FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Joy To The World
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heav’n and nature sing…
Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains,
Repeat the sounding joy…
Welcome to the Red Mountain Sunday Recap!
The Sunday Recap is a brief fly-by of what we did during Sunday worship. Did anything land with you from worship on Sunday? What did it make you think? How did it make you feel? What did you find especially sweet or challenging from God's word? What did we sing, read, or pray that left an impression on you?
Confession of Sin:
The Law of God: Exodus 20:1-2, 12
And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. . . . Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”
Prayer of Confession
Father in heaven, we have not honored our fathers and mothers.
We confess the pride and independence resident in our hearts.
As children, we defy and disrespect our parents.
As adults we dismiss and ignore our parents.
As sinners we reject your authority and claim upon our lives.
Father, please forgive us for failing to seek after you, the only perfect Father.
Please help us to turn to Jesus, the only perfect Son,
Whose obedience alone secures our place in your family. Amen.
Words of Grace: 1 John 2:1-2
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
Confession of Faith: Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heave
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
This past Sunday Adam Venable, RUF Campus Minister at UAB, preached for us. The text and outline of his sermon are below with some reflection questions to ponder.
Sermon Text: Luke 1:46-55
46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
What if God is teaching you to remember he looks upon you, so you can have true joy?
1. Remembering (vs. 54,55)
A. What we remember is very powerful
B. Mary, steeped in the Jewish scriptures, remembers God's
old promises to Israel when she becomes pregnant with
C. Are you able to remember God's word? What things could
you drop off this year in order to make a greater space in
your heart for God's promises in Scripture?
2. Teaching (vs. 51,52,53)
A. Mary's experience of poverty and hunger caused her to
look to God for joy.
B. How might God be drawing our eyes away from our life in
order to find life in christ?
3. Looking (vs. 47,48)
A. Mary finds joy in God because of her faith in God's promise
that He sees her, notices her, and loves her.
B. Who do you think has God's attention? How would your day
be different if you remembered that your heavenly Father
looks on you with love and care?
- What was new or compelling to you? What stood out to you from this passage?
- What questions does this passage raise for you?
- Was there anything that bothered you?
- What do you remember most from frequently from God's word? What do you tend to most easily forget?
- How is God teaching you to look to him in the midst of your life circumstances right now?
- How do you get the joy Mary has?
Suggested Resources & The Week Ahead
The last several weeks we've given focused attention to the coming of Jesus, the Son of God, to save his people from their sins. (Matt. 1:21) However, this joyous event is quickly eclipsed by unthinkable evil. (Mt. 2:16-18) It is the event that initiates a perfect life that will suffer a sinner's death in order to bring us home! (1 Pet. 3:18) Therefore, in the very story of Jesus we find God's sovereign plan of redemption unfolding not in spite of but through suffering and evil. (Acts 2:22-24)
How can we find comfort from the life of Jesus in the midst of our own life experiences? I want to suggest two resources that you might not normally pair together but in fact overlap in many ways.
The first is a book by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steve Estes called When God Weeps. The second is a book by R.C. Sproul called Chosen By God.
As I have said in the past, the problem of evil and suffering is an irreducible problem for us. However, it is a problem for which God's sovereignty and grace are the only place of refuge and comfort and hope!
Songs for this week:
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Good Christian Men, Rejoice
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
We Will Feast
Until next time,
Joy To The World
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow,
Far as the curse is found…
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove,
The glories of his righteousness,
And wonders of his love….