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The playlist for August 4th can be found here. 
 
This Sunday, we have the privilege of celebrating the Lord’s Supper together. Too often over the course of my life, I’ve seen the Lord’s Table as a sort of extra, unimportant thing we stick onto the end of a service every so often; maybe you’ve had the same experience. But it is so much more than that! When we observe the supper together, we reaffirm our commitment to Christ and to each other as his church. We figuratively link arms to remember and celebrate his sacrifice and to tangibly express our unity in him. We declare to ourselves and to our brothers and sisters that Jesus is the Bread of Life, the One who truly satisfies and sustains us. And we express our thanks to God for inviting us to his feast, knowing that the bread and drink we partake of this Sunday foreshadows a great and eternal feast in the presence of the Lord. 
 
To prepare for Sunday, read John 6:35-40.
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for July 28th can be found here
 
I heard a pastor say once, in describing worship, that we don’t make Jesus any greater or more glorious; we make him more known. That’s a really good statement, isn’t it? Jesus is all-glorious in his very being; he is God, the radiance of the Father’s glory. Not only that, he has also received a different kind of glory because of his work of redemption; Philippians 2 tells us that because Christ, in submission to the Father’s plan died for our salvation, he has been give the name above every other name. No praise can make him any greater than he already is! But he is made more famous, more known, when we see and declare his glory. 
 
Every Sunday, we gather to do just that: to ascribe to the “Lord the glory due his name” (Psalm 29:2). As we head towards our worship service this week, read Hebrews 1, and take some time to meditate on what this chapter says about our glorious Savior. Consider his majesty and power, consider his humility in taking on human flesh and bones, his sacrifice on the cross as he bore the penalty for your sin and mine, his triumph over sin and death. Ask God to give you a greater glimpse of Christ’s glory, and ask that we, as a church family, would make much of Jesus’ name on Sunday. 


Sunday School: While on his second and third missionary journeys, the apostle Paul focused on two things: spreading the gospel and strengthening the church. Looking at parts of this ministry, we discover that God’s primary calling on all of our lives is to be on His mission, regardless of what our day jobs are. As a result, we learn to see our occupations as platforms for proclaiming the gospel and discover new ways to mentor and strengthen those around us. Focusing on these two things will help us leave a legacy of faithfulness for those behind us.
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for July 21st can be found here. 
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Romans 5:1-11. These 11 verses are going to guide our worship service this week, They give us a sort of overview of gospel grace, calling us to faith and worship as we remember what God has done for us. It’s the kind of passage we need to stop and revisit sometimes, remembering the things that are “of first importance” (1 Cor. 15). 
 
The gospel tells us that we are woefully, desperately sinful, and objects of God’s wrath. But Christ died for us while were in the depths of our sin. He sought us when we could not and would not seek him. Romans 5 describes that as the ultimate display of God’s love. Isn’t it amazing that his love can’t really be fully understood or appreciated without his wrath and justice? We sometimes see love and justice as opposed to each other, but in reality, one doesn’t make sense without the other! The beauty of the gospel is that God, the infinite, self-sufficient, holy One who must judge sin, set his affection on us in spite of the fact that we cannot do anything to deserve it! The Son of God died so that we could gain what we could never earn – eternal life itself. These verses remind us of the eternal hope the gospel gives, and they call us to the only appropriate response to the gospel: worship. 
 
Because of Christ, we are justified and reconciled to God. Because of Christ, we have bold access to the Father. Because of Christ, undying, unshaken hope and eternal, abundant life. So we lift up his name, the name above every other name, with humble celebration and joyful awe. We sing in the victory that he has won, and we move out in obedience, on mission for the glory of his name. 


Sunday School: Paul understood that the gospel must be presented in a way that is comprehensible to people in different cultures. As a result, when Paul reasoned with those in Athens, he found points of contact between the biblical view of the world and that of Greek culture. Then he proclaimed that all nations came from the first Adam and that the second Adam, Jesus Christ, will judge all nations. Paul’s message focused on the risen Jesus and included a fervent call to repentance. Like Paul, we need to allow ourselves to be provoked by the idolatry of our culture so that we can boldly and sensitively proclaim the gospel into it.
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for July 14th can be found here.
 
This Sunday, we’re going to sing a new original hymn called “Your Steadfast Love is Sure.” It pulls from several different scriptural passages – mainly Psalms – to express hope and trust in God’s faithful love for us when our circumstances seem hopeless. A rough demo recording is included below, so you can familiarize yourself with the song before Sunday. 
 
One of the most helpful and encouraging characteristics of the Psalms is their raw emotion. They give us inspired, biblical words for seasons of doubt and fear and sorrow. God actually invites us to bring those experiences and emotions to him, and he reassures us through his Word that he is still in control, holding us and sovereignly guiding our circumstances. Because the Lord’s steadfast love never fails us, we can pour out our broken heart before him, full of sorrow, fear, and even doubt. We can ask, “How long, O Lord?” in the midst of our suffering, because we know that our God is faithful. Our hearts can rejoice in his steadfast love, even in the darkest valleys and fiercest storms, because we know that our weeping will turn to joy, that our sovereign God will not leave us, and that he will work all things for his glory and for our good. 
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Psalm 13.

Your Steadfast Love is Sure_CBC 1.m4a


Sunday School: In Acts 16, we meet 3 different people who each had a unique encounter with the gospel and were changed. In these 3 encounters, we recognize that God uses different methods to reach different kinds of people. For example, in Philippi, Paul and Silas saw converts from different social and economic backgrounds come to faith through their witness and testimony, even though the guts of their message was the same for all: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” God calls us to be faithful to deliver His gospel message to all kinds of people, regardless of their past, their appearance, or their present circumstance.
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for July 7th can be found here.
 
Our call to worship this week comes from Moses’ song of praise in Exodus 15 after the children of Israel are delivered from Egypt. Praising God for his saving power, the song recounts how he delivered his people from bondage and gives them victory of their (and his enemies); now, Israel’s enemies shudder in fear, because the true and living God is on his people’s side, and he is a mighty warrior. 
 
The New Testament uses the image of Israel’s exodus to illustrate our salvation. Jesus, the powerful, conquering warrior, has led us on a greater exodus. He has delivered us from bondage to sin and the curse. The cross was a moment of decisive victory over all of God’s enemies and the enemies his people (us!). So, all of God’s people, who he has graciously delivered from bondage, can lift up the song of Moses. In fact, one of the songs being sung around God’s throne by all the saints comes from this very chapter! We will eternally sing Exodus 15, praising God for our great salvation, our freedom. We get to warm up for that a little bit this Sunday, as we join our hearts and voices to worship the saving One.
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Exodus 15:11-18.


Sunday School: The church handled a heated disagreement about the nature of salvation for Gentiles. Were Gentiles saved by faith alone or must they enter into salvation through the path of obedience to the law first? The Jerusalem Council that was convened to answer this critical question offers us a good example of how to handle disputes in the church but also was vital in preserving the gospel message of “Christ alone.”
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for June 30th can be found here.

Only A Holy God

All I Have Is Christ

Resurrecting

Be Thou My Vision

Doxology
 
Last week, we studied John 9 and talked about the reality of Jesus giving sight not just to the physically blind, but to the spiritually blind. Our sin precludes us from seeing the beauty of God and the grace of the gospel, but through his Spirit, Jesus has opened our eyes. He has revealed to us our sin, our depravity, and our inability to make ourselves right with God. And he has revealed himself to us as the perfect, righteous Savior that we so desperately need. 
 
Scripture tells us that having our eyes opened to behold Christ and the gospel is not a one-time thing. In fact, it’s a constant thing! Hebrews 12 tells us to “fix our eyes on Jesus,” because this is the thing that strengthens us through struggle, fear, and temptation. 2 Corinthians 3 says that as we “behold the glory of the Lord,” we are changed to be more like him. The Christian life is a constant practice of beholding Jesus again and again in his Word. The more we see him, the better we know him. The better we know him, the more we love and worship him, and the more we become like him. 
 
To prepare for Sunday, read 2 Corinthians 3:12-18, and pray that God would give us eyes to see the Jesus’ glory, and that the sight of his glory would transform us forever. 


Sunday School: This week we will see God send out some of the first missionaries through His church. These missionaries were committed to following Jesus wherever He led them, even if that meant facing opposition to and suffering for the gospel message they proclaimed. God used these missionaries not only to bring others into His family but also to strengthen and encourage the church itself as they saw God at work. Acts 13 & 14.
 

Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for June 23rd can be found here.
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Psalm 116. 
 
God’s work for us, his goodness towards us, demand our praise. Psalm 116 gives God’s people words to express our thankfulness to the Lord for what he has done for us. In love and mercy, when we were dead in our sin, he saved us. He gave us new, everlasting life in his Son. And he keeps on showing us grace and mercy, faithfully meeting us in our distress and preserving us when we are weak. 
 
So, “what shall we render to the Lord for all his benefits?” We lift our voices and surrender our lives in reverent, extravagant, joyful worship. We call on his name, and retell his power and his grace in the presence of his people. May his name be magnified in our body on Sunday, and may we be encouraged, strengthened, convicted, and sent out as we remember all that he has done in our lives and in the lives of our brothers and sisters.


Sunday School: Converted and Called // Saul, later known as Paul, collided with God on the road to Damascus. More precisely, it was “the God who sends” who collided with Paul, and this Pharisee’s life was never the same. Paul’s story reminds us how God can transform even the hardest of hearts and what it looks like to become a converted, called messenger of the God who sends us on mission with His Son.
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for June 16th can be found here.
 
Matthew 11 records Jesus’ call for those who are weary and burdened to come to him and rest. The Savior invites us to come to him, broken as we are, to find grace and strength and joy. He doesn’t tell us to clean up or fix our problems; he simply tells us to come rest. As we do, his grace works in us to clean us up. You can’t stay the same when you are with Jesus! By his Spirit, he changes us, sanctifies us, forms us. 
 
Are you tired or discouraged? Jesus offers strength in your weakness and hope in despair. Are you weighed down with the shame of sin and regret? The gospel reminds us that we are not the sum of our failures, nor are we slaves to shame and condemnation; we are new creations, counted righteous in Christ. It provides us with both power and motivation to fight sin and grow in Christlikeness. Are you chasing joy and pleasure in idols? The gospel offers true satisfaction and fullness of joy in the Bread of Life. Are you struggling with anxiety or doubts? Jesus is an anchor for your soul, sure and steadfast in the fiercest storms and darkest nights.
 
So, wherever you are this week, whatever your struggles and burdens, come to Jesus. Gaze into his Word, see his glory, remember the gospel, and rest. 
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Isaiah 52:13-53:12. 


Sunday School: The gospel resists and tears down the boundaries that often separate people in the world, and the writers of the New Testament were often at pains to confront the church when it failed to unite around the gospel and break these walls down. Peter, who struggled with such issues himself, learned the importance of calling the church to brotherly unity, but his journey toward unity took the Holy Spirit paving the way in the heart of a Gentile and then in his own heart. With God, there is no favoritism, and salvation is offered to people from every tribe, tongue, and nation.
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for June 9th can be found here.
 
Jesus is worthy of the worship of every single person who has ever lived and who will ever live. This is why some have said that worship is the fuel and the goal of missions; basically, we share the gospel so that more and more people give Jesus the praise he deserves. In fact, one of the songs sung around the throne of God for all eternity is called the “Song of the Lamb.” We’re going to join with all the saints, from every tribe and people and language, to testify to how great and worthy Jesus is! 
 
This Sunday, we’re going to learn a new hymn called “King Forevermore” that attempts to put into language some of the glory of Christ. The first verse reminds us that he’s worthy because he is the eternal God who created all things. Verse 2 declares his sovereign power and his faithfulness, while verse 3 reflects on his incarnation, death, and resurrection. The final verse looks ahead to a time when “justice rolls and praises rise at the name of Jesus Christ.” 
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Revelation 7:9-12. 


Sunday School: Throughout the Book of Acts, we see examples of seemingly “chance encounters” that prove to be providential. One example comes from Acts 8, where Philip, an evangelist and follower of Jesus, is prompted by God to go on a journey that leads to an encounter with an Ethiopian and the expansion of the kingdom. The Spirit orchestrated this meeting, and He continues this work today, leading Christians to use the Scriptures to show others Jesus so they can believe in Him for eternal life.
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for June 2nd can be found here.
 
Last week, we finished the first section of 1 Corinthians, and Pastor Matt summed up what we’ve studied so far like this: “Spiritual pride is the enemy of church unity.” Over the last couple months, we’ve seen again and again that the gospel confronts our sinful arrogance by telling us that we have done and can do nothing worthy of God’s acceptance. He doesn’t call us because we were well put together, because we looked good, because we were a little more cleaned up than the next person. No, in spite of ourselves, we have been chosen and redeemed solely by his grace, through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God calls the weak and lowly to himself. He uses the weak and lowly to accomplish great things for his kingdom. 
 
As the gospel attacks our natural inclination towards pride, it doesn’t leave us in a constant state of introspective self-loathing. It redirects our boasting! Instead of becoming puffed up with pride, we boast in Christ, who has become to us righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. He is everything we need, and he has raised us from our desperate state of sin to be saints, the family of God, and his holy temple. May we make much of our Savior this week. May we lift his name high. May he increase, as we decrease. 
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Ephesians 1:3-14.


Sunday School: God’s Holy Spirit empowers the followers of Christ to endure suffering for the sake of Christ. Whether that suffering takes the form of false accusations, death, or other variations, our faithful witness in the midst of suffering is a testimony to Jesus Christ, who came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets and to save us from our sin. When we suffer in faith, we are following in the footsteps of our Savior and bearing witness to His worth above all things, even our very lives.
 
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for May 26th can be found here.
 
Our service on Sunday will be guided by Isaiah 45:15-25. In these verses, God condemns his people’s worship of idols by reminding them of some important truths about himself. He is the only true, living God. He created all things for his own purpose. He is holy and righteous, and he will – he must – judge sin and idolatry. But he graciously saves from judgment, and redeems those who, by the power of his Spirit, seek the living God instead of idols. Not only is he the only One who creates, sustains, and judges, he is the only One who saves sinners from his own righteous wrath! One day, every knee will bow to him – some willingly, some begrudgingly – paying homage to King of kings. 
 
We must stand in awe of the holy God of the universe. We need to recognize his authority over all things as Creator, and tremble at the reality of his righteous, just judgment. We need to be confronted with our sin, our idolatry, our rebellion. But the Judge is also the Savior! Christ willingly bore God’s judgment, so that we don’t have to. Now, we, as the liberated people of God, have the privilege of bowing our knees and confessing with our tongues his glory and grace. We don’t have to wait until the end of time to worship the only One who is worthy; we ascribe to his name the glory and honor it is due here and now. 
 
We can have no part of the gospel without every other part. If God is not indescribably holy and just, the message of the cross is a trite, feel-good story that shows us how to love people. If God does not show us incredible grace, his power and justice are a terrifying reality that inevitably leads to our eternal demise. Praise God that he is both just and justifier! 
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Isaiah 45:15-25. 


Sunday School: We live in an abundant world, as seen in the lavish way God made the world and in the way He pursues and provides for His people— whether a ram in a bush, a lamb at Passover, or manna in the desert, and of course, in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In this abundant world, giving somehow yields more than keeping does. As our supreme example, in giving away His life, Jesus became exalted above every name (Phil.2:5-11). In following Jesus, we’re invited to do the same, not clinging to what we have but giving it away, becoming a servant, and allowing God to multiply it for His good and glory in His church and in the world around us. The Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives should inspire such radical generosity, transforming our hearts to mirror Jesus’ own so that we don’t cling to what’s “ours” by rights but give it away to those in need.
 
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for May 19th can be found here.
 
As we heard last Sunday, one of the ways motherhood displays the character and glory of God is in giving life. As a mother gives life to a newborn baby, God gives life. According to Acts 17, he gives life to all creation, but he does it in a special way with his people. More than just giving us physical life, the Lord brings us to spiritual life. Ephesians 2 describes us as dead in our trespasses and sins, but it says that God made us alive together with Christ. I’m not sure we appreciate the immensity of that. Dead people can’t do anything for themselves, they can’t make themselves worthy of someone’s attention or affection. That was us! And yet, in great mercy, when we had nothing to offer in exchange, God brought us from death to life. It’s not just any life, either; it’s life that John’s gospel can describe as eternal and abundant – life to the full! The life God gives transcends what we think of as “abundance,” it has nothing to do with earthly pleasure, gain, or comfort. It’s so much better than that! This new, God-given life is abundant because it allows us to know him, to be right with him, to come to him as helpless little children to a perfect, loving Father. We were dead, and he gave us everlasting life, fullness of joy, and pleasures forevermore. 
 
This Sunday, we celebrate a visible picture of new life in Christ through baptism. To prepare for our gathering, read Romans 6:1-14.  


Sunday School: Christian boldness isn’t something we simply have to “muster up” for ourselves; rather, it comes through faith in Jesus and through the gift of His Holy Spirit, who empowers and emboldens us to live for the glory of our Savior. He deserves first place in our lives, and this will be reflected in our actions for His name’s sake. If we are convinced that the gospel is true, then we must act on what we believe, praying to God for boldness and then proclaiming what we know to be true. We should find ourselves compelled to say and do bold things for the sake of the gospel.
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for May 12th can be found here.
 
Mother’s Day brings with it all kinds of emotions. A day that brings great joy to one person reminds another of hurts, losses, and regrets. As a church family, we have the privilege of rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep, as we unite around the one thing that truly gives us hope and meaning – the gospel. 
 
The cross of Christ is the great equalizer, uniting people who are diverse in almost every conceivable way. The gospel calls all of us – men and women, young and old, every tribe and tongue and nation, single, married, people with kids, people without kids, those who love Mother’s Day and those who feel sorrow on Mother’s Day – to worship Jesus Christ. It reminds us that our life, our joy, our identity, our hope are found only in him. So, this Sunday, in rejoicing and weeping, we lift our eyes to our Savior as we retell the story of gospel grace and abundant life. We invite each other to behold, to worship, and to rest in who he is, what he has done, and what he has promised. 
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Colossians 1:15-23.   


Sunday School: Not only does God reconcile us to Himself in Christ’s death and promise us eternal life in His resurrection, He gives us the greatest gift we can imagine in the Holy Spirit, the gift of Himself. The Holy Spirit comes to indwell every believer in Christ, to empower the spread of the gospel throughout the world, and to build the community of faith. He has come to point sinners to Christ and to strengthen Christ-followers for Christlike living in the world and to the ends of the earth.
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for May 5th can be found here.
 
The Psalms are full of lament – expressions of God’s people in their suffering. These songs give us language to express our sorrow, fear, and even doubt to God. We know that he is sovereign, that he is faithful, that nothing can separate us from his steadfast love in Christ. But, it can be difficult to believe and feel that when we suffer pain and loss. Psalms of lament give us a way to bring faith-filled, faith-driven complaints and questions to God. They give us language to express the tension we feel between the pain of living in a fallen world and the truth that God is all-powerful, loving, and good. 
 
This week, we’re going to learn a new song of lament from Psalm 42 called Lord From Sorrows Deep I Call. It is an expression of faith that calls our souls to trust in God and worship him, even when life feels dark and grim. 
 
To prepare for Sunday read Psalm 42. 


Sunday School: After Jesus’ death, resurrection, and appearances for 40 days, it was time for the King to ascend into heaven and sit down on His throne at the right hand of God the Father. He had already given the Great Commission; now He would give His final words on earth until His return. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to empower the disciples for their mission, and He foretold the steps their mission would take as they took the gospel to the ends of the earth. Finally, Jesus ascended to the Father, where even now He is ruling over all of creation and simultaneously interceding for His people until He comes again.
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for April 28th can be found here
 
One of the ways the resurrection impacts our daily lives is by reshaping our affections. Colossians 3 tells us that, since we have been raised with Christ, we are to “seek things above.” There’s a new orientation to the way we think, feel, and live. People who have new life in Christ are not consumed with temporal, transient things. More than any achievement, gain, success, or pleasure, our desire is to know and glorify our Lord. This pushes us towards sanctification; Paul can continue by telling us to “put to death” the sinful desires and deeds of the flesh, and to “put on” Christlikeness. New life leads to new affections, which leads to sanctification. 
 
This Sunday, we’re going to respond to the glorious truth of Easter by asking God to turn our minds and hearts towards Jesus. To prepare for Sunday, read Colossians 3:1-17.


Sunday School: We are to go to the nations with the authority of the risen King, for Jesus alone has the power to save. In Him also is the power for our mission as we go. We are to make disciples through the proclamation of the risen King. We are to teach the believers of our proclamation to obey all that Christ has commanded, knowing that Jesus will finish the good work He began and that He will never forsake us.
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for Good Friday (April 19th) can be found here, and the playlist for Resurrection Sunday (April 21st) can be found here.
 
Romans 4 tells us that Christ was “delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” Jesus died as our substitute, taking on himself the just penalty for our sins. And he rose from the dead, securing our salvation. Without the death of Christ, we would still be “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3), unable to span the gap between us and a holy, righteous God. And without the resurrection of Christ, his death would have been no different from any other human,  “our faith would be futile," and we would “still be in our sins” (1 Cor. 15:17). Do you notice how little gospel grace depends on us? Where are we in that equation? We have no part whatsoever to play in our salvation! Christ has done it all; we are saved purely by his grace, through his work. This is good news! 
 
This year, we’re going to remember Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday through the lens of a Reformation-era Latin phrase – post tenebras lux – meaning, “after darkness, light.” While we celebrate, on this side of the resurrection, the power and glory of the cross, we’ll also feel the tension and darkness of the Lord’s crucifixion; the One his followers expected to establish the promised Kingdom was dead and buried. But on Sunday, we see him “bursting forth in glorious day,” risen and glorified, his work complete, salvation accomplished, his name exalted above every other name. 
 
Would you join me in praying for a few specific things in our gatherings Friday and Sunday? First, that we would be reminded of the glory of our Savior and what he’s done for us; second, that those who have not been saved would repent and believe, and third, that the name of Jesus would be exalted in our church body, and that he would receive blessing and honor and glory through our services. 
 
To prepare for our gatherings this weekend, read Acts 2:22-36. 
 
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for April 14th can be found here.
 
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Psalm 57. This Psalm reflects on God as our refuge and rest. It assures us that God will “fulfill his purpose for us.” We need to be redirected toward that reality over and over again, don’t we? While we would certainly affirm it theologically, our lives often betray that we don’t truly believe the things we know to be true. When life is hard, we doubt that God is our refuge because we don’t feel very protected. When life is going well, we doubt that he is our refuge because it’s easy to find rest and joy in the good things we’re experiencing. But in the good, the bad, and anything in between, God alone is our rest, our joy, our refuge. 
 
One of the primary things God uses to redirect our hope to God is gathered worship. When God’s people behold his glory in the Word as it’s read, prayed, sung, and preached, our faith and joy are built up. As we head towards Sunday, let’s pray that God helps our church family to believe the truth of Psalm 57. 


Sunday School: John 21 - Through His breakfast encounter with His disciples, Jesus showed the reality of His restorative power. Because He fulfilled God’s plan to rescue people from sin, Jesus was able to forgive the disciples for their sins and failures and then recommission them in their task of following Him.
 
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for April 7th can be found here.
 
In Isaiah 40, we find probably one of the most awe-inspiring descriptions of God in all of Scripture. The Lord, through his prophet, almost dares humanity to try to comprehend him, or to compare him to anything or anyone in all of creation. We do well to ponder God’s inestimable greatness and worth. We need to stand in awe of sovereign King of all things, worshiping him in the beauty of his holiness, and recognizing how small and sinful we are in comparison to our holy God. 
 
But our worship does not stop there. The One who made us, the infinitely glorious, incomprehensible God of the universe is our God.That’s how Isaiah’s description begins, with a call to “behold your God.” As we consider his greatness, as we’re driven to humility and repentance because of our sin, we are reminded that the Lord does not regard us according to our sin. While we approach him in fear and trembling, we are reminded that we do not need to fear his wrath, because he will not turn away those who Christ has redeemed. Our finite, human minds can comprehend neither the greatness nor the grace of God, the depths of who he is or the riches of what he has done for us. But even the small fraction that we understand demands praise that is both humble and exultant, lifting up the matchless name of our glorious God. 
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Isaiah 40:9-31. 


Sunday School: The Struggle of Unbelief (John 20:24-31)
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for March 31st can be found here.
 
We tend to define ourselves by how we look, things we’re good at, things we’ve accomplished, and often by the ways we’ve failed and things we are ashamed of. As we heard last Sunday, though, the Bible tells us something different. It says that we are not defined by anything in ourselves, good or bad; instead, our identity and value comes from our union with Christ. We are “in Christ,” no longer dead in our sins or defined by our weakness and failure. No, we are united to the Son of God, who, as we often sing, saves “the weakest, the vilest, the poor.” We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in him. Neither our best days nor our worst days change the reality of who we are in Christ. Our standing before God is secure, and our identity and value are forever fixed.
 
This new individual identity brings us into a new corporate identity. If being “in Christ” is a big enough reality to overthrow all of our false sources of identity, it’s also big enough to overcome the things that divide us from each other. We are brought together in Christ as his body, united to each other because we are united to him, raising one song, with one voice, of boasting in our Savior. 
 
This week, we’re going to remind ourselves of these glorious gospel truths. To prepare for Sunday, read Ephesians 2. 


Sunday School: Jesus spoke to His disciples on the evening of the day He was raised again to new life. The instructions Jesus gave His disciples reflect the mission of God that drives the storyline of the Bible. God the Father sends His Son, God the Son sends His people into the world, and the Father and the Son send the Spirit to empower us for mission. As followers of Jesus, we are a sent people who are being formed in the image of our sending God and our suffering Savior. We are not alone on our mission but are all the while empowered by the Spirit of God.
 
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for March 24th can be found here.
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Psalm 84. 
 
Do our souls long for God? Do we regard him as our joy, our treasure, our prize? The redeemed heart can declare, “A day in God’s courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.” Nothing – no gain, no experience, no pleasure – compares to knowing God. The gospel is not a door to earthly joy and success; no, it’s a door to something much better – God himself. He is all we need as we sojourn in a fallen world; he is true joy for the longing heart, he is comfort for the broken and hurting, a “sun and shield” who protects, upholds, and comforts us. He abounds in grace and mercy, forgiving our sin and loving us as he loves his Son. 
 
No matter our circumstances, what we need is God. We need to know him better and trust him more. This is hope in our darkest, joy in our longing, and rest for our tired, weary souls. 


Sunday School: The Road to Emmaus: On the road to Emmaus, the risen Jesus explained how the Old Testament Scriptures pointed forward to His suffering and glory. Like the disciples, we read the whole Bible in light of Christ’s death and resurrection, focusing our attention on the gospel that lies at the heart of God’s written Word to us.
 
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for March 17th can be found here.
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Hebrews 2:1-10. 
 
On Sunday, we’re going to study John 17:1-5, where Jesus prays to the Father about the hour of his glorification. This, as we mentioned last week, comes through the hour of his suffering. D.A. Carson said it like this: “So where is God's glory most manifested? In God's goodness - when Jesus is 'glorified,' lifted up and hung on a cross, displaying God's glory in the shame, degradation, brutality, and sacrifice of his crucifixion.”
 
Hebrews 2 reminds us of this truth, and it also reminds us that we are weak, rebellious, and undeserving of such gracious salvation. The reason the glorious God who holds the universe together had to suffer shame, degradation, and brutality was our sin – not in the abstract, but your sin, my sin. But Jesus’ work on the cross redeems us from our sin, and it moves us from rebellion and shame to share in the glory of the Son. He has brought “many sons to glory!” We are raised with him, new creations who formed and re-formed in the image of our glorious Savior. Christ suffered that we might not suffer, he was raised that we might live, and he was glorified that we might share in his glory. In preparation to worship the risen, glorified Son together, take a few minutes to reflect on your own sinfulness and on the extravagant grace of God that offers forgiveness of sin, new life in Christ, and glory for all eternity. 
 


Sunday School: Consider the wondrous mystery of Jesus’ resurrection. Some women traveled to Jesus’ resting place on Easter Sunday, but an angel invited them to come and see His empty tomb. Then they saw Him and stopped to worship the risen Lord. Finally, they went to tell Jesus’ disciples what they had seen and experienced. We too are to see the empty tomb with the eyes of faith, we must worship our risen Savior, and we must go and tell the world about all He has done for us.
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph

*****

The playlist for March 10th can be found here.
 
This week we’re teaching a new song called “Resurrecting.” Because we always want to sing with understanding, I want to walk through some of this song’s rich gospel theology. 
 
First, we sing about Christ’s glory coming about through his suffering, borrowing from a hymn called “The Head That Once Was Crowned”:
 
            The head that once was crowned with thorns is crowned with glory now
            The Savior knelt to wash our feet, now at his feet we bow
 
            The One who wore our sin and shame now robed in majesty
            The radiance of perfect love now shines for all to see
 
Scripture tells us that it’s precisely because Jesus took on human flesh and became obedient to Father’s plan of redemption, leading to death on a cross, that he is now exalted and that his name is above every other name. His resurrection affirms that; it puts a divine stamp of approval on Christ’s work and vaults him into his exalted status. A simple chorus puts that truth on our lips:
 
            Your name, your name, is victory
            All praise will rise to Christ, our King 
 
Then, in the bridge, we sing about the personal, redemptive results of Christ’s work:
 
            By your Spirit I will rise from the ashes of defeat
            The resurrected King is resurrecting me
            In your name I come alive to declare your victory
            The resurrected King is resurrecting me
 
Because Jesus died and rose, not only is he exalted, but we have been made alive in him. We have been raised– we are no longer dead in sin; we are being raised– his resurrection life and power are at work in us to sanctify us and hold us fast; and we will be raised- when Christ returns in power and victory, our bodies will be resurrected and perfected to know and worship him forever. 
 
As we sing Resurrecting the next couple of weeks, let’s pray that the Spirit would remind us of the glory of Christ and encourage us in his resurrection life. To prepare for Sunday, read Philippians 2:5-11. 
 
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for March 3rd can be found here.
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Romans 8:31-39. These verses tell us that, if we are in Christ, God is for us, and nothing can stand against us. The cross has secured his love for us, and nothing can separate us from that love! This is yet one more expression of the power of the cross.
 
In seasons of sorrow and doubt, we need to lift our eyes to the cross. We need to remember the God’s sovereign, steadfast love – love that is eternally and securely ours because of the gospel, love that powerfully works everything for our good and holds us fast when we are at our weakest.   


Sunday School: The Savior Is Arrested: Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man, chose to obey His Father and drink the full cup of suffering and wrath in order to purchase eternal life for believers. Even though He would be betrayed and endure false accusations, mockery, physical abuse, and death, Jesus accepted the foretold plan of His Father and fulfilled His identity as the promised Messiah sent as the Savior of the world.
 
 
  
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for February 24th can be found here.
 
“If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins.” Most of us have heard that statement countless times, and it is a precious and powerful statement! But how often have we thought about why forgiveness is God’s faithful and just response to our confession? The apostle John goes on to explain that it’s because Jesus stands before the Father, advocating for us on the basis of his righteousness and his sacrifice. Though we sin often, though we wander and stray, the Father welcomes us to come running back to him in repentance and faith because of his Son. Praise God that Jesus stands in our place as our substitute and advocate.
 
To prepare for Sunday, read 1 John 1:5-2:6.
 



Sunday School: For more than a thousand years, the Passover meal celebrated God’s deliverance in the exodus of His people from Egypt and simultaneously pointed ahead to an even grander sacrifice and work of God. Jesus reinterpreted the Passover meal in light of Himself and His coming sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world. With a demonstration of authority and humility, Jesus set forth the pattern of countless Communion celebrations that now point back to His new covenant sacrifice and point forward to His coming kingdom with holy anticipation.
 
 
  
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for February 17th can be found here.
 
In Isaiah 54, God uses the very common biblical imagery of bride and groom to communicate something about his relationship to his people. He reminds us that his covenant promises will never fail. His steadfast love will never depart from those he has chosen and called by name for his own glory. This is true because of the cross. Because of the cross, the promises that God’s covenant of peace will never be removed from his people, and that no weapon fashioned against his people shall succeed, are true of us! We are held by God’s faithful covenant love, secure for all eternity because of Christ’s work. This is our heritage, our inheritance, our confidence.


Sunday School: Matthew 21 contains three scenes that occurred on the day Jesus entered Jerusalem during the week prior to His crucifixion. Jesus’ entry into the city was welcomed with great fanfare, even though He approached in humility while sitting on a donkey. He cleansed the temple of those there to take advantage of the worshipers. And as the true Son of David, He permitted and welcomed the praise of children. In these events, Jesus fulfilled Old Testament expectations and longings for the Messiah, who would redeem His people, restore true worship, and receive all praise.
 
 

Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for February 10th can be found here.
 
We’re going to sing a new hymn this Sunday called “Ancient of Days.” That particular name of God is only used in the book of Daniel, but it carries significant theological weight, communicating God’s eternality – his eternal existence, no beginning and no end. That’s an awe-inspiring trait, isn’t it? But there is also great comfort in this reality, because the One who was before time and who holds all time in his hands knows us. Psalm 103 says that he knows our frame, and he remembers that we are dust. Although our earthly days are fleeting, the everlasting God has promised steadfast love from everlasting to everlasting for his people. God’s existence outside of time gives us hope in our short, time-bound existence. His sovereign power makes time itself hold together, and he lovingly directs all things in our lives for his glory and our good. So, we trust our eternal, incomprehensible God, and we look forward to eternity , no longer bound by temporal limitations, struggles, pain, or temptations, in the presence of the Ancient of Days. 
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Psalm 103, and take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with our new song. 
 



Sunday School: The account of Jesus’ anointing at Bethany contrasts the generosity of a woman and the greed of Judas. In their respective responses to Jesus, we see the importance of giving Him priority and honor over everything in our lives. The distinction between these two people serves as an opportunity for us to consider our own hearts in light of the opportunity we have to express our devotion through visible acts of worship.
 
  
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for February 3rd can be found here.
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Colossians 2:6-15. 
 
One of my favorite phrases in Scripture appears in these verses: Christ nailed our record of debt to the cross. He canceled it, set it aside; the record of our sins, our dark past, no longer exists! Instead, we receive new life in Christ, because of his righteous life and sacrifice. I cannot imagine a greater grace than that!
 
The baptisms we observe on Sunday declare this reality. We have died with Christ, as has the record of our debt; now we are alive in him, called to worship, called to righteousness, and empowered to these callings by the same grace that saved us. 


Sunday School: Jesus demonstrated His power over death by raising his friend, Lazarus, from the dead. This miracle story reveals the goodness and sovereignty of God, the curse of death and the power of resurrection, as well as Christ’s compassion toward those in pain. As we trust in Jesus—our powerful Friend who conquers death—we bring glory to Him in the midst of terrible circumstances.
 
 
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for January 27th can be found here.
 
In John 17, we read that Jesus has been glorified with the Father because he completed his work on earth, bringing eternal life to all who the Father gave him – all who would repent of their sin and trust Christ for salvation. The passage then explains that this eternal life is to know God, primarily through knowing his Son, the One who reveals the glory of God in his person. 
 
When we look across Scripture at this idea of “knowing God,” we find that to know him is to experience true, eternal, soul-satisfying joy. This mean that God’s plan for his people, one of his purposes in the plan of redemption, was our joy. When Jesus says that he has come to give abundant life, he doesn’t mean fame and fortune; he gives us himself! As we grow in our theology and our love for and worship of Christ, we taste what King David called “fullness of joy.” May God give us grace to stop chasing joy in created things and pursue him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. 
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Psalm 16 and John 17:1-5. 


Sunday School: In Jesus’ healing of a sick woman and His raising of Jairus’ daughter, we see the power of God on display—a power that overcomes sickness, shame, and even death. As Christians, we minister to those who suffer from sickness and shame with faith that God is mighty to save and to heal.
 
  
Grace,
Pastor Joseph 

*****

The playlist for January 20th can be found here.
 
To prepare for Sunday, read Psalm 54. 
 
Last Sunday, Pastor Matt explained that one of the reasons it’s so important to gather for worship is to remind each other about the grace and faithfulness of God. Every week, there are people in our worship se