March 2016

RW 119
Ascension/Pentecost
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • The Rest of the Story

    A friend of yours says, “You have got to read this book! I’m halfway through it, and it is amazing. The drama, the plot, the unexpected surprises. It really is out of this world . . . but I’ve decided to stop reading it.”

    Say what?!

  • "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:

  • Combining words and images is a powerful way to communicate the gospel. For Pentecost in 2011, we designed a service focused on four symbols of Pentecost: breath, wind, fire, and dove.

    Todd selected Scriptures and wrote reflections for each image. Amy prepared for a visual presentation of the four symbols to unfold during the readings. Choral music and hymns were selected to follow each reading, highlighting each symbol.

  • The coming liturgical season is one in which we reflect on the mystery of the Easter event, witness Christ’s ascension, and participate in the stirring day of Pentecost. It is a time focused on the departure of the Christ, whose earthly ministry turned lives and prophecies upside down and who reigns as the sovereign Lord of all.

  • The Power of Language

    We are very grateful to Dr. Amos Yong for allowing us to share his insights with you. This article, based on a talk given at the National Worship Leader Conference in Dallas, Texas, on October 2, 2015, is a bit more academic than most that are found in Reformed Worship. But after reading it you will be rewarded with a deeper understanding of the Pentecost event and its implications for our lives and worship today. —JB

  • 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:

  • God Gives Us a Song

    Mary Kay Beall and John Carter are a husband-and-wife hymn-writing team. Mary Kay was born on August 16, 1943, in Akron, Ohio. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University (B.M.), Ohio State University (M.A.), and Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio (M.T.S.). An ordained minister in the American Baptist Church and United Church of Christ, Mary Kay and her husband have served in a variety of positions in numerous churches of different denominations.

  • It’s safe to say that most Christians have memorized the Lord’s Prayer. But when we do so, we often become attached to the wording of a specific Bible version. As a result, some of us find it distressing when we hear a different reading of the Lord’s Prayer. When planning worship you might have been surprised by the strong response of some when you use an unfamiliar version. “What next?” they say. “Is nothing sacred?”