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Nothing Means Nothing

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I don't know about you, but often, when I read "absolutes" in Scripture, I'm tempted to add my own little qualifiers to soften the blow.  You know:
"Do nothing {unreasonable} from selfish ambition or conceit...." ~Philippians 2:3
"Let no {or at least not much} corrupting talk come out of our mouths..." ~Ephesians 4:29 
This week, another "absolute" in Scripture stood out to me as I pondered the theme of the last two sermons Craig preached.  The temptations to fear that so many of us face aren't limited to temporal issues.  We can be tempted to fear that what we have done (or haven't done) in the last hour, day, week, or even further in the past could and will hinder our current and eternal standing before God.  If you're like me, you face the temptation to add your qualifier to these verses:
"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else {except my sin, my lack of faith, my________} in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." ~Romans 8:38-39
But the good news of these verses must not be muted or discounted in our hearts and minds. Nothing can separate us from the love of God now that Jesus has defeated sin and death once and for all! Let the full weight of that "absolute" be felt in your heart and set you free from fear!
  For all who put their hope and trust in Jesus, there is NOTHING that can tear us away from our union with God through Christ!
That's what we're going to sing about this Sunday.  Here are the songs we'll be singing:
-God and God Alone
-Death Was Arrested
-Jesus Paid it All
-O Come to the Altar
-You Alone
And here's a Spotify Playlist of those songs.
Posted by Tim Payne with

Anticipation and Preparation

I've never surfed.  I'd love to learn, but I've never had the opportunity beyond the occasional boogie-boarding.  But I've always been fascinated by it.  I know it's odd to be talking about surfing during the holiday season, but as I considered the beginning of Advent this week, I was struck by the fact that a surfer waiting for the next big wave is much like what we're to be like this time of year (and really all year).  They are full of both anticipation and preparation.  It doesn't do them any good to anticipate the wave if they aren't also preparing for its coming.  And likewise, without the anticipation, there's no point or urgency to the preparation. 

Each and every Sunday, as we come to church, Jesus wants us to both eagerly anticipate the activity of the Spirit in our midst, and to prepare our hearts to praise and honor the Father above all other things.  We come each Sunday to glorify the Lord through our anticipation, our preparation, and our praise.

This time of year, we tend to sing songs that remember the longing and anticipation of God’s people for the Messiah to come. These songs also help us to express our longing for Christ to come again, even as we celebrate his first coming as a baby in a manger. At the same time, we're in a sermon series in Nehemiah that speaks to the anticipation of God's work to rescue and restore his people...which is a work He is continually doing throughout the generations.

God created this world for the purpose of His Glory. He sent his Son once and will send him back again to bring himself the honor and glory He alone deserves. Jesus came for the purpose of rescuing worshippers for the Father from every tribe and nation and tongue...and that's what we're ultimately here for this and every Sunday. We're here for Him, we're here to worship Him...and that doesn't change with the seasons. This Advent and Christmas season, let's celebrate our glorious Savior, His Gospel, and the Father for whose Glory He came. Let's anticipate and prepare, and let's let those activities and emotions be expressed in our singing.

Here are the songs we'll be singing this Sunday:

O Come All Ye Faithful
Come and Stand Amazed
Here For You
Hymn of Joy
O Lord, My Rock and My Redeemer
And here's the Spotify Playlist for you to enjoy this weekend!
Posted by Tim Payne with