This is a guide to worship by yourself or with your household. If you’re in a group, choose a leader to speak the unbolded parts. If you’re by yourself, try reading all parts out loud.
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A NOTE ON HOME WORSHIP
Consider this an opportunity to proclaim Jesus Christ in solidarity with many Christians around the world. Christians have a long history of meeting in homes to worship. Today, many live in crisis or persecution and have no other option but to meet in their homes for worship. Praise God for his church!
CALL TO WORSHIP
Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven!
Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness!
Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp!
Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes!
Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals.
Let everything that breathes sing praises to the LORD! Praise the LORD!
PRAYERS OF PRAISE
Take a few moments with the people you are gathered with, or on your own, to praise Jesus for having the words of eternal life.
SONGS OF PRAISE
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Leader: Merciful Lord, we confess that with us there is an abundance of sin, but in you there is the fullness of righteousness and abundance of mercy.
Congregation: We are spiritually poor, but you are rich and in Jesus Christ came to be merciful to the poor.
L: Strengthen our faith and trust in you. We are empty vessels that need to be filled; fill us.
C: We are weak in faith; strengthen us. We are cold in love; warm us, and make our hearts fervent for you that our love may go out to one another and to our neighbors. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
WORDS OF COMFORT AND ASSURANCE
If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. (1 John 1:10)
I confessed all my sins to you
and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Because of Jesus' death and resurrection for us, you can know your sins are forgiven. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
PASSING OF THE PEACE
Because of the peace with God we now know through Jesus Christ, we are told as "far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all" (Romans 12:8).
Take this time to contact through whatever means possible and reach out to share the peace of God.
Mark 4:1-20 (NLT)
Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. A very large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat in the boat while all the people remained on the shore. He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
Later, when Jesus was alone with the twelve disciples and with the others who were gathered around, they asked him what the parables meant.
He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:
‘When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand. Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven.’”
Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables? The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
THE MESSAGE IS BASED ON John 6:60–71
Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?”
Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again? The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.”
At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”
Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”
Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him.