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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

The Coming King

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The Prophet Isaiah spoke of the coming Messiah this way in Isaiah chapter 9:

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.
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.

The season of Advent is full of imagery and rich reminders to anticipate the return of Christ. It's full of anticipation of the upside-down way He left his majesty and initiated a kingdom on earth built upon sacrifice and humility. The coming of Baby Jesus to the manger in Bethlehem, even with all the miraculous and awesome events of that night, is a dim shadow of the second coming of King Jesus to set all things right and establish his kingdom in a new heavens and new earth. 

The majesty and justice, the never-ending increase of peace...there's nothing subtle, nothing quiet, nothing "out of the way" about his second coming. 

So as we gather together in this season, we should do so with eager anticipation, excitement, joy, and much celebration, not only because Baby Jesus came, died and rose, but also because King Jesus is coming soon. We join in the everlasting celebration of his majesty, his justice, his mercy, his humility, his sacrifice and his reign....all rolled together as we remember and anticipate.

Here are the Scriptures and Songs for our service this weekend.
 
Call to Worship: Isaiah 9:2,6
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Angels We Have Heard on High
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 9:7
Be Enthroned
Come Adore the Humble King
O Come to the Altar
Sermon from I Thessalonians 5:1-11

 Here's a Spotify playlist of these songs so you'll know them when you come! 

Posted by Tim Payne with

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