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ASCENSION WORSHIP SERVICE 2014 (CC)

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GOOD EVENING! THIS EVENING WE HAVE GATHERED TOGETHER AS WE CELEBRATE THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD BACK TO HIS HEAVENLY THRONE. AND WE REMIND OURSELVES OF THE JOY THAT IS OURS THROUGH THIS WONDERFUL EVENT. OUR SERVICE FOR THIS EVENING IS PRINTED IN YOUR SERVICE FOLDER. LET'S NOW JOIN TOGETHER IN THE OPENING RESPONSES. [INVOCATION] MINISTER: IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. CONGREGATION: AMEN. M: CHRIST IS RISEN! C: HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA! M: ALLELUIA! THE LORD IS RISEN INDEED! C: OH, COME, LET US WORSHIP HIM. ALLELUIA! M: ALLELUIA! CHRIST REIGNS AS KING, SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD. ALL HIS ENEMIES HE HAS PLACED UNDER HIS FEET. C: ALLELUIA. CHRIST SAYS, "I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS TO THE END OF THE AGE." M: GOD HAS ASCENDED WITH SHOUTS OF JOY, THE LORD AMID THE SOUNDING OF TRUMPETS. C: ALLELUIA. CHRIST SAYS, "I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS TO THE END OF THE AGE." M: IT IS WITH THIS CONFIDENCE WE ARE REMINDED BY THE 'ZION CHIMERS' THAT WE HAVE JOY IN OUR LIFE. [MEDITATIVE MUSIC "ODE TO JOY" ZION CHIMERS LED BY MRS. CAREY BRYSON AS WE LISTEN TO THE BEAUTIFUL MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC ENDS AND THE ZION CHIMERS RETURN TO THEIR SEATS] OUR GOSPEL LESSON FOR THIS EVENING IS RECORDED FOR US IN LUKE'S GOSPEL WHERE WE READ FROM CHAPTER 24 BEGINNING WITH VERSE 44. IT IS HERE WE HAVE LUKE'S ACCOUNT OF THE LORD SPENDING TIME WITH HIS DISCIPLES AND INSTRUCTING THEM BEFORE HE IS ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN. HE [JESUS] SAID TO THEM, "THIS IS WHAT I TOLD YOU WHILE I WAS STILL WITH YOU: EVERYTHING MUST BE FULFILLED THAT IS WRITTEN ABOUT ME IN THE LAW OF MOSES, THE PROPHETS AND THE PSALMS." THEN HE OPENED THEIR MINDS SO THEY COULD UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURES. HE TOLD THEM, "THIS IS WHAT IS WRITTEN: THE MESSIAH WILL SUFFER AND RISE FROM THE DEAD ON THE THIRD DAY, AND REPENTANCE FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS WILL BE PREACHED IN HIS NAME TO ALL NATIONS, BEGINNING WITH JERUSALEM. YOU ARE WITNESSES OF THESE THINGS. I AM GOING TO SEND YOU WHAT MY FATHER HAS PROMISED; BUT STAY IN THE CITY UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN CLOTHED WITH POWER FROM ON HIGH." WHEN HE HAD LED THEM OUT TO THE VICINITY OF BETHANY, HE LIFTED UP HIS HANDS AND BLESSED THEM. WE JOIN TOGETHER IN HYMN 171. ORGANIST, MRS. JO BOSTEDT PLAYS INTRODUCTION NOW FOR HYMN 171: "A HYMN OF GLORY LET US SING" [MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC CONGREGATION BEGINS SINGING HYMN 171, VERSE 1: A HYMN OF GLORY LET US SING! NEW SONGS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD SHALL RING: ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! CHRIST, BY A ROAD BEFORE UNTROD, ASCENDS UNTO THE THRONE OF GOD, ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! THE HOLY APOSTOLIC BAND UPON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES STAND, ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! AND WITH HIS FOLLOWERS THEY SEE THEIR LORD ASCEND IN MAJESTY. ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! TO THEM THE SHINING ANGELS CRY, "WHY STAND AND GAZE UPON THE SKY?" ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! "THIS IS THE SAVIOR," THUS THEY SAY. "THIS IS HIS GLORIOUS TRIUMPH DAY." ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! "YOU SEE HIM NOW, ASCENDING HIGH UP TO THE PORTALS OF THE SKY." ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! HEREAFTER JESUS YOU SHALL SEE RETURNING IN GREAT MAJESTY." ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! BE NOW OUR JOY ON EARTH, O LORD, AND BE OUR FUTURE GREAT REWARD. ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! THEN, THRONED WITH YOU FOREVER, WE SHALL PRAISE YOUR NAME ETERNALLY. ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! O RISEN CHRIST, ASCENDED LORD, ALL PRAISE TO YOU LET EARTH ACCORD. ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! YOU ARE, WHILE ENDLESS AGES RUN, WITH FATHER, AND WITH SPIRIT ONE. ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! LET US RISE FOR THE CONFESSION OF OUR SINS. M: IF YOU, LORD, KEPT A RECORD OF SINS, C: LORD, WHO COULD STAND? M: BUT WITH YOU THERE IS FORGIVENESS; C: SO THAT WE CAN, WITH REVERENCE, SERVE YOU. [PSALM 130:3-4] M: LORD JESUS, C: WHEN YOU WERE ABOUT TO DEPART INTO HEAVEN, YOU LIFTED YOUR HANDS IN BLESSING AND PROMISED TO BE WITH US ALWAYS. EVEN THOUGH YOUR WORD CONFIRMS YOUR PRESENCE IN OUR LIVES, WE ARE A SINFUL PEOPLE, IN NEED OF YOUR FORGIVENESS. WE CONFESS THAT WE HAVE BEEN INDIFFERENT AND FORGOTTEN YOUR BLESSING. INSTEAD, WE HAVE SOUGHT THINGS OF THIS EARTH. WE HAVE FOCUSED ON OUR OWN LONELINESS, THOUGH YOU HAVE PROMISED TO BE WITH US ALWAYS. YOU HAVE PROMISED TO RETURN, YET WE HAVE GROWN IMPATIENT AND EARTHBOUND AND FAIL TO SET OUR HEARTS ON THINGS ABOVE. WE HAVE NOT ALWAYS BEEN A PEOPLE OF ANTICIPATION, AND NEED A RETURN TO JOY. M: AS THE DISCIPLES RETURNED FROM CHRIST'S ASCENSION FILLED WITH MIGHTY JOY, SO, YOU ALSO ARE RENEWED IN CHRIST'S SAVING PROMISE. AS GOD'S CALLED AND ORDAINED SERVANT, AND BY THE COMMAND OF MY LORD JESUS CHRIST, I FORGIVE YOU ALL YOUR SINS, IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT. C: AMEN. M: LET US PRAY. C: LORD JESUS, KING OF GLORY, ON THIS DAY YOU ASCENDED FAR ABOVE THE HEAVENS AND AT GOD'S RIGHT HAND YOU RULE THE NATIONS. LEAVE US NOT ALONE, WE PRAY, BUT GRANT US THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH THAT AT YOUR COMMAND AND BY YOUR POWER WE MAY BE YOUR WITNESSES IN ALL THE WORLD; FOR YOU LIVE AND REIGN WITH THE FATHER AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD, NOW AND FOREVER. AMEN. THE CONGREGATION MAY BE SEATED FOR HYMN 370. [ORGANIST PLAYS INTRODUCTION TO HYMN 370: "ALL HAIL THE POWER OF JESUS' NAME." MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC [CONGREGATION BEGINS SINGING] ALL HAIL THE POWER OF JESUS' NAME! LET ANGELS PROSTRATE FALL; BRING FORTH THE ROYAL DIADEM AND CROWN HIM LORD OF ALL. BRING FORTH THE ROYAL DIADEM AND CROWN HIM LORD OF ALL. HAIL HIM, YE HEIRS OF DAVID'S LINE, WHOM DAVID LORD DID CALL, THE GOD INCARNATE, MAN DIVINE, AND CROWN HIM LORD OF ALL. THE GOD INCARNATE, MAN DIVINE, AND CROWN HIM LORD OF ALL. SINNERS WHOSE LOVE CAN NE'ER FORGET THE WORMWOOD AND THE GALL. GO, SPREAD YOUR TROPHIES AT HIS FEET AND CROWN HIM LORD OF ALL. GO, SPREAD YOUR TROPHIES AT HIS FEET AND CROWN HIM LORD OF ALL. LET EV'RY KINDRED, EV'RY TRIBE ON THIS TERRESTRIAL BALL TO HIM ALL MAJESTY ASCRIBE AND CROWN HIM LORD OF ALL. TO HIM ALL MAJESTY ASCRIBE AND CROWN HIM LORD OF ALL. OH, THAT WITH YONDER SACRED THRONG WE AT HIS FEET MAY FALL! WE'LL JOIN THE EVERLASTING SONG AND CROWN HIM LORD OF ALL. WE'LL JOIN THE EVERLASTING SONG AND CROWN HIM LORD OF ALL. PSALM 47 AND WE WILL READ RESPONSIVELY AS PRINTED IN YOUR SERVICE FOLDER. M: CLAP YOUR HANDS, ALL YOU NATIONS; SHOUT TO GOD WITH CRIES OF JOY. C: FOR THE LORD MOST HIGH IS AWESOME, THE GREAT KING OVER ALL THE EARTH. HE SUBDUED NATIONS UNDER US, PEOPLES UNDER OUR FEET. HE CHOSE OUR INHERITANCE FOR US, THE PRIDE OF JACOB, WHOM HE LOVED. M: GOD HAS ASCENDED AMID SHOUTS OF JOY, THE LORD AMID THE SOUNDING OF TRUMPETS. SING PRAISES TO GOD, SING PRAISES. SING PRAISES TO OUR KING, SING PRAISES. FOR GOD IS THE KING OF ALL THE EARTH; SING TO HIM A PSALM OF PRAISE. C: GOD REIGNS OVER THE NATIONS; GOD IS SEATED ON HIS HOLY THRONE. THE NOBLES OF THE NATIONS ASSEMBLE AS THE PEOPLE OF THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, FOR THE KINGS OF THE EARTH BELONG TO GOD; HE IS GREATLY EXALTED. [VERSE OF THE DAY]: M: ALLELUIA. ALLELUIA. CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA! SURELY I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, TO THE VERY END OF THE AGE. ALLELUIA! [MATTHEW 28:20] OUR EPISTLE LESSON FOR THIS EVENING IS RECORDED FOR US BY LUKE IN THE BOOK OF ACTS WHERE WE READ THE FIRST 11 VERSES OF CHAPTER 1. IT IS HERE THAT LUKE RECORDS FOR US THE EVENTS OF CHRIST'S ASCENSION. IN MY FORMER BOOK, THEOPHILUS, I WROTE ABOUT ALL THAT JESUS BEGAN TO DO AND TO TEACH "UNTIL" THE DAY HE WAS TAKEN UP TO HEAVEN, AFTER GIVING INSTRUCTIONS THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THE APOSTLES HE HAD CHOSEN. AFTER HIS SUFFERING, HE PRESENTED HIMSELF TO THEM AND GAVE MANY CONVINCING PROOFS THAT HE WAS ALIVE. HE APPEARED TO THEM OVER A PERIOD OF FORTY DAYS AND SPOKE ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF GOD. ON ONE OCCASION, WHILE HE WAS EATING WITH THEM, HE GAVE THEM THIS COMMAND: "DO NOT LEAVE JERUSALEM, BUT WAIT FOR THE GIFT MY FATHER PROMISED, WHICH YOU HAVE HEARD ME SPEAK ABOUT. FOR JOHN BAPTIZED WITH WATER, BUT IN A FEW DAYS YOU WILL BE BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT." THEN THEY GATHERED AROUND HIM AND ASKED HIM, "LORD, ARE YOU AT THIS TIME GOING TO RESTORE THE KINGDOM TO ISRAEL?" HE SAID TO THEM: "IT IS NOT FOR YOU TO KNOW THE TIMES OR DATES THE FATHER HAS SET BY HIS OWN AUTHORITY. BUT YOU WILL RECEIVE POWER WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT COMES ON YOU; AND YOU WILL BE MY WITNESSES IN JERUSALEM, AND IN ALL JUDEA AND SAMARIA, AND TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH." AFTER HE SAID THIS, HE WAS TAKEN UP BEFORE THEIR VERY EYES, AND A CLOUD HID HIM FROM THEIR SIGHT. THEY WERE LOOKING INTENTLY UP INTO THE SKY AS HE WAS GOING, AND SUDDENLY TWO MEN DRESSED IN WHITE STOOD BESIDE THEM. "MEN OF GALILEE," THEY SAID, "WHY DO YOU STAND HERE LOOKING INTO THE SKY?" THIS SAME JESUS, WHO HAS BEEN TAKEN FROM YOU INTO HEAVEN, WILL COME BACK IN THE SAME WAY YOU HAVE SEEN HIM GO INTO HEAVEN." [MUSIC ENDING HYMN 213-OMITTED HERE DUE TO LACK OF SPACE] LET US RISE FOR THE READING OF THIS EVENING'S SERMON TEXT RECORDED FOR US BY THE APOSTLE PAUL IN HIS LETTER TO THE COLOSSIANS WHERE WE READ THE FIRST 4 VERSES OF CHAPTER 3: SINCE, THEN, YOU HAVE BEEN RAISED WITH CHRIST, SET YOUR HEARTS ON THINGS ABOVE, WHERE CHRIST IS, SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD. SET YOUR MINDS ON THINGS ABOVE, NOT ON EARTHLY THINGS. FOR YOU DIED, AND YOUR LIFE IS NOW HIDDEN WITH CHRIST IN GOD. WHEN CHRIST, WHO IS YOUR LIFE, APPEARS, THEN YOU ALSO WILL APPEAR WITH HIM IN GLORY. THIS IS THE WORD OF OUR LORD. LET US PRAY: GLORIOUS AND GRACIOUS GOD, MAY THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH AND THE MEDITATION OF EACH OF OUR HEARTS, BE ACCEPTABLE IN YOUR SIGHT, OUR ONLY SOURCE OF HOPE AND COMFORT. AMEN. [TEXT TAKEN FROM THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA, INC.] DEAR FOLLOWERS OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST: PERHAPS MAYBE YOU'VE HAD ONE OF THOSE DAYS ... MAYBE EVEN ONE OF THOSE DAYS RECENTLY THAT IF YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD TO DEAL WITH ONE MORE PERSON, YOU WERE JUST GONNA LOSE IT! YOU DIDN'T CARE WHO IT WAS ... YOU DIDN'T CARE WHO THE NEXT CUSTOMER WAS ... YOU DIDN'T CARE WHO THE NEXT PERSON WHO WAS GONNA CALL ON THE PHONE WAS ... OR KNOCK ON THE DOOR OR THE NEXT PERSON WHO WAS GONNA CUT YOU OFF IN TRAFFIC ... YOU JUST DIDN'T WANT TO DEAL WITH ANYONE ANYMORE! AND YOU JUST THOUGHT HOW NICE IT WOULD BE IF I HAD MY OWN LITTLE ISLAND AND I COULD BE ALL BY MYSELF. IT WOULD JUST BE WONDERFUL TO BE AT PEACE. NO ONE TO BOTHER ME, NO ONE TO ANNOY ME AND IT REALLY COULD BE JUST A BEAUTIFUL TIME WITH MYSELF! AND FOR A FEW SECONDS WE MIGHT THINK THAT THAT IS AN ENJOYABLE THING. BUT WE ALL KNOW THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT WE WANT IN OUR LIVES. THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT WE WANT TO SPEND TIME WITH. THERE ARE LOVED ONES. THERE ARE OUR FAMILY MEMBERS THAT WE TRULY WANT TO BE ABLE TO TALK WITH. TO HOLD, TO SEE, TO SPEND TIME WITH THEM BECAUSE WE'RE LIVING HUMAN BEINGS WHO LIKE THAT OTHER CONTACT. BUT SOMETIMES WE REALLY ARE EVEN ALL ALONE, IN A ROOM THAT'S FILLED WITH PEOPLE. MAYBE IT'S WHEN WE HAVE AN ILLNESS, A SICKNESS THAT WE'RE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT AND COPE WITH, AND WE JUST DON'T THINK ANYONE ELSE UNDERSTANDS. AND WE DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW WE'RE GONNA BE ABLE TO BEGIN TO TALK WITH SOMEONE ABOUT IT WITHOUT LOSING ALL OF OUR EMOTIONS. OR MAYBE IT'S AFTER OUR SPOUSE DIED. WHEN WE GET TOGETHER WITH THE FRIENDS THAT WE'VE ALWAYS BEEN WITH, THEN IT JUST SEEMS LIKE ... THEY'RE NOT THE SAME. AND WE'RE ALL BY OURSELF IN A ROOM THAT'S FILLED WITH PEOPLE. IT'S INTERESTING HOW OUR MINDS CAN WORK SOMETIMES. AND WHAT THEY CAN REALLY TELL US ABOUT HOW WE'RE FEELING. I IMAGINE THAT THE DISCIPLES HAD SOME OF THOSE SAME EMOTIONS FOLLOWING THE EVENTS OF HOLY WEEK AND EASTER. BUT YET JESUS CAME BACK TO THEM. HE CAME TO THEM TO REASSURE THEM THAT HE WAS ALIVE. HE CAME TO THEM TO TALK ABOUT THE SCRIPTURES WITH THEM. TO EXPLAIN TO THEM THAT ALL OF THESE EVENTS HAD TO HAPPEN. THAT ALL OF THESE THINGS NEEDED TO BE DONE SO THAT GOD'S PLAN COULD BE COMPLETE. JESUS CAME BACK TO HIS DISCIPLES TO SHOW THEM AS THE GOOD SHEPHERD THAT HE WAS STILL CARING FOR THEM. AND HE WAS PREPARING THEM. PREPARING THEM EVEN UNTIL THE MOMENT THAT HE RAISED HIS HANDS IN BLESSING AND HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN. HE WANTED THEM TO KNOW THAT EVERYTHING THAT HAD HAPPENED WAS ACCORDING TO GOD'S PROMISE ... ACCORDING TO GOD'S PURPOSE. HE WANTED THEM TO KNOW THAT HE WAS STILL GOING TO BE WITH THEM. THAT HE WAS GOING TO BE WITH THEM TO THE VERY END OF THE AGE IN THE WORK THAT HE HAD TOLD THEM WAS "THEIR" WORK! BECAUSE THEY WERE THE WITNESSES. THEY WERE THE ONES WHO HAD SEEN WHAT GOD HAD ACCOMPLISHED. AND HE WANTED THEM TO GO TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH AND TELL THAT MESSAGE! BUT HE ALSO WANTED THEM TO KNOW THAT THEY WERE 'NEVER' GOING TO BE ALONE! THAT 'HE' WAS GOING TO BE WITH THEM. THAT HE WAS GOING TO SEND TO THEM FROM THE FATHER THE HOLY SPIRIT TO CONTINUE TO INSTRUCT THEM IN THE SCRIPTURES AND STRENGTHEN THEIR FAITH. TO EMBOLDEN THEM TO DO THE WORK THAT HE HAD LAID BEFORE THEM. TO CONTINUALLY BE THAT SUPPORT TO SAY THAT THEY WOULD NEVER BE ALONE. AND THE APOSTLE PAUL CONTINUED TO PROCLAIM THAT MESSAGE. HE PROCLAIMED IT TO THE COLOSSIANS. HE TELLS IT TO US ONCE AGAIN THIS EVENING. WE, AS THE CHILDREN OF GOD, ARE NEVER ALONE. WE WERE 'BURIED' WITH CHRIST. WE WERE 'RAISED' WITH CHRIST. AND WE ARE NOW 'ALIVE' WITH CHRIST. WHAT CONFIDENCE THAT GIVES US. WHAT KNOWLEDGE THAT REMINDS US OF AS WE GO THROUGH OUR DAILY LIVES AND IN ALL OF OUR RELATIONSHIPS ... THAT WE ARE NEVER ALONE ... BECAUSE THAT DEATH THAT CHRIST DIED ON THE CROSS OF CALVARY WAS 'MY' DEATH! IT WAS 'YOUR' DEATH! HE IS THE ONE THAT TOOK THAT PUNISHMENT OF OUR SIN UPON HIMSELF! THERE HE PAID THAT PUNISHMENT. THAT PUNISHMENT THAT GOD HAD SAID WOULD BE DEMANDED. "THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH" [ROMANS 6:23a] THAT FEARFUL STATEMENT FOR ANYONE OUTSIDE OF UNDERSTANDING WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE. THAT FEAR OF THINKING THAT SINS ARE STILL GOING TO BE PUNISHED. THAT GOD DOES NOT FORGIVE US. THAT WE ARE UNFORGIVEN. THAT LIFE THAT IS LIVED WITH THAT KIND OF FEAR ... THAT KIND OF STRESS, THAT DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY, THAT PERSON'S MIND IS CONSUMED WITH KNOWING THAT THEY ARE GOING TO BE PUNISHED. AND PEOPLE THINK OF ALL KINDS OF ANSWERS TO STOP THAT VOICE. TO NUMB THAT KNOWLEDGE. WHETHER IT BE DRUGS OR ALCOHOL. TO JUST MAKE THAT VOICE STOP. OR TO BEGIN TO WORK TO DO EVERYTHING THAT THEY CAN TO BE BETTER, TO MAKE UP FOR EVERY WRONG THAT THEY HAVE EVER DONE. BUT YOU AND I, BY THE POWER OF GOD'S GRACE, HAVE KNOWN THAT JESUS CHRIST CARRIED OUR PUNISHMENT TO THE CROSS. AND THERE HE DIED FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF MY SINS AND YOUR SINS. THE FACT THAT THAT DEATH IS OUR DEATH, REMINDS US THAT OUR SINS HAVE BEEN PAID FOR. WE ARE FORGIVEN. WE HAVE BEEN BOUGHT BACK FROM THE POWER OF THAT SIN. FROM THE POWER OF SATAN. BECAUSE WE BELIEVE THAT WHAT JESUS CHRIST DID WAS DONE FOR US TO FULFILL GOD'S PLAN. AND HIS DEATH, IS OUR DEATH. WE WERE BURIED WITH HIM. THAT MEANS THAT WE NO LONGER HAVE TO FEAR THAT PUNISHMENT OF SIN. WE NO LONGER HAVE TO FEAR DEATH. CHRIST HAS ENDURED IT FOR US. AND WE KNOW THAT, YES, OUR PHYSICAL DEATH IS GOING TO COME SOME DAY. BUT WE ALSO KNOW, THAT WE HAVE BEEN SPARED AN ETERNAL SEPARATION FROM GOD IN HELL. A SPIRITUAL DEATH BY THE FAITH THAT HAS BEEN PROCLAIMED TO US AND THE FAITH THAT WE TRUST IN AND BELIEVE IN. SO WE KNOW THAT WHEN WE FACE THAT MOMENT OF DEATH, WE ARE NOT ALONE! THAT CHRIST IS THERE WITH US. HE DOES NOT LEAVE US OR FORSAKE US IN THAT VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH. BUT HE IS THERE; THE ONE GUIDING US THROUGH IT AS OUR GOOD SHEPHERD; AS OUR LORD AND SAVIOR! THE COMFORT AND REASSURANCE THAT WE HAVE AT THAT MOMENT IS THAT DEATH HOLDS NO STING FOR US ANYMORE, BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT THAT GRAVE IS NOT GOING TO HOLD US! WE KNOW THAT BECAUSE WE WERE BURIED WITH CHRIST, WE ALSO WILL BE RAISED WITH CHRIST. CHRIST RESURRECTED FROM THE DEAD AS THE FIRSTFRUITS OF THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP IS ALSO OUR RESURRECTION. IT IS OUR LIFE. WE KNOW THAT THROUGH JESUS' RESURRECTION, WE TOO WILL LIVE! BECAUSE WE BELIEVE AND TRUST THAT HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE! HE IS THE ONE WHO HAS PROCLAIMED TO US THAT BEAUTIFUL MESSAGE JUST AS HE DID TO THE DISCIPLES. AND JUST AS HE CAME TO THEM IN HIS RESURRECTED STATE, CONTINUALLY COMING BACK TO THEM AND SAYING: LOOK, IT IS ME! I AM HERE. IT 'IS' YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR. LOOK TO THE SCRIPTURES. STUDY THOSE SCRIPTURES. READ THOSE PASSAGES WHICH SPEAK OF THE GLORIES OF THE RESURRECTED TO ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN. AND BE COMFORTED BY THOSE WORDS. BE COMFORTED WITH THAT KNOWLEDGE. WITH THAT KNOWLEDGE THAT WE HAVE A GOD WHO LIVES FOR US. AND THAT WE WILL LIVE IN HIM. THAT GRAVE IS NOT GOING TO HOLD US BECAUSE OUR DESTINY IS THE MANSION OF GOD IN HEAVEN ITSELF. THERE 'IS' OUR ETERNAL HOME. THERE IS THE CULMINATION OF OUR FAITH. WE KNOW THAT. WE TRUST THAT. AND WE BELIEVE IN THAT. AND PAUL TOLD THE CHURCH IN COLOSSAE BECAUSE OF THAT: BECAUSE YOU KNOW THAT YOU HAVE BEEN BURIED WITH CHRIST. THAT YOU HAVE BEEN RAISED WITH CHRIST. STOP THINKING ABOUT THE EARTHLY THINGS AND SET YOUR MIND ON THE THINGS THAT ARE ABOVE WHERE JESUS CHRIST NOW IS AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD. HE IS THE ONE WHO HAS TRIUMPHED OVER ALL OF THE ENEMIES OF OUR FAITH. HE HAS DEFEATED DEATH. HE HAS DEFEATED SIN. HE HAS DEFEATED SATAN. HE IS THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. HE IS THE VICTOR OVER THEM ALL! AND HE IS THE ONE WHO IS WITH US! WHO NEVER LEAVES US! WHO NEVER FORSAKES US! AND WE ARE ALIVE IN HIM. EACH AND EVERY DAY WE HAVE OPPORTUNITIES TO WALK WITH HIM. TO LIVE IN HIS WILL. TO HEAR HIS VOICE IN HIS WORD. TO SPEND TIME WITH HIM IN PRAYER. TO REALIZE AND KNOW THAT WE HAVE A LIVING GOD! WHO IS CONTROLLING THIS WORLD FOR THE GOOD OF HIS CHURCH. THAT NOTHING IS GOING TO DESTROY HER UNTIL THE TIME THAT HE COMES TO TAKE THAT CHURCH TRIUMPHANT TO BE WITH HIM IN ALL OF ITS GLORY. AND WE LOOK WITH ANTICIPATION FOR THAT DAY. FOR THAT TIME WHEN WE WILL BE TAKEN TO BE WITH HIM. RELEASED FROM OUR BODIES OF DECAY AND GIVEN SAINTLY HOLY BODIES. TO LIVE IN THAT PURITY THAT COMES THROUGH CHRIST ALONE. IN HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS. PRAISING HIM AND WORSHIPING HIM AND DOING HIS WILL FOR ALL ETERNITY. BUT YET WE ALWAYS HAVE TO COME BACK AND REMIND OURSELF OF THAT FACT. BECAUSE THE WORLD COMES AT US HARD. SATAN WANTS US AS HIS OWN. AND HE IS GOING TO TAKE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO GET US TO THINK THAT WE ARE ALONE. THAT NO ONE CAN UNDERSTAND THE WAY WE THINK BECAUSE NO ONE HAS WALKED IN OUR SHOES. AND HOW OFTEN HAVEN'T YOU HEARD THAT FROM SOMEONE? UNTIL YOU'VE HAD BREAST CANCER, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE. UNTIL YOU'VE HAD TESTICULAR CANCER, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE. UNTIL YOU'VE LOST A CHILD, AND STOOD AT THAT GRAVE SITE, YOU CAN'T TALK TO ME. YES, THOSE ARE HORRIBLY DIFFICULT SITUATIONS, BUT WE HAVE A GOD WHO IS ALWAYS WITH US. A GOD WHO ALWAYS UNDERSTANDS US. AND HE UNDERSTANDS FIRST AND FOREMOST THOSE ATTACKS THAT COME ON OUR FAITH. THAT REALIZATION THAT SATAN WANTS US TO DO ANYTHING TO DOUBT GOD. ANYTHING TO DRIVE A WEDGE, BETWEEN US AND GOD AND US AND THE CHURCH, HE IS GOING TO USE. BUT YET WE ARE REMINDED SO CLEARLY THIS EVENING THAT OUR GOD IS WITH US. HE WILL BE WITH US TILL THE END OF THE AGE. HE CONTINUES TO COME WITH US AND BLESS US. HE CONTINUES TO COME AND COMFORT US IN WHATEVER OUR SITUATION IS. WHATEVER THE EVIL WE'RE DEALING WITH, WHATEVER THE SICKNESS WE'RE DEALING WITH, WHATEVER THE GRIEF WE'RE DEALING WITH, OUR GOD IS THERE AT OUR SIDE. AND SOMETIMES WE JUST NEED TO REMIND OURSELVES TO LET HIM IN. TO HEAR HIS WORD. TO SPEND TIME IN PRAYER WITH HIM. TO TALK TO HIM ABOUT OUR NEEDS. TO EXPRESS OUR FEARS. TO CRY OUR TEARS. SO THAT WE CAN RECEIVE HIS COMFORT. THAT WE CAN RECEIVE HIS WORD FROM FELLOW BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THE FAITH. THAT WE CAN BE ENCOURAGED BY GOD THROUGH THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE GATHERED WITH US HERE THIS EVENING. GOD DOES NOT LEAVE US ALONE. WE HAVE DIED WITH HIM. HE HAS TAKEN US THROUGH THE DEPTHS OF THAT GRAVE. WE ARE RAISED WITH HIM. BECAUSE HE LIVES, WE ALSO WILL LIVE. AND AS WE LIVE, WE LIVE IN THE FAITH THAT TRUSTS HIM. THAT HEARS HIS WORD. THAT UNDERSTANDS HIS SCRIPTURES THAT CONTINUALLY GOES BACK TO PORE OVER ALL OF THOSE PROMISES ... AND ALL OF THAT COMFORT. BECAUSE WE ARE HIS OWN. AND HE 'WILL' NOT LEAVE US AS ORPHANS IN THIS WORLD. HE WILL NEVER LEAVE US, OR FORSAKE US. WE ARE ALWAYS WITH HIM. AMEN. LET US RISE. NOW MAY THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH GOES BEYOND ALL OF OUR UNDERSTANDING, KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS, AND ESPECIALLY YOUR LIVES IN THE ONE TRUE FAITH UNTO LIFE EVERLASTING. AMEN. [ORGANIST PLAYS INTRO TO HYMN 173: "ON CHRIST'S ASCENSION I NOW BUILD" MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC CONGREGATION JOINS IN SINGING HYMN 173] ON CHRIST'S ASCENSION I NOW BUILD THE HOPE OF MY ASCENSION. THIS HOPE ALONE HAS ALWAYS STILLED ALL DOUBT AND APPREHENSION; FOR WHERE THE HEAD IS, THERE AS WELL I KNOW HIS MEMBERS ARE TO DWELL WHEN CHRIST SHALL COME AND CALL THEM. SINCE CHRIST RETURNED TO CLAIM HIS THRONE, GREAT GIFTS FOR ME OBTAINING, MY HEART SHALL REST IN HIM ALONE, NO OTHER REST REMAINING, FOR WHERE MY TREASURE WENT BEFORE, THERE ALL MY THOUGHTS SHALL EVER SOAR TO STILL THEIR DEEPEST YEARNING. OH, GRANT, DEAR LORD, THIS GRACE TO ME, RECALLING YOUR ASCENSION, THAT I MAY SERVE YOU FAITHFULLY, ADORNING YOUR REDEMPTION; AND THEN, WHEN ALL MY DAYS WILL CEASE, LET ME DEPART IN JOY AND PEACE IN ANSWER TO MY PLEADING. [ENCOURAGEMENT] M: I HAVE NOT STOPPED GIVING THANKS FOR YOU, REMEMBERING YOU IN MY PRAYERS. I KEEP ASKING THAT THE GOD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE GLORIOUS FATHER, MAY GIVE YOU THE SPIRIT OF WISDOM AND REVELATION, SO THAT YOU MAY KNOW HIM BETTER. I PRAY THAT THE EYES OF YOUR HEART MAY BE ENLIGHTENED IN ORDER THAT YOU MAY KNOW THE HOPE TO WHICH HE HAS CALLED YOU, THE RICHES OF HIS GLORIOUS INHERITANCE IN HIS HOLY PEOPLE, AND HIS INCOMPARABLY GREAT POWER FOR US WHO BELIEVE. C: THAT POWER IS THE SAME AS THE MIGHTY STRENGTH HE EXERTED WHEN HE RAISED CHRIST FROM THE DEAD AND SEATED HIM AT HIS RIGHT HAND IN THE HEAVENLY REALMS, FAR ABOVE ALL RULE AND AUTHORITY, POWER AND DOMINION, AND EVERY NAME THAT IS INVOKED, NOT ONLY IN THE PRESENT AGE BUT ALSO IN THE ONE TO COME. AND GOD PLACED ALL THINGS UNDER HIS FEET AND APPOINTED HIM TO BE HEAD OVER EVERYTHING FOR THE CHURCH, WHICH IS HIS BODY, THE FULLNESS OF HIM WHO FILLS EVERYTHING IN EVERY WAY. [EPHESIANS 1:16-23] M: WE PRAY: O KING OF GLORY, ON THIS DAY YOU ASCENDED IN TRIUMPH FAR ABOVE ALL HEAVENS. WE ASK YOUR SPIRIT'S ABIDING PRESENCE HERE ON EARTH, WITHIN OUR HEARTS. EMPOWER US TRULY TO BE YOUR DISCIPLES IN THIS LIFE AND TO BE YOUR COMPANIONS AT THE HEAVENLY FEAST FOR ALL ETERNITY. THIS WE ASK FOR YOUR LOVE'S SAKE. C: AMEN. M: "THIS SAME JESUS, WHO HAS BEEN TAKEN FROM YOU INTO HEAVEN, WILL COME BACK IN THE SAME WAY YOU HAVE SEEN HIM GO INTO HEAVEN." C: THANKS BE TO GOD. M: THE LORD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU. THE LORD MAKE HIS FACE SHINE ON YOU AND BE GRACIOUS TO YOU. THE LORD LOOK ON YOU WITH FAVOR AND GIVE YOU PEACE. C: AMEN. M: & C: OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME, YOUR KINGDOM COME, YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IN HEAVEN. GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD. FORGIVE US OUR SINS, AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO SIN AGAINST US. LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL. FOR THE KINGDOM, THE POWER, AND THE GLORY ARE YOURS NOW AND FOREVER. AMEN. WE CONCLUDE OUR SERVICE WITH HYMN 333. [ORGANIST BEGINS PLAYING THE INTRODUCTION "ABIDE, O DEAREST JESUS" HYMN 333 MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC CONGREGATION JOINS IN SINGING "ABIDE, O DEAREST JESUS"] ABIDE, O DEAREST JESUS, AMONG US WITH YOUR GRACE THAT SATAN MAY NOT HARM US NOR WE TO SIN GIVE PLACE. ABIDE, O DEAR REDEEMER, AMONG US WITH YOUR WORD AND THUS NOW AND HEREAFTER TRUE PEACE AND JOY AFFORD. ABIDE WITH HEAVENLY BLESSINGS AMONG US, PRECIOUS LIGHT; YOUR TRUTH DIRECT AND KEEP US FROM ERROR'S GLOOMY NIGHT. ABIDE WITH RICHEST BLESSINGS AMONG US, BOUNTEOUS LORD; LET US IN GRACE AND WISDOM GROW DAILY THROUGH YOUR WORD. ABIDE WITH YOUR PROTECTION AMONG US, LORD, OUR STRENGTH, LEST WORLD AND SATAN FELL US AND OVERCOME AT LENGTH. ABIDE, O FAITHFUL SAVIOR, AMONG US WITH YOUR LOVE; GRANT STEADFASTNESS AND HELP US TO REACH OUR HOME ABOVE. AMEN.

Video Details

Duration: 45 minutes and 24 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: R & M
Director: Jesus
Views: 51
Posted by: hischild on Jun 1, 2014

Ascension Day, celebrated forty days after Easter at Zion Lutheran in Torrance, CA, commemorates the fulfillment of Jesus' Word of returning to the Father and when He signaled the beginning of His presence among us through His Word and Sacraments. www.ziontorrance.info for more information

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