The Bridegroom

One of the most common biblical metaphors for God is one of the least common metaphors in churches: bridegroom. The Bible is full of references to God as groom and the people of God as bride, and these metaphors are rich in language of intimacy, closeness, and love. Psalm 45 is a royal psalm that offers much about our relationship with God.
 
Peace, 
Chess

Join us in a virtual House Church for Worship and Communion around the Lord’s Table  

Included here are the scriptures, reflection questions, and prayers that are thematically matched to our Sunday worship outline. 

Scriptures: Gen 24:34-67; Ps 45:10-17; Matt 11:16-19, 25-30; Rom 7:15-25a 

Questions for Reflection: 

What misplaced burdens are you carrying? Where might God be offering you a more well-fitted yoke? Where are your expectations of God and the church unmet?  Where do you sense God moving in hidden ways? 

Morning Prayer: 

As the darkness recedes, open my eyes to the gift of this day; help me to trust you with all that it will hold. In the hours to come, as my plans are interrupted, tune my ear to the sound of your voice, my eye to the movement of your Spirit, my heart to the strength of your desire, that I might glimpse your hidden graces and be strengthened in your service, for I would be your instrument. Amen. 

Evening Prayer:  

Merciful God, I come weary, grateful for the chance to meet you in the silence, eager to be washed again in your claim. Lift from me the burdens I do not easily yield. In your gracious provision, fit me with a better yoke that I might rest as a child secure and rise with a teachable spirit. Amen. 


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Remembering the Future

Remembering the Future

Psalm 13
Remembering the future might sound like some line from the Back to the Future movies, but it is also the way the psalmist handles lament in Psalm 13. When we find ourselves stuck in lament in the present, sometimes the best way forward is to remember the past.
 
Peace, 
Chess

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Scriptures: Gen 22:1-14; Ps 13; Matt 10:40-42, Rom 6:12-23

Questions for Reflection

What is God asking me to return? Why? What might be the outcome?

Morning Prayer:

I rise this day in the power of your Holy Spirit, O God. I lift up my hands, my heart, and my songs to praise you, O Christ. Be for me today, my Savior, the guardian in my weakness, a friend on my journey, and my aim for all I seek to do. May all who speak to me say, “Peace”; may all to whom I speak hear, “Love.” Give visions of Christ in pied beauty around tables of meeting, along paths of dappling shadows, and in the faces of loved ones and strangers. Whether the day is bright or gloomy, be my light. Then, when the night begins to fall, bid me home—be my home, that I may find my rest  in you, O Three in One. Amen.

Evening Prayer:

Be my light, O Creator of light, as evening comes to my home and to me. Let me see your name written in sparkling stars, glowing planets, dancing cosmic wind. Let me hear you pass gently in the cool of the night’s breeze, on the wings of the night-flying creatures. And if there are to be storms this night, so that I shall not see the sky, and a gale howls with fearful threats, let me still put my trust in you, rest in you. Or, because there is a need in the world, rise up as you give me strength to bear witness with heart and hands to the world’s true light, in whose name I pray. Amen.


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No One Like God

No One Like God

Psalm 86 paints a beautiful description of God as gracious, loving, forgiving, and attentive, but do we actually believe it? Is this really who we think God is, or does our treatment of God and others say otherwise? Perhaps Psalm 86 is easier said than done.
 
Peace, 
Chess

Scriptures: Gen 21:8-21; Ps 86:1-10, 16-17, Matt 10:24-39, Rom 6:1b-11

Questions for Reflection

What does the story of Sarah and Hagar (Gen. 21:8–21) say about God? What does the story suggest about how we might treat one another more justly?

Morning Prayer

O God, I praise you as I arise this morning. You are the giver of all life and you provide for what you have made. Be with my spirit this day and teach me to be thankful for all that you offer. Move me to be generous with others, sharing not only goods, but also time, patience, and kindness. You know what will happen today. Guide me so that I do what pleases you. Be near to me and help me to trust your love. I pray for all the world today, for what I do has effects far beyond what I can know or understand. By your Holy Spirit, let me speak peace, let me do peace, let me be peace, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Evening Prayer

Creator of heaven and earth, light and darkness, day and night, I thank you for the day just past that you have given me in your mercy. I pray for your forgiveness for those things I did that were displeasing to you and for those missed opportunities to show my love for you. Let me rest tonight, trusting in the grace of your Son, Jesus Christ. Restore my mind and body as I sleep so that when I awake I will have the strength to serve you and your children well. O beloved God, let me rise to a new day giving you thanks and praise, in the name of Jesus Christ the Savior. Amen.


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Thanksgiving even now

Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19

Thanksgiving is more than a holiday in November, and it is more than something we express when we get what we want, when things are going well, or while we count our blessings. There is still much to be thankful for, even now, especially now, and not in spite of our pain, suffering, and anxiety. There is room in our relationship with God for us to express both lament and thankfulness simultaneously, just as Psalm 116 demonstrates.
 
Peace, 
Chess

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Worship & Doubt

Worship and Doubt

Matthew 28:16-20

Doubt is so much bigger than unbelief. We cram a lot of emotions into the word doubt as well, such as hesitancy, indecision, and uncertainty, all of which the apostles brought with them as they met Jesus on the mountain in Matthew 28. And rather than dismissing and denying these doubts, Jesus addressed them and the apostles worshiped.

June 7, 2020 Order of Worship (includes links to songs)

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Pentacost for Everyone

 

Pentecost for Everyone

There is so much about the Pentecost story that intrigues, inspires, and incites conversation and action, but for me the impact of the story is encapsulated best by the word “everyone.” There is great hope and a challenging call in Peter’s quotation of the prophet Joel, especially the line, “Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved,” and that hope and challenge could not be any more timely.
 
Peace, 
Chess

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Lift up your heads

Ascension

Luke 24:44-53

Tucked away after the crucifixion and resurrection is the ascension of Jesus. This short and simple story is rich with depth, meaning, and hope if we know where to look. Through the lenses of Psalm 24 and history, the ascension story is a powerful proclamation of the divinity of Christ and the hope of eternal life lived with God.
 
Peace, Chess
 
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Help, Comfort, and Counsel

Help, Comfort, Counsel

John 14:15-21

it is a rarely discussed topic, and when discussed it often remains rather mysterious and intangible. Jesus has much to say on the Holy Spirit, especially in the book of John, and we would be wise to listen. In just these six verses Jesus identifies the Holy Spirit as like himself, truthful, an advocate, a helper, a comforter, a guide and a counselor. Understanding these characteristics of the Holy Spirit are important for us all.

 
Peace,
Chess
 
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Greater Works

Greater works

In what almost sounds like a direct challenge, Jesus spoke in John 14:1-14 about his works and the disciples doing even greater works than his. It can be overwhelming to think of having to do works like Jesus’, let alone even greater works. But if this isn’t a challenge to outperform Jesus, than what does he mean and what works are we called to?
 
Peace,
Chess
 
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I am the Gate

 

Jesus the Gate

John 10:1-10 paints a confusing picture of Jesus as a gate to a sheep pen. We are used to thinking of Jesus as a shepherd, but what does it mean for him to be a gate? And what does it mean for us to come in and go out through the gate? It’s a strange figure of speech that confused the disciples, and it deserves some attention so that we can understand Jesus as gate.
 
Peace, 
Chess
 
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