The following is a collection of building blocks for a series of worship services based on key themes from the Belhar Confession. This series is adapted from the longer version available on the website of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (worship.calvin.edu.) A few notes:
What do dead sheep, bloody doorposts, stone-ground flour, bread, and tents have in common? Each of these were visual aids that God gave to his people to draw them into a full-bodied relationship with himself.
We long for more. Especially at Christmastime, we long for more. I don’t mean the common longing for toys and family, carols and jolly feelings, eggnog and Santa. I mean a real, deep longing for something that actually fills us up and satisfies. We long for Christ to be with us.
Life is a story. Or, rather, a series of stories. “What’s your story?” is a question we like to ask each other. Your story, like everyone else’s, has a specific arc to it: birth, childhood, education, work, family, and eventually death—but every story is different.
So why are we including a series on Romans in this Ascension/Pentecost issue? Because Romans helps us see what a difference Christ’s resurrection and ascension make in the lives of believers and highlights the role the Holy Spirit plays in our daily striving to become more like Christ.
After wrapping up last year’s Advent series at our church, Pastor Dale proposed the idea of using the book of Ruth for our next Advent series. Although my thoughts kept rolling around the question How will he get Advent and Christmas out of the book of Ruth? I didn’t say anything. By July, when it was time to select bulletin covers for Advent, the question was still there.
I needed to know how to correlate the Advent candle wreath lighting with the sermon theme. What evolved became one of my favorite Christmas series.
Philippians has been the focus for Bible study groups on the campus of Calvin College and Hope College in Michigan during this past year. More than 1,500 students participated in small-group Bible studies, which often included a combination of faculty, staff, and students. A number of churches across the country also joined the study.