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Today we hear from worship pastor Chris Smith and worship leader Ryan Lewis as they discuss the vision behind the original songs being written, shared, and captured at Living Word. This past Friday evening our worship ministry recorded several original songs that will be released next year.
Chris: Over the past 5 years we have introduced about a dozen original songs at our worship services. Can you share a little bit about what has been inspiring the worship leaders at Living Word to write original songs for the local church?
Ryan: As we choose worship songs from other churches and movements, we have seen how the songs themselves echo the stories, heart, and culture of the group that wrote them. It’s our desire to capture the specific way that God has been moving at Living Word through song. Songwriting also provides a medium for us to shepherd and pastor our congregation. For example, Diana’s song “Send Us” was written out of our desire for a benedictory song to close services, and also from our desire to be a missional church.
Chris: What was the inspiration and vision behind doing a live recording?
Ryan: Our mission for this recording is to …
Beginning last Sunday, we are on a journey to rediscover Jesus on Sunday mornings and beyond. This Sunday, we will continue our series by looking at the truth of Jesus, his way, and what following his way means to us.
Invite a friend to join you at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 am. Every week, we publish resources for your enrichment on the website and app, or you can pick up a copy on a Sunday morning.…
This Christmas season we have been pondering the beautiful and precious gifts we are given. One of those is certainly our church family. We are so thankful that you have been a part of this year and our Christmas celebrations!
We wish you and yours a warm Christmas.
Prince of peace!
Hail! the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die:
Born to raise the son of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King !”
As I ponder the question, “What are some of my traditions and practices associated with Holy Week?” memories of my childhood and the church I grew up in come flooding in. It was a traditional Baptist church, so we held close to the church calendar, and that meant we were at church A LOT during Holy Week.
Here’s a brief summary of how my younger, more obnoxious self would summarize this week:
Palm Sunday: “Why am I being handed a leaf in the shape of a cross when I leave church?”
Maundy Thursday: “Why is it called ‘Monday’ Thursday … and why are we at church on a Thursday?!”
Good Friday: “Does this community Easter Pageant really need to take 3 hours?”
Easter Sunday: “Sunrise services are the worst and I’m allergic to all these flowers–but at least there are pancakes!”
Of course, these are gross oversimplifications. As I look back, I realize that while I had a basic understanding of what each of these events signified, I had very little appreciation for the narrative they created together and the greater picture of Jesus they painted.
The disciples themselves had a similar issue with understanding exactly what was happening …
For those of you who are not familiar with the Church calendar, or the Church year, it is a centuries-old way that many Christians have used to order the 365-day year. The early Christians believed that the rhythm of the year gave us a perfect opportunity to re-enact the story of our salvation. The Church year focuses on the life and ministry of Jesus, and also the mission of the Church. This has added a richness to my relationship with Christ, especially during Holy Week.
Over the last 5 weeks, I have been observing the season of Lent, which reminds me of my common mission to walk with Jesus toward death, but ultimately new life. We lose our life to find it anew. It has been a time of being with Jesus as he moves toward the cross. This year, I have been using the Gospel of Mark to do that. As I’ve traveled with Jesus, he has invited me to look deeply inside and identify what is impeding my ability to follow him.
The last week of my journey is now upon me, Holy Week. During Holy Week I intentionally slow down so I don’t rush to Easter Sunday …
The Sunday message spoke of the new creation you are in Jesus. There is a wonderfully new you. In addition, Jesus is at work to renew all things. The surprise twist is that Jesus works to renew the world through the new you. That is the message of 2 Corinthians 5:17-6:2.
But we have tension and questions. Why is there still so much that is unchanged and not so new? We all have that experience. Therefore, we wait, we groan, we long, we trust, and we live by faith in the new that has already begun and the new that is not yet come. But one day it will. It is the already and the not yet and our groaning in-between.
That is what the beautiful poetry of Gerald Manley Hopkins helps us feel and experience. Here is the video created by Pastor Aaron and Chris Perez that we used on Sunday.
I love to travel. I love to explore. If there is a longer, more scenic way to get to my destination, I will choose that way. I especially love traveling with my wife (although she doesn’t like all of my longer scenic routes). We’ve traveled to many parts of the world and we’ve especially enjoyed just walking around and seeing the countryside and meeting people.
Throughout the Scriptures, the metaphor used for living life with God is walking. In the Gospels, Jesus constantly uses the language of “come and follow me” or “walk with me.” Paul uses this language in his letters. He tells the Ephesians “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling which you have received” (Ephesians 4:1). He tells the Colossians, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him …” (Colossians 2:6). So, when I think about following Jesus I think about being on a journey with him.
I have been on this journey with Jesus for over 45 years and there are a few things I’ve learned. When Jesus came into my life, I had a drastic reorientation from my old life to a new life in Christ. It was very …
Today, get to know the 7 favorite Christmas traditions and experiences of Adam Dacheux.
- The smell of a fresh cut pine tree in the house. Or in our case this year, a crooked parking lot pine tree. Never again.
- The seemingly endless flow of cookies and sweets.
- Hearing my favorite Christmas song, O Holy Night.
- Being reunited with distant family.
- Giving and receiving presents.
- A white Christmas is always a special treat. A wet Christmas, not so much.
- The stillness that Christmas Day can bring . . . where the constant hum of a busy world ceases for a moment and our only focus is being with the ones we love.
May the spirit of God surround your homes and loved ones as you gather and celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas.
P.S. And a special blessing to those who face the daunting task of freeing that new toy from its packaging, untwisting and chopping through the many straps that hold it in its cardboard jail. Godspeed to you!…