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Growing With Peter Series: The Story Begins - John 1

A service plan in a Lenten series focused on Peter and how genuine worship involves an expression of God's story in our lives.

Theme of the Service

We encourage worshipers to make the Lenten season a personal journey with rich and deep reflection on the story of their lives. That makes this a very strategic service. The Lenten season begins, and a new series of messages is launched. Both of these considerations add weight to the importance of this time of worship.

God's own story is expressed through our stories, and the heart of God's story is the work and ministry of Jesus Christ. Peter will be the focus of the sermons during this season and so we must build the expectations of worshipers for stepping into the story of Peter. We will live with him for a season.


Prelude: "Partita on 'O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High' ", arr. Burkhardt

The Call to Worship

*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting
Congregation of Jesus Christ, where is your trust placed?
Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Grace, mercy and peace to you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

*Song of Approach: "O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High", vv. 1-3 (Deo Gracias: PH 83, PsH 364, RL 342, TH 155) (Deus tuorum militum: RL 343) (Puer Nobis: TWC 193)

An Introduction to Lent

Songs of Devotion:
"I Worship You, O Lord", vv. 1,2,5 PsH 30
"I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cry" PH 362, SNC 227
"I Want Jesus to Walk with Me" PH 363, SFL 214, SNC 130, TH 611, TWC 642, WOV 660

The Children's Moment


The Call to Confession

Our Prayer of Confession

Most holy and merciful Father,
We confess to you and to one another,
that we have sinned against you
in thought, word and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you
with our whole heart and mind and strength.
We have not loved our neighbor as ourselves.
In your mercy forgive what we have been,
help us amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be,
so that we may delight in your will
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your holy name.
For the sake of Jesus Christ, Amen.

The Assurance of God's Pardon:

Pastor: The Gospel of Christ speaks to us of the assurance we may have of God's pardon. Please rise for the reading of the Holy Gospel.
(The worshipers rise; readings are by lay persons)

*The Reading of John 3:14-17

The Gospel of Christ.
Thanks be to God!

*Song of Testimony: "There Is a Redeemer" RN 232, SNC 145

*Passing the Peace:

Pastor: The peace of the Lord be with you.
People: and also with you!
(The worshipers pass the peace to each other and then are seated.)

Our Commitment to Holy Living:

Since we have been saved by grace, how shall we live in relationship to Him who saved us?
We will have no other gods before Him; we will not make for ourselves any substitute gods; we will not abuse the name of the Lord, but speak it only in reverence and love; we will honor the Lord's day through worship, witness and fellowship with His people.
How shall we live in relationship with others?
We will honor our parents and hold the family in high esteem; we will not abuse, hate or injure our friends or neighbors by words, gestures or deeds; we will not commit adultery, but live holy disciplined lives; we will not steal; we will not lie; we will not grasp for what we do not have, nor reject others for having it.
How does Jesus summarize these commandments?
He says that we should love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves, and by God's grace, we will do it!


The Reading of John 1:35-42
The Word of the Lord
Thanks Be to God!

The Prayer for Illumination

(Growing with Peter - #1)


The Pastoral Prayer

*Song: "Father, Long Before Creation" (Coronae: PsH 464) (Miller Chapel: RL 353)

The Story of Christ our Savior:

The Reading of John 8:12,23,24

Song: "Man of Sorrows - What a Name" PsH 482, TH 246, TWC 226

The Story of Our Walk with Christ

Our United Profession - the Apostles Creed

Song: "I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light" RN 152, SNC 77, TW 539, WOV 649

The Offertory: "I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light", arr. Osterland

The Story of Our Coming Glory

*Our United Profession
Our hope for a new earth is not tied
to what humans can do,
for we believe that one day
every challenge to God's rule
and every resistance to his will shall be crushed.
Then his Kingdom shall come fully,
and our Lord shall rule forever.
Come, Lord Jesus!
Our world belongs to you.

From Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony, Articles 56, 6,
©1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids MI, 1-800-333-8300. Used by permission.

*Song of Hope: "Soon and Very Soon" RN 276, SFL 194, SNC 106, TWC 677, WOV 744
v.1 - "Soon and very soon."
v.2 - "All God's people sing."
v.3 - "Worthy is the Lamb."


*The Benediction with Congregational "Amen"

*Song of Praise: "O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High", v. 6 (Deo Gracias: PH 83, PsH 364, RL 342, TH 155) (Deus tuorum militum: RL 343) (Puer Nobis: TWC 193)

Postlude: "Oh Love, How Deep", arr. Pelz

* - you are invited to stand

Sermon Notes:

Everybody likes a story. Life is made up of stories. And we all have our own story. Stories for the Christian are not only autobiographical sketches, but an opportunity to discover and express the story of God and his gracious work.

This sermon will launch a series of messages on the story of Peter, the disciple who easily attracts the attention of all. It is important that we attempt to see parallels between the story of Peter and our own story. Once we begin that search, we'll be surprised at the closeness of the parallels.

The story of Peter begins in private; so does ours. But it quickly turns public, as does ours. His story went a long ways through many chapters, in the same way that few of us can anticipate early in life all the chapters our story will include.

You may want to give a preview and point to some of the things we'll be seeing in Peter's story as we journey with him. (That assumes, of course, that this entire series is charted out at least in broad strokes before you begin - a good thing to always practice!)

If the sermon is developed in this way, it will be a smooth transition to see that the rest of the worship service is to be a celebration of our own stories.

Music Notes:

Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:

PH The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
PsH The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
RL Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
RN Renew! (Hope Publishing Company]
SFL Songs for LiFE (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SNC Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Christian Reformed Church, Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America; Great Commission Publications)
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)

Music Level Key: E = Easy, M = Medium, D = Difficult

  1. You will notice that there is no ministry of music by individuals or choirs in this service. The congregation serves as the primary choir of the body and, in this service, the only choir. As the congregation begins its Lenten journey, it is appropriate that they take a very active role in the liturgy.
  2. The music of the organ prelude Partita on "Deo Gracias" is published by Morningstar (MSM-10-844 [1992]) (M). An alternative use in this service would include playing the different movements of the partita throughout the service - as prelude, offertory and the final toccata as postlude.
  3. The Songs of Devotion work well together - they are written in the same or related keys and the themes of the texts are very compatible together and with the theme of the service.
  4. The offertory music, composed by Karl Osterland, is published by Augsburg (11-11039 [2000]) in Lift One Voice (M).
  5. The final Song of Praise ("All glory to our Lord and God") is the sixth stanza of the opening hymn - a unifying tie to the service.
  6. The postlude is taken from the 1st and last movement of this hymn concertato by Walter Pelz. Consider using the free accompaniments on the verses of the hymn within the service. This work was published by Concordia (97-5675) (M) in 1981.
Liturgy Notes:

1. When worshipers enter the place of worship on this day, the visuals should immediately remind them that the Lenten season is here. Banners, colors, special bulletin covers, etc. are needed to communicate that awareness.

2. The Children's Moment has been placed early in the service, and before the service of confession, so that it gives the children an opportunity to be made aware of the beginning of a new season. Lent should be explained to them. Their attention can be directed to the meaning of the season, the new colors in the worship space with an explanation of purple as the color of penitence, and an introduction to the weekly confession of sins that will soon take place.

3. We are suggesting that each of the services during the Lenten season have a standard service of confession. The Lenten preparation materials on January 26 outlined this. The same prayer of confession is used each time. A reader leads the congregation in a different reading from the gospels each week while the worshipers stand, and the response is the same each week. We encourage the "passing of the peace" during this season and at this location in the service. The worship leader will introduce it well when he/she says "now that God has given us his peace, let us extend it to one another". A reminder to be sure to include children is very much in order. Such a form of repetition for a significant season like Lent is healthy and reinforces an awareness of the spirit of the season.

4. Since the Lenten season is intended to be a personal journey, and since the series of messages will highlight the journey of Peter's life, we suggest that the response section of the service be structured in the same way. The pastoral prayer can be structured according to the chapters of our journey, and the segments of the service will also highlight special elements and call for a response.

5. The corporate profession of faith is intended to give the worshiping body an opportunity to express their understanding of who they are, and their commitment to continue in obedience. It is taken from "Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony", written by a Synod-appointed committee of the Christian Reformed Church and included in the Psalter Hymnal on pp. 1037 and 1021. For copyright permission, please contact CRC Publications at (616) 224-0819 or