Fiery Baptism of Jesus

A Call to Worship

Responsive Reading Based on Psalms 139:4-10

Leader:  LORD, you know what I want to say, even before the words leave my mouth.
All:  You are all around us—in front of us and behind us. 
Leader:  I feel your hand on my shoulder.  I am amazed at what you know;  
All:  It is too much for us to understand.

Leader:  Your Spirit is everywhere I go. 
All:  We cannot escape your presence.
Leader:  If I go up to heaven, you will be there. 
All:  If we go down to the place of death, you will be there.

Leader:  If I go east where the sun rises or go to live in the west beyond the sea,
All:  Even there you will take our hands and lead us.  Your strong right hand will protect us.

Opening Prayer

LORD, you know all about us.  You know when we sit down and when we get up. You know our thoughts from far away.  You know where we go and where we lie down.  You know everything we do.  You formed the way we think and feel. You put us together in our mother's womb.  We praise you because you made us in such a wonderful way.  We know how amazing that was!  God, examine us and know our minds.  Make sure that we are not going the wrong way.  Lead us on the path that has always been right. 
Scripture Reading

Matthew 3:1-3, 5-8, 11-12 (Easy to Read Version)

When it was the right time, John the Baptizer began telling people a message from God.  This was out in the desert area of Judea.  John said, "Change your hearts and lives, because God's kingdom is coming soon."
John is the one Isaiah the prophet was talking about when he said, "There is someone shouting in the desert: 'Prepare the way for the Lord.  Make the road straight for him.' "
People came to John from Jerusalem and the rest of Judea and from all the areas along the Jordan River.  They confessed the bad things they had done, and John baptized them in the Jordan.
Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to the place where John was baptizing people.  When John saw them, he said, "You are all snakes!   Who warned you to run away from the punishment that God is about to send?   Change your hearts!   And show by the way you live that you have changed.
"I baptize you with water to show that you have changed your hearts and lives.  But there is someone coming later who is able to do more than I can.   I am not good enough to be the slave who takes off his sandals.   He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  He will come ready to clean the grain.   He will separate the good grain from the straw, and he will put the good part into his barn.   Then he will burn the useless part with a fire that cannot be stopped."
Message by Roger Templeton  -  "Fiery Baptism of Jesus"