Celebrating Advent and Christmas

The seasons of the church calendar are designed to help us remember and live faithfully according to the story of Jesus’ life and his work for our salvation in fulfillment of God’s mission for the people of Israel and his plan for the whole world.  In other words, the church calendar helps us order our worship and life together as a church around the whole story of the good news (gospel) of Jesus.

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Worship Makes Disciples

What is the connection between corporate worship on Sundays and daily life on Monday through Saturday?  Scott Aniol, a professor of worship at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, offers reflections on the way the liturgy of Sunday forms us (or ought to form us) to be faithful followers of Jesus in every aspect of our lives.  See his paper “Practice Makes Perfect: How Corporate Worship Forms Disciples.”

Celebrating Jesus’ Ascension

May 17 is the day that we will celebrate Jesus’ ascension to heaven as the culmination of the Easter season.  In the worship of many modern Christian churches, Jesus’ ascension to heaven is a neglected and forgotten reality.  However, it has not always been so.  As the annual liturgical calendar developed in the fourth century, churches began to devote a special day to commemorate Jesus’ ascension within the Easter season prior to Pentecost.  Not only the calendar but also the early Christian creeds signified the ascension’s prominent place in early Christian thought and life.  Both the baptismal creed that later developed into the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed formulated in the first two ecumenical councils at Nicea (325 A.D.) and Constantinople (381 A.D.) list Jesus’ ascension among the most fundamental articles of the Christian gospel. Continue reading

Beautiful Savior

During the month of May, the sermon series will highlight the various spiritual benefits that we receive from Jesus because he is risen from the dead.  At the 11:15 service, we will sing a new song, “Beautiful Savior,” to celebrate the many victories Jesus won for us in his resurrection.  If we are united to the risen Jesus by faith, then we can sing of “sins forgiven, of conscience cleansed and of death defeated and life without end.”  Jesus’ resurrection shows that he is the “Lord of history” and “heaven’s champion” who “reigns over all,” and it will be our greatest joy to celebrate his victory eternally with the whole company of heaven where “the glory never fades” and “cries of ‘worthy’ will honor the Lamb” forever. Continue reading