This weekend, we continued our Advent series with a message entitled, "God For Us." Joe shared about the different meaningful ways we can understand this expression, and all the ways that God is truly "for us." Joe shared that Jesus is for us in His life, in His death, in His resurrection, and His return. We need to live life in light of who God is and what He has done for us, in hope, worship, and anticipation of His second Advent. You can listen to the entire message here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:
Time of Preparation/Prayer "I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)" (E) [Charles Hutchinson Gabriel] Welcome/Greeting Time "Joyful (The One Who Saves)" (C) [Brenton Brown, Jason Ingram, Henry van Dyke, Ludwig van Beethoven] "Our God" (G) [Chris Tomlin, Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman] "O Holy Night" (C) [Placide Cappeau, John Sullivan Dwight, Adolphe Charles Adam] "What Child Is This" (Em) [William Chatterton Dix] Message - "God For Us" [Joe Hishmeh] Offering/Announcements "Lead Me To The Cross" (Bm) [Brooke Fraser] Dismissal
"I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)" - We sang this song in our preparation time. Kelsey Thomsen led us on this song, as we focused on the love of Christ as it was demonstrated at the cross, where He redeemed us from our sins, and rescued us from death. What amazing love He has for us!
"Joyful (The One Who Saves)" - We continued teaching this song to our congregation for the third and final week. I have really enjoyed singing this song with our congregation, and I look forward to bringing it back again in the future, because it is a great combination of old and new in a song that is true and memorable.
"Our God" - This song was the one that connected with the message the best this week. It is powerful to exalt God and His sovereignty and then recognize that if this all-powerful God is for us, nothing can stand against us.
"O Holy Night" - This is one of my favorite Advent songs. It is a beautiful piece of music and a solid lyric that declares some of the changes that Jesus' arrival on this earth effected. Everything is different because He came. We can have in Him an object of hope, upon which we can found our faith and trust. Because of who He is and what He has done, He is worthy of our humble worship. He is King!
This carol came from a poem written in the mid-1800's by a French poet, Placide Cappeau. You can read more of the song's story in the wiki.
“Midnight, Christians” by Placide Cappeau
Midnight, Christians, it is the solemn hour, When God-man descended to us To erase the stain of original sin And to end the wrath of His Father. The entire world thrills with hope On this night that gives it a Savior.
People kneel down, wait for your deliverance. Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer, Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer!
May the ardent light of our Faith Guide us all to the cradle of the infant, As in ancient times a brilliant star Guided the Oriental kings there. The King of Kings was born in a humble manger; O mighty ones of today, proud of your greatness,
It is to your pride that God preaches. Bow your heads before the Redeemer! Bow your heads before the Redeemer!
The Redeemer has overcome every obstacle: The Earth is free, and Heaven is open. He sees a brother where there was only a slave, Love unites those that iron had chained. Who will tell Him of our gratitude, For all of us He is born, He suffers and dies.
People stand up! Sing of your deliverance, Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer, Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer!
"What Child Is This" - This is probably my favorite Advent song of all. For most of my life (and this is probably the case for most of us), I only heard one chorus for this song. A few years ago, when I was reading a book that my friend Jerry gave me, I saw that there were originally three choruses for this song. The second of these was striking: "Nails, spear shall pierce Him through/ The cross be borne for me, for you/ Hail, hail the Word made flesh/ The babe, the Son of Mary." I love how the gospel is present in this chorus.
"Lead Me To The Cross" - We closed out our services by responding with this song. Kelsey also did a great job leading on this song. This was another great match for Joe's message this week, in which he emphasized that we need to preach the gospel to ourselves daily, in order to keep our focus in the right place, and to live a life that exemplifies the power of the gospel. The way I see it, everything in our walk with Christ is downstream from the gospel. When we have a proper view and appreciation of what Christ has accomplished for us, everything else falls into place. Let us keep our eyes on the cross. Advent makes for some special worship times together. I love how it helps us focus on what Jesus gave for us, to rescue us and make a way for us where there was no way. It makes me think of Philippians 2: 5-11, which says,
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point fo death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Our team did a great job as always. I love celebrating Advent with the Church. It's a beautiful thing. I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were.
In the Son, Bill
p.s. don't forget to check out The Worship Community!