Friday, August 31, 2018

Emmaus City Church Rhythms | Why We Gather for Jesus with Others


Sabbath Mass | Service of Worship Q&As


Below is a brief list of questions and answers in relation to why Christians, particularly those with Emmaus City, do the things we do when we gather together for a mass service of worship. Of course, the best way to get a clearer picture would be to visit with us on a Saturday for a mass service of worship.

Why Do You Gather in Light of the Gospel (i.e. Good News) of Jesus and His Kingdom?

As Tim Keller says, The Good News is that God has come to renew and restore creation in the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. If this is true, then we want to learn more about who He is and how His resurrection life changes everything together since He said, "For where two or three gather in My name, I am among them" (Matthew 18:20).

When Do You Gather Together for a Mass or Service of Worship?

Most months, we gather most Saturdays at 4 p.m. Sometimes we have a "Love our Neighbors" weekend where we engage with friends and neighbors, and/or connect with a nonprofit or service organization in what they're doing.

How Do I Participate with Emmaus City During a Sabbath Gathering?

Be yourself. You can listen, observe, sing, be silent, read, recite, and/or ask questions after the service. Our hope is to give you a clearer picture of Jesus and help you understand more of why His Good News is not only history-altering, but life-changing.

Why Do You Sing Songs?

We cheer what we love, whether it's a drink or a food, a diet that works, a favorite sports team who wins, a classic book, film, or artist that remains timeless, etc. If God is the Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Healer, Savior, and King of all that is good, we sing about Him to recognize and thank Him for all He is.

What are the Prayers of Mission for?

A relationship with God transforms our lives, changing how we view work, family, our neighbor, and the world to see things the way He does and join Him in His work of reconciliation and renewal. We pray He will do this with for our city, for others around the world, and for us as we prepare to listen.

How Do I Engage with Jesus and the Bible in the Homily | Sermon?

This is an opportunity to listen and to learn more about Jesus and how He came to fulfill all that is written about God in the Bible. Here are some helpful questions to ask as you listen:

  • Who is God in light of this reading and teaching?
  • What is He saying and doing that could be history-altering and life-changing Good News?
  • How are people responding to His Good News in the story?
  • How would my life change if I believed Jesus is God, and changed my life to follow Him?

Why Do You All Enjoy the Eucharist | Lord’s Supper | Communion Every Week?

After we hear the Good News of Jesus provided through the homily | sermon, we then have the privilege to see, touch, smell, and taste the Good News and receive a means of grace that Jesus is just as present with us as the bread and wine. God doesn't just want us to think about and understand His love, He wants us to experience His love together in union with Him and with each other over a meal of bread and wine that reveals Jesus as the Bread of Life and the Vine. We get to respond to His gracious and hospitable invitation as we go forward together to enjoy His glorious presence and His gracious family meal for us with others.

How Do I Believe and Live in light of the Good News of Jesus?

Trust that God gives you salvation by His grace through faith in Jesus. Through the Father's love and the Spirit's power, Jesus came to redeem you from slavery to self, atone for your sin to reconcile you with God and humanity, drink the cup of justice you couldn't drink for yourself, live the life you couldn't live, die the death you deserved to die, resurrect you with power you do not have, fill you with His Spirit to walk in that power with Him and others, welcome you into His family, adore you as His beloved, and send you into the world to share His Good News with all of creation – your neighborhood, your city, your workplace, your environments – in words and actions with His love and grace. Pray, "I believe in You, Jesus, all that You have done for me in Your life, death, and resurrection. Help my unbelief." and you will be saved. Then tell someone, get baptized in His family name if you haven’t been, and begin sharing His Good News.

Why Saturday Evening?

The simplest answer is because this was the space and time available that was at a key location in our city, met our needs for space and equipment, and was at a good price to rent monthly. And it provided us the opportunity to bless another church  First Assembly of God who owns the Fusion Center at 30 Tyler Prentice Road  by renting from them. The other cool thing is the Sabbath – or day of the week that God has generously gifted humanity with to set aside from work to rest and trust Him to provide for all our needs more than our own ambition or wealth – has historically begun during the sunset of the previous day and ends at the sunset of the next day. We currently get to begin our Sabbath day of rest in the darkness of the evening on Saturdays, and then we get to enjoy the morning light and all of the restful day ahead on Sundays. We can step into the Lord's Day (Sunday) being reminded again of the power of the resurrection of Jesus over all that wounds and enslaves us, seeing with our eyes that the evening darkness will be overcome by the morning light, and believing in our hearts that our entitlement, selfishness, and seemingly impending death can be overcome by Jesus, the God who came to us and gave us the greatest gift of forgiveness, freedom, and salvation.

Key Verses and Quotes

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity — all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added those who were being saved. + Acts 2:42-47, NLT

"And now, O Lord ... give us, Your servants, great boldness in preaching Your Word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the Word of God with boldness. All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need. + Acts 4:29-35, NLT

In our worship setting, we need a corporate and community call to worship. Our preaching and worship should direct our attention toward a God greater than our own experience. We also direct attention toward the needs of others in the choosing of liturgy and the selection of worship songs. We focus on prayers for the city, community and neighborhood. Because we love Jesus, His Church, and our city, we come together to do this as His multicultural and multiethnic people. + Soong Chan Rah 
With the Good News, we've been given a ministry together with a message that God is going to fulfill His mission to make disciples of Jesus until He returns with His Kingdom to completely restore creation. The Good News is about the living God overcoming all the powers of the world to establish His rule and justice and peace, on earth as in heaven. This news is about something that has happened, because of which everything will now be different. The Good News is not advice. It is not simply, “Look, I can prove these abstract truths” (rationalism) nor yet “Your heart can be filled with joy” (romanticism) but “The Messiah died for our sins in accordance with the Bible and was raised on the third day in accordance with the Bible.” Something has happened in history that has made all the difference for us and the world. + N.T. Wright


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