How to Prepare for Sunday May 26th

We are trying something new on the blog. On Fridays we’ll post a guide for how to prepare for the upcoming Sunday service. It gives you a chance to read the Bible passage ahead of time, see the song list, and get your mind and heart ready. You can see some of the rationale in last week’s post.

Dave Cover will preach from James 4:6–10, “Up is Down and Down is Up.” James 4:6–10 reads, “6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble’. 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

Humble – mourn – wail – grieve – submit. This is the opposite of how most of us would want to characterize our lives. These words are the opposite of how we typically think our lives should be. In fact, they are the opposite of how we typically think God wants our lives to be. But apparently not according to James. Why would James call us to such doom and gloom?  Dave will help us reflect on what we need to know about God and ourselves in order to live right-side up. Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself that might help you get ready: What is it about pride that God opposes? Why does he favor the humble?

Our music before the sermon will help us see that humility comes when we rightly reflect on who God is. His greatness, especially as creator, calls us together to praise him. In the process, we also recognize our limits, that we are creatures, and even more, our sin. Yet we find also the assurance that God has come near to us through his Son.

We will take communion this Sunday. God comes near to us in the bread and wine, in what they point to, Jesus’ death in our place. For us to come near requires faith on our part. And faith is paired with repentance, not just turning to God, but turning away from sin. Communion presents a great opportunity to take stock of anything that’s hindering our coming near to God. Perhaps you can take the time before Sunday to confess and repent in preparation for sharing in Christ’s body.

Our song list for this Sunday (with links to recorded versions where possible)

Prayer of the Lowly – Christine Cover, David Cover, and Andrew Luley
All Creatures of our God and King – lyrics traditionally by Francis of Assisi; arranged by Andrew Camp
Doxology – traditional
I Fear the Lord – lyrics by David Cover and Patrick Miller; music by David Cover and Christine Cover

Since I Am So Sick – Don and Lori Chaffer
Draw Near (Hebrews 4:16) – David Cover
Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) – John Newton; additional chorus by Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio

See you Sunday morning.

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