We are making our way through one of Jesus’ longest teachings from Matthew 5 and 6; today we were looking specifically at Matthew 5:17-48.
In this section, Jesus mentions six different issues, basically redefining the standard for morality. He says things like, “You’ve heard it said that it’s wrong to murder… but I say anyone who is angry at his brother will be subject to judgement”… “You’ve heard it said ‘love your neighbor’… but I say ‘love your enemy'”. Our pastor’s approach was to talk through all the issues Jesus mentions, drawing attention to the fact that Jesus is continually calling us to goodness & righteousness on a heart level. We ended the service by inviting people to come forward and kneel and pray to confess their weaknesses to God. Our pastor did a great job of communicating the spiritual necessity of confession in a way that was not intimidating.
Welcome & Announcements
Video clip: ‘Jesus Is‘
Hallelujah to My King (E) [Baloche/Brown]
Grace Like Rain (C#m) [Agnew]
My Jesus I Love Thee (D) [Featherston/Gordon]
In Christ Alone (D) [Getty/Townend]
Offering: No Sweeter Name (G) [Jobe]
Message: Jesus Speaks–‘Standards’
Response/Confessions: Lord Have Mercy (Dm)
A Few Details During the corporate worship time for this sermon series we’ve been focusing on Jesus to prepare ourselves to hear his words. The ‘Jesus Is‘ video was a way to begin that focus this week. Music was intentionally more low-key than normal this week in order to move toward the time of confession. Because of this, we scaled back the musicians to 3 vocals, piano, keys, bass, and drums. During rehearsal on Wednesday, this group of musicians created fantasticallyfabulouslyamazing song arrangements for this specific day and this specific ensemble. Seriously. I was (and still am) in awe. Kudos especially to our drummer, a high school student who played with us for the first time and did a great job. Hallelujah to My King is a solid lyrical song that actually mentions God, Jesus AND the Holy Spirit (gasp!). We’ve let this one rest for a while, so it was good to bring it back. In our chosen keys it goes quite effortlessly into Grace Like Rain, a song our congregation connects with well. Followed this with a time of silent reflective prayer as we moved further into contemplating who Jesus is. The silent prayer seemed need a very gentle traditional hymn. Our pianist created a very nice arrangement of ‘My Jesus I Love Thee’ during our rehearsal. Also added during rehearsal was the stealth bass vocal part by our keyboardist. Loved it! Also loved how we were able to move directly in In Christ Alone. This is another song our congregation connects with, and today was no exception. No Sweeter Name was new to our congregation today. LOVE this song and I don’t know how it escaped us for so long. Today it held with the theme of our worship time, but lightened the tone a bit during the offering. At the end of the message our pastor invited people to come forward, kneel, and confess to God where they have fallen short of Jesus’ standards. People were then free to leave. We used Lord Have Mercy for this… my favorite confessional song ever. Many, many took this opportunity to pray. I’m grateful for a pastor that is not afraid to ask the church to do difficult things. And I’m grateful for a church that will go there. I was grateful to have been there today.
This post is a part of Sunday Setlists on my friend Fred’s blog. Check it out to hear from lots of other churches.