William Barclay: The true, the genuine worship is when man, through his spirit, attains to friendship and intimacy with God. True and genuine worship is not to come to a certain place; it is not to go through a certain ritual or liturgy; it is not even to bring certain gifts. True worship is when the spirit, the immortal and invisible part of man, speaks to and meets with God, who is immortal and invisible.
Life is a journey, not so much to a destination, but a transformation. Looking back doesn’t it sometimes feel like our richest times come right in the midst of our hardest? But God made us to life in community, to laugh and cry. To hurt and to celebrate with each other, no matter what were going through. And transformation is tough, and we dont always end up where we think we will. But we have to remember, that even when we struggle to believe in Him, He always believes in us. He fills our lives with purpose and passion, if we just let Him. And the best part of the journey, is that the God of the universe, sometimes allows us to play a part in changing the world. Isn’t that a trip?
Chris Vaughn – “To Save A Life”
I encourage everyone to pray for Parkway Wesleyan this week as we show the movie “To Save A Life.” We believe that this movie has the power to impact lives in the Staunton/Waynesboro/Augusta County area for Jesus. This quote is really what it is all about — to see life transformation. We realize that we can do it alone and we can do it for people, but with God through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can help people along the path and God can help them live a life transformed.
Here was the inspiration for our version yesterday, minus the bridge.
- Cold start, cold finish. This morning we woke up to about 15 degrees, which was 45 degrees warmer than my friends in Wisconsin. As I type this we are back to 18 degrees headed for a low of 8. At least it’s still above 0. We got up to about 30 degrees this afternoon with very little breeze and it was nice enough to go out for a run and Pam went out for a walk.
- The good news in the exercise department is that since last Saturday I have been out everyday except last Sunday. That’s 8 out of 9 days and I did 3.1 miles each day, divided between running and walking. I already have exercised more miles than December and am quickly closing in on November’s total. But then again 35 miles isn’t hard to beat.
- My legs are finally to catch up to the workouts. I’m hoping to bump up at least one of my runs this week to 4 miles if not all of them.
- Over last couple hours, I have been keeping an eye on football. Since the Steelers are from my homestate, I was pulling for them and it looks like the Steelers are going to the Superbowl. We have quite a few Steeler fans at church so it will be nice to root along with them.
- Well, that is most of the small stuff…
- This morning was huge as the Holy Spirit really came and fell during our service. I stood in amazement as I watched the Holy Spirit orchestrate the service. The Mountain Ridge Ringers played two pieces for us. They are a local community handbell choir that is based at our church. I really enjoyed their two pieces. The theme that was clear this morning, was God’s amazing grace. Although we didn’t sing Amazing Grace, we sang several pieces that alluded to God’s grace and many of the songs pointed to God’s great love for us. My favorite part of the service was the invitation. We did the gospel song “The Love of God.” We changed the time signature from 3/4 to 4/4, sort of like the MercyMe version. We sang the 1st and 3rd verse, but did not use the MercyMe bridge. God’s love is amazing — that came through very clear during this morning’s service.
- Well, we have another big week planned. Tomorrow night we are having a planning meeting for the “To Save A Life” movie that we are showing Friday night. We are also previewing the movie for those who are working and serving during the movie. Then Friday night we show the movie.
- Looking forward to what God has in store this week.
Seize the Day!
January 23, 2011
Third Sunday after Epiphany
Welcome and Announcements
Call to Worship – Mountain Ridge Ringers
Because He Lives
Songs of Worship
We Want to See Jesus Lifted High
Open the Eyes of My Heart
We Fall Down
Connecting Through Prayer
Missions Moment – Comfort Care Women’s Health
Song of Worship
My Savior’s Love
Giving Back to God
Musical Offering – Mountain Ridge Ringers
And Can It Be
Worship Through God’s Word
Great Words of the Apostle Paul
Rejoicing In God’s Amazing Grace
Song of Commitment
The Love of God
This weekend we are getting ready for a Children’s Ministry meeting at church. In the process of preparing Pam and I have been doing some research and in the process made two different graphs. One of the graphs compares the amount of hours in a week to the amount of time we spend in church (for the average person.) The other graph depicts the age when people come to Christ. Here is the first one.
As Pam and I studied this graph, it became apparent that Children’s Ministry or Youth Ministry, or any ministry for that matter cannot do it alone. In the above example, we are using one of our students (and that student would have to attend each of the regular functions at church for the week – Sunday School, Morning Worship, and Wednesday Night.) If they attend every teaching opportunity, that is only 2% of their week. It really goes to show how important it is to develop self-learning disciples. In the case of younger students, it shows how much Christian Education (Spiritual Formation or Discipleship) is a partnership between the church and the home. Both Pam and I believe that for students who are growing up in Christian households that Christian Education begins at home. Church is only a reinforcement of what is being taught (and caught) at home. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 we are given these words:
4 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Pam and I are serious believers in Christian Education. I have watched Pam’s passion since we have been married for teaching children about how to become a better follower of Jesus, but the church can’t do it alone. It needs to be a team effort as we learned in the scripture above.
The other graph comes from the Barna group and states the age which a person comes to a saving knowledge of Christ.
As you can see from this chart, it is very important that we teach our children early what it means to be a follower of Jesus. I know that both Pam and I would be in that under 13 category as well as our children. As you can see, this gives all of us something to think about.
Third Sunday after the Epiphany (January 23, 2011)
1 Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.
2 The people who walk in darkness
will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
a light will shine.
3 You will enlarge the nation of Israel,
and its people will rejoice.
They will rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest
and like warriors dividing the plunder.
4 For you will break the yoke of their slavery
and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders.
You will break the oppressor’s rod,
just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.
Interesting that this scripture came up this week. I don’t know about you, but I typically think of this scripture at Christmas. Perhaps, it’s because I associate it with Handel’s Messiah. But as I think of what the season of Epiphany embraces, it is a season of testifying to all that Jesus it. Jesus came to be the light of the world. All of us were walking in darkness until Jesus came along. When Jesus came into our life, we beheld a great light. It is Jesus who breaks the bonds from the slavery of sin and lifts the heavy burdens from our shoulders.
Take a look at this passage from Matthew 11:28-30:
28-30“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Come to Jesus, the Light of the World — he will give you real rest. Blessings….