Welcome to the "Little Church with the Big Heart".
East Valley Presbyterian Church has resumed Sunday services; 9:30 Sunday morning! We are following Washington State guide lines for cleaning, seating and social distancing etc.
East Valley Presbyterian Church has served the communities of Otis Orchards, Newman Lake, Liberty Lake, and Greenacres since 1986. Located on Harvard Road, just 2.5 miles north of Liberty Lake, it is a small church in which people see one another as family. The hallmarks of this congregation are the warm, welcoming, and loving way in which all newcomers are treated; its traditional-style of worship; its deep exploration of scripture; and, its firm belief in the power of prayer.
We see ourselves as “The Little Church with the Big Heart where people help one another feel safe, loved, and spiritually whole.”
Our pastor is the Reverend Marcia Taylor, a native of Spokane Valley, who has served God with us since 2000.
For all who lose sight of hope, adjust your perspective. Recognize that our Risen Savior is seeking you, touching you, and surprising you with his presence. Let’s worship God!
Call to Worship
Answer us when we call, O God. Be gracious to us and hear our prayer.
WHEN WE ARE IN DISTRESS, YOU MAKE SPACE FOR US. YOU PUT GLADNESS IN OUR HEARTS, AS WITH A FINE FEAST.
When we are disturbed, may we not sin, but ponder things on our beds and be silent.
I WILL BOTH LIE DOWN AND SLEEP IN PEACE. FOR YOU ALONE, O LORD, MAKE ME LIE DOWN IN SAFETY.
* Opening Prayer
Holy God, we give thanks that you often reveal yourself to be different from our expectations. When we long for the love we have known in the past, our eyes are dimmed to the beauty you reveal to us now. As your first followers struggled to see how a suffering savior could be the Messiah, we strain to recognize you still today. Come, Spirit, make yourself known in the study of scripture, in our songs of praise, and especially in the grace and love we offer one another. Make yourself known in every friend we have yet to meet in your good and blessed name. Amen
* Hymn #8 All Glory Be to God on High
Call to Confession
Lift your eyes to see the mercy of our God. We need not carry the guilt that is in us, day after day. God is willing to knit the fragmented pieces of our existence into a meaningful whole. Let us pour out our need for pardon, trusting in God’s mercy.
Prayer of Confession
SPIRIT OF THE RISEN SAVIOR, WHEN WE FAIL TO RECOGNIZE YOU, WE BECOME RELUCTANT TO FOLLOW IN YOUR WAY. JUST AS THE DISCIPLES STRUGGLED TO COMPREHEND HOW THE CHRIST COULD HAVE BEEN A SUFFERING SERVANT, WE FIND IT DIFFICULT TO SEE YOU IN THOSE WHO SUFFER TODAY. WE RESIST STARTING DOWN THE PATH YOU HAVE SHOWN US UNTIL WE KNOW EXACTLY WHERE IT WILL LEAD. FREE US FROM CYNICISM AND FEAR. LIBERATE YOUR WORLD FROM SUSPICION AND PREJUDICE. FORGIVE US, LIVING LORD, AND LEAD US WHEREVER YOU WILL. AMEN
Come to us, O Lord, fill us with your Spirit.
Come to us, fill us up, fill us now O Lord.
Cover us, O Lord. Cover us with mercy.
You alone can make us clean. Cover us with mercy, Lord.
Assurance of Pardon
Christ lived, died, and rose again for us, even while we were sinners. This is proof of God’s love for us. In the name of Christ, we are forgiven!
* Gloria Patri # 805
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen, Amen - Public Domain
Sharing the Peace of Christ
In the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God brought peace to all creation. Share this joyous peace with one another. May the peace of Christ be with you all.
AND ALSO WITH YOU.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME. THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS; AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL, FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER. AMEN.
* Hymn # 408 Here, Master, in This Quiet Place
Scripture Reading Psalm 4
Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the Lord.
Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy
when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.
So often when we pray, our tendency is to do most of the talking, reciting to God our never ending list of people we’re concerned for, things we want. We also lean toward expecting God’s responses to come right away and about as clearly as a bullhorn announcement accompanied by closed captions right in front of our face. There are probably some folks who would appreciate that it all be recorded on a DVR, too, so they can play it over and over to make sure they heard right.
Unfortunately, God doesn’t seem to do things the way we expect. We see ample examples of that in scripture. For example, there’s the story of Balaam in the book of Numbers. Balaam was a soothsayer who lived near the Euphrates River. He claimed to believe in God and to know God’s heart, but he also like money and so sold his services wherever asked. Since he lived among people who didn’t believe in God, most of his customers were pagans. When one of the kings in the region felt threatened by the thousands of Hebrew people who had set up camp near his territory, he called for Balaam to come say a curse against them so that he could defeat them and get rid of them. Even though Balaam knew that the Hebrew people believed in the same God as he, he got on his donkey and set out to go to Balak. On the way, the donkey kept stopping and would refuse to go further. The donkey was seeing what Balaam couldn’t—an armed angel blocking the path ready to forcibly stop Balaam from progressing. As Balaam kept beating the donkey trying to force it onward, the donkey finally turned to him and told him why he wouldn’t go any further. That’s when Balaam started paying attention, saw the angel, then heard the message God had for him. In other biblical stories we hear of ax heads floating, time moving backward, dead people being raised to life, water spouting out of rocks, a young boy killing a giant with a slingshot, and we hear of God’s Messiah defeating the power of sin and death by letting himself be killed. Not exactly the kind of things we’d anticipate to happen in the world we know.
It seems that God has often chosen to use ways, means, and people to accomplish his goals—choosing people, places and things to fill the key roles in his work that no one else would expect. That’s one aspect of God’s revealed character that can truly make it fun to continually seek to deepen our relationship with Him. We can never anticipate exactly how God will choose to let us know what He’s doing or what He wants us to know. Consequently, we hear hints of what God is planning to do to bring all creation back to its original goodness, but those hints were being given as much as 2500-3000 years ago. He promised Abraham and Sarah a family of their own, but waited until he was 100 and she was in her 90s before giving them their first child. Jesus told his followers that he would be back soon, even soon enough that some of them wouldn’t experience death. That was 2000 years ago. Of course, we can reflect now and assume that he meant they wouldn’t experience spiritual death; mortal death was another story. But, these are just a few examples from scripture that point out to us that God’s perception of time doesn’t resemble ours. God does things for us when we’re most ready to receive the greatest benefit from them. As the psalm we read this morning reminds us, our greatest responsibility in relaying our perceived needs to God is to accept that the answers God gives us will come in God’s time, not ours. So, we just need to keep the conversation going. Of course, the hardest trick for many of us to learn is that an essential part of conversation is to frequent be quiet and just listen.
Psalm 4 gives us some subtle reminders of that that are not immediately noticeable. Did you notice them?
The prayer begins with, “Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.” That’s pretty straight forward. We can easily tell that this is the plea of a human being experiencing some kind of distress. But the next line is, “How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?”
Wait a minute. Is this writer now praying at other people, or has God just responded to his initial plea? If the writer had been paying close attention, he might have realized that he just got God’s response. ‘You want relief from distress? Quit turning my glory into shame. Quit following delusions and false gods!’
The writer’s next thought is to affirm his own relationship with God, “Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.” He’s gone from praying for God’s help to nearly bragging about his special relationship with God. To this, God seems to respond, “Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.” That kind of sounds like God saying, quit thinking so highly of yourself and start reflecting on the many ways you aren’t living up to my standards; and be quiet while you’re doing that.”
See, God does answer our prayers. But those answers are often not what we ask for, don’t come when we expect them, and often come in ways that we miss entirely because we never stop fussing and talking long enough to see, hear, or experience God’s answer. So, the challenge we all need to accept in our prayer lives is to spend as much time in talking prayer as we do being absolutely silent—just listening and watching and waiting for something from God. You might be surprised by what you learn.
Dedication of our Tithes and Offerings
GOD OF LOVE, HELP US REMEMBER THAT CHRIST HAS NO BODY NOW ON EARTH BUT OURS, NO HANDS BUT OURS, NO FEET BUT OURS. OURS ARE THE EYES TO SEE THE NEEDS OF THE WORLD. OURS ARE THE HANDS TO BLESS THE PEOPLE WE MEET. OURS ARE THE FEET TO DO GOOD IN CHRIST’S NAME. BLESS, O GOD, THE WORK OF OUR HANDS AND THESE OFFERINGS, THAT THEY MAY BE CHRIST’S WORK IN THE WORLD. AMEN. (Teresa of Avila, 1515-1582)
Doxology # 809
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, ye heavenly host:
praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen
- Public Domain
* Hymn # 519 It Is Well with My Soul
Sending and Benediction
Christ is alive and has met us here. Now let us meet God’s Spirit among friends, strangers, and in all of creation. For God’s love lives today and forevermore. Amen.
Seek Ye First
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