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Worship Service: When God Breaks In: He Calls Us for Life - 1 Samuel 3

A service plan for Advent focused on how God "broke in" to call Samuel to a life of service and Samuel's response of readiness and willingness for committed Christian service. Part of an Advent series of anticipation focused on what happens when God breaks in to our lives.

When God Breaks In

This series explores how Advent is a time of anticipation and waiting for God's act of "breaking into" world history for his redemptive work.

Theme of the Service

As we continue in the season of Advent, we continue to think about what happens when God breaks into our experience. God's great "breaking in" involves the incarnation of the Jesus Christ as the Messiah; God's future "breaking in" will include the return of Christ at the end of time.

In between those two, God often breaks into our personal experiences, as he did with Samuel. God "broke in" to call Samuel to a life of service. Samuel's response-readiness and willingness for committed Christian service-must be a lesson to us.


Prelude: "Partita on 'Chesterfield,'" Bouman

The Call to Worship

Preparing for Christ's Coming
The First Reading-1 Samuel 12:19-25
Lighting Two Candles
*The Second Reading-Luke 3:15-18
*Song: "Magnify the Lord" PsH 622, RN 131, SFL 13

*God's Greeting:

People of God, as you anticipate the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ, in whom are you
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

*The Worshipers Greet One Another

*Song: "Hark, the Glad Sound! The Savior Comes" (st. 1-3) PsH 335, RL 251,


The Call to Confession
"Prepare Ye the Way," Pote
Or "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus" (st. 1) PsH 329, PH 1, RL 183, SFL 122

We must prepare the way of the Lord,
And so let us make the confession of our sins to God.

The Prayer of Confession
Lord our God, our lives are filled with sin. We forget our neighbors' needs and
do not love you above all else. We need a Savior. Help us to be ready for
Jesus in our hearts. O come, O come, Savior of the world. Amen.

"Come, Lord Jesus" (st. 1-4) SNC 103, SFL 138

The Assurance of God's Pardon-Matthew 1:21

Song of Profession: "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus" (st. 2-4) PsH 329, PH 1, RL 183, SFL 122


The Offertory Prayer

Offertory: "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus," Johnson [organ] or Krapf [organ or piano]

The Pastoral Prayer


The Children's Moment

*Song: "Lord, Speak to Me That I May Speak" (st. 1-4) PsH 528, PH 426, TH 561, TWC 574
Or "Listen, God Is Calling" SNC 65, WOV 712

The Prayer for Illumination
Our Lord, we know that when you speak to us you call us to listen.
But listening is often hard for us. There are so many other sounds
we hear and thoughts we think which crowd out our ability to hear you.
And so as we approach your Word this day, we ask for your Spirit to give
us ears that hear well, minds that listen attentively, and hearts that respond
obediently. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Reading of Scripture: 1 Samuel 3:1-10
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Sermon: When God Breaks In He Calls Us for Life (#2)

The Prayer of Application


*The Affirmation of Our Faith (see <href="#liturgy">Liturgy Note 4)

*Song: "Here I Am, Lord" (st. 1-3) SNC 243, WOV 752

*The Benediction

*Moment of Meditation

Postlude: "Here I Am, Lord," Carter [organ] or David [piano]

* You are invited to stand.

Sermon Notes

  1. Since this sermon continues the series "When God Breaks In," it would be wise to begin the message with a reminder of the overall theme of the series, quickly recap the message of Moses at the burning bush of last week, and then proceed to meet Samuel for today's encounter.
  2. Thinking about the story from another viewpoint may foster creativity in communicating this story: Eli, who was disturbed at night by this lad who heard somebody calling; his parents, who learned later that God had called their son during the night; or even the society, who received the report of Samuel's calling during a time when such encounters with God were "rare" (v. 1).
  3. The parallel between Samuel and Christ has often been drawn, but don't miss the parallel between Samuel and Joseph and Mary. All three were appointed by God early in life for a special role in the plan of salvation, and each responded with faith that made them available for God's work.
  4. The issue of "hearing" figures prominently in this story, as it often does in the stories of Scripture. Samuel, like many others, found hearing to be a process-repetition rather than a one-time sudden revelation. But once he heard, Samuel responded with an obedience that claimed the entirety of his life for God's service.
  5. God's summons come on four different levels, and we must be conscious of hearing each of them: the call to salvation in Jesus Christ, the call to lifelong obedience, the call to some form of Christian service, and the call to join him in heaven.
  6. For the season of Advent, this story illustrates how God breaks into our lives and establishes a precedent for God's "breaking in" in the incarnation of His Son; it also demonstrates the appropriate response of full obedience.

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. The organ prelude on "Hark, the Glad Sound!" by Paul Bouman, titled "Partita on 'Chesterfield,' '' is a newly published work by CPH 97-020 [2003] (E-M).
  2. The sung Call to Confession could be done either chorally or congregationally. The SATB anthem "Prepare Ye the Way" by Allen Pote is suitable for high school or adult voices and is published by Fischer CM8066 [1978] (E-M). In place of an anthem, the congregation can call each other to confession with the first stanza of "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus." The remainder of the hymn can be sung following the Assurance of Pardon.
  3. The offertory music on "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus" can be found in the following sources:
    - "Sing and Rejoice" vol. 3 by Gerhard Krapf, published by SMP KK278 [1983] (E)
    - "Twelve Hymn Settings for Organ" by David Johnson, published by Schmitt 7634 [1976] (E-M)
  4. The postlude music on "Here I Am, Lord" can be found in the following sources:
    - "Here I Am, Lord," a piano collection by Anne Marie David, published by Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7566-5 [2002] (M)
    - "Today's Hymns and Songs for Organ," an organ collection by John Carter, published by Hope 8066 (E-M)

Liturgy Notes

  1. Consult the previous information posted for October 19 for suggestions on the readings associated with the Advent Wreath.
  2. Advent can be a good time to reinforce the concept of greeting one another by passing the peace of Christ. In many traditions this is an accepted and treasured practice; for others old habits of saying "Good Morning" will be difficult to change. Consider printing in the order of worship a reminder such as "Please greet one another with 'The peace of Christ be with you.'"
  3. The spoken prayer of confession is taken from A Child Shall Lead: Children in Worship, a publication of Choristers Guild and the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (1999, p. 86). These words can be spoken by a worship leader (consider asking a child to lead the congregation in this prayer), or the worshipers may pray them in unison. In either case the prayer continues with the singing of "Come, Lord Jesus."
  4. The Children's Moment can be a time in which the story of Samuel is presented to the children. The story is easily accessible for children, and this time will serve as an introduction to the sermon. If the children are familiar with the song "Samuel" (found in SFL 108), they could sing it together at the conclusion of the Children's Moment-or a child could sing it in conjunction with the Scripture reading for the sermon.
  5. After the sermon, the affirmation of faith should be spoken by the congregation: the historic words of the Apostles' Creed or Nicene Creed, or a passage from one of the confessions of the church or from Scripture.


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