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I Read the New Testament for Lent. Now What?!

I remember the first race that I ran as a first grader. When I got to the end of the mile fun run and crossed the finished line, I was a little disoriented. Where do I go now? Where are my parents? Do I just sit down? Walk back to the beginning? Do I get a medal?

Many of you have recently completed the #LentChallenge and read through the entire New Testament over the past seven weeks.  Perhaps you are feeling a similar level of disorientation. What do I read now? Where do I turn? Will someone do it with me? Here are some ideas.

Review what you’ve read. If you are a highlighter, underliner, margin note-taker, or journal keeper, take a day to go back through you Bibles and take note of the things that jumped out at you.

Take note of what you’ve learned. Carve out some time to summarize and write down the 2-3 top things you learned about God and yourself.

Keep reading! What next? Here are some great tools to help you:

  • YouVersion has dozens of reading plans available to you. Download the app, pick a plan that sounds interesting, and start a new adventure!
  • For those of you who attend National Community Church, check out our Traction reading plan.
  • Read a chapter of Proverbs each day. You will read through the whole book in a month.
  • Read 5 Psalms a day. You will read through the whole book in a month.
  • Read through the Old Testament between now and the end of the year. If you read between 4-5 chapters a day, you will get through the whole thing. I am working on a chronological plan that I will post later this week.

April 22nd, 2014 [ Tags: , , ] 1 Comment

Good Friday Service

Here are the songs, Scriptures, and readings from our 2014 Good Friday service.

Introduction
Lights up on table with bread and pitcher.
Song: Reconciliation (Chris Douglas)
Reading: Matthew 26:26-30
Introduction Video
Song: True Love (Phil Wickham)

The Passion Journey
Matthew 26:46-50
Mark 14:53-61
Mark 15:1-5
Matthew 27:27-31
John 19:4-6
Song: Lead Me to the Cross (Brooke Fraser)

Forgiveness
Matthew 27:33-44
Luke 23:34
Matthew 18:21-22
Song: Scandal of Grace (Joel Houston, Matt Crocker)
Anglican Confession

Salvation
Luke 23:39-43
Isaiah 55:6-7
2 Corinthians 5:21
Hebrews 2:9b-10
Song: His Glory Appears (Marty Sampson, Darlene Zschech)
Song: Beautiful Exchange (Joel Houston)

Relationship
John 19:25-27
John 13:34-35
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Abandonment
Matthew 27:45-46
Psalm 22:1-5
Mark 14:29-30
Song: You Were On the Cross (Matt Maher)

Distress
John 19:28
Psalm 31:9-16
Matthew 5:3-12 (as responsive reading)

Reunion
Luke 23:44-46
John 10:17

Finished
John 19:30
Song: It Is Finished (Kurtis Parks)
Hebrews: 9:11-12, 24-28
Song: It is Finished (Kurtis Parks)

Communion
Song: Reconciliation (Chris Douglas)
Invitation to the Cross
Closing: Hebrews 13:20-21

April 19th, 2014 [ Tags: , , ] Leave a comment

#LentChallenge: Revelation

Author: John
Date: mid-90s AD
Audience: Seven Churches
Purpose: To give hope to persecuted Christians and declare God’s final victory

Christ followers in the first century faced daily choices to trust in Jesus as persecution began to sweep through the church. In response, John penned his final letter and the final book of the New Testament to offer encouragement and hope. The book describes itself as both apocalyptic (Revelation 1:1) and prophetic (Revelation 1:3) and is divided into two parts. The first part (Revelation 1-3) contains specific messages for churches in Asia Minor. The remainder of the book contains visions and images of the future that have been the subjects of many different interpretations by the church throughout history. Some view the book as a description of future events while others view it as a description of the ongoing struggle between good and evil. Others believe the events referenced in the book occurred during the first century. Whatever the interpretation, the most important thing to remember is that the book of Revelation is not intended primarily to reveal to us timelines of future events but to reveal to us the majesty and awesomeness of the reign of Jesus Christ– seated and victorious on the throne.

The last living disciple, John was exiled on the Isle of Patmos when Jesus showed him a vision of the future. Hints of Christ’s return are sprinkled throughout the New Testament, but John’s writing is the most comprehensive picture of the ultimate goals that all of history is rushing towards. With its vivid, mystical and sometimes disturbing graphic images of judgments, battles, trumpets, and scrolls, Revelation offers encouragement to those enduring hardship, and it’s applicable to people living in all eras of history. Despite our circumstances, we can be assured that Jesus is in control at all times.

As you read the book of Revelation, pay attention to the following:

  • The specific encouragements and warnings delivered to the seven churches. Which ones are relevant to your life?
  • Descriptions of the throne room of God. Keep those images in mind as you worship.
  • Descriptions of the New Heavens, New Earth, and the River of Life. Many of these images tie all the way back to Old Testament writings. Take a moment to thank God for his goodness, sovereignty, and faithfulness throughout his story and your story.

April 17th, 2014 [ Tags: , , ] 2 Comments