Worship planning for Pentecost may be challenging, but a wealth of creative resources are available. Much attention has been given to this high, holy day. Pentecost, with its focus on the death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to empower us with the Holy Spirit, is the culmination of the Easter season. But what about the Sundays following Pentecost?
Series for the Season
New Life Christian Reformed Church is a relatively new church located in Grand Junction, Colorado, just twenty-five miles from the Utah border. What began in 1997 with a Bible study of fifteen people gathered in the home of our pastor has grown into a congregation of approximately two hundred.
How often do we really think about “place” in connection with the Christian life?
In our highly mobile culture, many of us know what it means to feel displaced or removed from “home.” When I first returned to my childhood home in southwestern Ontario, I was struck by the sense of solidarity I had with this place—not merely with the people, but also with the topography and landscape that had been part of my childhood background. This place had shaped me.
Sunday, October 2, 2005, marks the sixty-ninth year that churches around the globe are celebrating World Communion Sunday. Originating in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1936, with the hope that other denominations would join in, it took only a few years before the celebration spread far beyond its origins. On this Sunday, as we gather around the Lord’s table, we are reminded of our oneness in Christ and celebrate with our fellow believers the faith and work of the Church worldwide.
The temptations Jesus endured and withstood are archetypal of Satan’s diabolical work to trap humanity. Where we fall, Jesus stood, though not without struggle, as Hebrews 5:14 teaches: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.”
Facing Jesus’—and Preachers’—Temptations
I’ll admit that I’m not too fond of sin. I’m speaking, of course, as a pastor and a preacher describing a bias in my preaching that I’ve carried for years. Too often in my experience the church has been a “guilt-giving culture,” and I have committed myself to preaching grace.
Our Advent series was prepared by a group of Christian Reformed pastors and others from five different congregations in and around Listowel, Ontario. This peer mentoring group, which calls itself “The Preaching Group,” is also part of the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program sponsored by the Christian Reformed Church and funded by the Lilly Foundation.
Reformed churches are rediscovering the joy of evangelism in their congregations. The Heidelberg Catechism says that our faith in Christ comes from the Holy Spirit, who produces it in our hearts “by the preaching of the holy gospel” (Q&A 65). And believers must use their gifts that “others may be gained to Christ” (Q&A 86). At Corinth Reformed United Church, we are discovering new ways to share the good news.
WEEK 5: THE FIFTH
SUNDAY OF LENT
We have come to the season of the year that illustrates the glory of the fullness of the Christian life. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That’s going all out. Why would we want to do any less?
Song: “Day of Judgment, Day of Wonders!” PsH 614
God’s Parting Blessing
Song: “What Wondrous Love” (st. 3)
Gathering Song: “Holy, Holy, Holy, My Heart”
As our church made its way through a yearlong focus on the Old Testament (see “From Adam to Jonah,” p. 10) we wanted to show the relationship between the Old and New Testaments during the seasons of the church year. It’s a challenge to take seasons like Advent and Lent, with their decidedly New Testament story lines, and remember them with Old Testament passages. But we felt the Old Testament could give us a fresh perspective on these New Testament stories.