A Year in Review – How God Has Led in a Difficult Time

 

It was February 2020, and the Lord had given some very interesting direction for preaching a short sermon series. He directed us to the book of Haggai, which isn’t your run of the mill book for a sermon series. The sense was that there was a shaking coming and we needed to be prepared. Another theme that came through these sermons was that we needed to be carefully considering what and how we build. 

 

Immediately on the heels of that short sermon series our whole world was turned upside down as Covid-19 swept across the globe! There were many unknowns and few answers. As people around us began to contract the disease, get sick, and in some unfortunate cases, die from its effects, we faced a very difficult decision of what to do as everything around us closed down. Through much prayer and careful thought, we decided that the Lord was calling us to choose to protect life and to honor the government’s request to slow the spread by not meeting in large groups. The decision to shut down our Sunday morning worship services for a time was not an easy one nor was it taken lightly. The driving force behind the decision was love, not fear, as we know that God does not give us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT)

 

At the time no one knew how long it would take for us to be able to return to corporate worship, and most of us thought that it would be a short time. As time went by, we began to realize that there would be no quick fix and that we might be in this season longer than we’d originally thought. The distancing and disrupted rhythms quickly led to grief over what we’d lost, and for many, feelings of loneliness and isolation. We all missed gathering together on Sunday mornings and longed for when we would be able to resume meeting and worshiping the Lord together again.

 

During this time, however, even though we weren’t able to meet in person, our church remained alive and well, and busier than ever. The staff remained busy serving the church in a variety of old and new ways by: starting a new blog for communication, creating the At Home Worship Liturgies each Sunday, working on updating the church website, sending weekly church emails, facilitating prayer appointments via Zoom, continuing to lead our weekly Wednesday noon prayer meetings via Zoom, and much more. The Care Elder team, Deacons, and Admin Elder teams stayed busy serving the congregation, even as the congregation continued to love, care for, and serve each other.

 

Through the difficult shutdown we continued to ask the Lord for direction and felt that he was calling us to a more intentional focus on disciple making, in accordance with Matthew 28. He helped us to see, even more clearly, that our Sunday morning worship services couldn’t bear the full weight of making disciples who themselves go and make disciples?” While we love gathering and worshiping together, disciple making requires more intentional focus and relationship. So we asked what the Lord would call us to do about this. We sensed that the Lord’s response was to teach gospel fluency in a small group setting which would allow for deeper growth even in a time when large group meetings were still prohibited due to being top contributors to the spread of Covid.

 

So, even as we continued to ask the Lord when it was the right time to begin regathering for Sunday morning worship, we sensed that He was calling us to focus on launching Discipleship groups and creating a curriculum called the Gospel tool which we would study in the groups. It was all hands on deck for the staff to launch groups in the fall; the effort required to do this well was tremendous, and more than expected. They had to find hosts and facilitators, discern, write, and train about group culture, how groups would be run, communicate, plan who would be in which groups, and more, while at the same time planning and writing the Gospel Tool curriculum that all the groups would use (we’ve also had a number of other churches and individuals request to use The Gospel Tool, which is very encouraging). We praise the Lord that the majority of our church family has been able to participate in the groups, and we’ve even seen some growth with some new people joining GAC for the groups. 

 

As we now consider regathering for worship on Sunday mornings, we’re asking for the Lord’s wisdom and guidance, and discerning steps of faith to take. We will be working with ministry team leaders to coordinate the many details needed to regather safely. We anticipate this process taking many weeks and will communicate frequently with you as details become firm (i.e. timelines, expectations for safety guidelines, etc.). We do not have a target date yet, but you can expect to hear a joyful announcement from us when we do. Whatever happens, we are excited to worship together as the loving, caring, spirit-filled body that is Gold Avenue Church.

 

As we continue to plan, you can stay up to date by continuing to read weekly emails, checking out GAC’s website www.goldavenuechurch.org (recently refreshed!), or our blog about regathering: http://goldavenuechurch.org/category/regathering-updates/. If you have any questions you can email gold.regathering@gmail.com and we’ll try to answer as best as we can. Thank you for your patience and prayers as we’ve never been on this journey together. Please pray for special wisdom, discernment, and strength for us as we lead this regathering effort. Please pray also for the staff, who have labored so hard on our behalf over this past year. 

 

The Regathering Team

(Annah Blake, Tim Mulder, Nancy VanNoord, Mark Essenburg)

 

A Note Before you Begin:

 

This service was prayerfully planned and coordinated with worship planner Derek Sterenberg  in conjunction with the pastors.

 

Our prayer is that this liturgy helps us to create cultures of worship in our homes or wherever we utilize them. May the Lord bless you as you enter into his presence and give him praise. May we each be met, blessed,  challenged, and encouraged to grow as disciples and disciple makers of Jesus Christ.

 

*If you happen to encounter any technical difficulties or notice any technical issues with this liturgy, please send a text message to Mark Essenburg whose phone number can be accessed through the Church Directory linked in your weekly email update. 

 

Call to Worship: 

The Call to Worship serves to focus our attention on the living God who is present with us; it calls us to position ourselves as those who are ready to worship and ready to receive from our Lord.

 

Read the following out loud as you fix your eyes on Jesus:

From Psalm 97:1-6:

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.

Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.

Fire goes before him
and consumes his foes on every side.

His lightning lights up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.

The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.

The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all peoples see his glory.

 

Worshiping in Song:

 

10,000 Reasons | Bless the Lord

 

The Lord’s Greeting:

The Lord’s Greeting serves to remind us that we are in the presence of the living God. It makes space for him to greet us as our loving heavenly father who rules and reigns as the King over all and who is present with us as our loving heavenly father!

 

Fix your eyes on him as you read the following out loud:

 

From Matthew 11:28-29:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

 

And From John 15:6:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Greeting One Another:

It might feel a little odd doing this at home, but take time to say these words to greet each other, as you shake hands, hug or elbow bump.

 

Consider sending a greeting text message to a church family member.

 

“The Lord be with you!”

and in response: 

“and also with you!”

 

And if you’re alone:

“The Lord is with me!”

 

Our God

 

King of Kings

 

Testimony/Family Prayer Time:

 

How has the Lord been at work in around you this week? Consider sharing your story with those around you or writing it down. Give glory to the Lord for the good work that He has done!

 

Take a few minutes to pray for our church family, our neighborhood, and the world as the Lord leads.

 

Consider asking a church family member how you can be in prayer for them or inviting a church family member to pray for you.

 

Special Offering: Matthew’s House

 

This month’s Special Offering is for Matthew’s House, a local, West Side ministry. Check out the note below from Pastor George:

Thank you for your continuing financial support of the work God has called us to do on the West Side of Grand Rapids. During the pandemic it has been challenging to do ministry work but God has protected us. One thing we rarely think of is, where does a homeless person shelter? We have found ways to be creative and have helped those who are struggling during these times of quarantine and closures. We have stayed open during this time with limited capacity. We also received a grant to help with transportation for individuals who could not find ways to get to work, doctors appointments, and other vital assignments. This was a blessing to us and the community as we worked together.

Last July, we opened our new Lydia’s House at: 808 7th St. N.W., and transformed the home that had been Lydia’s House into a home we call the “Oasis House” which has now become our family housing. We run into so many families that are living in vehicles just trying to make ends meet. We have certain criteria that they need to meet in order to be in our housing program and we get calls daily to see if we have an opening. Housing is a big concern and rent has become unattainable for many families. We are looking for areas where God can use us as we work together with Gold Avenue church. We have been blessed to be a blessing to others.

Pastor George Werkema

Matthew’s House Ministry

766  7th St. NW  Grand Rapids 49504

(616) 233-3006

cell: (616) 304-7984

 

You can give to the Special Offering by:

  • Text: send amount space “special” (ex: 50 special) to (616) 319-2259 and follow prompts to give securely
  • Give online: at https://goldavenuechurch.breezechms.com/give/online select special from dropdown menu or type “special” in memo line
  • Check: write “special” in memo line

 

Regular Offering:

Support ministry at Gold Avenue Church by giving to the general fund (Click the picture for more giving options):

  1. Text:  send amount (number only, no extra symbols) to (616) 319-2259 and follow prompts to give securely
  2. Give online at https://goldavenuechurch.breezechms.com/give/online or give through PayPal here.
  3. Mail a check payable to Gold Avenue Church at 49 Gold Avenue NW Grand Rapids, MI 4950

 

Song of Preparation:

The Song of Preparation serves to prepare our hearts to receive the Word of the Lord.  Continue to fix your eyes on Jesus and surrender your attention and heart to him as we transition and prepare to enter into His Word. 

 

Heart of Worship

 

The Preaching of the Word:

Our current sermon series is written in connection to and alongside a helpful tool that we have developed called the Gospel Tool. Disciple Groups at Gold Avenue Church are working through lessons that are based upon the Gospel Tool, and we want to make this resource available to every listener. Click here to check out the Gospel Tool, the Visual Gospel overview, statements, & scriptures.

 

Access the audio of the sermon here: Sermon Audio Recording

 

Song of Response:

The song of response gives opportunity to consider, apply, and respond what we’ve just heard from the Word. If you need to and are able, take a few minutes to process what you’ve just heard and experienced and how the Lord may be inviting you to respond.

 

Jesus at the Center

 

The Lord’s Blessing:

The Lord’s Blessing serves to make space for us the Lord to bless us to continue to walk in faithful obedience and to grow up into maturity.

 

Fix your eyes on him as you read the following out loud:

 

From Colossians 1:9-14:

May God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,  being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,  and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

 

Closing Song

My All in All

Dear Parents,

Thanks for joining us again as we do Children’s Worship from home!  

Note: Please let us know about how your family is enjoying Children’s Worship! Take some pictures of your family participating in Children’s Worship or share a story. You can post to the Gold Avenue Church Facebook page or send by email at goldavechurch@gmail.com

Listen Up!

Based on: Matthew 21:33-45

 

EQUIP:  

(It’s not an activity, but just a little background on the story for you, the parent, to read.) 

When I think about Jesus’ parables, I like to remember the story of the prodigal son or the good Samaritan. I don’t think I would ever have selected the parable of the tenants—the Bible story for this lesson—as a favorite! After all, this story includes beatings, stonings and killings! To be honest, in most of my readings of the story, I’ve skipped over its true significance.

 

But I’ve discovered new meaning to this parable that includes the description of Jesus  as the capstone! I recently observed several kids trying to position large blocks into a beautiful arch held in place by a perfectly positioned block (the capstone). The arch fell to the ground time after time, until the block that was the capstone was put in just the right spot. Now when I read this parable, I see with fresh eyes how Jesus was put into our world at just the right time to fulfill God’s plan to make salvation possible for me and for you.

 

Jesus told the parable of the tenants to vividly summarize God’s patience in dealing with His rebellious people. Prophet after prophet was sent by God to deliver the message of hope and redemption. The ultimate messenger was Jesus,  God’s own Son—sent to both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus is the capstone of our faith. The whole Bible tells that salvation depends on Him.

 

Sheryl Haystead   Senior Managing Editor

 

Activity One:  Read the intro. Watch the video.

Activity Two: Discuss the story using provided questions as prompts. Prayer.

Worship: Singing 

Activity Three:  Respond to the story by doing the activity. 

Activity Four:  Bless your children 

 

Activity 1:  STORY

 

Introduction:To read the children:

 

It was the final week of Jesus’ life on Earth, and He was in Jerusalem, teaching and healing people. Many of the people LOVED Jesus; but the Pharisees, the religious leaders, HATED Him! Why do you think the leaders didn’t like Jesus? Jesus’ popularity was making these leaders VERY nervous! 

 

While the religious leaders grumbled about Jesus among themselves, Jesus said, “Listen to this parable.” This is the story He told.

 

Watch the video:

 

 

Activity 2:  DISCUSSION

 

What do you think the leaders did after hearing Jesus’ story? They were not sad. They didn’t say Jesus was right. No, they wanted to arrest Jesus right then! Jesus had told them the truth—but it only made them MORE angry!

  • What did you learn about Jesus from this story? (He is God’s Son. God sent Him.)
  • Why do you think the religious leaders didn’t accept Jesus? (They wanted people to follow them and not Jesus.)
  • Why do you think Jesus told this story? (So that people would know that God sent Jesus and would not reject Him.)
  • How do people today show that they reject Jesus? (They don’t pray to Him. They don’t learn about Him.)

Parents: On a piece of paper, draw a line to make a timeline. Draw a circle to represent the creation of the world at the left end of the timeline, and draw a cross in the middle of the timeline to represent the time when Jesus lived on Earth. 

 

Who told God’s messages before Jesus? Write names of prophets (Elijah, Daniel, Jeremiah, etc.) on the timeline between the circle and the cross. Draw a stick figure near the right end of the timeline to represent people alive today. 

 

Today we can choose whether or not we will accept Jesus and believe that He is the only way to be saved.

  • Who has helped you learn what is true about Jesus? (Parents, Teachers, Pastor.)
  • What are some things you do to show that you believe Jesus is the only way to be saved? (Try to learn more about Him. Pray to Him. Ask His help to obey.)
  • When you think of God’s plan for salvation through Jesus, what can you thank Him for?

Encourage children to pray for these things with their own words. Then, transition into a time of prayer for personal requests.

 

Worship Songs:

 

Activity 3: RESPONSE ACTIVITY #1 

 

Our art projects can help us and others think about Jesus. We can remember that believing in Him is the only way to be saved.

 

Supplies

  • Pencils
  • 12×18-inch (30.5×45.5-cm) construction paper
  • 12-inch (30.5-cm) lengths of crepe-paper streamers in a variety of colors or even ribbon or cording might work
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Markers

Students use a pencil to lightly print “JESUS” on their papers, making large letters. Then  students choose crepe-paper streamers, twist the streamers and glue twisted streamers to cover the letters. (Some letters may need more than one streamer.) Children may draw decorations on their papers with markers.

Response Activity #2  Print and Color

Activity 4: CLOSING BLESSING

 

This week, let’s see if we can remember to thank God every day for sending Jesus!

 

(______________),  May you always remember that God sent His Son, Jesus, to save us from our sins. Jesus is the only way to get to heaven.

 

A Note before you begin:  

 

This service was prayerfully planned and coordinated with worship planner Marissa Walters  in conjunction with the pastors.

 

Our prayer is that this liturgy helps us to create cultures of worship in our homes or wherever we utilize them. May the Lord bless you as you enter into his presence and give him praise. May we each be met, blessed,  challenged, and encouraged to grow as disciples and disciple makers of Jesus Christ.

 

Call to Worship: 

The Call to Worship serves to focus our attention on the living God who is present with us; it calls us to position ourselves as those who are ready to worship and ready to receive from our Lord.

 

Read the following out loud as you fix your eyes on Jesus:

 

 

 

From Psalm 36:5-9:
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.

 

 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

 

 

Pray for the Lord to fill you, your household, and your home with His presence and His peace.  Fix your eyes and the focus of your heart on Him.

 

Worshiping in Song:

 

How Great Thou Art

The Lord’s Greeting:

The Lord’s Greeting serves to remind us that we are in the presence of the living God. It makes space for him to greet us as our loving heavenly father who rules and reigns as the King over all and who is present with us as our loving heavenly father!

 

Fix your eyes on Jesus as you read these words from Him:

 

From John 10:9-10:

 

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

 

Greeting One Another:

It might feel a little odd doing this at home, but take time to say these words to greet each other, as you shake hands, hug or elbow bump.

 

Consider sending a greeting text message to a church family member.

 

“The Lord be with you!”

 

and in response: 

 

“and also with you!”

 

And if you’re alone:

 

“The Lord is with me!”

 

 

 

King of Kings

 

Forever

 

Testimony/Family Prayer Time:

 

How has the Lord been at work this week? Consider sharing your story with those around you or writing it down. Give glory to the Lord for the good work that He has done!

 

 

Take a few minutes to pray for our church family, neighborhood, and the world as the Lord leads.

 

Consider asking a church family member how you can be in prayer for them or inviting a church family member to pray for you.

 

 

Regular Offering:

Support ministry at Gold Avenue Church by giving to the general fund (Click the picture for more giving options):

  1. Text:  send amount (number only, no extra symbols) to (616) 319-2259 and follow prompts to give securely
  2. Give online at https://goldavenuechurch.breezechms.com/give/online or give through PayPal here.
  3. Mail a check payable to Gold Avenue Church at 49 Gold Avenue NW Grand Rapids, MI 4950

 

Song of Preparation

The Song of Preparation serves to prepare our hearts to receive the Word of the Lord.  Continue to fix your eyes on Jesus and surrender your attention and heart to him as we transition and prepare to enter into His Word. 

 

Speak, O Lord

The Preaching of the Word:

Our current sermon series is written in connection to and alongside a helpful tool that we have developed called the Gospel Tool. Disciple Groups at Gold Avenue Church are working through lessons that are based upon the Gospel Tool, and we want to make this resource available to every listener. Click here to check out the Gospel Tool, the Visual Gospel overview, statements, & scriptures.

 

This week we are blessed to receive the Word of the Lord from Rev. Elaine May who is a recently new member of our church family. Check out the video below to hear a little bit more about Elaine:

 

Access the audio of the sermon here: Sermon Audio Recording

Song of Response:

The song of response gives opportunity to consider, apply, and respond what we’ve just heard from the Word. If you need to and are able, take a few minutes to process what you’ve just heard and experienced and how the Lord may be inviting you to respond. Sing in response as you feel led.

 

Yes and Amen

 

The Lord’s Blessing:

The Lord’s Blessing serves to make space for us the Lord to bless us to continue to walk in faithful obedience and to grow up into maturity.

 

Fix your eyes on him as you read the following out loud:

 

From Numbers 6:24-26:

 

The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

 

Closing Song

 

Go My Children With My Blessing

Dear Parents,

Thanks for joining us again as we do Children’s Worship from home!  

Note: Please let us know about how your family is enjoying Children’s Worship! Take some pictures of your family participating in Children’s Worship or share a story. You can post to the Gold Avenue Church Facebook page or send by email at goldavechurch@gmail.com

 

God Is Worthy Of Worship

Based on: John 9:1-41

 

EQUIP:  

(It’s not an activity, but just a little background on the story for you, the parent, to read.) 

 

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.   Psalm 100:1-2

Activity One:  Read the intro. Watch the video.

Activity Two: Discuss the story using provided questions as prompts. Prayer.

Worship: Singing 

Activity Three:  Respond to the story by doing the activity. 

Activity Four:  Bless your children 

 

Activity 1:  STORY

 

Introduction:To read the children:

 

The book of John tells us about when Jesus was on earth and shows us that Jesus is God’s Son.   There was a man who was blind when he was born. For all his life he was blind and couldn’t see a thing. But something happened that made him “see” that God is worthy of worship. Let’s find out what a man in the Bible did when Jesus helped him to see.

 

Watch the video:

 

Activity 2:  DISCUSSION

  • How did Jesus heal the man who was blind? (Jesus spat on the ground and made mud, which He put on the man’s eyes. Then Jesus had the man go wash in the Pool of Siloam.)
  • What did the Pharisees think about Jesus healing the man? (They were mad because He healed on the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest.)
  • When the man found Jesus and heard who He was, what did he do? (He worshiped Jesus.)

God is worthy of worship! He is good and deserving of respect, praise, and attention.   Have your child/children complete these statements to have them think of reasons they should worship God.  Write their answers on a whiteboard or piece of paper.

“God can _____.” 

“God is _____.”

“God always _____.” 

“God gives ______.” 

Or they can finish the statement, “God is good and deserving of respect, praise, and attention because…”

Use this prayer time to worship God using the statements they created.

Then, transition into a time of prayer for personal requests.

 

Worship Songs:

 

 

Activity 3: RESPONSE ACTIVITY #1 Worship Mobile

 

God is worthy of worship. Worship means we give honor to God. We thank and praise God for who He is and what He does for us. There are lots of ways to worship God. Let’s make worship mobiles that you can use to remember to  worship God in different ways throughout the week.

     

Supplies

Printed page   Bonus Lesson 14 Worship Mobile – Elementary Spring 2020

Markers

Scissors

Tape

18 inch length of  yarn for each child

 

Distribute supplies. Let the children color the shapes. They can write in the blank shape a way they like to worship God. Then show them how to tape the shapes along a length of yarn to create a mobile.

    

RESPONSE ACTIVITY #2   Print and Color

Activity 4: CLOSING BLESSING

 

Lead in a guided prayer: 

 

God, we worship You because You are _________. Going around the circle, let the children finish the sentence. Thank You, God for sending Your Son, Jesus, to help us see Your power. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

A Note before you begin:  

 

This service was prayerfully planned and coordinated with worship planner Kayleen Jasperse  in conjunction with the pastors.

 

Our prayer is that this liturgy helps us to create cultures of worship in our homes or wherever we utilize them. May the Lord bless you as you enter into his presence and give him praise. May we each be met, blessed,  challenged, and encouraged to grow as disciples and disciple makers of Jesus Christ.

 

Call to Worship: 

The Call to Worship serves to focus our attention on the living God who is present with us; it calls us to position ourselves as those who are ready to worship and ready to receive from our Lord.

 

Read the following out loud as you fix your eyes on Jesus:

 

 

 

From Psalm 103:1-13
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

 

 

Pray for the Lord to fill you, your household, and your home with His presence and His peace.  Fix your eyes and the focus of your heart on Him.

 

Worshiping in Song:

 

O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

The Lord’s Greeting:

The Lord’s Greeting serves to remind us that we are in the presence of the living God. It makes space for him to greet us as our loving heavenly father who rules and reigns as the King over all and who is present with us as our loving heavenly father!

 

Fix your eyes on him as you read the following out loud:

 

From 2 John 1:3

 

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

 

Greeting One Another:

It might feel a little odd doing this at home, but take time to say these words to greet each other, as you shake hands, hug or elbow bump.

 

Consider sending a greeting text message to a church family member.

 

“The Lord be with you!”

 

and in response: 

 

“and also with you!”

 

And if you’re alone:

 

“The Lord is with me!”

 

 

 

Grace Unmeasured

 

Thank You Jesus

 

Testimony/Family Prayer Time:

 

How has the Lord been at work this week? Consider sharing your story with those around you or writing it down. Give glory to the Lord for the good work that He has done!

 

 

Take a few minutes to pray for our church family, neighborhood, and the world as the Lord leads.

 

Consider asking a church family member how you can be in prayer for them or inviting a church family member to pray for you.

 

 

Regular Offering:

Support ministry at Gold Avenue Church by giving to the general fund (Click the picture for more giving options):

  1. Text:  send amount (number only, no extra symbols) to (616) 319-2259 and follow prompts to give securely
  2. Give online at https://goldavenuechurch.breezechms.com/give/online or give through PayPal here.
  3. Mail a check payable to Gold Avenue Church at 49 Gold Avenue NW Grand Rapids, MI 4950

 

Song of Preparation

The Song of Preparation serves to prepare our hearts to receive the Word of the Lord.  Continue to fix your eyes on Jesus and surrender your attention and heart to him as we transition and prepare to enter into His Word. 

 

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

The Preaching of the Word:

Our current sermon series is written in connection to and alongside a helpful tool that we have developed called the Gospel Tool. Disciple Groups at Gold Avenue Church are working through lessons that are based upon the Gospel Tool, and we want to make this resource available to every listener. Click here to check out the Gospel Tool, the Visual Gospel overview, statements, & scriptures.

 

Access the audio of the sermon here: Sermon Audio Recording

Communion

If you are a baptized member of a church that declares Jesus is Lord, and if you are walking in the light and in pursuit of righteousness, we welcome and encourage you to join with us as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper! If you are not yet baptized or are not walking in the light, we encourage you to take some time to pray and reflect with the Lord or to confess and repent of your sins.  God’s Word promises that when we confess, he is faithful to forgive! We welcome baptized children of believers to the table as parents discern they are ready, and also invite you to pray blessing over your children who are not yet ready to partake. 

Song of Response:

The song of response gives opportunity to consider, apply, and respond what we’ve just heard from the Word and the Communion that we’ve just received. If you need to and are able, take a few minutes to process what you’ve just heard and experienced and how the Lord may be inviting you to respond. Sing in response as you feel led.

 

 

The Lord’s Blessing:

The Lord’s Blessing serves to make space for us the Lord to bless us to continue to walk in faithful obedience and to grow up into maturity.

 

Fix your eyes on him as you read the following out loud:

 

From Colossians 1:9b-14
May the Lord fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,  and giving joyful thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light.  For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

 

Closing Song

 

Doxology

Dear Parents,

Thanks for joining us again as we do Children’s Worship from home!  

Note: Please let us know about how your family is enjoying Children’s Worship! Take some pictures of your family participating in Children’s Worship or share a story. You can post to the Gold Avenue Church Facebook page or send by email at goldavechurch@gmail.com

 

Talent Uncovered

Based on: Matthew 25:14-29, Colossians 3:23

EQUIP:  

(It’s not an activity, but just a little background on the story for you, the parent, to read.) 

 

I remember hearing today’s story as a kid. The teacher wanted us to think about how we could use our own talents to serve God. But I knew I didn’t have any talent worth showing to anyone— nothing for a talent show, no sports skills, nothing that would cause anyone to say, “You are so talented!” I was simply ordinary. It took a while before I could figure out that serving God doesn’t require special abilities. What He really wants is for His children to use to the best of their ability what He has given to them.

 

Not needing to be “talented” is comforting! Colossians 3:23 asks us to focus on the process of living for God, not the end result, or the product. Whatever we do, let’s work at it with all our hearts, all our energy and all our love, because we are working for the God who loves us more than we can imagine.

 

Jesus told the parable of the talents to teach the value of service. Jesus told all who follow Him to be prepared for His return by serving Him. Throughout the book of Matthew, we see Jesus as the King who we can serve. Living for Jesus demands our very best. It’s the kind of service we give to the King who came to Earth to love us and make our salvation possible: King Jesus!

 

Debbie Barber

Senior Editor

 

Activity One:  Read the intro. Watch the video.

Activity Two: Discuss the story using provided questions as prompts. Prayer.

Worship: Singing 

Activity Three:  Respond to the story by doing the activity. 

Activity Four:  Bless your children 

 

Activity 1:  STORY

Introduction:To read the children:

 

Jesus had told His friends that He was going away someday. He wanted them to know what to do while He was gone. This is a story Jesus told to help His friends know what He wanted them to do.

 

Watch the video:

 

Activity 2:  DISCUSSION

  • What did the first two servants do with the money they were given?
  • Why was the master angry with the servant he’d given one talent? (The servant did nothing to earn more money for the master.)
  • What do you think Jesus wanted people to learn from this story? (To use the talents and abilities God gives us. To be trustworthy and dependable. To always do our best.)

Each one of us is unique. There is no one else on Earth exactly like you. And no one else has the combination of talents and abilities God has given you. No one else can sing quite like you. No one else can play soccer exactly the way you do. You might already know the talents God has given you, or you might be just starting to discover them. But you can know for certain that God has made you in a wonderful way!

 

Read aloud Colossians 3:23. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

 

How does this verse tell you to work or use your abilities? (Work at it with all my heart. Do my work for the Lord.)  Whatever you do, you can do it for God. Construction workers can do their best work for God. Teachers and bus drivers can, too! Kids and grown-ups can serve God in everything they do! The next time you are sitting in class at school or doing your chores at home or playing basketball, remember that God has made you to do everything to the best of your abilities.

 

When we are working for the Lord, we try to do our best to love Him by serving others. God has given each of us some unique abilities. We can use the talents that God has given us to help others. Helping others is a way to show God that we love Him. Be ready to find ways that you can help serve someone this week.

 

When have you used a talent or ability to serve God?  Let’s pray and ask God to help us find a way to serve someone this week.

 

Encourage children to pray for these things with their own words. Then, transition into a time of prayer for personal requests.

 

Worship Songs:

 

 

Activity 3: RESPONSE ACTIVITY #1 Chromatography Science Experiment

 

This looks like a fun science experiment to help children see that God has given each of us many hidden “talents” to share with others. This website does not emphasize that aspect of our lesson so you will have to relate it to the story and the theme of this lesson with an introduction.

 

You will need washable markers

Coffee filters

Shallow glasses of water

Paper plates or paper towels

Popsicle sticks or plastic straws (optional)

Tape

Coffee Filter Science | Easy Science Experiment for Toddlers

Introduction: 
God made each of us special and different with unique talents and abilities. God wants us to use these talents and abilities to serve Him while He is away from us in heaven.  Let’s try a little experiment to see what happens when we use our talents and abilities to serve God. Sometimes we don’t see anything happen right away but after a while we may notice how beautiful those things can become.      

     

RESPONSE ACTIVITY #2   Print and Color

Activity 4: CLOSING BLESSING

 

Let’s all show God that we love Him with all our heart by doing our best in everything we do this week and finding some way to use an ability or talent to serve God. 

 

(______________),  May you always remember how special you are to God and serve Him with your whole heart!

 

We have some great news to share with you today!

The Admin Elders have effected the regathering process and have begun planning steps to move us toward regathering for corporate worship. We will be working with ministry team leaders to coordinate the many details needed to do so safely. We anticipate this process taking many weeks and will communicate frequently with you as details become firm (i.e. timelines, expectations for safety guidelines, etc.). We do not have a target date yet, but you can expect to hear a joyful announcement from us when we do.

Please pray for the Lord to lead this planning and for the team (which includes the Admin Elders and Mark Essenburg)

Be blessed, and we look forward to sharing more with you as details come together.

The Regathering Team

A Note Before you Begin:

 

This service was prayerfully planned and coordinated with worship planner Derek Sterenberg  in conjunction with the pastors.

 

Our prayer is that this liturgy helps us to create cultures of worship in our homes or wherever we utilize them. May the Lord bless you as you enter into his presence and give him praise. May we each be met, blessed,  challenged, and encouraged to grow as disciples and disciple makers of Jesus Christ.

 

*If you happen to encounter any technical difficulties or notice any technical issues with this liturgy, please send a text message to Mark Essenburg whose phone number can be accessed through the Church Directory linked in your weekly email update. 

 

Call to Worship: 

The Call to Worship serves to focus our attention on the living God who is present with us; it calls us to position ourselves as those who are ready to worship and ready to receive from our Lord.

 

Read the following out loud as you fix your eyes on Jesus:

 

 

From Psalm 29 (NLT):
Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings;
honor the Lord for his glory and strength.
Honor the Lord for the glory of his name.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea.
The God of glory thunders.
The Lord thunders over the mighty sea.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars;
the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf;
he makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes
with bolts of lightning.
The voice of the Lord makes the barren wilderness quake;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks
and strips the forests bare.
In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!”
The Lord rules over the floodwaters.
The Lord reigns as king forever.
The Lord gives his people strength.
The Lord blesses them with peace.

 

Pray for the Lord to fill you, your household, and your home with His presence and His peace.  Fix your eyes and the focus of your heart on Him.

 

 

Worshiping in Song:

 

This is Amazing Grace

 

The Lord’s Greeting:

The Lord’s Greeting serves to remind us that we are in the presence of the living God. It makes space for him to greet us as our loving heavenly father who rules and reigns as the King over all and who is present with us as our loving heavenly father!

 

Fix your eyes on him as you read these words from Jesus out lout:

 

From John 10:10:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full!

 

Greeting One Another:

It might feel a little odd doing this at home, but take time to say these words to greet each other, as you shake hands, hug or elbow bump.

 

Consider sending a greeting text message to a church family member.

 

“The Lord be with you!”

 

and in response: 

 

“and also with you!”

 

And if you’re alone:

 

“The Lord is with me!”

 

 

 

Everlasting God

 

O Praise the Name

 

Glorify Thy Name

Lyrics:

Jesus, we love you
we worship and adore you

glorify thy name in all the earth

glorify thy name

glorify thy name

glorify thy name in all the earth!

Spirit, we love you
we worship and adore you

glorify thy name in all the earth

glorify thy name

glorify thy name

glorify thy name in all the earth!

Father, we love you
we worship and adore you

glorify thy name in all the earth

glorify thy name

glorify thy name

glorify thy name in all the earth!

 

Testimony/Family Prayer Time:

 

 

How has the Lord been at work in around you this week? Consider sharing your story with those around you or writing it down. Give glory to the Lord for the good work that He has done!

 

Take a few minutes to pray for our church family, our neighborhood, and the world as the Lord leads.

 

Consider asking a church family member how you can be in prayer for them or inviting a church family member to pray for you.

 

 

Regular Offering:

Support ministry at Gold Avenue Church by giving to the general fund (Click the picture for more giving options):

  1. Text:  send amount (number only, no extra symbols) to (616) 319-2259 and follow prompts to give securely
  2. Give online at https://goldavenuechurch.breezechms.com/give/online or give through PayPal here.
  3. Mail a check payable to Gold Avenue Church at 49 Gold Avenue NW Grand Rapids, MI 4950

Song of Preparation:

The Song of Preparation serves to prepare our hearts to receive the Word of the Lord.  Continue to fix your eyes on Jesus and surrender your attention and heart to him as we transition and prepare to enter into His Word. 

 

Holy Spirit Living Breath of God

The Preaching of the Word:

Our current sermon series is written in connection to and alongside a helpful tool that we have developed called the Gospel Tool. Disciple Groups at Gold Avenue Church are working through lessons that are based upon the Gospel Tool, and we want to make this resource available to every listener. Click here to check out the Gospel Tool, the Visual Gospel overview, statements, & scriptures.

 

Before listening to this week’s sermon, please read the following questions and answers from the Heidelberg Catechism out loud:

 

Q & A 10
Q. Does God permit
such disobedience and rebellion
to go unpunished?

A. Certainly not.
God is terribly angry

with the sin we are born with
as well as the sins we personally commit.

As a just judge,
God will punish them both now and in eternity,1
having declared:

“Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey
all the things written in the book of the law.”2

 

1 Ex. 34:7; Ps. 5:4-6; Nah. 1:2; Rom. 1:18; Eph. 5:6; Heb. 9:27
2 Gal. 3:10; Deut. 27:26

 

Q & A 11
Q. But isn’t God also merciful?

A. God is certainly merciful,1
but also just.2
God’s justice demands

that sin, committed against his supreme majesty,
be punished with the supreme penalty—
eternal punishment of body and soul.3

 

1 Ex. 34:6-7; Ps. 103:8-9
2 Ex. 34:7; Deut. 7:9-11; Ps. 5:4-6; Heb. 10:30-31
3 Matt. 25:35-46

 

 

Access the audio of the sermon here: Sermon Audio Recording

 

Song of Response:

The song of response gives opportunity to consider, apply, and respond what we’ve just heard from the Word. If you need to and are able, take a few minutes to process what you’ve just heard and experienced and how the Lord may be inviting you to respond.

 

All I Have is Christ

 

The Lord’s Blessing:

The Lord’s Blessing serves to make space for us the Lord to bless us to continue to walk in faithful obedience and to grow up into maturity.

 

Fix your eyes on him as you read the following out loud:

 

From Number 6: 24-26
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace

 

Closing Song

The Stand

Dear Parents,

Thanks for joining us again as we do Children’s Worship from home!  

Note: Please let us know about how your family is enjoying Children’s Worship! Take some pictures of your family participating in Children’s Worship or share a story. You can post to the Gold Avenue Church Facebook page or send by email at goldavechurch@gmail.com

If you would like to do a daily lent reading plan as a family, the Jesus Storybook Bible has a great free printable one (that includes a fun paper chain) to use to count down!

DOWNLOAD HERE

 

It’s Not Fair!

Based on: Matthew 20:1-16, Romans 8:39

 

Activity One:  Read the intro. Watch the video.

Activity Two: Discuss the story using provided questions as prompts. Prayer.

Worship: Singing 

Activity Three:  Respond to the story by doing the activity. 

Activity Four:  Bless your children 

 

EQUIP:  

(It’s not an activity, but just a little background on the story for you, the parent, to read.) 

 

“That’s not FAIR!” I know it’s a wail I’ve heard (and made)! Everyone today, from kids to adults, seems to have the idea that some fairness exists out there that we’re missing out on; and if life were only fair, we would receive great benefits. But as a sinner who deserves eternal death and separation from God, I find great relief in knowing that I DON’T get what I deserve!

 

The Bible makes it clear that eternal life is a gift that results from God’s love and mercy. It’s a freebie that we don’t deserve! And there is no way we can ever work hard enough to earn it. God says that when Jesus died, He closed up the “works” place. There isn’t any more for us to do than to receive, rejoice and rest in the reality that Jesus paid it all— and nothing can separate us from such amazing love!

 

In the parable of the workers in the vineyard, Jesus ended the story in a way that must have surprised His listeners. The parable, along with many other teachings of Jesus, makes the point that God’s love and salvation are not based on our efforts. Through His teaching and in His life, death and resurrection, Jesus demonstrated that God’s love is given according to His amazing generosity, not according to anything that we could ever do.

 

Mary Davis

Senior Editor

 

Activity 1:  STORY

Introduction:To read the children:

 

In today’s Bible story, some workers felt that they were treated VERY unfairly. Here’s what happened. Peter, the disciple who’d asked Jesus about forgiveness in last week’s story, wasn’t finished asking questions. So a while later, Peter asked Jesus a second question. He wanted to know how he and the disciples would be rewarded because they had left everything behind and followed Him (see Matthew 19:27).

 

Jesus answered Peter by telling him a story.  Let’s watch this video to see how Jesus answered Peter’s question.

 

Watch the video:

Activity 2:  DISCUSSION

Jesus finished His story by saying, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Jesus’ disciples might have wondered what this parable meant. But we know there was something VERY important Jesus was trying to teach. The owner of the vineyard is like God. The workers who started early in the day are like God’s people who have been following Him for a long time. God is glad to love them and gives them salvation. The workers who started at the end of the day are like people who haven’t been following God for very long. But God is glad to love them and give them salvation, too!

 

In the story Jesus told, the owner of the vineyard was generous and paid each of his workers the same—no matter how long or short a time they had worked. God is like this generous owner! Jesus lived, died and came back to life so that we could be forgiven for our sin and receive God’s amazing love. There isn’t anything we can do to earn it! It’s God’s free gift.

  • How much did the owner of the vineyard pay each worker? (One denarius or silver coin. Why did some workers think they should have received more money? (They worked for a longer time than the others.)
  • How is God like the owner?
  • How would you describe God’s love for us?
  • What will you do because of God’s love for you?

 

Invite the children to pray thanking God for His generous love to them and asking God to help them show HIs generous love to others through them. 

 

Encourage children to pray for these things with their own words. Then, transition into a time of prayer for personal requests.

 

Worship Songs:

 

 

Activity 3: RESPONSE ACTIVITY #1 

Three ways to make a grape bunch. You could write on the paper:  “God loves us a bunch,” or “We all share in God’s love,” or something like that. Pick one with the supplies you may have on hand. (Remember red and blue paint make purple.)

 

It doesn’t matter who we are, where we are or what we do! God promises to love us generously. No one is good enough to earn God’s love. He loves us all the same.

RESPONSE ACTIVITY #2   Print and Color

Activity 4: CLOSING BLESSING

 

God’s love for us is really amazing! No matter what happens in our lives, and no matter what we do, God will never stop loving us. Read Romans 8:39: neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.       

 

(______________),  May you always remember how much God loves you.