Over the past few months, I've shared this blog post to remind you what book of the Bible to read for the coming Sunday, as part of our Whole Story sermon series. However, in the coming weeks, I’m going to expand the scope of this post. It will range from letting you know of other things that will be happening in the service, to tips and ideas for preparing for the service. I hope this will be helpful for all of us as we gather together to praise, and hear from, God.
So, let’s get this going….
To get the most from the sermon time this Sunday, you should read Paul’s first letter to his dear friends, the Thessalonians. This is a deeply relational letter from the Apostle, and proves to be his most autobiographical. It will only take you about 12 minutes to read in one sitting. To aid you in your study, check out the resource page on 1 Thessalonians that The Bible Project has produced.
Maybe you like to listen to music while you read. Did you know that Calvary has a Spotify playlist of music we have sung at our Sunday gatherings? It is called “The Songs We Sing,” and you can check it out here. While it will go along nicely with your study at home, it will have the added benefit of helping you belt it out on Sunday as we praise God together.
This Sunday we will also share in the sacrament Jesus gave us—communion. The first Sunday of the month is always special, as I get to serve the bread and the cup to you, and as a family we proclaim the Master’s death until he comes (1 Cor. 11:26).
Finally, as you prepare to come this Sunday, remember this challenge from the great British preacher, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981):
There is nothing vital in the religion and in the worship of such people [who expect nothing from God on Sunday]. They expect nothing, and they get nothing, and nothing happens to them. They go to God’s house, not with the idea of meeting with God, not with the idea of waiting upon him; it never crosses their minds or enters into their hearts that something may happen in the service.
‘No, we always do this on Sunday morning. It is our custom. It is our habit. It is a right thing to do’, they say.
But the idea that God may suddenly visit his people and descend upon them, the whole thrill of being in the presence of God, and sensing his nearness, and his power, never even enters their imaginations…
Do we go to God’s house expecting something to happen? Or do we go just to listen to a sermon, and sing our hymns, and to meet with one another? How often does this vital idea come into our minds that we are in the presence of the living God, that the Holy Spirit is in the church, that we may feel the touch of his power? How much do we think in terms of coming together to meet with God, and to worship him, and to stand before him, and to listen to him? Is there not this appalling danger that we are content just because we have correct beliefs? And we have lost the vital thing, the power, the thing that really makes worship worship, which is in Spirit and in truth.
I’ll be coming Sunday, expecting something to happen, expecting the Holy Spirit’s presence, expecting to feel the touch of his power. I hope to see you there.
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