9 January: Tuesday Refocus

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‘We need to reorient our hiding places today. We have attempted to hide from God, but by the cross, He declares that we have been hidden with Christ in God! We can still hide, but today we hide in God rather than from Him.’ – Jennie Shut
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I am praying that the truth of God’s Word, who He is and what He has done, and who we are because of Him become anchors for your 2018 and beyond.

I am praying the excitement and joy of the New Year, our greatest treasure our deepest joy is found in the person and work of Christ.

I am praying in our deepest sorrow, struggle, and sin, we fight against the automatic response of isolation in an attempt to put distance between us and God, us and God’s people, and instead run to the Strong Tower that is our lives hidden with Christ in God. Finding God's care and provision toward us in and through His people - the family of God [Pr 18:10, Col 3:3, Ps 68:6].

I am praying that this year, our hearts are soft and attentive to the voice of the Holy Spirit… As He leads us in all truth – Jesus, who stands before the Father as our advocate – the Father who has set His affections on us before the foundations of the world, the One that allows us to stand in His presence because of the perfect and complete work of Christ, who’s Spirit allows us to cry ‘Abba Father!’ [Jn 16:13, 1 Jn 2:1, Deut 10:15, 2 Cor 5:21, Rom 8:15, Gal 4:6].

In subtle and significant ways 2018 will try and convince you otherwise, but ‘This is the purpose that is purposed concerning the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations. For the LORD of hosts has purposed, who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?’ [Is 14:26-27]

I am praying for you, for me, for our leading and serving, and our people that Truth will be the anchor of our souls [Heb 6:19].

Be anchored in what is true. Lead others who are anchorless to the Rock who is higher [Ps 62:2].

Be anchored,
AB

7 January: Set List

WELCOME/CALL TO WORSHIP: Psalm 5:1-8, 11-12

  • PRAISE TO THE LORD, THE ALMIGHTY/GOOD GOOD FATHER
  • JESUS MESSIAH
  • BUILD MY LIFE - Psalm 19:7-11

Sermon

  • WHEN I SURVEY/HERE'S MY HEART

CONFESSION: Merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved You with our whole heart and mind and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. In Your mercy forgive what we have been, help us amend what we are, and direct what we shall be, so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways, to the glory of Your holy name. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

  • LET IT BE JESUS/BUILD MY LIFE
  • REJOICE

12 December: Tuesday Refocus

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‘Peace does not dwell in the outward things, but in a heart prepared to wait.’ – Elisabeth Eliot

Advent reminds us that we have always been people who wait.

Scripture is full of stories of those who await their liberation from captivity, freedom from slavery, and return from exile.

Even within our own stories, as children we wait to open our gifts on Christmas. 

As adults we wait for time off from university, work and responsibility.

We wait as God’s people for the return of our Saviour and King – the One who reigns with righteousness, rules will peace, our Hiding Place, our Lord and our God (Is 32:1-2, Jn 20:28).

But did you know, even God waits?

‘Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore exalts Himself to show mercy on you.  For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.’ (Is 30:18)

We are not alone in our waiting – and we are blessed in our waiting.  He is gracious to us as we wait for Him (Is 33:2).

Wait well,

AB

10 December: Sunday Set

Welcome/Call to Worship: Psalm 78:1-4

  • O COME LET US ADORE HIM
  • CROWN HIM (MAJESTY)
  • ADVENT VIGNETTE

'Glory, the earth is full of Your glory / Immanent, transcendent, incarnate / The heart of God is found in flesh, and the earth is filled with Your glory.' 

  • TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS

SERMON

COMMUNION:  Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.  Your sins are pardoned.  The penalty paid.  Thanks be to God!

  • COME AND STAND AMAZED

May His name endure forever, His fame continue as long as the sun.  May all the nations be blessed in Him, may Jesus Christ be praised! [from Psalm 72]

  • BE ENTHRONED
  • O COME O COME EMMANUEL

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

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‘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

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‘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

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‘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

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'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

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‘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

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‘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

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‘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

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‘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

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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