Christmas 2010 | Week-to-Week

The season of Christmas has 12 days.  (In fact, the 12 Days of Christmas was a subversive teaching of the beliefs of the Church.)  Therefore there are 2 Sundays that we celebrate Christmas.  This year’s series is called “Jesus is King?” Click here to read more posts about this series.
Week 1 – Dec. 26 – John 1:1-18
This passage shows that part of Jesus being King is that he is Word (there from the beginning, through Him all things are created) and also that He is Light.  The “Light” theme will play out perfectly to move us toward epiphany.  How does Jesus being Light change the people’s perspective of the King they were expecting?

Week 2 – Jan 2 – Luke 2:41-52
This passage is a great throwback to the 2nd week of Advent (“…a little child will lead them.”).  Jesus is teaching the rabbis in the temple while his parents are searching for him.  Already Jesus is showing His true purpose for being here.  Wisdom is important for a king.  How does Christ’s wisdom change the way that we think of this new “kingdom”?

Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Christmas 2010 | Design

Guest Blog from The House Studio

Do you remember the first day of a new course in college? The professor makes her way around the room handing out the dreaded syllabus. As it lands on your desk you mentally prepare yourself for the bulleted list that’s going to map out your reading for the coming semester.

Fast-forward one semester. You look back and can’t imagine taking any other route. You soon realize that your professor carefully planned out your route. Together you and your classmates journeyed, discussed, and complained your way through the texts. In a way it became your story.

Just as a college class has a reading plan, the Church also, in a way, has a reading plan. It¹s called the lectionary. Maybe you¹ve heard of it. If not, no worries. I only learned of it a couple of years ago.

But…the lectionary is more than just a reading plan.

Unlike our college classes, when reading through the lectionary we¹re not guided into solitude with an agenda to consume gallons of words in order to learn. Instead we are invited to participate with a community who cherish experiencing a series of “lections” or “reading of passages” from God’s story.

So it seems right to imagine the lectionary as a map of God¹s story. And we (the community) seek to live into God¹s story. And because it¹s a map and not, say, a mandatory route, we are invited into a journey.

The essential element of community in performing the lectionary pushes us to recognize our connectedness.  We¹re taught that we¹re dependent on each other to live into this story we gather around.

The joy of this reality is that experiencing God¹s story does not just happen through one medium.  We don¹t just hear the lectionary passages.  We see them performed in skits and videos.  We taste them in the Eucharist.  We touch them in the passing of peace.  God¹s Spirit breaths the lectionary passages to life in our communities worship and we hear, see, taste, and touch the story.


Here are some of our favorite lectionary resources:

Special thanks to our friends over at The House Studio for sharing their thoughts with us. And for giving us a shout out. Find out more at

Christmas 2010 | Notes

Here are some questions that we asked in our meetings about our Christmas series: Jesus is King?
what is king in our life?

what does a good kingdom follower look like?

do people take orders? who do they allow to give orders?

what dictates our actions and the way we live our lives? consumerism? american dream? living in order to get more?  fear?  media?  calendar?

are we too busy to engage in “kingdom” activity?

the OT kings’ main responsibility was for the poor and the outside.  the prophets got on to them so much because they weren’t doing that.

If Jesus isn’t king what office have we relegated him to?

Feel free to share any thoughts you have in the comments section.

Epiphany 2011 | Week-to-Week

After 2 Sundays of Christmas, we begin a season called Epiphany.  It’s a season that deals with Christ revealing who he is.  Last year, we stayed in the Gospel passages which makes it real easy to see Jesus.  This year however, we will be in 1st Corinthians (for the majority of the time).

A couple of things that Jon wants us to keep in mind as we preach from Paul’s writings:

  1. There’s always something that Paul is trying to address
  2. Be sure to put the passage in context.

Corinth was like our present day Las Vegas.  What happened there, stayed there.  Sin was rampant.  So a young church in that city took a lot of work on Paul’s part as their founder and spiritual leader.  So keep that in mind as you look at how Paul writes to them.  What words he uses to describe them and then how he calls them to live a better life.  And also, begin with the corporate aspect, not the individual.

As we look at this passages in particular, for the season of Epiphany, we asked 2 questions of each.

a) What authority is challenged?
b) Where is Christ revealed?


Week 1 – Jan 9 – Acts 10:34-38
a) Religious authority, dogma of the then current Jewish system
b) Christ is revealed in Peter’s dream

Week 2 – Jan 16 – 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
a) Their current way of life.
b) Paul calls them holy even thought he is going to tell them how they’re missing the mark.  This is where Christ is revealed.  He makes the Church blameless, and Paul sees their holy potential.

Week 3 – Jan 23 – 1 Corinthians 1:10-17
a) divisions in the body.  for today, maybe denominations.  They wanted to follow the teacher, brag about it.
b) Paul’s reaction.  It’s not “hey look at me!” it’s ” hey look at Him!”

Week 4 – Jan 30 – 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
a) wisdom of the Greeks
b) in the fools

Week 5 – Feb 6 – 1 Corinthians 2:1-11
a) common sense, conventional wisdom (ie. “everything happens for a reason”)
b) in the crucified God.  the paradox of a King crucified

Week 6 – Feb 13 – 1 Corinthians 3:1-9
a) dividing lines, fandom, competition
b) the unified Church, collaboration

Week 7 – Feb 20 – 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23
a) todays’ wisdom, style of music, (all the “you”s in this passage are plural)
b) the Church, His people

Week 8 – Feb 27 – 1 Corinthians 4:1-8
a) i’m fine, i’m special
b) the difference that God makes in us, we are stewards of mystery

Week 9 – Mar 6 – 2 Peter 1:16-21
a) my own right to be “right” about my faith
b) the Holy Spirit revealing the intent of God’s scripture

Please share your thoughts on the passages in the comments section.

Advent 2010 | Christmas Don’t Be Late

The mirage of Christmas promises happiness but rarely delivers. It has come to be a time where we add the pressure of the season on top of our already busy lives leaving us limping through the days, crushed by the weight of expectation. In the end, presents are opened. Christmas is over…finally.

We desperately need the real Christmas, the anticipation of a hope in Christ, to bring joy to the world. To find our value in Him instead of stuff. We gather together to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Business subsides. The things of earth grow strangely dim. Life is breathed into our desperation. We realize again that God is with us. The weight of expectation fades and Christmas…begins.

Join us for our Advent series called “Christmas Don’t be Late” as we expose the mirage of Christmas, and see that there are broken, hungry, and lonely people who need the hope that Christmas brings with it, the hope of Emmanuel, God (always) with us.

Beginning November 28.

– Doug Gunsalus,

See all graphics and more at Advent 2010 | Design.

CatchyLecty on Facebook

Hey guys,

I decided to go ahead and add a Facebook Page, just for the folks that don’t use Twitter or follow Blogs regularly.  This will just be able to get the info out to as many people as possible.

Please go to the CatchyLecty Page and “Like” and if you could “share” it on your wall that would be great too!

This week, I’ll be posting our thoughts on the Epiphany passages for our series “Undercover Boss.”  Stay tuned.

Advent 2010 | Songs

Here are a list of songs that some of us have put together to be good worship songs for Advent.  Again, holding off on most Christmas songs till it’s actually Christmas.  You should be able to purchase most of these on iTunes and I found many of them on YouTube as well.

A Few Songs For Advent

O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Hymn)
Come, Thou Long Expected Savior (Hymn)
I Need Thee Every Hour (Hymn)
Starfield – O Come All Ye Faithful
Future of Forestry – O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Sojourn – O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Sojourn – God Is With Us
Mike Crawford – The Dawn Will Break Upon us
Mike Crawford – O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Mike Crawford – There’s A Voice In The Wilderness
Charlie Hall – Prepare The Way
David Crowder*Band – Remedy
Andrew Peterson – Deliver Us
Andrew Peterson – Behold the Lamb of God
Charlie Hall – Walk the World
David Crowder*Band – Rescue Is Coming
David Crowder*Band – The Glory of It All
Ben Cantelon – Love Came Down
Robbie Seay Band – Hallelujah, God Is Near
Hillsong United – Came To My Rescue
Tim Hughes – Here I Am To Worship
Hillsong United – Mighty To Save (changing “risen King” to “coming/newborn King”)
Hillsong Live – Let Us Adore

What songs are you doing for Advent?  Please share in the comments 🙂

Christmas 2010 | Jesus is King?

The series title we came up with for the 2 Sundays of Christmas was “Jesus is King?”  The question is 2-fold:

1) How is this little baby a king?  He’s not what we were expecting.  Why is this the way the Messiah came to us?

2) What does it mean for a 21st century person to say that Jesus is King?  We don’t live in a monarchy so how can we better understand that statement.

You may not be able to answer everything but that is the reason for the “?”

Advent 2010 | Week-to-Week

One of main things we talked about throughout our planning was to start with the corporate aspect.  Don’t always jump to the individual response first.  What is it that “we” are to do in response to each passage?  So keep that in mind.

Also, Jon wanted to point out the difference between foretelling and forthtelling.  Foretelling is predicting the future (ie. “here’s what’s going to happen in the future…”).  That’s not what the prophets do.  Forthtelling is bringing of the character of God into the situation. (ie. “here’s what happens…” or “if you continue down this path, this will be the end result…”).  This is how the prophets communicated the will of God.

Week 1 – Nov 28 – Isaiah 2:1-5
Theme: Peace
It’s God’s desire that we would have peace, not war.  It’s okay to forget about Joshua for a moment.  The main thrust of this passage is that one day…you will not be in this situation.  Eventually, you will be in God’s great city once again and there will be no need for weapons.  Not just for the Israelites but for all nations.  Key point: the weapons are not cast away but are redeemed, turned into farm tools.

Week 2 – Dec 5 – Isaiah 11:1-10
Theme: Reconciliation
Enemies to justice.  Something has to be overcome.  What are our natural instincts?  World change happens not by “not” doing something, its by doing something.  Steak is much better than straw (v.7)  It’s not “lions and lambs,” but “wolves and lambs.”

Week 3 – Dec 12 – Isaiah 35:1-10
Theme: Hope
Homegoing, Homecoming.  God is still there/here/near even in exile/desert/death/loneliness.  Prevalence of God in creation.  This passage uses an image of the desert bringing forth vegetation to describe the people of Israel when they will return home.  We are “resident aliens.”

Week 4 – Dec 19 – Isaiah 7:10-17
Theme: Emmanuel
In our fear sometimes we compromise what God has for us.  The thing that fear causes you to do ends up being your undoing.

Here‘s a sample of Walter Bruggemann’s commentary on Isaiah that should be helpful in knowing the Israelite situation a little better.

Fresh Arrangements for Advent/Christmas

Hey everyone,

I thought I’d go ahead and list out a few Advent/Christmas CDs that I have gathered over the years to help give you some new options for the classics.  I know we’re only spending a few weeks doing Christmas songs but it’s nice to get some new arrangements for these old songs.

First off, Phil Wickham is releasing his new album Songs for Christmas this Friday from his website.  You can also go there now to watch a performance he did on a radio show in New Jersey.  It looks very promising.

Mike Crawford just came out with their brand new album “Songs for the Advent Conspiracy.” I got to pick it up at the Crowder Conference and it’s really good. You can purchase at HERE.

Check out Future of Forestry‘s Advent Christmas EP. It has some sweet arrangements for a few classics.

Sojourn Church has a CD called Advent Songs that has some unique songs.

Jars of Clay has a CD called Christmas Songs.  I haven’t used it but my buddy said that there are a few good songs on for response if not necessarily for congregational songs.

Starfield has a great arrangement of O Come All Ye Faithful that is really good.  It’s a little darker so it could be maybe used toward the end of Advent.

The MercyMe‘s The Christmas Sessions is pretty cool too.  I’ve used a few songs off of there the last 2 years and the people have really enjoyed them.

Fee has a great arrangement of Joy to the World called All Creation Sing that we’ve used.  It gives a U2/Tomlin feel to the more traditional song.

Casting Crowns‘ album Peace On Earth has some good arrangements on it as well.  We’ve used the O Come All Ye Faithful the last 2 years.

And finally, one of my favorite new arrangements is Matt Maher’s Silent Night (Emmanuel).  It adds a beautiful refrain in the middle that allows us to worship.  We’ve actually used it on Good Friday as well.

Hope that helps you get creative with our worship during the Advent and Christmas seasons.

***Update from Brandon Whiteside***
Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God: 10th Anniversary Edition was suggested by Brandon Whiteside.  He says,

It’s put together in a way that’s similar to a musical with each song leading into the next, musical themes related to each song throughout and follows the Biblical narrative from Moses to the birth of Christ.  It even has a song called “Matthew’s Begats” taken out of the beginning of Matthew!

He also suggests Chris Tomlin’s Glory In The Highest, and Shane & Shane’s Glory In The Highest are both worth a listen.