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Advent: Looking Back and Looking Forward

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This Sunday officially begins Advent for 2018. Advent is a time when we reflect on the longing God has placed in every person to know God personally and his promises to make himself known to us. It's a time when we remember the longings of God's people for the promised Messiah to come. It's a time when we look back on the miraculous and unexpected manner and effects of that first coming of Jesus in Bethlehem in the presence of shepherds, animals and angels.
Advent is a season of looking back.
But Advent is not just for looking back. It's even more for looking forward to the second coming of Christ. It's for resting in the promises of Jesus to come again and put an end to all of the suffering, sin, pain, sorrow and brokenness in the world. It's a time for anticipating Him creating a new Heavens and a new Earth. It's a time for looking forward, knowing that we can do so with confidence since we have a God who never changes...whose unexpected and inimitable first coming is the down payment and assurance for his second and final coming.
So as we come together on Sunday, let's do so looking back and looking forward, ready to worship the God who has come down to rescue us and and who promises to come back again to bring us home!
Here are the Songs and Scriptures that will make up our services on Sunday:
Call to Worship from Philippians 2:5-11
Nobody Like You
Come and Stand Amazed
Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery
Communion with 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Here Comes Heaven
Behold Our God
Sermon from Matthew 5:31-32
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Posted by Tim Payne with

Giving Thanks

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Colossians 3:15-17 says: 
"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
I recently spoke to our Rooted group on this passage and was really impacted by the repetition of the thankfulness theme. This passage, I had thought, was about how we can be faithful members of the Body of Christ...that we seek to do everything for God's glory, that we be sure to come together to be taught about God and to sing to him using a variety of songs to express the wide variety of amazing truths we know about Him and what He's done for us. 
But in looking at it these past weeks, what stands out to me is the Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, emphasizes one thing above the others. There's only one thing he says three times in these three verses. He says to be thankful three times. 
In the midst of encouraging the people to rehearse the Gospel when they come together; In the midst of encouraging them to be accountable to admonish and teach one another so as to have the Word of Christ dwelling richly in them; In the midst of instructing them to worship the Lord corporately and to do so with all the biblical means available to them; Paul keeps emphasizing this one thankful.
As we enter Thanksgiving week, I want to hear that exhortation afresh. I want to grow in being thankful. Thankful to God for the Gospel and the Word. Thankful to God for great pastors who teach us his Word. Thankful to God for the joy of freely expressing worship to the Lord together with his Body. 
Let's be thankful this week. But let's not just be thankful this week. Let's make it a lifestyle. Let's be a people marked by thankfulness as we seek to live out the other commands outlined in this passage.
Let's come into his presence with thankfulness this Sunday ready to praise the Lord for all He is and all He's done.
Here are the songs and Scriptures that will make up our service this week.
Call to Worship from Colossians 3:15-17
Come Praise and Glorify
How Deep the Father's Love 
At the Cross
Here's a Spotify Playlist of the songs.
Posted by Tim Payne with

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