A few weeks ago in our pastors’ meeting, Jamie laid out a solid challenge that he gleaned from reading about the life and persecution of Richard Wurmbrand: are we focusing on/emphasizing Scripture to the point that, when persecution sets in, we have substantial amounts of Bible in our hearts and minds to help us to proclaim Christ when freedoms and physical Bibles and all the comforts of church as we know it are gone?
I know, that seems bleak, but – for a people who proclaim to believe that God’s Word is what it says it is and that it has a place of importance in our lives – reading, studying, praying, preaching, and praising through the Bible does not seem to be so high a priority.
Ask yourself: what priority does the Word of God hold in your life?
iPhone users are familiar with screen time reporting where your phone can tell how many hours (yes, hours and hours) a day we spend on our phones and to which apps and uses the hours are spent. What would the page time report of our lives look like? How many hours in the word do we spend? Or would we have nothing or little to report?
Now, I do not say this to shame you or hurt your feelings. I say this to encourage you! Get in the Word! Get the Word in and through you! He is worth it!
Last week, Pastor John told us that we were about to embark on a series of sermons designed to help us focus on memorizing the Word and getting it inside of our hearts and minds (Psalm 119:11). So, for the next few weeks in our “Songs for Sunday” posts, we will look at some verses that drive us in our weekly worship times at Christ Community.
Reading the Word Together as Worship
Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.1 Timothy 4:13
It is not hard to see where this verse fits into our weekly worship. John reminds us often that essential church is praying, praising, and preaching, and we start all of our worship off with prayer every week. But, before we sing a note, we read the Word out loud together.
It is clear that this is important because Paul told Timothy, a young man pastoring in the church at Ephesus, to “devote” himself to that before “exhortation” (encouraging/warning through the Word) or “teaching” (as Nehemiah 8:8 puts it, “read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and … [give] the sense, so that the people [understand] the reading”).
When God finally pricked my heart with this verse, I had to repent of our not doing this. There had been many years where this was not done at all, much less something that I led people in or could remote claim to be devoted to. But, now, it is my favorite part of worship. To hear people read the Word together in unison – to cheer and clap at the Word of God before we ever sing a note – makes my heart happy. It makes my heart happy because we are united around the Word of God and united in our focus on God as the object of our worship. That’s good news!
And that’s what we are reading and singing about this week: being in awe of the God of the Bible and what we see that He has done for us in His Word through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus alone by the power of His Holy Spirit. Amen.
Here are our songs:
- Psalm 19:1-11 —
1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.
In them He has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the LORD is clean,
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
- Graves Into Gardens —
Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: Psalm 34:10, Isaiah 55:1-3, Psalm 53:1-3, Luke 15:11-24, Romans 6:23, John 6:26-35, Revelation 7:13-17, Matthew 11:28-30, 1 John 4:8, Psalm 51:10, Jeremiah 24:7, Ezekiel 36:26, Romans 12:2, Psalm 37:4, Exodus 8:10, Deuteronomy 3:24, Jeremiah 10:6, 1 Samuel 2:2, Isaiah 40:18, Romans 5:6-8, Psalm 138:8-9, 1 Kings 8:39, 1 John 3:20, John 15:15, Psalm 139:7-12, Hebrews 4:13, Psalm 30:11, Isaiah 62:2, Galatians 2:19-20, John 14:6, 1 Corinthians 15:20-49, Ezekiel 37:1-14, Exodus 14:1-31
- What a Beautiful Name —
Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: John 1:1, John 10:30, John 1:14, John 1:3, John 1:10, Matthew 6:13, 1 Timothy 6:15, Isaiah 40:18-20, 1 Timothy 2:3-4, John 14:6, Philippians 2:5-11, Romans 6:23, Romans 8:36-39, Isaiah 9:6, Revelation 1:18, Matthew 27:51, Romans 6:9, Revelation 19:1-6, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Colossians 1:16, Deuteronomy 11:25
- Psalm 19:12-14 —
12 Who can discern His errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
- Your Great Name —
Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: Acts 4:12, Luke 19:10, Psalm 106:8, John 3:17, Romans 8:1, 1 John 4:18, James 4:7-8, Revelation 5:9-10, Philippians 2:9-11, 2 Corinthians 12:9-11, Psalm 107:9, Psalm 68:5, Matthew 4:24, John 11:1-44, Job 19:25, Psalm 103:3, Revelation 11:17, Proverbs 23:11, Revelation 17:14
- King of Kings —
Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: Proverbs 4:19, John 3:19-21, Ephesians 2:1, Philippians 2:5-11, Matthew 5:17, Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:31, Isaiah 9:6-7, Luke 2:7, Psalm 3:3, Psalm 8:1, John 1:14, Psalm 136:3, Matthew 28:18, Revelation 19:16, Matthew 13:24-52, 2 Corinthians 5:18-21, Isaiah 53, John 3:16, Romans 5:6-10, Galatians 3:13, Colossians 2:14, Titus 2:14, Acts 4:33, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Matthew 27:52-53, Luke 15:7, Acts 2:1-4, Matthew 24:35, Ephesians 1:7, Galatians 5:1, Galatians 2:19-20, 2 Timothy 2:11
- (invitation) Way Maker —
Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: Matthew 1:23, 2 Timothy 1:14, Philippians 1:6, Psalm 25:1, Psalm 86:4, Psalm 5:7, Psalm 63:1, Isaiah 43:15-16, Matthew 19:26, John 14:6, Job 5:8-9, Numbers 23:19, Joshua 21:45, 1 Kings 8:56, Romans 4:21, Hebrews 10:23, John 1:4-5, John 8:12, John 12:46, Colossians 1:13, 1 Peter 2:9, John 3:15-17, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Ephesians 2:4-5, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Psalm 51:10, Romans 12:2, Romans 10:9-10, Philippians 4:19, 1 Peter 1:8, Romans 8:26, Lamentations 3:22-23, Psalm 68:19, John 5:17, Zephaniah 3:5, Philippians 2:13
If gathering in person, please remember that masks are recommended and that we need to remain vigilant in our social distancing measures. Continue to pray for those who are sick – not just our members but all those around the world.
Starting Sunday, March 7, we will be offering an 8:00a service for those who are at risk for Covid-19 and desire more social distancing and masking. The worship center will be sanitized prior to this service as well as all high-traffic surfaces.
This is not merely an overflow or alternate service but an opportunity for those of our faith family who have not been able to gather to have the opportunity to gather (socially distanced) as we believe it is absolutely essential to gather together (Hebrews 10:24).
Please be in prayer for God’s protection on those willing to begin to gather again in and for this effort in general.