In any case, I had a bit of catching up to do after that weekend of refreshing, so I am a bit delayed getting up this Sermon Sunday post. One of the songs from the conference has been stuck in my head all day, so I am going to start with a link to a you tube version, complete with lyrics, to get us all going. It is called "Revelation Song" by Phillips, Craig, and Dean. It is very powerful and worshipful. I really like it.
You know, if you have never "surfed" you tube for hymns and worship songs, you are missing out. It is a great source of many kinds of music (including classical music, kid's songs, and songs with sign language accompaniment)...you just have to be discriminating. I don't allow my kids to surf you tube alone, but I find out what they would like to see and make play lists for them under my account. Sometimes we start our homeschool day sitting in front of the computer, singing (and occassionally signing, too) for up to an hour. It's great.
Anyway, the tickets we received were courtesy of a family-integrated church we attend once in a while because we love the idea of the Family-Integrated concept (this does not mean family CENTERED, which can have a negative connotation, but rather God-centered and family-integrated). Because we have moved around so much (due to my hubby being in the military), we have had the opportunity to experience many churches, and to experience God in churches of many different denominations. In spite of liking this concept A LOT, we only attend this church at best once a month. In truth, more like four or five times a year, but that is because it is in a city about an hour an fifteen minutes from our home, and sometimes the bridge between our house and the church location is closed during church hours. I'd love to attend more often since I miss the wonderful sense of connectedness these people have with each other, their families, and God.
One of my favorite things about the church is that since it is family-integrated, the kids are IN the service with you, instead of in Sunday School or Children's Church classes being discipled by someone else. We have been in so many churches where having our kids with us has been seen as unusual, or even inconsiderate to others, even though they are well-behaved. The church also puts a high responsibility on the fathers as heads of their households, and the fathers serve communion and pray blessings over their family groups. The families go up together to present their tithes (at the altar), and the pastor explains difficult terms to younger members of the households during his sermon, yet preaches informative sermons which are not dumbed down. They also provide a "further discussion" sheet as part of their bulletin, so families can discuss the application of the sermon at home later in the week. I like that. All of it.
We usually attend on the first Sunday of the month as that is the week when they have a pot luck gathering following services. That is when we get to visit with our like-minded friends and really feel like we are part of this church family. The one thing that keeps us from just dealing with the extra long drive and the probable lack of community feeling we would have (since NOBODY from the church lives anywhere near us) is the fact that they are part of an Assembly church. In terms of doctrine within a sermon, I have never heard an incorrect word spoken. As for the other Assembly sort of things (ah, let's face it, you know I mean the whole "Gifts" thing...tongues and all that), I have never seen it within the Household Service. I just like attending those services so much. The whole atmosphere of the church is family-friendly, father headship, mission outreach, constant personal growth, LOVE GOD and LOVE OTHERS based. That can't be wrong. So I am okay with going there from time to time and hoping and praying that someday we will find a church near to us that thinks along the same lines (that's maybe not an Assembly church or a Reformed one, since I don't agree with Calvinist thought, either, though they tend to be the other denomination that considers families to be a cohesive unit rather than a segmented one).
I don't know what God has in mind, to show us this thing we long for but can't have right now, but He does, right? So for now I will have to be content with what we are doing. In the meantime, I can enjoy our occassional visits and listening to a few of Pastor Shedd's sermons online from time to time. Here is one called "The Household Through God's Eyes" from 2008. When you click on the link, the sermon you want is the first one on the list. They leave this one up on their site because it lays out their Household Service's philosphy and its Biblical basis so well. I learned a lot (you receive a cd copy in your welcome packet the first time you attend the Household Service) from listening to it. I hope you do, too.
If you like to follow along with printed notes as you listen, here are the sermon notes: The Household Through God's Eyes
If you'd like to learn more about how important it is for Christians to have strong families (households), you can download some of their excellent handouts below.
Changing One Word by Eric Wallace
Four Core Practices That Will Eternally Transform Your Household by Pastor Brad Shedd
The Greatest Untapped Evangelistic Opportunity by Scott Brown
Revolutionary Parenting by George Barna
Seven Steps and Seven Blessings of Household Worship
Milestones of Blessing
And by the way, congratulations to Pastor Shedd and his family, who welcomed their eighth child, a son, into the world earlier this month. What a
Hope you had a blessed Sunday.