Editor, Ministry Magazine
Summary: The debate about evolution and creation will always be, but in our churches we can make a positive statement by focusing our worship on God as our Creator. October 24, 2009, is earmarked for that purpose. In this article are ideas on how you can plan for this special Sabbath.
Every Sabbath should be a special worship experience, but Sabbath, October 24, 2009, can be one of the most memorable Sabbaths of the year. On that Sabbath, Seventh-day Adventist congregations around the world will focus on the theme of God as Creator of the world. In this article we will share with you how you can plan for this special Sabbath.
Why single out Sabbath, October 24, 2009? The 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, usually credited as the father of the theory of evolution, has caused increased discussion throughout the world about the origin of the universe, earth, and life itself. Evolutionists also celebrate the year 2009, because it marks the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s book, On the Origin of the Species. The debate about evolution and creation will always be there, but in our churches we can make a positive statement by focusing our worship on God as our Creator. That’s the purpose of October 24, 2009.
Planning the October 24 worship service
Worship planning involves the pastor and various individuals. Let us assume that you are part of the team planning for the October 24 worship service. What will your worship be like on that special Sabbath? Let us go over some ways to help you prepare for this special Sabbath.
Planning is important, so carefully outline this worship. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide the planning. Outline the program so that you will use a variety of church members (age, gender, nationality, for instance) to participate in the worship service. Give the participants ample time to prepare for their part.
Hundreds of Scripture passages focus on God as our Creator. In fact, one of our scientists, Dr. Timothy Standish of the Geoscience Research Institute, Loma Linda, California, told me that he once decided to read the Bible and make a list of all the texts referring to creation. We have posted these Scripture references on the Creation Sabbath website (www.creationsabbath.net). Have several individuals read a number of these passages. Perhaps you could ask some of the older members to read with some of the younger members.
Let us make Scripture central in our worship. Throughout the world, many of our hymnals also have responsive reading sections that you may want to consider, which are also listed on the Creation Sabbath website.
God desires to hear our petitions, but prayer is much more than just telling God of our needs. It is also an opportunity for us to praise God—God our Creator—and thank Him for being involved in our lives. Ask yourself—how can we involve the whole congregation in prayer? For example, the person who leads in the main prayer can also lead the entire congregation in the Lord’s Prayer. The opening words, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9), can bring peace to our souls for we belong to this holy God.
Be creative and plan well for the children’s story. We have posted a number of children’s stories on the web, www.creationsabbath.net, as suggestions. Ask the person telling the children’s story to make it a special event.
Find hymns and songs that focus on creation, the Sabbath, and, most important, God. If you have a choir, discuss the plans for this special Sabbath with the choir director in advance so that they can prepare in advance. The website also includes suggested hymns and songs.
Because every part of the worship service has focused on God as Creator, the sermon should, of course, be on the same theme. The Bible has many rich passages that focus on God as our Creator so the speaker will have an abundance of material from which to work. On the website we have posted a number of sermon suggestions.
Need more help?
We have shared the major points that a group planning for Creation Sabbath should consider, but much more can be featured—let the Lord lead you in the possibilities. The planning group should provide the leadership and build enthusiasm for this special Sabbath. If you need more help, visit www.creationsabbath.net and you will find a variety of helpful material.
A Sabbath to remember
In Genesis 1:1 we meet God, our Creator. In Genesis 3 we are told about the entrance of sin. As discouraging as the description of this opening of the doorway to sin may be, we thank God that it does not end there. Revelation 22:20, 21 concludes with a plea from God’s people and a promise from Jesus Christ:
“He who testifies to these things say, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.”
We need to be known as a people who believe in God’s promises. Every Sabbath nearly 100,000 congregations around the world hold worship services. Let us make October 24, 2009 a very special day for all ages when we publicly worship God as our Creator and thank Him for giving us life and hope. Let us praise God as we look forward to the day when He will recreate the world—a world without sin. In the meantime, let us recognize His majesty and assurance of His presence.