Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, October 26, 2014

Whenever a project is started or an idea begins to form the last thing you want is opposition. Opposition at best is a distraction that will waste your time and energy. At worst opposition is something that will thwart your plans and crush your ideas. Opposition is a very common theme throughout all of scripture. In Exodus the king of Egypt opposes God and His people in every way even to the point of chasing them out of the city attempting to kill them. There is opposition against Nehemiah as he leads in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem even within the people who are supposed to be supporting him. We see the greatest opposition when Jesus is killed on the cross. The very people He came to save are those who dragged him to His death.

There is great opposition to the Church today. It is a global opposition. There are head on attacks like ISIS in the middle east. There are subtle, or not so subtle, attempts to extinguish the gospel like the subpoenas issued in Houston for the sermons of five area pastors. There is an attack on the Church of God and His people. Sometimes it seems like the tide of opposition is only rising and we begin to panic. Like the Israelites with backs to the sea and a powerful Egyptian army in pursuit we wonder what will happen to us. We may even begin to question God and ask where He is.

In scripture we see a God who always comes through. Not only does He come through, but He comes through most amazingly when the stakes are at their highest. His aim is always to show forth His glory. There is an ironic hope when opposition gains steam and heads full force towards His Church. We know that God will honor His name and will glorify Himself. My wife and I have been teaching preschoolers about the Exodus story these past few weeks and how God mightily delivered the Israelites in what seemed impossible circumstances. Moses told the people to “stand firm” and they would see how God would deliver them. When God used Moses to part the red sea so that His people were delivered and the Egyptians defeated the first thing the people did was worship God and praise Him for how mighty a deliverer He is.

We may say to ourselves ‘well thats great for them, but I wasn’t there at the red sea and I didn’t see that mighty deliverance.’ My answer to that would be that as Christians we have witnessed a greater deliverance in that God has snatched us from the jaws of the devil and has delivered us from death into eternal life. There is no greater deliverance than that. Not only has he delivered us, but he keeps us. His good purposes can not be thwarted by any kind of opposition, even our own sin.  If God has delivered us and saved us in the most ultimate way then how much more can we trust Him in the opposition that we face as 21st century Christians? This is the God that we worship: One who is mighty, powerful and majestic. He is a God that sits in the heavens and laughs at the nations as they rage and plot in vain.

THE WORD

Scripture: Ezra 4:1-6:12
Sermon: Haters Gonna Hate

SONGS

Blessed Be Your Name (arr. Matt Redmond)
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God Be Merciful to Me  (arr. Indelible Grace)
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Isaiah 43
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The Church’s One Foundation (arr. Indelible Grace)
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Song of Preparation: O Church Arise  (arr. Keith Getty)
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Song of Response: A Mighty Fortress is Our God (arr. Traditional)
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RESPONSIVE READINGS

Leader: 1The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

People: The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Leader: 2When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.

People: 3Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.

Leader: 4One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:

People: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.

Leader: 5For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.

People: 6And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Leader: 13I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!

People: 14Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

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