Songs for Sunday, January 16, 2022

We’re a few weeks into 2022, and this is our first “Songs for Sunday” of the year!

I’ve been thinking a lot about grace this week, and here’s the quote that sparked a lot of that thinking:

“Grace has the power to do what nothing else can do — rescue you from you, and in so doing, restore you to what you were created to be.”

Paul Tripp

We talk a lot about grace at Christ Community. We should! But, sometimes, I think we need a reminder of why, which is part of why I’ve been thinking about grace – the part of the quote above that says, “rescue you from you“.

I need to be rescued from my sin. You need rescue from yours. It is easy sometimes to take the problem of sin and see it as an us v. them situation – to look at it as the sin of the world v. God’s people. That kind of thinking is dangerous and, quite honestly, foolish (I’m speaking from experience here). How is it that we are so easily forgetful of how dangerous our sin is? Well, the answer is grace.

If you belong to Christ, you have experienced grace upon grace. Time and again, Christ has forgiven and covered your sin. Grace. So, we tend to forget the sins of the past (and mostly ignore the sins of the present). That’s why the Bible gives us such beautiful examples as 1 Peter 2:9-10:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

We need to be reminded of Whose we are despite who we were.

As the Church, we celebrate being God’s people, but we were formerly God’s enemies because of our sin (Romans 5:9-10).

As the Church, we celebrate receiving mercy from the God we know to be “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6), but we sometimes forget that we were formerly facing the “wages of [our] sin” – death (Romans 6:23).

As the Church, we celebrate being in “His marvelous light”, but we forget that He called us “out of darkness”. And the darkness is where we wanted to be. We wanted to commit the sin we committed. We still do.

John, pastor of CCC, has said several times over the past few weeks that no one has died due to lack of sin. But everyone who does not put their trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior faces death eternally. That’s bad news. It’s the worst news – unless you’ve experienced the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

So, we must remember why we needed grace. We must remember that His grace saved us from ourselves. And rejoice that He is restoring us to who He created us to be in Him. Then, and only then, will we become a “people for His own possession”. And we will “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light”.

That’s good news! And that’s what we are singing about tomorrow: the grace of Jesus Christ that is greater than our sin – but not the gift of grace itself. We are going to make much of the One who brings the grace – “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession” (Titus 2:12-14)!


Here are our Scriptures & songs:

  • Titus 2:11-14

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works.

  • Lamentations 3:16-24

He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
and made me cower in ashes;
my soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, “My endurance has perished;
so has my hope from the LORD.”

Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in Him.”


If you have not been gathering, consider gathering with your church family again. Various variants are still issues in this prolonged pandemic, but prayerfully consider gathering in the 10:00 Bible study where there is plenty of room for social distancing and one could slip out before the worship crowd comes in for the 11:00 service.


Songs for Sunday, December 19, 2021


“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

1 John 4:10

“The Advent story is the most beautiful rescue story ever. The Son of God leaves the Father’s side, becomes a man to rescue us from us.”

Paul Tripp

If you talk to me for very long the joys in my life are going to come up. I can’t help it (well, maybe I can, but I won’t).

I love to talk about Jesus. He loves me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20). He took me at my worst as a spiritually dead sinner and gave me new life in Him (Ephesians 2:1, 4-5) – because of His great love! And He still loves me despite my continuing imperfections and foolishness, with the informed consent that comes with His infinite knowledge He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7).

I love to talk about Candice. I very clearly married outside my station in life. She loves me. Unlike God, she had no idea all the imperfections and foolishness she was getting into, but she has stuck with me all the same. She deserves more but wants me. I get to be her husband. I am blessed and get to grow in and follow Christ in such a way that maybe one day she will have the husband she deserves (and he still be me, ha).

I love my children. There are a lot of things I have failed at in life, but there is nothing I have given more effort to try to do right than to be their daddy. They have all of my quirkiness and weirdness, and they are beautiful and intelligent like their mom – what a lovely combination! I get to be their daddy. I am blessed and get to grow in and follow Christ in such a way that, whether they ever learn anything of worldly value from me, they will know what it looks like to lean on, serve, and be sanctified by the Savior.

The best part of having these joys in my life is that they love me.

My kiddos love me. They love me despite failures and flaws. But I have loved them since I first found out they existed. The moment Candice told me they had been conceived a whole compartment of my heart was renovated and designated for the love that I would have for them. Some other joys and other loves were shoved to the side. I don’t know what those joys and loves were – they paled in comparison and are not remembered.

Candice loves me. She would argue against this, but I loved her first. There is no one on earth more acquainted with my failures than she is, yet she chooses to love me and put up with me. She has flaws, too, but, rest assured, they are much harder to see (or believe) and you will never hear of them from me. I can remember the exact moment that I “fell in love” with her (or “caught feelings” as my school kiddos would say). May 30, 2003 changed my heart and life. In that moment, a whole compartment of my heart was renovated and filled with love for her. Just like the love I found for my children, it changed me.

But the most staggering – most surprising – love comes from God. He loves me. No one has ever loved me more than He loves me – not parents or grandparents or wife or children.

You see, His “eyes saw my unformed substance” and in His book “were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16). He knew every sin, every fault, and every flaw yet He still loved me. In fact, He showed His love for me (and you) “in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). No one loves like that, but God does.

He loved the whole world so much that “He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). I know me, and I know there is no classification of worthiness in which I would be worthy of such love. But that’s not how love works. No one on earth loves this much, but God does.

God’s love is set apart from all other loves by a word that you may have never heard before that changes everything: propitiation (Romans 3:23-25, 1 John 2:1-2; 1 John 4:10). Propitiation is a sacrifice that changes status and categories – in fact, it swaps them.

In the case of the love of God, His sacrifice for those He loves in Christ took the favor that the only Son of God deserved and swapped it for the shame earned by our sin (Colossians 2:13-14). His sacrifice took the righteousness that only Jesus could be capable of and traded it for our unrighteousness – His righteousness was credited to and traded for the negative balance of our righteousness accounts (2 Corinthians 5:21). His sacrifice took the eternal life that comes from the Light and Life Himself, Jesus Christ, and traded it for the death we deserve as sinners (Romans 6:23).

No one is capable of such love. And none of us are worthy of it. But God loves us eternally. We sing of the love manifested in His first coming. We sing of the love manifested in His death and resurrection. And we sing of the love to be had when He returns.

It’s His love that will be the inspiration and subject of our worship tomorrow and every day.

Here are our Scriptures & songs:

  • The Son of God Came Down
  • John 3:16-21

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

  • Midnight Clear (Love Song)
  • You’re Here
  • 1 John 4:9-10

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

  • Noel
  • (invitation) Make Room
  • (offertory) O Holy Night

As a church, we are reading through the gospel of Luke each from December 1-4 as part of our Christmas to Calvary advent focus. You can grab a paper copy in the church lobby or download it here.

There are also daily audio uploads if you prefer to listen rather than read. Here’s Luke 18 for today’s reading:


If you have not been gathering, consider gathering with your church family again. Various variants are still issues in this prolonged pandemic, but prayerfully consider gathering in the 10:00 Bible study where there is plenty of room for social distancing and one could slip out before the worship crowd comes in for the 11:00 service.

Songs for Sunday, December 12, 2021


The Christmas story is summed up aptly by the angels to the shepherds: good news of great joy!

CCC Advent Guide

I love the preaching of the angels in Luke 2!

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

I love this passage because of its truth! I love it because of the mercy it displays on those who normally would not be considered worthy to get such news! And I love it because that “good news of great joy” is still – don’t miss this, STILL – good news and for all people even today!

Let’s break this down together.

Mary and Joseph had journeyed to Bethlehem together to be registered counted for the census. For whatever reason, “there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7) and were forced to camp out in the stable area. Mary had just given birth to the Messiah, the Son of God. Instead of a baby blanket, she swaddled him in strips of cloth. Instead of a bassinet or crib, she laid in a manger – a feeding trough for animals.

While the most important birth – fulfilling prophecy since the beginning (Genesis 3:15) – was occurring without pomp and attention, there were shepherds in the nearby countryside camped out caring for their flocks. They were no doubt dirty. They were definitely the last group to expect to receive an angelic royal birth announcement. Yet it was for them Christ had come, and, to them, would come this beautiful gospel (good news) message that still rings through the years.

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

The gospel message is not for fear but faith and hope. There is no greater joy than celebrating that the lost has been found (Luke 15). The beauty of this gospel of great joy is not in the reality that befalls those who reject the message but in the amazing reality of the eternal life that comes to those who believe – that dead men and women find life in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5) and find a place in the Father’s house as His adopted children (Galatians 4:4-5)! And it is beautiful because it is for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16-17), whether you be shepherd or king, poor or rich, look-like-you-have-it-together or clearly-a-hot-mess, “all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13)!

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

These shepherds were the first to hear the news that the Messiah had been born. Herod remained ignorant. Scribes and Pharisees were left in their legalism. Everyone, from the priests to the powerful, heard after these lowly shepherds that the promised Messiah had arrived in the “city of David”, Bethlehem. So, the best “good news” in history rang out to the most insignificant group of people in the most insignificant city and the least significant time of being counted in a census. And it still rings true to those the world deems insignificant in places that seem insignificant and in times that seem like hope is gone or at least quickly leaving. It still rings true because it IS true. What a beautiful reminder that there is this day a Savior. His name is Jesus. And He cares for us!

“And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

The shepherds needed a sign to point them where they needed to go. They needed to find Him to worship Him. Praise God, we do not have to look today! They sought Emmanuel (“God with us”) to lay their eyes on Him, yet all we have to do today is believe. He was born, and the shepherds were His witness. He died, and Scripture and, even, history are His witnesses. But He rose again and has given His Spirit. He was and is and is to come (Revelation 1:4). We do not need a sign because we have access to the Savior!

While I write this, “What Child is This?” is playing in the background. There is busy-ness happening all around me. People are buying coffee to fuel their busy-ness. There is chatter throughout the coffee shop. People are driving and walking by. And the poignancy of the words of the song echo the hope I find in this “good news of great joy”.

Read these words and ponder their reality and beauty to prepare your heart to gather with a faith family tomorrow in worship:

What child is this, who, laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping,
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King!
Haste, haste to bring Him laud!

Why lies He in such mean estate where ox and beast are feeding?
Good Christian, fear, for sinners here, the silent Word is pleading!

Nails, spear, shall pierce Him through!
The cross be borne for me, for you!
Hail, hail the Word made flesh!

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
Come, peasant, king, to own Him.
The King of kings salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone Him!

Raise, raise a song on high!
Joy, joy for Christ is born!
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

Here are our Scriptures and songs:

  • Joy to the World
  • Isaiah 9:2-7

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.            
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

  • We Have a Savior
  • Luke 2:8-20

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14    “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

  • Away in a Manger (Forever Amen)
  • Revelation 21:1-5

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

  • Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)
  • (invitation) The Son of God Came Down
  • (offertory) Mary, Did You Know?

As a church, we are reading through the gospel of Luke each from December 1-4 as part of our Christmas to Calvary advent focus. You can grab a paper copy in the church lobby or download it here.

There are also daily audio uploads if you prefer to listen rather than read. Here’s Luke 4 for today’s reading:


If you have not been gathering, consider gathering with your church family again. Various variants are still issues in this prolonged pandemic, but prayerfully consider gathering in the 10:00 Bible study where there is plenty of room for social distancing and one could slip out before the worship crowd comes in for the 11:00 service.

Christmas to Calvary — December 5


Jesus Calls His First Disciples

Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around him and hearing the word of God, he was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats there beside the lake, but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. And he got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out from the land a little. And he sat down and began to teach the crowds from the boat. And when he stopped speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered and said, “Master, although we worked hard through the whole night, we caught nothing. But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they did this, they caught a very large number of fish, and their nets began to tear. And they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both the boats so that they began to sink. And when he saw it, Simon Peter fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, Lord, because I am a sinful man!” For amazement had seized him and all those who were with him at the catch of fish that they had caught, and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were business partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid! From now on you will be catching people!” And after they brought their boats to the land, they left everything and followed him.

A Leper Cleansed

And it happened that while he was in one of the towns, there was a man covered with leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell down on his face and begged him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you are able to make me clean.” And extending his hand he touched him, saying, “I am willing; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy went away from him. And he ordered him, “Tell no one, but go and show yourself to the priest and bring the offering for your cleansing just as Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.” But the report about him spread even more, and large crowds were gathering to hear him and to be healed of their illnesses. But he himself was withdrawing in the wilderness and praying.

A Paralytic Healed

And it happened that on one of the days as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was there in order for him to heal. And behold, men came carrying on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and place him before him. And when they did not find a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the roof tiles with the stretcher into the midst of them, in front of Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who is able to forgive sins except God alone?” But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk?’ But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” he said to the one who was paralyzed, “I say to you, ‘Get up and pick up your stretcher and go to your home.’” And immediately he stood up before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went away to his home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they began to glorify God. And they were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen wonderful things today!”

Levi Called to Follow Jesus

And after these things, he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me!” And leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow him.

And Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were reclining for the meal with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes began to complain to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are healthy do not have need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

On Fasting

And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and make prayers—likewise also the disciples of the Pharisees—but yours are eating and drinking!” So he said to them, “You are not able to make the bridegroom’s attendants fast as long as the bridegroom is with them, are you? But days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.” And he also told a parable to them: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. Otherwise, he will have torn the new also, and the old will not match the patch that is from the new. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the wineskins, and it will be spilled and the wineskins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants new, because he says, ‘The old is just fine!’”

Questions for Reflection:

  • Who in today’s society would be similar to the lepers and the unclean in Jesus’ lifetime? What hope does Jesus offer them?

  • In today’s chapter, we see Jesus interacting with sinners in various settings and situations. In what ways should Christians follow His example? In what ways or in what circumstances should Christians not follow His example?

  • Consider the Pharisees and scribes. The Pharisees emphasize rule-keeping, and the scribes often denied doctrine that should be considered fundamental. Which tendency do you notice in your own life? What about in your church?

Songs for Sunday, December 5, 2021


God kept His promises; the Savior was born in Bethlehem.

CCC Advent reading guide

One of the most beautiful reminders of God’s love for us in the Christmas season is how God has always been faithful to keep His promises and was especially faithful in keeping this particular promise.

To share what I mean, look at two verses that are often used to herald God’s love for us:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

and

…but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

When the prophet Micah shared God’s promise for Bethlehem (who he was was “too little to be among the clans of Judah”) that “from you shall come forth for me One who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days” (Micah 5:2), no one realized how much that promise would cost the God they hoped would be faithful to His promise. Those in his day (around 750-700 BC) were not focused on faithfulness at all. In fact, much of Micah’s promises to Judah during those years were about the coming judgment from God in exile due to their faithfulness and idolatry. Israel fell during his life and ministry, showing Judah that God was indeed a keeper of promises.

I imagine that it hurt God to allow His people to go into exile. He had promised them time and again that exile was where their faithfulness would lead, but they were proud – more than a little bit arrogant – and thought their ways were best. But, even in the midst of God promising judgment for their sin, God promised the coming of the Messiah to one day rescue them from their sins, and the cost for this rescue would come from Him alone because He alone was faithful enough, powerful enough, and loving enough to carry it out.

God left the glory of Heaven and took on flesh (John 1:1, 14), being made in every way like us (Philippians 2:5-8), to come and bear witness to the truth (John 5:33-36, 14:6). He lived the life we could not live and died the death we should have died (2 Corinthians 5:21) – God the Father pouring His wrath on God the Son, the substitutionary sacrifice for those who would repent and believe in Him (Romans 3:21-25, 10:9-13; Ephesians 2:4-5; Colossians 2:13-14; 1 John 2:1-2).

Just as Bethlehem was a seemingly insignificant town, many of us today feel insignificant on a regular basis, yet God loves and cares for you (1 John 4:10, 1 Peter 5:6-7)!

Tomorrow, we will gather together celebrating Him – joyously praising His faithfulness in looking at His humble birth and humbly rejoicing over the hope that comes to ones as insignificant as us through His death and resurrection!

Here are our Scriptures & songs:

  • So Will I
  • Luke 1:46-55

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

  • O Come Let Us Adore Him
  • Adore Him
  • Luke 1:67-79

67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

  • King of Kings
  • (invitation) Joy to the World (King is Coming) —

As a church, we are reading through the gospel of Luke each from December 1-4 as part of our Christmas to Calvary advent focus. You can grab a paper copy in the church lobby or download it here.

There are also daily audio uploads if you prefer to listen rather than read. Here’s Luke 4 for today’s reading:


If you have not been gathering, consider gathering with your church family again. Various variants are still issues in this prolonged pandemic, but prayerfully consider gathering in the 10:00 Bible study where there is plenty of room for social distancing and one could slip out before the worship crowd comes in for the 11:00 service.

Songs for Sunday, November 28, 2021

Advent – waiting on the arrival of something, or someOne, big and important.

It seems so easy to get lost in all of the busy-ness of the season with the passing of hours, days, weeks, and months that we forget the anticipation.

For Israel all those centuries ago, waiting had become their norm. They had awaited the Messiah for hundreds of years. Exile had come and gone. They tried to make their own way. God’s Word was silent until “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The silence of hundreds of years waiting for God’s promise to be fulfilled was broken by the cry of God Himself coming to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21) as the promised Emmanuel, “which means, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

This is why it is fitting that the first week of Advent is remembering prophecy and looking forward to hope: We can have hope because God is faithful to keep His promises!

So, tomorrow, as we begin tuning our worship with the sounds of Christmas, let us look in anticipation to the coming of our Savior because “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20)! We do not wait in silence because the Word has already dwelt among us – and after His resurrection, He has sent His Spirit to dwell with us so that there will never, ever be a time for God’s people without Emmanuel!

May our hearts cry out as with the hymn of old: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel…Rejoice!”

And that is what we are singing about tomorrow: rejoicing that God is with us and trusting in all He has faithfully done – all the promises He has already kept and fulfilled in the first coming of King Jesus – so that we can hope and rejoice in His imminent return!

Here are our Scriptures & songs:

  • Romans 5:1-5

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

  • God With Us
  • Born to Die
  • Romans 5:6-11

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

  • In Christ Alone
  • What a Beautiful Name
  • (invitation) Make Room
  • (offertory) He Will Hold Me Fast

We invite you to join us this Sunday at Christ Community Church in Grenada, MS!

We have Sunday School classes for all ages at 9:30a and worship – everyone is welcome – at 11:00a!

If you are concerned about social distancing or are at-risk, consider gathering with us at 10:00a for a small group Bible study in our worship center. There is plenty of room to spread out, but there is also opportunity to gather with others at the same time! No one will crowd you, and you can exit out of our side door and avoid the crowd coming in to worship after the Bible study!

We also continue to live stream from Pastor John Goldwater’s facebook page and have current and past services on the CCC YouTube page.


Songs for Sunday, November 14, 2021

Tomorrow is Sunday, and God is good!

Meditating on God’s goodness is always a good thing. And that’s what we will be doing in worship tomorrow at Christ Community.

We will look ahead in God’s Word to how good God’s plans are for the future of His people. We will look back in God’s Word to how good God has always been. But it is my prayer that, as we read the Word together, sing the Word together, and see what He has for us, we realize that He is especially good to us right now.

Here are a few passages that have been on my heart that, hopefully, will kindle a fire in your heart to gather with God’s people to worship Him tomorrow:

God blesses us in our gathering by using His Church to help us focus on the hope that comes from Him alone, to stir each other up to His works done in love, and to encourage each other through His Spirit.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:23-25

Think of how similar we are today to Israel in faithlessness and trouble. If God never wavered in His promises to them – and has indeed NEVER been unfaithful at all, how good is it that we can trust in Him now!

Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

Joshua 21:45

We can fully trust in God because He is eternally able.

…fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised.

Romans 4:21

So, yes, tomorrow is Sunday, and, Lord willing, we will get to gather to worship Him. He who promised is faithful. He has always been good to us. He will forever be good to us. And, rest assured, He is good to us now!

Here are our Scriptures & songs:

  • Revelation 21:1-8

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

  • Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
   He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
   He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
  for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
   you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
   and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.


We invite you to join us this Sunday at Christ Community Church in Grenada, MS!

We have Sunday School classes for all ages at 9:30a and worship – everyone is welcome – at 11:00a!

If you are concerned about social distancing or are at-risk, consider gathering with us at 10:00a for a small group Bible study in our worship center. There is plenty of room to spread out, but there is also opportunity to gather with others at the same time! No one will crowd you, and you can exit out of our side door and avoid the crowd coming in to worship after the Bible study!

We also continue to live stream from Pastor John Goldwater’s facebook page and have current and past services on the CCC YouTube page.


Songs for Sunday, November 7, 2021

Tomorrow is Sunday – and we get an extra hour of sleep! I can hardly think of a more exciting combination.

This past week has been more than a little anxiety-ridden and definitely one that I am definitely ready to finish. I love that the first day of the week – of every week, but especially this one – is the Lord’s day, a day where we get our focus back on Christ. For the Church – the Bride of Christ – every Sunday is supposed to gather in remembrance and worship of all that Christ has done for us, but, most importantly because “He is risen, as He said” (Matthew 28:6), we gather to honor our resurrected Savior who is our “living hope” (1 Peter 1:3)!

There is plenty to distract us from that hope. It is as Jesus said in Matthew 6:34, “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble”. But, rather than be distracted, let us be reminded all the more of Who our reason to hope is!

I love the dual promises found in John 16:33 that “in the world you will have tribulation” but that we should “take heart” because Jesus has already “overcome the world.

I love the reminder Jesus gave to Paul in the midst of his great trial and thorn (2 Corinthians 12:9): “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

And I love and rejoice in the hope that one day I – and all believers – will be with Him forever, the Sovereign all-powerful God and His ransomed, adopted, redeemed Church, where there will be no more “mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4) and the final tear will be wiped away by a hand still bearing the scars of the wounds by which we are healed (Isaiah 53:5)!

Tomorrow, I hope you’ll gather with us. It’s likely you need reminding, too. There world is a hopeless place, but this world is not all there is. So, tomorrow, we’ll gather as our little corner of the Kingdom and make much of Him in worship to prepare for the eternal life that is to come!

Here are our Scriptures & songs:

  • Psalm 130

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities.

  • Galatians 3:10-14

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.


We invite you to join us this Sunday at Christ Community Church in Grenada, MS!

We have Sunday School classes for all ages at 9:30a and worship – everyone is welcome – at 11:00a!

If you are concerned about social distancing or are at-risk, consider gathering with us at 10:00a for a small group Bible study in our worship center. There is plenty of room to spread out, but there is also opportunity to gather with others at the same time! No one will crowd you, and you can exit out of our side door and avoid the crowd coming in to worship after the Bible study!

We also continue to live stream from Pastor John Goldwater’s facebook page and have current and past services on the CCC YouTube page.


Songs for Sunday, October 31, 2021

There has been a passage on my mind for the past two weeks. My pastor, John Goldwater, shared it in our last pastors’ meeting, we read it in worship at Christ Community last week, and, apparently, John and I were both still thinking of it because he posted it this morning.

The passage is Proverbs 30:1-4:

The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle.

The man declares, I am weary, O God;
I am weary, O God, and worn out.
Surely I am too stupid to be a man.
I have not the understanding of a man.
I have not learned wisdom,
nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.
Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is his son’s name?
Surely you know!

I find myself wondering why this passage has been on my mind these weeks and why I have meditated on it so. I have come to the conclusion that it is for two reasons: 1) I am “weary…and worn out” and definitely “too stupid to be a man”, and 2) I KNOW HIS NAME!

Last week, when we read this aloud together in Christ Community, there were more than a few chuckles as we read vv. 1-2! We laughed because, sometimes, our stupidity is humorous. We laughed because we knew it to be true! We all often lack wisdom. We are all often ignorant of the knowledge we should have of “the Holy One” because we “have not learned wisdom” (v. 3)!

People say that ignorance is bliss, but how blissful could it be to be ignorant of God – to willfully ignore His Word? We are very likely acquainted that ignorance is due to the absence of learning, but I believe this passage highlights ignorance due simply to our ignoring the knowledge that is there. God knows all, and He knows us!

Psalm 49:10 describes the fate of everyone on the earth: “even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others”! So, rather than remaining in willful ignorance, I would like to offer all of us the opportunity to cast off our ignorance and be obedient to the command of James 1:5:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

And in our seeking of wisdom, I pray that we find the answer to all the questions in that passage: His name is Jesus!

There is no greater spring of wisdom that in Jesus, who is the wisdom of God in human form! Jesus is “all the fullness of God” (Colossians 1:19) and “the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5-6) — fully God and fully man, unique and “preeminent” (Colossians 1:18)! He gave Himself – dying for the ungodly (Romans 5:6, 8) for the sins of the world (John 3:16, 1 John 2:1-2), yet He is alive today because “He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corintians 15:4) — “He has risen, as He said” (Matthew 28:6)!

Do you know Him?

He’s the answer to all the questions that the oracle Agur asked in our passage!

Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Our “great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13, cf. John 3:13)!

Who has gathered the the wind in His fists? God Almighty (cf. Isaiah 40:12)!

Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? The Sovereign God of the universe (cf. Job 26:8)!

Who established all the ends of the earth? THE LORD whose Name is above every name (Philippians 2:10-11, cf. Psalm 22:27)!

What is His name, and what is His son’s name? Surely you know!

His name is Jesus!

And He is who we are hoping to worship tomorrow! He is the substance of our preaching and our singing! He is the object of our worship and conversation – tomorrow especially, but – hopefully – every day. He is God, and He cares for us!

I hope you will join us tomorrow!

Here are our Scriptures & songs:

  • Romans 8:31-39

31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • Isaiah 53:3-6

3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.


We invite you to join us this Sunday at Christ Community Church in Grenada, MS!

We have Sunday School classes for all ages at 9:30a and worship – everyone is welcome – at 11:00a!

If you are concerned about social distancing or are at-risk, consider gathering with us at 10:00a for a small group Bible study in our worship center. There is plenty of room to spread out, but there is also opportunity to gather with others at the same time! No one will crowd you, and you can exit out of our side door and avoid the crowd coming in to worship after the Bible study!

We also continue to live stream from Pastor John Goldwater’s facebook page and have current and past services on the CCC YouTube page.


Songs for Sunday, October 10, 2021

It’s almost Sunday!

I have a passage on my mind that is going to seem odd considering how excited I am. It’s going to seem a bit sad though I am full of joy reading it. But, then again, that is what hope in Christ does – it flips the sad realities of this earth upside down through the hope of what He has done, is doing, and has promised to do in the future.

Here’s the passage:

By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our lyres. For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?

Psalm 137:1-4

When these words were written, nearly all of Israel was in exile. The punishment God had promised for the idolatry of their kings and the hearts of His people who were supposed to love Him above all had come into fruition. The temple lay in ruins. Jerusalem’s walls were in shambles. And God’s people were far from His promised land and seemed farther away from the covenant promises they had forsaken.

Those who led Israel in worship now found themselves in the crosshairs of mocking and shame. Where there had once been loud singing and music in their hearts, there was only shame. They hung up their lyres. They traded worship for weeping. All the while, their captors tormented them by asking them to sing some of their beloved “songs of Zion” – basically, sing some of those songs about how much you love the Lord and what all He has done for you….

They had no song or desire to sing, only tears.

Their memories of former glory and worship did nothing to satisfy their longing for rescue in their present. The rubble of the temple and reverence for past faithfulness had no effect on their current weeping.

Those feelings are not exclusive to Babylon.

There was a time in my life that I wanted nothing more than to hang up my guitar and sing no more of the Lord. In fact, I sold my guitar to pay the moving expenses to leave ministry behind to move back home ashamed of quitting and being burned out, afraid of the future.

I had barely been home twenty-four hours when a tormentor ridiculed, asking how dare I quit on the Lord and reminding, almost gleefully, of the shame I felt. And tears fell in my car the same as they had once fell by the waters of Babylon.

The joy I had once felt in leading in worship and preaching the Word were not enough to combat the present sorrow I felt during that time. In fact, all of my efforts were wrapped up in the past – past righteousness, past success, past calling, past motivation, past personal worship of Jesus. But, just as with those worship leaders in Babylon with lyres hung on trees and hopes hung up in their past, I found that the past was not enough to sustain my present, much less my future.

Thankfully, God brought repentance and, little-by-little, joy back into my life following after Him. Just as He did for Israel, He healed the pain of my exile, helped me follow Him more closely than I ever did in the past, and held out His mighty hand to me because “He cares” for me (1 Peter 5:7). I remembered that Jesus is alive and well, seated on the throne, and found myself rejoicing in the pains of my past because they highlight Him and how He was with me every step of the way.

And that’s how we will “sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land” tomorrow. That may seem odd since we will be in our homeland, so-to-speak, but this world is not our home because “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20)! We will gather together, not because of our past faithfulness but HIS! We will remember what He has done, but we will rejoice because our resurrected King is doing things – working for our good and His glory – NOW! And we will rejoice that our exile in this old world is not permanent and He has promised us future eternity with Him where the last of the tears from Babylon will be wiped away by His own hand (Revelation 21:4)!

So, I hope you will join us tomorrow as we make much of Jesus. You can’t do anything about your past, but – PRAISE GOD – He already has! And He has given hope for a better future than we could ever earn on our own.

Here are our Scriptures & songs:

  • Romans 6:1-5

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

  • Romans 6:6-11

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.


We invite you to join us this Sunday at Christ Community Church in Grenada, MS!

We have Sunday School classes for all ages at 9:30a and worship – everyone is welcome – at 11:00a!

If you are concerned about social distancing or are at-risk, consider gathering with us at 10:00a for a small group Bible study in our worship center. There is plenty of room to spread out, but there is also opportunity to gather with others at the same time! No one will crowd you, and you can exit out of our side door and avoid the crowd coming in to worship after the Bible study!

We also continue to live stream from Pastor John Goldwater’s facebook page and have current and past services on the CCC YouTube page.