At Thornapple Covenant Church in Grand Rapids, MI, in the summer of 2014, our preaching pastor, Rob Peterson, planned a worship series on the book of James entitled “A Word to the Wise: Exploring the Themes in James.” The book of James is full of godly wisdom, wisdom that is needed today especially in order to develop Christian maturity and a healthy Christian community. Some of the questions addressed in James include these:
"It is the Spirit that creates the new humanity where God’s dwelling will be forever.” —Herman Bavinck (in Reformed Dogmatics, ed. John Bolt, Baker Academic, 2011)
The church was founded on the bedrock of reconciliation—the reconciliation of God to humanity and the reconciliation of humanity to one another. This is evident in three significant ways:
People both inside and outside of the church often have a view of Jesus that is too small. Some of those outside the church reduce Jesus to a zealot or a moral teacher, while some Christians view him only as a necessary sacrifice or a helpful example. In order to truly worship Jesus as Lord, we need to see him in his proper place as the Son of God.
One of the more subtly challenging aspects of worship planning that our team faces is how to develop a sense of cohesiveness from week to week. How does the worship we facilitate this week relate to what we experienced the previous week or to what we will encounter next week?
Some parts of the Bible tend to get all the spotlight—the gospels, Paul’s letters, the psalms, Genesis, Isaiah. But it’s rare that we hear the names of Nahum, Habakkuk, or Obadiah on Sunday morning. The 12 books known as “the minor prophets” are often left out of the worship rotation because of the harsh nature of the words and ideas they contain.