12.14.14 Worship Confessional

Slide1This morning we continued our series, “The Greatest Gift” and Katherine Sikma explored two powerful Old Testament texts. One was a traditional Advent reading, Isaiah 9, but the second was one that many people are unfamiliar: the words of the prophet, Habakkuk. Kathrine did masterful work, pressing into the themes of darkness and light, reminding us that even in the midst of darkness and despair, we can await the light of Christ in confidence because God is faithful. As Habakkuk declared:

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,  yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. (Habakkuk 3:15-16)

During the Advent season, each Sunday we add some liturgical pieces to our gathering and today we used a litany we used based on Isaiah 9. It was taken from the Re-Worship website, a rich resource for all types of worship elements.

O God, when the world grows dark
and the advance of evil appears unstoppable,
may we never lose our vision
of Emmanuel’s light.

When society seems uncaring
and indifference predominates,
may we never forget the warmth
of Emmanuel’s love.

When people cry out for justice
but self-interest prevails,
may we never lose the fire
of Emmanuel’s anger.

When we know we must speak out
but our tongue seems to shrivel,
may we draw boldness from the truth
of Emmanuel’s proclamations.

When those we must confront are powerful
and our hearts grow fearful,
may we take strength from the courage
of Emmanuel’s actions.

O God, when the moment comes
and we must make our stand,
may it always be
at Emmanuel’s side.

Here is our complete worship flow:

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

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12.7.14 Worship Confessional

Slide1Rahab has a line waiting out her back door. Men, lined up at her inn, wanting a place to lie down, wanting a piece of her. In a town with no Sabbaths, no lines of God’s word ever read, no prophets with the message of a coming visitation from heaven, she’s one woman alone with the grime of too many nights on her hands, the weight of too many wounds on her heart – a woman who looks up at her godless mess and sees the tenderness of God. In a place of faithlessness and doubtfulness and godlessness, God gives God. The God who can reveal himself wherever, whenever, to whomever; the God who is never limited by lack or restricted to the expected; the God who is no respecter of persons, but the relentless rescuer of prodigals; the God who gives the gift of faith in places you’d most doubt. That is always the secret to the abundant life: to believe that God is where you doubt God can be. (Ann Voskamp)

Yesterday as we continued our Advent series, we explored the narrative from Joshua 2. While it might seem like a strange Advent text, I wrapped my message around this big idea: God’s greatest gifts come in the most surprising places to the most surprising people in the most surprising ways.

Rahab, a surprising character from Jericho, put her hope in the one, true God and the scarlet cord she placed in her window was a sign of God’s grace, mercy and rescue in her life.

This Advent season, what are you placing your hope in? Or again to quote Voskamp, “How strong a cord seems – until your life slips off the edge of a cliff and you lunge for something to hold on to. One braid of fibers enough to hold you – that’s your literal only hope.”

Ultimately, our hope is in God, the greatest gift, the surprising gift of grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. He is our scarlet cord!

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • Mighty Fortress (Aaron Shust and Paul Baloche)
  • Whom Shall I Fear (Chris Tomlin)
  • His Company (Daniel Renstrom)
  • Advent Litany for Peace
  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel
  • Advent Conspiracy Update
  • Announcements and Offering
  • Message (The Surprising Gift)
  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Aaron Shust arrangement)

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

Stay connected…

11.30.14 Worship Confessional

Slide1Every human being is formed to be a spectator of the created world and given eyes that they might be lead to its author…first to cast eyes upon the very fabric of the world in which God wished to be seen by us. As soon as we acknowledge God to be the supreme architect, who has erected the beauteous fabric of the universe, our minds must necessarily be ravished with wonder at God’s infinite goodness, wisdom and power. (John Calvin)

Yesterday we began the season of Advent by exploring the wondrous gift of life. Each of us has been created in God’s image. I love how Ann Voskamp puts this into words:

“The three persons of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – gathered close together to imagine you. And God in three persons, uncontainable affection, knelt down and kissed warm life into you with the breath of God’s love. You were made from the dust of this earth, and you were made of the happiness of heaven, and you are flesh and you are spirit, and you are of two worlds longing for the home of forever and of Him.”

One of the most amazing dimensions of the Christmas story is that God, the Creator of  life, enters into the world as a human. In other words, the Creator becomes the creation, thus honoring and dignifying human flesh with God’s own presence.

This week how will you live with a greater sense of awe and reverence for the gift of life? What can you do this week to be more aware of the image of God in the people around you? How can you value and protect life, from the pre-born to the elderly and every life in-between?

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • Arise, King of Kings (Eoghan Heaslip)
  • Here Is Our King (David Crowder)
  • Video: Learning to Hope During Advent (The Work of the People)
  • His Company (Daniel Renstrom)
  • Unison Prayer
  • Announcements and Offering
  • Message (The Wondrous Gift)
  • Who Would Have Dreamed (Sovereign Grace Music)
  • The Sacrament of Communion
  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Traditional)

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

Stay connected…

11.23.14 Worship Confessional

JesseTreeSomething old is new again. Congregations across the  United States are rediscovering the power of the  inter-generational faith community. Most congregations are multi-­generational by membership. Some are  intentionally inter-generational. They make their inter-generational character a defining feature of their  community life, ministries, and programming.  These churches make it a priority to foster inter-generational relationships, faith sharing, and storytelling; to incorporate all generations in worship; to develop service  projects that involve all ages, and to engage all generations in learning together. For these churches, being  inter-generational is a way of  life. It is an integral element of their culture. It is who they are. (John Roberto, The Important of Inter-generational Community for Faith Formation)

Our heart is to be an inter-generational faith community and to live into this value, four times a year, our Director of Children, Youth and Families, Amber Steele,coordinates a WE Event. This curriculum is designed by Faith Alive and at each WE event, our entire community, young and old alike experiences part of God’s story through drama; we live into God’s story by talking together; we participate in an activity with others around the table; and we reflect, sing, and praise God together. This morning our theme was “Joining the Kingdom” and we lived into the anointing of David narrative found in 1 Samuel 16.

How does your church intentionally seek to be an inter-generational community?

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • Bless Your Name (Eddie Kirkland)
  • Come Thou Fount (Traditional)
  • Reading from Psalm 8
  • 10,000 Reasons
  • Report from our Pittsburgh Project Team
  • WE Experience (Joining the Kingdom)
  • Psalm 24
  • Arise, King of Kings (Eoghan Heaslip)

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

Stay connected…



11.16.14 Worship Confessional

kingdomofgodseries-e1344704455581Jesus is making this world, his world.

That was the reminder that Dave Bindewald, our Director of Spiritual Formation shared with us yesterday as our series on “The Kingdom of God continued. In Luke 17:20-21, we read:

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (NKJV)

While this may sound like the kingdom is an exclusively personally reality, the truth is that Jesus demonstrated that the kingdom had drawn near by exerting his authority over demons (Mark 1:21-28), disease (Mark 1:40-45) and even death (Mark 5:35-42). And because Jesus is the one who brings the kingdom near, we must never forget that:

  1. The Kingdom Is Not Dependent Upon Me
  2. Ultimately, Nothing Can Separate Us from the Kingdom

One note about our gathering yesterday: while on occasion we have issues with the air conditioning being too cold, yesterday we had no heat in our worship space (and it was about 30 degrees outside). First world problems. Our community worshiped with coats on, we cut one song to tighten up the time but all in all, God was glorified!

Here is our complete worship flow:

  • Your Love Never Fails (Chris McClarney and Anthony Skinner)
  • Mighty to Dave (Hillsong)
  • Kingdom Come (Elevation Worship – deleted due to cold)
  • Psalm 103
  • 10,000 Reasons (Matt Redman)
  • Unison Prayer of Thanksgiving
  • WE Video
  • Announcements and Offering
  • Message (The Kingdom of God)
  • My Father’s World (Jadon Lavik)

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

Stay connected…