Monday, October 28, 2013

I Am Reconciled: Sermon Recap

Ephesians 2:11-22

Big Idea: Jesus reconciles you to God and calls you to join the mission of reconciliation.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference:
  • Christians who refuse to reconcile with others have forgotten what it felt like to be reconciled with God. 
  • No one has ever "found" Jesus. Jesus came and found them.
  • Sin is always a barrier to true reconciliation. Jesus is the only bridge to true reconciliation. 
  • A lot of people want advice from buddy Jesus. Not many people want orders from King Jesus. 

Rejoice by Dustin Kensrue

Verse 1
Come and stand before your Maker
Full of wonder, full of fear
Come behold His power and glory
Yet with confidence draw near
For the one who holds the heavens
And commands the stars above
Is the God who bends to bless us
With an unrelenting love

Rejoice, come and lift your hands and
Raise your voice, He is worthy of our praise
Rejoice, sing of mercies of your King
And with trembling, rejoice

Verse 2
We are children of the promise
The beloved of the Lord
Won with everlasting kindness
Bought with sacrificial blood
Bringing reconciliation
To a world that longs to know
The affections of a Father
Who will never let them go

Verse 3
All our sickness, all our sorrows
Jesus carried up the hill
He has walked this path before us
He is walking with us still
Turning tragedy to triumph
Turning agony to praise
There is blessing in the battle
So take heart and stand amazed

Alt. Chorus
Rejoice, when you cry to Him He hears
Your voice, He will wipe away your tears
Rejoice, in the midst of suffering
He will help you sing

"Mediator" by Ghost Ship

Monday, October 21, 2013

I Am Saved: Sermon Recap

Ephesians 2:1-10

Big Idea: We are saved by grace to live by grace.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference:
  • Because of his holiness, God cannot simply dismiss sin. Because of his sacrificial love, God can forgive sin. 
  • Salvation: the greatest rescue that's ever taken place.
  • We are rescued out of a life of sin into a life of righteousness and good works in Christ.
  • Biblical faith is a transfer of trust to Christ.
  • We pursue good works, but they are a response to what God has already done in our life, not our means of salvation.
  • On the cross at Calvary, God expressed both His hatred for sin and His love for sinners.
  • All works by God's grace and for God's glory are good works.
  • We need to seek out the good work that God has set before us. 
  • Completing good works by grace is Christ accomplishing good works through us.
  • God works out all of the results. Our job is to be obedient.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Two prayers I pray every morning

I confess, I've never been great at certain types of praying. As a worship leader and small group leader for my church, of course, I pray in public on a weekly and almost daily basis. And I'm great at having a sort of "running conversation" with God throughout the day, too. Praying about my heart, my wife, my daughter, the know, all the mundane things of the everyday life.

But when it comes to devoted times of prayer, the kind that Jesus talked about in Matthew 6:6 when he said "when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret", well, I'm not great at that.

So any habit that forces me to be a little more regular in times set a aside for prayer is a win. And recently I've created just such a habit and I thought I would share it just in case any of you out there find that you're like me when it comes to praying. I wanted to shared the two prayers that I've begun to pray to start my day and start my personal Bible study.

Pray Before Your Day: The first I came across as I was reading J.D. Greear's book, Gospel: Recovering the Power That Made Christianity Revolutionary. J.D. says this of the prayer:
"There’s nothing magical about this prayer. It’s not an incantation to get God to do good things for you. Incidentally, it’s also not my attempt to replace the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer is simply a tool to help you train your mind in the patterns of the Gospel. The point is not the prayer; the point is thinking in line with the Gospel.

"The gospel prayer has four parts. The 1st two parts lead us inward, helping us to renew our minds in God’s acceptance of us and the value of that acceptance to us.

"Part 3 of the prayer has us consider what responding to the grace of the gospel looks like. Understanding God’s generosity toward us should lead us to radical generosity toward others.

"Part 4 of the prayer helps us see our world through the lens of the gospel. If the cross really does reveal God’s compassion for sinners and His resurrection His power to save them, then our prayers on their behalf should be audacious and bold."

Pray Before You Study God's Word: The second prayer comes from John Piper's book, When I Don't Desire God. I've found this prayer particularly helpful in reminding why I am sitting down to open the Bible at all and asking God to bring the two-edged sword of his Word to bear against the thoughts and intentions of my heart.

What about you? Care to share any tips or aids in becoming a better prayer?

Monday, October 7, 2013

I Am Blessed: Sermon Recap

Ephesians 1:3-14

Big Idea: You have been blessed by God so show it.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference:
  • The way we think about God determines the way we relate to Him.
  • If God is a perfect Father and wants the absolute best for us, He is never going to withhold anything we truly need.
  • We have to train ourselves to remember the blessings we have received from God.
  • The Father chose us because of His love, not our performance.
  • Communion is a reminder of the greatest blessing God has given to us—His Son.
  • When we talk about sin, we're really talking about slavery. When we are in Jesus, we have been redeemed and are no longer slaves but free.
  • How do we find freedom in Jesus? By finding forgiveness in His blood. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why We Sing What We Sing When We Sing

I realized this past week that I've done a poor job of communicating one of the most central things I do from week to week when putting together worship set lists at Redeemer Church. It came up when someone asked why we couldn't just switch two songs since one was more of an energetic "opener" type song than the one I'd picked. The grid or the filter that I run every set list through every week is foundational to our worship flow, but I'm ashamed to admit that most of my church probably doesn't even know it's there.

Every week, my goal is to tell the story of the gospel through the songs we sing. I know, it sounds obvious, sounds simple, maybe sounds redundant if we're already singing worship songs. But let me explain. There's a certain flow, a certain order or progression to the gospel, and rather than just pick songs strictly by the energy level of the song, I've begun picking them based on where they fall in flow of the gospel story.

The gospel story as we tell it is this:
  1. God exists, creates, rules, reigns supreme.
  2. We were created, have fallen, have sinned, and are now a broken people in a broken world.
  3. Jesus lived the life we couldn't live, died the death we should've died to bring us back to God.
  4. We are offered this substitutionary life, death, and life again to be made right with God and live changed lives.
  5. Based on this, we should be living lives of love, lives on mission, lives filled with Jesus' Spirit.
When I pick our five songs each week, I am intentionally picking songs that will fit into that grid. So my song selection goes something like this:
  1. Adoration - These songs focus on proclaiming God as he is. These songs are necessarily vertical and don't have a lot of "I" and "we" and "us" in them. I want to start every service every week confronting all of us anew with the grandeur and majesty of God. (ex. "How Great Is Our God", and "Holy Is The Lord")
  2. Confession & Lament - These songs will speak honestly and openly about our sin, our guilt before God, and the divide that results between us and God. It also mourns the brokenness and futility that came upon the whole of creation as a result of man's sin. However, these songs almost always hint at the coming remedy. (ex. "Come Ye Sinners")
  3. Assurance & Thanksgiving - These songs proclaim the heart of the gospel. Again, that Jesus' life, death, and resurrected life on our behalf has accomplished all that is needed for God to begin making for himself a people from every tribe, tongue and nation. The cross is almost always explicit and present here. (ex. "At The Cross", "It Is Finished", and "Thank You God For Saving Me")
  4. Communion & Reflection - It is not by accident that we take communion when we do in the flow of our service or that we take it every week. Based on the proclamation of the gospel in our first three songs, and the gospel presented in the preaching of the word, we now sing songs that express a time of reflecting on and responding to the work of Jesus on the cross on our behalf--either for the first time (in salvation) or in remembrance (communion). (ex. "Because of Your Love", and "How Deep The Father's Love For Us")
  5. Response & Charge - At this point, we all should be asking ourselves, "If this is true, what next?" The final song aims to point us in that direciton, usually in terms of our renewed commitment to God and Christ-likeness (vertical) and our desire to be loving and serving those inside and outside the church (horizontal). (ex. "Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder", and "Reign In Us")
I hope this will be a helpful insight into why I do what I do, and in the bigger scheme of things, a reminder of why we all do what we do. So on the weeks that I actually remember to share the setlist on Facebook before Sunday, you'll notice I've put these five elements into the order of worship just as a way of helping us think about our song flow in these categories.

These ideas are by no means original to me, in fact there's more written on this idea than I can even reference here, but here's two in blog post form ("Sing the Story" by Matt Papa) and in book form (Rhythms of Grace: How the Church's Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel by Mike Cosper).

Every week when we sing we are singing the gospel, we're rehearsing the gospel, we're telling each other the gospel story.
This post was originally an email sent to my worship team, but I felt the ideas were important enough that I wanted to share it with the rest of the church as well. Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday and retelling the gospel story all over again!

I Am a Saint: Sermon Recap

Ephesians 1:1-2

Big Idea: If you are in Christ, your primary identity is saint not sinner.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference:
  • A saint is an ordinary, average, sinful person who loves Jesus.
  • All people are sinners, but those in Jesus are not just sinners but saints.
  • When Jesus returns, His followers will be glorified—they will no longer be saints and sinners, but saints and saints alone.
  • Saints are convicted by their sin but not condemned by it.
  • Conviction leads us to a new identity in Christ, but condemnation leads to an old identity in sin.
  • There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
  • In Christ, we do not have to sin. We are free to do the right thing.
  • Temptation is an opportunity to sin against God or to worship God. 
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