02.22.15 Worship Confessional

jubileeThis was a dynamic weekend for our city and church as Jubilee came to Pittsburgh. The Jubilee conference brings over 2,500 university students into Pittsburgh and the heart behind the experience is the conviction that the Gospel changes everything! As Abraham Kuyper declared, “There is not a single square inch of creation that Jesus Christ does not proclaim, ‘Mine!'”

We bring a taste of Jubilee to our worship gathering and this year we were privileged to have Justin McRoberts as our guest. Justin is a gifted singer/songwriter, author and storyteller. His most recent work is Title Pending: Things I Think About When I Make Stuff and it is a brilliant reflection on the creative process.

As well, Justin is a Compassion International artist and yesterday our community committed to rescuing 5 more children from Uganda out of poverty.

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • All Creatures of Our God and King (traditional)
  • Lord, I need You (Matt Maher)
  • All the Poor and Powerless (All Sons and Daughters)
  • Jesus, All for Jesus (Robin Mark)
  • Announcements and Offering
  • Message in Word and Song (Justin McRoberts)

You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this weekend in worship at The Worship Community.

Stay connected…

02.15.15 Worship Confessional

Story Logo - Version 2Above all, Abraham’s righteousness is not the result of any accomplishment, whether of sacrifice or acts of obedience. Rather, it is stated emphatically that belief alone brought him into right relationship with God. (Gerhardt Von Rad)

As we continued in our Story series, this morning we explored the narrative found in Genesis 15. In this passage, Abram hears directly from God – “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward…Look up at the heavens and count the stars–if indeed you can count them… so shall your offspring be.” (Genesis 15:1,5) And in one of the pivotal texts in all Scripture we read, “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).

As part of our liturgy today, we included a time of lament. Walter Brueggemann describes both the power of lament and how refraining from lament is actually withholding from God:

“A lament is an act of bold faith — on the one hand, because it insists that the world must be experienced as it really is and not in some pretended way. On the other hand, it is bold because it insists that all such experiences of disorder are a proper subject for discourse with God. There is nothing out of bounds, nothing precluded or inappropriate. Everything properly belongs in this conversation of the heart. To withhold parts of life from that conversation is in fact to withhold part of life from the sovereignty of God.”

Our lament consisted of words from Psalm 43 interspersed with a song of lament sung to the tune of “I Will Arise And Go to Jesus.”

All: Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

How long, O Lord will You wait in silence
Holding back Your mighty hand
Will You hide Your face  forever
How can this be Your perfect plan

How long, O Lord will the wicked prosper
While the righteous weep and mourn
Rise and shield Your faithful servants
Let us see the light of dawn

All: Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Leader: Vindicate me, my God, and plead my cause against an unfaithful nation. Rescue me from those who are deceitful and wicked. You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? (Silence)

Where are You do You hear us calling
Will You ever turn Your ear
Come at last with perfect justice
Come and draw Your people near

Where are You do You hear me calling
To Your restless hidden heart
See my Spirit there within You
Will You receive me where You are

All: Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Leader: Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. (Silence)

How I know You, how I love You
Deeper than the deepest sea
See my Spirit deep within You
There’s no need to hide from me

All: Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His  arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
Oh there are ten thousand charms

Unison Prayer: Lord, we come to you today, with a growing awareness that we are people of hope and doubt, joy and sorrow, life and death. We come in faith, believing in your goodness, trusting in your love and in need of your power. Fill our lives afresh with your mercy and goodness; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Christy Nockels version)
  • Psalm 117
  • Hosanna (Paul Baloche)
  • A Liturgy of Lament
  • Announcements and Offering
  • Message (Beyond the Stars)
  • Communion
  • At the Cross/Love Ran Red (Chris Tomlin)

You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this weekend in worship at The Worship Community.

Stay connected…

02.08.15 Worship Confessional

Story Logo - Version 2“Our lives must find themselves in a greater story or they will find their place in some lesser story” (H. Stephen Shoemaker).

Today we began a new series entitled, “Story.” The Bible is first and foremost, the story of God’s deep love for the world God created and God’s mission to reconcile and redeem all things through His Son, Jesus Christ. Throughout the rest of the year we will be exploring a number of Old Testament narratives (in 3-6 weeks chunks) and we kicked things off this morning with the Abraham and Sarah narrative (Genesis 12-25).

The first episode was entitled, “Starting and Stumbling” and as we explored Genesis 12:1-20, two truths were revealed:

  1. In God’s story, people are called to step out in faith
  2. In God’s story, faith will be tested

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
  • Psalm 117
  • Great Are You, Lord
  • At the Cross (Love Ran Red)
  • Our Father
  • The Lord’s Prayer
  • Announcements and Offering
  • Message (Starting and Stumbling)

You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this past weekend at The Worship Community.

Stay connected…

02.01.15 Worship Confessional

heartYesterday we concluded our series on the Five Ways of Being. Our Director of Spiritual Formation, Dave Bindewald, focused our attention on God’s unfailing, steadfast love as we learned that in Psalm 136, the words, “His steadfast live endures forever” are declared 26 times. The most prominent New Testament “one another,” (repeated over 50 times) is “love one another” and the key to loving others well is to be rooted in God’s steadfast, unfailing, never-ending love. As Jesus said,  “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (John 15:9)

While our focus was on God’s love, we also acknowledged the fact that sometimes we do not personally or communally experience God’s love. In a world where terror and fear reigns, in a world where personal and relational brokenness and sadness is prevalent, how can faithful people faithfully express their pain, sorrow, sadness and questions.  During our gathering we included a prayerful space, “A Time to Lament.” This liturgical piece integrated texts from Psalm 13 which were read by a leader followed by words of lament spoken by the congregation.

A Time to Lament

Leader: How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

All: O Lord, our Lord,
sometimes we feel forgotten.
O Lord, our Lord,
sometimes we feel like you have forgotten our world.
Pain, sorrow, sadness and despair are all around us –
Pain, sorrow, sadness and despair are within us –
How long will this persist?

Leader: Consider and answer me, O LORD my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

All: Why does evil seem to have the edge?
Please, Lord, stop it!
We cannot bear to see the fools of this world— have the upper hand.
We cannot bear to see your enemies believe that they will be successful.

Leader: But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

All: We long to sing your praise,
to see things become more and more the way they ought to be.
We long to see more of heaven come to earth;
for deep down, we trust in your goodness and in your steadfast love. Amen.

What place does lament have in your life, both personally and individually and corporately?

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • At the Cross (Daniel Renstom)
  • Forever (Chris Tomlin)
  • Your Love Never Fails (Chris McClarney)
  • A Time to Lament
  • Our Father (Marcus Meier)
  • Announcements and Offering
  • At the Cross: Love Ran Red (Chris Tomlin)
  • Message (Be Loving)
  • Forever (Chris Tomlin)

You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this past weekend in worship at The Worship Community.

Stay connected…

01.25.15 Worship Confessional

beforgivingBe kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude. (Martin Luther King)

Yesterday we continued our series, “The Five Ways of Being” by centering our attention on forgiveness. As we explored Jesus’ teaching in Luke 7:36-50, I found the words of Kenneth Bailey instructive:

“There are two kinds of sin and two kinds of sinners, namely Simon and the women. Simon sins within the law, and the woman sins outside the law. Sinners like the woman often know they are sinners; sinners like Simon often do not. Thus repentance comes hardest for the ‘righteous.’”

The Scriptures make it clear that “all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23). Some of us tend to be religious sinners and others, irreligious. My prayer is that my heart will be tender toward God and the amazing grace God offers to me daily through Jesus Christ. I have been forgiven much and I pray that the forgiveness I have received will overflow in forgiveness toward others.

This week, how will you extend the kind of forgiveness that Jesus Christ extended to you?

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • Forever Reign (Hillsong)
  • Sing, Sing, Sing (Chris Tomlin)
  • The Apostles Creed
  • We Believe (Hillsong)
  • Our Father (Bethel Worship)
  • The Lord’s Prayer
  • Announcements and Offering
  • Message (Be Forgiving)
  • Amazing Grace: My Chains Are Gone (Chris Tomlin)

You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this past weekend in worship at The Worship Community.

Stay connected…