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Preparing to Gather 10/30/11

My friend Mike Passaro ( posted an extremely helpful quote from D.A. Carson’s book “Worship By The Book” reminding us why we gather and I think it summarizes what we have been heralding…

“…we cannot imagine that the church gathers for worship on Sunday mornings if by this we mean that we then engage in something that have not been engaging in the rest of the week. New covenant worship terminology prescribes constant “worship.” Peterson therefore examines afresh just why the New Testament church gathers, and he concludes that the focus is on mutual edification, not on worship. Under the terms of the new covenant, worship goes on all the time, including when the people of God gather together. But mutual edification does not go on all the time; it is what takes place when Christians gather together. Edification is the best summary of what occurs in corporate singing, confession, public prayer, the ministry of the Word, and so forth…”

Here are the songs we are singing:

All Because Of Jesus (Fee)

Hosanna (Fraser)

It Is Well (Spafford)

Psalm 62 (Keyes/Townend)

Desert Song (Fraser)

 So as we seek to edify one another this weekend let’s listen, pray, and read (Luke 8:1-18) and come prepared knowing that what we do has an eternal weight.


Every week we get the rare opportunity to gather together with God’s elect to encourage and adomnish one another and prepare for that glorious day when Christ will return and we will join the saints from all time and worship God forever.  I love the quote from Luther that says “I have two days on my calendar to-day and that day”!  Therefore we gather with God’s people on the Lord’s Day to worship at God’s throne under the authority of God’s word is our solemn duty and joyful privilege.

This week is no different.  We will finish the 7th chapter of Luke’s gospel and again see Christ and a glimpse of His deity as the One who forgives sinners!  Our songs will revolve around this central theme and I am including links for those that may not be familiar with them.

It Is Finished (Papa and Riddle)

You Alone Can Rescue (Redman and Myrin)

You Have Been Raised (Altrogge, Kauflin, and Boer)

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us (Townend)

Jesus Paid It All (Hall, Grape, and Stanfill)

I encourage you to read the lyrics, sing the songs, read the sermon text, and pray over our time together. 

See you Sunday!

Preparing for Sunday 10/16

“The primary purpose of our gatherings is to re-present and respond to the great story of God’s redemption in Christ, otherwise known as the gospel.” ~Bryan Chapell in Christ-Centered Worship

With that in mind we sing with thankfulness in our hearts because He has come, died in our place, risen and is now interceding before the throne of God on our behalf.  We will reflect on the beauty and wonder of the incarnation this week through the remainder of Luke 7 and through the songs we will sing…

Glory To God Forever (Beeching/Fee)

Glorious Day (Bleecker/Chapman)

Lead Us Back (Gilles/Ritter)

What A Savior (Bliss)

Because Of Your Love (Wickham)

Preparing for Sunday 10/7

This Sunday we will continue through the gospel of Luke and beginning chapter 7.  It seems around every corner of the gospel of Luke the brightness of Christ’s glory shines all the more.  As you prepare for this Sunday I encourage you to read Luke chapter 7 (you can read 6 and 8 as well to get a good context if you are really ambitious).  We are also going to be singing:

Cannons by Phil Wickham

From The Inside Out by Hillsong

Come Ye Sinners by Joseph Hart (new music by Robbie Seay)

Marvelous Light by Charlie Hall (Passion 2007 version)

All I Have Is Christ by Jordan Kauflin

See you Sunday!

This Sunday we gathered together to edify one another through singing, praying, preaching, and observing the sacraments of communion and baptism.  We began by singing an older hymn, redone by Michael Bleecker from The Village, “Glorious Day” also known as “One Day“.  A fantastic display of the gospel from incarnation, to a substitutionary death, to a victorious resurrection, and finally the second coming on that Glorious Day!  We paused for a moment to reflect on 9/11 and yet focus on the sovereignty of God and the glory of Christ and His ultimate suffering and defeat of death…in doing so I read from the litany that Mike Cosper from Sojourn provided and it read:

Lord as we gather,
celebrating your glory and goodness,
we acknowledge the shadow of today’s anniversary.

Together, we remember September 11, 2001.
We mourn for the lives lost in New York City,
Washington D. C., and on Flight 93.

We lament death’s reign,
the visible and invisible forces of evil,
the principalities and powers of this dark world,
and the evil that lurks in the hearts of all men . . . including our own.

With the Psalmist, we cry:

“How long, Oh Lord?
How long will your enemies scoff?
How long will you withhold your justice
from a world that is desparate to see it?”

We lament a world at war, and we ask you for peace

In Afghanistan
in Iraq
in Libya
in Israel and Palestine
in Egypt and Syria, and all of the nations of the earth that long for freedom from oppression.

We ask for protection over our loved ones and families who serve overseas,
we pray for the fatherless and the widow,
for the poor and oppressed.

We lift up our global leaders
that by your grace they might lead with wisdom and justice
and work for peace.

And we acknowledge that all such hopes and longings point us to one who will soon return and bring an everlasting peace and justice.

Together we proclaim:

Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The LORD will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the LORD!

(Psalm 146:2-10)

Amen. Come Lord Jesus!

We then sang “Here Is Love” the Mars Hill edition.

After a Life Group video and announcements Ben opened the Word to Luke 6 and preached on the Beatitudes.  It was a great reminder that we are ultimately blessed because of Christ and that He is our only treasure.

In light of the sermon and the gospel we sang “Psalm 62

“Oh praise Him, hallelujah my delight and my reward.

Everlasting never failing my Redeemer my God.”

Since this Sunday we observed the gospel through baptism I wanted to focus the last two songs on God’s gracious work in raising us from death and into His life.  We sang “And Can It Be” and “You Alone Can Rescue“.

After the service Patrick came up and explained what baptism is and isn’t and how it is a beautiful picture of the gospel in the believer’s life.

You can see the baptism videos here!

This Sunday will be the first Sunday I will officially lead the body of Christ gathered at Integrity in Greenville in music.  My earnest desire now and always is that we would taste and see that the Lord is good that and that is fully known in the person and work of His Son Jesus Christ.  This Sunday will be filled with the Word, music, testimony of God’s grace, preaching, communion, and baptism.  It is going to be an amazing time to gather together.  We will hear from Luke 6 as Pastor Ben preaches on the beatitudes.  In light of Christ’s call in the passage and the beautiful picture of baptism present I thought it would be a great Sunday to focus entirely on the gospel and the many facets therein.  We will be singing:

Glorious Day by J. Wilbur Chapman and music by Michael Bleecker

Here Is Love by William Rees and music by Mars Hill Church

And Can It Be by Charles Wesley and new music by Scott Roley

Psalm 62 by Aaron Keyes and Stuart Townend

You Alone Can Rescue by Matt Redman


See you Sunday!

Preparing for Sunday (9/4/11)

This is the first entry in what I hope will be helpful to our church community.  It was inspired by Sojourn and the servants out there who honestly desire to edify each other every week and seek to facilitate that by providing the songs before hand that way the people know what they are singing and what version.  This Sunday is a little different seeing as how we will be meeting at the park and only singing 2 songs.  Nonetheless I wanted to share the two songs we will be singing and the added verse to a familiar hymn.  We will begin by singing “How Great Is Our God

The splendor of a King, clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice

He wraps himself in Light, and darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
Trembles at His voice

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God

Age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the end
Beginning and the end

The Godhead Three in One
Father Spirit Son
The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb

Name above all names
Worthy of our praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God

Then sings my soul
My Savior, God to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

Then we will sing “Come Thou Fount” a familiar hymn with a few modernizations to the lyrics and an addition of a fourth verse by Bob Kauflin.

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the name! I’m fixed upon it
Name of Thy redeeming love

Hitherto Thy love has blessed me
Thou hast brought me to this place
And I know Thy hand will bring me
Safely home by Thy good grace
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

Oh to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Oh that day when freed from sinning
I shall see Thy lovely face
Full arrayed in blood-washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry
Bring Thy promises to pass
For I know Thy pow’r will keep me
Till I’m home with Thee at last

What a beautiful day we look forward to and see a glimpse each time we gather as a body to worship our risen Savior who will one day come and reign forevermore.

This was my last (hopefully not ever) Sunday at Christ Baptist.  I will post my letter here later expressing my gratefulness to God and the church.  These past few Sundays I have had the opportunity to lead and sing the songs that have meant the most to me and our body as a whole.  These songs all express the gospel and several of them are new melodies put to older hymns.  As I have said on several occasions I believe that singing hymns is not only an opportunity to unite with believers past and present but it is also a biblical imperative.

Tim opened up the service with our normal call to worship reading Psalm 84 “better is one day in Your courts than thousands elsewhere…”.  We then sang “What A Savior” Sovereign Grace’s modernization of the hymn “Hallelujah, What A Savior (Man Of Sorrows)”.  The refrain of the song resonates with the lyrics and the upbeat tempo is quite fitting.

Savior, You showed Your love
Defeated our sin, poured out Your blood
So we praise You, Lamb that was slain
We offer our lives to proclaim
What a Savior

We moved right into “Before The Throne“…singing “because the sinless Savior died my sinful soul is counted free” together is one of the best moments as a worship leader singing with the blood bought body of Christ.

I was then able to share a testimony and a thank you letter that I wrote for our people to show my thankfulness for these past 4 years.  Following our prayer and offering we sang Psalm 62 and Center.  Two songs that Justin had asked me to do as we discussed songs that expressed our main desire to center everything on Christ.  Psalm 62 is a great reflection on the dichotomy between the promises of God rooted in Scripture and the fleeting pleasures of this world.  Center is a great exposition of Colossians 1 and is one of the best worship songs written in the past decade!

Justin finished off our Proverbs series “Get Wisdom” with his sermon on Proverbs and Money.  I was thankful that, as with all the Proverbs in the series, he began and ended with the gospel as the basis of how we acquire, use, and think about money wisely.  Apart from the gospel we could never think rightly about money, or anything else.  Overall we know we have been blessed by God with immeasurable riches in Christ.

In light of the gospel and how the church continues to live out the gospel “In Christ Alone” seemed a perfect song to end with.  Not in money or anything else in this world but in Christ alone our hope is found.

For all 5 of you that follow this blog…as of next Sunday, September 4th I will begin serving as worship pastor at Integrity Church in Greenville.  I am excited to see all that God is going to do through Integrity and Christ Baptist and am extremely grateful for every opportunity I have been given.  I will also be posting every Thursday on how to prepare for the upcoming Sunday with song lyrics and links to listen to the song before we come together to worship.

Sunday we shared a sweet time of fellowship and communion with each other at Christ Baptist.  In typical fashion several families were away but several visitors providentially joined our gathering.  Our service began with a call to worship reading Psalm 76.  We then entered into a time of singing, with little instrumentation (acoustic guitar and cajon), together psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.  We sang “And Can It Be” (the upbeat Indelible Grace version).  As my pastor said “the perfect song for July 4th”

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2.  We praised and joined the chorus of the saints enthroned on high with the hymn “Let Us Love And Sing And Wonder“.  And finished the time singing “Nothing But The Blood” by Matt Redman, which perfectly captures the shift from the old covenant to the better covenant in Christ.

It was a treat to hear our faithful percussionist/elder-in-training, Brandon Powell, preach from 1 Corinthians 1 on the foolishness of the gospel.  Where are the wise men, the scribes, the debaters?  Who predicted that God would take on flesh, die on a bloody cross, and rise again  for wretched sinners?!?!

As is our practice, we proclaimed the Lord’s death together as we partook of communion.  During the passing of the bread we sang “Sweetly Broken“.  During the distribution of the cup we sang “Beautiful, Scandalous Night“.  Two songs that I personally enjoy because of the poetry and depth of the lyrics. 

During the week as I prayed over, meditated on, and reread the passage in Corinthians and because I knew the majority of our congregation would not be familiar with the last song, I decided to sing “Sweetly Broken” again at the end to lead us to our knees before the cross of our King who was bruised and crushed, and victoriously rose crushing the curse of sin and death.  Nothing greater can we sing!

This Sunday marked the beginning of a new chapter in the life of Christ Baptist…while a building does not a church make, we are now meeting in a new space (for us)…Community Christian School! We definitely see this as a provision and a grace and a display of the kindness of God. We began our time together in corporate prayer both on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

As for the service, we continued through the Psalms and Tim read Psalm 72. We had an extended time of singing since it was communion Sunday. We sang 3 songs about the sovereignty, goodness, and sufficiency of Christ. “God Over All”, “Jesus What A Friend For Sinners”, and “Enough”.

After singing Justin read our sermon text Hebrews 13:5-8 and showed how Christ is “Sufficient and Dependable” from the text. The author gives two commands followed by substantial foundation for each. Don’t believe me check it out for yourself on our sermon archive!

Then we celebrated communion for the first time at our new location and renewed our covenant with each other in a new and dear way. During communion we sang “By His Wounds”, a direct reflection on Isaiah 53 and the beauty and agony of the cross; and the hymn “Here Is Love”

“On the mount of crucifixion
Fountains opened deep and wide
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide
Grace and love like mighty rivers
Poured incessant from above
Heaven’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love”

The modern praise choruses and songs are so lacking in the beauty and poetry found in these lines, and yet the beauty of the lines points to an even more magnificent reality in the cross of Christ!

We finished the service singing “How Great Is Our God” celebrating the many attributes of Christ and His greatness and sovereignty. I have seen an Abraham Kuyper quote popping up in several different places and thought it would be a good place to leave off…

“In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign,does not declare,’That is mine!’”