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[this was shared during the service on 5/29/22]

This has been a heavy week full of sad news.

We grieve the horrific massacre of 19 school children and 2 teachers in Uvalde, Texas.

But then in the mix of all that we were reminded of the profoundly disorienting reality that not even churches have been safe places for children and others.

Our church cooperates with a network of almost 50,000 other Baptist churches in the US called the SBC in order to send missionaries overseas, plant new churches across North America, and provide theological education. Over the last several years news stories have come out about sexual abuse in hundreds of these churches, many times covered up by the local churches. Last year at the annual meeting of all these churches it was determined to have an open, 3rd party investigation into how the Executive Committee of the SBC dealt with this knowledge. The findings of that report were released this week and they showed a pattern of protecting power over people. I want to lead us in praying about these things right now.

Heavenly Father,

In a world full of evil we know that you alone are good. When no one else can protect us, we can run to you. When no other place is safe we can always turn to you.

We trust that you are just. You only do what is right, which includes punishing wrong, both in this life and the next. People cannot escape accountability for their atrocities, even if they die. You will make sure perfect justice is enacted for all culpable in mass shootings like the one last week in Uvalde and previously in Buffalo and all the others that seem to be happening all the time.

We find comfort in the fact that you “will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing” (Eccles. 12:14). “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known” (Lk. 12:2). We thank you for a glimpse of that this week as dark deeds have been exposed and brought into the light through the SBC Sex Abuse Task Force report.

Father, we also remember that you are merciful. We shudder to think of what our own judgment would be if it hadn’t already been meted out on Christ on the Cross. We pray for the perpetrators of abuse, that they would be stopped, prosecuted, and punished by the government authorities that you have set up. But we also pray that this would cause them to repent and turn to Christ before facing something infinitely worse.

We believe that you can work good out of evil. We’ve seen you do that through the horror of the Cross. So we pray for the churches of Uvalde this Sunday, that your Word would be preached, that people would be awakened to eternal realities and hear the eternal gospel and come to you for eternal life. We ask that as the SBC has its annual meeting in Anaheim in a couple weeks, the recommendations of the Task Force would be heeded so that restitution could be made, better systems could be put in place, and future abuse could be prevented.

Tender Father, please comfort those who are mourning right now. For the parents who lost kids, the grandparents, the siblings… have mercy. Cause them to turn ultimately to you in their pain and for their answers and not away from you to other things. For those who witnessed the carnage but were spared, bring supernatural healing to their trauma. And for all survivors including sex abuse victims who may be triggered right now, show them your pure love. Give them courage to tell their stories and bring healing.

We pray for our church, that you would deliver us from evil. Protect us for your name’s sake. Use us to be a representative of you and your character in this city and not a stumbling block. We pray that our gathering right now would not be an exercise in human religion simply furthering a human institution, but an arena of your divine, gracious activity. Speak to us in personal ways. Be honored and worshipped. May we experience a taste of heaven in our life together. And may you draw all people to yourself.

We pray for all other churches in our city that are open in your name this morning. We pray especially for Chicagoland Community Church and its witness in the North Halsted neighborhood. We pray for pastor Jon Pennington and the recent sudden loss of his father. Give him what he needs to minister to his family and keep leading his church through his sorrow. Bless our member, Jonah, as he is leading the music at that church this morning, that he would be a blessing to that congregation and aid them in lifting their hearts to you.

And we also plead for your blessing on our work among the unreached peoples of this world, living in spiritual darkness, headed to an eternity under your wrath. Help us get the gospel to them to. We intercede especially this morning for our missionaries in Japan – Dave and Rose. Keep their marriage and family relationships strong so they can lead their team with energy and focus. And we pray that you would establish the work of their hands by establishing healthy, multiplying churches on that island that is so historically closed to the gospel.

Lord, we offer all these prayers to you because we believe you hear and act in response, that you are moving in this world, accomplishing your wise and glorious plans even when it looks bleak. We pray in the name of the One who died and behold is alive for evermore – our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

PRELUDE –

“Great Are You Lord” by All Sons and Daughters

CALL TO WORSHIP – Revelation 15:3-4

“Great and amazing are your deeds,

O Lord God the Almighty!

Just and true are your ways, 

O king of the nations!

Who will not fear, O Lord,

And glorify your name?

For you alone are holy. 

All nations will come 

And worship you,

For your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Let’s stand in reverence and worship the Lord God Almighty!

SONG –

Speak, O Lord” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

CONFESSION OF SIN – Isaiah 66:1-2

“Heaven is my throne,

And the earth is my footstool;

What is the house that you would build for me, 

And what is the place of my rest?

All these things my hand has made 

And so all these things came to be…

But this is the one to whom I will look:

He who is humble and contrite in spirit

And trembles at my word.”

SONG –

Not in Me” by David L. Ward and Eric Shumacher

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – 1 Corinthians 6:11

“But you were washed, you were sanctified, 

you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ 

and by the Spirit of our God.”

SONG –

Now Why This Fear?” by Augustus Toplady and Doug Plank

PRAYER

CHILDRENS’ DISMISSAL

SONG – 

Be Thou My Vision” by Ascend the Hill

SCRIPTURE READING – 2 Timothy 4:1-5 Instruct the Congregation to Stand. End with “This is the Word of the Lord.” 

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

SERMON – “Preaching The Word”

SONG –

There Is A Fountain Filled with Blood” by William Cowper

LORD’S TABLE

OFFERING

SONG –

All Glory Be to Christ” by Dustin Kensrue

BENEDICTION

ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE –

Take My Life and Let It Be” by Frances Ridley Havergal and Henri Abraham Cesar Malan

PRELUDE –

“Messiah” by Beautiful Eulogy

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Psalm 100

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

    Serve the Lord with gladness!

    Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!

    It is he who made us, and we are his;

    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

    and his courts with praise!

    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;

    his steadfast love endures forever,

    and his faithfulness to all generations.”

SONG –

10,000 Reasons” by Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman

CONFESSION OF SIN – Deuteronomy 32:46-47

“Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, 

that you may command them to your children, 

that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. 

For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, 

and by this word you shall live long in the land 

that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”

SONG – 

O Great God” by Bob Kauflin

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – 1 John 1:5-7

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, 

that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, 

we lie and do not practice the truth. 

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, 

we have fellowship with one another, 

and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

SONG –

His Mercy Is More” by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa

PRAYER & CHILDREN’S DISMISSAL

(please be seated for prayer)

SONG – 

Speak, O Lord” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – IBC Statement of Faith on The Scriptures

(please read aloud)

We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired,

and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction;

that it has God for its author, salvation for its end,

and truth without any mixture of error for its matter;

that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us;

and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world,

the true center of Christian union,

and the supreme standard

by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.

SCRIPTURE READING – 2 Timothy 3:14-17

(please stand for the reading of God’s Word and respond with, “Thanks be to God”)

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

SERMON – “The Sacred Writings”

SONG –

Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder” by John Newton and Laura Taylor

LORD’S TABLE

(if you are trusting in Christ for your salvation, which is ordinarily indicated by being a baptized member in good standing of a local church, you are invited to eat and drink with us in remembrance of him – even if you are a member of another gospel-preaching church; please take the bread and juice from the table during the song and wait to partake until directed)

OFFERING 

SONG –

How Firm a Foundation” by Unknown

BENEDICTION & ANNOUNCEMENTS

PARENTAL VOWS AND BLESSING

POSTLUDE –

“All My Hope” by David Crowder

CCLI License # 2308869

PRELUDE – 

“Grace Alone” by Dustin Kensrue

WELCOME & CALL TO WORSHIP – Psalm 118:1-4

“O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;

For his steadfast love endures forever!

Let Israel say, 

His steadfast love endures forever. 

Let the house of Aaron say,

His steadfast love endures forever.

Let those who fear the LORD say,

His steadfast love endures forever.”

SONG –

Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me” by Jonny Robinson, Michael Farren, and Rich Thompson

CONFESSION OF SIN –

Holy Father, forgive us. Though you should guide us, we inform ourselves. Though you should rule us, we control ourselves. Though you should fulfill us, we console ourselves. For we think your truth too high, your will too hard, your power too remote, your love too free. But they are not! And without them, we are of all people most miserable. Heal our confused mind with your word, heal our divided will with your law, heal our troubled conscience with your love, heal our anxious hearts with your presence, all for the sake of your Son, who loved us and gave himself for us. Amen.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Romans 5:6-8

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

SONG –

Your Will Be Done” by Jonny Robinson and Rich Thompson

PRAYER 

(please be seated for prayer)

THE LORD’S PRAYER

(please read aloud)

“Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,

your will be done,

    on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts,

    as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

    but deliver us from evil.”

CHILDREN’S DISMISSAL

SONG – 

It Is Well with My Soul” by Horatio Gates Spafford and Philip Paul Bliss

SCRIPTURE READING – 2 Timothy 3:10-13

(please stand for the reading of God’s Word and respond with, “Thanks be to God”)

“You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

SERMON – “Persecutions And Suffering”

SONG –

In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

LORD’S TABLE

(if you are trusting in Christ for your salvation, which is ordinarily indicated by being a baptized member in good standing of a local church, you are invited to eat and drink with us in remembrance of him – even if you are a member of another gospel-preaching church; please take the bread and juice from the table during the song and wait to partake until directed)

OFFERING 

SONG –

O Church Arise” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

BENEDICTION & ANNOUNCEMENTS

POSTLUDE –

“Thou You Slay Me” by Shane and Shane

From @immanuelchicago on Twitter

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