Call to Worship
One person can pray:
We praise you, O Lord! Our souls praise you. We will sing praises to our God while we have our being. Our hope is in you who has made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. May your goodness, love, and mercy be on our minds as we worship you this day. May we hear Christ in your Word and may our worship rightly reflect the gratitude we have for Christ’s ministry to us. In Christ’s name, amen.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow; Praise him, all creatures here below; Praise him above, ye heav’nly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Hymn of Praise: O Lord, Our Lord, in All the Earth
Listen to the tune (plays through all verses, with intro — performed by Andrew Remillard):
Reading of the Law: Hebrews 3:12–19 (ESV)
One or all can read:
12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
General Confession of Sin
O great and everlasting God, who dwells in unapproachable light, who searches and knows the thoughts and intentions of the heart, we confess that we have not loved you with all our heart, or with all our soul, or with all our mind, or with all our strength, or our neighbors as ourselves. We have loved what we ought not to have loved; we have coveted what is not ours; we have not been content with your provisions for us.
We have complained in our hearts about our family, about our friends, about our health, about our occupations, about your church, and about our trials. We have sought our security in those things which perish, rather than in you, the Everlasting God. Chasten, cleanse, and forgive us, through Jesus Christ, who is able for all time to save us who approach you through him, since he always lives to make intercession for us. Amen.
Silent Confession of Sin
Take a moment to confess your sins privately.
Reading of the Gospel: Hebrews 1:1–3 (ESV)
One or all can read:
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Confession of Faith: Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary; Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell 1; The third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe a holy catholic 2 church, the communion of saints; The forgiveness of sins; The resurrection of the body; And the life everlasting. Amen.
We confess that Jesus descended into hell figuratively, not literally. He suffered the pain of hell in His earthly ministry and on the cross in our place. (See Heidelberg Catechism question and answer 44.)
“Catholic” here means universal, affirming that there has always been and will always be only one true Christian Church.
One can pray or all can take turns praying for the needs of your family, our church, the state, and the world.
Please pray for the specific requests from our church family:
Thank you for your prayers for the Esquibels’ friends’ 6-year-old grandson Kai. He has a very serious congenital heart condition (tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia), and was in the ICU, but is back home recovering. He has a surgery scheduled for November 1. Please continue to pray for him and his upcoming surgery.
Praise God that Amanda Holston is pregnant! Please continue to pray for her and her baby.
Praise God that Katie Verhague (née Hill) is pregnant! Please continue to pray for her and her baby.
Elena Velasco’s father, Martin, is now on hospice care. Please pray that his pain level would be managed well and pray for his salvation. Please continue to pray for comfort for Elena’s mother Maria, and for Elena and the rest of the family.
Please continue to pray for Ann Hill’s friend Heather, whose brain cancer has returned.
Please pray for Vivi Ibbs’s sister-in-law Debbie Osburn. She was scheduled to have knee surgery on September 27.
Pastor Tom’s sister Laura has finished rehab and is recovering at an adult family home. Please continue to pray for her continued recovery and for her salvation.
Please continue to pray for Holly Stafford’s brother Kirk, who is suffering from serious health issues. Pray also for his salvation. In addition, please continue to pray for Holly’s parents, Fernando and Randy, who are also concerned about Kirk.
Please continue to pray for Jerry Verhague’s grandfather, Greg, who has cancer. We are grateful that his prognosis seems very good.
Please continue to pray for Bob and Ruth Mendoza’s daughter Sarah, who’s been having neurological issues that have required intensive medical attention.
Bob Mendoza is making progress as he recovers from his stroke. Please continue to pray that he would fully recover.
Thank you for your prayers for Lindsey and Courtney’s grandfather Dwayne. The doctors have found that his cancer is not spreading and that it is treatable. Please continue to pray for him!
Please pray for Pastor Adam Kaloostian, who is planting a church in Ventura.
Please pray for Kerri Holston’s nephew, Stephen. He is currently in renal failure needing dialysis. Also, pray for Kerri’s mother, Sandra, who lost her husband recently.
Please continue to pray for Craig and Sheila’s son Michael during his year-long deployment to Poland.
The surgery for Michael’s wife Mila has been postponed as her doctors are trying non-surgical procedures to alleviate her issues. If those are unsuccessful, they may still operate when Michael returns from Poland in a year. Please continue to pray for her health.
Thank you for your prayers for Ann Hill’s friend Steve Miller, who has stage four cancer. He has improved and continues treatment. Please continue to pray for him.
Please continue to pray for Jim Harmsen, who has been struggling with lung and heart issues. Pray also for Ruth’s health.
Please continue to pray for the salvation of Janie McMillan’s son, Steven.
Please continue to pray for the Morrisons’ friend Hannah Keels and for her husband Chuck. Hannah’s condition continues to improve but she is still receiving chemo and radiation treatments for cancer.
The Lord’s Prayer
All pray aloud:
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 debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Hymn of Preparation: Praise the Lord! My Soul, O Praise Him!
Listen to the tune (plays through all verses, with intro):
Sermon: “The Word of Preservation” — Rev. Tom Morrison
Listen together. Listen online at https://urclearning.org/2021/10/16/2-kings-624-720-the-word-of-preservation/. Read along with the scripture lessons below.
Old Testament Lesson: 2 Kings 6:24 – 7:20 (ESV)
24 Afterward Ben-hadad king of Syria mustered his entire army and went up and besieged Samaria. 25 And there was a great famine in Samaria, as they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver. 26 Now as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!” 27 And he said, “If the Lord will not help you, how shall I help you? From the threshing floor, or from the winepress?” 28 And the king asked her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we boiled my son and ate him. And on the next day I said to her, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him.’ But she has hidden her son.” 30 When the king heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes—now he was passing by on the wall—and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth beneath on his body—31 and he said, “May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.”
32 Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. Now the king had dispatched a man from his presence, but before the messenger arrived Elisha said to the elders, “Do you see how this murderer has sent to take off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold the door fast against him. Is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?” 33 And while he was still speaking with them, the messenger came down to him and said, “This trouble is from the Lord! Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”
1 But Elisha said, “Hear the word of the Lord: thus says the Lord, Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.” 2 Then the captain on whose hand the king leaned said to the man of God, “If the Lord himself should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” But he said, “You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.”
3 Now there were four men who were lepers at the entrance to the gate. And they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘Let us enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. So now come, let us go over to the camp of the Syrians. If they spare our lives we shall live, and if they kill us we shall but die.” 5 So they arose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians. But when they came to the edge of the camp of the Syrians, behold, there was no one there. 6 For the Lord had made the army of the Syrians hear the sound of chariots and of horses, the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, “Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to come against us.” 7 So they fled away in the twilight and abandoned their tents, their horses, and their donkeys, leaving the camp as it was, and fled for their lives. 8 And when these lepers came to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent and ate and drank, and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and went and hid them. Then they came back and entered another tent and carried off things from it and went and hid them.
9 Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king’s household.” 10 So they came and called to the gatekeepers of the city and told them, “We came to the camp of the Syrians, and behold, there was no one to be seen or heard there, nothing but the horses tied and the donkeys tied and the tents as they were.” 11 Then the gatekeepers called out, and it was told within the king’s household. 12 And the king rose in the night and said to his servants, “I will tell you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we are hungry. Therefore they have gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the open country, thinking, ‘When they come out of the city, we shall take them alive and get into the city.’” 13 And one of his servants said, “Let some men take five of the remaining horses, seeing that those who are left here will fare like the whole multitude of Israel who have already perished. Let us send and see.” 14 So they took two horsemen, and the king sent them after the army of the Syrians, saying, “Go and see.” 15 So they went after them as far as the Jordan, and behold, all the way was littered with garments and equipment that the Syrians had thrown away in their haste. And the messengers returned and told the king.
16 Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Syrians. So a seah of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the Lord. 17 Now the king had appointed the captain on whose hand he leaned to have charge of the gate. And the people trampled him in the gate, so that he died, as the man of God had said when the king came down to him. 18 For when the man of God had said to the king, “Two seahs of barley shall be sold for a shekel, and a seah of fine flour for a shekel, about this time tomorrow in the gate of Samaria,” 19 the captain had answered the man of God, “If the Lord himself should make windows in heaven, could such a thing be?” And he had said, “You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.” 20 And so it happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gate and he died.
New Testament Lesson: Romans 8:18–39 (ESV)
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Hymn of Response: God Moves in a Mysterious Way
Listen to the tune (plays through all verses, with intro):
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Amen.
One person can pray:
We thank you and praise you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the ministry of the Word and Spirit. Despite the difficulties we face in this life, we believe that Christ is present with us by the Holy Spirit. Please fill us with the Holy Spirit so that we find our hope in Christ and the heaven he has won for us. May we always remember that nothing and no one will separate us from the love of Jesus Christ. In the name of Christ we pray, amen.
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Updates from URCNA Missionaries
- Rev. Mike Brown
- Rev. Andrea Ferrari
January newsletter (PDF)
Pray for URC Missionaries
Pastor Allen Vander Pol — professor at MINTS International Seminary
- Since I work with some of our more advanced students in Africa who are writing courses for MINTS, pray that I can give them clear, wise, and patient advice when I help them improve on their work.
- Since Christians face intense persecution in places where I have worked, pray for Christians who face life-threatening persecution throughout Myanmar (Burma), and in parts of India and Nigeria. Pray on their behalf for faithfulness to Christ and for the ability to give a clear expression of their Christian hope.
Please check urcnamissions.org for regular updates on our missionaries and the COVID-19 pandemic.