Showing posts from May, 2017

Worship Helps for Pentecost

Art: Pentecost Artist: Melanie Schuette, Avignon Art Studios
Worship Theme: I will pour out my Spirit. God’s Old Testament people celebrated the gathering of the harvest at the Festival of Weeks. On the fiftieth day, God sent the promised Counselor on the day we call “Pentecost” (Greek for “fifty”). This day marked the birthday of the New Testament Church and celebrates the harvest of souls won by the Son and gathered by his servants empowered by his Spirit. Pentecost is the third great festival of the Church and has been commemorated since at least 217 A.D. The Church dresses in red to remind us of the tongues of fire that marked the Spirit’s gift and the blood of the martyrs which was the seed of the Church. This day culminates the Season of Easter when our risen Lord now empowers his people to be witnesses of the resurrection for the world.
Old Testament:Joel 2:28-29 'And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will d…

The High Priest Prays for God’s People

John 17:1-11 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. 6 "I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for th…

Worship Helps for Easter 7

Good Friday is easy to understand – Jesus died on the cross to pay for the sins of the world. Easter is pretty easy, too – Jesus rose from the dead to give the assurance of eternal life to all who believe in Him. But what about the event forty days after Easter? What’s so special about Jesus’ ascension? Our culture certainly has no clue about the Ascension. There are no Ascension Day parades; no Ascension Day parties; no Ascension Day sales at the mall. No one is giving the excuse to the pastor, “Sorry, I can’t make it to church Thursday night. We are going to Grandma’s to open Ascension Day presents.” Though our society may not understand the importance of the Ascension Day, we Christians continue to celebrate this minor festival of the Christian Church year. “The Ascension” by Benjamin West portrays the glory and magnitude of what Jesus’ ascension into heaven means for Christians. The disciples are gathered on the mountaintop looking up in bewilderment and amazement. Two angels are ann…

Worship Helps for Easter 6

Moses, by divine inspiration reports the first murder this way, “While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him” (Genesis 4:8). Many of the classical paintings portray Cain rising up with a club to kill his younger brother. Some of the paintings even portray God confronting Cain immediately after the murder. “The First Mourning” by French artist, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, is different. It is a unique subject matter that depicts the moment after Adam and Eve found the body of their son, Abel. Bouguereau painted this work in 1888 shortly after the death of his wife and infant son in 1887. This is a striking painting because the way it deals with death. Adam and Eve, are distraught. Sin not only cost them their home, their comfort, and their own lives. Now it cost them their son. Adam and Eve are holding their dead son. Few things on earth can compare to the sorrow parents feel at the death of a child. God’s curse upon sin is felt most severely when a parent …

The Lord is picking a fight

1 Kings 18:16-45 16So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him. Then Ahab came to meet Elijah. 17When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is that you, the one who brings disaster on Israel?” 18He said, “It is not I who have brought disaster on Israel, but rather you and your father’s house when you abandoned the Lord’s commandments and followed the Baals. 19But now gather all Israel before me on Mt. Carmel, along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table.” 20So Ahab sent word to all the children of Israel and he assembled the prophets on Mt. Carmel. 21Then Elijah spoke to all the people: “How long will you limp around on two crutches? If the Lord is God, follow him. If Baal is God, follow him.” But the people did not answer him a single word. 22Then Elijah said to the people, “I am the only one left of the Lord’s prophets, but the prophets of Baal total 450 men. 23Let two bulls be given to us. Let them choose one bull for themselves and cut …