God is in Control: a Service of Trust and Praise

Many churches send out the message that the morning worship service is the most important one by including most special events in that service. We do the opposite. Baptisms, professions, and our choral music ministry are usually part of the evening service. In addition, every six to eight weeks we try to schedule a special service of praise that focuses on lifting the congregation into a celebration of joy.

The service reprinted here took place in evening worship on September 30,1990. The news on the world front was grim, and many in the congregation had just gone through some tough times. We felt they needed to turn their attention away from the "dirt on the windshield" to the beautiful view that was beyond it. The service was designed to be a celebration and affirmation of faith in God's care… even in pain.

Each of the five segments of the service built on the previous one, and each contained the ministry of word, music, and profession.

—Howard D. Vanderwell
Norma de Waal Malefyt

Organ Prelude:

"Voluntary on 'When in Our Music God Is Glorified,'" Callahan

"Joyful, Joyful," Bish

The Call to Trust

Senior Choir: "Cry Out And Shout!" Wagner

God's Greeting and Congregational "Amen!"

Song: "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" [HB 21, RL 521]

GOD'S IN CONTROL—AND LOVES US GRACIOUSLY

Meditation on Deuteronomy 7:6-9

Song: "Amazing Grace—How Sweet the Sound" [HB 275, PH 280, PsH462,RL456,TH402]

Our Profession:

What do you believe when you say, "I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth"?

That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who out of nothing created heaven and earth
and everything in them,
who still upholds and rules them
by his eternal counsel and providence,
is my God and Father
because of Christ his Son.

I trust him so much that I do not doubt
he will provide
whatever I need
for body and soul,
and he will turn to my good
whatever adversity he sends me
in this sad world.

He is able to do this because he is almighty God;
he desires to do this because he is a faithful Father.

—Heidelberg Catechism Q & A 26

Song: "What Wondrous Love" [PH 85, PsH 379]

GOD'S IN CONTROL—AND REDEEMS US COMPLETELY

Meditation on Hebrews 10:11-22 and Romans 8:1

Song: "O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High" [PH 83 PsH 364, RL 342-345, TH121]

Our Profession:

What is your only comfort in life and in death?

That I am not my own,
but belong—
body and soul,
in life and in death—
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.

He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven:
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.

Because I belong to him,
Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.

—Heidelberg Catechism, Q & Al

Song: "I Will Sing of My Redeemer" [PsH 479, TH 681]

GOD'S IN CONTROL—AND HIS PURPOSES ARE UNSTYMIED

Meditation on Philippians 1:6 and Romans 8:28-30

Adult Bells: "With Grateful Heart My Thanks I Bring," Johnston

Song: "With Grateful Heart My Thanks I Bring," w. 2,3 [PsH 183, TH76]

Our Profession:

As followers of Jesus Christ,
living in this world—
which some seek to control,
but which others view with despair—
we declare with joy and trust:
Our world belongs to God!

From the beginning,
through all the crises of our times,
until his kingdom fully comes,
God keeps covenant forever.
Our world belongs to him!
God is King! Let the earth be glad!
Christ is Victor; his rule has begun. Hallelujah!
The Spirit is at work, renewing the creation. Praise the Lord!

—Our World Belongs to God, art. 1,2

Song: "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty" [PH 482, PsH 253, RL 145, TH50]

GOD'S IN CONTROL—AND HE PROTECTS US SECURELY

Meditation on 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Isaiah 43:1-3

Senior Choir: "I Am The Lord," Butler

Offertory Prayer

Song: "The Lord, My Shepherd, Rules My Life" [PsH 23]

Our Profession:

What do you understand by the providence of God?

Providence is
the almighty and ever present power of God
by which he upholds, as with his hand,
heaven
and earth
and all creatures,
and so rules them that
leaf and blade,
rain and drought,
fruitful and lean years,
food and drink,
health and sickness,
prosperity and poverty—
all things, in fact, come to us
not by chance
but from his fatherly hand.

—Heidelberg Catechism, Q & A 27

Song: "If You But Trust in God to Guide You" [HB 344, PH282, PsH 446, RL 151, TH 567]

GOD'S IN CONTROL—SO JESUS WILL CERTAINLY RETURN

Meditation on Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Song: "Rejoice, the Lord Is King" [HB 140, PH 155, PsH 408, RL 596-597, TH 226]

Our Profession:

With the whole creation

we wait for the purifying fire of judgment.

For then we will see the Lord face to face.

He will heal our hurts,

end our wars,

and make the crooked straight.

Then we will join in the new song

to the Lamb without blemish

who made us a kingdom and priests.

God will be all in all,

righteousness and peace will flourish,

everything will be made new,

and every eye will see at last

that our world belongs to God!

Hallelujah! Come, Lord Jesus.
—Our World Belongs to God, art. 58

Closing Hymn: "Our God Reigns" [PsH 195]

The Benediction

Organ Postlude: "Now Thank We All Our God," Bach, arr. by Fox.

This service was prepared by Howard Vanderwell and Norma de Waal Malefyt for use in Hillcrest Christian Reformed Church, Hudsonville, Michigan.

All hymn suggestions are from The Hymnbook (HB), Presbyterian Hymnal (PH), Psalter Hymnal (PsH), Rejoice in the Lord (RL), and/or the Trinity Hymnal (TH).

Norma de Waal Malefyt (nld2@calvin.edu) is Resource Development Specialist in Congregational Song for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

 

Howard D. Vanderwell was the Resource Development Specialist of Pastoral Leadership for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, the author and editor of The Church of All Ages and Caring Worship: Helping Worship Leaders Provide Pastoral Care through the Liturgy, and co-author of Designing Worship Together.