers. We pray for the country as people are growing restless and are afraid of the future. Many have lost their jobs and wonder if they will have work again. Many are suffering loss of family or health. We ask You to draw this pandemic to end soon that the economy can kick in, that loneliness would end. But as we pray this, we do also ask that You would continue to show men their idols – idols of health, idols of power, idols of wealth, idols of family -- and destroy them all that you might be shown to be the only true and living God!
Protect all those who serve in the police forces and fire departments, and for those especially who are in harm’s way that they might all call upon Your name in the day of their trouble. Bring violent men to an end.
Grant also that all men everywhere might come to a knowledge of the truth as Your Word goes forth and is proclaimed by Your servants. Let the name of Jesus Christ be exalted all throughout the world. Bless all our missionaries as they plough often hard ground and sow the seed of truth. May they see a bountiful harvest and establish Your church even in the darkest regions of mankind. We especially pray for Heero and Anya Hacquebord as they serve You in L’viv, Ukraine. Lord, that is such a hard and dark place, and much atheism is found there, so grant the Hacquebords patience and wisdom to speak well of You and fill them with boldness that they may not shrink from declaring the whole counsel of Truth. Cause they church they planted there to grow and thrive, may they bear the fruit of the Spirit and be faithful witnesses of jesus Christ and His resurrected power to save. We plead with You that You will open up hearts to receive the Gospel and be turned from destruction in that place. We pray for our mission works in our Presbytery –Corona, Pasadena, Yuma, and Pearl City – add to their numbers, help them to be financially stable, and above all to be witnesses of Your grace to their communities. As plans are being formed to bring a man into the Thousand Oaks area, bless those plans and bring about a wonderful harvest. Bless the churches in Arizona, Tucson, Apache Junction, Prescott, and Concho. Cause them to shine forth boldly and grow in grace. Bless Prescott’s effort in the Bible study in Williams, and may this develop into a mission work.
O Lord, so many needs are represented in this congregation. Touch those who suffer in their bodies that they may be relieved, and heal them. Be especially near Amanda Mulder as she is diagnosed with this virus. Ease whatever discomfort this will bring and support her, let her know You are with her, and heal her quickly. Be with Jackie, too, and protect her. Her health has not been great and this virus is very dangerous, so we pray that You would indeed help her and keep her from getting this. Be with those who need work and help them to trust in You and be patient in this time. Be with our students as they must study at home. May they learn their lessons and do well on their exams, as they are now drawing near the end of the semester. Be with our marriages and use this time to bring families together, especially around the cross. Be with our single members and fill them with Your peace in this time of solitude. May they discover the treasuries of Your grace and help them to be content. Lord, You are showing us many things about ourselves, and we pray that You would teach us how to use the time well that we might not neglect the weightier things of heaven. Help us to not concentrate on the inconveniences and things we miss, but to give thanks for what we do have. Help us to find Your blessing in all this. Fill us all with a hunger and thirst after the rich well-springs of Your goodness and grace. Sanctify us and grant us patience in tribulation, comfort and help to all who need it. Hear us now as we join our voices 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 trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation. For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.