Why Do We Gather for Corporate Worship?

Creatures of habit that we are, it is easy for us to lose sight of why we do many of the things we do.  We can certainly be prone to this regarding why we gather for Corporate Worship each Lord’s Day.

 

The weekly pattern of gathering for corporate worship was established in the Old Covenant with the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11); was transformed in the New Covenant with the resurrection of Christ on the first day of the week – the Lord’s Day (Mark 16:9; John 20:19; Acts 20:7; Revelations 1:10); and will be eternally fulfilled in heaven as the entire family of God joins as one assembly to worship before His throne (Revelations 4 & 5.)

 

A helpful definition of corporate worship is put forth by J. Ligon Duncan, in a book he co-edited entitled Give Praise to God:  It (Corporate Worship) is a family meeting with God, it is the covenant community engaging with God, gathering with His people to seek the face of God, to glorify and enjoy Him, to hear His word, to revel in the glory of union and communion with Him, to respond to His word, to render praise back to Him, to give unto Him the glory due His name.”  (p. 60)

 

This coming Lord’s Day, we’ll be looking more at what God’s Word says about what we are to do in Corporate Worship.  I hope you’ll plan to be with us, as we deepen our understanding and application of what it means to worship God in spirit and in truth – for His glory in us and through us!

 

Pastor Greg

Pray for the People of Japan

In view of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that have occurred in Japan, we need to be much in prayer for the Japanese people, and for God’s sovereign purposes in these events.  RCG has connections with people in Japan, primarily through the ministries of the Kinjos and the O’Dells.  Great needs abound both spiritually and physically, and these will abound for a long time to come.

 Dr. Albert Mohler’s perspectives in his recent blog is When the Earth Moves:  Pray for the People of Japan are very helpful.  I encourage you to read his short reflections.

 Even as we pray for the people of Japan, may we likewise heed the Lord’s exhortation to “…be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you…” (2 Peter 1:10)  We are accountable to the One who shakes the earth and rolls the waves, and who will eternally judge all who rebel against Him.  What hope, joy, peace, and security for those who are trusting Jesus Christ – He alone is the Rock of our salvation!

 Pastor Greg

One Glorious Shepherd

Thanks to all of you who were praying for the other RCG Elders and me as we met this past Saturday.  We were together from 9 am – 4 pm, and had a fruitful time praying and talking together about how we can best fulfill our God-given mandate to “…shepherd the flock of God among you…” (1 Peter 5:2)  Much of our interaction revolved around Dr. Timothy Z. Witmer’s recent book entitled The Shepherd Leader.  The insights Dr. Witmer puts forth proved helpful in refining our understanding of the priority and responsibility of shepherding, as well sharpening our activity in the actual work of shepherding.  We trust and pray the Lord will use all of these things to bear more fruit among us at RCG for His glory.

Foundational in all of this is the truth that Jesus Christ actively cares for the well-being and the fruit-bearing of His sheep!  He does this according to His Word, in the power of His Spirit and through the particular men He has called in particular local churches to serve as under-shepherds.  He also cares for His sheep as we all grow in loving one another as He has loved us (John 13:34,35).

With that in mind, Smokey, Steve, Chuck, Sean, Eric and I are grateful and humbled for the privilege of serving as under-shepherds among you.  We look eagerly with you for that day when our glorious Chief Shepherd appears (1 Peter 5:4!)

 Pastor Greg

Worship Through Music

In response to, and in the power of the word of Christ richly dwelling in us, believers are ever to be “…teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in our hearts to God.” (Col. 3:16)  As we’ll be learning in weeks to come in our sermon series on “Worship in Spirit and Truth”, God has purposed for Christ-saturated singing to have a continually expressive, formative, and instructive effect in the lives of His people.

Thus as we grow in Christ, there should be deepening songs of gratitude in our hearts – melodies of praise that permeate our daily lives.  And when we gather corporately each Lord’s Day, singing to the Lord and one another is a key part of our shared worship.

In light of this, we’re blessed at RCG with many gifted musicians and singers who help us all to sing to the Lord and one another.  I want to particularly mention Corey Sparks, who has been giving leadership to our music ministry over the last few years.  He has recently desired to take an indefinite break from this role, so please join me in thanking him and the Lord for his ministry among us.  Corey, your “labor of love” with music is much appreciated!