19 November: Sunday Set

Welcome/Call to Worship: 

to all who are weary and need rest

to all who mourn and long for comfort

to all who feel worthless and wonder if God cares

to all who fail and desire strength

to all who sin and need a Savior

this church opens wide her doors with a welcome from Jesus Christ, the ally of His enemies, the defender of the guilty, the justifier of the inexcusable, the friend of sinners, welcome. [10th Presbyterian Call to Worship]

  • GRACE ALONE
  • HERE IS LOVE

Responsive Reading: Romans 8:32-39

  • THIS IS OUR GOD

Communion: Psalm 27:1-5

  • THERE IS A REDEEMER
  • JESUS!
  • RAISE UP THE CROWN (ALL HAIL THE POWER)

 

21 November: Tuesday Refocus

21 November.png

‘A servant of God has but one Master.  It ill becomes the servant to seek to be rich, and great, and honoured in that world where his Lord was poor… and despised.’ – George Muller

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the Church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent.  For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.” Colossians 1:15-20

In my own preparation for Advent and Christmas in these past weeks, I have been overwhelmed with the reality that our Saviour who sustains the universe by the Word of His power, is the same One who humbled Himself to the point of death (Heb 1:3, Phil 2:8). 

I am praying that our hearts will echo the wonder of the Psalmist, ‘what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him?’ (8:4).  And that our lives and service will be shaped by the humility of our Saviour as we lead and give our lives away.

Servant>Served,

AB

14 November: Tuesday Refocus

14 November.png

‘You know you have an idol when you have to perform.’ – Ann Voskamp

Earn. 
Prove. 
Strive. 
Perform.
Those are the messages, both subtle and overt, at the core of every worldview and religion. Save one. For the Christian, we are invited to rest (Matt 11:30). Rest in an identity already won – our identity in Christ.  Our performance is as filthy rags – so we rest in the ‘it is finished’ of Christ’s cross (Is 64:6, Jn 19:30). 

Our striving is but chasing after the wind – so we rest in the word spoken over Jesus’ identity by the Father: ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ (Ecc 2:11, Matt 3:17).
Our efforts to prove ourselves first mean that we will be last (Matt 20:16). So we rest in perfect submission of the One who has been given the Name above every other name (Phil 2:8-9).
Our efforts to earn evidence the reality we do not understand grace (Rom 11:6), so we rest in the free gift of God (Eph 2:8).

Whether it is behind a microphone or instrument, at home or at work, with your family or your friends – search your heart (Ps 139:23). Because anything that whispers your acceptance is tied to your performance is an idol. Root it out with truth and rest in your true identity.

Searching/Resting,
AB

7 November: Tuesday Refocus

7 November.png

‘Possibly one of the most devastating things that can happen to us as Christians is that we cease to expect anything to happen.’ – Martin Lloyd-Jones

Read that again.
And again.
And again.

Do these words resonate with who we are as a team of people that lead corporate sung worship?
Do we actually expect God to show up? 
Do we expect Him to move? 
Do we expect Him to speak?

Another, more painful question… do these words resonate with your own personal walk with God? Do you expect the One who thunders, and whispers to speak to tenderly to you (Psalm 29:3, 1 Kings 19:12, Hosea 2:14)? Do you expect the hands that flung stars into place to hold you secure (Psalm 8:3, John 10:28)? Do you expect the One who is faithful in all His words and kind in all His works to keep you from falling (Psalm 145:13, Psalm 121:3)?

I desperately desire for our people to show up expectant. Ready. Prepared. Not merely to sing, but for God to speak and for our songs to rise, minds to be renewed, hearts to be transformed, lives to be conformed as we respond to our God who does not keep silence (Psalm 40:3, Romans 12:2, Romans 8:29, Psalm 50:3).

Brothers and sisters, expect God to move. Not only as you serve from the front, but as you sit in the congregation, and in the quiet monotony of life, work, and studies. God, give us ears to hear, and hearts that wait in eager anticipation.

Expecting,

AB

31 October: Tuesday Refocus

31 October.png

'Flee to Jesus that the torn may be mended, the mob silenced, the weak bolstered and the scared made brave in the presence of Him who is King.' - Beth Moore

There is no hierarchy in the family of God. No division, none more valuable than the next. We gather together every Sunday, walking through the doors echoing the Psalmist, ‘As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer, do not delay, O my God.’ (40:17).

I become increasingly convinced that to lead people well, we must go first. We must first recognise our own weakness, and flee to His strength before we can truly invite others to do the same.

Let’s go first,
AB

24 October: Tuesday Refocus

24 October.png

‘Grace is sufficient even though we huff and puff with all our might to try and find something or someone that it cannot cover.’  – Brennan Manning

‘For from His fullness we all received, grace upon grace (Jn 1:16).’  Our God lacks nothing.  He does not grow weary, He does not slumber, He does not sleep, He does not need to be replenished or refreshed (Is 40:28, Ps 50, Hag 2:8).  He is without beginning or end, and every aspect of His character flows perfectly, fully, overwhelmingly without end from eternity past into eternity (Rev 22:13).  And it is out of this fullness that we have received grace upon grace.

If grace is sufficient to save you, grace is more than sufficient to keep you, and sustain you (2 Cor 12:9).  Serve from this past, present and future grace that carries you along.  Do not serve from your fullness that changes moment-to-moment, serve from His fullness that never ends.

From grace,

AB

17 October: Tuesday Refocus

17 October.png

‘Grace is God’s refusal to allow us to define ourselves or to have the last word.’ – Michael Horton

Words have weight – carrying the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21).  Flowing from the heart, coming out of the mouth to bless or curse (Luke 6:45, James 3:10).  Our Enemy – the father of lies – is constantly attempting to leverage the words we hear in culture, in passing, in relationship, and the words we speak to ourselves to convince us of his truth – which is, in fact, lies (John 8:44).  But over the life of a Christ follower, there is a Better Word Spoken.  The Word Christ, the Word of His blood, the Word of His sacrifice, the Word of Grace (Hebrews 12:24).

And as Paul shared with Cornerstone Liverpool on Sunday – this grace is a liberating truth!

Believe the Better Word this week.

Be liberated by the Better Word this week. 

Serve in and by and through the power of the Better Word this week.

Believing,

AB

8 October: Set List

Welcome/Call to Worship: John 1:1-5, 14

  • STEP BY STEP
  • ON CHRIST THE SOLID ROCK/CORNERSTONE
  • LET IT BE JESUS/LORD, I NEED YOU, JESUS MESSIAH

Sermon: 'Christ Alone'

  • JESUS, ONLY JESUS
  • MY JESUS I LOVE THEE/tag: MAN OF SORROWS
  • IN CHRIST ALONE

Benediction/Missional Blessing: Brothers and sisters, rest in the reality that your life is hidden with Christ in God.  And God the Father is infinitely pleased with you, because God the Father is infinitely pleased with Christ the Son.  By the power of His Holy Spirit, walk with God this week.

10 October: Tuesday Refocus

10 Oct.png

‘All truth, no grace… we dry up. 

All grace, no truth… we blow up. 

Truth and grace… we grow up.’ – Scotty Smith

This is my prayer for each of us, that grace and truth will be inseparable in our lives.  And this marriage will be reflected in our demeanor and attitude, in our posture of serving, and in our words, actions and thoughts towards our families, friends, and the family of God. Oh, that Truth would pierce our hearts with floods of grace!  Would you pray that with me this week?

AB

3 OCTOBER: Tuesday Refocus

Tuesday Refocus 3 Oct.png

‘When the Word becomes flesh in me, my flesh becomes Word.’ – E. Stanley Jones

‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come [2 Cor 5:17].’  Before Christ we were not merely bad people, who were cleaned up and made a little better through Christ – we were dead people made alive in Him [Col 2:13].  In fact, our old nature was ‘…crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me [Gal 2:20].’   This is the Word becoming flesh in us. 

And as we learn to continually walk and live by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself for us, the more clearly do we display the life of Christ in us – the hope of glory [Gal 2:20, Col 1:27].  This is my flesh becoming Word.

Brothers and sisters, live from your true identity this week – as those who have been made alive in Christ.  And serve as Christ has served you – by becoming Word among us. 

AB

GLORIFICATION: Gospel Song Liturgy

gospel song liturgy.png

The final movement of the Gospel Story Liturgy is Glorification.

Glorification is the ultimate consummation of Christ and the Church being united together for all eternity (Rev 19:6-9).

Glorification will be the place where we see face-to-face, that which is perfectly seen in the face of Christ.  It will be the place where we see free from the veil of sin.  It will be the place where we know fully those things we have only known in part.  It will be the place where we perfectly reflect God’s glory back to God, to one another and out into the world (1 Cor 13:12, 2 Cor 4:6, 2 Cor 3:18).

In the glorious presence of God, in glorified bodies, before a glorified Saviour we will live fully, perfectly, completely to the glory of God alone (Ps 145:5, Phil 3:20-21, Ps 86:12).

So as we lead ourselves, pray that God would open our eyes to His glory.  Then we serve our people praying that the Holy Spirit would open their eyes the glory of God.  And from God’s revelation of Himself, we respond by holding up the mirrors of our lives to reflect God’s glory back to Him, and to the world. 

Now in part.  Then in full.  Always for His glory, forever.

AB

RESTORATION: Gospel Song Liturgy

The fourth movement of the Gospel Story Liturgy is Restoration.

The redemptive work of Christ has restored and secured right relationship between God and man.   When we are united with Christ, we are clothed in His righteousness and it is His perfect sacrifice that allows us to come boldly before the throne of grace crying, ‘Abba!’ [1 Tim 2:5, Col 2:11-12, 2 Cor 5:21, Heb 4:16, Rom 8:15]

Christ has also restored and reconciled us one to another in the family of God.  He has broken down the dividing wall of hostility and made a people – a family – from strangers, foreigners, enemies, representing languages, cultures, ages, understandings, backgrounds of men and women, boys and girls. [Eph 2:14-18, 1 Pet 2:9-10]

And he will one day restore all creation – which even now groans under the weight of sin and death and decay. [Rom 8:19, Rev 21]

So we sing with joy knowing that we have been restored. 

And we sing with hope, longing and expectation when together face to face with the Father, side by side with our brothers and sisters, and in the new heavens and new earth we will fully realize our restoration for all eternity.

Remembering Restoration,

AB

REDEMPTION: Gospel Song Liturgy

If our Sunday services only acknowledged the reality of our broken Genesis 3 lives (The Fall), and did not continue on to speak the whole story, we would be without hope.  But it is exactly there – in Genesis 3 – where God promises Redemption.

Redemption that has been accomplished by perfect life and perfect sacrifice of God’s perfect Son, Jesus Christ.  ‘It is finished (Jn 19:30),’ is the victory cry of our redemption.  ‘It is finished,’ is the deathblow to the consequences of our sin, which is death (Rom 6:23).

So we want our songs, order, and services to allow people to look at their own sin – which is their death – and look at the death of Christ – which is their life.

‘And He will swallow up death forever; and the lord God will wipe away tears from all faces. And the reproach of His people He will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.’ Isaiah 25:8

Remembering Redemption,

AB

FALL: Gospel Song Liturgy

The second movement of the Gospel story liturgy is ‘The Fall.’

Sin has distorted, warped and broken everything and everyone.  As we gather God’s people, some enter acutely aware of this reality – addiction, illness, suffering, death, fractured relationships, fears, the list is endless.  Those people need to be reminded that they are not alone in their sin – here we are as a family of the wounded walking looking to our Suffering Servant King (Isaiah 53).

As we gather, some enter believing like the Pharisee’s that outward law keeping, rule following, a polished perfect life shakes free the stain of sin and makes us right with God. As we gather, some enter with an awareness of sin lying dormant, waiting to be awoken by the Holy Spirit. 

It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance, and repentance only comes with the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit (Rom 2:4).  So we do not run from the reality of sin and brokenness in our world and in our lives as we gather.  In fact, as we trust the kindness of God to reveal the beauty and perfection of Christ, we will come face to face with the depth of depravity that is the human heart… thankfully this is not where the story ends.

CREATION: Gospel Song Liturgy

gospel song liturgy.png

The first movement of the Gospel story liturgy is ‘Creation.’  And where does creation begin?  With God.  ‘In the beginning God…’ (Gen 1:1).

The sovereignty, rule and reign of God extends from eternity past even before He created time, space, and formed the world.  He is the ‘…only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see (1 Tim 6:15-16),’ and He alone is worthy of all honor, glory and praise.

As we gather to worship, there will be those who are following Christ, and those who do not.  And both groups need to be reminded of the transcendent reality of our great God in a world overwhelmed by fear, and uncertainty.  Our lives and circumstances may seem out of control, but nothing is ever beyond His control.

“Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.” Ps 115:3 

Remember,

AB

20 June: Tuesday Refocus

Spurgeon said, ‘The most important daily habit we can possess is to remind ourselves of the Gospel.’  Why?  Because we are forgetful people.  Scripture is full of commands to ‘remember.’  And full of examples of those who forget – no sooner does Israel step foot out of 400 years of slavery do they long for the ‘comforts’ of their former bondage (Exodus 16).  After Joshua dies, a whole generation is lost to idol worship because those older failed to pass along the works of the Lord (Judges 2).  Paul reminds the church in Galatia not to submit to a yoke of slavery – because they had forgotten their true identity as children of God.

The Gospel – the good news of who Jesus is and what He has done demands a response: worship.  So we want to use our liturgy to remind people of the Gospel.  To rehearse the old old story – that God is the Author of CREATION, at the FALL we sinned and as a result all things were broken and distorted, but God promised REDEMPTION which is accomplished in and through the work of Christ on the cross,  RESTORATION with God and one another is won for us in that completed work, and one day we will be fully GLORIFIED – perfected as we sing and celebrate the Gospel story in the very presence of God for all eternity.

There is nothing more essential, or of greater significance we can offer those we are leading and serving than to help tell the Gospel story.  Over the last several months all of the people who have been putting set lists together have been using this Gospel pattern – Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration, Glorification in the structure and order of our songs.  So as you practice, think and prepare for Sundays – rehearse the gospel again and again and again – because ‘…we never move on from the cross, only into a deeper understanding of it.’

Rehearsing and Remembering,

AB