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Preparing for Worship (09/19/10)

Corporate worship is a great thing.  Of course,we can worship God on our own and with our families - and we should.  But there is something special about the people of God coming together for worship (Hebrews 10:24-25).  Thus, we hope that corporate worship is the highlight of your week.  In an effort to help you get more out of worship, we're posting a short preview of the upcoming worship service each week.  Hopefully you'll find this helpful and encouraging.

The sermon this week comes from Mark 12:28-34 - "The Great Commandment."  It's easy to pass over this passage because it's so familiar to those who grew up in the church.  And even for those who don't know the Bible well have probably heard these verses before.  In preparation for worship, ask yourself what is so revolutionary about Jesus' statement that causes his original hearers to go silent with shock.  "No one dared to ask him any more questions" (v.34).  And pray for God to give you fresh eyes to see this text and apply it to your life.

Creeds were used by the church historically in worship as a way of affirming what it is Christians everywhere believe.  This week we'll be using the Nicene Creed to do just that.  In a world that often doesn't know what to believe, it's important that Christians can confess with clarity and passion what we believe about God, people, and the meaning of life.

We also will be celebrating a baptism this week.  Jonah Stuart Woods will be baptized.  Baptism is one of two Sacraments we observe at New City (the other being the Lord's Supper). Baptism is a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, a picture of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ, and also a picture of the community that God is forming. You'll see two kinds of baptisms at New City. Adults who place their faith in Christ come to baptism as an expression of their faith and as a sign of their entrance and participation in the covenant community. Children of believing adults are also eligible for baptism (which is the case for Sunday). For a child, baptism conveys the grace of being included in God's covenant community and acts as an engagement to be the Lord's. In neither case does baptism save a person. We are saved by grace through faith. Adult baptism reflects back to the work of Christ in bringing one to faith, and infant baptism looks forward to a day when a child can embrace the gospel by faith.

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