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Feb 2011

Sunday Rhythm | February 27, 2011

Every week we prayerfully and purposefully compile a Sunday pre-service iTunes playlist to enhance our Sunday gathering. These are artists that you should definitely consider listening too, and if you feel so inclined, purchasing their music through the link provided. We hope that this becomes an avenue for discovering new gospel-centered art and music. This week’s pre-service music featured selections from Sojourn Music’s new double EP, The Mercy Seat and The War.

Sunday Rhythm

Continuation of Worship

    What is thy only comfort in life and death?
    That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.
    Question 1 from the Heidelberg Catechism

Song Service

1. In Feast or Fallow by Sandra McCracken. This modern hymn was our call to worship song yesterday. The lyrics speak of a trust in God that goes beyond our own individual circumstances. As the situations that surround us constantly change, God does not, and this song is a call to lean on God wholeheartedly, regardless of where He has us. You can read more about the song on Sandra McCracken’s website here.

    In the harvest feast or the fallow ground
    My certain hope is in Jesus found
    My lot, my cup, my portion sure
    Whatever comes, we shall endure
    Whatever comes, we shall endure

The songs that we sing together here on Sunday mornings matter. They matter because they affect how we think about God. The song we just sang is both a confession of our dependence on God, and a declaration of assurance in His goodness and power to save and sustain us. Listen to how the author of Lamentations puts it:

    Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the bitterness and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
    The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
    Lamentations 3:19-24 ESV

With this assurance, let us be reminded that we worship a God who always makes good on His word. In Jesus Christ, God has promised us renewal, freedom from the hold of sin and eternal salvation. Join with me as we sing Hallelujah to the Lamb that was slain.

2. Agnus Dei by Michael W. Smith. Based upon John the Baptist’s reference to Jesus in John 1:29, Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis is the Latin term translated Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. As our hymn of adoration yesterday, it serves as not only a corporate cry for God’s mercy, but as a reminder that God has already shown us His mercy by giving us His son to take our place on the cross and receive the punishment that we rightly deserve, to secure our eternal peace with God.

    Holy, Holy, are you Lord God Almighty
    Worthy is the Lamb, worthy is the Lamb, Amen

Responsive Reading

    And we were dead in the trespasses and sins in which we once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
    among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
    But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace we have been saved—
    and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
    For by grace we have been saved through faith. And this is not our own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
    For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
    Adapted from Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV

Community Commissioning

If you are anything like me, than for the last several months as we’ve been Enjoying God and Engaging His Mission through looking at the book of Acts, you have probably learned a lot about yourself. The reality is that the more we hear about Jesus and his rescue mission to the world, we realize that as self-centered people, we are always trying to fit God, fit the church, and fit the mission of God into a small, comfortable life that we have constructed by ourselves, for ourselves. We should find this very frustrating because God is never meant to be considered a part of our life.

    But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
    1 Peter 2:9-10 ESV

We don’t fit God into our story. God fits us into his story by changing us at the level of our deepest identity. We are no longer self-centered individuals, proclaiming our own worth. But are now a race, priesthood, and nation, proclaiming his surpassing worth. The communities of Redemption Hill form around this conviction. Each one is asking: How is God doing this? How is he working us into a race, a priesthood a community together. How is he then placing us, as a community, into his plan, and his mission to proclaim his excellency and mercy?

Each Community lives out this mission in different parts of the city and in different ways. So yesterday we took time in our service to recognize and commission Nicholas and Megan Clinch, and the rest of the Church Hill 1 Community that gathers in their home. Nic shared how they have been living everyday life with gospel intentionality. Leaning into their natural relationships with neighbors, friends, co-workers, and looking to cultivate new ones. If you would like to get involved in a community close to you, or would simply like some more information on the communities out of Redemption Hill, please go here, or email Pastor Chris DeRoco.

Sermon

Pastor Raymond continued with our journey through The Book of Acts: Enjoying God and Engaging His Mission. Yesterday’s text was Acts 10 and Acts 11:1-18. The message was entitled The Conversion of Cornelius (and Peter). You can hear the sermon audio by clicking here. Some of the reflection questions included:

    If God were to let down a sheet from heaven which exposed your prejudices, who would be in it?  Where might he send you in order to make your heart more like his?

    How did this story from the Bible confirm or challenge your beliefs about God? Christians like Peter? Spiritually devout and morally upright non-Christians like Cornelius?

    Pray that, as a church, we would not discriminate on the basis of race, class or any other such distinction when it comes to our gospel-spreading efforts.

Song Service Continued

3. What Wondrous Love Is This? by William Walker. This American folk hymn, first published in 1835, was our confessional hymn yesterday. The song reminds us that Christ alone frees us from death, and allows us to look forward to an eternity filled with joyful song. The arrangement we sung yesterday is based on Anathallo‘s version included on their free Hymns EP. You can download the album here.

    To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing
    To God and to the Lamb, I will sing
    To God and to the Lamb Who is the great “I Am”
    While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing
    While millions join the theme, I will sing

Prayer

    Holy Lord,
    We have sinned against you again and again, and been guilty of pride and unbelief, and failure to find Your mind in Your Word, and neglect to seek You in our daily life. Our transgressions and short-comings present us with a list of accusations, but we praise You that they will not stand against us, for all have been laid on Christ. Subdue our corruptions, and grant us grace to live above them. Don’t let the passions of our flesh or lustings of our minds bring our spirit into subjection, but rule over us, O Lord, in liberty and power. We thank You that many of our prayers have been refused. We have asked amiss and do not have, we have prayed from our own lusts and been rejected, we have longed for Egypt and been given a wilderness. Go on with Your patient work, answering “no” to our wrongful prayers, and fitting us to accept it. Purge us from every false desire, every base aspiration, everything contrary to Your rule. We thank You for Your wisdom and Your love, for all the acts of discipline to which we are subject, for sometimes putting us into the furnace to refine our gold and remove our dross. No trial is so hard to bear as a sense of our own sin. If You should ever give us a choice to live in pleasure and keep our sins, or to have them burnt away with trial, give us sanctified affliction. Deliver us from every evil habit, every increase of former sins, everything that dims the brightness of Your grace in us, everything that prevents us from taking delight in You. Then we will bless You, God of Israel, for helping us to be upright.
    Adapted from “Confession and Petition” from The Valley of Vision

4. See What the Lord Has Done (Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning) is an American folk spiritual that comes from the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25. In the parable, ten maidens were awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom. While five kept their lamps trimmed and burning, the other five did not, and their lamps went out. They begged for oil for their lamps from the wise virgins, but were told to go into town and buy their own. When the bridegroom finally came, the five foolish virgins had no light, and the five wise virgins were invited in to the wedding reception. The message is that you should always keep your lamps trimmed and burning, because you never known when the bridegroom (Christ) will return. This folk spiritual was first made popular by blues guitarist Blind Willie Johnson in 1928. Since then, many artist have gone on to cover it, including blues guitarist Mississippi Fred McDowell, and more recently, indie artist Andrew Bird who routinely performs it as an encore at his live performances. Our version includes much of the original material, in addition to some original verses by our own worship leader Zach Banister.

    All things rest under His hand
    All will follow under His plan
    Jesus came as the atonement Lamb
    See what the Lord has done

Sending on Mission

    From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
    2 Corinthians 5:16-21 ESV

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