Preparing for Worship // August 4, 2019

Preparing for Worship // August 4, 2019

(Email subscribers: Click the title above to view the Spotify playlist) THE WORD Scripture: Hebrews 13:1-6 Sermon: Loving Others Well SONGS Christian Hearts in Love United  (arr. Michael Burkhardt) listen | chords | lyrics/info | purchase Brethren We Have Met To Worship (Traditional) listen | chords | lyrics/info | purchase Fellowship So Deep (Caedmon’s Call) listen | chords | lyrics/info | purchase By Our Love (Christy Nockels) listen | chords | lyrics/info | purchase Song of Preparation: [Brother] (The Brilliance) […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, June 1

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, June 1

“Beauty is rarely soft or consolatory. Quite the contrary. Genuine beauty is always quite alarming.”  – Donna Tartt, The Secret History Michaelangelo’s “David” is arresting when viewed in person. It is far taller than one would expect, and the tall dome of the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze seems to extend that statue even further. The statue of […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, May 11

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, May 11

My grandfather passed away before I was born. Though I never met him, I know through the testimony of those who knew him that he was kind, generous, and devoted to family and friends. I see his influence in my mother, my grandmother, my aunt and uncle, and others in my family that knew him well. […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, May 4

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, May 4

The current cultural climate in the United States has an uneasy fascination with war. In some sense, many Americans are very tired of war. The specter of nine years of military intervention in Iraq and the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan haunt even the most ardent warhawk. More than a decade of sending troops to the Middle […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, April 27

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, April 27

The Christian faith is a religion that, on the face of it, seems to be quite paradoxical. We believe that to live we must die and that true leaders are actually servants. We serve the God of all comfort and yet find him most intimately in suffering. We find in scripture that we must be […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, March 23

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, March 23

This is, admittedly, not one of my most well thoughtout arguments, but I believe that the heart of the American Dream is best located in two places: the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson and the movies of Pixar. (This may sound absurd, but America can be pretty absurd as well, so it fits.) In many […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, February 9

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, February 9

Throughout ancient history, economies ran on an intricate system of weights and measures. Before coinage and the development of paper currency systems of payment and trade were carried out through the exchange of goods such as foodstuffs, livestock, and metals like gold, copper, and iron.  For many of these items, value was established upon weight […]

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

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

Once a year, the campus ministry I attended played a massive week-long game of “Assassin.” The object of the game was to eliminate the players assigned to you by spraying them with a water gun (or, for the McGuyvers in our group, an improvised water bottle).  Therefore, if you were playing the game, you were […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, January 17

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, January 17

The term “semantic satiation” refers to the process in which a word or phrase temporarily loses its meaning after numerous repetition.  There is an unfortunate tendency for this to happen within the Christian life. Because of sin, our hearts can harden to the beauty of often used phrases and words such as the “love of […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, January 12

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, January 12

The history of the church is replete with theologians debating who Christ really is.  Is he man? Is he god? If he is both, is he more of one than the other? A brief survey of early church history would turn up numerous councils which took on these questions in what seems to our minds […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, January 5

Reza Aslan’s book “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” rode high on the New York Time’s best-seller list for parts of 2013. In this book, Aslan, a professor at the University of California-Riverside, attempts to make the case that Jesus of Nazareth was one of many failed Jewish nationalists in first-century Palestine. […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, December 8

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, December 8

My wife and I are in the process of mortgaging our home and selling all of our belongings on Craigslist in order to purchase flights home for Christmas. Despite having to fork over a small fortune to Delta Airlines, we are ecstatic at the thought of being home for the holidays. It is always great […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, December 1

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, December 1

Merry Christmas(ish)! As I write this, I have plunged headfirst into the ocean of Christmas music that is on Spotify and am loving every second of it, even Sir Paul McCartney’s wrongfully maligned “Wonderful Christmas Time.”  Frankly, if the synthesizer in that song is wrong, I’m not sure I want to be right. I apologize […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, November 24

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, November 24

The Bible speaks of Christ’s return in certain terms; popular culture does not.  In this week’s text, we are exhorted to remain on our guard against that which would poison our surety of Christ’s second coming. It can be relatively easy to believe in this during a Sunday morning worship service, but it gets far […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, November 17

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, November 17

I have a hard time sleeping on airplanes.  This was always problematic when I lived in Romania and would fly home to see my family in Mississippi. The trip from Bucharest to London to Dallas to Jackson and the drive home always equalled up to about a 24-hour day in airplanes and airport.  This meant […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, November 10

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, November 10

 Prior to his election as President of the United States in 2008, Barack Obama gained national fame for his speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston, during which he asked Americans, “Do we participate in a politics of cynicism, or do we participate in a politics of hope?”  A politics of hope eventually became […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, November 3

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, November 3

In Michael Pollan’s book “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” the author recounts a word-association experiment in which a group of American people and a group of French people were both shown a picture of chocolate cake and asked to write down the first word that came to their mind.  For the Americans, the […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, October 27

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, October 27

There are few passages in the Bible more excruciating than Genesis’ account of the near-sacrifice of Isaac. For one chapter, we walk in the agonized footsteps of Abraham as he treks into the mountains to immolate his beloved, only son. God commanded this, and Abraham obeyed. Despite this obedience, it would be inhuman to imagine […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, October 20

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, October 20

In a few minutes, my wife and I will drive to Chapel Hill so that we can participate in the ordination service of Simon Stokes, the new RUF minister at UNC-Chapel Hill.  We got to know Simon and his wife, Katie, while he was undergoing his licensure and ordination exams. For Simon, tonight is the […]

Getting Ready for Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship, October 13

Getting Ready for Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship, October 13

Justice is a topic that is frequently on the lips of the American public. It can be found in the courtroom, in the halls of Congress, and in the editorials of newspapers. It seems that justice as a concept is built into our collective national psyche. As our pledge of allegiance so succinctly puts it, […]