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On Pastoral Robes and Supreme Court Justices

This week, at the beginning of the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse gave a remarkable 10 minute address on the significance of the Supreme Court Justice robe. As I listened to him explain the meaning of the simple black robe to the Senate, I was struck by how relevant his comments are for understanding why mini...

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Why So much Singing in a Worship Service?

Unless you are one of the gifted few among us, chances are you don’t do much out-loud singing during your week (not counting the car and shower). For many of us, the very idea of publicly singing with around others can be intimidating. For others, particularly men, singing in church is something we “tolerate” as a necessary inconvenience in order to get t...

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Why Have a Benediction?

Why Have a Benediction? Every week at Redeemer we end the service with what is called the benediction. The word benediction literally means ‘good speaking,’ and refers to God’s pronouncement of blessing upon his people. The minister, acting as God’s representative, lifts his hands and announces the Lord’s final blessing on His people as they ...

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Why Recite a Creed Every Week?

Every week, before we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we recite together one of the ancient Creeds of the Christian Church. Most of the time we use the Apostles Creed, but we also use the Nicene Creed and occasionally parts of the Heidelberg Catechism. Why do we do this? First, reciting a Creed names and gives substance to the God we worship. In a pluralistic society ...

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Why do we have the Lord's Supper every week?

Every Christian church has been given the privilege of partaking of the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis. Jesus made it clear, when he instituted the Supper, that it was a meal that should be continually observed by his disciples until he comes again. The bread represents his body broken for us, the wine his blood shed for us. The meal as a whole gives us a wonderful...

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Why do we have sermons? (And why are they So Long?)

There is more time devoted in our worship service to preaching than to any other single element. This is intentional, and reflects our understanding of just how important preaching is for establishing and strengthening our life of faith. Preaching was central in the ministry of Jesus, the ministry of his Apostles, and is to have a central place in the church. As Paul solem...

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Why Take an Offering in the Worship Service?

It is no longer a given in evangelical churches that an offering will be taken during a worship service. As an alternative, many churches now set up permanent “drop -boxes” in the back of the church which allow for donations to be made at any time. Others, aided by advances in technology, have moved to online giving through sites like Paypal or by setting up au...

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Why Read So Much Bible in the Worship Service?

The reading of Scripture is prominent in our worship service from beginning to end. Passages of Scripture are read for the call to worship, the confession of sin, the declaration of God’s forgiveness, as well as the sermon text reading and an additional Scripture reading every week (currently we are reading through 1 Timothy). Why give so much prominence to the readi...

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Why Pray?

From start to finish, prayer is a significant part of the Sunday worship service at Redeemer. We have the opening prayer of invocation, a corporate prayer of confession, prayers of intercession, a prayer before and after communion, and a weekly recital of the Lord’s Prayer. There are many reasons why we give prayer such a prominent place in the worship service. Pray...

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Why A Declaration of Forgiveness?

Every week at Redeemer the minister declares God’s forgiveness to the congregation. Formally known as the “absolution,” this is a public declaration of God’s certain forgiveness and favor toward those who truly repent and admit their need of Christ. The minister does not have any inherent power to forgive sins in his person, of course, but he makes ...

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Why have a Confession of Sin in the Worship Service?

Every week the congregation of Redeemer church corporately confesses our sins before God and seeks his mercy and forgiveness. This week for example, we will ask God in our prayer of confession that he would “Remember not the sins of my youth, or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord. For your name&rsquo...

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How should a worship service begin? Part 2

In the last post, we explained what a call to worship is, and why we begin our worship service this way. This week, we will consider what immediately follows the call to worship in our service: The Invocation and God's Greeting.  What is an Invocation? What is God's Greeting? An invocation is our response to God's call to worship. It is a prayer which invokes God, w...

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How should a Worship Service Begin? Does it really matter?

Every Church has to begin the corporate Sunday worship service in some way. Some churches simply start worship by playing a song, others begin with a welcome, greeting, and prayer, and the list goes on. At Redeemer, we have chosen to begin service with a formal Call to Worship. The pastor, speaking on God’s behalf, calls the congregation to worship by reading a passa...

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