Sunday, May 17, 2020
The Sixth Sunday of Eastertide

Good morning!

Thank you for joining us for this special hour.

The Order of Worship is below.

We hope you will participate in this service by reading the scriptures,
praying earnestly, singing along with the hymns,
and listening for God's word to you today.

You may watch this service on our website or on Facebook .

You may also watch it here:
The Order of Worship 

Preparing Our Hearts and Minds for Worship 

Chiming of the Hour

Ms. Eileen S. Crowell, Pianist

Glorious Is Thy Name
Tune GLORIOUS NAME by B. B. McKinney; This arrangement by Max Lyall

Meditate on the image below during the Prelude.

The Preaching of St. Paul in Athens
Giovanni Paolo Panini (1691-1765), Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary

Welcome to Worship
Mr. Edward Crowell, Director of Music

The peace of Christ be with you all.

Call to Worship
 Miss Shelby Allison, Soprano, with Mr. Crowell

From All That Dwell Below the Skies
Text by Isaac Watts, Music by Gordon Young

From all that dwell below the skies
Let the Creator's praise arise:
Let the Redeemer's name be sung
Through every land, by every tongue!

Eternal are Thy mercies, Lord;
Eternal truths attend Thy word;
Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore,
'Til suns shall rise and set no more.

Reflection and Prayer

"Doubt proves that we are in touch with reality, with the things that threaten faith as well as with things that nourish it. If we are not in touch with reality, then our faith is apt to be blind, fragile, and irrelevant.”

Frederick Buechner (b. 1926)

Sermon, Part I
Easter Changes Everything
Rev. Kelly K. Burkhart, Pastor

Reading of the New Testament
Acts 17:16-23 ( NRSV )

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he argued in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and also in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Also some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers debated with him. Some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign divinities.” (This was because he was telling the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.) So they took him and brought him to the Areopagus and asked him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? It sounds rather strange to us, so we would like to know what it means.” Now all the Athenians and the foreigners living there would spend their time in nothing but telling or hearing something new.

Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you..."

Pastoral Prayer

Almighty God,
You hold all time and history in Your hands.
You were there at our beginning.
You will be there at our end.
Your love shields and surrounds us all the days in between. 

So, today, we come asking that You would help us to understand your truth.
Enable us to set aside our doubts, to cast away our pre-conceptions,
and to think with an open mind, a willing heart, and an eagerness to hear Your word to us.
Reveal to us those things that we could not have known
had You not loved us enough to show them to us.

Lord, we also come asking for forgiveness
for those times when we get so focused on our own agendas and timetables
that we miss hearing the word You are speaking to us now.
We don’t see the gifts You so freely offer
because we are so intent on pursing what ultimately does not satisfy.
Our anxieties dull our awareness of the things You desire to accomplished in us and around us.
When hard things happen and things don’t change as quickly or as clearly as we would like,
we forget how much You love us. 

So, slow us down, O God.
Center us in Your peace.
Remind us what needs to be set aside so that there will be more room for You.
O God, keep us faithful in the work You have called us to do. 
Show us where our hands can become Your hands.
Empower us to use our gifts in ways that bring blessing.
Help us to be present to You so that we may be Your presence to others.
And help us now to pray as Jesus taught us, saying,

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who are 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 trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.

Hymn of Response
Verses 1, 2, 3, & 5

Reflection and Praise

“We are uneasy with mystery. We like to compartmentalize the world in artificial and rigid categories of right and wrong. So much of Scripture calls us away from our hard categories into mystery and paradox. It resists simplicity. Instead, Scripture often “complexifies” things and asks us to be willing to do the same. Behind this resistance to mystery and our desire to over-simplify things lies our need for control. True understanding involves a willingness to explore the complexities of Scripture and live with the tensions and ambiguities they create.”

from Geography of Grace (2012) by Kris Rocke and Joel Van Dyke

Sermon, Part II
Reason, Faith, and Grace

Reading of the New Testament
Acts 17:24-31 ( NRSV )

"...The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’

"Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

Hymn of Praise

Giving Back to God

Reading of the Old Testament
Psalm 66:16-20 ( NRSV )

Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what He has done for me.
I cried aloud to Him, and He was extolled with my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened; He has given heed to the words of my prayer.
Blessed be God, because He has not rejected my prayer
or removed His steadfast love from me.

This is the Word of the Lord.
“Thanks be to God!”

Offertory Prayer

Almighty and Holy God,
You invite us to Your Temple
to bring our doubts and fears,
our joys and concerns, our petitions and praise,
and to offer them for the earth and all its creatures.
You created the world in beauty,
and You restore all things in glory
through the victory of Jesus Christ.
We pray that, wherever Your image is still disfigured
by poverty, sickness, selfishness, war, and greed,
the new creation in Christ may appear
in justice, love, and in peace,
to the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord,
the One whom we praise and adore,
and in whose precious and most holy name we pray.

Offertory Statement

We remember that all we have is God's.
As an act of worship, it is with joyful hearts and out of an abundance of riches
that we return to God a portion of that with which He has blessed us.

Although we are not meeting together in the Temple,
the church's operating expenses continue.

Give cheerfully, thanking God for His blessings of light and life.

Or mail a check to:
230 West 20th Street, Houston, TX 77008

During the Offertory, devote yourself to God
in heart and in mind and in spirit.

 Mr. Walter LaForge, Organist

Dear Lord and Father of Mankind
Tune REST (ELTON) by Frederick C. Maker; This arrangement by Robert E. Mallory

Reflection and Commitment

“Human reason and rationality can only take us so far in our understanding of the universe.
 If we are to go further, we must take a leap of faith.”

Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 AD )

Sermon, Part III
Responding to God

Reading of the New Testament
Acts 17:32-34 ( NRSV )

When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some scoffed; but others said, “We will hear you again about this.” At that point Paul left them. But some of them joined him and became believers, including Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

This is the Word of the Lord.
"Thanks be to God!"

Hymn of Commitment
Verses 1, 2, & 4

Dismissed to Lives of Commitment


Now may the Lord bless you and keep you
and make His face to shine upon you,
and grant you peace.

May the Lord give you the grace to never sell yourself short.
May the Lord give you the grace to risk something big for something good.
May the Lord give you the grace to remember
that this world is now dangerous for anything but truth,
and too small for anything but love.

Now may He take your minds and think through them,
may He take your lips and speak through them,
and may He take your hearts and set them on fire,
in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
Tune LOBE DEN HERREN from the Stralsund Gesangbuch (1665); This arrangement by Jeanne E. Shaffer
Important Reminders:

  • We will continue offering worship services online through May 31. We will send a Worship Guide by email each Saturday evening.

  • We invite you to join us online for a video of each service by visiting our website: Click "Video Services" and select the video of the service. You may also watch on this email through our YouTube channel (link at the top), or on our Facebook page (

  • All activities in our building are cancelled until further notice.

  • We will continue to update you via email, the church's Facebook page, and the church's website on our plans forward.

  • Please remember to give your tithes and offerings. If you are able to do so, please give above and beyond your regular tithe, in order that we may be better prepared to meet the challenges ahead. Give online at, or mail a check to 230 West 20th Street, Houston, Texas 77008.

  • If you do not regularly attend Baptist Temple, but would like to contribute to our church's missions and ministries, we sincerely welcome your gift.

  • Stay safe, stay healthy, stay connected, and pray for each other.
Est. 1908 AD
230 West 20th Street, Houston, TX 77008 | 713.862.6655
Worship Leadership
Rev. Kelly K. Burkhart , Pastor | Mr. Edward Crowell , Director of Music
Mr. Walter LaForge , Church Organist | Ms. Eileen S. Crowell , Guest Pianist
Miss Shelby Allison , Sanctuary Choir Section Leader
Artwork used by special permission from Art in the Christian Tradition , Vanderbilt Divinity Library
Other images are Public Domain
Offertory Prayer used by permission from  Revised Common Lectionary Prayers , Augsburg Fortress
Geography of Grace published by Center for Transforming Mission , 2012
Hymn scores from Celebrating Grace Hymnal , Macon, Georgia, 2010 (our adopted hymnal)
"Living for Jesus" from Celebration Hymnal , Word Publishers, 1997
Music by permission of CCLI License 3199510
Orchestrations by permission of Celebrating Grace, Inc.