Apr 2013 21

Romans 13:11-14

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

We are so excited to give you the song “Morning Star” as a supplement to our journey through Romans!  The imagery in Romans 13 lends itself to a deep metaphorical exploration of the text and gives us a purpose and identity that is both exhilarating and weighty.

In astronomy the Morning Star refers to Venus, which becomes visible just before the Sun rises.  Venus also disappears during the day because the same light that made it visible floods and overwhelms the sky.  We as the Body of Christ are the Morning Star.

Calling ourselves the Morning Star is not a God complex but an acceptance of responsibility and a heed to the admonishment of our new identity in Christ.  It should feel weighty because it is!  Now is the time for us to own up to the fact that we are awake and freer than anybody in this world.  Although it is still dark we are not bound by its manipulating schemes and contingencies.  We have every ability in the Holy Spirit to live in the light and overwhelm the darkness with good.  We not only know love but also are able to administer it from its source.  We are, by living in the Spirit, a reflection of the coming sunrise and an echo of a thunderous noise that brings life to the dead and salvation from sin and the wages of death.  We are awake and alive and of love with the security of knowing that Christ someday soon will overrun our testimony and with it every shred of darkness.

Apr 2013 18

 

One of the things I love about my church is how many people come early and are ready to engage from the moment the first note is strummed, first word is prayed, or first verse is read.  I’ve lead in multiple environments over the years where the vast majority arrived five to fifteen minutes into the service.  And while we have a strong contingent of Cornerstoner’s who are ready to worship when we begin, for every person there, there is more than one who hasn’t arrived yet.

All this came to mind recently when, responding to some road construction near our entrance, we encouraged people from on stage to arrive early and when I came across this blog post by Joe Thorn.   He writes:

“Otherwise, you should be careful to get there on time because the beginning of the worship gathering is not a throw-away of announcements (which you should pay attention to anyway). Rather, at least in our case, the beginning of our corporate worship is thoughtfully put together with the aim of directing our thoughts toward God. From the opening Scripture to the closing benediction every piece of the liturgy is a piece to a puzzle that, when assembled, gives us all a fuller picture of the gospel.”

For those of us who share in leading our gatherings we have the opportunity and responsibility to teach our people how our liturgy, whether traditional or modern, is purposefully crafted and assembled to draw people into a closer connection with God.  It can be easy for us, as we see people often trickle in five minutes into the service, to treat the opening elements of the service more casually.  To not put elements at the beginning, though they set the tone perfectly, that if missed would result in a lack of context for what follows.  Instead we should we should craft our services in the way that best leads our people while communicating often the value and philosophy behind our gatherings.

And for those that often arrive after the service has begun I would encourage you to view the beginning of the service much as you would the beginning of a movie.  We don’t miss the start of a movie because we value the worth of the movie as as whole. And in the same way we should grow to value our gatherings and all their elements as a whole, from beginning to end.

Apr 2013 16

ipaddetail

 

Ames

Go

Your Name

Hosanna

With One Voice

I’ve Found Hope

 

Ankeny

Here We Stand

Hope Of The World

Rhythms Of Grace

Your Light Breaks Through

I’ve Found Hope

With One Voice

 

 

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