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The third and final worship service, held on Thursday, June 18, was called “A Renewed World”. Attendance at this service was spotty, due to the Assembly ending early and the service being moved up to 4:30pm from 5:30pm. (This also meant that the cellist for the evening was on his way to the Assembly during most of the music set. It’s a shame that the musicians weren’t warned further in advance that they would be needed earlier so that they would have time to prepare.)
The hymns and songs chosen were:
- Come Away from Rush and Hurry
- Words: Marva Dawn, Music: NETTLETON
- This Is My Father’s World
- Words: Maltbie D. Babcock, Music: TERRA BEATA
- Holy, Holy, Holy
- Words: Reginald Heber, Music: NICAEA
- Our Great God
- Words and Music: Fernando Orgeta, Mac Powell
- ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
- Words: Louisa M. R. Stead, Music: TRUST IN JESUS
- A Hymn for All the World
- Words and Music: Josh Bales
Ray Cannata, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New Orleans, gave a testimony of the rebuilding work going on in the people and the city of New Orleans 4 years after Hurricane Katrina.
Martin Ban, pastor of Christ Church, Santa Fe, New Mexico, spoke on “Mission, Risk and Redemptive Feasting” from Luke 14:1-35 and 22:14-27. He had a wonderful communication style, unlike any other preacher I’ve heard, but one that fit him well. (And shouldn’t that be the goal in preaching!) He delivered long, well-constructed sentences and allowed time for them to sink in. It was a great exposition of the text but also a great challenge for the future of our denomination.
Musically, this service was probably the most unified of all the services. A smaller ensemble with no special guests helped to bring everything together. This was the most like a typical church-plant music style – acoustic guitar led, piano, bass, drums, a color instrument (cello, in this case). It was very well played, with a mind to supporting the congregation.
Daniel was an investment banker who worked for a national bank in their downtown Houston office. One afternoon while waiting for the bus, he ran into Dr. Clark, his finance professor and mentor from college. Having a few extra minutes, they walked down to the Flying Saucer and caught up over a drink. They talked about their families, their hobbies, and their careers. After a while, Daniel said, “You know Dr. Clark, I’m really glad that I ran into you because the guys at work have told me about this great new opportunity and I just can’t keep quiet about it! You see there’s this guy in New York who has made a ton of money off of this investment plan where people send him money and then he waits and sends the money from the next group of investors to the first group of investors. You just keep that pattern up indefinitely and you can’t lose! My kids are going to be able to go to any college they want!”
Dr. Clark was silent. He had a look of shock tinged with horror on his face. After an uncomfortable 20 seconds, he said, “Danny, what’s wrong with you? I talked about this in the first semester you took one of my courses. It’s called a Ponzi scheme. That guy in New York that you heard about? He was sentenced to 150 years in prison! How could you think this was a good idea? You need to stick to what I taught you: sound investment principles. Don’t get fooled by those guys; if they keep up like this, they’ll end up in prison as well.”
I have just finished reading and have posted a book review for NT (Tom) Wright’s latest book Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision. Here is the first paragraph:
Reading a book by NT Wright on Justification and then hearing his critics is like listening to a majestic symphony and then hearing someone complain about the parallel fifths.
For more, see the review.
Millions of Evangelicals will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Many Christian schools will go into rapid decline. I’m convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close.
I just heard a ringtone of Holst’s Jupiter Chorale from The Planets suite set to a reggae beat. I think I’m going to cry.