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Do you think of your church as a community center or community project? Do you think of your church as a place where other people are working to make services available to you and your family and sometimes you're asked to help out, too? Or do you think of your church as the people participating in those services together?

If we're not careful, we can think of church as a place, or as an event. But the Church is a living, breathing community of God's children being knit together by the work of God in and through each of them on a personal and relational level, where each and every person involved is vital to the vitality of the whole.

Our God is a relational God. For eternity past, the Trinity has been in perfect and unbroken community - Father, Son, and Spirit. It is an outflow of the loving community of the Trinity that results in Creation...and ultimately in the sacrificial reclamation of sinful people like you and me out of the grasp and sin and darkness into the glorious light of community with God for all eternity. 

The tangible expression of that fellowship to a lost and dying world is local churches living in sacrificial, loving, joyful community together. 

Our local church is a community project. It takes every one of us actively pursuing community together in order for us to completely fulfill our purpose. And without one another, we cannot do what God has called us to do - reflect the Light of Life in the darkness of our world. 

So as we gather this weekend, let us do so with expectation that we will be served and encouraged and taught and exhorted. But let's also do it with the awareness that we're needed...that apart from each of us participating - apart from each one of us making our unique contribution based on the gifts God has generously given to us - the reflection of God's glory emanating out from this church body to a watching world is not as poignant as it ought to be.

And no matter what contribution you expect to be capable of making this weekend, don't fail to make it with joy on your face and thankfulness in your heart that God has given you a local community in which to live out the purpose for which He placed each one of us on earth. What a privilege it is to gather to participate in the public celebration of the union with God through Christ that we all enjoy!

Here are the songs we'll sing and the Scriptures that will make up our service this week.

Call to Worship from Ephesians 5:17-20
Here For You
How Great Thou Art
Not In Me
Shine Into Our Night
Build Your Kingdom Here
Sermon from Hebrews 10:19-25
He Will Hold Me Fast
 
And here's a Spotify Playlist of those songs so you can sing freely with us on Sunday!
Posted by Tim Payne with

Where Are You Looking?

As we begin this new year, there are many places we could be focused. You might be focused on your goals for the year. You might be focused on your e-mail inbox or your social media feed. You might be focused on getting back to school or catching up on projects you didn't finish last year. You might be focused on Spring Break or graduation in the coming months. You might be focused on the failures or disappointments or tragedies of the last year or the last decade. 

I often work hard to get re-focused at the beginning of the year....to prioritize the things that really matter and to hopefully break out of some bad habits developed over the past year. It's a noble pursuit with less-than-stellar results most of the time. 

But Scripture is clear about what we ought to be focusing on, above all else, as we embark on this New Year....and as we begin every year and every day. It's our God in all his glory and majesty and mercy. As we look upon God on his throne yet ever near and available to us; as we look upon and commune with Jesus, high and exalted yet slain to rescue us, all the other things of life come into proper perspective.

May we all pray this prayer with the Psalmist as we begin this year.

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
  So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
  Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
  So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands. - Psalm 63:1-4

Our goal this Sunday, as we gather, will be to encourage one another to look to God, behold Him, praise Him, and lift our eyes, heads, and hands to him in worship. How better could we start off our year?

Here are the songs and scriptures that will make up our corporate singing time:

Call to Worship from Psalm 63:1-4
Look and See
He Is Our God
Turn Your Eyes
The King in All His Beauty
When I Survey

Here is a Spotify Playlist of these songs so you can be comfortable to worship without the distraction of no knowing the songs. 

Posted by Tim Payne with

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