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Getting Ready for Sunday (April 3, 2011)

There is something special about the people of God coming together for worship (Hebrews 10:24-25). Thus, we hope that Sundays at New City are a highlight of your week. In an effort to help you get more out of it, we're posting a short preview of the upcoming Sunday gathering each week.

We're almost to the end of our "Rooted" series, concluding with messages this week and next. The teaching this week is based on 1 Corinthians 15:35-58. This is a complex passage about the resurrection that Christians will experience when Jesus returns. To prepare for worship this week, read the passage and think about the ways this passage differs from pop-culture notions of heaven. Is there anything in this passage that challenges your belief about heaven? If you were to trust the truths of this passage, how would it change the way you live?

We continue our journey through Lent. Lent is a season in the church calendar that begins with Ash Wednesday and concludes with Easter Sunday. It's an opportunity to reflect on the sin and brokenness in the world (and in us), repent, and then move forward in the hope that comes because of the work of Jesus Christ.

Our worship this week reflects the tension that exists in a world stained by sin and brokenness and pain, and our hope that Jesus has defeated sin and death on the cross, and one day will return again to make all things new. We start worship by lifting our eyes to Jesus ("Jesus I Lift My Eyes"). Then we'll pause to offer a prayer of Lament, admitting the brokenness in our world and our need for God's grace and mercy. We'll sing a song that moves us from brokenness to hope ("At Eve It Shall Be Light" - listen to the song here) and then marvel at the goodness of God to us in Jesus ("Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder" and "Wonderful, Merciful Savior"). After we meditate on 1 Corinthians 15, we'll celebrate communion in anticipation of heavenly banquet Christians will eat with God one day. And then we'll conclude by singing songs about the defeat of death and our hope in the resurrection ("Goodnight" and "Death In His Grave").

Use the song "Goodnight" as a prayer to prepare your heart for worship. You can listen to the song here.

I journey forth rejoicing 
From this dark vale of tears, 
To heavenly joy and freedom, 
From earthly bonds and fears; 
Where Christ our Lord shall gather 
All His redeemed again, 
His kingdom to inherit. 
Goodnight, goodnight till then! 

Why thus so sadly weeping, 
Beloved ones of my heart? 
The Lord is good and gracious, 
Though now He bids us part. 
Oft have we met in gladness. 
And we shall meet again, 
All sorrow left behind us. 
Goodnight, goodnight till then! 

I go to see His glory, 
Whom we have loved below: 
I go, the blessed angels, 
The holy saints to know. 
Our lovely ones departed, 
I go to find again, 
And wait for you to join us. 
Goodnight, goodnight till then! 

I hear the Saviour calling, 
The joyful hour has come: 
The angel guards are ready 
To guide me to our home, 
Where Christ our Lord shall gather 
All His redeemed again, 
His kingdom to inherit. 
Goodnight, goodnight till then!

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