Our Sunday worship gathering is canceled due to inclement weather; while the snowy roads are passable for some, the likely onset of freezing rain, atop of existing snow, and coupled with a winter storm advisory asking people locally to not travel unnecessarily, and since “travel is strongly discouraged,” this means we (the Renew Elders) think it wise to not gather as a whole church family today.While we won’t be gathering at 813 7th Street together this morning, to serve one another and worship the risen Christ, we do get to do this well in our homes on this snow day.
Build the Altar This Snow Day
Some of us are grateful for a decision, simply wanting to know the clear plan moving forward. Others may be disappointed we aren’t “going for it,” hosting a church gathering today. All of us are invited to something more adventurous than a lazy Sunday at home, or gawking at weather updates on a screen.
The thing our weather experts cannot grasp is that traveling to worship Christ together is the opposite of unnecessary. Worshiping God is strongly encouraged! (And that is why we held off until early this morning to officially cancel our morning worship gathering.) We were created to worship, and we cannot help but worship. (#weareWorshipers)
How shall we worship when we cannot gather?
We start by cultivating a Godward life today, in our homes. This starts by thanking God the Provider for His provision of a home, of modern marvels like electric heat and insulated walls, and building codes to keep us safe. It shall include pondering what sacrificial giving looks like in a day of plenty. We start with God, not ourselves; that’s the beginning of wisdom. It takes some courage to worship Christ as self-led people. This is part of what it means to Build the Altar in your life. Let’s take some risks too, moving out of our comfort zones:
- sing a song (sure, off key!), like from Seeds Worship: “GRACE” is today’s Family Verse and song (#2 on Seeds of Faith; see below);
- read a Scripture passage together: Ephesians 1-2 or Psalm 8 or Judges 13-16 as noted in Learning Together for this week
- today is a good day to start or re-start a Bible reading plan; we’ve outlined some solid ones below, especially Read Scripture with The Bible Project;
- then walk over and check on your neighbors (!);
- turn off the TV (the winter storm will let us know when it arrives);
- call another follower of Jesus and catch up on life, ask questions, listen, pray together
- read a new post on the Promises of God on the Story Catechism blog;
- go for a walk and thank God for His beauty and creative work
- pause and ask the Spirit to lead you into truth, and to make the good news of Jesus more real to your heart today
- ask the Father what would please Him today; “how can I please You, Father?”
- if or when the power goes out today or tomorrow, serve one another through meeting practical needs and simplifying options (we have fewer “needs” than imagined)
- you can call The Father’s Heart Street Ministry to see if they have any needs.
This Week’s Family Verse & Scripture Song
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
We are trying something new for our family verses. Music is a great way to help us memorize and to have fun doing it. Our family verses will be from the Seeds Family Worship. We are currently on Seeds of Faith song #2 (Grace).
- links for Seeds of Faith (Volume 2): Bandcamp | Spotify | iTunes | Amazon Music | Seeds Family Worship website | all Seeds of Worship albums on Spotify | all Seeds of Worship albums on Amazon
“The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, buy unoffered prayer.”
A morning with “church at home” could involve brewing a warm cup of coffee, curling up in our warm living rooms, or playing out in the snow with kids. It certainly shall involve checking on our neighbors (!) to consider their needs. Yet for us to truly worship Christ, let us start with Him. We rise each new day to please our Creator, and today our place to do that is at home, warm and comfortable. If power outages come, then we’ll have ample opportunity to please God without heat, without comfort. Even still, we can build the altar…
I will build an altar to God each day.
My voice shall You hear in the morning, O LORD;
in the morning will I direct my prayer to You, and will look up.
Begin each day looking up to God, worshiping Him and responding to His ever-present love! Though you may fail (repeatedly), His love never fails and His faithfulness never runs out.
“The most important daily habit we can possess is to remind ourselves of the Gospel.”
Whether we turn aside to the left (in apathetic self-pleasing) or to the right (in stressed-out self-effort), Jesus is willing to come rescue us, put us back on the good path, and lead us onward with grace-driven effort!
(From the message Build the Altar: Grace-Driven New Year)
Join the Renew family in reading the Bible in 2017. Find resources and reading plans to support your grace-driven efforts to seek God. Allow Him space to sift through your intentions, bringing whole-life renewal.
“The man who would truly know God must give time to Him.”
This year each of us are invited on an adventure to build an altar to God each new day, to look up and love our Creator first. What will be your plan to develop a new rhythm of seeking God each day? » Find some help here.