Night of Worship || guest blog by Chris Smith

This past Friday evening we held a Christmas Night of Worship at Living Word. The theme for this evening was “God With Us” and the reality found in John 1:14: “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood” (MSG). The truth of the incarnation demands a response–songs, poetry, art, and, above all, wonder and worship. While I love gathering with the church family throughout the year for worship nights, there is always something special about the Christmas season and the unique carols and songs that go with it. I love how the Christmas carols are able to stir our hearts (and yes, evoke nostalgia) as they melodically capture profound truths.

God and sinners reconciled. (Joy to the World)

Truly He taught us to love one another. (O Holy Night)

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight. (O Little Town)

With His blood mankind hath bought. (The First Noel)

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail. (I Heard the Bells)

Christmas started with a song—the angels heralding the news of the Messiah’s arrival and the peace that he brings. Singing accompanies celebration. When news is THIS good

—“Heaven is here!”—it calls for …

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Tenth Avenue North Concert || guest blog by Chris Smith

Today’s blog post is written by Chris Smith, worship arts leader.

This November 9, Living Word will be hosting a concert featuring Christian artists Tenth Avenue North and Austin French. We are excited to be able to open our doors to the community and invite them in to experience a top-notch concert on our campus.

We believe our church campus and auditorium can serve as a premier venue for various concerts and conferences in York County. God has blessed us with a beautiful space, and hosting concerts is one way to utilize it beyond our normal church services and programming.

You may recall that last December Living Word hosted the National Christian Choir for their Christmas show. This year we decided to partner with WJTL/Creative Ministries and make ourselves available as a venue for their concerts in York County. The goal is to host one or two concerts a year that can provide a quality musical experience for our church family, as well as the greater community.

Tenth Avenue North has been making music for over 15 years and has released a number of songs that have been popular on Christian radio – including the hits “By Your Side” and …

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Easter Weekend Recap by Guest Blogger Chris Smith

Easter weekend at Living Word was a beautiful celebration of the stronger-than-death love of God. Our six weekend services were a time for us to come together in worship and proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus through song, prayer, and God’s Word. 

On Good Friday, we reflected on the reality that Jesus laid down his life to defeat sin and death once and for all. The cross is the victory of God’s Love over all that is wrong in the world. We were blessed to have cellist Brenda Johnson (a long-time ministry partner and collaborator) bring two of her violin students (Ben and Taylor) to form a special string trio. In addition to playing on number of worship songs, the string trio performed an original arrangement of “Reckless Love-Oh the Deep, Deep Love” composed by Brenda. We were so thankful for their special contributions to our Good Friday services. 

On Easter, we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus and its massive implications for the worldBecause Jesus is alive, the good things of God can run wild—and he is inviting you and I to

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When Life Takes an Unexpected Turn – Guest Blog by Chris Smith

Nine years ago life took an unexpected turn.

At the age of 32 I was diagnosed with cancer. Overnight I was faced with a future that was far less certain and the reality that in an instant everything in life can change.

Over the course of about 2 weeks I was tested, diagnosed, had surgery, and began radiation treatments. I distinctly remember the day after being diagnosed. It was a beautiful Saturday in May. We held a birthday party for our son, and as I walked around our backyard, chatting with family and friends, I felt like I was dreaming – living in an alternate reality.

Except it was my new reality.

This new reality came on the heels of a season where we had waited and waited for God to move us, literally, into a new chapter of life. Shortly after moving to Pennsylvania to accept the position of worship leader at Living Word, the economy collapsed, and with it the housing market. We relocated based on the assumption that we would be able to sell our home in Arizona relatively quickly and move into our own place. Wrong. What was to be a temporary housing situation, a resident …

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Born to Give Them Second Birth (Pastor Chris Smith)

Today on the blog, Chris Smith, our Pastor of Worship Arts, shares some of his favorite Christmas traditions.

Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year. I love the sights, smells, sounds, and, above all, the story behind this season. I love how everything becomes a little more beautiful when it is strung up with lights and covered with snow. I love the smell of freshly cut pine.

I have been known to play Christmas music throughout the entire year (one month is just not enough time to listen to everything!). I definitely get sentimental at this time of year, remembering Christmases past and those family members who are no longer with us. But above all, I love the incredible, wonder-filled story of God becoming man to rescue and redeem his creation.

Some favorite memories/traditions for me have been:

  • Visiting Philadelphia at Christmas to see the Wanamaker light show and the Dickens’ Christmas Carol village
  • Decorating the church where I grew up with close friends while listening to the original Michael W. Smith Christmas album (still a favorite album)
  • Enjoying Christmas cookies that my mom and grandmothers baked (and tried to hide from us kids, with little success)

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Growing as Worshippers || guest blog by Chris Smith

When you hear the word worship what comes to mind first?

Many people would say “the time of singing on Sundays” or “the music that we use to sing to God.”

It is natural for us to think of worship in these terms – singing, music, Sunday services. From the very beginning, Christians have gathered together each week, and when they did they sang. The Book of Psalms is a collection of poems that God’s people have sung for over 2,000 years. God has given us the gift of music as a means of expressing our hearts and emotions to him.

Worship is a core value at Living Word as we gather each week to sing and respond to God’s presence and Word. But worship also goes beyond Sundays and includes our whole lives. Worship is our response to God – all of us responding to all of who he is and what he has done.

As worship leaders, we want to see our community grow as worshippers – people who know, love, and follow God. People who are so moved by who God is and what he has done that they can’t help but want to respond in …

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Reflections on Loving Your Enemies || guest blog by Chris Smith

This week we have been reflecting on Jesus’ command that we are to pray for and love our enemies (Matt. 5:44-45). Jesus’ words are as disruptive now as they were two thousand years ago, challenging the status quo way the world operates. A prayer for one’s enemies is disruptive. Loving action is really disruptive. And yet this is the Jesus Way. This is the ethic of the kingdom that Jesus inaugurated on earth; the way we as his followers are called to walk in and live out.

I recently finished reading NT Wright’s book The Day The Revolution Began. Toward the end of the book, Wright highlights two different shootings – Charleston in 2015 and the Amish school in 2006 – as striking examples of how forgiveness was extended by communities who had embraced the Jesus Way. His reflection is worth noting:

“These incidents, widely reported, strike secular journalists and their readers as strange to the point of being almost incredible. Do these people really mean it? It is clear that they do. The forgiveness was unforced. It wasn’t said through clenched teeth, in outward conformity to a moral standard, while the heart remained bitter. Forgiveness was already a

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Sharing Happiness || guest blog by Chris Smith

Netflix

Recently I was watching an episode of David Letterman’s Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction featuring Jerry Seinfeld. As someone who grew up watching both these comedic giants, I found it fascinating to hear their perspectives on life and comedy, particularly what motivated them to do what they do (entertain people). During the interview, Seinfeld made the point that comedians are “giving something to people that makes them happy.” They (comedians) have been given the gift of making people laugh, and the sharing of this gift is described by Seinfeld as a “generous pursuit”. Both comedians talk about how gratifying it is to see people laugh and how strong a motivation this is for them personally.

Listening to Seinfeld talk about happiness caused me to think about the deepest source of joy – knowing God – and how it is truly a generous gift to share this joy with others. There is a deep ache in every human heart that longs to be satisfied (Eccl. 3:11). The shorter Westminster Catechism, written in the 17th century, states that “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” John Piper modified this statement by stating that …

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Welcome Bryan Doersom to Staff

We are excited to introduce Bryan Doersom as the newest member of our Worship Arts team here at Living Word. As Production Associate, Bryan will be helping us in both the audio and visual realms, serving as a sound engineer and assisting with video production. Bryan recently graduated from Millersville University with a degree in Music Business and Technology. He has attended Living Word all of his life with his family and contributed in many different ministries over the past several years. You have probably seen Bryan playing electric guitar a number of times on Sunday mornings, at Nights of Worship, Liquid, Fusion, Men’s Life…well, pretty much every venue that has some sort of music!

Outside the A/V world he enjoys hiking and exploring, snowboarding in the winter, trips to the beach in the summer, and just generally being a goofy guy with tons of energy. His favorite movie is Rio Bravo and he is currently loving the song “Reckless Love.” He is very excited about his new role on staff and being a part of creating “thin spaces” where people can encounter and experience God in transformative ways.

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Night of Worship Recap || guest blog by Chris Smith

Several times during the year we gather as a church family for extended singing and to enjoy God’s presence together at our Night of Worship. These evenings are opportunities for us to turn up the temperature of our collective worship through song (if you recall what Pastor Brian said a few weeks ago about hot and cold cultures). We want the reality and experience of knowing God to be the jet fuel that causes our hearts to respond in worship.

Thank you for coming out to this past Friday evening as we focused on the knowledge that we worship a God who is triune – one God who eternally exists in three persons – God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Long before we existed there has been a family – the family of the Father, Son, and Spirit. This family, the Godhead, has been in eternal fellowship and love with one another. Out of the overflow of their love and fellowship we were created in their image and meant to know and enjoy them forever. Through Christ, we can be restored into that fellowship, filled with the Spirit, and approach the Father as his sons and …

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