Archive for the ‘Advent’ Category

More Contemporary Advent Song Choices

More Contemporary Advent Song Choices

Let It Come – Kathryn Scott
Light of The World – Watermark
Hosanna – Hillsong United
You Alone Can Rescue – Matt Redman
All Who Are Thirsty – Brenton Brown
From The Inside Out – Hillsong United
Refiner’s Fire – Brian Doerkson
Light The Fire Again – Brian Doerkson
Give Us Clean Hands – Charlie Hall
Waiting here for You – Christy Nockels
Here is Our King – David Crowder
Hosanna (Praise is Rising) – Paul Baloche and Brenton Brown
Everlasting God – Paul Baloche and Brenton Brown
Mighty to Save – Hillsong

John the Baptist

John the Baptist

After 400 years of silence, John the Baptist came
Preaching a message of repentance and avoiding any fame.

His meal of choice – locusts and honey
Didn’t care what he ate, didn’t care much about money.

A camel hair tunic, clothing chosen without care
Not a slave to fashion, he stood out, and people stared.

Living in the wilderness, yet another fox without a home
All over Galilee and Judea he did roam.

His friend’s sandals, he should not tie
But baptizing many, until the day he would die.

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
Sage advice, a goal to which we all must steer.

Advent Worship Planning Mind Map

Advent Worship Planning Mind Map

I don’t use mind maps much, but others do, and perhaps this will be of some use to you.  A mind map is a pictorial roadmap.  It is a plan that shows a central idea with topics attached to it.  So the following figure is a mind map that shows the worship planning for a typical worship service.  This example is for Dec 9, 2012 (Advent 2) and it is planned to be a contemporary service.  All four scripture readings are listed with songs attached to each reading that could be good choices to go along with the theme.  There is also an Advent prayer to go with the readings.

This mind map was created on an IPAD using the iOS APP called SimpleMind+ but there are many others.



Immanuel (or Emmanuel) means “God With Us”.  What a profound statement contained in a name as God is with us in so many ways.  Here’s a responsive reading to illustrate this point.

P:         God is with us in the flesh
C:        The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. – John 1:14

P:         God is with us in all fullness
C:        For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. – Colossians 2:9

P:         God is with us as an example
C:        Our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, – Philippians 2:5-6

P:         God is with us as a companion
C:        Jesus said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” – 2 Corinthians 6:16b

P:         God is with us by the Spirit
C:        Jesus said: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.
The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. – John 14:16-17

P:         God is with us always
C:        God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5b


Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of International Bible Society

Contemporary Music for the Advent Season

Contemporary Music for the Advent Season

Finding good contemporary Advent music is not easy.  For some reason it is not a popular topic for today’s song writers.  These are a few songs that I have found and used in the past.

Advent Songs

Song Title Writer
A Baby Will Come Bill Wolf
All to Us Chris Tomlin
Behold the Lamb of God Shaun Starbuck
Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)  Amy Grant
Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground) Chris Tomlin
Everlasting God Brenton Brown
Meet with Me Lamont Hiebert
My Soul in Stillness Waits Marty Haugen
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel Aaron Shust and David Crowder have great versions of this hymn
Prepare Ye the Way Michael W Smith
Shout of the King Matt Maher
Waiting Here for You Chris Tomlin, Martin Smith

Most of the above songs are available for download at any of the following sites:

John the Baptist’s Cry

John the Baptist baptizing Christ

Image via Wikipedia

John the Baptist’s Cry

About 2,000 years ago, John the Baptist broke a biblical silence of over 400 years to express this inspired message: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Mt 3:1-3)

If the Kingdom of Heaven was near back when he said it, then it’s even closer now and his message is critically important to us.  Here’s a responsive reading based on his message to teach your people the meaning of repentance.

P:         Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near.  (Mt 3:1-3)
P:        Part of being repentant is acknowledging that we are all sinners.
C:         for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)

P:        Another part of being repentant is to realize that someone had to pay the price for our sin; this person was Jesus Christ, God’s only Son who suffered and died for the sins of all.
C:         But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.  (Isa 53:5

P:        A repentant sinner should also feel sorrow over their sins.
C:         yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance (2 Cor 7:9)
P:        A repentant sinner also needs to confess their sins and ask for forgiveness.
C:         For the sake of your name, O LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.  (Ps 25:11)

P:        A repentant sinner should know beyond a shadow of a doubt that their sins are forgiven and that this is a free gift from God and not a result of any of our doing.
C:         For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 6:23)

P:        The final step of repentance is to turn our lives around and make every effort to avoid sinning in the future.
C:         if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of International Bible Society

A blessed Thanksgiving to all!

PS – Looking for an Advent Wreath Candle Lighting Ceremony?  Check here:

The Tug

The Tug

Mary and Joseph felt a tug,
And so they went with reverent fear.
To the city of David
For the Messiah’s birth was near.
The lowly shepherds felt the tug,
And their wonder just would not yield.
For they saw a heavenly vision,
Whilst abiding in the field.
The wise men also felt a tug,
And so they journeyed afar.
To the little town of Bethlehem,
With guidance from a star.
And through the ages we too can feel this tug,
It’s God our Savior beckoning from heaven above.
Still speaking, still leading, still healing, still listening,
God sent to earth; once in the form of a beautiful dove.

-by Steve & Bob Brown

Our song selections for our next blended service scheduled for Feb 13 (Epiphany 6) are as follows:

Pre-Service – “Beautiful One” by Tim Hughes*
Opening Song – “Speak, O Lord” by Keith Getty (CWS 735)
Absolution Response – “Te Deum” Marty Haugen (GIA)
Psalm of the Day – Ps 119a with “As the Deer” (BOB 12)
Hymn of the Day – ” Speak, O Savior; I Am Listening” by Anna Sophia (CW 283)
Offertory – “You Are God Alone” by Billy & Cindy Foote*
Closing Song – “More Love, More Power” by Jude Del Hierro (BOB 159)

* Band Only

Christmas Text – Responsive Reading

Christmas Text – Responsive Reading

P:  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
C:  He was with God in the beginning.

P:  Oh, come, let us adore Him,
C: Christ the Lord!
P:  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
C:  In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

P:  Oh, come, let us adore Him,
C: Christ the Lord!  
P:  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
C:  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.

P:  Oh, come, let us adore Him,
C: Christ the Lord!
P:  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
C:  Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

P:  Oh, come, let us adore Him,
C: Christ the Lord!
P:  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
C:  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

P:  Oh, come, let us adore Him,
C: Christ the Lord!
P:  From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
C:  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

P:  Oh, come, let us adore Him,
C: Christ the Lord!

   (Based on John Chapter 1: 1-5, 10 – 17)

This reading was taken from my Advent Candle Lighting Ceremony.

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of International Bible Society


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