Why do we sing these songs?
Scripture commands the Church to sing “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Col. 3:16) together as one of our acts of worship. These different kinds of music reflect songs that come directly from Scripture (Psalms), as well as new songs written by the Church that reflect the truth of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We also sing classic hymns that connect us to the generations of God’s people who have gone before us and we sing modern songs in an attempt to be faithful to God who calls us to “sing a new song” (Psalm 33:3). This mix of old and new, of ancient and contemporary, shows not only what God has done in the past, but that He is alive and moving today. What is most important isn’t necessarily the style, but that in singing together we are proclaiming Christ’s excellencies as His people.
Why do we give tithes and offerings?
Giving God part of everything we earn or receive is an act of worship, trust, and faith. It is an act of worship because God calls us to give a tithe or 10% of our money back to Him because He has given us all that we have in the first place. An offering is anything given above and beyond 10%. “Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord.” (Leviticus 27:30) All that we give back to God is holy to Him. It is an act of trust because God promises to bless us and take care of us when we give. “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” (Malachi 3:10) When we give to God, He promises that our needs will be met. It is an act of faith because as a Church we are called to be faithful to use the tithes and offerings that are brought in to further the Kingdom of God. God has faith in us to steward His tithes and offerings. It is also important to note that giving is not intended to be legalistic or as an act to bribe God. “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
What is “Open Worship?”
Open Worship is a practice that has been a part of the Friends tradition for a very long time. It is essentially an opportunity to, “Let God speak.” As followers of Jesus Christ, we believe that He is risen and present among us, and that He has something to say to each one of us. Open Worship provides silence and spiritual communion so that we can, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). The silence also allows us to hear God’s “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12). Because let’s be honest, there is a lot of noise in our culture today, and certain things get drowned out. Open Worship also allows for God to speak through someone else present. If God leads someone to share a word of encouragement, a testimony, or even a song they are invited to stand and speak out of the silence.
What is a benediction?
The benediction is a blessing spoken as the final word by a minister at the end of a worship gathering. It expresses our hope and confidence in God’s grace to His people that enables us to walk with Him through whatever we face in this life. The benedictions we use come from Scripture (e.g. Num. 6:24-26), are based on Scripture, or they are a prayer. They are not only a way of closing our services, but are a final word offered to the Church before heading back out into the world.
Why do we read Scripture out loud together?
As God’s people we are deeply reliant on Scripture, trusting that the Bible is the only infallible and inerrant means through which God speaks to us. Reading Scripture is not something we do out of duty or obligation, but something we do in delight, trusting that it is a means by which the Lord blesses, pursues, convicts, and draws us to Himself. To stand and read Scripture out loud together as the Church is to stand with God and proclaim his Word. In the New Testament churches, Paul exhorts Timothy to devote himself “to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, and to teaching (1 Timothy 4:13).”
Why do we greet one another during the service?
Historically in the Church, this activity was known as “passing the peace of Christ”. It was and still is an opportunity to greet one another with the peace of Christ, or in the peace of Christ. It is also a good reminder that we have gathered together for community and relationship as the Body of Christ, not for an insulated and isolated individual experience. This is a chance to serve someone else around you by welcoming them, encouraging them, or meeting them for the first time.
Why do we have a sermon?
A major part of our worship service is dedicated to listening to a sermon that the Pastor has prepared. Preaching is a Biblical mandate of telling others about the Good News of Jesus. “And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify…” (Acts 10:42) We also preach the Word of God because, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Listening to the sermon is an opportunity to be filled with God’s Word and prepared for what He might call you to do.
What is intercessory prayer?
Today in our service we will be asking for prayer requests and praise reports from the congregation. We are doing this to follow Scripture when it says to, “pray for one another… The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16) Intercessory prayer is an opportunity for us to take the situations and needs of others to God on their behalf. Romans 12:15 says it this way, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” This is a time to draw closer to one another and to God as we pray for each other