Providence Church Blog A gospel-centered church in Austin, Tx


Archive for the ‘formation’ Category

Corporate Worship: A Covenant Renewal Event, Pt. 5

[The last post in this series. Thanks Grayson for your work in summarizing these sermons!] For the last five weeks we’ve gathered on Sundays to look at specifically at the nature of our corporate worship. We’ve preached on each “element” of our gathering individually in an effort to answer two questions: What is the worship […]

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Corporate Worship: A Covenant Renewal Event, Pt. 3

Sunday’s gathering marked the third in our series of five on the specific nature of our corporate worship at Providence. So far, we’ve introduced a brief definition for the worship of the church, unpacked the church’s “call to worship,” and examined God’s process of separation and restoration as expressed in our time of corporate “confession and cleansing.”

A time of “consecration” follows a time of “confession and cleansing” in our liturgy. Again, this is not an accident. In the “call to worship” God moves towards us and begins his process of renewal. When we “confess,” God continues this process by tearing us from our old ways and preparing us for new life in Christ. New life comes primarily through God’s word. For this reason, we continue to gather to hear God speak, allowing him to “consecrate” us through the reading and preaching of his word.

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Corporate Worship: A Covenant Renewal Event, Pt. 2

Last Sunday’s gathering kicked off a new preaching/teaching series on the specific nature of our corporate worship at Providence. First, we introduced a succinct definition for the worship of the church, calling it a “covenant renewal event.” Following that, we introduced five “aspects” of God’s covenant with man that ought to be reflected in corporate worship.

More specifically, we looked at God’s movement towards us as expressed in the church’s “call to worship.” Now we’ll look at what Jeffrey Meyers has described as God’s “separation of some portion of the old ‘material’ so that it can be formed into something new.” This process is expressed in our corporate time of “confession and cleansing.”

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Corporate Worship: A Covenant Renewal Event

*Another post from Grayson Walker on the start of our new preaching series on Covenant Renewal:

Sunday’s gathering kicked off a new preaching/teaching series on the specific nature of our corporate worship at Providence. On the whole, the series aims to ask and answer two main questions. First, what is the worship of the church? And second, how does worship form us?

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False Religion

In college I measured my progress in faith by what I didn’t do. In ministry, I measured my progress by what I did do (my performance). In both cases, I was trying to establish a righteousness of my own, before God and others. That kind of Christianity is not only exhausting; it’s actually not Christianity at all. It’s legalism – an approach to God that treats Him as a system to be worked rather than a person to be known and loved and served.

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What Is Jesus Doing?

*Providence Church (and this blog) is a very communal affair, so … Here are some thoughtful words from Grayson Walker, who is a younger guy in our church trying to sincerely follow Jesus and live out his faith:

Do you remember the Christian fad circa 2001? I do. All the “Christian kids” were wearing them. They weren’t like today’s trendy Silly Bandz. There were no fancy shapes or stretchable “fabrics”. Instead, kids wore simple bracelets — the letters WWJD stitched neatly into them, usually in white. Surely you remember them.

It seems like the aptly named “W.W.J.D.” bracelets had become the cultural mark of young Christians. After all, we seemingly bought into this vision: If only we can remind ourselves ‘What would Jesus do?’ in everyday situations we’ll conquer sin. Of course, that was shortsighted. Whenever we de-emphasize the death and resurrection of Jesus, we lose the very power of the gospel to change us.

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Reading the Bible Together

King David, in Psalm 19, says this about the word of God:

7 The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
 reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
 making wise the simple.
 8 The commandments of the Lord are right,
 bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living.
 9 Reverence for the Lord is pure, 
lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true;
 each one is fair.
 10 They are more desirable than gold,
 even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey,
 even honey dripping from the comb.
 11 They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.

God’s word revives us, makes us wise, brings us joy, gives us insight, warns us, and leads us to great reward in obeying God. What a privilege that we have his perfect word so readily accessible to us in our Bibles! To own a personal copy of the Scriptures has not been the norm for most people in the history of the church. I need to regularly remind myself what a blessing it is to sit down with a cup of coffee, open my own copy of the Bible, and receive counsel and perspective from God’s very word.

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How To Deal With What You’re Not

Here’s a question that snuck up on me this week: Is there anything compelling about your life? That is, does your way of life inspire or challenge or shape those around you? For me, this question surfaces a constant tension between the person I want to be and the person I am.

I will assume that there are times when you feel deep down in your gut that you are not what you want to be. Not as healthy as you want to be. Not as proactive or productive as you want to be. Not as joyful, thoughtful, thankful, faithful, gentle, or peaceful as you want to be. I will assume this is true of you because it makes me feel better about it being true of me.

So how do we deal with this tension?

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Community: Just a Matter of Personal Choice?

Community. As Christians, we all want it. Unfortunately, we often want it primarily for what we will get out of it, not for what we might have to put into it. Because of this, it is easy to have a consumeristic approach to community. We want to tailor-make our community in much the same way we would custom order an automobile (“I want the pearl white exterior, tan leather interior, and navigation system, but no sunroof.”) This approach makes sense to us, because we get to choose everything else in our lives (from the songs we download to the type of milk in our latte). So why shouldn’t we be able to choose our community in such a way that it maximizes our own growth and best fits our own preferences, schedule, and comfort?

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Race of Repentance

There is often an aversion amongst evangelical Protestants to talking about faith and repentance together. The fear is that salvation will be linked to works. One of the great legacies of the Protestant Reformation is the recapturing of the importance of the doctrine of justification by faith. That is, we are made right with God through faith alone in Christ alone. Whenever “repentance” is mentioned, some feel like it could be easily and wrongly interpreted as “penance”…doing works to atone for sin and merit God’s forgiveness. For John Calvin, repentance meant something entirely different.

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