Sunday, March 25, 2007

Church Today

Here's the church we're currently attending. Hubby has been working all weekend, so the children and I went to church without him this morning. At first, earlier this week, when I thought about this --going to church on the bus with all three children, and getting each of them into the service and then checked into children's church--the thought overwhelmed me, and I considered not going. But I am a chuch girl. I love the body of Christ. I know the church isn't perfect, but I delight in corporate worship, learning, and community. I also wondered if my children would want to go, or if they'd be afraid because it's not our home church. When I asked them, they wanted to go.

We didn't attend church last week because it was windy and raining and we didn't want to have to wait at the bus stop with the children in the wind and rain. Well, I missed it. When I go even one week without that focused time, it hurts me spiritually. So, I thought, "I'm doing it." I needed to go. I had to go. I was parched for the Word today.

Boy, did God deliver again through HTB! The service was phenomenal. There is a great spirit during worship. Tim Hughes led worship today. One thing about this being a new church for us is I don't know a few of the songs, and then I want to remember them when I get home, but I never can. But most of the songs, I know, which makes me feel at home in this place that is so far away from home. And when I look around at worship, I'm amazed by God. I'm absolutely blown away by his great idea of gathering together believers. Here's matter where you are, who you know, or what the service is like, in a community of believers in Christ, even with no other commonalities, there is a singular commonality and that is Jesus Himself. I feel very alone here. But at church, with other like-minded people who worship the same God, I feel less alone, like somehow I'm in a place where people "get" me. Probably my favorite song we sung today was "I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)". My son and I had gotten into it before leaving for church this morning and my heart was broken by the way both of us had behaved. This song really reminded me of my need for God's grace and His willingness to give it.

The talk today was given by Nicky Gumbel, the vicar at HTB. I had never heard him speak before, but was looking forward to it because he was speaking on how to read the Old Testament. I love the Old Testament and was really curious about what he would say. The first bit of his talk focused on why Christians should read the Old Testament. His point? Because Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament (see Matt 5:17). Then, he spoke about how to read the Old Testament, making these three points: Get to know the Person, Enjoy the Promises, Live it out in Practice. He recommended a book, which I picked up at the end of the service called "Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament" by Christopher J. H. Wright.

He used some awesome scriptures from the Old Testament to show how Jesus is revealed in the New. For example, one that really struck me this morning, was the story of Moses striking the rock and water coming out of it. Then he turned to 1 Corinthians 10:4, where Jesus is called the Rock, who "accompanies" us. I've always thought of the striking of the rock story about sustenance, but seeing through this verse that He is a Rock that accompanies us really struck a chord with me. Remember? I'm lonely, after all. I suppose knowing that the Rock accompanies me makes me feel so much more confident and much less alone. I love it when a sermon makes you want to go home and dig right into the Bible yourself. This was the kind of sermon for me where I literally could not wait to get home and dig into it.

Gumbel also used some fabulous quotes. Here's a great one that he referenced from Saint Augustine of Hippo:

"The new is in the old concealed. The old is in the new revealed."

If you want to hear the whole talk for yourself, click on the link at the beginning of this post and you can download it. It's definitely worth a listen.
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