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P.S. Pentecost


Come and join us Sunday May 31 at 6:00pm for our quarterly P.S. (Prayer & Song) Night. We will be celebrating the birthday of the Church, the Day of Pentecost, through Holy Spirit songs, readings, and prayers.

River Valley Church
55855 Bittersweet Rd
Mishawaka, IN 46545

Here is an awesome prayer for "Preparation for Worship" from The Worship Sourcebook for the Day of Pentecost. Pray this with your worship teams this Sunday.

Lord God, especially today as we remember the coming of your Spirit, teach those of us who lead worship not to rely on our own strength to make worship meaningful and inspiring. Rather, give us joy and freedom in knowing that worship is a gift made possible by the work of your Holy Spirit. Through Christ, our Lord, Amen.

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Seconds, Hours, Moments and Dreams


Congratulations Kris Allen! I hope you are not "bound" by the impending idolatry of your moments and dreams. And I hope you are not forever bound to sing terrible songs written by other people.

Can anyone confirm that Kris Allen is (or was) a worship leader? I also heard that Danny Gokey and Matt Giraud are (were) worship leaders.

My wife cried when Kris held his wife at the end. I was folding the laundry.

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Not Your Typical Mother's Day Message

Our pastor preached in part from 2 Kings 6:26-30 on Mother's Day!

Now as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!” And he said, “If the Lord will not help you, how shall I help you? From the threshing floor, or from the winepress?” And the king asked her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ So we boiled my son and ate him. And on the next day I said to her, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him.’ But she has hidden her son.” When the king heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes—now he was passing by on the wall—and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth beneath on his body.

There were audible gasps as the passage was read. But he wasn't going for shock and awe, and he wasn't trying to be hip and different. Read the rest of this amazing story to see how God faithfully delivered Samaria from one of the deepest places of human desperation every experienced on earth. See how He met them in their despair with riches beyond their wildest imaginations, riches they could have never earned, riches they would have never received without trusting in Him, and riches that only come to those who love God.

May we worship God out of complete desperation; May we be driven to self-despair; May He cause us to need Him; May we recognize His hand at work; May we act upon His leading and provision. For it is only in despising ourselves that we can truly worship God.

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Son


could life be any
newer or May love sweeter
truer? no and yes


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Proverbs 21 Worshiper (vv. 7-8, 13)


Is anyone else as dorky as me when it comes to wordplay? I'm just tickled with the "Proverbs 21 Worshiper" derivation from the "Proverbs 31 Woman". I suppose it would be cooler if it rhymed or something. Nonetheless, in vv. 2-4 we learned that if we are going to be true worshipers, true followers of Jesus, we must get off our high horses and surrender our lives entirely to the mission of God. Although the next section does not speak directly to acts of "church worship" (temple sacrifice), there is major worship application.

WARNING: the following interpretation contains some extreme demands that will heap guilt and condemnation on readers if left to themselves to fulfill. However, conviction and grace will come to those who trust in Jesus Christ alone.

7. The violence of the wicked will sweep them away,
because they refuse to do what is just.
8. The way of the guilty is crooked,
but the conduct of the pure is upright.
13. Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor
will himself call out and not be answered.

We saw in verse 3 that the evidence for true worship is doing righteousness and justice, and so this is one of the first things we should look for in our actions to determine whether our worship is acceptable to God. If we find little or no activity of ministering justice and righteousness, there's a good chance we're spending our time pursuing wicked and worthless things. We need to look no further than the life of Jesus to see the perfect ministry of justice and righteousness; do what He did and even greater things.

When I read v. 7 an old Charlie Hall song comes to mind. The refrain simply says "Sweep me away" over and over again (at least twenty times). I can hear God asking, "How many times will you say it? If you want Me to sweep you away, do what is just! If you don't, something else will sweep you away, the violence of your wickedness." Let's not be fooled by the word "violence" here. We think of violence as a cruel, physical beating of some kind, but God says if you refuse to act justly, you are inflicting violence. Negligence is violence. Hiding your eyes from the poor is violence.

Look at v. 13 above. This is serious stuff. If we close our ears to the cry of the poor in their need, then when we are need of help, it will be refused to us. This is the violence we will receive in return: God's refusal to help us, His refusal to accept us. I can't help but think about the implications of this in our Sunday worship. I have often gone through an entire week without seeking God, secluding myself to my own selfish pleasures, isolating myself from any opportunity to share God's love with others. And then I stroll into church on Sunday, wearing a church smile, thinking church thoughts, and singing church songs. I join God's people in celebrating the story of His salvation. But why should God give ear to my cry for Him to save me when my life looks like the week I described above, actions that do not reflect Jesus' ministry? I recall the difficult words of Amos 5:23-24: "Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."

See, when I am disconnected from God, half-committed in my devotion to Him, by default my life is full of sin, my way is crooked, I am guilty (v. 8). And not only is my way crooked in refusing to do what is just, but my worship is crooked. Being "guilty" means being full of sin. The only way to be pardoned is through atonement. In the Old Testament the regular guilt offering took care of this. Now, only Jesus can take care of our guilt. If we want our worship to be acceptable to God, if we want our lives, our works, to reflect Jesus, then Jesus must make us pure and upright. The only way for our conduct, our actions, our worship, to be holy and acceptable to God is through Jesus Christ, the eternal guilt offering.

If I have taken too much liberty in this application of Scripture, if I am too extreme once again, someone please balance me out. My flesh would gladly receive any words that would justify my comfortable lifestyle and lukewarm pursuit of God.

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