Two-Way Communication

We are beginning to understand that worship is more than one-way communication from us to God.  It is a two-way communication between God and his people.  We exalt God!  He reveals his presence and changes our hearts.  We pour out our hearts and remember his greatness.  Refusing to be outdone, he meets our needs for intimacy and grace.

Paul Basden, Exploring the Worship Spectrum: Six Views

Progress

We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.

C. S. Lewis

Sunday Night Thoughts

Post #2,885

It is so quiet here tonight.  We have just returned from taking Anna to the train station for her trip back to Southern Wesleyan University.  For the first time in over a week our house only has three people in it.  I posted on Facebook a few moments ago that I am in a bit of a melancholy mood.  Rebecca and Michael left on Friday afternoon and now Anna is headed back to college.  It was really good to have them here.

Give Thanks

It was wonderful to celebrate Thanksgiving with the family this past week.  It was good to have Rebecca home for about a week.  I am so thankful to all the good things God has given us.  We serve an amazing God and he is worthy of all our praise.  I am thankful for my family, my salvation, my church and the opportunity I have to serve at Parkway.

A Little Like Early Fall

The weather continues to vary a great deal around here.  This week I went out for a run all bundled up in all my tech cold weather gear and I also went out in shorts and a short-sleeve shirt.  Right now the weather is “like a box of chocolates…you never know what you are going to get,” as Forest Gump would say.  It looks like we have a bit of a permanent change coming in the weather, with a cold front coming in on Tuesday and the possibility of snow showers Tuesday night.

Pressing On

Running continues to go well.  I had a full slate of training planned and got all of it in.  There were two one-hour runs at 6 plus miles each.  A short 4-mile, easy run on Thanksgiving Day and a long one and one-half hour run (slow, long distance) on Saturday of 9 miles.  The slow, long distance run was at a pace of 9:52, which is a very good pace for me for that distance.  I was finished with 9 miles in under 1:30.  I was very excited with that.  With a little help from the weather, I’m planning on a 1:40 run (or ten-miles) on Saturday.

A New Suit

Well, at least to me.  The accompanying weight loss that is coming from running those kind of miles above is going well.  Before the Thanksgiving holidays, I weighed in at 209, which is just 5 pounds from a major goal (that of going from being obese to overweight measured by BMI)  This is a good thing.  Thanksgiving dealt me a slight setback, but I should be back on track by the end of the week.  All of this means that I have clothing that is getting too big for me, especially suits.  Until this week, I didn’t have a suit that fit well. One of the ladies at church gave me a size 38 suit.  I knew that I wanted to get into that size but had no idea that I could fit in it right now.  I was amazed as I tried it on and it fit (and it wasn’t tight at all — so cool!  I knew I was getting into size 38 territory in pants but had no idea I was doing so well.  Several people have commented lately on my new look and it’s a good feeling.

The First Sunday of Advent

This morning we observed the First Sunday of Advent at Parkway.  Our lead pastor was away for the weekend so that means it was leading worship and preaching today.  I had Pam and another ordained minister from our congregation lead several of the non-musical parts of worship.  They also helped me with communion and did a great job.  It was a good service, although I just couldn’t get into the flow.  I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit can work in those instances.

Back to a Regular Week

After two weeks of something special, this week returns to a bit of normalcy.  I know that “normal” is just a setting on the dryer, but I am hoping for a bit of a normal week.  I am excited about our Spirit FM Movie night at Parkway.  Our regional Christian radio station is sponsoring “The Little Drummer Boy” by VeggieTales this Friday night at 7PM.  I hope to see all of you there.

Time to Relax

It’s time to sign off and relax a bit before going to bed.  Have a wonderful week and

Seize the Day!

Sunday Set List

Sunday, November 27
First Sunday of Advent

Welcome and Announcements

Call to Worship and Invocation

Responsive Reading: Our God Comes

 Songs of Worship

Days of Elijah

Lo, He Comes In Clouds Descending

Worship through Prayer

Apostle’s Creed

Song of Worship

Come, Thou Long- Expected Jesus

Worship Through Giving

Worship Through God’s Word

Advent: A Season of Hope

Song of Preparation

Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)

Worship At the Lord’s Table

  • Invitation
  • Consecration
  • Distribution and Partaking of the Elements
  • The Lord’s Prayer

Benediction

No Eye Has Seen

First Sunday of Advent
November 27, 2011

Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37

 1 Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down!
      How the mountains would quake in your presence!
 2 As fire causes wood to burn
      and water to boil,
   your coming would make the nations tremble.
      Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame!
3 When you came down long ago,
you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations.
And oh, how the mountains quaked!
4 For since the world began,
      no ear has heard,
   and no eye has seen a God like you,
      who works for those who wait for him!
5 You welcome those who gladly do good,
who follow godly ways.
But you have been very angry with us,
for we are not godly.
We are constant sinners;
how can people like us be saved?
6 We are all infected and impure with sin.
When we display our righteous deeds,
they are nothing but filthy rags.
Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,
and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
7 Yet no one calls on your name
or pleads with you for mercy.
Therefore, you have turned away from us
and turned us over to our sins.

8 And yet, O Lord, you are our Father.
We are the clay, and you are the potter.
We all are formed by your hand.
9 Don’t be so angry with us, Lord.
Please don’t remember our sins forever.

Look at us, we pray,
and see that we are all your people.

This week we enter the First Week of Advent.  The theme for the first week of Advent is hope.  This passage shows that we have great hope that Christ is coming.  I love the part where it says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard a God like you!”  We have an amazing God – a God that is willing to forgive those who willing sin against Him.  We also have a Christ that is coming back to gather all God’s people home again.  Christ is coming and God will burst through heavens and every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord and people will know the reason for the Lord’s fame!

And Now for Something Completely Different

Yesterday, I came into possession of a CD entitled “Indescribable – Bluegrass Meets Worship” by the Chigger Hill Boys & Terri.  I saw the link for this CD on Facebook and checked out the link here – The Chigger Hill Boys and Terri.  Here is a description of the CD from the liner notes.

“Many churches these days are hosting blended worship services, incorporating contemporary Christian praise & worship with the traditional hymns and the cherished old songs of the church.  The Chigger Hill Boys and Terri have decided to give their Chigger “Twist” to a selection of these contemporary hits and add the “rootsy” sound to the “modern” lyrics and arrangements.  We hope you enjoy listening to the outcome, and we pray that you are blessed by what you hear.  You may discover that the sound is simply “indescribable” – in a good way.”

So what happens when you take a traditional bluegrass band and they sing modern worship songs such as “Indescribable,” “Mighty To Save,” and “From the Inside Out?”  Actually, something very likable.  I loved the bluegrass styling of “Mighty to Save,” complete with the traditional three part harmonies.  I love three part harmonies.  Chris Tomlin’s “Enough” gets a completely new treatment, complete with at time-signature change.  It is played in a 3/4 rather than it’s usual 4/4.  It really feels good and fits the song well.

One of my favorites on this CD is Hillsong’s “Lead Me to the Cross.”  It’s my favorite arrangement on this CD and it’s my favorite arrangement of this song.  The plaintive bluegrass styling really fits this song.

All the songs on this album are good and you really need to pick up this album.  Blessings…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day, USA
November 24, 2011

Deuteronomy 8:7-18; Psalm 65; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15; Luke 17:11-19

7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. 8 It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. 9 It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. 10 When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

 11 “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. 12 For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, 13 and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! 14 Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. 15 Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! 16 He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. 17 He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18 Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.

Don’t Forget!

The lesson from today’s passage is that we shouldn’t forget.  Notice verse 11, the Israelites are reminded that after entering the land that God was giving them that they shouldn’t forget their God.  They are given a warning not to forget their God.  I love verse 18, “Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant…”

Today, we remember and celebrate the good things that God has given to us.  I am so thankful to have my family home for Thanksgiving and later we will be celebrated with more of our family.  There are also so many of my friends and family who are scattered around the states that I am extremely thankful for.  Blessings…and Happy Thanksgiving.

St. Patrick of Ireland’s Prayer

May the strength of God pilot us.
May the power of God preserve us.
May the wisdom of God instruct us.
May the hand of God protect us.
May the way of God direct us.
May the host of God guard us against the snares of the evil one and the temptation of this world.
May Christ be with us, Christ be before us, Christ be in us, Christ be over us.
May Your salvation, Lord, be always ours this day and evermore.

Amen