Church Blog

The Holy Family

We celebrate our new lineage this Christmas through the grace of adoption.

All those that are justified, God vouchsafed, in and for the sake of his only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption, by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God, have his name put upon them, receive the spirit of adoption, have access to the throne of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry Abba, Father, are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by him as by a Father; yet never cast off; but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises as heirs, of everlasting salvation. (Ephesians 1:5; Galatians 4:4, 5; John 1:12; Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 6:18;Revelation 3:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 2:18; Psalms 103:13; Proverbs 14:26; 1 Peter 5:7; Hebrews 12:6; Isaiah 54:8, 9; Lamentations 3:31; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 1:14;Hebrews 6:12 )


Advent: the beginning of our year

Did you know that New Years shows up about 5 weeks too late for Christians. Just like when we wake up in the morning, thinking we are starting a new day, we find that God has beat us to it. The Christian Church starts the year 4 Sundays before Christmas with a time that we call Advent or coming,a commemoration and rearranging based upon the birth of Jesus to be the King of everything.

While the grounds for Advent is the first coming, the hope is in the second coming. The time has historically been used to both reflect on what Jesus has done and to prepare our hearts and lives for his second in the rearranging of all things during Advent.

We celebrate Advent in our public worship services and in our homes with a the lighting of four candles. We will do this during our serves and encourage you to pick up a family Advent devotional at the back to use with your family and neighbors. The first candle reminds us that Jesus brought hope where we did not have it before. As we light the first candle together we rearrange our lives that have gotten out of balance based on hope. The second candle calls us to reenter the story of God’s love fully and finally proven to us in Jesus. The third candle celebrates the joy that is ours as the people of God, the joy we will only own in practice as we praise and pray. Finally, the last candle calls us to rearrange our lives towards the goal of peace for which Jesus came into the world – the summing up of all things, the removal of all grounds for alienation.

As your Pastor I am inviting you, church, to join with thousands of years of our believing ancestors and begin your year with Advent. Rearrange your hearts and your annual goals based on adding up Christmas rightly. Not by credit card receipts, but by the gifts of hope, love, joy and peace. Rearrange during the four week preparation so that we may worship fully together on Christmas Sunday as the gathered people of God in this place. Rearrange during Advent, worship on Christmas Sunday and just enjoy the feast on Christmas Day in honor of all that God has done by becoming a man in Jesus.


Serve Your Neighbor in your Vocation

We are saved only by grace through faith in the work of Jesus Christ. But then we are sent back into our callings to live out that faith.

In this great little article, Gene Veith celebrates the Protestant doctrine of vocation.

 


A personal liturgy of confession

Where is your struggle? Is it temper or bitterness? Sexual immorality? Amnesia toward God? Gluttony, laziness or greed? Judgmental words or thoughts? Gossip? Obsessive worrying? God welcomes all who are weary with sin.

A Personal Liturgy of Confession by David Powlison


Mockers try to knock the walls down

Mockers try to knock the walls down, but the righteous build stuff.

Prov. 25:28 A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.

Prov. 21:24 “Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.

Prov. 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.

Prov. 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.

Prov. 22:10 Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease.

Prov. 4:23; Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Cf Phil. 4:7

Ps. 141:3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!

2 Tim 1:14 Guard the good deposit entrusted to you.


The Lutheran Book of Prayer.

We shared this prayer yesterday from the Lutheran Book of Prayer.

Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as the light of the day fades away and the darkness comes, I know that You, who kept safe Israel, will neither slumber nor sleep. With my thanksgivings I exalt You as the source of the many blessings of this day. Teach me to see ever more clearly that life and happiness, health and daily bread, peace of heart, forgiveness of sins, and the promise of life forever with You are gifts of Your divine grace. Continue Your mercies toward me, my fellow believers, and all mankind. If I have enemies, bless them and let them undergo a change of heart. Pardon the sin of my transgressions and shortcomings for the sake of Jesus, my Redeemer. Strengthen Your Church, and let her membership constantly grow and praise You, the only true God, here in time and hereafter in eternity; in Jesus’ name. Amen.


What is your only hope in life and death?

This week we are all learning the first question of the New City Catechism as we read, pray and sing around our tables.

Here is Tim Keller with a bit of encouragement and explanation.


Thinking about Singing

God has commanded us to sing and has given us songs to sing. Here are a few resources referenced on Sundays.

Sing! Keith and Kristen Getty

Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns. T. David Gordon. The link is to a sample chapter.

A Psalm Singing Resurgence.  This is a fascinating conversation on why we are seeing a resurgence in Psalm Singing among Evangelicals.
Should we Sing of God’s Reckless Love?  From John Piper. This is a good and gracious answer to what we do when the lyrics of worship songs, young or old, are theologically unworthy to be sung.
The Church Singing. A wonderful issue of the 9 Marks Journal dedicated to singing in church.
The Slow Death of Congregational Singing. A reflection from our friends at Matthias Media.
Music in the Church. Jarred Richey interviewed on the Kuyperian Commentary about music and children in the church.
Music for the Church. Mark Never interviews Keith Getty.

Sing!

In the month of August we will continue our pursuit of becoming better worshippers by asking, “Why do we sing in Lord’s Day worship?” Christians are a singing people and this church has always been a singing people. Why does the “work of the people” (liturgy) include the songs of the people?

Our vision is of a uniquely congregational worship, filled with joy and quality. First, we sing to God because God is worth singing to. Second, we sing good congregational songs and we sing them well. Third, we improve our singing to improve our ministry to one another. Fourth, we teach our children to sing to give them the gift of song and give the future church the gift of singers.

Listen here.

Find more singing resources here.


Two Ways to Live

Two Ways to Live provides a simple way to tell the whole story, to communicate (in brief) the whole Christian worldview.

  1. God the creator; humanity ruling under his authority.
  2. Humanity rebels, wishing to run things its own way.
  3. God judges (and will judge) humanity for this rebellion.
  4. In his love, God sends Jesus to die as an atoning sacrifice.
  5. In his power, God raises Jesus to life as ruler and judge.
  6. This presents us with a challenge to repent and believe.

 

 

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