Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, April 6

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, April 6

I frequently listen to a podcast from NPR that includes a section called “What’s Making You Happy This Week?”  During this section, the panelists all talk about a certain piece of pop culture or recent news that excites them.  If I were on the show, I would probably have mentioned the same thing every week for the past month: Spritz. In essence, it is a technology in development that will allow apps to train you and I to read up to 600 words per minute. Though many literary romantics might decry this as a utilitarian approach to reading, I cannot help but give into the temptation of finishing my seminary reading list in less than a day. I appreciate the aesthetic of a hardback, but the clarion call of efficiency is far more alluring. 

In one sense, my excitement over Spritz is driven by the idea of regaining the time I would spend pouring over academic journals and textbooks. However, there is a deeper motivation that hits at the heart of life in the present age. This is more about an attempt to control time. Of course, I do not mean this in the Marty McFly sense. Rather, I refer to the Western tendency to treat time as if it were money. In true Capitalist fashion, we budget out our time in the same manner that we budget out our assets. We cut back here and there, figure out what we have to spend, and then save for the times when we can really splurge on ourselves. For me, a speed reading app is like (according to the commercials) switching to Geico; one latter saves my money, the former saves my time. I will even take this similarity as step further and argue that time is the greatest currency for those who don’t live from check-to-check. For many of us, our spending habits likely illustrate the phrase, “I have more money than time.”

Now, this analogy is not perfect and there is far more nuance needed when thoroughly addressing modern Western conceptions of time and money. However, the way we treat time and money does point us to idols that are deeply set within our culture. In effect, our obsessive budgeting of time and money is an attempt to save ourselves from the one thing that all of humanity shares: death. We save our money because we think it will buy us time and we try to save our time because we see it slipping away every moment. At the heart of this is a greedy attempt to save ourselves and, if we follow down its path, we find that we lose everything we attempted to save.

This Sunday, we continue our study of the Gospel of Luke and hear about the ways in which God’s Kingdom is advanced. Standing in contrast to our self-salvation is the Gospel’s call to give all that we have for the work of the Kingdom. Because of this, we give freely of our time, knowing that we have gained eternal life. We also give freely of our wealth, knowing that God’s provision is far greater than a fat wallet. This is done because we were brought into the Kingdom by the only person who had a rightful citizenship. On the cross he took the guilt of our pitiful efforts to save ourselves and gave us his rightful claim to the Kingdom. Thus, we follow after Christ, repenting and taking up our cross daily, knowing that “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.” (Luke 17:33)

THE WORD

Scripture: Luke 13:10-14:35
Sermon: Advancing the Kingdom

SONGS

Hail To the Lord’s Anointed (arr. Sandra McCracken)
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Indescribable (arr. Matt Redman)
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Jesus Calls Us  (arr. Shane Martin)
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Go Labor On  (arr. Shane Martin)
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Song of Preparation: Let Your Kingdom Come (arr. Bob Kauflin)
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Song of Response: Hark the Voice of Jesus Calling (tune of Come Thou Long)
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QUESTIONS

1. In what areas are Christians tempted to compromise their beliefs to gain influence and approval? Do you struggle with this? If so, how might Christ’s example and teachings in the Gospel of Luke inform the way you pray about this temptation?

2. How does Scripture speak about the Sabbath? What are ways in which you can set apart the Sabbath for rest and devotion to God? How might this be a witness to unbelieving friends and family?

3. Briefly evaluate how you spend your time and money. How has God blessed you with opportunities to share those resources for the good of the Kingdom? Are there other ways to which God is calling you to give your time and money? How might you pray for new opportunities to spread God’s Kingdom in this way?

THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM

In this way God signifies to us that just as water washes away the dirt of the body when it is poured on us and also is seen on the bodies of those who are baptized when it is sprinkled on them, so too the blood of Christ does the same thing internally, in the soul, by the Holy Spirit. It washes and cleanses it from its sins and transforms us from being the children of wrath into the children of God. This does not happen by the physical water but by the sprinkling of the precious blood of the Son of God, who is our Red Sea, through which we must pass to escape the tyranny of Pharaoh, who is the devil, and to enter the spiritual land of Canaan.

                           – Belgic Confession, Article 34

 

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