www.andreamacvicar.org

 

BAPTISM LETTER: Sent to every baptized person and can be used for sharing/preaching.

 Date; Name; Address; City, State, Zip

Dear (name of recipient),

            Blessings upon you in the name of Jesus.  You are a joy to us at (church name)!  And our Lord is always pleased when one of His children (that's you), obeys Him out of love and gladness of heart.

            On (date), you declared to all by water baptism, that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior.  You confessed Him before men, therefore He will confess you before the Father (Matthew 10:33).  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for so did the cloud of witnesses before you confess the same.

            "Keep on, keeping on" is an expression I have often heard and used.  It is an admonition to keep on growing (Colossians 3:2, 3) in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  There is a holy way of life and a new attitude of behavior in which the Holy Spirit will guide and teach you, if you are willing to obey the Word of God.

            I pray your desire to be like our Messiah will continue throughout your life no matter the difficulties which will inevitably come - and difficult circumstances will come!  It is those who endure to the end of the race that win the prize.

            The problem is never at the beginning of the race with the cheering crowds (brothers and sisters) and your excitement to start learning about your new faith.  But it is in the middle of the race when you get tired (attacks from Satan and your sin nature not wanting to yield to correction).  It is when the crowd is no longer cheering you on (they are at the starting point cheering some new racer) that you will find the going tough.  This is the time to "keep on keeping on."  In those moments, our Lord may be the only one encouraging you.  He will be whispering in your heart not to give up. Now it is He that sets the length and the route of the race.  And only He knows what is ahead and how much you can endure.

            In the beginning the newborn is fed, diapered, held, and lifted to be burped.  But as a baby grows there are more demands put upon him to be obedient, responsible, accountable, and, disciplined by the Holy Spirit.  Our Father is the perfect parent.  He wants us to be of use, to be productive citizens of His kingdom.  He helps us to "grow up."  This takes time.  A race takes time.

            There are some family members who never leave the starting point of the race.  They love the "cheering crowds."  Some run in place.  Others only want to be fed, diapered, held, and lifted to be burped.  They are permanent babies.  You will meet many of them in our family.  Yield to the Holy Spirit not to become one of them.  It is more pleasing to the Father that you become the one who feeds, holds, and diapers others than to be one that never grows up in Christ (nor finishes the race).

            There is much to learn and much to do.  Sometimes you will get stuck.  Sometimes you will run in place.  Sometimes you will want to quit.  But "keeping on" with Jesus will keep you joyful, filled with His love, and in service to Him, forever.

             Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and 10:13; 2 Corinthians 4:13-18 and Galatians 5:22-25. Make your way of life 1Thessalonians 5:16-24.

             May Our Lord, who is the author and finisher of our faith and the one who changes us from glory to glory, open the windows of His heaven and pour out upon you every blessing from His storehouses of riches from above. Amen

                3 John 2.

            Closing with signature.

 BABY/CHILD DEDICATION (body of the letter can be used in service)

 Date; Parents Name; Address; City, State, Zip

Dear (name of baby/child),

This morning your parent (s), (name), dedicated you to the Lord in front of witnesses, being the body of Christ, declaring their (her/his) love for you as a gift from heaven to them (her/him).

“Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us/me a precious gift named (name).  Lord Jesus, you have honored us/me with the joy of being (name) parent(s).  We/I praise you as we/I accept with rejoicing this awesome responsibility.  Alleluia!

Dear Lord, guide us/me by your wisdom and knowledge to raise (name) to fulfill all that you desire for her/him to be.  Teach us by your Holy Spirit to grow her/him to love and worship only you.  Help us to be Godly examples as (a) parent(s) so that she/he may grow to be healthy and whole in spirit, soul and body.  Help us/me to be (a) good steward(s) of this precious gift knowing that you are the true possessor of her/his life even as we/I have care over her/him on this earth.

Heavenly Father, we promise to nourish (name) with all of our/my love.  We/I promise to nourish her/him by providing for her/his needs in all things necessary.  We/I promise to nourish her/him by loving and Godly discipline and training.  We/I promise to teach her/him by being living. examples of all that is Holy in your Word, so that (name) may grow to be a Godly woman/man, rich in your Spirit, joyful in her/his soul, and singing praises to your name.

Lord Jesus, we dedicate (name) to you, asking you to save, protect and guide her/him all the days of her/his life.  Amen.”

(Name of child), you have been dedicated to the Lord this day.  May you grow to serve Him in every area of your life, and love Him always.

(name of pastor)

A PLEDGE FOR MARRIED COUPLES (for counseling; after reconciliation; each can sign)

            I love the Lord who has created us, who has given his life so that we might live as a part of his family eternally, who has shown us the ultimate example of self-giving love, who has made us one, and who through his Spirit enables us to love each other more deeply than we ever could in our own strength.

            I love you because of your love for the Lord, your love for me, and because you have been willing to commit your life to me.  I am thankful for your trust in me;  your encouragement, your patience, your gentleness, and your gracious forgiveness of my imperfections.

            Because of my love for God and my love for you I promise that with God's help, I will attempt to always be faithful to you in my thoughts, my feelings, and my behavior.  And I promise, with God's help to try to love you as fully as I can, so that no lack in our relationship leaves you unnecessarily vulnerable to Satan's temptations.

            If I am not meeting your intellectual, emotional, spiritual, or physical needs, I want you to discuss this with me.  I promise that I will try to meet those needs as much as I am able, and if I feel unable to meet any of your expressed needs, I will explain to you why.

            If you are not meeting needs or desires that I have, I will first try to determine if those needs or desires are reasonable.  If they seem to be, I will share them with you, so that we can discuss how we might meet them in our relationship.

            If I become aware of a situation in your life that I believe makes you vulnerable to temptations I will share my concern with you, and then allow you to restructure that situation as you decide.  If you become aware of a situation in my life that you believe makes me vulnerable to temptation, I want you to share that with me.  I promise to take your concern seriously and to make changes that will make you feel more secure and that will decrease my vulnerability.

            If you become aware of feelings developing in your life toward someone else, I want you to share that either with myself or with someone else with whom you feel comfortable.  I will support your attempt to understand why those feelings have developed, what you can do to change them, and will make any changes in our relationship that would be helpful to you that I can.  If I find that I am developing feelings toward any other than you I will discuss that with either you or another Christian to whom I can be accountable, and will make whatever changes necessary to decrease the intensity of those feelings, and ultimately to end them.

            I love you, and today I pledge to you anew my desire to be always faithful to you.

            (possible signature)

HOUSE DEDICATION

 OWNERS:  Heavenly Father, I confess I am a foreigner in this land.  I am a renter and steward of all your material gifts to me while on this earth.  As long as I live in this place I set it aside, consecrate and dedicate it to you, Jesus, my Messiah, to use it as you will for my health and security, and for use to the body of Christ - the church.

 MINISTER:  Dear Lord, may this place be a house of prayer, a place of rest, a place of fellowship, a place of rejoicing and worship.  May all who enter here feel your holy presence.  May all who enter into this home know that it belongs to Y'shua, the Lord who made heaven and earth.

OWNERS:  Dear Lord, If tears be shed here, let them be healing tears.  If food be served here, let it nourish all who partake.  If there be entertainment, let neither heart nor mind nor spirit be ashamed or corrupted by what is heard and seen in this home.  If there is sharing of your word, let it be to instruct me and others by your living Spirit only those things which are true.  If there be prayers said here, let them be led by the power of your love for the salvation and healing of others.  Let your Spirit of grace and peace abound in this home so that all those who have entered  here may then know they were touched by your holy presence.

 MINISTER:  Dear Lord, I bind all demons in this place in Jesus' name.  Satan you have no ground here.  This territory is now made holy by my authority in Christ as His ambassador and by the power of the Holy Spirit.  With oil I anoint every door and window for God's protection against all evil and demonic attack. (Anoint hands and pray over all doors, windows and wherever Holy Spirit leads.)

 ALL: Thank you, Lord, for all your benefits and blessings.  We praise you with grateful hearts.  Amen.

 BLESS THIS HOUSE! OH LORD WE PRAY

KEEP HER PURE BOTH NIGHT AND DAY

BLESS ALL THOSE WHO WORSHIP HERE

KEEP THEM FREE FROM SATAN’S SNARE

BLESS THE WALLS BUILT BY OUR KING

PRAYER AND HOLINESS WITHIN

MAY EACH HEART KNOW JOY HE BRINGS

EVER FAITHFUL TO THOSE HE LOVES.

 BLESS YOUR CHURCH OH LORD WE PRAY

FOR ALL OF THOSE WHO GO YOUR WAY

PRAISE TO YOU OUR GOD AND KING

OUR MASTER, SAVIOR OUR HEARTS WE BRING

TAKE OUR LIVES THAT WE MAY BE

CONSECRATED LORD TO THEE

THANK YOU LORD THAT WE WILL BE

RAISED OH LORD TO DWELL WITH THEE

BLESS THIS HOUSE THAT IT MAY BE

EVER PLEASING OH LORD TO THEE

Words to be sung to the music of   “BLESS THIS HOUSE”, copyright 1927 Boose & Co.  New lyrics by Dr. Andrea MacVicar

 

CHRISTMAS: CALL TO WORSHIP

 CTW (Leader): The people that walk in darkness have seen a great light. We that have lived in the land of the shadow of death, we have come out of darkness into His marvelous light.  Come let us adore Him.

 PEOPLE: For the promised child has been be born to us, a son has been given to us. And the government will rest on His shoulders. We do worship and adore Him

 CTW: And His name is called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace.  Come let us adore Him.

 PEOPLE: And on the throne of David and over His kingdom, He established it and upheld it with justice and righteousness from then, now, and will forever more. We do worship and adore Him.

 CTW: Behold!  God is my salvation.  We will trust Him and not be afraid, for the Lord Jehovah is our strength and our song. Come let us adore Him.

 PEOPLE: Yes, God is my salvation; therefore will I draw water out of the well of eternal life and eat the manna sent from heaven. So shall I be filled with joy everlasting. I will worship and adore Him.

 CTW: On that great day, and even today, we sing with the angels and proclaim as witnesses: "Praise the name of Jesus Christ, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, for He alone is worthy of all glory and honor.  He alone is to be exalted above all the heavens and the earth. Come let us adore Him.

 PEOPLE: Today, I will call upon the Lord. I will say He alone is worthy to be praised.  For His name is above all names. He is the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings. And He shall reign forever and ever. I will worship and adore Him.

 CTW: Declare His mighty works among the people. Proclaim  His name to all the earth.  Tell of His excellent ways, tell of His power, tell of His glory, tell of His greatness and love, for He has done excellent things. Come let us adore Him.

 PEOPLE: We will sing and shout for our Redeemer lives and dwells in the midst of us.  We will sing and shout and clap our hands with joy for His kingdom is without end.  For a Savior was born, and a Savior is alive forevermore.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

The following are marriage services for various occasions ranging from simple to those where the couples’ special backgrounds are to be met.

 

MARRIAGE SERVICE (Simple)

Beloved, we have come together to witness the vows of marriage between A (full name on certificate) and B (full name on certificate).  They have chosen each other, one for the other, out of the many as the only one for each other.  And we are witnesses to that contract of love and joy which is about to take place.

(First name and first name), upon examination of your hearts is there anything, past or present, complaint or cause, which would keep you from giving, from receiving, and from keeping the marital vows of faithfulness and love? If there is nothing, answer, "NO."

             Please step forward.  Please bow your heads.

Heavenly Father, God of Love, you have established marriage for the welfare and happiness of mankind.  You have said in your word, "It is not good for man to be alone.  I will make a helpmate for him."  Now A and B’s joys are doubled since the happiness of one is the happiness of the other.  Lord, as they rejoice in the promises they are to make, remind them of this day in the years to come.  Keep their hearts as young and tender towards each other as they are today.  Continue to remind them in their life together they have made a commitment of faith in you by their covenant promise of love and faithfulness to each other.  Bless their union and this contract of marriage by witness of your Spirit.  Amen.

From the book of John 2:1,2  "And on the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there;  and Jesus also was invited and His disciples, to the wedding."

This is a wonderful story of Jesus' first miracle.  This is a wonderful story of water being turned into wine.  This is a story of joy and celebration, of the pre-shadowing of the mystery of the cross, and the marriage supper of the Lamb.  But before all of these wondrous things could take place, Jesus HAD to be invited!  Jesus did not CRASH the wedding.  Certainly He was more of a gentleman than that.  He showed up because He was invited. 

Any couple would be wise to invite Christ to be a part of their marriage from the first day on.  It takes three to get married and without doubt three to stay married.  For it is Christ, when given His place at the head of the house, who keeps bringing reconciliation, forgiveness, true love, faithfulness, trust, and honesty into the household.

This means that wherever Jesus is present there is joy as a result.  Christ adds the joy factor.  He is the joy that never fails.  A, B, sooner or later, it will rain on your parade.  Something will fail;  something will go wrong;  something will throw a wrench into your plans.  Sooner or later there will be disappointment;  there will be trouble;  there will be loss.  But when Christ is invited to be with you through it all, he will enable you to have joy no matter what happens.  After all, you know the Christ who has already defeated death itself.

When Satan attacks, when your sin nature rises, when the world is cold, and the storms of life would break your love, invite Jesus into the whirlwind.  He will put you in the eye of the storm and keep you there.  He seals and secures the contract between you and Himself. He will never fail to keep your love alive.

(Possible place for solos, music of choice made by the couple) Example: "This Is The Day, This Is The Day That The Lord Has Made...That The Lord Has Made...."

(West Side Story)  Make of your hands one hand.  Make of your hearts one heart.  Make of your vows one last vow;  only death will part you now.  Make of your lives one life, day after day one life.  Now it begins, now you start, one hand, one heart.  Even death won't part you now." 

Speak words of love often to each other.  Make sure you say "I love you" every day.  Continue to pray together every day.  If you are angry talk it out.  If you need help ask for it.  Never let the evil spirit of pride keep you apart.  Be the first to say, "I'm sorry," even if you believe you are right.  Never throw stones - small cuts and bruises add up to death.  Always feel grateful you have found each other.

(Place for their special commitment personal comments.  Repeat invitation from B to A.)

Would you turn towards each other.  This is a special time for sharing your promises.  A, take B’s hand and tell her what's on your heart.

As you remember this day, remember the words of love you have just shared with each other.

Now, A, do you take B, whose hand you hold to be your lawful and wedded wife?  And do you promise to love and cherish her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, and forsaking all others cling only unto her, for as long as you both shall live?  If you will, say, "I do."

Now, B, do you take A, whose hand you hold to be your lawful and wedded husband?  And do you promise to love and cherish him, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, and forsaking all others cling only unto him, for as long as you both shall live?  If you will, say, "I do."

Now, do you mutually promise in the presence of God and of these witnesses, that you will at all times and in all circumstances to the best of your ability and with God's help conduct yourselves as gracious and loving towards one another as husband and wife?  If you will, say, "I do."

You have desired to remember these vows in the giving and receiving of a ring.  These rings are only outward signs of the vows you have made to each other.  Each circle is an emblem of eternity.  Its gold is a symbol of the love that never tarnishes, that endures forever. Gold is refined and separated by fire.  So your union is separate and pure, ordained by God.

Will you give me the rings?

Will you repeat after me:  "I GIVE YOU THIS RING AS A TOKEN TO MY LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS TO YOU AS LONG AS I LIVE."

A, as you put this ring on B's finger, remember it is your responsibility to provide material, emotional, and spiritual support for your wife, to shelter her from danger, and to cherish her with faithful affection, even as Christ loved the church and gave His own life for her. 

B, as you put this ring on A's finger, remember it is your responsibility to reverence your husband, to support him emotionally, to care for his well-being, to be a help-mate, and to cling only to him, even as the church is subject to Christ. 

We have heard the vows which A and B have made to each other.  Therefore, as a minister of Jesus Christ, and by the authority of the state, I declare and recognize A and B as husband and wife.

(If the couple chooses)

As their very first act as husband and wife, A and B wish to have communion together.

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. (full last name).  You may kiss.

(Afterward turn the couple toward the congregation) I would like to introduce you to Mr. and Mrs. full last name. (If needed, give information for after the service.)

  

MARRIAGE SERVICE FOR THE PREVIOUSLY DIVORCED (AT THE END, REVIEW ADDITIONS TO ADD TO ANOTHER SERVICE)

 From the book of Isaiah 61 and 62:

             I will rejoice greatly in the Lord,

            My soul will exalt in my God;

            For he has clothed me with garments of salvation,

            He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,

            As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,

            And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

            It will no longer be said of you, “Forsaken,”

            Nor to your land will it any longer be called, "Desolate;"

            But you will be called, "My delight is in her,"

            And your land, "Married;"

            For the Lord delights in you,

            And to Him your land will be married.

            For as a young man marries a virgin,

            And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,

            So your God will rejoice over you.

A (full name on certificate) and B (full name on certificate), upon examination of your hearts is there anything, past or present, complaint or cause, which would keep you from giving, from receiving, and from keeping the marital vows of faithfulness and love?  If there is nothing, answer, "No."

Honored guests and family of Christ, you have gathered here to witness the desire of these two to enter into a marriage contract ordained by God.  I am reading this contract before you as their witnesses and before them, so they will know what they have agreed upon to give in love to God in Jesus Christ, and by the Holy Spirit which seals by covenant their promise of love and faithfulness to each other.  They have not entered into this covenant lightly nor without serious consideration.  They have sought with their whole hearts to be pleasing to Christ first, and to honor their commitment to the body of Christ, His Church, second.

A (first name), B (first name), you came to the decision to marry one another because you believe that with each other your lives will be fuller and richer than if you remain single.

Christ is able to do what human endeavor cannot.  He can erase our sins as if they never were.  He can renew us - no matter our past mistakes and experiences, our past hurts and defeats.  He takes us from where we were, works with who we are, and changes us to who He wants us to be.  But we must be willing to go His way and not our own.

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 the scripture says,  "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature;  the old things have passed away, behold, new things have come."  And in Philippians 3:13  "...But one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead."

A, B, you desire to go the Way of Christ in your relationship to Him.  And in this blessing He has made you brand new to each other - "behold, new things have come."  Because Christ has enabled you to reach forward "to what lies ahead," you can experience joy, companionship, laughter, and intimacy with each other.  Today, you may think it couldn't be possible to love one another more; but as the years pass, you will discover Christ can add to and strengthen the bond of love between you - beyond your greatest expectations.

In the wonderful hymn “Amazing Grace” there is a line which states, “through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come, twas grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”

I know you have said words of love and made promises to each other privately. And now before witnesses and Christ, proclaim the love you have for each other in your own words. A, please  take Bs hand and tell her what's on your heart. B will you tell A what’s in your heart.

As you remember this day, remember the words of love you have just shared with each other.

Speak words of love often to each other.  Make sure you say "I love you" every day.  Even if you are angry with each other, still say “I love you,” every day.  If you are angry talk it out.  If you need help ask for it.  Never let the evil spirit of pride keep you apart. Don’t let the forgiven past come between you. Be the first to say, “I’m sorry,” even if you believe you are right.  Be quick to forgive each other. Begin the day together in Christ and pray often together.  Sacrifice for each other. Remember this first and always, you are brother and sister to each other in Christ into eternity, for someday your marriage will be dissolved by death.

As Jesus, Himself said in Matthew, chapter 22, verse 30, we do not live as husbands and wives in heaven, we are as the angels; but the relationship of love between brothers and sisters in Christ continues into eternity.  Therefore, think of your love and your marriage in terms of what Jesus did at the Last Supper, when He showed His disciples the sacrifice He was willing to make.

A, be as Christ is to the church, for as He wrapped a towel around his waist and washed the feet of His disciples so He calls you to make the same sacrifice for B. And B, submit in Christ’s love to A whenever possible with the same desire of sacrifice. Be ever willing to communicate your differences. Be truthful, never hiding your motives, but always seek to understand and support the other in love. Always be grateful God found you for each other.  Endeavor, even in struggles, to treat each other respectfully and honor the special gifts God has given to each of you. If you do this to, and for, each other your marriage on earth will be filled with the joy of love and the blessings of peace and harmony.  Your marriage will be a lighthouse, a beacon in Christ for all to see.

PLEASE BOW YOUR HEADS

Heavenly Father, God of love, you have established marriage for the welfare and happiness of mankind.  You have said in your Word, "It is not good for man to be alone.  I will make a help-mate for him."  Now A and B’s joys are doubled since the happiness of one is the happiness of the other.  Lord, as they rejoice in the vows they are to make, remind them of this day in the years to come.  Keep their hearts as tender towards each other as they are today.  Continue to remind them in their life together they have made a commitment of faith and love in You by their covenant promise of love and faithfulness to each other.  Bless their union and this contract of marriage by witness of your Spirit. Amen.

Now, A, do you take B, whose hand you hold to be your lawful and wedded wife?  And do you promise to love and cherish her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, and forsaking all others cling only unto her, for as long as you both shall live?  If you will, say, "I do."

Now, B, do you take A, whose hand you hold to be your lawful and wedded husband?  And do you promise to love and cherish him, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, and forsaking all others cling only unto him, for as long as you both shall live?  If you will, say, "I do."

Now, do you mutually promise in the presence of God and of these witnesses, that you will at all times and in all circumstances to the best of your ability and with God's help conduct yourselves as gracious and loving towards one another as husband and wife?  If you will, say, "I do."

You have desired to remember these vows in the giving and receiving of a ring.  These rings are only outward signs of the vows you have made to each other.  Each circle is an emblem of eternity.  Its gold is a symbol of the love that never tarnishes, that endures forever.  Gold is refined and separated by fire.  So your union is separate and pure, ordained by God.

Will you give me the rings?

A, as you put this ring on B’s finger, remember it is your responsibility to provide material, emotional, and spiritual support for your wife, to shelter her from danger, and to cherish her with faithful affection, even as Christ loved the church and gave His own life for her.  As you place it upon her finger, say to her:  "I GIVE YOU THIS RING, AS A TOKEN OF MY LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS TO YOU,  FOR AS LONG AS I LIVE."

B, as you put this ring on A’s finger, remember it is your responsibility to reverence your husband, to support him emotionally, to care for his well-being, to be a help-mate, and to cling only to him, even as the church is subject to Christ.  Say to him, "I GIVE YOU THIS RING, AS A TOKEN OF MY LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS TO YOU, FOR AS LONG AS I LIVE."

We have heard the vows which A and B have made to each other.  Therefore, as a minister of Jesus Christ, and by the authority of the state, I declare and recognize A and B as husband and wife.

As their very first act in marriage A and B wish to have communion together.

You have come to this place as two persons.  You have been joined in a new life that is more than your lives separately.  In that oneness the partaking of communion symbolizes your earthly relationship in marriage  to one who died on the cross for you.  However, the body and blood of Jesus Christ makes you brother and sister to one another into eternity.  This is a  relationship beyond marriage and the grave.  By His blood and body sacrificed for you, you will forever be changed as this day has forever changed you.

LEAD THEM IN COMMUNION

DARK CHOCOLATE (offer two pieces-at rehearsal check couple for allergies)

Take the chocolate and let it melt in your mouth.  Notice its sweetness.  The sweetness is symbolic of Christ and the marriage supper of the Lamb.  It is also symbolic of your love and commitment towards each other.  However, you will also taste a dark bitterness as well.  This represents the difficult days which will come into your marriage by the attacks of Satan, and the parts of your sin nature as yet unrefined in Christ.  God allows these difficulties to arise as a testing of your commitment toward one another.  The darkness of the chocolate also represents the darkness of the world.  Until you are at home with the Lord, you will live in a darkened world, changed only by the light of the Holy Spirit living in you. However what lingers in your mouth is sweetness.  It is what you will remember and what remains long after the dark bitterness is gone.  It is God’s sweetness in your marriage and God’s permanent goodness in your lives to keep you faithful and loving to each other.

BOW YOUR HEADS And now, Oh, Heavenly Father, when the years have gone,  may they still be found, then as now, hand in hand thanking God for each other.  And may they serve you happily, faithfully together, until at last one shall lay the other into the arms of God.  This we ask through Jesus Christ, the great lover of our souls. Amen.

Now Mr. and Mrs. A, you may kiss.

 

UNITING OF TWO WITH CHILDREN (add sections to marriage service) (single large candle with two smaller candles with matches in the center of  a table)

Members of Christ and Honored guests, you have gathered here to witness the desire of these two to enter into a marriage contract ordained by God by the uniting of their two families in Christ.

The ordination of marriage is a special service of worship to God, an acknowledgment of the love He has for us by creating us to live for him.  It is also and an acknowledgment that He created us for love by giving us a special person to be a cherished companion for as long as we live.  When we are witnesses and participants of a wedding, we are reminded of the

greatest wedding which is to take place in heaven between the church, as the bride of Christ, and Christ the perfect Groom.  This wedding celebrates the promise of the greater celebration which will be consummated at the Marriage supper of the lamb.

A (full name on certificate) and B (full name on certificate), upon examination of your hearts is there anything, past or present, complaint or cause, which would keep you from giving, from receiving, and from keeping the marital vows of faithfulness and love?  If there is nothing, answer, "No."

In Ecclesiastes, chapter 4, verses 9 through 12, God's word reads: Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.  But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.  Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?  And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him.  A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

Jesus said in Matthew, chapter 18, verse 22, "Where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst."

It takes Our Lord Jesus Christ to bind a couple together for life.  It takes Our Lord Jesus Christ to bind a family together for life.  It takes Jesus to give us a life of joy and peace and love.  Without Him, no couple can cling to each other for very long, for the world and Satan will soon destroy their marriage.  Without Jesus to bind the two together, to be the head of the house, the silent listener to every conversation, the one to whom they go when times are tough between them, their own sin natures will tear them apart.

Where there is the uniting of two families, those who would desire to live in harmony and love and peace and joy, must invite Christ to build them into a household of faith.  Christ is the mortar who builds a family into a household of faith that can withstand the storms of life.

(Name the children), will you come and stand beside your Mother and your Father as a symbol of your love and agreement to be united in Christ as a family of faith as you listen to the words of this song.

 

SONG: HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH

Let us unite our hearts in prayer:

Heavenly Father, God of Love, you have established marriage for the welfare and happiness of mankind to uniting families under your protection.  You have said in your word, "It is not good for man to be alone.  I will make a helpmate for him.,  Now A and B’s joys are doubled since the happiness of one is the happiness of the other.  Lord, as they rejoice in the promises they are to make, remind them of this day in the years to come.  Keep their hearts as young and tender towards each other as they are today.  Continue to remind them in their life together, they have made a commitment of faith in you by their covenant promises of love and faithfulness to each other.  Bless their union and this contract of marriage by the witness of your Spirit.  Amen.

EXCHANGE OF PROMISES      

Remember this first and always, you are brother and sister to each other in Christ into eternity, for someday your marriage will be dissolved by death.  And Jesus, Himself said in Matthew, chapter 22, verse 30, we do live as husbands and wives in heaven, we are as the angels, but the relationship of love between brothers and sisters in Christ continues into eternity. Therefore, think of your love and your marriage in terms of what Jesus did at the Last Supper, when He wrapped a towel around His waist and washed the feet of His disciples.  This is the true ministry of love, and if you do this to, and for, each other your marriage on earth will be filled with the joy of love and the blessings of peace and harmony.  Your marriage will be a lighthouse, a beacon in Christ for all to see.

VOWS

LIGHTING OF CANDLES

A and B, you are one in Christ, and are united in His love.  And with the blessings of your witnesses, two flames representing the unity of your families, A, would you light your candle first and then with your candle light B’s?  Now, will both of you at the same time light the large candle signifying your two lives becoming one?

COMMUNION

CHOCOLATE

SINNER’S PRAYER

Honored guests, you have witnessed A and B’s love for the Lord Jesus Christ and each other.

They would not be complete without Christ in their lives. They have found, Jesus is the only one who has the answers to their problems. He is the only one who can answer life's many questions.  And this includes the one question every person asks: what happens after death?  When you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can have inward peace and joy. You can

know with confidence what happens to you after death. You can know your eternal destination.   All life begins with Jesus. He took our sins upon himself by the Cross, in order for us to live abundantly now and happily ever after. If you do not know Him and the new life that He offers you, you can ask Jesus right now to come into your heart and give you the joy of

salvation.  I invite you to pray aloud with us:

            Sinner’s prayer

If you have prayed this prayer for the very first time, please come and see me after the service, I would like to pray with you and give you a personal blessing.

Lord Jesus, I ask you bless the (last name), their children, and all the members of their families in their marriage and their ministry to You in the Body of Christ.  Prosper them in every way.

Invitation  for them to kiss.

I would like to introduce you to Mr. and Mrs. (last name) and their children (names).

  

UNITING OF MESSIANIC COUPLE

Beloved, we have come together to witness the vows of marriage between A (full name on certificate) and B (full name on certificate).  They have chosen each other, one for the other, out of the many as the only one for each other.  And we are witnesses to that contract of love and joy which is about to take place.

A and B, upon examination of your hearts, is there anything, past or present, complaint or cause, which would keep you from giving, from receiving, and from keeping your marital vows of faithfulness and love?  If there is nothing, answer, "NO."

PRAYER

And now to those attending, and for you, A and B, hear the words of our Lord, who is Elohim, Adonai, Yahweh, Jehovah:  "And so the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept;  then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place.  And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which he had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.  And the man said, 'This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh;  she shall be called woman because she is taken out of man.'  For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife;  and they shall become one flesh.  And the man and his wife were both naked and they were not ashamed."

Divine revelation has declared marriage to be completely honorable.  It is an institution of God ordained in the time of Adam and Eve's innocence, before they had sinned against their Maker...before they were driven from Paradise. This institution was given by God's loving wisdom to provide that through well-ordered families, truth, holiness and the love of God might be transmitted from one generation to another.

When Ruth spoke to her mother-in-law, Naomi, the beautiful words from the book of Ruth:  "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you;  for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge.  Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.  Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.  Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me."  Ruth reminds us of a pure and devoted love, with which she forsakes all former things to go to live in a land of promise.  She has married her heart to the things of God.  And we know He rewards her with blessings and honor through the line of David, down to Y’shua ha-machiach, the anointed one, our Lord and Savior.

Perhaps Jesus read or heard those words from Ruth at the wedding in Cana.  In the 2nd chapter of the book of John, verse 1 and 2, we read:  "And on the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there;  and Jesus was also invited and His disciples to the wedding."  This is a wonderful story of Jesus' first miracle.  This is a wonderful story of water being turned into wine.  This is a story of joy and celebration, of the pre-shadowing of the mystery of the cross, and the marriage supper of the Lamb.  But before all of these wondrous things could take place, Jesus HAD to be invited!  He did not CRASH that wedding!  He showed up because He was invited.

Any couple would be wise to invite Christ to be a part of their marriage from the first day on.  It takes three to get married and without doubt three to STAY married.  For it is Christ when given His place at the head of the house, who keeps bringing reconciliation, forgiveness, true love, faithfulness, trust, and honesty into the household.  This means that wherever Jesus is present there is joy as a result.  Christ adds the joy factor.  He is the joy that never fails.

UNITING PREGNANT BRIDE/COUPLE LIVING TOGETHER

Dearly beloved, members of Christ and honored guests, we have gathered together to witness A and B’s desire to enter into a marriage contract ordained by God in Christ.

Because A and B are entering into marriage, I will read this marriage contract with its vows in order that they will know what they have agreed to and accepted as their commitment of marriage before God.

The ordination of marriage is a special service of worship to God, an acknowledgement of the love He has for us by creating us to live for Him. When we are witnesses and participants in a wedding, we are reminded of the greatest wedding which is to take place in heaven between the church--the bride of Christ, and Christ--the perfect groom.  This wedding celebrates the promise of the greater celebration which will be consummated in heaven at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

When A and B came to me and expressed their love for each other, I wondered, as I’m sure some of you do, whether or not their coming son/daughter/name was not the true reason for their desire to be married. After all, though our culture has changed greatly in accepting couples living together and having children without the benefit of marriage, the church still expresses and often imposes marriage where there is a forthcoming child. As a minister, knowing the commitment involved in marriage, the level of maturity of love needed for any couple to succeed, I too, questioned A and B for three months as to their true love for each other.  During those weeks of counseling, they never wavered in their choice for marriage and a commitment to be life partners to each other. They do not have to get married. They have chosen to love each other with commitment to Christ as the head of their union, and faithfulness to each other until death parts them.

A and B are wise to invite Christ to be a part of their marriage from the first day on.  It takes three to get married and without doubt, three to stay married.  For when Christ is given His place as head of  the house, He keeps bringing reconciliation, forgiveness, true love, faithfulness, trust and honesty into the marriage.

 

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER: (For hand-out or service.)

                                              NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER

                                                                   (Date)

                                                   PRAYER SUGGESTIONS

 

 That America put her trust in God and her people turn back to Biblical principles.

President, Vice-President, and families, Cabinet, Senate, House of Representatives, Supreme Court (be specific with names if possible) Governor of Florida and family, Florida Legislature,  Representatives,

Judicial System, Federal, State, Local, Judges on all levels,  Law Enforcement, Police, Prison Personnel, Family Court,  Lawyers - Civil, Criminal, Divorce, Family, HRS - Case Workers, Foster Care, Chemical and Drug  Enforcement, those you may know personally,

School System, Principals, Teachers, Superintendents at all  levels from kindergarten to college, what is taught, what God  wants taught, safety and security, Christian principles,  student and teacher deaths by violent behavior,

Media - print and visual, violent and sexual programming in the Media and on the Internet, freedom of speech issues,

Family issues, divorce, spousal abuse, child abuse,  parenting, healing of all kinds - body, soul, spirit,

Rights issues - gay and lesbian, gun control, abortion,  freedom of speech, privacy, IRS, taxation, discrimination: racial, ethnic, gender and religious,

Local city problems and neighborhood issues,

REVIVAL - local churches, pastors, missionaries, para-church  organizations, (be specific where possible), repentance and  return to Biblical principles and holiness,

Salvation for unbelievers, Laborers for End-time Harvest,  unsaved family members, friends, etc. (be specific),

Don't forget to praise and worship throughout the day in thanksgiving to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for His great gift of salvation!

  

AN ABRIDGED PASSOVER (SEDER) FOR CHRISTIANS: (I was invited by messianic believers in Christ to write a seder explaining the passover.)

LEADER:  "The Lord spoke...to Moses saying, 'These are the appointed times of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them.  In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the Lord's passover.' "  (Lev. 23:1,4,5)

            "Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord;  throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.  It is a passover sacrifice to the Lord who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians but spared your homes."  (Ex. 12:14,27)

            "Now on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus saying, 'Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?'  And he said, 'Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, "The teacher says, My time is at hand;  I am to keep the Passover at your house with my disciples...." '  And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them;  and they prepared the Passover."  (Matt. 26:17-19)

THE KIDDUSH (Consecration)

LEADER:  Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

            Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has chosen us out of all the people of the world and made us holy through your Word.  With love you have given us commandments to follow, festivals for rejoicing, holidays for gladness, and this feast of Passover, an anniversary to remember our freedom and this season of deliverance to remember the departure from Egypt.  You have chosen us.  You have given us this holy festival with loving kindness and blessed us with your favor.

            Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enables us to reach this season.

PARTICIPANTS:  Why is this night different from all other nights?  On other nights we eat either leavened or unleavened bread;  why on this night only unleavened bread?

            On all other nights we eat any kind of green vegetables;  why on this night must it be a bitter one?

            On all nights we don't dip the vegetables in salt water;  why on this night do we dip them?

            On all other nights we eat either sitting up or reclining; why on this night do we put a pillow at our father's place to remind us of reclining?

LEADER:  "And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever."  (Ex. 12:24)

CHILD:  "And it will come about when your children will say to you, 'What does this rite mean to you?' "  (v.26)

LEADER:  "That you shall say, 'It is a passover sacrifice to the Lord who passed over the houses

of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.' "  (v.27)

PARTICIPANTS:  We were Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt, and the Lord our God rescued us with a mighty hand and an out stretched arm.  And if the Lord, blessed be He, had not brought our forefathers out of Egypt, then we, our children and our children's children would still be slaves.

 CHILD:  Why do we eat bitter herbs and why do we dip green vegetables in salt water?

PARTICIPANTS:  It is because the Egyptians made the lives of our Fathers in Egypt so bitter and miserable.  As it is said, "And they made their lives bitter with hard labor in mortar and bricks and at all kinds of labor in the fields," forcing them to toil long and hard.  (Ex. 1:14)

LEADER:  These bitter herbs, called maror, are symbolic of the bitterness of slavery and the miserable existence in Egypt.  To us as Christians, the eating of bitter herbs reminds us of our lives before we knew the Savior.  The maror is symbolic of the bitter cup our Lord tasted on our behalf.  The horseradish brings tears to our eyes as we remember the price of calvary.

            The meaning of the dipping of greens is to show how God brought the children of Israel safely across the Red Sea --salt water--and made of them a new nation--green vegetables.  As Christians we have followed the Lord through the Red Sea of baptism and have entered into a personal relationship with God, having become His spiritual children.

PARTICIPANTS:  "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  (John 3:16, KJV)

CHILD:  Why do we put a pillow at our father's place? 

LEADER:  The chair the father reclines in is luxurious with a pillow symbolic of the spirit of freedom and comfort which is found in our homes tonight because we are no longer slaves serving taskmasters but a free people seated around this table.

PARTICIPANTS:  We who are Christians can rejoice as we keep the Passover in remembrance of our slavery to sin.  We know that with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm the Lord our God rescued us.

            We are therefore, duty bound to praise, thank, glorify, and exalt, honor, bless, and adore Him, who performed all these wonders for our fathers and for us.  He brought us out

of slavery into freedom, out of misery into happiness, out of mourning into rejoicing, out of darkness into His light, and out of bondage into redemption.

LEADER:  If He had rescued us from Egypt, but not punished the Egyptians,

PARTICIPANTS:  WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONTENT!

LEADER:  If He had punished the Egyptians, but not destroyed their gods, WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONTENT!

LEADER:  If He had killed their first-born, but not             given us their property, WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONTENT!

LEADER:  If He had given us their property, but not divided the Red Sea, WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONTENT!

LEADER:  If He had drowned our oppressors, but not supplied us in the desert for 40 years, WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONTENT!

LEADER:  If He had supplied us in the desert for 40 years,            but not fed us with manna, WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONTENT!

LEADER:  If He had given us the Sabbath, but not brought us to Mount Sinai, WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONTENT!

LEADER:  If He had brought us to Mount Sinai, but not given us the Torah, WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONTENT!

LEADER:  If He had given us the Word, but not brought us to the Land of Promise, WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONTENT!

LEADER:  If He had brought us to the Land of Promise, but not built us the temple, WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONTENT!

LEADER:  If He had built the Church, but not provided permanent salvation, WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONTENT!

LEADER:  But, praise the Lord!  God provided permanent             salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Messiah.

PARTICIPANTS:  For prophecy and history meet.  "Behold the     Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29) "Christ our passover is sacrificed for us." (1 Cor.           5:7, KJV)

CHILD: Why do we eat unleavened bread?

LEADER: It is because there was not enough time for our fathers' dough to rise, when the King of Kings appeared to them when the Lord, blessed be He, redeemed them.

            As it is said, "And they baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread.  For it had not become leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they made prepared provisions for themselves."  (Ex. 12:39)

            The unleavened bread is a picture of Christ.  It is made of pure flour and water without yeast to ferment and sour it, a vivid symbol of sin and what it does to human life.  After the dough is flattened, before it is baked, it is pierced and striped with a pointed tool to keep it from bubbling under the flame.

PARTICIPANTS:  The gospels proclaim, "They crucified Him."  Psalm 22:16-18 says:  "They pierced my hands and my feet.  I can count all my bones.  They look, they stare at me.  They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots."  John 19:33 reports, "They did not break his legs:  but one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear."

LEADER:  The prophecy of Zechariah 12:10 was fulfilled.  "They will look on me whom they have pierced;  and they will mourn for him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born."  The prophecy of Isaiah 53:5 (KJV)declares:  "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities;  the chastisement of our peace was upon him;  and with his stripes we are healed."

LEADER:  (unwraps the matzo and breaks it)  Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who sanctified us and commanded us concerning the eating of the unleavened bread.

CHILD:  Why do you unwrap and break the unleavened bread?

LEADER:  When this loaf is broken, it symbolizes the breaking of the body of the Son of God who is our High Priest.  When the loaf is wrapped in linen before the service, it spoke prophetically of the wrapping of the body of Christ in linen after the crucifixion.  When the wrapped bread is taken out and unwrapped, it signifies the resurrection.  The bread is broken into small pieces, and every member of the family must partake of it.  This signifies the believer feeding upon the Bread of Life, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 6:35).  Jesus made the loaf (Afikoman) the symbol of his broken body as a sacrifice for our sins.

(LEADER PASSES BROKEN MATZO)  This is the place in the Passover service which is recorded for us in the New Testament (Luke 22:19) where Jesus our Messiah, "having taken some bread, when he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave it to them saying, 'This is my body which is given for you;  do this in remembrance of me.' "

PARTICIPANTS SAY AS THEY EAT:  Blessed be He in whose good we have eaten and through whose goodness we live.  Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe who feeds the entire world with His goodness, grace, loving kindness and compassion.  He gives bread to all flesh, He gives Christ to all men, for His mercy is forever.

GRACE:  THE CUP OF REDEMPTION

LEADER:  (takes bottle and pours wine into his own glass and then passes bottle to next person)  The children of Israel were told how to protect themselves from the last plague.  Each family was to take a lamb and kill it and drain the blood into a basin;  and then take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood and strike the upper lintel and two side doorposts of the house wherein they shall eat it.  (Ex. 12:21-22)  "And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are:  and when I see the blood, I will pass over you and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt."  (Ex. 12:13 KJV) "As it is said in the Word, the angel of death passed over the homes of the children of Israel and did not destroy them."  (Ex. 12:27)

CHILD:  Why did they need to be protected?

LEADER:  The answer can be found throughout Scripture, "For there is not a just man upon the earth, that does good and sins not.  The soul that sins, it shall die."  (Eccl. 7:20 & 18:20 KJV)

PARTICIPANTS:  Every human being who fails to live up to the moral law of God is guilty and has to pay with his life.  The blood of an innocent lamb becomes the symbol of an innocent life covering a guilty life from the eyes of a holy and just God.

LEADER:  God says, "When I see the blood I will pass over you."  The prophecy of Isaiah 53:7 says, "He (the Messiah) is brought as a lamb to the slaughter."  John, seeing Jesus, said, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."  (John 1:29)  In Hebrews 9:22, "There is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood."  Therefore, for all those who have received the lamb of sacrifice, let us say the blessing:

PARTICIPANTS:  May the name of the Lord be blessed from now unto eternity.  To him who sits on the throne, who is our High Priest, who is King of Kings, who shed His blood for our cleansing, we give honor and glory and praise and power.  May He pity us and remember our sin no more.  May He protect us as He did the children of Israel of old.  We give thanks unto Thee, O Lord.

LEADER:  "And in the same way Jesus took the cup after they had eaten, saying, 'Drink from it all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'"  (Matt. 26:27,28)

ELIJAH'S PLACE

LEADER:  At our table we have set an extra place.  No one occupies the chair.  Tradition says that this is for Elijah.  The door is open for Elijah to arrive to announce that the Messiah has come.  From the institution of communion by our Lord Jesus, we know that this cup and chair were meant for the Messiah himself.  Jesus spoke of John as his forerunner and John indeed fulfilled the traditional role of the prophet Elijah.

PARTICIPANTS:  We rejoice that all which was promised before the earth was created is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and we are partakers of the good news, today, tonight, forever.  Our task is to take this eternal hope to all mankind.

LEADER:  And Jesus said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."  (Mark 16:15)  "Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."  (Matt. 28:19)

PARTICIPANTS:  Praise be to  God!  Even as our salvation and redemption is finished in Jesus, our Messiah, the seder of Passover is now complete.  Holy One who dwells in our hearts, speedily lead the children of the Redeemed One, to Zion in joyful song.

LEADER:  "And they returned to Jerusalem with great joy and were continually in the temple, praising God."  (Luke 24:52,53)

PARTICIPANTS:  Next year in Jerusalem!  Come soon, Lord Jesus!

[taken from CELEBRATE THE FEASTS by Martha Zimmerman (Bethany House Publishers) and Passover Seder from Congregation Davar Shalom with additional writing by Dr. Andrea MacVicar]

 

YEAR END ASSESSMENT: (This can be a handout given during the Sunday service between Christmas and New Year.  Every year I usually incorporated some of  the answers to the questions in my preaching.)

1. What did I learn about Jesus this past year?

2. What did the Holy Spirit teach me about myself this past year?

3. What did I allow the Holy Spirit to change in me this past year?

4. What was the most difficult trial or test for me this past year?  Is it over?  What did I learn or am learning from it?

5. What fruit of the Spirit was grown in me last year?

6. What did I finish this past year?  Completed? Accomplished?

7. What three things did the Lord tell me to do this past year that I have not yet done?  Can they still be done?  If so, how?

8. What three things (circumstances) in my past life still trouble me (are a problem) which I cannot immediately change?  What practical steps or attitudes do I need to do to help me in these three situations?

9. What three things in my personality would I like to change in relationship with: family members, friends, co-workers, unbelievers?

10. What three specific ways did I serve the Lord this past year?  What three specific gifts did I give to other(s) which was a sacrifice for me?

11. What three blessings (gifts) from others were a surprise (unexpected) to me (neither asked for nor worked for)?

12. What three major prayers were answered from the Lord this past year?  What three prayers are still (as yet) unanswered?

13. At any time this past year was I without food, shelter, clothing, or someone who gave me or helped me find those things?  Was I or am I still concerned about these things? What does this have to do with my relationship with the Lord?

14. Five years from now I will be five years older and doing what things?  As I write a list in answer to this question at what point and with what steps will I have to take to make these things happen?

15. I know God desires to grow me into Spiritual maturity.  What definite and specific things do I need to do in order to grow up more in Christ in the coming year?

1985 copyright Rejoice Christian Church

 

SEVEN SURE STEPS ON THE WAY TO MINISTRY "BURNOUT"

 

1.  Guilt.  Not doing enough to multiply the congregation.  Never feeling satisfied even with the growth you have.  Going over every detail of what you are doing.  Letting your inadequacy play on your mind.

2.  No rest.  Never taking a day off.  Never taking a vacation.  Making sure you are always studying.  Never taking a break from ministry.  Always working in your mind or on the job.  Late hours.  Not enough sleep.  Not enough quiet time.

3.  Never saying "no" to a need even when God has not called you to help.  Always be available.  Feeling you're the only one called to solve a problem.  Believing no one can do whatever you're asked to do as well as you can.  Fearful that you might lose the respect of your congregation if you say "no" to a project they wish to do.

4.  Not spending enough quality time with your spouse and children.  Making sure your family works in your church as hard as you do.  Insist that they do.

5.  Don't make personal friends outside the members of your congregation and denomination.  Make sure your personal friends are ministers.  Only talk about church-centered subjects.  Make sure you are always "spiritual."

6.  Never have a hobby other than church.  Make sure all your energies and creativity are used in ministering.  Don't learn anything that isn't related to church ministry.  Never take a class you can't use to help you minister.  Make sure you are always sacrificing for your ministry.

7.  If you get discouraged, depressed, despondent, make sure no one knows.  Always smile and be up, up, up.  Always answer you're blessed, feeling wonderful, and everything is fine.  After all, the joy of the Lord is your strength, and you must make sure you are always joyful.  Pretend to be, no matter what is happening or how you feel.  Keep your problems to yourself.  After all, leaders can never be down or discouraged.  You might cancel out someone's faith in God or in you.

These are seven sure steps on the road of pastoral "burnout." Now these seven steps may cover many miles of time, but unless the signs of mental and physical exhaustion are seen, the end of the road is the end of ministering and sometimes even the end of the minister’s life.  Ulcers, heart attacks, depression, broken relationships, and strife can result from ministry" burnout."  A balanced life of preaching, teaching, and caring for others must also be balanced by a healthy understanding of self-care.  Our Lord Jesus knew how to live a balanced life.  He could say "no."  He knew when to withdraw.  He knew how to rest.  And he knew how to share.  He knew how to ask for help.  And he knew how to have fun.  His sinless self knew how to care for his body and soul.

Whether you are in a small "m" or a big "M" ministry, these are:

Ministry Traps                                                                  Ministry Freedoms

1.  Performance                                                                Obedience

2.  Perfectionism                                                              Rest

3.  Striving                                                                       Trust

4.  Need for approval                                                       Confidence in God

5.  Control                                                                        Letting go

6.  Manufacturer                                                              Distributor

7.  Controller                                                                    Delegator

8.  Competitor                                                                  Servant

9.  Working for God                                                        God working through

10. Container                                                                   Conduit

11. Bold brass                                                                  Malleable gold

12. Wants to be "known"                                                Wants to "know"

13. Wants to be "right"                                                    Can be "wrong"

14. Counting heads                                                          Will preach to angels

15. Bigger is better                                                          Contentment in all circumstances

16. Needs to be needed                                                  God's responsible

17. Professionalism                                                          Tenderized heart

18. Looking to "preach"                                                   Listening for hurts

19. Must always be there                                                 God will provide

20. Super-spiritual talk                                                     Can be real

21. Mask of "happy face"                                                Can be intimate

22. Concerned about "image"                                          Glorify God

23. Proving "signs"                                                          Proving love

24. Plans and programs                                                    God's directive

25.  Pentecostal tradition                                                  Holy Spirit led

 The job description of a minister’s responsibilities can be found in Isaiah 61:1, 2 and Luke 4:18, 19.

 


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