Worship for Your Week - Summertime

This blog exists to help fuel our worship - to help us see and savor God as the greatest treasure in all of existence! We'll be posting playlists of songs and a brief reflection on particular issues related to worship. Be sure to check out the links to the playlist below.

Several times throughout this summer we will be having what we are calling a Night of Worship & Prayer — evenings set aside to simply worship God together, specifically as we sing with passion, pray with boldness and think on God's Word in truth. Here are three big reasons we wanted to do this:

1. To more faithfully embody the central value of worship as a community.

We were made by God and for God (Col 1:16); so, we desire to increasingly be about God in our worship. We exist as a community restored and transformed by the Gospel of Jesus to be a God-worshipping people (1 Pet 2:9). Because of this, we want, by His grace, to more deeply value, treasure and love (read: worship!) the God who made us and saves us for Himself!

2. To grow in fully responding to God specifically through singing and prayer as a community.

Scripture is littered with the notion of worshipping God through song. Psalm 95 says, “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song…Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God.” In fact, there are over four hundred references to singing and around fifty direct commands to sing throughout the Bible. The longest book, the Psalms, is actually a collection of songs. And several times in the New Testament we’re told to sing when we gather together as God’s people (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16). 

These intentional nights meant to focus primarily on worship through singing and prayer can stretch us in our response to the magnitude of God holistically — with our hearts (i.e., our affections, desires & emotions), our minds (i.e., what we believe & know), our bodies (i.e., our physical postures) and ultimately the entirety of our lives (Mark 12:30-31).

3. To pursue and grow to absolutely love the presence of God together as a community.

The Bible begins and ends with people dwelling in the presence of God (Gen. 1-2; Rev. 21:3), and this is what the Gospel restores us to — God HIMSELF! (Rom. 5:1-2; Eph. 3:15-19). So, we want to be a people who love God’s presence and are set apart by it as a community! Notice how Moses pleads in Exodus 33: “God, if Your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I and your people have found favor in your sight? Is it not your going with us that makes us distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” Or how the Psalmist declares in Psalm 26: “O LORD, how I love the house where You live, the place where Your glorious presence dwells.” And in Psalm 16: “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, and at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” 

Friends, let us sing and pray and beg for this to increase among us! May we be marked by God's presence through His Spirit (Acts 2). May people walk away from our gatherings saying there is something distinct about our community, our relationships, our love. May people leave time spent in any interaction with us saying, "God really is among them" (1 Cor. 14:25).

Let’s pursue and worship Him together. For His glory and our joy.

Be sure to check out the playlist on Spotify and YouTube.

Worship for Easter - Death & Resurrection

This blog exists to help fuel our worship - to help us see and savor God as the greatest treasure in all of existence! We'll be posting playlists of songs and a brief reflection on particular issues related to worship. Be sure to check out the links to the playlist below.

Easter. It has become a holiday marked by Cadbury eggs, chocolate bunnies, and Easter egg hunts. Or, perhaps, a less commercialized version, full of fond memories and experiences with family or going out for a fancy Sunday brunch. Whatever Easter calls to mind for you, it’s extremely easy to drift away from the heart of this distinctly Christian holiday.  Which is crazy, because for us as the Church, this holiday is at the very heart of what we believe about Jesus! (1 Cor 15:1-19)

Leading up to Easter, we recall the final moments of Jesus’ life.  As He humbly entered Jerusalem, adored by the people (Mark 11:1-11); as, just one week later, He was tragically betrayed and brutally murdered at the cross by those very same people (Mark 15:6-15); and as He was eventually placed in the tomb — the Author of life Himself cold, dead and lifeless (Mark 15:33-46).

Yet, the story does not end there. Though King Jesus was crucified and laid in darkness, the Light of life would rise from the grave! By the Spirit, Jesus fiercely asserted His authority over Death and its power! (Mark 16:1-8)

Indeed, this claim — that Christ was crucified for our sin, that He was buried, and that He was raised from the dead — is at the heart of the Christian life (1 Cor 15:3-4).

The resurrection of Jesus means that death no longer has the last word; it has been defeated! The resurrection of Jesus offers hope in the midst of a broken, fallen and sin-ridden world, because the resurrection is an intentional and decisive blow against sin and its birth child, Death (Is. 25:8-9; Rom. 6:3-14).

The Resurrection of Jesus is the clear breaking in of God’s future kingdom to our present experience. No longer are we forced to give in to sin, brokenness and defeat. Why? Because our greatest enemies of sin, death and darkness were themselves broken & defeated when the crucified Jesus got up and walked out of the tomb!! (Heb. 2:14-15)

Y’all, this is earth-shattering and life-altering. This is Good News, and it is why we worship!

So during this in-between time — this time between Jesus’ past resurrection and His future coming — may we not functionally live as though nothing actually happened. 

May we fulfill our task in the present, as N.T. Wright says, “…to live as resurrection people in between Easter and the final day, with our Christian life…as a sign of the first and a foretaste of the second.” (Surprised by Hope, 29-30).

Yes. Let us, with our lives and in our worship, celebrate & proclaim the powerful resurrection of Jesus Christ. For in so doing, we implement Easter and anticipate His final coming!

Check out the Easter playlist on Spotify and YouTube.

Worship For Your Week - December

This blog exists to help fuel our worship - to help us see and savor God as the greatest treasure in all of existence! We'll be posting playlists of songs and a brief reflection on particular issues related to worship.

We are officially in the season of Advent (literally: "arrival"), which means intentionally focusing our attention on the coming of God to earth in human flesh, ultimately to restore and redeem human flesh - to redeem you and me - from our broken sinfulness.

We always celebrate Jesus, but Advent is a sweet time to both intentionally remember and longingly anticipate.

We remember Jesus' work of salvation through His first coming. In fact, this is what His name actually means - "God saves." Just prior to His lowly birth in Bethlehem, an angel approached Mary and Joseph telling them that Mary would give birth to a King and that His name would be Jesus, "for He will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:31-32).

So, we intentionally remember the rescue from sin that was purchased by God, who not only dwelled among us, but also died for us!

But it's not enough to merely remember; we also anticipate. We, too, like the Israelites who awaited the promised Messiah, look forward with eager expectation for this same Messiah Jesus to come again bringing about His rescue in full!

As followers of Jesus, we have tasted and seen the beauty of His forgiveness through the cross and the victory of His empowering presence through the Spirit.

Yet, we all still feel it.

We know things aren't as they should be. In this time in between Jesus' first and second coming, the battle is all too real. Our selfish desires and doubts. Our inability to relinquish control, lay down our pride, and rest. The heaviness of pain and hurt as injustice is committed in our homes, neighborhoods and around the globe.

So, we longingly anticipate the day Jesus returns to fully rescue us - and all of creation - from the sin that so heavily weighs us down and holds us back from knowing God in all of His glory and grace!

In this precious season, may we behold and look to our Savior, Immanuel, who is God with us. And as we do, may we intentionally remember His past coming and longingly anticipate his next coming. All glory be to Christ, the newborn King!

Be sure to check out this month's playlist on Spotify and YouTube.